My Steampunk Heist One-Shot on the GM Showcase Podcast

This week on the Campaign Trail I’m excited to let everyone know about my Steampunk Heist D&D 5th editon one-shot I ran titled ‘One Last Job‘. The 5 part series was released earlier this week on November 13th, 2016 by the GM Showcase podcast. The series includes, an short introduction, 3 adventure episodes and a conclusion interview. It’s really exciting to hear the finished product with editing, sound effects and music.

Earlier this year, DM Mitch of the Dungeon Master’s Block asked me to be a guest GM to run a one-shot heist for a new show they were working on. I set the game in an alternative 19th century Earth, where steampunk tech and magic created a much different 19th century than the one from our world. We decided on using Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition to run the game with some unique mechanics to allow for some twists and turns in the story. Please take a listen and subscribe to all the great Dungeon Master’s Block shows.

Here are some notes for people who enjoyed the podcast and want to know more or looking for materials to run something similar for their gaming group.

IF YOU HAVEN’T LISTENED TO THE PODCAST SERIES YET, THERE ARE SOME MINOR SPOILERS BELOW

The World

  • it’s the mid 19th century in a world like ours, but whose history has been altered by the earlier arrival of steam technology mixed with the return of magic and monsters
  • as the empires of Europe continue to slice up the world map among themselves, each generation has had its own war in some far off colony
  • no empire is stronger than Queen Victoria’s Great Britannic Union (GBU)
  • great advances have been made in transportation, medicine and science benefiting those who can afford it
  • but all is not good in the GBU
  • workers of the world rise up on both sides of the atlantic asking for better wages and conditions
  • protests and riots rage out of control as Liberalism rises again after the failed American and French Revolutions
  • our game today finds us in the former dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now in the GBU since the end of the Dutch Anglo Trade War nearly 100 years ago

NEW AMSTERDAM

  • became a thriving mercantile market and entry point for dutch goods moving into the Americas
  • place where people from many nations migrated to call home, especially demi-humans such as gnomes
  • even after British takeover it has been left be, a place where fortunes rise and fall every day in both the stock market and blackmarket
  • its mills and factories are nearly as numerous as those found in London
 

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Prep Die and Twist Points

Here are the notes I used to explain the mechanics to the players.

  • PREP DIE, SKILL CHECKS & ADVANTAGE
    • the challenges you know about and prepare for – you’ll have advantage on skill checks when they come up in game
    • EACH HAVE 1 PREP DIE – additional 1d8 you can apply to one task
    • failed checks won’t kill the job, but can add time to a task or other potential complications
  • TWIST POINTS
    • I will start the game with a token which represents one twist point
    • So if you had a perfect map of a bank and were going to come in through the basement of the building next door, I could use a twist point to tell you that you find out your plans couldn’t tell you that the wall cracked 10 years ago and was fixed and reinforced, making it tough to dig quietly in one night through to the bank next door
    • you could use a twist point to remind me that you leased the building next door and already knew that, handing me 2500bp in exchange for the 12 month lease and all the time you need.
    • once I use the token to throw a twist at you, I pass the token to you and can use it to throw a complication at me, but that will give the token back to me and so on, but each of us can only use a token once per scene
THE CREW
  • in the past your crew has pulled off numerous jobs
  • You like it best in the underbelly of the Empire, as far away from the watchful eye of those who run it as possible
  • a few months ago you had one job go very, very bad for Otto Von Cogstein, a vile gangster from New Amsterdam
  • you all went into hiding
    • Paddy, the rock gnome artificer (Mitch Connelly @DM_Mitch)
    • Dorg, the half-orc bounty hunter (Michael Long @MrLong78)
    • Glint, the rock gnome engineer (Rohit Sodhia @GamersPlane)
    • William Cooper, the mysterious man of many talents (Caleb Rudd)

NPCs

  • Otto van Cogstein, the “client” and vile gangster
  • Arnott, the human thug
  • Carmena, the half-elf thug
  • Thraddoid “Thaddy” Coalforged, the dwarf pilot
  • Cuthbert Kettell, the human guard captain on the train
  • Nathanial Oweton, the human guard and weak link

The Train

This is the map we used to plan and run the heist.

train

The Weapons and Equipment

steampunk-cover

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Allow your players to gear up with 14 pages of custom backgrounds, equipment and feats created just for their steampunk adventurers.

Product Information

This product will allow you to provide your Steampunk Adventurers with:

  • 2 new steampunk themed backgrounds:
    • Fortune Teller
    • Guild Artisan: Apothecary
  • A fully detailed list of over 80 steampunk weapons, armor, adventuring gear and tools
  • 3 new steampunk flavored feats:
    • Firearms Expert
    • Nimble
    • Tinkerer

These materials were designed to be used with 5th edition rules and can be played directly into your 5th edition favorite campaign.

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Shawn Ellsworth

Shawn is an author and co-founder of Tribality.com. He first got into tabletop RPGs through ninjas and then by playing a Kender in Dragonlance. Years later, he can be found running games in the Nentir Vale and his own Seas of Vodari campaign setting.