Adventure Planning: Penthouse Standoff

Planning for my Dresden Files GURPS game continues. Today, I’m going to focus on the intended second scene of the first session for “Clean Slate,” which is basically the adventure. There will be two active PCs during this, S/A Jack Carter and S/A [Name TBD]. Both are OSBI agents with Carter as the AIC (agent-in-charge). The bulk of this adventure originally comes from the d20 Modern adventure, “The Petersen Counterstrike” as written by Stan!


Setting: Oklahoma City. Below is the floorplan that I’m planning on using.


  • Jack and the still [Name TBD] PC.
  • A handful of nameless cops who are intended to basically be background extras. Should actual shooting kick off, I have Officers Davis, Sullivan and Yokas available for the three players who are not active at this moment.
  • 5-7 total Shooters – these men are members of the “Children of Janus” cult that Carter has dealt with several times over the last couple of years.
    • ST 12; DX 12; IQ 10; HT 12.
      Damage 1d-1/1d+2; BL 29 lbs.; HP 12; Will 10; Per 10; FP 12.
      Basic Speed 6; Basic Move 6; Dodge 8.
      5’11”, 190 lbs.
      Advantages/Disadvantages: Combat Reflexes; Fanaticism
      Skills: Area Knowledge (City)-10; Fast-Draw (Ammo)-14; Fast-Draw
      (pistol)-14; Forced Entry-13; Guns (Pistol)-12; Guns (Rifle)-13;
      Karate-13; Wrestling-13
      Equipment: Colt M4 (sk: 13, 4d+2 pi); Glock 17 (sk: 12, 2d+2 pi); Assault
      Vest (DR 12/5, torso, groin)


  • The OSBI agents just happened to be in the immediate vicinity of City Place Tower in OKC when an all-points bulletin goes out across the radio: All units, we have a 10-23 (officer needs assistance) at 204 North Robinson. Possible hostage situation developing.
  • It is around 7:30 PM when this transpires.
  • Jack does not have CoH (Police) but [Name TBD] does; this is their Duty activating.
  • Upon arrival, the PCs discover that the local police are understaffed due to illness, so Jack is going to be the Officer-in-Charge. What they will learn is that a silent alarm was sent from the penthouse owned by Grant Petersen and the alarm company immediately contacted the police when they reviewed their CCTV cameras and observed armed men entering the penthouse.
  • Immediately upon hearing this name, Jack’s “gut” starts twisting (he has Intuition, after all) since he knows Petersen – the man is a visiting professor at UCO who Jack has used in the past during investigations.
  • Local media are already on-site and being their usual, irritating selves – include Allison Sanchez, who Jack knows and considers a friend. She will reveal that KFOR received a tape about this and Jack may be able to leverage their friendship (plus the promise of an exclusive interview) to view this
    • The image on the screen shows the head and shoulders of a heavyset young man in green fatigues, a black ski mask, and gloves. It is unclear where the video was shot, but it was clearly done indoors under fluorescent lighting.
    • “Gentleman and ladies,” the man begins. “At approximately 7:00 this evening, armed associates of mine forcibly entered the residence of Professor Grant Petersen, taking him, his wife, and a house full of dinner guests hostage.
    • “If you have not met all of our demands by 9:00, my associates will shoot Professor Petersen. At the stroke of every hour thereafter that our demands go unmet, they will shoot another hostage. I hope I make myself clear.
    • “Our demands are that you deliver the following to the Petersen residence. First, a black nylon backpack containing $10 million in unmarked, non-sequential one-hundred-dollar bills. Second, a fully fueled Bell model 212 helicopter. Instruct the pilot to land on the roof, leave the engine idling, disembark, and take the stairs down to the ground floor. We will not be needing his services for departure.
    • “I urge you to treat this matter with the utmost gravity. Our terms are quite non-negotiable, and my associates understand their assignment perfectly.
    • “Good evening.”
    • The screen flickers momentarily, then the image cuts to two men in a large, marble-floored room that looks like an opulent foyer. One of them, a  middle-aged gentleman dressed in a jacket and tie, is being held in a headlock by another man dressed like the one who delivered the demands.
    • “Help,” the grappled man says. His voice is hoarse and strained, as though he’s having trouble breathing through the other’s grip. “They’re serious. They haven’t. . . .”
    • The tape ends abruptly.
  • Upon reviewing this video, Jack (who has an Eidetic Memory) can recognize the speaker from his voice as Peter Jayson, a member of the cult known as the Children of Janus. Its leader is Nicholas St. Andrew, a known con artist with a talent for skirting the law. St. Andrew has been charged with more than a dozen counts of fraud, petty theft, and forgery, but he has been convicted in only about half the cases. In the past, he has taken money and property primarily from wealthy individuals who have shown an inclination to work around the borders of the law—the sort who use questionable tax practices, run sweatshops, and have other reasons for not maintaining strong ties to law enforcement agencies.
  • Any attempts the heroes make to negotiate with the intruders do them no good. Although the lead commando answers any phone except the one in the safe room, he refuses to negotiate in any way. The only other person he allows to speak on the phone is Audrey Petersen (Grant’s wife), who does her best to play the part of a frightened hostage. Based on the conversation, the shooter sounds like a fanatic and Audrey sounds terrified.
  • Request for SWAT is going to take too long – unluckily for the PCs, the SWAT units are at a training thing and by the time they get here, it’ll be past the 9:00 PM deadline.
  • How the PCs proceed from this point is up to them. GM should expect a breach with the characters handling this, but they may attempt a more stealthy approach. In any event, non-active Players can take the roles of the listed Officers who know both OSBI agents and will accompany him.
  • Ideally, I’d like to have this scene not end up in a combat yet and have the actual breach take place the following session, but should roll with whatever plan the PCs come up with.
  • COMPLICATION: Any activity that appears to indicate that the police are planning on a breach will draw the notice of the media who, in true irritating fashion, will plaster this on the airwaves immediately. (In fact, smart characters may actually take advantage of this fact…)