Red Markets Beta: The Brutalists episode 6

rm6The Brutalists have been hired to transport a prisoner for a trial, a trail that will almost certainly end in her execution. To ease their consciences, they have agreed to investigate her case and save her. In order to do that, they must cross the line into the Recession. It is heavily guarded and evidence of her innocence is not guaranteed to still exist. Even worse, what profit is there in this mission?

Liked it? Get exclusive bonus episodes on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!


  1. The meek are amazing.

  2. oh man I’d heard you guys mention Black Math before and somehow I’d imagined they’d be hardcore cynics the minus tattoo and blank stare delivery were so good

    so the reason I don’t like most zombie fiction is that it’s so often depicted as “the dead rose, it happened for no reason, nobody cares what it means?” I think one of the several explicit reasons I like Red Markets is that it seems to borrow from the best moments of cosmic horror in that it drips implications without giving the sense that any questions should be answered/have answers. I absolutely loved the phrase a couple eps ago “the virus is undead, too,” and I love how fucking WEIRD the vector/casualty distinction makes it all seem. in particular it gets to me how it’d have to’ve been during the Crash, where suddenly people are going infectiously berserk and that’s hellonearth#1, and a day or two later when you’ve tried to come to terms with this being a containable emergency you may or may not live through ASDFDW THE DEAD ARE SHAMBLING THE EARTH. as a poverty metaphor, I think that works great. you have the crisis moment where you can’t write a check, and then you have the slow steady sick feeling of realizing this is just how your life is gonna be now, and it may never get better.

    and the fact that people in-setting are inventing these new “totally not a cult” cults over the Collapse underscores the “something theoretically explicable that will nonetheless never be explained is happening here” fact. the description of the Meek in episode one in particular, “if humans weren’t around to agitate them they’d just stand around staring into the sun,” really got to me. it’s now headcanon if not actual canon to me that casualties stare into the sun and do nothing when humans aren’t around. THAT’S WEIRD HORROR, FOLKS. something is happening, there’s clearly a reason for it, but I have -no access to that reason and never will.-

    ALLTHATSAID I once again felt the pacing was a bit weird here and I may just need to get over that; Red Markets seems to be a game where inevitably the most exciting part might be in the middle, and really there’s nothing wrong with that. narrative build is a habit, not a responsibility.

    also, I wanna see an aberrant! another “something deeply fucked up is going on here and I’ll never really know what it is” indicator. as if a conservation of energy-violating virus weren’t that already. (is anyone using a treadmill with casualties on it to generate electricity or is that too goofy, I bet Caleb could make it horrific)

  3. I need five minutes of Caleb’s teamster impression in every subsequent episode of Red Markets now.

    On a more serious note, the legs in this job were all top notch. Gladiatorial arena was inspired, lion attack aftermath was “looking over the shoulder” tense (“They’re STILL HERE”) and the holy war between the Meek and Black Math has guaranteed that my first actual Red Markets character will probably be from the latter.

  4. Seems like initiative takes a while to figure out.

  5. Mr. Stokes, two questions:

    1) Are you deliberately channeling The American from the Bugle podcast? 🙂

    2) Suppose someone manages to make back into safe territory without a paper trail that would legitimate their belonging, what happens when they get caught? Summary execution? Sentenced to a labour camp for the rest of their lives? Deportation?

  6. I must have missed something somewhere, because I remember Caleb describing the Meek in the first session, but I don’t remember him ever describing those guys with the minus tattoos on their faces, which is a shame because what I gathered from this makes them sound awesome in a omnicidal hyper-fatalist way.
    @Urielfallen I suspect the answer to 2 is either summary execution or the labour camps. The government in the recession can’t really kick a guy back into the Loss, for no other reason than it would reinforce the idea that people actually do survive and even thrive out there.

  7. The government probably (Rightly) assumes that anyone in the Recession without papers five years after the border closed is not actually a citizen.

    I mean if you think about it immigration literally does not exist in the Recession. You’re either a natural-born citizen or someone who broke quarantine; there’s no green cards or tourist visas. That’s probably why getting papers is such a major milestone in retirement–the forgers have to introduce you into what is essentially a closed system, and that’s probably not easy or cheap.

  8. @Atlas

    I think they got mentioned in the setting episode of Game Designers Workshop.

    They basically worship the concept of Kill/Death Ratio.

  9. This was a good session. Lots of exciting scenes, showing off the strengths of the Red Markets setting. I wish I’d known about Black Math during the beta; I might have tried to play one, or maybe play somebody who’d definitely end up that way if they filled up on mental damage.

    But have the Brutalists agreed to limit their acquisition of salable goods just to help the playtest go more smoothly? Because it seems to me that they left a whole ton of valuable loot just lying around. I’m thinking of all the things I would have tried to steal during this job: The gold jewelry in the lion poop (that just washes right off! Come on!). The extra motors for the zip line thing under the bridge. Every single piece of weaponry and equipment from the soldiers at the outpost, down to their socks and undies. All the computer equipment in the bunker. And at the end, they even had a vehicle to haul it all away in. Heck, play their cards right, and they could have made more in loot than they did for the contract. Takers gonna take, right?

  10. It seems to me more that they’re not grabbing lots of stuff because they can’t guarantee the stability of the haul mechanic to get them home safely. High risk, high reward, yeah, but they had already gained over 100 bounty, and were probably afraid to risk it for a very unsure payoff.

  11. Eh, I’m not a huge fan of the “shove every dagger, sword, and goblin club into the sack to sell in shop” mentality in tabletop games. I fully admit to being guilty of that when I’m playing Fallout or Dragon Age, but something about it just breaks immersion for me at the table so that’s usually the one time I bother to enforce encumbrance rules.

    That, and once I remind them that those guns will likely only sell for a single Bounty each they look at the Haul they have available and decide “nah”.

  12. Well, if there’s ever a place where taking every possible piece of valuable loot is justified, it would be in a poverty simulator, right? I mean, leave your car on the street in Tegucigalpa and see how long the wheels stay on it.

    And I don’t know why the guns would sell for 1 bounty each. They cost 6 to buy, after all. It’s not like they’re still being manufactured somewhere; it’s a post-productive economy out there. Scavenging would be one of the most important forms of economic activity.

  13. Amazing session. The legs of this job were amazing. The Meek are incredibly fucking freaky.

  14. Author

    I think my motivation to not loot the soldiers was:

    1. Maybe they won’t tell anyone because it makes them look bad. Hard to do if their gear is stolen.

    2. Selling gear stolen from the army is a good way to get on a DHQS hit list.

  15. The guns sell for 6 when they’re presumably from a supplier who maintains, stores, and guarantees their quality (As much as one can in en enclave) rather than a mercenary who says “I found this on the ground, I’m thinking 60% market price? The bloodstain washes out.” :V

  16. Welcome back Jason!

  17. Just started the session and HOLY SHIT is it good to hear Jason again, I didn’t realize how much I missed him. After all the love Thad was getting on the FB page I was hoping I’d get an excuse to point out how much I appreciated another player that has left an empty chair at the table.

    This session was a good reminder of what Jason always added to the group: a great sense of humor and often a unique perspective on situations as well as an unambiguous moral compass (not that it was always followed but that is neither here nor there). His character arc in Heroes of New Arcadia was my favorite and his unwavering support for his friends (I remember his ardent defense of Aaron a couple years ago) is a touching testament to the social aspects of gaming, podcasts, and human interaction in general.

    I salute you sir and hope to hear from you again (and also that you didn’t die because I only listened to 20 minutes).

  18. Ross, those reasons make sense. I did mention in my beta-test feedback that I think loot is likely to have a huge effect on the rate of wealth accumulation for takers, especially for more tactically-minded dungeon-crawly groups (it definitely was a big issue for our beta campaign). So I’ll shut up about it and let Caleb design his own game. 🙂

  19. Thanks for the love, guys. It’s really great to know I’ve been missed. Hopefully, I can get in a few games this summer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *