Sunday, January 28, 2018

Street Level Champions Play Report: Two Down

  Sat down with the kids today and played an afternoon game.
  We are using the Hudson City: The Urban Abyss supplement for a setting. I am using some of the villains and heroes, plus my own.
  Hudson City is an amazing book and one of the best supplements I have ever seen for any game.
  The clan and I played a short intro against street gangs a few days back, but this is the first 'non-intro' session.
The Game-
Using what I still reflexively think of as Dark Champions concepts: more Punisher or Vigilante than Batman or Captain America. Dark, gritty, low-power (175 points), no superpowers for player characters. Killing evil people, especially in the heat of battle, is not penalized.

The Characters-
Wizard- My 15 year old son took a riff on Dove of Hawk and Dove; only defensive martial arts and TONS of skills. Wizard is an amazingly flexible character.
Wyvern- My 17 year old made - a sniper. OK in melee, but an expert in ranged attacks.
Warlord- My 21 year old made a melee specialist with a sword. Lethal close-in.

The Setup-
  I decided to 'clean out' some of the NPCs that are part of the supplement; if I am using someone else's writing I find that this is a great way to use the material as a bit of a surprise (especially in a point buy game a DM can get predictable, so use someone else's stuff now and then), the stuff as it was intended, to introduce the players to the setting, and the make the introduction of your own new NPCs organic and tie it closer to the PCs.

  The PCs had all banked their XP from the intro session and had been doing 'street patrols' for crime in the down-time. Although loosely allied, they patrol different parts of the city. I gave each of them a handout with a list of crimes they had stopped, major unsolved crimes in their 'area' and in the whole city, off-panel interactions with NPCs, etc. They also got the major news - the evil vigilante Siddhartha has burned down a homeless shelter that focused on women and children. Although rumors that the vigilante Scarecrow had risked his life to save the majority of the women and children flashed through the streets the most rabid anti-vigilante elements of the city government were trying to ram a fierce anti-vigilante bill through.
  The players spent about 30 minutes going through their notes and hitting their informants before hazarding a guess as to Siddhartha's probably home base area and his route and even a solid guess as to his next target.
  We had three quick encounters where they just missed stopping Siddhartha, wounding him each time; Siddhartha's pre-planned escapes kept letting him get away. They met the Scarecrow, a heroic vigilante, during their pursuit of Siddhartha. Still recovering from injuries he took saving kids from the previous fire, Scarecrow used his motorcycle to help ferry Wyvern to a tall building with line of sight to where they thought Siddhartha was planning to firebomb another homeless shelter (Winter in the city, so the homeless still go despite the dangers).
  The PCs had nailed the final target with Siddhartha showing up when and where they expected. Wyvern put a bullet through the gas tank of Siddhartha's motorcycle from 200m and a sniper duel started. Warlord and Wizard arrived; Wizard disarmed the firebombs while Scarecrow evacuated the building and before Warlord to drop Siddhartha Wyvern dropped him with a well-placed bullet. The police showed up and, seeing what the PCs were doing, shoo'ed them away before politicians could arrive.
  Scarecrow gave them the number for a burner phone and vanished.

After-
  We all had so much fun the guys asked if we could keep going! I had already made notes on the next steps, so we dove in.

The Next Days-
  Going back to one of Siddhartha's safe houses where Wizard had found a crate of assault rifles, 2 anti-tank rocket launchers, and thousands of rounds of ammo they found it empty. They soon learned that the building was owned by a crime boss called Caligula. Caligula was a pimp, pornographer, and slumlord suspected of human trafficking, but stayed away from dealing drugs, weapons, etc.
  Turns out, though, that Caligula was also an opportunist. Finding a fortune of illegal guns in one of his tenements, he had his men grab them and contacted the crime lords  in the city that do deal in or use military weapons and was planning a quick auction to get rid of them.
  By leaning on a sometimes-informant Wizard learned that Caligula was going to be at the auction personally to show the other bosses it wasn't a trap. Wyvern's contacts in the mercenary world narrowed down that the auction had to be going off in a particular neighborhood that happened to be inside Warlord's patrol area. Warlord's knowledge of the area, noted changes, and a contact pointed them to a dive bar with a large 'private back room'.
  Wyvern's disguised scouting of the interior revealed 4 gunsels covering the interior and that the back room was rented for the evening. Warlord found a cleverly concealed entrance from the back alley. Wizard notes that there were lookouts covering all sides of the building, ready to give an alarm and(almost certainly) open fire on anyone trying to get it.
  The team was concerned at the obvious firepower and worried about the fact that the back room would hold more gunmen. But knowing that 3-7 other crime lords were about to arrive with their goons imposed a time limit.

  Wyvern dealt with one of the spotters by slipping into the building, setting off a smoke grenade, and tripping the fire alarm; this got rid of the observer in the back. Wyvern set off for the concealed door at a dead sprint. Wizard picked the lock on the concealed door as Warlord stood by. When Wyvern arrived the opened the door.
  Inside the rather large room they spotted 4+ gunmen, the crates of weapons, Caligula, and...
  ...Blackjack, one of the Card Sharks.
  The Card Sharks are a wonderfully Silver Age/Bronze Age group that are a mix of street-level Hydra, low-rent movie yakuza, and the Royal Flush Gang. I had to use them!
  Warlord closed with Blackjack for a brawl as Wizard closed with Caligula to keep him from escaping. Wyvern pulled out his pistol and started shooting. The fighting was intense with a mook trying to keep Wizard busy while Caligula got to a hidden escape, 3-4 gunmen at a time firing at Wyvern, and Warlord fighting a guy strong enough to throw a car across the street.
  Warlord's player mixed up blocks, fast attacks, and such very well, but Blackjack is a superhuman. Wizard, who normally avoids melee, used his Aikido expertly and soon had subdued Caligula. Wyvern waded through a hail of bullets dropping a mook with each shot. After the first turn the gunsels from the bar tried to enter, but Wyvern was ready for them and after the first 2 went down the rest backed off.
  Warlord was holding his own but knew one more blow from Blackjack and he was going down.  Wizard was still preventing Caligula from using some sort of escape chair and Wyvern was reloading so Warlord went all-in and rolled a good, solid hit. Then he Sammed Blackjack.
  My third son, Sam, in famous for rolling really good when tossing d6's for damage. When he was playing Ember, a fire elementalist, who casts an average of 3 fireballs a session I kept track of his damage over 7 sessions and had him use different dice every game. Over time his damage rolls averaged 4.1 per d6!! So now when someone rolls really well on a group of d6s we call it 'Samming' or 'getting Sammed'.
Backjack went down with his intestines visible but was only stunned! So Wyvern shot him in the leg.
  The team grabbed a sobbing Caligula. Because of Wizard the group won't kill in cold blood, so they warned him - he had a month to sell out and leave town or they'd be back. If Blackjack couldn't stop them...? Caligula agreed while crying like a baby. The team left as sirens approached.

  On the way out Wizard's keen eyes spotted something; what looked like a man made out of shadow watching them from a nearby rooftop. A man made out of shadows that had no head! He blinked at the figure was gone. He kept it to himself.

Aftermath-
  Over the next 3 weeks the Caligula did, indeed, sell off at least 1/3rd of his buildings and such. The party tried to keep an eye on him, but the third week he vanished. He was eventually found in an alley, minus his head. The PCs learned that he had indeed sold off a huge amount of his assets but was on his way to meet a man about hiring a team of supervillains to kill the PCs when the Headsman must have gotten to him. As with all other victims of the Headsman his neck had been cut through from every direction at once and the head was missing.

Bookkeeping-
  The PCs are are still banking points. They have tentatively named their three-man band the Warriors and are considering buying a vehicle.