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Old 02-24-2017, 08:27 AM   #21
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Huh. Were I Taylor I'd have gone for the exposed groin kick to stun the behemoth, but then a broken shin ain't nothing to sneeze at neither.
Maybe I did a poor job describing poor Terry. The point was that Taylor could see at a glance that the criss-crossing scars over his entire body and various imperfectly healing crippling injuries were probably intensely painful. Just moving around would have hurt Terry incredibly and it looked like the accumulated damage from years. The odds were that pain was such a default state for Terry that it was probably extremely hard to stun him simply by causing him pain.*

So Taylor decided to go for structural damage. He did try a knockout blow, but man, Terry has one tough skull.

*GURPS terms, Terry was 99% likely to have High Pain Threshold, making it hard to take him out with any one attack, unless it caused unconsciousness or crippled a limb he needed.
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:35 AM   #22
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

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The odds were that pain was such a default state for Terry that it was probably extremely hard to stun him simply by causing him pain.*
Copy. You're assessment sounds more spot on. I did miss those clues.
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Old 02-24-2017, 08:13 PM   #23
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Default Black Holes and Revealations

Taylor escorts Robert the Orderly and Cindy to the others, aiming to take them to the blast door and help them find a good place to hole up. When Bob and Cindy see Sherilyn Bell, however, they both react with startled fear. Bob raises an improvised weapon to defend himself and Cindy runs away in uncontrollable terror.

Bob the Orderly: "What's she doing here? She did this, man! She's been ----ing with their minds. This is all her fault. She's some kind of witch."
Taylor: "Ms. Bell is an inmate here, but we're taking her away with us. She's being transfered to the mainland. I dunno what you think she's done, but she's not going to harm you now."
Bob: "You've no idea what she's like, man. She turned them into animals. They were good men, decent men. She played with them for fun."
Sherilyn Bell [giggles]: "Oh, shush. I just poked a few sensitive spots, they're the ones who couldn't handle a little teasing and went all cray-cray. And they were mean to me, anyway. So there!"
Taylor: "Right now sure ain't the time to figure out whose fault anything is. Fact of the matter is that the guards are trying to kill us. Anything else is for later."
Col. Burr [agitated]: "Hold on there a minute, Taylor. Sir, can you tell me more about what Inmate Bell did to these guards?"
Bob: "Just get away from her. She's poison. I'm not staying anywhere near her. I'm going to find Cindy, hide again. I'll be in the men's room."

Taylor gives Sherilyn Bell a look of mute appeal, nodding his head toward a corridor on the other side of the cellars, leading to the ladies' room. Sherilyn sighs, but moves for the ladies' room. Taylor wishes Bob good luck, thanks him again for agreeing to hide the two survivors they found in the tunnels, and then reminds him to keep calling the Coast Guard. Stay close to an exit from the tunnels and the radio ought to reach.

Just as Taylor is moving back, he can hear someone walking around on the ground level above them. He motions for silence and stalks up the stairs. He scouts around on the ground floor for a while, narrowing down the source of the sound, and then hears a voice calling from a stairwell that leads upstairs to the upper floor of the next wing: "What's going on down there? What's going on? Are you down there, Bender? Why are the guards running around with guns? Was there an escape? A riot?"

Taylor [softly]: "I'm not Bender, but I'm a friend. We're from Homeland Security. We'd like to help, if we can."
Voice from stairwell: "Who are you? Roy is upstairs looking for some federal agents. Does he mean you?"

Taylor can hear multiple agitated people upstairs, probably two floors up rather than one, whispering and speaking in low tones amongst themselves. They are not moving around much. He also hears someone calling down the stairwell for 'Jimmie', asking who he's talking to down there.

Taylor: "Reckon he may. Would Roy be a guard, now? Why doncha ask him real polite like to come down here and talk about this?"
Orderly in stairwell: "Hey, Roy! There's a federal agent down here, wants to speak with you."

Taylor closes his eyes and mutters 'Dear Lord' to himself. He hears Roy, upstairs, shout a curse and then start speaking into his radio.

Roy: "I've got them! They're here, H Wing, stairwell! I'm in the low-sec rec room. Come quick, all units, all units! Damn it, answer me! They're right here. Acknowledge!"

Taylor grins. Jamming. The Good Lord giveth and the Good Lord taketh away. Then he runs to a side wall, jumps up and launches himself from the wall, kicking against a wooden support pillar and reaching up to grab the railing on the third floor. He swings himself over it in an athletic motion, landing in front of an astonished guard standing some seven yards away. He's fiddling with his radio, but immediately goes for the can of Mace in his belt. Taylor deduces that Roy hasn't yet visited the armoury and is still equipped with standard psych ward kit. Then he rushes in for a tackle, baton held in two hands.

Roy is quick on his feet and manages to avoid taking a baton to the neck. He can't avoid a shoulder check to the chest, though, and is driven back a couple of feet with a painful grunt. Evidently, though, Roy is used to a little rough and tumble, because he responds by spraying Mace at Taylor's face. Taylor redirects the can to the right with his baton, avoiding the spray by stepping in close. Then he traps the arm with his baton and transitions to a rear choke hold before Roy knows what is happening.

As Taylor lowers Roy to the ground, he notices that he's in a large common area with plexiglass cells opening out from it in both directions. H Wing is the lowest security wing and there are more than a dozen patients watching, as well as two orderlies. One of the patients grins at Taylor and strikes a kung fu fighting pose as he utters what is no doubt supposed to be an Asian exclamation.

Taylor: "Right, hoss. It's a little bit frightening. But don't worry. I'm here to help. I don't hurt people if can avoid it."

Surprisingly, the orderlies don't immediately panic and seem willing to hear Taylor out. It seems that they had been growing suspicious of the increasingly unhinged behaviour of the guards for a while. Taylor explains the situation again to the orderlies on the third floor and suggests that they might want to take cover with Robert down in the cellars until he can bring some help. Look for the men's room.

If the patients are not unmanagable, things might be safer for them down there, too. The guards seem to be panicking now that their crimes are coming to light and there's no telling what idea they might have for a coverup. Unfortunately, their best bet might be faking a riot and that means that all the patients could be at risk from guards desperate to save themselves from the consequences of their actions.

When Taylor comes down again, he's carrying yet another unconscious guard on his back. Taylor gives O'Toole a meaningful look as he gently places the guard down next to Dr. Anderson. A rough translation of the look might be: See? Notice how I'm not killing anyone when I don't have to? Taylor explains about the people on the third floor and asks if Dr. Anderson and Cam Townsend might be willing to guide those who want to hide in the cellars down there. There's a lot of agitated people up there, many of them have psychological problems and all of them would welcome some explanations.

Meanwhile, Sherilyn Bell is making a chemical mixture on instructions from Dr. Anderson. She's wearing the duty belt Taylor gave her at a rakish angle and looks rather incongruous in a white shirt too big for her, hospital blues under it and a red 'Bama cap. Taylor moves to her and asks if she minds him adjusting the belt. She grins teasingly and leans into him, but Taylor carefully avoids any sexual connotations as he fits the belt properly to her waist.

He's whispering into her ear as he does it and to O'Toole, watching surreptiously, the intimacy contrasts strangely with Taylor's stiff avoidance of any contact with sexual connotations. It's obvious to anyone with eyes that Taylor is strongly attracted to her and O'Toole has read the intelligence files on the long-ago friendship between the two, which by all accounts was chaste by Ms. Bell's will, not Taylor's.

Taylor was obviously asking Ms. Bell about the allegation that Robert the Orderly made. She turns around and interrupts him angrily and O'Toole feels safe that neither of them will notice him approaching a little closer, enough to her their low, but intense voices.

Bell: "I was so alone. So afraid. And you left me." [pointing accusingly]
Taylor: "I know, Lynnie. And I'm so sorry. There ain't nothing I can say to make that right..."
[voice breaks, silence for a while]
Taylor: "I'm not accusing you of anything, Lynnie. Far as I'm concerned, they had no right to lock you up here. You were illegally detained an' that's no better than kidnapped. Anything you did... anything done to you, anything that happened here, none of it was your fault. It ain't on you. You didn't choose it. You didn't deserve it. Whatever you did to defend yourself, to try to survive, no one has any right to condemn you."
[Taylor's eyes fill with tears and he hugs Ms. Bell tenderly]
Taylor: "It's not your fault. None of it is. I'm so sorry, Lynnie. Sorry for everything."

Dr. Anderson, witnessing the scene as he escorts a group of patients past, notices that Ms. Bell's distress, while no less evident than Taylor's, is either exaggerated or entirely faked. Of course, lack of affect could be a symptom of long-term abuse and seeking validation through psychological manipulation would be an entirely plausible coping mechanism for someone with Ms. Bell's history.

Emotional manipulation has ugly connotations to many people, but in truth, it was a rare human being who could avoid having relationships characterised to a greater or lesser degree by manipulative behaviour, though most prefered to use alternate terminology than the value judgment laden 'manipulation' in the case of themselves and their loved ones.
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Old 02-25-2017, 06:05 AM   #24
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

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As someone who also writes up campaign sessions, and knows how much work that really is, I'd like to let you know how much I appreciate your efforts. I'm enjoying this, immensely.
This is an incredible amount of work. I can't believe how slowly writing up session goes, compared to how quickly events progress in play.

We had an amazing session last night. I am officially so far behind events in my write-up that I feel like an ancient historian. And I shudder when I think about how many 10,000 character posts will be required to write-up the five hour session. Four scenes of character-establishing long talky-bits, two investigation and tracking scenes, three stealth and suspense scenes, one action scene, a planning scene, a medical drama scene and an interrogation scene.
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Old 02-25-2017, 06:47 AM   #25
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

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This is an incredible amount of work. I can't believe how slowly writing up session goes, compared to how quickly events progress in play.
Reducing the level of detail on the talky-bits can help to speed things along.

Unless you are using a tape recorder and a speech recognition writing program.
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Old 02-25-2017, 08:38 AM   #26
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

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Reducing the level of detail on the talky-bits can help to speed things along.
You mean like the DCEU?

Thank you, thank you. I'm here all week. Try the veal.

More seriously, the inter-personal relationships of the PCs and Cherry Bell, as well as various uses of Acting, Body Language, Diplomacy, Fast-Talk, Psychology (Applied) and Sex Appeal between the characters are probably of greater significance to the campaign than what happens in action scenes.

Well, barring death, crippling or imprisonment for violent crimes after the events, of course. But even then, two out of three PCs are seriously on the fence whether or not they want to try to flee from the handlers at Onyx Rain, becoming fugitives from the entire US federal government.* So the consequences of talky scenes can be just as dramatic as being shot or stabbed.

Chase Taylor's feelings for budding super-villainess and thinly-veiled Harley Quinn -expy Cherry Bell, herself obsessed with presumed arch-villain Raul Vargas, will probably drive his character arc. And the fact that Cherry Bell's powers have allowed her to intuit that Danny O'Toole believes himself to be the son of Raul Vargas is going to have dramatic consequences, though so far, we don't really know what kind of consequences.

So far, Dr. Anderson is less invested in any specific outcome than O'Toole and Taylor. He's extremely curious about Ms. Bell's abilities, however, and would greatly regret not getting a chance to meet more of his former test subjects from Project Jade Serenity, so he seems to be in favour of friendly relations with both Ms. Bell and our handlers at Onyx Rain, if it's possible to achieve such a thing.

*We're assuming that even if someone didn't commit serious crimes before running, Onyx Rain would not hesitate to lie to US agencies in order to ensure that a PC with superpowers who fled was caught or killed.

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Unless you are using a tape recorder and a speech recognition writing program.
Heh, no. Working off memory.

For the first three sessions, I recapped parts of them for O'Toole's player, as he missed parts of each session while putting his daughter to sleep, so I had partial notes of dialogue and events. For the rest, I'll have to get it down quickly, before I forget anything important.
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:04 PM   #27
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Default In the Name of the Queen?

Taylor held Ms. Bell in his arms long enough for Dr. Anderson and Townsend to finish dealing with the patients and orderlies. Col. Burr and O'Toole tie the three captured guards up, taking care not to exacerbate Ball's severe injuries in the process. Col. Burr works with swift, sure motions, demonstrating calm competence with applying improvised restraints. After they've secured the guards, Burr and O'Toole stash them in the supply closet.

Dr. Anderson hoped that Taylor was restraining himself from making any sexual advances toward Ms. Bell from motives of sound judgment and professionalism, considering Ms. Bell's obvious proclivity toward manipulative behaviour, documented violent history and the serious situation which made it imperative to avoid distractions.

Unfortunately, judging from what Dr. Anderson could remember of young Chase Taylor from psychological evaluations at Project Jade Serenity, Taylor was rather more likely to have found some way to frame the situation in his own mind so he could feel guilty for his feelings. Outdated as Freud might be, that boy really exhibited a classic Oedipal complex. Loathed his father, worshipped all women in a creepy Madonna-Mother kind of way and inevitably came to associate sexual attraction with guilt.

O'Toole's analysis was more succinct and pragmatic. I'm stuck in a horrorshow Gothic asylum on an isolated island where the evil guards want to kill me, at best, if they don't want to eat me as well. The people on my side include a criminally insane narcissist who's got people convinced she's a witch and the lovesick murderer with Green Beret training she's manipulating so he'll do anything for her. Wicked pissah.

When Taylor notices that everyone else is standing around awkwardly waiting for him and Bell to join them, he lets go of Bell, clears his throat and wipes tears off his face before turning toward Col. Burr and Dr. Anderson.

Col. Burr: "We're going to need to discuss the accusations against Ms. Bell."
Taylor: "No, Colonel, we really don't. I done told you she was illegally detained and we ain't got time to care about whether the fascists who kidnapped her were happy with their captive."
Sherilyn Bell: "And they took my magazines away!"
Col. Burr: "I'm not talking about about that. I'm talking about mind-control."
[Sherilyn Bell puts her fingers on her temples and makes a buzzing sound]
Taylor: "Oh, please. You know as well as I do that for a unit to go this bad, it's never one thing. It's a few bad apples, it's festering resentment and rivalries, but mostly, it's poor leadership. A beautiful woman might cause jealousies and clashes, but there was obviously plenty wrong on Jewell Island before. Don't you go blaming it on someone who never should have been sent here in the first place."
[Col. Burr glares at Taylor, but lets it drop for now]

Dr. Anderson starts by admitting that he seems to have gotten his cellars confused. Supply closet, rather than armoury. It's been a long time since his residency here at Manhanock Asylum. Dr. Anderson can't promise that he can lead people to any armouries in the main complex. He is certain, however, that the guards will keep weapons in the armoury in their barracks. There is a short discussion about whether to continue with the plan of heading for the armoury, in light of this new information.

As Dr. Anderson claims that he knows a tunnel that leads to the cellars of the barracks, we eventually agree to continue as planned, but with a small adjustment. To reduce the odds that a large group of guards will be at the barracks, we'll leave some booby traps around to fix their attention on G Wing and make them reluctant to move around too fast while searching. Most of the survivors will stay in the cellars and tunnels under H Wing, but we'll take Vicente Berrocal with us in the wheelchair, because we were afraid the guards might kill him immediately if they found him. Now that we've seen his DHS ID in good lighting, we are aware that he's not an actual Special Agent, but in light of the fact that he might be working with Raul Vargas, he is an important witness.

We decide that most of us will leave immediately for the tunnel leading to the barracks, with Taylor remaining behind to rig traps. Taylor asks Dr. Anderson for some help with his pyrotechnic chemicals. After some consultation, Taylor starts rigging traps around the doors on the ground floor. Nothing lethal, but trip-wires that deploy the mixture that Dr. Anderson made, which should be pretty startling, if nothing else. Suddenly, there is a hollow tinny noise from a device on the wall. It seems that Warden Tyrrell has given up on radios and is speaking from the intercom.

Warden Tyrrell: "My faithful Knights. I regret to inform you that the traitors continue to elude us and some of our brothers may even have been treacherously slain. These traitors stop at nothing to steal that which is most precious to us, our beloved Queen. Their treason shall not prosper. Their perfidy shall be punished. We will save our Queen from the traitors who have stolen her. Your King expects every Knight to do his honourable duty. For our Queen!

Taylor rushes everyone into the tunnel and then goes up to the ground floor again, making sure that the traps are prepared. Then he presses the intercom button. Taylor: "What is your Gosh-Darned problem, Warden Tyrrell? We're from Homeland Security. Banks and O'Toole are federal law enforcement officers. And Ms. Bell left of her own accord. As she oughta been free to do at any time during the last seventeen years, 'cause y'all keeping her illegally detained, you jack-booted thugs."

Warden Tyrrell starts sputtering curses and threats of dire retribution. At the first break in his angry tirade, Taylor cuts in with: "You done? Or you got any more empty threats to make? You know where I am, if you fixin' to show you're more than just the jackboots."

Taylor then runs for the blast door in the cellar. He rigs the Mace can he took from Guard Roy so that if the door is opened, it will hit the spray button and hopefully hit whoever opens the door in the face. As he finishes, he can hear a door being kicked in and multiple men entering to shouted orders and footsteps from combat boots. Sounds like the guard force Special Response Team.

Taylor smiles wryly as he notes that they're entering from the other side of the building, not the one he trapped. If they search the ground floor, however, the odds are that they'll encounter the tripwires and pyrotechnic mixture, which ought to slow them down and make them cautious in any future searches.

Taylor jogs lightly in the direction that Dr. Anderson told him to take. It's not completely dark down in the tunnels, though the difference might be mostly academic to the average person. Probably Dr. Anderson could explain where some light is getting through, if Taylor gets a chance to ask him.

The way through the tunnels to the barracks is relatively straight-forward, though it does lead through a wider main tunnel that connects several smaller access tunnels to different wings. Taylor has no difficulty catching up to Cam Townsend and Col. Burr, taking turns pushing the wheelchair with Berrocal. He lightly taps Col. Burr's shoulder, causing Burr to jump slightly, and smiles re-assuringly to him and Townsend. Then he moves forward without speaking, smiling to the others as he passes them, taking up position as point man again.

Dr. Anderson guides them to a small service tunnel, where it's hard to move the wheelchair. It leads to another massive door. O'Toole starts working on it and gets it unlocked and unlatched with a series of clicks. Burr, O'Toole and Taylor take up position for dynamic entry and try to ease the door open. It moves a few inches, but then sticks.

After trying to silently budge it for a while, we decide that there is something in the way. Taylor removes his duty belt and takes a deep breath, making himself as small as possible. Then he squeezes into the small opening, dislocating his left shoulder with an audible pop. A few seconds later, there are the sounds of boxes being moved out of the way and Taylor opens the door (while doing his best to pretend that he's not in considerable pain).

The cellar is full of boxes. Tools, spare parts, survival gear, camping gear, canned food, MREs, medical supplies, night-vision gear, binoculars and everything that a platoon of survivalists might need for the end of civilisation. Everything but weapons and ammunition, but we hope that these are in the armoury, which Dr. Anderson says is located on the floor where we ate dinner with the guards earlier.
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Old 02-25-2017, 06:24 PM   #28
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
This is an incredible amount of work. I can't believe how slowly writing up session goes, compared to how quickly events progress in play.

We had an amazing session last night. I am officially so far behind events in my write-up that I feel like an ancient historian. And I shudder when I think about how many 10,000 character posts will be required to write-up the five hour session. Four scenes of character-establishing long talky-bits, two investigation and tracking scenes, three stealth and suspense scenes, one action scene, a planning scene, a medical drama scene and an interrogation scene.
One reason I wait for awhile before I do my write-ups is because it helps me filter down to the things that are really important. I include more detail than I originally intended, but I don't try to capture conversations, as you do.

That would make my session reports even larger, and they're already huge.
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Old 02-25-2017, 08:51 PM   #29
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
One reason I wait for awhile before I do my write-ups is because it helps me filter down to the things that are really important. I include more detail than I originally intended, but I don't try to capture conversations, as you do.

That would make my session reports even larger, and they're already huge.
That's a good point.

On the other hand, there is some utility for me in having a record of word-for-word interactions from the sessions, as it makes it easier for my PC to have his dialogue echo sentiments or phrasings from prior conversations.

Does dialogue add anything of value for forumites reading or would they rather have the action move along rapidly, brushing past talky scenes with more broad strokes?
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Old 02-25-2017, 09:15 PM   #30
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

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Does dialogue add anything of value for forumites reading...
Tremendous value... but I'm not sure if my increased enjoyment is worth your trouble and time.


One reason I semi-suggested recording and talk-to-text speech recognition writing software (something I've thought about for keeping 'permanent' records of my game sessions). I'm just not sure how difficult that would be to set up and even if easy, would it really decrease the workload of turning it into a play synopses?
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