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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

FWTD: Violence, justice and the Flying Spaghetti Monster (sessions 7 and 8, or 9 and 10)

Last time, we had played 3 sessions, and I blogged about 2 of them. Now we've had one more, so let me tell you about the other 2 of them.

The man had a score to settle with the guy who had injured him with a bolt. He turned to some profilers (Math Addicts), and was informed that the profile said he would move to their territory for his next strike, and the likely window of time when he would be striking again.
He prowled on a roof, and masked himself. When Roofers passed, they failed to notice him, but he called them to warn them about the Hunter. Since he had unveiled his presence, and had a warning, they decided not to beat him.
He hid below the roofs and started observing. By pure chance, one of the Roofers noticed a bolt with a note. She picked it up, and then a bolt hit next her in the foot.
Then the Roofers started looking for the shooter. Unsuccessfully.
On the other hand, Dimitri had managed to find out where the arrow came from. So he sneaked there, and managed to actually surprise the guy.
It was a naked man who had had the chameleon skin genetic disor... upgrade. All he wore was a crossbow, bolts, and a small tube with something, but that was about it.
Dimitri charged him. Well, he tried to sneak, but the guy sensed him already, and assumed a martial arts stance. So he charged.
The first time, he was stopped by a kick in the chest, and his stab missed. So he tried stabbing him lethally, and missed again, being punished by another kick.
Damn, that one was tough, he thought as he finally managed to stab him in the ribs, too. Then it went his way, with the guy getting stabbed in the spleen, too, in exchange for another bone-wrenching kick. And then another exchange.
Then both looked each other in the eyes, and the Hunter decided it's all or nothing. So he waited for the Orphan to attack him again, and tried to parry and hit him with a kick to the temple.
Dimitri missed the kick, but then the guy also didn't manage to parry. So they both crumbled on top of each other.
The Roofers found them in time to save Dimitri. Nobody bothered with the Hunter, and Dimitri awoke in a room near a roof.
On the other hand, the man had got himself an invitation to a Roofers party - only natural, since he was injured defending one of them who had become a Hunter's target. He agreed, only asking them to notify the Orphans.
First thing that happened, he and the survivor (she was limping even worse than him) got medals for outliving their enemy. That was the idea of the Roofers battle general...
The medals were made out of pumpkin. Actually, they had just cut two round pieces in the pumpkin, one for each of them... than decided to cut a mouth in the pumpkin, and to put a candle inside. Halloween was earlier this year!
But as a bonus, they had a lot of pumpkin, so they made pies with it. Everybody approved them (actually, a few more pumpkins had been necessary, but that meant more Halloween pumpkins at the end).
Dimitri spoke with one of the Roofers' founders, and (probably seduced by the pie), expressed a desire to join them. She was flattered, but didn't show it, and just told him to make friends, and hang nearby. He got directed to Carla, who was big enough without the Giantism genetic augmentation, and she wanted to hear all about his fight.
"This guy didn't look strong to me, what happened?"
"He was kicking and jumping around?"
"Yeah, I hate those guys myself. They don't stand next to you to fight like men!"
However, she soon left him, disappointed by the lack of a blow-by-blow account. Deciding he's not fit to dance, he went below the roof to rest and share a joint. A few more people joined them...
And then they heard screams from the roof. Deciding to check, in the corridor they met 3 Siders. Only one of them had her crossbow readied, though, and the stoned/high Roofers were in their way to the retreat.
The bolt sailed over their heads hamrlessly, though. And though one of the Roofers got stabbed, two Siders had been cut down by Roofers swords.
On the roof, however, there was a carnage. Siders had ambushed the party, shot the guards from one of the sides, and unleashed a volley or two on the party-goers. There were probably no other casualties on the Siders' part than the two they met on the way.
Dimitri tried to help them with the first aid, then went back to the Orphanage. The guys there were glad to see him this time, and gave him a rest. It was rumoured he had found and dealt with a Hunter - one of those that picked their targets at random.
Orphans tend to hate those guys. So he's looking at more respect in the near future.

Meanwhile, an Animalist...
...was looking at his battered friends. They had gone to help some friends - from the Freaks, no less - and found that a Freak had info about a possible "Colin strain", as he put it. Seems like he was a Colin Hunter, too. Anyway, they had gone on to hunt some Colins, and did that - even captured a couple - but 2 or 3 had escaped.
Then, being animalists, they went to have sushi, by the suggestion of one of them who has been born in China, and only arrived to Manhattan recently. He was known for being prone to violence (and being known for that among Animalists means something...), dangerous behaviour (same thing...), playing Tai Chi in the mornings, and for asking people "are you yellow?" whenever someone suggested a sensible course of action that avoided confrontation. Hence, his street name had become, unsurprisingly, Yellow.
"I'm Yellow, but not yellow, just Chinese. You yellow?" was a popular sentence with him. Yeah, he's an ESL, and not really good at English, to boot.
They considered briefly how one can get to hunt Colins. Then they heard about Mauler addicts, and the PC suggested a hunt outside Animal wars. One of the others agreed.
They managed to track them - by scent and skill - and to surprise the addicts in an abandoned house. The plan was to have the PC climb to the window and jump on top of them with claws while the others were preparing to charge them.
And it failed, with the PC dropping from the window after losing balance. The Maulers attacked him.
The other Animalist with him was a martial arts freak. Not only did they break them one by one, they didn't even get least not anything all that important. The PC was counting "frags", like in Animal Wars. The other guy was surprised, and he didn't wait to ask him about it.
"Sure, it's necessary to kill them, they were dangerous. But did you enjoy killing them?"
"You mean you didn't?"
Both stared at each other in disbelief, and adjusted their opinions accordingly-and mostly, downwards.
After that, the PC got accosted by Yellow.
"I hear you kill lotsa guys?"
"I did."
"Wanna try a real fighter?"
"Have anyone in mind?"
"Yeah, a Chinese fighter!"
So, that was a challenge? It was-Yellow was establishing the pecking order. And they squared up.
Now, the PC didn't really stand a chance, but Yellow just applied him locks to control him, after disbalancing him. Well, whenever he managed. Once, a boxing pain/stun punch did hit him under the ribs... which he amazed of.
Of course, being used to pain, Yellow was unphased, but he appreciated the skill of the opponent who had reached him. The PC, however, was crestfallen.
"Why did I lose so easily?"
"You not Chinese!"
"You're a racist, huh?"
"You talkin' bull! You not Chinese, so you never seen a real master. Can't compete with Yellow!"
Yeah, I know - the man just wanted to say he's had better teachers. But he had trouble remembering the word that's equivalent to Shifu, "teacher", and the grammar turned out to be beyond him...
"Well, you're really strong. Want to make some money?"
"Yellow never says no when you talkin' money!"
"Want to capture one of those Colins? These Colin Hunters might pay to get one of them. Or the city might pay. Or whoever."
"No! That boring!"
"Boring? Colin is strong."
"No! Colin stupid! Easy to find, just boring!"
"Stupid? I hear he's actually rather smart..."
"No! He stupid. He needs big-ass machine, right?"
"Mental installer? Yeah, sure."
"Yeah, this shit! How many like it in city? Who owns them?"
"Well... mostly black traders and city authorities."
"Yeah! Colin stupid! He needs machine. Go to one of those. Stay outside. Wait for old lady, little child and young man. They go there and kill guards. Then you kill them. That be Colin!"
"Oh... yeah. That's smart!"
"Yellow is smart. He Chinese!"
(He actually means "that's what I used to do in China..." but whatever).
"Yeah, and you're not racist."
"No, Yellow not racist! Go now! Watch machine. Wait. Call Yellow when old lady and little child arrive."
"Shouldn't we call someone else, too?"
"No! If he kills guards, we kill Colin, might take machine for us!"
And with that, Yellow went to his home in the Homosexual district - where he hunts for bi-ladies - and left him to his own devices.
The PC, however, failed miserably when he went to see a Black Trader you've heard about if you follow this blog. He didn't even think to ask to get some mental program installed, and just asked him which Black Traders have mental installers.
Then he tried to bribe the Black Trader. Not being the generous type, he offered... a whole $5.
The Balck trader brought him a glass of water.
"That's what you can get for $5. And do yourself a favour... if you go to another Black Trader, don't ask for sensitive information. Most might think you want to take it from them, these machines are expensive!"
The PC took back his money and showed him the finger going out. The trader stopped the Saints of the Corner who had reached for their weapons, and drank the water himself.
"Sometimes, I can afford a 5$ drink", he mused.
Next, the PC spoke with the Colin Hunter he knows, and realised Colin Hunters don't actually have much money to pay. So he went to sneak around the Church of Colin.
After failing another Climbing check to get on the roof - which is good, because the Roofers are enraged this day - he attracted the attention of a Colinite. He got him to the attention of Reverand Colin McKray, and the PC claimed he has always believed in Colin, secretly.
He was immediately taught the prayer to Colin and how to honour the living god/gods/goddesses. And he got invited to tonight's prayers.
He's still wondering whether he should go.

The guys from out of town...
A Neo had joined the Utopia child in the hotel - or rather, he had been pointed in the same direction. After all, the owner and the bouncer were both from his commune.
The two with the Utopia child briefly exchanged glances, and went to their rooms.
However, they ran out together, when they heard a crack. When they appeared, a trio of armed guys had just toppled the owner and were, more or less, in the process of extracting a rackett payment. The big one with the mace went to them and sent them away.
"Not your job here, little ones!"
The Sitting Oak was nowhere in sight. Probably upstairs. This was a hit and run operation, and well-prepared at that. The Neo turned back.
"Then I should go", he answered, and added to me. "To take my bow and arrows, of course!"
The Utopia child was more straightforward. And he was angry at being called "little", though the man was almost as big as Sitting Oak.
"I need to demand that you leave in peace, or I'd have to apply force."
The big guy swung towards his head, and fell down. The other one was already at the top of the stairs.
Long story short, they curbstomped the guys. Both have been trained in dealing with armed attackers (one of them with RBSD teachers, the other one by Chulukua masters, but their styles didn't even differ too much). Taking the opposition down was fast for both, their defence was good, and they didn't hesitate to stomp a guy once he's down. Oh, and once one of them released the owner, he knocked him down with a thrown beer mug.
That turned out to be plenty. So they gave them to the Sitting Oak half a minute later, when he arrived. The Utopia child had some mistaken notions still.
"You're going to call police, right?"
"What for? We can't convict them for racketeering, we ain't got all the documents and they might close us."
"But you offer a necessary service."
"Documents don't really say that."
"Then shouldn't you call the Math Addicts? It's their turf."
"They're not so territorial, and these guys haven't actually broken their rules."
"Then who are the powers you should give them to?"
"Me", the Sitting Oak answered shortly. "I'm supposed to be the bouncer in this place!"
The sense of duty won and the guy stepped aside, fully assured he's doing as he's supposed to. The Sitting Oak dragged the three away for some more "education", and then they got invited to share the dinner of the owner and Sitting Oak.
The Utopia Child was curious what the two believed in. As it turned out, the owner followed Goddolar, and Sitting Oak claimed adherence to the precepts of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Which he honoured every time there were spaghetti at the table.
Since his utopian commune didn't care what you believe in, as long as it's sincere, he was completely fine with these answers. Both were pretty devoted, as far as he could tell.
Now, both of them were looking for work. The owner offered them a place at the Homosexual district, where a friend of his was looking for a bouncer that's not some backwards guy, and has the restraint not to try and hit on the patrons of either sex, unless his company is clearly wanted.
Both claimed they fit. They were, however, also interested in the Night Shift. As far as he could tell, they were recruiting, too.
Both of them decided to apply.
They did, but went to apply during the day.
Now, the fun part is, the Animalist player is actually a cop IRL. So I'm just going to add his comments.
They got them to fill papers, and write motivational letters. The Neo wrote nothing, and asked the cop, Lopez (a big, blond guy with blue eyes) for advice. "Just write you wanted a job."
The Utopia child wrote that he's in it in order to serve and protect people.
The cop glanced at their motivational letters and told him "first exam: go find the doughnuts machine, bring three donuts".
While he was gone, Lopez asked the Neo. "Are you friends?"
"Yeah, we fought together."
"I see. OK, Night Shift will fit you best, both of you!"
And then he ate all 3 doughnuts that the guy brought to them.
Comment from my player: These guys are just like real cops!
They got to listen to the rules, how to do things by the manual (with maximum brutality when necessary, but only if you can defend your actions), and so on. Things only changed when the Night Shift started arriving in numbers. There Day Shift left many fast food boxes, and pointed them to the two newbies. Bets have been made rather fast, and they were questioned about their motives to want to join.
Then they assigned them three guys that have been hurt to lecture them about the stuff they should know. You know... don't grab a person with dreadlocks, unless you've got good protective gloves. There might be wire in them. Don't let them keep anything that might be used as a weapon-and then remember there might be something you haven't noticed, and they might pull it out and cut you. Don't get hurt. Keep guys with implanted claws at reach, they tend to be good with them. Same for Mauler addicts.
Oh, and don't forget to read them the rights, if you're arresting them. Everybody's guilty, for something if not for another. Ask for reinforcements, attack with superior numbers and tactics. Keep safe at all costs, because the city doesn't want to pay your healing - nor does it want to have you out of work for long. (And always pretend you were going by the manual in front of people, but the thing is, you must first get the job done. However, they noted the Utopia child doesn't find it easy to bend rules. So they decided to leave it to the instructors).
Then we got to their patrol. The two rookies were assigned to patrol on Luther Boulevard, with Leila, a very balanced young Night Shift, showing them the ropes.
First thing the balanced, friendly young lady did, was to attach spikes to her club going out of the police station.
"Why do you transform this weapon into a lethal one?"
"Because lethal force might be necessary."
"You said that's going to be a routine patrol."
"Do you know how many people have died on routine patrols?"
The guy looked at his own swords - he has his own, and has taken the sword of one of the guys he beat. It's actually a quite good one, being forged by the Swordsmiths, although not their best by far. And not really the same as his own masterwork weapon.
So they went, and Leila pointed it out to them.
"First test at police work. Someone is breaking the order, by urinating in public. Stop that!"
The two approached the wino. "Sir, I must demand you stop this and go home!"
"But I'm home, how come I can't piss in my home?"
"No, old drunk, you're at the street!"
"Which means I'm home."
For some reason, they haven't considered the meaning of "street person". While the dialogue continued, the wino finished his job, and went away. They found Leila almost without breath for laughing.
Their second task was a bit more serious. There was a mentally disturbed person who was shouting about the threat of the Kalor. "They're putting thoughts in your heads! They plan to take over the world!"
Yeah, sure.
In short, they tried to negotiate, but a blunder at some point made him start shouting again. So they took him down and restrained him. They had no idea how to stop him shouting, though, if they weren't to strangle him.
Then Leila walked next to the guy and showed him her "upgraded" nightstick. Then she bent to whisper in his ear, while they were still restraining him.
"Shut up and go whereever you call "home". Or I'm going to break your bones, one by one."
She motioned them to release him.
The guy actually made his roll to restore his calm in order to avoid a beating, and fled. She was expecting him to get violent.
Yes, Leila isn't the best at dealing with mentally disturbed people. Although at this point, my cop player mentioned "man, I'm almost feeling like I'm at work!"
I actually took it as a compliment to my research.
However, after that, things started getting weird. First, they met Imogene “The Dead Woman” Barrett. (from Beyond the Eyes of Madness). Leila recognised her and immediately pretended they've found a real body.
So she arranged to leave them with her. "I'm going to be looking for traces!"
The Utopia child was as steadfast as ever.
"I'm coming with you".
The Neo remained to keep her, but he was much too preoccupied about a possible killer. At the end, Imogene rose and left, leaving the two speechless.
Leila laughed a lot and explained to them it's The Dead Woman, who seeks to entice people into raping her "corpse", and has implants that allow her to look like a corpse. "That's how she gets off. And I wanted to see whether any of you would succumb, because if you're running this way, I'd like to know."
She didn't mention that they would likely be curbstomped when they got back to the police station, before being thrown out of the NYPD. But she presumed it's clear, what police department wants a necrophiliac in their midst?
However, the night was still young, when a pusher gang came up. There were 6 guys selling stuff. Leila jumped on the two rookies, and took them down, then motioned them silent, before crawling away.
She called reinforcements.
"Who are those people?"
"They're working for the mob."
"Shouldn't we arrest them?"
"Yes. Now wait for reinforcements."
The first trio arrived soon-ish, and remained hidden. When the third trio arrived, the pushers noticed them, and knowing they're basically at war with the Night Shift, tried to break away. Except they were surrounded. Leila turned to the Neo, who kept silent.
"I want you to drop the first one that reaches under his clothes for a hidden weapon".
One of them did, indeed, and the guy shot him in the throat with his bow. Then the pushers tried to gang on police officers 2:1 in order to clean a way.
One officer got tackled, another got his face slashed by a machete. In return, Leila dropped a guy with a skullcrusher, and the Utopia child gave a painful cut to one of the gangers. Another got dropped by a cop with a telescopic baton, and another got locked by a tonfa.
At this point, the remaining two tried to surrender. Tried to, because Leila had swung towards the head of one as he dropped his weapon and raised his hands. She didn't manage to stop the hit.
The guy needed emergency help. They were all happy that the Utopia child has medical training, or that knockout blow would have killed him.
Their first patrol was a raging success.

Glossary of Terms in the Fates Worse Than Death setting
Also: as stated at the beginning of this post, here are some terms.
It's the latest session of my campaign in the Fates Worse Than Death setting.
Colin is a self-replicating serial killer that "downloads" his mind in the mind of victims via technology, and "overwrites" their identity, replacing them. Math Addicts, Freaks, Humankalories, Hummingbirds and Orphans are gangs in 2080 Manhattan, and number in the hundreds, some in the thousands. Skin Borgs are an aggressive gang that's contained at 145th street. They're recognisable by, hold on to it, the fact that they wear very heavy armours (or high-tech armours that provide the same protection)!
Pusher gangs are the footsoldiers of the Drug lords, which have a monopoly on the drug market that they have wrested away from the gangs. Gangs are more like mutual protection societies, since they can't sell drugs, the city is monitored against importing guns, and the gang of Sexologists forbids pimps from working. These are, as we know, the three greatest sources of income for organised crime. For example, while the Day Shift is the corrupt part of the NYPD, the non-corrupt cops are practically acting like a gang in the setting, and are known as the Night Shift. They're also accused of acting like a gang more than like cops.
Also, many gang members are part of societies that fight the spread of Colin...while people elsewhere consider him an urban myth. But in the ghetto, there are people worshipping him/them as a god/gods (they're morons and suck, yes, if you ask me, but then nobody threatens them, because Colin might take offence). This makes Colin Hunters that much more useful.
Hope that helps.
Also, I need to remind you that there is a video tutorial for the setting if you're interested to learn more.
As I said, FWTD is an involved setting.
Which makes it similar to all the other settings I like, come to think of it.