Location: Lee’s GF’s (Sam) house aka ‘the games room’
Present: Mike (Oddjob Jones), Lee (Sir Charles Lytton AKA the Phantom), Jamie (Jean-Jacques D’Souza) and Ben (GM).
This first session was about new beginnings – new year (2012), new location (the games room), new game system (FATE – Spirit of the Centuty), new style of play (sandbox style, 1920’s pulp), new setting building technique (1KBWC – 1,000 Blank White Cards). All in all, I think everyone was surprised by how well it went.
We built the basics of our setting together, did character creation (not entirely correctly), got a handle on the rules (again… not entirely correctly), kicked off the game and got stuck into our first mystery.
We built this city on… well, 40 blank white cards actually. And so, Shangapore – our generic oriental city with european influence was born (with thanks to Lee for the name). Every person had 10 cards and had to come up with the following items – a Big Location, a Small Location, a Location Detail, an NPC, an NPC detail, A Group or Organisation, a Large Item, a Small Item, an Item Detail and a Rumour.
Once we had created these, the cards were shuffled and we took it in turns to draw a card and play it on the imaginary ‘map’ of the city. The results were a pretty fantastic mash-up of ideas that no one person was responsible for or could possibly have created on their own. It was photographed and jotted down and has been assembled again – as far as possible, in this site.
Our new city was then terrorised by 3 ne’er do wells in the form of the PC’s;
Mike created “Oddjob Jones”, an Adventurer and Hero in the classic mold, freelancing mercenary sensibilites masking noble intentions and a good heart. Mike’s inspiration for the character’s style was Indianna Jones and Oddjob from the Bond films – and the names just stuck.
Jamie created “Jean-Jacque D’Souza AKA Whispering Jack”, Editor in Chief of the Shangapore Whisperer and a disgraced former spy with a nose for getting to other people’s secrets. Jamie took inspiration from Anime characters in an adventure called Baccona for the character.
Lee created “Sir Charles Lytton AKA The Phantom”, a gentleman catburglar, peer of the realm, ladies man and an all round cad, and I dare say a bounder as well. Lee’s inspiration for the character was David Niven as the Pink Panther and in fact anything with David Niven in it ever…
The game began with Sir Charles sitting in one of his favourite gambling dens in the city, a Speak Easy with no name, known only to those with connections, it is identified primarily by the ivory door handles shaped like rearing cobras – and so when it is called anything at all, it is the White Snake. All was good fun until a slick looking crook with a pock marked face took offence at Sir Charles winning and a bored Moll turned her attentions to him, and earned Sir Charles the husband’s ire. Things went from bad to worse when a lie about owning the den was revealed and chips flew everywhere as Sir Charles evaded the 2 men deftly and danced his way across the tables, leaving, Martini in hand with a flourish and a nod to the doorman.
Meanwhile, across town Oddjob Jones had come to see an old aquaintance, the bar tender at Joe’s Bar, ‘Charlie’, as one of his regular contacts for those seeking his services for ‘odd-jobs’. Joe’s is in a reasonably good part of town but has a reputation as a down rent bar, consequently you get quite a varied clientelle.
Charlie tipped Oddjob the nod about some new gang of triads hiring muscle – the Wu Shen, and also of a regular patron of Joe’s who might have a call for an ‘odd-job-man’ – the paper editor D’Souza who’d just knocked off for the day after putting the paper to bed. Both men began to chat and struck something of an accord – with D’Souza setting himself as a fixer for a theft of the priceless Black Mamba necklace if Oddjob could deliver… However, before a deal was brokered, Charlie and the 2 men were distracted by some thugs in the corner who’d been coming the last couple of nights to bother Chun Li, the club singer and hostess at Joe’s (and de facto manager, as no-one can remember ever seeing Joe).
Soon after, Chun Li herself came on stage to do her first set of the evening, her performance was enchanting and one song in particular, seemed very poignant, but all the characters can remember of it is that it mentions ‘the eye of the lotus’ several times. However, it’s hardly surprising they can’t remember anything else given what happened next – as the thugs, an odd mix of Chinese, European and African took advantage of the distraction to force their way into the bar’s backroom.
Oddjob and D’Souza sprang into action, with Oddjob alerting Charlie, whilst D’Souza listened to sounds of a vigourous search on the other side of the door. The muck-raker’s curiosity got the better of him and he stumbled through the door pretending to be drunk and looking for the toilets and as the men tried to bundle him back out, Oddjob began laying about him with his ham-sized fists and put the first man down with a haymaker.
Just then Sir Charles, slumming it for the evening, arrived at a quaint little club called Joe’s Bar and walked straight into a frightful cafuffle, and after freshening his martini in the bartenders absence, eyed up the room with the fight and saw that the backroom was used partly to store crates and bottles, and partly as Chun Li’s dressing room, slipped in and quickly identified what the thugs had not, the most likely place for Chun Li to hide something worth 5 men searching for, though because of the fight he had no chance to get near it.
Meanwhile, Oddjob had charged into the room, clotheslined a pair of thugs and was throwing the remainder around like rag dolls, with D’Souza showing occasional flashes of his Martial Arts training as well. The last thug, gun in hand shot at the husky man who had just taken out his friends and tried to flee. The shot broke the reveree at Chun Li’s performance, sent patron’s scattering and bought Chun Li running.
Chun Li and the fleeing thug collided in the doorway and the desperate man tried to take her hostage. He was bodily flung away from her by Oddjob, deftly disarmed and the gun made safe by D’Souza, who spun him away again and finally taken down with a neat little jab Marquis of Queensbury style by Sir Charles.
Chun Li went to her dressing table and sat down in shock, thanking them all for their help. Sir Charles still had no chance to get to the place he suspected held whatever it was the thugs had been after – taped behind the dressing table, but he comforted Chun Li whilst Oddjob and D’Souza went to work on the thugs, trying to get from them why they had come to Joe’s Bar. Just as one of them started to crack, Chun Li slapped him unconcious again and ordered everyone out.
Realising something was very wrong, the group tried to convince Chun Li that unless she trusted them, the thugs would just come back again. What they got from her was a request, that they pay the thug’s boss a visit and ‘make sure he got the message’ to leave her alone. She also asked that once he understood the message – to give him something – and she handed them a playing card – the Queen of Diamonds on which she drew a symbol in lipstick that looked like this =X= .
The thug’s boss was Tony Wu, leader of the Wu Shen, the newest triads group to appear, as if from nowhere, in the slums. Oddjob agreed to do the job without pay out of a sense of protecting the weak, but refused to kill anyone. D’Souza too, agreed to do as she’d asked, he took her money but did it more because of his insatiable curiousity – he could smell a story. Sir Charles was not interested in fighting thugs and was about to leave, when Chun Li said something that made him think she knew his secret – and she told him Tony Wu had something of hers that she wanted him to retrieve and agreed to meet him by the abandoned Wharf 13 in the docklands the next morning to discuss.
Sir Charles visited the restroom (and surreptitiously left a tiny window ajar)and then left whilst Oddjob and D’Souza threw the thugs out into the gutter without their money, weapons and shoes, fairly confident they wouldn’t return to Tony Wu after such abject failure.
Returning later that night as The Phantom, when the bar was shut, Sir Charles used his skills at contortionism to squeeze through the tiny window in the restroom, drugged the 2 guard dogs left in the bar and carefully find the item the thugs had been looking for. It was inside an envelope taped to the bac of the dresser and was a large ornate golden key set with rubies. It had an odd 4 crosspiece arrangement of spokes and a symbol on the other end that looked like this; =X= . The Phantom quickly copied the key design by pressing it in putty and returned it to its original location before slipping out as easily as he slipped in.
DUN. DUN. DUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.
What does the key unlock? What does the symbol mean? Why is Chun Li so secretive? What will happen when the group meet Tony Wu and the Wu Shen? What is the Eye of the Lotus? Some or more of these questions will be replaced by more exciting questions in the next thrilling installment of Shangapore – Eye of the Lotus.