Monday, June 29, 2009

Twitting from the frontlines

While taking care of family business in Puerto Rico, I started catching up with all my dearest friends. Needing a distraction from the stressful situation that brought me to the island, I got my friend Juan to run a Recon session with most of our old gaming group.
Deluxe Revised Recon is Palladium Book’s percentile based game of counter-insurgency warfare during the Vietnam war. It has long been a favorite of our group because of it’s simple system ( not Palladium’s infamous Megaversal system) which allows for fast, brutal and deadly combats encounters. We had been playing Recon on and off for more than 3 years. It is the game we played when we needed a break from longer, more involved campaigns. These one shots often ended in gruesome total party kills at the hands of booby traps and the enemy; all of which still draw laughs during over Medallas.
We managed to get a 5 guys to show up to Juan’s house for one more mission. Juan picked a scenario titled Radio Wars from the Advanced Recon section of the book. The adventure started with the unit stationed in a village, deep in the jungle. A radio play that demonized American forces came on the villages only radio. Villagers, who had been friendly up to that point, started distancing themselves from the team. Shortly after, word came in from Headquarters that our unit was to locate the radio station from where the signals were being transmitted, kill all enemy units, and capture the mastermind behind the propaganda.
The unit headed deeper into the jungle to find the guerilla radio station. We easily handled a tiger attack and a booby trap. We arrived at a valley from where we overlooked an enemy contingent that was repairing a radio antenna in a clearing. We had arrived at our objective. The sergeant ordered the team to descend down the valley and hide in the bushes, in preparation for a raid. The sergeant stayed behind to provide sniper support.
Half an hour after the team departed, two VC soldier sneaked up on the sergeant. They overpowered him with a rifle but strike to the back of the head.
Down on the valley, the rest of the team waited for the Sergeant’s signal to attack. A captured worker revealed that the mastermind behind the radio broadcast was staying on a cave the enemy used for storage. The team’s token psychopath killed the prisoner when he ran out of information to share.
The team had agreed on throwing grenades at the workforce and running in to finish off whoever hadn’t been blown to pieces. While we waited for the signal, we saw two enemy soldiers carrying the team’s sergeant.
We decided to begin the raid at once.
The team hurled their frag grenades at the enemy troops. One grenade found it’s mark among the workers, blowing up a some and stunning the rest. Another grenade landed a foot away from the still unconscious sergeant. It exploded, blowing up both our comrade and his captors. The team ran into the clearing to finish off the wounded workers. My character, the team’s medic, confirmed that the grenade had killed the sergeant. After rendering the antenna unusable, we walked into the caves to look for whoever was responsible for the broadcast.
There were various tunnels within the cave that veered off to different directions. We began trying set up a defensive perimeter at the mouth of the cave when the first grenade flew in, landing next to one of the heavy weapons specialist. The grenade went off, almost killing him. It took a very lucky medicine roll (my medic isn’t that good of a medic) to stabilize him. The guy that guarded the cave’s mouth ran out, full speed, to find safety somewhere in the jungle. My medic tried to carry the wounded weapon specialist out of the cave when two bullets hit killed him. The last guy in the cave was blown to pieces by one of his own grenades when he tried to hurl it down one of the tunnels, but it bounced back at him.
The last survivor, the soldier who had managed to run out of the cave, eventually made it back to the village where the unit began the adventure. He walked in to find the village had turned to the VC. He fired blindly at everything that walked before he was struck down by enemy bullets. On the ground, he put one of his grenades in his mouth and pulled the pin.
That was a very condensed log of the first RPG session my original group has had in 3 years. This session marked the first time extensive twitting took place in the table during the game. At first I was upset about this, but the more I think about it, the more fond I’ve come to be about it. Rafa’s, @rafamejia on twitter, kept the world informed about out progress through his updates. He shared with every the experiences his character, Lou B. Riel, had during the suicide mission. Through his updates, he may had gotten someone, somewhere, to ask himself, “what’s Recon” or “What’s an RPG.” Unknowingly he may have turned on someone to this hobby of ours. Too much brain power isn’t required to enjoy Recon, so I think his twitting didn’t get in the way of his involvement as a player. I think it added to the laidback, pickup game feel our group has attached to Recon.

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