Friday 31 January 2014

Billy Pink - Bloody Red - Sudden Death Part 15a

Billy Pink is closing in the killer. The next Clue is a Government Assistant so he grabs Ashlynn Cooper to pay him a visit. Hopefully he can use Ashlynn to distract his Trophy Wife so Billy can ask him some questions. 
But as they enter the train to the Pub & Rec there's a Travel Encounter - Confrontation.

To the sound of screams Billy and Ashlynn dive into the crowd at the pub & Rec stop. he knows they have him on Vid-Cap so he has to move fast. I roll for when the Police will pull him in for questioning and come up with 2 days. That's Sunday, the same day as the Owner's meeting.

On the upside is Billy and Ashlynn had a successful Encounter so could try and raise Rep or Skill. Billy failed but Ashlynn was successful and was raised to Rep 5.]]

Final Chapter

Thursday 30 January 2014

Conspiracy of Dice - Sudden Death 14

Okay, so this investigation is a tough one. Difficulty Factor of 8 means find 8 Clues. The first investigator ended up in the hospital. Billy Pink took over and now we're at 7 Clues with a hot lead to question the team owner Mr. Gakspar. This case is getting solved, I can feel it in my bones. Time to hop the train from Ashlynn Cooper's condo to the next Area over. Easy peasey.

Except I roll a "1" and have a Travel Encounter. It's a Robbery. Roll up who's on the train... two housewives in separate groups.  Seriously? So I roll again on the Robbery Encounter and its a ...Pickpocket attempt?
So some housewife is going to try and pick Billy Pink's pocket? !

Billy leaves the last Encounter and gets on the train.

Roll for the Pickpocket attempt versus Savvy. Housewife 3 successes, Billy zero. Zero! She lifts Billy's cash card. This means the next time he tries  a Cash Challenge he realizes that it's gone. No way to buy things until he gets back Home. Okay, just bad luck.

Moving on Billy meets Sooze in the Financial District and they head towards Gakspar's office. I use the City Deck for terrain.
 1st PEF resolved. Three cops. Okay, so it's a quick People Challenge then onwards.
Cop rolls 3 successes, Billy zero. Cop is now Belligerent and into an Alley we go. Two cops box out Sooze and the other wants to fight Billy. This becomes a Confrontation and lucky for everyone the cop doesn't pull a gun. What's Billy supposed to to do? Pull a gun on a cop? In New Hope City?

 So cop goes for non-lethal melee. Good old fashion butt kicking. First round of melee and they're evenly matched. This is a lose-lose situation I figure. If Billy kicks the cop's butt the two cops will be witnesses and they over ride Sooze so ...

Next activation and Billy breaks off the melee. Tries to reason with the cop with a People Challenge. Cops is now a Hated Enemy but Billy scores more successes. Cop decides to leave, tells Billy "Stay away from Kay Dee."  Fine, whatever. I rolled a personal Confrontation for the reason so I fill in the blank. No biggie, all good.

Out on the street and Billy and Sooze run into the next PEF. Roll dice, Xeog mercenary. Roll to see if Billy met her before. Yep, score a 1. 
Okay, if you run into a NPC you have a chance (1) of having met them before. I look on Billy's Character Journal and see that I have met a Xeog Mercenary. We had a Run In before over a previous job.

 People Challenge, great, now she becomes a Hated Enemy, noted on the Character Journal. Billy decides it's best to leave her alone and they continue on towards Gakspar's office.

I begin to realize coming downtown in the Daytime may not be such a good idea as there are lots of PEFs on the table. But hey, how many times have I resolved a PEF and it's nothing?

Not today. Next PEF. Exotic, Detective (undercover cop) Female, and....1. Billy knows her from before. Okay, so maybe it's Kay Dee. I figure with what's been happening so far , hey, might be a chance (1 - 2). "1".

Okay so it's a People Challenge and she scores more success and thinks Billy is a "Bit of a di$k". Off she goes. By now I figure Sooze must be laughing her a$$ off.
Next PEF. Five CVL players. Oh crap! I see a five on one  butt kicking in Billy's future. "4". Nope, don't know theses guys, take a People Challenge and just say hello and move on.

Gakspar's office! In we go, time for a bit of Questioning and Billy scores zip, nada. Dead end. Ah, Blondie's there. Billy takes a People Challenge and she agrees to go with Billy and Sooze to get some Green. On the way Billy and Sooze whisper between each other without Blondie hearing  (Opposed Challenge) and realize that they are seeing two different girls!

 Into Green and Billy takes a People Challenge with Blondie and tries to buy some Green (counting the Party Favor modifier on the Challenge and realizes he's had his pocket picked!). He includes Sooze in the Challenge so counts  +1d6 modifier and Blondie is swept off her feet. She comes clean to Billy and Sooze. She's a GAX and Gakspar is using her abilities for his own benefit. More on this later.

After a bit of Green the trio exit and head for the edge of the table. In Urban Renewal (?) when you leave a Target Building you re-stock the table with PEFs. So if you have 4 PEFs for the Area and Day Part and have resolved 3, you roll 3 new PEFs and re-stock the table.

Billy, Sooze, and Blondie run into three PEFs.

1st one, four cops! (Okay, not the same ones, just going to get some Green).
2nd one, no! It's Kay Dee again,

3rd one, Hishen Ganger (no, it's not Byden from before).
Okay so the cops and the Ganger have a People Challenge, Ganger has a warrant and runs for it! Cops give chase, catch and cuff him.

Kay Dee and Billy take an other People Challenge (When you resolve a PEF in Urban Renewal you always interact with them). Dice are rolled Kay Dee scores zero successes and Billy five!
No way! Finally a break! Kay Dee is swept off he feet and whispers to Billy, "Call me."

Billy, Sooze and Blondie get off the table. Back to the Advance the Investigation Table.  It's Friday evening and we're running out of time. Go to the Circle of the Victim and roll 1d6..."4". That's a Shaker. Go the Shaker Table roll 2d6, "9". Government Assistant. Hey, isn't the Trophy Wife (clue 4) married to a Government Assistant? Going to the Where Are They Table I see he'll be at the Pub & Rec Area tonight.

Later that day after Billy arrives Home gets restocked on cash and gives Ashlynn Cooper a call.
 " Have any plans for tonight Ashlynn?"

Part 15

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Sudden Death - Case solved? Part 13 - Lucky 13

Here's a quick one.
Time to go back to the Advance the Investigation Table.
Get Info from a Person of Interest.
Going back to the Victim's Circle I roll and score Athlete.  As I've met Athletes before I roll 1d6. "1". It's someone I Questioned before, Syd's Zhuh-Zhuh teammate or the opposing Xeog receiver that caught the TD? Roll again.
It's the Xeog.
Billy hasn't got a lot of time to solve the Crime so takes off in the Early Day Part.  Rolling on the Where Are They Table he scores Middleton, then the building - Green (think coffee house).
Billy leaves Ashlynn's Condo and takes the train to Middleton where the Xeog can be found. It's an uneventful trip on the train and Billy runs into the Government Assistant's Trophy Wife from before and they have a brief conversation.
TW - "Oh Mr Pink, good to see you again."
BP -  "Call me Billy."
TW - "Billy, of course. I was just thinking about you the other day."
BP - "Oh really?"
TW - "Yes. A friend of mine has a little problem and perhaps you could be of some help. Being a PI and all."
BP - "PI? No, not really. Just helping out a friend."
TW - "Give me your Com-Link Billy. Thanks...Here's my number. Call me. We can talk again about this. I'd love to hear from you again, so please call."
BP - "Okay. Sure, I'll call. Nice to see you again Mrs. Haqual."
TW - "Valerie, call me Valerie. TTFN."
Here's where sometimes players of New Beginnings miss an opportunity.
When your characters meet NPCs you should write it down, the who, what and results of the interaction with them. This populates your games, makes it quicker to play, and when you meet them again you can interact with them again.  Billy met Valerie earlier and had a positive result with her on the Questioning Table. This translated into a positive response +1d6 modifier on a People related Challenge. This time he scored a lot more successes and swept her off her feet. I now have a friend and can use her in future stories. I'm betting if a Build a Case story comes up in the future I have an Employer. But  back to the story.

I need to see if the Xeog is alone, roll, yes. Now to the Questioning Table. Billy takes a Cash Challenge and gets a +1d6 Party Favor bonus. Success. She gives Billy some info.So I know it's a success but want to add to the story, so...
" You're up early. Remember me?"
The Xeog didn't even bother to  fake a smile. "Home late actually. What do you want?"
"Mind if I ask you a couple of questions," Billy asked.
"Again? I told you, can't help you."
"Maybe I can help you." Billy replied.
The Xeog banged down a double of Green and smiled. "I'm listening."
Billy leaned forward and the two talked quietly. The Xeog nodded a couple of times then smiled. Billy got up and left.
He was headed back to Gakspar's office.

Machinas: Movie inspirations

Machinas movie inspirations
If you're looking for some movies to get into the mood to play Machinas, I would like to make a few recommendations. It’s not an unfamiliar list, but there might be a couple obscure gems here. It is also not a complete list -- I could go on and on talking about "Cannonball Run," "Gumball Rally," "The Moonshiners," "Grand Prix," "Belflower," etc. -- but the following list still touches on the core movies.

“Ben Hur”

Not just for the well-known chariot race, but for the setting in the Middle East. “Ben Hur” lives in a desert scrubland, but it is not a wasteland. Even though the Machinas world is called the Wasteland, just like in “Ben Hur,” it is still a home to a thriving civilization.

Mad Max/Road Warrior/Beyond Thunderdome

The custom grill on this Holden Monaro is what inspired me
to use all retro cars for Machinas.
The one that started it all, bad men and fast cars in a world that is on the brink of the apocalypse, “Mad Max” is fantastic even if only for the wonderful array of characters.  The cold Max, carefree Goose, charismatic Toe Cutter, wild Night Rider, no-nonsense Bubba Zanetti – the list goes on, and every one of them could be drivers in Machinas.
“Mad Max” started it all, but “Road Warrior” ran with it. Fun plot, great characters, excellent action and awesome stunts, “Road Warrior” is a must for any action fan. And if you’re not sure how to arm and armor your cars, just watch this movie repeatedly.
The third in the Mad Max trilogy, “Beyond Thunderdome” has  little vehicle action in it. But it is a nice reflection of the Machinas world, with its mix of tech-savvy scrappers, who live in the now, and primitive tribes, who seek the past.

“Death Race” trilogy

"Death Race" cars are the most heavily armed of any on this list.
The shallow plots are inhabited with cookie-cutter characters, but there is more car action and vehicle designs here than you’ll ever need.

“Dust to Glory”

One of the styles of races you can run in Machinas is a road race across the desert. “Dust to Glory” is a beautifully shot documentary following a few participants in the treacherous action of the Baja 1000. The drivers face the same difficulties as any Machinas drivers (except the guns and explosions.) Drivers drive tired, cars break down, roads wash out. One of my favorite sequences is some tense action shot from a helmet cam on a motorcycle rider as he speeds down an unlit desert road in the middle of the night.  Even if you’re not a Machinas or a race fan, I recommend this movie.

"Speed Racer"

 (2008 movie, though the cartoon is also fun)
Much more slicked back than a Machinas race, the marathon at the end of the movie is completely in the spirit of a Machinas race, even if the cars are sleeker, and some of the contraptions are a little more far out.

"Blues Brother"

The Blues-mobile embodies the very soul of a Machinas car. It’s old. It’s fast. It is its own character. It’s run to its very limits. And its final purpose is to serve God and his flock. When a Machinas car’s racing days are over, it is turned over to its victorious Brother Pilot who travels the Wasteland to spread the word of The Oppenheimer. It could very easily be a Brother Pilot saying, “I’m on a mission from God.”

Protected by Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration.

Machinas Report: Two laps to victory

During some years of the Machinas Festival, the number of available working vehicles is smaller, and teams prefer keeping what little they have intact. Race officials oblige by offering the sprint races, quick 2-lap heats that provide just enough distance to determine a winner with a little less damage and injury inflicted on the participants. The following report follows one such race.

Participating in this race were a pair of vehicles from the Seven Hills Circus team, St. Edsel’s Ram (Red) and St. Ford’s Firelane (Blue); one vehicle belonging to the Running Gunners, The Censer (Brown); and an independent racer driving St. Chevy’s Impala (Black.)

First Turn
The first turn in Machinas starts in the far turn coming into the main straightaway, and is used to determine the opening race order.

Red comes out strong for the lead followed by Black, Brown and Blue.
All the vehicles behind Red are positioned to pass one another (called being “in position”) setting up for some good action early in the race.

In every race, there are those uncontrollable events that can occur – engine problems, a tire blowout, or a lucky break resulting in a free pass attempt, for example. After the cars have lined up in or out of position, we roll for each one to determine if a random event occurs. In the first turn of our race, none of the Random Event rolls resulted in any action.

In the first action of the race, Black goes for his pass attempt of Red, but loses the Passing roll. Red opts for a Bash attempt (Red’s strength.) The spiked wheels are too much for Black who is forced to lose ground, allowing Brown to gain second place right away. Black falls back and ends up blocking Blue.

The cars continue down the straightaway with Red still leading, followed by Brown, Black and Blue. Again, there are no random events.
Brown is in position, as are Black and Blue. Red again holds off a pass attempt but Brown is able to retain second place. Black wins his pass attempt against Brown and elects to shoot. His twin .50s rip into Brown, who drops back but also loses one speed and the use of his own guns! Blue takes advantage of a weakened Brown and also shoots. Brown is forced to drop into last place and loses another speed! If he loses any more speed, he’ll be out of the race.

The cars come into the near turn around the grand statue of The Oppenheimer, worshipped by all inhabitants of the Known Wasteland. The order is Red, Black, Blue and Brown, but all of the vehicles take the inside lane, one behind the other.

Vehicles in Machinas that stay in the same lane as the car just ahead, are called “out of position.” When choosing to be out of position, a racer gains a bonus die for drafting the car ahead. Bonus dice are used throughout the game to augment rolls as the player sees fit.

The convoy of racers tear around The Oppenheimer uneventfully. Entering the backstretch, the order remains the same: Red, Black, Blue and Brown. Black is in position, while Blue drafts for the extra bonus dice. Brown stays in position on the inside lane.

Black is unable to pass Red, and continues to block Blue. But Brown, despite his slow speed, is able to pass Blue on the inside. Brown pushes his luck with an inside pass attempt of Black, but just doesn’t have enough to complete the double pass.

The cars enter the end of the backstretch – Red, Black, Brown and Blue. Again, all the racers line up on the inside to draft. No random events.

Lap 2

Black tries to bash Red, who is built for this kind of racing.
Entering the far turn in the same order, Black is in position, as are Brown and Blue. Engine misfire: Red’s engine cuts out and the driver swerves from the momentary but surprising drop in speed – and he swerves directly into Black! Luckily, Black is just able to hold on, and both vehicles return to their positions.
Black goes for his pass of Red and wins the roll. Inexplicably, Black tries to bash Red who is built for grinding. Red’s spiked wheels tear Black’s tires to shreds. Black goes out of control, is unable to recover and flips the car out of the race within site of the end of the first lap.

Black is out of the race, but both car and driver survive
to race another day.
Blue is more sensible and makes a clean pass of Brown.

With one less car and one more lap to go, the order is Red, Blue and Brown
The racers enter the main straightaway with no random events rolled. Brown goes for a pass, but is held off. The vehicles continue down the straightaway. In the random events roll, Brown sees an opening and is given a free pass attempt, but again Blue is able to hold onto his position.
Blue, in position, is unsuccessful in trying to pass Red. Brown wins his regular pass attempt of Blue and switches to guns, but is unable to match Blue’s firepower and must stay in last place.

Only three remain.
The cars come around The Oppenheimer for a second time, with Red still retaining the lead, followed by Blue and Brown. Red rolls no random event, but Brown gets too close to Blue. Blue is able to maintain control after the collision, but Brown goes out of control, flips and crashes out of the race!

With just half a lap to go, the race becomes a duel. The two cars enter the backstretch, with Red out front. Blue decides to stay behind and draft Red going down the back stretch, gaining more bonus dice. Blue also knows he is a better passer on turns, so waits for his chance in the far turn. It’ll be Blue’s only chance, because the turn emerges at the finish line.

The race becomes a duel!
Coming into the turn Blue sets up in position. Red, having led the entire race, had little chance to gain any extra bonus dice. But Blue has been behind for most of the race and has been able to conserve and earn more bonus dice. This being his last chance, he spends all of them and blows past Red!

Such are fortunes in the Machinas. The Ram Car (Red) began first place and led the whole race, while St. Ford’s Firelane (Blue) started in last place. But two cars were knocked out giving the Firelane just one opponent to concentrate on, and luck (and a heck of a lot of dice) were on his side today. The Ram Car driver isn’t complaining though; both vehicles belong to the Seven Hills Circus team, who just earned a lot of prize money and also went 1-2 in the heat: Both cars will advance to race in the next heat.


Monday 27 January 2014

Billy Pink Chronicles - Win a PDF!

So I had a chance to catch up the Sudden Death NHC PI story line and had Billy Pink ( a recurring character) take the City Transit train and I mentioned how riding the train in NHC had it's advantage and used the first meeting between Billy Pink and Ashlynn Cooper as an example.

That's when I re-read the AAR and found the first words Ashlynn told Billy.

That got me to thinking and ....

Here they are, some are 8 years old, dating back to the play testing of the original 5150.

The first appearance of Billy Pink 

Win a free PDF!  Tell me in which of the previous Bat Reps did Ashlynn Copper appear. In which photo. And what color her dress was.

Email me your answer at

All correct answers will do into a drawing to win a free PDF of choice. Drawing will be Friday Noon PST.

Sudden Death Part 12 - Riding the Rails

On the way back from the MMA match at the Fight Club (Part 11) Billy and Ashlynn take City Transit back to the Financial District where she has a High End Condo.

It's the Evening and the train is almost empty. Just a lone woman and a group of aliens, a Buardeem, a Lerksah and a Nonne.  The train stops at Middleton and the others get on board.

 As Billy and Ashlynn continue their conversation the three newcomers (Gangers) spread out. Billy can hear the first Ganger trying to shake down the aliens.

 Billy acts fast, taking out the Ganger nearest to him with a combination of punches.

 Hearing the commotion the two Gangers turn to face Billy who jumps the leader and takes him out too. But the last Ganger turns around and ...

 Before he can move the Ganger is struck down from behind.

At the next stop the transit cops, called by Ashlynn, enter the train to make an arrest. As the aliens tell their stories Billy, Ashlynn and the woman exit the train.
Okay  so here's what happened. After the Fight Club Billy has to return to Home. So I have them take City Transit. It's easier to move about quietly on City Transit instead of using a vehicle. Here's an example of what can happen when you drive your own car.  Where is Ashlynn Cooper?

Every time you enter an Area of NHC you have a chance for a Travel Encounter. The odds are not great (1) but it can happen. So when they enter Lower Polariston I rolled, then Middleton, I rolled and then the Financial District. Bingo! Travel Encounter and it's witnessing a robbery.

Things on the train are a little different from a normal Encounter due to the cramped quarters. Using the Area (Financial District) and Day Part (Evening) meant 3 PEFs which converts into 3 NPC groups. 

Rolling them up I scored a character I had previously met, rolled some more and it was the girl at Mr. Gakspar's office when Billy got the job.

The other group was three aliens, three of the upcoming Trusted Aliens that will be added to NHC in the upcoming months.

The last group was three Gangers, I rolled for the target of the robbery and it was the aliens. I split two gangers off to cover the non-targets and one to do the shake down. Their plan was to get on at Middleton, rob the passengers, then disappear into the Financial District.

Once the Ganger started the Robbery and the other ganger confronted Billy it was In Sight time between Billy, Ashlynn and the Ganger. The other gangers were not facing the right way to be involved. Billy went first, the Charge into Melee was taken and Billy OOF the Ganger in melee.

The Gangers activated next and turned around. They were now facing  Billy and Ashlynn and so were the Aliens and the woman. The Lerksah went first but failed his 1d6 roll to act, the woman went next and did act. She charged the last Ganger and won by one in melee. She scored a knock down and the Ganger passed 1d6 on his Recover From Knock Down Test so went OOF. This was lucky as the Ganger was next then Billy.

I figured they could watch the OOF Gangers until they reached the next station when the transit cops could take it from there.

Notice the woman changed a few times?

Sunday 26 January 2014

Saturday 25 January 2014

Machinas Board Game Geek Page

Machinas now has a Board Game Geek page. Like it, become a fan and maybe we can reach our Stretch Goals! 

Machinas Board Game Geek page

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Machinas Has Launched and already funded!

We funded on the first day and watch for the how to video coming soon!

Check it out!

When they are gone they are gone!

Friday 3 January 2014

Sudden Death Part 11 - Red Streets Blue Mats AAR - Game in a Game

Thursday Day Time and its back to the Advance the Investigation Table in New Hope City PI.  A few dice rolls turn up another Smuggler. When you hit the same Profession that you have questioned previously in the case it means you can re-question that Person of Interest.

That would be Tatiana, the Smuggler  from Part 8. Rolling on a few tables had Billy able to find her at the Pub & Rec area, in a theater. I decided that a Fight Club would be more along her tastes so figured to "double-dip". I set up a MMA fight for the upcoming Red Streets Blue Mats.

RSBM uses the same mechanics as Red Sand Blue Sky and is a set of modern day Mixed Martial Arts rules. But just like Alien Fight Night, which is based on Friday Night Fights, Red Streets Blue Mats can be used with the aliens in 5150 New Beginnings. I selected two pre-generated Non-Player Fighters, a Striker and a Grappler. With twenty plus styles of combat there's a wide selection to choose from. I designated the Vangore as the Striker and the Fezglok as the Grappler.  More on that during the match. I set up the match with my 28mm figures in attendance.

I counted Billy having bugged Tatiana's house as a +1d6 modifier towards getting a chance to talk to her on the Excuse Me Table (used to see if you get close enough to talk).

I placed him in the row behind and above her and had him pull his BAP to gain a +2d6 advantage during Questioning. Billy recruited Whack Job from a previous Encounter to use as backup and brought Ashlynn Cooper along as well.

I alternated moving the fighters while rolling on the tables to question Tatiana.

The actual questioning was completed and Billy counted as solving a Clue.

He next went to the Advance the Investigation Table and rolled another Person of Interest. This was provided by Tatiana I decided. As I rolled the same Profession as Mr. Gakspar, the team owner, I decided Billy would go back and re-question him

As this was going on so was the fight. The questioning was finished first so I continued the fight to the end.

At the end of the Encounter I had fleshed out Tatiana and added her to my Usual Suspects of New Hope City  for future use, saving me time in future games.

The fight worked out well with the Fezglok using his Bonus Dice advantage and the Guile Signature coming into play twice, much to the displeasure of the Vangore. I now also had two additional Exotics -  Athletes to add to the Usual Suspects.

Tomorrow would be Friday and Billy had solved six Clues, two more and he could solve the Crime. Billy and Ashlynn Cooper left the Fight Club and headed off the table. More on this one later this week as things did  not go smoothly.

Part 12