Still I don’t see a man in a mansion
That an accurate pen won’t puncture
Go to town, go to hell, go to jail.
– Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Hallowed Be Thy Name
In which the Big Bad gets his comeuppance, but at a cost…
MASS TRANSIT EFFECT
Travel Scene: We’re moving from area 2 to area 6, so four chances for an encounter, it happens as we’re leaving area 5, Uptown, and heading for the high end residential area. It’s Late in the day when we encounter eight of the Big Bad’s minions, bent on stopping us: 2 x Rep 3 thief with pistol, 5 x Rep 4 gangster with BAP, one Rep 5 Femme Fatale with pistol, who is also Stunning and Smooth.
Arion’s little band currently consists of himself, Roger (Rep 5 BAP), Ms Huff (Rep 4 BAP), Bodyguard (Rep 5 BAP), and a Rep 3 with a BAP – Arion has quite a store of BAPs built up from looting the bodies of the opposition.
I decide this happens inside a tube carriage… Set up as per Confrontation, p. 59, then go to Walk the Walk on p. 60. Arion rolls 23346 (he has Steely Eyes but everyone is concealed) and gets 3 successes, the Femme Fatale rolls 1124 for 3 successes. As it’s a tie, we roll again at -1d6; Arion 2245, FF 356, so Arion & Co. act first. Most of this is on the Shoot page of the QRS now, and while I laid it out on the table I found I was using the figures mostly as status markers with very little manoeuvre, so I didn’t bother with pictures for this little skirmish.
Turn 1: Arion and Roger go for two Rep 4 Gangsters with BAP – I’ll gloss over die rolls because you’ve seen LTL gunplay before in the Arioniad – and force both to duck back. Huff scores a hit on the FF and she ducks back. Huff’s companions each fire at a Rep 4 gangster and astonishingly the Rep 3 drops one OOF, forcing a Man Down test for everyone within 4″, which is all but two of the group; one Runs Away and another Ducks Back.
Turn 2: The Big Bad’s minions activate first; Roger and the Rep 3 sidekick go OOF, Arion and Huff duck back. Two of the Rep 4 gangsters are gunned down, causing one of the Rep 3 thieves to flee and the other to duck back.
Turn 3: Doubles for activation – nobody acts. Turn 4: Ms Huff is shot by the FF and goes OOF. Turn 5: Lots of duck backs but no significant changes. Turn 6: Doubles for activation – a lull in the fighting. Turn 7: Huff’s bodyguard takes out the FF. Turn 8: Second Rep 3 thief flees after failing a Received Fire test, remaining minion ducks back. Turn 9: Arion and Huff’s bodyguard charge into melee and beat the surviving thug unconscious in short order.
Fortunately, I can roll for recovery as this is the end of a (travel) scene. Huff is retired, her Rep 3 companion returns with a decreasing Rep die, and Roger is OK. Our little band is down to four, though, and one of those is a bit flaky. Meanwhile, the Femme Fatale recovers, and frankly who cares about the mooks? I already have enough clues to solve the mystery, and there appears to be no benefit for overachieving, so I won’t bother interrogating the survivors.
Arion and his little band are in a subway car discussing their plan (such as it is) when a stunning woman and seven armed thugs enter.
“I like that one,” she says, pointing at Arion. “Bring him to me alive. Kill the rest.”
A brief but intense gunfight erupts, ending with Huff incapacitated, Roger and the professional wounded, the femme fatale and four thugs out of the fight, and three thugs fleeing the scene.
LOW LIFE IN HIGH PLACES
Once we get to the board, there is only one PEF, in section 2, composed of the Big Bad’s minions. These can be avoided if we move through sections 9, 8, 7, 4, and 1, and considering there are eight of ’em let’s do that.
Entering the target building gives a Defining Moment, and because we haven’t met any NPCs yet it’s automatically contact, and as it’s the final scene it’s Big Bad minions, four of them; Rep 5 bodyguard with SMG, 2 x Rep 3 thieves with pistols, and one Rep 4 gangster with SMG.
On entering the target building I also roll on the appropriate table and determine that Arion and Chapman arrive at the same time and will fight to win the treasure. Chapman must be driven off or captured to win. He is a Rep 5 Business Magnate with BAP, and is accompanied by three thugs; 2 x Rep 4 gangster with BAP, Rep 3 thief with pistol. So overall we’re outnumbered 8 to 3.
I’m about to set up the table when it occurs to me I only need the building, so I pull out a couple of SmileyBomb’s binder maps and declare them the ground floor of the mansion.
Walking the Walk, Chapman wins the In Sight handily and opens up with deadly force. Arion is forced to duck back behind the couch, and both his buddies are machine-gunned down by SMG-toting thugs. Man, I have to get me one of those; the two extra damage dice are brutal.
Arion, Roger, and Huff’s bodyguard move up to Chapman’s mansion and bluff their way inside – Arion’s jacket is now red, and labelled “Pizza Delivery”. As they enter from the front door, Chapman enters unseen from the back; four armed thugs are playing cards at a table, and noting that pizza delivery boys don’t often come in threes or carry large pistols instead of pizza, they deduce that something is amiss, and open fire. Roger and the bodyguard are both hit and crawl into cover, losing first interest in the proceedings and then consciousness. Arion dives over the couch and hides behind a solid-looking armchair.
Activation Arion 1, Chapman 6. Arion pops up, and since this is the first time he has been seen in this activation phase,he triggers an In Sight. Chapman’s little group can’t see him as they are around a corner – there’s no point having building maps if I don’t use what’s printed on them. Arion rolls 133556 for 3 successes, the four thugs at the table roll 12256 for 3 successes – a tie, so we reroll, and this time the thugs win and act. Everyone counts as in cover and concealed (in a building and not moving), and thankfully this causes everyone to miss Arion. As a Star he can choose how many dice to pass on the Received Fire test, and replies with a Rushed Shot at the leader, but misses. This causes that worthy to take a Received Fire test, and he shoots back, hitting Arion and taking him OOF. Time for some Star Power; 23455 means the OOF is degraded to a Miss, so Arion takes a Received Fire test, opts to pass 2d6, and takes another Rushed Shot, forcing the group leader to duck back.
Arion 6, Chapman 4. The thugs at the table move up, the leader trying to flank Arion while the others take cover behind the breakfast bar. Arion could already see them so I decide no In Sight is called for. The Rep 5 SMG hits Arion and he uses Star Power again to reduce all the hits to Miss (rolling separately for each); this costs him a die, though. His RF test gives him the chance to return fire and he gets lucky, dropping the thugs’ leader – when firing as a result of a reaction test, you have to shoot at whatever provoked the test. The remaining thugs in that group take a Man Down test, one Runs Away and the other two shoot back, both missing thanks to cover, but provoking another Rushed Shot from Arion which guns down the other SMG-wielding thug and triggers another Man Down test – since the remaining thug can see his friends approaching, he Carries On.
Chapman and the second group move up the hall to gain line of sight and trigger another In Sight test. Chapman wins and the second group settle in around the table and open fire. Arion ducks back and can’t activate this turn.
Arion comes under a hail of bullets, but he sticks his gun hand over the chair and fires back blindly. Luck is with him and both the team’s leader and his second in command gos down with 12.7mm rockets in them. At this point Chapman and three other thugs heave into view down the corridor, and start shooting. Arion crouches behind his chair and hopes for the best.
A3, C1. Arion pops up and triggers an In Sight, which he wins, and fires at Chapman but misses. Chapman’s return shot forces Arion to duck back. As everyone except Arion is now inside Chapman’s command radius I decide no-one else can see Arion and the turn ends.
Turn 4 is pretty much a repeat of turn 3; A4, C1. Arion aces the In Sight and hits Chapman – Mr C avoids going OOF by adroit use of Star Power, which gives him a chance to return fire. Arion ducks back.
A3, C4. Chapman gestures his men forwards, bringing them up next to Arion and triggering an In Sight. Arion wins this and targets one of the Rep 4 BAP thugs, hoping to whittle down the odds against him; he only manages a duck back though, then he is forced to duck back in turn by fire from the others.
Shooting isn’t working, so when he activates and wins the In Sight, he charges into melee, trusting to Star Power to win the day. One of the thugs manages to get a shot off, and Star Power turns the OOF result into a Miss again; then Arion is upon them. Chapman has more figures in the melee but can only use three; he opts for Rep 4, then Rep 3, then Rep 3, as the other Rep 4 is ducked back and as a Big Bad he need not dirty his hands with fistfights, he has minions for that.
- Round 1: Rep 4 vs Arion – Arion gets two more successes followed by boxcars and scores a clean KO.
- Rounds 2-4: First Rep 3 vs Arion – Arion loses one Rep before removing his opponent from play.
- Rounds 5-6: Second Rep 3 vs Arion – Rep 3 is clubbed to the ground at no loss to Arion. As this melee is now over, Arion’s Rep returns to 5.
Turn 6: A6 C1. Not liking what he has just seen, Chapman and the remaining thug both fire at Arion, and both miss. Arion’s reaction fire drops the last mook.
Turn 7: A5 C6. Hand to hand worked last time, and Chapman only has two Star Power dice left, so Arion charges into melee before Chapman can shoot again.
- Round 1: Chapman loses the round and a Star Power die. Now he has one left to Arion’s four.
- Round 2: Arion loses the round and two Star Power dice, but that’s better than losing Rep.
- Round 3: Arion gets three hits in, and Chapman’s lone Star Power die does its best, stopping two of them; but the last one gets through and takes the Big Bad out.
A few seconds of inconclusive gunfire follow, until Chapman yells “Get him! What are you waiting for, there’s four of you!” and stings his men into action. They move up – a mistake as Arion leaps from cover into melee, and disposes of three of them in short order in a hail of boots and fists. Arion still has his hand cannon, and when the surviving thug draws a bead on him, Arion shoots him in the forehead.
“That’ll be quite enough of that,” he pants, and after circling each other for a moment, he and Chapman pounce on each other. After a brief exchange of solid punches, Chapman falls.
MY FINAL REVENGE
Chapman rolls 4 successes, which would injure and permanently retire Arion’s love interest, except he doesn’t have one, so let’s off Huff’s love interest instead who is obviously tied up somewhere out of sight, probably sitting on the bomb. Arion does get three decreasing Rep dice though.
“You think you’ve won,” gasps Chapman through broken teeth as Arion stands over him, fist cocked for another blow.
“You haven’t. House: X-Ray Four Seven!” – and the scene dissolves in the white-out of a bomb blast.
We’ll leave that as a cliffhanger for now. In the next episode, I’ll do a retrospective of this first season – how the game worked, and what happened to everyone.
Rules: Larger Than Life Director’s Cut, THW. Figures: eM4, Mongoose. Floor Plans: SmileyBomb Productions.