|Mechanics – Heat
The Urban Adventure engine has a mechanic called Heat – how much attention your character has drawn to themselves; it increases when you use violence against unacceptable targets, and sometimes when you use magic in a noticeable to solve problems. If you have too much heat at the end of the adventure, you may be forced to flee the town unless you take immediate steps to deal with the issue.
The default Heat seems to be geared towards not angering the authorities, but I think it would be more interesting if you could build up heat with different factions separately, with those scores then feeding into a general Community Heat rating.
I’m also going to add a Cool-off mechanic; for every month the character spends not bothering a Faction or Community their heat may reduce by one – Roll 1d10, and if it’s equal to or greater than the Heat rating you’re checking, the heat goes down by one.
Factional Heat can also be used to see if a specific member of a faction has heard of the character – roll 1d10, and if it’s equal to or less than the Heat rating, the NPC you’re dealing with has heard of you.
Notoriety is a more permanent form of Heat; if you’ve ever had Heat from a community, you have a Notoriety of 1; anytime your heat with a community reaches 10, you gain another point. Notoriety fades a lot slower than Heat; 1 point potentially per six months.
Your notoriety rating acts as a minimum level of Heat for purposes of being recognised or losing Heat. It may also act as a modifier on Reaction rolls, both positive and negative.
Kasumi has been fighting Red Spider thugs – the community as whole doesn’t care, but the Spiders certainly do, so she currently has
Heat (Red Spiders): 2
Notoriety (Red Spiders): 1
After failing to discover any clues to the location of the missing physician (though she did discover that they’ve earned the ire of a sorcerer), Kasumi needs to look for more clues, so another Investigation scene is rolled.
Ambush a dangerous Actor who holds a clue. Face a fight rather than a check.
Kasumi could follow the maze of tunnels leading out of the Red Spider storeroom/safehouse, but with still no idea where to go she could be wandering under the city for a while. She decides to follow up the other lead she got from Jiro – where to find one of the guys who took part in the kidnapping.
I roll up a Public Well on the Public Locations table. The NPC will be there ‘guarding’ the well and ‘keeping it safe’ from members of a rival gang. In actuality lounging around at a tea shop and haphazardly charging people coming to draw water.
Rolling against Heat (RS) to see if Kasumi is recognised, the result is no; she’s able to enter the square and spot her target at the tea shop without being made herself.
Kasumi orders herself a drink and watches her target, Shiro the Ogre. He’s a large and well-built, his arms proudly displaying tattoos declaring his allegiance to the Red Spiders. The blueish tint of his skin gives away his ancestry – Shiro is one of the Shou-blooded. He doesn’t seem concerned with concealing the fact; there’s no angle there. Kasumi keeps ordering tea until Shiro and his entourage decide they’ve watched the well enough and get up to leave.
Kasumi does her best to follow them stealthily, but it’s not really her strong suit (Result: 8). She follows Shiro down an alleyway, only to realise that he’s now on his own. Moments later, the rest of his people appear behind her, blocking any escape route.
Refusing to be cowed, Kasumi challenges, “The doctor, Yanmei, where did you take her?”
“Can’t see any reason to tell you, bitch” is Shiro’s only response as he signals his men to attack, and draws his sword.
Shiro: HD 3, AC 6, Attack +3/1d10, Morale 10
Thugs (4): HD 1, AC 8, Attack +1/1d6, Morale 8
Ignoring the thugs, Kasumi lunges towards Shiro, who deftly sidesteps her charge, but his own swing is equally wild. One single thug, more aggressive than the rest, manages to deal a glancing blow to Kasumi.
Another flurry of blows from both sides leads to one of the Thugs being downed, and Kasumi bleeding from another cut.
Is there anything in the alley way that Kasumi can use to her advantage?
A swift couple of strikes leaves a couple more of the Thugs bleeding on the floor, whilst the last nervously slashes at Kasumi with a wicked looking knife. Shiro takes advantage of the opening and lands a solid blow (2hp, leaving Kasumi on 3)
The last thug falls, slain by a spear through his throat, and Kasumi just manages to duck beneath what should have been a killing blow (20 to hit, 0 damage).
Kasumi and Shiro square off against each other. “Just tell me what I want to know, you don’t have to die,” says Kasumi as she leaps forward and finally lands a blow. (1 HD)
His intended retort of “You’d have to hit me to kill me” cut short by actually being hit, Shiro pauses for a moment to consider his options (succeeded at a morale check), then swings wildly, hitting nothing but air.
Kasumi presses the advantage and deals another wound, “Just tell me where you took her.” To his surprise, Shiro finds himself being forced backwards by the now relentless assault, and is unable to return the blow. (Failed morale check)
“Fine.” He backs off, and stands with his sword ready but no longer threatening.
“Took ‘er through the tunnels to Boss Nobu’s manor, but you ain’t getting in.”
None of the Action scenes seem to segue nicely from this spot, so I’m going to roll up a Conflict scene to cover how Kasumi gets into the manor.
Victory points, Kasumi: 4
Victory points, Anatagonist: 0
Heat (Red Spiders): 3
Notoriety (Red Spiders): 1