Wilderness of Mirrors
It was another Gamer Meet night (FB, G+)and with four players and only two hours to game, I realized that running Fiasco might prove to be a problem. Thankfully, I had my laptop with me, which meant I had all the gaming pdfs I needed as options. Wanting to find a minimum-to-no prep game, I pulled out John Wick's Wilderness of Mirrors.
The players were fascinated by the approach of the game, which had each one allocating their points to round out their Areas of Expertise. I quickly explained the dice mechanic, and how Trust Dice was earned and very quickly, the players were grinning in anticipation on how the story would unfold. When I explained how they actually have Planning as part of the game itself, they were eager to contribute to the story.
The Agents were all members of an Organization known as the M.O.D. Squad.
Original owners were known only as Mom and Dad, and had contacted Matt Rider, for a personal important mission. He met with an Asian woman who wore some kind of holographic device that allowed the image of Mom or Dad to cover her face. During such communication, she had no perception of the events. This allowed her to be a discreet information/communication courtier.
The players opted for a slightly sci-fi touch to the game (think more Total Recall rather than Fifth Element) and so The Assignment was: To copy 21 years worth of memories of the target, Jessica Drew, without her knowing. The players expand on the assignment: She is one of the smartest people in the planet. She shied from men all her life due to her knowledge. Most found her too intimidating and smart.
Once mission was successful, Matt Rider was to contact Asian contact: 7714 and report.
The Agents were:
Matt Rider, played by Carl. He was an ex-military operative who inherited the M.O.D. Squad from the previous M.O.D. Squad from 1960s. With an interplanetary scope, the organization accepts missions through-out the solar system. In his late 40s, Matt Rider was still happy to approaching things with the old school mindset. There are no available images of Matt Rider. Areas of Expertise: (Saturn) (Mars)
Nate Hawthorne, played by Erich. He was a Criminal Contractor who started young on Mars. Got into too much heat so was forced to leave the planet. Handling freelance gigs now. He is in his mid 20s and was of a mixed heritage. Areas of Expertise: (Vulcan) (Pluto)
Jane Black, played by Mahar. He was a master con artist who has long been handling cons on her own, but many of the jobs she used to get were suddenly taken from her and given instead to Justin Nix. She was a blonde and beautiful specialist who could talk her way out of anything. Area of Expertise: (Mercury)
Richard Nix, played by Justin. Analyst for corporate intelligence and security. Joining M.O.B. squad was his exit strategy from previous line of work. He is Asian and in his late 30s. Area of Expertise: (Saturn) (Mercury) (Pluto)
Quickly, the players mapped out the plan for the mission:
The group acquires a location in Mars, where they host a private party that is invitation only. They spread planted media, social media chatter, and rumors to make it sound like the biggest even ever, with an exclusive rave, and limited invitations. They hold it at a water world Resort in Mars with canyons surrounded by massive waterfalls.
They reach out to Melissa Heaver, her best friend, and make sure she also has an invite. They arrange it for Melissa Heaver to acquire a hotel room which she will share with Jessica. In comes "Edith" (an identity that Jane Black assumes) who will be the Personal Assistant of Melissa Heaver as well as her make-up go-to girl. "Edith" is an established identity who has handled the cosmetic concerns of a number of A-list Hollywood celebrities. Once the three arrive at the party, Richard Nix is to then romance his way to gain Melissa and Jessica's attention, and eventually spirit Jessica away from the party. He is to slip in a drug to knock her out or make her forget, and given the party, that can be explained away as recreational drug use which happened during the night out.
Nate Hawthrone reminds them however that the Memory-Machine they need to use is in the University of Mars, and given it being big and clunky, means she has to be brought TO the machine. Richard Nix is to deliver the unconscious Jessica to the University where Nate Hawthorne will do the extraction. While out, "Edith" is to entertain, if not replace Melissa, and be the life of the party, to act as an alibi of them not having left.
Then, bring her back to Richard, who will wake her up back at the room after placing a tramp stamp on her, to further push the "wild night".
The mission begins.
Off the bat, a complication arises as the team learns that Melissa has plans to sneak out of the party because she has a date she wants to be with. At the hotel, a celebrity has arrived and used his fame to force the hotel to grant him access to the floor the team was using. Jason Beiber III and his entourage bully their way to get the room they want, forcing Matt Rider to dress up as one of the staff, to buy time for Nate Hawthorne to reroute the key to work for the other room instead.
Jane Black realizes the main issue Melissa has. Jason Beiber III, world-wide pop musician and dancer celebrity, is not the voice behind the talent. His twin brother Justin Beiber II is. But Justin, sadly, has no ability to dance at all, and thus has been delegated to just being the voice of the star. Melissa and Justin, it seems, are secretly dating!
Back at the party, Richard Nix notices a second source of headaches to come. A bunch of kids wearing the new Oogle Glasses appear: South Korean Gamers, who are terribly busy playing their World of Star Craft game while the party moves on. And lastly, Richard notices automated Drone Cameras buzzing around, which can mean only one thing: Bloggers. They were sure to be like "extra watchdogs" monitoring the party's events. The team would have to be careful not to be noticed. He quickly informs the team.
Jane Black confirms on Spacebook that Justin and Melissa are dating, noticing the tell-tale signs of body language showing the interest the two have. Matt Rider decides to push through with the mission even if he had received word that one of the agents may be compromised. He is, however, unaware that Jane Black has a persona; vendetta against Richard Nix, given how Nix had stolen some "jobs" from her in the past. Nate Hawthorne maps out a personal plan to wipe out Jessica Drew's memories which contain him, as the two had been dating in the past.
When the three women arrive, the plan moves into action, with Richard Nix moving into position to get the party started. "Edith" accompanies Jessica to the hotel room, and gets her to drink the sleeping drug while Nate Hawthorne shadows Melissa who meets up with Justin in the gift shop. Nate takes some photos of the two and forwards them anonymously to the Bloggers to fill up the net with buzz. With Jessica ready, "Edith" then guides the two girls to the dance floor, ready for Richard's interception. But Matt Rider digs into Jane Black's belongings out of suspicions she is the mole, and instead sees the pre-arranged "evidence" Jane had "left out in the open" about Richard Nix' "affiliations" with the Koreans. She quickly meets with the Korean gamers and suggests Nix is working for the opposing team to have them lose, which gives the visual support she needs when she then uses her Area of Expertise that moment to convince the team that Richard Nix was once a Korean Sleeper Agent who may have finally reverted to his original programming. Even Richard Nix himself believes the lie!
But before anyone else can do anything, explosives rock the place. As it happens, Richard Nix had placed explosives earlier with the intent to have them detonate as a distraction if the team needed an out. Instead they explode, and injure a number of the guests. The commotion gives Nate Hawthorne the time to pull Jessica Drew out of the area and do the memory copying (after certain edits). Jessica sees Richard Nix pinned under some of the rubble, and when he asks her for help, she simply walks away to leave him to die. She informs Matt Rider that she's making her way to the exit, unawares that Matt Rider has his own plans. Rider arrives where Nix was to find a trail of blood. The man must have crawled out somehow to survive. As he follows the trail, Nix sees Rider the same moment Rider shoots him to kill him. But Rider does not realize Nix still has the last laugh.
A secondary set of explosions rock the place, releasing a gas agent that quickly spreads out in all directions. Nate Hawthorne sees this, tries to call the team but gets no one responding. Jane Black rushes outside the building to see Matt Rider on the escape vehicle, already driving away from the scene. She hails him down, but he guns the engine instead. The mist reach her and she drops to the ground overwhelmed by the gas.
Jane wakes up with the hospital crew helping her out of the bed. She was in a risky state at first, but thankfully recovered quickly enough. She then left the country with enough savings from the final mission to buy an island in the Bahamas. She walked down the beach and enjoyed the warm sun on her skin...
... as she remained writhing on the street, poisoned, and lost in a dream.
Matt Rider meets with Agent 7714, and as he enters the room for the meeting he finds it empty. None was aware that he was the actual double agent, who wanted to eliminate the team, get the memories, and sell it to the highest bidder. Sadly, he neglected one last member of the team. He realizes none of the nearby buildings have anyone in them as well. Nor any traffic in the streets. It was a trap. And two city blocks with the area Matt Rider was in as the epicenter erupt in a series of controlled explosions. The media outlets report it as a gas main leak. But the truth was, it was Richard Nix who had made precautions in the past that if he were to die, a team was to go out and eliminate the leader of the last mission he was in. (The player, just before dying, used his Area of Expertise: Mars to deliver the killing blow even after he died)
And Nate Hawthorne hands the memory disk to Mom and Dad, who ask him how he feels to be in charge of the M.O.D. squad now. Nate wisely gives no comment, and walks away.
EDIT: According to one player, there are some flaws in how I recalled the ending.
Here's the ending as per one of the players: Erich.
"Nate had the copies of the memories. He gave one to the organization and walked away, went into hiding, learned from the memories. Then he finally was ready to sell them to the highest bidder... And that is when Matt Rider blew him up with the city block."But I insist I recall Justin being the one who used the Hitman Expert move. I recall him asking if he can use it even if he was already dead. :-) And I said yes. So he used to get back at Matt Rider. But yeah I think Nate didn't just hand the memories back asap. He kept them for a while, went into hiding, and eventually sold it to the highest bidder, which was Mom and Dad.