[The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

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[The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby James Mullen » 8:46am on 04 Aug 16

Episode 1

This was the first part of our short online campaign for The 'Hood, featuring:
  • Penny the Tourist: aka The Golden Ticket, a loaded Greek student who is keeping it secret that she has dropped out of her sculpture course to live with common people in the East End of London.
  • Mac the Barkeep: the landlord of Paddy's Pub, which supposedly employs Penny but is also the front of a number of criminal endeavours, including drug deals and holding stolen goods.
  • Deeks the Thief: a likely lad who grew up on these streets with Mac, his skills have been of use to his friends in getting them out of trouble, but he mostly gets by through selling on the goods he nicks.
  • Gandalf the Feelgood: an Alan Moore-ish drug dealer who experiments with his own concoctions in a lab under the railway arches, he counts one of Penny's squatmates and Deeks' locally notorious mother among his best customers.

The episode opens at around 11am on a Tuesday morning in Paddy's Pub, where an upmarket customer called Trevor negotiates how many beers & packets of nuts he has to buy from Mac before he can get the wifi password; Penny has missed her morning shift at the bar, but her squatmate Skidmark is in a drugged stupor and in danger of missing his signing-on appointment at the job centre. Penny calls Gandalf for advice about what to do when someone is not breathing and despite an initial answer of "Well, in this country we bury them," she eventually sticks her fingers down Skidmark's throat and clears his airway, very messily.

Elsewhere, Deeks is looking for a customer to offload some motherboards onto when he gets a call from Crazy Sid, an elderly pyromaniac who nearly blew him up six months ago, but they let bygones be bygones and meet at Paddy's Pub to thrash out a deal that Sid wants to put on the table; Gandalf's crucial experiment on Harvey the rabbit (pay attention to that, it'll be important in a later episode...) is further interrupted by loud brass band music, as a result of which he meets the musical repairman who has rented the arch next door, only to find out that all the arches are being closed down and the tenants evicted to make way for a gentrification program. With his new, unnamed friend's support, Gandalf decides to take action and marches down to confront the Borough Council.

This is about the time that Penny emerges from the Job Centre, having accidentally gotten an emergency payment in her name whilst inadvertently dobbing in all her squatmates; Gandalf wants that money, as Skidmark still owes him a score, so he turns around and marches Penny back to the squat to sort things out. The answer to his question, "Which house is yours?" turns out to be, "The one with black smoke billowing out of the window."

Back at Paddy's Pub, Deeks meets Crazy Sid, a mildly-demeanoured old man with an elaborate turn of phrase, who wants Deeks to hide his classic 1975 Ford Princess from the tax authorities for a week or two; at the same time, Deeks helps Mac with their data-skimming scam and the black-box behind the bar whirrs away as it gains access to Trevor's laptop.

Elsewhere, Penny dashes into her squat to save her belongings... and immediately collapses due to smoke inhalation; resigned to being involved, Gandalf makes a deal with a hoodie to bring Penny out of the squat in return for some 'produce' he happens to have on him. They then make haste to the bar before the authorities can start nosing around, where Deeks has just finished tying up the loose ends of his motherboard deal with Marxy, a mover in the Russian Mafia (but they had Chas & Dave playing loudly on the jukebox and he might not have heard exactly what Marxy said...) Mac also makes a deal with Penny about her working hours and with Deeks about stashing Crazy Sid's car in his garage, but Gandalf is impervious to Mac's persuasive powers and sweeps Crazy Sid into the back room for a private discussion about 'combustibles.'

Feeling too ill to work today, Penny agrees with Deeks that a drive in the Ford Princess will help clear her head; Deeks loads the back seat up with motherboards and drives them both to meet Marxy; Gandalf agrees to trick Deeks' mum into meeting Crazy Sid to re-ignite a long extinguished romance, in return for which Crazy Sid will provide him with a small device to be used in Gandalf's campaign against the Borough Council's gentrification plans.

Driving helps Penny to recover from her stressful morning, but Deeks notices a motorbike is following the Princess, so he tries to lose them at the next lights... and gets t-boned by another vehicle! Not only is the Princess wrecked, but the motherboards get bashed up as well! Choosing discretion over the better part of valour, Deeks sneaks away into the back-streets with Penny, leaving the scene of the crime but no evidence linking him to it.

Satisfied that the day has been productive after all, Gandalf returns to the railway arches and finds a petition signed by many local businesses and their customers protesting the gentrification plans, with an encouraging note from his new friend the musical repairman.

Finally, back at Paddy's Pub, Trevor leaves and Mac goes to check whether the black box has finished skimming Trevor's personal details: what he finds instead is a record of a video conference call and links to a page on the Metropolitan Police site relating to Operation Ocelot...

To Be Continued!
Blood & Water is available now on DriveThru: "An awesome, awesome game of mundane nonsense" - Neil Gow

Keep up with new nano-games and other games in development at the Groundhoggoth blog.
James Mullen has received thanks from the following for this post:
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Re: [The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby Scott Dorward » 10:24am on 04 Aug 16

This has been great fun so far. Really looking forward to the next game!
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Re: [The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby jonnygray » 10:45am on 04 Aug 16

I feel I'd actually be a better criminal in real life :lol:
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Re: [The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby Elina » 11:23am on 04 Aug 16

Penny's new words of the week!
- "Sign-on" (verb) - To go to the Job Centre Plus, fill in some forms and get money in return.
- "Job Centre Plus" (name) [Note: not "Job Centre Plush"] - A place that looks ugly where people with bad perms work. But they are very nice and they give you money if you ask. Something like daddy but with less emotional blackmail.
- "Shifts" (noun) - ???? Something that Mac says a lot.
- Strawberry daiquiri (but pronounced and tasting differently than the normal daiquiri) - A cocktail that claims to be strawberry but Mac makes it without strawberries. Deconstructed daiquiri.
- "It'll put some pep in your step." (phrase) - It will make you feel chilled and not at all worried that your clothes are on fire and Skidmark may be trapped in a burning building.
- "Treacle" (noun) - Term of endearment, like "honey". More common because I guess treacle is cheaper than honey?
Will travel for beer and games!
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Re: [The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby James Mullen » 12:19pm on 04 Aug 16

Penny should totally be working on children's TV.
Blood & Water is available now on DriveThru: "An awesome, awesome game of mundane nonsense" - Neil Gow

Keep up with new nano-games and other games in development at the Groundhoggoth blog.
James Mullen has received thanks from the following for this post:
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Re: [The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby James Mullen » 9:51am on 11 Aug 16

Episode 2

Fleeing the wreckage of the Princess, Deeks & Penny seek shelter with Dirty Syd, a doctor who was struck off the register due to her dodgy personal relationship with some of her patients; despite her intimate history with Deeks, she's also just the person to help Penny get over her smoke-inhalation-related health problems. They are warmly welcomed into her home, part of the modernisation project brought about by Penny's father's investments in this end of the 'hood; here, Penny is proscribed some strong medicine and night on the doctor's sofa, while Deeks is taken away for some TLC by the doc...

Over at Paddy's Pub, the regular Tuesday night crowd are in, with Gandalf open for business at his usual table and veteran gangster Bricktop boring everyone at the bar with his tales of how things were in the East End back in the 1960s; Mac questions Bricktop about Operation Ocelot as he pours him a pint, so Bricktop tells him to go and shakedown Bent Bob, a dodgy copper on the take who's been getting a bit cheeky and needs putting back in his place. Gandalf tries to get Bricktop to sign his petition to save the railway arches, but the gangster makes his feelings for the drug-dealer known to everyone in the bar, cowing them into looking away when Gandalf tries to get their signatures. In an act of petty revenge that will have deep & lasting consequences, Gandalf persuades Mac to slip a triple-dose of his latest pharmaceutical experiment into Bricktop's next pint; after downing this in one, Bricktop unsteadily makes a stagger for the gent's toilet.

Penny & Deeks are both having rough nights that leave them feeling sick & reamed out, but for very different reasons; all Penny gets for breakfast is kicked out, so she heads out of the 'hood to ask her dad for money, while Deeks is virtually imprisoned by Dirty Syd for the morning. Arriving at her dad's place in Kensington, Penny evades his probing questions about her college course, except to ask for a yellow 1975 Ford Princess which she needs for an 'art project'; incredibly he agrees, but warns her that she'd better have something to show for it this time and she won't get any more from him until she demonstrates a little independence.

Desperate to escape Dirty Syd's ever more sadistic & vengeful clutches (I never said there was a good history between them), Deeks first dobs in Gandalf as the one who wrecked her sideline in male potency medication, then tries to make a deal with her over some LSD-laced stickers he's trying to shift; she takes this as his apology for past indiscretions, so he gets no dough out of it and his name is on the line with the people she's providing the drugs to, but at least he is free to leave at last.

Oh, let's not forget Mac & Gandalf's eventful night, starting around the time the last punters straggle out of the door of the pub: Gandalf discovers a little problem in the toilets, namely the dead body of former gangster Bricktop with his trousers around his ankles. Hastily formulating a plan to get rid of this fly in their ointment, they spend the rest of the night transferring chemicals from Gandalf's lock-up into Mac's van: your acid bath will be ready soon, Mr. Bricktop...

Returning to the bar in the morning with several barrels full of strong acid, they are interrupted by the presence of a police constable who wants to question Mac about allegations of after-hours drinking in his bar, so he swiftly diverts her to the cafe across the road, leaving a slightly stoned Gandalf to unload the barrels; as he does so, Penny arrives at work on time for the first time ever and sets to doing what Mac has shown her to do: changing the barrels! She finds some fresh new ones just inside the back door of the pub...

Under pressure from the police constable and sinking fast, with Gandalf out of sight and unable to provide a distraction, Mac plays his last card and says he will only speak to PC Robbins, also known as Bent Bob, so another copper is summoned to the scene. Whilst this occurs, Gandalf sees his odd neighbour from the railway arches busking in the street and is reminded of the petition, which he left in the bar last night, so he pops back in to get it and finds Penny there; she helps him find the petition in the trash, but it turns out not to be quite what he expected: every signature so far is the same and they all say Elwood P. Dowd ( I said the rabbit was important!) Shaken and questioning his own state of mind, Penny tries to help by pouring him a drink; fortunately, the acid in the barrels is so strong that is eats through the pipes & taps in a moment, so Gandalf is saved, but the bar isn't. As Gandalf looks outside for his neighbor, who it strikes him now bears an uncanny resemblance to James Stewart, Penny tries to clean up the bar the only way she knows how: with bleach! Moments later, she succumbs to chlorine inhalation (can she go for the hat-trick next session?)

In the cafe, Bent Bob arrives to take a statement from Mac, but the tables are turned when the barkeep drops Bricktop's name into the conversation: reluctantly, the dodgy copper agrees to make the after-hours drinking charges go away, but stands his ground on betraying Operation Ocelot; when Mac pushes too far on this, Bob snaps and begins to place Mac under arrest. Fortunately Deeks is back on the scene and steals Mac's van, using it to create a distraction by side-swiping Bent Bob's patrol car! With the police in hot pursuit, Mac is free for now and assists Penny in recovering, while Gandalf walks away from the mess to get his own business together, discovering that Skidmark is now holed up with another of his users, who also happens to be Deeks' mum...

To Be Concluded!
Blood & Water is available now on DriveThru: "An awesome, awesome game of mundane nonsense" - Neil Gow

Keep up with new nano-games and other games in development at the Groundhoggoth blog.
James Mullen has received thanks from the following for this post:
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Re: [The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby jonnygray » 10:01am on 11 Aug 16

Awesome.
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Re: [The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby James Mullen » 11:45am on 09 Sep 16

Episode 3

Over the course of the weekend...

Penny crashed at Gandalf's drug lab, recovering from the 'beer fumes' she was exposed to; on Sunday morning, one of her father's lackeys arrives with the car she got him to buy, plus instructions that she is to act as hostess for an event he is holding tonight at the Olympos Mall.

Mac has had the builders in to fix the pub up (and slipped Bricktop's body out in the process); on Sunday morning, DC Trevor comes by to offer him the inside scoop on Operation Ocelot in return for a 10% share in the bar's illegal business. An exchange of cash seals the deal and Mac learns that Penny's father is the target of an investigation into international money laundering!

Gandalf tries self-medicating to get over his delusions, but also finds time to hunt down his customers; on Sunday morning, he tries to set the Princess up in the empty space next to his lab and discovers it is packed with explosives ready to go off...

Deeks is done lying low by Sunday morning and heads back to his gaff to pick up the LSD he promised to Dirty Syd; he meets Penny there as she has brought the replacement car for him and together they go into his flat.

After a brief and nasty encounter with a pissed off neighbour, Deeks manages to avoid any further grief and picks up his stash (not noticing that it has been thoroughly searched through and a simple tracking device has been planted in it) but when he tells Penny that he's taking it to Dirty Syd, she grows jealous. Their argument is interrupted by a huge explosion that demolishes the Railway Arches! Discretion being the better part of valour, they get in the car and drive, but Penny turns on her charm and Deeks agrees to take the drugs to Penny's mother Tina, who might be able to use them.

Currently, Tina is using Mac in quite a different way: it turns out this is how Penny got her job in the bar despite being useless at it, as Mac is having an affair with the older woman! He presents her with the Operation Ocelot information on the USB stick DC Trevor gave him, but when she tries to send the data on to her accountant, it triggers a trojan and unbeknownst to them, Penny's father is able to spy on further proceedings via Tina's webcam.

A dazed Gandalf leaves the scene of destruction at the Railway Arches and heads to the pub; when he finds that Mac has left Posh Charlie in charge, he helps himself to the content of the pub's cleaning cupboard and improvises a bomb with the help of the package that Crazy Sid gave him before. Intent on revenge against the pyromaniac, he steps out into the street, which has become a disaster zone, and tries to steal an ambulance, but Crazy Sid is right behind him and invites him to tea with himself and the Princess. It's an invitation Gandalf reluctantly accepts...

When Penny and Deeks arrive at Tina's house, they interrupt Mac and Tina; they are all then further interrupted by the para-militia that Penny's father employs to get things done; Penny stalls some of them at the front door, while Mac and Tina escape via the back-fence and Deeks hides in the attic. Penny is taken to her father's, who is keen to insure that she doesn't back out of her responsibilities to act as hostess at his function tonight and she somewhat impresses him with her fashion sense and business acumen; Mac and Tina head to the pub, which is now being used as a triage centre for those who require minimal care, and come up with a plan to get into the party at the Olympos Mall this evening by having Mac run the karaoke!

Deeks waits too long in the attic and just when he thinks the coast is clear, Bent Bob turns up with a couple of his mates: almost literally falling into their hands, he is driven back to the 'hood to turn over whoever is behind the Railway Arch bombings or else go down for it himself. While this is happening, Gandalf is having an unpleasant afternoon with Crazy Sid, who seems more unhinged than ever, but Gandalf turns the table by lacing the tea with his own custom hallucinogens: they both get wasted on it, but it's Crazy Sid who ends up naked in the street ranting about fire. Gandalf also gets out, but now accompanied by the figure of Elwwod P. Dowd, who points out what an eyesore the Olympos Mall is...

As Bent Bob drives towards Crazy Sid's house, they are witness to the pyro being tackled by some paramedics and Bob's mates get out to investiagte; Deeks sees Gandalf stealing the ambulance and gets away from Bent Bob with a scare story about all the drugs that blew up with Gandalf's lab and who knows what bad stuff is raining down on them all now? Out of Bob's custody, he gets a lift from Gandalf and they take the ambulance to Dirty Syd's; after finally delivering the LSD to her they sample it a little, after which gate-crashing the Olympos Mall party in an ambulance seems like a good idea.

That evening at the mall, as Penny is fulfilling her obligation to act as hostess, she is shocked to see Mac there and then dismayed to see Dirty Syd arrive with Deeks and Gandalf (after leaving the ambulance across the access ramp in the underground car-park, with the explosive package rigged to blow). When Penny's father comes out to address everyone, Mac has a special surprise for him: all the information about his dirty deal with the borough council to use the re-gentrification project as a front for money-laundering! As it flashes up on the karaoke monitors, Penny's dad confront Mac, but the tables are turned when Mac draws a gun (thanks to his recently acquired Tooled Up move) and shoots at one of the para-militia before they can react, killing him stone dead. Aghast, Penny defends her father by Disarming one of the the militia (a trick she's picked up from Deeks) and using the pistol to shoot at Mac, hitting him in the leg. Now Burned and Down, it's looking all over for Mac... and then the Mall explodes.

As a series of explosions demolish one wing of the building and fire bursts into the party area, destroying the table of entrees, Gandalf and Elwood P. Dowd put their arms across each others shoulders and walk into the beautiful destruction they have wrought; the karaoke stage collapses under Mac and he plunges down onto the concrete below; luckily Penny knows another way out, so she and Deeks head to the roof, where a fire escape will get them down to street level. Deeks has seen Penny in a new light now: she is truly her father's daughter, so as he walks away from her in the car-park, his back to her, Penny interprets this as rejection and shoots him in the shoulder. As she passes by him on her way to her new life, she drops the gun on him and never looks back...

THE END!

Big thanks to Elina, Jez, Jonny and Scott, especially for putting up with the tech issues and my fumbling forward, discovering best practices for running online games; I think it went down pretty well, but I learned a lot for next time.
Blood & Water is available now on DriveThru: "An awesome, awesome game of mundane nonsense" - Neil Gow

Keep up with new nano-games and other games in development at the Groundhoggoth blog.
James Mullen has received thanks from the following for this post:
Elina, jonnygray, Scott Dorward
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Re: [The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby jonnygray » 12:14pm on 09 Sep 16

Thanks guys! The whole thing was a great experience and I'd be interested in seeing what happens to the surviving characters at a later date. :D
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Re: [The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby Elina » 3:35pm on 09 Sep 16

Many thanks James for running it! I cannot believe you pulled together a coherent plot out of all the disjointed elements. It felt like a magic trick! I really enjoyed the game and many thanks to everyone for the awesome characters!

Penny will take daddy's learjet and escape somewhere nice and warm for a while, until the whole misunderstanding with the alleged money irregularities and the spare bodies lying around are clarified by a horde of really expensive lawyers and backhand bribes. After that, she will be back in full swing, hoping one day to take over the Livanos empire and lead it to renewed glory!

Elina
Will travel for beer and games!
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Re: [The 'Hood] Start It Somewhere

Postby jonnygray » 4:00pm on 09 Sep 16

Deeks is just hoping he still has all his limbs after the Russians pick him up. :o
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