Red Markets: The Grapevine – Episode 8

As Tiburon reels from the events of Episode 7, a new horror of the Loss presents itself. One thing that we’ve seen in smaller doses is that the loss of Humanity leads to cracks and crumbles in sanity, but we’ve rarely seen the final break. In this episode, we see the effects of that break and the shockwaves it leaves among friends and family, coworkers and colleagues.

That said, we hope that you enjoy the final episode of Grapevine as our team pursues the Tontine. Toy Store!

David’s Notes: Thank you all for listening, and thank you for your kind attention. We all hope that you’ve enjoyed, and we’re going to do something a little different in the wrap-up- please consider this note to be your invitation to ask any questions to Tiburon Unlimited, the Market, or any Grapevine NPC’s (living or dead) and we will answer in the campaign wrap-up episode.

Also, here is the text of Cross’s final letter to Tiburon; we are sharing because it is far too good not to. Click below to read it:

Please keep in mind that 1) this is a game; we are roleplayers playing the role of broken, beaten people. 2) the topics discussed are a truly serious matter; if you find yourself at that ledge, please know that you are loved; dial 1-800-273-8255 rather than follow Cross’s example.

“I’m so sorry for doing this to you, but I have to leave. I joined you thinking that this time would be different, that I could push on long enough to escape this hell. I’ve been running for so long – Carlsbad, Fort Stockton, The Alamo, Waco, Grapevine – it never occurred to me that I’d become what I was running from. A few days ago I put a bullet in a man’s head and I didn’t even blink. Later on he told me his name was Grinder, and before the crash he had a family and they were going to SoCal so that he could accept his dream job. It’s ok, I’m not crazy, Dutch told me so. But it’s really hard talking to him with that hole in his forehead. He still blames me for that. Dumb bastard, didn’t give enough of a damn about himself or his kids to know when to get out of the damn way. Good think Lex is immune, maybe she’ll survive long enough to watch her heart get ripped out of her chest by… some… thing. I don’t know, it was stupid to think anything would change. Life isn’t fair, best you can do is try to tilt the odds in your favor. And now, even if we somehow made it to the end, I’ll still have these ghosts following me and reminding me what it cost. That’s what it comes down to right? How much is it worth? An arm here, a leg there. Prices I was ok with paying because I thought I could make a difference, that determination would win out. That ended when I pulled that trigger. I can no longer be the person Eevee needs to protect her. But I do have a way to get her out of here before it turns her into a monster too. One last score, and this time it isn’t a long shot either, it’s a sure thing. Just have to make one call, and Eevee won’t ever have to look over her shoulder again. She won’t ever have to become a killer. She won’t have to fuck up everything like I did. And maybe God will forgive me for my failures, for the lives I’ve taken, and all the lives I chose not to save.

Don’t follow me, don’t try to stop me. By the time you’ve read this, I’m already gone anyway. Maybe the rest of you can finish the job. Maybe I can help. God knows I’ve committed enough crimes, what’s the worst that one little wager could do? Any bounty that’s left after Eevee is out, I’m giving to Vicki, along with all my personal possessions, to be used by Tiburon as she wills. After all, she believed in me when no one else did, including myself. Call it a bet that you can’t finish the tontine and make it over the wall. If you win, you get to live out your lives in peace and luxury. If you lose, I guess I’ll see you on the other side. Take care of each other, and whatever victory looks like to you, make sure it’s worth the price.


  1. I just got to finish this finally. At first I was going to say, “David, you run something of a boom game overall, giving players those little bonuses or choosing not to enforce ‘one and done’ rolls”, but your game also had the two things I was looking for in a game, so it must all even out in the wash.

    I’d have liked to hear the Mr JOLS creation, but Shaun explained it well enough.

    So on to Mr JOLS itself. I admit cooking oil is a pretty good choice, heck that was made clear back during Fallen Flag how much that stuff is effectively gold. I note that the Brutalists completed their JOLS due to being BAs pretty much, Fallen Flag completed theirs with an emphasis on character traits (Referb and Half mainly), Tiburon U completed theirs by doing what they ended up being noted for, by being willing to be crazier than their competition.

    “I told you boys, crazy beats strong every time.” Hal, Malcolm in the Middle

    I am very glad to see that those molotovs came back to bite em in the ass, not because I wanted to see anyone fail of course, but because of the nature of the job at large, it also added some good drama.

    I’d say though, that bit at the end when Vicki says ‘Throw whatever you got at em’ and then the scene cut inside to the darkness and a molotov fuse being lit, underlighting (was it Desperado’s?) face. That was a perfect movie moment, simply perfect.

    Lastly, thank you for the respect noted above Cross’ letter.

    Kudos to a shorter campaign, when you get back to this later, I was thinking it’d be sort of fun to get some more community interaction involved, perhaps even using 10K lakes, that is if you’re interested. I think it’d be pretty cool to have other players or commenters create some references or legs just for the next game. Heck, the way RM is built, you can practically crowdsource it.

    Good game, Mauve et all. Till next time.

    1. Zero, thank you. I’ve enjoyed your feedback throughout this campaign.

      I’ve tended towards Boom, I know. In part that’s because we had three new players, but also because we’ve had a group of four as opposed to Brutalists 4-and-sometimes-5 or Fallen Flag’s Solid-6. Smaller group means more opportunity, but also higher penalty for failure as we saw in Episode 1.

      We *did* a session with the Mr Jols planning, and out of all the recording flubs the loss of that session hurts the most. We lost the party reaction to the loss of Cross, we lost the job interviews that followed, and we lost that planning session with all the gold therein. Not sure I can forgive myself for that, but we will never lose another if it’s in my power.

      I particularly enjoyed the group’s attempts to outwit and outplan my little sect of crazy cultists, and the lengths they went through to test the defenses for weaknesses. And then the moment they said “Fuck it” and went for absolute insanity; Tiburon will not be out-teamworked OR outcrazied.

      Also, setting the building you are planning to loot on fire before you loot it; not the wisest choice, but this is a game where you make your own consequences. And since the target of the raid is flammable, I set a timer up for the looting. At one point, you can hear Adam asking quietly “What are those dice you’re spinning down?” and that was the Building Explodes And It’s Definitely Your Fault dice.

      Also proud of myself for giving them the chance to see that the trailer was a trap ahead of time- and the party missing it for the corpse of Happy, the dog. This was a party with real heart, and it showed.The moment of the door springing open and Suddenly Grenade/Molotov was the perfect actiony end to a nailbiter of a session.

      I know that anxiety and depression can be a powerful force in our lives, and while my own battles haven’t been as severe as others I do admit to seeing that particular ledge up close several times. My strength is in the vast network of people who let me know I’m loved every single day, and that is definitely a luxury not everyone has access to; I try my level best to hold out a hand to fellow ledge-walkers whenever and wherever I can. While it *is* a huge component of the game (because horror; it’s even in the tagline!) it shouldn’t be a piece of our real life if we can help it. And this was my way of reaching out that hand again.

      The Lifelines forums are up and running, and I need to get these players over there. I would love to see Taker collaboration from different Enclaves. And the few legs I wrote might show up on someone else’s d100 chart; there can’t be just one evil game show.

      This may be the last of Tiburon, but there will always be more Red Markets.

      -The Mauve Hand

  2. Grapevine was an excellent campaign. It was great to hear Shaun Shauning, Greg trying a few new characters, and adding a few new voices to the RPPR cast. David was a fantastic GM. Was this your first on mic? I thought the balance of letting them talk and directing action was great.

    Few questions for the post mortem:

    Can Shaun go into greater detail about Vicki’s ending? It was kind of confusing what her endgame was.

    For Kristi and Adam, how was your first time playing on mic? Was this your first encounter with Red Markets?

    For Greg, what lead you to keep playing with “Half-Off”‘d Cross? Did it pose as much of a challenge as it seemed?

    David, what were some lessons you learned GMing Red Markets?

    And what can we look forward to from y’all in the future?

    Thanks for sharing this great campaign with us. If you’ll excuse me, I gotta pour one out for Marvin Gaye and hear “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” again…

    1. Second on-mic with the first being the Gobblin one-shot. First actual campaign, though.

      I’m glad you enjoyed, Greg 🙂 My first priority is a fun campaign for the players and a close second is to make it enjoyable to listen to.

      I tried to be descriptive without belaboring the point and figured that my players action define more than the jobs and legs; the world of Red Markets is extremely well-defined, so our challenge is making this little corner the piece the players want.

      I think they were amazing.

    2. yeah I like this idea, of doing your own Post Mortem for Grapevine using questions the commenters provide

      1. Most of the direct messages and feedback I had received were “This NPC is amazing, may I borrow him/her?” or “Shame we don’t know more about NPC, there’s got to be a story behind X”

        The other big chunk was “Player is really doing a lot in-character. Where is that coming from?”

        So, rather than simply make Ross ask questions, I thought we’d change it up a little. We’ll gather the questions and I’ll check some notes and then the players get to speak to the states of their heads.

        It’ll be great!

    1. At least.

      I suspect you’ve got a few handsful

  3. I love Shawn’s tendencies to lead his Red Markets characters down the path of Major Villain (for someone else’s campaign…)

    Really good (and very sad) moment at the beginning with transitioning Cross out of the game. Sad too that the recording of the initial reaction got lost. Desperado was a fine addition to the last portion of the game, always enjoy delusional characters with a theme.

    Everyone really brought some game to this campaign! It was awesome to listen to!

    1. Thank you, Chris!

      It led to an abrupt ending here, as we lost the reactions, the Job Interview sequence, and finally the planning for “Toy Store!” and its various complications. Desperado’s introduction was a fun moment, as well; the crazy fun energy Desperado brought really worked after the seriousness of Cross’s ending.

      I know I speak for all of us when I say thank you; we’re all very glad you enjoyed our romp through the world of Red Markets, and we hope for the best in future games.

  4. I normally try to take my time with these and make them last a little while but I ended up charging through the whole campaign this week at work- I actually stayed for overtime when ep 6 ended in a cliffhanger and my shift wasn’t going to be long enough to finish ep 7! The characters, the setting, the story, the players, and of course David were all absolutely wonderful. Thank all of you for such an excellent AP to have spent time with.

    1. I can think of few compliments that carry the weight of “I stayed for overtime to keep listening!” Thank you, Velasa! We are all truly humbled by this praise!

      Thank you so much for choosing to spend your time with us, and we hope the next campaign will be just as fun!

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