November 6th, 2021

Friday Night Gaming - A-Troubleshooting We Will Go

Last night, the Friday night gamers came out to continue their DragonQuest RPG campaign, but things didn't go according to plan.

As mentioned in a recent blog entry or two, I received my Kickstarter backer pledge materials for The Troubleshooters RPG a few days ago, and during supper last night, I was looking through the book at the dining room table. When the Friday night players started to arrive for the evening, I left the book sitting on the table while I went downstairs to start bringing up the DragonQuest RPG gaming stuff, and two of the players saw the rulebook. They immediately wanted to know what the game was all about, and when I told them about it being an action-adventure roleplaying game based on the bande dessinée and Franco-Belgian comics, they immediately wanted to play the game! Take a break from the DragonQuest RPG stuff for a night, so to speak. When the other gamers arrived for the night, they talked about it some, and since most of them had a passing familiarity with some of the comic albums of that time period, they wanted to give it a go. Since I'd quick-read the rules and the character creation system and felt comfortable with it, I decided to roll with things and agreed to do so.

Once I had taken the DragonQuest RPG game stuff back downstairs, I came back up with some of the other The Troubleshooters RPG materials, notably the Passport (which serves as the character sheet, among other things), took a few minutes to get my gaming mindset in the right genre, and then launched into it.

I gave the players a quick overview of the game world, and how the 1960s differed in this vision from the real one, talked about the basic game mechanics and how they worked. The players immediately took out seven D6s and a set of D100 dice, they were so hyped about it! I then explained the basics of character generation, and they were quite intrigued, but agreed they were going to create some very basic characters for the game. And then we got down to character generation.

Character generation for The Troubleshooters RPG is a relatively simple affair (no pun intended!) but does have some decisions to be made, and uses a system that has some interesting differences from other games and their character generation systems. After about an hour's total set-up for the characters, the Friday night players came up with an interesting mix of characters and personalities. Here's what the Friday night players created.

KathyB - Kathy wanted to see how her favourite character type would come out in this game. She created Katriona ("Kat") Ducharme, one of France's best cat burglars with a penchant for "shiny things with green in them." She's also pretty good with security systems, for obvious reasons!

Angela - Angela is a fan of 1960s London, and she liked the idea of playing a normal person who has all kinds of adventures and the like. She created Samantha ("Silver Hair") Ralecourt, a go-go dancer at a chic Swinging '60s nightclub called Club Mod. She has a love for music (obviously!), and is rather everyday and the-girl-next-door type outside the club scene. She's currently visiting relatives in Paris.

Ellie - While she usually goes outside the box for her characters, Ellie took everyone by surprise when she decided to play Andrea Romanova, a young girl who is a good student with decent grades by day, but hangs out with some shady street types in Paris by night. She was approached by someone from a group called G.H.O.S.T. to work for them several months ago, and has learned a few "naughty" skills since then.

Mark - Mark had a good idea of what he wanted to play, and decided to keep things on the straight and narrow. He created Marco Quintana III, a Spanish dilettante and ladies man with a strong sense of adventure and a rather neat code of honour. Oh, and for some reason, he hates bulls.

Peter - Peter wanted to be the transport guy for the player group, and knew what he wanted. He created Peter Édouard Davies-Roussel, an English-French bastard child and former RAF pilot now working as a crop-duster in France, but with several good contacts and an almost supernatural ability to repair things.

All in all, the players created an interesting group of characters with a lot of potential.

After character creation was complete, I spent about ten minutes telling them a bit more about the game mechanics, had them make some sample rolls to show how the Skills and the combat systems worked, and then ran a couple of simple combat sequences before getting into a small sequence where they were captured and in a cell and had to figure out a way to get free. It was nice and neat, showed off the game mechanics nicely, and gave the players a good example of how the game mechanics and in-play combat worked. Then we got down to a bit of campaign play.

Katriona Ducharme (Kathy) - Art Gallery Salesperson
Samantha Ralecourt (Angela) - Professional Dancer
Andrea Romanova (Ellie) - Botany Student
Marco Quintana III (Mark) - Romantic/Amateur Hiker
Peter Davies-Roussel (Peter Johnson) - Cropduster Pilot

Friday, April 7th, 1963

At the Lelong & Co. art gallery in Paris, Katriona ("Kat") Ducharme has just opened the gallery for the morning, hoping for some good sales on this Friday before the weekend. As she awaits a delivery of new paintings to the gallery, a gentleman in his mid-40s with silvery hair and blue eyes and wearing a tailored suit enters the gallery. Katriona asks if she can help him, but he tells her that he'll just look around for a bit and see what the gallery has to offer. She goes back to her cataloguing work, keeping an eye on him, and notices that he's got a discerning eye. The man comes up to her and introduces himself as Jérôme Chantillier, gives her his business card, and asks if the gallery has any work by the local artist Simone Montclair. She searches her memory, and tells him that that they do indeed have a couple of works by the artist in question. Katriona leads Chantillier over to a small exhibit that holds two paintings by Simone Montclair. The first is called "Gendarme on Duty by the Seine" and the second is a smaller painting called "Victoria Under the Stars". Chantillier is very pleased to see the two paintings, and while he balks at first at the price on both works, he finally agrees to pay the asking price for "Victoria". After he leaves the gallery with his painting, Katriona is pleased that she sold the piece and has made a good commission on it as well!

At her apartment on the Blvd. Bineau, Samantha Ralecourt wakes up to a bit of a hangover headache, and chastises herself for overindulging a bit the night before after work. She checks on her roommate, Mireille [Johares], but finds her still sleeping. After taking an aspirin, Samantha goes and makes herself some breakfast with a cup of tea, and then goes and cleans up her room a bit. She's relieved to find no evidence that she brought someone home with her for the night. Checking her pile of laundry, she sees that she needs to take her clothes to the laundromat, but is loathe to do so on the Friday as she's got to prepare herself for the night's work at Raspoutine. Being a Friday night, it should be a lucrative evening if she shakes her hips just right. Still feeling hungry, Samantha decides to go to one of the nearby cafés, and have a bit more food and perhaps some coffee. She just feels the need to get out of the apartment. She writes a note to Mireille, and then quietly leaves the apartment [she rolls a 41 on her Sneak check, and fails, but flips it by spending 2 Story Points and succeeds on a 14].

Andrea Romanova curses herself as she races across the Jardins des Plantes and into the École de Botanie, arriving just in time in her class as the lesson is about to start. She sits down next to her friend, Jeanette [Ranchy], who tells her she made it just in time, as Professor Michaud enters the classroom. The class begins, and Andrea loses herself in the lesson and her love of plants, though Jeanette seems more interested in talking about her latest boy crush. One of the male students nearby, Remy, teases her about her taste in clothes - namely her bow tie - but she ignores him, though inside she is seething. An hour later, after the class has finished, Andrea and Jeanette are walking across the campus when Andrea spots a man in a dark blazer and trousers wearing a trenchcoat watching her from under a tree. It's one of her contacts in G.H.O.S.T., Serge Cliou, and she excuses herself and goes to chat with him. He tells her that his superiors wanted her to know that they have a job for her...soon, and gives her a piece of paper with a phone number to call on Monday evening at exactly 7:30pm. Serge nods at her, and leaves. Andrea rejoins Jeanette, who wants to know what that was all about, but she deflects the question by talking to the other girl about her latest boy crush.

Marco Quintana III is sitting and enjoying a leisurely breakfast at the Café des Artistes near the Moulin Rouge. He looks around, watching the world go by and the various people who pass by, his eyes lingering on several attractive women. One of them, a dark-haired woman of around 20 or so, catches his eye and she flirts with him momentarily, but his gaze moves on. His attention shifts to the newspaper he has in his hands, Le Monde, where an article catches his eye about a current German expedition being prepared to go to a small island-filled region of Greece. He's intrigued by it, but is distracted when he's approached by the dark-haired woman he saw earlier. She introduces herself as Giselle du Monsantier, and asks if she can join him for breakfast. He agrees, charmed by her, and the two spend the next hour or so sitting, eating, talking, and flirting. Giselle says she has to leave, and gives him her card before heading off; he notices she owns a small boutique in Montparnasse. He considers a dalliance with her, and decides that he likes her.

At the small offices of Aéronautique Agricole Inc. in Paris, Peter Davies-Roussel is talking to his boss, Marcel Handreshel, about their prospects for business at the moment. The cropdusting season will start some time in late May or June, but there's no work for him at the moment. He leaves the offices, and heads for one of the small airports and the base of operations for Tours en Hélicoptère de Paris. There, Marielle Despanier tells him that several tours are set for the week, and he needs to decide if he's going to act as pilot and tour guide for any of them. He tells Marielle that he'll probably take on the tour at 11:00am on Monday morning, but he'll need to think about the two that she's offered him for later in the week. Leaving the Tours offices, he goes out to the airfield area, and checks out the helicopters and planes to be found there. He gets lost in his admiration for the aircraft, and fails to spot the dark-haired, trenchcoat-wearing man with the collar turned up who is watching him.

After the game ended for the night, the players told me that they had a blast with the game, and really liked the game and the style and how it feels in terms of the genre. Overall, it was a pretty fun night of gaming, albeit unexpected, and the players told me in no uncertain terms that they intend to play The Troubleshooters RPG for the next little while, coming back to the DragonQuest RPG campaign later on at some point.

I have to say, I'm quite looking forward to the next session! :)