Sunday, October 14, 2012

Buster Squad 5 - A Necessary Evil Actual Play Report vol. 1

Expect a lot of these over the next few days, as I log my old Necessary Evil campaign on the time for us to hopefully resume it this weekend, in anticipation of seeing the Plot Point campaign through to the end!

These are largely straight forward cut-and-pastes, so references to time and stuff are not accurate, as these logs are now three-four years old.

So I began the Necessary Evil Plot Point Campaign tonight.




OKAY…You were warned.

The group is two PCs and three Wild Card allies (to make up for the low number of players.)

Mindstorm – a telekinetic, weather controlling mutant, with a forceful personality but also a superiority complex - (played by my friend Kenny) is scraping by on the streets of Star City when he’s scooped up by the Fins on a patrol.

Angel’s Bane (played by my friend Tommy) is a demon on Earth, forming a cult due to people willing to latch onto anything in the face of the alien invasion for aid and comfort, even a walking Hellbeast.  An alien sweep wipes out his cult and subdues him.

They are put on a transport with some other captured criminals, including Belladona, a poisonous seductress, Bully, The Bull That Walks Like A Man, and a mysterious Atlantean sorcerer.

The transport is zipping along Central Avenue, when it was violently attacked!  The transport flips end over end, crashing to a halt…Earth’s most infamous villain, Dr. Destruction, enters the craft and asks, simply: “You want to live?”

The PCs quickly agree, and board his transport.  As the carrier heads north, Dr. Destruction informs them that he wants them to become a new cell in his terrorist movement: Omega.  All they have to do is rescue an imprisoned Omegan named Mindjack and bring him back to Dr. Destruction alive.  Then he dumps them out of the carrier, plummeting to the earth, with 7 seconds to tell him whether or not they wish to join up.  As they agree, their nullifiers are obliterated.  Both PCs can fly, and Mindstorm rescues Belladonna from her fall.  Bully crashes through the roof of a prison guardhouse.  The sorcerer floats to the ground, while Angel’s Bane zips through the hole.

Inside, four drones – captives that have had all their will subjugated by V’Sori implants and covered in armor – are taken completely by surprise at the bold assault.  Angel’s Bane unleashes his Fear aura…except the drones are immune, and his own teammates are not!  Bully and Kale (The Sorcerer) are unfazed, but Mindstorm is Shaken and Belladonna is so traumatized that she gains a Minor Phobia from it!  Bully and Angel’s Bane close to attack in melee, while Kale and Mindstorm unleash ranged attacks on the drones.  Unfortunately, nothing sticks and the next round, eight more drones join the fray!

Belladonna hangs to the back, unable to use her poisonous abilities on something covered head to toe.  One of the new drones misses Bully with an energy blast and blows a hole in one of the drones fighting Bully, causing the first casualty.  Kale decides to “borrow” some magical power from the Elder God that grants him his abilities, to cause an electrical surge to overload the drones…and instead overloads himself, gaining a level of fatigue and losing access to his sorcery for a whole day!

Mindstorm takes his cue, however, and unloads with the electrical surge on the group standing in the back firing, and rattling half of them.

One well-placed shot nearly brings Bully down, giving him three wounds, but sending him into a berserker rage!  He gores one drone, ripping him apart, and charges the group firing at them!

Angel’s Bane grips the face of one drone, causing the visor to Decay away, while Mindstorm keeps zapping drones with electrical bursts.  Belladonna and Kale help Angel’s Bane gang up on the drone he exposed, and she’s able to use her poisonous touch to bring him down.  Kale and Angel’s Bane both get shot and wounded, but Mindstorm’s last surge wipes out the remaining firing drones, and leaves the Omega cell hurt but standing.

Now deciding to look for Mindjack, they find his cell and Mindstorm fruitlessly attempts to use Telekinesis to get the door open, when Angel’s Bane finally laughs him off and rots the cage door down.

A Latina woman in another cage introduces herself as Valerie Ramirez and says she can make it worth their while to get her free, but Angel’s Bane has no interest in doing anything other than what he agreed to, and flies out of the complex with Mindjack.  Mindstorm and Bully work Valerie’s cage door over, until Mindstorm finally shocks the lock free.  Other prisoners begin screaming for release, but Mindstorm ignores them and leads Kale, Bully, Belladonna and Valerie out of the prison.

Dr. Destruction returns to them as promised, and scoffs at the extra passenger, but allows her aboard.

His carrier drops them off at Southtown, a rough neighborhood largely free of V’Sori activities…and informs them that they are now an Omega cell, whether they like it or not…and that he’ll be in touch.

Mindstorm, making the best of things, starts kicking around team names, suggesting “The Evil Sideliners” in an in-joke nod to our Marvel SAGA game (Mindstorm here is an evil version of Kenny’s character from that game)…while Angel’s Bane shakes his head and walks away.  Bully offers up “Bully and His Bad Boys”, to which Mindstorm and Belladonna react in bewilderment, and head in their own direction.  Bully is left fairly oblivious in the street as the new cell all head their own ways.

Notes: This was Kenny’s first session with Savage Worlds and he was quite pleased with it.  Tommy and I had been playing it the last two Sundays, and have a pretty good hang of things.  There were a handful of times over the course of the fight that things looked scary for the Omega cell…but when Mindstorm started unloading with Electrical bursts, things got ugly fast for the drone.  Tommy has decided that Angel’s Bane needs a bit of refocusing, first when his Fear had no effect on the drones and then when he couldn’t get a drone to fail the Vigor roll to take a wound from Decay…so he’s thinking something big and scythe-y now.  Tommy has also assured me that Angel’s Bane’s refusal to cooperate is all in the spirit of the game and not passive-aggressive sabotage, as he and Kenny had a grand ol’ time playing villains instead of white hats for a change.  Kenny and Tommy have latched onto Belladonna and Bully already, which surprised me.

Kenny is notoriously hard to get to try new things, so I was surprised at his complete buy-in for the game, even providing boxes of HeroClix minis and maps for gameplay.  Both guys (and myself) are looking forward to next session…with anywhere from 1-3 more players POSSIBLY joining the mix.
Session 2!

Though the team basically scattered at the end of the last session, when they all found the commlinks Dr. Destruction gave them upon dropping them off, and he came a-calling with news that he needed them to find the villain Terron’s secret lair, and to take a power relay at the warehouse he left them at with them, they all convened on their drop-off spot.

Angel’s Bane toyed with Belladonna some more, and they discovered that only Bully was strong enough to carry the massive relay.  Dr. Destruction had told them at the Undergrounders living below the city probably knew where Terron’s lair was at, and Angel’s Bane recalled an abandoned pump station on the coast of the South Point that had a sewer entry large enough to bring the relay.

The squad (dubbed Buster Squad 5 by Mindstorm) headed underground, and wandered aimlessly in the sewers for an hour and a half before Mindstorm found a passageway into some underground caverns that had been poorly hidden…little did they know, but they barely missed a roaming pack of G’roks, these mutated lizards the V’Sori unleashed into the sewers years ago.

The villains made their way into their caverns and were quickly spotted by The Undergrounders, and ten of them met the villains, offering to take them to their leader.  The villains, on their guard because of how easy this was, were surprised to find the leader of the Undergrounders was Valerie Ramirez, whom Mindstorm released from a cell during the Mindjack jailbreak!

Crediting them for the fact that she’s back with her people, Ramirez dispatched scouts to take the villains to Terron’s lair!  As they prepared to leave, a young child was met by Angel’s Bane and got greeted with a fang-filled smile, but impressed the heck out of Angel’s Bane by not flinching! (Aced the heck out of a spirit roll to resist Intimidation!)  They arrived at a drainage pipe that feeds out from the lair…which was large enough for them to enter, but too small for the relay!  Upon hearing about other collapsed entrances to the lair, the squad decided to leave Belladonna to guard the relay while they entered the lair.

Upon entering the lair, they spied the power source…saw a pile of dead g’roks…and were attacked by the robot guardian left behind by Terron!

Bully went straight into battle with it, while Kale, Mindstorm and Angel’s Bane launched attacks from afar.  Kale had a spellcasting slip-up that left him shaken, while Mindstorm’s lightning and Angel’s Bane’s fire left the thing unscathed.  The guardian drove its massive scythes into Bully, gashing him open and leaving him very, very hurt.

Angel’s Bane launched fireballs at the legs of the robot while Mindstorm shot lightning at its head, but again the robot was undeterred.  Kale got desperate and tapped into darker powers, teleporting behind the robot, grabbing it and teleporting it outside one of the collapsed entryways.

Having neutralized the guardian, the team was still left to figure out how to hook up the relay…so Angel’s Bane began decaying the tunnel, widening it out.  When it was wide enough, Bully hauled the relay up and they hooked it up, completing the mission.

And then things went south.  Angel’s Bane decided he needed a weapon, and wanted to remove the scythes from the robot guardian…so he used his Decay power on the collapsed entryway…Bully, wounded bad enough, bailed out on this, while Mindstorm (with the Loyal hindrance) grudgingly stuck around.  Kale hung back, watching on.

Angel’s Bane and the robot were immediately locked into melee, while Mindstorm tried to use electrical control to drain the robot, but only succeeded at small shortages.  Kale cast Malfunction and disabled it for a moment, but it recovered…so he summoned the earth to surround it, only to have it break free.

Kale, deciding the whole thing was quite idiotic, bailed out, joining Bully and Belladonna…while Mindstorm and Angel’s Bane continued fighting.  Angel’s Bane gut gutted by the robot, and it chased Mindstorm down, nearly getting him as well!

Angel’s Bane rolled a critical failure on his stabilization roll…and died alone on the floor, near the g’roks in Terron’s lair.

This led to a break in the game session, as Tommy (Angel’s Bane) took a smoke break and brainstormed a new character, and we whipped him up…a human-badger nicknamed Socks (because of the white fur on his limbs).  We quickly devise a back story that actually dovetails nicely with the next adventure I have planned, and viola!

Dr. Destruction informed Buster Squad 5 of the news that the power source had worked, and that he had tapped into Alpha Force’s (think JLA or Avengers) computers!

A few days later, Dr. Destruction drops off a “Sorry About Your Dead Demon” card for the poor recovering villains.

They receive a communication from the Doctor, informing them that the V’Sori are breeding a new form of hybrid somewhere in Southpoint, Warhounds that can track superhuman energy signatures!

He then introduces them to Socks, who is being dropped off at their warehouse by his minions, a human-badger experiment that escaped from the V’Sori.  Then he issues his next order: Find their lab, codenamed The Dog House, kill everything inside, and burn it down.

Quick introductions are made, and Buster Squad 5 depart, with Socks attempting to track his own movements back to the Dog House.

The villains discover they are being followed…and being sized up by a hyper-drugged gang!  The gang decides that Bully’s the only real threat, so they emerge and announce that they are members of the Southpoint Slashers.  Socks immediately recognizes them as a street gang known for snitching out supers to the V’sori, in exchanges for better weapons such as vibroblades!  Combat begins, with Bully quickly goring one, and Mindstorm calling down lighting on another.  Kale disorients himself with a spell gone wrong, while Socks burrows into the concrete and emerges with a brutal sneak attack on a third!  The fourth is quickly smashed and the fifth runs for it, outpacing Socks…but can’t outrun the lighting as Mindstorm strikes him down.

Mindstorm takes two vibroknives for his trouble, as Belladonna quietly retrieves a vibrosword from the leader.

Socks is confronted by a crazy old bag lady who is complaining that her dog Wolf was stolen by the blue men in the flying car, points to the south west, and disappears into a wall.  Socks picks up the trail and guides the team to the old Hazel Cannery, which has been converted to a lab!

Socks darts straight into the building…which is loaded down with V’sori scientists, Fin soldiers, a dozen drones and a pair of Warhounds!

The scientists immediately headed for a Barracuda transport outside, but Socks popped up on one of them and gutted him.  Bully wiped out a drone, while Mindstorm zipped into the cannery and unleashed an electrical burst on a cluster of men.  Belladonna surprised her teammates by striding into the building with the vibrosword and beheading a drone herself!

Kale teleported into the cannery and took a defensive position as he began to subtly glow and hum with energy!

A Warhound stalked Socks but, as it tried to pounce, a drone attempted to fire pointblank at Socks and Socks redirected his cannon…blowing the Warhound’s head off!

Mindstorm hung back, popping off burst after burst, while Kale exploded…to unfortunately little effect.  He did take out a V’sori scientist, and Mindstorm got one himself with another electrical burst.

One scientist made it to the transport…but Socks burrowed under the building and popped up on another that almost made it, tearing him apart before he could get there.

The drones had a disastrous round of combat, accidentally killing a handful of their own number as well as a Fin!

Kale got gutted by a Fin, and went down hard…while Bully crushed one Fin himself.  Mindstorm unleashed a powerful burst on the cluster near Kale and wiped out another scientist, as well as two Fins.

The second warhound attacked Socks on the transport…but couldn’t breach his parry and got killed just as the last scientist bordered the transport!

Belladonna nearly had a mishap with a fusion grenade taken from a dead fin, but it exploded out of the way instead of between her and Bully.

The last scientist recognized Socks as V’sori handiwork, and spat that the inferior freak could not stop him…unleashing a mental blast!  Socks held firm!  The scientist attacked again…but Socks shook it off and tore him apart!

Inside the building, Bully, Mindstorm and Belladonna finished breaking the drones, while Kale lapsed into a coma.

The crew looked over the building and their options…and Bully, of all people, figured out the weak points of the building and placed 9 fusion grenades…and Mindstorm unleashed the worst lightning strikes he could muster, exploding the grenades and bringing the building down into a fiery heap!

Kale recovered from his coma, severely injured, at the end of the week…about the time Dr. Destruction congratulated the cell on their work in obliterating the Warhound project and ominously informing him that he would be in touch soon.

Notes:  I think Tommy (Angel’s Bane and Socks) was dissatisfied with his first character and sabotaged himself against the robot guardian in the first adventure, getting himself killed.

Now, Necessary Evil has much less lethal rules than Savage Worlds, but I let Angel’s Bane die for two reasons: 1) the sheer stupidity of going after an enemy that they had not hurt for something as silly as a trophy and 2) he did roll a critical failure on his recovery roll.

That said, he’s much happier with the new character, which had impressive debut in the big battle at the Doghouse.

That brings me to my next point:  The Doghouse battle.  5 Wildcards (2 PCs and 3 NPCs) vs 5 V’Sori scientists, 5 Fins, 2 Warhounds and 12 drones…and man it played so smooooth.  29 minis on the map and the whole thing just keeped moving at such an even clip…it impressed the Hell out of me.

I’m saddened by the loss of the storyline potential of Angel’s Bane’s death…the eventual betrayal between him and Belladonna (whoever turned on who) was going to be fun, and now will not happen…but I think “Socks” is going to work out lovely for Tommy and that’s what matters.  Similarly, I was going to work that Undergrounder kid that was unintimidated by Angel’s Bane back in, but that would be a bit of a stretch now.

Second session was quite successful, with the realities of the resistance sinking in, after burying one member of the cell and two more coming dangerously close to dying…(under normal Savage Worlds rules, Kale would be dead, instead of spending nearly a week Incapacitated with a permanent injury).