$Insert_Title, Episode 17: Dickwinter

"Aired" on: 2018-07-28

Cast: Mr. Fahrenheit, Hueco, Madoka, Engie


The show opens to an opening credits sequence, a first for the series. The sequence features the runners Mr. Fahrenheit, Hueco, Engie, Madoka, and Jammer as well as supporting characters Manifest and Fearless, and Stella and STARGAZER (who features as a HAL 9000-like red light on a server rack). It features cuts of previous episodes as well as scenes that appear to be part of future episodes. The screen fades to black, and the words "Episode 17: Dickwinter" fade in briefly.

The opening scene of the show is Mr. Fahrenheit in his back room of the Arena. The back wall has had a wire rack with hooks attached to it, with various tools hanging from it. A large steel vice grip lies tilted on the ground next to a sweaty Mr. Fahrenheit who is on his commlink asking for help. Hueco turns up shortly after, poking fun at Mr. Fahrenheit's inability to cyber-lift.

Mr. Fahrenheit explains Alchemy to Hueco and that this magic will allow Hueco to erect magical barriers or illusory distractions. "Oh, this is delightful!" Exclaims Hueco.

Mr. Fahrenheit takes a jab at Hueco, commenting "Well, I would teach you the spells, but they're all in Spanish."Hueco remarks that he's been attempting to learn Spanish, after out-of-character it was noted that one rank in a language requires one point of Karma. There is a brief flashback of Hueco holding his commlink, open to Duolingo Spanish, before flipping to a timer. The camera pulls back as Hueco begins practicing his running since he spent his karma from the last run for points in the Running skill.

The show cuts to Madoka, who has been attempting to restart her streaming career after acquiring a more solid (Rating 4) fake SIN through Johnathan. She has been using her meta link to stream, albeit struggling due to the limitations of the device and her inability to tap into her previous audience in fear that she would be banned once more.

Madoka receives a call from Johnathan, her fixer, who asks if she's streaming. She denies that she has been trying, and he says that if she starts streaming he would be willing to be a chat moderator again. After a little back-and-forth that indirectly establishes her situation and that she has told nobody that she is attempting to stream, Johnathan offers her a job.Hueco and Mr. Fahrenheit receive word from Madoka. Fahrenheit asks if Hueco would like an outfit for their meeting, and steps aside to reveal the garment rack containing every costume featured on the show as well as ones that have not, and what appears to be regular clothes.

The show wipes to an Irish pub somewhere in Seattle, where a character who is clearly being portrayed as an Irish gangster waves over the group. Madoka is in cosplay that for possibly the only time since the show began was not described in detail as representing any character or described. Hueco is dressed as "Tiger Millionaire" from Steven Universe, and Mr. Fahrenheit as a very short "Tuxedo Mask" from Sailor Moon.

The Mr. Johnson, who introduces himself as Sean in a noticeably Scottish accent, appears to be embarrassed to be in the presence of these fuckwits. He asks if Johnathan sent them, and they confirm. Hueco keeps not-so-subtly trying to coax Sean into being more professional.

Sean gives the runners the following information:

  • A man will be is transporting paydata via a courier
  • The courier will be passing through a four-block area at about 9:00PM
  • The courier is likely a nobody punk, maybe a 16-19 year old local.

Hueco examines his body language, noting that he seems especially cagey and keeps looking around at all the people staring at them. He is also saying a lot, but providing very little information. Hueco questions why Sean needs a group of professional runners to stop a kid drop delivering something.

The shot cuts to Mr. Fahrenheit with wide, crazed eyes, staring at Sean. The two make eye contact and Mr. Fahrenheit sees into the man's soul (but not literally because he is still bad at assensing and that wasn't the test he made). He senses (with a 7 success Judge Motive check) that Sean isn't being malicious or trying to lead the group into a trap, Sean has just royally fucked something up and needs to cover it up.

Mr. Fahrenheit urges Sean to talk to the runners somewhere else. "Maybe get some ice cream, sit down, have a nice chat about what's really going on here."

A sideways screen wipe transitions the scene to a brightly colored ice cream bar. The scene framing and set-up is that of a sad night at the bar sobbing into one's drink. Hueco has a chocolate covered banana, Madoka has some kind of large multi-tiered sundae, Fahrenheit is eating a giant banana split.

Sean is sobbing into a root beer float with sprinkles, "I fucked up real bad, man. It's Dickwinter. Fuck that guy, y'know?" Sean explains that he had been put in charge of some paydata, and that the data had something to do with the cops, and that Dickwinter has stolen the data from him. He also explains that Dickwinter is the one who told him that a courier would be taking the data through the specified area at the specified time, taunting Sean.

The group pulls away to plan. Mr. Fahrenheit is opposed to the idea of roughing up some kid in order to get paydata. Hueco and Madoka agree, reluctantly. Madoka attempts to search for information on Dickwinter, but turns up little other than he used to play lacrosse in high school and his full name is Greg Dickwinter. The group intended to track down Dickwinter himself and try to squeeze the data out of him.

While Madoka is searching, Mr. Fahrenheit calls up Dominick, from the barrens. Dominick and Fahrenheit catch up, and when Fahrenheit says he plans on delivering more pizza at some point Dominick invites him over saying, "The boys would love to have you over again. You know, there's no good pizza places in the Barrens."

Dominick knows who Dickwinter is, and laughs. He asks why Fahrenheit is asking, who explains some vague details of the run they are on. When Fahrenheit lets slip Sean's name, rather than referring to him as Mr. Johnson, Dominick gives a knowing, "Ah."The group learns that both Sean and Dickwinter are low-level members of the Crosstown Thugs, a relatively new gang trying to carve out a place for themselves. Sean and Dickwinter have a history of being at each other's throat and that their feud has been escalating into dangerous territory.

Eventually Engie turns up, asking "What the fuck is a Dickwinter?" The runners decide to set up in the area that the transport will be and have Engie set up his drones. They spread out to canvas the area.

Post-Session Notes

The opening of this session was primarily focused on getting people's accounting correctly and managing large purchases and doing skills and downtime. The group had three weeks of downtime (and have to pay one month of all their lifestyles).

  • Madoka spent about two weeks of their three week downtime trying to get a hold of a Rating 4 fake SIN. She also has been practicing Lockpicking (up to rating 2).
  • Hueco bought a couple grenades, considered buying larger and shinier guns, and practiced a couple skills from the Athletics skill group.
  • Mr. Fahrenheit spent time learning Alchemy and Artisan as active skills, and purchased tools to aid in that.Due to bookkeeping errors, some changes were made to the amount of career Karma, and Public Awareness that members have.
  • Hueco, Mr. Fahrenheit, and Engie have 20 Career Karma, 4 Public Awareness, and 2 Street Cred.
  • Madoka and Jammer have 16 Career Karma, 3 Public awareness, and 1 Street cred.The group's Public Awareness was raised due to their direct conflict with the cops in the last run (+1) and their bombing of downtown Seattle (+1), and when a journalist had a drone with a bead on the events on the roof some internet detectives turned up the videos the group has previously posted of their crimes (+1). At a public awareness of four means that specialty law enforcement and conspiracy theorists know who they are. This is going to limit jobs from large backers who need to care about image and deniability.

On reflection

Downtime sessions can be fun, though they are mostly handled out-of-character and then explained on-screen after it has all been figured out. I wish there was a little more structure to this side of the game. I always bring up Blades, but the structured downtime with specific actions to choose from would be nice. Rather than tracking actions in days, it would be nice to say "you have two downtime actions, what do you do?"

Public Awareness in particular reminds me a lot of Blades' Heat system as it is being used now, which measures how close the cops are to zeroing in on your group. Heat as a mechanic relies a little on the player characters being unable to run away from their problems, but in a cyberpunk dystopia it is not unreasonable to say that you cannot run from your problems when global entities track all your actions in one form or another.

I should start making some notes to explore how I would translate some of these mechanics in a way that feels good.

Few random thoughts:

  • Could translate contacts from Shadowrun to cohorts/gangs in Blades, since Shadowrun groups don't really have underlings, just specialists and contacts.
  • Public Awareness and Blades' heat system. can't run from global powers, but would give mechanisms to reduce public awareness
  • Structured downtime actions reduce fuck-around time with accounting, and reduces the amount of time tracking that is required in general.
  • There are 15 skill groups that cover most aspects of the game, and since I am not particularly a fan of magic in my cyberpunk there might be a way to cut some groups and translate the rest into Blades style actions.