Apr 172016

Previous Episodes:

Digression: My poor wife has a very strange schedule (she’s a Vet Tech), and so she was out this game. She was supposed to get out of work at 3am, but they had a couple of emergencies and so had to miss the entire session. So Becca was off doing something else.

Now that David King had told W.A.V.E. about the wonder that was K.A.T.T., they were impressed. And also very worried that such a marvel was being kept in what was essentially a poorly guarded basement. And so David found himself overseeing a small army of technicians that were preparing to move K.A.T.T.’s servers and code to a much more advanced and secure location. Which meant that David was mostly listening to K.A.T.T. complain and making sure none of the techs spilled anything on his carpet. But it was necessary work.

Over at the Phoenix Rescue offices, Scott was storming out of the office, furious that they weren’t going to give him any help with finding the Russian. He was consoled slightly by Dolly, the perky southern(ish) secretary who promised to see what she could do to help him in return for some Vic Valiant tickets. So things were looking a little up when Scott got called in to help oversee the movement of a new asset. And so he was forced to leave before really checking out anything too much.

+Digression: I’m not sure where my voice and accent for Dolly the secretary came from. I think I might have been reaching deep back into my memory and channeling the receptionist from Empty Nest. But I’m not entirely sure.

Meanwhile, out on the beach, Ace was doing his best to sell some “excess” ice cream. He was having a little luck, but had yet to sell off a bunch of spumoni ice cream sandwiches. He was about to give up when he spotted a young teen girl crying near the beach parking lot. Offering her some ice cream (and she happened to love Spumoni!), he managed to get her to open up a bit. Her mom hadn’t come to pick her up, which meant she was probably stuck at her job at the Tiki Tiki room. And so Ace, being the nice guy that he was, offered to give her a ride on his moped. This being the 80s, this was seen a kind gesture and she readily accepted.

Meanwhile, back at David’s place, Scott had arrived to assist with the transport of K.A.T.T. Which was good, as he helped with a few snafus but before too long K.A.T.T.’s systems were loaded on the truck and ready to go. Though David noticed that she was having trouble responding: for the duration of the trip and install, she’d have diminished resources. Which meant that it was extra important for David and Scott to ride point ahead of the truck, in case of trouble. So they piled into David’s muscle car and started on the trip to the secluded W.A.V.E. hideout. Meanwhile, Ace gave the young teen, Molly, his helmet and started heading toward the Tiki Tiki Room.

It didn’t take long for the heroes to find trouble. Scott spotted six leather clad figures on racing bikes, with katanas and other weapons strapped to their backs. He pointed this out to David, and he told the truck about trouble and decided to get proactive. He gunned the motor, whipped the car into a sideways bootlegs spin, and abruptly hitting the breaks. It was a brilliant bit of driving that one of the mooks just couldn’t avoid. He hit the hood of the car and was sent sprawling, out of the fight. The rest of the Yakuza got off their bikes, unsheathing two katanas, an extendable staff, and a pair of nunchucks. The huge man leading them got off his bike and unfurled a huge chain and a massive spiked ball. Banter was exchanged, and the fight was on!

+Digression: At about this point in the game, something strange started happening. The players started commenting not about the game, but about the actors and stuntmen behind the game. This entire meta commentary started happening, where some of the strangeness was described as simple production gaffes and the like. At first I just thought it was a joke, but by the end of the session we had what amounted to the “DVD Commentary Track” for the show. In the future I think I may well actually give the players a “Commentary Track” aspect they can free invoke once or twice a session.

About this time, Ace and Molly drove past on one of the cross streets. Ace saw some of his companions in trouble, and so he dropped Molly at the corner and drove up on his moped to help his companions. As Scott got ready to shoot from behind the door and David went out front to tussle with the men, Ace suddenly took off down a side street. The ninjas then attacked! David managed to avoid anything more serious than a torn jacket, but Scott’s cover was removed when one of the Yakuza chopped the car door off with his katana! Meanwhile, the massive leader started shouting for his men to fight harder.

But David had been training since the last encounter. He managed to rip the nunchucks from one of the Yakuza and then proceeded to beat them both down with them! He then tossed them aside, ready to aid Scott. But Scott had managed to take a bit of aim and he was successful in laying down a bit of covering fire, causing the other attackers to fall back a bit. And as the leader began to whirl his spiked ball around his head, Ace suddenly reappeared from down a side street, skulking toward the leader. He then grabbed the opposite end of the chain weapon, fed it into the chain of the motorcycle, and then revved the engine on the bike! It had the predictable result of ripping the chain from the leader’s hands. It also knocked the big guy out, as the huge metal ball came straight at his head very quickly. Seeing that most of their companions and their boss was down, the remaining two Yakuza vanished! This fight was over, but the radio crackled as the truck was attacked!

+Digression: I, and the players, did several things right here. First of all, I lowered the quality of my mooks down to Fair (+2). I also broke them into two groups of 2, which gave them a single stress box but no gang up bonus. I broke the boss out as a Good (+3) mook with a few extra stress boxes. This made the opposition easy to deal with. In addition, I was using this fight to show the players the power of aspects. MJ was especially successful, as he was able to double invoke Focused and Ambush! to great effect. This effectively took the leader out in one go. Overall, I felt that this fight was just challenging enough without being too tough.

Anxious for K.A.T.T., David and Scott raced off to help the truck, while Ace liberated one of the Yakuza bikes. He stopped to give Molly the keys to the moped and told her to bring it back to Pier 13 when she was done. He then took off after David. And to a bit of surprise, Ace was mostly able to keep up with the superbly skilled David as they zoomed through the city and out into the open road winding around the canyon. They passed a few disabled W.A.V.E. convoy cars and then spotted the truck containing K.A.T.T. And as they moved around her, they spotted the real problem: a massive big rig with a huge ramming plow on the front! And it was taking up most of the road and barreling right for the truck with K.A.T.T.!

Digression: This was my chance to use the contest rules, which David managed to DESTROY. It was also determined that the ramming truck was from one of the prop guys who had worked on Mad Max and received the truck in lei of full payment. And at this point, I knew that what was supposed to be just a short introduction for flavor was going to turn into the entire focus of the session. But hey, you gotta improvise. Which is why I will GM forever, shiny and chrome.

The heroes only had one shot to disable the truck. David floored it and managed to pass around the truck, giving Scott enough time to jump onto the hood of the semi. And as David zoomed past, he saw the trailer behind the enemy truck open, revealing men with machine guns! Ace gunned his own motorcycle and rushed toward the truck, only slowing enough to use his new shark tooth club to disarm the passenger with the uzi! And as he did so, the strap of the uzi somehow looped around his arm, giving Ace a temporary new weapon! As the truck continued to move, Scott slid down on top of the prow and managed to get the hood open, temporarily blinding the driver. And with a bit of tinkering (and a burned hand!), he managed to pull off the drive belt, slowing the truck! And as David dealt with the machine gun men, Ace turned around and managed to shoot out the gas tank. Between the leaking gas and the engine trouble, the truck was brought to a halt!

But the cowboy driver and his passenger were not to be deterred. The cowboy exited the truck and went to tangle with Scott, who managed to disable him with the heated spray from a coolant hose. But the passenger was the real problem. He pulled out a ROCKET LAUNCHER and took aim at the truck. Ace, seeing the trouble, did what he had to do. He gunned his new bike, then put it into a spin, sending it into the passenger just as the rocket went off. But fortunately for everyone, the shiny yakuza motorcycle collided with the rocket, saving everyone!

+Digression: A few things here. One, JE was the one who suggested that the trailer had mooks in the back. Which marked the second time he suggested something to make his life harder. Each time he did so I treated it like a self compel and gave him a fate point. But it was awesome. Secondly, MJ decided that one of the quirks of Ace is that whenever he acquired something new, he’d lose it by the end of the episode. Which I thought was funny.

Well, after such a showdown, the rest of the trip was easy. The truck arrived at the W.A.V.E. base without further incident, and the long process of transporting K.A.T.T. to the basement began. And it was going quite well up until sparks started flying. The technicians yelled that one of the generators in the subbasement must have blown! The heroes asked about who was going to fix it, and the techs acted squirrely. They suggested the heroes do it, and that there was nothing wrong at all in the basement. An experiment certainly hadn’t gone wrong or anything. Obvious lies were obvious. Eventually the techs broke down and said that some giant bugs might be down there. But surely the heroes could handle them, especially with the cool bug sprayers they’d made!

+Digression: My apologies to Mr. Clevinger and Mr. Wegener. I totally ripped off one of your most recent Atomic Robo storylines. (Not familiar? Go read it NOW! http://www.atomic-robo.com/ ). But I needed another 45 minutes and the thing was fresh in my mind. Hope I did you guys justice.

Knowing it was going to be dangerous, the heroes decided to lock and load. Scott checked out the cool portable tool kit (Gadgetry), David checked over all of the sprayers (Shoot), and Ace took a nap (Will). Before long they were ready to head down into the basement. At first things were fine, but then they came to the elevator. Evidently the laser grid in the elevator shaft was still going, mostly to keep the bugs out. But Scott was able to bypass it, and soon the heroes were climbing down the elevator shaft. And then they were greeted by a huge swarm of preying mantises. Normal sized one, so only a little creepy. But then they saw three HUGE mantises climbing upward, intent on eating the heroes!

+Digression: So I pulled the bugs from Atomic Robo, and the laser grid from the pilot of MacGyver. In retrospect, the laser grid was stupid and I should have left it. Live and learn.

A tense fight in the elevator shaft followed. Ace managed to drop his bug sprayer down the shaft, while Scott worked on making a wider bug sprayer. David was the farthest down the elevator ladder, and so he was best first. But he weathered the attack quite well and managed to return a few blows. Then Ace managed to take down one of them with his shark tooth club, which started glowing a strange blue color. The remaining two were handled by David, who managed to smash the two of them against each other.

+Digression: Two things happened to really enhance David this session. First of all, he swapped his Will and Fight to bring Fight up to 2. Then he added a third dot of fight, to bring it to +3. But most of all, the dice were really good for him this session. In fact, they were good for everyone. I was seeing a lot of +3 rolls.

The mantises dispatched, the heroes climbed down and recovered the dropped bug sprayer. Which wasn’t working for the sprayer, but would function nicely as a bomb once Scott did a bit of tinkering. And the bomb was fortunate, as the heroes could see evidence of wasp nests in the halls. Ace didn’t want anything to do with wasps, but they pressed on anyway. And after a bit of sneaking, they managed to make it to the main generator room. Where they saw several dog sized wasps, and a queen the size of a VW Bug! The group quickly decided it was bomb time. And so they set it up and Scott hurled it into the room. The thing landed right underneath the queen and the resulting chemical explosion took down all of the wasps in record time. The heroes had triumphed!

Digression: I think the dice decided that this was time to be done with things. I rolled a [-][-][-][-] and JC rolled a [+][+][+][+]. I used a fate point to reroll, and came up [ ][-][-][-]. I figured that was it for the wasps. It felt good, too.

Now that the bugs had been dealt with, the heroes were able to get the generators running again. They had some technicans come down to do some cleanup, but the bomb had managed to make the place pretty dangerous, No one would be down there in quite a while. But at least K.A.T.T. would run faster and have more resources now. And she was safe.

+Digression: The players seized on the good die rolls and in the show of the game it turned out that the chemicals they used to make the fake bomb reacted badly with the fake fur on the wasps. The resulting chemical mixture was hugely toxic and the entire set had to be abandoned. A fun little tidbit, I thought.

Crises averted, the heroes all piled in the car to take Ace back to his boat. But when they arrived, they saw not only Molly, but her mother. And her mother was wearing singed clothing, dark sunglasses, and had obviously been roughed up. She was in tears, but with a little coaxing and an invitation into Ace’s boat, they got the story. A bunch of thugs had been harassing the commune of tents and trailers out on the beach for weeks. But that day they had rode in on motorcycles, torching tents and attacking people. The poor woman had barely gotten out without getting more hurt, and their trailer had been trashed. Something had to be done…next episode.

To be Continued.

Final Thoughts: This session went really well. The rules were smooth, and the tweaks I made in the opposition made all the difference. The heroes felt more heroic. Though it was a bit weird that what was intended to just be a quick car chase for David ended up being the focus of the episode. But that’s kind of the beauty of games like Fate – once you know the rules, it’s easy to adapt on the fly. And the NPC rules in Shadow of the Century make statting up the bad guys REALLY EASY. Almost all of the NPCs I made on the fly, and it wasn’t hard. Super nice.