Tuesday, July 13, 2010

M.A/C.C - Beta Test - Session 4

We had session 4 of the M.A/C.C beta test yesterday, and along with some good discussion about the system and what it does and doesn't do well a decently fun time was had sitting around the table. I even managed to work 4/5 of the Player Back stories into the events that are going on right now. Read on for more information.

The Cast
Tully Mayhew/Argus - Tully is a gunsmith of moderate reknown, working in a shop that was bought out by someone with a much better head for business. As a child Tully came to the realization that his family wasn't his own, the investigation into his real family brought him into contact with the Gideons who opened his eyes to some of what is really going on. Tully now works to prove that the Supers are running everything for their own ends, using people as sheep to keep them in power.

Max Putherford/Dioxin - A chemist working for the Powered Police Department, Max came into contact with the Gideons after a super hero accidentally killed his kid sister. A member of the Gideons was near by and protected Max from the brain scrambling that happens to clean up the messes caused by the supers on occasion. He now plays a dangerous game, working within the PPD by day while working from the outside at night to try and reveal what is behind the curtain.

Mark Dashel/Paladin - Mark was an orphan trying to get by on the streets when he met her, Miriam Dashel, a kindly older lady who needed help. When Miriam found out the young man who had been helping her with bringing groceries home, and had protected her from muggers, was living on the streets she took him in and gave him a family. The quiet life didn't suit him for long, and Mark talked some friends into trying to help people as costumed heroes. Their first experiment went horribly wrong and the two friends were killed, when the police claimed the two dead teens were in jail for being powered super villains, Mark lost it and went out to get some revenge. Instead he ran into a member of the Gideons and has been preparing since for the day he can expose the secret.

Percival McMann/Gadget - Another person with parents who disappeared under strange circumstances, Percy is a bit of a gadget freak and computer whiz. Also recruited into the Gideons, Percy isn't as sure about what is going on aside from that there is 'something' going on. He is also the most cautious of the group currently.

Max Winesten/Heimdel - A firefighter for the city, when Max was young his class took a fieldtrip that they never came back from. Luck put the Gideons in contact with him before the PPD got him to change his memories of what exactly has happened. Max is devoted to the sword, and intent to use it for the good of those around him. (Player still deciding on a last name)

The Session
 The session began with the group heading out to investigate the sight of the Arson that happened last session. Argus and Dioxin went in to check things out, while Gadget stayed behind as cover and Heimdall went on patrol to make sure they still had a presence in their neighborhood. The search turned up results in the form of a bit of cloth with writing on it as well as a thumb drive.

Back in the base, Dioxin got to work on the cloth, becoming intrigued when he discovered some chemical compounds he'd never seen before. Gadget took little time in accessing the thumb drive and decrypting the data. The results? A whole lot of math and formulae that he couldn't understand, but Dioxin recognized as being chemical analysis. Specifically of an atmosphere that wasn't from their dome, with information tracking the change over the past 70 years. The conclusion: The air outside of the dome was breathable, and had been for some time.

The next day, Dioxin brought a sample of the cloth in to work. He's hoping the more powerful equipment and better connections will help him identify the material where the base's stuff failed. Running the material through one of the machines produces the results of "Unidentifiable", but he Dioxin's eyes are quick enough to catch the brief flash on the screen reading "Top Secret, Security Clearance Level 6. Project: Morrow Wind". Dioxin goes to cover his tracks, grabbing his boss and saying that he found something but it is coming up with strange results. When his boss runs the machine they get the same results, even with the machine re-calibrated for finer readings. The sound of sirens tips dioxin off, and he heads for the restroom. Waiting in there long enough for the PPD to get to that floor before stepping out and calmly submitting to being arrested.

Back at the base, the group is curious as to why Dioxin is late. He's never late, especially not when there's some sort of anomaly to be looked into. Beginning to get nervous, they go out to check for him. Heimdal goes to check at Dioxin's house, meeting Dioxin's grand father who says that Dioxin hasn't come back from work. On his way back, Heimdal hears signs of a struggle, but stops investigating once he gets some sign that it could just be a couple of guys going a bit hot and heavy in an alleyway (the other players all slapped their foreheads here ;) ). Gadget uses their computer's back door connections to check in on the PPD network, where he discovers a note about the arrest having happened. With their friend in PPD custody, there isn't much they can do but wait for the time being.

Back with Dioxin, he is being kept in a dark room. A voice asks him where he found the sample, not believing his initial lie that it was just lying near the scanner (they have security footage of him bringing it in). Dioxin changes tactics, and tells them where he found it. At the sight of the arson, playing it up that he'd been there as part of his job and not as a hero. They seem to believe this, and move on to the next stage. Using a Mind Alteration Device to slightly alter his memories of the day and what he did. He no longer scanned the sample, he incinerated it as being useless and irrelevant. The contact lenses the Gideon's gave him though means that the mind wipe doesn't actually set in, he is just aware of what they wanted him to believe. He convinces them that the mind wipe took, and they release him to go back home. A quick check in with his grand father, and dioxin rushes to the base. He's figured it all out.

The only problem is, back at base the team is being hammered by calls coming in with assaults all over three areas of the domed city. Argus went out on patrol, and is calling in being attacked and protecting people from strange people. they don't respond when spoken to, they don't stay down when shot, they don't seem to mind being thrown off of buildings and just keep coming. He's running out of ammunition fast, and things are only getting worse. Dioxin wants everyone back, the PPD and PD can handle this but what he knows is important. Everyone else disagrees, there are people in danger. The group goes out to help as many people as they can.

Over the next couple of hours the group fights against these infected people. Anyone dropped by the infected quickly joins the infected ranks (yep, Zombies in a dome for those not following). Heimdall ends up paired with Ember trying to help people. Argus is running around solo. Gadget and Dioxin are paired up, using a combination of specialty ammo and sticky grenades to try and help as many people as possible. Working with the PD and PPD in the area, they manage to set up a secure area for civilians to take refuge in, right near one of the war walls where aid can get them from the non-quarantined sectors of the city. It's hard going, but their small group is working even as ammo is running low. When PPD troops start amassing atop the war walls, it looks like the cavalry has arrived. Only, the cavalry is shooting indiscriminately into the crowds, subduing the situation immediately without the time to care for who they are hitting.

With the PPD hitting civilians, cops, and fellow PPD as well as the infected, Argus turns to Ember with a "What the hell?!" on his lips. Ember springs into action, clearing the top of the wall and starting to fight to stop the PPD from shooting into the crowds. Everyone is too busy to notice how suddenly the bursts of flame atop the wall stop. The PCs manage to slink away, but not before Heimdal takes a nasty hit in the leg, and Argus one in the arm. They do still manage to make it back to base where Argus can give them medical treatment, only Heimdal needs to get back out to help people. Argus fixes him up with some pain meds, and Heimdal heads back out as a member of the fire department to help who he can.

The next day, near noon, the war walls go down and quarantine stops. The PPD, after the initial 'attack everything' mindset switched back to very selective. Saving civilians wherever they could and putting down the infected. Heimdal has helped countless people get to ambulances for medical treatment, and ended up scoring himself more pain meds to help with his leg. The news is claiming the attack happened due to a super villain named Judgement 7, who used some gasp weapon to drive people in the city crazy until they were attacking everyone. All blame for deaths - totaling near 3000 dead - is laid at his feet.

Back at work, Dioxin finds out that a new girl has been added to his lab. A pretty, fit, black haired and green eyed woman named Emily. She seems about as socially awkward as him, and after some weird, awkward geek flirting actually go on a date. Over the next few weeks their relationship solidifies, complete with Dioxin bringing her to meet his parents for dinner. Aside from the social life, Dioxin finds that the chemical on the cloth he couldn't identify is synthetic, showing signs of being a combination of Uranium, Plutonium, and several other elements. He has nothing to go on, but it looks like residue from a Super Weapon of Mass Destruction, the kind talked about in the history books as what sundered the world and made the dome cities necessary.

Heimdal spends the next few weeks on med leave from work to 'heal', but still going out on patrol at night to help people. He is patrolling in secret, using pain meds to keep the pain away as he works every night to help people. Even healed, the pain is still there and getting worse, it's not long before he doesn't return what some thieves stole from a pharmacy, instead keeping the narcotics for himself to handle the pain.

Gadget's player had to leave before the wrap up, but his character has been working on decrypting files and finding someone in the Salvatore syndicate with a chemistry background that they can find and speak to about the files they found.

Paladin hasn't been mentioned due to the player not being available this session. He was helping where he could, but not doing anything special.

Argus spends the next couple weeks with his girl friend Diane, starting with a call about her having caught some of the crazies. The crazies in question being 3 six year old kids. Argus gets the kids into police custody (Diane didn't hurt them, and actually probably saved their lives by locking them up). Argus thinks Diane's zaniness is partially from over exposure to Mind Alteration Devices, and wants to look into it. He also has a lot of other things going on as well however.

The game ended there, with people simply investigating over the 4-5 weeks following the zombie out break and looking for who to go after in the Salvatore syndicate for answers.

The system, imho, is working great. I still like the way it handles "hours of stuff" as opposed to having to roll through things and go back and forth on stuff. The players seem to like it, and the incentives in the system to harm yourself in one way or another for the good of the story seems to be working like a charm. As the book is coming into a more and more final form, the increase in positive reviews and finding less and less that needs to be fixed is reassuring. Just need to find a group to try it for a few sessions that isn't attached to me, or has no experience with the system now.

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