It's been a while. You haven't seen your crew in AGES. Not since the Catastrophe. But something needs your attention: a problem only you and your former team can solve. Looks like it's time to set the record straight in One Last Job!
One Last Job, by Grant Howitt, is a collaborative story game about the action genre. The setting and period are interchangeable, but the mechanics of the game pivot around this genre and setup: we are all characters who have worked together in the past to do something and that something ended up BAAADDDDDD. Betrayals, Deaths, Scars, Scorn, etc. You know-- your classic action movie setup. And you know what? It kills.
Four of us got together Thursday night and play it at Story Games Seattle so this meant we kicked it into GMless Mode. It was super cool for Grant to offer this version of play. The big thing about GM/GMless games are that the requirements of a GM never actually leave a game. The responsibilities are usually necessary for anything to happen, but instead of one person doing it, it comes to all of us players share the mantle of GM and the responsibilities therein.
What's really cool and great about One Last Job is that character creation is done in play AND the players will describe one another's characters. After choosing a setting and a little background, the "boss" of our team begins to assemble the team. One by One. The "thing we're setting off to do" will have a "problem" and this "problem" can only be solved by the one man/woman with the skills to do it: Player 1. So Player 1 will then describe what they're doing when the boss shows up to recruit him or her. After they catch up and agree to do the mission, Player 1 recruits the next player doing exactly what the boss did last time.. and so forth.
Our group wanted Fantasy and we went with stopping a Demon Lord's rise to power. The big twist that we went with this evening was that we were doing Suicide Squad style. We were all major villains taking on a larger threat! We discovered that our group assembled to defeat the Demon Lord before, but it didn't all go to plan. A character betrayed the party during their last showdown.
I started off by playing the former betraying party member: Magherri the Succubus. Magherri controlled a palantir like device and contacted our first character, Carthak the barbarian in his shadowy castle made of thick stone. Carthak was warned by Magherri that Ogrim has returned and is gathering power and must meet at the stables outside a remote inn. The Demon Lord Ogrim's skeletal armies block the way and it's only by his strategic cunning can we dare assault his fortress! So, following after was gathering Vul'adan Ghul the Necromancer for her ability to handle the magical wards and traps, Sasha the occultist for only her insane god could grant her the vision to navigate the hallways of madness, and Tarion the thief for unlocking the relics of power which will disable Ogrim to be destroyed!
The game started off a little janky as I shook off the rust of playing this game and realizing I must explain both player AND GM parts to people. It's a dice pool game and we are trying to get X successful ticks to beat the obstacle of this scene. Success relies on getting other players to tell anecdotes about your character and their past to give them equipment, legendary tales of prowess, or scars from before.
Given the hard start of the game, things were running smoothly by the second GM and we're all understanding the flow of Grit, anecdotes, and throwing d10s around. Ogrim was finally killed.
So apparently you can "win" at Remember, Tomorrow.
Normally tales of grizzly corporate espionage, mergers, cybernetics, and walled garden software ecosystems for higher education have no place for the small timers. A place packed full of greed, cynicism, and existential indifference, you'd think there's no room for personal victories. It's a future that practically assures that the underdogs get kicked, beaten, and go hungry. Play ball with the corps or enjoy the gutter. But not this time.
Remember Tomorrow, by Gregor Hutton, is a cyberpunk game featuring easy rules, fast character and faction generation, as well as goal focused play.
The point of Remember Tomorrow, is to see characters try to accomplish goals. Each character has a defining fictional goal. Something to do with their motivation. Dr. Flinder, for example, was driven to cure a genetic syndrome! Should Dr. Flinder play the game and complete their story goal, they are written out of the story. The way you score goals is by checking off 3 boxes: Ready, Willing, and Able. (which are also your 3 stats!).
The game is about multiple single protagonists in the same world and seeing their lives get crisscrossed and screwed over by entities bigger and more powerful than themselves. The multiple point of view story-telling format of this game certainly makes the game feel more like you're telling a story straight out of a Gibson book.
Players take turns either introducing new characters into the story, cutting deals with factions(organized, established opposition like a gang, corp, or group) to raise stats to make it easier for them to achieve their goal, or adopting a faction (gang, group, or corporation) and having them go after another player looking to harm their stats.
Look-- if I lost you in those paragraphs, the key take away here is that you want to see your character's goals satisfied and the only way your character can grow and complete their goal is to have another player challenge them!
We played a modified version of the game that speeds up play which is valuable for a one shot setting like this one. For more information regarding these fixes see the bottom of this post!
Okay. So Ben Robbins facilitated this game for us 3 fellow players. We had two characters and two factions to start with. Out of the gate, we had Dr. Peter Flinder who wanted the vanity and glory that comes with solving THE major medical issue of the time. He was lacking the readiness to really solve this issue. Research would have to be done!
I made Alan Red, a middle management financial investor who was passed up on a promotion and offer to become Partner at the firm because my boss stole his algorithm's credit. Similarly to Dr. Flinder, Alan was needed to get more ready for his task.
The two firms made up were the German Kramer Korp (where Alan Red worked) which is basically your standard mega-wall street investment bank and Holistic Prosperity, Inc which was some quasi-lifestyle cult-of-personality wellness institute around Dr. Anderson Rollston's beliefs in the human body. I'm sure you can see which factions were set up to challenge who!
What's important to keep in mind is that this game is not static. We don't play these 4 characters the entire night. In fact, the enjoyment of Remember Tomorrow comes from the fact you can drop and add other characters into the mix. You should be following the fun.
I'm very glad we had Ben here to facilitate this game. Because it was through this advice we ended up with our self-proclaimed victor of Remember, Tomorrow.
Sam Doyle was a hitman who's twin brother died as an unwilling guinea pig to one of Holistic Prosperity Inc's research clinics. Sam was going to make the world pay by killing Dr. Anderson Rollston!
So, before we get to that, our game started off with good Dr. Flinder was struggling with his research. The comments on his debut findings were mixed... to put it generously.
Also not going so well was Alan's career. Alan stewed with rage at his Boss as he perforated a slice of prefab chocolate cake with a fork at the company's "Congratulations" meeting for his boss the whole duration.
A few events pass and Alan's career is on its last legs. He desperately is looking for a high risk high reward investment to prove his value. He finds it in Dr. Flinder's research. A cure for the cybernetic feedback disorder, the Otomo Syndrome, could spell billions of cash and crack the cybernetics market wide open.
In comes Sam Doyle, grimly determined to find information on his brother's killer in the clinic he passed away at. He gets what he wants, but he's noticed and fights his way out. The kerfuffle causes HDI to start shaking up who might be behind the break in. Dr. Flinder makes their list of suspects!
Eventually a new character and new faction enter the mix! Annalise just finished high school and tech savvy. She was passed up to go to Harvard due to a technicality in her criminal records as a 10 year old and because of this, wants to hack into the college's libraries and make them free for everyone! Opposing Annalise is the accredited Higher Education Information Bureau.
The game went by so quickly. While each scene was one on one, you couldn't help but listen as players went back and forth until a conflict arose which caused dice to roll... and boy did our dice roll! We had some crazy high numbers on our dice (which isn't good in this game).
The person who seemed to make any progress was Sam! Sam finally got into a position to take down and kill the head of HD, Inc on his North Atlantic private island. The way the dice turned out, not only did she succeed wildly, she spent her dice reducing the power level of the faction. Additionally, since the character retired, another conflict roll occurs doing damage to the faction and she reduced the power level of the HP inc faction to zero! She killed the company!
This was awesomely narrated by Sam's player (not me) and Ben (playing HP inc for this scene) about how we see higher ups of Holistic Prosperity were turning a blind eye to this assassin. They wanted their aging visionary out of the picture! But they underestimated Sam. Sam not only got in undetected by the corporation and killed her target, she killed him with the same experimental drug that killed his brother!
The consequences of this drug and its revelation to the world in the autopsy meant ruin for the HP Inc! We ended the night there.
So Remember Tomorrow has a lot of complicated rules to it. Story Games Seattle, after numerous play throughs, distilled the game into this faster paced essence. The changes can be seen below!
The complete rules changes are here!