GM Commentary: ConsOps, 2.14

So … we’re in Ta’iz, Yemen, and moving into the endgame. I’m very pleased that I planned something for Baum – originally, the player said he wasn’t going to be there due to school, but he’s done that to us like three times in the recent past … which admittedly, is better than saying “I’ll be there” then bailing. Anyway…

Lynch’s player threw me for a loop during his conversation with the Russian colonel, codenamed TYR, when he flat out agreed with the man to just kill LOKI instead of questioning him. I mostly blame myself for that as I didn’t really setup correctly that Lynch’s bosses would very much like to have a chat with LOKI … but then, it’s not out of the question, I suppose, that Lynch was lying. Damn. I should have asked him if that was the case. Not bothering to find out who or what LOKI is working for seems ill advised to me, but that’s fine.

Apart from that, none of the pre-city entrance stuff was really that big of a deal. Brooks got his new assignment and has been sort of burned, sort of not, exactly like Lynch; Baum learned that Egyptian forces were on-site … which reminds me that I need to add Officer el-Sisi to the blog; and … damn. I didn’t have enough for Mahoney to do. Need to work on that.

Into the city they went and I used my planned multiple encounters as written in the previous GamePrep post although it quickly became apparent to me I’d messed up slightly with encounter 2. As written, this was intended to be a fight with some infected so the PCs would learn how insane they were, but then during play, I realized it came directly after I’d asked for a Stealth check, which meant I was basically ignoring those rolls. In retrospect, we all forgot to apply Encumbrance modifiers to those rolls – everyone was in at least Light, possibly up to Heavy – but at the time, it felt wrong, so I rolled encounter 2 into encounter 3 as something optional. I also wasn’t expecting the PCs to intentionally go out of their way to avoid getting eyes on the firefights … which actually made sense, but their decision to get the two best climbers up on the roof to look down on the second of the firefights worked. They also didn’t disarm the claymore-like mine discovered in encounter 4, which surprised me, but if they find themselves in a chase, that could come into play.

So the PCs had eyes on the target location and here, everything went sideways. My tokens were out of whack on the map, and then I double-applied them because I was a dummy, but eventually, I got everything squared away. Baum’s player decided he was going to get a sample from one of the Infected bodies nearby and someone – I don’t recall who – joked that they were going to come alive like zombies. I decided that was a great idea (even though they’re not zombies!) and had Baum’s player make a “Universe Reaction roll” … which came up as Poor. So I decided one of the Infected was still alive here and stood up. This led to a much longer fight than expected because the Infected had Hard to Kill 3 … which also reminds me: I failed to post the stats for these guys.

Infected Lunatic

ST 10; DX 11; IQ 8; HT 9.
Damage 2d+2/1d+1; BL 20 lbs; HP 10; Will 8; Per 8; FP 9.
Basic Speed 5.50; Basic Move 5; Dodge 9; Parry 8.

Advantages/Disadvantages: Acute Hearing (2); Hard to Kill (3); Hard to Subdue (3); High Pain Threshold; Indomitable; Striking ST (6); Unfazeable; Bad Smell; Berserk (Battle Rage); Bestial; Cannot Learn; Disturbing Voice; Hidebound; Low Empathy; No Sense of Humor; Terminally Ill (Up to one month); Unnatural Feature (Blood-Drenched Eyes)

Skills: Brawling-11; Climbing-10; Running-8; Wrestling-10

You’ll note that these are “bare minimum” characters and I built them using GURPS: Zombies, so there’s that. The core concept of them and the weaponize encephalitis strike comes from Steven Konkoly’s Black Flagged books which … hmm. I was going to say they’re GURPS: Action taken to the Nth degree, but honestly, I think they’re more Covert Ops bordering on Black Ops from 3E (except without the supernatural angle.) The main characters in those books are not 250-points. They’re definitely closer to 500, IMO.

Anyway, despite having its neck cut three times, the Infected wouldn’t go down for a long time … which actually worked out for me as it means the Infected are no longer a “paper tiger”. So PCs now have firsthand knowledge of how tough and crazy these things are.

We ended with someone exclaiming “I found it” from the target site but, once the game was over, I realized I’d messed up again and am going to have to do a minor retcon at the beginning of next week where a Hostile steps out of concealment to investigate the noise caused by Baums & Brooks’ (still sounds like a Country music band) fight with the Infected.

Overall, I was fairly satisfied with this session, but not entirely. I needed more to do for Mahoney as he’s not done a whole lot in the last couple of sessions. Next week is probably going to end up being a protracted tactical firefight and I have a really great surprise to end on.

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