Youth and pride has a tendency to catch up with you after a time. In this case, during the third session.
So after the debacle last week, Scoutmaster West and Captain Harris decided it was time to launch a preemptive strike against the RNT before they could establish a foothold. West was going to distract the RNT with an overt assault to draw their attention. The party was recruited to use the sewer tunnels below the ruins to plant eight explosive charges that Snake would activate remotely once they were all set. Bomber stayed behind to assist Snake with the remote controls (player was not available due to family commitments…damn holidays). And Drake stayed behind to help reinforce the settlement defenses while the main force went with Vance (player home sick…damn flu season). So this left Ryan, Cross, Vance, and Milton to handle the situation.
They were specifically told that, after what happened last time, to expect possible patrols or alarms to be in place. “The RNT isn’t stupid,” Harris reminded them. “You slipped by them before because they weren’t expecting you. They might be expecting you now.” Avoid combat if possible, plant the charges, and then radio in to Snake when you are at a safe distance. Don’t use the radio unless absolutely necessary, because the RNT might have means of intercepting the transmissions. Harris was reluctant to send green soldiers into this situation, but the more skilled fighters were needed on the surface to avoid taking heavy casualties during the faux assault. Ryan is given the explosives and specific instructions on how to plant them. The explosives are high-power and volatile, so it is important to be very careful with them. If one goes off accidentally, all the charges that have been set will go off as well. Ean is given the radio to communicate with Snake. Mortimer reluctantly provides each member of the stealth team with one healing potion and informs Cross that, according to his scrying, if the explosives can be detonated as close to 3 pm as possible, that will achieve maximum destruction to the RNT. When pressed as to how he knows this, he simply reminds Cross of his skill in employing numerological talismans to discern information.
3 PM = maximum boom.
They reach the ruins just before noon without incident and spot another patrol robot. This time, they thankfully evade detection from the robot and enter the sewers. After moving toward the first detonation location, they fail to detect a trap and set off an alarm. Ryan successfully plants the explosive and the party tries to evade detection. A loan patrol finds them, sneaks up on them, and snipes them from the shadows. After a drawn-out firefight, the patrols gun jams (critical failure, damn dice!) and he turns and runs to get reinforcements. They manage to catch the guy before he reaches help, and take his gear. If you remember the events of Chapter One, you can safely consider this foreshadowing.
They plant the second device without incident, and move to the location for the third device when they hear a second patrol nearby. The successfully sneak up on the patrol, a lone gunman, who is speaking into his Walkie Talkie “Sector 6 Clear. Over.” The voice on the radio comes across saying “Sector 7, Report in. Over.” Fortunately, Milton had turned down the volume of the walkie talkie they acquired from the previous patrol. Unfortunately, he felt it a good idea to fake a report in by responding “Sector 7 Cear. Over.” Which might have worked were it not for the fact that they were within EARSHOT of the patrol. The patrol hears this from around the corner, realizes something is wrong, and says into his radio “Code 5. Need backup.”
And thus a second firefight begins.
They plant the fourth device, but now they are evading three-man patrols through the sewers. As they round a corner, everyone hears the sound of a patrol coming down the tunnel. Everyone, that is, accept Ean, who obliviously walks around the corner ahead of his allies and walks right into the patrol.
They don’t fire first, but instead two of the patrols aim their weapons at him while the third demands that he identify himself. It is at this point Ean’s player regrets not putting any ranks in Bluff.
“My name is John. I’m a doctor. Um, just walking around,” he responds. While the rest of the party hangs back out of site trying to figure out what to do.
The patrol leader tells him that he has to come with them so the captain can question him. To which Ean decides to shot the patrol leader. The rest of the party almost abandons him at this point to let him take the fall and be a martyr so that they can complete their mission. But then they remembered that Ean had the damn radio to talk to Snake.
So they sigh, come out of hiding, and engage the enemy.
They miraculously survive THAT encounter by the skin of their teeth (and few hit points to spare). They get themselves healed up, regroup, and continue on.
So they get to the point to plant the sixth device, and Ryan suffers a critical failure on his attempt to safely plant the device. Being a kind and benevolent GM, I give him a Reflex Save to catch the device before it hits the ground. He fails dismally. And so everyone gets a Reflex Save to get out of the blast radius of the explosion.
Milton survives with six hit points. Ean is reduced to -9 hit points. Cross is at -3 hit points. And Ryan is at -6.
They still have a couple of the healing potions left, so Milton says he is going to force feed the potions to his fallen comrades to get them on their feet. Unfortunately, he lacks the medical training to determine who is the closest to death (failed the Heal check) and goes to Cross first. Since this takes a round, Ean is reduced to -10 and dies.
Now we can argue that Milton also failed the common sense check, as he saved the demonologist before saving the DOCTOR, but in his defense it is easy to forget Ean was the doctor when he was walking out in front of bullets…
Of course, the other charges that had been planted also explode, collapsing half the city and cutting off their way out. They amazingly get their acts together and manage to escape the tunnels using alternate routes.
Game Mechanic issues:
Made some changes to the Doctor class to make it more functional at lower levels (and, perhaps, discourage players from walking out in front of bullets).
Added an Ambidextrous feat. After seeing the Called Shot effects in play, decided it made sense that a character that suffered a called shot to one arm should still have the option of using his other arm for wielding a weapon.
Need to think through some tweeks with the Occultist class. Overall it works fine but I’ve noticed a couple of minor issues that need to be resolved before the players hit higher levels where things might get problematic with certain abilities.