Red Markets Beta: The Brutalists episode 14

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Kowloon has saved enough to retire but that isn’t enough. He wants more than a grinding job that barely supports him and his sister. He wants power and security and for that he needs a big score. The Brutalists trust him enough to let him lead them on one last job, but will this be their undoing? A cache of pre-Crash technology sits in a convention center, just waiting to be claimed, but there’s a reason why no one has seized it yet. Guarded by government soldiers? Hordes of the undead? Something worse? No matter what stands between them and the score, the Brutalists will face it head on in the last session of this campaign.

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  1. Grognard tax? I was totally caught off guard. You evil evil GM you Caleb.

  2. Latent brand energy bars, with black veins of protein … maybe not.

    They worship Mr. JOLS as a god of death.

    The hardest part was listening to Aaron not running away.

    Also I think I much prefer the tontine rules though having the revolving Mr. JOLS and team members would be a good way to run a game with people coming and going.

  3. the progression of the campaign itself is better when some players can be doing way better than others, but the conclusion is definitely more coherent when everybody’s goin out together. I guess the assumption, from Fallen Flag cameos, is that the rest eventually got their way, too?

  4. As Tom mentions early on in session with the whole “season renewal” remark, while Fallen Flag felt like a long but great film feature or miniseries, Brutalist definitely felt more like a serialized or episodic TV series.

    I don’t say this negatively, as I love both these campaigns, but to me there’s a noticeable pacing difference between the two, which makes sense since one came after and with refined rules and tighter goal with Tontine.

    It shows that Red Markets has several types of pacing in play to offer as a campaign.

  5. Fallen Flag definitely felt to me like it was taking place over days or a few weeks versus Brutalists’ months.

  6. Really liked this episode. Part of it was the narrative tension of an end of a story arc. The other emergent tension was Aaron and half the loot separated from the main party.

    God this would make a great TV episode, in particular the ending with the tank and everything that flowed afterwards.

    Everyone got a chance to shine. Latent P90X. Silver tongued Mauve. IT. Kowloon. Nice job.

    Good dungeon crawl and death trap(s) design, Caleb.

  7. Again, I sit down turn on the episode, expecting a Stokesian deathtrap bloodbath, but in the end I get a fantastic finale full of stirring roleplay and smart solutions to big problems. And some satisfying moments, particularly with E and porkpie, and the Insane aberrant setpiece with a tank thrown in.

    This was awesome. Great job Kowloon. Great job Caleb. Great job RPPR.

  8. I keep re-listening to the tunnel ride again, and again…and again.

  9. I think some of the difference is time. The Brutalists came out over seven months, Fallen Flag came out more or less in one big gulp.

  10. What an amazing finale. I, for one, would most assuredly have had to pay the Grognard Tax. And then the insight about the selection bias in Kratos’s Yelp reviews…that occurred to me just about 2 minutes before the players noticed it.

    For all the storygame quality RP that Red Markets facilitates, I still think the game is at its best when it’s a white-knuckle dungeon crawl. All that suspense, knowing you’re walking into a giant Stokesian Deathtrap Complex, but knowing that it’s full of the precious loot…

    And the rules make that loot so much more meaningful, too. I loved that idea of having a player describe their dream life, and then assigning a price to each element of their dream. Brilliant stuff. And having a whole bunch of possible objectives seems like the best way to run a Mr. JOLS. I’ll certainly use it myself.

    Great campaign. If I wasn’t already 100% sold on Red Markets, I would be now.

  11. Wonderful finale. I did not expect that the Brutalists would do as well as they did. Definitely a combination of good planning, justified caution, and a bit of luck.

    I continue to love the biologically phrased justifications for the aberrants. This one was one of my favorites as it both made sense in the DHQS backstory and was exceptionally dangerous to the characters for the finale.

    As a sidenote, I grew up about 15 minutes away from Joliet. While I don’t know the city well, I really enjoyed the research that you put into it, Caleb – Route 80, the prison, and the inescapable Blues Brothers reference.

    I think you did pronounce Des Plaines river the French way rather than the Illinois way (Dez Plaines) – but that’s just a matter of giving our state too much credit.

  12. I will say two things. Every time I listen to ANY RPPR adventure in a campaign or one shot I am always impressed by the gap between expectations and the uncovered reality. What I mean is the difference between “Go to convention center grab stuff” and “The convention center is crawling with goop and soldiers” twist. It has inspired me to strive to achieve that in my games.

    Second, I was immediately on the selection bias in the Yelp reviews. In this whole setting, a positive Yelp review just means you survived whatever it was, non-survivors don’t write Yelp reviews. Maybe I’m just too cynical.

    Kratos (or his equivalent) needs to appear in my Red Markets game too. Though I won’t do as good a job as Caleb.

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