SLA Industries – Recap 1

This post was initially intended for release back in November of 2019, but life took a turn. At this point, the group had undertaken two BPNs (paid duty assignments) and gotten a taste of just how bleak the World of Progress is, and how self-serving its people are. We have now met for play 6 times, splitting focus between their BPNs and their personal lives, but this post will just cover the first 4 sessions and the first two BPNs.

The lifeblood of the new SLA Operative

Since starting the campaign, Hope is Hell – Misspelled, the players have expanded the cadre of characters to include one alternate/support character each. Using troupe play is not mandated by the game, but three factors made me set the campaign up that way.

  • I prefer it for learning new settings
  • Adding depth without increased group size
  • Minimizing the effect of lethality

What are the primary characters like?

  • Sociopathic Human Bladesman
  • Arrogant Ebon Blue Thermal specialist
  • Narcissistic Human Con-man Sniper

What are the alternate characters like?

  • Snarky Ebon Combat Medic
  • Nearly-mute Human Gunner
  • Brutal Brain Waster counter-terrorist
  • Greedy Human Demolitionist

With this number of sessions behind us, and the familiarity with the rules their choice of BPNs has afforded them, the players have now reached a point where I will no longer be prompting them with options and possible outcomes. Now we are playing SLA Industries, albeit at a novice level.

What has happened?

Session One: The campaign began after graduation from the Academy and scenes that helped shape a growing understanding of the characters’ place in the World of Progress. They learned of the challenges of Mort City and began, dimly, to sense the very real need for allies in the long climb toward greater comfort and security. They took on a basic, low-paying, crowd control BPN as their first operation and acquitted themselves fairly well. They were deeply disconcerted, however, by an intense and confusing debriefing by a highly-placed Ebon operative who demonstrated the power to invade their minds.

That BPN had them on the periphery of a huge media event which earned them precious seconds of coverage on Third Eye News. Two famed but aging Contract Killers had been pitted against each other six months earlier in a premium showdown that had to be stopped due to inordinate damage to SLA property. The day of their rematch had now arrived, and several teams of operatives were in place to reduce the chance of unwanted collateral damage and increase the chance of welcome collateral damage. The as-yet-unnamed and unknown team deployed three of its members and a squad of Shivers to sweep the street level of a site it was almost certain the rematch might begin in. They cleared the area of illicit recorders and suspicious characters just in time to deal with an unruly crowd that was suddenly deprived of the chance to watch their idols battle live as the match took itself deep into lower levels.

Sometimes success can be the very thing which threatens us with failure.

Session Two: One character, the sociopathic bladesman, discovered that his offspring (Disadvantage: dependent) had not only skipped school to witness the event and watch his father at work, he had made and then shared a video of the rematch with his classmates. Knowing that this infraction was tantamount to theft, the tired operative arranged to incapacitate his boy with poison, and procure the list of classmates with the video. Then, with the help of the arrogant Ebon, he pushed an old friend into providing them with the means to destroy his boy’s classroom – during class. His hope being that no one would be the wiser about the bootleg video or discover who had detonated the bomb.

Meanwhile, the charismatic and dirt-averse (Disadvantage: phobia) face of the group found himself having to hoof it back to his rundown, shared, tenement lodgings where he found his unreliable roommate neck deep in trouble with a local, well-equipped, gang. They were looking for money they claimed the roommate owed and since seeing the Face on the news, figured now would be a great time to come and collect. The rooms had already been searched and the roommate was pleading innocence, covered in food, blood, and his own excrement. The Face, it appeared would be next up for ‘interrogation.’ The gang, however, offered the Face an out, kill the roommate. He took the deal.

Once left on his own in the wrecked lodgings, the Face dug deeper into the walls and furniture to find whatever it was the gang had come looking for, while the corpse cooled in the front room. Unlike them, however, he found it – a stash of cash, some fake-looking SLA promo literature, and a data cache. Like the psychotic bladesman, he also called on the aid of the arrogant Ebon to help him. Together, they dug into the data cache, only to learn it was for eyes far above their Clearance Level and if their deduction about the source of the fake promo lit was true, it had been purloined from SLA by a rival company. Was the roommate an agent of an enemy corp? Was the Face a hero, or one more link in a chain of killings and coverups? Would he report it…? How much of it….?

As for the Arrogant Ebon? Once he finally made it home after risking life and security to assist his squad mates, he found himself reflecting on his situation as he looked out the large windows of his comfortable suite as the sky lightened marginally on another rainy day. Obviously, he was an important part of their lives. He was the glue keeping the squad together, believe it or not. Why then, was he here alone?

Sometimes it is our high hopes which bring us low.

Session Three: The next day was heralded with the arrival of insistent Red BPNs calling on all available teams to help in search efforts for explosive devices believed to have been planted by a rival corporation. With little rest, this was still of interest until the district detailed in the BPN was noticed to be the same one that held the school that two of the group had rigged with explosives hours before. After a brief argument with the Face over the need for cash (he suddenly was less interested in financial reward than he had been the day before) versus the benefits of exposure, the squad decided to meet up at the nearest BPN Hall to select something more appropriate for their talents.

That plan did not go off without a hitch, however. Our resident psychopath had to make a stop on the way to see if it would still be possible to detonate the devices he and the Ebon had planted – and if so to detonate if his son’s classmates were present.

The Ebon meanwhile, found himself prevented from getting to his taxi stand by SLA Operatives working a protection detail for the Ebon who had debriefed them after their first BPN. They took him to her luxurious limousine and as they drove she once again asked all sorts of uncomfortable questions. This experience was no less terrifying than the first, and worse, she dropped him off to get a cab within sight of the school – not all where he had been going.

He arrived in time to see not just the one classroom, but the entire school erupt in a sequence of timed and coordinated detonations which brought it all down neatly as if it had been scheduled for demolition. He did not see his squad mate hanging back, just within range of the detonator, triggering the explosion then watching in disbelief through the tinted visor of his motorcycle helmet as the unexpected carnage came in response to his thumb press on the trigger.

While this was playing out, the Face managed to secure some good opportunities and the group opted for a recovery mission in the sewers. A squad they knew in the Academy had gotten wiped out in the tunnels and the Firearms Regulatory Service was paying well to recover the heavy weapons the lost group had been carrying. The BPN offered the weapons as a bonus to any team that could recover them and keep them out of civilian hands. What it could not offer was much information about what resistance the team had met, or how far from their initial way point they had gotten before dying.

To handle the operation the squad paid out to reload and equip with what they hoped would be appropriate munitions. They also brought in their full complement of members and adjunct members, having everyone rendezvous, along with a small detachment of Shivers, at the last known location of the squad. This, to their surprise, was the deep hole that had collapsed under the Contract Killer Rematch of their first BPN. Although they knew that they had to go down into the sewers, they were not in a great rush to do so and while waiting for everyone to assemble, the three who had been here the day before conducted a quick recon of the area to see if anything had changed.

Session Four: They discovered a traumatically affected (Fear, major psychosis) lone member of the lost squad high up in a sniper perch. He was mostly incoherent, but before he took a fatal dive off the tower where he had been waiting for the team to re-emerge, he revealed that it wasn’t enemy fire that had taken his team down, but something huge that moved under the water and attacked in concert with all electronics being shorted out.

Unnerved, but still needing to pay rent, re-equip, and maybe earn a Security Clearance Level boost, the squad set up its plan with the Shivers and a team of engineers from the Department of Sanitation. The Shivers would set up a command post in the sewers under the gaping maw of the hole up to the surface, the Medic would hold position with them and serve as a comms repeater, while the Face would coordinate team efforts from the surface level where another squad of Shivers was being arranged to deal with the residents and onlookers.

The search was fairly quick and uneventful, and two of the bodies were recovered in short order, but without warning the group was attacked from below. They lost lights, comms, and all electrical devices, and then their very footing uprooted itself and tossed them gasping into the vile ‘waters’ of the sewer.

Although in the end the creature managed to retreat, possibly into the sewage tunnels running under CS1, the group wounded it horribly with no loss of life, but much wear and tear on equipment, armor, and flesh. The group coordinated well tactically, and we got to clash in a life or death struggle in the dark, on uneven footing, with melee weapons, Ebon Blue Thermal powers, and firearms. I was pleased to note that even though the rules were still new, the roleplay as the rounds played out stayed in place.

Once the creature had fled and the squad realized that they had to call off pursuit, they took stock. From a cash standpoint, this operation was a loss. From a respect standpoint, though, the group had definitely been noticed by the Shivers and the director of the FRS was pleased with the speed and thoroughness with which the weapons were recovered and accounted for.

Exhausted, and somewhat troubled by the healing provided by the sarcastic Ebon Medic, the group separated. The Arrogant Ebon taking another cab, the psychopath roaring off on his bike, and the Face…? He was picked up by a certain limousine.

What did they talk about on that ride?

He has no recollection whatsoever.

Stay tuned for more~

2 Responses to “SLA Industries – Recap 1”
  1. What an interesting game. Seen it in the shop (SLA / Mort), but didn’t know what it was about.

    Gameplay reads like Cyberpunk, but without the tech, and twice the grit. Great session recaps!

    • Runeslinger says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting. SLA Industries is quite interesting from a design point of view. It addresses a lot of common complaints that I remember people had (initiative fluctuations, armor being boring, shopping and skill lists being too long, etc. I really enjoy running it and getting so much good feedback from the system for description. The icing on the cake is the setting.

      Hopefully, the pending second edition will be as much fun~

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