We got together Saturday and finished character generation and started a short adventure. The full 6 person group was able to be there. The first session went pretty decently as everyone got used to how the system works and what they can do. Here is a short summary of the action. I’ll post more GM-focused reflection later.
Wiley – A relatively young bicycle delivery man. Never very athletic or popular, Wiley made a deal with a dark entity when fleeing some bullies. It gave him control over darkness and the ability to defend himself and he released it into the world. I’m sure that won’t cause any trouble later…
Mindy – Half-Korean science genius. Obsessed with curing the disease that killed her mother and was killing her, Mindy took research risks and had to work on her own. She succeeds in curing herself but due to an accident also transforms herself into a cat-human hybrid. A Buddhist, she uses biological grenades to disable her foes without killing them.
Alice – Something of a hippie, Alice sports dreadlocks and loves to run. On one of her runs, she was attacked by a strange man. She survived and awoke at a hospital. Ever since being released, she has been able to move with blinding speed. Did something happen at the hospital? Or did the attack unleash her hidden potential?
John – Mysterious psionicist. He looks 21, but John is definitely older than that. He can read minds and has impressive psychokinetic powers, but there exact source is a secret. He values truth and the law very highly and does not want to harm anyone unless he has to.
Eitan – A veteran of the Israeli Defense Force trained in computers and electronic surveillance, Eitan is studying computer science in Graduate School at CCU. In addition to being something of a computer prodigy, Eitan controls Emmett, a legendary Golem who protects him. Eitan is very pragmatic and willing to do whatever it takes to stop threats.
Boaty – Boaty is an obviously fake name, although he claims everyone calls him that. He had a bit of a rough early life, he dropped out of school, had a child when he was young, and now is a semi-professional boxer. Living in a pretty rough area, he was bitten by a rat one night and now is stronger and healthier than ever. He is even protected by a force field that reflects attacks back on his assailants. Still, the memory of the rat frightens him.
Quality Medical Supply Company
Today is a day of some strange coincidences: Eitan, Boaty, and John all are riding the same bus. Mindy is scheduled to pick up a shipment of supplies from the Quality Medical Supply Company, at the same time that Wiley is supposed to make a delivery there. That same company is on Alice’s Saturday running route, and it seems particularly odd that the bus breaks down right in front of that store at the same time that Alice arrives and stops to take a break and tie her shoes.
All of the sudden, the heroes hear people screaming in the street. There is a huge number of ants outside crawling over everything and several giant ants, probably a yard long each. Alice reacts before everyone, and runs across the street to where she thinks the ants might be coming from. Unfortunately, the ants aren’t coming from any one place, but from every crack in the sidewalk and out of every building. She counts the number of larger ants and plans her moves.
Mindy tells the store clerk to get into the back room. Wiley tries to get him to sign for the delivery before he does, but the frightened clerk runs in the back room to hide. Boaty decides to get off the bus and show these ants who is boss. John focuses a telekinetic punch on one of the big ants and it falls apart into a bunch of tiny ants. Eitan climbs through the emergency hatch to the roof of the bus and summons Emmett who forms out of the ground near the bus.
The sea of ants moves toward the store, the giant ants move to attack Alice, Boaty, and Emmett. What followed was a short, fairly one sided combat. Using her supersonic punches and multiple attacks, Alice makes short work of her ant attackers and easily dodges their slow attacks. Trusting in his force field, Boaty all-out attacks and similarly smashes his ants in a few rounds. Emmett gets bit to no effect and crushes his ants.
In the meantime, Eitan looks for flammable materials to no avail, and shoots his pistol at the giant ants to provide some support. John flies above the battle and locates a fire hydrant. He uses his telekinesis to open it and start washing little ants away. Mindy and Wiley watch the door, and fight with one of the giant ants. Mindy holds her own, but Wiley’s attempts to use terror on the ants don’t work. They can do little to stop the progress of the little ants, however.
As things start to settle down, they see a man behind the counter who wasn’t there before. John keeps flying, directing the water to wash the ant remnants away. The rest of the heroes converge on the store. The mysterious man takes a small briefcase from the counter area and runs out the back. Three larger (man-sized) ants form up out of the remaining ants inside.
The heroes take a few turns to overcome the ants, Emmett and Boaty do plenty of damage and the heroes defenses are strong. Wiley does get a painful bite on his leg, but it doesn’t seem serious. Alice uses the time to run after the mystery man, but he has already disappeared.
After combat, the heroes have a somewhat rushed and awkward round of introductions and decide to at least try to get to the bottom of this strange event. They question the clerk, who is somewhat traumatized. He doesn’t know what happened to the mysterious man, and he doesn’t like being covered with ants. After a little time and some convincing, he calms down and tells the heroes that Wiley’s package was the one stolen and it was supposed to be picked up by a Dr. Son.
Alice takes the heroes to as far as she was able to follow ants, which was a set of storage garages. They talked to the worker there, and he is not very helpful. They try to bribe him, but he refuses. Eitan decides to just hack into their system and he succeeds in getting the list of who owns which locker, but there is no one named Son on the list. He looks up information about Dr. Son and sees he is an entomologist at CCU specializing in ants.
At this point, Boaty decides he isn’t so sure about this hero plan and leaves the group on their own. (His player left the game).
The rest of the heroes pay Dr. Son a visit. He has no idea why someone would want to steal his package, which contained DNA profiles of local insect life. When the heroes explain the circumstances of the robbery, he gets very nervous and doesn’t want to talk about it. Of course, John reads his mind and gets the name Marcus. After some convincing, Dr. Son reveals that Marcus was an old colleague and they worked on a plan to use ants as tiny workers for small scale manufacturing. It never really worked, though, and they gave up 5 years ago, but now maybe Marcus did it.
A little research shows that Dr. Samuel Marcus worked for Foster’s Manufacturing Solutions until two months ago, when he was fired. The team goes there, but the guards just tell him that Marcus doesn’t work there anymore. Eitan uses computer hacking to pull Foster’s personnel records and sees that Marcus was fired because his project was terminated, and his last known address.
Dr. Marcus’ Apartment
They knock, but there is no answer. Wiley assumes shadow form and slips under the door, reforming on the other side and unlocking it. When they enter, Dr. Marcus comes out of the bedroom and they have an interesting chat. He apologizes for getting them involved in the attack and assures them he has no quarrel with them. Mindy expresses outrage at the reckless endangerment of civilians, but Marcus notes that no one was seriously hurt. He is very closed mouthed about what he needed the DNA for, claiming that he needs to complete his research.
He then tries to recruit the team to get his research files from Foster’s Manufacturing. Eitan asks how much and is angry at the low offer of $5,000. Things escalate quickly and when Emmett moves to grab Marcus, the doctor bursts into a swarm of flies. At the same time, an enormous scorpion emerges from the other room.
Despite its size, the scorpion stands no real chance. Alice lands a number of attacks, and Wiley manages to frighten it with terror. Then, one good hit from Emmett with super strength breaks it apart.
Finding Dr. Marcus
They search the apartment and find some research notes and confusing ramblings. They decide to split up for the day. Mindy looks through all the research and it seems that Marcus had succeeded in coming up with a way for insects to control other insects, but that it couldn’t work with a human. His confusing ramblings dwell on frustrations with not being able to complete his work and that other people don’t understand how valuable it is, etc.
Eitan sets up some surveillance equipment at Foster’s since they think Marcus will likely strike there. He also gets a solid layout of the place and guard patrols, etc. It has a tall fence with a gate which is padlocked. There seem to be two guards who alternate walking the perimeter. He uses a drone to look in the windows, but doesn’t see anything important except for some security cameras inside.
John spends the night with Janet, a cute girl from the bus that he flirted with (someone took lecherousness). They also warn Foster’s that Dr. Marcus might try to rob them. The next day there is an extra guard on duty, but nothing else has changed.
Mindy starts using her Science! and Inventor! skills to find a way to counteract Marcus’ control over insects. They continue to watch Foster’s but nothing significant seems to happen. They decide to invest in commercial insect poison and bug foggers.
Mindy comes up with a chemical grenade which when it sprays should interfere with the signals used to control the insects. Still, the heroes get restless and decide to check in with Dr. Son, only to discover from the doorman that he died yesterday at his lab. Dang it! They head to the lab and everyone seems sad that Son is dead. He was stung by a deadly scorpion from the lab which had never stung anyone before, and Dr. Son was always so careful, and what a tragic loss, etc.
Mindy checks his research, but none of it seems relevant, it is mostly about behavior and adaptations of different species of ants. The paper on the potential for controlling ants from 5 years ago concludes that it is impossible. Eitan spends some time hacking phone records and determines that Dr. Son’s last phone call yesterday was to Dr. Marcus.
Trouble at Foster’s
Eitan gets an alert from his surveillance equipment and checks it to see that the two guards outside seem to be rolling around in pain. They head over there, expecting to stop Marcus for good this time.
The gate is still locked, but Alice picks the padlock and it opens. Mindy checks the two guards, but they are already dead. She also doesn’t hear any sounds of struggle from inside, just something moving around.
Wiley quietly opens the door and the heroes move in. Another guard is dead at his desk. This is like a reception area and there is a keypad door to the back. John searches for minds and detects only one and it is in the back. Eitan goes to work on the electronic lock and John tries to determine if the mind is Marcus. The thoughts are sort of jumbled, but seem to be looking for something and definitely seem like Marcus.
After the door opens, they approach the door of Marcus’ office. They open the door and lob in Mindy’s grenade and some bug fogging grenades for good measure, and quickly shut the door. After a moment they enter to see a repulsive sight: Dr. Marcus appears to be falling apart, one of his arms is on the floor and pieces of his face are missing. He crashes through the thin wall behind him, but collapses to the ground.
Meaningful Moral Choices?
John telekinetically gathers up Marcus’ body pieces, it is hard to tell if he is alive, or even what that exactly means. Eitan wants to smash him once and for all, and even tells Emmett to do it, John moves the Marcus pieces high out of reach and demands they discuss it. Mindy and John don’t want to kill him, John wants to turn him into the police and Mindy wants to find a way to keep him in human form. Eitan thinks that Marcus is nuts and already very dangerous and that they need to kill him now while they can. Wiley is less sure, but definitely thinks that Marcus needs to be killed for what he has done and might do in the future. Alice ends up siding with keeping him alive.
Mindy works on an anklet to inhibit Marcus’ powers and they design it so that it can’t be removed. In reality, Eitan designs it so that if it is removed, it will explode. Neither John nor Mindy is aware of this. The anklet works and they decide to talk to Marcus before turning him in.
Marcus seemed angry, but was unable to do anything with the anklet on. They asked what his plan was and he said he needed to complete his research. He believes he can one day control every insect on Earth. Mindy asked how he turned into bugs, but he just looked confused and answered that he was always this way. They asked about Dr. Son, but all he would say is that Dr. Son was a fool. He did not express remorse about his actions and was generally uncooperative. Eitan tried to take him into the police by himself, but John did not believe he would and turned Marcus in to the police himself, using Psychology! to prevent the police from remembering who he was.
Marcus’ arrest makes big news and footage from the attack on the store goes viral. The shots are shaky and blurred but our heroes are definitely there. Not truly recognizable, but articles with the headline “City’s New Protectors?” start getting written. Marcus is placed in maximum security.
As a ‘relatively’ successful first exploit, the team received 4 character points and Mindy was voted MVP for her scientific solutions and so earned 6.