Monday, December 5, 2016

Aeon C-Team S301: Mikhail Chugs a Fifth of Vodka and Lives

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

Niklos Xanthopoulos (Kevin): Multidisciplinary genius, medic/doctor, and general curmudgeon. Believes Morphazine is the answer for everything and enjoys asking Marsh to hold organs during autopsies. TIME LORD

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.


We get to sleep for the first time after six months of intense training. We're given a physical and psych eval, and then we're caught up on recent events. Niklos earns extra telepathic scanning because he can't resist messing with other psychologists.

Blue Skies in Syria just got raided by the Cavalry. B-Team uncovered a ton of new information that Markus is currently going through.

We're being sicced on the Board of Directors of Blue Skies. Decapitation strike, as it were. Problem being, all of them have gone to ground and disappeared. They've been using seriously advanced video conferencing to communicate and have meetings.

We're introduced to our new team member, Miguel. Miguel is a generalist. Who is extremely capable of improvisation in the field.

Marsh brings up securing Gunther's release to Legend, arguing that he should be able to work off his sentence. Legend resorts to downing a massive bottle of antacids, but allows us a side trip to Rikers to get Gunther.

We're given the keys to a VTOL unit. We're given a comprehensive list of things we are NOT allowed to do with the VTOL, including spilling kool-aid on the seats. It's outfitted for very long missions given that it can usually hold two humvees or sixty individuals, but is going to be supporting far less. 

We promptly begin searching the entire unit for kill switches, take-over controls, and bugs. We don't find any. 

The VTOL has a fission reactor and doesn't need refueling. There's a Science! lab inside, as well as a persistent internet connection. 

Rikers has a VTOL sized helipad. 

Gunther is in deep solitary confinement. The Warden of Rikers is a normal who thinks that we're crazy for deciding to spring Gunther on work release. Gunther is chained to what is effectively a giant metal cube, and it takes some time for them to pump out whatever gas they used to sedate him.

Marsh has no difficulties getting Gunther to agree that leaving Rikers is exactly what he wants.

We head to the briefing. We're headed to Marrakesh, Morocco. Our target is Scarface, who has gone up against the B-Team multiple times. We're tasked with extracting him alive to gain access to what he knows.

Definitely not the lake in Morocco
We'll be operating without operational support, and since all of us are dead and don't exist, our existence will be disavowed.

Mikhail knows a guy who knows a guy who will let us crash at a party mansion. Evidently the place is owned by like the tenth son of some Saudi Prince. It's right outside the city and overlooks a lake. 

Veracity makes a Tradecraft! + Mastermind! check with assistance from Miguel to try and predict how Blue Skies might have moved Scarface into the area given their past operational actions. Intel places him South of the city at Douar Lahna. He was buying something from a store and was spotted on camera.

Blue Skies likes to hire locals, they like to utilize student visas, and they really like to utilize subsidiary companies. We decide a good first step is to have Marsh hack the Moroccan government to get their passport info. Marsh, with assistance from Miguel via a Teamwork! crit, succeeds by 17. 

Marsh identifies a few visas that are most definitely suspect.

Veracity does some Digital Oracle work, getting another copy of the store footage. Scarface has a star tattoo on his right wrist, and appears to be buying alcohol of some variety.

The footage isn't good enough to use with facial recognition software. Not even after enhancing.

Mikhail's friend warns us that the local police are super corrupt and that use of metahuman abilities will cause problems with the locals. Mikhail's friend knows nothing about scarface.

Mikhail secured us a stylish ride
Marsh brings up a point that alcohol purchases in a majority Muslim country is unusual. We decide to go to the store where the sale was made. Mikhail secures us a vehicle and drives like usual- completely insane. We arrive without any accidents however.

Seen here, a temple to Mikhail's god
We pressure someone at the shop about Scarface. He tries lying to us, but the four of us are considerably intimidating. Evidently Scarface shows up at 3PM on the sharp daily to pick up vodka- Mikhail is immediately intrigued by this and orders a fifth-which he downs in one go. Christopher has him make an HT-based Carousing roll at -10. Mikhail somehow succeeds.

We decide to have Veracity and Mikhail stakeout the shop. Mikhail will be parked with a vehicle, using his astral projection to eavesdrop in case the shopkeep says anything to Scarface. Marsh and Miguel will be nearby with vehicles, and Veracity will be cloaked nearby.

Scarface approaches on foot, overdressed for the climate. Mikhail enters the astral plain, and notices that Scarface has a very nondescript astral appearance- murky and hazy. Marsh uses Gizmo to borrow Veracity's camera, but even if shows very hazy and blurry images.

We roll vs. Shadowing. Andre rolls a 17 and has to spend karma. 

Marsh is watching Scarface from a vehicle when Scarface is suddenly in the seat next to him, pointing a gun at him.
Scarface doesn't look like Travolta OR Al Pacino, but fuck it, equating Marsh to Marvin was too good to pass up

Scarface mentions that one of Legend's shapeshifters has tracked him down and threatens to shoot Marsh.

Marsh tries to affect him with illusion, but Scarface seems to be unphased. Marsh realizes that Scarface is Marshall Langston Sr. (Side note: Christopher shoots down Mind Link as being a benefit of Teamwork! to prevent Marsh from using Illusions as super covert messaging tools.)

Scarface seems very disturbed to be talking to someone like his son. Marsh manages to key open his radio mic and goes "Hey Dad, don't you remember that time we spent in Kosovo?"

It takes Marsh mentioning Marlowe to snap Scarface back to reality.

Meanwhile, Mikhail has gunned it in the car he's in and slams it into the back of the car Marsh is driving. (Cue discussion of airbags being non-existent Morocco, and Andre spending Karma to make Marsh's vehicle airbag equipped.) 

While Mikhail is apprehending Sr, someone draws a gun on him. He thinks he smells his mother's perfume. Mikhail says "Mom?" leading her to state that Mikhail is dead. Mikhail goes on to talk about how nobody else would go through all of that effort for shitty vodka.

Mikhail's mother (Yelena) recognizes him. Veracity pushes everyone to get back to base so that Sr. can have his powers chemically suppressed. Everyone except Veracity piles into Mikhail's vehicle. Mikhail's mother drives- even more terrifyingly than her son. 

Nobody shows up at the crime scene for at least twenty minutes. Evidently the cops don't care and Blue Skies doesn't have anybody watching Scarface. 

Scarface has a strange piece of tech on him. Miguel uses one of his metahuman capabilities to analyze what it is. It's a device keyed to Scarface's biosignature, and acts as a device that scrambles metahuman detecting powers as well as technological recordings.

Mikhail's mother tells us Marshall Sr. doesn't actually have powers. We settle on just restraining him and then waking him up.

Upon being awake, Sr. hugs Marsh. Marsh asks him if he's okay.

We question Sr. about how he escaped Marlowe's explosion, and why Blue Skies seems to want him dead. It turns out Blue Skies has been working with a nazi- which seems to be a line for the old man.

Mikhail has very nice things to say to his father and threatens to punch him. 

Sr. wants pay to talk. We offer him protection from Blue Skies' reprisals. Yelena drops that Sr. was planning on attempting to bring down Blue Skies on his own. Yelena won't cause us problems- but Veracity gets the sense that she could incapacitate (people named Gunther) or kill (people not named Gunther) everyone in the room.

Veracity alerts Legend that the team is en route with Senior. 

Senior gives us one choice piece of info- the name and address of James K. Moya, a man who's on the board of directors of Blue Skies.


What could have been a serious and arduous search in a foreign city for a reclusive badass operative turned into a pleasant stroll to the liquor store. In my opinion, the only significant reason the C-Team had to do it as opposed to a group of mooks is that the C-Team had the necessary plot armor to not get immediately attacked by Yelena and Marshall Sr.

Since we blew up Marlowe we've moved through things that were necessary to happen to get the C-Team in place for whatever Christopher has planned- but it's three sessions now. I'm itching for some freedom and agency. 

The game could've started with Sr. coming into AEGIS and demanding to speak with his sons because he learned that they were still alive. It would've lit a huge fire under everyone's asses when a bigtime Blue Skies operative just shows up uninvited, and worse, has figured out that Legend's pet terrorists were not only not dead, but recently back from time travel.

That would've been a much more exciting start to the season.

Plus it has the added bonus that we'd already be covering ground we'll be getting into next session.


Monday, November 14, 2016

My Thoughts After my First Playthrough of Dishonored 2

This is a bit off-topic for my blog considering it's usually GURPS content, but I've been eagerly awaiting Dishonored 2, and finally got my hands on it. I've beaten the game (Emily, Low Chaos) and started dipping my toes into a second (Corvo, High Chaos) playthrough, and I have some thoughts.



I deeply appreciated the non-lethal options that have been added to drop assassinations and combat in general. It added some spice to combat in a low chaos run, while maintaining a pretty high skill ceiling. With a few exceptions, non-lethal takedowns take more time, meaning that using them against multiple foes gets really dicey.

Speaking of which, enemy AI is far improved. It seems far easier to unintentionally draw the aggro of fourt+ guards all at once in Dishonored 2 verses the first game. A lot of their actions aren't as telegraphed before, something that became painfully obvious when attempting to parry to enable non-lethal chokeholds.

Emily's powerset works, although evidently I missed out by not pursuing Bone Charm Crafting in my first playthrough. My style is usually extremely minimalist- I rely extensively on Blink/Far Reach as my primary ability. Even when playing as Corvo I tend to stray from making heavy use of Wind Blast or Devouring Swarm.

I did not use Mersmerize or Doppleganger my first run with Emily.

I found Shadow Walk underwhelming, as the animation for non-lethal takedowns takes FOREVER. Getting the upgrades for multiple attacks while in the form seemed like a waste unless you can chain people together quickly, and at that point, why avoid Domino?

Domino is great for crowd control, although I find the range it can be used at pretty limiting. Unsure of how long the effect lasts really made me fear trying to lurk and move around until I could chain four people together, meaning I didn't use it as often unless facing a big group of enemies in close proximity to my perch above them at the time.

Verticality is still king in Dishonored, by the way.

Agility's double-jump seems to have been nerfed to prevent drop-assassination spam that was possible in the first game. Smart use of terrain and climbable objects still enable use of drop assassinations, but it's no longer a free lunch. I'm overall cool with this change, but it definitely feels weaker and less useful for exploration compared to the first game.

Even with the range upgrade, Blink seems shorter than before. Far Reach is cool, although it's REALLY bad compared to Blink for trying to move up- it's very easy to clip into things like lampposts and fail to land where you intended, often dying in a long fall or failing to elude enemies. The upgrade for grabbing objects also doesn't helpfully show a green aura around them like Daud's Pull power did in the first game, which prevented me from realizing how to utilize it at first. (Seriously, Pull highlighting objects in your environment was one of the best fringe benefits of the power.)

Far Grab grabbing enemies FEELS far better than Pull from the first game. Pull was slow, like painfully trying to explain rules to a kid whose parent didn't provide them enough structure growing up. Far Reach is super fast in comparison. Offensively it's far better than Pull, even if it's utility and usability suffers compared to pull.

I wish the Strength tree was better balanced. Five runes (Total) to break down breakable doors seems a bit high, especially given how GODDAMN CONVENIENT it is. I can appreciate the puzzle aspects of hunting runes, but with a seeming lack of New Game + (and my game crashing during the credits, just like Dishonored 1), rune collection is still a pain in the ass. It's not helped much by the capability to mark a specific rune/bonecharm for collection so I don't have to constantly have the heart out.

Seriously, if I sink nearly as much time into this as I did the first game, I'm seriously considering modding it so door breaking is far cheaper to expedite collection of runes and charms.

I HATE the decision to make it so that the Folded Galvani weave isn't available until one of the latest missions in the game. By far one of my favorite upgrades, and having it available so late seriously crimped the appeal of Agility's sprint boost. I also completely missed the Incendiary Bolts blueprint my first playthrough, meaning that Blood Fly nests were far more annoying.

Blood Flies are roughly as annoying as rat swarms from the first game. Very simple counters absolutely wreck swarms of either groups, and once you learn the nest mechanic dealing with Bloodfly Nests is easier. Blood Flies killing unconscious people will certainly be HELLA ANNOYING should I ever attempt Clean Hands.

I don't miss river krusts at all.

I didn't use any of the new crossbow bolts, which is probably an oversight given how they could help end fights without having to choke everyone out. I did upgrade stun mines. Otherwise during my non-lethal run I barely touched upgrades.

If asked to score the gameplay, I'd probably give it 8 out of 10. There's some balance issues (rune costs), design choices (galvani weave), frustrating bits (rune collection, far reach clipping during vertical movement, no highlighting for pullable items), and bugs (which I'll get into) which dinged my enjoyment of the game.

That said, the Gameplay has measurably improved since the first game, enough to really count as a sequel offering.


The Dishonored series has stellar world design. It's frankly one of the most exciting and novel settings in video games. The first game was a little light on actual plot and character development, but largely got a pass because the setting was Just. So. Good.

I had high hopes for Dishonored 2's story. Choosing to have both protagonists be fully voiced was a ripe opportunity to have Corvo and Emily interact and talk with one another, to flesh out how the experience of the first game- and the events played through in the second- would affect the father daughter relationship! Not to mention conversations with the supporting cast, and villains, and so on.

But Dishonored 2 squanders its chance at developing the main characters. We get two minutes of Corvo and Emily talking, and then one of them is absent the rest of the game until the final confrontation is over. Neither interacts meaningfully with the Outsider, which should've been the most significant and exciting dialogue to witness in the game. Daud mentions having conversations with the Outsider, and instead we get more expository lectures, most of which seemed to focus a little too much on the target of our mission at the time, rather than reflecting on Corvo and Emily themselves.

I understand that doing the whole Chaos system with the other protagonist interacting with your blank slate character is probably messy and incredibly hard to write but it's hard to justify how much potential was left to attract Blood Flies. 

So far, Corvo and Emily's dialogue isn't different enough that it's not annoying to hear "Sokolov made this lock" twice, completely wasting having the two view points to experience and play. Maybe that changes as I go further through the game with Corvo, but I doubt it.

The supporting cast of NPCs was drastically reduced. I guessed that Meagan was Billie Lurk after using the Heart on her. Both Meagan and Sokolov had impressive amounts of dialogue using the heart, which was a nice touch.

But I wouldn't say that either character really brought much to the story.

And the Story is depressingly similar to the first game. Terrible thing happens, roaring rampage of revenge (or quiet precise surgical strike of revenge, if you wish), the end. 

The ending cinematic is laughably bad compared to the first, and is WORLDS worse than say, Fallout's. The whole Howler/Overseer decision seems forced and ultimately pointless. There's no buildup to either faction besides the fact that both groups are initially hostile, and placing the mission where you pick a side late in the game seems weird.

If it had been placed earlier, it could've colored the entire game, offered different side missions, and cracked open more replayability as the different missions changed due to that allegiance choice earlier on.

Quick Thoughts and Quibbles on Story and Gameplay:
  • I don't recall any references to Piero, which seems like a glaring omission as he made both Corvo's mask and The Heart
  • The Heart is one of the few places the story actually shined
  • Delilah getting trapped in a painting AGAIN was LAZY writing
  • Deliah's one-hit kill stoning move in the final fight was bullshit
  • The lack of between-mission shopping hurt when the black market can be missed by players during the course of a mission.
I'd give Story something like 4/10. It's like getting a grade of C-. It's not failing but you were so close that you should probably give the teacher much less shit for the next few weeks as thanks for cutting you some slack.

Performance, Bugs, and Rushed Development

I specifically timed my video card upgrade (GTX 1080) to land just before the release of Dishonored 2.

Frame rate jumps quite a lot, usually averaging 45 on recommended settings at 1080p. I've personally experienced some dips during hectic moments, but nothing nearly as bad as FO4 on dual AMD R7 220s.

I encountered one progression-breaking bug in the mission targeting the Duke of Serkonos. I had choked out the real duke before finding his body double, which locked out being able to toss him on the bed for the non-lethal assassination.

End-game credits resulted in a CTD.

Alt-tabbing doesn't work (going back into Dishonored 2 CTDs), which is just fucking shameful from a AAA publisher like Bethesda. 

Frankly, I feel like Dishonored 2 really could've used another year in the oven to get tweaked, optimized, balanced, and to really plot out the story better. It would've also provided ample time for getting a mountain of voice work done.

But frankly, it's a sophomore title being published by Bethesda, the king of providing wide but shallow games. I really feel the team felt rushed to publish on time, even with delays, and that care and attention on the final parts of the game suffered. The duke's mansion was one of my favorite missions to run around in- but the polish obviously present in the first real mission on the streets of Karnaka starts to slowly disappear over the course of the game.

There's no way to tell just how much publisher pressure changed the course of Dishonored 2's development, short of Harvey Smith giving us the scoop. That seems unlikely given his professional demeanor and track record of being an excellent guy, so I'll just continue to harbor my suspicions.

In Summary:

  • Almost excellent gameplay
  • Story completely and utterly failed to live to the potential of its characters and having voiced protagonists
  • Setting is still hella amazing
  • I do kinda dig the more whimsical Outsider, although I think the more sinister overtones present in the first game were lost. It's a mixed bag.
  • Performance issues and Bugs aren't end of the world, but certainly a bit of mud on the face for the game
  • I'll probably still sink 40+ hours into this on the strength of gameplay alone (Fallout 4 was the exact same in this regard)
  • I really hope I don't hurt Harvey's feelings with this review

Is it worth trying to get better at the game knowing that StealthGamerBR is still going to make me look like I have the manual dexterity of a particularly large toddler?

Friday, November 4, 2016


The Team:

Niklos Xanthopoulos (Kevin): Multidisciplinary genius, medic/doctor, and general curmudgeon. Believes Morphazine is the answer for everything and enjoys asking Marsh to hold organs during autopsies. TIME LORD

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. FUCKING SERIOUSLY HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY VAST CONSPIRACY BEFORE THE OTHERS REALIZE HE'S WORKING FOR VAST?


After two days chilling in FEMA tents, we're shown to hospital beds and transported in a converted semi truck somewhere else, while hooked up to weird devices. They almost seem to be hyperbaric chambers, except with rings, not glass.

Our nurse seems afraid to touch whatever is around us.

The truck is tricked out with TVs and other amenities, we're still prisoners, but at least it's not punitive imprisonment.

Marsh and Niklos both attempt Science! and Medicine! checks to determine what we're currently in. Marsh knows it's emitting some kind of field, but not much else. Niklos believes they're some kind of temporal stabilizer.

Mikhail recognizes the bumps in the road (utilizing Wheelman!)- we're heading for upstate New York, the Adirondacks specifically.

A short redhaired woman (Mishka Rosenkrantz) from the front of the trailer walks up and asks Niklos what he wants to know. Niklos wants to know what they think happened to us, and what they're doing about it.

The two converse back and forth about how to fix the fact that we're temporally out of phase. Niklos is convinced he can fix it himself. They hand Niklos a set of blueprints for the chambers we're all in to keep him from attempting to disassemble the pods himself.

Blame Christopher
It's stated that our time travel was called "The Time Warp." Marsh isn't impressed with this name, and keeps prodding Niklos to explore his duplication capabilities post time travel. 

Veracity asks for internet access and then remains busy reading up on four years of news.

We're allowed water, but no food. Mikhail would like the woman to know that it's been four years since he last had vodka, and the woman threatens to sedate him.

Mikhail proceeds to throw wads of paper around, hitting Niklos in the head. One ball of paper bounces onto the rings of Mikhail's chamber. The resulting temporal effects cause Mikhail quite a lot of pain.

They pump Mikhail with enough Morphazine to knock out an elephant, putting him under.

After about six hours we arrive somewhere.

Marsh learns that Gunther went on a cross-country rampage across the country, ending up in San Francisco and weathering the effects of an RPG on film.

We're shuffled out into the dark. There's a single light that we follow down somewhere, wheeled into a large cabin. It's a glorified hunting shack, suitable for being a base camp for maybe 20-30 people.

Legend and Breaker are both there. They talk briefly and then Breaker leaves.

Legend informs us that we're basically temporal bombs. He claims that Marlowe is dead or no longer on this plane of existence.

It appears that we're probably going to explode sometime within the next two weeks, with a force equal to a hundredth of a tactical nuke. We'll be sleeping in basically a glorified bomb containment chamber. We're still disallowed from eating and drinking to better allow them to monitor vitals.

We're all in separate rooms, but the quarters are nice. There's TV's and computers. Niklos adamantly refuses to try his duplication powers in the off chance it will kick off an explosion, and resists his innate curiosity.

We're not allowed to communicate out. The facility looks custom built just to handle us- and must have been built in an amazingly short time.

The computers resist Marsh's attempts to crack into the internal network AEGIS is using. It resists his attempts with a pre-recorded message about not using the correct password, with Zeke's voice. Veracity tries to use some knowledge he has personally of Zeke to access any possible backdoors Zeke might have installed, but only succeeds in locking his terminal.

Mikhail protests the lack of vodka of any quality.

We all do our best to keep entertained. Mikhail does a bunch of physical exercise, while Marsh, Veracity and Niklos do heavy reading.

Two weeks of enforced isolation for field agents leads to some severe idle hands- such as Marsh scrounging makeshift lockpicks, requests for copious amounts of Mountain Dew, and utilizing ASL to badmouth being kept in lockdown.

We're all given very nice food after five days. Niklos spawns a duplicate on day 10, causing a big fuss as he starts screaming is agony during the process. This causes a big explosion of some sort.


All of us are suddenly back on the truck again. Niklos is the only one that remembers anything about our ten days in isolation. We go through everything again, except this time Legend doesn't cut the conversation short because Veracity doesn't question who this 'highest authority' figure is.

Our minder launches into how the Subway was known for disregarding rules and orders, and mentions that the guy Niklos did a psychological whammy on two sessions ago was found streaking down the street cover in Jello and was released from his post.

Niklos starts hearing his own voice in his head. He reasons it might be the voice of his dead self from that explosion, but it is adamant that it can't be ignored. The voice plays up how crazy the rest of the team is- Mikhail doing endless pushups, Marsh trying to beat Zeke's computer system, Veracity digging through his own trash.

Evidently we're going to continue exploding in a continual loop. The voice is definitely playing the part of devil on the shoulder, encouraging Niklos to try and score with Mishka Rosenkratz. The voice claims that in six months Niklos will enter a weeklong coma and wind back up at the facility we're currently in. Sadly Niklos does not tell the other that he's banging Rosenkratz in another timeline/universe, preventing us from becoming the best wingmen of all time.

The rest of C-Team encouraging Niklos

Niklos decides that he wants to create anti-time travel to stop the loop. Niklos starts an insane rant with the voice he's hearing. 

Mishka eventually shares with us that Zephyr has previously experienced this, while we start trying to plan how to solve the catastrophe. On the 13th day, explosion happens and we all reset.

This again? Really?

Back in the semi, Niklos again catches Mikhail's thrown paper ball before it hits him.

Niklos immediately info dumps on Rosenkratz. Niklos makes a bunch of rolls to recall info correctly.

This time the facility is less closed off, and we're kept in basically a communal barracks, and immediately given food. We're joined by a small team of scientists.
Veracity starts experiencing an annoying level of deja vu.

Niklos determines that we are currently harboring GRATUITOUS AMOUNTS OF (Kyberian) ENERGY, which is the root of our problems.

It appears Blue Skies has created some kind of Kyberic energy accumulator that might help out, uncovered in South America after the great Kaboom. Marsh gets to work with Inventor!, and with help from the team and some Karma expenditure from Marsh and Niklos, he ultimately gets a success by 5. 

The accumulator starts correctly gathering energy from its resulting environment. It alone won't be enough to stop us from exploding- possibly just slowing it down.

We hustle to try and create a device that will drain Kyberian energy, and Marsh manages to get a working concept going. 

During piling on more assistance rolls, Kevin rolls a natural 18 and spends 5 Karma to turn it into a crit success since it's the final hurrah. The rest of the team pitches in with Teamwork! (I accidentally attempt to roll 3d5 at one point) and Marsh rolls a crit success on getting the Kyberian drain unit to work.

We use the prototype device on Mikhail first, since he's judged to be the least likely to die. Mikhail crits the resulting HT roll with a 4. Niklos and Marsh zap Mikhail with the device, which starts smoking. Mikhail seems unaffected.

Another attempt and Mikhail is successfully zapped, followed by Marsh and Veracity.

Niklos starts feeling UNCOMFORTABLY ENERGETIC, so we scramble to zap him with the device. Niklos explodes, but this time it's just into his six copies who are all sprawled out on the floor.

Niklos takes a huge FP loss (like, -50ish) and collapses. Marsh who actually has first aid, grabs whatever crash/first aid kit might be available. He succeeds by 10 on the roll, unassisted. He gets Niklos resuscitated very quickly. Niklos is still at a cool -27hp.
Not this again, thankfully

We're granted limited freedom- no leaving the cottage.

Niklos is glad to not be waking up in the back of semi truck. 

We're kept for a week.

Us after realizing this bomb shit cost us $15 Million Dollars

The funds we extracted from Marlowe paid for the shiny medical/research facility we've been kept in. Our names are on a plaque for our 'Charitable Donation'. 

Legend explains that we're all legally dead and asks us if we'd like to keep it that way.

Veracity is totally up for this- pulling off False Flag operations with one's own identity is hilarious.

Legend explains that we were branded as terrorists to cover up the fact that AEGIS was involved with the explosion in South America. Niklos is very pissed about this.

Veracity discerns that the coverup was really good.

Legend wants to offer us a job. Our reactions vary. Niklos is pretty pissed about the being dead part. Marsh is intrigued. Veracity is definitely interested in the idea of doing something momentous. Mikhail just wants some Vodka since he hasn't had any in four years.

Legend learns that Niklos' grandfather was someone he knew, and slides over a pocket watch containing a picture of the Marauders with both Legend and Niklos' grandfather in it.

A guy named Markus is called into the room by Legend. He has dark hair and is dressed in Black Clothing. Claims to be a specialist. He asks us if we know about the Black Swan theory.

Our return must've been on the irrelevant list...
Markus tells us that an event will soon take place that will potentially end the world, likely within 4 years, maybe up to 9. He talks about a machine that can predict potential events that might kick off the Black Swan event- but it didn't foresee us hurtling through time.

The Wall that has been preventing precogs from viewing farther into the future has moved back from 2018 to 2025. Markus suggests that we remain dead to help apply our talents to stopping events that might contribute to Black Swan kicking off.

We're told that we have six months before the real work begins.

Nemesis (Conceptual)
Markus goes into how we need to destroy Blue Skies before 2017. Then a dude in black spikey armor appears out of nowhere. He introduces himself as Nemesis and lists how long we've been disappeared. He says he's part of an alliance between three parties to stop the Apocalypse.

We're being provided access to Sentry's network by Nemesis thanks to Markus.

Nemesis compliments Niklos' work on something. 

Mikhail is confused. Veracity explains to him that the avatar of a super computer and a spirit of vengeance want us to help Legend out. He goes on to say that Black Swan is likely a metahuman apocalypse.

Markus is surprised, since he definitely left that part about Black Swan out.

It appears Blue Skies is perfecting Purple Drank, and AEGIS has been stymied by massive budget cuts. 

Nemesis observes to Legend that some of us have more Kyberic energy than we should. On some scale we're supposed to be 2 or 3s, and we're currently ranking as 5s.

Nemesis shakes our hands, says that he trusts us, and departs.

Markus mentions that we have 187 days before we'll be needed- and to use our time wisely. Then he draws a sigil on the door and walks through a badass portal that appeared out of nowhere and is gone.

Legend asks us who's in. Once all of us agree to being in, he turns us over to 'Billy' for field training.

We're woken up at 5am unceremoniously and then injected with a drug that gives us Doesn't Sleep for about a week.

Breaker proceeds to give us more physical training from hell- Mikhail gets to lug Breaker the entire time as a handicap to account for his increased physical capabilities.

Niklos manages to substitute a clone to spread the grueling exercise around for a while before Breaker catches on and injects him with power blockers to prevent him from continuing to do so.

We're trained along with a group of 5 others. Breaker doesn't appreciate Veracity's Survivor jokes.

We're all asked to roll 3d6 after something strange happens in bootcamp. Kevin mistakenly rolls 3d67 the first time. One morning we'd been tossed outside to survive in the mountains when a mountain lion should've had Marsh dead to rights, and then it decides to fuck off after making eye contact with Marsh.

Marsh starts getting strange reactions from people, and is quickly sent to the med lab. Niklos is tasked with looking at him, and Marsh is diagnosed as being some kind of metahuman. It doesn't appear to be mind reading since thinking really hard in his direction doesn't allow Marsh to hear Niklos' thoughts.

Niklos recognizes that Marsh is affecting his mind somehow, hijacking the sensory input of a single person. Niklos asks Marsh to make a grilled cheese sandwich appear on a tray in the room. It doesn't smell, it has no tactile feedback, and Niklii Six is asked to guinea pig for Marsh's new ability.

Time Loop!
Mikhail and Veracity are both presenting with enhanced Kyberic power fields. Niklos tells Legend.
Evidently the Time Loop imbued at least two of us with powers- one of us may have been a latent. 

The two of us are subjected to prolonged testing to figure out what our capabilities are. An old man named Leland shows up. Evidently Leland has spent 30 years helping people learn about and control their powers. He starts with Mikhail.

Leland thinks that Mikhail is weird. He slaps Mikhail who begins to have an out of body experience. Leland yanks him back into his body via a silver cord linking Mikhail's projection to his body. The projection can move through walls, is invisible to the rest of us, and can move about ten feet from his body. While projecting Mikhail can see the ghost of Niklos' grandfather. Mikhail greets him amicably.

Niklos is a 'level five chronokinetic'. Leland explains that our recent time travel was Niklos' powers mucking things up. Leland explains that Niklos' duplicates have been pulled from other timelines. He also identifies that Niklos has been hearing his own voice in his head. (Terrible pun happened here)

Veracity is up. Leland was saved by ROOK on a few occasions and mentions it. It appears Veracity has powers very similar to his father's clairsentience- having to do with information itself instead.

We're subjected to various training, including stealth training from Nemesis. Niklos pulls a dirty trick on Nemesis during the 'seek' phase by absorbing six after sending six out to hide.

The combat training that follows includes sparring with Urich Rosenkrantz, one of the most skilled non-meta individuals in existence. 

We spend six months without sleep undergoing a hugely regimented and very varied training regime.

We wrap up there.


The Time Loop was a helluva lot of exposition. It's fun to play our characters going off the rails from being confined in a small space without much to do. Marsh and Niklos got the bulk of the day to themselves, since Mikhail and Veracity have didly squat for science capabilities.

Our recent acquisition of Teamwork! via SERE training means that everybody will ALWAYS be able to make a complimentary skill check. Sure, Teamwork! is boring, but it's practical. Mikhail and Veracity both ended up making use of it to assist with the final Kyberian Energy sucker unit thingy.

So with all of us either gaining powers (Marsh, Mikhail), or realizing latent powers (Niklos, Veracity), C-Team is likely going to be a hugely different game moving forward. The loss of PK as a player due to his SJG duties definitely played a part, and it will be interesting to see how our roles as  cops/agents changes- especially since we're moving into territory where we might be operating outside of AEGIS' wheelhouse.

After all, we're being directed by the trio of Nemesis, Legend, and Markus now. We're believed dead by just about everyone- we're ghosts. Nonpeople.  Blue Skies can't think to attack our loved ones (their favorite tactic) until they realize we're alive. It's a perfect opportunity to strike back.

Powers were more or less assigned randomly for Marsh and Mikhail (although they got to veto the first two choices if they didn't like them- the third power option didn't get a veto option at all), while Niklos' powers were more or less dictated by the plot.
For Veracity, the biggest factor was the fact that it's immensely unusual for a meta to have powers unrelated to the powerset their parents had- you don't get people coming from a family with the power of Country music only to develop Death Metal powers. Since ROOK is a clairsentient (let's say Swing), Veracity's powers are constrained to something similar, but it's okay to leap to a related genre (because fuck you dad, I want Electro Swing powers). But no going from Gospel to NWA.
Ultimately it looks like Veracity will be getting a powerset revolving around manipulating information itself. I've already been tasked with coming up with possible powers for the set. (Spoiler: A "I know that you know" capability might be in the works.)

All of us PCs lucked out and have power focuses- meaning we can expand our powers with new capabilities over time. Marsh probably benefits the least from this since Illusion by itself is ridiculously strong and versatile- he could easily rely solely on that single advantage and get by just fine. Veracity and Mikhail will likely benefit the most.


Christopher's asked me to start including music selections.

Here it Goes Again- OK GO- Also time loops

Thursday, October 20, 2016

AEON C-Team S2E5: Daddy Issues for Everyone!

The Team:

Lucas Nielson (PK Levine): A former vicar who lost his faith and made an enemy of the Vatican. Now leads the AEGIS Subway team in their attempts to answer questions nobody else in AEGIS has time to investigate.

Niklos Xanthopoulos (Kevin): Multidisciplinary genius, medic/doctor, and general curmudgeon. Believes Morphazine is the answer for everything and enjoys asking Marsh to hold organs during autopsies.

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.

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.

Agent Veracity (Me): The Subway's resident spook and dumpster diver, Agent Veracity is a highly skilled investigator, tradecraft expert and conspiracy nut.   IT'S ALL A VAST CONSPIRACY, DON'T TRUST WHAT YOU READ  FNORD


Sadly Niklos is not delicious when grilled
Niklos and Lucas have been busy getting grilled by AEGIS administration because of Niklos' psychological programming of various personnel. AEGIS also hopes that Niklos knows the formula of the PURPLE DRANK that got used. Mikhail had a sample which he gave to Lucas. Lucas hands it
over to the bigwigs without complaints.

AEGIS stress tests Niklos' duplication ability, and the scientists are stumped as to how it works. They also have no clue how Niklos' use of the PURPLE DRANK resulted in permanent powers. The information we stole from the MORNING TIDE lab indicates that Niklos' powers should have disappeared a day ago.

Lucas does his best to spin the story so that Niklos doesn't look like a mad scientist.

Mikhail hopes that Lucas can regain Mikhail's firearms privileges. A success by 11 on Mastermind! indicates that Mikhail legitimately thought the bloke he shot was trying to draw a firearm, in a huge misunderstanding. Lucas attempts to turn the situation around, getting in touch with Katori. Lucas does great execu-speak and gets Mikhail some additional firearms, but not his wildcat hand cannons. 

Lucas knows that the ritual Marlowe is attempting has had very few successes over the last couple of millennia- the last time spawned an extremely successful cult involving mountain top sermons and flipping over tables of usurers in the temple.

Choosing the Aztec temple at Nataapwpa as opposed to the Bastille helps negate planning he might have done to utilize the Bastille.

We discuss the plan a bit, and start seeing about implementing various parts. Lucas crits to see about organizing making Marlowe a household name- we get a speech on the President's desk decrying the horrible terrorist Marlowe. Mikhail attempts to help by tapping his

Niklos spends some time making a psych profile on Marlowe to assist the overall plan. Veracity, when he's not undergoing therapy to deal with his daddy issues, scouts out the Aztec temple in person.

Lucas, our Mastermind!, takes almost 3 months to hammer out the plan, eventually rolling vs. skill 33. He rolls a 10 (perfectly average), succeeding by 23. After some discussion he opts to make the plan a critically successful plan by spending 4 karma, with a margin of success 30.

We talk for a bit about how official we want the operation to be. Keeping it limited in scope and personnel involved seems like a very good idea. Lucas contacts Legend and informs him about our plan. There's no response until Lucas is teleported to a dark location with a single light overhead.

Lucas is not restrained, and is standing. Legend, Gabriella, a guy in dated clothing from the 40s, and a fourth presence that Lucas can't see are in the room with him. Lucas says hi to those he knows and asks the guy from the 40s his name- the guy says Lucas can call him Faust. OBVIOUSLY this guy is totally harmless and not some horribly powerful prick.

Lucas can't confirm if this guy is the Faust or not. PK launches into the commonality of the name 'Raven' in goth clubs.

Back in the Subway, everyone who's seeing Lucas suddenly slump over at his desk calls for Niklos. All six show up, before being dismissed by Niklos Prime. Lucas' vitals are normal, he seems to be asleep. Niklos assumes he's in a telepathic communion, and is having a conversation.

Lucas starts talking about the Subway plan to take out Marlowe. Legend is okay with us doing it, but he's convinced our chances of survival are 2-3%. Lucas requests that Legend keep the risks from the rest of the team so we're not so worried about dying.

Legend sets us up with a Marlowe specialist, Breaker, and a guy who can make a Kyberian nuke. The nuke is basically a soccer ball that needs to be attuned to the ley line of the temple. It will have to be setup with Marlowe present, a process that usually takes two minutes.

The Prime Asshole ritual takes 6-12 hours for a normal practitioner, Marlowe will likely do it in significantly less time. Still longer than it will take to arm the nuke.

 Breaker's powers involve finding weaknesses- physical, emotional, magic, whatever- and then putting pressure on them until things turn out bad for whoever's on the receiving end.

Faust is acting as the anti-Marlowe guy, as well as our bomb maker.

We arrange to have Mikhail and Marsh 'defect' to Marlowe, after killing Niklos clones disguised as Veracity, Lucas, and Niklos. Faust will be providing magical disguises to the Niklii.

Veracity brings up using Marcelle's Hand of Glory, which could be dangerous because it might cause vengeful spirits to become tangible and attack us.

Katori returns Mikhail's guns. Mikhail flubs the social interaction and Katori shoots him in the hand. She then heals him, which is torturous.

Gabriella overwrites the Niklii clones' minds to be a copy of Veracity and Lucas.

After Veracity suggests using Breaker's capabilities to break him down mentally in preparation for what Marlowe, the entire team gets subjected to SERE on steroids, with Breaker, Legend, and Garbiella subjecting EVERYONE to a week of hellish resistance training.

Reprogrammed to be following Marshall Sr, Marsh and Mikhail stage a huge robbery of the Subway, landing us on the AEGIS shitlist for a few weeks.

Marshall Sr. 'acquires' (kidnaps) both Marsh and Mikhail. Marsh wakes up to a man on a throne surrounded by beautiful women. The man, Marlowe, asks Mashall Sr. if Marsh is his son.

Sr. is demure, which is hugely unusual. Marlowe questions Sr. about Mikhail and Marsh, needling him about Mikhail's mother, who Sr. is obviously still emotionally attached to.

Marsh and Mikhail explain that their Subway cover was blown, so they decided to break with AEGIS. Marsh 'recruited' his brother who was unhappy after getting kicked out of STARRS, and wants payment.

If only Marlowe were so cute
Marsh bargains hard for the collection of objects he stole from AEGIS, asking for 15 million. Marlowe is immediately attracted to the dagger. Mikhail gets grumpy about this, and Marlowe is blase about potentially killing him.

Marsh bullshits about how he was able to acquire the dagger, chalking it up to his skills. Marlowe agrees to pay 15 million, asking if Marsh would like cash or a wire. The two agents are given a very heavy briefcase with a large chunk of cash.

Marlowe is tickled pink, absolutely happy that he'll be able to access both the Bastille and the temple's energies. He hires Marsh and Mikhail to act as muscle during the ritual.

 Marsh offers to entice the rest of us into a trap, as well as getting the kibosh put on the propaganda campaign spreading Marlowe's name everywhere.

They return to the Subway to entice out the Niklii disguised as the Subway team. Maverick spends karma to make his attempt to lure the Subway team out into a trap look particularly convincing to Marlowe.

The Niklii are killed and the Subway even holds fake funerals for the entire team. Bruce Campbell fans everywhere are disappointed when Veracity's picture appears in the paper, causing some to show up at the funerals.

Veracity attempts to have Niklos use medium to get in touch with Veracity's parents- the attempt fails, unfortunately. Niklos does however get in touch with his dead grandfather, who was part of the Marauders. Grampy Niklos definitely ran into Marlowe during WW2 at some point. His insights help Lucas' planning quite a lot.

Betty, Veracity's girlfriend, has valuable input on the plan. She's also been keeping Veracity a little less crazy than he otherwise would be given the SERE training and the stress of facing down Marlowe.

Marsh learns that Marlowe is pretty much the sole person holding up Green Sun Holdings, which he uses to prop up lots of other groups, such as Blue Skies. Marsh starts trying to work up an org chart. He's got a few trusted lieutenants, but most workers are in the dark, or worship him outright as a living god.

Veracity and Breaker are put into place early within the temple, while the others will be teleported in once Marlowe begins the ritual.

Add caption
Marlowe arrives with his lieutenants and begins the ritual. He starts sacrificing locals to speed the

Veracity starts to try and attune the Kyberian Nuke to the ley line as Marlowe goes. He manages it without being spotted, squirreling the nuke away.

Marsh and Mikhail step outside for a smoke break. The rest of the Subway team except Veracity breaks their mental programming, returning them to the Light Side of the Force.

The nuke starts gathering energy way faster than intended. Veracity manages to wrangle the nuke so that it will fill at the correct time and explode when Marlowe should be the most distracted.

All the energy in the air is causing vibrations that everyone can feel. Marlowe screams and there's scrambling and panicked yelling from inside the temple before everything goes white. It would seem the Kyberian Nuke Faust whipped up worked.

We wake up, staring up at the sky. We're in a different area. Mikhail, Niklos, Marsh, and Veracity are together. Lucas, some of the extra Niklii, Breaker, and Faust are not present.

Marsh and Veracity both start having seizures. Mikhail and Niklos both have terribad headaches.

Niklos recognizes us as being in Yankee Stadium. There's medical FEMA tents all over the place. One person there answers Niklos that it's 2016.

Legend exits from a tent, looking amazed.

We're all administered some kind of medicine. Marsh and Veracity stop having their seizures. Veracity recognizes the damage to the stadium- he's intimately familiar with the damage a fusion-powered chainsaw can cause.

We're all immediately quarantined. It appears the world hasn't ended... yet.

The head med tech looking us over tells us that Lucas is assumed dead. Breaker and Faust both escaped the blast alive. We've all been assumed dead by AEGIS.

Niklos sets about hypnotizing the head medtech, beating the man's Will+5 roll to resist. It's believed that Marlowe was incinerated, and it's the first confirmed killing of a Prime Metahuman.

They decommissioned the Subway. There was an event that coincided with us cooking Marlowe, kicking a pulse of energy around the globe. The man doesn't know who Gunther is, or where Mikhail's mother is.

Blue Skies still exists, although it's beginning to get systematically torn down.

Two weeks ago a bomb of some kind kicked up a bunch of shit around Yankee Stadium. Green Sun Holdings was dismantled in 2013, and the Coordination also hasn't been up to anything since the op on the West Coast.

Gabriella then breaks into Niklos' mind and asks him to stop rewiring people's brains. Niklos releases him from the hypnotism.

We end there.


Sadly, this will be PK's last session with us as Lucas for a while, since his duties for SJG are starting to kick up into high gear. The Kickstarter giveth, the Kickstarter taketh, it seems. (Note: I am assuming that it's Kickstarter related, I don't know the actual nature of the workload he's been handed.)

Christopher is actively looking for a permanent PC to replace Lucas. Definitely bring your A-Game to the table, Christopher will want players who can keep up with the team that's already in place.

My suggestion about SERE training resulted in us getting over 50 points of extra advantages, attributes and skills.
Said SERE Training included:

  • HT and Will +1
  • High Pain Threshold
  • Fit
  • Teamwork! at Attribute -1
  • And more I won't go into

Maverick wass named MVP.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Aeon C-Team S2E4: Veracity also has a Pleasant and Wonderful Time

The Team:

Lucas Nielson (PK Levine): A former vicar who lost his faith and made an enemy of the Vatican. Now leads the AEGIS Subway team in their attempts to answer questions nobody else in AEGIS has time to investigate.

Niklos Xanthopoulos (Kevin): Multidisciplinary genius, medic/doctor, and general curmudgeon. Believes Morphazine is the answer for everything and enjoys asking Marsh to hold organs during autopsies.

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.

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.

Agent Veracity (Me): The Subway's resident spook and dumpster diver, Agent Veracity is a highly skilled investigator, tradecraft expert and conspiracy nut.   IT'S ALL A VAST CONSPIRACY, DON'T TRUST WHAT YOU READ  FNORD
PK and Kevin were absent this session, and Alex was late.


Not THAT kind of Painkiller
Marsh wakes up in complete agony. It feels like his nerve endings have been scorched, he's drenched in sweat, and he's very pale.

Niklos and Lucas have been dragged off to talk with Gabriela about something. The remaining medics have loaded Marsh up with painkillers, but it only dulls the edge.

Gunther is watching over Marsh like a faithful puppy, including a large sandwich for when Marsh is better.

A tech starts destroying Marsh's computers to purge them of being infected with whatever Marsh had pwned our systems with. 

The Director of AEGIS doesn't leave us out to dry though- he sends down nearly TL9 computers as well as a T1 internet connection trunk. Marsh aids in the destruction of Lucas' old windows 95 machine. The tech, Randy Axel, is a snarky asshole. The new computer gear is completely holographic and uses motion/kinetic controls for a UI.

AEGIS goes on over the next couple of hours upgrading security, adding guards, and otherwise making the Subway harder to assault. They start replacing all antiquated gear with newer stuff.  A hapless contractor steps on the Ghost Train and comes back from his ill-advised trip with white hair, mumbling about giant hamburgers.


Gunther starts cleaning the train, while also preventing people from getting on the train. Gunther's a bit of a neat freak. We've put up signs indicating that Relish is not allowed in the Subway, and have trained Gunther to not enter a blind range when he sees them. We've determined that Gunther is completely immune to pain and is impossible to render unconscious.

Bored watching techs move stuff around, Veracity digs into what The Director of AEGIS is doing while he and Marsh cool their heels.

Legend is currently getting a huge sitrep about a massive operation AEGIS ran on the West Coast- 32 separate ops all ran concurrently. Legend was coordinating all of those operations live- likely with Lucas' help.

Veracity calls his girlfriend, Betty, to find out if she knows anything.

The Coordination was attacked out west. The Coordination was enhancing metahumans, and their entire organization got attacked in the huge operation out west. Evidently Marshall Sr. was involved with them.

AEGIS isn't sure of Marshall Sr's real position within Blue Skies, the Coordination, or any of the numerous pies Blue Skies has their fingers in. Blue Skies has very close government ties, which troubles AEGIS greatly. Marshall Sr. is a real prick.

Marsh checks the new computers, and discovers that we have new access to the AEGIS database. The C-Team has more or less unfettered access to files deemed 'strange', 'supernatural', 'weird', or otherwise 'someone else's problem'. 

Sadly Marlowe's file is lacking information because AEGIS barely has any information, not because someone's tampered with the file. He's been around at least 300 years, and is responsible for numerous powerful offspring. The info they have comes from the 40's, where Marlowe was working with a mercenary group known as the Marauders, for the Nazis.

Green Sun Holdings is also only worthy of a stub-level article in the AEGIS database as well.

It turns out that the crews bringing in new stuff had to open up an old elevator shaft, giving Veracity a chance to try out a 'grapple gun' that he acquired... somewhere. Veracity doesn't splat himself against the walls or suffer a nasty fall.
Training Montage!

Veracity takes some time to use Digital Oracle on the AEGIS database to try and see if he can connect various things together- and stumbles on AEGIS' archive of the Postman's activity. Numerous postcards went unanswered, causing mission issues, which Veracity was able to connect together.

The Postman sends out precognitive missives to people, usually on postcards. He's been active well before the public occurrence of Meta powers- since 1840. The letters switched to typewritten around 1910.

Veracity decides to memorize every postcard AEGIS has in their possession. It's going to be a long undertaking however, as there's enough that Christopher's count goes "One, two, many." on just how many there are.

Legend explains that the Blue Skies lab we hit had a frightening amount of information on metahuman abilities, some of it dating back to the 80s. Veracity implies that the missing 70% we didn't secure must really be a reason to wear the brown pants.
Legend says that someone is working on it.

Evidently the Coordination's middle management all decided to commit suicide rather than subject themselves to capture.

Legend confirms that Green Sun Holdings is connected to Marlowe and Blue Skies, revealing that he actually reads all of Veracity's information. Veracity offers to buy him a drink some time.

Legend cuts both Marsh and Veracity on the hand and has them bleed on a hard copy of information on Green Sun Holdings, explaining that the information within was acquired from a member of the Marauders, and can't be spread around too much. Sharing the info might lead to our deaths, and the whole blood thing is a binding magical contract.

Marsh is happy to learn that Marlowe is not a demon. He is unhappy to learn that Marlowe summons them. Marlowe doesn't age, chalked up to a metahuman capability. 

Prime Metahumans: Ain't Nothing to Fuck With
The file seems to be pure nightmare fuel. Evidently beings known as Prime Metahumans exist, and they inspired myths about the gods. There's strange info on demiurges, information on crystal skulls, and tons of dirt on Marlowe. It seems to blur the line between magic and metahuman capabilities, and lists out basic metahuman research as well as info on ley lines. 

Marlowe's father was trying to conduct a ritual to become a Prime Metahuman. It's rare, since doing so involves killing three primes- something roughly as difficult trying to take out Gunther with some morphazine, or making him eat Relish, or helping him recognize that green light means go.

The Mauraders foe in WW2?
Marlowe inherited the power instead of his dad. Marlowe has some level of omniscient capability (basically intellectus from the Dresden Files on a global scale), can suck out souls, and is generally a BAMF. There's some implications that he might have started WWI. 

He wants nothing short of world domination, and is driven towards his specific goal. It's not that he's strictly malevolent.

Marsh thinks setting another Prime on Marlowe's ass would be a very effective talent. Marlowe suffers greatly from hubris, and it's screwed him over numerous times. The last person to cause Marlowe a defeat was ROOK from an AEGIS STARRS team.
Totally wrong ROOK, but Rainbow Six Siege is my jam.

ROOK's AEGIS file is heavily redacted and above our security clearance. ROOK managed to surprise Marlowe, throwing his plans into disarray with complete and utter chaos. ROOK held Marlowe down for five years before Marlowe went dark and stopped attempting to do stuff.

Before he goes, Legend makes it clear that we've landed on Marlowe's shitlist and the demon summoning asshole is out to take us down. Not the first shitlist Veracity's landed on, let me tell you.

Veracity asks Legend if he's received anything from the Postman (he has, and has shared most with AEGIS), as well as Legend's favorite alcoholic beverage (Old Crow).

Someone who hasn't bled on the Marlowe File is incapable of opening it, and it takes numerous gunshots without taking any damage.

Veracity is able to link things back to about the 1960s between the Marlowe file and other information he has access to, but crit-fails on an attempt to link the file's contents to stuff Veracity read during his sojourn into the Vatican Archives with Lucas.

Marsh tries to hack AEGIS' files to get to the goods on ROOK. Marsh takes a day for +5, succeeding by 13. He elects to spend Karma to make it a crit. Our access of ROOK's file goes unnoticed. 

Mikhail's a very cheery asshole sometimes
Mikhail goes after Randy to get an explanation about why Randy trashed his old soviet-era PC, and mistakes Randy as being hostile and about to shoot Mikhail. Mikhail fast-draws and shoots Randy in the hand, leaving it a bloody stump.

Mikhail starts screaming incoherently in Ukrainian while Marsh and a medic try to administer first aid to Randy. Marsh yells at Mikhail in Russian, Mikhail yells back, they go back and forth a bit.

Veracity decides that this is really Lucas' problem since a cover-up will be impossible. Betty, Veracity's girlfriend, stops by to drop off lunch and mail. Among the mail is a super old letter 

Katori storms into the subway and removes Mikhail's firearm privileges, leaving him with an old .38 revolver.  Katori is adamant that she saw the video and that Mikhail is most certainly in the wrong. She leaves with a crateful of weapons confiscated from Mikhail.

Mikhail chats up some STARRS members, being a former member of STARRS himself. (We determine that Mikhail got kicked out of STARRS for shooting down a Colonel's helicopter during a training exercise.) ROOK lead a team whose entire job was to find and disrupt Marlowe's operations. They did an excellent job of it, with the best track record since the 40s.

Also from Maine: Steven King
Mikhail is able to get contact info for the last surviving member of the team- the rest having all died in horrible accidents. The survivor is David V. Hurte, Most of David's family has also died in mysterious accidents over the last ten years, and he survives by living in a shack in the middle of Maine. 

David agrees to meet for ten minutes, which should be enough for six questions. 

Mikhail asks Veracity for help, and Veracity is momentarily distracted by what he was reading.

ROOK wasn't affected by Marlowe's 'voodoo' according to David. ROOK frequently received info from sources that always proved actionable, but the source was unknown.

David suggests being proactive against Marlowe, and prepare for him to cause multiple contingencies.

Marlowe is extremely vain and prideful, which seems to be his huge Achilles' Heel. A fuel-air explosive failed to take him out in the past. Fighting Marlowe near life is a bad idea- he can pull energy from plants and other life in his surroundings to duck taking damage and to prolong his strengths.

David doesn't really know what Marlowe attempts to do every 100 years, but a former team member mentioned ley lines and feeding off kyberic energy.

Marsh decodes ROOK's file, and determines that he was Charles Moody, Veracity's father. To say that he was a complete badass is an understatement- over 400 missions, a massive success rate on his missions, and a capability to deal with Marlowe that was unparalleled.

Charles died in a tragic car accident along with his wife in 1997, leaving Veracity an orphan.

Veracity takes the file to go over it, locking himself in his office. Mikhail and Marsh go about planning on how to take out Marlowe.

Then the Ghost Train disappears without any explanation. Mikhail and Marsh chalk it up to Lucas.
Going off the rails of a crazy train

Marsh and Mikhail think about poisoning a leyline on Marlowe, involving the Bastille, but Marsh hits on an Aztec Temple that AEGIS has been keeping agents away from for a while since it's seriously haunted.

Marsh makes some mental jumps, culminating in the fact that Marsh was ultimately placed within AEGIS to steal something Legend keeps in his office- an obsidian dagger of some kind. Brainwashing Marsh to believe he's still working for Marlowe will allow Marsh to hoodwink Marlowe and setup a backstab.

We have three months. 

Veracity returns with the Ghost Train, looking distraught and very upset, carrying a bottle of Old Crow, and a bouquet of roses. Followed by Marsh and Mikhail, definitely not wanting to talk about why he's upset, Veracity uses his grapple to try and get loose of being followed.

Marsh beats both Mikhail and Veracity to AEGIS HQ by taking a cab, waiting for the other two to stop their game of cat and mouse. Legend has actually OK'd Veracity to get a meeting with him. Veracity hands off the Old Crow to Legend and explains that he's trying to escape the attention of Mikhail and Marsh. Legend gets him to open up about why he doesn't want to talk with Marsh and Mikhail.

Legend is very supportive, even sharing Old Crow with Veracity. They hash things out as Mikhail and Marsh rubberneck. Veracity: "The Judge is SO COOL!"

Legend gets Veracity drunk, and Veracity crashes on Legend's hugely oversized couch. Legend tells Marsh and Mikhail to head back to the Subway.

Marsh and Mikhail take the opportunity to get drunk themselves, sharing what they know about their father and parents.

The team gets back together the next morning and starts hammering together a plan to take down Marlowe.

AEGIS starts moving people at threat of being targeted by Marlowe into the Subway, including Mikhail and Marsh's mothers, and Lilly LeStrange. 

We stop there.


I think this session worked better at having Veracity be a real nutcase for a while because we were down two players. For a session that featured Veracity learning some things about his father that were very painful, having less going on allowed that to stand out more and take center stage near the end of the night.

Veracity tries not to let on just how much pressure he puts on himself, and when the facade cracks it tends to get messy.

We learned a lot about Marlowe, the kind of briefing that would normally feature in The Laundry Files by Charles Stross. "Here, learn about something that will likely ruin your sanity and lay bare the threads of reality and how terrible they actually are."

We're building to one helluva confrontation next session, which will be the season ender for Season 2 of the C-Team. Lots is currently resting on Lucas to out-plan Marlowe. Numerous times I backed off from having Veracity try and plan for the confrontation- both because Lucas is far better at it, and because Veracity wasn't in the right headspace to do so.

Learning that your dead father hid being a badass motherfucker from you feels like quite the betrayal, after all.