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[Actual Play] Æon - When is the Future?

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  • [Actual Play] Æon - When is the Future?

    Hi everyone! I’ve always wanted to do an actual play thread and I hope that it's ok to put here. I’m planning on writing both from a story perspective but also as my storyteller’s journal. If any of my players are on the boards, well spoilers ahead so please keep away.

    I was part of the Aberrant Kickstarter and super hyped for playing it with my group after our long-running D&D campaign was coming to an end. August came and with it the manuscript. Unfortunately I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to play the game before the books were finished and had troubles getting the system, which surprised me since I used to play a lot of Vampire, Werewolf, Exalted and Scion back in the day.

    I managed to get through the Trinity corebook, with some help from video actual plays, and slowly the hype started to form into an Aberrant chronicle idea. We entered the final chapter of the D&D campaign in December and I was starting to look into getting the prep ready for Aberrant.

    But as you might have noticed by the title, the plans got changed. It came as a surprise, while packing our belongings caused by a water leak in our apartment building I started listening to any and all podcasts related to Aberrant. I believe it was The Story Told podcast, and Polyhedron podcast, that led my interest to Æon. By this point I had already looked into running Cyberpunk Red or Starfinder as an intermediary game, sci-fi was on my mind.

    I realised that I could have my cake and eat it by playing in the future of the Trinity Continuum. My original plan for Aberrant had been a Heroes for Hire-style chronicle with a small group of PCs working with an eccentric young dilettante with a hero fetish, I thought that I would have three players so they would work for Trident Securities. We know what happened to the Novas, but what about the company that they built?

    That became the starting point for this campaign. I knew that I probably wanted to have a time traveller that could travel to the past but not to the future, he was going to be an ally to the dilettante, I also decided that the company was called Trisec-Nakamura now, started noting down a few important NPCs and bought the Æon book and started reading.

    Think that's enough for the first post, I welcome feedback, otherwise it’ll just be my ramblings about the game but either way hope that you’ll enjoy this thread.

  • #2
    I'm excited to hear more. I love learning about other people's games, and am always glad to see other people having fun with it.

    "Came for the Aberrant, stayed for the Æon." seems to be a pretty common refrain. It was my experience with 1e as well. Aberrant is an easy entry point, but then you stumble upon the rich and fertile Æon setting and you are forever changed.

    Raksha are my fae-vorite.

    Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.


    • #3
      With the basic concept down, I asked my players what their idea of sci-fi was and what they liked and didn’t like. I gave my pitch for the Æon setting and the basic idea of them working for a security mega-corp.

      They wanted a mix of Earth and space, some political intrigue like the Expanse. They didn’t want any Alien-style horror nor any obvious genre mashups like “space western”. I told them that I wanted to challenge myself, I often lean on dystopic and hopeless sci-fi but that’s not really the theme for Æon. So I would bound my stories in Hope, Sacrifice and Unity.

      By now I had read through most of the book and realised a couple of things. First, the Nakamura connection was a fun coincidence. Second, the old meta-plot gave me something cool to work with/against. Third, the plan of this being the future setting of my upcoming Aberrant chronicle was maybe not the best idea. If it works, fine, but we can do something else in Aberrant when the game comes out. Lastly, my Alien-style horror intro adventure wasn’t going to work.

      Then crisis struck as our epic D&D game ended, one of my players had to drop out of our weekly game. It was a bit shocking and saddening, we have been playing almost weekly for the past five or six years. Never mind that I was down to two players, which probably isn’t going to work in the long run. So we had to scramble to recruit players.

      I made a cyberpunk oneshot with baseline characters set in Vancouver, dealing with making a heist on a mega-corps black site. I made five characters and we recruited three extra players. A group of five felt daunting but two players, a couple, dropped out in the last moment. We had a blast playing the heist, working up the surveillance paranoid, planning out the heist and executing it to perfection. I also managed to show instead of telling some setting details.

      Meanwhile as all this was going on I kept planning my campaign. I have a friend that once challenged me to build a campaign from song titles of a random album about a decade ago. That creative exercise was fun and led to some interesting stories. I decided to do something similar this time. But I also remembered how Dave Brookshaw used a theme song for his fantastic Mage: the Awakening actual plays so I‘m doing that as well.

      I listen to a few cyberpunk playlists on Spotify and when I heard When is the future by VNV Nation I knew that this was it.

      Lyrics behind the spoiler tag
      Stranger in a crowd
      Treading fire after dark
      Lost in a city
      Pulsing to the sound
      Of the spirit and soul
      A city that is breathing
      Living through the cables
      Alive across the wires
      Faces without names
      Playing devils and angels
      Lit up by the strobes
      Moving hypnotized
      I caught your reflection
      In the neon on glass
      An electric silhouette
      Against a static sky

      It's a beautiful dream
      It's a beautiful life
      It's just a reflection
      A world I must survive

      We're children of the past
      Who look beyond today
      Designing the present
      So when is the future

      We live in a dream
      Keeping visions alive
      It's just a reflection
      A world that never dies

      The image we create
      Now image we designed
      It's a beautiful life
      So when is the future

      Time moves so fast
      In a single direction
      Fighting with the present
      Racing from the past
      We're searching for something
      That can never satisfy
      The reality of answers
      When lives are on the line
      I've waited a lifetime
      For the age of wonder
      A place that I remember
      In a splinter of time
      A stranger in a strange land
      Caught in the flow
      Still searching for answers
      Among the neon lights

      It's a beautiful dream
      It's a beautiful life
      It's just a reflection
      A world we must survive
      We're children of the past
      Who look beyond today
      Designing the present
      So when is the future

      We live in a dream
      Keeping visions alive
      It's just a reflection
      A world that never dies
      The image we create
      Now image we designed
      It's a beautiful life
      So when is the future

      It's a beautiful dream
      It's a beautiful life
      It's just a reflection
      A world that must survive

      We're children of the past
      Who look beyond today
      Designing the present
      So when is the future

      We live in a dream
      Keeping visions alive
      It's just a reflection
      A world that never dies
      The image we create
      Now image we designed
      It's a beautiful life
      So when is the future

      With my chronicle title in place, now I needed my story titles. I asked a friend for a band, he picked Disturbed and their latest album Evolution gave me the titles. The first song is called Are You Ready so that’s the name of the first story.

      The basic idea that formed in my mind was that the characters are going to be tested by the company, something will go wrong during that test, a couple of sub-aberrants led by a low level Aberrant will be involved.
      Additionally I wanted to add some complications further down the chronicle. They wanted political intrigue, so I basically added Chrisjen Avasarala, as an UN intelligence director with a grudge towards the CEO. I haven't decided yet but I think she'll be a Legion Vitakinetic.

      I gave the CEO the name Tuomas Terrell, the alliteration is a callback to the Nova age and I see him as a relic of it. Because of my original plan I pictured Old Guy Pearce from Prometheus. I decided that the one of the reasons that the company has been successful is that the other important person, Nakamura Naito, is actually the time traveller. At this time I hadn't figured out the way his powers worked.

      That's where I left the prep before session zero and character creation.

      Originally posted by MoroseMorgan View Post
      I'm excited to hear more. I love learning about other people's games, and am always glad to see other people having fun with it.

      "Came for the Aberrant, stayed for the Æon." seems to be a pretty common refrain. It was my experience with 1e as well. Aberrant is an easy entry point, but then you stumble upon the rich and fertile Æon setting and you are forever changed.
      I'm hoping that the players will enjoy exploring the world as much as I'm enjoying laying the groundwork.
      Last edited by LazyGM; 03-26-2020, 05:23 PM.


      • #4
        Originally posted by LazyGM View Post
        Third, the plan of this being the future setting of my upcoming Aberrant chronicle was maybe not the best idea. If it works, fine, but we can do something else in Aberrant when the game comes out.
        One of the great things about the Trinity Continuum conceit is that almost anything can happen in the many parallel universes. So, the Aberrant chronicle you have in your mind can be the history of your AEon game, and when you get to play the Aberrant game it doesn’t matter if events and characters go incompletely different ways, because in some universe, they lined up to create the AEon setting you played in.

        Remember, in the Continuum, Aberrant is AEon’s past, but AEon isn’t necessarily Aberrant’s future!

        Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum


        • #5
          0.1 Character creation
          So at this point (three weeks ago) we have arrived at our session 0 and it felt pretty weird. I used to do these all the time but my latest campaign ran for 19 months, my daughter was 4 months old when we started and she has a little baby brother now. So perspectives had shifted and I was feeling rusty. My wife had to work and I was home with the kiddos.

          Also, I believed that the oneshot we played had made the players ready for character creation but they suffered from decision paralysis. What I thought should have taken one evening ended up taking two. I honestly felt a bit anxious and stressed about it which sucked since rpg night is usually my main source of enjoyment and stress relief.

          Anyways, the concepts that we built from were:
          • a hacker / cyber security guy
          • a mad scientist
          • a sheltered mother hen who is part of a cult on the moon
          So the pitch had been that they should make Psions who would want to work for Trisec-Nakamura. At first I felt that these concepts maybe weren’t the right fit but the players seemed enthusiastic over their ideas so I went with it.

          We went through origin paths, the hacker is from Brazil, the scientist from french survivalists and the cultist from suburbia modified by it being on the moon.

          Their roles were Sneak, Medical practitioner and Detective. That last one surprised us but as we were discussing Aspirations the idea that the cultist was looking for a missing member came up and that was her role now. I would have guessed that she would have gone with Charismatic leader. So we figured that’s why she wants to work for Trisec-Nakamura, they have the resources to help her find the missing person.

          As we came to the Society paths we went over the orders again. The cultist would join ISRA, and the other to choose Orgotek. But we didn’t really figure out why they would leave Orgotek for Trisec. Time was up and I gave them some homework to look through the Aptitudes and Psi Modes before the next session.

          0.2 Return of the chargen
          A week passed and I had coped with my feelings of inadequacy. I realised that the players wanted to make informed decisions as they created characters, and that I was going against one of my core principals - don’t rush things in rpgs, let them play out. Also I spent some time reading the setting again, fleshing out the intro adventure and making more prep.

          As it stood, it made no sense that the characters were going to work for the company. Instead of trying to find a way around that I decided to lean into it. Let it be part of the mystery. Why chose these three non-combatants and why send them into danger? I didn’t have to have a perfect answer, the protagonists could choose to find out in-game.

          So the goal for the session was to make sure that everyone had long-term aspirations and contacts. I had spoken with the mad scientist player and we decided that he wants to improve humanity in some fashion. He believes that he can do more questionable research if he isn’t so closely tied to Orgotek. During the session the hacker’s player decided to add double agent to his concept. And the Cultist’s player had fleshed out both who she was looking for and how she envisioned the cult.

          As we added the contacts the backstories became richer. A huge plus for the system and with some back and forth the players had contacts spread around the solar system. The hacker even has a Qin Botanist as a contact. I managed to insert some hooks for stories down the road.

          The characters got names, and aptitudes got chosen. We made the finishing touches and called it a night.

          After the session I felt reinvigorated again. What had felt stiff and stilted a week before was turning organic and intuitive. I went on to prep notes for the second story called No More based on the ideas I got from their contacts and aspirations.

          The next post will be presenting the protagonists.

          Originally posted by Bunyip View Post

          One of the great things about the Trinity Continuum conceit is that almost anything can happen in the many parallel universes. So, the Aberrant chronicle you have in your mind can be the history of your AEon game, and when you get to play the Aberrant game it doesn’t matter if events and characters go incompletely different ways, because in some universe, they lined up to create the AEon setting you played in.

          Remember, in the Continuum, Aberrant is AEon’s past, but AEon isn’t necessarily Aberrant’s future!
          Good point! I'll probably involve the players in the decision if we get that far.


          • #6
            Did the two Orgotek players want the edges or ties to a psi order rather than just being freelance psions?


            • #7
              Yeah both of them preferred to have both ties, skills and edges from Orgotek.


              • #8
                The Protagonists

                Lucio Guerrero, the cyber-security expert and double agent. An Electrokinetic. Twenty-something who grew up in the suburbs of Brasilia and got into computers and biotech. Didn’t buy the Norça legend whilst growing up so instead chose Orgotek as his Order and employer when his latent abilities were discovered.

                At Orgotek he has worked as part of their corporate espionage teams and as a biotech field tester. He is talented but has managed to stay under the radar for a while until the opportunity to infiltrate Trisec-Nakamura presented itself.

                He has contacts among the Qin, Norça and the Legion.

                Lucio is reserved, careful and keeps up a neutral facade. He has a fresh DIA called Domino as his Agent.

                Played by Jo, our fresh recruit. Jo played the Hacker in our one-shot and enjoyed that so he knew that would be the focus for his character. Getting into the setting was challenging for him so we tried to keep it simple. The double agent part came late during chargen and added an interesting angle to explore. His long term aspiration is to betray an employer.

                Jodie Moon, the mom. A Telepath. Jodie, a woman in her forties, comes from a tight knit community on the moon. The colony is separate from Olympus and is called COM (City on the Moon). It was founded decades after the Chinese Ultimatum as a home for a cult. Nowadays they are integrated with ISRA.

                She has worked as a teacher for kids with learning disabilities and had planned on continuing after her psionic activation. But after returning from basic training she found out that Nero, her best friend Donna’s son, had vanished without a trace. Not even through Clairsentience could the 17-year-old be found. In a heartbeat she was on her way to find him. Her inexperience led her into the Olympus slums where she was saved from thugs by a detective of the United Lunar Police Force. She helped her and he spread the word around. When nothing came up he suggested that Jodie should hear with Trisec-Nakamura as they had the best neutral detectives money could buy. Trisec offered her a job while they started the investigation.

                Jodie is sheltered and naive, with a big heart and iron will. Her Agent is an Orgotek Hare called Jack.

                Played by Em, a nerdy friend of a friend I’ve known for some time but didn’t actually know that she likes rpgs until recently. She joined our D&D game midway. She’s been great fun so far and she likes to engage with and add to the overall story. Sadly that was easier said than done in that campaign so I’ve been looking forward to seeing what happens when she’s in the game from the start. Her aspiration is finding Nero.

                Dr. Antonin Séverin, the mad scientist. Vitakinetic. Also in his forties. He grew up in rural France, from a community of french survivalists and learned to always prepare for the worst. He became a doctor just around the time that the Aberrants returned and the Psions were revealed, which made him interested in biotech. After doing some relief work with the UN and Aeon Trinity he started working for Orgotek. His latency was discovered during their routine health check.

                Antonin has been a Psion for some time but quietly working and resaerching, using his healing abilities when needed. All that changed with the Esperanza Crash. He went from being a pragmatic but good natured doctor to becoming obsessed with saving humanity. One in ten thousand humans are latent psions, for Antonin this is unacceptable. He vanished into his work with the objective of uplifting neutrals, ethics be damned. His supervisors suspended him, his research deemed dangerous but he managed to stay as a part of Psi Orgotek.

                A few weeks later a job offer came from Trisec-Nakamura. They were prepared to give him a private laboratory on a spaceship, far from UN oversight, if he was willing to work for them.

                Antonin is fiercely intelligent if somewhat absent-minded. He can be cordial if he focuses and he is in surprisingly good shape. He has a bleeding edge medical drone that he calls Anansi and his Hippocraitc Agent is called Ta-Bitjet, after the Egyptian goddess of poison remedies.

                Played by Bo, a close friend, godfather to my daughter and the remaining veteran of my group. I’m always surprised over what characters he makes as he doesn’t seem to have a default type. The doctor is inspired by Warhammer 40k’s Fabius Bile, but I think that we managed to steer him into the good intentioned but on thin ice category rather than evil mad scientist. Bo suggested that maybe Trisec wants biotech and supersoldiers developed. His long term aspiration is to permanently improve a neutral.

                That's the team. Once the characters were finished, as I mentioned earlier, I had fresh boost of inspiration. The first thing I did was to write down notes about the CEO and Jodie's cult leader. The first draft had them both being secretly antagonistic and when I had some time to mull it over I realised that I was falling into my fondness for dystopia so I scrapped it. My mantra should be Hope, Sacrifice and Unity.

                Next up is the first session and we're almost caught up.


                • #9
                  This is awesome! I can’t wait to hear more.

                  Are Lucio and Antonin both single? What about Jodie’s own kids?

                  I had the same experience as you. I was really into Aberrant because of the Kickstarter, then I tried Aeon when it came out and loved it.

                  “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her.


                  • #10
                    1.1 Are you ready?

                    I'll keep OOC information in blue text, think of it as behind the screen commentary.

                    And we are off, the goals for this story is to start small and over a few sessions complicate things. I also wanted to show a situation where the lack of Unity was causing issues. So I chose a situation on the border between France and the Allianz. For the readers I should make a note on canon, when I was younger and in the age of meta-plot I held strictly to canon in my White Wolf games often to the detriment of the gaming experience. Nowadays I play it loose, change things as it goes and make retcons, if I feel it adds to the game. That’s a recommendation to all Storytellers out there, make it your game. Will try to point the changes out when they come up.

                    The session starts with our camera focused on the earth, with the moon in the foreground. The view slowly approaches earth and we begin hearing sounds as we enter the atmosphere. The audience hears crackles at first and then music as Rammstein’s Du Hast starts playing in the distance. We zoom in on Europe and then Berlin in winter as we see how the city has been recovering since the Esperanza Crash. Now on street level we hear the music spill out of speakers at a cafe. A couple of old men are playing chess in a cafe as we see a car pass by on the street.

                    In the car we have Lucio, who is mentally preparing for the coming final test, without actually having any idea of what they might entail.

                    He arrives at a small motel at the outskirts of the industrial sector and a guard in Trisec-Nakamura uniform greets him. Inside in the lobby Josie and Antonin are waiting. They are chatting about the weather. Before Lucio can properly introduce himself a door opens beside the desk and a uniformed woman with indigienous american features and dark hair in a bun greets them.

                    “I’m Kim, your evaluator. Let's get started.” she says and turns.

                    Without any further instruction Kim goes into a conference room. The protagonists follow. The room is sparse, with Kim standing with her back to the window, the grey parking lots and simple buildings outside behind her. It's snowing.

                    On the conference table there is a holographic projector with the Trisec-Nakamura logo lazily spinning in 3D. As they take their seats Kim starts speaking. Her tone is low, she doesn’t mince words and her demeanour is stiff.

                    “You have been tested physically, mentally and psychologically. Now the time has come for a field test. An actual mission and without anyone holding your hand. Questions?” she leaves the question hanging for only a moment, signalling that she doesn’t want to be interrupted.

                    “As you may have noticed, Trisec doesn’t have any offices in Berlin. Our presence in Europe is pitiful. That’s why we’re in a shitty abandoned motel. We left well before the Esperanza Crash and haven’t reestablished connections. The Allianz could be a good employer but so far they’ve been too busy with french refugees and political bullshit to actually be interested. That’s why we offered them a freebie. A focused group of psion specialists to help them out for a time.”

                    She swipes at the projector from her biocomp and a makeshift military base in a former ski resort pops up from it.

                    “So you are heading out to a border base in the Alps called the Auge. You are to report to General Aicha Neumann and follow her lead. There have been mumblings of Aberrant activity...” she pauses. Kim is hard to read but lets slip a micro expression that something’s wrong. Jodie catches it but doesn’t say anything.

                    “Unconfirmed mumblings. Still, Aberrants are fucking nightmares and we should take it serious. Don’t screw around. Remember that this is an official mission and that you’re representing Trisec. Act accordingly.” another pause.

                    She starts to pace slowly behind the projection, “However, as a secondary objective if you get the chance, gather intelligence from the Auge’s Allianz servers. T-N could find it useful in their negotiations with Allianz politicians. If you get caught, then it all turns to shit. So don’t get caught. We’ll install a recording app on your biocomps in order to do a proper after-action evaluation.”

                    She turns to Lucio, “I’d advise against tampering with it.”

                    “If everything goes to hell, we have a freelance teleporter on standby. Just speak the words Emerald Nebula and your Agents will alert us. Calling in the cavalry isn’t a mission failure, don’t be stupid. We don’t want you dead.”

                    Kim softens somewhat as the projection fades away.

                    “Lastly, before going over gear and any questions, I’d like you to remember that the situation at the border is frustrating. Ever since the Esperanza Crash there has been waves and waves of refugees. Aberrants and their cults have used them to launch attacks. Tensions are high. Soldiers are afraid. Refugees desperate. People do stupid things when fear and desperation mix. By being there and making sense you can contribute to repairing the situation. Little by little, bit by bit. Make them remember that we are stronger united. Give them hope.”

                    We insert a montage of the trio gearing up. Psi Gauntlets, Shifting Armor, some extra gear. Their armours are in the official Trisec-Nakamura uniform colors, black with dark grey hexagons and accented with small red-blue details. We also discuss that someone should have mission command over the group, if decisions need to be taken, but nothing gets decided.

                    A few hours later the protagonists take off in a Dragonfly-shaped biotech VTOL air vehicle. They buzz past the Allianz territory, glimpsing abandoned towns still showing signs of Aberrant battles and many military bases. Near the Alps they see a refugee camp holding thousands and being guarded by military personnel and robots.

                    “So, do you guys have any experience with all this, uhm, military stuff?” Jodie asks over the comms.

                    “Not really.” Lucio answers.

                    “I have experience with treating the consequences of ‘military stuff’.” Antonin adds.

                    “So you are a doctor?” Jodie asks but before Antonin can respond she adds, “Perhaps we should go over what we are good at and what our Aptitudes are.”

                    “How about we save that till after the real briefing.” Lucio suggests.

                    As they near their destination they notice a weird weather phenomena. Winter turns into summer, causing a patchwork of white and green spots side by side. Jeff, the pilot, informs them that they are entering a low-level and localized Quantum Flux zone and are nearing the base.

                    This info was in the briefing pack but the players weren’t warm in their clothes yet and it made sense that their characters, being non-military, made a few mistakes. Also, I wanted to teach them that they should engage with the NPCs in order to be properly informed. We also went over QFZ in general and the dangers they pose.

                    They arrive at the base, winter and summer intersect it. On the helipad a group of Allianz soldiers are waiting. They are greeted curtly by a young lieutenant, with a fresh scar and a milky eye, identifying himself as Lt. Holtz. They walk into the main building, a domed luxury hotel repurposed by the Allianz Shützheer. On the way in they notice a mechanic with a cybernetic arm watching them. They pass the command central, bustling with activity showing what’s going on along the western border. A third of the staff seems to have some form of common cold or mild flu.

                    I wanted to show the consequences of the Esperanza Crash and how the politics between the Allianz and the Psi Orders are making a bad situation worse. Dr. Zweidler is making a calculated risk here trying to force the Allianz to cooperate by withholding non-essential aid.

                    They are led to the generals office, where an adjutant lets them wait before letting them in. Coming out of the office is a cheerful female doctor, short blond hair and loving smile.

                    She greets them, “Newcomers, how exciting! The general is ready to see you.”

                    They can see behind the doctor that the general is waiting behind an oak desk. General Aicha Neumann is a woman in her sixties, with short cropped grey-white hair, in exemplary physical condition. She wears a HUD eyepiece over her left eye that adds coldness to her features. Draped on her chair is an officer's coat and on the wall behind her are high-tech swords. The office is decorated in an Neo-Prussian style.

                    As the protagonists enter she is looking over virtual documents and waits until they are seated before introducing herself, “I’m General Neumann, welcome to das Auge.”

                    The group introduces themselves and then lets the general continue.

                    “What am I supposed to do with you?” She asks rhetorically with a sigh. “I had hoped for at least fifty additional soldiers but military command insisted on sending you instead. I have no grudges against mercenaries but I doubt that the three of you will do much good for what this base needs.”

                    “We were informed that there had been rumours of Aberrant activity.” Jodie adds.

                    “Unconfirmed rumours” General Neumann points out. “They speak of large beasts in the woods. My investigators tell me that it is a hysteria caused by fear by the reports. Civilians jumping at shadows.”

                    “General, with all due respect, what is the harm in letting us check into it? Maybe your investigators missed something?” Jodie asks.

                    “It would show some goodwill to the people.” Lucio adds, but regrets it instantly.

                    “Goodwill to Trisec as well.” The General remarks. “Very well. I’ll give the order. Requisition a vehicle from the garage. We have arranged lodging in the former ”

                    “Can we speak to the investigator?” Jodie asks.

                    “Go ahead, you met him already, the young Lt. Holtz.” General Neumann replies.

                    “He seemed kind of indifferent.” Jodie says.

                    “He has been under a lot of stress. He is a good man. As I mentioned we are in need of reinforcements and most of my soldiers have too much on their plates.”

                    “Thank you for your time, general.” Antonin says, having been indifferent during the briefing.

                    “Good hunting.” General says and returns to her reports.

                    No psychic powers in use yet, some of this is due to the players being newbies and some due to being in-character. Lucio is being careful and Antonin arrogantly relies on his medical knowledge. Jodie feels that it is morally wrong to pry into people's minds unless absolutely necessary. As it stands, there is a whole lot of information that the characters haven’t accessed yet. There will be consequences later if they don’t figure some things out.

                    They leave the General’s office. The adjutant shares information to their biocomps and then they go looking for Lt. Holtz, whom they find outside discussing something with the Doctor. The lieutenant is vaping, literally fuming but the doctor seems relaxed. She is standing on the warm summer side and he is in bitter cold. The group stays out of earshot and waits until the conversation quiets down. Soon the doctor sees them and waves them over.

                    “So lovely to see fresh blood in das Auge.” the doctor says warmly.
                    Players: Not ominous at all

                    “We wanted a word with the lieutenant.” Lucio answers.

                    The doctor nods understandingly and invites them to the officers mess that evening before walking towards the hospital building.

                    “Hurry up. I don’t have time to entertain soldiers of fortune.” Lt. Holtz says with vitriol.

                    “We wanted to speak about these aberrant sightings. Anything you can tell us, Mr. Holtz” Jodie says
                    Me: Did you misspeak or did you intend to offend him?
                    Em: Well I think that it would be more fun if Jodie misspoke.
                    Me: Have a Momentum.

                    “Lieutenant Holtz.” He corrects her with a snarl, “The mount folks are cowards who jump at shadows and demand that we take action. F@#€%/ civilians. So what do you want to know? Beasts of fire and ice snarling in the woods?”

                    “So you didn’t believe them?” Jodie asks.

                    “There wasn’t any evidence!” Holtz exclaims, “Anyway, if there had been aberrant activity why would they be skulking in the outskirts? Surely they would see das Auge as a threat and attack. But they haven’t. All these supposed monsters have done is add paperwork for hard working soldiers, just because some drunkards passed out in the snow…”

                    “Could we speak to the witnesses?” Antonin asks.

                    “Do what you want, but I don’t remember them, if it was relevant you will find it in the report.” Holtz answers.

                    “There aren’t any names in the reports.” Lucio remarks.

                    Holtz takes a drag on his e-cig and fumes out of his nostrils, “Speak with Willie, the one-armed mechanic that watched as you arrived. He fraternizes with mountain folks.”

                    “Thank you” Jodie says and emphasizes the word, “Lieutenant”.
                    Lt. Holtz storms off.

                    They find the garage and come into contact with Willie Ruthger. An older fellow, bald with scruffy grey beard, a heavy cybernetic arm, he invites them to coffee as he takes a break from trying to fix an armoured car.
                    A lot of these characters are based on artwork I looked for while making the introductory One-Shot. Willie is based on a grimy cyberpunk mechanic with a bionic arm. He was cut from the One-shot and reused here.

                    “One hell of a vehicle you came in on, how was the ride?” Willie asks.

                    “Pretty good, though the wings made quite a lot of noise.” Lucio answers.

                    “Almost makes us hardtech tinkerers feel obsolete.” Willie muses and takes a sip of coffee, “Your vehicle is ready by the way.”

                    “Thanks” Jodie says and continues, “We wanted a word with you, Lt. Holtz said that you knew some of the villagers who saw the monsters in the woods.”

                    “Saw them!?” Willie snorts, “They were attacked! But of course Holtz didn’t see it that way.”

                    “What do you mean?” Jodie asks with disbelief.

                    “See, Holtz doesn’t really trust civilians at all. Not since the attack that took his eye. So when he interviewed the hunters he didn’t believe their stories. They were attacked by creatures, the size of bears, that spewed fire and ice. One of them saw ‘the Phantom’” Willie tells them.

                    “The Phantom?” Antonin asks, curious.

                    “Yeah, the rumoured figurehead of Les Fantômes, a militant refugee group. But he isn’t real. Just another thing that scares Allianz citizens.” Willie explains.

                    “But there wasn't any evidence” Lucio questions.

                    “That’s because of the damn Quantum Flux, the weather is crazy, people are getting sick and technology keeps breaking down. The laws of physics don’t work all that well here. We’re stuck in this damn base with the job of stopping innocent people from getting help.” Willie tells them, openly frustrated.

                    “So I go to the village on my days off, help ‘em out with their machinery and grab a few drinks. There is this guy, Rolfe, who saw the beasts and survived unscathed. Pretty shaken up about it, he hasn’t left the village since. I can send you his contact information.” Willie says.

                    “Thanks, that would really help.” Jodie says.

                    “We are here to help, for example I could fix that.” Antonin points to Willie’s arm.

                    “No worries, it's good to be reminded of your own mortality, especially out here.” Willie smiles.

                    “What tech seems to be failing?” Lucio asks.

                    “Everything or anything. Last week it was the coffee maker, this week it’s the comms array.” he answers.

                    As the group is getting up to leave Willie hands them a walkie talkie.

                    “I thought that you said that tech couldn’t be trusted.” Lucio asks.

                    “Exactly, so this is in case your OpNet connection fails. Say hi to Rolfe for me.” Wille replies.

                    The group decides no to risk getting stranded in the woods at night and instead leave at first light. They share a dinner and talk about the mission.

                    “So, perhaps now is the time to reveal our abilities.” Jodie says and holds up her arms defensively, “I’m a telepath. I read minds. I haven’t read yours. I’ll ask for your consent before using my powers.”

                    Lucio picks up the thread, “Cool. I’m an EK, and in addition I’m pretty good with computers.”

                    Antonin, after finishing his drink, says, “And I’m a vitakinetic, as you may have gathered from our talk with Mr. Ruthger. Does anyone have any combat experience?”
                    “Nope.” Lucio answers.
                    “Not really.” is Jodie's response.

                    “Excellent. Me neither. And I gather that we are utterly unfamiliar with Aberrants as well.” Antonin says.

                    “We’ll manage.” Lucio says, mostly to convince himself.

                    “And if we get hurt, you can heal us.” Jodie says before adding, “Unless he is the one getting hurt.”

                    The rest of the meal is in awkward silence. They head to their respective rooms and spend the evening with their agents. Lucio’s agent Domino has identified appropriate points of entry to das Auge’s servers. Antonin’s agent Ta-Bitjet, as a scorpion avatar, has prepared research papers for him. Jodie is sitting on her bed and speaking with the anthropomorphic hare Jack. He is wearing a Trisec-Nakamura uniform.

                    “Well that went well.” Jack says sarcastically.

                    “Your confidence is reassuring.” Jodie answers.

                    “I really hope that you survive this, Jodie…” Jack says, tone serious.

                    Morning comes and after a quick breakfast the group. They get into their car and there is a note on the steering wheel.

                    “The SI is muted. Won’t stop singing Wagner - Willie.”

                    Lucio has Domino take over the vehicle and they drive off towards the village. The drive takes about an hour but they are interrupted after half that time by someone sneezing from the trunk. Jodie mindscans the vehicle and finds that there is a man hiding there. She puts up a mind link and they decide to stop the vehicle and confront the stranger. Jodie reads his mind as they stop. “Why are we stopping? Are we there? Danger?”

                    “He doesn’t seem hostile.” Jodie projects through the link.

                    “I’ll open it.” Lucio thinks and walks up to the trunk. Inside they find a tall indian man, awkwardly curled up into a ball to fit, hugging a backpack.

                    “Please don’t shoot” he says as he shakiliy rises.

                    He wears glasses, has a thick black beard and is a bit potbellied. He is wearing civilian clothes and a journalist tag flashes up.
                    “The name is Suman Rao, I work for the Times. I’m a journalist. Embedded!” He says, hands still up.

                    Domino chimes in Lucio’s HUD, “Confirmed.” as does Jack in Jodie’s HUD “Mediocre writer.”

                    “What the hell do you think that you are doing?” Jodie asks.

                    “I heard that you guys were on the base. Elite team from Trisec-Nakamura. I’d thought that I’d go where the story was going to be.” Suman replies.

                    “Why didn’t you speak with us first?” Lucio says and thinks “What are we going to do with him?”

                    “I didn’t think that I’d get permission.” Suman answers, truthfully.

                    “We could leave him in the trunk.” Antonin thinks back.

                    “No.” Jodie says and thinks.

                    “Listen, I won’t be in your way. I get a few good shots, it’s good publicity.” Suman offers.

                    “It could be good for the company.” Lucio thinks.

                    “Unless something beyond our control happens.” Antonin thinks cheerfully.

                    “2-1, let him tag along.” Jodie decides the tie in her thoughts.

                    “Suman, you’ll follow orders as if your life depended on it. Understood?” Jodie says, trying to sound like a soldier.

                    “Understood, just one question, can I sit in the car?” Suman says.

                    Wow, this mind link thing is going to get confusing. But that’s an accurate portrayal of how that scene went along aside from some confusion "Are you saying it or thinking it?".

                    They continue the drive, the reporter activating his recording drone after getting permission, the protagonists have control over the recordings, and tries to interview them.

                    “Eyes forward, son.” Jodie orders.

                    One minute away from the town they see a bright red light beyond the woods, between them and the town, and then hear an explosion. Seconds later their Agents inform them that OpNet connection is down.

                    “Well shit.” Antonin says

                    And that’s where the session ended. Pretty happy with how it went down. Jodie is hands down the Face of the group, Lucio is strategic with his words and Antonin sardonic. I wasn’t sure if we would get to the cliffhanger or not but I’m glad that we did.

                    Zero xp so far, so I’ll have to remind them to keep those in mind. Will also let them have a chance to tweak their character dots at the start of next session.

                    I gave them homework to look over their Psi Modes again so that they start using their powers. If I were to change anything I would probably add a scene before the mission where they see a Psion casually use their powers. It can be hard for players to know what's allowed in-universe otherwise.

                    Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                    This is awesome! I can’t wait to hear more.

                    Are Lucio and Antonin both single? What about Jodie’s own kids?

                    I had the same experience as you. I was really into Aberrant because of the Kickstarter, then I tried Aeon when it came out and loved it.
                    Lucio is single, workaholic. Antonin's probably divorced, the player hasn't decided yet.

                    Actually, Jodie doesn't have a conventional family either. She helps out with the children in her community but has no biological or adopted children of her own (if I recall correctly).


                    • #11
                      Awesome 😊. I love it. Looking forward to the first session.

                      “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her.


                      • #12
                        This is great! I love the reference to Les Fantomes.

                        “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her.


                        • #13
                          1.2 A howl of ice and fire

                          So we are back after having a week off due to two players having to cancel last week. This is a shorter session due to internet-related issues. We pick up just where we left off.

                          “Shall I keep driving, sir?” Domino asks.
                          “Yes.” Lucio responds.

                          “We are heading towards the explosion, with a crack team of psionic operatives working for Trisec-Nakamura, currently working for the Allianz.” the reporter Suman narrates, somewhat shakily.

                          “Are we sure about this?” Jodie thinks through the mind-link.
                          “No, but I’m curious.” Lucio links back.
                          “There could be wounded.” Antonin states through the link.
                          “Then we need to help where we can.” Jodie responds.

                          The armored car speeds forward and soon they see the chaotic scenes reminiscent of a war zone down through the main street of what used to be a quiet mountain village. A hellish hound, the size of a minivan, that seems to burn with infernal corruption from within, is on the other side of a burning trench, is facing off against Allianz police officers. They can see upturned cars, a police cruiser that has been molten to slag and black smoke. They can also see that several houses have been flash frozen beyond the hellhound and the cops. The psions immediately feel the corruption and know that the beast is a sub-aberrant.

                          During our one-shot the players had faced off against a dozen mooks and a low level antagonist, the PC’s had been capable and it was a cake walk. I barely put a dent into them beyond their hard armor. And they were playing neutrals! But this time around I'm worried since they haven't made combat characters at all, its just powers and bioware. We roll for initiative. The hellhound, the PC’s and then the cops.

                          The group watches in horror as the Hellhound leaps at two officers, burning them severely with each bite and tossing their cooked bodies aside as ragdolls.

                          “Domino, park behind that SUV.” Lucio indicates and then thinks, “I guess that there is a first time for everything.”
                          As the car pushes forwards, Lucio rolls down the driver side window and leans out. He lines up a shot with his Psi-Gauntlet and fires several laser beams at the corrupted canine. He manages to hit the beast and keeps firing.

                          Jodie opens up the roof hatch from the back seat and stands up. From her vantage she fires her own Electro-Gauntlet and electric laser-guided blasts hit the creature. She keeps her sights on it and prepares overwatch fire.

                          Meanwhile Antonin decides to reinforce his noetic template to better handle the fight as the hound seems to be a close combatant.

                          Using Stoicism he raises his Stamina to seven dots!

                          The remaining cops scramble away from the hound and try to aid the incoming psions. Sensing more dangerous foes, the Hellhound leaps over the burning trench and charges the Armored Car, wading through laser and electricity and getting hurt. It rips a chunk of the armor off as it tackles it.
                          Jodie panics and tries and fails to telepathically command the creature to let go of the vehicle.
                          “Oh no!” she manages to stop herself from saying but still thinks it through the link.
                          Antonin responds by crashing through the windshield and punching at the monstrous mongrel with his Force Gauntlets. The beast tries to roll away but can’t escape Antonins telekinetic range and the raw force of his Psi breaks the beast. They can all feel it die by their Aptitudes sensory abilities. Unfortunately Antonin can’t manage to stay in the passenger seat and falls out on the hood of the car as it tries to gently come to a halt.
                          “Merde!” Antonin pants out.

                          Before they can react they see a police cruiser being frozen solid and shattered as another monstrous hound comes crashing through it and racing towards them. This one looks like an enormous bulldog with a glacier-like protrusion out of its back. The remaining cops lose their nerve and retreat.

                          Lucio steps out of the vehicle and reaches out with his mind to animate the body of the fallen Hellhound. He concentrates and smiles as it rises behind him. He mentally commands it to attack anything that projects cold energy. He immediately regrets it though as the Frosthound pounces into him. It bites at Lucio and he falls on his back, his armor cracks under the strain and he starts being encased in living ice.
                          “Help me!” He thinks through the link.

                          The massive mutt turns around and attacks Antonin on the hood. It fails to harm Antonin due to his psi-reinforced physique. The french doctor rolls away from the beast and tries to help Lucio but something goes wrong and the living ice engulfs him as well.

                          Ha! A botch!

                          Lucio tries to calm down and sees how his animated Hellhound bites into its former mate. The dead dog doesn’t do any damage but clamps the Frosthound in place.

                          Jodie gets out of the car, as it is being pushed around by the enormous hounds and tries to get a shot but fails.

                          Lucio decides to risk a shot and fires his Enhancer Gauntlet at the monster only meters away. He manages to hit and injure it and at the same time push through the ice that had held him in place. His reanimated pet takes the opportunity to rip the frozen horror apart, much to Lucio’s satisfaction. As the second beast dies, everything goes quiet. Antonin manages to break free from the ice as well.

                          Jodie tries to mindscan the area but connects with one of the victims trapped in the nearby cars and gets a severe psychic concussion through the unexpected feedback. She falls to her knees and nearly vomits inside her helmet.

                          Second botch! We're nearing the end of the session and half of us get hit by the giggles, hard, as Jo points out that the reporter is filming everything...

                          Antonin walks over to her and heals her mental injuries. Meanwhile Lucio walks over to the still smoldering trench and looks down. He sees that the OpNet cables have been severed and won’t be easily repaired.

                          “Filho da mãe” he curses.

                          And that’s it for this week. As I said, it was a short session and our first combat in the chronicle, second in the system, so it went on for a bit. Aside from taking longer because of our inexperience it felt pretty cinematic, especially compared to our D&D 5e combats.

                          I had planned on dropping a hint here through Jodie’s Mysterious Aid Edge but forgot unfortunately. On the plus side, the players are really getting excited about their character’s abilities and are planning on ways to use them.

                          Everyone hit a short aspiration - reanimate an enemy and use it as a weapon, save somebody, and heal somebody, respectively - and they used lots of momentum in the combat.

                          Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                          This is great! I love the reference to Les Fantomes.
                          Thanks, I like to add a few easter eggs in my games. And it kind of makes sense that people repurpose historical organisations and names.


                          • #14
                            1.3 Mob mentality

                            We begin the session with the protagonists standing in the street, with injured bystanders, the smoldering trench and two sub-aberrant corpses. Jodie leaps over the trench and heads towards where she last saw the police officers. Antonin spends a few moments healing the bystanders.

                            Lucio tries and successfully reestablishes the OpNet connection. He can see encrypted data in the digital stream and decodes it with partial success. The Allianz HQ are giving orders to General Neumann to hold the border without inflicting lethal harm on the refugees if possible. The base has been granted reinforcements but they won’t arrive until the weather has calmed down. Lucio can’t see what has been going on for the last hour since they left the base. His guess is that some refugees must have showed up.

                            Jodie finds the three surviving cops, they are stressed out but she manages to calm them down. She tries to get them to talk about what led up to the aberrant attack but they deny knowledge of seeing anything.

                            With the OpNet up, Kim calls the group, “Why did you lose your connection?” she asks.

                            “There was a development but we took care of it.” Lucio responds.

                            “Do you need assistance or extraction?” Kim asks in response.

                            “Not yet.” Lucio answers.

                            “Carry on.” Kim commands and ends the call abruptly.

                            Jodie pushes with her psychbending and realises that the aberrant corruption is at the source of the psychic disbelief. She also senses that the foul resonance of corruption is still in the air. She looks around and spots a young girl standing at a crossroads near the town’s centre. She is staring at the roof of a bank across the street from her. Jodie can’t see anything there but gets a sinking feeling.

                            “I don’t think that the fight is over. There is something downtown and there is an innocent bystander.” Jodie mindlinks.
                            Antonin and Lucio look over at the girl and the bank.

                            “If you can approach discreetly I’ll try to get to her quickly by going the longer way around.” Antonin mindlinks back.

                            “I’m stuck here if we want to keep the OpNet connection going.” Lucio informs them.

                            “Then you can cover us.” Jodie decides and manages to persuade the cops to walk with her towards the bank. Antonin slinks down a sidestreet and starts running. The reporter follows him.

                            And Bi promptly botches, well he only had 9 dice so it was quite risky. I decide to complicate things by pushing forward an encounter I had planned. The tension goes up around the table.

                            He doesn’t get very far until he runs into a group of a dozen villages. They are riled up, shouting and dragging a person that Antonin recognizes. It’s Rolfe, the witness that they were going to question. He doesn’t need the MiniComps translation to realise that this is a lynch mob.

                            “Shit! I found Rolfe, the villagers are about to kill him for some reason.” He thinks to the group.

                            “You have got to be kidding me!” Jodie responds. Thinking quickly she comes up with a plan, “Lucio, keep your eyes on the girl, Antonin and I are going to save Rolfe.”

                            She gets the cops to come with her. The protagonists use the mind link to combine their aptitudes and then Jodie uses her telepathy to calm the group. They go from being rabid to simply being angry. She uses the cops and her uniform to disperse the crowd.

                            “Stop being useless, there has been an accident and you all can help instead of beating this man. We’ll escort him to a holding cell.” Jodie instructs the group.

                            The crowd is swayed and are led by the cops towards the wrecked cars.

                            “Impressive.” Antonin says.

                            “Are you ok?” Jodie helps Rolfe up. The man is visibly shaken.

                            “Actually, we need to get moving. There is another crisis around the corner.” Jode says apologetically.

                            “I’ll take care of him.” Suman Rao offers. Jodie nods and starts running together with Antonin.

                            Meanwhile Lucio notices that the girl shifts her gaze towards another building down the street away from the both. And moments after it collapses without apparent cause. Dust and rubble spill out from where it stood moments ago.
                            Jodie carefully grabs the girl and drags her away from main street. She looks transfixed to the sky and then towards Lucio before snapping out of it.

                            “What did you see?” Jodie asks.

                            “A ghost.” the girl stammers.

                            “What does the ghost look like?” Jodie tries.

                            “Like a ghost..” the girl seems confused.

                            “Is your home near?” Jodie asks, the girl nods and Jodie says “Go home”.
                            There is a brief discussion if they should spend their last psi points to see what the girl sees but decide that it's better to be safe than sorry.

                            “Lets meet up with Suman and Rolfe.” Jodie, through the mind-link.

                            Lucio messages Kim that they will be going offline before dropping the connection and joining the other. He brings the car. Meanwhile Antonin and Jodie start talking to Rolfe that has calmed down a bit.

                            “You saved my life, I can’t thank you enough.” Rolfe says.

                            “Actually, we need to talk with you.” Antonin replies.

                            Lucio arrives with the car and they all hop on. They decide to go to Rolfe’s home but he is hesitant. They find out that he is harboring a group of french refugees and is planning to leave town with them. The protagonists don’t really mind his plan so he leads them to his house. They also figure out that Rolfe isn’t affected by the psychic disbelief, but can’t figure out exactly why as he reads like a normal human to both Jodie and Antonin. The same memory corruption that the cops suffered from is there but his synapses are taking another way around the blockage somehow, maybe by pure random chance or dumb luck.

                            I decided that some (or maybe all) Talents are unaffected by the Psychic Disbelief Quality. I wanted to showcase how scary things can get when neutrals cut off ties to Psions. Up until this point the players were scratching their heads about the situation. So having this npc sharing that experience felt appropriate.

                            Rolfe tells them that it has been a living nightmare for him since the sub-aberrants started appearing in the woods. He had seen the monsters in the woods and when he tried to report it the police threw him in jail to “sober up”. He tried warning Lieutenant Holtz but wasn’t taken seriously. Worse still, everyone was ignoring the, to him, obvious signs that the monsters were at their doorstep. Then when the attack came, people started freaking out and instead their anger was fixed on him.

                            As they arrive at Rolfe’s house he warns them about speaking about the Aberrant. Among them, only Henri seems to perceive the problems. Rolfe also wants to talk to the family, the Olivier’s, hiding in his basement so that they don’t bolt. Lucio wants to spy on the encounter and Antonin lets him use Anansi, his medical drone, to listen in on their conversation. Aside from Henri, who seems to be able to defend himself, the Olivier’s consist of two adults, a teenager and two tweens. From what Lucio can see, there isn’t anything sinister going on.

                            Jodie makes herself at home in Rolfe’s kitchen and starts preparing dinner. Most of the ingredients are freeze dried packages in cardboard boxes on the kitchen top. Antonin joins in, musing nostalgically over the different products while remembering his upbringing. Suman starts to review his footage as Rolfe joins the group and we pan out to see that Anansi is watching for threats from the roof. Some time later our mercenaries share a meal with the refugees, their humanitarian friend and the reporter. They try to keep the talks light, with Lucio somewhat distracted by checking in with Anansi every five minutes, and after the dinner is finished Suman asks to interview the family, leaving Henri and Rolfe with the protagonists.

                            This scene is probably my favorite so far in this game. It was a pretty nice way to wind down the tension and paranoia from the session, also it was the players who took initiative. We had some dialogue mixed in with the exposition but I think that it reads easier shortened. Comment if you agree/disagree

                            Rolfe explains to Henri that the group are good guys and that he should divulge any information that he has. Henri describes how he was once part of Les Fantômes, that the group was formed to protect refugees from sub-aberrants but they were infiltrated by the spectral aberrant that Henri calls the Phantom. It corrupted three of the more militant leaders of the group, he calls them Les Enfants - the children. Slowly they became less human, more spectral and the Phantom uses them as his personal terror squad. Henri couldn’t stand the denial and fear that the aberrant was drumming up. He managed to get the Olivier’s out of the Les Fantômes territory and sneak past the border. Henri reckons that the militants could be by the border by now and that they were heading for Das Auge. He tried to warn people on the french side but none would listen. The only one to date who has understood the threat was Rolfe, whom they met in the woods a few weeks ago. Rolfe adds that this happened before the hounds started stalking the woods. He is ashamed to admit that he initially thought that the army could handle this threat. Now, he isn’t so sure.
                            Henri points out that one in ten, at most, are part of Les Fantômes and that he doesn’t think that the corruption has spread further than Les Enfants. There will be a bloodbath between two innocent sides if nothing changes.

                            “We met a girl in town that could see the Phantom, have you met anyone that could see him?” Jodie asks.

                            Rolfe and Henri look at eachother with a sudden realization before saying, “The children can see him!”

                            “That doesn’t really help us.” Antonin says, resigned.

                            A delivery vehicle approaches the house and stops. The delivery man steps out with a package.

                            “We have company.” Lucio says and readies his Psi Gauntlet. Jodie activates the mind link and Antonin takes cover near the front door.

                            There is a knock on the door.

                            Players: Cliffhanger!

                            Then another knock. After a brief pause the delivery man speaks loudly through the door, “Miss Jodie Moon?”

                            Everyone turns to look at Jodie. She answers the door and recognizes the brightly colored markings on the package. She signs for it and takes it inside.
                            I remembered Mysterious Aid!

                            “What the hell?” Lucio asks.

                            “ISRA sends help.” Jodie says and opens the box. Inside is an old radio transmitter.

                            “We are going to need this.” Jodie says with a confident smile.

                            “Are there any instructions?” Lucio walks up to Jodie.

                            “Nope.” Jodie says and starts messing with the radio.

                            Antonin falls into the living room couch and says, “I hate your order.”

                            “Rude.” Jodie replise coyly.

                            Lucio takes some time to try to figure out what the device does and informs the group, “It seems to be sending static in a radius around us.”

                            “Maybe we’ll get a message?” Jodie muses.

                            “Sending, it's not set up to receive signals.” Lucio corrects her.

                            The walkie talkie that Willie gave them sparks to life.

                            “Jodie, Lucio, can you hear me? Everything has gone to hell.” he says.

                            And there’s the cliffhanger!
                            That’s all for this week. Roleplay heavy and with a lot of investigation and Psi powers used. The pacing worked well and the situation with Rolfe and the Olivier’s came as a curve ball for the players. But they rolled with it and we got a sweet scene that padded out the exposition parts of the session.
                            I didn’t know that there was going to be an electrokinetic in the group when I first wrote the story so the OpNet being severed wasn’t that big of a deal. I thought about rewriting it but decided that it gave Lucio a chance to shine.


                            • #15
                              1.4 Avalanche

                              Ahoy! New session, fun times to be had but the pacing was off this week. More on this after the recap.

                              The group reacts to the walkie talkie and Lucio answers, “We can hear you, what is going on?”

                              “Mayhem, chaos, oh, God, I saw a soldier disintegrating in front of me. They are killing each other!” Willie, distraught.

                              “Calm down. Try to take it from the beginning.” Lucio says. The team begins to collect their stuff, check their gear and get ready to leave.

                              “Oh, oh God, help me” Willie starts, but pauses and collects himself, “Okay, about two hours ago we started getting reports from our scouts that a large number of refugees were heading our way. Holtz was upset, said that the General wasn’t seeing clearly. Wanted all vehicles ready. The air had a tense feeling in the base. Then the OpNet started acting out, connection got spotty and then was lost. That’s when things started getting crazy. Holtz started a mutiny against General Neumann! Firefights broke out and they are still going on. I hid in the garage but soldiers started to get sick, and got these weird symptoms. Like the one that I saw, he had a coughing fit and then his head collapsed into his torso. Oh God.” they hear him start to hyperventilate.

                              Lucio responds that they are on the way, Henri and Rolfe wish them luck and tell them that they are going far away from this mess. Suman comes up from the basement and looks confused.

                              “Get moving.” Josie orders.

                              “What’s going o-” Suman tries.

                              “To the car.” she interrupts.

                              As they are driving towards the military base, they go past the ruined building on main street. They notice several things, first of all is the unnatural way it was collapsed, as if someone pushed the ground floor up and through the rubble of the floors above. Then there’s the fact that there was a radio transmitter on the building so they figured that the aberrant wanted to cut off all possible avenues of communication.

                              “So are we going to talk about what’s going on?” Suman asks after they’ve been driving for a while.

                              “Don’t think about it.” Jodie says, and then asks, “So, how did the interview with the Olivier family go?”

                              “Good. Unfortunately I can’t use any of it.” Suman sighs.

                              “Oh?” says Antonin

                              “I need to have a story that the United Republic will accept. They don’t want to humanize refugees, no sympathy for outsiders I’m afraid.”

                              ”That’s horrible.” Jodie says.

                              “Yes, but that’s how it works. And I need a story that’s sellable.”

                              Jodie shakes her head, “Why?”

                              “My family is over there. I need citizenship and as you can tell by the color of my skin and my name I’m not white enough to automatically get to be a citizen. I have to prove my worth. If that means risking my life, I’m good with that.”

                              Suman looks away and out at the scenery passing by. The car is cold, with the windshield missing, and Suman is the only one without biotech environmental protection. Antonin strengthens the reporter’s resilience.

                              Jodie establishes a mindlink and thinks, “I’m not sure that bringing him with us is actually that good of an idea.”

                              “You’re paranoid.” Antonin links back.

                              “Doesn’t mean that she is wrong. If he goes speaking with the wrong person. I can edit his footage…” Lucio reflects.

                              “And I can stop him from talking. It won’t be permanent but it doesn’t have to be.” Jodie notes.

                              Antonin shrugs, he still thinks that they’re overreacting. They all link their abilities and make edits to cover their tracks. Suman is still staring out the window but somewhat lessened by their psionic interference.

                              They make good time, speeding towards the base and can see the bedlam from a distance. The gates are unmanned and they see that soldiers are fighting each other. Everything is chaotic and violent. The car swerves and passes the small scale skirmishes without incident.

                              Up ahead is the road leading up to the three main buildings of the military base. First is the communications facility, with the machine shop on the ground floor. Second is the hospital building. The third and final building is the domed luxury hotel, repurposed as the main HQ. They can see smoke from the hospital's upper floor, a group of soldiers in a fistfight outside of the garage and tanks blocking the path towards the HQ.

                              They decide to contact Willie and Lucio speaks through the walkie talkie, “Willie, are you alive?”

                              Tense static before he responds, “Still alive, still hiding. In the back office where we drank coffee, yesterday. Different world yesterday.”

                              “Stay put, we’re coming.” Lucio says and the car starts heading for the garage. Up ahead they see the towering artillery turret, one of several around the base, and it starts to turn towards them! Thinking fast, Lucio uses technokinesis to gain access and barely manages to cause it to fire prematurely. That buys them a few seconds as the twinned laser blasts fire into the forests.

                              “Domino, don’t slow down, ram the gate!” Lucio shouts.

                              As the armored car pushes towards the closed garage doors Lucio once again tries to Access the controls but he fails and they ram into the metal doors shielding the workshop. Lucio is uninjured by the crash but Antonin and Jodie get hurt by it. Suman gets knocked out. They leave the car and the reporter behind. Another streak of lasers goes past them and they hear an explosion. Antonin catches a glimpse of what is going on and to his surprise finds that another Laser Turret opened fire on the first one. The group sprints towards Willie.

                              Just outside of the office they spot the body that Willie mentioned. It looks like parts of the upper torso, including the head, are missing. Willie lets them in. The group takes stock of the situation and tries getting answers from Willie but there isn’t really any new information that he can tell them, except that the refugees were getting closer. Lucio is pacing around in the room, trying to find out if the server is close enough that he can sense it. It is, and he starts to hack it.
                              Meanwhile Jodie asks Willie to give her access to the security feeds if he is able to do so, she manages to persuade him. Antonin tries to figure out how the soldier in the machine shop died.

                              “No natural disease did this.” Antonin, through his mind, “And the low level Quantum Flux Zone shouldn’t have this effect on him, at least in theory. I’m thinking that either an aberrant did this to him or that he was poisoned with corruption somehow.”

                              Willie punches up the security feeds, and they get a clearer picture of the chaos around them. The soldiers' sleeping area is a massacre, fighting seems to have died down and they can see Lt. Holtz putting up defensive positions. The hospital looks like videos taken from a slasher flick, with blood trails along the corridors. They catch a glimpse of the doctor stalking the corridors, a scalpel in hand and a deranged smile on her face. They can see that the HQ’s cubicle office area has turned into a trench war of sorts.

                              “No eyes on the General” Jodie informs.

                              Meanwhile Lucio is hacking the server in the basement through the walls. He feels some interference and says so through the mindlink. Jodie focuses her powers and mindscans the building. She senses a human mind inside the walls and is washed with the feeling of corruption, a sub-aberrant!

                              “Someone corrupted is in the walls!” She thinks to the group.

                              Antonin tries to get a sense of its physiology but can’t pinpoint anything. Lucio finishes his hacking and has transferred a large amount of classified data to his biocomp. He then focuses on the wall and finds the bioelectrical signature in the walls. He forces the electrical signals within the sub-aberrant to slow down, disrupting its movements.

                              Actually only one success away from insta-killing the enemy, as being completely disrupted would stop it from being intangible.

                              “It's heading towards the server. I tried to slow it down” Lucio, thinks.

                              “We should probably stop it.” Antonin replies.

                              “Willie, can you get us into the server room?” Jodie asks.

                              “Sure, have my passcard.” Willie tosses the card to Jodie.

                              “Keep your eyes on the security feeds and inform us if anything important happens.” Jodie responds.

                              The group starts running towards the server room. They know from Lucio that they only have a few moments before the disruption ends. As they race down the staircase, Antonin loses his balance and slams hard against the railing and bruises his ribs. Lucio and Jodie get down to the basement corridor leading into the server room just as the sub-aberrant phases through the wall between them and the server. He is dressed in paramilitary combat fatigues, holds an assault rifle and turns towards them. They can see that his face is translucent and can see his skull through the skin.

                              Initiative. Lucio, Jodie, Les Enfant and Antonin.

                              Lucio reacts first and fires laser beams from his psi gauntlet at the skull faced saboteur. The soldier goes intangible and the shot passes through harmlessly. They feel the corruption intensify and the soldier opens up fire at Jodie, emptying his clip before rushing into close range with Lucio. Jodie tries to react but isn’t fast enough and gets a flesh wound.

                              I spent Corruption to interrupt and managed to get a critical hit on her.

                              Jodie reacts instinctively, reaching out with her mind and tries to Command the opponent to stand down but fails. She feels the surface thoughts of the man and realises that he is driven by fear and wanting to spread fear. She relays the information through the mindlink. The soldier moves incredibly fast, shifting in and out of view, phasing through Lucio, drawing a combat knife and tries to stab the electrokinetic. Somehow the knife fails to connect with anything vital but Lucio is knocked down on the floor. Antonin runs up to Jodie and heals her wounds.

                              Lucio reaches out with his mind and forces the electrons within the ghostly killer to glow in the visible spectrum as he crawls away from him. Antonin rushes the now visible spectre and delivers a brutal, psi-enhanced, haymaker, aided by his force gauntlets. There is a loud crack as the jaw breaks and blood and spittle flies out. Not letting up he manages to throw the soldier to the ground and kicks away the knife from his hand. The inhuman Enfant can only stand up, swinging inefficiently at Antonin. Jodie opens fire with her electrolaser gauntlet and hits the creature on the ground.

                              Lucio disrupts the Enfant’s bio-electrical field again and Jodie finishes it with a laser blast through the heart. The soldier falls down on the concrete floor, dead.

                              Jodie checks her cracked armour, wincing as she remembers the pain only moments before, “Thanks Antonin. This fight seemed harder than the last.”

                              “Don’t mention it.” Antonin answers.

                              Lucio checks the body, he finds plastic explosives and blasting caps. He looks at the server room.

                              “He was here to blow it up.” He motions, “Maybe it’s time to contact Kim.”

                              Jodie and Antonin agree, and Lucio uses his electrokinetics to amplify the OpNet connection and hails their handler.

                              “Yes.” Kim answers.

                              “Lucio here, there has been a development. An aberrant called Phantom is attacking the Auge. Corruption levels are high and the Allianz soldiers are acting crazy.”

                              “That’s not a development, that’s a f&%#! reason we have the Emerald Nebula protocols!” Kim, practically yelling.

                              “OpNet was down, wouldn’t have helped.” Antonin adds.

                              “Very well, are you secure? Is the general secure?”

                              They look at each other sheepishly, before Jodie answers, “We are safe, we don’t know where the general is.”

                              Lucio realises that with the OpNet on, he can call her, “One moment.”

                              General Aicha Neumann answers, in the middle of a fight in her office. She stabs an Allianz soldier with her Vibroblade before speaking, “Where the hell are you?”

                              “Machine shop.” Lucio says.

                              “Don’t!” Jodie thinks, too late.

                              “Well get to my office ASAP.” the general says and hangs up.

                              “The general is alive and in her office. Should we go there?” Lucio asks Kim

                              “Give me a minute and we’ll speak face to face. Don’t do anything stupid.” she hangs up.

                              “We don’t know if the general is on our side or not.” Jodie finishes her thought through the mindlink.

                              And that’s it for this week. Thinking about it I kind of painted myself into a corner by last week’s cliffhanger. I could have given them more time in the village and have the attack occur on their way back to the base. I had envisioned a tight timeline when I wrote the outline for the story and I wanted their backs against the wall, but I don’t know if that was the correct choice. A lot of this session are the consequences of them not using their psionic powers at the base in the first session. Hopefully it will be an "Uncle Ben"-moment for the protagonists but I'll try not to hit them over the head with it.

                              If I’m being honest, the original plan was also reliant on a little more combat capable characters then the current cast. I’ll have to recheck the future outlines.

                              Some surprises during the session, something about my portrayal of the reporter or the situation at the base made Em and Jo feel that the Suman was a liability. Also the fact they went out of their way to get to the mechanic, the only NPC at the base that they had a nice interaction with, instead of keeping their eyes on the mission. The OpNet reconnection came as an afterthought.

                              We had a rules question come up during the fight, when a player only rolled one success on the Defend roll. I’m under the belief that rolling a single success doesn’t actually do anything but that doesn’t feel satisfying. If anyone knows the correct interpretation, please give a comment.