[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation (Solo: Grendel)   Posted by Mr. Johnson.Group: 0
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 6 posts
Sat 18 Jan 2020
at 01:11
Prelude: Grendel
Two years ago

You can almost trace back to the minute to the moment that your world began to change.  After an eternity of waiting, you had finally allowed you to join in the hunt.  You're up before daybreak, working the flank of the hunting ground, making enough noise to drive game back toward the main party.  Pushing along the banks of Humbug Creek where last year's wildfires tore through Kennebec Gulch where the deer had been feeding on the tender new growth buds.

Just before the rifle shots rang out marking another successful hunt you found the tire tracks...

That night, when the council of equals had assembled, Big Mike called you forward, honored you as one of the clan.  Recognized by the council they asked you to tell Mother what you had found.  Trying so hard not to stammer, you describe the four-wheel drive trucks that you had seen moving up and down the mountain on Houndstooth trail.  Moving on foot, you couldn't keep up with the trucks, but from the rocky outcrop that overlooks the gulch you saw them head up the pass and into the next canyon.

It`s hard to remember the lengthy council deliberation that followed.  At council every adult in the clan has the opportunity to speak their truth.  Most followed the lead of Mother who said she could not countenance the presence of outsiders.  Countenance was a word you didn`t know, something she probably learned in college during her Trial away from the clan.  But you know what it meant and more importantly, you know that she picked you to go ahead to find out where the trucks went while the warband prepared.  The clan would raid their camp if they had stayed in the neighbouring valley.

You are chosen as the clan's scout.  What do you do to prepare?  What do you equipment do you gather to bring with you?
 player, 1 post
Sat 18 Jan 2020
at 02:27
Prelude: Grendel
It's hard to convey the honor entailed in being selected as a Scout, especially at such a young age, and on the heels of being acknowledged as a full member of the Clan. The connections implicit in the act, the emotions involved. It's difficult for somebody outside the Clan to grasp.

But, suffice to say, the burden of responsibility was immense. Father's, mother's, sons, daughters, loved ones and close friends, so many were relying on him. The information he was expected to provide, it's volume and accuracy, was a matter of life and death. The plans that would be made, the success of their attack, would in no small way hinge upon him. He felt the weight of it like a solid thing. He knew every member of the warband personally and the majority since childhood.

Preparation was a sad and simple thing. His family owned very, very little. What resources they had scraped together had gone mostly towards food and supplements, Trolls eat alot, and he was large even for a troll. It was not an exaggeration that as a teenager for his species that he ate as much as a small human family by himself.

The size would be a real hindrance in such a mission, he knew, but his Troll eyes had picked up everything from the latent warmth of the tire tracks to the lingering clouds of combusted fuel settling in the depressions of the earth. They might see him eventually, but he very well might see them first.

To complicate his task, very few things are expressly made for Troll physiology. And the few things that are tend to be that much more expensive.

In fact he owned only one thing that had been manufacturered for his kind, a military surplus jacket from the days of the South American conflicts, olive drab and weathered, but warm and waterproof.

Everything else he possessed had been hand made by the Clan or modified in some way. His "shoes" were little more than tire tread soles, lovingly woven P-cord straps and some nuts and bolts. His pants had been cobbled together and hand stitched from three identical smaller pairs, giving him ample pockets and a spiders web of exposed seams. His belt was simply a repurposed yellow ratchet strap.

His "backpack", little more than a water proof haul bag with some extra knotted together webbing, was serviceable. And his "knife" was a car leaf spring, cut down and sharpened on one edge, with some more P-cord and holes drilled for a grip.

That was it. That was everything.

So he borrowed, a rifle scope from one of the outriders to use as an optic, so long as he promised not to adjust the elevation or windage, and a radio and note taking supplies from the "School Bus" where his mother normally spent her days.

So outfitted, he prepared to set out upon his mission, a small sack lunch in his pack and a cup of strong black coffee in his stomach.

This message was last edited by the player at 20:45, Sun 19 Jan 2020.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 18 posts
Wed 22 Jan 2020
at 01:39
Prelude: Grendel
Hauling your massive bulk through the trees, you cringe with every rustle of leaves and every twig snapping underfoot.  Every noise is tantamount to an explosion, at least in your mind.  Ultimately, your fears prove unfounded.  You hear them before you see them, this time however the explosions are real.

The blasts come in regular intervals, maybe half a dozen and timed about 30 seconds apart.  After the shock wears off, you cast caution aside chugging up the slope as soon as another round begins.  Before the final echo of the last explosion dies on the mountain slopes, you drop back into the woods; a single truck and the tents of a temporary camp now in sight.  There isn't much to see.  Remains of a camp fire, plastic wrappers, empty bottles, the inevitable scraps of “civilization” that are always left behind by outsiders.  A few men in orange vests mill about, one with a cell pressed to his ear, cigarette dangling from his lips.

Most importantly, through the borrowed rifle scope, you spot the word Weymouth in broad red letters across the white paint of the pick-up.  Underneath in smaller type Rare Earth Metals Speculation.

Then, another explosion.  You can see now where the rest of the crew is blasting away at the side of the mountain, not far off up the next ridge a bright flash that wipes away a century of undisturbed forest and turns incalculable millennia of natural rock formation into a rising cloud of dust that threatens to block out the morning sun.

Then another.

And another...
 player, 9 posts
Wed 22 Jan 2020
at 02:27
Prelude: Grendel
Lowlanders..., Grendel thought to himself as he law low in the vegetation.

The term was derisive of course, not quite a true insult, but one of the many names that his people used to describe city dwellers. "Tourons" a portmanteau of tourist and moron, "Cube Farmers" and "Bubble Boys" were other favorites.

Grendel was not blind to the dichotomy. His people thought it was funny, or shameful when a grown man could not drive a car, change a tire, or start a fire. But he would be equally lost in a city, just some hippy that didn't know how the public transportation worked or which streets were safe to walk down after dark.

These men were likely a lot more competent than your average tourist however. They could operate heavy machinery and handle explosives for starters. Cities consumed truly staggering amounts of resources, Grendel had been taught, mineral wealth included. Although how a man could think that building yet another gadget was worth blasting a crater in a beautiful old growth forest, he couldn't begin to understand.

Grendel counted the men, and casually recognized the model of the truck before he jotted them down in his notes in a neat and gentle script. His family was not wealthy enough to own anything that would give him the coordinates, so he had to go off his gut and sketched the rough distances from major landmarks as well.

Then, he moved on. For all the trials and travails of the lifestyle he had been born into, an active upbringing with clean air, fresh water and real food had its advantages. Grendel moved across the fern carpeted hillside with an athletic ease, his pulse and respiratory rate barely even responding to the exertion. He moved in the direction of the concussions in a round about way, guessing that more of the work crew would be near by.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 23 posts
Fri 24 Jan 2020
at 01:25
Prelude: Grendel
Working your way up the slope is slow going.  You're not exactly fleet at foot at the best of times and trying to keep quiet slows you down to a crawl, but the priority is gathering accurate information on the other bubble boys.  Most importantly, you need to find out their numbers and if they appear to have any weapons (they would be exceedingly foolish to be out here in Firedrake country without something that packed a bit of punch).

Unfortunately for these outsiders, you know the back country well enough that using natural cover and staying unobserved isn't much of a problem.  In fact, not having a GPS receiver isn't much of an impediment to gathering quality information either.  Your clan will know the landmarks and won't have any problem tracking or locating the survey crews.

By the time you close in on the sample collection team the morning sun has risen high overhead and the day is beginning to heat up.  In the heat of the day, the crews are moving more slowly, but they seem to be done blasting and are now more focused on collecting samples and conducting field analysis.  In the bed of one of the trucks a little lab set up lets them run a few basic tests to see what, if anything, they have found.  Through the borrowed scope you catch a glimpse of a shotgun or a rifle in the back of one of the trucks confirming your suspicions.

Having seen enough, you're getting ready to start making your way back to camp.  You would like to make it back before nightfall so the warband has time to adapt to any important information you bring in.  But before you turn to leave, you notice that something in the camp has got the crew agitated, or perhaps excited.  It's hard to tell from a distance.  You would need to close in to find out, but that would significantly increase the likelihood of getting caught.

Push your luck and get in close?  Play it safe and go with what you've got?
 player, 14 posts
Fri 24 Jan 2020
at 01:40
Prelude: Grendel
Grendel could feet his huge heart hammering with adrenaline as he methodically took down information from each of the vantage points that he had scrambled up to. He had seen violence from a tender age, shot at people and been shot at in turn, but this was the very first time he had faced danger or discovery alone, and the cost of failure was high.

He had several pages of notes and sketches now, and his hand ached from manipulating the relatively tiny pencil. He had snacked some pine nuts to keep his energy up, and sipped on some water, but the sun was growing warm and he believed that he had seen just about everything there was to see.

But the flurry of movement drew his eye, and the crowd of workers blocked his view. He strained for minutes but between the vegetation, the distance and the small crowd he could not make out anything.

Frustrated, he considered sneaking down to a lower rock outcropping and mentally weighed the risk. What could it be that had gotten them so worked up?

On the one hand, it could be something important to the upcoming raid. He would hate to go back to the Clan with something so important undefined, and he was concerned some might think him incompetent, or that they would regret choosing him as a Scout.

But on the other, if he was seen, he risked putting the whole operation on alert. They might arm themselves or post guards. They might even pack up the whole operation and send in heavies to 'secure" the area before they returned.

That or he could always get shot and killed, that would also be a horrible way to end his first foray.

So, frustrated but armed with the majority of what he had come for, Grendel crept away from the area and started the journey back to report to the Council on what he had discovered.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 30 posts
Sat 25 Jan 2020
at 18:06
Prelude: Grendel
>>FF 6 hours

Back at your clan's camp as night begins to fall you sit at the council fire.  Younger clan mates had been left to keep an eye on the camp while you came back to report your findings.  Your detailed notes and sketches have caused quite a stir among the older members of the clan.  The warband seems suitably impressed with your thoroughness and begin detailed planning on the raid while council deliberates.

The talks are long and drawn out.  As usual, the clan's two shamans find themselves in disagreement and argue against each other.

The elder healer Steady Walker strokes his grey beard and argues that no member of the clan wants to provoke these outsiders and the corporation that they work for into a more aggressive foray into the clans summer hunting grounds.  Naturally there is fear of retaliation and displacement if the corporation comes back with trained security people.  He reminds everyone that the men and women in the crew are mere employees, doing the job they are paid to do.  They mean no direct harm.  Rather than a direct attack, perhaps they could be reasoned with or bribed to report back that there is nothing of interest here.  His words are wise and give everyone cause for reflection.  Your father, having seen so much violence, stands with Steady Walker.

Though much younger, Mother, who follows Wolf, is inspiring as she rattles the bones of her staff.  She, of all the clan, has spent the most recent time among outsiders during her trial.  She says what many already know; that there is no alternative to direct confrontation.  Sharing the land with the outsiders, is not an option.  Their actions today prove they would not make good neighbors.  In pursuit of the metal hidden beneath the mountain's stones, they would rape the land, scare off the game, leave nothing but desolation in their wake and inevitably displace the clan.  Your mother is away tending the clan's mountain orchards (and illicit marijuana crops).  You feel that if she were here, her anger at the modern world would have her standing with Mother.

You are the youngest welcomed into the circle.  You have seen what the men and women in the survey crews were doing today and know the most about them among any in the clan.  When your turn comes, what words will you speak?

Do you urge the warband to lope off into the night and scare these outsiders off the land of the Black Rock Clan?

Do you urge caution and try to reason with or buy off the outsiders?

 player, 17 posts
Sat 25 Jan 2020
at 22:50
Prelude: Grendel
Grendel sat respectfully in the circle where he felt conspicuous despite all the attention being focused on the speakers. As he listened to each in turn, he nervously mulled over what he would say, how he would say it, and which of the emerging sides he would support.

Grendel believed he had few illusions about violence. They had lost Clan members over the years, and he had heard some of his fathers stories. They had been killed in the cities, and killed away from camp. Only a few times really, but it had happened. And he suspected that it would continue to happen. There was no casual curiosity there for him. It was brutal, and it was ugly and often sad.

But he was also a young man, consciously or not he craved recognition, praise and an identity of his own. He had never been set upon that identity being one involved with violence, but the opportunity was presenting itself, and many would argue that he was "built" for it. He was young and strong and genetically predisposed to endure what others could not. If he could stand up for the weaker among them, his Clan mates, did he not have a responsibility to do so in some way?

He thought about this and many other things, what his parents would think, everything he had read during his education. What he had seen and what he had heard. When it was finally time to speak, he nervously got to his feet and entered the circle, where he cleared his throat.

"Thank you, for letting me speak. I'm honored" he began awkwardly in his teenage half baritone. "I know I'm young, and I have not seen as much, or done as much as most of you. I've never killed anybody, I've obviously never had kids, or even had to make my own way. So I was not sure I should even be up here, but since you asked for my opinion, I'll give it honestly..." he cracked a slight smile as he pulled out a folded up piece of paper that he had made notes on and then added "..and humbly" as he shot his father a knowing look. The Troll had often given such advice on many occasions.

"If I thought that we could pay them to go, I would say we do it. But I don't think we can afford it. I don't know how much the Clan can scrape together, but I don't think it would ever be enough." he said as he read from his paper, then glanced up.

"And if I thought we could talk them into leaving their jobs, or lying to their bosses, or understanding what they are doing to the mountain, I would say we do that too. But I don't know how much we really have in common, those workers and us." he shrugged. "It would be hard for anybody to convince me to lie to any of you. I know that." he glanced up from the paper again.

"I do know that they are from a company, a company called Weymouth, and I know that companies exist to make profits. That's what they are for. So, I would think that if we really want them to stop, or to go away, we need to convince their leaders that there is no profit for them here." he glanced up and around again as his voice became harder. He knowingly or or not locked eyes with a few of the members that he suspected to have connections with Terra First.

"So I think we need to make it costly, so costly that they stop coming back here. Or we need to leave and try to make a new living elsewhere. I know that's not easy. That many of you have worked hard to make this place safe, and I don't know if moving would result in even more violence with whoever might be our new neighbors."

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then shot another more apologetic look to his Father. "So with that in mind, I support Mother's proposal, although I do it with a heavy heart." Grendel looked a little emotional as he folded up his paper and moved to take his seat in the circle again.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:12, Sun 26 Jan 2020.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 32 posts
Sun 26 Jan 2020
at 20:50
Prelude: Grendel
Your father seems disappointed, resigned perhaps but not surprised, when the votes are tallied and it is decided that the warband will raid the miners' camp.  He has never been easy to read, so you're not sure if he is hurt that you stood against him at council.  It is not his way to speak openly about his feelings.

Cognizant of the potential for retaliation, the leaders of the warband have concocted a plan that they hope will ensure the attack is not connected with the tribe.  Disguised as wendigo, covered by illusions provided by the shamans' magic, they will raid the camp, scare off the survey crews, perhaps drag off a few workers then let them 'escape' later in the night.  They'll need to get in close, no firearms.  A few sharpshooters will be left behind in the trees in case things go wrong.  Although it will be more dangerous, it will be more likely to convince Weymouth that its too expensive to continue to develop the area if there is no chance of negotiation.  Profit margins will be slim if development requires  eradication and standing security presence to keep workers safe in an area plagued by a band of infected savages that live off the grid in the mountains.

You are too young to take part directly in the raid, only blooded adults will participate.  Your father is chosen to go amoung the sharpshooters.  You are selected to be part of the guard for Steady Walker and Mother who will stay further back and cover the warband with magic.

>> FF 3hrs

It all seems to be going according to plan.  There is commotion in the camp, clan mates howling to beat all.  There are sounds of battle, but no shots fired, at least not yet.  It seems boring back with the magicians.  They chant or dance quietly, bending unseen energies to their wills.  You would much rather be up with your father or among the warband in the camp.

Then something goes awry... perhaps one of the shamans lost control of a spirit, or in their fatigue they let spellwork unravel and it blazed into the night out of control.  All you know, is that you were the unintended target of the magical backlash.

Grendel is badly injured.  He is comatose for over a week...

It was within you all along... Magic is unpredictable and mysterious.  When Grendel awakens he finds the magical maelstrom has triggered some latent power (Adept archetype).  Your wounds are gone and you find you are now able to increase your physical and mental abilities, you can channel energy through your hands to kill if you wish, you have supernatural dexterity.

I'm just throwing this out there as an option.  The way Grendel has been acting through the prelude, calm and thoughtful, he seems like an old soul.  Perhaps he may follow this path... perhaps he followed a similar path in a past life.

We can rebuild him... Magic is unpredictable and dangerous.  When Grendel awakens he learns that the uncontrolled magic has destroyed his body (Street Samurai archetype ).  Your meat has been savaged by wild magic.  Steady Walker was able to stabilize you but the only way to save your life was an underground street doc in Yreka.  Choose (1) the magic tears you apart from inside out.  Cyberware replaces your damaged nerves and repairs your broken bones: you have Boosted reflexes and Bone Lacing or (2) the magic savages your body making one of your arms unusable: you have a full cyber arm replacement (with space for upgrades).

Here I'm sticking to the original character concept you gave me but giving the thoughtful and introspective young troll a reason to trade his meat for machines.  If you're not into the cyberware options I've laid out, feel free to play around with it.

 player, 18 posts
Sun 26 Jan 2020
at 21:59
Re: Prelude: Grendel
How does this look as an alternative? The prices should be comparable depending on the quality of the Bone Lacing you had in mind. It also kind of fits the rehabilitation theme a little more.

We can rebuild him... Magic is unpredictable and dangerous.  When Grendel awakens he learns that the uncontrolled magic has destroyed his body (Street Samurai archetype ).  Your meat has been savaged by wild magic.  Steady Walker was able to stabilize you but the only way to save your life was an underground street doc in Yreka.  The magic tears you apart, and Troll sized parts are rare enough to not be available on short notice. Instead they worked with what they had.

The Tank therapy used to treat the pervasive hemorrhaging and micro-fractures was expensive, especially for the Blackrock Clan, but it saved your life in the end.
Character gains Bioware (Bone Density Augmentation 2) and (Platelet Factory).

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 36 posts
Tue 28 Jan 2020
at 02:52
Re: Prelude: Grendel
OK, but the following ‘mechanics’ apply (using Sixth World rather than SR 5E rules):

Platelet factories: Essence 0.3, always active, reduces damage over 2 by 1.

Bone Density: Rating 2, Essence 0.6, always active, (1) deal lethal damage from physical attacks ... (2) unarmed damage 2d6(b)+2 ... (3) There is no soak roll mechanic in crunch free PBTA, so the SR5e BOD stat buff doesn’t translate... so: hold +1 for gut checks on stun damage.

Lastly, the platelet factories availability is pretty rare but oddly the clan was able to ‘convince’ that Yreka street doc into pumping your meat full of rare biotech.

Choose: (1) That tech was meant for someone else... maybe someone important... definitely someone who isn’t happy about you walking around with his/her ‘ware... take an enemy or (2) That drek they pumped you full of was experimental or tainted. You had sepsis. The pain was intense. That chop doc ‘prescribed’ nitro to help ease the pain, and wouldn’t you know, you’ve developed a bit of a taste for it...

 player, 19 posts
Tue 28 Jan 2020
at 04:23
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Mr. Johnson:

Lastly, the platelet factories availability is pretty rare but oddly the clan was able to ‘convince’ that Yreka street doc into pumping your meat full of rare biotech.
(1) That tech was meant for someone else... maybe someone important... definitely someone who isn’t happy about you walking around with his/her ‘ware...

Grendel never discovered how the Clan found about about it, or how they convinced the Doc to implant it, with everything else he is dealing with he is not even really sure he even wants to know. But the Doc had the Biotech to save Grendel, he was just very, very reluctant to part with it.

It turned out he had a very good reason to be less than forthcoming.

This thing was proprietary, meaning that it had been developed from scratch for a particular individual. It didn't even really have a name, although the concept was familiar enough to the industry. Calling it a "Platelet Factory" was also something of a misnomer, as it was more like the foundation for a complete Cardiovascular overhaul.

For those at the top of the food chain, immortality was still elusive. You could sit on a board, rule an entire Arcology, but you were still flesh and bone. A geriatric body can only take so much surgery, heal only so quickly, and even then the specter of a sudden stroke, aneurysm or infarction is always present.

This implant addressed the healing factor, it addressed vascular elasticity, it addressed oxygenation, infection and a myriad of other concerns. It had been designed to work in tandem with other Biotech like Synthcardium tissue and an Amplified Immune System, but even alone it was still a potent piece of tech, and one that had taken a lot of time and NuYen to develop. How it got out of wherever it had initially been designed and stored was another issue all together.

In short, this entirely custom piece of ware was now riding around inside a destitute Troll nomad in northern California. A filthy Metahuman that could not have hoped to afford a consultation with even one of the medical professionals that collaborated on the implant.

So despite the successful intervention of the Clan and the Street Doc to save Grendel's life, he still had a long road to recovery. Arguably worse, he was also now burdened with a debt that he was not sure he could ever hope to repay and the suspicion that somebody, somewhere would eventually come looking for their property.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:45, Tue 28 Jan 2020.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 38 posts
Thu 30 Jan 2020
at 02:18
Re: Prelude: Grendel

Weeks pass before you are back to full strength.  The waiting is intensely boring made worse by the questions left unanswered swirling in your mind.  Sometime shortly after your convalesce began, barely conscious, you recall your father stepping into your room in the back of the decrepit RV you called home.  He didn't say anything, or at least in your semi-comatose state you don't recall anything he might have said.  Just a reassuring silhouette.  When you finally came back around, your mother was back from the orchards and your father had headed south to work one of the big agrocorp plantations in old SoCal that ringed the contaminated zones down by the Aztlan border.   He hadn't said a word to you since the night of the raid.

Worse, he would be away for your blooding.  He would miss your formal transition to adulthood, now somewhat delayed due to your recovery and perhaps somewhat redundant considering your participation in the Weymouth raid.  You're told that the council decision was close, but it was decided that a formal test was still required before you could begin your trial.

The blooding demands a deed of service to the clan that proves your worth and sets you on the path to full adulthood.  To top it all off, your blooding prime - a sort of sponsor-adjudicator-referee for the test; will be Warhawk.  Taking his clan name from the heavy pistol strapped western gunfighter style to his belt, he is a few years older than you.  Ever since you were a young pup, the boys in the clan among your age group have idolized him.  He must have returned to the clan from his trial while you were healing.  Now, rapt by his stories of his trial experience on the streets of the 'BayPlex, you can hardly wait to embark on your blooding.

Warhawk offers you a choice:
The Hunt.  Clan traditionalists demand you single handedly hunt a peryton.  This trial is an ancient bloodright, passed down through generations of trolls, lost when the magic light of the Fourth World died and gave way to the mundane of the Fifth World.  Meet your destiny, travel into the mountains and return to the clan only after you take your quarry.

The Score.  Reformers among the Clan believe these 'old ways' are an affectation, aping an idealized time that has come and gone.  This is the Sixth World and modern problems call for modern solutions.  A gang of low life's down in Yreka have trespassed on Black Rock land and ripped your clan's marijuana crops.  Carve a new path, travel into the city and return to the clan only after you have recovered what is rightfully yours.

 player, 20 posts
Thu 30 Jan 2020
at 04:23
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Grendel's recovery seemed to drag on and on. He had only heard bits and pieces of what had happened that terrible night, could only guess at the costs paid for his surgery and now the strain with his father was a tangible thing. The young Troll felt like a disappointment, and he felt responsible, and on top of all that he felt weak and miserable.

The procedure used to trick his bones into absorbing the solution used to grow them was hard on his renal system, he often felt nauseous, dehydrated, and his pee was the color of dark tea. Then his major ligaments and tendons ached and pulsed where they had been grafted to support the additional stress and weight of his skeleton. Meanwhile his body was also adapting to his new implant, and his skin often felt flushed and uncomfortable. The Doc said that would subside over time as it regulated (A condition he called Thrombocythemia which was a feature, not a bug), but there was nothing he could really do for it in the meantime.

He had also put on an additional twenty pounds in new bone, with an upward estimate of hitting fifty pounds when the solution was depleted. This made him feel even more clumsy and awkward as he adjusted to the mass. He slept a lot, and spent way too much time thinking.


A bright spot in his life was when he learned that Warhawk had returned. It was kind of nostalgic and reassuring, plus he genuinely liked the guy and was glad that he had come back safely. Warhawk had seen and done so much now, there seemed a vast gulf between them, but his stories were amazing and Grendel was excited to find out that they would be working together towards Grendel's Blooding.

The choice offered caught him off guard, and he found himself sleeping on the decision before he settled on his answer.

The MJ crop was a good money maker for the Clan, and whats more the Gang that robbed them would likely be emboldened if they got away with it in the end. But Grendel found himself wary about starting another fight after what had just occurred, especially since it was over a drug crop. He knew it was financially important, but part of him just could not get behind putting his life on the line for a few bales of bud.

The Peryton hunt however appealed to the romantic side of him. It's often said that Trolls don't have a culture, and that's true, for the most part there is no collection of music, artwork or literature that is distinctly "Trollish", there is no fashion, no history or language that they can truly call their own. The closest thing might be the group working out of the Black Forest, but that was still in its infancy.

Grendel harbored doubts that the hunt was indeed a tradition of the Fourth World, but the reality was he didn't care, he wanted it so badly to be true that it did not matter. It was enough that somebody had started (or revived) it, and that it was now something they could call their own. Something he could call his own, something that maybe his son or daughter might one day take part in if he ever had a family of his own.

It was also, in a way, a chance to get back into the good graces of his father and the other Equals. To prove he was not just some hot headed kid looking for a chance to pull a trigger. The hunt was some how more dignified in his mind, it was very difficult, but if he succeeded, he would bring back good meat (A delicacy that even the five star restaurants of the Bay would have a hard time procuring), plus horn, hide and wing for craft work. It was a way to strengthen his Clan and to be a part of a tradition that he could be proud of.

It felt right, and he told Warhawk as much the next morning.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:41, Thu 30 Jan 2020.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 49 posts
Sat 1 Feb 2020
at 23:20
Re: Prelude: Grendel
“Ya know, after I heard about you wanting to tangle it up with those miners, I figured you'd be ready to roll into town with guns blazin.” comes Warhawk's deep bass reply.  “Glad to see you got a good head on your shoulders.  Don't need the equals thinking your a trigger happy teenager. Real shame 'bout dat weed though.” he adds with a gravelly laugh.

It will be a long day's hike to the mountain peaks where the peryton nest.  Hefting his backpack onto broad shoulders, Warhawk walks at your side on the dusty trail as you leave the camp.  Young trolls trail behind you laughing and pushing and, perhaps a bit prematurely, revelling in the success of your coming hunt.  The young ones begin to trail off after the first mile, leaving you and Warhawk alone on the trail.

Out of the blue, he strikes up a conversation.  “Listen kid, I know I'm not supposed to distract you, or help you, or throw roadblocks up in your way, but I'm not walking all day without saying a damn word.”  he looks over his shoulder a bit furtively and adds: “This ain't part of the test either, I ain't tryin' to trick ya.  When we get to the peaks, I'll shut my yap and we can do this by the book.”
 player, 21 posts
Sun 2 Feb 2020
at 01:54
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Grendel packed up what few things he owned for the journey, having returned the radio, and the scope, and his notes. He had his one set of clothing of course, but he had his day to day gear that had become part and parcel of his nomadic life.

He had his water bottle, metal of course as plastic was kind of anathema among most of their environmentally concious members. His little mess kit of a folding pot and spork. It had meant to be paired with a backpacking stove, but gas canisters cost NuYen, and firewood was free. So he had a lighter as well, nothing special, just the sort you picked up at the register.

He had his sleeping bag, which was actually a "couples" sleeping set up zipped together, a common trick for his Clan although it did not cover as much as he would have liked. He slept in his jacket anyway in cool months. There was no pad of course, and no light source of any kind. There was also no real shelter, so he would have to get busy with a lean-to if the clouds came in.

He had taken extra food however, as much as they could spare, and for him that was nearly twenty-five k-cal.

These were all things that he used daily. He normally ate from his pot, drank from his bottle, and slept in his bag, the latter seeming to stink of Troll BO no matter how many creeks he scrubbed it in. It was purposefully a very "low imprint" way of life.

All of this rode in his haul bag as they hiked together higher up into the mountains. He was quietly glad that his choice had conveyed the desired effect upon the Clan, hopefully putting him forth as a calmer head than some might have guessed after what had just happened.

When the topic of conversation came up, Grendel was understanding. "Yeah omae, I trust you, just no hints or cheating or anything like that." He confirmed more for his own benefit than Warhawks. He could not think of any reason why the older Troll would lead him astray.

"It's good to talk honestly, been up in my head a lot after what happened." He admitted.

When the time came there would be silence, he knew. Warhawk could not intervene, and while he could offer advice going into the Hunt, he could not "coach" Grendel through it. It was meant to be a serious and solemn occasion, and Grendel trusted that it would be, but they still had plenty of time and miles to put under their feet, so for the moment he fell into easy conversation.

They still had not discussed how exactly he was supposed to kill this thing. Grendel did not own a weapon per say, unless one counted his knife. If they were actually expecting him to tackle such a beast with nothing more than a squared off leaf spring he would be in for the fight of his life.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:14, Sun 02 Feb 2020.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 51 posts
Sun 2 Feb 2020
at 02:20
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Ahh, young troll who weighs twice as much as his quarry and has fists that deal damage like a Colt L36, that is exactly what they expect you to do...
 player, 22 posts
Sun 2 Feb 2020
at 02:28
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 55 posts
Mon 3 Feb 2020
at 01:11
Re: Prelude: Grendel
"Yeah omae, I trust you, just no hints or cheating or anything like that."

“Nah, nah.  No hints, no cheating.  This is something you need to do on your own.” replied Warhawk.

"It's good to talk honestly, been up in my head a lot after what happened."

“You took some beating out there, Mother said whatever hit you ripped you apart from the inside out” he said, shaking his head.  “I don't get all that finger wigglin' stuff myself, just overheard her saying that the spirit got loose 'cause of the mana surge.  Ley line or something? Anyway, I tell you what, it didn't sound like good news.”

Out on the trail, throughout the day Warhawk fills the time with tales of his time on his trial, working in the criminal fringe of the BayPlex.  “You gotta start thinking over what you gonna do when you get out there.  Not now o'course, you stay on the task at hand today.  Just start taking some time before they send you off on trial.  You're as big as a fraggin' tank, good in a fight. Now with that juice flowing in ya, you might find some steady cred if you get into some no holds barred, augmented, bare knuckle action down in the 'plex.” he muses, guaging your reaction.  “I did a bit m'self.  This one time, I took on this adept.  Guy was covered in these mystical tattoos or some drek. Moved like something unreal, man.  Really gave me a run until I got him in my mitts.  Anyway, I could put in a good word with a promoter.  You make a bit of a name for yerself, you'll get into better work instead of making a few bucks by getting hit in the face.  Helped me break into some semi-legit security work.  Bodyguard stuff.  Good work for guys like us, ya know?  Intimidation is the key.  The breeders don't like to mess with us, hell, even the other tuskers and tough little halfers... I mean, the stupid ones might be good fer a scrap, but only the stupid ones.  The good ones'll either have you dead before you know it or show you some respect so long as you keep out of each others' way...”

Are you dreaming of the bright lights of the big city when you make camp for the night?  It all seems so far away... so exciting... how can you stay focused?

You're pulled back to reality by a meagre meal, made better by a few fish pulled from the nearby creek and the meal supplements you both brought along.  Sitting by the dying embers of the fire, Warhawk washes down the broiled fish with a long pull from a bottle of Orkstaff's XXX.
 player, 23 posts
Mon 3 Feb 2020
at 05:05
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Grendel listened, he talked as well, but for the most part, he listened and learned and thought.

His train of thought generally ran along two lines, the existential, and the temporal.

The existential one wondered at the sixth world itself. Here they were, out in the mountains, hunting a wild beast as part of a coming of age ritual. It was about as ancient a practice as things could get, yet, were they hiding in a way? By mimicking ancient rituals were they not in some way advocating for a way of life long considered dead in most parts of the world?

In an age when data, guns, ware, and NuYen ruled the day where did his people fit in? Did they have a future of their own? out there in the real world? Or were they destined to go the way of the Neaderthal, stronger, tougher, but slowly edged out into the extinction.

The temporal one said it didn't matter. He had been born who he was, and he needed to make a living. So what if he would never be some drek hot programmer, or some corporate middle management. Sure some token Trolls would work their way into celebrity, or politics, but they had been stereotyped for a reason. People did not want to hear his thoughts on sustainable ecology, they wanted to see him punch people in the face, or get punched in the face in turn.

They wanted to experience his size and his strength vicariously, or failing that, they wanted to use it to keep themselves safe or to go after people they didn't like. That's what he was hearing. It was kind of depressing, but it was the truth.

Warhawk could make as much NuYen in a day as Grendel could in a month of packing fish or picking strawberries under the table as a SINLess laborer. A fat stick could buy the Clan real tangible benefits, it could repair a vehicle or add a new one to the fleet. It could pay for arms and ammunition, food, clothing, fuel, or, well, for medical care.

But is that who he wanted to be? Did it really matter what he wanted? His father did not want to be down south away from his family putting in sixteen hour days in the fields. Just as he was sure that his mother did not want to spend her days babysitting kids in a run down bus. They did what they had to do, for themselves as well as their family and Clan.

And they were both getting older, and they would need care themselves some day...

"Yeah..." Grendel agreed after he had taken a swig from the proffered bottle and handed it back over the glowing embers. "You're right, I mean, of course your right, but..." he sighed. "What I'm tryin' to say is, I'd appreciate that, a lot. You putting in a good word, maybe teaching me a thing or two about throwin' down so I don't get my ass handed to me. It'd be good." He agreed, and nodded a few times as he stared into the fire.

And it would be, he told himself, if he could just swallow his pride and fill up a stick or two.

Eventually he crawled into his bag and drifted off, buzzed and staring up at the blanket of stars swirling above them. It would be an early morning, and some way, some how, he had to kill this thing. He took a lot of comfort in knowing that he was packing some Ware now, it bolstered his confidence, and it made him feel dangerous in a way that he had never experienced before.

This message was last edited by the player at 05:06, Mon 03 Feb 2020.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 65 posts
Thu 6 Feb 2020
at 18:25
Re: Prelude: Grendel
With the sickly sweet taste of last night's hurlg chasing away dreams of fat cred sticks you begin to rouse and ready yourself for another day on the mountain.  Watching coffee come to a boil over the resurrected embers of last night's fire, you have a few moments to contemplate the fine line between being a survivor and a sell-out, but soon there is no time for introspection.

It's a misty mountain morning.  Low lying cloud has the peak socked in.  The forest is suffocating in the grey, wet, cool embrace.  A rarity this time of year, the summer sun is obscured, glowing weakly behind the heavy clouds.  It's prefect weather for hunting peryton, they'll be grounded by the cloud and you can catch them in the roost.

Forging on into the summer nesting ground, with a hunter's eye you begin to take notice of the details of your surroundings.  Fresh spoor. Grass beat down where a buck must have rested for the night.  Bones of small game picked clean by the omnivorous flying deer.  Somewhere in the mist you can hear the animals grunting, antlers rattling, signs that there maybe a couple of bucks are up ahead.

Although this part of Grendel's story takes place in the past (and clearly he passed the blooding and went on to his trial), we'll play out the combat using Sixth World mechanics.  I'll crunch the dice and rig the rolls... just want to use the situation to show how it all works once we're in-game
 player, 25 posts
Fri 7 Feb 2020
at 02:01
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Grendel did not have a lot of time between breakfast and getting out into the field, but he had a few minutes, and so he used them to try and give some serious thought to what he was out there to do.

He sat cross legged in the damp leaf litter just a few dozen yards from camp, the dripping ferns and morning birdsong a fitting accompaniment to his mood. He thought back on why he was out there and what it represented. It was supposed to be a holdover from the fourth world, and so he let his mind wander in that direction.

There had been Trolls in the fourth world, that much they knew. His eponymous namesake could have been one of the last of them. They would have had to catch or kill food, and any one of them could have found themselves as he was now, on the verge of the days hunt, and on the verge of being counted as an adult among his Clan.

In some ways he felt that it was supposed to prove that he could provide. That he was useful, and that he would be a benefit instead of a liability. He had not done very well at proving that last part thus far in his life. This thought irked him, and it soured his mood.

But where as his forebears may have had spears, or were clad in furs, he was armed some of the latest cutting edge technology. His very body could be considered a weapon, was tougher in some ways than the crude armor of old might have been. But he had benefited from modern medicine, quality food and clean water, education, and the protection of his family. Was it really quite the same?

If his ancestors were watching, if the spirits the Shamans talked about really were everywhere, did they see him now? and did they view him as some soft pretender aping the Trolls of old? Or did they appreciate the notion in itself? That he was out here with them, on the hunt, as he was meant to be? It was hard to say.

He took a deep breath and stood, then took off his jacket and folded it up carefully before he placed it on a nearby downed tree. His shoes were next, then his belt, and his knife each in their place.

Bared to the waist and barefoot he could feel the faint warmth of the sunlight through the clouds, and he could feel the cool droplets as they fell from the crowns of the trees. He could feel the rich soil beneath his feet and he took slow, deep breaths as he took in the loamy scent of it. He closed his eyes, tried to mentally place himself in the fourth world, and opened them again. It felt right, and he felt ready.

Or as ready as he would ever be.

If he failed, he would not only look like a fool, but he would likely run up yet another medical bill or worse. But if he succeeded, well, it would be on his own terms.

The plan was simple. Get as close as he could, then tackle one, wrestle it down to prevent its escape. then either break its neck, or stove in its skull. Failing that, he might just have to choke the very life out of it. This was all once he had managed the antlers, and the fangs, and the sharp hooves. But if ancient humans had managed mammoths with sticks and stone, he figured that he should at the very least be able to handle a peryton with his strength and augmentations on his side. It was supposed to be a test, after all.

When they were close, he crept low and made his advance cautiously, trying to make out their shapes in the roiling mists as he went.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 70 posts
Sat 8 Feb 2020
at 21:02
Re: Prelude: Grendel
You've been waiting your whole life for this.  Mentally and physically you are at the top of your game, ready to meet the demands that will be placed upon you as an adult in your clan.

Hold +1 for combat against the peryton.

Careful to take note of your surroundings and using the benefit of the clouds as cover, you make a stealthy approach as the shape of the peryton buck peer becomes clearer...

Check the Situation:
15:34, Today: Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Grendel, rolled 10 using 2d6+1 ((4,5))

Strong Success:
(1) (a) you may deal damage or (b) position yourself to prevent escape
(2) you know that you must target the wings to cripple it before you can make the kill
(3) you know it will try to gore you with it's antlers

 player, 26 posts
Sat 8 Feb 2020
at 22:13
Re: Prelude: Grendel
It's difficult for a Troll to be stealthy,  but between the damp pine duff, the low lying mist and the dense tree cover he had a pretty ideal situation to work with.

Had this occured mid July, it could have been a very different story.

He tried to keep his breathing shallow as he took one step after another, watching the placement of his bare feet, and rolling heel to toe with a soft crunch under every heavy foot fall.

He saw the general outline first, all too familiar with the exception of the leathery wings and canines. He had lived around deer most of his life, knew their habits, about how far one could get before they startled and where they might run towards. A peryton, well, they were far more rare, and the discussion of just how much magic was involved in their bloodline was a topic of debate among the Clan.

He found himself holding his breath as he moved ever slow slowly. Paused as he saw the thing slowly raise its head from where it had been eating and turn its face in his direction, the points on the sizable rack were menacing and marred from the territorial duals of the season.

Grendel pounced.

A normal buck could easily outrun him, but a peryton, they preferred to fly. But to get that much mass into the air quickly was a trick. They needed a runway of sorts, and an open clearing. Grendel seized on this as he anticipated a bound towards the most promising patch of open sky and hurled himself into a full tackle in an effort to prevent his quarry's escape.

Grendel uses his Strong Success to position himself to prevent escape.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 71 posts
Sun 9 Feb 2020
at 03:31
Re: Prelude: Grendel
The buck takes a faltering two steps, tries to juke right to avoid Grendel but there is no way to escape.

Grendel pounced

Rock and Roll:
22:11, Today: Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Grendel, rolled 7 using 2d6+2 ((3,2)).
Weak Success Grendel deals damage (5 lethal) but leaves himself open to retaliation

The big troll took the buck by the horns, in a completely literal sense. Twisting the buck beneath him Grendel wrestles the creature to the damp earth. Stricken with fear, the beast lashes out catching Grendel in the ribs with his antlers...

Threat Move: deal damage (4 stun - 1 armour)

Grendel [\] [\] [\] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
Peryton Buck [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] [ ] [ ] [ ]
Fight continues

 player, 27 posts
Sun 9 Feb 2020
at 04:00
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Grendel's concious mind was absolutely awash in adrenaline, and his muddled brain only perceived his struggle in the broad strokes of the contest

He felt his hands fast upon the base of the antlers, white knuckled and straining.

He felt the violent thrashing beneath him as he straddled the beast, the coarseness of its hair, the impact of its flailing hooves upon his own legs, and the spray of churned up soil.

He felt a wave of sharp pain as it bucked wildly and forced the tines of it's antlers back against his chest where they impacted hard and forced the points into his bare flesh.

Unconsciously, and as a habit learned when wrestling with his Clanmates as a boy he tucked in his neck to shield it, and hooked his ankles high on the perytons frame to affix himself to the wildly struggling creature.

Thet tumbled sideways together, Grendel breathing hard, red faced and with his eyes to the ground, his face craned down and to the side to avoid catching an antler to the eyesocket.

In a moment of clarity he realized that he had the thing pinned, and that his endurance was waining. He had to finish this quickly, before his grip failed or the thing managed to turn in his grasp to potentially gore or trample him.

With his quarry affixed to the ground by his weight between his legs, he pulled inexorably with his right hand, and pushed out with trembling exertion with his left. When he felt the resistance of the perytons spine, a straining sound welled up from his gut, he bared his teeth, and kept twisting with all his might.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 73 posts
Wed 12 Feb 2020
at 01:01
Re: Prelude: Grendel
You've got one more archetype move to pick up.  From the action you described in the last post it sounds like:

More Power: when you attempt to bend, break through, or otherwise destroy some­thing, roll+Stamina. On 10+, you easily achieve your goal. On 7-9, you break it, but (choose 1): It takes longer than expected / It makes a lot of noise / You take 1 stun in the process

Other options:
Get Medieval: when you deal damage to an enemy in melee, take +2 forward against that enemy.

Shake it Off: when you fight through the pain, roll+Stamina. On 10+, remove 2 boxes of stun damage. On 7-9, remove 1.

Situational Awareness: you are never surprised. If an enemy would get the drop on you, you may act first.

State of the Art: select one cyberware item that normally requires activation. That item gains the always on tag.

The Only Thing Faster is Light: whenever you Rock & Roll, on a 12+ you may deal your damage to a second target within range.

Pain Editor: when you have to make a Gut Check, you are boosted. Additionally, when you reach 9 or more wounds, you may choose to accept a chronic injury rather than bleed­ing out. If you already have all of the chronic injuries, you cannot use this move.

Honorable: when you uphold a tenet of your code, roll+Presence. On a 10+, hold 2. On 7-9, hold 1. You may spend this hold to pull strings, manipulate, or make someone sweat.

Deadeye: when you attack a surprised or defenseless enemy in ranged combat, you can deal damage or, name your target and roll+Combat:

 player, 28 posts
Wed 12 Feb 2020
at 01:23
Re: Prelude: Grendel
More Power sounds perfect.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 81 posts
Thu 13 Feb 2020
at 01:01
Re: Prelude: Grendel
More Power
19:57, Today: Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Grendel, rolled 6 using 2d6 ((3,3))

Straining against the bone, it refuses to yield...

or does it?  Grendel holds +1 for his combat.
(1) Bump this result for a Weak Success or
(2) Take the Miss, take 1XP and allow a threat move?

 player, 30 posts
Thu 13 Feb 2020
at 01:32
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Rolled for it, for the heck of it.

He will take the weak success

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 85 posts
Fri 14 Feb 2020
at 02:49
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Straining against the bone, <s>it refuses to yield...<s> it gives way with a sickening crack...

Weak Success
Choose: take 1 stun damage or take extra time to break the bone

 player, 32 posts
Fri 14 Feb 2020
at 03:53
Re: Prelude: Grendel
There was a long moment of doubt.

The trembling in his arm grew to a shake, and the breath that he had held now turned to a sort of gasp. The doubt soured into something approaching fear, fear of failure, fear of pain, and fear of both embarrassment and shame.

Then, as Grendel drew upon reserves that he did not even know he possessed, the fear turned to  anger. Not anger at the Peryton, or his Clans traditions, but at himself. He had failed them once, and it had cost his family dearly. No, no he would not come back empty handed, or worse yet savaged by the beast he was supposed to be hunting. Not this time.

A second wind surged through him, brief, but it was enough. The straining sound in his throat grew to a sort of growl before it erupted from his lips spraying spittle onto the ground, and in that moment, he felt more than heard the Peryton's vertebrae tear loose of its moorings. It lashed out one final time as it died, catching him on the side of his face before it went limp as a dishrag.

Grendel lay there for several seconds as he caught his breath, and to make sure it was truly dead. He practically had to leverage his hands off the things skull, as the muscles had frozen in place with the amount of effort he had forced them to endure. He flexed them painfully, and stood up upon wobbly legs as his sweat suddenly started to feel cold in the mountain air, a sure sign that his adrenaline was already beginning to run its course.

Although his chest heaved and he hurt where the antlers had caught him, he wore an open mouthed smile. He put his hands on his hips as he paced, then threw his head back and stared up at the sky. He knew that he would remember this moment forever, and he basked in it, even as a small part of him mourned the knowledge that his childhood was now irrevocably over and done with.

Grendel takes 1 Stun damage (Prolonging the death seemed against the spirit of things.)
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 93 posts
Fri 14 Feb 2020
at 20:57
Re: Prelude: Grendel
As the life fades out of it's fear stricken eyes, the peryton shudders under Grendel's crushing weight. Take 1XP

It was over, the ride on the crest of emotion and adrenaline came to a crashing end as the fatigue, exhaustion and relief hit.  From the sidelines, Warhawk cries out, a guttural shout of triumph to celebrate the blooding.

Field dressing and cleaning the deer is a grisly, but necessary blur in Grendel's memory.  The Black Rock Clan teaches the young to be hunters almost as soon as they can toddle out of their derelict RV or run down shack.  Mechanically, Warhawk helps clean the carcass, joint the limbs and wings, split the animal for transport back to the camp.  Care is taken to keep the heart separate, it will be needed at tonight's council fire.


Shortly after your arrival, the camp is in a celebratory mood.  Wine, beer and hurlg flow freely among the adults while the peryton meat cooks over makeshift grills and open flames.  Those who can afford a few minor luxuries play guitars or sit in drum circles or listen to pirated chips of Third Tusk on jury-rigged sound systems.  Well into the evening, no one really keeping track of the time, council gathers and Grendel is brought before Mother.

She wobbles very slightly, the faint scent of smokey burnt herbs on her breath, as she runs her wet fingers across your face, smearing Grendel with the life's blood of the peryton.  Mother is one of the first in the clan to begin learning or'zet and she insists on using it for the ceremony.  Not many of the clan can fully understand her words, but Grendel picks up bits and pieces.

Ereth home ... cerri brother, sister ... fahd sacrfice...

As the ceremony comes to a close, the roasted peryton heart is presented to the wolf shaman.  She takes a bite of the bloody rare meat, letting the juices flow down her chin, then passes it to Grendel for him to finish.

Feel free to take this wherever you like... my next post will be two years later on the day you are sent off for your trial (the clan has something to give you)... after that, you're into the first scene...
 player, 33 posts
Sat 15 Feb 2020
at 01:42
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Grendel felt a lot of things, and a wide range of emotions during the journey home, upon his return, and during the celebration itself. Luck, featured prominently. He felt lucky, very lucky, to be born into the Clan. There were many reasons for this, but the foremost one just then was the knowledge that the vast majority of young people would never experience anything like he had.

They might graduate from a school, or their parents might buy them a car or something. But it was a given, it was nothing special, and they did not really have to do anything to attain it. They would just kind of become default adults as time marched on.

A Blooding was not like that. More than one Clan member had failed them within recent memory. There were no hard and fast rules as to what that meant for a member, but the Equals knew, everybody knew. An important factor was that potential mates also knew. But it was not like they got kicked out, not unless something spectacular happened, like they tried to lie about it or something.

So for him, it really meant something, and it quieted a part of his mind. Without that closure, without it being made official, where did that leave most young people he wondered?

In any case, he had a real story to tell, and tell it he did, again and again, as did Warhawk as they both became progressively and pleasantly inebriated through the evening.

In fact Grendel felt a little choked up when Mother started speaking in Or'zet. The death of Dunkelzahn earlier that year had shaken the world, and the lesser known gifting of the Codex Or'zet to Robert Page in the Great Dragons will had been something of an aftershock.

Mother, and Grendel's own mother in fact had seen it over in the Bayplex. It was still being translated of course, and the Draco Foundation was working with the Orkland Community Center to set up official transcripts and language courses. Mother had arranged for her own copy, which had been no small feat. They had only relented in the end over concerns about security, and the wish to have more copies, even unofficial ones distributed across the world should something go wrong.

It was not their language, no really, but it held real hope that somewhere clues to ancient Troll culture still existed. And it was hard not to be excited for their fellow Goblinoids

Grendel took the heart and held it up, still dripping, in the shifting firelight.  It was tough and stringy, being a lump of solid muscle, but he was excited (and drunk) enough to make a show of devouring the thing as the some cheered, some whooped and the drums beat.

An outsider might have mistaken it for just a weird Troll party in the sticks, but for Grendel, it really was a sacred and special thing. He dearly wished his father could have been there to see it.

The night wound down eventually, and the fires grew dim, but he would look back in that time as an exciting one, full of promise, back when he was still surrounded by those that he loved and respected, and when he was still blissfully ignorant of the world at large.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 100 posts
Sun 16 Feb 2020
at 18:57
Re: Prelude: Grendel
Late November, 2059

You've known this was coming for awhile.  The cool air, the dark clouds of winter, it all marked the passage of another year since the blooding and time was fast approaching for you to begin your trial.

You're on the road in a beat up Gopher before the sun rises, before the camp rouses. In a rare moment, your mother and father are both home from fish canning and fruit picking.  Breakfast in the broken down bus is sombre, but supportive.  The years have taken the sting out of that night by the council fire when you spoke out against your father and things are as they have always been.  A mother's teary eyed hug, a fathers tight embrace and firm clap on the back make the departure bitter-sweet.

Leaving the silent camp, without any further fanfare, Warhawk drives. You sit in the bed, following the north leg of the CTTR down to Redding.  Traffic is non-existent at this time of day.  A patrol of California Rangers cruise by on their big cop model Scorpions, but after a cursory glace, blast past you into the early morning light.

Your journey together comes to an end at an ancient old Greyhound station where a rattletrap old bus will soon come by to take Warhawk back up north. Over a cup of bus station soy kaf, you wait for his bus after he hands you the keys to the pickup.

"Take this too," he says, handing you an old Fuchi PocSec with a cracked screen.  "It was mine during trial.  I sent a guy I know, Pearlman, a text.  Vouched for you, told him to look you up if he needs muscle.  Should help get you off on the right foot."  from his pocket he produces a standard blue-banded credstick.  "ID's not great, but it is a troll, so it might work.  It's got six-hundred on it, start-up cred.  Convert it to cash it'll maybe net you twice as much in CalFree script." he adds with a shrug.

The last thing he has for you has been sitting on his lap, wrapped in rough hemp cloth, tempting you with the anticipation this whole time.  Warhawk pats it softly.  "Troll gets caught with this in SF and you're on your way to an Imperial detention facility.  But, you can't be wondering around out there with only that leaf spring."  Pulling back the fabric, there is a dull glint of gunmetal and sweet smell of gun oil.  "They pulled this Winchester off the survey crew the night you got your meat torn up.  Big Mike had at it, musta learned somethin' while he was working with that halfer Lapierre.  Anyway, looks like he did an ok job..." Warhawk explains beaming as his bus pulls in.

The shotgun has been expertly chopped down, the double barrels ending just before the break action.  The original plastic stock has been cut away, replaced with a troll sized handgrip in polished redwood.  On each side of the grip there are antler inlays, one marked with a stylized letter 'G' the other with a runic Troll's cross.  In the Black Rock clan, this is a treasure befitting a warrior, worthy of a trail as a samurai of the streets.

Reply as you see fit.  Scene ends

Take +1 Rep.  Meet me in XP & Nuyen to dicuss advancement: link to a message in this game

I'll post up the first SF scene soon and you can jump right in...

 player, 36 posts
Sun 16 Feb 2020
at 21:25
Re: Prelude: Grendel
That last year, most of 59', had been spent with the constant knowledge that the day of his trial was on the horizon. There was a commingling of excitement, dread and contemplation as he came to grips with the fact that he was going to be forced from his home, from his family, and only allowed to return once he brought back something of real value to the Clan. Traditionally this was a skill set, much as Mother had pursued higher education, and Big Mike had worked under Lapierre, the duration was normally at least a year and a day, but often longer. Two, three or even four years was not uncommon.

Now that it was finally here, it felt surreal as he stared out from the truck bed, his surplus jacket zipped up and his hair rippling in the breeze. The countryside he had known so well played out before them, and his heart felt heavy. He waved at the Patrol, having never had any problem with the Rangers. They took all kinds, and road maintenance was a serious business for a Nomad Clan. They were never close, for obvious reasons, but at least polite most of the time.

When they reached the station, and Grendel clambered out with his haul bag over one shoulder, he stood confused as he held the keys that Warhawk had handed him. He had been expecting to take a bus, and had never imagined that Warhawk would be willing to part with his truck. A lot of the Clans more mechanically inclined had worked on it, Grendel included, had worked to modify it to more comfortably accommodate a Troll. They had gotten the plans off of a little Net group called TrogMog, which had given them the inspiration for the project. It now only had one seat, and space for gear, but at least the driver could stretch out and handle the wheel without jamming up his left arm all the time.

The battered PocSec, the CredStick, they were invaluable. Grendel had nearly always lived in a barter economy, and the feel of the Credstick seemed oddly light for something so precious. Gifts were somewhat expected before a Trial, but this was a lot.

The truck alone would be a lot.

So when Warhawk pulled out the Winchester, Grendel had to wipe away the tears that welled up in his eyes. It was perfect, a beautiful thing, while also being eminently practical. The grip was perfectly sized, and the antler had been so finely inlaid that he could not even feel the break between the redwood and the knurled horn. Even the engravings were meaningful for him, the soulless black plastic replaced with elements from the California coast that he knew and loved.

But it was still a deadly weapon. A 12 Gauge was a 12 Gauge, and although the beefier grip made the barrels look smaller than they normally would have, it threw same same amount of metal regardless. With the barrels so short, the pattern would be huge and the muzzle flash the size of a pumpkin, but it would easily fit in his bag, or under the truck seat or anywhere else he might have cause to stash it. He could even fire it one handed if it came down to it, although he imagined using both was far safer.

He embraced Warhawk warmly, tucked the sawed-off back in the truck and then enjoyed the last half hour or so of coffee with his friend. He needed to get on the road, and daylight was burning, so when they had finished he walked Warhawk to his bus then watched it pull back out out and head northbound, where he waved until it was out of sight.

Then, with a deep breath, he climbed back into the truck, his truck and fired up the engine. As he pulled back out onto the highway, the shotgun tucked under his seat and all he owned in the haul bag behind him, he cranked up some Third Tusk on his new PocSec and rolled down the windows as he gunned it south towards the Bayplex. (Music for inspiration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM8dCGIm6yc )

Scene End

This message was last edited by the player at 22:01, Sun 16 Feb 2020.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 485 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:01
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
@Grendel you are here...

10 December 2059

Warhawk. The Winchester. The Ridge. Lapierre's. Jenny.

What a day.  It's all gone by in a blur.

The good news...
...you've got a credstick charged up with more nuyen then you usually see in a year and it's your first night in the city.

The great news...
...you met a pretty cool girl and it seems like she's into you.

:: LTG# 206 (90-4551) :: {Jenny :)}
Did you get some soy kibble or are you hungry?

The bad news...
...you're still wearing old tires for shoes and a piece of rope for a belt.

Rewind to the day before the meeting with Pearlman, Devlin and Gregory.  You've got one night in the city to get into some trouble.
 player, 107 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:02
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Image is a funny thing. Not "funny hah hah" of course, but odd in the sense that even over the span of just a few dozen miles "image" can mean two very different things to two very different sets of people.

If a cube farmer were to show up in a Black Rock camp wearing slacks, dress shoes, a blazer or the latest AR glasses they would have been openly laughed at. If your average street kid wandered in wearing some cheap sportswear, or some celebrity "name brand" shirt or shoes nobody would have taken them seriously. This was mostly because "look" was a luxury, and luxury was associated with waste. The money you spent on a fancy PocSec could have gone towards food, fuel, ammunition, vehicle parts or a host of other necessities.

But in Oakland nobody cared how durable or waterproof his prized jacket was. Nobody noticed the intricate tight stitching on his hand made pants or appreciated the craftsmanship of his shotguns stock. To them it was just a laughably outdated "dumb" antique, no lights, no lasers, no ware. Few would understand the profound significance of what the weapon meant to him.

He looked like what he was in there eyes, just another transient, pushed to the edge of civilization like the rest of those that couldn't hack it.

If there was any consolation, it was a demeaning one. He was a Troll, and there were many homeless Trolls. Few really expected much of him anyway.

Jenny though, she seemed interested despite the tire tread sandals and the road dust, and that was a really good sign. Being able to look past that stuff to see the person underneath the circumstance, that was rare. But that did not mean that he wanted to show up at her place stinking and looking like an extra from a post-apoc trid. Even Nomads had standards, and when you spent time with somebody you were interested in, you put your best foot forward.

Long story short, he needed real clothes, and now he had no excuse not to buy some.

But where does a Troll go to pick up new clothes that will hold up once he heads back to the mountains? Grendel didn't know...so he sat in his truck hunched over his PocSec while he tried to figure it out.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 486 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:02
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
If you’re searching for a new look, you are in the right place. The Ridge has everything you need.

Tamed Wilds is an outdoor adventure gear store that features sturdy hiking boots, rugged cargo pants, wind/water proof anoraks and other functional clothing all boasting a dizzying array of moisture wicking, breathable, microinsulation, versatile, rip stop, super lightweight fabrics.

Form offers casual wear designed to make an impression.  They have low shoes in real leather, designer label denim and khakis, pastel pullovers, zip-up jackets and button down shirts in every color of the rainbow available in form-fit, slim-fit, regular-fit, relaxed-fit and loose-fit.

Mosh Pit specializes in affordable fashions and caters to teens and twenty somethings into emo, punk or goth street scenes. If you’re looking for combat boots, studded leather jackets, rugged denim jeans and t-shirt from your favourite thrash metal band, this is the place for you... so long as you like to wear black.

Throughout the mall there are a variety of vending machines; some that haven’t even been broken into and looted.  One wall of Big Mart machines has all you need, although the automatic tailor is broken open and in peices.  Working machines offer cheap rings and bracelets boasting ‘mystical’ qualities along side genuine ‘handcrafted’ dwarven and orcish belts and bags.  Another machine includes ‘exclusive’ designer label shades and hats.  Another has bath supplies featuring colognes and deodorants endorsed by popular designers or famous athletes, most in definition defying scents like Armanti Fresh for Men and “Baby Joe” Johnson Electric Chrome sport.
 player, 108 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:03
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel pulled a lap around the mall, and then he pulled one more. He could feel himself being drawn in despite himself, and consumerism in all its glossy packaging soon had him checking price tags "just to see". He had never developed a defensive response to advertising, and had never been conditioned to tune it all out. The colors, the sounds, the carefully staged promotional images all threatened to overwhelm him in an avalanche of stimulation.

It also all wore on him in a strange way, and he found that he had a slight headache after about thirty minutes, which had prompted the second lap as the exertion helped to clear his head. Later he would look back and recognize it as culture shock, but at the time he had just a very faint sick, surreal sensation as he experienced the racks of goods, and the crowds of people, and the music.

He wound up at Tamed Wilds where the sticker shock on some of the latest gadgets nearly drove him off straight away. He found the latest version of his haul bag from the same company and was quietly amused at how different it looked from the new model. He felt eyes on him as he handled a few of the ultralight packs and jackets, and marveled at just how delicate they seemed.

He briefly walked around a mannequin with a new "Daedalus" armored wing suit and was not surprised to find that he fell well beyond the maximum weight range. He also made a mental note that the "Urban Explorer" suits also came in armored versions. Not now, but maybe later he told himself.

Then, to his surprise, he actually found a small meta-human specific section. The vast majority was Dwarf sized, but there was a brand named "Big Horn" that Grendel had never seen before that had a rack in the corner. The selection was tiny compared to most of the store, but he could care less after he found some things actually sized in "TXL". They could have been hot pink and he still would have probably considered them.

He limited himself to one pair of sturdy gray cargo pants that he felt went well with his olive drab jacket. A form fitting black t-shirt with a subdued "Big Horn" logo was next, along with a pair of gray "trail running" shoes with some sticky rubber fresh off the fabricator in the footwear section. It was a lot of money for him, but he felt it was time.

It was only after he had checked out that he realized that he had completely neglected socks or underwear. He had never worn any, and decided that he was probably fine. He had made it this far in life without them, and he was not about to start now.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 487 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:04
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
You walk out of Tamed Wilds wearing trail runners that feed your PocSec constant updates on how far you’ve travelled, how many steps you’ve taken, what you change in elevation has been... PocSec updated

You t-shirt keeps demanding to synch to your PocSec music files so it can upload the latest Big Horn endorsed playlists...

The stimulus is overwhelming. You contemplate the last blister pack of headache medication in a Big Mart machine while mustering up the courage to respond to Jenny’s text.

”Pssst!” a nearby man wearing a well worn Ares Victory jacket hisses to gain your attention. ”You maybe wanna think about something a bit stronger?” he asks.  The human is short but his frame is thickly packed with muscle. A few days growth darken his heavy jaw and thick neck, sure signs of steroid abuse.
 player, 109 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:06
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel had a bag with his old clothes in one hand, and was mashing his thumb into his cracked PocSec with the other as he tried to navigate the slew of alerts that had just popped up.

He was a little concerned about the GPS options inherent in his new shoes. He really knew very little about how it all worked. Could people hack his shoes? Why would he want to "share" his shoe status with anybody else? Who did that and why?

He was in the middle of these sort of contemplations when the 'roid monkey tried to get his attention.

"Hmm?" Grendel looked up and slid the PocSec into his, well, pocket. There was even a little "sub pocket" in there to keep it in place. Fancy. "I'm not trackin' man...stronger than what?" he slowed his place, the bag still dangling from his left hand.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 489 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:06
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
“Cagey. Oh yeah. I get it, I get it.” he snarls in deep gravelly baritone. Looking at you over his sunglasses, pupils like pinpricks in his dark eyes, his hands tracking through the air in unseen patterns. “Tell. You. What. You ever need to get bliss’d out. You want to go nova or get a little jazzed.  Maybe go... banzai!  Kamikaze crazy, yeah!  You jus’ find your old pal Randy and I’ll get what you need, dig it?”
 player, 110 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:07
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
"Ah" Grendel gave an exaggerated nod. He was just trying to sell him some drugs, for a moment he had wondered if the man was trying to offload some second hand armor. "Randy yeah? Alright, I'll keep that in mind." Grendel kept walking. Aside from some occasional weed, Grendel had never been able to afford anything harder. Not that he was terribly interested. The only reason Black Rock had any weed at all was because all you needed was some dirt, water and sunlight.

He had his reasons. Some tribe members liked their mushrooms, some of the younger ones might experiment with some harder stuff, but much like himself it was more a of financial matter than a cultural one. The reality was that addicts would never last long in the back country. If you're too far gone to work, hunt, fish, sow crops, or chop wood you're probably going to starve or freeze come winter, unless you've got some real close friends or family. The lifestyle took care of the issue long before the Council normally had to step in.

And now there was the added guilt of carrying bio-ware in his body. There was something disrespectful about his friends and family shelling out that kind of Nuyen only for him to wreck his system with some Nitro or whatever.

So he had some clothes, he had an address, but he felt he needed to bring something. A little gift to say thanks for inviting him over. He barely knew Jenny, but she had mentioned liking fresh food. So he figured he could splurge a little bit on some veggies or maybe even some meat, and maybe help cook a little dinner to make a good impression.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 490 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:08
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
"Keep it in mind, yeah! comes the reply as you walk away.

A few steps down the garbage strewn corridor, as your mind focuses on the idea of bringing fresh ingredients, it dawns on you; nowhere in this mall have you seen any fresh food grocery stores.  The closest thing you've seen is an On The Go! automated market filled with prepackaged, vacuum sealed, flavored mycoprotein.

There's a certain irony to it all.  No less than five miles from here there are probably a dozen fresh food ultramarkets in the walled corporate suburb of Orinda.  For you, those might as well be on the Zurich Orbital, there is no way a nomad troll is getting into one of those company stores.

Maybe, if you get lucky, you'll stumble onto something along the way, but The Ridge and greater Oakland aren't making it easy...
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 491 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:09
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
: LTG# 206 (90-4551) :: {Jenny :)}
Heading down to the Rockridge BART station if you want to join for the ride.
 player, 111 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:16
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
That was nice now, a good sign, and Grendel was not the kind of guy to keep a girl "on the hook" just to play games. Hell, he was not the kind of guy who even knew what he was doing in that arena anyway, the girls where he came from were half feral just like most of the Black Rock Clan, and that came with its own host of complications and issues.

But Jenny, well he didn't really know Jenny but he guessed that in some ways that she was going to be pretty different than the girls he had know. She was an Orc for one, but chances are even of she did grow some of their own food that they would have some interesting stories to tell one another.

He had the clothes, he had his ride, now he needed a gift. That was the way of things, and even if he could not find any "real" food he didn't feel he could show up empty handed.

: Fuchi# 209 (24-8878)::{Grendel:)}

Sounds good. Be right there.


Oh well, maybe he would come across something while they were hanging out.

With his bag of old clothes in hand he turned and made for the truck, his shoes still making his POCsec rumble from time to time as it presented him with tutorials and limited time offers.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 492 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:17
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
I had assumed you would both take the subway, but your post has me guessing you want to take your truck?  Good with that too, just want to be sure I get it right in my post.
 player, 112 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:18
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
On reflection the subway makes more sense. Let's go with that.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 493 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:19
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Rush hour. Not the best time to try and meet someone in a busy BART station, but fortunately Jenny is on the ball and waited for you. You find her standing at the automated access gate scrolling through messages on her PocSec.

”Oh, you’ve been busy.” she says taking in your new clothes. ”Found some new clothes, looking a little more at home in the city.  Glad you kept the jacket though, it suits you.”

Tapping her PocSec to the scanner, she ushers you through the automatic gate first and skirts in behind quickly, masterfully skipping past the auto-teller’s slow moving dog brain before it asks her for the second fare. ”Dumb machines always frag up when a troll walks through.  Too much to handle.” she says flirtatiously.  Heading down toward the platform she adds ”We’ll head over the MacArthur and transfer to head into Orkland.”

The platform is a sea of meta-humanity. Most folks appear to be construction workers or labourers of some sort making their daily commute from worksites out in the suburban enclaves back into the C and D-zones of Oakland. There is no segregation here. There doesn’t need to be, this is where the Empire of Japan drops undesirables while the supposedly independent Republic of California turns a blind eye. To punctuate the social and economic divide, a heavily armoured silver train running “the gauntlet” barrels through the station, destined for Orinida, Walnut Creek and Concorde. You catch glimpses of the Nobanaga security forces in dark Imperial blue uniforms that almost outnumber the passengers travelling from their office jobs in San Fran’s human cultural zone back to their gated corporate communities.
 player, 113 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:20
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel felt that sort of giddy sensation wash over him as he spotted Jenny and saw her smile at his approach. It might have taken a geneticist, a biologist and a magician all together to explain why metahuman hormones worked the way they did across the spectrum, but work they did.

But the generally pleasant and warm feeling was comingled with another more latent sense of anxiety, overstimulation, and even something approaching fear.

The mall had been one thing, this was another. The crush of metahumanity all crammed into a shifting wall of cloth, flesh and illuminated accessories. The roar of the metro echoing off the corridors, the metallic squeal of the brakes, the barn heat of so many bodies all packed together.

For a young Troll accustomed to thinking in terms of groups of maybe sixty people at the very most, it all pressed in on him psychologically as well as physically. He felt tense like he was short of breath, like at any moment somebody in the crowd might lash out even if he had no real reason to be afraid of such a thing.

He followed her into the churning mass all the same, afraid of losing sight of her mop of curly auburn hair and grateful that he had the height to keep track of her and the mass to force his way through the crowd to stay close. "Yeah, it was time." he replied as she mentioned his clothes and he passed the scanner without incident, only a glance back betraying any sort of wrong doing.

"Sounds good." he agreed, then after another glance watching the massive juggernaut of a train roll through he added. "Wow...that's a lot of troops. Is that normal?" he could just imagine how he looked from their vantage point, from within the plush, clean and air conditioned comfort of the passenger car, a harry tusked savage, like a zoo exhibit.

Off to your left... he imagined the stereotypical tour guide voice and managed a wry, toothy grin to a man in a sharp suit who locked eyes with him from within the car for a fraction of a second.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 494 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:21
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
”Yeah,” she replies sadly before baring her tusks to grimace at a sariman gawking through the window of the passing train.  ”All too normal, been this way all my life. Ma says that before the Expulsion and the Wars of ‘36 and the Imperial Occupation, things were different. Oakland was a real city like San Fran, not a metahuman ghetto.  Everyone just wants to carve Cali up, Elves, Azzies, Japan... how could a bunch of uneducated orcs and trolls dumped in the streets of Oakland stand up against all that? It’s no wonder that the only voice anyone hears from out community are the violent extremists.”

As a graffiti covered train screeches and sparks to a halt, you catch a glimpse of the news trid. With the sound cut off by the noisy arrival of the BART train, the sound is cut off but the words BREAKING NEWS and TERRORIST ATTACK catch the eye.  Before you can see much more, you’re both boarding the train. Normally trying to find some standing room wouldn’t be a problem for a pair your size, but a disproportionate number of Oakland’s residence are orcs and trolls, compounding the overcrowding in the subway car.
 player, 114 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:22
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
"Not much better where I come from." He agreed sympathetically as he crammed himself into a corner, stooped, uncomfortable and keeping his balance by sheer surface contact with the wall of the car. He could smell the cheap perfume of the older Orc woman to his left with her shopping bags and occasionally bumped into the vacant eyed human to his right who looked like he might collapse of exhaustion at any moment.

"Everyone's frustrated, everyone's tired, I'd be lying if I said I hadn't reached for a gun when nothing else seemed to be workin'." He admitted, recalling the fire fight in which he had nearly been killed.

"But you're right...they've got the cred and the training and the experience, and they're way better organized." He shrugged. "Gonna take a lot more than a bunch of shouting and bricks if somebody wants to go up against an Empire."

He looked down to Jenny. "Bet your mom has some wild stories if she's seen all that." He said in a way that suggested he would be interesting in hearing them first hand. "My own mom actually worked in Oakland for a few years when it wasn't that bad, was a midwife. Not a lot of work for Trolls and she had worked in a maternity ward. Mostly worked with Orcs obviously...that would have been what, around 2025 or so?" He guessed.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 495 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:22
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
”That’s pretty cool. Almost like a home coming for you then.” she replies with a smile ”Wonder if she knows Doc Ida then? She’s been a street doc out here since forever, might have worked in the same circles as your mom. If we see the Doc tonight, I’ll be sure to introduce you.”

You chat through the transfer at 19th Street Station, barely noticing that the station is much dirtier than the one at Rockridge.  A few miles deeper into the D zone, you walk across the garbage strewn station where there are fewer workers, fewer people with enough nuyen to simply get past the automatic pay gates. The North/East bound lines have been closed.  Some kind of Knight Errant cordon has been set up, not many officers, but they seem pretty intent on keeping the trains from running on the other side of the track.

”Must be something going on in East Bay...” remarks a passerby.

After the transfer, it’s a short ride south toward Lake Merritt Station.  Leaving the BART you know see that now all eastbound trains have been stopped, passengers pulled off the trains, many being searched or questioned by Knight Errant.  There seem to be more and more police in the area.

Leading the way out of the station, Jenny muses ”Don’t usually see this kind of shakedown. KE doesn’t usually have this kind of presence out here, must be alll those news alerts about the hostage taking at the wastewater plant that are blowing up on social media. We’re only about a 15min drive from the bay where the plant is...”

Reaching street level, you find the cluttered refuse of the slum.  All manner of urban detritus; broken down cars, broken electronics and unidentifiable hunks of rust and plastic litter the streets where only a few intrepid drivers slowly squeeze their way through. Still, the place isn’t seething with violence like the Corp news channels would like you to believe. Seems like folks here are poor but industrious.  The buildings and vehicles may be a patchwork of homemade repairs, but those are sure signs that these people aren’t giving up.

Jenny leads you into the grounds of what was once Laney College. A couple of the larger buildings seem to have mostly survived the quake with a few slapdash repairs that have made them into suitable community living centres.  A number of orcs wearing yellow safety vests emblazoned “Community Patrol” casually walk the campus streets where there are signs of the oddly pastoral life Jenny mentioned.  Improvised fences to make animal pens, gardens in makeshift greenhouses even a small shop or two.

In a lot of ways, it seems like the clan’s camp nestled into the mountainside back home.
 player, 115 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:23
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
There were some obvious similarities. The prevalence of blue tarps, sun brittle and faded was the most obvious to him but there were other things as well. The animals fences, the greenhouses, and even the little stalls selling odds and ends were all familiar to him in a way.

Like his own people, it was possible to have multiple generations living in a space that would have been considered cramped for a single person in the nicer areas of the city.

But also like his own people the strain of it all was obvious. There was no real way to replenish some of this stuff, when this or that finally stopped working entirely it might wipe out somebody's life savings to get a replacement, if they could even find somebody willing to sell it. All too often it seemed that Corporate purchasing departments were unwilling to stoop to selling individual units, or taking funds directly from a cred stick.

"Nice, kind of reminds me of home." He told her as she guided him along. He caught a few stares, but these were the harmless, curious sort worn by children and old folks wondering what sort of person Jenny was bringing into their midst.

One thing that stuck out to him was how pale and lifeless their soil was. It had all probably been dug up locally and was filled with all manner of debris. It was impressive that they managed to grow anything in it at all, even the pale little tomato plants and struggling onions.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 496 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:24
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
You find yourself in a wide lecture hall that has been converted into a community living space that has been sparsely decorated for Christmas.  A dozen or so residents have gathered for dinner preparations. ”We share in all the responsibility for meals and clean up.” she says passing you a small bag of carrots to peel and chop  ”Everyone brings a little and we try to put it all together with the things we grow ourselves. It’s not always crunchy granola.” she says holding up a grease stained bag containing a Stuffer Shack Kriller combo, ”The important thing it that we have a thriving little community. Outside Orkland, people think we’re all gunned up gangers and terrorists.”

As if to emphasize her point, one of the community patrol volunteers comes into the makeshift dining hall looking for Jenny.  Apparently one of the KE patrols swarming over the D-zone is looking for her, wants to ask her a few questions.

The mood of the dining hall turns from warm and boisterous to anxious. It’s no wonder, cops sniffing around the ghetto is bound to be disquieting.

18:48, Today: Mr. Johnson rolled 10 using 2d6+1.  Check the Situation.
Strong Success

You are very observant. Tell me one thing you pick up about the community residents react to the KE patrol looking for Jenny then I’ll tell you two more interesting things you observe.

 player, 116 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:25
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel felt a little out of place as the word spread about the Knight Errant patrol. There in the huge lecture hall he had actually been enjoying the spacious interior and seeing how the locals had been decorating and getting by when everything was kind of put on hold.

While most of the attention was on the messenger, and Jenny of course, he did notice that one of the younger Orcs jogged in the opposite direction and opened what appeared to be some sort of wire mesh cage or hutch attached to one of the windows.

Grendel couldn't tell what was inside it, whatever inhabited to space couldn't be very big, but he almost wondered if the locals were using some kind of animals as a low tech alarm system. Something that couldn't be blocked or intercepted, something that wouldn't need regular power or a specialist to operate.

It was a brief moment, but it was there, and it was not the only thing he noticed...
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 497 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:26
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Now isn’t that interesting? What was that?  A bandit? Why would they be keeping one of those clever little critters caged up so close to hand?

While you were watching that bandit scurry off, a Latino human male approached Jenny. He sports a thick moustache and is wearing a t-shirt with “Remember Joanna Wyld” written in bold blue letters across the front.  He just followed the citizen patrollers into the room and seems maybe a bit short of breath. As soon as he arrived, he approached Jenny and, in the brief moment after she heard the news that the KE patrol wanting to speak with her they have a clipped, hushed conversation.  You pick up a few whispered words.  “Caleb”, “frag-up”, “East Bay” and “hostage”.  She definitely seems agitated by whatever this guy just told her.

While they are talking, from across the room, an orc who’s name you never caught, gave Jenny a cold hard look before he collected his heavy jacket and headed out the door. When that critter took off a second ago, it scurried right past him and was heading in the opposite direction of the cops.  This guy however, he just up and walked out toward where the cops are presumably waiting. You’re not sure Jenny even saw that, but that seems like a weird thing to do under the circumstances.

Do you think Jenny is the type to chance talking to the cops or will her mistrust in ‘the system’ cause her to make a run for it?

Your choice... tell me which way she goes and whether or not you stick it out by her side...

 player, 117 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:26
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Huh, a Bandit, neat. He had seen them before of course, but this looked like it's more wiley, less robust city cousin.

He smiled at it as it passed.

Grendel watched Jenny from a distance, as much an outsider here as a lowlander would have been among his own Clan. This was serious business, not for the untried or untested, not for those that had the potential to do harm or spill secrets. He respected that.

So he was not sure what exactly was discussed, but at a certain point he knew they were going to run. Her, the human she was talking to, they were going to scatter. He had seen it before, hell, he had lived it.

But where would she go? This was not the Sierras, you couldn't just go "deeper" or "higher" and hope they wouldn't follow. They had the aircraft and the vehicles and the checkpoints. So what could she do?

What could she do?

Grendel knew though, that whatever it was, he was going to try to follow her.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 498 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:29
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
The community reacts like a well oiled machine.  Clearly it is not the first time that the community has spirited someone away from the long arm of the law. The group assembled in the lecture hall go about their business as if nothing happened, although there seems to be a lot more people gathered near the entry way. Without appearing deliberate, they are very conveniently obstructing the way as the KE officers come to the door.

The Latino man follows you both into the trash strewn alley.  Your path is blocked by a broken fence, but you and Jenny make pretty short work of it leaving it hanging in sharp metal tatters.

”It’s not far to the old student center. We can duck through there and take the walkway into the parkade.” offers the man who’s name you still don’t know.

”Stop right there!” comes a shout from behind you as you skip through the student center doors...
 player, 118 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:29
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
A potent combination of feelings was coursing through Grendel as they proceeded down the alleyway, apparently intent on trying to escape the Knight Errant Patrol.

For pretty much the first time in his life, he had no idea where he was, and he had no idea who could be relied on. Knight Errant was world famous, but his interactions with them had been limited. They did not hold any contracts up where his Tribe normally roamed, but he knew that Ares itself was world class.

In short, he was scared, and he had good reason to be. He muttered a curse under his breath.

The shouting spurred him to a run, his brand new shoes feeling strange on his feet, one hand holding his precious keepsake shotgun close to his body so that it would not fall from its primitive holster.

He looked for Jenny, first and foremost. Trolls in general had a very long stride, that was physics for you, and he did not want to leave her behind.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 499 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:30
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Jenny and the as yet unintroduced man have no problems keeping up. It seems they may be well practiced at running from the cops.

Your fugitive trio makes its way through the old student centre that you find teeming with members of the community. It’s an open air market where food stalls and vendors mix in with a few community services offices. You easily slip into the small crowd of orcs and trolls hiding in plain sight as the cops reach to door and scan the crowd.

No longer running, carefully keeping your backs to the cops and walking at a measured pace to avoid raising suspicion, Jenny speaks up, her words rushed and clipped... “It’s my kid brother, Caleb. He and some friends have started hanging around with some wannabes in the MPA.”

The Metahuman People’s Army. Shadow talk says that their ranks  vary between hangers on and would be freedom fighters, but those who know speak of some hardcore members. Insurgents. Terrorists.

”He’s mixed up in this hostage taking in East Bay. I don’t know how, but that’s what the cops want to talk about.” she continues, a nervous tremor creeping into her voice ”If they tie the MPA to our community, there will be repercussions, a crackdown on the community. We can’t take that kind of blowback. I need to find out what is going on here and keep them from tying this hostage thing to Merritt Lake”

As you reach the stairs that lead down into the parking structure, she stops and grabs your hands ”I’m sorry you’re caught up in all of this. If you want to bail now, I completely understand.”
 player, 119 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:31
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
It occurred to Grendel that he had plenty of good reason to bail on this situation. This was not his fight in the strict sense, these were not "his" people and the risks were obvious, capture by KE and who knew what after that, and that was if they didn't just open fire.

But his gut rejected the notion. Why? He was not entirely sure. Maybe it was some archaic sense of honor or chivalry, maybe it was just the hormones, maybe it was because he just didn't want to be the sort of guy that ducked out when things got rough.

He didn't really know why, but he knew he was not going to leave Jenny.

"No, I think I'm gonna stick this out." he told her without looking to her, feeling incredibly conspicuous among the crowd. He knew they could all clearly see him, like a big shaggy blond mountain wading through a sea of Metahumanity.

"What's your plan?" he asked after they were briefly separated and then came back together in the crowd.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 500 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:31
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
”Thank-you...” she says quietly, looking up at you, taking a moment to feel overwhelmed before gritting her tusks and adding firmly: ”I just need to talk to my brother and find out what the hell is going on. Caleb is young and angry, but not stupid. I can’t see him going in on this hostage thing. Hopefully this is all just a mistake and we can leave the MPA whatever mess they have made for themselves.”

Leading the way down a set of narrow concrete stairs, you follow the pair into a dank parking garage that miraculously survived the last quake. No small miracle considering it was poured by a construction company that made the lowest bid over half a century ago.

”Kinda hoping we can find a set of wheels down here.” the Latino man says.  Pickings are understandably thin, not much down here other than a beat up looking GMC Bulldog. Unsurprisingly the doors don’t yield to his cursory attempt to open them. ”Locked.” he says dejectedly.

You’re all about to give up when a jingling sound from the shadows of the garage catches your attention.  A tiny masked face chirps at you then, with deft little hands, shows you that he is holding a set of keys.

It can’t be, can it?

The bandit from back at the community center?
 player, 120 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:32
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Bandit intelligence was a matter of fierce debate in the rural areas of NorCal, and in Grendels experience they generally fell into two camps.

The first camp figured they were sentient, and they were generally considered to be smarter then dolphins or chimps. This camp held that like so many intelligent creatures, the fact that they couldn't speak was the main reason why they were not given the same rights as other sapients. This was the group that basically thought that shooting at Bandits was tantamount to  a crime against humanity, not always a popular stance, because Bandits could roam in packs and they were very, very good at getting into valuable things like food caches.

Camp two figured that they were smart, but not so smart that people needed to get all existential over the matter. To a Tribe that already struggled with starvation some winters, stolen food is a serious problem, sentient or not. If you have kids to feed, and you can rightfully shoot a man for getting into your food, you can sure as hell shoot a Bandit for doing the same.

But what if the Bandits are starving too and they have kits to feed?

Well ok, food makes sense, but what about cred sticks, jewelry or ammunition?

Bandits can be assholes too, normal Racoons can be ornery and cruel, and it stands to reason individual Bandits can be just as cantankerous, if not more so.

So yeah, it was a thing.

Grendel generally stood in Camp One, in that he had been physically violent towards individual Bandits in the past (he had thrown a piece of firewood at an invasive one once and hurt it pretty bad) but he had never killed one. He felt there was an important distinction there.

But this Bandit couldn't know about that...right?

"Well hey there." he greeted the animal with a tusky grin and glanced to the others and over his shoulder for pursuers. "Those the keys for this truck?" he jerked his horned head towards the Bulldog.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 501 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:33
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
The little fella (at least you guess it’s a fella) gives you a quizzical look that might mean Of course these are the keys, what kind of a simpleton do you take me for? or maybe it’s trying to say What’s a truck? What’s a keys? Take my shiny thing and I’ll nip off your fingertip, two-leg.

Only one way to find out for sure I guess...

...unless you find a peice of firewood laying around.
 player, 121 posts
Thu 27 Jan 2022
at 04:34
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel glanced either way, as if expecting to find more of the things lurking off to the side waiting to steal his lunch the moment he walked away. Old habits.

But then he approached the creature amicably with one dinner plate sized hand extended, trying not to move too quickly but cognizant that they were still being looked for.

"Can I have those?" he asked like he was speaking to a toddler, wishing he had not left his jerky in his own truck so that he might at least have something to trade. "I can try to bring you back something tasty next time I'm here." he promised hopefully.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 510 posts
Fri 28 Jan 2022
at 03:09
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Either you’re losing it or the bandit is considering your offer.  Perhaps an offer of something in exchange later is beyond his comprehension, but there is wisdom behind those little black eyes. You will never be sure what made him decide in your favor, but after a long moment of deliberation, he trots forward tentatively and slides the keys across the concrete floor toward you...

>> FF 10 mins later, in the Bulldog, headed north from Merrit Lake up to Easy Bay

The Latino man you now know as Jackie is behind the wheel, picking his way through street debris, avoiding KE patrols and playing with the sat feed trying to find a route up onto the freeway. Jenny sits in the passenger seat and has been silently rifling through the glove box since you left the college behind in the rear view mirror. Naturally, you’re in the back, you don’t really fit anywhere else.

”Oh drek,” Jenny exclaims, holding something she found during her cursory search. ”This just went from bad to worse...” she says holding up a Knight Errant badge and ID card.

Taking a closer look at the card, you notice it’s the orc from the community center.  The one with the heavy jacket that left the hall heading toward the cops...

...at least that explains where the bandit found the keys.
 player, 124 posts
Fri 28 Jan 2022
at 03:09
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Note to self, buy snacks.

"I saw that guy." Grendel said with the tone of someone who was kicking themselves for not saying something earlier. "He stood out, looked right at me, but I figured he was one of your heavies or somethin' just gettin' territorial." he explained as he reached out to steady the badge in the moving truck to get a better look.

"Yeah..." He confirmed with a nod. "Not sure why he bailed right as we came in, maybe he ditched his tech for some reason and had to go get face to face" he let the badge go and sighed. "Probably in the wind now."

Grendel thought about bringing up his own Tribes vetting processes but bit his tongue. Each set up has its own pros and cons. It was way easier to screen people in a Nomadic tribe, people couldn't just wander in, and the numbers were so small that you wound up knowing everyone. Even then, they weren't perfect.

Mistakes had been made even in Grendel's time, and that was one good reason among many why Nomads we're notoriously slow to trust.

"So that place has got to be under siege by now. I get that you want to get him out, but doing that while half the cameras in the city are on the place is gonna be a heavy lift" he mused as Jenny rifled the truck interior.

"But I'd bet every resource in the area got sucked up into locking it down...so there's that at least." he rested his hand on the stock of the shotgun and rubbed his thumb against the wood grain subconsciously as he thought.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 511 posts
Fri 28 Jan 2022
at 03:26
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Heading over to the pier, you find Rhodes standing on the gangplank of rusted diamond plate steel leaning on the bulkhead of a worn but serviceable hovercraft.  Water lapping at the hover skirts, held inflated for now to keep her afloat.

"C'mon aboard." the dwarf waves amicably, ushering everyone onto the deck. "Up into the cab while I get us pushed away and into the bay." He heads down off the deck onto a large cargo deck at the rear where there is a small control station for a big outboard motor.  Rather than sparking up the hover's large fans, the dwarf manoeuvres the ungainly craft through the tight quarters of Moe's marina from the aft control station pushing out into the bay.

After a few jarring moments as the craft is buffeted by the wake of jetski gladiators and a few larger boats, your skipper finds the open water and with it enough room to fire up the main engines and power up the fans. Coming into the cab, he closes the door against the deafening noise.  It'll be a noisy ride back for yer chummers, but we'll get 'em home for breakfast safe and sound."
 player, 125 posts
Fri 28 Jan 2022
at 04:27
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation

Not what Grendel had been expecting.

There was nothing inherently wrong with a hovercraft. By their very nature they could get across both land and water, which was neat and all, it was just...

A hovercraft.

The Troll found himself wondering if he had ever seen one before. Obviously up in the mountainous and heavily forested regions his Clan had favored there would be little need for one, but our here on the coast? Why not?

"Huh" he shared a look with Jenny and shrugged his huge shoulders. At Rhodes urging Grendel wedged himself into the cab and went to go "stand" in the back well our of the way of the operation. Once they got moving he decided he would likely go out and check out the workings of the craft despite the noise. If the Dwarf would allow him.

Not wanting to slow down their departure he kept his mouth shut for the time being, but he found himself more curious about the history of the craft and its captain as they prepared to head in for the rescue.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 514 posts
Fri 28 Jan 2022
at 19:45
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
”She may be showing her age some, but these old gee-twelves really hold up if you give ‘em a little TLC.” the dwarf muses with pride in his vessel. As you reach a steady cruise, the drone of the fans quiets down a bit. ”Feel free to go aft and wander a bit.  Take some ear protection and watch yer footing on the cargo deck, can get a bit slippery back there.”

Through the cabin windscreen, the lights of the old UCAS naval air station twinkle. High above the waves, flashes of searing red and blue briefly light the night. The welding torches of work crews and automated drones clamouring over the deck of the old carrier Hornet where Mitsuhama tries to reclaim her from obsolescence and put her into Imperial service.
 player, 127 posts
Sat 29 Jan 2022
at 16:44
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
There was a sort of childish delight to being able to ride on the outside of a vehicle. Sure, Grendel had ridden on roofs, beds and running boards practically his whole life, but he had yet to get tired of it.

The Troll grabbed a plastic packet of orange foam hearing protection from a faded box on the dash and stepped out of the cab where he felt a chill wash over him as the wind began to catch in his beard and hair. He zipped up his surplus jacked and jammed his hands in his pockets as he walked back along the length of the hovercraft, the noise of the various fans getting louder and more piercing as the Dwarf increased power.

As they pulled away from the docks, more and more of the BayPlex could down along the shoreline. The mix of newer and older skyscrapers, the more squat, substantial profiles of some of the Arcologies, the VTOL's with their running lights, the garish colors of shifting billboards and advertisements easily visible even during mid day.

So many people, so much money, so much suffering and misery.

The pitch of the fan was to the point where Grendel fished out the orange plugs and jammed them into his pointed ears, feeling immediate relief as the auditory assault faded to a dull drone.

Day one. he thought to himself with a wry grin.

I wonder what Warhawk is doing right now...

He caught Jenny looking at him from the cab, grinned and raised his head a little bit in acknowledgement. He found he wasn't as nervous anymore, or at least he was last that vaguely nauseous phase where his heart felt like it would never slow down.

They could do this...they were doing this. Snatching up a pretty girls kid brother from a hostage situation gone wrong, a surly Dwarf at the helm and half the city watching the feed from down the road.

He wanted stories to tell when he got back..., , he reminded himself that he better be careful what he wishes for going forward.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:46, Sat 29 Jan 2022.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 522 posts
Sun 30 Jan 2022
at 02:57
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
The city's night skyline. It's beautiful in it's own way, sparkling rainbow of so many synthetic colors, but deadly too. One wrong move and you're just another victim. In many ways, it's not unlike your mountain home.

A few moments after you catch her eye, Jenny joins you on the cargo deck. Words would fall unheard under the roar of the fans and the wind whipping across the open deck. Her face is hidden in the shadows of the hover running lights, but you catch a brief glimpse of her deep brown eyes in a pool of bulkhead light. She holds your gaze and, a short moment later, she is huddled in close against the chill. She slips her hand into yours, head resting on your chest as you share a private moment before the inevitable. Its only a matter of time before you are caught up in the momentum of the impending raid and rescue.

And it's still a few hours until midnight. Day one.
 player, 129 posts
Sun 30 Jan 2022
at 04:36
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Although unremarkable to Grendel, the cooling of the night air brought the familiar and subconscious shift as his eyes began to pick up the more subtle auras only known to those with Thermographic senses.

Bats, or perhaps some sort of small shore bird could be seen fluttering about in the night sky at a distance, and the exhaust from the old Hovercraft was a dramatic billowing plume than lingered in the sky  along a lengthy fading trail.

Things, probably some sort of fish, probably, could be very dimly perceived in the depths beneath them. This caused an involuntarily shudder to roll through the Trolls hulking form. Who knew what could be down there? The oceans were once again a terrible mystery in the sixth world, and he for one had no desire to think about it too hard.

Jenny joined him, wordless. There was a primal comfort in having her close, in having someone that he could relax around, just for a little bit, in this new place.

To him there was not anything overtly sexual, or even sensual to the gesture. Just the brief respite of being together in a world that seemed a constantly roiling thing, and all too often cruel and uncaring. He was alone, her family was at real risk, and nobody knew how the morning would find them.

Nobody knew what tomorrow might bring.

For people like them, this was life. Solving one problem, then another, day after day, month after month, year after year.

If they were lucky, they could float by, snatch them up and be gone before anybody knew anything was amiss.

But Grendel had already nearly died once before, and he had never been that lucky to begin with. He squeezed Jenny tenderly, but part of him was also comforted by the solid unyielding heft of the sawed off shotgun wedged in it's holster between them.

It could get ugly, and soon.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:38, Sun 30 Jan 2022.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 534 posts
Mon 31 Jan 2022
at 03:26
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Closeness. Kinship. You may have found yourself a new tribe out here on the inner harbor.

In the end, that's just about all these people have going for them. They face the day against petty swindles, random violence and the long slow grind toward giving up.

That's why these kids at the plant do the kinds of things that they do. They don't buy into the system because they aren't heard when all they are asking for is to drink water that isn't poisoned by sewage. So they bash themselves against the rocks of rich corporations with limitless resources, government influence, private armies and surveillance drones.


...just like the pair of rotordrones closing in on the hovercraft!
 player, 131 posts
Mon 31 Jan 2022
at 04:56
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
The whine of the rotodrones caused Grendel to look up at the two aircraft, the warmth of their batteries and the friction from their rotors just barely visible against the night sky.

"Come on, let's get inside." He told Jenny, and made for the cab.

Back inside and away from the worst of the fan noise, he shared a look with Rhodes that let the Dwarf know that trouble was already brewing.

"Pair of drones out there following us...they, uh, said you were a Rigger for the military, that true?" His tone hopeful that such specialized experience might be of more use that the 12 gauge buckshot currently loaded into the sawed off.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 539 posts
Mon 31 Jan 2022
at 20:45
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
”Izat what they say?” the dwarf says, grinning widely through his beard. He busies himself with pulling a bundle of cables from under the control panel and plugging them into the jacks lining the back of his hands. ”Just about to hit the exclusion zone that security has set up on the beach around the plant. This last couple clicks might be a bumpy ride” he adds, slotting the final cable into the jack at his temple.

There is a perceptible change in the noise from the fans as the rigger jacks into the hovercraft and you begin picking up speed.

As you begin to make a run to the beach, an automated warning plays over the hover’s comm system speakers ... Warning ... unidentifiable vessel ... you are nearing a security cordon ... broadcast your authorization or turn your vessel ... vessels in contravention of this order will be subject to search and seizure
 player, 133 posts
Thu 3 Feb 2022
at 18:00
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel reached out and grabbed the back of a chair as the Hovercraft surged beneath them. The sensation of real speed, even in the dark was palpable and the Troll spared a glance out of the dirty window for any sign of the pursuing drones.

"They know where to meet us?" He asked Jenny, and gently slid his sawed off from its holster. He cracked the action, made sure both of the shells looked good nestled in the chambers, then shut it with a click.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 562 posts
Fri 4 Feb 2022
at 03:11
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
”They know to be there.” Jenny called out over the dull roar of the fans.

Meanwhile, the hovercraft speakers drone in ominously Warning ... unidentifiable vessel ... you have crossed into controlled waters and are in contravention of a security cordon ... broadcast your authorization or power down your vessel and await further instructions ... response units have been dispatched ... failure to comply will be met with escalation of force ...

In the dark above the hover, one of the drones buzzed past, staccato cannon fire cuts across the hovercrafts path as they literally fire shots across your bow in warning.

Gnashing gears momentarily overpower the noise of the fans as a gun turret pops up from a hidden compartment beneath the plates of the rear cargo deck... looks like the rigger has planned for contingencies.
 player, 134 posts
Sat 5 Feb 2022
at 17:49
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
In the dark, in a moving vehicle, on the ocean it was difficult to tell just how  if the Drones were.

He got the feeling that these were not the little plastic ones shooting sub munitions, but if it was a full rifle caliber or something bigger he really couldn't say.

In any case the Troll found himself crouching and clutching the seat back, some how trying to minimize ten feet of Metahuman into about six feet worth of space.

Grendel looked around as the hovercrafts hidden defenses deployed. This could be a high caliber gunfight and he really didn't want to get in the middle of it.

In the distance, he could almost see the shore growing nearer by the second.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 578 posts
Sat 5 Feb 2022
at 19:08
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Ceaseless warnings keep in coming: Warning ... unidentifiable vessel ... you are navigating in controlled waters in contravention of a security cordon ... power down your vessel now ... response units are on scene and lethal force has been authorized...

The second drone comes out of a lazy bank turn lined up perfectly for a strafing run. It’s offputting watching the machine target you almost in slow motion. The muzzle flash and bullets stitch across the deck before you even hear the gunfire. The hover’s turret barks in reply...

...but, suddenly stops firing.

”Ah drek,” the rigger growls ”That gun run knocked out the power coupling in the turret. One of you got some mechanical know how to go back and fix it? Or big fella, can you manually run that gun? If we don’t do sumthin' those drone cannons will chew us to pieces.”
 player, 135 posts
Sun 6 Feb 2022
at 03:37
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel felt the rounds impact the hovercraft as much as he heard them, the frame seeming to tremble under foot at the staccato hammering of the onslaught.

The sequence of events was a bit confusing as he stared out at the approaching land in the distance, but when Rhodes asked that he head out and run the gun manually, it only took him half a moment to agree.

"On it!" Grendel shouted over the roar of the fans and the continued gunfire.

Outside where the sound was deafening, a jab of light from the cab fell onto the choppy waters of the bay as Grendel crawled out of the hatch and rose to his full height. The wind tore at his surplus jacket, beard and hair and the hovercraft thrummed with power beneath him as it slid along at a breakneck pace.

Carefully and taking advantage of every handhold, Grendel crept across the deck and took a look at what he had to work with as the Drones continued to circle overhead.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:39, Sun 06 Feb 2022.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 583 posts
Sun 6 Feb 2022
at 07:05
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Keeping one hand on the safety railing is a wise move as you try not to slip on the salt water soaked deck plates. The trip astern is made more difficult as Rhodes slide slips the hovercraft to avoid taking more fire as the drones make another pass.

In a brief moment where the hover holds her course and the drones are circling for another run, you slide in behind the armor plated turret. Without the power coupling, it won't move under power, but with your considerable bulk, you are able to muscle it around into place while gripping the manual trigger on the Vindicator minigun mounted on the firm point.

You'll be aiming manually, but the tracers against the night sky will help. You don't have long to wait as the drones are lining up for another strafing attack.

Go for the kill on one drone
Put fire down on both to keep them from getting a clean shot at the hover

 player, 136 posts
Sun 6 Feb 2022
at 15:50
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
As has often been mentioned, the Black Rock Clan was dirt poor, even by Nomad standards. What weapons they could afford were generally very old, and old weapons used old ammunition, caseless round were still considered "fancy" in that part of the state. Old ammunition is hard to find, and pricey when it can be found.

When Grendel had learned to shoot as a young Troll, he was told that every shot he missed was coming out of his lunch, and they meant it. They would break down the cost in front of him, and gradually carve off a helping of food proportional to his failures for themselves.

The lesson was clear, Trolls that don't learn to shoot straight, Trolls that waste ammo, are Trolls that don't eat.

The notion of "suppressive fire" would never have come into his mind.

Back amid the cutting sea spray and the booming of autocannon, Grendel had hauled himself behind the minigun. The manual controls looked like they had not been touched in years and the "handles" had never been meant for hands the size of hubcaps, but Grendel stooped over, felt for the firing button and found his target.

It was easy now, battery packs and barrels white hot as their ominous profiles hovered unnatural in the sky. There were no sights, none that he could see anyway, and so he had to more or less walk it in.

The first BRAAAAAAAP from the gun was wild, and sent a harmless spray into the sea as the weapon vibrated in his hands, but the second was closer, and the third cut right across the path of the foremost drone, intersecting it with a spray of white hot color and a muzzle flash the size of a pumpkin.

Going for the kill

This message was last edited by the player at 15:51, Sun 06 Feb 2022.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 586 posts
Sun 6 Feb 2022
at 21:51
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
As you become accustomed the minigun, Rhodes continues with his evasive manoeuvres, keeping you out of fire by accelerating and sideslipping as the drones begin their attack runs. Once you get a feel for it, the minigun is easier to manage as you predict the movement of the hovercraft...

Make it Rain
14:38, Today: Mr. Johnson rolled 6 using 2d6 ((3,3)).
Fail no help

Rock and Roll
14:32, Today: Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Grendel, rolled 7 using 2d6+2 ((2,3)).
Weak success
Deal damage: Vindicator +5 / Burst fire +2 / Drone Armor -2 / Armor Piercing +1 / Dmg 6

...a line of tracer fire clips one of the drones, bullets pinging off the tough armor and sending it into the brine...

...while the other strafes the hovercraft unmolested.

Threat move Deal Damage
Drone cannon: +3 / Troop +1 / Burst Fire +2 / Armor Piercing +1 / Dmg 7 split evenly between Grendel and Hovercraft
Grendel: Dmg +4 / armor -4 / no dmg
Hovercraft: Dmg +3 / armor -2 / 1 dmg

Grendel [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
MCT Rotordrones (Troop) [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] [X]
G-12 Hovercraft [X] [X] [X] [X] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

(1) Troop destroyed, single drone remains

MCT Rotordrone [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Combat continues!

Edit: recalculating damage

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:02, Sun 06 Feb 2022.

 player, 137 posts
Mon 7 Feb 2022
at 05:08
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel broke into a tusky smile as he saw the Drone falter, tilt, and then splash down into the bay, the heat almost instantly extinguished by the frigid Pacific waters. There was something to be said for a Hovercraft after all, it ate up the waves with its air cushion in a way no boat ever could, and it was not a bad firing platform at all even with Rhodes doing his best to preserve it through evasive maneuvers.

He could see the barrels of the weapon begin to heat up now, and he waited for another good opening to press the button again. The flickering muzzle flash illuminated the Trolls wild features and sodden hair now, the sea spray beginning to soak him. He could only imagine what it would look like from shore, or if some infrared photo of him glaring up at the Drone behind the miinigun would find it's way into a briefing room some day.

The weapon spat another burst of hot lead into the night sky, a blazing arc that seemed to rise forever into the clouds as the Troll tried to bring down their second pursuer.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 589 posts
Mon 7 Feb 2022
at 20:14
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation


Make it Rain
12:53, Today: Mr. Johnson rolled 4 using 2d6 ((1,3))
Fail no help

Rock and Roll

12:54, Today: Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Grendel, rolled 8 using 2d6+2.  Rock and Roll.
Weak success
Deal damage: Vindicator +5 / Burst fire +2 / Drone Armor -2 / Armor Piercing +1 / Dmg 6


Another long burst of mini gun fire strikes home and the drone bursts into flames.

Threat move Deal Damage
Drone cannon: +3 / Burst Fire +2 / Armor Piercing +1 / Dmg 6
Grendel: Dmg +6/ armor -4 / 2 dmg

But not before a burst of cannon fire stitches over the deck and into the pop up turret, grazing you.  It stings and will need something to staunch the bleeding, but nothing serious, not even enough to get your stolen BioWare to kick in and fix the damage. Gonna need a sewing kit for your jacket.  Your new t-shirt, now bloodstained, shows it’s concern as an ad for Tamed Wilds portable personal first aid kit pops up on your PocSec.

Grendel [X] [X] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
MCT Rotordrone [X] [X] [X] [X]
G-12 Hovercraft [X] [X] [X] [X] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Combat ends, Take 1XP

 player, 139 posts
Sun 20 Feb 2022
at 17:31
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation

Grendel felt a sort of tug, dimly recognizing that he had in fact been shot.

He hadn't reason to be surprised, here he was on the deck of a speeding hovercraft firing a mini-gun at armed drones, who were of course fighting back, but he was surprised none the less.

Then the pain came.

He exhaled with the agony of it, not a maddening pain but a real and urgent pain that grew, and grew until he had to express it, audibly, physically, just for some sense of relief.

He looked down, which did not help the situation, then felt just a little better as he realized that he could still move and walk. He was not disabled, not maimed, just...hit.

He worked hus way back towards the cabin far more slowly and carefully than when he had come out, and as he entered the relative safety and silence he coughed.

"You ah...got a first aid kit on this thing?" He asked after he had shut the door.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 680 posts
Sun 20 Feb 2022
at 19:19
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
"Cargo net, rear bulkhead." the dwarf calls back over the fans. "Hope yer OK big fella. We're comin' up on the beach now. Be a minute or two until landfall."

Jenny pulls the first aid kit down from the back wall and begins to lay out the contents. "You're grazed, not hit too badly." she says with relief. "A dressing and some rest will be enough to heal this up." she adds, tenderly placing self adhesive bandages over your wounds.

A few short moments later, the hover is up on sandy shores about a quarter mile from the water processing plant. "Cameras ain't picking up your friends." the dwarf says the fans power down "You sure they got the message?"

"They must have got tied up inside the plant." Jenny replies, trying to make a call on her PocSec.

It connects on the first ring. "Jenny?" comes Caleb's voice over the speaker, "We're across the parking lot from the beach, but with the security lockdown, the door is locked from the outside."
 player, 140 posts
Tue 22 Feb 2022
at 19:23
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel, his jacket half shrugged off and a bloodied patch around the wound on his left arm, listened with an inward sigh.

He was used to things being hard, used to disappointment, so the news that this would not be as simple as a pickup was sort of cynically expected.

The Dwarf was certainly not going to charge in there, they did not have the kind of NuYen to make that worthwhile, and he could not expect Jenny to do it. She was just trying to be the helpful sister, she would probably get picked up or worse, shot at on sight.

Which meant it was down to him. It was that or go home.

"I'll go snatch'em up" He said with a hint of frustration bubbling to the surface. He fought the self doubt forming in the back of his mind, that he was just a kid, that he was dangerously unqualified to be doing anything like this.

But he had passed his trial. He was an adult in every sense of the word, and again, it was not so much being qualified, it was simply being more qualified than those he was with. So again, it was down to him.

"Let 'em know I'm comin' yeah?" He asked Jenny as he slipped his jacket back on over the bandage and fingered the hole the round had made in the thick olive drab ballistic weave.

He opened the door to the cab, the sound of the fans spooling down invading the little nook of relative safety. "Wish me luck." He managed a tusky sort of grin, although his eyes held reservations, and like that he was out into the night and moving at a surprisingly fast pace towards the trapped Orcs.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 701 posts
Wed 23 Feb 2022
at 07:08
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Before anyone has a chance to process what you are doing, you are off the boat and charging through wet, ankle deep sand.

”Can give him 10 minutes,” Rhodes calls over the fans. ”No more. Got a patrol boat in bound and we need to be gone before it gets here.”

”Dammit!” Jenny curses, jumping off into the sand behind you. ”We’ll try to make it back in time, but get outta here if you need to.”

She charges after you, feet pounding across the parking lot, heart pounding in her chest. When she catches up to you, you’re hunkered down against a small automated parking gate house less than fifty feet from the edge of the building. As she catches her breath, she gasps, ”Clock’s ticking. Company coming. We’ve got ten minutes.”

Then she notices the thing that caused you to hold up and take cover: security cams on the roof…

Frag it, time is of the essence and it’s only 50 feet…


Watch and wait, maybe there is an opportunity when the cam isn’t looking your way…


Create a distraction so you can slip past the cam undetected…


Something else?

 player, 141 posts
Sun 27 Mar 2022
at 03:53
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel felt each second bleeding away as he stared up at the security camera, the device built in a bulky and obvious housing meant to act as a deterrent to vandals and the like.

Troll's made up a tiny percentage of the population, he knew this, and if even his body was caught on footage it would immediately rule out most of the BayPlex, his hair, his beard, his horns, it would not be hard to pick him out of a line up.

And it was still his first day, or close enough. Did he really want to start his time here by winding up as a briefing item for a bunch of door kickers?

No...he really, really didn't.

He looked around for something he could use as a distraction, something that the software, or an operator would want to focus on for a few moments...
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 831 posts
Sun 27 Mar 2022
at 16:06
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
As luck would have it, there are a pair of cars sitting in the parking lot and within easy range of the camera. A explosion, or an attempted theft would probably draw away the cameras' attention for long enough to break down the door.

There is also the parking gate you have hidden behind. It's got a power source, of that you are certain, but you're not sure how you might be able to use that to make something loud, bright and obnoxious enough to distract whoever is behind that cam.
 player, 142 posts
Sun 27 Mar 2022
at 16:34
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
"Got a light on ya?" He asked Jenny, hopeful that she would have something he could use to get a fire going. At this point in the night, torching a car seemed to be the one of the least of crimes he would be worried about.

Hustling over, the Troll squatted, gripped the frame of the white Ford Americar, and began to lift, the veins in his neck bulging and his teeth bared as he tried to flip the vehicle to gain access to the gas tank on the bottom.

Attempting to use "More Power" to flip one of the vehicles.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 836 posts
Mon 28 Mar 2022
at 20:13
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
"Uh, yeah," she says, not fully understanding, but handing you a book of matches.

As the camera pans away from the gate, you make a break for it across the parking lot and duck in behind the Americar undetected.

Gripping the frame...

More Power 13:07, Today: Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Grendel, rolled 8 using 2d6+1. WEAK SUCCESS

...you get the car rocking a bit, then with a great heave, you catch it on your shoulder and push it over onto its side...


...you bash your head on the fender as it tips onto the side. Take 1 Stun
 player, 143 posts
Mon 28 Mar 2022
at 21:20
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
With a groan of the suspension and the crunching of the door panels the Americar rocks once as it settled, catching to Troll unaware and smashing him in the forehead where the dirty plastic splits the skin and causes a trickle of blood to run down from the cut into his beard.

Grendel hissed a bit and grits his teeth, feeling the spot briefly and coming away with the pads of his fingers stained in blood. But there was no time to worry about that.

While many vehicles ran on electric these days, thankfully the Nomad generally knew at a glance what was still dependent on gasoline.

Drawing his primitive knife from its sheath, Grendel drove it point first into the fuel tank and recognized the distinctive smell as the clear fluid began to flow, soaking the undercarriage as the spattered onto the asphalt, the stream pulsed and gurgled as air bubbles crept into the punctured container.

"Alright" he nodded to the mess he had just made. "Light'er up."

The goal is to push the flaming car into the cameras range, using the smoke and flames as cover, then to back out and hopefully run around once the distraction is in place. He will shrug his jacket up over his head just in case, but he hopes this will do the trick.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 845 posts
Tue 29 Mar 2022
at 19:58
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
The petrochem ignites with a satisfying 'woof' and the undercarriage is quickly bathed in flame.

As you jog away from the burning wreckage, the gas tank erupts in a deafening explosion creating a brilliant orange fireball. You see the heat rippling and reflected off the automated access gate as you take cover and catch your breath.

In those few moments, seeing your split forehead, Jenny makes quick work of sticking a couple of adhesive sutures to your skin in an effort to stop the bleeding - or at least keep it out of your eyes.

With the car crackling and popping as plastic melts into thick black smoke and other fluids ignite in vibrant flames, every camera on the roof is focused in on the fire and the way to the door is clear.
 player, 144 posts
Thu 31 Mar 2022
at 03:52
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
The way open, and bearing a new injury, Grendel dashed for the door. He could see his inhuman silhouette cast against the wall of the facility by the gout of the now roaring flames and Jenny's smaller but still substantial shadow as it followed. An acrid reek from the fire saturated the air and the smoke column was bound to attract some attention, but they only had a few minutes before they would be stranded in any case.

Heart hammering, the Troll pushed on in search of Caleb in particular, and he sheathed his knife in hopes of avoiding an opening salvo should they run in to any sort of armed security.

He was just short of calling out, but he could cover ground fast on those long legs, occasionally using his massive arms to catch himself on a corner or to brace himself against the ground as they raced along.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 854 posts
Fri 1 Apr 2022
at 15:38
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Reaching the emergency exit, you find the hinges rusted and the door stuck shut, a result of the salt spray in this side of the building. This emergency exit won’t be helping anyone escape a burning building or a chemical spill.

When they last called in, Caleb and his crew were supposed to be just behind this door.
 player, 145 posts
Fri 1 Apr 2022
at 16:24
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
There were myriad downsides to bring born a Troll, almost too many to mention offhand. There was the cost of food and the fact that they represented a tiny percentage of the population, that they held a stigma to many and often lived short and brutal lives.

But they were generally pretty good at opening stuck doors...

This door, like almost all doors, had been designed for humans. Five foot something, one hundred and fifty pounds or so, able to be opened by the elderly and children alike under maintained conditions.

Grendel was nearly twice as tall and nearly four times as heavy as the intended user, the calcium and collegen of his inhuman bones supplemented with therapies that had thickened and hardened them into a remarkably durable biological alloy.

And time was ticking.

He grabbed at the handle and braced himself against the opposing door he pulled, hard, trying to pop and deform the frame, the lockset and the hinges by main force, the veins in his neck protruding and his teeth bared as he strained against the industrial steel.

This message was last edited by the player at 12:23, Sat 02 Apr 2022.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 858 posts
Sat 2 Apr 2022
at 21:15
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
More Power 14:12, Today: Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Grendel, rolled 9 using 2d6+1 ((5,3)). WEAK SUCCESS

With a sharp, deafening sound of grinding metal that pierces the silence of the night, the door comes away from it's rusted frame.

"Geez, I hope the security teams didn't hear that," Jenny says staring into the dark of the plant. "But at least that should get Caleb's attention" she added tapping out a message on her PocSec.
 player, 146 posts
Mon 4 Apr 2022
at 19:25
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
"Yeah...ten minutes." he offered as kind of excuse and shrugged. It was not a lot of time, it was true, and part Grendel was a little disappointed that their wayward Orcs were not on the other side of the door.

He stared into the industrial hallway as his eyes adjusted, his thermographic vision outlining the cool interior as he advanced, unarmed and at a hurried pace into the plant itself.

Precious seconds were ticking by, and he began to wonder how fast they could make it back to the hovercraft at a dead sprint.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 863 posts
Tue 5 Apr 2022
at 03:10
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
"They're coming. Caleb says no more than two minutes." Jenny replies.

They arrive just in time for you to spot emergency lights over by the main building. Looks like the East Bay Plant maintains there own on site emergency response crew and they are on the way to your fire.

As the would be terrorists run up, there are a trio of flashlights in the dark behind them.

"We had a bit of company," Caleb says running past, "Where is your wheels?"
 player, 147 posts
Tue 5 Apr 2022
at 03:26
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel's U-turn proves far slower as he is forced to slow his hulking frame and rebound off the wall in an effort to catch up with the fleeing Caleb, the lights in the distance jostle and flash chaotically as they group flees pell-mell towards the relative safety of the open air and the awaiting Hovercraft.

That is, if Rhodes was still there?

"The beach" Grendel cast a wary look over his shoulder. "Dead ahead, can't miss it". It was not like there were a lot of Hovercrafts drifting around.

He shot a look to Jenny. There were on the home stretch, but could they make it in time?
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 866 posts
Thu 7 Apr 2022
at 17:34
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
The orcs, followed by a human you can only assume is St Clair, break out into a dead sprint toward the beach. As you and Jenny join them, the flashlights inside close in on the door. Approaching the hover, the wail of sirens is drowned out by the fans. On the cargo deck, Jackie is motioning for you to hurry and helping the orcs up over the air cushion.

As you pull yourself on board, Jackie shouts something incomprehensible but his message is clear. He points out to the bay where the lights of a fast moving patrol boat can been seen making its turn around a nearby point.
 player, 148 posts
Fri 8 Apr 2022
at 04:10
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Ass the rag tag group pounded down the beach with the silhouette of the hovercraft waiting for them, Grendel felt a profound relief that washed over him and nearly brought tears to his eyes.

The fear that they were going to be left behind, that the Dwarf would bail on them after the drones, and the pursuers from the Plant, and everything else that was going on had been oppressive, and only now as it dissipated did he realized just how much he had dreaded the possibility.

He was reminded of childhood games with the other Trolls, there was often a space ship, or a car, or something else that was leaving...and they would dramatically run after the pretend vessels while their friends "heroically" reached out with extended hands to drag them on board. It was a common enough trope on the trids, but later in the quiet hours of the night he would wonder if Nomad kids in particular have some kind of deep set primal fear of being left behind.

The troll pulled himself aboard with his long limbs, and spotted the running lights of the patrol craft. This boat was probably manned, and probably armed, potentially with something a lot heavier than the minigun the Rhodes had installed.

But what choice did they have?

Grendel acknowledged the patrol craft with a nod and moved to man the gun again.

How much ammunition did it actually have on board he wondered?
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 872 posts
Sun 10 Apr 2022
at 06:24
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
The hover makes a tight turn, kicking up a cloud of sand that whips at your pursuers as they hit the beach. Blinded and buffeted by the powerful turbines, there is no credible threat from them, in fact it even seems likely they wouldn't have been able to get a good look at you as you speed off into the waves.

You don't fare so well with that patrol boat though. The small, sleek little speed boat is a lot more nimble and quicker than the cumbersome cargo hover. Its closing in fast, as you keep it in the iron sight on the old Vindicator. In dark across the chill of the water, you can clearly make out the cool steel outline of some sort of gun mounted to the bow of that fast moving boat in pursuit.

Maybe your minigun has a longer range than whatever that is mounted on the bow... take a shot now and see if you can make them back off?

Or wait until you now you can hit them... how much are they willing to risk it once their little boat starts splintering apart around them?

 player, 149 posts
Sun 10 Apr 2022
at 18:23
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
As the swift patrol vessel grew nearer Grendel saw it resolve itself against the black of the frigid Pacific, he could see the tell tale outline of the barrel, maybe a little pocket of heat near the back of the weapon, something electronic perhaps.

Although the Troll would never have thought of it, the same upbringing that had caused him to be sparing with his ammunition with the Drones was the same mindset that held his fire now, one did not waste ammunition, it simply was not done, it was too valuable for things like "ranging" shots.

And so for better or for worse he allows the patrol boat to draw nearer, the hull becoming easier to distinguish, the grip of the Avenger growing warm in his hand.

Of course all around him was the deafening roar of the fans, the spray of the sea, the undulation of the hover craft. There was the knowledge that the cabin was now packed with people, vulnerable people, and that they were messing around with high caliber weapons here. A single solid shot could strand either of them, or send them floundering with their crews splashing in the bitterly cold water. Worse, it could rip through an occupied compartment, spreading death in its wake.

Despite all this, some small part of Grendel reveled in it all. Here he was, the wind whipping at his hair and coat, the sea spray on his skin, with a mini-gun in his hand. He thought of men crewing the great sailing warships of old, or vikings lining the edge of a longboat ready to board.

This would be a story worth telling, if they made it out in one piece.

Grendel will hold fire until he is sure of his shots.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:23, Tue 12 Apr 2022.

Mr. Johnson
 GM, 879 posts
Sat 16 Apr 2022
at 20:10
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
The gunner on the patrol boat does not show the same restraint and fires a couple of ranging bursts that splash harmlessly into the waves. Clearly corporate security does not maintain the same degree of resource stewardship as the Black Rock Clan.

As far as you can tell, Rhodes has this pop-up fitted with a heavier gun, which means you should be able to out-range them for a few bursts before the speed boat is close enough to target the hovercraft's air cushion.

Floating over the chop, sights trained on the narrow bow of your pursuers...

Rock and Roll 13:53, Today: Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Grendel, rolled 5 using 2d6+2 ((1,2)). FAIL Take 1XP

...the gun spits a few rounds and falls short, looks like you misjudged this one slightly.  As you struggle to find your range, the fast moving boat closes in and opens fire.

Threat move Deal Damage
Patrol boat cannon: +5 / Burst Fire +2 / Dmg 7 split between Grendel and Hovercraft

Grendel: Dmg +4 / armor -4 / AP +1 / 1 dmg
Hovercraft: Dmg +3 / armor -2 / / AP +1 / 2 dmg

Grendel [X] [X] [X] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
G-12 Hovercraft [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Feeling the static in his mind as bullets gouge into his hull, Rhodes urges the hover to move faster and careens into a tight turn to avoid the next volley...

Make it Rain 14:05, Today: Mr. Johnson rolled 2 using 2d6 ((1,1)). Snakeeyes something bad happens.

...but the fans stall and you are dead in the water for a long moment while he struggles to bring them back to life.

Back in the crew compartment, the radio chatters: Attention... unidentied vessel ... you are in contravention of a security cordon ... any attempt to power your vessel and resume course will be met with lethal force ... prepare to be boarded...
 player, 152 posts
Sat 16 Apr 2022
at 21:00
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
An icy wave of dread washed over Grendel, a full reversal of the elation he had been feeling just a few minutes prior.

With the roar of the fans dead and the gunfire stopped, with the stabbing searchlights and the distorted voice over the speaker, it had all taken on a sort of trapped and nightmarish feel.

Was the Hovercraft truly dead in the water? Had they hit something vital? Were they really trapped?

Who was manning this patrol craft? How many crew did it have aboard? Were they heavily armed?

And the most important question of all. Did they surrender now and take their lumps?

Or did they fight, and risk it all?

The Troll shot an uncertain look towards the cabin, not panicking yet, but his heart begining to race. He could not run from this one, even if he had been willing to leave all the others behind.

He stepped away from the gun, his mind racing, still unsure about what he would do exactly.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 887 posts
Sun 1 May 2022
at 21:37
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
The hovercraft rocks gently on the waves as the patrol boat slows its approach.

You're pretty sure they are in range now. A short burst at the waterline might slow them down or make them think twice about boarding...

...but you're a sitting duck out here...

...and glancing back at the cabin, you see the would be terrorists inside checking their SMGs...

...these corp cops are in for a rude awakening if they try and board you...

You have a few moments to come up with a plan to fight your way out and either convince them this is too tough a nut to crack or get ready to repel the boarders.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 900 posts
Wed 28 Dec 2022
at 20:19
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
During a quick parlay in the hover craft cabin:

”Priming the fuel pumps on a small rotor drone I’ve got stashed in the hold.” Rhodes says flatly, gazing at nothing in particular through dull eyes, clearly focussed on something else happening in his control rig.  ”Give is a little extra firepower to keep them away while I try and figure out the problem with our engines.”

”Frag these corpos.” Caleb growls angrily, cocking an AK-74 while the other would be terrorist teens nod their assent. ”These are the same corp scum that won’t dip into profit margins to clean the water in Orkland. Keep feeding us poison. Killing our kids. Hell with ‘em, let’s see them spend their cred from the bottom of this polluted cess pool.”

”Lay off the MPA drek for a sec,” Jenny replies coldly. ”Those people in that boat don’t make those decisions. They’re just a handful of wage slaves who get paid to dodge bullets to secure corporate interests. Killing them solves nothing and only feeds the corp news propaganda machine that keeps regular folks from hearing our side of the story.”

St. Clair sits quietly through the family squabble then chimes in, ”Perhaps we could consider a more nuanced approach? I’m happy to get onto the radio and say whatever you think will make the security forces back off. I’m not a high level executive, but they do have protocols for dealing with hostage situations. They should try to minimize personnel losses for the company. It might buy some time and prevent some bloodshed.”

Long bomb: use the chain gun and Rhode’s drone to keep them off of you long enough to get the hover up and running.

Short game: let them try to board, there are five trogs on this tin can… they’re gonna need a small army to take this thing in a melee.

Hail Mary: let St. Clair try to bluff his way out of this, or use the threat of violence against Shiawase personnel to make the corp cops back off.

 player, 154 posts
Sun 1 Jan 2023
at 18:14
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Even through the adrenaline of the moment, Grendel felt a pang of apprehension as Caleb cocked the assault rifle.

This would be bad enough without a huge body count, and they were not here to die on this hill, they were here to get him off it, after he had waded waist deep into  something that would be spun as terrorism.

"Jenny's right" Grendel said over the noise. "This is bad enough without a bunch of...body bags showing up on the feed." he spat the word and turned. "How about we tuck in and let them try to board? I figure it's fifty fifty in a fire fight, but up close?" He let the question hang. "And it might keep a few more holes out of Rhodes ride." He pointed out.

Going with Short Game
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 910 posts
Mon 2 Jan 2023
at 02:33
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Rhodes is getting closer to restarting the stalled engines, but needs at least another ten minutes. Jenny and one of Caleb’s crew secure St Clair in the cabin and prepare to hold it as your last line of defence.  Caleb and the other would be terrorist follow your lead and find spots to hunker down and wait to ambush the patrol once they come aboard.

Without the roar of the fans, the sound of waves lapping against the hull is almost soothing.  The engine of the fast moving patrol boat soon drowns out the quiet as it closes in on the disabled hovercraft.  The boat does a slow pass, a trio of security personnel keeping automatic rifles levelled at the abandoned deck, getting a look before they make an attempt to take the hover by force.

The emergency channel drones incessantly, Prepare to be boarded… any attempt to resist will be met with deadly force… Prepare to be boarded…

The boat draws alongside and the three-man team come aboard cautiously, weapons at the ready…

Concealed among crates and using the pop up turret as cover your presence on the hovercraft deck is undetected by the patrol. You have the drop if you choose to attack.
 player, 155 posts
Mon 2 Jan 2023
at 03:39
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel crouched in the dark, a concept that was inherently different to a Troll than to the human eye. He could see the bones of his hand flex, the shifting skin, the blanching of the blood around the knuckles.

Ten weeks he had spent in a tank, ten weeks of his bones sucking up that calcium phosphate and collagen slurry and putting on layer after layer of the stuff until every one, from the dome of his skull to the tip of his little finger was suffused with the stuff. Ten weeks of conditioning tendons and ligaments, of buffing up layers of cartilage, of drug induced haze as the microfractures from the explosion filled in and healed over.

Long story short, Grendel had one hell of a jab. The arm itself was heavier, the bones of his knuckles more dense, the shoulder blades that anchored the muscle ossified.

He waited, heard the squeak of a boot still wet from the spray of the waves, a nervous exhalation, and he launched himself wordlessly over the turret in a smooth athletic bound.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 912 posts
Mon 2 Jan 2023
at 19:04
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Vaulting yourself over the turret is no small effort and you’re pretty sure you pulled the hasty sutures over your bullet wounds, but your attack has the desired effect. As your fist smashes the guard’s face, he crumples into the steel deck plates. Your target drops like he was hit by a meteor.

Caleb and his teenage orc pal aren’t quite as efficient. Four heavy boots tromping across the deck plates alert the corp cops; these two could use some practice stalking peryton up in the mountains. A burst of SMG fire goes wide as Caleb dodges the bullets but manages to tackle his target. The other orc is just too slow and is still a few steps away from the last cop…

Grendel [X] [X] [X] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
Orcs (Pair) [/] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Security (1) [/] [/] [/] [/] [/] [ ] [ ] [ ] - stunned
Security (2) [/] [/] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] - grappling
Security (3) [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

 player, 156 posts
Thu 5 Jan 2023
at 19:33
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Grendel barely even felt the impact, through the dint of adrenaline or the sheer volume of meat and bone the Troll simply barrels on.

His broad bearded head whipping to the side, braids trailing he clambered along the deck using the occasional hand hold as he made for the guard that will still free standing, and still firing, amidst all the chaos.

Trying for a grapple on Security 3
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 915 posts
Sun 8 Jan 2023
at 17:47
[December 2059] H2Ostage Situation
Horns down, you charge headlong into the corp cop…

23:15, Yesterday: Mr. Johnson, on behalf of Grendel, rolled 9 using 2d6+2.  Rock and Roll. Weak success

Option 1:
…making your tackle just as a wave catches the hovercraft. You both tumble to the ground grappling and you smash your shoulder into the deck.

Deal 3 Stun, Take 1 Stun, grappled

Option 2: Edge Bump
…taking down the corp like a pro. The cop is pinned underneath you.

Use Edge, Deal 3 Stun, grappled

In the last round, I missed the Stun Grendel picked up flipping the Americar in the parking lot. Damage track should have been:
Grendel [X] [X] [X] [/] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]