Westmeath Heist – A One-Shot Party Adventure

Find the character sheets and rules at: One-Shot.JenEric-Designs.ca

Description

You are a rag-tag group of thieves, mercenaries, and cut-throats, and Buddy, Westmeath’s most prominent information dealer, has a job for you. You’ll have to avoid superheroes, monsters, gangs, and angry targets if you’re going to pull off the heist of the millennium.

The adventure should take approximately 1-3 hours, depending on the Party.

Setting

Westmeath, Canada’s fourth largest city, is the tech hub of North America. It’s also one of the most crime-ridden cities, fueled by three prominent gangs and corporate espionage. It is also a place where magic, aliens, and technology meet. 

It’s July 2002 and the Party has had a few successful jobs, but now you’re ready for something bigger. 

Suggested Backgrounds

The players can be anything they want, but here are some fun choices for their background: 

Aetherborn: Beings created with magic and the human imagination. They are copies of sentient people from mythology or pop culture. 

Aether Hero: Touched by the forces of entropy, chaos, and magic, the Aether Hero must take an extra point in Luck as one of their special abilities. 

Alien: From all over the galaxy, Aliens have innate powers; mostly combat, but a few royals can heal.

Human: Humans are the most adaptable and scary creatures in the universe.

Wizard: Phenomenal cosmic power is at their fingertips, but for some reason it doesn’t work as well in Westmeath. 

Starting: The Rivers and Songs Club

Buddy, a twitchy, nondescript man, sits at a table on the third level of the club. He has a job for the group; a client wants a rare art piece being held in an old single-storey house near the river in Oldtown, Westmeath’s oldest neighbourhood. It’s being protected by members of the Andromeda Syndicate gang. The painting is rumoured to be a lost Group of Seven masterpiece.

There are further details. Payment is 1 million. If the Party negotiates, they can double the money. Buddy has a Mind of 3.

The Party must bring the art to a contact, Jenny, who works at Discreet Frills in the Central Westmeath Mall after closing in three days.

If a Party member is an Aetherborn or Wizard, they can be told that Oldtown is a Community of Aetherborn and is extremely tight knit.

If a Party member is an Alien, they can be told that the Andromeda Syndicate gang is an intergalactic crime syndicate that deals in everything stolen, including people. 

Preparations 

The Party needs to prepare for the heist. They can plan and have access to any tools that were common in 2002. Here are some options for them to get more information.

Hack the house

If one of them is a hacker or computer expert, they can try to hack into the house’s security. The security almost seems sentient. The house has a Mind of 3 to defend itself. 

If the Party succeeds by 4 or higher, they can see that someone else has already hacked the system.

Surveillance

The Party can attempt to watch the house for a day and find out what the guard’s rotations are and what sort of security system is at the house.

They must succeed in a check versus the Andromeda Syndicate soldier, or they’ll be seen. If they are seen, they are attacked, and security is doubled.

Divination

Using magic, the Party can surveil without being caught. They must succeed with a 3 or higher and they can get the plans, guards, and security details.

Contacts

The Party can ask their contacts in the military, police, gangs, Aetherborn Community, or others that could be helpful. They need to succeed on a Mind or Luck check of 4 or higher to get any information.

Research

The library, city hall, and other places could have information. The Party can get information through these means with a Mind or Luck check of 4 or higher.

The House

The house is a simple two-bedroom bungalow with a basement. There is a front and a back door. Each door is monitored by a camera, as is the driveway and the woods behind. Only the water and the air aren’t being monitored.

Outside walking the perimeter are 4 AS soldiers.

Living Room

Opponents: 2 AS soldiers (noise will attract reinforcements from the other rooms) 

The front door opens into the living room. It’s small with two beat-up couches and only one exit to the kitchen / dining room.

Kitchen / Dining Room

Opponents: 1 AS soldier and a man in black tied to a chair.

The back door opens to the Kitchen / Dining room. It has a second door that leads to the basement, an archway that leads to the living room and a hallway that leads to the rest of the rooms. 

If they save the man in black, he introduces himself as the Phantom of Westmeath (a superhero who can control and travel by shadows) and says that he’ll take over from here. He thinks this is a safehouse for the AS and doesn’t know about the painting. A Mind check of 3 will convince him to help you. A failure will cause him to go out and fight the soldiers there.

Bathroom

Opponents: Alien Goo

The first door on the left is a simple bathroom with toilet, sink, and bathtub. The tub is filled with white goo that smells vaguely earthy. 

The Goo will not attack unless someone touches it. If it is hurt, it will call telepathically to the AS soldiers.

Bedroom 1

Opponents: None

The first door on the right is a small room with nothing in it. A Mind or Luck check of 4 will let them find a hidden panel in the wall that appears to be a control mechanism for a self-destruct. 

Bedroom 2

Opponents: 1 AS soldier

The second door on the right is a larger bedroom filled with surveillance equipment and a few alien stun guns. From this room, the AS soldier can view all the cameras and security features. No cameras in the vault.

Basement

Opponents: 2 AS soldiers walking around the vault. 

The basement is one large unfinished room with a metal vault in the middle. The vault takes almost the entire footprint. 

The door to the vault is locked with a pictogram-based keypad. A Luck or Mind check of 4 or higher will unlock it. A Body of 4 will allow them to force it. 

The Vault

Opponents: Containment Trap and calls all soldiers still alive

The painting is in a rolled tube set on a crystal pedestal in the centre of the vault. The floor is chequered with white and black tiles. 

The vault is triple trapped. 

Trap 1 is triggered when they step on the black tiles. A check of 4 to identify, check of 2 to avoid once identified. The tiles shock anyone who steps on them and triggers an alarm. Damage is 2 and goes through rubber soles.

Trap 2 is triggered if the party members touch the pedestal. It releases a fireball that fills the vault and triggers an alarm. Check of 4 to identify and disable.

Trap 3 is triggered when the painting is taken off the pedestal. It slams the door shut, removes the air from the vault, and triggers an alarm. Check of 5 to identify and disable.

If not, they must do a Body 6 to keep from being knocked out. The remaining soldiers arrive to stop them after. 

Leaving 

The Phantom requests that the Party let him take a picture of the painting and then disappears.

The painting 

If the Party chooses to look at the painting, they see that it’s an obvious fake. There are ones and zeros around the edge of the painting and more hidden inside the painting itself. Decoding them will show a list of locations. 

Researching the locations with a Mind check of 4 will indicate they are archeological digs and possible locations of interest. An alien will recognize that they are crashed ships, a wizard will recognize locations with magical artifacts.

Discreet Frills

The Party must bring the painting to Discreet Frills after the store is closed. Jenny, a tall brunette with a serious face, meets them and trades it for a briefcase of cash. Jenny runs the moment she has the painting. 

A Mind or Luck check of 4 will let the Party find the small explosive in the briefcase. If they don’t find it, the explosion only destroys the money.

If they disable the briefcase and there’s time in the session, they could be attacked by AS soldiers as a final fight.

The End?

The Phantom stops them and congratulates them on a job well done and/or gives his condolences on the loss of their pay. He tells them that he might have work for them in the future.

Opponents 

AS SoldierAlien GooThe Phantom
Health576
Defence536
Body354
Mind314
Luck002
AbilitiesStun gun 2
Teleport when killed
Bite 1Shadow weapon 1 Shadows Teleport

Read More about Westmeath in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers

Kennedy Fairfield just graduated in the class of 2002, and is now trying to find her purpose in life, or at least a job in her field. When she saves Jason Johnson, the leader of a secret Community of supernatural people called Aetherborn, from an attempted assassination, they embark on a whirlwind epic romance and adventure.

For Kennedy and Jason to discover why people are disappearing in time to save her friends, they’ll have to face teleporting assassins, grumpy wizards, gossiping hags, mafia robots, and secret military groups, all in the city of Westmeath, Ontario, which has more secrets than residents.

https://49thshelf.com/Books/A/Assassins!-Accidental-Matchmakers

Book Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the book Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Mood board of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. Pictures of a black motorcycle, a stargate from Stargate SG1, a metal pineapple, a cottage, a street sign indicating Westmeath is to the right, a fun-looking mushroom, a stuffed bear, two croissants and a coffee, and a dessert pizza surround the front cover of the book, art by pinkpiggy93, layout by Nathan and Mackenzie.

Summary

Kennedy Fairfield just graduated in the class of 2002, and is now trying to find her purpose in life, or at least a job in her field. When she saves Jason Johnson, the leader of a secret Community of supernatural people called Aetherborn, from an attempted assassination, they embark on a whirlwind epic romance and adventure.

For Kennedy and Jason to discover why people are disappearing in time to save her friends, they’ll have to face teleporting assassins, grumpy wizards, gossiping hags, mafia robots, and secret military groups, all in the city of Westmeath, Ontario, which has more secrets than residents.

The first book of four in The Gates of Westmeath series.

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Jason Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the main male protagonist of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers, Jason Johnson.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Jason Johnson mood board. Pictures of a black domino mask, a black figure in a martial arts pose, a black and silver motorcycle, a hungry man’s breakfast, a Hawaiian pizza, a black suit and tie, and a raw peridot as a pendant on a necklace all surround two images of Jason, one in profile and one as The Phantom, drawn by pinkpiggy93.

Jason Johnson

Age: 25

Date of Birth: November 8, 1976

Appearance: Shaggy dark hair, hazel eyes, tall, golden brown skin

Job: Owner and operator of a pizza restaurant The Hawaiian. Head of the Oldtown Council. Aka the Westmeath Phantom, a vigilante with the power to manipulate and control shadows

Parents: Hammond and Monique Johnson, deceased.

Sibling: Younger sister Zoe is married to Gabrielle and they have one daughter Brooke (15 months old)

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Kennedy Mood Board

I had fun looking for pictures that made me think of the main female protagonist of Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers, Kennedy Fairfield.

And I thought, why not share it with you?

Mood board of Kennedy Fairfield. Pictures of a raw peridot, a black lace corset, a runway, a plaid skirt, the one ring from The Lord of the Rings, a coffee cup, a stuffed bear, a fun-looking mushroom, and a field of gold surround two images of Kennedy, one from the front and one in profile, drawn by pinkpiggy93.

Kennedy Fairfield

Age: 22

Date of Birth: July 11, 1980

Appearance: Long blonde hair, green eyes, tall, white

Job: Currently working in sales at Discreet Frills, a boutique lingerie store. Looking for work in her field of Agricultural Science

Parents: Lilah and Gerard Fairfield live on a farm in Parry Sound, Ontario

Siblings: Older brother Phillip, married and has one son (15 months old). Twin older sisters Eliza and MacKenzie. Younger brother Tommy

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Spotify Music Playlist

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers has some pretty great music in it, so I made a spotify playlist of all the songs, in the order they appear within the book.

Do you think you can figure out what happens during each song?

Songs in order of appearance

  • “Ordinary Day” by Vanessa Carlton
  • “Lapdance” by N.E.R.D.
  • “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” by Barenaked Ladies
  • “I Want You” by Savage Garden
  • “Let me Entertain You” by Robbie Williams
  • “The Nearness of You” by Norah Jones
  • “Bumblebee” by Aqua
  • “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
  • “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet
  • “Cartoon Heroes” by Aqua
  • “Deep Enough” by Live
  • “A New Day Has Come” by Celine Dion
  • “If The World Crashes Down” by Enrique Iglesias

One of the first things we did when writing this book was build a 2002 playlist.

I had already started writing my first chapter, and Kennedy had entered a bakery. I thought, shouldn’t there be music playing? What music would have been popular in September 2002?

Cue a post on Facebook asking about our friends’ favourite artists from twenty years ago. (Twenty? What?)

We bought a bunch of CDs to supplement what we already owned, and built an epic playlist to listen to while we wrote to add atmosphere. An entire scene in chapter 5 wouldn’t have been there without this playlist.

Pre-order Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers now!

Process of writing

Kennedy and Jason, in their first iterations, appeared in our D&D game in 2010. Kennedy Fairfield was Kennedy Lake, and she was a kindergarten teacher who had an affinity for guns. Jason Johnson was Giles Momoa, and he was a Mafia leader that the player characters had to interrogate. Kennedy rolled a natural 20 and did something fancy, getting his attention, and they flirted and eventually became romantically involved. The other players liked him too, and he kept coming back into the game. When that game ended, we played a superhero game, and Jen played Giles’s niece, a 6 year old water creator named Chelsea who couldn’t control her creation. She appears in our book as Brooke, Jason’s niece. After that game ended, that was it; we put them all aside.

Fast forward ten years, and we didn’t really remember the storylines from the game, but the characters really stuck in our heads (although we had forgotten most of their names, other than Kennedy’s first name). And then we started discussing potentially writing a book about them, together.

We started off by talking about it A LOT in Fall 2020. Then on Jan 1, 2021, we sat down and wrote jot notes for the first Act. We split the book between us by main character and alternated chapters (minus a couple places in Act 2). When we finished the first Act, we made jot notes for the second. And again for the third.

We have a separate document for the cast of characters and important locations, with descriptions about each so we could stay consistent.

We wrote in Google docs. After each chapter, the other person edited, and then Jen read it aloud to Keladry (4.5yo). She picked up on a lot of repetitive words and typos that way…

It worked really well for us, but we understand why it wouldn’t work for everyone.

We finished the first draft on March 14, 2021.

More than half of the words Jen wrote were written on her phone while nursing Adrien (18-20mo) to sleep!

Lots of writing late at night happened. Éric would bring his laptop to bed and write while Jen was nursing Adrien (when it was his turn to write). Occasionally, we’d get a nice chunk of time in the middle of the day when the kids were playing well together, and we could write.

One memorable occasion, Jen wrote 4k words during our daughter’s virtual school day while she (Dragon) was paying attention to the teachers. :O

Location and Time

Why Westmeath?

It’s set in the city of Westmeath, Ontario, which is a real place, but in real life is a small farming area. In our book, something significant was discovered there and a very large city popped up very quickly (think 3/4 the size of Montreal, about 1.1 million people) in the 1970s. The sister city is Demers, Quebec, which is about the same size. There are about 60 high schools in Westmeath.

We wanted a fictional city so that we could add areas, streets, and stores without worrying about real locations. There are certain areas that are based off of real-life locations (Kennedy’s apartment is based on the apartments at Lees in Ottawa, for example).

The characters were originally from a table top role playing game we played in 2010 and at the time, Éric wanted to have a city that could be a pastiche of Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Gotham.

Why 2002?

The book is set in 2002 to avoid conflicting or crossing over with too many elements of the rest of the Aetherverse, specifically events that will happen in summer of 2016 in book 7 of Elizabeth Investigates Her Last Bow.

Beyond wanting to avoid giving away the series ending (not to mention not wanting to deal with the pandemic) we also were in late high school and early university at the time and have some fond memories.

Music playlist 2002

One of the first things we did when writing this book was build a 2002 playlist.

I had already started writing my first chapter, and Kennedy had entered a bakery. I thought, shouldn’t there be music playing? What music would have been popular in September 2002?

Cue a post on Facebook asking about our friends’ favourite artists from twenty years ago. (Twenty? What?)

We bought a bunch of CDs to supplement what we already owned, and built an epic playlist to listen to while we wrote to add atmosphere. An entire scene in chapter 5 wouldn’t have been there without this playlist.

Songs used in the book (in order of appearance):

Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton

Lapdance by N.E.R.D. (not safe for children)

Lovers in a Dangerous Time by Barenaked Ladies

I Want You by Savage Garden

Let me Entertain You by Robbie Williams

The Nearness of You by Norah Jones

Bumble Bees by Aqua

Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

Ballroom Blitz by Sweet

Cartoon Heroes by Aqua

Deep Enough by Live

A New Day Has Come by Celine Dion

If The World Crashes Down by Enrique Iglesias

Bands and artists we listened to, in alphabetical order:

Alanis Morissette, Alicia Keys, Aqua, Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies, Bloodhound Gang, Britney Spears, Bryan Adams, Cake, Celine Dion, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Chumbawumba, Coldplay, Creed, Daniel Bélanger, Dave Matthews Band, David Usher, Destiny’s Child, Enrique Iglesias, Enya, Éric Lapointe, Evanescence, Faith Hill, Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack, Flogging Molly, Foo Fighters, Garou, Goo Goo Dolls, Great Big Sea, Green Day, Jagged Edge, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Page, Jewel, Kevin Parent, Len, Live, Macy Gray, Meatloaf, Midday Blackout, Natasha St-Pierre, Nelly, Nelly Furtado, Nickelback, Nightwish, Nine Inch Nails, Norah Jones, Pearl Jam, Phil Collins, P!nk, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Reel Big Fish, REM, Remy Shand, Ricky Martin, Robbie Williams, Rush, S Club 7, Sarah McLachlan, Savage Garden, Seal, Shakira, Sheryl Crow, Sky, Smashmouth, Spice Girls, Sum 41, Tea Party, Third Eye Blind, U2, Vanessa Carlton

Breaking News!

Pardon me while I interrupt your regularly scheduled posts to inform you that…

Drum roll, please!

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers has been picked up by Renaissance Press for publishing! It will be published in Fall 2022 (twenty years after its setting).

We are so ridiculously excited about this, you have no idea!!

Our family wearing different coloured shirts that all say “Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers”

Organizations in Westmeath

Businesses

Oldtown Council

A council of seven members that owns lands and businesses in the Oldtown district of Westmeath. They are prominent members of the Community and the Council dates back to the original founding of Westmeath.

Westmeath Agricultural Research Cooperative (Westmeath ARC)

A research and development agricultural facility, they hold the patents to countless hearty crops and pest resistant strains. One of the world’s top agricultural researchers, Dr Amita Dubois, runs the cooperative.

It is funded by the Oldtown Council and its crops are used as a form of food bank and low income supplementation.

Yggdrasil Corporation

A subsidiary of Aesir Holdings, they own an empty warehouse and small fleet of black vans. It is suspected that they are a front for something, but unsure what.

Unidentified Tech Companies

In the sixties, several large tech companies moved facilities to Westmeath due to military contracts. With the tech companies came people, infrastructure, schools, and other businesses. In under fifteen years, Westmeath went from a backwater town to a metropolitan city.

The tech companies are extremely paranoid and have built massive city block sized campuses that have security walls around them.

Organized Crime

Andromeda Syndicate

One of the most elusive crime groups in the country, it is known to only operate in Westmeath, Toronto, and Quebec City. The Syndicate is brutal to its enemies and controls a lot of the smuggling and human trafficking in its territory.

Blue Bloods

One of the country’s most notorious, and hard to shut down, gangs. They operate each city as a cell with no one knowing the national leaders. They mostly deal in drugs, thugs, weapons, and robberies. 

Daemon Bikers

The Daemon Bikers are Westmeath’s largest drug dealers. They deal in everything. They are known to make deals rather than go into a turf war. 

Religious Organizations

Bifröst

This is a new religion that believes that a great power, they call the Key, will unlock a gate to a new world where they and the devout will be given their eternal reward. They seem to mix Christian, Norse, and science fiction concepts. 

They are known to be violently devout.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel church

An Anglican Church first built in the early 1900’s. The Reverend is known to be extremely accepting. This church is also an Aetherborn sanctuary.

Siblings of Death

A cult of trained assassins that believe the way to paradise is on a wave of blood. Once they are hired for a job they do not stop trying.