Thursday, March 9, 2017

Aeon V-Team S01E01 - Mall Madness


Dramatis Personae
Ciera A. Maeweather aka Weather Girl (played by +Christian Gelacio): Considered the weather manipulator (and News Channel 4's meteorologist). Ciera can control the local weather in a variety of ways including earthquakes and the oceans. Highly trained original member of the Valiants and master of Capoeira.
Sigyn A. “Ginny” Locke aka Valkyrie (played by +Ann LS): Original member of the Valiants. Team captain of the second response team. Battlesuit wearing pyro- and chronokinetic with multiple secondary abilities including Savant capabilities, flexible bones, immunity to mental control,  an "awe" aura, and the ability to "summon" her possessions (which is how she gets in her battlesuit).
Janos K. "John" Nemonovich aka Doctor Mnemonic (played by +Troy Loy): Incredibly intelligent savant from another reality (which experienced the TAP during the late 1800s vs. late 1900s). Immortal with a perfect memory and eternally youthful body. Wears a costume with a "steampunk" aesthetic.
Sophia O. Saki aka Silkworm (played by +Natiel Leealexander): Mute fabric-controlling metahuman. Secondary abilities includes telepathic bond with identical sisters (they were triplets) and "forgetfulness" aura (people can't remember her). Her signature ability is to manipulate fabric to produce strong "tendrils."

Alicia I. Milam aka Howler (NPC): Once viglanate and still angry orphan with a chip on her shoulder and "perfect physical coordination" - she can bounce a quarter from the floor to a soda machine and hit every time. Looks up to the others as family she never had. Riki-Tiki-Tavi (NPC): An Ivory Labs "Doolittler" (an altered animal like Yukio from B-Team), Riki-Tiki-Tavi or "Tiki" is a semi-sapient mongoose with obsession for anything sweet - but especially cookies. His bite is toxic and insanely strong (about 23,000 PSI or ST 120). He has enhanced reflexes, regenerative ability, and an enhanced sense of smell.
Lucian A. de Keye aka Warlock (NPC): Lucian (or Lu as he prefers to be called) is a metahuman who can control darkness and space (including teleportation) and a sorceror. His powers are not linked, but he likes using darkness as a means for getting in and out with his teleportation. He can make constructs of darkness and is a capable skirmish porter.


Meanwhile...
This episode happened "in media res" and was as much a test of the player builds as much as them getting used to one another's play styles for their characters.

This is some text!

Another Prick at the Mall
Dr. Mnemonic, Silkworm, Valkyrie, & Weather Girl
East River Plaza, 33°F, Light Snow
Friday, January 6th, 2017, 3:00 pm

520 E 117th St, New York, NY 10035

The Valiants are called to East River Plaza to deal with an alleged siting of Charles M. McCray aka Requiem (#9 on the Office of Metahuman Affairs Most Wanted Watchlist). Unfortunately, it's not alleged. McCray is present along with a dozen and a half henchthings (likely mind-controlled or conditioned as he never bothers to recruit). The PCs come across him screaming incoherently at one of the terrified hostages (a mix of mall-goers and kiosk workers) with the rest tied to chairs in the food court. Weather Girl brings herself, Howler, Silkworm, and Dr. Mnemonic through the skylight. Meanwhile, Warlock brings Valkyrie and Tiki through the shadows of a kiosk. They launch a two-pronged attack.


The henchthings are using "advanced looking" longarms and are wearing assault-caliber body armor. (You paying attention here other teams? What does this sound like to you? Rhymes with OOOoo Pies.) Dr. Mnemonic goes first and uses the momentum from Weather Girls Shock and Awe entrance to draw his sword cane and jump forward. Since the two closet targets have their backs to him he opts to attack their spines (it's technically not killing them....). Snickersnack they go down. Valkyrie instructs Tiki to bite off the restraints of the hostages...but gets distracted by the yummy smells of MRs. Field's cookies in the trash cane.

Howler throws some body glitter in the nearest henchthings eyes and...hits (she didn't even use your power - this would become a running them - she critted FIVE times). Valkyrie "summons" her battlesuit and shoves a kiosk into one of the henchthings pinning him under it. Requiem, not liking being stopped screams and the air ripples with power as pure sound pushes outward from him causing devastation as it goes (luckily, the PCs all managed to dodge the cone attack). Next, Warlock teleports to the remaining two southward henchthings and teleports with them (stunning them) and handcuffing them as he goes. Teleporting back to the kiosk he started at he waits for orders from the team captain. Silkworm launches herself forward on her textile tendrils and begins grappling henchthings (ST 60 one-handed grapples!) to help secure the hostages.

The henchthings begin attacking the Valiants in a no-holds barred combat emptying clips into them (which are blocked or destroyed by various PCs using powers or tech). On her turn, Weather Girl uses her ability to cause a heat wave to begin sapping the strength of the henchthings and Requiem (persistent 1 FP attack and he stunted Reduced Time so he could bring the heat up 70 degrees in one second in a 64 yard radius). It has a devastating effect.

One of the henchthings shoots at Howler and opts to use her power (but doesn't because she crits!) to split the bullets so they hit other foes. Her efforts drop four targets at once (and also result in one of the henchthings manifesting as they were reduced to 0 HP in a single hit). Dr. Mnemonic launches a series of attacks with his sword cane targeting hands and feet and taking more targets down (he even parries a firearm attack by rolling his Blade! skill to hit the safety on the weapon rolling a critical success!). Tiki remains distracted by delicious sugary trash delights. Howler takes out another two henchthings and Valkyrie rushes toward the hostages. Rigging her shield she projects its force field to protect the hostages (good thing too because of what comes next).

Requiem uses his "death scream" and both henchthings and mall-goers begin to drop. The PCs collectively spend 1 Karma Point a piece to keep all NPCs and mooks alive. Warlock teleports Valkyrie in front of Requiem and uses Teamwork! to pass a Feint's bonus to... Silkworm who uses her tendrils to separate the hostage he had and pin him down and perform a trachea choke. Weather Girl uses her control over atmospheric pressure to put Requiem in a total vacuum (which ends up destroying his eyes and causes severe internal damage). Surprisingly (and I spent a crap ton of Doom to prevent it to no avail) Requiem goes down and thanks to the PCs no one dies.


Aftermath
Valkyrie admonishes Tiki and calls in AEGIS: Requiem is too volatile to go to Riker's and instead requests he go to Scarlet Bay (Guantanamo Bay repurposed to hold dangerous metahumans and terrorists) to be induced into a coma. A containment team shows up in a Kestrel (a large VTOL used by AEGIS) and six identical doctors rush Requiem inside dosing him up with something to sedate him. He notes that "Mr. McCray" is an incredibly dangerous metahuman thought to be suffering with MAD (Metahuman Adaptation Disorder) - though the diagnosis has never been made since he usually rips apart medical professionals. The containment team, Dr, Mnemonic, Warlock, and Valkyrie render first aid (the latter two using magic which they use to restore McCray's destroyed eyes and fixes up the various horribly injured henchthings). The AEGIS team takes off and the team sits down to a meal (with cookies!)


After Action Report/Rules Notes
One of the things I like to do when I begin a campaign is right off the bat run a combat. Get the PCs thinking mechanically about their characters because that will inevitably lead to them thinking about how their character acts. What their goals and dreams are. What their personalty is. And so on. It's a tried and true method and it really works. Now in order for it to be really effective you have to tie it into something else: a top-down look at all the PCs so the other players know what their teammates are capable of. This took about an hour but I think it worked quite well and the players asked many questions about their fellows. This is also useful because while the characters have been working together for years as a team the players haven't. Overall, I was very pleased with how everything turned out and we set next Thursday for the upcoming session (which will be less combat and more social stuff).

Oh, one thing I did when building the PCs was ask "Do you want a large team or just you guys?" they wanted NPCs. So I gave them a roster of team "allies" and went from there. Not including the guy they want to recruit who manifested during the fight (who is a transman - in game they don't know this, but it was the PCs who decided that since they want to buy him as an ally), the following NPCs have yet to be introduced:

Caitlin Baker aka Crystal (NPC): Caitlin was discovered by AEGIS during the A-Team episode "Mirror, Mirror". She has the ability to manipulate, control, turn into (her other form is so tough she can take on most bricks and is akin to Prince Rupert's Drop with the "tail" being within her), and create glass.

Kisping "Kisp" Locke aka Burnout (NPC): Ginny's younger wheelchair bound brother. Previously had fire powers that were absorbed by the Mirror (and lost his left arm and both legs in that fight); possess increased intelligence and technological ability. Kisp runs ops for the Valiants along with the Ratpack (see below). Built the Valkyrie battlesuit.

Shara Al-Hadid aka Velocity (NPC):  Shara has the ability to control the speed of herself and objects (but not others). Anything that she propels can break the sound barrier.

The Ratpack (NPCs): The Ratpack consists of a five Ivory Labs-enhanced rodents who are obsessed with Sinatra movies. "Frank" is the squad leader and is strangely charismatic (for a rodent). Dean is the heavy weapons expert and bigSammy is the computer intrusion specialist. Petey is the explosives expert (and a pyromaniac). Joey is the comms and cryptography expert and is quiet and shy.


Session Soundtrack
"Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd (Opening song)
"Summer in the City" by Loving Spoonful
"Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi
"Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" by Aerosmith
"Way Down We Go" by Kaleo (Closing Song)

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