My friends and I have played an assortment of games over the years; Dungeons & Dragons in its various iterations (although we haven’t tried 5th Edition yet), Pathfinder has replaced D&D 3.5 for us, Serenity RPG, Cortex System, VTM, d20 Modern (we still use that system regularly), Star Wars Saga Edition, Cyberpunk, Shadowrun and so on. This is our first game using the Savage Worlds system and it first came to my attention with its recent kickstarter for the Savage Worlds RIFTS setting. The fact that the rule system is also supported by Hero Lab was an additional bonus as most of us were already using that for Pathfinder and Shadowrun.

The game is set (as you may have already guessed from the title) in Detroit in 2040. The characters are Police Officers trying to deal with events in an increasingly dark setting. It has a bit of a cyberpunk feel with the increasing power of corporations and the government struggling to maintain control. There are a few technological advancements (much more wireless connectivity and smart devices, holograms, augmented reality, wearable tech etc) but not to the extent of a classic cyberpunk setting plus a little bit of supernatural weirdness.

We have already played a few sessions which have mostly been about getting the hang of the rules and how the game flows. It’s certainly taken a bit of adjustment after all the time we have spent using the d20 system. Once you get the hang of the rules the game runs quite smoothly and has a nice cinematic feel to the action while at the same time giving the characters a firm sense of mortality, they are much less eager to jump into combat than if we were using a d20 system such as d20 Modern 🙂

Previously the characters have dealt with domestic violence, gang warfare, drug labs, witness transport and protection, petty theft, drunk & disorderly etc. Then the weird stuff started up. First was the body drained of blood with strange symbols pained on the alley wall. Next came the robbery at the Museum, a couple of priceless artifacts had vanished from a locked room. No alarms were set off and the only evidence was a smell of sulphur, the security cameras had malfunctioned and recorded static. When the IT department sent the team a couple of salvaged frames from the footage showing a shadowy figure with glowing red eyes they were pretty sure the geek squad were just having a laugh at their expense.

On patrol one evening the team investigated some suspicious activity in an alleyway. Peering in they saw a figure lying on the ground and a shadowy form painting symbols on the wall. When confronted the figure charged towards the officers at the mouth of the alleyway. Officer Jack Klass opened fire with his sidearm, this is where the player rolled snakeyes (double ones) which is a critical fumble in the Savage Worlds system and means I get to mess with the character 🙂 He shot the victim further down the alleyway! although he swears the bullet went straight through the – “shadow”. He was much relieved later to find out that the victim was already dead but the story of what happened has earned him the nickname of “Deadshot” around the precinct. The encounter didn’t go terribly well and ended with one officer incapacitated and one injured. The creature was vanquished but left no evidence of its existence and their helmet cams had malfunctioned and recorded only static earning the whole team the nickname of “the Spook Squad” after they filed their reports.

More mysterious robbery’s and murders followed leaving the team scratching their heads trying work out what was going on while trying to reconcile the weirdness they had witnessed. This is where we started from with last night’s game.

On nightshift once again the team were patrolling through the industrial area when a partially dressed young woman ran on to the road in front of the squad car. It was an unfortunate time for a bad dice roll and the driver didn’t quite manage to avoid hitting the woman (oops!). She survived the hit and was able to groggily pass on that she had escaped from a nearby warehouse and that there were still two other people being held inside.

Along with a backup squad car they stormed the warehouse and were able to rescue the other two kidnap victims. In the gunfight two of the perps were cut down, as was one of the backup police officers. Leave the victims in the care of the backup officers the team pursued the remaining perp further into the warehouse. Initially it looked as though he had gotten away, until they discovered a small freight elevator concealed by a false wall. Calling the elevator up they reported in on what they had found and requested further backup before taking the lift to follow the perp.

Following the corridor that led off from the lift the team entered a small room which showed signs of recently being occupied, a chair and a small card table with a pack of cards scattered over it were set up against one wall. Crossing the room they discovered that the door on the far wall was locked, it was about then that they heard the hissing of gas being pumped in to the room.

They awoke to find themselves strapped down in medical capsules undergoing a bizarre procedure combining medical science and an occult ritual involving the various relics that had been recently stolen under mysterious circumstances. In short, a demon was summoned and they underwent a blood transfusion from it before an attack on the upper levels by some sort of quasi-military death squad (referred to as the VK) threw everything into chaos. The demon was accidentally freed (unsurprising in these circumstances I know) and proceeded to kill everyone in sight, devouring the brain of the cultist’s leader and taking his form before freeing all those that had undergone the transfusion. The last to be freed were our team and they were told by the now human looking demon to get out before the VK arrived and put them down. He said he would delay them to give his new children time to escape.

And that’s about where we left it 🙂

Next time they will have to escape the facility, work out where the hell they are (and what happened to their clothes) and what exactly they are going to report about this event. Also; what does an infusion of demon blood (that was a demon, right?) do to you? Are there going to be any physical effects? Are their souls damned for all eternity? If so, is there any possibility of redemption? Who was that guy with the “THE END IS NIGH” placard? What does it mean, game mechanics wise, that they have all lost a Sanity Point? Was the gas in the room actually a hallucinogenic and the DM is just messing with them………..?

Tune in next week (hopefully) to learn the answers to probably none of these questions.

Game Night: Detroit 2040

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