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RDU Neil

Dark Champions: Secret Worlds

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(Story So Far attachment was somehow deleted, and I can't edit it back into this post. Please look on pg. 6 of this document for the most recent version if you don't want to scroll through the whole thread.)

 

 

After 17 years of one Champions campaign (and plenty of other RPGs as well) I decided to start something new. My love of the Hero System has always been the lower power, guns and martial arts and more "real world" in scope than most super comics... but I do enjoy a certain "over the top" element.

 

Came up with the idea of "Secret Worlds" Attached is the short description I wrote up for the players... all but one long term Champs gamers with me.

 

The idea was to keep things low level, by using the Heroic Level (NCM in effect automatically, don't pay points for equipment, all skills and talents available, but powers severely limited) Heroic, but allow 300 pts. to build, unlike the typical 125-150.

 

Hit location and other optional combat rules in effect. Even with that, this level of Hero is much easier to teach a new player, because the complicated powers are rare. Figuring out power frameworks and advantages and limitations and all that is unnecessary... they can focus on stats, skills, combat rules... and role playing in a world that resembles very closely, our own.

 

I'll be writing up the adventures here, as they happen. Hopefully some of the players will chime in. One, at least, is famous on these boards.

 

Players & Characters (these will make more sense if you read the attachment, first.)

 

THE Storn Cook - Terry Owens, ex-SAS merc who was nearly killed in a FUBAR missile strike, picked up by elements of the Thugee cult and branded as their destroyer/killer. Is a bit faster and stronger than a human should be, heals quickly, and hell on wheels with guns.

 

Eric Hurst - Hitoshi Ryu, a young Yakuza, raised in America, but tapped for his potential to undergo intense training in ancient ninja arts. Is now back in the states, working for his Oyabun, but is unhappy with his lot in life, but doesn't know what else to do.

 

James Arnoldi - Mr. Jones, a man who is so plain and unremarkable, that people simply don't notice him. He might as well be "invisible." He has been found by a benefactor, though, who needs special people, and has found a purpose among the few who actually know he is around.

 

Joe Convery - Damien McGregor, a midwest tough who made a name for himself in the underground fighting circuit, he paid a lot of money to train with a Japanese master, and is now running his own traveling "fight club" and earning a rep as a serious underground promoter.

 

The Ferett * - Dr. Martin Berkmann, a 78 year old social psychologist, who is a certified genius in the areas of human thought, group dynamics, and the creation of targetable memes that can shape social interaction and thought processes. He has been on the run since 1967, since he was targetted for assassination after helping to fake the moon landing... or at least he thinks he was, since he knows he has been the victim of his own memes, and doesn't trust anything he can't verify through eight different independent sources and means.

 

This diverse group of Specials was brought together in their first adventure, tonight... and I'll write about that after I get some sleep. Hope you all enjoy the stories.

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There was some really good stuff last night... had an almost "Invisibles" feel to it all... except it was a hell of a lot more coherent. Of course, having two characters who can pratcially go invisible (Ryo, Jones) might have reinforce that comparison in my mind. And to take nuthin' away from Neil, being more coherent than the incomprehensible Invisibles run is not all that difficult. This is Invisibles, but better.

 

This is the game I always wanted to play in... just slightly more than human... lots of style... lots of emotional, juicy stuff to bite into. Good visuals. Its all good...and it was nice to be in a new campaign. Neil has been running his for, like he said, since the stone age of gaming... and I've been running mine since the bronze age.

 

Hit location is brutal...both in the arm, hand hits of doing very minimal damage, to the head, vital shots that can take you out lickety-split. But I like it. I like it when combat is lethal and you have to think about whether or not you want to stick your head up to return fire.

 

My Terry Owens is really tough in this world, but he ain't invulnerable...although, taking 15d6N explosion, than I'm not sure how much killing dmg (ended up being 6 pts), took Terry down from 18 Body to 5 and in the hospital for 2 weeks. NOW Neil KNOWS he can just pound the stuffing outta my poor, slightly masochistic PC.

 

Good stuff, great cast, looking forward to next installment!

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Secret Worlds: From Around The Globe

 

The first session was the difficult task of bringing together a disparate group of weirdos... I mean Specials... who had never met before, and all had reasons to be paranoid and difficult. I began with various vignettes for each individual character, events happening separately and at different times, but gamed out simultaneously. (I do NOT suggest this for new GMs or for groups who haven't gamed together before. It can break down easily, and almost did, last night.)

 

Began with Terry Owens: Islamabad, Pakistan. Terry had been contacted by his new masters, asking him to shepherd a weapons deal in this very dangerous city where even the President (Musharraf) has had two assassination attempts in the past weeks. Following directions, Terry awaits a man named Kesh in a venerable coffee house near the European consulate. He has a coin, marked with the symbol of Kali that he should give to Kesh as ID. After waiting some time, he becomes aware of a street urchin, a young boy, begging amongst the patrons. When the boy comes to Terry, he switches from Urdu to the Queen's English, and asks for "Coin for a beggar?" Terry tentatively hands over the coin, and the boy smiles, taking Terry's hand an looking at the brand on his palm, the same mark of Kali as on the coin. "Come with me," he says... "We go to meet her!" Terry instantly knows that "her" is the mysteriously beautiful Hindi woman he has caugth glimpses of, ever since he nearly died, and woke up branded by the Thugee, and better, stronger, faster... an all around more effective killer than he'd been before.

 

Terry follows the boy, named Divi, out into the freezing night. It is so cold, that Divi, confident in Terry's abilities, suggests a shortcut through the back streets that could be dangerous. In a narrow alley way, Terry is alerted to the sounds of boot tread on snow on a rooftop above. He reacts quickly, also noticing another figure coming at them from the front. He pulls his Sig P220 and presses up against the wall, covering the roof as Divi dives behind his legs. The man on the roof comes into view, his upper body exposed, and the old Kalishnakov evident in his hands. He turns, and Terry, knowing the alley is a death trap, fires frst, hitting the man in the hand knocking his gun away as he cries out in pain. The second attacker takes this opportunity to charge forward down the alley... but even together these two are no match for Owens' skills. Still covering the roof, Terry draws his second .45 and double taps the charging assailant both shots hitting, nearly severing an arm and punching through his chest. From above, the second man, in pain and seeing his partner cut down, cries out and fires wildly into the alley, but the spray goes wild and through their ringing ears, Terry and Divi here his footsteps retreat in panic.

 

Confronting the remaining dying assailant, Terry tries to question him, but he is bleeding out quickly. Divi, unshaken by the violence, picks over the man taking his weapon and money, and points to a mark on his gun which identifies him as a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Front... one of many splinter terrorist groups in the region. This is their territory, but Divi finds it suspicious that they happened upon them so easily. The two hurry off to the appointment...

 

Cut to...

 

Mr. Jones: Mr. Jones has no other name... he has no record of every existing. Mr. Jones is quite skilled in Computer Science and Programming... as well as Research. He almost faded from society, though... as natural ability to be "unnoticed" made social interaction and relationships nearly impossible. Enter Omar Stang. An Amerasian businessman from Los Angeles, Omar is looking for Specials. No one knows why he does this... yet... but Omar has recognized that behind the scenes there are people who can do things "better" than most other people. Maybe even do things most people can't do. He found Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones doesn't know how, but he is grateful. Now Mr. Jones has a place to be, and connections and purpose. Mr. Jones has some training that makes use of his natural ability. Oh the places you can go when nobody notices you.

 

Having just finished an involved research project, tracking down a renegade scientist named Berkmann, Stang asks Mr. Jones to do a little field mission. Just recon... but that is where Mr. Jones excells. The mission is to go to San Francisco and infiltrate a criminal event. Seems some guy named McGregor is running an underground fighting circuit. In and of itself, this is no concern to Stang... but something else could be. It seems SF has a vigilante of sorts. The past few months have shown a pattern of attacks on criminal activities that might be the work of one person... one Special. A crack house, a loan shark/bookie, then five corrupt cops running a protection racket... all taken down by what appears to be one person. Each attack lead to the next... the crack house financed by the loan shark, who laundered money for the cops... and one of the cops had been paid off by this McGregor guy, to help stage the fight. Good chance this vigilante might hit this fight club deal, and Mr. Jones was just going to be there to film/record and get intel on the situation... if it happened.

 

Stang, meanwhile... would be traveling to Seattle, where he had arranged a meeting with the mysterious Dr. Martin Berkmann.

 

Cut to...

 

(Next: Damien McGregor and Hitoshi Ryu)

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Secret Worlds: From Around the Globe cont'd

 

(Pictures are at the discretion of the Stornmeister... since I couldnt' draw my way out of a wet paper bag. He did a rough sketch of his own character during the game, but I'll leave it up to him to post them, if he chooses.)

 

Now... meanwhile...

 

Hitoshi Ryu: Only a few months returned from Hokkaido, where his years of training in the assassination arts were completed, Ryu is again answering to Kuchinishi Ichiro, the Oyabun of the Nine Flower Gang... probably the oldest Yakuza influence in the America's. While he enjoys the new found respect he receives from the others Yak soldiers... and finds himself the object of the dangerous attention of Ichiro-san's daughter, Natsuko... Ryu is unsatisfied. He doesn't enjoy the stifling tradition of the Yakuza, but is without purpose outside of the organization, which has raised him since he was four. His family he left in Okinawa, when he was given to the Kuchinishi family in payment of a debt.

 

He still serves, though. Serves well. He enjoys using his skills, and doesn't hesitate when Kuchinishi-san personally requests that he investigate a new player in town. A man named McGregor had already staged a blood sport match in SF that likely garnered him a large sum from fees and bets. Kuchinishi-san wants Ryu to go to the next match, and evaluate the situation. Is this something to explore, something to ignore... or something to make go away. Ryu has full discretion on how he handles this mission.

 

The match is scheduled to take place in the basement parking garage of the Pan Pacific Hotel, not far from Union Square. (here is a weblink... it's a nice place, I've actually stayed there. though I don't honestly think there is a garage right below the hotel. http://sanfrancisco.panpacific.com/hotel/photo_01.html)

 

Ryu positions himself to watch as people begin to arrive for the match. He observes the following...

 

Damien McGregor: The first match went so well, why not do another? Nearly 300K the first night, after expenses... and the crowd should be bigger now, with positive word of mouth. $1000 entrance fee isn't a big deal. All the real money comes from the betting action. Four fighters, three rounds, single elimination... and none of the fighters had faced each other before. Odds were on the house raking it in... but then that's always the case if you do it right.

 

Damien knows how to do it right. The set up is bought and paid for... generators lights, cameras for bootleg residual sales on DVD... Bennie ready at the bar to handle the drinks and the bets. Melissa has the lighting set up, Phillip has prepped the fighters and ready to call the action. Zeus is armored up... his massive frame in riot gear and stun baton, just in case the fight gets ugly. No chance of that, though. These guys are pros. You don't survive on tour for long if you get a rep for maiming or killing blows. Still... can't be too careful.

 

Hey... Wu is here. Local Triad bigwig, but tonight a betting man like all the rest. Looks like one of his mooks forgot the no weapon rule. No weapons, especially no guns, allowed. Guy makes Wu lose some serious face, and that chewing out he gets ain't pretty. Still, we are looking at 70K just from entrace fees. This should be a really good night.

 

Ah, Jasmine is back. Funny how it's best when she's close. Takes the body guard thing really seriously, though we both know I'm the better fighter. She's trained with her old man longer than I have, and she could kick even Zeus's ass, but her dad says she isn't a killer. She fights to protect... and this makes him proud... but she doesn't desire the combat. To her it is just a skill... not a calling. Works for me, though. Nobody I'd rather have watching my back... especially in that leather outfit she has on. Whooooooo...

 

Well, should get the show started...

 

Next: Stang & Berkmann meet... and Terry gets blown up... again.

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Secret Worlds: From Around the Globe cont'd

 

Cut to...

 

Seattle: After an exchange of e-mails, Stang (my NPC functioning as the gathering force for the PCs) has convinced Dr. Martin Berkmann to meet with him. Stang provided the Dr. with some evidence that the FBI has recently activated a Seeker Team to hunt Berkmann down, based on a recent article he wrote that was picked up by Slate and MacNeil/Lehrer about the Bush administrations use of the WOMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) meme, to control public opinion and force through their neo-con agenda.

 

After some rigamarole to make sure Berkmann isn't exposed, they meet at a very busy Starbucks in downtown Seattle and converse. Stang is amazed by Berkmann's obvious intelligence, but a bit put off by the stream of consciousness ramblings that relate every single thing that happens to a theory he wrote about at one time or another, each one with a streak of paranoia centering on the fact that nothing can be accepted as truth, and all ideas are manipulations of the mind.

 

Eventually the conversations comes around to Specials. Berkmann has never heard the term, but when explained to him, he relates it to a theory he wrote about in the early '70s, that the government propagated the idea of "abilities beyond normal" to keep people thinking about the fantastic, and at the same time reinforcing the concept of superior beings, conditioning people to accept a higher authority... (well you get the idea.)

 

Stang eventually convinces Berkmann to travel with him, in order to give the Dr. some evidence of the actual existence of Specials, at the same time trying to discuss the fact that the 78 year old scientist might be one himself... as his body is that of a 45 year old tri-athlete, and reflexes and intelligence undimmed by age. The Dr. scoffs at this, saying anyone who listens to his special tapes would find themselves more healthy, because they believed themselves to be so. Stang suggests that, like other Specials that can do what humans can do, only better... perhaps Berkmann's ability is to "believe" better than any other human being.

 

The discussion as they fly Stang's private jet to San Francisco is weird and wacky.

 

Cut back to...

 

Terry Owens: Back in Islamambad, Owens and Divi have escaped the warrens of back alleys, to come out onto a busy market square, just shutting down for the evening. Divi signals to a shop owner closing the shutters in front of his store, and this man responds, actually bowing slightly to Owens. The two stay across the street as the man goes inside. A moment later, in the window of the second floor above the store, the curtains part, and SHE is there. Stunning in her beauty, her eyes dark pools in a perfect face, both fierce and desirable. She looks straight at Terry, and all the nights her face has haunted him begin to draw him to her, across the street. Divi scampers ahead.

 

Terry hears it before he sees it. Among other vehicles, the high pitched whine of an over-revved engine, the cries of pedestrians, and the screech of an undercarriage bottoming out as a scrapes along the road at high speeds. Terry turns, in time to see an old panel van plowing down the street towards them. Divi is farther across the street, as Terry springs backward into the cover of closed shop stalls, yelling "Run Divi!"

 

The boy stands, transfixed. Terry pulls his pistols, as he focuses on the oncoming van, seeing no passengers, but the glassy, maniacal look on the face of the driver who is screaming "Allah Akhbar!" over and over... his blood goes cold knowing this isn't a hit... but a suicide bomber.

 

He fires twice, but the distance and speed... no time to track, the bullets hit the rocker panel, not the tires... and the van plows headlong into the storefront... time slows to Terry's perceptions, as the world goes silent... a loose leaf skitters across the street, sucked toward the initial implosion... in that eternal moment, he sees Divi, eyes wide with fear... and he sees her, looking down on him from above with her mouth slightly open, as if to say something...

 

And then it all dies in fire... Divi is incinerated and the store front vanishes in a massive explosion... the initial force ruptures Terry's eardrums and optical tissue, picking him up and slamming him into the building behind him. This is followed almost immediately by the fire and shrapnel, shards of glass and metal that cut a swath of death through the square. Terry's world goes black.

 

(Cut scene: across the screen it reads... Three Weeks Ago)

 

Suddenly light... red hazed... no sound... no feeling... but a female face, caucasion, western dress, looking down at Terry as she removes rubble covering his face. In a spasm, he grabs her leg... and she starts, her lips forming the words, "My god... he's alive!" Then darkness.

 

Awake again, and a familiar feeling. Movement, flight... chopper... medivac is a natural assumption for an old SAS vet... here again, he sees the woman, in hospital mask, checking him out... and this time when she speaks... there is at least a gurgle and hum that cuts through the silence... he moves his lips to speak, but the pain of this alone causes him to pass out.

 

Light again... now the sounds and sights of a hospital like room. No window, but the female doctor is talking to another woman, both in scrubs... he can hear now... the doctor saying, "... amino acids and protein bonds I've never seen before... and look at these platelets..."

 

When Terry finally wakes up, he is greeted by Omar Stang and Dr. Carol Cole. They explain that Owen's is actually in LA, now, shocking Terry. They explain that they were fortuitous in finding him... they had actually been trying to contact "her." Stang shows him a picture of the woman, and tells Owens that she is known only as Kali. Stang confirms the thugee connection to Terry's brand on his hand, and explains the concept of Specials to him... and that Terry's miraculous healing from what should have been obliteration is one of the most obvious signs that Terry is more than most.

 

Much conversation occurs over a number of days, as Terry rehabs insanely quickly, and meets others that work for Stang. Aside from Dr. Cole, there is the second in command, an ex-Navy Seal and full time administrator named Jolly Rogers ("You get one joke, then that's it. I'll break your ankles if I hear even one "Ahhrrr Matey!") Maggie, the tall African American woman who is their primary engineer, mechanic and weaponsmith. Terry is given time to decide, but he is asked to join Stang's group... to help find other Specials, and act as a bodyguard for Stang. Without options, Terry agrees. Later, he receives an assignment to drive a limo down to SF, and pick up Stang and a passenger, flying in their from Seattle. They are going to an event, where another Special might be found.

 

Little do they know...

 

(Finally, all the parties are in the same place... and guess what!! A fight breaks out!!)

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Secret Worlds: All together now...

 

With all the PCs finally converging on the same location, the Pan Pacific in downtown San Francisco, things start moving very quickly...

 

Hitoshi Ryu: Having observed that the only people entering the fight location are the well heeled rich in formal wear, Ryu decides to stealth his way in, rather than bluff past the guards up front, or try to pull the "I wanna be a fighter" routine... which his skills could back up if needed. Ryu makes his way into the Pan Pacific, and having plenty of time, cases out the access to the basement, makes his way down, and sneaks into the garage through a normally sealed emergency exit. He bypasses extra security measures set up by McGregor's people, and opens the door just a crack, to find himself right behind the wet bar! McGregor's man has a modified Expedition SUV, whose back end folds out to reveal a fully stocked travelling bar, to server the clientele. This set up, lit and crowded with patrons, is only feet away from the Ryu. Luckily the door is in the shadow of the SUV, and Ryu summons his training, blending with the shadows, and moves silently past the partiers without a notice.

 

Mr. Jones: Well, almost without notice. Jones, having made his way into the fight location hours ago, without anyone noticing a thing, has cased the garage fully, and placed himself near the only other entrance available. Since he is looking for a possible sneak attack, he actually notices the every so slight movement at the door. He brings his low light digital recorder up, but is unable to get more than an image of a blurring shadow. Jones pursues the shadow quietly, but gets to the other side of the bar vehicle, and sees nothing. Ryu, for his part, his sixth sense telling him that he had been spotted, tucked himself in the darkness of the concrete support beams running along the ceiling, and watched in silence. He saw nothing out of the ordinary, though the hackles on his neck (Danger Sense of course) were definitely hinting that someone was looking for him.

 

In this way, two amazing stealth characters totally pass each other right by. Mr. Jones settles back into position, following McGregor about, because he figures any attack would end up coming after the guy running the whole thing.

 

Terry Owens & Dr. Berkmann arrive with Stang, just before the fight is to start. Berkmann has asked Owens if he is "Special" (starting a lot of long bus/short bus jokes amongst the players... well, ok, I started that I must admit... bad GM... bad) Owens answers, "Nah gov... I'm ex-special... ex-Special Air Service..." which was perfectly timed, perfectly in character, and quite funny.

 

McGregor notices the late arrivals, in tuxes and paying the entrance fee... a distinguished Amerasian gentleman, an older man with long white hair looking uncomfortable in his tuxedo, and a bulldog of a Brit who moves not just like a fighter, but like a warrior. McGregor has seen this kind before. Some have come to him, wanting to fight. He usually says no. These guys aren't sport fighters... not even blood sport. They are killers. The "do-whatever-it-takes-to-win-in-the-most-efficient-way-possible" kind of guys. Effective, dangerous as hell... but they don't make for a good show. McGregor points this guy out to Jasmine, his bodyguard, and she greets the group.

 

At which time, things get interesting, because Ryu... watching everything from his perch, sees Jasmine for the first time... this incredibly hot Japanese martial arts babe with two swords across her back (the only obvious weapons in the place) and then sees her face... and it is his SISTER! (for the story behind this plot twist, see below) Stunned by this... he hasn't seen her in person since they were children, and last he new, she was still in Okinawa... Ryu almost breaks his cover, but he maintains his position, suddenly not sure what to do. He had already sussed out that this could be a very lucrative operation... one that the Nine Flower Gang would expect to "invest in"... but now he isn't sure what his next move will be.

 

Mr. Jones has found Stang, and informed him that he may have spotted the vigilante sneaking in, but whoever it was evaded him. Stang tells him to remain on mission, and get everything on film.

 

Berkmann mingles with the crowd, conversing on all kinds of topics, finding most to be stereo typical shallow rich with not much to say. He does note Wu and his cronies, and stays near them, thinking that THEY might be the target of the vigilante.

 

Owens casually approaches Jasmine, who is definitely looking "Special" to him, and gets the inevitable cold shoulder... more because she is a professional, doing her job, and quite used to getting hit on. (In the shadow's Ryu fumes at this Gaijin and mutters threats of silenced pistol rounds in the back of the head to anyone mackin' on his sister ;) ) Owens finally succumbs to his desire for a Guinness, and gets one from the open bar, but earns the evil eye from Bennie, who is also busy taking all the betting action, because he doesn't tip.

 

McGregor finally gives the nod for the fight to start, asking everyone to gather around the makeshift ring. His announcer, Phillip, comes out and introduces the fighters. The crowd cheers as the two combatants begin to circle each other. Both are Muy Tai practitioners, and it looks to be a good match up... Zeus, the ref, in riot gear at the edge of the ring as well.

 

... and that's when the lights go out, plunging the garage into darkness.

 

"Melissa!" bellows McGregor, turning toward the generator in the dark... hearing his electrician swearing and saying, "No way! That ain't possible!" And then the emergeny lights kick on... white lights posted on either side of the layout, just in case... and Jasmine is the right next to him, her hand lightly touching, indicating she's at his back, and pressing a sword grip into his palm.

 

Ryu begins moving from the far left side of the garage, across the ceiling beams, and looking for possible attack. Jones stays in position, looking to catch anything he can on film.

 

Owens and Berkmann, realizing the crowd may panic, yell out, "Cool... night fighting..." and Berkmann uses his intuitive mind to start clapping, saying, "Quite the show, quite the show... excellent special effects..." and Owens starts to clap as well. It is the right thing to say, and the crowd immediately seems to deflate from the growing unease, turning back to the ring.

 

McGregor, across the large room from Owens and Berkmann, noticing this, and mutters "Remind me to pay those guys after all of this..." and moves to find Melissa and see what is wrong.

 

Mr. Jones, keeping a sharp eye out, is the only one to see a dark shadow suddenly drop from the ceiling near Melissa, and toss something at the emergency light on this side of the garage. He moves to intercept, trying to get this person on film as well... as a small burst detonates with painful sharpness in this underground complex, destroying the light source in a shower of sparks. Jones only get another fleeting shadow image... but this one is heavier and moves differently than the first.

 

Things go to hell VERY quickly. Berkmann and Owens lose control of the crowd at this explosion, as screams and chaos erupts. Owens looks around for a weapon, seeing that Bennie is very efficiently closing up the bar, securring the money and locking down. He has a hand near one wheel well, that Owens knows houses a weapon. Hesitantly he moves forward to grab a champaign bottle to swing as a club, hands raised to Bennie. Bennie just mutters, "Next time... tip." And lets him take the makeshift club.

 

Across the room, violence begins as in the darkness, McGregor hears Melissa cry out and collapse after the sound of a heavy punch... he moves to her side, seeing her unconscious on the ground... and the Jasmie cries out, "I see him..." and moves back toward the crowd, where the dark figure has leapt into sending the already frightened patrons scattering and tumbling everywhere. McGregor can still not see the assailant clearly.

 

Ryu continues skuttling along the ceiling, trying to get into position. He sees his sister engage a figure in the crowd, her sword out... and then... in the glow of the only remaining light, he sees a heavy boot swing up in a perfect raising ridge kick, and smack the wakasashi out of her hands, up into the ceiling where it sticks in the concrete point first.

 

Somewhat exposed, this new opponent is revealed to be a man, heavily armored in a highly customized suit of Kevlar 4/Nomex riot gear. He still moves fluidly in this heavy suit, and his studded gloves swing like hammers. Mr. Jones moves to get a picture. McGregor moves to engage, and Ryu draws his pistol and fits the silencer on it, taking aim on the man threatening his sister.

 

Across from all of this, cut off by much of the crowd, Berkmann steps up to Bennie, and in a very persuasive statement, says, "I know you may be trained to use that gun you have... but my friend there is a professional of the highest order, and a much better shot. Perhaps he would do better with it?" Bennie will always wonder why he did it... but at the moment, it seemed quite reasonable, and he turns the Glock 9mm over to Berkmann. Berkmann hands it to Owens, who shrugs, takes it, and happily pops the cork on the champaign and takes a swig as he moves into the crowd to find Stang.

 

Mr. Jones finally starts getting some great footage, as McGregor springs into action, flipping up and over Jasmine to land behind the assailant and cutting down with the sword. An amazing display of ability. An armored forearm moves up just as quickly, and takes the blade classic upper block, and the armored man moves in close to grapple, his hands finding McGregor's wrist and twisting to disarm the blade... McGregor torques himself and performs almost a twirling fencing parry to disengage and keep his blade. (Seeing this from above, Ryu is shocked to see that this Gaijin mobster baku is fighting in a style well known to him... the Hitoshi family style! Only his father could have taught this man... and chance that Ryu himself never had. This further shakes the normally stoic ninja.)

 

Heard only by McGregor, and Mr. Jones... the armored attacker hisses in a muffled voice to McGregor... "You can never escape... the AVENGER!" in a threatening, but strangely melodramatic way.

 

His back exposed, Jasmine takes a shot, side kicking the Avenger man in the back, but he barely grunts, absorbing the blow. At this point, Owens comes through the crowd, dropping the champaign, and grabbing Stang by the colar, hauling him away from the fight, where the man had been so engrossed by the spectacle, he was nearly run over.

 

At this point, Terry fires two shots into the air, making the crowd go low and scatter further, and shouts "Go! Get the hell out! Go!"

 

Ryu takes a shot from his position, with his silenced HK P7. The round strikes the shoulder epulate and "spaks" away. No one, not even the Avenger notices. At the same time, McGregor presses his attack and manages to strike the other shoulder of his opponent. His blade does manage to cut through... a blow that would have severed an arm, reduced to a deep cut.

 

As he is pulling Stang away, Owens casually mutters, "I assume that was our target, right." Stang says, "Yes... it must be him," and a complete change comes over Terry. Gone is the casual competence and laisssez faire attitude. His eyes go cold, his face still. He literally drops Stang, raising his gun into a perfect shooters stance, and begins walking back toward the battle, calmly firing shots at the Avenger.

 

Bullets hit the Avenger. His armor absorbs them, but he grunts in pain. He is surrounded on all sides... and he moves hard and fast, just getting past McGregor, heading for the last light source. At this point he sees the larger form of Zeus... 6' 8" and armored as well... though in standard black riot gear... weilding a stun baton. Outnumbered seven to one, he pulls a baton that telescopes out into a long, thin steel cable, waited as a whip on the end. He lashes it about his head, hitting Zeus, who ignores it, McGregor, who takes the shot in his stomach, and Owens, who feels the bite but doesn't react. Jasmine leaps out of the way and Mr. Jones ducks, saying, "Enough of this!" and pulls his own gun.

 

McGregor presses his attack, trying to force the Avenger back into Zeus. Just as everyone surrounds him, the masked vigilante presses a stud on the whip, and the metal coil releases spiraling through the air, to strike the last emergency light, shattering it completely! Once again the everything plunges into darkness.

 

(Whew... almost done...)

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Neil, I feel your pain. I know from writing my own recaps how long these take. And they are particularly tough for an ink slinger such as myself. You are doing a bang up job.

 

I'm ripping out my kitchen counter and sink today. I haven't scanned in my quick sketch of Terry Owens. When I do, I'll post it. I do not have Hero Designer, but do have Metacreator and Terry is in that. I can post his stats as well. As soon as I tweak him... Rapid Attack: Ranged did something other than what I thought it did. So I want to change that... get another die of luck? So tomorrow, Monday, I'll probably get Terry posted in pic and stat form fer y'all.

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Secret Worlds: The Avenger falls...

 

Before the lights went out, Berkmann had spent the entire fight, watching the Avenger. He analyzed the man through his actions and body language... trying to understand the motivation that would drive a man to such extremes. It doesn't take long for him to see the actions of a violent compulsive pathology... and a fixation on McGregor that could come from something personal... or an obsession with the most obvious criminal leader in the place. This is the man suspected of striking other criminal enterprises after all.

The darkness ends this assessment, though.

 

While the Avenger hoped that the darkness would help him... McGregor is non-plussed, he has been trained for this, and Ryu, who has been lining up another shot... simply slips on a pair of nightvision goggles.

 

The fight might have swung back into the Avenger's favor, though... until Terry, snapping back into his more rational self again, pulls a mini-maglite from his pocket, and centers it on the Avenger. (Blue Chit = dramatic editing! Whee!)

 

Suddenly exposed, everything comes down on the vigilante like a ton of bricks. Zeus hammers him with the electrified billy club, driving him to his knees. Mr. Jones, unnoticed at the feet of all of this, fires his S&W 7640, and hits the vigilante in the less protected knee joint (Spend a black chit = lose a die and make that roll a 3! Double damage!) The Avenger screams and falls. McGregor freaks as a gun goes off at his feet, and there is this guy there who must have snuck up at the last second, 'cause he sure didn't see him before!

Owens covers him with his pistol.

 

Ryu fires... this round striking him in the solar plexus... again stopped by the armor, but it knocks the wind out him... completely. Nobody sees where the shot came from.

 

Then Berkmann steps in... just before violence explodes in a possibly gruesome finish... clapping slowly and saying, "Excellent! Most excellent. You have passed the test. We could use a man like you!" The striking old man with the white hair and tux cuts a serious image... though most everyone is looking at him with a "What they hell are you talking about?" look... he totally captures the attention of the Avenger. "Come with us," says Berkmann. "We can train you to be even better!"

 

It is still and silent... everyone literally on a razor's edge, caught in the light of a single torch (as Terry would call it.)

 

Then the world erupts in sound and light, as the Avenger detonates his belt pack full of flashbang grenades. In the darkness and enclosed location, the impact is devastating... and everyone reels away in pain and agony. Mr. Jones tries to fire, and Berkmann himself tries to strike, to keep the Avenger from escaping... but when their vision and hearing finally begin to clear... the vigilante is gone. (GM Blue chit, two in fact = dramatic editing for villain escape!)

 

Less affected by the flashbang because of distance, Ryu had used this time to take a tux jacket and tie from a fallen guest (some had been struck or trampled in the chaos) to disguise himself as a injured, fleeing patron. Everyone else gathers up their comrades and leaves. McGregor gets his people moving, and hops in his Corvette. Ryu would almost have gotten away as well, if he hadn't turned around and bumped right into his sister, who was doing her best to get the last patrons out safely. Despite the years separating them they recoginize each other immediately. Jasmine goes cold, and afraid. "Yukiko..." says Ryu, using her given name... he is appalled by the fact she calls herself Jasmine.

 

Instead of replying, Jasmine goes defensive and shouts to McGregor... "Get out of here boss. I'll meet you later! Go! Now!" She keeps herself between Ryu and McGregor who looks puzzled but doesn't argue. When everyone is gone, she says, "If you've come for him... you'll have to kill me first."

 

"Don't talk like that!" says Ryu, shocked but trying to be calm. "I have only come to offer a business proposal... though all options were left open."

 

"I know what you are, now," says Jasmine, softening slightly but sounding somewhat scared. "Fucking Nine Flowers... they try to take everything..." she says, to no one in particular.

 

"Just tell McGregor to contact us. It is best for all," says Ryu.

 

Jasmine nods and begins to leave. "Yes, let's keep this professional."

 

Then... "It was good to see you again," says Ryu, softly. Jasmine turns, her face losing all it's anger. She smiles slightly, "It was good to see you as well, Ryu." And then she is gone.

 

That's where we left it... still some chaos, and all the characters not quite together... but it felt like a solid first episode.

 

Analysis:

The Good: Spot on role playing from all the guys. Props to new guy Joe for not being intimidated by the fact that the rest of us are long term friends. McGregor had plenty of personality Joe! Maybe you shouldn't have come up with so many cool NPCs (Jasmine, Zeus, Bennie...) who stole your face time! :D

 

The Bad: As GM, I could have run the vignettes that were essentially mini-solos, a little faster. This all took place in five hours... so it wasn't too bad... but some folks had to sit on their hands for a while, at times. Sorry guys. Should be less of that as time goes by... I hope.

 

The Ugly: System wise... Hero is so solid at this Heroic level... except for Martial Arts. It's too good. For too few points, even "normal" characters can be doing 8-10d6 damage... which creates such situations like, "Hmmm... my 9mm is ineffective... I better start punching, as that does more damage!"

 

Que? That really doesn't fit the "feel" of this campaign.

 

If armor stops a pistol round, it should stop a punch, even a trained punch, better. Anyone who has trained in MA at all knows that it can be an effective skill, but it isn't some magic ability that beats out guns and other weapons. The more "believable" setting of the "real world" I'm using here needs to reflect this.

 

I'm going to have to overhaul the MA... basically reducing the DC each maneuver grants... and doubling the cost of extra DC. 5-6d6 for ok trained... and 7-8d6 max for the really good fighters I'm thinking. Since we are playing Hit Location, I'd rather see Find Weakness and levels to offset called shots used more to reflect martial skill, than the generic extra DCs as a game mechanic to reflect skill. I've done this before, for truly Heroic level Danger International style games... and I think it will work better here, as well.

 

'Til next time... what is YOUR secret. :cool:

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Guest WhammeWhamme

Re: Secret Worlds: The Avenger falls...

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

The Ugly: System wise... Hero is so solid at this Heroic level... except for Martial Arts. It's too good. For too few points, even "normal" characters can be doing 8-10d6 damage... which creates such situations like, "Hmmm... my 9mm is ineffective... I better start punching, as that does more damage!"

 

Que? That really doesn't fit the "feel" of this campaign.

 

If armor stops a pistol round, it should stop a punch, even a trained punch, better. Anyone who has trained in MA at all knows that it can be an effective skill, but it isn't some magic ability that beats out guns and other weapons. The more "believable" setting of the "real world" I'm using here needs to reflect this.

 

I'm going to have to overhaul the MA... basically reducing the DC each maneuver grants... and doubling the cost of extra DC. 5-6d6 for ok trained... and 7-8d6 max for the really good fighters I'm thinking. Since we are playing Hit Location, I'd rather see Find Weakness and levels to offset called shots used more to reflect martial skill, than the generic extra DCs as a game mechanic to reflect skill. I've done this before, for truly Heroic level Danger International style games... and I think it will work better here, as well.

 

'Til next time... what is YOUR secret. :cool:

 

I dunno about that first assumption. I mean.. a bullet is different from a fist.

 

That said, maybe the real problem is a lack of ranged martial arts? I mean, if a trained SHOOTER can also do more damage...

 

Makes sense to me at least.

 

Also, it's hard to get into HtoH range unless you're lucky.

 

(I hate to see people change point costs...)

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Re: Re: Secret Worlds: The Avenger falls...

 

Originally posted by WhammeWhamme

I dunno about that first assumption. I mean.. a bullet is different from a fist.

 

That said, maybe the real problem is a lack of ranged martial arts? I mean, if a trained SHOOTER can also do more damage...

 

Makes sense to me at least.

 

Also, it's hard to get into HtoH range unless you're lucky.

 

(I hate to see people change point costs...)

 

Actually, in Hero System, it is very easy to close distance and engage in HtH. Remember, this is a system initially balanced for supers, so HtH and Ranged, while different, had to be equally effective for the genre. In more "realistic" (note the quotes) games, range should be a HUGE advantage, and person being able to accurately empty a clip into someone in the time it takes them to walk two meters... but that is unbalanced for game play.

 

And yes, a fist blow is different from a bullet... but if armor and padding can absorb not just the Body... but the Stun of a square on bullet impact... I can't see a fist hitting in the same spot doing more damage. Not regularly and reliably, that is for sure.

 

And I'm not really changing point costs. Martial maneuvers still cost the same... you just get less DC. Everyone is fairly short changed on that. The increase in extra DC really only reflects that this is an NCM campaign... and since extra DC are really extra STR... it should cost double as well. Otherwise, the extra DC (which I have always limited to 2DC max, even in my supers games) break the NCM rule.

 

You may not agree, but it will work for this game, so I'm going to do it.

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Guest WhammeWhamme

Re: Re: Re: Secret Worlds: The Avenger falls...

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

Actually, in Hero System, it is very easy to close distance and engage in HtH. Remember, this is a system initially balanced for supers, so HtH and Ranged, while different, had to be equally effective for the genre. In more "realistic" (note the quotes) games, range should be a HUGE advantage, and person being able to accurately empty a clip into someone in the time it takes them to walk two meters... but that is unbalanced for game play.

 

The edge is still there. Especially without SuperMovement powers.

Hard to kung fu kick the guy on top of a building.

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

And yes, a fist blow is different from a bullet... but if armor and padding can absorb not just the Body... but the Stun of a square on bullet impact... I can't see a fist hitting in the same spot doing more damage. Not regularly and reliably, that is for sure.

 

And I'm not really changing point costs. Martial maneuvers still cost the same... you just get less DC. Everyone is fairly short changed on that. The increase in extra DC really only reflects that this is an NCM campaign... and since extra DC are really extra STR... it should cost double as well. Otherwise, the extra DC (which I have always limited to 2DC max, even in my supers games) break the NCM rule.

 

You may not agree, but it will work for this game, so I'm going to do it.

 

Well, my major counterpoint was: Why not use ranged martial arts?

Helps differentiate between the mooks and the major threats a bit more.

 

Of course it's your game... but if I make a useful suggestion just one in ten times when I do this, it was all worth it. :)

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I have to agree with Neil on this one. I've run a lot of Fantasy Hero in the past and as soon as Martial arts manuevers enter the scene, the whole balance of armor and weapons gets tossed on their respective heads.

 

This game is close to that balance level, slightly supers. The martial arts feels stronger, better, does more damage than a bullet... unless the target is unarmored. If the target is unarmored, a gun is a much more viable option because ALL the stun gets through, no PD to reduce the damage.

 

On top of which, Fast Strike gives a +2 to Hit as well as +2 DC... which is really freakin' cheap for 4 pts (might be 5 pts) compared to 10pts for HtH attack and 6 pts for +2 with that martial art.

 

And the small tweak of martial arts doing 1 less DC, I have no problem with that. I'm going to re-tweak my character, maybe even get rid of a manuever or two to bring that in line a bit more.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Secret Worlds: The Avenger falls...

 

Originally posted by WhammeWhamme

The edge is still there. Especially without SuperMovement powers.

Hard to kung fu kick the guy on top of a building.

 

 

 

Well, my major counterpoint was: Why not use ranged martial arts?

Helps differentiate between the mooks and the major threats a bit more.

 

Of course it's your game... but if I make a useful suggestion just one in ten times when I do this, it was all worth it. :)

 

You are right, WhammeWhamme (uh... that sentence is just rife with strange inuendo... :eek: ) I meant to address this, and didn't.

 

Anyway... I do like the idea of trying a ranged martial art for the gun bunnies... but as Storn mentioned... what happens with MA is that the balance of weapon damage vs. defenses goes right out the window. A couple added dice, which are nice at a real supers level, are a massive benefit at this level.

 

And like I said, I'd rather see folks buy skill levels that make it easier to hit the face, throat, kidney, groin... thereby utilizing the hit location table to represent a skilled blow... rather than generic "extra damage" to indicate a skilled blow.

 

The beauty (and horror, to a new player) of Hero system, is that there is often more than one way to get the same effect. Sometimes a campaign's balance and feel depends on a choice being made, one mechanic over another, that keeps the feel. In a true supers campaign, variety can be cool and a single "feel" for the campaign may not be necesary. For this type however, I'd prefer to really try to limit the raw damage being thrown about, and exemplify skillful attacks in a different way. (The optional combat rules, like Hit Location, assist in this.)

 

It really is campaign driven.

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Re: Secret Worlds: The Avenger falls...

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

Back in the old days armors were 2 times as effective versus unarmed attacks.

 

Might be a good rule to bring back.

 

 

SNIP

The Ugly: System wise... Hero is so solid at this Heroic level... except for Martial Arts. It's too good. For too few points, even "normal" characters can be doing 8-10d6 damage... which creates such situations like, "Hmmm... my 9mm is ineffective... I better start punching, as that does more damage!"

 

Que? That really doesn't fit the "feel" of this campaign.

 

If armor stops a pistol round, it should stop a punch, even a trained punch, better. Anyone who has trained in MA at all knows that it can be an effective skill, but it isn't some magic ability that beats out guns and other weapons. The more "believable" setting of the "real world" I'm using here needs to reflect this.

 

I'm going to have to overhaul the MA... basically reducing the DC each maneuver grants... and doubling the cost of extra DC. 5-6d6 for ok trained... and 7-8d6 max for the really good fighters I'm thinking. Since we are playing Hit Location, I'd rather see Find Weakness and levels to offset called shots used more to reflect martial skill, than the generic extra DCs as a game mechanic to reflect skill. I've done this before, for truly Heroic level Danger International style games... and I think it will work better here, as well.

 

'Til next time... what is YOUR secret. :cool:

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The first time in almost 20 years that Neil creates a new universe and I'm not around to participate?

 

 

AAAAAAAAAAARGH!

 

I look forward to the updates. (and of course, if there's a PBEM version....)

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Guest WhammeWhamme

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Secret Worlds: The Avenger falls...

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

You are right, WhammeWhamme (uh... that sentence is just rife with strange inuendo... :eek: ) I meant to address this, and didn't.

 

(ahem). No intended innuendo. It's just a hackronym.

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

Anyway... I do like the idea of trying a ranged martial art for the gun bunnies... but as Storn mentioned... what happens with MA is that the balance of weapon damage vs. defenses goes right out the window. A couple added dice, which are nice at a real supers level, are a massive benefit at this level.

 

And like I said, I'd rather see folks buy skill levels that make it easier to hit the face, throat, kidney, groin... thereby utilizing the hit location table to represent a skilled blow... rather than generic "extra damage" to indicate a skilled blow.

 

Well... armour (cinematically) doesn't help mooks much. Here's how I see ti working:

 

PC's and major NPC's have Martial Arts, htoh and ranged. They do tremendous damage, dropping even armoured mooks with ease.

PC's and major NPC's also have Combat Luck (brilliant power BTW). This means that when two equals fight, no one get's in a crippling shot, no one hit kills, but a lot of punishment taken and received.

The poor mooks, with none of this stuff (and maybe 50pts to play around with), get flattened, and can rarely do more than hurt the good guys.

 

Of course, that is a particular 'feel'... but I think it's perhaps the most Cinematic.

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

The beauty (and horror, to a new player) of Hero system, is that there is often more than one way to get the same effect. Sometimes a campaign's balance and feel depends on a choice being made, one mechanic over another, that keeps the feel. In a true supers campaign, variety can be cool and a single "feel" for the campaign may not be necesary. For this type however, I'd prefer to really try to limit the raw damage being thrown about, and exemplify skillful attacks in a different way. (The optional combat rules, like Hit Location, assist in this.)

 

It really is campaign driven.

 

Quite so. Right now, I'm just saying this for the benefit of anyone who might make a campaign like this up, really.

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Thanks!

 

No real comments on the campaign itself (which sounds great, by the way). Just wanted to say thanks to RDU Neil for taking the time to post these recaps. I'm having flashbacks to the late RJMHughes' World of Dark Champions summaries which were always enjoyable to read. Especially for those of us with no active gaming lives. :) Can't wait for the next installment (or 5)!

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Hey Niel Great posts!

 

As someone who knows what a pain in the tucas a simple campaign newsletter or Campaign City's front page can be I applaud these Campaign Notes as they are great. I also recognize that you are an accomplished and adored GM and I hope you don't mind these observations that us other herophiles from around the country make about your notes.

 

All that said, in Street Level Dark Champions Campaigns (200/50 point games) I was initially frustrated by the HERO System's firearms and their basic lack of deadliness as compared to MA or even a strong guy with a barstool. In these campaigns my group limited Armor to Real World Values (8 Max) and made it so that any Killing Attack that penetrated (or avoided) Armor caused STUN Damage differently. Any BODY damage that got through was multiplied by the STUNx and applied directly to character without applying any Defenses and before applying Hit Location mods. This had the desired effect of making guns FAR more effective.

Example: 2D6 RKA causes 6 BODY v. a character with 3 rDEF Armor. The STUNx roll is 3 (4-1). So the character in this system took 3 BODY & 9 STUN after Defenses, but before HL Mods.

Hope that helps...keep up the great posting!

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Re: Thanks!

 

Originally posted by DaBadGuy

No real comments on the campaign itself (which sounds great, by the way). Just wanted to say thanks to RDU Neil for taking the time to post these recaps. I'm having flashbacks to the late RJMHughes' World of Dark Champions summaries which were always enjoyable to read. Especially for those of us with no active gaming lives. :) Can't wait for the next installment (or 5)!

 

You are welcome, DBG... I hope some folks enjoy this... plus it helps me put each episode into context... and provide a record of events. Serves all kinds of purposes.

 

This week is 5O/50 whether we'll play... but if we do, I'll write it up.

 

Hopefully some players will chime in with comments, as Storn did... (who, by the way, writes such recaps for his Fantasy game over on PEGINC.Com)

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Originally posted by levi

Hey Niel Great posts!

 

As someone who knows what a pain in the tucas a simple campaign newsletter or Campaign City's front page can be I applaud these Campaign Notes as they are great. I also recognize that you are an accomplished and adored GM and I hope you don't mind these observations that us other herophiles from around the country make about your notes.

 

All that said, in Street Level Dark Champions Campaigns (200/50 point games) I was initially frustrated by the HERO System's firearms and their basic lack of deadliness as compared to MA or even a strong guy with a barstool. In these campaigns my group limited Armor to Real World Values (8 Max) and made it so that any Killing Attack that penetrated (or avoided) Armor caused STUN Damage differently. Any BODY damage that got through was multiplied by the STUNx and applied directly to character without applying any Defenses and before applying Hit Location mods. This had the desired effect of making guns FAR more effective.

Example: 2D6 RKA causes 6 BODY v. a character with 3 rDEF Armor. The STUNx roll is 3 (4-1). So the character in this system took 3 BODY & 9 STUN after Defenses, but before HL Mods.

Hope that helps...keep up the great posting!

 

As with most things in Hero... there a number of ways to tweak the system to get your desired effect. I'd rather not have the players doing extra multiplication for every damage roll. I've honestly found it simple to just raise the DC of ever gun listed, by 1 if I want more damage. A 1d6+1, becomes 1 1/2d6... as example. Right now, I'm leaving gun damage as in the old Dark Champions book... but hot loads, and AP rounds and hollow points... all available, which can change DC and Stun multiples... etc. I enjoy that crunchy gun stuff... so we'll see what happens. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

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Chiming In

 

Well as this is my first Hero's experience I can't comment much on the on the rules tweaking. My forte' of rules lawyering being (please don't lynch me) D&D 3rd ed. But as a devot gamer I can say that it was a great time playing that session. I really got to get back to having fun. Mostly because I had no idea how to do anything. And Neils flavor text is pretty superb. Oh, bye the bye I'm the one playing Damian McGregor.

 

I really hope we can play this Thursday becuase I have some scores to settle. No metal mask wearing, riot gear wearing, flash belt using freak is gonna make me lose money. I hate giving refunds.

 

Oh and Neil don't worry about those NPC's stealing any more face-time. Half of them are fired anyway. Especially the door guys. They let three people in without paying. Sure one was invisible, one was a Ninja and the third was the fight to bring us together but still... un-acceptable.

 

Neil check your E-mail in the next day or so. I have a bunch of stuff Damian is going to want to ask about and I don't want to bog down the game.

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