In Honey Heist, a one-page RPG by Grant Howitt, found here, the players take the part of criminal bears pulling off the heist of the century to steal as much honey as possible from HoneyCon. The party I had the pleasure of guiding through the halls of this hallowed convention consisted of;
Iorek Byrnisson – a polar bear Hacker
Sir Arthur Bearington – a sunbear, one half of the Brains
Bjorn – a sunbear and the group’s Muscle
Lan Xiongmao – a panda, the other half of the Brains
The party were given the following briefing by their unseen benefactor:
A newspaper clipping:
The Geistburg City Council is proud to announce, in conjunction with Arthur Richardson and Midas Events, the arrival of HoneyCon 2018! Events include; a mead brewing contest ($2000 grand prize), small pet show and competition, bee-keeping tutorials and demonstrations and a one-night performance from Queen Bee-yoncé herself.
Once exiled from the world of pop music, the Queen has returned and is set to take the world by storm with the release of her new album, Bee-hive Yourself. Book your ticket now to avoid disappointment.
For those conscious of security matters, the convention centre boasts a state of the art security system and an impenetrable vault, kindly provided by Securotech.
In a handwritten note:
Alright, listen up, bears.
We got a job.
Client wants us to bust into HoneyCon and steal as much of the good stuff as we can, as well as arranging a private viewing of Bee-yoncé’s comeback performance.
He’d like her unharmed and as calm as possible, but it’s a bear-eat-bear world out there, so I’ll be happy if she’s alive when you get back to base.
Arthur Richardson is a known weak point, the man craves money and influence. Lean on him if you want to.
Secureotech’s system is a series of hidden gas vents that spews out anaesthetic if the alarm is raised. The vents are only in the public areas, so try to avoid those once it hits the fan.
As for Geistburg, the place is creepy. Ain’t no two ways about it. You might see things that make you question your eyes , but keep ‘em on the prize and we’ll be richer for it.
The game began with the party stealing a posh car to suit Arthur and Xiongmao’s status as bears of standing.
[GM Note: The rules include an optional hat table, Arthur was wearing a top hat and Xiongmao was wearing a crown]
Their first obstacle was the gate guard, a bored-looking man asking to see passes to permit entry. Arthur managed to persuade the man to let them in through growling and gesturing in a foppish manner.
After leaving the car, the party were denied entry to the main convention centre (an old plantation manor) because of their lack of passes. The party had determined, through the skill Sense Honey, that the largest honey stashes were in the house. One stash (the biggest) appeared to be underground, and another appeared to be at the back the house.
After a short conversation, it was decided that Iorek would hack into the security system and print them all-access passes. The closest computer on the network was in the gate guard’s hut and so he snuck in as Arthur and Xiongmao distracted the guard. His attempt at breaking into the system failed, shorting the network and causing a brownout. This attracted the attention of the guard who, unable to see in the dark hut, was able only to react to Bjorn’s feeble attempts at subduing him. He collapsed after Iorek swatted him with a paw and Bjorn stole his hat and radio.
There was some alarm as another guard turned up to investigate the source of the brownout, this one wearing a fancy badge in addition to his hat and radio, and soon enough George had been taken of.
“George” and “Robert” (Iorek and Bjorn posing as the guards) used the authority of their hats to get some passes from the next group of visitors under the pretext of accepting them as a method of entrance.
Using these passes, the party was able to enter the house and start looking around. They quickly found the locked security door leading into the kitchen and Arthur tried to break it down while “George” tried to get the access code over the radio. He was told that the code was written in a book in the main security office and was on his way there when Arthur tripped the alarm.
After a back and forth on the radio, the alarm was disabled and the party broke the door down as “George” went to get the code. They explored the kitchen and found a set of stairs leading downwards, probably to the largest stash of honey. They followed them and encountered a locked door with a keypad.
“George”, meanwhile, was on his way to the security office. Once there, he tore the page containing the vault access code from the notebook (when the officer nearby noticed, he explained that he was very clumsy) and attempted to copy the information from the page in his paw onto a clean page in the book. He then returned to the kitchen and found a collection of warning signs (Wet Floor, Open Flame, Bears, and Danger of Electrocution) and set up the “Warning! Bears!” sign to stop people following them. He re-joined the party and found that the vault access code did not work on the door in front of them, so he hacked it open/broke it and opened the door to reveal a wine cellar.
After searching the cellar, including pulling one of the wine racks over to see if the wall was fake, the party gave up and left, just in time to hear a radio broadcast concerning a report of the sound of broken glass and a request for someone to check the door in the cellar. With that prompt, they managed to find the secret door hidden behind a wine-rack.
Using the vault access code, they opened the door to reveal a huge, steel hatch with three tumblers on it. Correctly guessing the code to be 833 (BEE), the bears managed to open the door and find the collection of finely aged honey within.
[GM Note: As I improvised the whole thing as we went along, when Arthur’s player suggested that was the code, I found it such an elegant solution that it worked. My original idea was they would try to crack each tumbler].
Seeing how much honey was in the vault, the party decided they would need a bigger car and Iorek left to steal a people-carrier from the car park whilst the others boxed up the honey with boxes from the wine cellar. As they finished, the security team watching the camera feeds alerted the supervisor to their activities and they deflected all suspicion, by telling her to alert the Secureotech facility in the city that they were moving the honey in response to a possible threat. With that done, they hid the people-carrier in the car park once more and proceeded to the second part of the heist – Bee-yoncé.
It was no difficult task to find the stage, and the entrance to the backstage area, nor was it difficult to convince the two bodyguards standing outside the door to let “Robert” and “George” (now played by Lan Xiongmao) in as part of a security check. With only six doors to choose from, “George” quickly found Bee-yoncé’s dressing room and opened the door to reveal a bee-sized replica of the building they were in, a glass box outfitted with speakers and a screen hooked up to a microscope, and another bodyguard.
It was around this time that Iorek removed his hat (revealing the fact that he is a bear to all nearby onlookers) and began to create a disturbance, terrifying the guards at the backstage door. Bee-yoncé immediately flew into the glass case, where the microscope turned on and revealed a queen bee in a tiara, and “George” convinced the bodyguard with them that he should go and help deal with the bear whilst they carried Bee-yoncé to safety. He agreed and handed the glass box over to them.
The three bears still disguised as people made their way back to the carpark where it was decided that “Robert” (still played by Bjorn) would drive the honey to their rendezvous while Arthur and “George” took care of Bee-yoncé. As the people-carrier was hidden further into the carpark, Arthur and Xiongmao left the Con first and drove to meet Iorek (swimmingly frantically through the bayou that surrounded the convention centre) at the rendezvous, unaware that Bjorn had been seduced by a life of crime and intended to take all the honey for himself.
As he drove past the rendezvous, and left them to realise his betrayal, the bee in the glass box flew up to a tiny microphone and said,
“I wonder if this ever happened to Bee-yoncé?”