GM Commentary: ConsOps, 2.10

So … that happened.

I’d expected the (probable) bathroom fight to take a short amount of time, maybe an hour or so, but naturally, that turned out to be all we did. I certainly didn’t expect to end up killing a PC (although I think, in this case, the player sort of forced my hand there.) This was one of those situations where, despite my desire to avoid using a map, in retrospect, I absolutely should have brought one out.

At any rate, I’d expected the PCs to split up and shake their pursuers individually. This would let me run a quick HTH fight for one or two PCs (versus a single bad guy at a time) which I’d intended to use for testing Doug Cole’s Dungeon Grappling (with a possible eye toward integrating Technical Grappling down the road.) So naturally, the Players decided nope, they were going to stick together. This basically forced me to re-evaluate, so I had four Omani ISS operatives pursue the characters into a bathroom with an toward taking them into custody …

And that’s where I think I started screwing things up. As stated above, I absolutely should have ended up using a tactical map because the players didn’t seem especially clear on the environment, which complicated the fight. Since one of the players’ character wasn’t present, I had him making the actual rolls for my bad guys and he was on fire when it came to the dice. And yeah, I did not provide the PCs an adequate opportunity to effectively bullshit their way out of the fight – my bad guys came in expecting to meet resistance and were pretty aggressive from the get-go. Also, in retrospect, I should have maybe called for a Tactics check so the PCs could have obtained some sort of advantage.

So we basically had one PC engaged in a grappling contest with a bad guy while the other two fought with two of the ISS guys while the fourth ISS dude relocated & began to try and get involved in the grapple contest. I then had one of the Russian bad guys enter, armed with a SMG … it was actually my intention to have this guy and the fourth ISS guy to be removed from the fight long enough for the PCs to deal with their fights.

But naturally, one of the players escalated by charging the guy with the SMG. This effectively forced my hand, I think – I didn’t actually want to shoot him, but … I couldn’t think of how else the Russian would react here. He’d just been winged by one of the ISS guys who’d shot at him (took out a knee, but the guy made his HT check), and then the PC clocked him in the face with a piece of a toilet that he’d turned into an improvised weapon. If he’d inflicted two more points of damage, the Russian would have been knocked out … but he didn’t. So my Russian opened fire with the SMG … and scored a critical hit … to the vitals. The Player failed his dodge (and had previously burned his Luck, so he couldn’t reroll), so he got hit in total 6 times … and one of them was another vitals hit on the random hit location. After tallying the damage, it was insta-death. The Russian was then shot to death by two of the ISS guys.

Ironically, it was about this point that the flow of the battle ultimately shifted in the PCs favor, despite one of their number being dead and the other having taken a bullet to the arm. This second PC had already successfully gotten one of his targets on the ground, face down, and successfully dodged more gunfire – I ruled that, since the guy was shooting down, I’d check to see if his bullets hit the prone guy. They did and removed him from the fight. This PC had retrieved the now dead guy’s sidearm and dropped the shooter, while the grappling PC finally beat his foe, got his pistol, and shot the man. The last of the ISS guy was hit by gunfire from outside.

Right. Outside the bathroom. With regards to that, lots of gunfire and screaming started in the middle of this fight in the bathroom which was basically some of the Russians pushing too aggressively toward the bathroom themselves, which drew notice from the other ISS personnel. Things rapidly escalated out of control to the point of an actual shoot-out in the airport. This is going to cause lots of trouble for the Russian colonel who is pursuing LOKI and actually makes things more complicated for the PCs as well.

As to the PC who had escaped the Russian embassy by stealing the ambassador’s car, the player realized that a car like that was probably lo-jacked, so he ditched it at the airport (which he arrived at after the shooting really began.) Later, he would steal an ambulance which the two uninjured PCs carried the dead one into ala “Weekend at Bernies.” Since they were far from the only ones fleeing the bloodshed with injured people, they used Acting to escape.

We left off with the PCs fleeing into Muscat proper in a stolen ambulance, away from the craziness at the airport. And I still haven’t had the chase I intended to have in Scene 2. Now, in addition to dealing with the aftermath of this mess, we’ve got to introduce a new PC.

Interesting times ahead.

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