A long while back I got to attend a training seminar by the McChrystal Group. It inspired me to write a bit about using that business framework in RPGs, and in S2E7 of the Aeon game, it came up again.

How? We were trying to work out ways to use a recent treasure trove of information to split up our quarry, the selfish and violent Rep Singleton, from his major resource base.

As we were spinning plans, something was bothering me. Without rehashing it all, I felt that many of the plans were a bit convoluted, and also didn’t ring true to something that would not cause both our quarry and the mercenary army he used to lead to sit up and take notice of us rather than at each other.

We resolved this by reverting back to my six questions that all prospective evil overlords need to answer (or really, the GM must answer for them) in order for plans to make sense.

Without further ado, here they are again.

1. What will the world look like after the main actor gets his way?

There needs to be a concrete vision of the future here. Some picture – even if it’s twisted – where the main actor sits back with his or her beverage of choice (wine, beer, the blood of the enemy, whatever) and says “Ahhh. Now that’s how it’s supposed to be!”

If you can’t articulate that goal, then you need to keep going. I always rebel at the concept articulated in the Matrix movies – “What do all men with power want? More power!”

No. That power, wealth, or whatever isn’t usually the goal. In fact, it’s more like #6 – how you keep score.

But for our example case, as we were spinning plans to make it look like our quarry had betrayed this monstrously large power base, we needed to ask and answer a question – what could be worth it? He had access to a powerful army, influenced them heavily from behind the scenes, and wielded the power of life over death for any within his reach.

So . . . why betray something that huge? Either the end goal was revenge over someone, and he was willing to burn his resource base to get it, or his goal was to end up with something bigger. By perhaps offering up secrets from the one organisation, he can roll up and either collapse or assimilate his other competitors. And maybe even make a play for ruling the world (that sort of goal is more plausible with certain in-game and real-world mental disorders).

But we then had a few ideas for things that our quarry would like to see the world look like when he’s done, and that made the rest more plausible.

Turing it around, we then asked ourselves the same question. What would the world look like when we were done, as heroes?

Well, we wanted Singleton in jail, stripped of power and influence. Both because we promised, but also because he was a corrupt, violent man that was gaining in influence an using it to hurt people. As heroic types, that’s a problem.

We also wanted Blue Skies, the massive and powerful Private Military Company, to not have an army of 500 metahumans trained like SFOD-D. The redeemable should be working with other hero teams to help people. The neutrals should be left to guide themselves. The criminal should be brought to justice. Mostly we focused on the metahuman component there, but we seemed to have joined Team Iron Man for the moment – that much force needs a responsible check. And we also wanted to dissipate and disperse Blue Skies without leaving a spectacular power vacuum that would just allow it to be re-established “Under New Management.”

So that’s what our world would look like if we win. That let us get on to other things.

Heck, even more locally and immediately, we wanted Singleton’s wife safely in Witness Protection, Singleton arrested, in jail, and out of power, and not a single soul interested in his redemption.

2. What are the main actor and his helpers willing to do to achieve their goals?

Methods are important. We knew from the data dump that both players would be willing to do pretty much anything to achieve their aims. Blue Skies wants to remain the premier PMC, and probably has other goals of their own that we will need to figure out in order to oppose them effectively, especially since we have hard evidence of the atrocities they’re willing to perpetrate to accomplish whatever mission they’re on.

For the heroes, we are much more circumscribed, which is one of the things that makes us heroes. We’re much more tightly tied to the rule of law, to evidence, proof, and justice, due to our sanction by the MAPS program. Like a mini-Avengers team.

So we won’t purposefully cause plans that will hurt anyone but our quarry – Cannot Harm Innocents deliberately. We have chosen to work within existing power structures, but are willing to engage with some fringe elements such as hacktivists, and The Pusher, to ensure that the known violent criminals will be brought to justice formally.

Because almost certainly we will not be willing to, say, simply shoot the old management in the head from 700 yds. Or engage in a systematic anti-metahuman purge. Avoiding that was the climax of last season, so no.

And right in the moment, our S2E7 plans included lots of shady behavior, but we tried to break as few laws as possible. We were constrained in how we sought evidence, we tried to ensure that anything we did discover was not fruit of the poisonous tree, so we could act within our status as legal agencies and not vigilantes. We came close in a few places, but managed to do this right.

3. What does the process of winning look like to the main actor?

For setting up Singleton, we decided that winning looked like his selectively leaking information to competitors to set them up to be either eliminated or assimilated, so that eventually Singleton could sit at the head of an even larger PMC, also integrate Blue Skies, and either set up a government of his own, or continue to wield influence within the US government. That seemed plausible enough, and such machinations were part of ye olde data dump.

For The Cavalry (us), that looked like getting ahead of, and stopping, major illegal activity and various atrocities that Blue Skies was involved in. It looked like getting to the other metas who could be influenced and enticing them to leave Blue Skies behind. And it looked like the company tearing itself apart from within, since we didn’t have the resources to take them on directly.

Again back to S2E7, winning looked like Singleton telling his wife to get out of his sight to ensure he wouldn’t harm her, that we got enough data to help keep Singleton from exerting enough power to find and punish his abused spouse.

4. What does the main actor need in order to win?

This is part of the strategy part. What resources do we need, or did Singleton need, to get with the winning part.

For him, he needed clandestine contacts and arrangements with other PMCs and with large clients. Planting such evidence (especially variations of real evidence, which we had lots of ) to indicate that he was setting out to displace or replace the Board of Directors at Blue Skies, as well as start into another business for himself. So he needed money, contacts, independence, and plausible deniablility.

For out plot against Blue Skies, we need Singleton and Blue Skies focused on each other. We need to get Blue Skies’ key players likewise at odds with each other. We need access to the metahuman ranks and a way to pick off the ones that are good-natured enough to join the forces of light and sweetness. We need to have data as to their plans so we can interfere with the most egregious of them. We will need a way to keep our activities from betraying the fact that we have compromised their files and are reading their mail.

For our S2E7, we needed a distraction to give Leslie Singleton a reason to be first seen by her husband, and then to be told to leave – he had to want her gone. We needed a distraction that would keep him busy while we got her to Witness Protection. We needed a safe room that simply could not be found. We needed the information to prevent future follow-up attempts. The fact that we got all of this and enough data to start nibbling at Blue Skies was a bonus.

5. How does the main actor go about getting what she needed to win?

This is all about tactics, and it’s flexible. In the case of breaking up Blue Skies, we’re still working it out. For our notional plan for keeping Singleton on the run, we just needed a few hits here and there to keep them focused on each other.

The details of the tactics we used to get Leslie out were detailed in the play report.

6. How does the main actor know if his plans were succeeding or failing?

This is all about metrics. Concrete win/loss figures or some sort of scoreboard that we can use to determine what courses of action are worthwhile, and which are not.

For getting Leslie out, we were looking for how smoothly our plan went according to the timeline, how many contingencies we had to pull out (like dealing with metahuman protection instead of human bodyguards), and the extent we got data – almost literally ‘how many counts of criminal activity can we score evidence for?’

We didn’t do as well in pre-establishing metrics, so that’s an area we can do better on in the future.

Parting Shot
The use of these questions to figure out what a person or organization will do has helped me a lot in working out plotlines – even complicated ones – for my gaming. If I have (say) a Vampire Overlord near the top of a Vampyramid/Conspyramid, what is it they’re trying to do? What will the world look like? What about the competition? What do they think the world should look like? Where do those things overlap? Where are the different? What resources does each faction need to win? Are they the same or different?

All of this will drive how the bad guys carry out their plans. And those plans will make sense – or at least be consistent – because the tactics will be directed at getting the strategic items that the orchestrator needs in order to “win,” in order to bring about their new world.

The “nice” thing about this framework is it can also be used to logic your way through the illogical. If your Cthulhoid demigods are trying to rewrite reality, you can still get to “what do they need to do this?” and then drive tactics and plans.

If you’re working up Hydra or some other Nazi-like classically evil organization, you can work through the things they’re willing and unwilling to do, and what winning looks like – and look to real history to find metrics, horrific as they are.

And for the good guys? Working through at least one good answer to these questions will restrain the worst Leroy Jenkins impulses, which can lead to fairly campaign-destroying behavior at times.

Last Aeon game, +Christopher R. Rice asked me, as The Commander, to show up ready with a plan. And to share that plan with him in advance, so as GM he could plan for the plan.

I did that, and detailed what that would look like in my prior post. The long and the short of it was that we needed to separate a wife-abuser’s spouse from him. He is highly trained, highly vindictive, and in S2E6 we’d built up, through the method of crashing a party he was at, a notion of his psychological profile. We knew we needed to get her into Witness Protection, and that she’d need to disappear without his ever knowing it until it was too late. But with his resources, we’d need to be very, very clever. My job was to provide the clever.

To explain . . . no, that would take too long. To sum up:

I planned on us doing a bunch of prep work before, and the key bits of the plan were to give the bad guy a reason to first see his spouse, then send her away. Then provide enough distraction to make him not think about someone who he loves to treat as forgettable. Simultaneously, we needed to try and separate him from his resource base somehow, and blackmail seemed the best concept. Not a great concept, but the best I could think of at the time. From there, the wheels of justice could turn, and he could be brought up on domestic assault charges, which is what Eamon had promised his friend (and been bound to magically by the Pusher, who at best is Chaotic Neutral, if you hold with such things).

So, that was the plan.


I started laying it out, and my team – clever folks all – started improving things. We frequently go off in all directions, but with the skeleton of an idea in place, everyone was highly focused on making it better.

This is a classic management strategy, and it worked as well in this team as it’s worked in real life.

The plan got better and better, and more aimed at success. And when it came time to roll dice, we spent karma like it was going out of style. I’m not sure we made rolls by less than 5, and often more like 15.

In short, we were able to make and execute a perfect plan, which went off perfectly. We had contingencies for things that didn’t happen, and there were very few surprises.

I ran a game like this once, and my players told me it was boring.

The plan behind the plan

Now, this game was an experiment to see if The Cavalry could be held to a plan at all, since we were warned that our tendency to go off like Leroy Jenkins was going to get us all killed Real Soon Now. To that degree, the experiment was a success. Strategically, Christopher had to let us make a plan, execute a plan, and not knock us down if he wanted us to ever plan again (which he does).

And in fairness, the plan really was that good.

And there were some interesting moments. Especially when we wound up with a treasure trove of data implicating and proving that the Evil Private Military Corporation (Blue Skies) was, in fact, as nasty as we thought.

We could have screwed everything up, I think, as we started to make highly convoluted plans to leverage the data against our bad guy in various ways.

But we quickly ran into implausibility problems, mostly because we couldn’t agree on good answers to the six questions that will determine a plausible plot. More on that tomorrow!

Internal Conflict is Conflict Too

OK, so our plan went well. The team had great (so says me) roleplay, and the reality of the plan was even better than the theory of the plan’s outline that I put together. This was not a usual situation for us (see “Leeroy Jenkins”) so this successful internal team interaction – which last really came together in the season 1 finale – actually represented a Big Deal moment. Having it all work as planned was the reward for teamwork.

However, we really got into it on the what to do with the data question. My argument was that we had successfully accomplished our mission and nothing that we were planning needed to be done right at this instant. Trying to push too far, too fast, with too little forethought might not only ruin the vast treasure trove of data we’d recovered, but might ruin the plan we’d just successfully executed as well. 

Eventually, I ran ’em through the six questions, and we came up with all sorts of great ways that – at a later date – we could bring down Blue Skies. 

Not that instant, and some of the information we turfed up about internal politics in that organization turned out to be gold from an internal destabilization perspective. We never would have found that out if we went off half-cocked.

Parting Shot
 
So in the end, our plans were even more successful than we thought. This could have made for a “boring” adventure. 

But I don’t think it did. The key goal for Monday night was to create, embellish, and execute a plan and show that such a method was superior to Leroy Jenkins’ typical approach. Christopher wants to reward this – and the trove of data means that, for a change, the superheroes have a chance of driving the plot proactively, rather than reactively, which – as long as we communicate our intentions to the GM – means that the campaign is automatically a success. Because the players are immersed, involved, proactive, and engaged, and is “all” Christopher has to do as GM is provide the right tension between success and resistance. 

That’s a lot of benefit, at the “cost” of letting us run rampant all over an imaginary wife-beater and dirty politician for four hours of game time.

I call that a win.

They can’t all be that easy. But positive reinforcement is a good thing. One thing that will likely change in the future is that we got a lot of unopposed rolls with large margins (made it by 15! Woo hoo!). The Basic Abstract Difficulty of the situation we’ll be facing in the future will likely be higher; success by 5, 10, or even 15 might be required to overcome the active resistance of a group of highly trained, well motivated spec ops, many of whom are metahumans themselves.

Dramatis Personae

  • The Commander (Doug) – telekinetic super-soldier with a really angry dog (Yukio). The dog is a powerful ally (250-300 points) and very intelligent and very, very aggressive.
  • Arc Light (Christian) – battlsuited gadgeteer with electrical powers
  • The Rat Queen (Emily) – brick with super-perception; made of actual rats
  • Eamon Finnegan (Kyle) – smooth talking gravity-master; Ultimate Fighting Lawyer, to borrow a phrase.
  • Zephyr (Merlin) – Real name Murui; Shaolin Kung Fu expert and super-speedster.
What was intended


Christopher has warned us in the past that our lack of planning was going to cost us badly if we kept up our aggressive inattention to consequences. This can be seen on both a meta and an in-game level, as the required “montage” sequence that allows some of our special abilities to charge up or be activated is not present, and also we tend to just Leeroy Johnson our way though things, and when we’re tap-dancing around dudes with access to a 500-person army of metahumans trained like SFOD-D and 5,000 more normals, also trained that way . . . well, you can see how things could get ugly.

So this time, I came up with a plan ahead of time, and emailed it to the GM, who on my request had given me a map. At first glance, it wasn’t that helpful. Is all it really was was a picture of the Bank of America Tower.

But then I stared some more. This is what I came up with, and of course the first thing I thought of was that some way, somehow, the plan needed to involve zip-lining from one building to another for a truly dynamic entry.

Because awesome. 

But that being predetermined as a condition, here’s the plan:


We get a Flash Mob to convene outside the Sondheim theater. That should provide ample distraction and many calls from security to Singleton, who will become agitated. 


The mob can be suitably provocative. Maybe all dressed as suicide bombers or something crazy, as a protest against stereotyping by stereotyping themselves. The police (working with us) will have been suitably warned that a protest was going to take place there. So first the “protesters” show up, then “Western soldiers” show up, they ritually clash, and shoot off fireworks/blanks in the air with all suitable drama. Eamon can arrange this.


This should drive Blue Sky security insane. They’ll be freaked out about people hiding in the flash mob, they’ll want to get Mrs Singleton in and out of the building quickly, and won’t be paying much attention inward, so the Commander can enter from Avenue of the Americas. Arc Light can set up his computer stuff from the Grace building. Somewhere in there, Zephyr, my SEAL team, Eamon, Arc Light, and The Rat Queen might stage a mock assault from 42nd Street or the H&M sign, zip lining across in a “damn this is obvious” way. 


That should draw attention both visually and as “get all security troops to the Nth floor!” way.


That will allow me to enter the building, do my stuff getting a line to the files in Blue Sky.


So


1. Mrs Singleton brings her husband lunch. It’s wrong. He freaks out, she should know better. He will likely send her away to get it right. Hopefully he won’t physically abuse her, but it’s possible. We need to hold our ground in this case.


2. At that moment, Eamon starts the flash mob. This will be an escalating series of demonstrations. Calls to the police (Edgerton) will reassure security that it’s a planned, permitted protest. “But why weren’t we informed?” can be put down to a typo, or that technically its the Sondheim theater that needed to give permission.


3. The Rat Queen enters the ventilation area, watching out for extra security precautions. She gives the Commander the word and he batmans into the building. Hopefully no one will see him, and she can give the Morpheus treatment (“the guards will look away, run down the aisle. Go. Now!”) to help his already considerable stealth skills.


AMBUSH/FORESIGHT ALERT: Extra security in the ventilation shafts; alternate routes through drywall, or basically anything that says TRQ can’t get in. 


4. At the crescendo of the mob activity, when guns and fake “suicide bombs” are going off, the team will launch the mock assault from one of the two areas noted above. The ONLY success criteria are that they must actually breach the building so that Blue Sky has to go to high alert, that they do this AFTER I have already established the computer uplink, and that no one gets killed or crippled. It might even be a good idea to disguise this as Arc Light’s more mundane security persona instead of his hero one, so that it’s a “normal” probe of a competitor’s defenses. 


5. The Commander exits the building, meets up with his cousin’s husband and Mrs Singleton, disables any bodyguards that weren’t pulled away by 4, and gets her the hell out of dodge to her new life. Possibly with The Pusher’s help.


6.#4 continues until #5 is well underway, maybe with some residual activity – a low-grade fire, or a smoke device, or even a bomb threat, that pulls attention to the building or the area around it. This should help Singleton forget about “his idiot wife.” We might even arrange a police presence and evacuation/first responder thing. A threat like that in NYC will bring out the Feds like flies to honey, as well. At this point, basically this is lots of people following their own personal and institutional natures. We don’t even need to script it.


7. If we turn up anything illegal (and we will, I’m sure) in the Blue Sky files, Eamon can even leak that to the Feds to get them to start poking into illegal weaponry or tech at the building site. It will likely take hours for Singleton to pull enough strings to make the evacuation/threatening of a building in NYC go away. Every hour that goes by is an hour we get Mrs Singleton far enough away.



8. Ah! Arc Light can get some pre-recorded voice messages, or stage a repeater, so that Mrs Singleton can report a continual stream of failed progress for procuring lunch. The cell signal will report it’s coming from (a) her phone, and (b) first from Crave  and then, because they can’t get it right, a bit farther north to Untamed Sandwiches. The route will be 44th to 5th to 39th, in front of the Library. If we can get her to duck into the library “I have to pee” then we can deal with any security inside there. If not, we can improvise a bit, maybe even arrange “extra security” and a “special car” to meet her at Crave so that we’re already in place. My SEALS can handle some of that.


FORESIGHT – which Meta will be Mrs Singleton’s security guard, if any, and can we figure out how to neutralize them ahead of time.


I think this gets things done. We have a plan in. We have a layered diversion. We have a reason for Mrs Singleton to leave the building and be delayed. We have enough distraction that Mr Singleton might just forget about lunch and his wife until it’s too late. And we have her out of the building AND the plans in our hands before the “diversion” really even starts.

So before the game started even, this was the plan, cleared with the GM. The only person that didn’t get a particularly special role was Zephyr with his super speed and martial arts abilities. And the cursed magic dagger that’s a wildcard in everything we do.

How did it go in practice? 

Zephyr is going to help The Rat Queen (both of whom were absent) prepare a ‘bunker’ off of a sewer duct. The two of them can dig at ridiculous rates, and with Arc Light to build a faraday cage, Zephyr to arrange a mana-dampener, and Arc Light has some power dampener bombs too. So we should be able to isolate Leslie Singleton if we can get here there per plan.

We decide, working the plan backwards, to work up three holograms of Leslie with some Googlemobiles to auto-drive, so that when the inevitable hellfire takes out the van (“If I can’t have her, no one shall! – L. Hawke) no one is killed.

We also set up drones to tail the decoy vans to get that crime on tape, if it happens. So even if we can’t flip her, if we make it look like we did and get Singleton getting Blue Sky to commit crimes, it’s a win. That would also double down on being able to flip Leslie. So we go buy or rent some nondescript white rental vans. With insurance that also covers acts of terrorism.

What time is it right now? About 2am. 

I ask Eamon to arrange the flash mob to kick it off by 11:45am. He gulps, rearranges his Cosmic Contacts ability (4 hours), and then uses the next roughly 8 hours to arrange the right thespian connections. He’s confused, but arranges it with an arched eyebrow.

Eamon and Edgeworth (who goes by SUE: Severus Ulysses Edgeworth) arrange for a proper search warrant to allow us to tap the Blue Skies defense contractor computers pursuant to the investigation.

Eamon finds some activists that are willing to be a loud flash mob. Boom. They don’t have to be good, they just have to be loud. The hacktivists are called The Legion of Whom, and they’re all in on this, since the Blue Skies defense malfeasance is well known.

First order of business, the device to allow the vans to be driven like drones. For Arc Light, that’s easy: IQ+4, and he made it by huge. Teleoperated by Adama the AI, the van will, to all intents and purposes, be a better driver than people. 

The hologram? Well, it’s a bit buggy. They’ll only last about 10-11 minutes, then they’ll burn out. We set them around a dummy, so that even when they burn out, there’s something there, and also set them to drive off various cliffs. 

Zephyr and The Rat Queen spend nearly the entire time prepping the bunker.

Arc Light has a submarine, too. We decide that getting Leslie from the bunker to a submarine, and then taking her straight east underwater with the sub. 

So, we’re going to get her out of the building, grab evidence of Blue Skies wrongdoing, and then transfer her to Arc Light’s submarine. We decide to reserve the sub as a backup plan in case our bunker is detected.

We have a pretty complete profile of the guy, and Eamon spends some Karma to ensure that he has a solid success, so we know what will irk him and tell his wife to “just go fix it and stop bothering me!” during the plan. He’s allergic to jalapeno peppers, so that’s the key – the continued insult there will drive him to distraction, but the result will be “just get it right, I’ll deal with you later.”

So we have four hours left for Arc Light to roll Inventor! plus Electronics! to whip up a super-security tech cracker. He makes it by 11, and the device can actually read the contents of all drives in a 1yd radius without powering them up. It can transmit too, so I can upload it remotely if I can set up the right relays. As a side-effect of the download for the device, he can also hack into Blue Skies security to try and take over surveillance, system locks, change passwords, and other nastiness.

In the final two hours, Eamon ensures we get the warrant down in an airtight fashion. He makes it by 11 (Detective!) without Karma. It’s a fairly airtight request for a broad warrant, so long as we can catch Singleton doing something illegal, the exigent circumstances law can.

The other thing we have to worry about is what particular metahuman is likely to be guarding Mrs Singleton – an Intelligence Analysis roll by The Commander vs a highly-augmented skill of 28 (made it by 20!) provides that data.

We contact The Pusher, and she agrees eagerly to contact her cousin and brief her in on the plan. 

Execution

The plan goes well. Very well. She intentionally delivers jalapenos to her husband, he blows up, has to deliver an epi-pen . . . we even get her all the way into the tunnels, right into the hole, just like clockwork.

The SEALS use a stand-in to make it look like she’s been dragged into some of the white vans. The flash mob shows up at the right time, and things go nuts.

The Commander then needs to batman into the building; he spends a karma point, crits his lockpicking/security intrusion anyway, and nabs just the right security card.

The next step up is for Eamon, Zephyr, and a few SEALs to assault the building loudly and overtly. Eamon chooses to play the part of Eamon, who is “protecting” the building from the “bad guys” who are assaulting it. They’re asked to make Stage Combat rolls, which they make by tiny amounts, or have to spend Karma to make succeed. So they do make it look convincing. Very convincing. 

Zephyr embraces his inner high schooler, and embraces his Evil Method Acting Self. He’s hiding behind folks, giving people super wedgies, gropes some secretaries, and “the Evil Phantom Menace,” (because everybody hates the Phantom Menace).

We actually spend karma to make a copycat villain exist who will actually BE the dastardly Phantom Menace. Because awesome.

The Commander goes for Stealth again, and makes the roll by 14, and then crits again when it comes to sensor placement. It’s basically a perfect insertion, and now Arc Light spends 3 karma to crit by 17, and so he installs a backdoor in the entire system, so he has permanent access until they actually do a deep search to discover it. He makes the roll by 13 to create the backdoor, even without karma – with computer help and tech bonuses, an intruder would have to make the roll by 17 to detect the backdoor.

At this point, someone detects the hack, so I pull the hardware and get out, but the presence of the back door will let us re-enter the computer at will, but we still need to get in the building to get it. They know they have a security leak, but they think it’s coming from within. 

We all spend 1 karma each, and they think it’s Singleton . . . we’ve just painted him as a mole. Arc Light tries to put a driver in the file system to actually save all files that they try and delete, and hide it somewhere in their server. He does it under great stress, and manages to put the driver in.

The Commander cleans up his mess with an IQ-based SEAL roll, and gets out of the building as clean as he can. Arc Light cleans up his server footprint (spending karma for a crit success) as well.

Zephyr pulls every fire alarm on two floors nearly at once. Because that’s now part of the MO of . . . The Phantom Menace! 

So . . . Blue Skies is in disarray. They are pointed with dangerous intent at Singleton. And Leslie is safe with The Rat Queen and a few SEALs under guard. The rest of my SEAL team have been intentionally ‘detained’ for questioning to keep them off the grid.

So now Eamon and Arc Light, with Adama’s help, go through the files to look for ill intent on the part of Blue Skies and Singleton. Edgeworth brings the necessary paperwork, gets everything down, interviews her in case something happens, and then signs the paperwork and sends it off. His partner, Detective Thaddeus does that . . . he goes off to file the paperwork.

Well, we know he’s dead. 

Edgeworth tells us not to freak out because he sent backup with Thaddeus too. 

As we watch Thaddeus to file the paperwork, we notice that a person is standing there, but our eyes tend to slide off of him. We make Observation or perception rolls . . . and some of us make it by a lot. So we see him, or in Zephyr’s case, smell him. 

Zephyr smells pancakes, and a guy bringing them. It’s his favorite chef ever, with a duffel bag in one hand, and a bag of food in the other. He made it for us. Um, how did he know we were here? Grandson told me! he says, pointing at Edgeworth. We also hear and smell guns in the duffel bag. He starts cleaning firearms, blades, grenade launchers . . . is there something that we need to know about?

He tells us that Singleton is currently on the run from Blue Skies, since he’s been pegged for a data breach. But the old man hands me a post card, and on the front it says “Wish you were here,” with the NYC skyline, and a date, time, GPS coordinates, and names of several people.

The sentence says “be there.”

We ask if there’s any hint as to who sent it? Don’t know, but these cards have been showing up for 70 years. 

What time is it now? We have 29 hours, thanks to a timely suggestion by me that it would be really evil to have the time where we have to meet this post card, and the time to get Leslie out overlap.

So it was so. 

So we’re sifting through data, while Zephyr eats pancakes. All the pancakes. 

We combine rolls, and our Intel Analysis rolls combine to succeed by 15. Blue Skies is amazingly crooked, but the intent is to separate Singleton from Blue Skies.

We have a huge windfall of data on Blue Skies, and no one knows we have it. We can pose as Singleton and offer specific chunks of data to competitors, too. That keeps the focus on Singleton, and means we don’t have to risk any blackmail to him. So we basically frame Singleton, and give Blue Skies fewer reasons to dig into the leak, since the scapegoat is so well goated.

We talk more about Blue Skies and what to do with the data. Lots of plans, complicated machinations, are discussed.

The board of directors is Jessica A. Wells (Chairman of the Board), Miriam J. Hallmark, David C. Ohara, Larry M. Gleason, Zackary L. Tidwell, Gregg M. Santana, Carol D. Salter, Angel W. Coleman, and Gail S. Dupont. They”re doing protection for 3rd world dictators, high impact kinetic opertions using metahumans, and all sorts of arms sales to bad actors. Both the ladies pushed him from the board itself for being a mysogynistic asshat.

We have a lot of research to do.

We end there.

Dramatis Personae

  • The Commander (Doug) – telekinetic super-soldier with a really angry dog (Yukio). The dog is a powerful ally (250-300 points) and very intelligent and very, very aggressive.
  • Arc Light (Christian) – battlsuited gadgeteer with electrical powers
  • The Rat Queen (Emily) – brick with super-perception; made of actual rats
  • Eamon Finnegan (Kyle) – smooth talking gravity-master; Ultimate Fighting Lawyer, to borrow a phrase.
  • Zephyr (Merlin) – Real name Murui; Shaolin Kung Fu expert and super-speedster.
Party Time


The party we wind up at is not in the city proper, but on the outskirts. A metric ton of security (well, more than a metric ton, cause at 220lbs per guard, that’s only 10 guys . . . ).

The Rat Queen is vibrating she’s so nervous – she’s not exactly a socialite. Eamon is trying to find and sidle up to the politician’s wife and see what signs of abuse she might display, and he’s brought The Rat Queen as his plus-one.

Zephyr makes jokes about being an albino chinese guy, so he joins the wait staff. 

The John C Campbell education for the poor is collecting donations. Gold bricks can be dropped by the door (it’s that kind of crowd).

Eamon is actually invited to the party; Blue Sky (the PMC the slimy politician used to run) doesn’t like Arc Light’s company, so even though it’s his sort of circle – at least when he’s not in his battlesuit – he’s not invited directly.

He decides to show up with one of those lottery-sized checks . . . for $10 million. Guess he’s got that kind of money. The Commander goes in dress blues, and if he needs to make a donation, he’s got the funds. He also brings Yukio, in disguise. The dog has wicked stealth skills – like Clark Kent good.


We decide that Zephyr will offer up a series of provocations to the Congressman and his wife, and see how it works out. We expect that Congressman Singleton’s wife will be nice and forgiving, and the Congressman will go nuts, berating Zephyr for being an ass, and will betray his nature by how he treats her for acting nicely.

Eamon is on the scene – as intended – and concludes that he is at minimum psychologically domineering, definitely mentally abusive, and likely physically abusive as well. So we at least find out that yes, Elena is correct in pointing us in this direction.

Not that it puts this issue even a tiny bit in our jurisdiction still, but at least we’ve not been overtly lied to.

There are plenty of other celebrities here, including the van Dorian family. The only son in particular was kidnapped in his youth, his parents died in the Trans-Atlantic Pulse, and granddad literally helped defeat the Nazis in his day. The elder van Dorian – we remember him from the time-travel video, he was one of the people trying to stop the experiment. Grandson is also dressed in Class A uniforms.

So we’re surrounded by the eccentric and rich elite. Arc Light is suddenly very popular, and so he starts name-dropping and trolling to see if someone will one-up him by donating to Eamon’s non-profit.

We definitely found out that for smarmy Singleton to win as a Republican in a nominally blue district, a crap-ton of money was raised, funded, and shady deals were done. 

So Eamon is going to try and interrogate Singleton, looking for more angles to research. Places where he’d be less guarded, and more open to let things slip. He spends two Karma to turn a success by “only” seven into a crit.

Turns out he’s into hunting, collecting knives, and the history of Ancient Rome. He even wears a pinky ring with SPQR and a laurel on it, and even wears a purple tie. 

Eamon engages him in conversation; he says “I would have taken you for more of a goodie-two-shoes.” Eamon starts talking about metahuman self-defense; Singleton notes most metas are really just animals that need to be trained. But nonetheless, he offers Eamon contact information to maybe be hired by Blue Sky. For seven figures.

Eamon wonders how they’d separate the two of them (Singleton and his wife). He asks how the two of them met (he was wounded and recovering in Germany, and she was a nurse). There’s obviously dirt to be had.

The Commander really only has two goals. He’s going to chat with everyone and be well-known, and make small-talk and introductions with the Singletons; he’s leveraging the giant cute dog (who swears he’s not going to rip any arms off) to provide a distraction. He’s also going to pay his respects to van Dorian, noting that he remembers seeing him in a war movie once maybe.

Note: the GM grins like I’ve totally walked into the lion’s den here. Can’t hardly wait.

We do find out some things in the schmooze fest.

  • Mrs. Singleton is from Eastern Europe – Romania, in the Wallachian province.
  • Eamon shows mildly of magic when Zephyr tries to check Singleton’s wife
  • The van Dorian boy gives Yukio a gigantic belly-rub; the dog is obscenely smug about it
  • van Dorian and Toranaga are old friends. Whoopee.
  • There’s a lobbyist looking nervous, and Eamon targets him for interrogation and discussion. He used to be an analyst at the NSA, flying drones. Hired by Blue Sky, and then left after an incident in 2014. He’s trying to move into a position where he’s not randomly snatched in the middle of the night. He’s being paid to be there, but doesn’t want to be. If he could ever share what he knew about Blue Sky’s missions, it’d blow the company wide open! Oh, he shouldn’t a said that. Nope.
  • Turns out that with some work, Zephyr finds out that it’s actually the contract that was causing Eamon to detect as magical. Great. Elena is a witch. (burn her!)
  • Arc Light’s wife, Angela, definitely confirms that Singleton’s wife is a physical abuse victim
We needed a legal surveillance warrant to record the conversation between Singleton and his wife in the car. We find a judge at the party, and request a warrant. The judge hates Eamon for some reason, but grants a very, very limited warranty based on the physical evidence and expert testimony. 

Arc Light whips up a sensor drone, and crits. We lose video right away, but we hear the Congressman say that the interlopers would be taken care of, that the wife has attracted do-gooders again, wondering if she’d been talking to her cousin again (A-HA!!). He threatens her by flourishing some sort of balisong or other expandable weapon.
The team starts to make plans to get this guy right the heck now,by forwarding information and stuff to an aggressive DA and/or police department. I caution against this, since Singleton is powerful, aware that we’re looking at him, and actively planning on doing something to us. 

So we go working a few angles. Eamon goes to talk to Elena, and arranges some coverage and confirms that the Congressman’s wife is her cousin. He also notes that we might need to get the wife out, and that she may be suicidal; she’s reached the last straw. They continue to discuss motivations for why she’d want him in jail, vs dead . . . 

They also detect that someone’s surveilling them during this whole thing. Zephyr takes things into his hands and Leeroy Jenkins’ his way up to the car, getting a view of the licence plate and the driver. He can even zoom in and enhance. We look it up. It belongs to Blue Sky.

We switch camera angles, and contact my cousin’s husband, who’s nominally a homicide investigator, but he’s really a jack-of-all-trades, and gets called in to all sorts of things. His real name is Severus Ulyssess Edgeworth. Degrees in Law, Sociology, plus a killer instinct for closing cases. We set up an appointment and head over.

He’s in a martial arts/self-defense class, teaching it. We eventually see them passing around a jar, and yes, it’s a “who can hit the instructor?” jar. We spar, he defeats me easily despite my two attacks and skill 20, and then get down to business. We share our info, and he pulls out two huge stacks, one on Singleton, one on Blue Sky. 

It’s on now. He opens a case, and wants to go over right away and try and extract Leslie Singleton; it might be our only chance before Congressman Singleton makes her disappear. We can probably get her out, but then it ‘s all-out war. I suggest that we involve Callahan (Eamon’s patron), and Eamon arranges to try and get her into Witness Protection.

The hard part will be getting a hold of Leslie and convincing her to talk. We do what we can to cut down the bureaucracy . . . but once we pull the trigger on it, we’re still going to have to keep her out of trouble and out of reach for maybe 32 hours. That’s a lot of time given the resources at Blue Sky’s disposal.

We end there.

Dramatis Personae

  • The Commander (Doug) – telekinetic super-soldier with a really angry dog (Yukio). The dog is a powerful ally (250-300 points) and very intelligent and very, very aggressive.
  • Arc Light (Christian) – battlsuited gadgeteer with electrical powers
  • The Rat Queen (Emily) – brick with super-perception; made of actual rats
  • Eamon Finnegan (Kyle) – smooth talking gravity-master; Ultimate Fighting Lawyer, to borrow a phrase.
  • Zephyr (Merlin) – Real name Murui; Shaolin Kung Fu expert and super-speedster. 
  • Marionette (Ani) – Abilities run to boosting of others, and manipulation of animated objects. The Commander’s third cousin.
Merlin was out, and Ani was always a temporary character. 
Ghostbusters, What do you want?
We pick up having a bit of downtime after last adventure – a few days full of nice, boring paperwork. Tokugawa and Marionette had taken most of my important family out of the city, into hiding, until Tokugawa says otherwise. Grandfather himself is doing . . . well, he doesn’t say. Ever. Grar.
We have Eamon manning the desk as a too-suave version of Annie Potts from Ghostbusters, and we also manage to hire a receptionist (die roll says female) whose superpower is organization. Her name is Tracy Dillingham, and she’s awesome, we need her, and it prevents Arc Light from having to speak to anyone, for which we’re all grateful.
Mostly we’ve been keeping things quiet and playing the game of “sneak the ‘Don’t Taze Me Bro!'” sticker onto the back of Arc Light’s battlesuit game. And cracking jokes about the purse-snatcher that Arc Light apprehended going into three or four separate jail cells.

We hear a voice up front, and it’s Juan Rodriguez, the last remaining member of Eamon’s old team – Aero. His wings had been severed in the Riker’s breakout. He walks with a cane, and has done some serious rehab since the defensive weaponry malfunction at Rikers blasted off his wings and other important bits.

So relatively speaking, he’s looking good.  He also needs a favor. He needs Eamon to talk to “her.” Eamon detects some real depression, self-recrimination cranked up to 11, survivor’s guilt. He’s dealing fairly well (MAPS insurance and psych coverage is excellent, and the physical care not much less so – but the damage is that extensive), but there’s something going on here. He needs to talk to Ellena Pushkov, aka “The Pusher.” She’s an Alpha-level metahuman with the ability to create designer drugs out of water. She can do a sub-atomic scan and then rearrange matter as she wants. She’s technically not doing anything illegal, and the drugs are tailored to the recipients own biology. This can be amazing, or horrible – Ecstasy with no downsides. Or the ability to walk into a chemo ward, touch the IV, and cure the cancer instantly. “Why go out and deal just recreational drugs to people when I can get money from everyone. Everyone needs medicine, and I have it all.”
He has money, and he wants Eamon to talk to Ellena about regrowing his wings. But why can’t Juan talk to Ellen himself? What’s the holdup?
Long pause.
“She’s my ex-girlfriend. We didn’t part on the best terms.”
Saw that one coming.
“How bad?”
“Remember the crazy ex that pulled a butcher’s knife on me?”
“Oh. Her.”
“It’s not like I didn’t deserve it . . . but butcher’s knife.”
“Oh.”
“Here’s a check to cover expenses.”
It’s a million dollar cashier’s check.
We’re going to have to hit the streets. Eamon gets a hold of the standard guy who knows a guy who knows everyone named Wax. He’s a facilitator.
Eamon asks for help and cover – Arc Light excepted, because he’s not terribly subtle. But, he does happen to know a guy that knows a guy as well. It might mean he has to get out of his suit, though.

We all try and keep a more-or-less low profile. The Commander makes his stealth roll by 19. Even Batman is saying ‘where hell did Ian go?’ The Rat Queen makes hers by “only” 11. We’re a sneaky group when we choose to be. We just usually don’t choose to be.
Eamon jumps right in with Wax – he’s looking for The Pusher. Are we trying to arrest her? No, we’re all in public enough that if we wanted that, we’d just do it. Wax puts his filleting knife away (he works in a fish shop) and goes to find some folks. He gives us a name, place, and asks for $500. He gets us a piece of flounder, on the house. 
Adama the AI scans the routes and plans out some directions for us. It’s an old abandoned warehouse in the meat packing district. Asbestos everywhere, etc. We get there in 10 minutes or so, and scout the place out. We all have ridiculous Observation skill.
We see an outstanding wireless surveillance setup We have humans outside watching as well. 
And the Commander? There’s three guys four blocks away, two guys guarding an egress. The door looks like it’s locked but it’s not, and there are 14 cameras total. The north entrance would be the best way to assault the place if I needed to, since I could trap people in the northeast side. But since I’m not planning on assaulting the place, as Billy Crystal once said – hey, hey, hey . . . knocking works! Front door.
This place has been secured by someone with a deep appreciation for paranoia. We disperse 

Eamon is greeted by two very large, very bland men who are packing both handguns as well as a sawed-off shotgun, a small machinegun (probably an SMG), and very nice, tailored body armor.
“Ike” looks at Eamon and nods. “Mike” tells Eamon to stand still, hold his arms out, and starts to wand him thoroughly enough that phone numbers are exchanged. They’re concerned about the armor, zip ties, and handcuffs, but ultimately they decide it’s OK (maybe they like bondage) and escort them into a beautiful room centered on a magnificent 17th century dining table. 
The lady is eating a meal. There are two very large guys (making four total), and a small, intense, quiet guy who is very obviously the dangerous one in a spectacularly non-obvious way.
How can she help Eamon today? He has a friend. Oh, that’s less interesting. She was hoping for something more interesting from the Ultimate Fighting Lawyer.
She has Eamon pass the blood sample and medical records to one of her thugs. She looks it over, and makes a diagnosis. Multiple amputations, loss of muscle tissue . . . does he want an end to the pain, or complete regrowth? Regrowth? Oh, that’s $10M. Or . . . she’s willing to reduce her price for a favor. 
Of course.
Our team is known for doing the right thing. And one of her associates has been doing the wrong thing. To her. Or rather, to a friend of hers. She wants him in jail. The person has been abusing his wife, who is a friend of hers. She’s in charge of several charities, two kids she never sees in boarding school, etc. She’ll waive her fee, she’ll give us her personal contact information. 
But why us, we ask? This sounds like a lot of bother, and $10M, for something the cops can handle. We set up a pool – super, politician, member of law enforcement – or intersection of them all. 

Ah a politician, Rep Dwain Singleton, she says. Congressman for 12th district, Helped start a massive PMC law firm. Former defensive technology entrepreneur. But a bad rep for ruthlessness and personal behavior. Overall, people either like or respect him, so long as they’ve never seen his bad side. He’s a GOP victor in a blue district . . . which is a bit odd in and of itself. Eamon’s met him before. Something’s off about him; he gives off odd vibes. Eamon’s patron, Callahan, can’t stand him. They’ve had public spats, including C calling S “a bullshit artist of the highest order.” So typical political stuff.
So, we’ve got all sorts of issues here. Legally, we are on somewhat shaky ground to just wander around investigating him. He’s in Manhattan, we’re in the Bronx. And he’s not a known metahuman.
Eamon agrees – and she pulls out a pre-written, very well crafted contract, complete with ethics clause. 
He reviews it, feeds it to Adama, has others look over it. The contract itself is legit, straight-forward, and seems to not have any “sell your soul” clauses.
So what do we know about this bloke? 
Ex-soldier. Planner for PMC. Retired from there with a huge bonus. Owns a $25M apartment in the center of his district.
The Commander looks into the military angle. The company was Blue Sky Defense. They offer metahuman neutralization as a package option. Lots of toys. Lots of money. They seem to be joined at the hip with the defense department in certain areas, but now everyone uses them. 
Their metahuman neutralization method? Extreme firepower. Now they actually have a metahuman squad/division, that they’ve lavishly equipped and trained to deal with other metahumans. There are 5,000 field soldiers, and 500 of them are metas. Holy crud.
The PMC definitely helped put him in office, we surmise. There’s sufficient circumstantial evidence for the conclusion, but it is circumstantial. He’s worth about $50-60M, and is ostentatious about donating his congressional salary to charity; he’s not exactly anti-government, but his anti-authoritarian cred is there. 
Blue Sky Defense is a scary group, with tons of resources and money.
We decide to deck ourselves out to crash a charity event for some Recon. Eamon’s got this; the Rat Queen, our only female hero, has Unattractive on her character sheet. We bring in a fashion consultant, who happens to be a metahuman with fashion powers. 
No, really. 
He’s got her gowned up (with an armored dress), gloved up (to hide a deformed hand), coiffed, and all rat-like qualities to the point where she’s really putting the Queen into the Rat Queen.
We break there, as this is a good stopping point and allows +Christopher R. Rice to prepare the party.
****
This was definitely a prelude adventure, lots of roleplaying and lots of setting the stage. No one really trusts the Congressman (and why should we) and we all know that there’s a hell of a lot more below the waterline. One does not get offered a freebie for a $10M drug cure to take care of someone that the cops can just arrest.
I feel like there’s more about this  PMC connection that we’re missing yet, but not through any fault of our own. The wife-beating thing targets him for termination by several team members, but we’ve only got that on hearsay thus far – we’ll have to get some concrete evidence. Ellena not being exactly 100% trustworthy and all. 
More later, but with this much coin on offer, there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

Thinking a bit more about S2E4 of the Aeon campaign, I can’t help coming back to how badly we biffed it, and still managed to pull it out because of a metagame ability – for which I paid many points – to ret-con a whole series of crap decisions.

There are certain things you can’t take back – +Christopher R. Rice has a policy, and it’s a good one, of “once you roll the dice, there are no take-backs.” Do whatever metagame stuff you want. Invoke Luck. Declare you’re using Foresight. Spend bonus points or character points to influence things. Make complimentary skill rolls.


But once you pick up the dice to roll for your effect, you takes your chances, as the saying goes.

As the player – even as the player whose job it is to pull our fat out of the fire with a retroactively-thorough plan via the virtue of something like 50+ points spend for that ability – I was shaking my head over and over about our path. And when, when all was said and done, we were able to “win,” well, it didn’t feel like a win.

I begin to understand why +Jeffro Johnson likes the TPK so much, or at least seems to. When there’s no plot armor, everyone has the equivalent of 4-8 HP, and wading in to combat or another violent or prone-to-violent confrontation with zero plan and zero preparation will just get everyone killed, thanks, roll 3d6 in order . . . things are approached with what might be called “the proper caution.”

I think part of my frustration is that we’ve been discussing the importance of planning and tactics in the group. The big dust-ups over planning and tactics at the end of Season 1 seemed to cement the value of such, and the last episode was – I thought – a huge vindication of entering into battle forewarned and forearmed.

This was all on us, too. The GM had signaled through action and exposition that our foe was a badass super-genius super-soldier with an amazing mind backed up with metahuman-level enhanced fighting skills. He kicked the unsuited Arc Light across the green like a rag doll.

This last game we were a superhero version of Leeroy Jenkins. And we deserved the same fate.

Dramatis Personae

  • The Commander (Doug) – telekinetic super-soldier with a really angry dog (Yukio). The dog is a powerful ally (250-300 points) and very intelligent and very, very aggressive.
  • Arc Light (Christian) – battlsuited gadgeteer with electrical powers
  • The Rat Queen (Emily) – brick with super-perception; made of actual rats
  • Eamon Finnegan (Kyle) – smooth talking gravity-master; Ultimate Fighting Lawyer, to borrow a phrase.
  • Zephyr (Merlin) – Real name Murui; Shaolin Kung Fu expert and super-speedster. 
  • Marionette (Ani) – Abilities run to boosting of others, and manipulation of animated objects. The Commander’s third cousin.

We had a full house again.

Outside the Secret Lair . . .


We pick up outside the villain’s secret lair. The Rat Queen, who has never had a hangover before due to being resistant to poison, claims she’s having the worst hangover ever. 

The Commander, still feeling “groggy” due to being pumped full of drugs for hours or days, is feeling a bit grumpy. 

For reference, my hangover is worse than hers. Seriously.


The bad guy is calling himself Oblivion. He’s trying (and succeeding, honestly) to get revenge on all of the people who did him wrong, back in his lab rat days. But not the Rat Queen kind of lab rat. This was the guy that supposedly got all blowed up – and his current mission is to kidnap and kill Arc Light’s wife.

We quick use the phone, and try and reach her. Arc Light gets in contact with her and suggests she go find a public place. Because our villain has engaged in a spectacular bomb-laying campaign, regardless of innocents. On the other hand, those have required some setup, so perhaps a public space has merit.

The Commander suggests that perhaps she should proceed to the tunnel next to where we pulled the AI out of that one time. Because no one but us knows it’s there, and Mr Oblivion has been four steps ahead of us the entire time.

Zephyr heads to Arc Light’s house first, at 384mph. He can literally get there in 2 minutes, and thus try and provide an escort to the “safe zone.” The doors are open. This isn’t good. The panic room has been broken open. The door was booby trapped, but wasn’t expecting the speedster. When he stops moving, he hears a “click!”

He’s standing on a persian rug, with beautiful scenes, about 2’x4′. Covering a round pressure plate, about frizbee size. 

At this point, Alina notes that the one-legged crippled player confirms that explosions you’re standing on are a bad thing. Wench.

The rest of us follow on later. We see that the doorway has ben utterly pulverized, neighbors are gawking, taking selfies. Arc Light asks them to stand back, and they flip him off. His people skills are mad, I tell you. Mad.

Zephyr sees a fingernail embedded in a windowframe as he looks around, and then a sensor dings, and a microwave clock timer goes off, saying “Time’s up,” and starts counting down from 2 minutes.

Eamon is going to use his gravity control to manipulate the pressure plate. He steps onto the welcome mat, and it goes click. He puts on gravity on Zephyr’s plate anyway. Zephyr dodges/jumps out the window – and Eamon puts the right amount of pressure on the rug, the device, and the trigger. He feels like, also, that he’s standing next to the source of a gravity sense disruptor.

The Commander goes to disarm the bomb Eamon was standing on – he’s familiar with the design, so some familiarity penalties don’t apply, and he easily disarms it.

We look for the sensory disruption device while we deploy the Rat Queen and Yukio look for scent and evidence trails for Arc Light’s wife.

We find a FedEx box that is the source of the woozy where gravity is concerned. 

The purposeful ripping off of the nail gives a blood scent, allowing both the Rat Queen and Yukio to track her easily. Yukio takes off after the trail, howling.

We continue to search the house, and a few crits later, we determine, based on a few clues and a photo of “The Magnificent Seven” found at a carnival, that this guy was going to kidnap Arc Light’s wife, take her to a carnival, and blow up himself, her, and as many people as possible as his final scene. Other pictures were found as well, including one of Oblivion, who’s looking a lot like a symmetric version of Harvey Dent’s bad side.

Zephyr does a funky shadowing roll, and makes a crit! He follows the trail into a carnival in Central Park, and yes, it’s another FedEx truck.  With zero evidence, Zephyr decides that Arc Light’s wife, Angela, will be on the Ferris wheel. Turns out, he’s right. Darnit.

He’s moving FedEx boxes from the back of his truck and delivers them to the concessions vendors. Excellent.

We see someone else sitting about 100yds away, at the Alice Statue, who also looks remarkably like Angela.

But her skin, on the bench, does not look real, says The Rat Queen. Maybe the one on the Ferris wheel.

We leap to the conclusion that the FedEx boxes have gravity sense scramblers in them; we also leap to the conclusion that the Angela-dummies are laden with explosives.

Yukio is distracted. He wants a funnel cake. As it turns out, Oblivion is obviously munching on one. Zephyr tries to sprint over – and he catches Oblivion smiling over at him, looking out of the corner of his eye. This whole thing has been prepared.

At the center of the truck there’s a small, strange technodevice, slowly pulsing. It’s a bigger version of what Cortez had on his belt – a power nullifier. And Zephyr can no longer move his hand fast. And he does find explosives in the truck, which he should definitely not try and get anywhere near.

And Arc Light walks up to Oblivion and tries to punch him in the face. Oblivion, who has perhaps displayed hugely excellent martial skills in the past, does aggressive parry and then kicks him, Leonidas style, a few yards away.

We do a quick download of the images streaming from Zephyr’s images. The Commander identifies it as VX. Enough to kill everyone in Manhattan.

The Commander tries to call to see about any research into power nullifiers, by his grandfather or the general, but all external communications are jammed.

Arc Light tries to talk to Oblivion to get him angry; Oblivion mocks him, tells him that his wife is nowhere near here, and then shoots himself in the head.


The team is trying to keep Oblivion’s heart pumping, because we worry that the bomb triggering the VX van. We need a plan. We’ve been utterly stupid to this point. So . . . The Commander burns 5 Karma points for an automatic critical success. And


Flashback


The Commander: OK, guys. Every scenario this far has Oblivion setting one or more bombs. He’s going to come at is with bombs again. And we’ve disarmed most of them. So he’s going to try and outfox us again, multiple detonators, backups, redundancies.


So we’re not going to try and stop it from blowing up at all. Here are all his detonators, his MO, his plans. We can plan on containing the largest explosion so far.


Arc Light: OK, well, the explosion could be distributed. How about ablative blast foam?


The Commander: Perfect. That’s something that we can all do, and with Zephyr, we can do it pretty fast. Let’s make twice as much as the largest threat we’ve faced, and arrange the VERTOL to automatically bring it nearby when we call . . . 


Eamon: You need to distract him so he can’t feel out our plan. Arc Light?


Arc Light: Oh, don’t worry. I’m pissed enough to distract him…


The Commander: OK. Let’s saddle up.


Return to the Present


The Rat Queen hooks up Oblivion to a heart/lung machine that Zephyr got from a nearby hostpital (I don’t think I mentioned that earlier; my bad).

The timer goes off, and . . . the blast is contained. 

Now we need to deal with the dummies, perhaps. We request a portable X-Ray machine from the local hospital, and Eamon crits again on a Talky McTalkypants roll. They bring it out to us.

I get called away by a tired little girl with nightmares.

They realized that no one had searched the body. They swarmed over and found two pictures. One of him and his girlfriend (who died in the MIT explosion), and the other is of his father and him as a child – it’s labeled Bellevue Hospital 1999. 

Eamon deduces, using Psychology, that it’s likely that Oblivion took her there.

Zephyr zips over to Bellevue, and searches the hospital, looks around, and finds Angela, Arc Light’s wife. She’s got an IV drip and a vitals monitor, but otherwise nothing obvious.

As we suspected, the Angela-dolls are wired with explosives packed into a lifelike sex doll. The Commander disarms them handily.

The IV hooked up to Angela is not saline. We’re not sure what it is. We look, and it’s a modified form of atropine – which can be an antidote for the form of VX he used.

Back at the carnival, Yukio is gorging on abandoned funnel cake, his face covered with 

We end there…


Post-Game Analysis


Well. Despite our ret-con, that was very nearly a ridiculously epic fail. We entered the kill zone of a known super-villain known for his contingency planning with not a bit of plan. Zero. None. 

Despite our ret-con, up to the desperation of the flash-back, it was a seat-of-the-pants, unplanned, let’s stick our head into the sphere of annihilation epic fail. 

Our tendency to have the basic strategem be “I’m going to do something crazy” nearly always bites us in the ass.

As it turned out, he was super-intelligent AND super-perceptive, so he knew we were following him. 

The other guys claim that the only plan that worked last time was an anti-plan, because the NPC had so much ability to predict the team’s actions that the only things that worked were ideas so off the wall (and bad) that no sane person would have predicted them coming up.

We actually asked the question if there were two vehicles at the getaway site from the Angela kidnapping, but were talking over the GM so we never did learn that yes, there were two vehicles and we probably could have taken out the Angela-kidnapping angle, and maybe even discovered the modified atropine – which might have given us an antidote angle!

Anyway, we pulled our butts out of the fire . . . today, at least.

This is a very quick version of session notes from last week’s game, but I was in Malaysia. So, without further ado, nor editing, here’s a recap. I’ll edit this out into something more prose-like over time.

Dramatis Personae

  • Arc Light (Christian) – battlsuited gadgeteer with electrical powers
  • The Rat Queen (Emily) – brick with super-perception; made of actual rats
  • Eamon Finnegan (Kyle) – smooth talking gravity-master; Ultimate Fighting Lawyer, to borrow a phrase.
  • Zephyr (Merlin) – Real name Murui; Shaolin Kung Fu expert and super-speedster. 
  • Marionette (Ani) – Abilities run to boosting of others, and manipulation of animated objects. The Commander’s third cousin.

Session Start

Arc light sent a drone to track the commander but it got shot down
emily is out because of spells overloading her.
Commander looks the same in rf as everyone else
Marionette can probably track commander with amplification
arc light probably can build an amplifier at his lair.
adama crits doing data analysis for purchase patterns for household chemicals.  someone has been making wholesale purchases of household chemicals that are unusual and some thefts.  someone has been buying these things in cash and having them delivered to an address.
shared shipping warehouse.  


arc light wants to hack the hubble to keep an eye on the building.
he’s going to try to get historical and current footage
in truth we hack a russian satelite and follow him via satelite to his junkyard 30 miles north of the city.
we figure out for sure the enemy is dude and he has super maths he can use to predict the future and alter probability.
we plan to do a negative tactics roll to negate his successes.

We show up in the middle of the junkyard as if we hadn’t planned at all but he’s ready for that, has goons in the yard with guns who take aim when we show up.  combat begins!
We don’t get any special considerations on positioning and so we just go at it.

Marionette TK’s over to a schoolbus (bringing Zephyr with her) and begins to attempt to animate it.
Zephyr attempts to punch a guard but fails a will roll instead, draws his evil cursed knife and stabs a guard in the heart, who immediately dies. his ATR is up so then he runs to the next one who crit fails a dodge and jumps on his knife. 
arc light flys off to the side and tazes a dude. he goes limp

Eamon flys into a mess of guys and hits them with a slam of gravity knocking all 4 out and setting off an improvised explosive.

Eamon and his recently attacked goons get blowed up.  We take a bunch of damage and some of them die.

Someone of indeterminite location shoots at arc light with a directed EMP burst. the suit shuts down and arc light redlines the suit, getting it back into action

Marionette animates a bus, nothing happens yet, but soon!

goons shoot at us to no major effect
someone shoots a rocket at arclight that he dodges. then he gets a popup on his hud saying he’s been locked on

eamon picks himself up off the floor and hugs a junked helicopter

goons chuck a grenade at eamon who gravity pushes it back, then another goon picks it up again, tossing it to eamon who tosses it back a 2nd time.

marionette’s bus starts stomping around, on feet. and marionette guides it in to crush goons.

Marionette herself grabs some goon guns with TK, disarming them and slamming a gun into a goon’s face.

eamon moves the fusilage of the helicopter he’s been hiding behind, himself and Yukio 11 yards away, keeping himself covered.

A rocket that appeared to miss arc light earlier has arced back and tries to hit him again along with 2 additional rockets.  He’s standing next to a goon that he snatches up and attempts to save from the boom.  he attempts some fancy flying to get them to hit each other but fails.  Marionette burns a karma to pick up sacrificial defense for TK.  She reaches out and slams them together, saving arc light from the full brunt of the explosion, that said, they are still close enough to rattle his cage.

Zephyr runs up a crane and smacks the sniper guard, knocking him out.

arc light drops his goon into a water tower taking him out of the fight

Eamon gravity sledges the last foe.

Marionette invests CP in the bus to allow it to become permanant and self repair.
Eamon searches with gravity, finds a tunnel system and stunts tunneling with his gravity talent, ripping holes in the dirt to find a way into the tunnel

we begin exploring and find 3 prison cells in one is a man in tattered clothing with wild ratty hair.  he looks at us and begins to count on his fingers as if in a nervous tic.  It’s Andrew Farmer who we thought was the enemy.

he gives us a 14% chance to survive.

he gives himself 64% chance to survive in his cell, or 3% if he comes with us.

He says we don’t have time to chat. we leave to find the commander.

we scout around and find the commander unconscious chained all kinds of crazy ways to a chair.  Eamon taps him awake with TK, he mumbles at us and things start beeping, then he falls asleep again, the beeping slows.

before we do anything to claim the commander, we search the lair and find the other prisoners.  the traps on each prisoner are clearly wired together, we need to snatch them all at once.  Zephyr works up some magic and Marionette juices his spell up.  between him, eamon and marionette we now have 3 TK using party members and we sync watches, then grab everyone, avoiding cave in traps.  a beeping begins in another tunnel, marionette and arc light work together and disarmed it.  then we free farmer who was in the cell.

Warren Kivalina  is the enemy.  He says he watched him die and now he calls himself oblivion.  Warren isn’t interested in the commander, hes interested in arc light.  Warren says “you know what you did, you’re as guilty as all of us”.  the “accident” wasn’t.  arc light starts spilling the beans without taking the blame.  The process they were working on was supposed to fix brains and possibly repair them.  Z theorizes that warren is deformed or broken somehow, but still has super regeneration.  Marionette suspects that the treatment didn’t take because it wasnt formulated for warren.  Andrew Farmer says “he’s not the guy I knew”.  

Arc Light starts digging into the computer system Warren left behind.  Looking at the access logs he discovers that the loved ones of the magnificent 7 are being surveiled, including Arc’s wife.  he sees vid of arc and his wife talking then it fades to red and black.   session ends.

Dramatis Personae

  • The Commander (Doug) – telekinetic super-soldier with a really angry dog (Yukio). The dog is a powerful ally (250-300 points) and very intelligent and very, very aggressive.
  • Arc Light (Christian) – battlsuited gadgeteer with electrical powers
  • The Rat Queen (Emily) – brick with super-perception; made of actual rats
  • Eamon Finnegan (Kyle) – smooth talking gravity-master; Ultimate Fighting Lawyer, to borrow a phrase.
  • Zephyr (Merlin) – Real name Murui; Shaolin Kung Fu expert and super-speedster. 
  • Marionette (Ani) – Abilities run to boosting of others, and manipulation of animated objects. The Commander’s third cousin.

We had a full house again.

Picking up after Zephyr gets shot in the ass


We pick up where we left off, having had our super-villain escape. We dust for prints, and find that each bullet has a set of prints on it. Hayley’s prints. 

The serial numbers were never even there. It looks like it was hand-built from a Barrett design, in a well-kitted-out workshop, by an expert.

We try and interrogate her . . . but it rapidly becomes clear she’s been drugged with some sort of hypnogogic for memory loss and suggestibility.

She was given a pretty heavy dose of Rohypnol, but it doesn’t seem to be life threatening. Zephyr, he of the murderous dagger, decides to cast a spell and heal her. We all step back, he does his thing, and manages to heal her. Now she’s wired like a ferret on crack.


And pissed off. This is not the usual reaction of a person who’s been thrust into violence. This is the reaction of someone long acquainted with stress reactions, or at least naturally has combat reflexes. I try to recruit her; she tells me I couldn’t afford her. Ah, I hear that so much.

We ask her when the last time she handled a .50 caliber bullet. Rifle or pistol caliber, she says. One of these, specifically, we say.

She gives us a very precise breakdown of the time she spent handling a firearm in the last four years. She also offers up her lab to help us out. Eamon examines the bullets. We also examine the gun. The only residue on the gun itself is mocking laughter from our assailant.

The prints on the bullets? Written in microscopic lettering in the fingerprint itself, is Hamlet: “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” It 

When was the last time she saw Farmer? Well, he came to her and believed that one of the lab assistants (Narcisse Reynolds) was changed by the formula, and it had driven her insane. The forumula, in question, was again a known cure to some pretty bad degenerative brain conditions. 

Narcisse was one of the ones who was thought to have died in the fire. Eamon turns to The Commander: “How’s death been treating you?” “Can’t complain.”

We cut scene to a person wandering through New York, where a young lady is looking for some family. Japanese relatives, in fact. She’s The Commander’s third cousin, and she calls him.

She finds out, all at once, that he’s a Tier 1 territory (the Bronx), and didn’t, in fact die two years ago. He also really, really, really should have called. Putz. Or the Japanese for putz: pyuttsu.

We show Hayley our pile of perhaps unconnected stuff that shows the breeding program/partnership program exists – she out-and-out denounces it as utter crap. She might be emotionally biased  because her good friend Andrew Farmer went down that road and went apparently insane.

We wonder if Hayley and her husband were introduced to each other by third parties. We send Eamon (in his fantastic suit) off with Hayley for both protection and interrogation.

Taken 4: Zootopia

Marionette tells The Commander that, her aunt and uncle are missing – and grandfather is not answering his phone either. 

This is so not good. The Commander is instantly distracted – he’s duty-bound to help.  We track them to the zoo – but they disappeared there. We try and pull security camera footage from the zoo to see if we can find out what went on.

Back to Hayley – nice appatment, big husband. 275-lbs of solid muscle. Where did they meet? At the marine ball. The husband – scout-sniper tattoo clear on his arm – is piled with armaments, a tac vest, and other weaponry. He’s outside the panic room; Eamon gives him the skinny on the attack on his wife. He looks like he’s ready to eat nails. 

At the bombing site – we decide to head to the Bronx zoo. We ask about getting permission to view the security cameras; after the Man-Lion escaped from Rikers, we have good cred from the zoo. 

We feed the video into Adama – Arc Light’s AI – and it does facial recognition and makes a 3D map of their path through the zoo – Sea Dragon on steroids. The zoo closed at 8pm today, later than normal, but our relatives never left the zoo. 

We see something explode at their feet, they all collapse, and a single person moves them into a waiting truck. The person definitely has some sort of super-strength. This person is the same build and height as the person who tried to put a bullet in Hayley.

This was about five hours ago. We try and pull traffic-cam footage to follow the truck. 

Back at the penthouse suite, the husband and his team of private military contractors are setting up for a major assault, just in case. Eamon walks the evidence back from the sniper shot back to the genetic records. He’s as skeptical as she was, but he did save a bunch of her stuff from MIT, and he’d be OK with Eamon having access to it. As soon as it’s safe, the entire family is going to a safe house. They’ll be gone on the morrow. Eamon goes to the locker/storage unit and basically takes photos of everything and feeds it to Adama.

Back at the zoo. We try and follow the truck on the Traffic Cams, but it disappears into another crowd of FedEx trucks. We lost it.

We get the “tattler boxes” of all the trucks in the area, and eliminate all of those. That leaves us with a truck that goes to the Brooklyn Bridge. That leads us to footage of someone loading bodies (some struggling, some scared) into a boat. The driver stops long enough to tag part of the bridge with graffiti. Well, there’s our Billy Shakespeare reference. “How now? A rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!”

Marionette tells us she doesn’t detect grandfather’s signature in New York. We nip over to the Brooklyn Bridge and make with the forensics. The boat was tied to a makeshift jetty. The FedEx truck was stolen. Someone messed with the trackers on the truck. There’s a print from a military pattern boot that is very unusual for civilians. There’s a faint odor of something chloroformish, but also not quite. The area otherwise is conspicuously clean of evidence. We begin to suspect (one of) his superpower(s) is evidence removal.

We let the Rat Lab (The Rat Queen’s discriminating super-sense) have it – it’s some sort of synthetic DMSO that turns anything into an aerosol transmission. Groovy.

Fortunately, The Rat Queen can smell the unique signature of Marionette and the Commander – apparently we’re quite distinctive. So we start trying to trace where the boat went by scent. Marionette has locked onto one of the patterns of another “special” relative as well.

We wind up north of the Owls Head wastewater treatment facility.

We deploy the Rat Queen in recon mode again, and she makes the roll by 18. Someone has crushed fine glass all over the ground, mixed it with Rat Poison. Someone knows our capabilities. Marionette boosts The Rat Queen’s immunity to metabolic hazards – she’s basically immune to the poison, but she’s high and buzzed. She’s -3 to DX, IQ, and self-control rolls for 18 hours. Best. Drunk. Ever. New meaning to Taste the Rainbow, and we know where the rum’s gone.

Last of the Mohicans Moment!

There are no guards, but as soon as TRQ enters the area, a motion sensor triggers something, and a disguised (heavily) voice comes over a loudspeaker.

“I see you’ve found the resting place of the Owari family. Don’t be shy. I know you’re there.”

“There are a dozen different trailers here. They’re in one of them. You have two minutes to find which one. Then I blow them all.”

There’s a weird pulse emanating from this area; both the gravitational and funkysense from Marionette are a bit weird.

The clock starts counting, then stops. And a voice: “There’s a choice. You can have three, if The Commander comes with me.”

We argue a bit, and negotiate for the women and kids – but no tricks.

“It is my role to behave as an honorable man and exchange myself for my family. This is about duty. Inviolate duty. I know the measure of my honor, and the depth of my duty. This does not depend on whether the people I am dealing with are honorable men; they have proved they are not by kidnapping my family. Me for them.”


Eamon buffs The Commander, making him more dense. But all the trucks are piled with explosives – pressure sensitive explosives. They smell like mercury fulminate.

A boat pulls up into one of the jettys. The deal is struck – the four women and children for The Commander and the three male relatives – all over age 25. They walk to the boat as well. 

The ladies and kids are released. The Commander hands his swords to Marionette, and his rifle to Eamon. The Comander walks to the boat. 

The boat, under automated control, disappears into the dark waters of the harbor.

The Commander is told to administer a sedative to the passengers, including himself. We black out. 

We end there.

****

The ending was purposefully contrived to allow my absence for two weeks while I’m in Malaysia. Overall, we moved the plot forward a bit, but the fact that the partner program participants are in denial about it means that we won’t get any help there. 

Still, the odds of all of that being just a coincidence are low. Very low. But the fact that the same guy was at both the assassination site and the kidnapping means they’re actually part of the same case. 

So hopefully my companions will come to my rescue. We shall see.

Dramatis Personae

  • The Commander (Doug) – telekinetic super-soldier with a really angry dog (Yukio). The dog is a powerful ally (250-300 points) and very intelligent and very, very aggressive.
  • Arc Light (Christian) – battlsuited gadgeteer with electrical powers
  • The Rat Queen (Emily) – brick with super-perception; made of actual rats
  • Eamon Finnegan (Kyle) – smooth talking gravity-master; Ultimate Fighting Lawyer, to borrow a phrase.
  • Zephyr (Merlin) – Real name Murui; Shaolin Kung Fu expert and super-speedster. 

We had a full house again.

Boom. Now what do we do?

Game Start: Ap[ril 1, 2016

We arrive at the scene of a huge antipersonnel explosion at the Church of Saint Raymond. We show up after the EMTs have evacuated the most traumatically wounded. Roughly 70 cops are on the scene. 

No one saw anyone planting bombs, and there was only one explosion.

The Commander has people fan out and look for secondary explosives, to hit the responders. The team has massive Search skills, and we need them. There is, in fact, a second explosive set, ridiculously well concealed as a trash can (not in a trash can, as a trash can). The explosive is a form of SEMTEX.

We have lots of people in the area

The device itself is about 10lbs of SEMTEX, wrapped around nails, BBs, and other household junk as a fragment source. Since I crit and made it by 16, I get all sorts of details about the primary timer, and secondary triggers. There’s also Rat Poison on the shrapnel as a blood thinner. This is one seriously angry dude. The Rat Queen can also tell that the plastic explosives were homemade. Mercury motion switch too.

The Commander lays down the plan.


I’ve got 5 min on the bomb timer. The Commander spends 2 Karma for 2 rerolls, takes the best of 3, and makes the roll by 15. I disarm it with 31 sec left on the timer. We detach the transmitter part from the board, and give it to Arc Light to see if he can track down the frequency that was going to be sent and/or received. The Rat Queen looks for survivors. Murui uses magical sense foes to see if there’s a hostile actively in the area.

He detects a very, very angry pigeon. It’s evil. It’s disturbed. It’s on Zephyr’s personal no-fly list from this moment on. 

We go for a full sensory workup. Eamon gets a density signature. Rat Queen sniffs it and can trace it that way. Zephyr looks for sorcerous tie-ins (nope). 

Arc Light gets that the remote trigger was a cell phone frquency, and goes to follow the signal. He rolls a 4 and makes it by 16. Burner phone, GPS not active. Put in custom hardware and software to make it damn near untraceable . . . except for the crit and the margin of success.

We think we have enough for a profile – more importantly, a list of suspects. We get a profile worth +1 to future questions of “who” and “why.” A very deep profile. Visceral hate in there, highly intelligent. Broad skill set. Smart enough to use household supplies and turn it into a terrorist device, and cruel enough to hit twice. Plus the message scrawled on the wall:

“And so am I revenged. That would be scann’d: A villain kills my father, and for that,I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven.” – Hamlet Act 3, Scene 3

We also think about surveillance camera footage, and see how the garbage can was  put in place. 

The footage has been tampered with. A whole bunch of annoying coincidences, including a bird pooping on a convenient lens. 

We decide that Murui’s initial detection of the angry pigeon was not actually a failed roll.

Investigations and Conversations


There were perhaps 3 dead, 40 in intensive care, and many more wounded. 

The deceased were a doctor (a neurologist), his wife, and their young child. Gregory Echeverria. No malpractice suits, outstanding citizen, exceedingly likeable individual. Active in the community, 9/11 responder, volunteer firefighter in his history. Was both a research fellow and practitioner. Specialty in MADS, Parkinsons, and other degenerative brain disease. This guy was either hiding something or an actual saint. 

Emily decides that this guy was actually a super-villain, and this is a clone.

We rapidly come to the conclusion – validated by the GM – that the first explosion was targeted at the doctor and his family. The rest was either just evil, or a distraction/diversion attempt, or both.

Eamon goes through the doctor’s house (legally). Someone did break into the house, we discover. But nothing much else. We know it’s recent.

Looking into the background of this guy, he graduated High School early at 15, went to college at MIT in Biochem. Wild youth (well, wild for MIT), graduated, became a volunteer firefighter during 9/11 (which went down differently than in our reality), struggled to find work that interested him enough to stay put. 

We send emissaries to interview and intel gather from the hospital, looking for MICE (Money, Ideology, Conscience, Ego) related stuff that might have made him a target.

Ah ha. There was an explosion at MIT in a chemical lab. Half the wing burnt down, and at least one student was killed. Arc Light was there at the time, actually. The guy who died was Warren Kivalina (Serbian), a 16-yo student. Kivalina’s father died of alzheimer’s several years thereafter. Looking into Warren, he came up with a possible cure for Alzheimers while he was there, and the research was lost along with the building. Warren and Gregory were working on the same project.

That’s another lead, then.

There were also two other people in that cohort that died of neuro-degenerative diseases, too. One developed Parkinson’s in 2014, and died within six weeks. The other developed rapid onset Louis Body’s dementia in 2015. 

There were a total of 7 people working on this project, including Arc Light’s character. The Magnificent Seven, they called themselves. Five of seven are accounted for. The only two left untraced are Andrew Farmer and Hayley Roberts. 

Hayley Roberts, now Hayley Roberts-Lee, runs a private forensics consulting firm. She’s been a forensic pathologist since she was basically 20. 

Farmer . . . went off the grid seven years ago. Hasn’t paid bills, paid taxes, held a job. He’s either the killer or hiding from one. His specialty was mathematics. Probability, in fact. 

We look into their parents, too. And the families. All have high birth rates and early families. High IQ types. They all seem like scions . . . but they’re not scions. A good half of the parents were in military service – in fact, one half of each family was a soldier-type, covered in medals and glory. The spouses were all high-achievers too, good looking, high achievers.

We look into various projects designed to bring about scions – this isn’t the right path. But many projects designed to bring about improved humans have existed.

There are patterns. One with high intelligence, one with military service. Recently that wasn’t female-male respectively, but back not that far (two generations, maybe three), and it was that way (we go to the great depression/WW2).  That pattern goes back to the 1900s – there was not one particular ethnicity or race or nationality here, especially when we broaden the search. Not a Master Race thing, then. We keep digging, and this goes back at least 200 years. Lots of kids. 

But our Doctor only had one child, an 11yo. He got married to his recently deceased wife five years ago. She was not military, and neither was he. The child was his son, by another woman. 11yo? That would make it 2004 . . . was the mom killed in the middle east? Yes, she was, while serving in the middle east. I get her full dossier, thanks to a Pulling Rank crit. Autumn Mueller.

She was a marine, transferred to CIA in the SOG division. Into some gnarly stuff. She was a hell of an operator. She and he did file a certificate of dependency, and they’d started the seemingly required large family – she was pregnant when she died. The kid survived the mother’s death, but died in the hospital. 

We wonder if the Doctor broke some unwritten code of this group of people or something. 

The Magnificent Seven


So there are seven of these guys. And they’re married.

Arc Light is one, and he’s married to a (military?) doctor. But Arc Light’s parents were not that way. And Arc Light doesn’t have children. He met his wife while he was “thuggin’,” 

We note that reminds of the doctor – but yeah, they all had a wild period of not-so-much-law-abiding behavior.

We get a call in over the radio at this point. There’s been another explosion. At Hayley’s forensics firm. But she’d stepped out to get coffee, so she’s got her in protective custody.

We go looking for Boom-Ex via gravity and rats. The Commander and Zephyr were going to take our witness back to the Lighthouse. There are not one, but two secondary explosives. The Commander wraps his forcefield around her, and they move to the Vertol…

Zephyr hears something click, his time sense goes off, and he senses/sees/detects a bullet. He pulls a sacrificial dodge, but gets shot in the ass.

The bullet could only have come from 700yds away, in a particular building. The Commander announces the location, having made the Observation roll by 17; Rat Queen starts moving that way. 

We see an image of someone all black, head-to-toe, in a featureless mask, on top of the roof. The color seems to be changing – probably tech. It’s a quick-dissassemble into a pouch, and he’s down, not presenting a target, and moving very quickly.

The Commander hits Zephyr with some quick Physician, and brings him from “basically crippled” to “only down 1 HP.”


The Commander watches all of his buddies tear off after the guy on the roof, and fires three rounds at him. The target pulls a Neo and dodges the shots. Ian puts his rifle away.

Zephyr and Rat Queen are on the scene. Rat Queen goes after the target as a swarm, as an area of effect. She does minimal damage to him (armor), but nibbles his pack with the gun in it away. He is actually outrunning the swarm, which is Move 18.

The group on the roof has to roll HT-10 for some reason; Commander makes an Observation roll by 14 – the guy drops something, launches himself off the building, and then shimmers and disappears. Zephyr and Rat Queen both get hit with a binding . . . and their clothes start melting. Acid spiderwebs. Yuck.

Rat Queen detects scent – and gets the ‘no smell’ scent that hunters use. Zephyr opens the bag. There’s a disassembled .50 caliber rifle in there, the Marine version of it. 

We end there. 

Game End: 00:30 April 2, 2016

***
We quickly decide on MVP for this session. We hit up Eamon for the research.