GM Commentary for Session 6.02

Full recap here.

This session ended up being a week later than originally planned – Sofia’s player had to miss the originally planned game night due to work and Woo’s player didn’t show (we later found out that he went home after work and fell asleep until 1 a.m.) Overall, I was mostly satisfied with it.



Scene 1 was Colin dealing with “Coyote.” It was mostly a transitional scene that put him on the Black Road and will lead into next week’s Chase using the rules in Action 2. There wasn’t much dice rolling here.

Scene 2 was the stairwell shootout. It lasted slightly longer than I expected it to – both of the shooters were wearing assault vests (HT66) which gave them DR 12/5* which meant the shotguns carried by three of the good guys couldn’t even get through the armor … although the knockback did put them on their asses. One of the red shirt cops got really grievously injured – least one round from a M4A1 (HT120) penetrated his Type IIA armor (B284) and put him into negative HP. Immediately after getting into cover, he failed his consciousness roll and went down. Jack’s inability to be seen allowed him to take out one of the shooters without be detected, but the player discovered that everyone was ignoring him while his cloak’s glamour was active … including his radio transmissions (fricking magic.) Woo is a new character and the player kept wanting to “martial arts” everything, even during a firefight so I expect I’m going to have to chat with him about that to figure out how exactly to handle this. Since they left the other red shirt cop behind to cover his partner and wait for the EMTs and backup, he was safe from getting whacked in scene 5 (which was my initial plan.)

Scene 3 was Sofia and was honestly just a data-dump and transitional scene meant to carry her into next week. Because she hasn’t had much to actually do yet, I’m going to open next week with her getting into a fight.

Scene 4 jumped over to Lee and was also basically a set-up scene intended to let the players start picking up on the narrative thrust. I did an actual segue from 3 to 4 via the character Auric’s “scrying” bowl. This also served to bring in Aoibheal, the Fae Lady who A) Lee is beholden to for his “super-powers” and B) still does not have actual stats because she’s just that damned powerful. Interestingly, the player seemed to miss something I pulled off rather subtly: Lee has Secret (Aoibheal’s Champion) and it came up so I just had Aoibheal (who doesn’t consider it a secret) simply announce this to a lawyer who is the local Wolfram and Hart person (totally stolen from “Angel,” yeah.) Lee will probably sit out next week.

Scene 5 was the final shootout with the bad guys and it went a lot faster than expected. The law enforcement officers (Jack, Woo, ATF Agent Moretti) assaulted the penthouse straight away because they heard gunfire and shooting, correctly guessing that the bad guys were shooting the hostages (which means Jack has really screwed up. More on that later.) Originally, Jack wanted to sneak in using his cloak, but Woo and Moretti didn’t want to wait for that so they just kicked in the door and started shooting bad guys. The first dude they shot at took shotgun blasts from both of them to the chest, but his armor held – I had the guy playing Colin & Lee run some of the bad guys during this and he initially had the guy scramble into cover and hide, opting for Waits for anyone to poke their heads into vie. This dude I would eventually take back over for the final shot. None of the active good guys were injured, though Moretti took several shots to the chest – she’s got good armor so all she ended up taking was maybe 2 or 3 HP worth of blunt trauma damage.

Overall, I was mostly satisfied with this second session. Everyone was engaged and involved, though naturally, there were some periods where they were less involved but thankfully, nobody seemed to completely tune out. There were a couple of moments when two of the players got involved in an unrelated side conversation about work during the final fight that was distracting enough that I had to raise my voice, but that happens all the time.

Once again, Jack’s cloak proved to be very, very powerful, probably too powerful as he could basically walk through a battlefield and no one notices him. Originally, I built it to emulate the Gray Men from the Wheel of Time books – Invisibility (Cloak; Can Carry Objects (Heavy Encumbrance); Gadget/Can Be Stolen: Must be forcefully removed; Glamour (Gray Man effect) (Will-5); Switchable) [78] – but I’m having to rethink this thing slightly because of how lethal he actually can be. Interesting observation, though: this is a glamour so something unaffected by illusions should be able to see right through that … and based entirely on how badly he’s abusing it, I fully expect him to put himself into a very bad place at some point down the road by sneaking forward and then, d’oh! He’s surrounded by things that aren’t affected! And crap. I just realized that I should have added the Magic (-10%) limitation to it. Ah well. At any rate, he’s started to realize that it isn’t all great – even his radio transmissions are ignored while the cloak is active which was actually a spur-of-the-moment idea I threw in at the last moment when the player asked why Woo & Co. weren’t responding to his transmissions. I’m also leaning toward ripping off the “mistcloak” thing from the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka in that the cloak is super-focused on keeping him “protected from sight” so if he starts to overuse it, he starts to become … unstuck from view all the time. Time will tell.

Also, as stated, Jack has really screwed up this entire hostage situation. He did not bother asking what normal procedure was, didn’t try to find out what the cops who were already on-site had learned, and basically just pulled a Leroy Jenkins (albeit with a magical “invisibility” cloak) to get in and look around. He then decided to engage with two of the guards stationed below the target area, but did not ensure that neither could get a warning off to everyone else. As a result, not only were the hostage takers alerted to the assault, but a local cop was grievously injured in the first exchange. As he will later discover, all but one of the hostages will have been killed – the survivor will actually turn out to be an “inside woman” for the bad guys (see more in the original d20 Modern adventure, “The Petersen Counterstrike,” as written by Stan! It can found online if you’re interested.) At the very least, Jack is going to be suspended for a while; I expect he’ll also be demoted (lose 1 level of Police Rank?) … which means I need to reread GURPS: Cops. Good times for a GM!

This was also the first time I really used Fantasy Grounds during the game and, thanks to my crappy tunnel vision, I over-used it instead of just having it be an augmentation tool. Since I’m using a laptop, the screen quality isn’t as great as I would like and I (stupidly) tried to use the map features instead of remembering that the map stuff should have stayed on the table in front of us. Next week, I’m hoping to handle that a lot better.

Next week will likely just be three major scenes since I’m going to have Lee sit out a session. Right now, I’m leaning toward opening with a big fight between the LEOs and a freaking monster that has been released on them in the apartment (looking at using the Sphere of Madness from DF: Monsters 1 p28, although I’ll probably add something else in there to actually make it a challenge to people with guns); then skip over to Colin as he becomes the Quarry in a Chase through the Nevernever; before jumping to Sofia getting into a fight with some vampire mooks. Still unclear is the “cliffhanger” ending that is necessary to take us into chapter 4, though I’m hoping that will develop naturally as I start planning.