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SR5 Sprawl Wilds: Ashes

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Michael Chandra

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« on: (08:50:52/08-15-13) »
Quick Summary: Team managed to not only get the full optimal ending, but even miraculously managed to score the maximum negotiation benefits.

We ran this one with a few characters that still had to be finetuned. We likely could have finished them in time before the game, but the location's blacklight hadn't been replaced with a normal lightsource, despite the fact it should have been done a week ago. As a result, the lighting was rather poor and for the smaller letters on my printouts I even had to settle for using a flashlight borrowed from the venue.

Fortunately we had plenty of laptops. :)

Cast of Shadows: 5 players, roughly summarized as follows:
- A poor man's Ork Sam with really lousy dodge/initiative pools with a decent chunk of Influence, who is just as old as Bull and just as gray. Oh and he either uses a monocle for his influential side, or a Lucha Libre mask.
- A Mountie Magician who came through Chicago on the (more Due South reference here).
- A Decker/Rigger with a player who, in both SR4 and SR5, basically says what he wants to do and has to be told what to roll. ^_^' I'm preparing a cheat sheet for him.
- An Adept who loves his assault rifles and I haven't got the foggiest what else he can do, was kinda busy helping people get their characters ready.
- A Sample Character Smuggler, player wants to make a Rigger character.

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The team got their call and since they had to rush to meet the Johnson in time, and had to go through a public area, the drones and bigger guns were left behind. Anyone who has played Ashes, or read through it, will go "d'oh!" at this point.

I read all the "Tell it to them straight" parts out loud in english, no need to translate. ^_^

So they meet the Johnson, an explosion rocks the place and many players go "oh gods, not again..." Yes, most have played Silver Platter. They postpone negotiating about danger money until after the job, to not waste time, and start getting to work. Although the group had no real face, with characters that have 7, 8 and 10 dice in Influence they managed to teamwork through the social tests. Of course they only got a few heavy pistols, a spellcaster and a katana, so they were not ready for a fight, but little did they know that would be a bad thing. Oh, and the Smuggler, as only Sample Character, was the only one lacking a respirator and thus suffered smoke penalties.

The Decker got in contact with Christian Capiendo, who asked for access to both the Ventilation System and the Surveillance system, the second for another rigger who wanted to control the evacuation. The mission was written a bit poorly on this bit, but it seemed to imply there were 2 different riggers, supported by the fact there's a statblock for an unnamed one and Capiendo in the Cast of Shadows.

'While' the Decker was getting into the system, the smuggler started making a fire break. The mage was this close to blowing up the water pipes, but some of the team members feared this might limit the Fire Suppression system. Instead, they talked the 'Firemen' into giving them a hand dragging people, stalls, etc out of the Firebreak zone, making this a massive teamwork test. And with that many people at 8 dice, and a team leader at 10, this was easy as cake.

The Decker faced the IC and managed to get through the one in the Ventilation system quite nicely, deciding not to cut off all the oxygen but lower it to normal instead. When Capiendo mentioned he'd start writing a program to manipulate the airflow, the Decker wanted to help. Decker finds out this requires Software. Decker deliberately didn't take Software. Whelp, time to crack the other IC.

During this matrix fight, the IC managed to actually hit at one point. Player knew this before he even rolled himself, due to my "this will be fun" grin that he rightfully fears. Player consumed one of his rare Edge points to reroll the soak, and ended up with a mere 2 damage. When he heard that also meant 2P real damage, he gulped, realizing just how much of a bullet he'd dodged.

So after the hacking the Decker started overriding the Fire Suppression system, while the characters made the firebreak. And then the Fire Spirits came. So the summoner spots them, alerts the rest, rolls highest initiative and decides "hey, I got Spirit Bane Fire, this will HURT. Let's bring in a spirit." So he summons a Water Spirit. Only after five minutes of manual fire fighting, he summons a Water Spirit.

Of course he didn't go first. The Ork Sam rolled a 4 for his 2+2+1d6 Initiative, and decided to spend Edge to go first. He edged a katana roll and nearly knocked out one of the spirits. If the group hadn't started by splitting their attacks, they'd have knocked out 1 spirit before it even got to act. Meanwhile, the Fire Suppression squad was banging water pipes to cause a water flow against the spirits, which turned out to be rather unnecessary.

Holy crap Spirits do a lot of damage! O____O This became a massacre for the Fire Spirits, they were lucky they lasted long enough to attack (and triple miss) the Water Spirit in the first place. And with the allergy penalty in place, one of the Fire Spirits didn't even get a defense roll when it got shot at. Those 2 Edge of each of them got used up in a single second and they died before they could even get a second attack in.

Fight ends, magician apologizes that he'd forgotten about summoning a spirit. Fire gets taken care of even before the flames normally would have reached the group. Fast-forward to an hour later, the arguments start and the group realizes there's something trying to break out of a tunnel. One teammember considers firing at it but decides to wait and see first. The kids come out and the leader proudly and bravely presents himself and their mission. The players pierce through the masquerade and encourage him, then talk with the Johnson.

This time they did negotiate, and the 10-dicer decides to Edge the roll. With the help of the bonus dice and the edge, he manages an amazing 11 hits. Meanwhile, I manage 1. Hello maximum reward! They also heal the kid that was still alive, taking it rather serious and managing to heal 8 damage. The smuggler politely asks for the gasmask of the dead kid, while the Adept borrows the 2 AKs from the children. Now FINALLY the Ork Sam and Adept have their ranged weapon of choice.

So the Ork Sam starts talking to the crowd, when the Mountie comes over and tries to recruit Vic with a talk about how a child got murdered and that he should help defend and avenge and all that. Vic demands payment. Out loud. Needless to say his goons stopped encouraging him at that point, what with an angry crowd surrounding them.

The Mountie says he'll go check (if the Johnson is willing to pay Vic, cheapskate of a player), and Vic grabs him and lifts him in the air. The empty circle widens. Player asks to be let go, Vic wants cash. Player calls him rude, gives the Spirit a headsup, uses a service to let the Spirit push back the Ork Sam and Aziz, and overcasts a Force 10 blast area in front of him, just barely reaching Vic but not himself. Spirit punches Vic, Vic tries to punch it but misses while the Mountie walks away, then the Spirit knocks out Vic.

While this all had been happening, the Ork Sam had continued to talk into the crowd, consuming Edge for bonus dice. On average he should have rolled about 6 hits per roll. He rolled 12 and 6, causing a Peaceful Walkout AGES before the Death Squad arrived. The kids get encouraged to lead the way, so in front of the crowd were 4 kids carrying a single dead friend with them... Yeah, good luck firing at that Metroplex Guards. The Ork Sam walks with them, then starts asking Knight Errant for a gun to fight the Death Squad with. Capiendo showed up and let the guy borrow his FN Har, which gleefully switched hands to the Adept since the Ork preferred an AK-97.

While all this talking and fighting and walking had been going on, the Smuggler, Decker, Adept and Fire Suppression squad had been setting up defensive barriers for the defenders to hide behind. One of the Fire Suppression squad stayed behind with the spare AK, then an Ambush Test was rolled. Only the Spirit of Man ended up not surprised.

So the surprised guys lose 10 Initiative, are unable to act against non-surprised people in their first Action Phase, and then, since they weren't >12m apart from each other, all ended up getting hit by Ball Lighting and lost 5 more initiative. 24->14->9 Initiative, only run for cover in their first IP, no second IP that Combat Turn... The resulting slaughter was to be expected. Ironically, because the Decker was surprised but was lying fully behind cover, the terrorists couldn't even fire at him because they didn't even know he was there.

As final Service out of his 6, the Mountie sends the Spirit topside to make a nice symbolic gesture. So, with all the media watching, a Water Spirit comes out of the Underground, straight into the middle of the Knight Errant troops, walks over to Aziz, shakes his hand and leaves for the Metaplanes.

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Side note: I forgot Sprawl Wilds was supposed to give more karma in SR5, so originally the Mountie and Adept thought they couldn't initiate. 7 karma left after chargen, 5 reward, 1 too little. Since they got 8 karma instead, I'll have a Centering Adept and a Spell-something Magician who tosses area spells on himself to fight off enemies.
CorpSec when an alarm is triggered;: "This is so sad, Alexa play Shoot The Runner"