Game Prep: ConsOps Characters

So it’s been confirmed that two of the players are going to sit this one out. That means McKay/Reilly is out and the Shaw character isn’t going to be introduced. This leaves me (currently) with four PCs (Baum, Hurt, Mahoney and Vega) which amount to Assassin, Shooter, Demolition Man (sorta), and Wheelman. There is some talk about maybe inviting some newbie player(s) to join, but I’m a little leery about about that because of the usual hesitation about bringing in new players; I have no idea if they’ll mesh well or even if they will show up on a regular basis and this particular game is going to rely pretty heavily on the characters actually being there. At the same time, there are some fairly notable gaps in the capabilities of the PC group as it stands so …

So ultimately, I’ll need to contemplate what I want to do there. I suppose I could retool the “Shaw” character into a “pick a gender and an avatar” for a newbie and let someone run him or her. After all, getting more people into GURPS is what we want, right? I also have another character that I’ve been building with an eye on playing him later should the regular GM take back over the game who is an Infiltrator. I could make him available as well for a new player.


SHAW

ST 12; DX 14; IQ 12; HT 12.
Damage 1d-1/1d+2; BL 29 lbs; HP 13; Will 12; Per 13; FP 12.
Basic Speed 7; Basic Move 7; Dodge 11; Parry 11.
5’3”; 115 lbs

Advantages/Disadvantages: Bad Temper (15); Bloodlust (15); Code of Honor (Soldier’s); Combat Reflexes; Duty (CIA/ConsOps, 15 or less, Extremely Hazardous); Fit; Gunslinger; High Pain Threshold; Light Sleeper; Low Empathy; Luck; Overconfidence (12); Sense of Duty (Team)

Languages: English (Native); Farsi (Native); Spanish (Accented, Spoken)

Skills: Acrobatics-13; Armoury (Small Arms)-13; Boating (Motorboat)-13; Climbing-13; Computer Operation-12; Cryptography-11; Diagnosis-12; Driving (Automobile)-13; Electronics Operation (Medical)-12; Escape-12; Fast-Draw (Ammo)-15; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-15; Filch-14; First Aid-13; Forced Entry-14; Forgery-11; Gunner (Machine Gun)-14; Guns (Grenade Launcher)-14; Guns (Pistol)-16; Guns (Rifle)-15; Guns (Shotgun)-15; Guns (SMG)-15; Holdout-13; Intelligence Analysis-11; Interrogation-10; Jumping-14; Karate-13; Lockingpicking-12; Observation-13; Parachuting-14; Pharmacy (Synthetic)-12; Photography-12; Physician (Human)-12; Physiology-12; Professional Skill (Tradecraft)-12; Running-12; Scuba-12; Search-13; Shadowing-12; Smuggling-12; Soldier-12; Stealth-13; Surgery-12; Swimming-12; Throwing-13; Wrestling-14

Equipment: H&K HK416D145RS; H&K USP .40; Advanced Body Armor

Notes: This character is basically a ripoff of Sameen Shaw from Person of Interest, though gender could be changed for the game. Self-diagnosed Axis II Personality Disorder; she does not understand emotions at all which gives her difficulty interacting socially. Completed medical school and had begun her residency, where she was praised for her technical skills, but came under criticism for her lack of concern for whether her patients lived or died. She then joined the Marines where she became one of the very first females to join an infantry battalion; later, her competence with firearms and combat ops drew the attention of senior JSOC officials who saw the benefit of having her in certain field ops as few would expect a female to be capable of the controlled violence she is. This ultimately led her to separating from the Marines when she was recruited by the CIA’s Special Activities Division, during which time her military career was wholly sanitized so she could operate as part of the operation known as Catalyst Indigo, responsible for acting on “relevant list” intel … which was shorthand for wetworks. Again, however, her personality disorder led to some problems – she excelled at being the sharp end of the spear but was significantly less capable with the other aspects of the operation and this ultimately led her to being recruited for the Consular Operations Strike Team Alpha.


ANTONIO (TONY) VILLALOBOS (Infiltrator)

ST 10; DX 14; IQ 13; HT 11.
Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs; HP 10; Will 13; Per 13; FP 11.
Basic Speed 6.75; Basic Move 6; Dodge 10; Parry 10.
5’8”; 175 lbs

Advantages/Disadvantages: Combat Reflexes; Contact (Ericka Nguyen, AP journo & F-W-B, effective skill 12, 9 or less); Craftiness 4; Curious (12); Duty (CIA/ConsOps, 15 or less, extremely hazardous); Enemy (Crimson Jihad, medium-sized group, 6 or less); Fit; Flexibility; Intelligence Rank 1; Intolerance (Wahhabists); Language Talent; Light Sleeper; Luck; Obsession (Find Those Responsible for the Murders of My Parents, Short-Term goal); Overconfidence (12); Secret (Espionage Agent, utter rejection); Sense of Duty (Team)

Quirks: Delights in playing up the Canadian thing to mess with people; is a snob with regards to music – it’s classical or nothing; obsessive fan of the Montreal Canadiens NHL team; takes long motorcycle rides to decompress; tries to avoid talking politics because he’s comparatively right-wing in a community of lefties

Languages: Arabic (Native); English (Native); Farsi (Native); German (Native); Russian (Native); Spanish (Native)

Skills: Acrobatics-13; Acting-16; Animal Handling (Dogs)-12; Body Language-12; Camouflage-17; Climbing-16; Computer Operations-13; Cryptography-12; Currently Affairs (Business)-13; Current Affairs (Politics)-13; Current Affairs (Popular Culture)-13; Detect Lies-11; Diplomacy-11; Driving (Motorcycle)-14; Electronics Operation (Security)-13; Electronics Repair (Security)-12; Escape-15; Fast-Draw (Knife)-15; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-15; Fast-Talk-12; Filch-13; Forced Entry-14; Forgery-12; Gambling-12; Garrote-14; Guns (Pistol)-16; Guns (Rifle)-15; Guns (SMG)-15; Holdout-17; Intelligence Analysis-12; Interrogation-12; Intimidation-12; Judo-13; Jumping-14; Karate-13; Knife-14; Knot-Tying-14; Leadership-12; Lockpicking-13; Observation-13; Parachuting-14; Photography-13; Pickpocket-12; Professional Skill (Tradecraft)-13; Research-13; Running-11; Savoir-Faire (High Society)-13; Savoir-Faire (Mafia)-13; Scuba-13; Shadowing-17; Sleight of Hand-13; Smuggling-13; Stealth-19; Swimming-12; Traps-14; Urban Survival-12; Wrestling-13; Writing-12

Techniques: Choke Hold (Judo)-11; Disarming (Judo)-13; Head Butt (Karate)-12; Knee Strike (Karate)-12; Targeted Attack (Knife Thrust/Neck)-12.

Equipment: H&K USP .40 (silenced); Advanced Body Armor

Notes: Born to a Saudi father (Nayef al-Sibai) and a Spanish mother (Ana María Villalobos Talero). Parents met in Spain where they quickly fell in love and eloped; unfortunately, Dad was a vocal opponent of the Wahhabism that dominates so much of Saudi culture and preached – loudly and often – for Islamic reform. This led to his death by assassination – extremists with nominal ties to the Saudi crown murdered him in the streets of Madrid and then managed to completely elude capture. In fear for her life and already pregnant, Ana María fled Spain to Montreal, Canada where she adopted the identity of María Villalobos. Her son was born soon after and grew up mostly ignorant of his father’s true identity. Eventually, Ana María revealed the truth to him shortly before he graduated from high school (RESEARCH); from that point on, ‘Tony’ began digging into Crimson Jihad, the the Wahhabist terror organization responsible for his father’s death. He wisely kept his growing obsession with them a secret but was not quite as successful as he would like as he was identified as a potential homegrown terrorist by CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) who began discreetly monitoring him, then passed on their warnings to their American cousins when Tony was accepted into Columbia School of Journalism on a scholarship. A year into his studies, two major things happened that would change his life forever. First, his mother was murdered by Crimson Jihad operatives who had tracked her down; to this day, Tony remains unsure if his research into the organization was responsible and considers himself responsible. Second, the Central Intelligence Agency recruited him, having long since determined that he was interested in the terrorist organization for reasons other than joining them. At the CIA’s suggestion, Tony continued his studies at Columbia and, upon graduation, joined the Associated Press as a photojournalist. This cover has allowed him to go into numerous hotspots … but has also given him a lot of heartburn because he’s found that his personal opinions and politics do not come close to matching those of his associates; as a result, he’s gained something of a reputation within his circle of journalist co-workers as the token ‘conservative guy,’ which essentially marks him as an outsider. At the same time, this minor isolation has helped with his other job, that of a CIA operations officer. More recently, he’s been seconded to Consular Operations for … reasons.

I envision Oscar Isaacs as this character.

Rewrite: BvS

So. It occurs to me, well after the fact, that I never actually published this here on the blog (though I did put a version of it up on my Facebook page.) What is it? A rewrite of the hot mess that was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in an attempt to undo the egregious OOCness (obviously, IMNSHO) that was so prevalent throughout. I use as much of the canon movie material as I can. I would have called this movie WORLD’S FINEST or some variation therein. Note: this was written before Wonder Woman came out, so some of this clearly clashes with that movie.

Plot Sequence:

  • As before, begin with Bruce at Metropolis during the Kryptonian attack. He witnesses firsthand the raw power at Kal-El’s disposal. And is afraid (although he cloaks this with rage.) I would have changed the first scene though; we don’t need to see the Waynes get murdered again. If anything, change it up somehow, like we start with the funeral, then intercut it with the occasional flashes of The Murder but never actually show their deaths. Highlight the trauma on Bruce but don’t inflict it on us again.
  • Two years later. (Overall notes – more specificity later)
    • In this time, Clark and Lois have had flamed out in terms of romance. Why? Because Henry Cavill and Amy Adams have absolutely zero chemistry together. No, actually, because Clark has spent almost 90% of his waking hours in The Suit, trying to be a Big Damned Hero and running across the globe, righting wrongs and trying to make amends for the Kryptonian slaughter of humans in MoS. As well as making up for his own mistakes.
    • Clark is not a full-time journalist, but rather a freelance one (I think this was hinted at in MoS where he was identified as a “stringer” which is a freelance journalist) as he spends so much time in The Suit. Thus, Perry will barely be in this movie (sorry, Mr. Fishburne) if at all.
    • Clark should be shown smiling all the time while in the suit, even when he doesn’t want to be (which should be visible by his actual expression.) The lack of a genuine smile by Supes really hurts the character – he’s freaking Superman! Not Mopeyman! Make-up team should also go out of their way to make him look tired without him looking old, so sometimes (a lot of time probably), the smiles seem forced. See above-mentioned “in the suit 90% of his waking hours.”
    • Drop or significantly reduce the Jesus motifs.
    • Also, Lois is not the freaking walking disaster she is in the movies. She doesn’t need saving every twenty minutes. I have no idea how anyone can consider this incarnation a “feminist icon,” not with her needing the big, strong man to save her every time she stubs her toe and nearly dies.
    • Recurring leitmotif: in the background, whenever we’re not on an active scene with Kal, television news reports should show Superman being super and doing awesome hero stuff.
    • Ditch the post-apocalyptic flashes. Don’t see the point. Would also remove the retarded Flash visit (not only because I hate the look they’ve given him but because I hate the whole ‘Lois is his entire world’ crap. I’d hate it if they said that about anyone, including my preferred Superman romantic partner of Wonder Woman.)
  • Desert Terrorist Scene
    • First, don’t kill off Jimmy Olsen, CIA Agent, by shooting him in the head. That’s stupid and lame. And the idea of Jim Olsen, CIA Agent? It’s freaking awesome.
    • Instead, Lois and Jim (or James. Not Jimmy) are covering a brutal firefight already in progress – terrorists attacking a UN convoy of which Lois is a part of – when WHOOSH! Supes drops out of the sky and starts disabling the terrorists (but not outright murdering them, because come on!) so the blue hats of the UN can apprehend them or continue their mission.
    • Lois should be able to kick a little ass herself, without having to really on Kal all the freaking time.
    • Aftermath, Clark notes that Jim is bugged and identifies him as CIA to Lois; she reveals that she knows and is using him just like he’s using her. During this exchange, he calls her “Miss Lane” and she calls him “Kal-El” so as to not reveal the truth to Jim.
    • Lex operative (dude from Winter Soldier) gets away.
  • Gotham
    • Human trafficker scene works as originally shown, although the branding is a bit much.
    • Bruce and Alfred bicker with the latter hinting that he knows the former is up to something. Bruce uses the ‘dirty bomb’ lie which Alfred declares is a better use of Master Wayne’s time than the so-called Superman Problem.
    • Alfred departs the scene, leaving Bruce to reactivate the monitors and reveal that he’s obsessed with Superman. Use the monitors to show numerous instances of Kal being Super and helping people. AND FREAKING SMILING WHILE HE’S DOING IT! Said smile can totally look forced and/or tired, but a smile instead of a grimace goes a long way.
  • Lex
    • Meets with Senator … Finch, I think? Holly Hunter.
    • RECAST LEX. he should be more of a smooth operator than the guy they cast and definitely shouldn’t set off the “OMFG, this dude is crazy.” alarms. Hell, the dude they had play the bad guy in “Ant-Man” made a better Lex Luthor IMHO than Eisenberg.
    • Idea: Have Lex appear to be a Superman supporter initially. He should reveal the Kryptonite nonsense as something one of his operatives stumbled upon – Lex will indicate that it appears there are forces out there actively trying to get their hands on a weapon that will kill Superman. Lex wants to help avoid that. Sen. Finch doesn’t seem to buy his bullshit even though the other guy does. Hell, it might even be vaguely interesting if Lex is a Superman supporter at first but goes quickly into extremist territory which leads to him turning on Supes. If nothing else, have his true sympathies and loyalties be in the air the entire time, even though everyone knows he’s going to be a bad guy since he’s Lex Freaking Luthor. I actually prefer this scenario as it is a nice homage to the Silver Age where Lex started out as Superboy’s pal and then turned evil.
  • Lois
    • Lois digs out the bullet, begins researching more. Something about that terror attack doesn’t pass the smell test.
    • Clark visits Lois briefly and this is where we reveal that they crashed and burned in terms of romance. She’s not bitter that he is pushing himself so hard but she is really worried that he’s going to burn out. Could imply that both are not pleased that they flamed out, but are being adults. There could be hints that they might get back together in the future (though not if I was running things, that’s for sure.)
    • She should point him to the fundraiser – something she’s already uncovered has ties to LexCorp, which is strange given how supportive Luthor is toward Supes.
    • Use this scene to reveal that Clark is still haunted by all the deaths he didn’t prevent and by his (necessary) killing of Zod.
    • Furthering the leitmotif, Clark exits because of an emergency.
  • Bruce
    • Fight club. Clones phone
    • Back to him & Alfred and reveal of Luthor’s links. Reveal of fundraiser invite.
    • Remember background element of Supes saving people on television.
  • Bruce & Clark & Diana
    • Infiltrates the fundraiser. Bugs Luthor’s stuffs
    • Clark interviews Bruce? I’m tempted to keep this and equally tempted to drop it entirely because Clark not knowing who Bruce Wayne was upon arrival really made him look stupid (which is par for the course in modern DC who prefers dumb Clark so Batgod can outshine him), although I did like Clark eavesdropping on Bruce and Alfred & trying to figure out what they’re doing. Maybe have Clark (initially) believe it is corporate espionage? Perhaps have that be Clark’s basis for the interview?
    • Luthor is very friendly to Clark*, openly passive-aggressive hostile to Bruce (and Wayne reciprocates.) Hint that they’ve clashed as business rivals before.
      • * – Maybe use that neat Daredevil trick of the heartbeat monitoring for Clark to reveal that Lex is full of crap and frankly terrified of Clark? Might be too much. Perhaps Lex doesn’t know he’s Supes yet? No, that really doesn’t fly either.
      • Why is Clark here? See above reference to him digging into something that Lois turned up.
    • Cool idea: Diana witnesses both of them doing things they shouldn’t, like Bruce doing the bugging and Clark lasering something with his eyes.
  • Lex
    • Sen. Finch flatly refuses to help Lex. She’s done some digging and knows he’s a slimy piece of crap, and doubts he is seeking this exo-mineral for altruistic reasons. Lex never drops his his act until she is gone.
      • Again, alternate idea is that Lex is trying to help Supes but has become a full-blow extremist and doesn’t seem to understand boundaries. The more I think about this, the more I actually like it.
    • Remember: in the background, we should see Kal being Superman and rescuing some people somewhere.
    • When she is gone, he informs Mercy that they’ll need to move on to the alternate plan.
  • Clark
    • Visits his mom. Does super stuffs. He reveals to her that he’s exhausted. Nothing he does seems to be enough and more than half of the world is still terrified of him. Keep her “you don’t owe this world a thing” comment but actually have Clark disagree; he owes it everything. If it wasn’t for this world, he’d be dead. And he’s not going to stop paying it back. Martha should smile and tell him how proud of him she is. Maybe change her comment to a suggestion that he might slow down instead of a flat response the way she did? (Honestly, I think they made major missteps with the Kents in their teachings, both in MoS and BvS.)
    • Television has Sen. Finch announcing some sort of hearings – they should be centered around Superman’s general activities, not some “hey, did you shoot those guys in the desert?” – and making the request for Superman to show and publicly address the questions everyone has. Given the general slowness of government work, it is logical to presume that this could also be an oversight hearing about the events of MoS.
  • Metropolis
    • Legless guy scene climbing the statue scene followed by him meeting Lex and then meeting Finch.
      • If using alternate “Lex is Supes supporter initially”, then need to figure out how to change this. Perhaps it isn’t Lex who meets with legless guy but rather Lex operative (dude from Winter Soldier) who meets with him? If that’s the case, then who is “dude from Winter Soldier” actually working for? That remains an open plot issue I haven’t fully resolved.)
  • Bruce
    • Regains the data drive from Diana and then attempts to retrieve the kryptonite. Rather than him brutally murdering a dozen dudes via the Batmobile, let’s see Ninja!Batman instead! So this could be an action scene, just not one where he murders the crap out of people.
    • NOTE: This takes place in Metropolis, not Gotham.
    • First meeting between Bruce and Clark takes place when Supes responds to gunfire: https://youtu.be/JyIxwqAWS_Q?t=1m12s – I mean, come on. Let’s actually see Clark have that moment, mm-kay? This accidentally results in Bruce not getting the kryptonite, which allows Lex to gain access to it.
    • Clark does not warn Bruce to hang up the suit due to the whole trampling of civil liberties because that would make him a hypocrite. Something he says should be a direct callback to their first meeting at the fundraiser.
      • Need to work on exactly why Clark would be so aggressive here. He’s being kind of hypocritical, isn’t he? Maybe have him state outright that there are better ways to do this? Need to consider…
      • Maybe have Clark tell “Mister Wayne” that this kind of crap might fly in Gotham, but not in Metropolis?
    • Supes bugs out (another emergency?) and Bats glares at him. Ditch the stupid ‘do you bleed. You will.’ That’s honestly kind of pointless.
      • Note: It might be interesting if that “other emergency” is actually part of a Batman distraction plan?
  • Lois
    • In DC. Talking to Swanwick. Why? Unsure. But then, I didn’t see the point of her investigation at all.
  • Bruce
    • He and Alfred have a bitter verbal clash as Wayne’s pride is seriously stung from the above fight, complete with Bruce’s 1% line. However, follow this up with Alfred calling him on his BS: does he know what he sounds like? The same monsters they’ve been fighting for 20 years. If this is the direction he’s going to go, then Alfred will tender his resignation immediately. He exits the scene.
    • Bruce is left alone in the scene and then pulls up recordings from the gala where he zeroes in on Clark’s callback line. His scowl lightens as he pulls up some data on Clark Kent and then compares it to a recording of Superman (immediately post-MoS) as he is helping the emergency teams rescue people in the city. “Hello, Kal-El,” Bruce says softly.
  • Clark
    • Arrives in DC and enters the Capitol building.
    • Rather than the wheelchair going BOOM straight away, it emits some sort of frequency that causes Clark to scream out loud and go to his knees or cause his heat vision to go haywire (ala evil Atom causing him to zot Dr. Light in Trinity War comic run.) Might be interesting if it also throws out some mini-drones that do a great job of heat vision fake-out. Clark blurs to chair and then, Boom. Kal is sent tumbling out of the Capitol building. He hits the ground hard and finds his abilities are out of whack (Kryptonite poisoning? – interesting change in that his powers go haywire instead of him getting sick considering this is an experimental version?) With this happening, he has to flee to the Arctic to get control of himself instead of going off to sulk.
    • Outside, everyone reacts, including Lois (I guess.)
      • Idea: CIA Olsen is here as well, though he’s following Lane?
      • Note: Mercy Graves is not killed off like she was in the movie. That was another stupid idea and a waste of a great character.
  • Lex
    • Meets with different senator, expresses his shock & dismay at Superman’s unexpected behavior. Manipulates the guy into gaining access to Zod’s body.
      • If Lex is Supes supporter, his argument will be that extremists factions are terrified of him and they – the government – need more information. Kryptonian tech is on the black market and what happens if a terrorist gets those kind of weapons.
      • If wheelchair guy is not immediately known to be responsible for this, Lex insists that there has to be an explanation for why this happened.
    • Quickly starts further experiments with the Kryptonite.
  • Gotham
    • Alfred enters the cave, finds Bruce seated before his monitors and studying the DC mess. He (Alfred) begins to apologize – evidently Wayne was correct in mistrusting Superman – but Bruce shakes his head. No. Superman is being framed somehow. (Ta-dah! Batman isn’t a complete idiot like he is in the movie!)
    • Bruce admits that Alfred was right, that he (Bruce) was starting to sound like one of the crazies, and that caused him to take a long, hard look at his motivations. Kent – he should intentionally use that name and then later have to explain why – terrifies him. No being should have that much power.
    • They review internal recordings of the congressional session again – Bruce has gone over them already and Alfred should ask if he wants to know how Master Wayne obtained these … to which Bruce should smirk slightly.
  • Smallville
    • Martha sees the news reports about “Superman going berserk” and immediately calls Clark. He doesn’t answer so she calls Lois.
  • Arctic
    • Clark is at his new Fortress, which is large chunks of the World Engine now buried in snow and ice. His control of his abilities is now mostly back to normal.
    • NOTE: It is essential that we see the cryo-tube things here, like the ones with the skeletons he found in MoS in that scoutship. More on this later.
    • Oh, we’ve got Pa Kent back? Kryptonian hologram, salvaged from the wreckage that should be wrong somehow. Like he starts speaking gibberish in the middle of a sentence and just isn’t right. Might be interesting if this discussion (Kal & Holo-Pa) reveals that Clark has intuitive understanding of his race’s tech that hints at the knowledge having been coded into his genes? You know, since Jor-El played merry hell with Kal’s genes in MoS. Would actually like to get Russell Crowe back as well, maybe have the hologram shifting back and forth between the two.
    • Clark has call with Lois – using Kryptonian tech to act like a cell phone – and he reveals what actually happened. She declares that she’s going to keep digging and then tells him to call his mom. He smiles and calls Matha.
  • Gotham
    • Bruce corners Diana and point-blank asks if she is Kryptonian as well. When she expresses some surprise at his theory, he reveals some intel he’s found on her, including a photograph from 1918…
      • Interesting idea: he grabs her arm like he does in the movie and tries to pull her along … but she doesn’t move. At all. Despite Bruce seemingly outmassing her by a 100 pounds or more. And then she warns him, in a very friendly way, to kindly release her arm lest she lose her temper. Bruce realizes that he’s in a great deal of danger right now.
    • Diana is unmoved and says flatly that she is not Kryptonian. Bruce: So, you’re something else then. This could be written in such a way that it might be shippy (if you’re someone who likes the idea of Batman & Wondy being a couple which I personally loath) but is actually intended to be perceived as Bruce going “Oh, fuck. You’re something else! Crap!”
    • Hint toward Diana being here for something else entirely and she could care not a whit about his silly fears … I would personally have a suit of armor in the background of her scenes here that intentionally look like Ares from Pre-Flashpoint but modernized so it doesn’t look so comic-booky: http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/dchallofjustice/images/5/50/DCU-ares.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120918190022
  • Lois
    • Investigating the explosion, along with Jim who uses his CIA clearance to gain access to some stuffs.
    • Together, this … heh … this dynamic duo uncover and reveal the truth about the wheelchair guy causing the explosion and Superman trying to prevent the catastrophe. Now everyone knows he didn’t murder a bunch of people. And both of them know that someone very powerful went to a lot of trouble to make it look like he did kill all those people…
  • Clark
    • Returns to being Superman full-time, having recovered most of his fine control. Cue groovy scenes of him saving people and stuffs.
    • To remind everyone that he’s still not at 100%, show him struggle with some weight or accidentally crush something inanimate without realizing it.
  • Gotham
    • Bruce’s research is complete. He and Alfred have a conversation that should seem to be about Clark but is really about Lex in that Bruce identifies him (actual names and identities should be avoided here) as a well-intentioned extremist. Bruce will have to stop him. He is in the Batsuit and tells Alfred he needs Pennyworth to do something else for him…
  • Lex
    • I actually did like how they didn’t show Batman assaulting the location, but did just the aftermath. Keep that, with Luthor arriving to discover that not only is the Kryptonite gone but Zod’s body is also missing! Lex is furious.
    • There needs to be something here that clicks for Lex who the Bat is. Maybe? Would actually be interesting if he doesn’t know that Wayne = Bruce throughout this. He instructs Mercy to move to phase 2.
    • Gains entrance to the ship in some other way. Discovers it in a very bad way – reveal that Luthor has used Zod’s body to somehow mask his own via tech (in a way that makes more sense than kryptonite to the fingerprints.) He assumes control and agrees to bring the emergency ‘brain-interactive construct’ (hint at BRAINIAC down the road) online to assist in repairs – Luthor gets a sort of brain implant to facilitate this.
    • With this in mind, I would actually have this “brain-interactive construct” overwrite elements of Lex’s mind – maybe have him experience a sudden FLASH! that shows image after image after image of Krypton.
    • And most of those images are Zod.
  • Smallville
    • Martha is kidnapped by Mercy and operatives
    • Background element: Superman is trying to handle an out of control fire in South America (to explain why he doesn’t hear his mom get nabbed.)
  • Metropolis
    • Simultaneously, Lex operative (dude from Winter Soldier) makes a move on Lois … but fortunately, Jim Olsen is there and we have Action!Sequence! Jim kicks ass – paying back Lois for saving his life earlier – but is badly injured. Lane and Olsen are cornered and about to get captured …
    • When bam. Kal arrives. He makes short work of the non-powered humans and from Lex operative (dude from Winter Soldier) he learns that Luthor has Martha. How? Images on the man?
    • Clark orders Lois to get Olsen to the hospital and then leaves … and in that moment, despite being badly wounded, Jim Olsen realizes that Clark Kent = Superman. Note that this is one of the last scenes that Lois is in until the end of the movie – she’s not going to be running around and making out with him during a battle to save the world (ugh.)
    • Superman arrives on Luthor tower and is pissed off, but Lex – who should definitely be acting weird – reveals that he’s doing this to help Superman! Kryptonians are more advanced than humanity and he (Lex) wants to use them as a way to jump-start human evolution and capability! Have Lex’s thinking be unhinged but not utterly insane so a person could see his point.
      • Dangerous similarity to Samuel L. Jackson’s “Mister Glass” in Unbreakable here. How to get around that? Do I even bother trying?
    • Lex blackmails Superman into going into Gotham. The Bat has stolen something he – Luthor – needs back: Zod’s body. Martha is safe as long as Clark brings back two bodies: Zod … and Bruce Wayne (or The Batman if Lex hasn’t figured it out in this version.). He (Lex) doesn’t know where his associates took her and if he’s injured, well… he can’t guarantee her safety. And they will be watching so Clark shouldn’t try any funny business.
    • Clark departs, visibly conflicted.
    • And then, once Kal has left, end the scene on an ominous note, perhaps with the “brain-interactive construct” declaring (through Lex’s lips but very obviously not his words based entirely on his expression?) “Anomaly detected. Illegal free-birth Kryptonian identified. Initiating containment protocols.” The Genesis Chamber begins powering up but is badly damaged. And Lex looks confused.
  • Gotham
    • Bruce is in the powered Bat-armor and conversing with Alfred and telling Pennyworth to “do it” (really cool idea here coming up. Wait for it…) Overhead, Supes appears and then drops down out of the sky.
    • The fight begins … with sonics. The noise should buffet Clark and cause him to recoil … then we ZOOM IN on Bruce just as he does something to his suit gauntlets. Jump to Clark and we hear the subsonic recording as Batman advises “Kent” that he knows what Luthor is up to and can help him … but they need to make it look convincing until they can get clear of Luthor’s surveillance. Again, I want to show that Batman is brilliant.
    • Cut to Clark grimacing at the noise but making a discreet nod before blurring toward Bats.
    • And the fight is on. They throw each through abandoned buildings, knock one another through walls, and so on … and yeah, it’s all a ploy. Once they break through the floor and vanish into the basement, Bruce states they’re clear.
    • “My mom…” Clark starts to say but Bruce gives that creepy “Kingdom Come” grin (http://images-cdn.moviepilot.com/image/upload/c_fill,h_556,w_988/t_mp_quality/batman-kingdom-come-batman-v-superman-a-very-different-batsuit-teased-jpeg-93168.jpg) and says “Got it handled.”
  • Metropolis
    • The Batwing arrows down out of the darkness and we reveal that Alfred is actually flying it. Behind him, in the back seat, is none other than Diana herself in her battle garb. Alfred is very appreciative that Ms Prince is helping, but Diana states that she has her own agenda that simply coincide … but she does appreciate Alfred being polite and asking for assistance. They hit the safehouse where Martha Kent is hidden and Alfred uses the non-lethal weaponry on the Batwing to drop a lot of the hostiles (sonics again? Maybe some gloop grenades.)
    • And it is Diana who goes in to kick everyone’s ass to rescue Martha. Because how fricking awesome would that be?
      • POSTSCRIPT: After the fact, this would probably be very similar to Diana fighting the Germans with the slo-mo cam from her own movie.
    • Why is she here? Because Mercy is a fallen Amazon and a criminal who is to be taken back to Themyscira for judgement. Mercy is captured? Or she suicides? Essential that Diana not kill her. I prefer the capture so she could come back later.
  • Climax
    • Lex is back in the Genesis chamber and is alerted that Mercy has been neutralized.
    • Once again, the implant takes over – should show Lex trying to fight the ‘brain-interactive construct’ as it dominates him, but it is already too late. “Containment Protocols” have been initiated.
    • In the midst of this, Superman and Batman arrive, the latter no longer in his powered armor because it was badly damaged during their staged fight. They witness Luthor fighting the implant’s control and when Supes tries to advance, a bizarre clone of Zod (bring back Michael Shannon) is unleashed. Yes, I’m doing a take on Bizarro instead of Doomsday.
      • Since it appears to be sort of Zod and we’ve (hopefully) conveyed that Clark still has unresolved guilt over killing him, Supes will not be able to (or want to really) kill this clone especially once he figures out that it is sort of just a big baby being zapped by the ‘brain-interactive construct’ implant attached to it which causes it to lash out. Still, the thing is frighteningly powerful, so the entire final fight is an attempt to contain the “bizarro” clone and get the implant off it.
      • Bruce (wisely) runs and hides as soon as the gods begin to clash, but he should still play a role here by grabbing Luthor, freeing him from his implant and finding out what they did.
    • Diana should join the Clark-Bizarro fight and eventually, Bruce intervenes as well, using weaponized Kryptonite gas to provide the opening for the others to get rid of the implant. Cool idea here: Diana grabs Bizarro with her lasso just as Bruce uses the gas; while Bizarro is briefly held, Clark braves the Kryptonite gas to grapple with the clone. Di shouts for Bruce to engage and kicks up her sword toward Wayne (toe under the blade, then flip it up!). Bruce should visibly struggle with the weight of the sword (a reminder of just how weak he is comparatively, despite being a big dude) but use it to cut the implant free. The instant it is cut loose, the Bizarro clone goes limp. And that ends the fight.
  • Denouement
    • Couple of quick scenes here. Jim Olsen is in the hospital and his CIA handlers enter to discuss his progress. He straight-up lies when they ask about this Kent fellow and his connection to Superman but assures them he’s close. They depart after telling him that’s his mission until further notice. He turns on the TV and we jump to …
    • Lois being interviewed by someone ala Bill O’Reilly or Anderson Cooper (or maybe actually one them.) Hint that she is a frequent guest – “thanks for coming on again” – and then they segue into the shocking reveal about billionaire Lex Luthor and his criminal activities. One of them – Lois or the interviewer – should comment on how the stock price has plunged and Wayne Industries looks to be gobbling LexCorp up. Reveal that Lex is facing the death penalty for his part in the Capitol bombing…
    • Cut to Lex in prison. He’s in solitary and his head is shaved with visible bandages over where the brain-interactive construct implant was – this far better explains why his head was shaved; they don’t do that in prison, Zack! He twitches and we have a momentary flash of Krypton – like, one second, he’s on Earth, in this crappy cell, and the next, he’s staring at the wonder of Kandor City, and then flash, he’s back. He snarls to someone to ‘get out of his head.’ Need some way to reveal that he now considers himself Superman’s enemy, that Supes “betrayed” him somehow…
    • And shift to Superman. He’s standing in the Oval Office facing the President. I’d use a camera trick to never show the POTUS – maybe have most of the scene shot from the POTUS’ chair so we only see the top of his visibly Obama-like head? (Remember when this movie came out) – and Kal-El reveals to the POTUS and the assembled bureaucrats present that he has contained the clone. Probably need to have someone actually call it Bizarro which makes Kal frown slightly? When asked why he didn’t kill it like Zod, Kal will reveal that it has the mind of an infant. Killing Zod was a necessary action – from his expression, we should get that he still questions if it actually was – but killing this clone would be murder. Infanticide even. When asked where the clone is, we …
    • CUT TO Bizarro Zod sleeping in a cryo-tube ala those things he found in that scoutship in MoS. Clark is standing before the tube and we hear a voiceover of him saying “Somewhere safe, General. Somewhere he can’t hurt anyone.” This is his Fortress and Clark leaves.
    • CUT TO: Gotham. The Trinity are having a meal in some high-end restaurant. Both Clark and Diana are wearing glasses? If so, have Bruce snark about this not actually working. Clark (who should look visibly exhausted) says that he knows there are more people out there like them (this lumps “normal” Bruce into the category of metas) and he is thinking they should all keep in touch, so as to ensure the world stays safe. There should be no mention of a team, not yet.
    • FINAL SCENE: Someone (maybe Lex operative (dude from Winter Soldier)? My personal preference is General Swanwick, but that’s cause I did this in my big ass fanfic “The Last”) is in the Genesis chamber area and is rooting through the stuffs for … reasons. End with individual being suborned by ‘brain-interactive construct’ and declaring itself ONLINE (thus, the big bad in Justice League would be BRAINIAC.)

And that’s how I think I would have done the movie.

Game Prep: ConsOps 01b and Scenes 2/3

Have been watching some of the Mission Impossible movies again – 3 through the latest one, Fallout, because they more accurately fit the relative tone I like – and I’ve been reconsidering my previous plan to retire the McKay character. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Benji Dunn, the character that is played by Simon Pegg – a lab guy desperate to become a field agent. So with that in mind, I’ve sort of rescinded that plan … though the player in question is frankly kind of terrible about actually responding to private messages so … I’ll have to just continue my planning without actually receiving any feedback from him, so I’m operating on the presumption that McKay will be active when the game comes online. This means that Reilly – the Navy SEAL who the player was going to take over – is sort of redundant, but I have some plans for him in Scene 4 that should really change the status quo.

But I get ahead of myself.

Scene 2: Debrief

Following the return of the PCs from Syria and depending on their physical states – I’m currently leaning on trying to injure Reilly during the Syrian op, so he has to stay behind in scene 3 – they will have two quick interactions. One is with their current boss, Hamilton Riggs, as played by Sam Rockwell – we have a running gag in our games where he always shows up; the joke is that every single game we play is a holodeck simulation that Rockwell’s character is running – who is irritated that the PCs keep running off-the-record operations for their former team-mate, Phil Quinn. Conveniently, Riggs will be called away before he can actually order them to not do so again (which is actually intentional as it will later be revealed that he and Quinn are working together to investigate some troubling hints that the ConsOps organization has been doing some dirty deeds.)

Shortly thereafter, Quinn himself will contact PCs (via teleconference, though he is in Israel for a conference with the ambassador and some Israeli officials) to review their findings and read them in onto a new info-gathering op. This one will take them into Egypt with instructions to poke into a specific dude who Quinn has identified via other means. Officially, this guy – who has the codename HEIMDALL for this operation (op name: “Asgard Yellow Checkmate”) – coordinates maritime shipments for a charity, but there have been enough red flags about him that Quinn is suspicious. So he wants the PCs to look into this.

Now presuming Reilly was lightly injured in the Syrian op, he’s going to remain behind … but if he wasn’t, well, that’ll make things interesting since we’ll have an extra character along for the trip for no real reason.

Scene 3: Asgard Yellow Checkmate

This is supposed to just be a recon mission intended to gather intelligence, but knowing PCs, it’ll turn into a firefight or at least a Chase … which could work out in my favor for future events. Regardless, PCs will likely begin with some research into the charity, then head to Port Said, Egypt where HEIMDALL has been operating from.

From here, everything is pretty fast-and-loose. Since I don’t know exactly what the PCs will do, I have to be ready for any number of craziness. Presuming they act in a relative sane manner, HEIMDALL’s hotel room is the obvious first place to begin, so a B&E stealth mission is the logical angle of approach (though God only knows that PCs don’t always act logically.)

With that in mind, the hotel is going to be under observation by members of the Egyptian special forces (specifically Unit 777) at the behest of the Egyptian National Security Agency who have some suspicions that HEIMDALL is a spy. These soldiers are trying (but not really succeeding) in staying out of sight while they observe HEIMDALL’s hotel … which has the expected result of actually doing the opposite since they’re not trained in proper tradecraft or even stealth, which the actual NSA operatives use as cover for their own activities. Stats for the two different organizations are below:

Unit 777 Soldiers

ST 11; DX 12; IQ 12; HT 11.
Damage 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs; HP 11; Will 12; Per 12; FP 11.
Basic Speed 6.00; Basic Move 6; Dodge 10; Parry 9.
5’11”; 200 lbs

Advantages/Disadvantages: Bloodlust (12); Callous; Combat Reflexes; Duty (Egyptian Army, 15, Extremely Hazardous); Fit; Military Rank 1; Overconfidence (12); Sense of Duty (Team)

Languages: Arabic (Native)

Skills: Administration-12; Armoury (Small Arms)-12; Artillery (Guided Missile)-11; Axe/Mace-12; Boating (Large Powerboat)-11; Boating (Unpowered)-11; Brawling-12; Camouflage-13; Climbing-12; Driving (Automobile)-12; Driving (Heavy Wheeled)-11; Electronics Operations (Communications)-11; Engineer (Combat)-11; Escape-10; Explosives (Demolition)-12; Explosives (EOD)-12; Explosives (Underwater Demolition)-11; First Aid-12; Forward Observer-11; Gunner (Machine Gun)-13; Guns (Grenade Launcher)-13; Guns (Light Anti-Armor Weapon)-13; Guns (LMG)-14; Guns (Pistol)-14; Guns (Rifle)-15; Hiking-11; Intelligence Analysis-11; Interrogation-11; Jumping-12; Knife-12; Leadership-12; Mechanic (Diesel Engine)-12; Navigation (Land)-13; NBC Suit-14; Parachuting-12; Savoir-Faire (Military)-12; Scrounging-12; Scuba-12; Soldier-12; Spear-12; Survival (Desert)-14; Survival (Mountain)-14; Swimming-12; Tactics-12; Traps-14

Equipment: GSh-18 9x19mm pistol; concealable vest


Egyptian NSA Spy

ST 11; DX 12; IQ 12; HT 11.
Damage 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs; HP 11; Will 12; Per 12; FP 11.
Basic Speed 5.75; Basic Move 5; Dodge 10; Parry 9.
5’11”; 185 lbs

Advantages/Disadvantages: Combat Reflexes; Compulsive Snooping (12); Curious (12); Duty (Egyptian NSA, 15, Extremely Hazardous); Enemy (Terror Group); Fit; Intolerance (Jews); Language Talent; Obsession (Protect my nation); Overconfidence (12); Sense of Duty (Team)

Languages: Arabic (Native); Dari (Native); English (Native); Farsi (Native); Hebrew (Native); Russian (Native)

Skills: Acting-13; Body Language-11; Carousing-13; Climbing-11; Computer Operation-12; Cryptography-11; Current Affairs (Business)-13; Current Affairs (Politics)-13; Current Affairs (Popular Culture)-13; Detect Lies-12; Diplomacy-12; Driving (Automobile)-11; Fast-Draw (Knife)-13; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-13; Fast-Talk-13; Filch-11; Forgery-10; Gambling-11; Garrote-12; Guns (Pistol)-14; Guns (Rifle)-13; Guns (SMG)-13; Holdout-11; Intelligence Analysis-10; Interrogation-11; Intimidation-13; Judo-11; Karate-11; Knife-13; Leadership-13; Merchant-11; Observation-12; Photography-12; Pickpocket-10; Professional (Tradecraft)-11; Research-12; Running-10; Savoir-Faire (High Society)-14; Savoir-Faire (Mafia)-14; Savoir-Faire (Servant)-14; Search-12; Sex Appeal-12; Shadowing-12; Sleight of Hand-11; Stealth-12; Urban Survival-11; Writing-11

Equipment: GSh-18 9x19mm pistol; concealable vest


So actions taken by the PCs here could theoretically lead them to a firefight with Egyptian authorities, but in the event they manage to avoid this, it seems likely that they’ll still be at least identified as “persons of interest” by the government, which can (read: will) cause them trouble later.

Presuming the PCs gain access to HEIMDALL’s hotel, they will likely find information that points them to a long bus ride by the operative who is going to the resort town of Dahab on “holiday” (but Tradecraft says he’s probably more likely meeting someone along the way.) In fact, he’s meeting two people who are classified (in my notes) as BALDR and BRAGI (though the PCs may name them something else.) This meeting takes place on a bus and PCs will have to get creative to gain access to it so they can eavesdrop since Bragi is a wire rat who has some tech to spoof electronic spying.


C/S: HEIMDALL

ST 11; DX 14; IQ 14; HT 11.
Damage 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs; HP 11; Will 14; Per 14; FP 11.
Basic Speed 6; Basic Move 6; Dodge 10; Parry 11.
5’6”; 185 lbs

Advantages/Disadvantages: Callous; Combat Reflexes; Danger Sense; Greed (12); Intelligence Rank 1; Secret (Accessory to many crimes); Selfish; Smooth Operator 1; Unfazeable

Languages: Arabic (Native); English (Native); Farsi (Native)

Skills: Acting-14; Brawling-15; Camouflage-15; Computer Operation-14; Cryptography-13; Current Affairs (High Culture)-15; Current Affairs (People)-15; Current Affairs (Politics)-15; Driving (Automobile)-14; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-15; Fast-Talk-14; Filch-14; Forgery-12; Freight Handling-13; Guns (Pistol)-15; Guns (Rifle)-14; Guns (SMG)-14; Hazardous Materials (Biological)-13; Hazardous Materials (Chemical)-13; Holdout-15; Housekeeping-15; Intelligence Analysis-13; Observation-13; Search-15; Shadowing-14; Smuggling-15; Stealth-14; Tracking-15; Wrestling-14.

Equipment: Glock 23 pistol; briefcase with Kriss Super-V SMG; concealable vest; burner cell phone


C/S: BALDR

ST 10; DX 13; IQ 15; HT 11.
Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs; HP 10; Will 15; Per 15; FP 11.
Basic Speed 6.; Basic Move 6; Dodge 9; Parry 10.
5’9”; 185 lbs

Advantages/Disadvantages: Appearance (Attractive); Compulsive Lying (12); Duty (UNCI, 15, Extremely Hazardous); Honest Face; Language Talent; Luck; Secret (Homosexual); Social Stigma (Criminal Record); Smooth Operator 2

Languages: Arabic (Native); English (Native); Farsi (Native); French (Native); German (Native); Russian (Native)

Skills: Acting-16; Administration-14; Body Language-14; Brawling-14; Carousing-13; Computer Operation-15; Counterfeiting-13; Cryptography-14; Current Affairs (Business)-16; Current Affairs (High Culture)-16; Current Affairs (People)-16; Current Affairs (Politics)-16; Current Affairs (Popular Culture)-16; Current Affairs (Science & Tech)-16; Current Affairs (Sports)-16; Current Affairs (Travel)-16; Detect Lies-15; Diplomacy-15; Driving (Automobile)-12; Fast-Talk-16; Filch-12; Guns (Pistol)-14; Guns (SMG)-14; Holdout-14; Interrogation-14; Intimidation-16; Leadership-16; Merchant-14; Observation-15; Savoir-Faire (High Society)-17; Savoir-Faire (Mafia)-17; Savoir-Faire (Police)-17; Sex Appeal (Human); Smuggling-14; Stealth-12; Wrestling-13

Equipment: Mini-Uzi; concealable vest; burner cell phone


C/S: BRAGI

ST 10; DX 12; IQ 15; HT 11.
Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs; HP 10; Will 15; Per 16; FP 11.
Basic Speed 6.; Basic Move 6; Dodge 9; Parry 9.
5’9”; 185 lbs

Advantages/Disadvantages: Circuit Sense 4; Clueless; Contact (Fence, Fixer, Smuggler; skill 12) (12); Contact Group (Interpol, skill 15) (9); Curious (12); Duty (UNCI, 15, Extremely Hazardous); Gadgeteer (Quick; Solder & Duct Tape); Gizmo 1; High Manual Dexterity 2; Luck; Mathematical Ability 1; Secret (Homosexual); Social Stigma (Criminal Record); Workaholic

Languages: English (Native); Indian (Native)

Skills: Brawling-13; Carousing-12; Computer Operation-15; Driving (Automobile)-11; Electrician-18; Elec Ops (Communication)-18; Elec Ops (Security)-18; Elec Ops (Sensors)-18; Elec Ops (Surveillance)-18; Elec Rpr (Communications)-18; Elec Rpr (Computers)-18; Elec Rpr (Media)-18; Elec Rpr (Security)-18; Elec Rpr (Sensors)-18; Elec Rpr (Surveillance)-18; Filch-12; Forced Entry-13; Gambling-15; Guns (SMG)-12; Holdout-14; Intimidation-15; Lip Reading-15; Photography-13; Savoir-Faire (Mafia)-13; Search-15; Smuggling-14; Stealth-11; Streetwise-15; Traps-14; Urban Survival-16; Wrestling-12

Equipment: Mini-Uzi; concealable vest; burner cell phone


Presuming that the PCs don’t get made early on and engage in a firefight aboard the bus (which could be … interesting nonetheless), they will be able to learn that HEIMDALL is moving some cargo for BALDR and BRAGI, and this cargo is being transferred to Socotra. There is also another thing in play – Operation Pablo Jiménez, though it is unclear what this is.

At about the midway point of the bus trip – again, presuming the PCs haven’t ended up shooting it out with the three men – the bus will be stopped by an unexpected checkpoint manned by Egyptian military personnel (see above Unit 777 stats, except they’re carrying AKMs and have swapped out their concealable vests with Advanced Body Armor (from High Tech.) They are here to check everyone’s “papers” but are obviously looking for someone.

BALDR and BRAGI panic and overreact. They will exit the bus after producing their mini-Uzis from concealment, spray the nearest soldiers and make a run for it. Unless PCs get involved, the two will escape. Any civilians present will panic and, in this panic, HEIMDALL will make a discreet escape.

As to the PCs, well … that’s up to them. (Could be amusing if they have to shoot it out as well…)

Solo and the Disney SW Franchise

So I finally got around to watching Solo – it popped up on Netflix and I realized that I, previously one of the greatest Star Wars fans of all time, had not bothered watching it yet. This is in the wake of me having watched The Last Jedi a single time in theaters, realizing that my prevarication afterwards about whether I liked it or not meant I actually didn’t, and having not bothered seeking out a repeat viewing … even when it popped up on Netflix as well. Which is just … sad.

Anyway, griping about TLJ isn’t why I’m posting this. Solo is. So I should review it.

I think I can sum up my feelings about Solo with one word: Meh. It wasn’t terrible, but neither was it very good, IMO. (Or necessary, but that’s beside the point.) The internet hubbub about the “SJW droid” was pretty much overdone – it was intended as comedy relief that seemed to work for the two friends of mine who watched it with me but mostly fell flat for me. That’s fine. The casting wasn’t terrible – I though Donald Glover was an excellent take on Lando and Alden Ehrenreich was … okay as Han. I didn’t hate him, so there’s that, and he did a decent job at carrying across Han’s smug arrogance and general “I have no idea what I’m doing and am making this up as I go” attitude. I didn’t really like that the movie essentially implied that Han Solo basically kickstarted the Rebellion with the money from the heist – I’d much rather that he’d intended on keeping the money, then got double-crossed by the pseudo-Rebellion types who took it from him. I’m also surprised that the Dryden Vos character – Paul Bettany’s character – wasn’t responsible for Solo’s chin scar … but then, that probably did seem like some low-hanging fruit they decided to avoid. Seeing Maul show back up was interesting … until he ignited the saber. Why, exactly? So the normies could go “Oh, right. That guy.” I guess. So ultimately, not terrible, not great, and very much not necessary.

As I discussed what I wanted to see in a future Star Wars movie with my friends, though, I realized that Valkryie could theoretically make a really interesting story concept. If you’re unfamiliar with that movie, it is “a dramatization of the July 20, 1944 assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Adolf Hitler during World War II.” Now imagine that in the Star Wars universe. Set it immediately post A New Hope so Alderaan has been destroyed by the Death Star and a group of Imperial officers are utterly appalled at what this New Order has just done. They signed up to help bring order to a chaotic galaxy, not obliterate a peaceful planet! So they start plotting and scheming, intent on assassinating the Emperor or Lord Vader (maybe both?) to topple the despotic regime that has gotten out of control. These officers are not Rebels – they legitimately believe the Rebellion is an illegal and immoral insurgency and based on what we saw in Rogue One at the beginning with Cassian Andor and how he murdered a contact just to maintain his cover, it seems probable that the Imperials have good reason to distrust believe them – but are instead actual patriots to the New Order who believe that the target of their assassination/coup is simply a problem. Ultimately, I think it probably makes more sense if Vader is the target of this coup with the conspirators believing that he’s responsible for the Emperor having lost his path. So they attempt to kill Vader but naturally fail … and he ends up killing them all. Hmm. Interesting thought here: have one of these plotters be General Madine who manages to escape Vader’s purge and ends up going full-on Rebellion at the end? If I did that, I’d not make him the main character, but maybe a secondary or tertiary one who keeps warning the protagonist that the plan isn’t going to work or something. I’d also be pretty tempted to have the protagonist survive Vader’s purge but be brought before the Emperor who personally executes him after revealing that this was all part of Palpatine’s plan to expose some traitors within the officer corps.

Unfortunately, casting Imperials as good guys for any reason probably wouldn’t fly for Disney, so I am doomed to never see the Star Wars: Empire movie that I would like to…

Game Prep: Desert Patrol Vehicle

One of the players in my ConsOps game has already mentioned needing to have one of these vehicles in the forthcoming game. Also known as the fast attack vehicle, these are dune buggies on steroids. Using the real-world stats, I spun up some GURPS vehicle stats for them. The image with the actual stats is snipped from Fantasy Grounds using the GURPS 4E ruleset that one of my players (Ronnke) built and we use – it was just faster doing it that way instead of trying to build out a table to match the normal GURPS vehicle format.

Game Prep: ConsOps Session 01a

Did some character review and have made a suggestion to one of the players – McKay is really a drone guy so he shouldn’t be in the field. No, he should be in the rear with all of the gear, so I’ve recommended to the player that we semi-retire McKay – he’ll get promoted to a desk – and that player take over another character (albeit, one I radically rebuilt using the GURPS: SEALs in Vietnam book) whose player has permanently left the group. This way, the player can be a more active participant when the inevitable shooting begins, and we can then circle back around to McKay helping as appropriate. So, for example, if the PCs are engaged in a firefight in Syria and call in a drone strike, that player can roll the results since it’ll be probable that McKay is the one piloting said drone.

I’ve also spun up a modified Shooter that’s basically a rip-off of Sameen Shaw from Person of Interest for the player who may or may not be joining us.

That alters the group dynamics slightly to the below:

  • Ilan Baum – Israeli (Mossad) Assassin – (principally a sniper, I think); Team Lead since he has the highest rank
  • Raymond Hurt – American Shooter (US Army Delta Force – he didn’t use the Shooter template, though)
  • Fearghus Mahoney – British (MI5) CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) expert; former SAS
  • Adam Vega – Australian (ASIS) Wheelman and super-pilot, likely ex-military
  • Mackenzie Reilly – American Shooter (US Navy SEAL – not using the Shooter template)
  • Nadya Shaw – American (ISA) Shooter with serious medical skills (I did use the Shooter template for her)

This means that the group is very combat-oriented which requires me to make a few alterations to my original plan which was more … spy-like. With this group as construed, the only character who could really fit the “spy” role is probably Baum, the Mossad assassin, but his social skills frankly kind of stink (which means he’s basically just the guy you send in to kill someone.) One of our players – Gigermann, who plays Hurt – developed a social engineering spreadsheet some years ago that carries over throughout all of our games and is an especially useful tool for the GM and if you glance over the ConsOps one, you can see that their social capabilities are … minimal, to say the least.

Which should mean that I ramp up the combat and ramp down any social interactions, but I don’t know if I’m actually going to do that. My intent throughout this entire arc is for the characters to feel like they’re out of their depth and really struggling to keep from drowning, so forcing them to do some social stuff is probably a good way to do that. Of course, since they pretty much all suck at most of it, I’ll have to expect combat to ensue shortly thereafter when, for example, Baum or Mahoney fail on a Fast-Talk check.

And that sort of reminds me. With my previous post, I made the presumption that any potential readers would know what I was thinking with regards to the ‘master plan’ or the story arc. Clearly, that’s not necessarily the case. In a previous post, I outlined my overall campaign idea, but since then, I’ve streamlined and enhanced it somewhat … and will probably continue doing so. Overall, it’s expected to play out like this:

  • Begin in media res with the unsanctioned operation in Syria to confirm a bioweapon (which is already gone – it’s been taken by the “Bad Guys”).
  • Back to base of operations, which is Haifa, Israel, where the PCs end up receiving a new mission, this one for info gathering. By necessity, I may have to allow some time to pass, depending on whether any of the characters are wounded in Syria.
  • Info-gathering op takes PCs to a couple of places in Egypt – Port Said to start. This was originally intended to be a covert op, with the PCs (hopefully) doing sneaky spy stuff but the characters aren’t especially great at that so I may have to revise this and turn it into more of a combat operation. In fact, with what comes next, that may actually make more sense in an “Ethan Hunt blows up Moscow at the beginning of MI: Ghost Protocol” … which, by the way, has a name that has a striking similarity to the Phantom Doctrine game and my subtitle for this arc: Shadow Directive. Not that such a thing is totally intentional or anything…
  • Following the jaunt to Egypt, PCs return to Israel where they converse with my old PC, Quinn (who was a blatant ripoff of Phil Coulson from the MCU) via teleconference. Quinn reveals he’s in Jerusalem at the American Embassy – the current POTUS officially moved our embassy there last year so … thanks, Mr. President, I guess? Makes my game easier. In mid-sentence, the transmission ends and PCs will learn that the embassy has been bombed!
  • Presuming that the PCs go to Jerusalem … but I probably shouldn’t make such a presumption. Will need to bake in a reason to push them to go there. At the hospital where Quinn is being operated on – he’s really jacked up and surgeons aren’t confident he’ll make it (Spoiler: he probably won’t. I’m harder on my own PCs than any GM, I think), but PCs should see one of the dudes they trailed in Egypt exiting with a super-secure briefcase they recognize as belonging to Quinn. Cue chase/fight scene.
  • PCs are later contacted by their DDO (Deputy Director of Operations) who reveals the dude they just whacked is a DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency, the spy agency for the American DoD) agent and people are screaming for their heads. After hearing their side of the story, including the Egypt op info, he gives them 24 hours to prove the dead guy was dirty. 
  • Now, originally, I was planning on having a team of SEALs to hit the PCs “cover base” after the above ‘clear their names’ op, but now, I’m thinking it should happen while they’re conducting that. Yeah. That makes more sense. The PCs are in Egypt when one of them gets a text from McKay – the drone/hacker PC who I expect will be retired from active play – that says something like GET OUT. TEAM BURNED U77 COMING. DON’T CALL HOME. U77 will be a reference to the Egyptian Special Forces Unit 777. Cue action/gunfight, with PCs having to get clear while hopefully not dying.
  • Following this, PCs will learn – somehow – that their primary cover IDs have been thoroughly burned and Interpol has issued Red Notices on them. Everybody is gunning for them and they need to go to ground. Somehow, they’ll need to get into contact with their DDO – or he gets in contact with them, maybe – where he will reveal that their organization has been compromised by … someone. The DDO issues a ‘Shadow Directive’ which instructs the PCs to go off the grid, locate & neutralize the bioweapon from earlier, and take out the parties involved. This is probably where he’ll also reveal that Quinn died on the operating table so now (hopefully) it’s personal.
  • With the intel the PCs should have at this point, they’ll be pointed to Somalia where the large cargo ship that was being used to secretly transport the bioweapon has been seized by pirates. Cut to PCs conducting a commando raid against the pirates aboard the ship only to learn that the bioweapon has been moved – might work best here if, while they’re retaking the ship, a helicopter arrives, gets the bioweapon, and bugs out.
  • Some piece of intel from this raid – or maybe some secret intel passed onto them by McKay discreetly – points them to Singapore. In Singapore, they have to raid the business that ostensibly owns the helicopter … my original intent was to borrow from Phantom Doctrine and have them be forced to contact a crimelord for assistance, but I’m not sure if they have the Streetwise skills for that. Looking … ugh. One PC has the skill and it’s at -11. Well … it’s still possible, I suppose. Presuming they do contact him, he’ll point them to someplace in Jakarta, Indonesia for a relatively negligible amount of money, claiming that these people are his enemies as well and the PCs will be doing him a favor, but this is a trap. I’m presuming that the PCs will be able to evade said trap or shoot their way out of it, but what they do then is unclear. Vengeful PCs will hopefully go after the crimelord himself.
  • Anyway, intel obtained here reveals that the bioweapon has been transferred to Vancouver, Canada … which is also where the G7 is scheduled to be meeting (following a last minute change of venue due to internal security issues in Germany.) It appears that the “bad guys” are planning on releasing the bioweapon there!
  • One of the problems I immediately note here is why wouldn’t the PCs just report this to authorities and let them deal with it? I’m currently thinking that bureaucracy is probably the answer – PCs can quickly realize that its going to take too long to work its way up the chain of authority, so they have to deal with it themselves.
  • Ideally, while the PCs are in Vancouver, I’d like to split them up, like multiple hot zones have to be investigated simultaneously. Throw in the inevitable anarchist rioters who are present to “protest” the G7 as well as hostile security types pursuing the PCs and this scene has the potential of being quite exciting … and difficult as hell to run.
  • Some piece of intel here should point the PCs back to their bosses in ConsOps, headquartered in NYC, so PCs need to go in there. What I’d like to do is actually blow up the HQ while the PCs are there – obviously, they’ll have the opportunity to get out and potentially rescue some people … but the DO will be revealed to have been suborned by the Mastermind … but will be assassinated somehow before she can reveal more. I’m leaning toward her (along with some others) maybe being rigged up with explosives and, even if/when the PCs defuse these bombs, a sniper takes the DO out. But yeah … ideally, I want to blow up the building.
  • And then, I had the thought that maybe its revealed in a postscript that the Mastermind is a minor bad guy the PCs were nominally pursuing in the previous run by the originating GM – played by James Macavoy because he’s awesome – and that this guy is connected in some secretive way to the United Nations. That’s right. I’m making the UN the bad guys – the buried idea here is that some fanatics inside the UN have decided that that the only way to end all of the worldwide strife and the like is to establish a single government over it all, so they’re focusing on destabilizing the crap out of the other major nation-states with the plan of having the UN step in to “assist” whenever a nation is about to collapse.
  • I’d originally intended on having the previous version of ConsOps shut down and a new one based out of the State Department but working with other allied countries (which is basically the home countries of the PCs) be established in the postscript. May still do that.

So that’s my master plan for the story arc as it currently stands. At least until I introduce Player Characters who will inevitably mess it up.

Game Prep: ConsOps Session 01

As stated previously, I’m in the process of working on the GURPS: Action game that I’m likely going to be running on Saturdays in three or four weeks (depending on when we wrap up our current GURPS: Banestorm game.) I mentioned in the previous ConsOps post that I’m planning on ripping off the overall plotline from the “Phantom Doctrine” video game. The current group dynamics are looking like:

  • Ilan Baum – Israeli (Mossad) Assassin – (principally a sniper, I think); Team Lead since he has the highest rank
  • Raymond Hurt – American Shooter (US Army Delta Force – he didn’t use the Shooter template, though)
  • Fearghus Mahoney – British (MI5) CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) expert
  • Stephen McKay – American (NSA) Hacker
  • Adam Vega – Australian (ASIS) Wheelman and super-pilot

I have no idea if one of the other players is actually going to be there or even if what she would play. Given her historical number of absences, I’m leaning toward her not showing or maybe showing twice during a 10 to 12 week run.

Session 1 is going to begin in media res like all good action/spy stories. The briefing that the PCs get beforehand reveals that this is an mostly abandoned Syrian airbase near the Iraqi border that has what is believed to a secret bio-weapon facility. The night previously, a team of unknown assailants hit the facility, then withdrew to a nearby town where they vanished. So the PCs have been tasked to insert onto the airbase, gather whatever intelligence they can on both the nature of bio-weapon facility and the identity of those who struck it.

At that point, I’m going to ask the PCs how they’re accomplishing this. They could be in disguise or utilizing stealth ala a spec ops team. Additionally, how are they planning on exfiltrating? Nothing is off the table – I want the PCs to feel like Double-O agents in the opening.

There’s about 30-ish Syrian soldiers present who are definitely not elite – most of them are effectively Mooks, with several Veterans who are slightly more competent. These soldiers also have BTR-40s patrolling – I had to create some proper stats for that based on realworld stats. GURPS: High Tech has stats for the BRDM-2 which is also called the BTR-40P2 … but that’s not what these vehicles are.

TLST/HPHnd/SRHTMvLWt.LoadSMOccDRRngLoc
796-1/410f1/307.70.4+33+2S40/20450t4W

Normally, each BTR-40 is manned by a three-soldier team – one driver, one navigator, one gunner armed with ZiD RPD light machinegun (High-Tech p134). Only one BTR-40 is mobile at any time … unless the alarm is sounded.

The facility itself is (initially) guarded by two soldiers. One is a straight-up Mook from Action, the other is one of my above-mentioned Vets who is a 100-pt character I built using the Soldier of Fortune in the Basic book.

Syrian Army Vet, 100-point human

ST 11 {10}; DX 12 {40}; IQ 11 {20}; HT 11 {10}

Damage 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24lb; HP 12 {2}; Will 11 {0}; Per 11 {0}; FP 12 {0}; Basic Speed 5.75 {0}; Basic Move 5

Cultural Familiarities

  • Muslim (Native) {0}

Languages

  • Arabic (Native) (Native/Native) {0}

Advantages

  • Combat Reflexes {15}
  • Military Rank 2 {10}

Disadvantages

  • Bad Temper (12 or less) {-10}
  • Duty (Syrian Army, 15 or less, Extremely Hazardous) {-20}
  • Overconfidence (12 or less) {-5}

Skills

  • Administration (A) IQ-1 {1} – 10
  • Area Knowledge (Syria) (E) IQ+0 {1} – 11
  • Armoury/TL8 (Small Arms) (A) IQ-1 {1} – 10
  • Brawling (E) DX+0 {1} – 12
  • Computer Operation/TL8 (E) IQ+0 {1} – 11
  • Driving/TL8 (Heavy Wheeled) (E) DX+0 {2} – 12
  • ElecOps/TL8 (Communications) (A) IQ-1 {1} – 10
  • First Aid/TL8 (Human) (A) IQ+0 {1} – 11
  • Guns/TL8 (LMG) (E) DX+1 {2} – 13
  • Guns/TL8 (Rifle) (E) DX+1 {2} – 13
  • Interrogation (A) IQ-1 {1} – 10
  • Leadership (A) IQ+0 {2} – 11
  • NBC Suit/TL8 (A) DX-1 {1} – 11
  • Observation (A) Per-1 {1} – 10
  • Savoir-Faire (Military) (E) IQ+0 {1} – 11
  • Soldier (A) IQ+0 {2} – 11
  • Survival (Desert) (A) Per-1 {1} – 10
  • Tactics (H) IQ-2 {1} – 9
  • Wrestling (A) DX-1 {1} – 11

Equipment

  • Izhmash AK-74
  • ZiD RPG

How the PCs get past these dudes is up to them. Could potentially BS them or snipe them or sneak up with a knife … up to them. They’ll also have to get past an exceptional lock (-2 on Lockpicking attempts) to get into the “lab” – this lock looks new. If they’re getting too cocky, I may throw in a hidden alarm system to warn of breaches that could bring the patrolling BTR-40 a calling.

Beyond the door is a ruined lab – shot up with bullets, some dead bodies, some human-sized cages that may have bodies as well. Not much to actually find here, though super awesome rolls or expenditures of Serendipity (think one PC has that) may turn up something, such as a computer hard drive or maybe a recording of the testing.

As the PCs are picking through the mess, they will hear someone banging on a door leading into a supply closet. No amount of questioning will get a coherent response, only more banging and some groaning. The door itself is locked, but can be easily opened … at which point an Infected Victim lunges out with a snarl. Blood is leaking from this guy’s eyes and he is utterly feral (does nothing by All-Out Attacks).

For stats for this dude, I going to just use the Fast, Enraged, Infected zombie from GURPS: Zombies (p98) though this guy isn’t technically a zombie, just someone infected with the bio-weapon. Anyone bitten by this dude or tangled up in HTH combat could theoretically find themselves infected – I’ll ask for secret HT checks (since we’re playing via Fantasy Grounds which lets me do that), then play it up – they experience hot flashes and fevers and an unquenchable taste for human flesh – then ignore it. They’re fine. Mostly, I just want the PCs to be aware of this.

Any use of unsilenced weapons is going to draw the attention of the Syrian troopers who’ll first attempt to contact the guards, then send the BTR while gearing up themselves.

I’m also considering how to “smash out” of this scene – if the PCs are enjoying being freaking ninjas, bugging out via stealth is fine but I also thought a (relatively slow) chase involving BTRs (seriously, those things are slow as hell evidently) could be amusing. Of course, if the PCs have opted for a neat extraction via helicopter, that could be fun too…