For the caper, I went straight to the tables and rolled it up in front of the players. I note I could have kept some of the elements obscured if I had wanted to surprise the players, but I opted to lay it all out there and trust the players to keep IC and OOC clearly separate. The caper rolled up as follows:
Client: Politician or Public Servant
Pressure: Out of Time and The Courts Can’t Help (rolled twice)
Mark’s Angle: Evil
Mark’s Power: Scary, Sociopath (rolled twice)
Mark’s Weakness: Phony
Mark’s Vulnerability: Time
What Else is in Play: Guilty Conscience, Hostage
The Twist: The Mob Has Their Eye on This
This ended up being a surprisingly tricky spread, even beyond the number of 10’s (which spawned the double rolls) that came up. Certain elements gelled immediately. A threatened politician or bureaucrat is almost certainly an honest one who the mark is trying to stop from doing something. Plus, the mark’s vulnerability to time dovetails well with the Out of Time pressure suggesting that this job was going to be very much on the clock. The problem was the Mark.
That particular combination (Evil, Scary, Sociopath) is a tricky one to use, in part because they’re all secondary elements. They are fantastic for complimenting some other foundation for the mark to stand, but they’re a really, really strange match with Grifter. Not that it’s hard to envision and evil, scary, sociopathic grifter, but that’s only half the challenge. A mark like that would be one that the players would be inclined to go after head first because Scary and Sociopath are the sorts of things that work on other people, but not on heroes (even somewhat tarnished ones). And since the whole point of designing a caper is that you can’t just rush in and kick a guy’s ass, I couldn’t go with any of the obvious options.
The key came in the combining his weakness (Phony) with the Twist (The Mob’s interest) – Our Mark is not actually a scary guy, but he’s trading on the name and reputation of someone who actually _is_ that scary. That worked well because it gave him access to underworld resources (thugs!) but it clearly suggested an endgame where the mobster in question finds out about someone using his name. Awesome. That’s a workable mark. But what the hell was he doing?
Again, the answer came out of the table: the Hostage. I had originally envisioned some undefined person, but then I thought about the mark, who was a very small man pretending to be a much bigger one. He wouldn’t have the moxie to actually kidnap someone, would he? No, probably not, unless it was by accident. But he would be willing to kidnap a pet.
And bam, there it was. The Mark had kidnapped the client’s dog and was threatening it to keep her from doing something in the very near future. With that skeleton it was easy – I picked zoning out of the are because, hey, real estate development is big money. The woman had a damning report to present to the zoning commission before the voted on the site for the new All-Mart, and the commission was meeting today at noon. The Mark had taken her dog and made it clear that the report should not be delivered. To emphasize the time crunch, I had the crew find her (a woman crying on a park bench) and started out with the frame that the vote was at noon and it was now 9:45am. Go.
All in all, I think it was a great illustration of the generator in action. Even with a slightly rough spread, it had all the materials needed to make the game work.
Tomorrow: Actual Play!