Sunday, November 18, 2012

Buster Squad 5 - A Necessary Evil Actual Play Volume 8





THE RETURN

After three long years (real life time), we resumed Necessary Evil last night. I began with the opening narration:

“It has been one year since you left Star City. Presumed dead when your headquarters was destroyed by Dr. Destruction, you have moved throughout the world, making surgical strikes on V’Sori installations. Moving with brutal efficiency, Buster Squad 5 has become a horror story among the V’Sori, and a quiet legend being whispered among the resistance.

Communications are tightly controlled by the V’Sori, but word from Star City has proven grim. A number of spies and agents of OMEGA have been rooted out, exposed and executed. Your adventures have not been without peril, either…”

We then moved to using the Interludes system (the original, from Zombie Run, rather than the abbreviated table from Savage Worlds Deluxe. Socks got “Obstacle” and he decided that his obstacle was that he needed a giant statue honoring Bully to be built. I helpfully turned this into an obstacle by indicating that they had heard of a revolutionary artist and sculptor being held in a makeshift prison in France. Socks demanded that they free him.

This led to a tense argument between Socks, Kale and Mindstorm (with Flux having abandoned the team after losing his heart for the fight – Mindstorm ultimately decided not to report this to Dr. Destruction) over whether or not this was a worthwhile effort. Mindstorm said they could have a tribute statue built after the team had won and the V’Sori were defeated, which made Kale laugh. He surprised Socks and Mindstorm by saying that he holds no hope of victory or survival…just that he’ll take down as many V’Sori as he can before he dies.

Kale ultimately agreed to infiltrate the prison, teleporting into it and transforming into a V’Sori (then fast talking his way past a V’Sori who had become suspicious). He got the layout of the prison and walked back to Mindstorm and Socks. Socks and Mindstorm burrowed under the prison by Socks emerged too soon, leaving them facing some drones and a V’Sori. Socks attacked quickly and was nearly Incapacitated by a Drone, but the quick use of an Adventure Card saved the day.

Mindstorm’s attacks from the hole were less than impressive, but Socks took out the Drones. Mindstorm telepathically alerted the prisoner that he was being freed while Kale magically shorted out the communications at the prison. Socks then related the tale of how he was freed from his own prison, being experimented on by the V’Sori, after being saved by a giant, overgrown, superpowered insect that he had never had a chance to thank. This was shortly before Dr. Destruction deposited him at the door of the Buster Squad 5.

Mindstorm’s Interlude related to an injury that he had recently suffered, when he encountered Belladonna, the team’s traitor, who was supposed to have been sent to another reality. Startled by this, he twisted his knee trying to get away from her grasp and took to the skies, scaring her off. (Mindstorm’s player asked me if it was alright that he use Belladonna when I mentioned that she was supposed to be off-world, but I thought it was a nice revelation and told him to go with it. Seems the V’Sori didn’t follow through on their promise).

Dr. Destruction contacted the team and told them that they were needed in Star City, one year to the day that they left. He explained that Shocklord Hreed had came to Earth and that Destruction had dispatched an assassin, alongside another OMEGA cell, to take Hreed out. However, a V’Sori Solo named Rom had taken control of the team and sent them after the assassin. The only reason the assassin, known as Agent 13, hadn’t been found is because no one knows so much as his codename or even appearance…information that he then turned over to the Buster Squad 5. He also gave them info on the controlled Omega Cell: Red Barracuda (a mind controller himself), Trash (a guy that covers himself in garbage to become a hulking monster), Magister Ludi (a sorcerer that Kale scoffed at), Aphotic (an undead masked man) and Abraxas (a rakshasa). Dr. Destruction being so forthcoming with information to the Buster Squad was not lost on the team

Returning to Star City, the team found the city appeared darker, more oppressed. It seemed to be locked down. Intelligence reports that had leaked out over the year implied that the Buster Squad 5 were still being reported as being dead, despite the V’Sori having to know that they were still alive due to their actions worldwide. Slipping through the back alleys, the team were stunned to find, at seemingly random places, graffiti tags of the number “5”. Mindstorm touched the tag and turned to Kale, who was staring intently and flanked by illusions of Bully and Flux, before they faded away. Mindstorm said that THIS is why they fight. Kale merely offered that if they have only returned to die, that he’s at peace with that…but that he would not die at the hands of Hreed or Rom or this mind controlled OMEGA cell…that he would not die until that hit squad that killed Bully were rotting in the ground. Socks unleashed a ferocious, guttural growl. Kale said that, for maybe the first time, they were all in agreement. The three men touched hands and Kale said that the streets of Star City should run red with blood.

Socks had Kale contact Izzy, Willy the Fish’s former right hand man, who was stunned to see the group. Izzy told them about the V’Sori rooting out OMEGA spies like Lila Jackson, the cop that helped Mindstorm escape the police station, and shattering several OMEGA cells. He said that some cells had even disbanded. He did tell Socks that Tula, the resistance fighter Socks and the team had fought with last year, was asking about him still, but that she was currently in South America. Izzy told the team that the hitman was last spotted in Tempest and the team set out to find him.

After Kale’s efforts failed, Mindstorm made telepathic contact. Agent 13 told them to meet him at the Brewery. Along the way, Mindstorm passed a bum covered in newspapers and saw the headlines announced that after the untimely passing of Mayor Perez that the new Mayor, Vincent Blevins, was taking office…Mindstorm’s own brother! Mindstorm growled that he NEEDED that assassin.

As the team arrived at the Brewery, they realized they were being followed…by the controlled OMEGA cell! Socks lashed out and wounded Aphotic and Magister Ludi, while Mindstorm unleashed an electrical burst that stunned Red Barracuda and ultimately killed Ludi! Abraxas charged Socks, but Kale drew on deeper wells of power and told Abraxas that his very presence offended Kale, before slapping his hand to Abraxas’ chest and killing him instantly! Trash smashed Socks and a shot rang out, wounding Red Barracuda, and a second shot took him down, seemingly freeing Trash and Aphotic from their stupor!

Mindstorm asked Kale if Red Barracuda was controlling the team and Kale answered that he assumed it was a V’Sori controlling them THROUGH Red Barracuda. Abraxas and Ludi were dead and Barracuda was dying, so Mindstorm asked Kale if he could save Barracuda. Kale said “yes” and walked away. Mindstorm asked him if he was GOING to save Barracuda and Kale said “no”. This led to another tense confrontation and Kale pointed out that these guys were horrible people even by OMEGA standards. Trash asked if they should be offended and Kale offered that they weren’t the first OMEGA agents the team had to kill. Mindstorm said they probably wouldn’t be the last. Agent 13 piped over the CommLink and said they were in a rush, because word had come down that Warmaster F’arak was secretly coming to visit Earth!

Mindstorm quickly formulated a plan and had Kale animate the body of Magister Ludi and alter his appearance. Trash and Aphotic joined Socks and Mindstorm in getting close to the landing site at Beachhead, while Agent 13 found himself a perch and Kale and his meat puppet took an opposite perch. The team got to witness Rom and Hreed grumbling about V’Sori politics while waiting on F’arak and another Shocklord, P’loss’ee, to arrive. Mindstorm summoned a storm and waited…until Kale had the corpse of Ludi fire the first shot, missing F’arak. The team sprang into action but the V’Sori were unimpressed and Aphotic was Shaken by P’Loss’ee. Hreed ran for cover while Trash charged in and smashed a drone, but was set upon by Fins. Mindstorm came in dropping lightning bolts on F’arak, but the Warmaster appeared uninjured…though he also had trouble focusing his retaliation on Mindstorm. Socks dove in after P’Loss’ee while Agent 13 began taking HIS shots.

Rom took control of Trash’s mind as Kale teleported out to the battlefield, and Aphotic was blasted apart by drones. Kale went after Rom but failed, murder glistening in his eyes. Rom drew a vibro sword and sneered at Kale, sending him on the defensive.

Socks was finding these guys to be better fighters than he figured and was being neutralized offensively, while shaking off hits that were continuing to mount. Mindstorm kept blasting away at F’arak, while resisting mental assaults from him and P’Loss’ee, before Agent 13 cracked off another shot, exploding P’Loss’ee’s head. With this, Hreed teleported away.

Rom’s concentration broken, Trash snapped free from his control and attacked, but Rom’s armor resisted. He turned to Trash with contempt and prepared to attack, but Kale slipped his hand to Rom’s head and whispered to him that the Infection was already inside his wonderful brain, thanks to the finest Atlantean magic…and that the Leviathan would see Rom in Hell. Then Kale was wounded by attacks from the drone and Leviathan reinforcements, while Trash was blasted by a drone and went down in a heap.

The group heard a mechanical voice uttering “Multifunction Automaton Requisitioned for Killing: Designate Talos..activated” and Talos crashed to the earth near Kale, stunning one of the Fins. He began to Taunt them, drawing their attention, then laughing as he resisted their attacks.

Mindstorm dodged the attacks of the wounded F’arak, who never saw Socks coming. Once more, the top of the V’Sori food chain was brought down by a raging beast. Socks started to turn to Kale, but Talos waved him off, and he turned back to Mindstorm…who said they needed to KNOW F’arak was dead! Socks reached down and tore F’arak’s head from his body and threw it at the Fins, then grabbed Mindstorm and burrowed into the earth!

The Fins were momentarily distracted and Talos told Kale to “grab on…to anything above the waist, so it doesn’t get awkward” and the two bolted into the sky to safety.

In the aftermath, Dr. Destruction reported that Agent 13 had been killed, presumably by Hreed when he teleported away.

Warlord Grypon and Mayor Blevins flipped the entire city on its ear, and the faces of Mindstorm, Kale and Socks were blasted across every media outlet in the city, Wanted: Dead or Alive…their posters on every street corner and business in Star City…with half of them becoming defaced with crimson “5s” as soon as they were placed.

NOTES: Everyone slipped back into character very easily for it having been so long since we had played. Lots of great roleplaying tonight, though the combat tended to get bogged down at points because the players still like to get locked into certain tactics and follow them off the cliff (like Socks sweeping and Mindstorm blasting). Obviously, I’ve tweaked Star City a bit upon their arrival, and dropped mentions to the previous campaign continuity all throughout the session, with the players actually remembering and picking up on them. That was very cool. They tore through the fight with the OMEGA cell, getting great rolls and great cards…the V’Sori fight was much tougher, both due to bad cards and tougher enemies, and they used a lot of bennies to Soak.

Mindstorm picks up a new Advance, the Marksman Edge, and the group is set to reconvene in one week, post-Thanksgiving.

Another note: This was my first time actually using the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition rulebook and it was INCREDIBLY frustrating because the index was seemingly cut and pasted from the Savage Worlds Deluxe book...meaning the page numbers were way off due to the formatting change.