If the shattering gunfire of the set-piece is Sandi’s episode then it’s time to turn our attention to Mr Hitchcock, to find out what happened to him.
Recall that as the team headed south around Chicago central, intending to circle in then place Cliff as bogus security at the enemy mage’s party, the two Brits were scooped up by Homeland Security. Paul Birkby was released almost immediately; but what of Hitch?
Scene: a secure Federal facility
“So let me line this up and see if we got all our ponies running. We let you go…”
“Yes, got that…”
“This never happened…”
“And there’s no mention of anything out of the ordinary, on any media, private or public, digital or otherwise.”
“Roger that, mum’s the word.”
“In return we’re willing…”
“To drop you off in an area we know no-one can run spy cams in. Or report in using any electronic gadgets.”
“Why do I get the feeling I’m not going to like this?”
NPCs: Homeland Security personnel
Chaos check: 5, alteration. Introduce a new NPC.
NPC description: cheerful missionary; motivation support hardship. Focus of the meeting, fame.
Q: Is this a Homeland Security official? (very likely) 07 exceptional yes!
Thinking this through, it seems to me that we are experiencing hardship (doing the mission unsupported) and Hitch is busy with the fame aspect. So that means that she/he is reaching out to Hitch.
Q: Is this the case? (likely) 64 yes.
Negotiations are called for, Hitch rolls a 19, so excellent result. We can just about move to the next scene, but I also want to know:
Q: Is HS going to directly support Hitch if he agrees to suppress the report? (50-50) 98 exceptional no!
In order to set up the next scene, the release, I roll on the Location Crafter and get 31/16; and 77/90: Enthusiastically dark; and Deceive danger.
Now given all this is in the course of hours, ‘dark’ may mean a communications blackout. Most significantly Hitch is completely off the enemy’s radar.
Chaos rises to 6.
Scene: A city zone where electronics just don’t work
Hitch is completely off the radar of the opposition. But then he hears the whining roar of a high-performance engine, and a DB7 flashes by, skids up the bend to a rail overbridge, and races over it. It looks a lot like Paul’s car. Hitch reaches for his phone, then remembers it won’t work. And besides, using it would alert someone to his location.
A massive figure in a loose flapping coat bounds by, hot in pursuit. Hitch can’t believe he’s seeing a Troll!
Well, that’s probably not Paul, unless he’s run through all of his spells. Better go save the day. Hitch sighs.
Chaos check: 4, interrupt.
Focus 78, ambiguous event.
Meaning: 91/15, pursue the innocent. This type of scene is typically flavor text behind the ongoing scene. If the enemy are roaming looking out for the party, there could easily be some innocent party being pursued. Is Hitch going to be the white knight?
Q: is this the Troll Hero? (somewhat likely) 41 yes. He will no longer have the M16, since he fled, dropping it.
Let’s also get some context on the innocent party. After all it could just be a beer tanker.
Description: 24/68, defiantly extravagant. Not really tugging the heart-strings, but it does suggest the party is driving an Aston Martin or some such, easily mistaken for Paul’s usual wheels.
The NPC is a needy tradesman; so driving a ride that shows off is not proving a smart choice!
Init: Troll 22 Hitch 10.
Troll misses his spot (rolls a 1) so does not break off his chase.
Chase cards are set up.
Laying out a grid
I use the chase cards, but this time shuffle out opponent 1 as the DB7, and Opponent 2 as the Troll. I set them on top of two cards at grid center, then flip an edge card to see where Hitch is, and flip the cards under the chaser and chasee. This is how it goes:
Round 1: The DB7 is delayed by a tractor-trailer; the Troll is on a bridge. Hitch’s card connects directly to the bridge, but he is in a snowdrift. Hitch delayed 1 round, Troll is able to advance at DB7’s speed.
Round 2: Hitch clears the snowdrift. The DB7 is further delayed by heavy pedestrian traffic, the Troll maneuvers round the tractor-trailer.
Round 3: Hitch is on the bridge, and can open up on the Troll if he has a suitable range spell. The DB7 is somewhat delayed by light pedestrian traffic and the Troll moves through fleeing heavy pedestrians.
Troll: improved bullrush to rush through pedestians
Hitch: maximized ‘clean’ fireball, harmless to innocents: 58 damage. then surge, another of the same, 61 more.
Round 4: DB7 hits a Special, which rolls as 65, return option. I read this as an on-ramp exit so the DB7 can move out then return to any earlier point (if it wanted to).
Troll can’t regenerate that damage, so looks to escape. it hustles into a side-street out of Hitch’s LOS.
Hitch ‘winks’ onto a high point overlooking the Troll and surges, throws a tight wall of fire around it. It can’t escape without further massive damage, and the fire will burn it to death if it doesn’t try to escape. 25 damage.
Round 5: Troll charges out, SV33 OK, takes 27 damage, dies.
A good fight but expensive for Hitch’s arsenal.
Chaos rises to 7.
Scene: Outside the dark zone
Hitch is looking for a burner phone. If he can send a message to Paul, Paul can be his link to get back together.
A short walk away, a couple of ‘right dodgy’ street hawkers are squabbling about whose corner this is. One has a small suitcase of dumb phones. Hitch shells out a few notes and checks the charge. No problem, he’s in business!
Behind him, one of the hawkers activates his wrist-mic, and reports:
“Newsboy is on the deck”
NPCs: random civilians and shop staff
Chaos check: 3, alteration. Event focus: 100, NPC positive. Meaning 80/62 trust disruption, and to get a better handle on it, description 38/88, frantically small, then npc action 20/82, truce dispute. NPC affiliation QD, Homeland Security.
An operative sells Hitch a burner, then reports in.
After-scene – quick summary
Now Hitch just needs to connect to Paul. He knows Paul won’t answer, but might easily follow a code or cypher. DC20 on cypher-writing, rolls 13. So takes a little while. Spells out a code to Paul to identify himself and explain his situation, and to dial the burner then Hitch will confirm.
Just to check this I roll an Action description and get Divide Travel – Hitch teleports in.