SHC GM-free session 4: The opposition deploy

Scene: the bridge, south-west of central Chicago

While Hitchcock J and Birkby P are being detained – though for Paul the detention is more like a detour – the other three are regrouping at the bridge, where Cliff has just finished repacking his bag. Sandi scuffs some of the spent cartridges into a drain and checks loads. Cliff checks that Dan is OK:

“Where to? And how’re you feeling, Dan?”

“You know, I’m peckish. If we were at home, my Ma would be baking. I wonder if Mary can cook?”

Cliff snorts:

“Huh, funny thing to be thinking about after you got hitched. I can see a diner off the ramp there; let’s make a stop and maybe re-think what we’re doing.”

“…and, one extra in each, back to magic 21,” Sandi finishes. “So a burger stop? OK. I guess any cops are like, still getting through traffic.”

The trio stop at a diner to refuel.

Time is an element. The party is tonight, the magic bullets will turn into pumpkins at midnight or a little later.

Mostly thanks to Sandi’s optimism, they decide to push on. So far, they have only struck one rather random team of fiends. Sandi used two clips: she has plenty left. And there’s other surprises in Cliff’s ‘Heavy Bag’.

“Maybe Unit 14 are keeping things cool for us. Anyhow we’re good to go. Let’s rock!”

 

Mechanics:

PCs: Cliff, Dan, Sandi

NPCs: none, they are on a highway bridge

Chaos 4

Chaos check 4: interrupt. Event focus 41: move toward a thread.

Meaning 80/48 trust success. That sounds like Sandi, the optimist.

Trusting that things will come together the trio roll on. Timing is important – the magic bullets last only so many hours.

 

Scene: downtown

It’s far enough outside the loop to find parking. A fairly crowded street. Cliff swings his heavy bag out and scuttles to cover behind a heavy masonry frontage. Dan is too dignified to scuttle but he too vacates the open walk.

They have driven in then moved off into side-streets and hoped to work their way into the loop quietly. But Sandi has seen something big moving to intercept. None of them want to find out the hard way what it is carrying.

Mechanics

Encounter check as they move grids. Exceptional yes!

The encounter chart draw is QS, 19 which is one of the higher draws, four CR12s. I roll d6s and apply some logic and get a CR9 Mage and assorted goons and two CR12 support teams of CR9 wet-work agents, plus Troll Hero.

The only good news for Dan Cliff and Sandi is that the range drawn is Spades, Sandi’s ideal distance. Mages and wet-work teams prefer long range. The Troll will be sent in first.

The Troll has 168 hp and can’t be rebuked by Dan. It also has an M16A2, and will want to lay burst fire as much as possible.

Location cards are laid out in a grid pattern again, four by four. Cards not applicable will be ‘common’ which in this case means cover such as street installations or solid building columns.

The team flip and get Opponent 1 and then the Troll starts on Opponent 2! But as noted that makes them ‘common’ so both starts are in cover.

 

Combat begins

Inits:

Hostile Mage: 4

Wetwork team A: 19

Wetwork team B: 9

Troll hero: 4

Cliff: 18

Dan: 20

Sandi: 23 (but drops to 16)

Round 1:

Dan is first up and casts Prayer, and surges, casts Enhance Ability (Cha) on himself.

Wetwork team A move, as they cannot snipe into cover. The move is into cover.

Cliff sights in his G3K then shifts sideways to a back alley.

Sandi slips after him, taking the chance to jump up off Cliff, up onto a large dumpster.

Wetwork team B move off the street into a building on that side.

The Troll zigs past team A, heading for a foot over-bridge, then finds it is blocked by construction. That doesn’t mean it can’t fire, so it unlimbers its M16.

5 Card Stud Mage: with some special notes from the CR. Also, the first card is already a Spade. 2nd card is Clubs, a Fort SV attack. 3rd card is L8. Cloudkill is L5 so it extends and stacks. This is bad news for Dan.

Round 2:

Dan is not in the cloudkill zone yet, and his plan to use his massive Cha is wasted – for now – because he can’t see anyone. He casts True Seeing, and can immediately see the Troll up on the unfinished overpass. He still can’t see through the fog. He advances into the back alley, out of line of fire.

Team A is also blocked by the cloudkill but sits.

Cliff advances, skirting around the cloud, which has not spread that far yet. He’s now right below the Troll’s position, sheltering behind the construction tractor unit. He swaps his G3K for the Jackhammer.

Sandi decides to head up again, and draws a Special. Her result is 43, multi-element. Drawing randomly from an exterior-interior pack twice, we get a foyer and cover.

Team B are in a building, so drawing another exterior/interior we get mezzanine. This is short range, so time for a question: is this the same building Sandi is in? (50-50) 31 yes. They snipe Sandi, though her Gunslinger ability to use cover makes her nigh-impossible to hit. Shots are AC 23 at best.

The Troll Hero opens up on Cliff’s general area. Cliff fails his DC check, and is hit for 8, before DR.

The mage now draws his ‘down-time’ card, and it’s a 5. He and his five goons move towards his cloud, through panicking pedestrians, then off to an intersection, opposite the Troll.

Round 3:

Dan needs to either push through the cloudkill or bug out. He advances to Cliff’s cover, maximises Greater Command and orders the Troll to flee. DC Will 22. The Troll makes 18. He will flee! Dan tries for Frightful Presence to stack, but he’s not within 10′ given the height difference.

Team A cannot sensibly move into the cloudkill so sits.

Cliff switches ammo on the Jackhammer and shoots, but it’s a very average shot and plows into the overbridge. It doesn’t cancel the Troll’s intention to flee.

Sandi moves on Team B, and because she’s lost direct touch with Cliff and Dan, fights defensively and uses as much cover as possible. One down.

Team B, now down to 2, fire back and throw grenades. No hits.

The Troll drops its gun, turns tail and flees. It is gone.

The mage is not ready to use his next spell yet, and circles opposite Cliff’s route, into some now-abandoned road-works. (Is it a hazard? 50-50: 92 no.)

Round 4:

Dan has a number of useful buffs to play, either on himself or Cliff. He plays for time, casting a Bless and peering across, his True Seeing picking up Team A. The cloud is still blocking all of the main field of play, preventing him spotting the mage.

Team A are aware that Team B are taking hits from one girl. Do they move? (50-50) 85 no. They sit. They know something chased Troll-boy away.

Cliff busts a move with a charge around corners to close range on Team A, based on Dan’s description. They are ready, and open up. Two good hits, Cliff easily soaks 17. Melee!  From here Cliff can easily grind them to a paste.

Sandi weaves from cover to cover on the mezzanine, another down. Team B survivor falls back firing, comes quite close.

The mage is still counting down his next spell, and his goons can’t move into the cloud. He circles back the way he came, then tries to gain entry to the building from where Team B is fleeing. A card draw says this is the downstairs restaurant.

Round 5:

Dan moves much more carefully after Cliff. His True Seeing tells him it’s not worth throwing an anti-evil spell, so he buffs himself with Resistance and moves to close range, where his frightful presence can be used next round.

Team A covers Team B’s survivor as he leaps out of the building, and continues to be punished by Cliff. He takes a crit, 42 damage, Mas SV is 18+heaps, no problem.

Is Sandi a target to Team A? (No way!) 37 no.

Can the mage’s team opportunity fire from the restaurant? (Likely) 58 no.

The mage’s goons move on Sandi, firing burst fire. They are five in number, but mere CR5 thugs, with buffs that Sandi’s bullets will tear through. She takes two down immediately.

Sandi takes a hit, 18 damage, her Mas SV is OK.

 

Round 6:

Dan’s Frightful Presence (albeit from some cover) forces Will SV from all four fighting wet-work agents. Due to Dan’s boosted Cha and Renown the SV is 28. All at Will +4, the agents all fail. They are shaken and easy meat for Cliff; they will retreat as best they can.

Cliff continues to grind them down.

Sandi doesn’t bother waiting for the goons to get right up to the mezzanine, she jumps down among them.

Can she spot the mage? (50-5o) 52 yes. Sandi rolls a natural 20 on Spot. She switches her attack to the mage, burning through most of his stoneskin.

The mage casts defensively, making a concentration check that fails.

His goons are firing normal bullets so blast away happily, missing but doing a lot of damage to the restaurant.

Round 7:

The agents out in the melee are pulling out.

Sandi runs through the remaining 13 points of stoneskin and kills the mage.

The goons pull out.

 

After-Scene: quiet street, dusted with snow and ice

Cliff’s SUV gingerly noses into the kerb ahead of the rolls.

No changes to scene.

Paul introduces his boot full’o’goodies.

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