Grand List of Consequences and Devil's Bargains

This is as much me trying to learn the system as anything, so please feel free to correct me at any point. I’ve posted a few worldbuilding-type topics here and there, but didn’t go all the way in suggesting uses for them, so I’m doing that now. Please add your own.

The Devil’s Bargain

Described on p. 21 of the PDF I have. This includes: heat or harm; sacrificing stuff; betrayal, offense, or anger; countdown clocks.

Bargains in space (escape, pursuit, or combat):

  1. Buckle Up: just as you do the thing, the ship must accelerate or maneuver. Lose your balance or get thrown around, and (take harm, lose your grip on something important, accidentally discharge a weapon or activate a ship’s system).
  2. Delta-V: do ships have Star Trek-style reactionless thrusters? If not, fuel matters. You can dodge the attack or make the escape, but an “out of gas” or “overheat” clock starts up or ticks down. The clock goes away once you stop somewhere and refuel (or siphon some from an enemy ship or unguarded depot), but if it goes all the way down, the ship is a sitting duck.
  3. Flame Out: a ship’s system has been pushed too far and goes out in a flashy way. Roll on this table if you’re not sure what failed. But whoever was standing nearby gets hurt.
  4. No Pressure: the ship’s hull is punctured. To keep integrity, a door needs to be closed until it can be sealed. Decide who was on the wrong side of it, and if they know you were the one who dogged it shut.

Bargains while landed (space stations, planets, etc.):

  1. Don’t Cross the Teamsters: the spacer code isn’t universal but it’s widespread. You can get refueled, re-armed, repaired, re-whatevered, but you didn’t ask nicely. Anger the appropriate faction, or whatever you wanted to get done costs extra Cred.
  2. Sea Legs: either artificial gravity or normal planetary gravity is rough on you and causes you to hurt yourself or lose an item. Or your obvious G-experience gives you an edge on less acclimated enemies, but marks you as out of place and makes you suspicious (mark a clock or add heat).
  3. Ooh Me Accent’s Slipping: the way you talk or gesture is marks you as being “out of town”. You get your message across, but whether from a blown cover or just general xenophobia, someone nearby is dropping a dime on you with the local fuzz. Mark a clock or add heat. Example scene from “Inglourious Basterds” here.
  4. Small World: the world of successful criminals and spies isn’t that big. You recognize (or are recognized by) someone from a previous job. You get an edge on the situation because you know them. However, it went well for them last time (and now they’ll hassle you to get in on your current caper), or not so well (and they’ll tell their current boss what they remember about you). See the movie “Ronin” for plenty of examples.

Some bargains come with a choice for the PC. “The Expanse” features an attack on a space station, during which the mechanic must fix a vital system. The ship must maneuver while he’s in a delicate position. Does the pilot make the maneuver, hurting him, or wait on it, risking pissing off the faction whose troops are accompanying the attack?


Moar shenanigans.

  • Burn Notice: something urgent has come up. It might be a distress call e.g. the one the Canterbury responds to in “The Expanse”, or a medical crisis e.g. the TAD: Acceleration topic where Kinnison was injured and is being rushed back to a hospital. The ship must do some high-G maneuvering, during which someone is injured by acceleration or accident.
  • Shell Game: we made arrangements to deliver or conceal an item beforehand, like having a gun planted on the scene by a fixer (e.g. “The Godfather” where Michael kills the Turk and his corrupt cop accomplice with a planted gun). But the fixer who arranged it double-crossed us, so we can intimidate people with the gun, but it’s (not loaded/out of power/otherwise unable to fire).
  • Even I Get Boarded Sometimes: fancy flying is required, but we have fragile cargo. Someone needs to go down there and secure it (and get injured in the process?), or we risk damage to the item (and lose it, or anger the buyer).
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New Vice: Shenanigans. This is more of a game setting than a character decision - if the GM and players agree, then every PC has this vice. Shenanigans is the sort of thing you’d see in shows like “Avatar: the Last Airbender”, “Voltron: Legendary Defender”, “The Dragon Prince”, and other stuff made by those guys - characters who take time out from seriousness to be silly or playful.

Indulging in shenanigans means you tromp around town trying to buy your own cow, or go out of your way to experience weird food, or play pranks on your fellow crewmates (the more serious they are, the more elaborate the prank). You can indulge in shenanigans if running gags (“my cabbages!”) or comedic asides were a regular part of the job you just made it out of.

Overindulging in shenanigans (in-game) means the comedy took a serious turn. The prank hurt someone’s feelings, or the cow belongs to the bounty hunter chasing the PCs, or whatever. The “Lost” outcome is unlikely (unless someone wound up injured during the proceedings), but others are possible.

Comedy is subjective, and too much joking or badly timed comic asides can spoil a serious tone. Decide as a group when enough is enough, or work out how to signal that you’d like to get back to more dramatic business.

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