I recently ran the 1980s Judge Dredd scenario Slaughter Margin as part of a (very) long weekend of gaming. It ran over three sessions and this is a writeup as the play was experienced by the players. It contains plenty of spoilers but also has elements which were heavily changed. We used the Godlike superhero rpg mechanics, with one psi judge and one muscle judge – Judge Dregg and Judge Keg. There was a duel theme of 80s music and nuclear war, with the two linked together in ways which was intended to tip off the players to what was going on.
Session one, prog one: It’s Cruftz for you, disgraced judges
The two PCs have just returned from a six month suspension for leniency, having unwisely chosen not to arrest supersurfer Chopper whilst he was engaged in dangerous sporting activity. By way of punishment their first patrol is guarding a robodog show being held in the Vox Museum of the 1980s (on the 124-127th floor of Andy Macluskey Block). They are greeted by the animatronic curator: “Hi, I’m Craig the Bassist from Dros, an early innovator in the leading art movement of the late 20th Century, Boy Bands.” Playlist: Sigue Sigue Sputnik ‘Love Missile F1-11
The judges start checking permits, starting with minor celebrity Otto Sump who is hoping to win ugliest dog category. As the competition begins, a overwhelming sonic attack screams through the judges’ earpieces, deafening Keg before he can pull off his helmet. Two of the smaller dogs start to go crazy and one rips out the throat of his owner. The two judges take them down with well-aimed shots before one of the megahounds joins the fray. The crowd scatters before Dregg disables it with a shot to the right front leg and back left leg – its a megahound roundandround!
Prog two: One last job for an aging mobster
Chaos is still generally ensuing when an explosion from the floor below rocks them. Hold on, the sonic attack seems to have knocked out all alarms in the vicinity and what’s under the museum – a bank you say! Keg uses his Reckless power to leap to the pedway below, followed by the more sedate Dregg.
The bank below has a smoking hole where its vault used to be and a getaway vehicle outside. What’s this on the floor – a banana skin. That can only mean the earlier mention of Joe Bananas planning a heist has come to pass (playlist “The Banana Splits theme’ by punk band The Dickies). As Keg takes up a position, an ape in a baggy Italian suit carrying two tommyguns emerges – it’s Mikey ‘Bubbles’ Jackson, Joe’s idiot nephew. He sprays the immediate area with bullets with no discernible effect before Kegg drops a stumgas grenade on him and Dregg roars in on his Lawmaster. Uncle Joe stumbles out: “I’m too old for this kinda swing – take me to the isocubes, judges!”
All a little easy – and they are are made suspicious by Joe’s explanation that he was turned on to the heist by an anonymous tipoff (“dey said there was enough credits here to keep a monkey in bananas for life…”) who told him that if he hit the bank at exactly the given time, there would be no alarm. Suspecting that the real heist is upstairs, Dregg roars back up to the Vox Museum and is warned by Craig the Bassist that there are intruders on the top floor (the one dedicated to the Cold War – playlist: The Scorpions’ “Winds of Change”).
Prog three: ‘They’ve killed Ronnie!”
Creeping up the stairs, Dregg peeks round the corner and sees that half a dozen men in elaborate samurai costumes and Kabuki masks are in the process of exiting through a hole cut in the glass dome of the roof – sky sleds hover outside. (playlist: “Battle without Honor or Humanity” by Hotei from Kill Bill soundtrack). An animatronic Margaret Thatcher is wandering the floor aimlessly, shouting: “They’ve killed Ronnie. They’ve killed Ronnie.” An animatronic Ronald Reagan lies headless against a replica of the Berlin Wall, tendered to by a concerned Gorbachev.
Amongst the samurai is a man in a business suit carrying a case – whatever has been stolen is clearly in it and he becomes the focus of the judges’ fire as Keg joins Dregg. at the top of the stairs. Rounds are exchanged and a couple more hidden assailants attempts to engage in hand to hand combat with light-katanas. The guy with the case is mortally wounded but the case is taken by one of the robbers and although the judges manage to damage their skysleds, most of the robbers escape. The wounded man crawls to the edge of the hole cut in the glass dome, shouts “Fat Man is coming and we will all become death!” and jumps.