Transmission: Twin Cities Metroplex

So, people are already starting to playtest Technoir, even without the playtest document out yet! That’s amazingly awesome. Between the video I posted, the rules summaries in the Player’s Guide, and questions I’ve been answering in the comments here and on RPGnet, people are able to get a pretty good sense of the game.

So here’s one more piece of the puzzle: the Twin Cities Metroplex Transmission. It has Connections you will need for making a protagonist and a bunch of other plot nodes and stat blocks to make sure you have some content for the game.

Here’s a brief rundown of how you, assuming you’re the GM, use a Transmission:

  • Start by rolling three plot nodes from the master table on the back page. Write these down in a triangle pattern in the middle of a plank sheet of paper. This is your plot map.
  • Draw lines connecting each of your three nodes. Each time you draw a line, invent a relationship between the two nodes you are connecting. This first cluster of nodes is your plot seed.
  • The first time a protagonist goes to a Connection for a favor, add that Connection as a node on the map, don’t connect him to anything yet.
  • Each additional time that Connection is hit up for a favor, draw a line from him to an existing plot node. Invent that relationship.
  • Once a Connection is connected to another plot node, he cannot be hit up for another favor during protagonist creation. Once that’s done with, he can be hit up and connected as often as you like. Mind you, the more connected he is to the plot, the more likely he is to oppose the protagonist over something and betray her.
  • When a protagonist goes to a Connection for information, have her roll a d6. Consult that Connection’s table in the Transmission. If the Connection is not yet connected to another node, use the first column. Otherwise, use the second column. Add the resulting plot node to your map and connect it to an existing node on the map—whichever makes the most sense. In the voice of that Connection, tell the protagonist about that node and its relationship to the existing node. Or even better, give her a mission involving that node.
  • In this way, your plot map will grow and evolve as you play the game. It isn’t just prep material, it’s play material.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of adding too many nodes to your map! It only takes a small handful of plot nodes to make an intricate story.

There are going to be a lot of examples and more robust text for how to use this in the actual book, this is just an overview after all. It starts getting pretty interesting when you start adding the Transmissions of other cities into play. The nodes from multiple cities can easily be used in the same plot map for a globetrotting adventure.

Leave a comment ?

15 Comments.

  1. Hey, thanks for explaining the map and node thing! If only I would have know for my playtest report yesterday…/sigh.

    I jest! Thanks again for the info. Now to go back and rejigger my playtest to accommodate this breaking news!

  2. I wanna see this graphically. In words, I like it, and may joink it for my Vampire game.

  3. The final book will have illustrations of the plot map as it’s forming and evolving. I’ll try to post some of them when I get to that stage. Right now, I have yet more words to write.

  4. I’m seeing something that reminds me of this from Shadowrun (I’m pretty sure Cyberpunk 2020 used something similar):
    http://30.media.tumblr.com/4s9ZcmyALpocpbslzfpz1Y5Yo1_500.gif

  5. Yes! Plot maps totally look like the matrix!

  6. After reverse engineering my playtest, I think my plot map should look something like this

  7. EF, yes! That’s exactly what a plot map should look like.

    caul, wow! That’s extremely cool.

  8. For making our own Transmissions, all we need to do is come up with 6 connections, events, factions, locations, objects, and threats? Then put together the connections with random stuff. After that, roll and have fun?

  9. Yep.

    Of course, you should stat-up your Connections, Objects, and Threats. I don’t use the Tranining Programs to generate these characters, I just assign a number of points to their verbs:

    You can see that Threat heavies have 21 Verb pts and 4 positive Adjectives (which is equivalent to a protagonist who started with 4 Training Programs). Henchmen have 18 Verb pts and 1 positive Adjective. Connections can either have 18VP and 3A (equivalent to starting protagonists) or 21VP and 4A (like heavies) if you want them a bit more powerful. And then I just give them whichever Objects seem appropriate.

    Objects stats are just a handful of tags: so that’s pretty simple. Some of these tags might be more story-driven than the Objects you buy. Like stolen or fingerprints.

    As for the Connection’s lead tables, you’ll see that each node is represented twice among the lot of them. And you’ll see each row is particular node type. Other than that there isn’t a pattern, I’ve just assigned them arbitrarily.

  10. So, you’re, like, running this at Gen Con, right? And I’m playing it there, right? :mrgreen:

    Oh man, a Gen Con-specific Transmission!

  11. Thanks, Daniel…give me one more reason that I wish I were at GenCon >_<

    Maybe we can get a Skype game going soonish? Y'know…for those of us not going to GenCon :p

  12. Daniel, yes, definitely. I don’t have anything on the official schedule, but I’m sure we can arrange something either at Games On Demand or at Embassy Suites.

    I’ll also be at Origins this year if anyone wants to get a game going there.

    EF, a Skype game sounds like a great idea. I don’t want to host one quite yet, because I’m interested to see how you and other playtesters interpret the rules from the the text for the fidelity of the external testing. But once the playtesting phase is over, I’d love to run a game via Skype.

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