Tuesday, August 24, 2010

M.A/C.C - Beta Test - Session 10 - End Game

So, we had the 10th and final session of the M.A/C.C beta test last night. I wasn't sure last night would be the actual final session, but the players took a few decisions that just cut through the red tape and got right to the end. The last session was fun, action packed, and people died. People lived to, and the world was left in a state worse than how it was, but perhaps able to be healed properly this time. Read on for the details.

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
This may go quick, so forgive me, but the briefer summaries have been working lately.

The session started where the last one left off, Dioxin had arranged for a pick up for the survivors they had rounded up and the group was in their base preparing for that. When the convoy arrived, 5 armor carriers (3 for the 15 people + 4 PCs, 2 for escort) the group boarded up. Heimdel took guard on the front, Paladin on the back, and Dioxin and Gadget did double duty on the middle one. The convoy headed off, and back towards the strong hold set up in the center of the dome.

Things were not meant to go peacefully however, and as the convoy started on its way back a large chunk of building collapsed across the road and blocked the way. Immediately zombies and other creatures came rushing out of the wood work and attacked the convoy. The PPD on the carriers opened fire, but even with live ammo ripping bodies apart the zombies kept coming. The PCs jumped into the fray, Dioxin using his gun to tag zombies, but the Less Than Lethal nature of the rounds keeps the gun from actually dropping anyone. Paladin attacks with his new exploding boomerang, killing a couple of zombies, but he only has 4 and decides to save the last one for an emergency situation later (this is important ;))

The group of PCs is doing well, but they're only 4 people against an unending tide of zombies, and the convoy is moving nowhere. Heimdel takes a moment to appraise the situation, and begins to give orders/suggestions to the group for how they can get things moving. Dioxin responds, using the two bombs he made at the base, with a couple of amazing throws, to blow a path through the rubble blocking the road. The convoy is able to start moving again, but car 5 has been over-run with car 4 being swarmed.

As the convoy starts to pull away, Heimdel jumps back into car 2 and makes it go back to Car 4 which isn't moving anywhere. Paladin is reporting the driver was killed by zombies. As Heimdel goes back, Paladin shoves the dead driver out of the car and secures the driver's compartment. He goes to rush back and re-secure the hatch. Ember arrives at the moment, landing in the middle of the clearing and setting out a large wave of fire that cleanses everything not in one of the APCs. Heimdel orders his APC to turn around, he doesn't want to meet an Ember that is now willing to kill people. Even if they are zombies. The convoy is not molested further on it way back to the secure area.

Once back behind the barriers, the people are off loaded from the cars, sent through decontamination, and given temporary housing in a gymnasium. There are about 40 people in total in the gym, the PCs have just been responsible for saving the largest group of people in one go in over a month. The group gets cleaned up as well, and someone sends for Dioxin to come meet the director. he goes along, with Heimdel acting as his bodyguard. Heimdel is forced to wait outside though, and so Dioxin goes in alone.

The director is Emily, his old girl friend. She's in charge of the dome, she's happy to see him.He mentions the new chemicals, and she confirms them. Telling him she just learned about them recently. She's excited to see him, happy about her work. She explains what happened, having been grabbed and thrown in jail when the PCs fled the dome, then saved by Kochouko and given the dome to help find a better path for humanity. She also tells him that she told Kochouko about his ability in science, and that she could probably arrange for him to either help her - or with his knowledge - even possibly be given his own dome to work with. Dioxin asks her about his parents, and she tells him that they're safe. Dioxin asks for time to think, and goes to see his parents.

His parents are being kept safe and in luxurious accommodations. Dioxin catches them up on what has been going on with him, and asks if they'd come with him if he left. They agree. Dioxin then tells the group about the plan, and they get on board as well. He tells Emily he wants the dome, and she arranges a meeting with Kochouko to discuss it. The next day everyone (the PCs + Dioxin's parents) board a shuttle and head up into space to meet the woman in charge.

The meeting with Kochouko is unexpectedly pleasant. She is open about what happened, about turning the devices used for controlling the populace onto the supers themselves to take control. About wanting to make a better path for humanity, and using the domes to find that path by making each one its own experiment. About her immortality, a gift from a demon in exchange for giving over her demon summoning dad to it. Dioxin plays along, and makes a pitch for a dome. She is intrigued, and gives him three days to write his proposal. Dioxin agrees.

During the three days, Heimdel manages to secure transport back to the ground and picks up the demon sword they saw in Jack's base (I'll explain the sword later). A magic weapon that killed Paragon could be useful when fighting an immortal, possibly demon possessed woman. I smile and approve him getting it, and have the player roll Drive rolls until he gets under a 7. He makes 4 successes (this is also important)

The day of the meeting with Kochouko comes up. She has 3 body guards with her, standing near the door with Gadget. Heimdel and Paladin are flanking Dioxin at the table. Kochouko herself reads through the multi page proposal. An eyebrow raises as she looks up to Dioxin at the last page. The only text there is "And now you die". Dioxin leaps into action, pulling a gun he snagged from a PPD officer in the dome below and shooting her in the chest. She falls back to the floor, and Paladin rushes over to snap her neck. When he does, her eyes start to glow a bright green.

While this is going on, Heimdel leaps into action himself. He rushes over and drops two of the body guards with the magic sword. Cutting through the invulnerable men of steel like they were nothing more than flesh and dropping them. The air around Heimdel grows very cold, frost and ice appearing on the floor and wall. Gadget takes a few steps away, as Heimdel goes to square off against the third guard whom he now recognizes as Ember.

Ember ignores Heimdel, instead pointing at dioxin and getting ready to attack. Heimdel moves into the way, his armor glowing bright red with heat. The sword pulses again, and his armor immediately cools back down negating the attack. Paladin calls to Heimdel to use the sword on Kochouko, as she is glowing even more now. He throws the body, which is surprisingly heavy, towards Heimdel and Heimdel runs the woman through. The sword pulses again, eating the green glow coming off of Kochouko, and I smile. The players grow worried for a second here as I look to Heimdel's players and reconfirm that he made 4 drive rolls before getting under a 7 on the 5th. He agrees. I point out that he killed 2 supers, 2 uses. Negated the attack on him, 3 uses. Now he has killed Kochouko and stopped the demon from coming through her. 4 uses. The sword takes control of Heimdel's mind, and suddenly one of the players - one of the more dangerous combat cracked players - is the bad guy. A pulse of energy comes off the sword, killing the power in the satellite. Emergency power comes on a few seconds giving an eerie glow to the setting.

Paladin says he'll hold Heimdel off, gadget and Dioxin should run to set the reactor off like their plan was all along. Dioxin and Gadget agree and Paladin goes to fight Heimdel, while Ember lies catatonic from the pulse still. The fight between the two can only be described in one word, epic. Both players have almost completely maxed out combat abilities. Just one dice shy of it actually. Greek heroes were not this good at fighting. Both players are also using every mechanical trick theyve learned over the game, helping each other with the mechanics to scrape out every last +1 they can get on rolls. In a system where rolling a 12-13 is considered a 'Historically Significant' performance, they are rolling 16-19s. Neither is scoring more than a grazing hit - easily absorbed by armor - on the other.

Meanwhile, Gadget and Dioxin are finding the corridors cooling around them. They can hear people chanting in the air. Something unseen is chasing them. Gadget pulls up a map to the reactor room and they use the elevator shaft (not the elevator) to drop down the decks needed to the reactor room. Almost to the reactor, they are attacked. Two large ice-demon cats coming out of the walls to get them. Gadget realizes Dioxin has the explosive, and tells Dioxin to keep going. He'll hold them off. The player knows this is likely his death, he's not a combat character and the cats are made of razor blades. I offer him a way out, he doesn't go for it.

Instead, Gadget endures a few attacks while exposing a gas and water line. narrowly avoiding being disemboweled he kicks the pressure valves off of both, and the hall starts to fill with water and gas at the same time. One of the demon cats pulls him back to the floor, and the two cats go in for the kill. Gadget speaks his last words, "I hope this works" and clicks his last two weapons together, using the shock feature to set off a spark for the gas and electrify the water. There is a huge explosion that kills the cats, Gadget, and sets the whole satellite shaking.

Dioxin manages to get into the reactor room with the time Gadget bought him, and sets it to overload with the explosive he has (Paladin's last boomerang). With the reactor set to detonate, Dioxin goes looking for escape pods. Finding one and launching immediately. He realizes when he is already launched that he forgot about his parents in the rush...oops.

Back with Heimdel and Paladin, the fight hasn't gone anywhere and Paladin is starting to tire from the exertion. Hearing the warning claxons, Heimdel decides his command center needs to be evacuated. The fly in front of him disposed of. He can survive vaccuum, he doesn't think Paladin can though. Heimdel goes to destroy the window, and Paladin stops him. Catching the sword between both hands and holding on for dear life. Heimdel begins to freeze Paladin through that contact, and Paladin tries one last time to get through to Ember about being a hero. It works this time, Ember's hands go around Heimdel from behind and pull him back against her. She tells Paladin to run, Paladin refuses. She tells him she means it, and Paladin notices that the room is starting to light on fire from the growing heat. He nods and runs. Just barely making it himself to an escape pod.

Held in Ember's hands, Heimdel reasserts control of himself, drops the demon sword, and turns to hug her back. Ember goes nova just moments before the whole satellite blows up.....

....Dioxin and Paladin wake up sometime later in Jack's lab. They mention what they did, and Jack simply nods. He points out that they cut the head off the snake, which means all the domes are now cut off from each other. That means some very scary people no longer have someone to answer to. They both agree, and say they're going to deal with it one dome at a time. The question is how. I point out that before they let everyone loose, they should probably restore order to the domes. They agree, I smile and end the game. Restoring Order, such a wonderfully slippery slope.

End Thoughts
I thought the End Game went down amazingly well, if a little bit rushed due to some time constraints. Heimdel and Gadget went out awesomely, full of drama and wonderfulness which was awesome. The system held up well, and alot of the really cool turns were done by the players themselves.

I like the end point for the game, and I like that right up to the last session the game was teaching me about my own system. It was a wild ride, and I hope the players enjoyed it as much as I did.

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