Artwork for podcast Bebop Tabletop: Designing a Cowboy Bebop RPG
Asteroid Blues - Game Structure
Episode 118th October 2021 • Bebop Tabletop: Designing a Cowboy Bebop RPG • Lijo John and Andrew Wu
00:00:00 00:50:27

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Let's Jam! Hosts Michael Janov, Lijo John, and Andrew Wu dive right into the first session by breaking down the introduction to our favorite bounty hunters in the star system and discovering the first piece of the game design puzzle: Game Structure.

Will future bounty hunting role players enjoy our five phases of fun? Will this structure accommodate nuanced, dynamic gameplay? Well, we have 26 sessions (and a movie) to find out!

Theme and Music by @wufire

Additional Music by orzalaga and Trygve_Larsen from Pixabay



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy

Transcripts

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Andrew from the future here.

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Just dropping a quick note that since recording this episode, Don't Panic Games in Mana Project Studio announced an upcoming official Cowboy Bebop tabletop RPG.

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We here at Bebop Tabletop are looking forward to experiencing their adaptation and seeing how our design compares look out for their Kickstarter campaign in 2022 and our discussion in a future episode.

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Three, two, one.

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This is Bebop Tabletop, the podcast that's turning each episode of Cowboy Bebop into a tabletop RPG.

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I'm Michael Janov.

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I'm Lijo John.

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I'm Andrew Wu.

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And together we're remixing the characters, music and themes into a game you can play.

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Let's share.

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Hello and welcome to the first session of Bebop Tabletop Asteroid Blues.

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I'm Andrew Wu, a roleplaying gamer, a Twitch streamer, somebody that really just wants a new tabletop experience all the time.

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Joining me today are Michael and.

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Lijo.

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Do you guys want to introduce yourself? Sure.

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Yeah.

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Hi, Michael.

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I've been playing tabletop role playing games for about 15 years now.

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Started all the way back and DND 3.5 E.

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And I've been running games, running different systems and home brewing rules and worlds fairly consistently since then.

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Lijo, not quite the same credit card, but I started tabletop role playing around honestly a few years ago.

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It's definitely become something that's quite a substantial portion of my life.

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And I'm currently my general group's forever DM.

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I always am on the lookout for more tabletop games.

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So let's make another one.

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I guess that's true.

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Yeah.

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So why are we here today? We're here mostly because we're all fans of tabletop gaming.

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Both of you have DM games for me? I guess.

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Not for me specifically, but I have played games that you have DM specifically for you? Yes, specifically for me.

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I love it.

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Thank you.

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And I think I've DMD a total of like one and a half games as a one shot.

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But both of you were involved in those.

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So that's kind of the half one, Michael's.

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In the half one Lijo got a whole one, 8 hours or something.

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So why we're here today is because we were talking about Cowboy Bebop.

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We've been talking about anime a little bit here and there.

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And the new Cowboy Bebop show is coming out on Netflix, I think in November.

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I'm not sure when this is going to go live, but soon.

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And just thinking about this show that I loved when I first saw it in like, I don't know, 2000 and 220 years ago.

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At this point, I don't remember too much about it except for it being cool and little bits and details of a Sci-Fi world, little bits and pieces of this film noir character.

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And I was thinking like, oh, that would be a perfect tabletop game.

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Thankfully, I think you guys agree.

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And that's why we're here, to try to build a system out that lets people play as their own kind of Bebop crew, their own kind of bounty Hunter or possibly some other character in this universe.

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Today we're going to talk about Asteroid Blues session one of Cowboy Bebop.

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So I guess I'll start it off with episode summary.

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We're introduced to our bounty hunting duo, Jet Black and Spike Spiegel down on their luck.

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With no money for beef, the pair travel on the Bebop to the asteroid Tijuana, looking for asimob a criminal worth 2.5 million woolongs.

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Along the way, we're going to discover that this universe that they live in is our solar system.

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I think at some point, Spike even mentions that he was born on Mars and that space travel has become commoditized has become easy.

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Traveling from Jupiter to Mars to Earth is maybe a couple of hours journey.

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It's no longer right now it's months.

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What else do we learn about the universe? Money is still an issue.

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These guys are not rich by any means.

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There is a lawlessness to the universe where there's no sense of there are police, right.

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I think they're called the ISSP, right? I believe so, yeah.

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System police.

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Inner system.

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Yeah, system Police.

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Yeah, that sounds right.

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Still, though, like they can't handle they can't patrol everything, so they'd rely on the system of bounty hunting of Cowboys.

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This was kind of the first time I'd seen like a fusion of the Wild West and scifi.

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This is, I think, like almost a decade before Firefly came out.

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Yeah, there's been a few since then.

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Oh, yeah.

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Firefly Expanse.

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Yeah.

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The Space Western is a pretty well received genre mix of genres, I would say.

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Basically, you would expect that there are a certain amount of lawlessness when planets are so far apart from each other that you can't necessarily have the same rules and systems for everyone.

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It's part of the fantasy of being out there, not so shackled down to society.

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Right.

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Yeah, new frontiers.

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Exactly.

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I think there was a season of the Expanse.

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It was entirely just about that.

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Just about, hey, when civilization has established itself, sure.

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Now you can have laws again.

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But until that point, the law is whoever has the most power.

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Right.

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This is kind of in between that it's not so bleak.

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There is a sense of civilization.

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Again, one of the things, too, about us.

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None of us have watched this show in, I don't know, ten years, probably at this point, approximately in a while.

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Our plan here is to also watch an episode, kind of just the week before we recorded an episode, before we talk about it, and then kind of watch along as we move.

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The other part of it is that as we go through it, we hope to develop a gain system episode by episode, week by week, and we expect it to evolve, hopefully by the end of 26 episodes and a movie and maybe a Netflix series in there.

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We'll have a complete version of a tabletop system that you can pop out and play anything that absolutely stands out to you about this episode.

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Something we must talk about.

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I think before we talk about the episode, we can talk even a little bit about the intro.

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Sure.

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Each individual episode mapping out like, hey, this is the show.

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This was what it's about.

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I came up with a few themes.

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It's just from watching this and I think it informs the episode too.

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There's five things here, there's violence, there's music, there's drugs, there's spaceships and there's the crew.

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Okay, yeah, those five things.

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Yeah.

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As far as I can remember, every single episode is those five things.

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I think without exception, first episode gets them all.

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Yes, for sure.

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You can also make the argument that the lack of money is also a primary team in most of these episodes.

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When I had this idea several months ago, the feeling I think I told this to you, Le Joe, the feeling that I was aiming for most is I want my players to feel hungry.

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Like at any point in time I want them to feel like, hey, if I don't do this desperate play, I don't get to each tomorrow chase that beef.

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Yes, I got to get that beef Bell peppers and beef, right? I think so.

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In that first scene with Spike and I call the Bell peppers and beef in my notes.

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So in that first scene they talk about, hey, didn't we just capture a bounty? Where is our money? This idea that jet is explained to Spike like, well, you trashed the shop, you wrecked a police cruiser, you hurt somebody somewhere, right? And that just wiped out every dollar that we earned from this bounty.

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We are back to zero.

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I love that as a mechanic, as an idea that hey, as your players are making desperate plays, running gambits of some kind like, oh yeah, they tackled this guy across the table, but it also broke somebody's car.

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So that breaking of somebody's car now cost them 1000 woolongs.

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So at the end of the bounty, whatever is left over is subtracted from that amount, whatever damage that they've caused.

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And that's also keeping in mind you need to have ship maintenance, fuel consumption, food.

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It's funny because in Dungeons and Dragons, money after a while is like a non issue.

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You've made enough money and consequences don't matter.

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Sure, you may have destroyed half the town, but you technically saved them, so they're grateful.

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That happens a lot, right? It's interesting to bring up the property damage too, because the other thing that happens a little bit in DND too, I think a lot of times depends on who's running the game there's.

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Often I think the concept of failing forward spikes, Beagle gets the guy, but he causes a lot of property damage.

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Maybe if we're talking about a DNA or if you're talking about a role playing game system, maybe that's a failure.

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Maybe failure means you do the thing but at incredible suffering or damage or some other negative resource of which we can go on and list out.

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Right.

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I think generally it's fun to keep moving forward and not to have like a locked door problem, try to go through the door.

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You don't.

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Right.

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It's not that fun, essentially.

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Right.

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But taking that example, door opens, it's very loud.

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Everyone knows you're there, right.

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You roll over the car, Oops, you damaged it.

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Right.

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That's a neat idea.

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You will always accomplish what you're intending to do, but it has consequences.

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Right.

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Like that's a cool idea.

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That is.

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I think so.

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You know, we're looking at other systems, things that kind of before we decided to turn this into a podcast, and we were just looking for a way to play a game like this.

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We were looking at Blades in the Dark a little bit, or scumming Villainy specifically.

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That's the Blades modification.

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And I was also looking at the Cortex system, which is an old essentially the official Firefly role playing game was based on this Cortex system.

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And one of the things I think both of them have is kind of this idea that whatever the players kind of want to do happens, they made easy to happen, but it can come with a price, it can come with some consequence.

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I know in Blades, the way they do it or in Scandinaville, the way they did it was by having like a flashback system, a way to say and I didn't read too much into this.

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So I'm kind of paraphrasing, but a way to say, like, hey, I want to do this thing.

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And so I'll pull out X tool that I have in my pocket.

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Right.

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And then they can flashback to before the mission when they said, oh, this is how I acquired that thing.

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And it cost them some sort of point or some sort of meta currency that lets them pull that out.

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The Cortex system is something similar where there is a currency called like plot points or plot tokens.

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And what happens is that you earn plot tokens by like failing or particularly good role play or choosing to have a more interesting encounter that gives you a plot token.

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And then you can spend those plot tokens later to say, hey, I need a medkit right now.

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So I'm going to say, hey, burn this token.

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I get to use this Med kit, and now I can save that guy's life because that is a more interesting story than saying, well, you search through some cabinets, roll for perception, search through a bunch of cabinets.

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If you roll higher than a 15, you get a Med kit.

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Right.

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That's the D and D way of things.

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Right.

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And also, I think one of the biggest things is Adversity is not necessarily a bad thing.

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It is not.

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You're not doing things the quickest possible way, the most efficient way.

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But sometimes Adversity brings the most interesting parts of the game, whether it's making a deal with the devil or making a compromise.

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Maybe you don't fill up your ship to full and that makes a problem.

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Or there are multiple ways to make things complicated.

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And yes, you have to kind of give people reasons not to play it the most optimal way.

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And in this world, the simplest thing is that everything is freaking expensive.

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And unless you want to be a constant risk of death, you're going to have to scrounge around for money a little bit.

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Yeah.

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And this was something I thought of, but I don't know if this is what we would want to do in this kind of game, but the idea of the job board.

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Right.

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So this is not introduced in this episode, but I think in the next episode they introduced Judy and Punch and Big Shot.

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So there is a solar system wide broadcast of the Bounties that are available.

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Right.

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Things people that are being hunted and how much they cost.

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And this idea that there is a job board, this universe has a job board and that job board is just full of dangerous criminals with various rewards and various different kind of like, oh, this is a small Fry in this episode.

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Spikes said it a couple of times.

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Tj is for small fries.

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Nobody goes to Tijuana.

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I will note also that Tijuana is an asteroid.

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I love that.

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That it's not Tijuana, Mexico.

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Is Tijuana an asteroid somewhere in a Dome, right? Yes.

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But as far as job board goes, they do introduce in this episode that basically the ticket pull for that job board.

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They know who they're coming out after, they have the job posting that they pulled off the board and the information that can point to them.

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Right.

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Enough information at least have be a lead, right? Not that much, really.

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Not that much.

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Where he's at, his name, reward, where he's at.

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Right.

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Roughly what's his criminal record? And I did pick up too.

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They had some very specific biometrics like voice print retina and DNA fingerprint.

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Yeah.

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They list that in there in the next one too.

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That comes into play where your guy keeps getting plastic surgery with his money and keeps changing his look.

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Earlier we had talked about what are we going to get out of this episode and what's the mechanic going to be? And this is kind of the first part of that mechanic.

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What is the structure of a session of a game session, I think depending on how you run your games as a long form, short form campaign or as a one shot, this first episode of Cabo VP is essentially a one shot.

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We start with here's what you're doing and through the course of the episode it's resolved.

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There isn't kind of an overarching theme or story yet.

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We have to start.

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We have the briefing here's, what you're going after.

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Here are your hints here's, go out there applications here's a location you can get some information with this interesting NPC, when it comes down to this episode is probably the quintessential quest, right.

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The job.

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It's about as straightforward as you can get, all things considered.

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Outside of just straight walking up to somebody and saying halts, but you are under arrest, you are under arrest as an introductory quest.

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Honestly, sometimes not all quests have to be multi layered and have multiple toys.

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Sometimes they can just be a bad guy.

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Yeah, that's true too.

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In this case, the show itself is aiming for that noir.

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Right.

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Is aiming for that kind of Azimov, especially Spike later on.

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But Asimov especially in this episode is that brooding like, oh, he's a bad guy that seems to have like, oh, he's fallen into deep into his own scheme.

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And then Katerina, who is with him, is also kind of stuck in this life now.

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And just like I've noticed, there were at least two or three scenes that are just focused on the two of them as a narrative device, focusing on the villains and not seeing your main characters.

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And it's interesting too, in a show where you don't know who exactly are the main characters yet, we get a couple of scenes where we're just focusing on these two.

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These two people are never going to see again.

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And that fascinating me.

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They only put those in there to color the villains as somewhat sympathetic as somebody that at the very least it fleshes them out.

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It gives them a motivation that's beyond, oh, they're just people we're just trying to capture and turn in for money.

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Right.

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I think one of the challenges in role playing game that tends to be there's different variations on this, but tends to be one player holding all the cards and hoping that they're proficient enough to explain all the backstory and show don't tell, but sometimes have to tell because we have limited amounts of time.

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I think that's a challenge.

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How do you introduce that concept of introducing having a villain scene? How do you do that when the focus of an RPG really doesn't lend to that very much about player agency.

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Right.

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And the problem is like, well, how do I make my without short of the monologue, right? Short of the like, oh, you've stumbled upon my secret layer and oh, but I'm doing this to save my daughter's life kind of Ham handed while we're all ready to fight you.

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Come on.

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I just leveled up and I got new powers that I want to try.

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Come on.

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No, I need to finish this to level up.

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Come on.

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Again, with most tabletop RPGs, unfortunately, for better or worse, the onus is on the game master.

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If you want to make your villain sympathetic, you've got to make them sympathetic by any means possible.

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Like perhaps in this situation if your player characters enter the bar like Jet does after the confrontation.

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Perhaps they would investigate those goofy guys playing cards, right? The three workers.

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And in that situation, perhaps the workers would explain, well, he came in with his pregnant wife or something or other.

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Like you'd obviously have to kind of milk it that way.

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Or honestly, in the show they do it in a very similar way.

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Spike comes out of the bathroom, he looks at Asimov who's clearly suffering and clearly like going through withdrawal.

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And honestly, you can give a sense of pity, but you can make your character sympathetic by saying, hey, your villain is in front of you.

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He's not aggressive.

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He's currently dry heaving into a sink right now.

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Yes.

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It also requires your players to take that lead as well.

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But sometimes the term murder Hobo it's there for a reason.

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Yeah, I can't imagine a scenario where I can't imagine that exact scenario playing out on a table.

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Not exactly that way.

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If you are the players, your player is at this place because they talked to the Native American shaman who told them go to this place and then they see a person.

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So it's interesting, in the show, it is not explicitly clear that Spike recognizes this guy at that moment.

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Right.

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Clearly Spike knows this guy is his bounty.

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I can't imagine the players being like, yeah, this is your guy.

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And them saying, well, let's just sit and watch, let's just wait.

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I just don't see that happening.

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Like the players will almost always immediately just like, well, I'm going to try to gag him real quick.

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if we assume there's some kind of structured mission or narrative.

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Let's just say in a one shot or in a scenario, there could be some way that there is an encounter with the bad guy or the protagonist or your bounty.

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And again, with the trade offs that we talked about before, it could be in a location that would be extremely expensive to act against.

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Perhaps as a meta game perspective, you know that you will meet the bounty at some point, but it will be in a very public location and if you try to act against it without provocation, you may lose rewards.

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I think there may even be scenarios where depending on the build up, a player character may feel that's worthwhile.

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That's a great idea.

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Yeah, just saying, when it comes down to it, the simplest problem is always people right? There are bystanders I think about the round two at the little saloon.

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And yeah, it's an entertaining, fun fight scene for us.

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But there's the car playing guys again and all those random thugs in a car.

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It was less than optimal set of actions by Spike.

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But also it's real cool.

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They didn't make any ones from that.

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They made zero.

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Yeah.

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I think also though, they didn't have to pay for any damage on this one.

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I mean, there potentially, but I don't think they would have been blamed for any of the things that had happened.

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I think by my count, I'm just doing this off of rough memory right now.

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The couple Asimov and Katarina steal a vehicle, that vehicle that they tried to escape and they stole from somebody.

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I don't think that our crew would be responsible for that.

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They would blame it on those two.

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And that vehicle is destroyed, right? Yes.

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They are under attack by those syndicate members at some point, right.

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A whole bunch of them drive up in a couple of cars and start shooting, right.

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That's a criminal syndicate.

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I think that's their fault.

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Right.

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That's not going to be blamed on our bounty hunters.

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Even if it is, I imagine they can very easily turn that around.

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It wasn't us.

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It was the junkie crimemen, right? Yeah, it's the criminals.

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They did it.

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I will say Jet, the hammerhead comes in at some point and knocks over some cars.

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It helps Spike escape.

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At one point, it didn't look that damaged.

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But you're going to have to fix that paint or those dents.

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You're going to buff those dents out of the hammerhead at some point.

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Right.

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That cost the crew something.

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But they made no money here.

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I mean, maybe we're leading towards a mechanic as we're talking about it and maybe there's always a role for property damage.

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Like, oh, you need to extract yourself from the situation by flipping over some cars with your fancy spaceship.

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Like, all right, yeah, that works.

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Roll for property damage.

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I like the idea.

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Well, I was going to say that you can also kind of finesse your way out of these things.

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In my head, the way I picture because something I've been trying to figure out how to do as well is Spike is incredibly graceful.

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Every motion is like, oh, it's like a smooth.

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Like his arms are here and now they're there and he's always in perfect control of what he's doing.

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I think at some point he juggles something.

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Right.

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In the show.

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I can picture in my head this idea that something is falling and he catches it.

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Right.

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You could have like a finesse mechanic of some kind, right? Yes.

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I'm throwing tables at somebody, but I'm also catching the priceless vases before they hit the ground.

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So using some skill or rolling some dice, you could say, okay, whether you succeed or not in not cracking open that fabric a things like that.

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He picks pockets too.

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And I think oftentimes you're juggling and stealing and pickpocketing generally gets summed up to like a sleight of hand or some sort of dexterity of some kind.

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Yeah.

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Which, I mean, it's an interesting one where he's actively getting strangled and rather than getting out of the strangle, he opts to pickpocket, which is an interesting gambit.

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And also probably just would a player do that? Right? I don't think so.

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Right.

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How do you communicate that's possible, yes.

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Honestly, if I was thinking of the DM, this would be straight up he grapples, you know, roll for contested strength role.

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And in this case, Spike loses and you narrate Spike going unconscious and you'd give one last action before he passes out.

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And then maybe the player character would say, before I fully pass out, can I pick pocket and real quick or can I grab something off of him? It is a little bit of an extreme set of actions, but it's not necessarily like the most outlandish thing.

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It's not like an I cast fireball right in front of me.

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I pulled the pin in the grenade that he was carrying.

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No, that's not.

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Okay.

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Well, one thing I've been thinking about and having an eye out in Cowboy Bebop is I think like a lot of trying to figure out where the musical jazz influences, and I think a lot of it comes down to its improv.

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So you're saying what's your last act? What's your quick improv? What's your final jazz move or whatever, right? That's what it is.

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Some games have a system.

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One of my fond Sci-Fi RPGs has a system called Moxie.

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You can be bad at everything but pump up your Moxie.

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And basically it's kind of like a wild card.

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And I think something like this can fall into the same scheme.

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I think Spike is shown to be very good at it.

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How well can you improvise if you're not particularly good at whatever you're up against? Right.

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Okay.

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So, yeah, it's not quite as random as luck or charisma necessarily.

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It's more of a combination of intelligence and wisdom and dexterity.

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It's clutch.

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Right.

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Exactly how good am I? The clock is counting down.

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Do I get the shot off? That's a sports metaphor, which is weird for me, but the idea that the pressure is on and when the pressure is higher, if your Moxie is high, you do better.

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You do better as the pressure bills.

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Yeah.

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Conversely, I think characters who are better in less pressure inducing situations may not be able to do well under higher pressure situations.

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Like we haven't seen Spike.

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Excuse me, we haven't seen Jet very much, but maybe he's very apt at some activities, but if he's being strangle held and he's done otherwise, he may not have been able to pickpocket that.

Speaker:

What was it, a vile.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

The red eye, the drugs.

Speaker:

Yes, I think.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

It's interesting you mentioned that we don't really see too much of Jet in this episode, but of the few things we do see him.

Speaker:

So the things that he does for this bounty is gather information.

Speaker:

So he goes to the police and talks to his police contact because he's a former cop as well.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

Part of his backstory.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

He goes to the cops, finds more information and then when he meets up with Spike again, he's like, well this is what I learned.

Speaker:

This is what I know, right.

Speaker:

And he's the planner.

Speaker:

He's clearly the one that's like, oh, I've got connections and I'm prepared and I plan.

Speaker:

We do see him fight or a little bit of a fight.

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Not really.

Speaker:

He intimidates some guys as they walk into the bar and he does show up with the ship later, but that's it for him.

Speaker:

That's his entire engagement.

Speaker:

Again, as an introductory episode, I think the clear goal is to kind of build the world and build Spike, who is without a doubt the main character, is the protagonist.

Speaker:

But you can definitely make quite a few inferences on Jet's character throughout the show.

Speaker:

Is it between his cooking and being a more pragmatic one, more of the traditional, kind of almost Paladin characters? We got to do this job.

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We got to be serious.

Speaker:

Whereas again, Spike always comes off as a little bit more rogue, a little bit more free will.

Speaker:

We go through and we will eventually, as viewers will see more of their not just their archetypal reactions, but more just who they are as people throughout the show.

Speaker:

It's very clear that Spike can't succeed without Jet and vice versa.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

I think one of the things there are a couple of lines in this episode.

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I love the dub.

Speaker:

I'm pretty sure you guys are listening to the dub.

Speaker:

Also not the subversion, probably it's one of the few that I will listen to.

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The dub.

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Yes, right.

Speaker:

One of the things I noted in this episode, at least that there are a couple of lines that are really dubbed very poorly are actually bad because the intention seems strange.

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One of the ones I noticed was the way Jet explained that the money is gone.

Speaker:

He said something like killed the Doe and he says it in such a strange way.

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But also the reason I bring it up is because he's so mad about that.

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He's very upset with Spike about the bounty not going.

Speaker:

The bounty ending up basically being a net negative for them.

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The last mission, the one we didn't see, but he still works with Spike.

Speaker:

He's not willing to go off on his own.

Speaker:

Still, even after that, and even after this one, even this one fails too.

Speaker:

They make no money here, but it's still Bell peppers and beef at the end, right? We're still a crew at the end of this.

Speaker:

Well, it's kind of interesting too.

Speaker:

They didn't make any money two missions in a row.

Speaker:

So what does that inform from an RPG arc perspective? If you're going from one place to another, maybe that suggests that bottoming out means that you're bottomed out.

Speaker:

It doesn't mean all right, roll new characters.

Speaker:

It's time to pick a new ship name, even if it's something like, oh yeah, you all go to prison for five years, but you're not done you just time skip five years unless you want to do a prison arc.

Speaker:

But I don't know.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

But yeah, so there is that bottomed out point that you have no resources and we talked about, you mentioned D and D before.

Speaker:

Like, yeah, you get to a point where the price of gold in that game is weird.

Speaker:

Yes.

Speaker:

But in a situation like Bebop, you could be rolling.

Speaker:

But if you make a big mistake, you could buy them out and then you'll have to start over from something else.

Speaker:

So maybe there's another piece here, maybe there's another resource.

Speaker:

We talk about woolongs as your day to day got to get that beef.

Speaker:

But there's also like a prestige or a reputation.

Speaker:

I think that's an important one.

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Gaining.

Speaker:

I've always been fascinated by that.

Speaker:

In DND, the idea of like, I think rogues have this most is like, hey, what are your criminal connections? What is your thieves can't actually there's thieves can't in this, right.

Speaker:

When Asimov is talking to the bartender and even later when he's talking to Spike Spikes in the Poncho, they have this code phrase of like, I'm selling Bloody Mary's or do you have any beer or something like that, right.

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They have a code, some sort of some way of indicating, yes, I am selling.

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I am one of you.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

I've always been fascinated by and I've never really used it like the idea of, oh, these are my Guild connections in D and these are my outside contacts.

Speaker:

I think, Michael, in the game that you ran for us like a year ago.

Speaker:

Oh, more than a year ago now.

Speaker:

Prepondemic, right.

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I was obsessed with writing letters to important noblemen.

Speaker:

Hilarious.

Speaker:

Some systems codify this D and D a lot of times just becomes, well, actually, I guess Adventure League does this a little bit better because if you do that, they actually have factions with there is a very complicated faction ranking system in Harper.

Speaker:

They get pretty involved, but in some systems they have social currencies, especially in science fiction, futuristic games, corporations, right.

Speaker:

Usually I think in like a cyberpunky kind of game, like you're standing in a Corporation.

Speaker:

Yeah, there's your Corporation.

Speaker:

Sometimes you'll see it too in kind of these feature societies that don't accept money at all and only accept social currency.

Speaker:

But certainly you can play on that.

Speaker:

We're talking about reputation.

Speaker:

Maybe in this episode I think there were probably like three different groups at least.

Speaker:

Never mind the mercenaries, bounty hunters.

Speaker:

There were the police, there was the Syndicate.

Speaker:

You could probably even say like I don't remember the world as much.

Speaker:

I take a leap and say, there's like an asteroid or kind of like a homesteaders group or something, probably.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

Three old guys, right.

Speaker:

They're like the Shriners of this universe, right.

Speaker:

But maybe you do something and you get a negative.

Speaker:

Maybe you blow your whole bounty on property damage, but you make the syndicate really happy.

Speaker:

Maybe they'll give you a job and it'll have a different flavor and it'll bring your group down a different path.

Speaker:

Perhaps not the one that the players intended, but hey, you do all the property damage, right? Just destroy it all.

Speaker:

And now you're working for like a land developer that's buying up all this land.

Speaker:

You can ruin this landscape and it's great.

Speaker:

I did watch ahead a little bit in the last couple of weeks.

Speaker:

So I do know in between this episode and the next one, they make money, but we don't see them make the money.

Speaker:

They just come back into the next episode with money, which is something that you could also as a DM.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

You could say, hey, you guys really screwed up that last mission, but in between you've scrounged up enough funds to do this, or like you've figured out a way or it could even be like a simple like, hey, role for something and something in your back story has helped out.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

Your uncle died and it has allowed you his inheritance of enough money to fuel the ship for another week.

Speaker:

There are ways to codify downtime and we haven't really talked about it yet.

Speaker:

But if we start talking about character and creating characters, part of building that character is what do you do in your downtime? You're sitting on a ship for sitting in a week, sitting, waiting for a job for months.

Speaker:

What do you do? I think it makes sense from a game perspective to focus on The Flashpoints, but those middle times happen.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

It's interesting.

Speaker:

I'm trying to think, like in the show itself, we don't have a ton of downtime.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

Again, I've only seen a couple of episodes now and I can't remember too much of like in between time.

Speaker:

I don't remember time skipping much.

Speaker:

Everything kind of happens almost like each episode is a week apart, essentially.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

Like nothing happens in between.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

They're certainly not sure.

Speaker:

They're certainly not sitting around on Tijuana.

Speaker:

Like they go to Tijuana with the job.

Speaker:

If I remember correctly, there are several episodes where they are either bored or they have too much downtime, if you will.

Speaker:

One of the things I wanted to talk about too in this episode is a little bit of like what we think combat might be just a little bit.

Speaker:

The only thing I can think of in this is that it's fluid, it's fast, and it's very tied to that music.

Speaker:

Like that idea that it's probably something we should think about for future episodes or whenever we see more combat focused kind of scenes.

Speaker:

But this idea that I really want to find some way to tie the music and the combat system.

Speaker:

I think that's something I want to start thinking about.

Speaker:

How do we set a tempo for combat? Not necessarily like a real time system, but something that at least has more spirit of jazz.

Speaker:

I like that a lot.

Speaker:

Conceptually.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

I would prefer something quick, something snappy, something action packed.

Speaker:

Let's face it.

Speaker:

Despite Spikes nearly supernatural luck, everything in this story is basically one bullet and you're dead.

Speaker:

This is not a DND.

Speaker:

Four plus rounds of combat here.

Speaker:

But even then, it's only, like a minute of time, right? Not even.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

The combat rules are always a little bizarre if you think about them too long.

Speaker:

They don't talk about in this episode, like, violence is the focus, but they don't talk about the method of the violence at all.

Speaker:

They just have guns.

Speaker:

They do hand to hand combat.

Speaker:

There's no I do it in this special fancy Naruto way.

Speaker:

There's no I'm using this fancy gun with the special bullet.

Speaker:

It's just.

Speaker:

They just do the gun.

Speaker:

Although, to be fair, Asimov did have, like, super reflexes after getting high.

Speaker:

That's the drugs.

Speaker:

Yeah, drugs, baby.

Speaker:

This is funny.

Speaker:

I don't know if we use drugs ever again in the series.

Speaker:

I can't think of it.

Speaker:

But the fact that in this episode that he uses drugs and it enhances his combat performance means that that has to exist in this world.

Speaker:

I think that is something that.

Speaker:

Yeah, this helps you move quicker, but probably has a downside.

Speaker:

It has the hangover.

Speaker:

We should probably start wrapping this up.

Speaker:

The main thing today is our structure.

Speaker:

Like, this is our archetypical adventure.

Speaker:

This is our one shot.

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This is our introduction to the world.

Speaker:

The idea that we would start with a simple job, a simple character.

Speaker:

That is your bounty, somebody that you have to Hunt, probably some sort of fact finding, some sort of information gathering.

Speaker:

Right? In Spikes, Casey goes to.

Speaker:

I forgot his name already.

Speaker:

But the Native American man or laughing, the shaman of Wakandka.

Speaker:

Wakandka, yeah, I had to look that up.

Speaker:

That's a real thing that exists.

Speaker:

So either we guide for the help of Wakandanka, or we talk to the police, right? Those are equivalent things in this universe.

Speaker:

Apparently, you gather that information, and then in this case, what did Spike do? Spike went out there and just started gathering more information by direct confrontation, by actually finding them and then setting up a new plan.

Speaker:

Right? From that point on, he set up some sort of buy a fake job for Asimov, and then that spirals out of control.

Speaker:

I guess that's the fourth phase here.

Speaker:

It's like, well, your plan is put into motion and it does not go as planned.

Speaker:

And here's a whole bunch of property damage.

Speaker:

I actually gave names to these.

Speaker:

Oh, yeah.

Speaker:

So I'm glad that the structure that you wrote was the same as that I wrote.

Speaker:

So I have five faces.

Speaker:

I have the briefing, the Hunt, and then I have the twists, which you could also say the initial action, but clues gathering the score is your direct confrontation.

Speaker:

The score? Yeah.

Speaker:

And then that's your climax.

Speaker:

And then it follows up with what we haven't talked about yet.

Speaker:

The reckoning.

Speaker:

What's your problem? Yeah, I was going to say debrief.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

The reckoning.

Speaker:

I love that you get the bounty.

Speaker:

You get the bounty.

Speaker:

How did it go? We talked a little bit about social.

Speaker:

What's the social outcome? Where do you go from here? And what does this set up? Right.

Speaker:

What does this mean for your characters? What does this mean for, like, if this is a one shot, we don't care that much.

Speaker:

But if it's expanding into if this is the first of your long campaign, Then Yeah, I care.

Speaker:

What did spike learn? What is jet getting taking away from this? Like, in this case, specifically, jet learns.

Speaker:

Like, yes, we failed this bounty again, that's two in a row.

Speaker:

But I'm still sticking with this guy.

Speaker:

Right.

Speaker:

Like, it still works out enough that we're still hunting together.

Speaker:

And maybe if you didn't make any money or make any social strides, Maybe there was some character development, Maybe there was some crew cohesion mechanic that I'm making up benefits or collective grab the ship and start over.

Speaker:

And it's one of those things that you technically need to have some sort of reward.

Speaker:

And that whether it's the straight money or in your case, you mentioned the cohesiveness, maybe the preparedness of the group.

Speaker:

It's hard not to reward your players Something at least tangible.

Speaker:

Unless your players are incredible.

Speaker:

Our peers presence are always better, right? Yeah.

Speaker:

Got to keep them coming back.

Speaker:

And then next episode, they play with their new toys.

Speaker:

Exactly.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

That's what the level up is for.

Speaker:

Thanks, guys, for hanging out.

Speaker:

Thanks for chatting.

Speaker:

We'll be back next week Where we talk about session two.

Speaker:

I should have looked up what the name of session two is.

Speaker:

Oh, no.

Speaker:

Stray Dog Strut.

Speaker:

Oh, I love stray dogstrat.

Speaker:

This is a good episode.

Speaker:

I'm going to say that every week, but I do love Stray Dog Strut.

Speaker:

Listen out for us.

Speaker:

The plan is to release these weekly, so wherever we put this, we'll be back again next week.

Speaker:

If you have any comments, questions want to reach out to us? Want to tell us you hate our guts? We're on Twitter @BebopTabletop and I'm also available on

Speaker:

twitch.tv/wufiregotpower.

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We stream Dungeons and Dragons approximately once a week Depending on our schedule and other games and stuff on there too.

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Thank you very much.

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Goodbye.

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Have a good week.

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Bye bye.

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See you later, Space Cowboys.

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Thanks for listening.

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