SHC GM-free session 11: The new best friends

Summary so far

This is a game of urban fantasy/arcana based on d20 Modern, but using a number of Emulator tools to replace the lost GM.

The season began as a fifth season to cap off the four previous GM-moderated seasons, and with the hope of getting our Level 15 characters to Level 20.

After a short trial season where our group took the characters through to L16, I’ve moved to solo play. There’s no shortage of GMs for other games at present and so long as there is a GM the feeling is, a GM-free game does not rate.

The characters (all just hit L17):

  • Paul Birkby, technomage and Archmage;

  • Cliff, tough Daredevil and bodyguard;

  • Dan Hewstone, Witch-hunter and dedicated acolyte of the faith;

  • Joe Hitchcock, charismatic Arch-mage; and

  • Sandi Maclaine, infiltrating Gun Goddess.

These five, collectively known as the Chicago Peers in reference to their status in the Academy, have survived a lair raid into a key stronghold, bringing down a dangerous summoner; rescuing a mage that until then they had presumed their enemy; and capturing an enchantress or witch who may know a lot about what’s going on behind the scenes. The raid ended in a techno-magical laboratory where Ralph Hagen was being held in a strange device. The battle that brought down Liam Heaney shattered almost everything breakable.

But they have yet to escape!

Scene: the same Science Lab inner sanctum

PCs: the five characters

NPCs: Maria (if alive) and Ralph Hagen

Chaos check 4, Interrupt.

Focus 28, NPC action. Since Ralph Hagen is the only conscious NPC present, it involves him.

Meaning: 85/52, Negligence [of] dispute.

Ralph decides to set aside any dispute he may or may not have with the PCs.

It may be time to turn this over to party diplomacy. Dan is the key diplomat, but where the enemy have transgressed, he can be unforgiving. Furthermore, his attention is taken trying to find his comrades and locate the ‘other’ hostile mage.

Before going further it is time to discover a little more about the Remote Event that come up last scene. It was ‘bestow spiritual’.

Further detail? 64/58 Spy Stalemate. OK, that will relate to Homeland Security and the Rev Brown, so we can leave it at this stage.

So over to the recovery phase after the battle, then I can better judge how occupied everyone is. In brief so far:

  • Sandi is least hurt, mainly because Heaney’s Meteor Swarm didn’t target where she was. She has no special skills in getting along with people.
  • Cliff recovers fast and is at around half health. Given a couple of hours rest, he’ll be well on his way to full health. He’s an ex-bouncer, so like Sandi, not suited.
  • Birkby got hit hard but thanks partly to his layers of protection is at better than half health. He has a cold, self-involved charisma.
  • Dan also got hit hard but has healed himself at least part-way.
  • Hitch was dying but has stabilised, and is lying under some rubble (and probably invisible).
  • Maria was dying, and I have not made a stabilisation check for her.

Dan, assisted by Sandi and Cliff, makes a fine Search check for both Hitch and Maria. Having located their near-dead bodies under various debris, he pumps some minimal hp into them.

That leaves Birkby to be the diplomat. I’m going to say that because Birkby and Dan get on like water and Holy Oil, or Holy Water and lube oil (take your pick) Dan can’t help.

Birkby rolls a 16, and with his own inimitable ‘charm’ makes a reasonable foray into conversation with Ralph.

It’s a given that they set aside hostilities supposed or otherwise. What the Peers want is some more concrete assistance. Here’s what they have so far:

  • The Deep Ones will cooperate once things are lined up
  • Unit 14 will assist with the authorities
  • The Great Spirits clued them in to this location, so can be presumed to have wanted Ralph rescued, maybe.

Q: Does Ralph have concrete assistance to offer? (50-50 based on Birkby’s check) 05 Exceptional yes!

Further detail? 35/81 Fiercely remarkable. So a near-unique item, probably an attacking talisman. I can get more detail when needed later, in the same way Maxwell’s Silver Hammer was brought in last level.

Our heroes will not particularly want to climb stairs, what with mortally wounded people and a colossal toxyderm somewhere in the underground, but nor would they want to take an elevator considering Gremlins were encountered earlier (and Paul egged them on to do lots of damage)!

Teleportation is an option, if normal magical protections have been disrupted.

Q: Has the gremlin interference allowed outside teleportation? (Unlikely) 17 Yes.

Our heroes will, with Ralph’s help, bail out along with Maria.

Scene ends.

L17 Character progression

Birkby – Archmage L4. This level takes Paul to double the normal spell allocation. One more level left. What happens if the game goes on for 2 more levels, I don’t know.

Cliff – Daredevil L2. Cliff is the hardest because he is not well geared to prestige classes. Because the later levels of Bodyguard are not great, I have switched Cliff over to Daredevil, and now he’s L2 . (Another option is Street Warrior but like Dan’s Cleric option (below) that would need time in one place and Allegiance to an organization within the area.)

Hitch – Charismatic L1. To be frank this is partly to go over ground that Dan really ought to have covered, but Hitch can now be the ‘face’ character he always wants to be, using the fast-talk talent.

Dan – Witchhunter L3. This is a bonus feat level, and Cleric is tempting (it opens to an awesome feat tree) but requires more time in one place than Dan has available. So he takes Burning Belief.

Sandi – Gun Goddess L2. This is a bonus feat level, she takes Quick Reload.

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