Tuesday, May 5, 2009

GUMSHOE Spyworld Scenario

I'll skip over the continuing Scion PM until tomorrow as I have a couple of things I want to get written today. Instead I'd thought I'd give an example of overproduction. I talked earlier about planning for one-shot games and how they often need a little more prep than other games. I've run a number of these kinds of games for cons (mostly for D and Eden) and one of the most difficult things to plan is how much you can actually get done in a 3-4 hour session. I usually find myself cutting each time I run it until I get to a happy size. The exception to this is my All Flesh Space scenario which I wrote light and reactive enough that I've always clocked in at about the right time.

Below is an example of a bloated scenario. Its the notes I wrote up for a one-shot espionage game. It was intended for about four players. Gene and Dusty were coming up one weekend and I wanted to try out my Spyworld variant on the Gumshoe system by Robin Laws. Mystery investigation games usually involve a little more planning as you want to have that chain of clues ready for the players. Anyway, we only got through about half of the actual scenario I wrote when we got it to the table. I thought it might serve as a useful example of how I plan (and overplan) these kinds of scenarios.

In medias ops—characters begin with an op to find/slash extract an agent from a situation. They don't know what they're getting into. All they know is a location and a person to be picked up. Target has been eliminated. Now they have to find out how and why.

Agent Martin Trask has been operating in Singapore for the last several months. He's a deep cover freelancer, one who follows up on various deals operating in the Underworld. He's given a clean drop account and debriefed by a handler every six months. Less than twenty-four hours ago we received a Code Salamander-- meaning that his position but not identity may be compromised and he required an extraction. Our closest man on site-- Sajeev Katong-- was assigned to follow up-- however he did not report back at the assigned mark time or the follow up thereafter.

Your team has arrived in Singapore under business visas-- your assignment is to
a) Extract Trask if possible
b) Secondarily to locate Katong

Once Trask's location and status are known, agents should contact the Agency to receive follow up orders.

Martin Trask-- cover identity is as a Dutch businessman, educated in the States. He has a record of serving as an intermediary for a number of shady dealings including arms smuggling, antiquities theft and money laundering. He has a suite at a secured foreigner-friendly hotel in the heart of the city.


1. Location of Trask's Business Office: determined by one of several methods: phone forwarding records, mail which has rental receipts, business expenditures.

*Additional clues from Traveler or Research suggests that location is in an international free-trade area and fairly upscale indicating that he was dealing with people of a more sophisticated bent and likely foreign to Singapore.

2. Evidence of Violence: general disarray and mess suggest a violent struggle-- would have been heard (pointing to cover up or bribery by staff. Some blood. Also evidence of the room having been tossed. Mixed professional and amateur job-- suggests team.

3. Evidence of surveillance: wire insert camera suggests a more sophisticated group.

4. Chemicals:-The presence of certain unique chemical or scientific traces here

5. Video: Showing Trask, visibly bloodied leaving in company of two thuggish looking Singaporeans. Time stamp puts it late in the evening last night.

*Additional clues are twofold. First, Vladimir Reinman can be seen in the frames from earlier surveillance-- he is conscious of the video cameras and notable for his obscuring of his face. Second, if pressed and wanting to move things forward they may be able to make out the tag on the vehicle Trask is put into. This could lead to a jump scene with them getting to the location ahead of time (using GPS system).

6. Hotel Staff: This depends on the approach. The basic info will reveal two points. First that Trask left in the company of two people last evening. Second (more from staff) a person matching Katong came by to check on Trask later. Using Human Perception or Intimidation will get info about Reinman's lead, watching, accent (Russian? German?) and bribery to get access to the room.

*That evidence has been lifted
*Coded incomplete notes on certain research-- two parts here: kidnapping of Doctor Sima Quian and the materials for the bacteriological trigger-- RF for bio-nanites.
*Dead Trask
*Further evidence of surveillance
*Clue to location of other agent

*Connection to Mastermind Intermediary-- Renald LeGoff

Notes on larger plot-- earlier vanishing of work project for Deming Chou and his bacteriological virus work (fled-- work with Japanese test project). Big set-piece scene here-- not sure but if possible provide a chase sequence. Perhaps spotting them outside and the group having to engineer a chase through the place.

*Names of Trask contacts-- these suggest what he was working on
*Evidence and identity of Reinman. Skill of the assailants-- perhaps a Named Mook sent to oversee. He already gone.

-Trask (deceased): they know he's been murdered, fairly well handled torture
-Watcher (deceased): less well-handled torture, caught when he went to the business office.
-Hotel Manager and Staff: Trask left in the company of two persons (easy); second person has come and asked about him not that long ago (easy); Caucasian arrived with two who took Trask away, seemed to be in charge, spread money around, bribed for access to Trask's room.
-Trask Business contacts
-The Assailants and Reinman (Hark and Tark)-- thugs who have a backroom here and who are in the process of cleaning things up.

Renald LeGoff works as a high-level fixer. He runs a casino resort on a Bermuda island. Team is to:
-Discover why Trask was killed
-What the operation is
-Who LeGoff is working for

Part Two: The Grand Mark Casino and Hotel
Operation and Investigation. Investigation begin with some physical details here-- basic research, tracking back the physical evidence, etc. Then the players will go to an exotic location to track/investigate someone who is a suspected intermediary for their actual target. Casino or other such place-- resort. Chase here perhaps? St. Cesca Island

Target located information from this target leads them back to the actual mastermind behind the plot.

What do they need to know?
-The sense of the secret project involved
-The fact and identity of a particular kidnapping victim
-The identity of the Mastermind-- Daedelus Soon
-Vladamir Reinman

Part Three
The criminal is attached on/in a private facility on the other side of the Island. This is a weapons testing and research corporation. It is partially a closed facility-- most live on site, but they do get a chance to go out and mingle. The upper level management are monitored by LeGoff at the behest of Wecthammer-- in order to weed out problems,maintain control and show he need to, blackmail his employees.

*Facility-- Court, Basilica and Sanctuary-- three layers of break in and security. Scientist and developments kept in the Sanctuary.

Characters then:
*Liasion met on site-- Wayne Denovo
*Severe Casino manager-- Annastasia Raine
*Security Chief for Wecthammer-- Zeno Verger
*Dupish Administrator (Barty Flask)and dupish Scientist (Daphna Weist) from the Wecthammer group. Flask under the thumb of LeGoff for his gambling habits. Perhaps an overheard scene where he's taken to task. Weist simply burned out and scared.
*Criminal contact-- James St. Senier-- some black market stuff and small thefts, but security is pretty tight. On-site holding facility
*Big Guy-- Daedelus Soon (Greek-Chinese). Big follower of Rand and Leo Strauss. Believes in control for the lesser persons. Has been a contractor to the Chinese and other governments for monitoring and control technology. Background in biological sciences.

This will allow some foreshadowing, connect the two sections and give some continuity to the NPCs. Important to allow them the chance to have those interactions there. Central complex tower at the Wecthammer facility is well protected. Subcontracting to prison system? or is that too much?

Operation to secure and shut down-- target is in a fairly secured location, but not a secret base. They will be able to take steps to act against the target. But there is private security, a section of the building that has been cut off from the rest. They have two tasks here-- the first is to rescue a particular target. The second is to eliminate the Mastermind in a reasonably discreet manner. Keep in mind that this is more of a MI: Team operation than it is a Bondian episode. There's less interaction and more a need to take them down.

Three parts-- big RFID use—drainage access. Some hyper-tech devices for defense-- ala MGS. Animals fitted with reactionary trackers-- responsive to the RFID chips as well.

Combat scene in a giant assembly plant-- gears and such. Internal workings for giant multilevel assembly (think the thing with the VW storage and parking garage).

Other details
Four characters on the team. The Faceman, the Expert, the Thief, and the Gunman.
Randian Villain-- just to give it a little extra feel and have a homage to these things.

*Exotic locale (Casino)
*Several scene stages to allow investigation
*Aftermath to Op gone bad? From that leading on
*List of NPCs
*Scene list: various
*Plot elements which require use of multiple investigation skills
*List of obstacles