Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Aeon S305: Darker Times

Yankee Stadium is surrounded by a giant dome that's preventing entry to the rift in reality. We fuck around on the outside of it for a while, trying to determine what's causing it.

Andre's character knows that it's being created by a Crystal Skull. He previously interacted with it while he was tooling around on a STARS2 team with Mikhail.

We decide to see what AEGIS has for info on the skulls. Veracity crits on a  Tradecraft!+Encyclopedist!+Mastermind!+Detective! check, succeeding by 21 before even figuring the crit. It's not a huge mental leap to realize Legend has one in his office.

Veracity is offered as tribute to grab the skull. It tolerates him, but seems perturbed that its been disturbed. Attempting to use Telepathic Learning on the skull causes Veracity to have a strange out of body experience where he seems to slip into the future for a few seconds. Veracity recognizes it as the knowledge Skull. It can explain how to do things.

Arclight's bitch wife appears on screen, addressing various agencies. Blah blah Martial Law, blah blah MAPS and Federal Authorities and AEGIS will be reporting to her. Veracity is not particularly concerned as he'd both dead and Zeroed.

The Skull takes a moment to learn from Veracity, an experience that's really unpleasant. The skull proclaims that since Veracity has the skull, he's now responsible for saving the world.

As if.
It tells us to get to Yankee Stadium.

We opt to use the portal gun. Mikhail opens a door from Fort Tilden to Yankee Stadium.

The Skull instructs Veracity to touch the wall, and a giant section of the barrier disappears.

People stream out from inside, no longer trapped with the remnants. AEGIS folk are getting civilians out. Veracity feels an explosion happening just before it does- a huge mental blast that causes everything to go grey.

We opt to drive to Yankee Stadium- reserving the Portal Gun for escaping the rift in reality when we secure the load bearing shmuck keeping the reality gash open. Mikhail finds us a big box truck that still runs.

We drive it into the stadium, over a massive pile of remnant corpses. Mikhail manages to get the truck right into Yankee Stadium.

The Cavalary is sucked into some kind of vortex type dealie. Only a woman in strange white clothing, with chalky white clothing and hair reminds.

Digs is tied up next to the rift.

Veracity succeeds by 14 on Tactics.

We opt to run over the chick in white on the assumption that she wouldn't be standing next to our extraction target if she were friendly. She gets thrown up and away from the truck, not clearing the hood in time.

Marsh, Mikhail and Ayumi all fire at the woman, who starts bleeding purple blood. She looks very much dead.

We contemplate wrapping Gunther in explosives to give him some extra oomph as he punches people and draws aggro.

The skull is concerned that Atlanteans have entered the situation.

Marsh stunts to use his illusion to make Gunther appear like the Lady in White, and to make Anya look invisible. Anya patches Terry up.

Gunther valiantly holds off the swarm of Remnants, triggering the explosives we strapped to him and blowing up a ton of Remnants.

We get out of the rift with Terry, and it snaps shut, trapping Gunther inside.

Marsh uses the portal gun and Science! to try and locate Gunther. We spend a great deal of Karma to counteract DOOM. Marsh fires the altered gun and disappears. The gun clatters to the ground and smokes, rendered useless.

Marsh finds himself in the jungle next to Gunther under an orange sky. Then a reptilian roars behind him and the screen fades to black.

The General calls us. He says that AEGIS is done, consumed by a Cancer within. He declares AEGIS exempt from being under the thumb of any world government, and throws in his lot with Sentry as part of the High Command.

So ends Aeon C-Team, for now.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Penumbra Alliance 3: Enter Nox Eternia (Setup and Recap)

The Players:

Mr X: A commando working for a shadowy government agency that doesn't officially exist. Mr. X is possessed by a benevolent (to them) spirit or presence of some kind- a voice that frequently pushes them to commit various acts of violence.

Hannah: An experiment who escaped the clutches of Specte Corp. Hannah has fine turned senses of vision and smell, and is a frightening front line combatant.

Arzela Ascoli: A philanthopist sage, Arzela funded the tricked-out RV the group drives around in, and is a big bibliophile and researcher. Arzela works for the Librarians of Alexandria, attempting to preserve knowledge of the occult.

Aquos: A non-binary witch, Aquos asks that you use the singular they pronous to refer to them. Aquos is extremely competent at magic, preferring the Path of Energy primarily. They help the Hidden Path guide newly awakened students of magic reach their full potential.


Nox Eternia:

Mission Statement: The Nox Eternia is a cult dedicated to Abaseth the Bone Stitcher. Abaseth is a demon lord currently seeking passage to Earth. Nox Eternia performs perverse magical rituals and rituals in the hope of raising their master, They recruit heavily in rural areas, hoping to subvert entire communities to support their efforts. 

The cult has a national presence across the US, having about 5,000 total members existing in roughly 100 or so sects. They 


Stratton, Vermont

A small town at the foot of Stratton Mountain, population 216. Only really notable due to the nearby ski resort, which provides all reason for the town existing, as well as the presence of Nox Eternia in the area.

The local Nox Eternia cult consists of roughly eighty individuals total- multiple families and their children, most of the local police, as well as almost all of the staff of the Stratton Mountain Ski Resort.

Notable Individuals:

Sheriff Clyde Lautner(50): The county Sheriff, Lautner was kidnapped by Nox Eternia, and magically brainwashed to work in their organization. Lautner's new personality is bitter, gruff, and callous.

Father Greg Davis(60): The pastor of the local baptist parish. Greg was indoctrinated into the Nox Eternia as a teenager by his ex-girlfriend in the early 70s. Greg became ordained as a Baptist priest to subvert local churches for the organization, and established the cult's presence in Stratton. He's still working on corrupting his congregation. 

Clarice Mills (19): The local Nox Eternia leader. Clarice was kidnapped from her family at the age of 17, and possessed by Bolazar, one of Abaseth's lieutenants. Clarice's family was murdered to prevent them from bringing media attention onto the disappearance of their daughter after the sheriff's office refused to cooperate.

Bolazar: A powerful, but non-corporeal demon. Limited by having to occupy Clarice's body, Bolazar is searching for a way of securing himself a more powerful vessel. Bolazar is a powerful spellcaster and cunning opponent. Bolazar uses his position to force the Nox Eternia to participate in profane ceremonies to increase his power.

Cermur: A lesser demon summoned to possessed Fred Stone to keep him in line. Cermur resents Bolazar and being forced to play nanny to a young adult. Cermur is looking for an opportunity to backstab Bolazar.

The Stone Family:

Brandon Stone (48): The current owner of the ski resort, and a willing member of Nox Eternia. Brandon currently also serves as the family patriarch. Brandon is Bolazar's current favored lieutenant. 

Martha Stone (43): Brandon's wife. Martha is a fanatic of the Nox Eternia, being one of the most vocal and outspoken voices for taking the town by force. Martha is a hedge witch. Her magical training under Bolazar has made her more dangerous- and more emotionally volatile.

Sarah Stone (85): Brandon's mother. Sarah is believed to be infirm and incapable, but in all actuality was magically lobotomized when she learned what the Nox Eternia is truly up to. Sarah desperately struggles with her aphasia and incapability to write- hoping to alert anyone to the evil her family has been placed under.

Leonard Stone (26): Brandon's youngest son. Fred has been resistant to the Nox Eternia's teachings since youth. Deciding that enough was enough, Brandon asked to have him 'fixed' at the age of 14. Fred has since been inhabited by Cermur. 

Daisy Stone (24): Brandon's oldest daughter. Daisy was ordered to carry out to murder of Clarice's parents two years ago to affirm her loyalty to the cult. Daisy has decided that she likes killing, and has asked Bolazar for more opportunities to have some fun.

Fred Stone (20): Brandon's oldest son. Leonard has been selected by Bolazar to be prepared as his next vessel should Clarice's body fail. Leonard is scared shitless by this fact and is trying to seek help against the Nox Eternia. His first attempt to escape lead to the death of his best friend from higschool, Marco.


Stratton Ski Resort:

Percival 'Percy' Smith (28): The current head of maintenance of the ski resort. Percy is a new hire, having replaced someone who died in an 'accident'. As such, Percy is currently unaware of the cult's activity, although he thinks Daisy is really into him. Percy is a contact for Veilwatch, as his brother works for the organization in Vermont.

Kyle DiGlado (36): A VIP staying at the resort. Kyle has booked the presidential suite for the span of six months. His presence perturbs the Stone family, since all attempts to engage him socially have failed entirely, and he's grown hostile when asked to attend church.

Francis Poole (40): A wealthy investor who has been asked by Brandon to tour the ski resort. In reality, Brandon plans to have the Nox Eternia capture her and forcibly indoctrinate her to gain access to her wealth.

Claw-That-Kills (173): A were-eagle who has lived on Stratton Mountain since the 1840's. Claw-That-Kills has slowly grown more rational over his time alive- becoming Semi-Rational near the turn of the 90s, and becoming fully rational in 1966 after taking a hit of LSD offered to him by some traveling hippies from California. Claw can sense the demonic presence on the mountain, and knows where the remains of the Mills family were buried.

Events of Play:

The group enjoyed a week of R&R, coming back to be briefed. Told that a lead had surfaced from the computer files taken from their first case in New Bedford, the team was then sent into rural Vermont to see if someone calling themselves Bolazar was the actual demon or not.

They arrived at the skii resort, where the IP address seemed to originate from. Having been booked a room, they checked in and then got to exploring the resort. Aquos, bored and unhappy with the lack of snow at a skii resort, summoned up a patch of the stuff. Arzela quickly became embroiled in a snowball fight with a group of preteens- losing horribly.

Martha Stone took notice of the snow, taking the opportunity to talk to Aquos about magic. She invited them to dine with her at the resort's swankiest restaurant so that she could learn more about magic.

Meanwhile, Mr. X and Hannah tried to do some carousing- poorly. They were able to learn about some of the strange events going on involving the resort, such as the death of the former caretaker, and the disappearance of the Mills family, but not much else.

Martha has Aquos call Arzela so that she can learn more about The Hidden Path and magic. Arzela, always eager to teach, is more than happy to oblige. All seems well until Martha leaves the room and returns with two police officers.

The two are lead into the basement of the hotel, and thrown into a room that's been turned into a complete no-mana zone.

It takes Hannah and Mr. X a while to realize that something is wrong. It's about this time that Arzela remembers that he has his phone on him (Absent-Minded strikes again), and he tells Hannah and Mr. X to try and help them reach the basement.

Mr. X and Hannah are intercepted by Martha, three cops, and two cultists. A fight breaks out. Hannah rushes into the fray (Move 14 with enhanced move), quickly coming under fire and regretting her decision, while Mr. X calmly starts mowing people down.

Arzela decides to hide, while Aquos slings a few lightning bolts into the fray.

They capture Martha, opting to kill her on the spot now that she's confirmed as a Nox Eternia member. The team then quickly goes to escape from the resort.

Claw-That-Kills spots the commotion, opting to follow the group. They stop and talk with him, and his information helps confirm their suspicions that Clarice is the current host for Bolazar.

Arzela and Aqous hide the RV in the woods while Mr. X and Hannah take some time to scout out the resort to see if they can locate Clarice. After about eight hours, they determine she's being kept in a large bedroom on the third floor of the resort.

They decide on a plan- Hannah, Mr. X, and Arzela will ascend to the roof with a grappling hook and rope, make an opening to drop down through, and subdue Clarice.

Aquos will create a distraction- by causing everyone within 100 yards (except the party) to believe that they're being attacked by swarms of bees.

The plan goes off without a hitch, aided by Clarice/Bolazar getting completely caught unaware by a flashbang grenade and then getting clocked by Hannah with a tire iron for instant unconsciousness.

They take Clarice/Bolazar back to the RV, ready to decide how to proceed...

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Aeon C-Team S304: Void Rifts

We'll update the logo... eventually
The Team:



Marsh Langston (Maverick): A blond, smiling hacker that will rip the most secure files out of your mainframe while convincing you that he's just downloading more RAM. Marsh is a technical wunderkind and social engineer with a shadowy background in intelligence. PROHIBITION MOBSTER

Mikhail Kovalenko (Alex): Measuring 6'4" and weighing about 230lbs, Ukrainian-born Mikhail Kovalenko was a former special agent in Eastern Europe and is extremely competent at drinking vodka, making friends with random people, piloting, field action, reminding others that he's from Ukraine (not Russia), field operations, and handling firearms. TOTALLY NIKO BELLIC

Agent Veracity (Me): The Subway's resident spook and dumpster diver, Agent Veracity is a highly skilled investigator, tradecraft expert and conspiracy nut. HE'S IN YOUR TRASH!

Louis (Andre): A metamorph who can control his appearance and do all kind of mimicry stuff.

Ayumi (Annia): Basically Katarra. Japanese. 

Events:


In the following two months, Blue Skies goes down HARD. Some of the Blue Skies upper ups actually get charged with Treason. We end up aiding mop up efforts against Blue Skies.

Mikhail's missing eye is replaced with a cybernetic implant- one that only has black and white vision however.

Blue Skies is broken up and bought out by other groups. Anything metahuman related is confiscated by the government before they're sold. 

We're thrown into debriefing hell, followed up by paperwork hell, then followed by mole whacking hell, then followed by congressional hearing hell. This last numerous months.

B-Team's last confrontation with the guy in the black suit gets in our hands- it looks like he imploded inside a house. Confirmation that he's dead doesn't follow.

We find ourselves at the end of work hell investigating the overthrow of the Argentinian Government, an event that happened six months ago.

The entire populace has been put to work building infrastructure. The coup was bloodless, basically a huge uprising of citizens who decided all at once to reform the government right then and there.

It doesn't appear to be mind control- the populace seems perfectly happy with the change in government. The new head of the government is some guy named Constantino Alvarez. 

We're in the area because the new government has shown that they have access to tech that they shouldn't have their hands on. The medical advancements they're showing off are way ahead of schedule- basically they're heading for generalized TL9 medical tech, possibly even as far as a generalized vaccine against all disease.

We've assumed World Health Organization credentials.

We know that Alvarez was rescued by the Cavalry on the same mission Arc Light died on. 

We arrange a meeting with Alvarez. He'd asked the WHO to visit, but we smooth it over by claiming we weren't sent due to that request and that wires got crossed.

There's a lot of amazing stuff going on in their research labs- cybernetics, vaccines, new treatments, prosthetics. We debate trying to get Mikhail's cybernetic eye replaced with something better, but decide against it.

Marsh uses Science! to determine how Argentina's tech is advancing so quickly. He spends Karma to get a crit. His first guess would be that Alvarez is a ridiculously talented savant, but the advances are just too fast. There's something going on, something that Marsh can't quite put his finger on the source of. They're showcasing medical and transportation tech, but the advancements aren't limited to just those fields.

Some Blue Skies lab techs have been hired to help with the research endeavors. Veracity's gut doesn't rule out Argentina attempting to create metahumans as a possibility.

Alvarez has a huge cabinet full of crystal skulls. A few look real to Veracity and Marsh, but neither of us have ever handled one. Alvarez claims he inherited them from his predecessor. Both Marsh and Veracity attempt Detect Lies (via wildcards). Alvarez is definitely on the fringe of lying by omission.

We're recalled to the States by Legend shortly after our meeting with Alzarez concludes. 

We're shown the press release for the Homeland Security/Department of Justice endeavor to register and control metahuman activity. 

The Human Purity Association has been gaining media traction within US, spewing vitriol and bile all over the place about metahumans. 

We're called in to talk with Legend. He looks like he's having a bad day. We all sit down on his oversized couch- even Mikhail looks small compared to it.

Legend asks us about Argentina, and Marsh explains the situation with accelerated tech improvements and the fact that Alvarez seems to be going off something else's script.

He asks if we noticed anything out of place. Marsh answers that he saw no dissent- definitely abnormal. 

Legend doesn't look happy, and inquires about crystal skulls. Legend says "looks like he found the mind skull" and then tells us not to pay attention to that. Considering that two of us have Eidetic Memory (Photographic), that's not fucking happening.

Legend says we're getting a fourth person assigned to us since three of us just isn't enough muscle. Then he requests to talk to Veracity alone.

Outside, some analysts talk to Marsh and Mikhail. They're intimidated by Mikhail. The brothers go on to talk to the last time Mikhail kneecapped a guy. The analysts flee and then the brother talk about who inherited what from which parent. 

Mikhail is concerned that Yelena is out hurting people while she's being influenced by the tattoo. (Sr. has ended up in the labyrinth, the most prisony prison available for the baddest of the bad.

Legend calls everyone back in and hands out folders on Arc Light's Widow. He explains the whole battlesuit leasing program, including 1,300 troops in Arc Light like armor. His widow's rampage against Metahumans is a little strange cause he was a meta at one point in time.

Legend will get back to us on the new team member. He's assuming a wait and see approach to the registration brouhaha. Legend sees the situation as a slippery slope where law-abiding metahumans are put under additional suspicion just for having powers.

Blackwell is terrible, a fact admitted by Legend. Despite being a career politician, Blackwell's been a bit of a dark horse candidate, despite talking about being president for almost half a decade. 

"You know things have really gone downhill when you turn to Niklos for moral advice."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Penumbra Alliance 2: Mad Science and Base Corporate Behavior

The Players:

Mr X: A commando working for a shadowy government agency that doesn't officially exist. Mr. X is possessed by a benevolent (to them) spirit or presence of some kind- a voice that frequently pushes them to commit various acts of violence.

Hannah: An experiment who escaped the clutches of Specte Corp. Hannah has fine turned senses of vision and smell, and is a frightening front line combatant.

Arzela Ascoli: A philanthopist sage, Arzela funded the tricked-out RV the group drives around in, and is a big bibliophile and researcher. Arzela works for the Librarians of Alexandria, attempting to preserve knowledge of the occult.

Aquos: A non-binary witch, Aquos asks that you use the singular they pronous to refer to them. Aquos is extremely competent at magic, preferring the Path of Energy primarily. They help the Hidden Path guide newly awakened students of magic reach their full potential.

Last Time:

The group arrived in New Bedford, reaching out to Pulaski for information. They began with the teen at St. Luke's, with Aquos using magic to break the spell the teen had been placed under.

The teen's information prompted them to investigate Pope and Fish Islands- they found human remains on Fish Island, as well as the carcass of a demonic dog on Pope island. A little bit of research lead them to believe that the owner of the fishpacking plant on Fish Island was responsible.

Duncan was boating into work when Mr. X couldn't resist the temptation of the Phantom Voice in his head (crit-failed the will roll), and shot him with a sniper rifle for ~30 damage to the torso. Duncan wasn't expecting it, didn't have defensive charms up (Overconfidence, yo), and died on the spot.

The players did their best to hide how Duncan died via magic, and then investigated his house. They discovered a magical gem that's acting as a massive repository for magical energy- energy gained via human sacrifice. Arzela was able to recover the tome Duncan purchased to help with opening a rift into another plane of existence.

Overall, the team did a great job on the mission.

SAD 4, Maine

School Administrative District #4, located in Piscataquis County Maine, covers the towns of Abbot, Cambridge, Guilford, Parkman, Sangerville and Wellington. The district covers a population of roughly 5,000 people.

SAD 4 is home to multiple schools:
  • Piscatauis Community Secondary and Elementary Schools (Consolidated from the following three schools and a few others)
  • Abbey Fowler Elementary School, Sangerville (Closed, converted into a gym, now unused)
  • Guilford Primary School (Closed, now a food pantry)
  • McKusick Elementary School, Parkman (Closed)
Being located in rural Maine, SAD 4 doesn't boast many amenities. Local police is stationed in Dover-Foxcroft, a 20 minute drive away from Guilford (further for other towns such as Parkman or Cambridge), as are any EMT services. Guilford maintains a small fire department largely staffed with volunteers.

Dynco LLC

Dynco LLC is a multinational corporation deeply invested in scientific and biological research. Their main goals include creating super soldiers to sell to various government entities, enslaving supernatural beings for study and exploitation, and giving Spectre Corp the middle finger whenever possible.

Dynco has been winning against Spectre Corp as of late, with their stock increasing accordingly. Both companies are investing heavily in biomedical research, hoping that their latest crops of experiments will be able to shove the other out of business- whether through winning bids to provide soldiers to various clients, or by sending hit squads to more directly eliminate the competition.

Project Galapagos 

Started by Dynco, Project Galapagos is a long-running project on testing virus-implanted genetic changes on a relatively isolated population over multiple generations. Started in the 1950s in SAD 4, Galapagos has managed to remain unnoticed, even as they now begin on their fourth and fifth generation trials.

Project Galapagos maintains numerous research stations under various SAD 4 schools:
  • The largest and oldest is under PCSS.
  • Abbey Fowler, Guilford Primary School, and McCusick Elementary all have smaller labs
  • An abandoned lab exists at the old preschool in Abbot
Dynco has a monitoring station underneath a house across the street from the Highschool. The monitoring station is home to a small security staff, who have zealously taken care of intrusion into Galapagos dealings when they arise. Dr. Emerson, the third and latest lead of Project Galapagos, maintains ties with school administration to ensure their compliance.

Galapagos continues to try and make the local population more susceptible to the various processes that they use to make their Experiment soldiers.

Events:

The team gets the briefing from Logan. They're very unimpressed with the lack of information they're given- just that a precog and a member of The Velvet Curtain have reported incidents in rural Maine.

Either way, orders and orders, and they make their way North to meet with Jason Smith, the Velvet Curtain contact who reported the shady business.

Evidently the Veil in the area has been fluctuating wildly, which Jason views as an omen. During his investigations he discovered a nearby house that seemed to have an odd security presence around it, which made him very suspicious.

The players investigate the Guilford area themselves:
  • They learn that Dynco recently made very large purchases of chemicals at the local hardware store. Aquos is able to use magic to learn that they were made with legitimate Dynco accounts.
  • A local recluse/crazy person, Ronnie, is living in the house that Jason was scared away from. The players eventually kidnap him and use magic to make him less crazy, long enough to learn that he's been brainwashed by Dynco to act as a deterrent for locals to look into their affairs.
After getting Ronnie out of his house and determining that one of the labs must be under his house, they go in to kick down the door.

The firefight with security is short and brutal as Mr. X promptly unloads on them. Hannah goes off to intimidate some scientists when it becomes clear they recognize her, and similarly gets destructive once it's clear they have copies of her file.

Meanwhile, warnings and alarms are going off- evidently some virus dispersal system in on the fritz. The PCs call in a bomb threat to clear out the school, causing children to pour out onto the school grounds.

It erupts into an all-out brawl as the viral sabotage by Spectre Corp takes hold. 

Scrambling to contain the outbreak, Hannah uses Bioengineering to reverse the sabotage done to GIV-T. The chemical reaction necessary is strongly exothermic- resulting in the high school completely blowing up.

The team regroups and decides to raid the remaining Dynco labs. They discover Adam, a friend of Hannah's already inside one, having broken in to delete their records. He tags along for the final lab, where a lone guard Experiment attacks the group.

In a hail of bullets and with a few chainsaw blows, they cut down the guard without much difficulty.

Arzela manages to contact the saboteur who caused the GIV-T to cause zombification. The saboteur is some kind of '1337' hacker and infiltrator, who taunts the group, but has already made clean his escape before they even arrived in town.

With the labs destroyed and local emergency services dealing with the wounded, they leave the area, one zombie outbreak prevented and contained.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Penumbra Alliance: Investigating Disappearances in New Bedford (Setup)

Later tonight I'll be going through character creation for a new IRL Monster Hunters campaign. It tentatively looks like I'll have:

  • A Commando who's been possessed or otherwise in contact with spirits (I'm going to push for Diabological Phantom Voices as one of their disadvantages)
  • An Experiment
  • A Sage/Techie
  • One person is undecided.
They're all going to be operatives working for the Penumbra Alliance- a ragtag collective of supernaturally aware organizations that have decided that stopping demon incursions and such is the best course of action for everyone.

Even if these organizations don't all actually get along very well, or have matching goals.

New Beford, MA

Population: ~95,000
Notable Locations: Numerous Projects, Waterfront District (whaling predominant historical influence), Buttonwood Park Zoo, New Bedford Regional Airport, University of Mass. Dartmouth (UMD) nearby.

Three islands in the harbor:
Fish Island (Fishpacking warehouse)
Pope Island (shops, a marina)
Crow Island (Inhabited with a few houses)

Nearby Law Enforcement: 4 New Beford Police Stations, Mass. State Police has a barracks nearby in Dartmouth. Fire Department is acknowledged to be among the best in the state. One hospital- St. Luke's.

Penumbra Alliance Presence in the area:

New Bedford has a large Syndicate Presence. The Syndicate cell in the area is primarily concerned with their illegal operations, and only really pay attention when events harm the bottom line. Their local Lieutenant, Jake Schneider, recently stole a grimoire from Larry and Kenny.

The Librarians of Alexandria and Warehouse 23 both maintain a library/storehouse on the premises of UMD. They're severely lacking in resources, consisting only of a two man team, Kenny and Larry, who are primarily engaged in research.

Veilwatch has a representative in the area, Damien Pulaski, a Massachusetts State Police Sergeant. Pulaski is a good cop who believes he's descended from Casimir Pulaski. Damien is deeply concerned about the disappearances and is the one who initiated the investigation, resulting in the Players being asked to travel to New Bedford.

The Locust Order has a single Locust Priest in the area, Ba'dur "Buddy" Shawn. Shawn has an undeserved nasty reputation within the Alliance involving dark research and horrible rituals. In reality Ba'dur is just a gentle old man who happens to be made out of a sentient swarm of locusts who enjoys gardening and teaching young pupils the fundamentals of magic. 

The Church of St. Germaine has a congregation in the area. Having noticed the supernatural disappearances, they believe they stem from Ba'dur Shawn's presence in the area. Father Norton is fair about this assessment, admitting that it's largely based on Shawn being a Locust Priest, and not any proof that's beyond circumstantial.

None of the Alliance members in the area besides Pulaski or some Syndicate members are really able or willing to engage in field work that involves risk. Pulaski is invested in solving the disappearances and will likely volunteer his services if the group conducts themselves well. Convincing the Syndicate to help will likely be frustrating, as they really don't care.

Buddy might be convinced to help out, especially if it provides a chance to clear his reputation within the Alliance.

The Disappearances:

  1. Transients and homeless individuals have been disappearing- about fifteen have been noted over three months. Damien believes this to be a low figure.
  2. A few (2-3) children have been snatched. Normal investigation proved fruitless when forensics teams ran into spectacularly bad luck- one team had a smartphone battery catch aflame, fouling a crime scene, another was pushed off the road by a drunk driver into the harbor, and the last team's evidence was destroyed when a short circuit fried the testing device. 
  3. One teenager may have escaped an attempted kidnapping- but he's currently in St. Luke's, unable to talk coherently and babbling the lyrics to Little Drummer Boy. 

Available clues:

Who:
  1. Both Father Norton and Ba'dur have detected the presence of dark magic used within the city, although they don't know the caster (and Norton suspects Ba'dur). (Deduction: Rogue Witch)
  2. The Syndicate recently fulfilled a special order for a magical grimoire, stolen from the Librarians of Alexandria/Warehouse 23. Good luck getting them to admit to it though. (Only local lieutenant knows the specific nature of the order, -3 at attempts to get him to talk about who bought it.) (Deduction: This gives away the Witch's identity immediately.)
  3. Fish, Pope, and Crow Islands all seem to be experiencing unusual amounts of strange activity over the last few months. (Deduction: Witch is likely setup on the Islands, Witch also frequently uses boats to access Crow Island, might live there)
  4. The owner of Duncan Fishpacking is adamant that nothing strange is happening, even when confronted with evidence. (Deduction: He's in on it.)
  5. A few people will report that some employees of Duncan Fishpacking have been acting strangely. (Deduction: It's connected somehow, provides more avenues of investigation)
What:
  1. Kenny and Larry had a Grimoire useful for opening gateways and portals stolen from them. Both aren't terribly excited to admit to it happening since it makes them look bad. (Deduction: Rogue Witch is attempting to open a portal of some kind.)
  2. A man was attacked by a strange dog near the Dunkin Donuts on Pope Island and managed to fend it off with a pistol. (Players can find the corpse if they search near the Dunkin on Pope Island. Deduction: Rogue Witch has summoned a few members of the Endless Legions already.)
  3. Human remains have been dumped at Fish Island, among the offal produced by the plant (See Clue #3 under where). (Deduction: They were sacrificed to provide energy for a ritual.)
  4. The bad luck of the police investigations is not natural. Should be easy to indicate it stems from a supernatural origin. (Deduction: Rogue Witch)
  5. Children provide more magical energy than adults. (This ties into clue #3 of What.)
  6. Attacks Decrease during the full moon (Rules out Lycanthropes)

Where:
  1. Most of the disappearances have happened closer to the harbor. (Deduction: Boat accessible)
  2. Police have investigate numerous reports of strange activity near the Pope Island Marina. They consistently find nothing and believe a prank caller is at work. (Deduction: Pope Island Marina is a place to investigate)
  3. The teenager in St. Luke's, if he's able to recall anything, remembers hearing that the 'trash' was disposed of on Fish Island. (Deduction: Witch has been dumping the dead bodies of his victims on Fish Island) 
When:
  1. Attacks have no correlation with a set date (timing appears random based on days passed, etc)
  2. Attacks increase during periods of bad weather and reduced visibility
  3. Attacks decrease near the full moon
  4. The kidnapping of the children occurred most recently, as did the police investigations. (Attempts to ramp up progress)

Deduction Penalties:

Who: -4 to area knowledge/current affairs to identify locals (Scope penalty, I doubt players will have applicable area knowledge, although Lore! of course wouldn't.)
-8 (reasonable precautions to thwart identification by perpetrator), +1 (status 2 Individual as prominent business owner), +2 (known bibliophile and antiques collector)= -5 to deductions

What:
-4 (takes basic measures to cover his tracks) (For learning it's a Rogue Witch)

-2 (Endless Legion Demons don't really count as sapient)

When:
-8 (Plan involves no special timing)

Where:
-8 (Intelligent foe who didn't think he needed to pick an unobvious location), +3 (small local cult of ~15 members has been assisting the Rogue Witch)

What's actually going on:

Sid Duncan, owner of Duncan Fishpacking, is a Rogue Witch. Having been raised by an aunt who was deep within the Dark Arts, Duncan was initiated into summoning demons at a relatively young age- 11. Duncan has made a pact with the Demon Lord Drumer for magical power- in return for attempting to summon Lord Drumer to Earth. Drumer is the source of the bad luck curse that affected the investigation teams- Duncan lacks the skill in the relevant paths to cast such a spell.

Duncan is aided by a few of his employees at the Fishpacking Plant. Most have had spells placed on them to force their compliance. Some early sacrifices were conducted to make these spells easier.

Drumer has instructed Duncan to fill a gem he's fashioned into a reservoir for magical energy via conducting human sacrifice. He's been unhappy with the slow progress, pushing Duncan to bolder attempts to find fresh victims- which is why the young children were targeted. 

Duncan is capable of summoning up to two Impalers at a time, or up to four demonic canines. He also has his followers, although most are little more than meat shields and distractions for him to have time to accumulate energy. One or two might have pistols.

Duncan has numerous (23) charms that he has prepared for emergencies, cast and gathered over a long period of time:
  • 5 3d lightning bolt charms (He prefers lightning over firebolts because they short out cellphones)
  • 1 Gift of Gab Charm (Used sparingly because he has to resort to spending FP to make it possible to cast)
  • 1 Hush Charm 
  • 3 Necrosis 
  • 8-round pistol magazine with additional 6d of crushing damage for each bullet.
  • 3 2d healing charms
  • 1 100 yard emergency teleport (Quirk: Loud bang upon arrival)
  • 1 charm for DR 4 (Quirks: Painfully obvious that he's covered in a shield of energy or similar, sparks super obviously when hit by an attack)
Duncan lives in a manor on Crow Island, uses his Fishpacking Factory to dispose of the bodies, uses the Pope Island Marina to move his sacrifice victims, and generally conducts his rituals at home. The gem he's filling can ONLY be used for the summoning of Lord Drumer, and currently houses a great deal of magical energy.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Aeon C-Team S304: We Leverage Nation Security to get Free McDonalds

We'll update the logo... eventually
The Team:



Marsh Langston (Maverick): A blond, smiling hacker that will rip the most secure files out of your mainframe while convincing you that he's just downloading more RAM. Marsh is a technical wunderkind and social engineer with a shadowy background in intelligence. PROHIBITION MOBSTER

Mikhail Kovalenko (Alex): Measuring 6'4" and weighing about 230lbs, Ukrainian-born Mikhail Kovalenko was a former special agent in Eastern Europe and is extremely competent at drinking vodka, making friends with random people, piloting, field action, reminding others that he's from Ukraine (not Russia), field operations, and handling firearms. TOTALLY NIKO BELLIC

Agent Veracity (Me): The Subway's resident spook and dumpster diver, Agent Veracity is a highly skilled investigator, tradecraft expert and conspiracy nut. HE'S IN YOUR TRASH!




Events:

We learn that the Cavalry made some serious wins based off the plans and information we gave them.

Of course the chairman of the board was the last one to not get nabbed by AEGIS. 

We start setup outside the Chairman's location. Zephyr has been helping us with scouting. A man in a black suit stepped inside and then there was a bunch of screaming. 

Veracity's gut doesn't think the chairman would use PURPLE DRANK on himself without it being perfected given the risk of it killing him. The guy in the suit is definitely NOT the chairman.

Using a hyperspectral camera, we see what we assume to be the man in the suit inside killing more people.

Mikhail asks for permission to shoot. 

We have Marsh try to spoof an alert to all Blue Skies operatives in the area, trying to mimic a message that Artillery, badass motherfucker asshole supreme, is on his way. The goal is to cause chaos, maybe give the guy in the suit pause when he learns that a bigger fish might be on the way.

Veracity's gut feeling is that the man in the suit is aware that the Subway team is in position.

We then try to place a call to the man in the suit. The man's voice has a slight German accent. 

Veracity tries to convince him to delay a bit so we can get information from the Chairman, or better yet, allow Gabriella to scan his mind.

The man says that he can't do that.

Some kind of teleportation attack hits the group- only Veracity is affected. He's pulled into the 19th century house where the man in the suit is going about his business. He's unaffected by the blood and gore.

Veracity does his best to defuse the situation without outright requesting that Mikhail open fire. The Man in the Suit is pouring shadow from every patch of exposed skin. 

Mikhail takes a shot with the Barrett .50, hitting the man in the suit in the head- without being able to see him, through the intervening house. Alex spends 2 Karma to make it a critical, and another to reroll the critical headblow table twice to get us a better result.

The man's head develops a huge hole in it, but he's still standing and regenerating.

Veracity doesn't wait around as the man in the suit is knocked off balance, pulling out a stun grenade and dropping it behind him as he runs. Veracity runs upstairs- onto the second floor. He almost trips over a sprawled out Blue Skies bodyguard at the top with a severely busted shoulder. Veracity helps the man up and stops to spray slip spray- D&D's grease spell's TL 9 cousin in a can- over the stairs.

Outside, Mikhail is continuing to take shots at the Man in the Suit, going for the knees. Both knees are obliterated by anti-material rifle fire.
Mikhail and Marsh both suddenly find themselves falling. Mikhail crits his Move! roll. Both somehow keep their feet, but are inside a stone cell. It's a round stone hole, with a window looking into where they were, and then it closes.

Inside the house it's loud- among explosions, the flashbang going off, and then radio silence.

The Blue Skies goon has busted out the window and Veracity grabs him, using Mr. Gunn (his grapple gun) to latch onto a tree nearby.

Veracity helps the Blue Skies guy run away once they get outside the house.

In the cell, Mikhail's entered the astral realm. He explores a bit, eventually hitting a barrier with strange symbols on it. Mikhail SOMEHOW manages to recognize them as Norse Runes. It looks like a sphere that surrounds the prison.

Horizontally out from the cell, there's nearby tunnels and what looks like super old tracks. There's a lab, including a guy who is chained in place, working. The man is looking through a microscope.

Veracity and the Blue Skies operative are picked up by Zeus in another VTOL unit.

Mikhail concentrates, willing himself visible and able to talk while still in Astral Form. Mikhail talks with the chained man, who indicated that the man in the suit is the Devil, and that talking about him might make him aware of it.

Mikhail asks what the man is doing. The man asks how Mikhail got past the barrier. Upon hearing the answer the man says that Mikhail will be dead soon, likely subjected to unholy experiments. The man holds up a vial of purple liquid.

A teleportation shimmer happens near Mikhail, and he's shooed away by the man working in the lab. A butler-looking individual teleports in. The butler asks the lab tech if the formula is ready- if not, the butler will be back real soon. Evidently the Americans have done most of the work for them, and Blue Skies is mostly dismantled. The Butler is pleased as this means his organization gets to keep all the rewards.

Legend gets a sitrep from Veracity. Veracity attempts to Stunt his power to wipe machines of information to implant his memory of the man into a nearby computer. (3 Karma spent to make a power roll at -4 a crit success.)

Marsh burns through some gizmos to get access to chemicals commonly used by airliners in the oxygen bag masks that drop during an emergency. He succeeds on Science!, buying Mikhail and Marsh another 30minutes of breathing time.

Arguments are made that Mikhail can use Shooter! to cover Breath Control since he can just meditate by looking down the scope of the rifle that he had. Marsh burns some karma to gain access to the skill, and another to make it a success.

Marsh also tries to modify their radios to function on ultra-low frequencies, allowing them to phone home from the cell. He manages to establish a line out, and establishes that he and Mikhail are both deep underground in NYC.

Marsh manages to get a text out to Veracity's phone.

Buried under old NY subway, not ours. Suit's Lab working on purple drank. 2 hours of oxygen. Magic rune bullshit blocking Mike.

Back in the hole, a teleportation door opens, and the Butler is pointing a gun at Mikhail. Mikhail draws his pistols and wins the opposed fast-draw contest that results. The dude pointing a gun at Mikhail is wielding a strange blocky black gun of some kind.

Mikhail goes to shoot the gun in the Butler's hand, rolling a crit to hit. The gun falls to the ground, and the Butler vanishes.

Mikhail and the Butler contend for the black gun. Mikhail rolls poorly, spending Karma to keep possession of it. Mikhail tests it on a wall to see if it causes teleportation effects.

There's a McDonalds on the other side of the wall after Mikhail shoots it. The brothers dive through as fast as possible. They appear in the middle of the street, briskly walking to the other side before traffic gets disturbed by their presence. While Mikhail goes inside to get a superfluous amount of food (about 15 happy meals), Marsh establishes that he and Mikhail are in downtown Manhattan. Mikhail fails to convince the cashier that he should be given free food, and then has to enlist Marsh's aid to pay. Shit goes sideways and Mikhail breaks his phone.

Zeus flies the VTOL with Veracity and the Blue Skies operative (whose shoulder is both broken and dislocated until Veracity pops it back into place) on it to go pickup Mikhail and Marsh.

Veracity gets sick of the delay with payment, shouting into the VTOL loudspeaker that Mikhail's transaction is endangering national security. The McDonald's clerk showers Mikhail with food and the team regroups on the VTOL.

Veracity does his best to find a location suitable for a PURPLE DRANK lab near old subways located in NYC, and thinks he knows of one. He sends a request up the AEGIS flagpole for more info.

The Teleportation Gun does direct neural interfacing, and it has actual bullets (.50 AE) in it as well, but Marsh can figure out much more than that.

We work out a plan to try and take on the lab:

  • Mikhail calls up a friend who used to work for the Subway System who provides old maps
  • Marsh gets Gunther
  • Veracity puts in calls to see what support he can rope in
  • The group grabs a man-portable LRAD unit and extra beefy hearing protection
  • Dirt Bikes
The Lab is located in a spur that was abandoned after it was decided it didn't need to be used.

We take the dirt bikes down into the subway tunnels and have Gunther peel back the metal that they welded over the entrance.

The lab looks abandoned. Lots of stuff is missing, paperwork and books are on fire, and we don't run into anybody.

It's obvious that they deployed teleportation to evacuate the entire premises. Marsh goes to check their stuff and almost breaks an extremely thin vial of glass holding some blue liquid from lot 26.

Marsh comes to the conclusion that it's some kind of bioweapon. Veracity is able to pull four different partials from it. 

Searching around we find a journal. It contains scientific and occult notes, personal notes, and actual magical formulas. It's written in old Norse.

Veracity spends some time experimenting with the portal gun. Veracity's gut feeling is that the gun is low, but Mikhail can't grok the actual number of shots.

While Mikhail and Marsh pack up the lab Veracity stalks some Columbia professors that know Old Norse, using Telepathic Learning, Speed Reading, and another Stunt to migrate it all into digital data Marsh can use. 

We end there. Mikhail is voted MVP.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Aeon C-Team S303: Guess who got Their Kestrel VTOL Shot Down?

We'll update the logo... eventually
The Team:



Marsh Langston (Maverick): A blond, smiling hacker that will rip the most secure files out of your mainframe while convincing you that he's just downloading more RAM. Marsh is a technical wunderkind and social engineer with a shadowy background in intelligence. PROHIBITION MOBSTER

Mikhail Kovalenko (Alex): Measuring 6'4" and weighing about 230lbs, Ukrainian-born Mikhail Kovalenko was a former special agent in Eastern Europe and is extremely competent at drinking vodka, making friends with random people, piloting, field action, reminding others that he's from Ukraine (not Russia), field operations, and handling firearms. TOTALLY NIKO BELLIC

Agent Veracity (Me): The Subway's resident spook and dumpster diver, Agent Veracity is a highly skilled investigator, tradecraft expert and conspiracy nut. HE'S IN YOUR TRASH!

Miguel Drasil (Andre): The ultimate personal assistant. A sarcastic wiseass.

Andre wasn't present for tonight's session.



Events:

We discuss who will be driving our Kestrel, Minnie, while we're parachuting into the AO. We state that we want an AEGIS pilot named Zeus to take the 'wheel' after we leave the perfectly good aircraft via gravity and parachute.
"Hey, Zeus. Take the wheel."
Mikhail projects his Astral Form out and explores the fortified position.

The setup as we're planning. All the tents have goons inside.


 There's a collection of dudes outside the power plant. Inside their perimeter they've set up some tents, a trailer that looks like it has communications equipment inside based off the radar dishes on top of it, a laser fence surrounding it all, and another trailer that could probably be a "barracks" of sorts.

There's about a dozen Blue Skies Agents, as well as numerous (five) hired thugs. There's a few drones flying around- reconnaissance. There's also a dude dressed as if he's from the Wild West.

The white trailer is empty, kitted with kitchens, some bunks, and a makeshift toilet. The other trailer is luxurious, and features a wall panel that's full of communications equipment.

The guards look alert, but not alarmed or otherwise expecting issues. Some are wearing night vision, and there's a lot of Type 3 armor present DR (~19). Most are wielding Blue Skies prototype weapons- TL 9 rifles. Mr. Wild West has a Winchester 1979 on his back and two Colt Peacemakers on his hips.

Mikhail tries to get info off of the laser fence for Marsh to handle.

The tents are filled with more troops. One of the tents has two guys overlooking the security systems.

We're looking at 18 vs 3 odds.

We spin wheels talking about our approach for a bit, debating tactics and the use of grenades. I crit on mastermind to case the scene.

Eventually someone on the ground crits a perception roll and we're spotted midair. The guys on the ground open fire with an anti-air missile of some sort and Minnie (our VTOL) takes 57 points of damage on 18d6.

Mikhail tries to direct the crash landing so it will plow into the trailers and control tent on the ground.

We bail out and parachute in. I burn a point of Karma to make up for a shitty infiltrator roll. We make stealth rolls- I succeed mine by 24, Mikhail crits, and Marsh succeeds by 3.

Minnie crashes through the powerplant. The blue RV is largely intact (besides Minnie's nose poking through its side). Minnie brings down a portion of the laser fence, which turns out to have had an attached laser canopy as well.

Tax write-off?


Marsh opens up festivities by using Illusion to make Jon Wayne believe that the Blue Skies men have suddenly turned on him. Marsh succeeds by 9, and Wayne rolls a 15, failing to resist.

Mikhail tries to grab Wayne as he parachutes in. He fails his first attempt during the surprise round and tries again, succeeding. He crits while trying to grapple off the grab, only to be defeated by Wayne's bigger crit with a natural 3.

Veracity tosses a Stingball grenade into the clump of guys directly below him, landing it right in the middle of them. "Michael Easton" fails his HT check bad enough that he's effectively stunned for the rest of the fight.

I make my stealth roll at -10 to disappear (I really need to buy up that technique).


Stun Grenade FTW


Wayne breaks out of Mikhail's grapple, quick-draws the two pistols at his sides and fires two shots at his own people. Both wind up with chunky salsa inside their helmets where their heads used to be.

Marsh stunts his illusion to make it persistent on Wayne for the next ten turns.

Mikhail steps towards Wayne, feints with his extra attack and then attack Wayne with a deceptive attack kick for -6 to the chest. Even after hitting Wayne with a huge defense, Mikhail flubs his follow-up attack and misses Wayne.

A goon shoots at Mikhail. Mikhail successfully dodges the shot with the aid of some timely acrobatics. Mikhail continues to have fire sprayed ineffectually in his general direction. Zeus, our pilot takes a bunch of shots and goes down, still clinging to life.

Mikhail continues to take more fire, which he manages to dodge.

Veracity uses Mr. Gunn (his grapple gun) to get onto top of the Blue RV.

Mikhail (just below the blue RV) has taken out two baddies next to himself 


Wayne shoots at Mikhail with both Peacemakers, aiming for Mikhail's vitals with six shots. (Christopher: It's high noon.) Mikhail tries to make a bunch of dodge checks and gets hit in the vitals for 19 points of injury overall. Mikhail burns Karma to keep his HP topped up.

Marsh radios in Gunther. He then stunts his Illusion power with Cybernetics, spending 5 fatigue and a Karma point to take out all of their comms with terrible feedback, causing some panic among the guys.

Mikhail shoots an underslung grenade at Wayne with his H&K AG36. The grenade lands right at Wayne's feet and doesn't explode- a dud.

A nice looking guy among all of the thugs spots Marsh and suggests that Marsh should come on down and be all friendly like. Marsh fails a will check and complies.

Mikhail takes more gunfire, crit-failing his dodge, taking a shot to the arm for 27 base points of damage, 14 injury. He continues to go through karma like water to turn it into a fleshwound.

Gunther takes a bunch of gunfire and doesn't care.

Veracity tosses another stun grenade into the cluster of guys next to Gunther, trying to get all five with the blast. 3 are stunned by it going off.

Seriously, Stun Grenades Save Lives


Wayne makes his way onto the top of the RV.

Marsh, while leisurely moving towards the friendly guy takes the opportunity to whammy Wayne with an illusion of getting shot, actually managing to cause damage.

Mikhail uses Move! to jump up onto the RV, getting a crit. Mikhail blindly shoots another grenade where he believes Wayne to be.

The friendly guy tries to convince Gunther to help people off the top of the bus.

Gunfire and grenades bounce off of Gunther without any effect.

Veracity uses Mastermind! to try and snap Marsh and Gunther out of the effects they're experiencing from the friendly guy. He manages to succeed in this. Veracity has taken official notice that guns and explosives don't seem to work on Wayne.

Mikhail takes two shots to the eye, each a crit. I spend 3 Karma to allow Mikhail a dodge against one. The other shot does ludicrous damage but gets reduced to a flesh wound when Mikhail spends Karma.

Mikhail's eye is crippled, and he still has to make a knockdown/stunning check at -10. He's knocked down, but isn't stunned.

Marsh tries to work up the willpower to shoot the friendly guy. Realizing that he's encountered a user of Swagellan that he hates, Marsh fast-draws his gun and shoots the guy in the junk, sending him to the ground.

Mikhail rolls towards Wayne over the roof of the RV, fast-drawing his knife and attacking Wayne's feet with his knife. Wayne avoids one, but the other gets his achilles tendon for 16 damage. Wayne falls off the RV. It sounds like he fell wrong.

Mikhail gets shot at again, and he rolls off the side of the RV as a dodge and drop, landing on his feet with a successful Move! check.. Marsh succeeds a Will Roll. Veracity moves closer to the Blue Skies goon on top of the RV.

Marsh makes an image of Yukio (the Wonderdog) appear in the place of Mr. Friendly. The two guards freak out, thinking that the Commander and the Cavalry have arrived.

Don't tell the Commander, it'll go to his head.


The hired thugs break and run away.

Mikhail drops the LMG and draws his two hand cannons. He does a crazy dual-weapon attack with a bunch of different options tacked on to try and eliminate Mr. Friendly and the three goons next to him. (By "eliminate" Mr. Friendly we decide that shooting his jaw off will prevent him from using his Power for Evul ever again.)

All four are hit. Mr. Friendly no longer has a jaw and needs MAJOR reconstructive surgery. The other three goons die horribly.

Gunther grabs the remaining Blue Skies goon and tosses him bodily across the battlefield towards the Blue RV.

GUNTHER THROW


Veracity drops off the RV and knifes the remaining goon in the neck for 5 damage. The goon starts to bleed out and the combat wraps up.

We start cleaning up the massive mess we've made. Marsh triggers the fire suppression system on Minnie, Veracity starts tending to Zeus (leaving Mikhail to be healed by Katori, why waste an opportunity to earn some brownie points with her?), leaving him at -2 HP.

Christopher has us roll verses perception -10, and I crit, noticing a blurry hand appear from a portal and drag Wayne through. We nab Easton and Mr. Friendly before the portal can try and grab them.

We ask Gunther to move Minnie to a more accessible location and for the first time ever we see him put actual effort into moving something. He and Marsh sit down to eat sandwhiches Gunther brought along with him.

Mikhail's eye is toast, requiring some kind of cybernetic replacement.

It turns out we captured Blue Skies' #2 guy and CFO- Easton, all because Marshall Sr. managed to leave Jon Wayne's name on the foreheads of his sons.

Easton's RV has an encrypted harddrive that Marsh cracks like an egg after spending Karma because he's not happy succeeding by 15 on his Computers! check. It turns out the Harddrive has a ton of Blue Skies' actual financial records on it going back years.

Marsh crit-fails on the check to see about picking apart the info. We spend karma to turn it into a crit-success.

We learn that Mr. Smiley is a Blue Skies operative whose power revolves around making people like him a lot, preventing them from attacking him and allowing him to make very hard to resist suggestions.

Debriefing is as painful as we expect, including a huge dressing down about getting the Kestrel shot down, endangering Zeus, and so on.

We find the location of Duchess, Blue Skies' Chief HR Officer. The C-Team takes some time to lay down ground work for the Cavalry.

Veracity is voted MVP by Alex and Mavrick.

Commentary:

This fight was a doozy, and the most challenging one we've faced yet. A lot contributed to this:
  • 20 vs 3 (+Gunther waiting in the wings) means we were majorly outgunned
  • Open engagement area meant segmenting enemies and taking them on piecemeal wasn't possible
  • Our preparations weren't particularly useful for the scenario we faced- we prepared for breaching a fortified structure, not a fortified position.
  • Meta-human involvement made Mikhail's attempts to take out the most dangerous threat on the battlefield a losing proposition.
Otherwise, we handled the fight pretty well. Mikhail was forced to use a crapton of resources to survive, but as the combat monster I feel little guilt allowing him to make every single active defense roll the team had to make.

Marsh and Veracity both never took any gunfire the entire fight. In fact, there's a high probability Veracity's presence is at best an assumption or guess that can be made based on the stun grenades getting thrown. 

I do think we could've improved on some points:
  • We should've called Gunther in far sooner.
  • We should've had Mikhail switch to Melee combat on Wayne sooner
  • Parachuting in over a target building where people are inside is great for stealth purposes. Parachuting over people in the open field... not so much. Totally ruined the rule of cool of bothering with parachuting in the first place.
  • Veracity needs a better firearm for armored targets.
  • Next time around in similar situations I'm advocating for more shock and awe- open with a huge distraction, get Gunther, Mikhail and the other combaty types going, and have Veracity infiltrate from the back