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Halfway Heroes - Session Three

The session started on Saturday, May 7, 2022 (in game).

Samuel Holt (aka The Huntsman) invited some old college buddies to a pizza place in Brooklyn. For this act, Samuel earned 5 Karma for "Get Together with Friends". Samuel now has 20 Karma.

In the background, Ramirez tried to steal The First Responder's souped up red pickup truck to pay Samuel back for telling him how to bypass the Enhanced Rehabilitation control collar that Ramirez must wear as a condition of his release. I rolled a successful Agility FEAT for Ramirez to execute the hack. Ramirez then tried stealthfully towing the truck using a Damage Control tow truck. I rolled an Agility FEAT for this maneuver and failed. Ramirez is caught and will be sent back to prison for trying to pay back Samuel.

Since Samuel put Ramirez up to this crime, Samuel earned the "henchperson" award for "Commit Theft". This increased Samuel's pool by another 5 points. He now has 25 Karma.

As fallout from the previous session with The Huntsman, where he stole equipment from the Damage Control work site and scared off some workers with his powers, Peter King is looking for who perpetrated this act. I rolled a successful FEAT for his Extraordinary Senses (Surveillance Network) power (which amounts to an augmented Intuition FEAT). He located and identified Samuel based on surveillance in and around the work site.

Peter King calls Samuel, saying he knows who he is and has incriminating footage. Peter will let it slide but wants to know what Samuel is up to and what kind of work Samuel would like to do as a returning citizen. Samuel indicates that the work he would like to do (ecoterrorism) will land him back in prison (and this is why he has applied for a job at Damage Control). He expresses his willingness to work his way up from the bottom. Peter King says that Samuel's application will be processed and tells him to show up on Monday morning for his first work assignment (a site cleanup).

Samuel has a niche Talent -- Zoologist of Magic. James and I talk a little bit about Samuel's financial situation to establish where his Resources come from. Samuel has a hen that lays golden eggs (literally). Samuel doesn't need the money from the job, but due to the conditions of his parole, he needs gainful employment with a minimum of 30 hours per week. Damage Control fills that need.

Samuel is annoyed to be found out by Peter King and swears to take revenge.

Samuel does some research at the library about Peter King and Checkmate Industries. A successful Intuition FEAT provides information about Peter King's Resources rank (Incredible) and some information about the types of business and clients Checkmate Industries engages with. Aside from the prison contracts, the company provides data processing and security services. This includes data aggregation from Internet doorbells and public security cameras. Peter King is a surveillance capitalist, among other things.

Samuel visits his storage locker. He is planning a crime to steal his own stuff and report it stolen. He also wants to inspect the other lockers. For this, he considers using his Apparition spell, but we determine that the building materials are too new (according to the limits of the spell), so there is a comical moment where he casts the spell and bounces off the wall.

We move onto Sunday, which is the end of the week. Both The Huntsman and Connie Bleak receive 20 Karma points for "Meeting Weekly Responsibility". The Huntsman now has 45 Karma. Connie Bleak has 50 Karma.

Connie Bleak spends some time with her father, looking at apartments in a better neighborhood. The father is initially reluctant to accept help and is afraid of making big changes. But eventually, he warms up the idea of getting a new place.

At some point during the apartment hunt, Connie is alone and hears the voice of her dead brother Antoine. Antoine lays on a guilt trip. He says Connie will only hurt their father if she continues using the SPECT3R suit. She will end up back in jail, breaking the father's heart and ruining what they're building together.

They have a nice meal with drinks, costing 1 Resources point. Connie now has 3 Resources points.

Connie calls Sandro Fenucci (Mecano) at the number he has provided to confirm the availability of the lab he promised. He confirms that it will be available on Monday (May 8), and she can drop by anytime.

We skip ahead to Monday. Samuel worked at the Damage Control worksite. He learned Ramirez got arrested for trying to steal The First Responder's truck. Samuel made a point of trash-talking The First Responder, which did not go over very well. There was a nazi skinhead from Iron Cross's crew working that day who was especially offended by this. Neither party escalates at this point.

At the end of the day, they hauled the refuse to the Damage Control waste disposal site. The site features a big pit with a strange machine. The foreman activated the machine, creating a big black void in the pit. A crane loaded up the refuse from the trucks and dropped it into the void. The foreman turned off the machine, causing the void to disappear. Damage Control is dumping trash into a pocket dimension.

Samuel talked the foreman into showing him the binder with the instructions to operate the portal generation machine (with a Psyche FEAT). The foreman removed the page with the access codes but handed over the binder to Samuel. Samuel inspected the binder and learned how to operate the machine via a successful Reason FEAT.

Connie went to the lab and worked on a prototype (using the kit bashing rules) for a high-frequency trading device that employs her phasing technology to speed up transactions. This will take some time to develop due to lacking Resources.

Afterward, she shows up for her appointment with her parole officer The Silver Shield. The Silver Shield asked the typical questions, relying on his magic shield to detect lies. Connie's Psyche rank was high enough to bypass the shield, and so Connie was able to lie about whether she had engaged in criminal activity.

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Ron Edwards's picture

Wow, heroes are spoiled Karma brats. All they have to do is wait for the GM to drop a crime-in-progress in their laps, punch the dude a few times, and call the cops, and they get buckets of the stuff. Villains really have to work for it!

Someone with low Resources will really like making friends with someone who has a golden egg laying hen.

... which raises my real point. Are our two villain protagonists friends? Working together in any way? It seems to me that playing this game with this content does not benefit from prolonging "how we met."

I forgot to mention that Connie earned another 15 Karma (Commit Other Crime) for lying to the parole officer at the end of the session. This puts her at 65 Karma.

I have two more sessions to write up (and a third if we play this week). Amazingly, they haven't met up.  We haven't forced anything and the characters are singularly focused on their own concerns at the moment. At best they would know of each other from prison. Meeting up might be hard at this point because (spoiler alert) Samuel Holt (aka The Huntsman) is not even on the same plane as Connie as of the last session.

James_Nostack's picture

"All they have to do is wait for the GM to drop a crime-in-progress in their laps, punch the dude a few times, and call the cops, and they get buckets of the stuff. Villains really have to work for it!"

After giving the matter a lot of thought, I think pulling off a planned, multi-stage heist is simply not the way to go.  You're much better off running around in a crime spree, earning Karma which immediately gets spent to do more crimes.

Planning a crime out, and thinking it through with an intelligent, coherent agenda simply takes too long for too little payoff in light of the opportunity cost.  

James_Nostack's picture

As mentioned in one of the previous posts, I really dig playing the Huntsman, but I have to keep adjusting my ambition in play.

Considered strictly in isolation, the Huntsman somehow has to bring a stop to global warming, protect lots of people, bring an end to worldwide extractive capitalism, etc.  

But that's not this story!  This is the story of the Huntsman getting out of jail, staying one step ahead of the carceral state while he starts to rebuild his supervillainous career.  At the table level, the eventual Battle for the Future of Earth is a distraction, even if it's something the Huntsman is fixated on.  I gotta keep reminding myself of that.

My style of play here varies a bit.  A lot of it has been, "Okay, let's see this guy going about his ordinary life," occasionally interspersed with stirring the pot (stealing some construction equipment, beating up some eco-fascists) simply because we ought to have something happen.  But it's probably appropriate for me to step outside the character a little bit, and figure out an angle of intersection/weaves with Specter's plotline.

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