GM Commentary: ConsOps 2.09

After many weeks of being on hiatus, we resumed my Action game on Saturday … and it didn’t quite play out like I expected it to, principally because of some bad planning on my part. I intentionally planned for three major sequences as stated in previous posts that should have played out in the following way:

  • Phase 1: PCs reach their boat, repair it, make their way to land and reach out to contacts to obtain replacement gear.
  • Phase 2: While exiting with their new gear, the PCs encounter Bragi and Reilly in a car. This leads to a chase which probably would have ended with Reilly dying while “holding the line” so Bragi escaped.
  • Phase 3: Jump to Mahoney in the Russian embassy where he’s interrogated, then makes his escape.

And it all fell down in Phase 1 because of bad planning on my part. Vega was the only PC with the Mechanic skills and even then, he was defaulting off Mechanic (Motorcycle). I calculated everything and determined this check would be at -6 (defaulting at -4, additional -2 due to missing some tools.) Vega has Luck, so I figured that was fine … and then, the dice screwed him. Even with maximum +5 bonus for extra time (which turns out to be something like 30 hours since each check would take 1 hour!), Vega failed on his best roll by 1. So that meant they weren’t going to ever be able to repair the boat!

One of the players (Mark, I think?) threw out the idea that Somali pirates might show up to investigate their missing buddies, but someone else correctly pointed out that in the previous adventure I established that it wasn’t actually Somalis who took the ship (it was actually Yemenese mercs, but the PCs don’t know that yet.) In the end, I had someone make a “Universe reaction roll” which came up Poor, so I decided that the Royal Oman Navy would be the first to respond and the PCs would naturally be persons of interest.

This led to a bunch of improvisation on my part, but the PCs did a good job of sticking to their story and having a believable tale to tell … plus, as someone (Daniel, I think) pointed out, the owner of the cargo ship had previously gone “radio silent” so that would delay their actual response. Eventually, the PCs were ferried to the mainland where they managed to vanish like smoke in the wind. I did increase their HEAT by 1 for “fleeing arrest” which brings this up to 7.

The players split up, with one group basically counter-surveilling the team already at their hotel while the other group headed to the plane to try and get a lock on where Mahoney was via the GPS tracker. I threw in a half-hearted attempt to get the surveilling team (the Baum siblings) back “on track” by having the Russians they were following enter into a hot spot with SMGs, but the players declined to bite – logically so, since they had not replaced their gear yet and were, thus, down to bare knuckles and harsh words. If they did follow up, that would (or rather, could) have led to the Chase with Bragi & Reilly, but since they didn’t, it’ll remain a mystery … hmm. Amusing thought there: what if their actual target (CS: LOKI) was there and the Baums walked away? That’s such an amusing thought that it’s now what actually happened.

So with the team in the air and heading toward Muscat, Oman, I jumped to Mahoney … who was already there. He interacted with the Russian Spetsnaz colonel the Team observed in Syria waaaaay back in episode 1, but Mahoney easily withstood the initial “soft” interrogation (beat him by 7, I think); this didn’t work as well as I would have liked it to, so I’ll have to figure out a better way to do that should it happen again in the future. He would overhear the colonel learning that the other PCs have arrived in Muscat. After the colonel left (following a promise to get some “specialists”), Mahoney was given the opportunity to make his escape when his guard received a phone call from his former team-mate, McKay. Again, this didn’t play out as well as I would have liked – I really need to read up on the technical grappling stuff. Regardless, Mahoney choked the guy out and, with McKay’s assistance, escaped. So we ended with Mahoney driving out of the Russian embassy in the ambassador’s car.

Overall, I felt really rusty but we’re back in the game and I’m hopeful that I can improve this. I’m planning on starting next week with the Chase that I’d intended on being Phase 3 … but I’ll get into that later when I outline my gameprep.