Deathmatch Island One-Shot Play Report

I just got done running a one-shot for two friends from my regular group. One Competitor was Dorian “Star” Beauregard (Doctor, Social game, Competitor #14) and the other was Ramon “Chicken” Salvatore (Club Promoter, Social game, Competitor #37). The uniform choice was plum-colored T-shirt and sweatpants.

The session began (as per the one-shot rules) with the Trust-Building Questionnaire and the Competitors having flashbacks while on the boat, en route to Deathmatch Island. Dorian was asked, “What’s the most high-pressure situation you’ve been in? How did you cope with that?” He recalled a time when he was working in the ER on a stressful day and saw someone wheeled in on a stretcher, riddled with bullet holes. He remembered not having the mental capacity to deal with the situation at hand, and so he hid, away from the nurses and technicians that needed his help. As he sat and recollected about this moment, he realized a strange coincidence that the dying person on the stretcher was wearing the same plum-colored uniform that he found himself in now. Dorian then asked Ramon a question from the list: “What is an event in the past that made you who you are?” Ramon thought of the days of his youth, when his mother would take him to the nightclub and make him sit outside while she went in and worked. One night, she jokingly told him to try to get more people to go into the club, which he did, and found that he enjoyed the work very much. A particular detail began to burn in his mind though, as he realized that one man that he saw night after night walking into the club wore a purple suit with a strange silver lapel pin, which he recognized now as the logo of Deathmatch Island, the same as the one he saw at the top of the paper in his hands.

Making their way into the Industrial Port, the competitors found it mostly abandoned. They pulled their boat up to the dock and began to approach a large, rusted cargo ship, when they heard the voices of what sounded like two arguing teenagers inside. Not knowing what to expect, Dorian and Ramon decided to avoid any direct contact with other competitors and instead opted to sneak through the area, find any crates they could, and move on. In an attempt to distract and disorient the teenagers from their whereabouts, Dorian activated the car alarm of a truck nearby, but as he tried to make a break for it, found his feet tangled in some nearby rope, and fell on the ground, right next to the now beeping and honking truck. The two teenagers emerged from the ship, seeing him immediately, and running towards him with some apparent hostile intent. Ramon managed to find two unopened crates nearby and, grabbing one of them, kicked the other open onto the ground where a stash of hand grenades rolled into a nearby fire on the docks and blew the teenagers into the water. Hoisting Dorian onto his feet, the two competitors ran to a nearby warehouse with their new crate of goods. Finding a handful of melee weapons, a shotgun, and an assault rifle, they also found, in the depths of the warehouse, a battered pickup truck with a dead competitor in the driver’s seat and the keys still in the ignition. Not eager to stay in their current location for much longer, the two competitors made their way inland, toward The House.

Pulling up to the house, Dorian jumped out and opened the garage door and was pleased to find it empty. Ramon pulled the truck in, and they closed the garage door to keep the truck hidden for now. Making their way through the moldy, dilapidated house, the competitors found their way to the kitchen where they managed to stock up on supplies and recover some fatigue. The respite was short-lived however, as they soon heard voices approaching: Aggressive, male voices, yelling at each other about the location of a pickup truck and being certain that they heard it in this direction. Eager to test out their new acquisitions, Dorian and Ramon picked up their new firearms and pointed them out the windows of the house. Ramon shot first, crouching behind a bay window, firing through an entire clip of ammunition with his assault rifle, hitting two competitors as well as spraying up quite a bit of dirt and grass in the ground in front of them. Three of the men ran for the garage, opening the garage door and running inside only to find Dorian kicking open the door from the house, and unloading shotgun shell after shotgun shell into their faces. Once the dust cleared, the tube television in the corner of the living room of the house blinked on. A strange jingle played over a logo of Deathmatch Island before cutting to a video feed of a man dressed in a plum T-shirt and Sweatpants wearing a rubber mask of none other than Dorian Beauregard. “Welcome to Deathmatch Island, competitors #14 and #37,” said the masked figure in a distorted voice. “We have a particular interest in seeing your team succeed. We want to see you win! And remember, winners Play to Win…” And with that, the TV clicked off.

The competitors decided they didn’t want to spend any more time in the creepy, moldy house with the pristine kitchen, so they got back into their truck and drove North, toward the Compound. Finding it chained off with razor wire with an unwelcoming atmosphere, they thought better of trying to break into any restricted areas and turned Northeast to the Stadium. Here, they found themselves entering the mostly abandoned field, coming face to face with a smaller group of Wildcards, led by Calisto, an outgoing, eccentric personality, eager to show Dorian and Ramon who owns the competition on Deathmatch Island. As the terminal in the center of the field clicked on, Calisto’s smile soon faded as they looked back and forth from the Host on the screen to Dorian’s face, clearly seeing a striking resemblance between the two. They said nothing about it though, and kept their discomfort to themself. The Host explained the rules for Capture the Flag, and the game was soon afoot. Unfortunately for Dorian and Ramon, neither of their approaches were fruitful as Dorian tried and failed to immediately swing at one of the competitors with a hatchet and missed, and Ramon ran out of breath before even crossing the whole field. Calisto soon returned with the flag, frustrated with the lack of competition. They grabbed the lockbox and trophy and left with their teammates.

Now that they had a little more time to lick their wounds, Dorian and Ramon went through another Trust Building exercise to get to know each other better. Ramon asked Dorian, “What is your greatest strength? Tell me about a time you relied on this strength.” Dorian recalled a time in medical school when finals were looming and he had his nose in his textbooks for days on end. He recalled the dedication he had to achieving his goals of passing his medical boards despite any distractions, including hearing about a family member passing away right at that time. Now that he thinks about it, it seemed strange how he was notified about his family member’s death–In the form of a letter, with a now-familiar logo of Deathmatch Island at the top of the letterhead. Now it was Ramon’s turn to answer, and Dorian asked him, “Tell me about a moment of great disappointment in your life.” Ramon recalled a time when he expected the ownership of a club to get passed to him, and how hard he had been working and how long he had been expecting this moment. But when the moment came, the club owners, the family, even his mother, were all sitting across the table from him, telling him how they chose to instead give ownership of the club to his cousin, and not him. He could see their faces all so clearly now, and what struck him in this moment was how he didn’t piece together that one of the men sitting across from him in the table was the same man as the regular that would go to the club when he was a child, wearing the same purple suit and silver lapel pin of the Deathmatch Island logo. Even more surprising was how he could clearly remember the man looking to be the same age as when he himself was a child. How could that be?

Just then, a klaxon began sounding, and a distorted voice called over the speakers of the stadium and began repeating over and over: “Phase one is now complete. Will all competitors please follow the instructions in your uniform pocket.” Dorian and Ramon shook hands, wished each other luck, and parted ways. While making their way to their respective waiting rooms, they each saw strange occurrences: Ramon saw a competitor running from an orange van that pulled up, shot the competitor in cold blood, and drove off, leaving the body on the ground. Ramon quickly ran up and found in the pocket of the dead competitor a strange jar containing a fluorescent red slug. Dorian also saw a similar sequence, but instead of a van chasing a competitor, it was a floating orange sphere, about three meters wide, that slowly descended upon a screaming competitor. The competitor’s screams became more muffled and quiet until there was nothing but silence, and the sphere slowly floated away. Making his way to where this all took place, Dorian found a satchel that the competitor had been carrying with nothing inside but a lone keycard. Dorian and Ramon both made their way into their respective waiting rooms: One built into a tree, and one built into a boulder in the side of a hill. Strange, that these man-made rooms and buildings should look so realistic. Are all the trees and boulders on this island man-made? The competitors sat in their leather chairs and contemplated the nature of all recent events, both sharing similar thoughts to the tune of: “Wtf”

It was here that both competitors made a crucial decision about their goals and next steps: The Stand Off. (Quick out-of-character break to say, this was the best moment of the entire night. Both players chose Break the Game, and reading the results one at a time resulted in a huge cheer after the second “Break the Game” vote was read. There were a lot of exclamations like, “Oh my God, I thought for sure you were gonna backstab me!!” We cheer at good dice rolls, but not like this. I WISH there were more RPGs that have moments like this baked into the rules. Truly inspired design. Hats off.)

Reconnecting back at the stadium, Dorian and Ramon both found the center of the stadium to not be barren anymore, but filled with an open-air concrete maze. How is that possible? Weren’t we just in those waiting rooms for like 20 minutes? How long were we sitting in those chairs? Those questions would have to wait as they saw two more groups of competitors enter the arena: The Wildcards from earlier as well as the teenage Influencers from the Industrial Port. Looking up to the top of the stadium, a viewing box with tinted windows and shadowy figures behind the glass could be seen. The buzzer rang announcing the start of the Deathmatch and Dorian and Ramon quickly made their way to the edge of the stadium, finding a side door with a slot for a keycard. Ramon was hindered by other competitors who had him cornered for a short time, leaving him unable to make any significant strides, and despite Dorian providing what looked to be a restricted keycard, it did not work in the card slot and was destroyed in the process.

Nearby, a Deathmatch terminal blinked to life and showed the Host again, wearing the rubber Dorian Beauregard mask, and he spoke directly to the two competitors. “We hoped it wouldn’t come to this,” said the masked figure. “We held you both in high regard. Competitor #14, we still see promise in what you have to offer, and would like to speak with you further.” The door suddenly swung open and Dorian felt a twinge in his head with a desire to comply and do as directed. What was causing this? “And you, Competitor #37,” the figure continued, “You still have a chance to Play to Win, but perhaps you need further motivation.” The screen cut to a new live feed, one of Ramon’s mother, tied and gagged, with a gun to her head. Two threats faced the competitors: Would Dorian fight the programming in his head and deny the recruitment efforts of Production? Would Ramon find a way to stop the murder of his kidnapped mother? The two competitors steeled themselves and rushed through the door, intent on getting a leg up on this twisted game. Ramon took one last look at the terminal and witnessed the death of his mother, whom he now swore to avenge.

Rushing through the stairways and halls of the stadium, the two competitors made their way toward the viewing box, fighting armed guards and Dorian, fighting the programming still stinging in his brain. Finding a team of guards just outside the door of their destination, Ramon took the fluorescent slug out of the jar and threw it at the wall next to the guards where it stuck and began to swell and pulse a brighter and brighter light until a small red explosion engulfed the guards in a smoking, sizzling red slime, melting their bodies and killing them instantly.

Kicking the final door in, Dorian and Ramon found themselves face to face with the host, still wearing the rubber Dorian mask, surrounded by a team of armed guards, holding back leaping and barking guard dogs. The Host addressed Dorian and Ramon, saying, “You both showed such promise…” He began to take off the rubber mask and exposed his face, a face familiar to both contestants: Standing before them was the strange man from Ramon’s flashbacks as a child and later as a man… who was also the same man that Dorian saw riddled with bullet holes on the stretcher the night he hid from his responsibilities as a doctor. “…but not everyone can be worth the investment.” And with that, he raised his hand and clicked a key fob in his right hand and the guard dogs lunged forward. Dorian saw only one end in sight for himself and threw himself on the guards, feeling the hot barrels of the assault rifles plunging into his stomach as bullets ripped through his body. Ramon saw his moment of opportunity and, dodging the fangs of guard dogs and the whistle of bullets through the air, jumped at the Host. Plunging a knife into the Host’s eyesocket, Ramon felt the body go limp beneath him as clip after clip of ammunition was unloaded into his skull as he met his end…

Dorain awoke to a ringing in his ears and bright fluorescent lights in his eyes. Where am I? How long have I been out? Am I still alive? He felt himself lying on his back and as the images in his eyes became clearer, he saw himself surrounded by ER technicians, getting wheeled through a hospital. They were all shouting, looking for an available doctor. As he turned his head and looked down a hallway, he saw someone behaving strangely… a doctor, nervously hiding from the commotion… a doctor with a familiar face… the face of Dorian Beauregard.


Holy smokes, what an ending! Great write-up, thank for taking the time Erik, love to see it. I have a million questions but that can wait for the playtest survey :wink: