Wellstone City Update – The Path of Least Violence

This post isn’t so much a post about Wellstone City as a commentary on it. Wellstone City is a violent, crazy place. It’s meant to be a warzone that the characters can have some fun in given the constraints of an adventure, and that the players can blow some steam off in. I mean, come on, the cover is the silhouette of the island filled with AK-47 shell casings.

But does everyone have to die? Is the game about nothing but murder and being a criminal and so on? For some of the adventures, yes. Take Ranch Raid, for example. It’s a hit. There is literally no other way through it other than to eliminate the threat. In Public Transit Assassins, you are supposed to sweep and clean the house, but the details are a little fuzzy. In Two-Bit Thugs, you are supposed to eliminate the gang threat, but the only way to make money free and clear off the adventure is to murder your way through it. Burning Crosses seems to be a killing spree, but there are other ways through it. A Death Undeserving can be done without firing a single shot. Schrödinger’s Box is a kill box, but I suppose if the PCs were crafty enough they could get through it with minimal killing. Finally, Breaking Murphy is a bank heist, and it is completely possible to get through it without causing a single casualty.

So why don’t more groups do that? My guess is stress relief. In all of my 8 years of running adventures in Wellstone City, I have only ever had one group try it. They convinced Z-man in Public Transit Assassins to move out and that they’d let him operate under their protection for the tune of 3% of his income. In Two-Bit Thugs, they killed one of the gangs and brought the other one in for some extra muscle.

They were on the way to being not just Freelancers in Wellstone City, but being crime lords in their own right. That was at a convention, and I’d love to see a normal gaming group go through the entire chronicle in exactly the same way.

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