Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Necessary Evil - Session 4 - Underground

Our Party begins at Night Terror's hideout. Their comlinks all have a blinking light when they check them in the morning - they have voicemail. Dr. Destruction's voice comes through and tells them that he knows the now-deceased supervillain Terron had a secret base under Star City, and that he used a special geothermal power source to run it. Destruction needs that power and has placed a power terminal in the drop warehouse. He wants them to get the terminal, head underground, find the base, and hook things up. He suggests using the Underground Irregulars as guides.

The team is on board with this plan. They check out the device they will be transporting and decide to use the anti-grav clamp they kept from the incident with the robot to make it easier to move. They also do some investigation into how to get underground quietly. In the end they grav-clamp the device, load it on a truck, and head over to a nearby pumping station that has access to the sewers.

Terron's base was located in the caverns beneath the city which are below and separate from the sewers, but there are known to be access points from the sewers to the caverns. Night Blade's ninja sense detect one right away and the group heads down even deeper, planning to try and make nice with the Underground Irregulars as plan A. If that fails, plan B is to beat them into revealing Terron's base.

Once they enter the caverns they are quickly detected and followed by the Undergrounders, though our villains only have a vague sense of being watched. Distracted by this they are ambushed by a group of hungry G'Roks, alien beasts released into the sewers some time back to try and flush out the Undergrounders. Combat ensues and Nissa quickly discovers she has a hard time fighting the beasts - they are the size of a horse, heavily armored, and have an animal level mind, rendering them impervious to most of her offensive capabilities, though her Vampiric abilities mean she is also immune to most of their attacks. . Night Blade and Night Terror find their armor resists the creatures' claws and teeth but that a vicious shaking might not be fun, so their weapons come out and Night Blade cuts one creature cleanly in half with a mighty sweep of his katana. MegaStrike, tough enough and strong enough that he fears no beastie uses his fists and piledrives one into the cavern floor with his powerful radiation-enhanced punch. The fight is fairly short, and our badguys emerge unscathed.

The Undergrounders have been watching and make contact after this fight. They lead the group to a large cavern where many people are gathered, including their leader - who is Valerie, the helpful prisoner from their first mission, who also displayed something of a crush on MegaStrike back then. She is very happy to see him again, and the rest of the group too. After hearing their mission she agrees to show them where the base is but she wants them to bring down food for her people - 1 ton of food. Nisavin considers mind-controlling the woman and Night Terror attempts to haggle with her over the timing - he wants to do it after hooking up the generator - but it's not looking good until MageStrike joins in and convinces her to do it his way.

A team of 5 Undergrounders leads the party to Terron's base. It is very apparent that most of the base collapsed during some kind of attack - maybe aliens, maybe a super hero - but the generator is still intact. Terror phases out and checks out the room through the walls and notices several dead G'Rok's in the room along with ANOTHER GIANT ROBOT! This robot however is all spiky, pointy,and bladed, much different than the Cosmic Robot the group recovered at the golf course.

Getting in to the room is tricky as the tunnel is a drainage tunnel, not a passageway. MegaStrike takes his time to carefully widen the hole until it's big enough for him to pass through while Terror watches the room (remaining phased out) and Nissa and Night Blade watch the cavern passages. All is quiet though (no more G'Rok encounters) and the opening is large enough after about an hour.

Mega steps into the room and almost instantly the robot lights up, announces "STOP THE INTRUDER", and attacks. Mega punches it and stuns it while Night Blade drives his katana deep into the metallic torso. Nissa finds she can barely scratch it. Night Terror phases in, pulls out his HeroKiller pistol and begins blazing away, actually penetrating the armor with the big gun. The two dark viallains manage to connect with their special powers and succeed in blinding the robot completely. After a brief struggle, Terror finishes the thing off with his dark blast that penetrates into the bot and fries its inner workings.

With the robot guardian down MegaStrike plugs the device in and starts it up. Their commlinks beep immediately as Destruction informs them he is receiving the power signal. He congratulates them and says he will be in touch. After using the smashed bot to block the passageway that accesses the generator the group heads back to the Undergrounders HQ.

Once there they work out some details with Valerie then part of the team heads up to arrange the food delivery while Mega stays behind to close the deal with the attractive leader of the Undergrounders.

DM Notes:

  • This was a pretty loose session. Since we hadn't gotten together in a while we spent a lot of time talking about things other than the game. I didn't push very hard since part of the reason we get together is to chit-chat and once we got started we stayed on track pretty well. That said one thing I like about Savage Worlds is that it plays so quickly that we had time to to that talking and we still got through a complete adventure with 2 combats, some legwork, and some roleplay/negotiation. Most other systems would not have allowed us to do that.
  • The Underground Irregulars are not especially well detailed in the book so I described them as part street gang, part homeless people, part resistance group and a little like the Outsiders from the Batman comics. There may be some minor supers among them but it's mainly regular humans who have chosen to live outside society and they are not liked by the aliens. The romantic interest with the leader was something that got started in session 1 so I was pleased that the players continued with it and it turned out to make things a lot easier for them.
  • Mechanically there was some confusion for all of us with the G'Roks - they aren't mentioned as having heavy weapons for their claws which are described as "razor sharp and hard as steel" so I ruled them to not be heavy attacks. Now this matters because 3 of the villains have heavy armor and if you don't have a heavy weapon they are essentially immune to that attack. You can bypass armor by attacking at a -6 and I decided the G'Roks would try to shake them hard if they couldn't bite through but it would take the same -6 to set this up. This really decreased the threat level of the things, which is my fault. When I read over them before I saw the heavy armor descriptor for them and just assumed they had heavy weapons too. Reading it when the fight started I realized they did not. I probably should have thrown in more of them to make it a slightly bigger threat but I didn't.
  • Defenses are interesting as we discussed after the game. Heavy armor means you are immune to non-heavy weapons but it doesn't actually raise your toughness - it's just a property that you can have regardless of the toughness number. MegStrike has the highest toughness in the group at 15, but he doesn't have heavy armor. At first I thought this was a problem but after looking it over most normal guns and weapons do about 2d6 or 3d6 in damage which is unlikely to do more than Shake him in one hit, so he is already nearly immune to normal weapons anyway! Most man-portable heavy weapons do 5 or 6d6 or more in damage which is going to punch through everyone's defenses (including his) anyway and heavy armor doesn't help you there. So it looks to me right now like if you really want to be tough, you don't sweat heavy armor - you just build up your toughness. Heavy really only helps if you want to be bulletproof but do not want to build up your vigor stat to high levels. It lets those pistol rounds bounce off but it means when they bring out the bazooka your toughness of 8 is going to be a problem. This is the kind of stuff that really only comes out in play and ensures that your second character will be much more efficient than your first.
  • Bennies continue to be used very conservatively - none were spent until more than halfway through the game, mainly in the robot fight, and everyone ended with at least 1. It's smart play, but I would like to loosen this up a bit, I'm just not sure how.
All in all it was a good session and I like the way the campaign is going. There is a lot more focus on character and story than on mechanics and XP's and it makes for a nice change from our prior 3rd edition D&D campaigns.

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