SLICK THAMES cyberpunk roleplaying: powered by INTO THE ODD

This was the second time I’ve run my reskinned version of INTO THE ODD set in my cyberpunk London setting. You can find the reskin here: feel free to use and share it. I was using my plundered memory palace technique to run the location, so we were able to comfortably play this on a small table in a café. The two players were punks: you might want to listen to this as you read.

Beneath the smog-clouded skies of London, a brace of punks right out of a Roald Dahl book were tasked with breaking into an abandoned office to steal local network control from the corps. Violet Bloodbath was the brains of the operation – some of which were almost visible beath her exposed wetwork; Sid Despicable was the meat and weapons – not the most dexterous of folk, but his metallic gills did more than glint in the sodium glare of the steetlights.

The pair started off casing the joint: scouting out the fence & determining that though the security cameras were on, they were few and their coverage was scant. Realising that the fence wasn’t alarmed and had been broken through in points, Sid & Violet evaded a territorial family of foxes and snuck into the compound. Sid threw his hat over the camera covering the door and the two got into the building.

Knowing that they were searching for three of the server nodes and the general locations of each, the pair decided to begin on the right-hand wing of the building and ascend the tower.

Sid & Violet were careful not to draw too much attention to themselves and kept a keen eye out for any security measures, but let their guard dip when they ran into another pair of punks rooting through an old conference room: one with a greasy mop of hair and a vast one with a huge metal arm. Neither set knew each other, and an uneasy address soon boiled into a paranoid firefight – though when Violet dropped and the smaller, grubbier of their opponents did too, the larger one called off the fight.

Violet and the other punk were both brought back round and the two introduced themselves as Nigel & Gout. These two revealed they were working for a different gangleader, seeking the schematics of a corp boathouse, and when Sid suggested that they might be able to find the data on one of the server nodes all of the punks grouped up.

Nigel & Gout shared some of their knowledge: there were some other punks somewhere in the building looking to break things up a little, and while there weren’t any obvious guards in the building they did see a terrifying silver lady stroll up to the locked gates to the compound and leap directly over them.

They also revealed the location of one of the nodes. They’d spotted it up on the top floor, but it was surrounded by dangerous terrain: sundered desks and sparking cables. The punks all carried up some of the larger, flatter items from the conference room and created a bridge across the wreckage to safely get at the first node. In their carrying, they spotted a pair of oblivious goths: a tall man with long black hair and a long black coat and a small woman in tight leathers.

Deciding that it was worth aiming for the node on the other side of the building, Sid & Violet returned to the first floor and followed the corridor round past multitude offices and cubicles alike. They tried to sneak past the goths who were leaning against the stairwell, but the goths fled as soon as they were spotted.

Eventually finding a door marked “Chase Profit: Head of Marketing” and stopping to listen to the voices inside, Sid accidentally knocked over some sundry clutter and the voices stopped. After a tense moment without attack, the group decided to leave them alone. However, when they turned the corner they realised that a motion sensitive alarm blocked their way – luckily not a model with inbuilt sentry guns. Deciding that this probably wasn’t the best route, they turned back and ran straight into the voices behind the door. The punks levelled weapons at the two corps: Chase himself (having been heard to mention it was his old office) immediately shot hands into the air, but the girl behind him with a Firefly shirt and a shotgun was less obedient. A bullet from Violet and a heavy backpalm from Gout was enough to knock her out and she was tied up in the room while Chase was taken hostage.

Planning on using Chase’s codes to disable the alarm, the group turned the corner as the alarm went off – a pair of foxes rooted to the spot at the noise, then bounded at the punks. They quickly fell under a blaze of flamethrowers, but were soon followed around the corner by the goths: the woman calling out “My pets!” She flexed razorthin blades from beneath her nails, while the man pulled out a vast whip. Nigel took a heavy whip-strike to the face and was knocked out, but then the goths were rapidly taken down. Chase, who had been panic-striken through all of this, finally came out of his shell and was able to shut down the alarm and sent the message to the remote security team that it was just some foxes.

The punks continued to follow Chase’s directions to the next node, running across two corporate bouncers who happily turned over their pistols when they realised they’d not win against two flamethrowers and a shotgun. Nigel was tasked with holding them in a room while the rest of the punks secured the node.

It turned out to be very easy to find and access, though Gout became jumpy nearing the end of the process. He let on that he could hear the distant sound of metal skin and the group pulled back before waiting to find out if it was the silver lady. Crossing back past Nigel and the bouncers, the men were released and the group fell back to a staffroom Chase had pointed out earlier.

Behind them was their first glance of the silver lady – her body from the chin down completely covered in chrome, shaved head over a beautiful face. But she was just as terrifying: a heavy clap crushed the first bouncer’s face, and as he fell, she removed his gaudy knuckleduster and took the other bouncer’s head off in a single punch. Not wanting to face her head on, Sid tossed his EMP grenade in her direction. Her eyes flashed with rage, but her arms shorted out and hung loosely at her sides.

The punks fell back and made secure the staffroom but an onslaught never came.

After Chase had calmed himself with synthetic coffee that smelled more of energy drink than anything else, he revealed that his company had dealt in the past with the silver lady: she was an expert data-thief. With the punks realising that the final node was just beneath them, they left the staffroom.

The final node was an elaborate and overcomplex server, safe behind bulletproof glass and a magnetic lock. As Chase was opening up the lock, the silver lady made a reappearance: her left arm moving jerkily, her right still hanging loosely beside her. As she advanced steadily, Sid made an empassioned speech about how she was welcome to the data: they just wanted the wires. Once she was happy that they weren’t going to keep any of it themselves, she agreed and Violet gave her access to the node.

There was a brief moment where Chase went for his gun as she was downloading the data onto a stack in her arm, but Gout’s metal fist soon put a stop to that.

Data in hand, the silver lady left with barely any conversation. But at least the party left with their mission accomplished and their skulls intact.

The game took around two and a half hours in total – with relatively little prep beyond deciding on the map I’d use and drawing up a random encounter table to toggle onto INTO THE ODD’s Luck rolls. We only needed one full set of dice and the character sheets fit comfortably onto index cards each.

INTO THE ODD was great for having the game run simply & smoothly: it especially showcased the brutality of the genre in that nobody seemed to be able to take more than a few hits unless their nerve held out very well.

I’m going to look into slightly developing the starter packages – possibly having a different set depending on which affiliation the players choose – but I’m very keen to run this again. Great success.

If you give it a go, let me know how you find it.

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SLICK THAMES cyberpunk roleplaying: powered by INTO THE ODD

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