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.