Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Aeon A-Team S01E02 - And We Are Watching


Dramatis Personae
Aysella Shinjitai aka Marionette (played by +Ann LS): a telekinetic who can detect Kyberian Energy, and boost or dampen other metahuman powers.
Hobs Ini-Herit aka The Alchemist (played by +Christian Gelacio): a straight-up matter controller with super-strength and devastating good looks.
Roth Reynard aka Red Zone (played by +Troy Loy): a super-genius with flame powers and a fear of heights.
Samuel Donick aka RePlay (played by +Curtis Johnston): A telepath who can do your standard mind-tricks, but is exceptionally good at altering memories.
Jacob C. Wikvaya aka Shaman (played by +Thomas Phelps): A plant, animal, and weather-controller. Also a criminal-mastermind (but not by choice).

Severus U. "Sue" Edgeworth (NPC Ally): Young angry man. "Super-normal" who's insanely good at hand-to-hand combat, infiltration, and other spy/military skills. What kind of name is Sue? It's the one he gave himself. Mock it at your own risk.


Looks Clear...
Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
Slope & Sons Bodega, 66°F, Clear skies
Sunday, March 7th, 2003, 2:00am

216 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215

The game picked up where it had left off last session - the PCs had tracked a uniformed officer to a bodega off 5th Avenue in Brooklyn. The cop had picked up the diamonds from the heist the PCs had stopped (they then baited the criminals with the diamonds which the Alchemist had "forged" along with an embedded tracking device). Watching the officer, the Alchemist takes multiple photographs of the incident while paranoid Red Zone decides to put another tracking device on the patrol car - just in case. They track the car on foot (the players are all fast as hell, Basic Move 8+, and have the Urban Jungle Gym perk allowing them to move rapidly through urban environments). They end up at Nine-Juan-Juan's Fish Taco Stand (yes, that fish taco stand) where the officer meets up with three other uniformed cops and a detective in plain clothing. The Alchemist heads inside to try to snoop on the conversation, but gets hard stares from the police (this was a failed Observation and it makes sense, since apparently no one can be sneaky in a fish taco stand, *cough* The Commander *cough*). Meanwhile, Red Zone has taken over surveillance with Sue, and MArionette reads the lips of one of the officers:

"Good. I know a jew in the Heights who'll give us $0.70 on the dollar for these and won't ask questions." says the detective. "Everything set for Friday?"
"Yeah, Z, we're set. The chinks have sent a package via special delivery. We're to get it at the Red Hook Docks and then distribute it in the usual place to the usual folks. We keep 5% and they pay us the usual 10%. We should clear 800 large."
"Good, Make sure Dickie's there and a few of his boys. ABK is getting uppity and I could see them trying to do a rip."
"I'll take care of it, Z. That guy watching us?" (he then stared at the Alchemist for a while who quickly left)
"Nah. Just some punk kid. Alright, Night Shift. Head on out. We gotta 'protect' and 'serve.'" the detective said laughing along with his guys.

Marionette relays the information back to the others, but Red Zone has already set up a laser microphone and is taping the whole thing. Sue and Shaman scope the building out and set more GPS trackers on the cops vehicles. When the Night Shift left, Marionette comes up with a plan: they're going to heavily surveill the "Night Shift" for a week until they can get enough information together to get charges brought against them. Her plan requires incontrovertible proof of corruption and a good cop willing to bust his own brothers in blue. They choose Detective Azzaca "Zac" Malik for the latter. Det. Malik acts as a force of good in his community - Crown Heights - and is known for being incorruptible. He's taken down a couple of dity cops before and is revered and despised by his brothers in blue in equal measure.


How's It Look Now?
Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
Various
Monday, March 8th, 2003 through

Friday, March 14h, 2003

Monday morning Marionette signs everyone up for Private Investigator and Bail Enforcement Agent courses. By Tuesday, everyone is licensed fully (a cover story in case any of them are caught snooping) and begin following their targets. When they are not at school (everyone is studying a degree for something or other at Columbia) they are watching their targets The next day Marionette goes into the 77th precinct in street clothing to complain to Det. Mailk - her husband's (Sue's) step-father about a lost phone. The bored cop takes her to the lost/found and she claims a Little Mermaid phone someone lost. This gives both Red Zone and Sue time to tap into the department's comm systems and servers.

Sue and Red Zone end up planting audio bugs in all the Night Shift's residences and cars. Red Zone and RePlay (whose player is absent, but I decide to use him in this one instance) crack the municipal records server and plant a backdoor that's near-invisible so they can get back in. They get everything on the Night Shift, including Internal Affairs records which seem to point at a systemic pattern of corruption and violence. Shaman even speaks to some of his criminal contacts David J. “Mickey Dees” McDonald (A fence) who admits that the Night Shift crew has sold him some goods before, but he stopped buying after he heard what they did to people that worked with them (they go to jail or the harbor)

By Friday they've got their plan in motion and have set up a video camera at the docks and nearby warehouse with the corrupt cops none the wiser. (The final Shadowing roll for gathering information on these guys was a whooping 17 when time spent and complementary rolls were taken into account.)


Looks Clear...
Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
Red Hook Container Terminal

Friday, March 14h, 2003, 11:00pm
70 Hamilton Ave, Brooklyn, 11231


Having spent hundreds of man-hours shadowing the Night Shift and preparing the docks so they could get clear unobstructed footage, the PCs set up shop and wait. Within a few hours the Night Shift shows up with a baker's dozen of gangbangers and muscle to watch their backs. Badly outnumbered, a potential conflict could turn deadly for one of the less combat-capable team members. When an old handymax cargo ship begins to pull in port Marionette gets an idea to avoid any possible combat and make sure the Night Shift's fingers are all over whatever illegal merchandise (most likely drugs) they are bringing in. Combining their abilities, Shaman brings kelp up from the seabed and twists up the engine on the ship, Marionette uses her TK to hold the ship in place, and the Alchemist turns the water in sand creating an "instant" sandbar. (the PCs uses a metric ton of FP here to use G0dlike Extra Effort and Combining Powers. Their total combined telekinetic ST was over 1,000. Captain Planet jokes were had which temporarily devolved the session into could they make Captain Planet? I said "Hell No" and asked if they wanted to be trees?) The ship runs aground and freaks out the crew. During the distraction the PCs sneak aboard via a stolen boat no one can pilot. They decide Marionette gets to skipper the vessel (but she rolls an 18, and immediately uses Karma Points to change it and decides to use her TK to push the boat silently - it's slow, but stealthy) and they get aboard. Once aboard they go rooting through the cargo hold till they find what they are looking for: 150 kilos of heroin stuffed in the lining of designer coffee mugs. Red "Gee. Pee. Ess." Zone pulls out yet another tracker, then the Alchemist phases it into one of the bottom most boxes after testing the heroin's purity (over 90%). (Matter Control powers are kind of Shineh. *_*) The PCs then head back to their boat staying far enough away that they can't be seen. Once back to shore they watch the crooks use boats of their own to go get their illicit goods and pack it in a van. They head to a nearby warehouse and begin taking stock. Various gangbangers and criminals start filtering in as the Night Shift hands out the goods for the payment the distributors (whoever is supplying the drugs - which they still don't know who that is). Getting all the evidence they need, the PCs enact the near-final part of their plan: They call Det. Malik (nope, he don't look nothing like Idris Elba.

Not at all *whistles*) and tell him to show up at a certain warehouse at Red Hook. Since Marionette makes the call (using the burner phone from earlier and with a voice disguiser she makes her Reaction roll - a freaking 18) and convinces him to come see for himself. Det. Malik does just that bringing the only on duty cop at the department - Desk Sgt. Heade (Vice Principal Heade's "younger" and "more attractive" brother [warning: not more younger or attractive, but the NPC insists otherwise]). They arrive on scene and Det. Malik decides to take a look at what's going on before charging in. Seeing the dirty cops distributing drugs with Det. Zell (the crew leader) he retrieves his AR-15 from the car and hands his backup (the Desk Sgt.) the shotgun. The two then perform an impromptu bust that goes their way quickly as the PCs interfere Red Zone melts the receivers on several guns, the Alchemist turns the gunpowder in their rounds to sand, Shaman causes the plants to grow up around the exits preventing them from running, while Marionette and Sue start knocking out the crooks trying to run. In no time flat Det. Malik has 30 suspects in custody and is calling for backup and Internal Affairs since six of them are police officers. Marionette then appears in an alleyway and informs the Detective that they had no other choice. The "Night Shift" had to be taken down by a police officer for the proper effect to be had. When Malik asks what they effect was she replies "To let them know we are out here. That we see what's going on. That we will no longer tolerate corruption and criminality. That we are Sentry. And we are watching. We will not forsake you. And we are everywhere." "You're just one person?" "No" she replies "Now we are two." before using her marionette strings to climb up and away.

Police flood the area and when the department tries to keep it out of the news Malik himself calls a local journalist (Tanya Thimbleton) and breaks the news. By morning Malik is being accused of performing an unsanctioned IAB investigation...except all the proper paperwork, evidence, and files seem to appear in Metro with even an IAB officer having signed off on it (I decided to use RePlay's memory altering abilities here even though the player wasn't there because it was too useful not to). Det. Malik ends up with a helluva collar and some bad guys end up in jail.


After Action Report/Rules Notes
My brother missing a second game session in a row was annoying as hell, but I know why he missed it. He was helping his mom (my foster mom) move down to Florida. Meh. We had to use Roll20 this week because Chris was still recovering from some car issues the previous week. Overall, it was a good session with zero tactical combat that was still memorable and awesome. The PCs did take out the crew of corrupt cops pretty fast (about three 8-hour game sessions worth of story in one 7 hour session). Luckily, I plan ahead pretty far. We also changed the expectations for this season from a powered antagonist to a larger group of non-powered normal foes. That should wrap up Season 1. My players also expressed a desire for shorter seasons (6 to 10 sessions) until they've caught up to the other teams in the timeline and I agreed.

One thing the players decided was they wanted to build and launch a satellite into orbit. To do this they spent 3 months of game time and created a company (Theia Technologies is the working name) for cover to do this. The idea is that they can get a spy/communications satellite into orbit and then use that (along with the numerous illegal taps, backdoors, and hacks they've done to the cities power grid, infrastructure, and computers) to get a better handle on the crime and corruption of the city. While this totally violates the right to privacy (and could come up later on as a plot point), the team has enough moral fiber to use it in a way that target's criminality and not people. With a couple of Invention rolls (and a crit on the prototype roll), the PCs get their pet project in the air. The Alchemist also made use of his powers and partially funded the project by turning things to gold to finance the operation. We'll see how it plays out. Overall, I'm pretty happy.

One thing that did throw me for a loop is the Extra Effort rules for powers - I totally have been conflating them and the normal Extra Effort rules. I think I'm going to need to come up with a easier rule set for Aeon because the GURPS Powers version is a bit of a PITA.


Session Soundtrack
"Chinatown Hustler" - Notorious MSG
"Another One Bites the Dust" - Queen
"Everything Breath You Take" - The Police
"Seven Nation Army" - The White Stripes (especially when the PCs were tag teaming the corrupt cops by following them)
"Fight the Good Fight" - Triumph

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