In which our intrepid hero comes up with an idea for an Unknown Armies adventure.
I used to work in an amusement arcade, and whilst we did most of the maintenance ourselves, for the really serious stuff, we got in a guy who used to service slot machines as well. Mostly for pubs and stuff (we have one of the highest per-capita numbers of slot machines in the world, here in Sydney), but the same rules apply as in casinos.
He mentioned that one day, he was working on a machine, opened up the cabinet, and lo and behold, found half a rock-hard donut sitting in the bottom. He looked across at a colleague and said, "Hey, look what some total fuckwit left in this machine!"
His colleague came over, reached in and pulled out a card. It was our tech guy’s ID card, about two years out of date, certifying him to service slot machines, complete with photo and signature. Weird thing is, he couldn’t remember losing his card.
Now, what if the bad guys weren’t actually stealing the machine, but trying to "charge it up"? Maybe the locus of fortune shifts around Las Vegas, and they want to ensure that this machine is bathed in the winning spirit as often as possible?
[T]hose machines are heavy, and it’s hardly unobtrusive, swapping a couple of hundred kilos of cabinet around. So, instead, they swap the motherboard out, moving it from machine to machine.
Most places want as little downtime on their machines as possible (particularly smaller venues), so they’re not as likely to question a trusted tech swapping the motherboard as they would losing their whole machine for a day, whilst the tech goes for a replacement.
So you have one guy moving from casino to casino, jamming gum in the coin mechs, and his tech confederate, waiting for the call, coming out and replacing the coin mech, flipping dip switches by sleight of hand, saying "I’ll have to take that back to the shop" and swapping out the motherboard. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Finally, the machine charges up fully. One of the PCs, killing time, sits down at the slot machine, pops in a dollar, and every symbol comes up a crown. Not just the one across the middle row on the dials, but every single one. On top of the ludicrous payout, he wins 25 free spinsand again, the same thing happens, every time. Lights flash, and alarms go off, and the casino staff and passersby descend on the machine like seagulls on a hamburger.
One of the in-house techs comes along, opens up the machine and finds a service card in the bottomand it belongs to the tech who swapped the motherboard out.
Meanwhile, the gum-stuffer looks on, upset that the PC has ruined their plan; he pursues the PCs, intent on revenge. The rogue tech drops off the radar, and word on the street is that the casino owner is looking for him, offering a big reward to whoever brings him in.
(Crossposted to the Unknown Armies Mailing List. Apologies for the Americanisms; American is the lingua franca of the UAML.)