In this post, I promised I’d share my actual prep sheet for the game of The ‘Hood that I ran at Revelation. To recap what I did in advance of the con, I knew my players had prebooked so had them pick playbooks on a loose premise of a northern town estate.
When I had that, I read the playbooks properly that they’d picked and bashed out the text below as a rough guide to what I needed to remember on the day. I’d imagine there’s probably enough for somebody else to use, although if it’s your first time I’m not sure if the combination of playbooks makes either the MC or the players’ jobs easier – The Matriarch and The Bastion are both ‘support’-y characters, while The Blur messes around with The Heat mechanic in a way that might make it tricky to pick up.
I should also mention, before sharing the setup below, that the most important piece of prep I did was to get myself in a game of The ‘Hood run by somebody else who knew their stuff – in this case James Mullen, the game’s designer.
The Hood: Lanchester
A piss-poor, former mining town somewhere in the North of England. The dizzy metropolis and bright lights of Sheffield and Leeds yawn off in the distance, but up here it’s pretty much as it’s been since the 1980s… you keep your heads above water, you scratch each other’s backs, you try and keep the cops off your back. It’s a hard knock life.
- Operating out of a greasy spoon.
- Pick 3 NPCs that are part of your crew (your regulars)
- Who is causing the most trouble for you at the moment, and why?
- Can tipp-ex out other PCs heat
- Pick 3 scams that you have been, or are, running to keep ends meet
- Which scam is currently causing you the biggest headache, and why?
- Pick 3 NPCs who are your kids
- Why are they each in trouble?
- Name your partner, plus 2 other NPCs who you are in cahoots with – one from The Bastion, one from The Matriarch
- Which of them has been giving you grief recently, and why?
- Everyone begins with 2 Heat and 3 Experience
- Explain / negotiate how they got this – it’s probably linked to their love letters established previously
- Draw a big street name on a sheet; everyone goes round and adds their home street onto it
- Everyone labels their home on the sheet; The Bastion gets to label his base as well.
- Then add each of these locations inturn:
- Corner shop
- The pub
- The bookies
- The health centre
- The skate park
- Then list any important locations that aren’t there; these become locations outside of the Hood.
- Each location should have an NPC attached to it – these can be the NPCs established previously
Establish The Threat: Thin Rob, a cockney in a stolen suit
He represents a Syndicate – East End gangsters from the big city looking to put the screws on Landchester to get their dues. Him and his two lackeys, Dave Small and Eric the Beast, start moving around the hood.
They figure that they first need to try and get rid of any movers and shakers around the area, so will make the PCs an offer they can’t refuse… a tip off to hold up the corner shop in the next town over, West Ealing. They say the cameras haven’t worked for months, and they don’t clear the tills at the end of every night, so there should be a decent raid money available. For a cut (10%) they’ll let the PCs have the info, gratis, along with their operator, Ivan, who will check the cameras are off.
Naturally they will set up the PCs – the cops will be tipped off as soon as they carry out the raid, botched as it is likely to be.
Following this, they carry out moves as established to move the PCs out and take over the turf of the Hood, as per the rules in the main rulebook:
- Make an offer to go into business (as above, or they start paying off the Bastion to use his greasy spoon to hold their meetings)
- Take down a resident of the Hood (the biggest fish apart from the PCs – make it a beloved NPC first, then one of the Matriach’s kids)
- Threaten to cause pain (as above)
- Operate in the Hood (start selling grass outside the corner shop, meat in the pub, that sort of thing.
- Provide what’s needed, at a price (when the chips are down, they’ll offer to save the PCs, or their loved ones, skins, in return for a leg up, all honest-like in Lanchester).
[…] got a few one-shot advice posts up now – for Dungeon World, The ‘Hood, Fate, Urban Shadows – as well as a piece on general “crunchy system” prep. […]