Results from Previous round votes:
Plan CCC on my blog
[X] Investigate Ally [Owner] (Converting to Investigate Acquaintance, since Owner isn’t an Ally yet)
[X] Seek Information on Snitcher’s patterns
-[ ] By Passive Listening
[X] Builder: Investigate Acquaintance [Joker]
Day 12 Log:
8 AP at start of day
-2 for [Morning] Investigate Acquaintance [Owner] (6 AP)
Roll 10, Critical Success
+2 for Success and Alliance (8 AP)
-2 for [Evening] Investigate Snitcher’s patterns (6 AP)
Roll 4 Weak Success
+1 for Success (7 AP)
End of day, (7 AP).
Builder investigates Joker
Roll 4, Weak Success
Investigate Acquaintance: Owner
“Explain it to me again,” Owner asked.
“You have beer now,” I said. “People like that. You’ll get more credit cards, you can use that to make more stores, or bigger ones, or whatever you want. It isn’t that complicated.”
“I get that much,” she said, “But why is it a ‘package’ store now? Shouldn’t it be, like, a beer and candy store?”
“That’s just what it was called,” I said. “Package stores sell liquor and other stuff. Adding one in to your gas station is a win.”
She shrugged, not ultimately all that curious. Owner’s gift, I’d often thought, should have made her a lot more interested in the old world than she had turned out to be.
“So, about how long till I can do that thing you were talking about before? With, like, franchises and stuff?”
I grimaced, trying to decide what level to answer that on.
“It shouldn’t be long, “ I said. “You are getting credit cards in our world for each can, which are loaded with thousands and thousands of dollars. I don’t know how your gift is simulating the world you are working with, but, my guess would be, I dunno, maybe a week before you can open up a second place?”
She nodded, looking across the room to where Napoleon was innocently drawing nearer to packet of peanuts we’d left out.
“Would that…” she trailed off.
I looked back to her, raising an eyebrow but not saying anything.
Instead of responding directly she got up and took a few quick steps, using her foot to hacky sack the peanuts up to her hand.
Napoleon’s head rose, eyes following the packet every inch of the way.
“Would it help you?” she asked. “Do you and Anna need another package store somewhere, to help with your warlord stuff?”
I raised an eyebrow.
“Builder, I mean,” she said. “We were talking last night about how dangerous it was gonna before you. I didn’t really realize it before.”
I looked over at her, not really having anything to say about that.
“Like, is it true that the last couple Warlords got killed by these clowns?” she asked.
Napoleon, fooling no one, turned innocently away from Owner, walking away towards the other end of the room.
“Sure,” I said. “But from what I’ve learned there were extenuating circumstances. I’m way safer than the others.”
“Why?” she asked.
That was a bit of a poser. I knew the answer, but it was hard to figure out exactly how to phrase it to her. I pondered it for a few seconds.
As I did that Napoleon’s latest strategy became clear, as he trundled back into view, bearing Owner’s shoe firmly clasped in his mouth.
“I’m taking it more seriously,” I finally settled for.
“Huh?” she asked. “And the others didn’t?”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “They just…they just sort of sleepwalked through the roles of what they thought they were supposed to do, from how I can figure. They didn’t think about how to win, just about doing what they were supposed do, not doing anything they would get punished for. It is, well, it’s a mindset problem.”
Owner looked at me, skeptically, then turned her eyes back to her epic stare down with my pet.
“But you didn’t even know them?” she asked.
“Not their mindset in particular,” I said. “It is the prevailing mindset of the times. Ultras nowadays are…” I searched for the word.
Owner relented to the inevitable, dropping the peanuts down onto the ground.
“Careless,” I finally decided on. “They act like everything is already decided, already measured out. I heard that Picker, of all people, died off last night without even fighting back.”
“Heard?” she asked, as Napoleon released his hostage and moved to take his prize.
“Well, saw,” I admitted. “Sorry, force of habit.”
“Well,” she said. “If there’s anything that I can do to help, will you let me know?”
“Sure,” I said. “I’ll be sure to ask Anna.”
Investigate Snitcher’s Patterns
I adjusted my position on the edge of the Company Facilities cafeteria, staring fixedly into a book that I was paying absolutely no attention to.
When I’d first gotten here there’d been a zone of intimidation, a wide cordon of unoccupied seats around me, the grace that the common Ultras granted to the Warlord.
I’d done nothing to dissuade them, just sat down and carefully, inoffensively, turned the pages of a random old world novel. I let time do the work for me, making a mark or two in the book as I overheard what I was looking for.
As the hours crept by, and I did nothing whatsoever, ebb and flow of the patrons gradually erased that zone. One after another the seats filled up, until I was just another face in the crowd, unremarked and unremarkable.
It made it easy to listen in.
I hadn’t chosen this Facility at random. Snitcher was mostly known for the leash that his gift kept on the upper echelons of the Regime, of course, but it had another role, and that was the one that I’d be targeting this afternoon.
Humans who wanted to climb the ladder, or weak Ultras with nothing better to do, could visit him, could voluntarily link their senses to him. They gained nothing out of it, officially, but everyone knew that his favor was upon them, and to mess with the Snitches might draw Her ire.
I’d asked around, nothing obvious, just a random aside here and there in the midst of other conversations, and an obvious pattern had emerged. Most of Snitcher’s clients simply continued living their lives as per normal, but a certain select few changed their behavior immediately after joining his crew.
Pretty young woman, dark and slender, invariably relocated to a certain building, near this area, and were generally observed to prosper thereafter.
This was the nearest Company Facility to that building, to Snitcher’s weird second hand harem, and its occupants were a frequent topic of conversation.
Over the course of four hours where I’d been able to listen in on 6 tables I’d heard a dozen mentions of the pretty Snitches. Common wisdom had it, or at least the common wisdom of this particular cafeteria, that they were never to be seen before noon, and that when they dragged themselves in, early in the afternoon, two or more of them were usually disheveled in a particularly suggestive way.
That was about what I would have guessed, if I’d been put to it.
Snitcher’s schedule, after all, was twinned to Hers. Prevailer, of course, had no constraints whatsoever on the timing of her activities, and she’d always struck me as basically lazy.
Put that together, and I figured that She was generally active in the afternoons and evenings, meaning that Snitcher would be at Her disposal during that time. If he was going to arrange any private amusement it would most likely be during a time that She was least likely to interfere with his fun.
In turn, that meant that I was unlikely to have my senses ridden during the morning. It wasn’t for certain, of course, wasn’t something to bet my life on, but it was enough. I had certain protocols that I’d long established, with KEM and the Resistance, certain ways of making contact that would minimize my chances of being caught.
There was no way, of course, to hide yourself fully from someone who could steal your senses. But given a time when he’d be mostly distracted, when the most I should have to fear was the occasional flicker of his presence, there were things I could do. Writing a note without looking at it, one letter at a time. Speaking code phrases to several contacts, each time delivering only an innocent partial message. It could be done.
It would be done. I’d worked alone for too long on this. If I wanted to make the boast that I’d given to Owner earlier true, if I wanted to ‘take this more seriously’ than my predecessors, then I would need to gather the support of the human allies who’d taken me this far.
Debrief Builder [Investigate Joker]
“So,” I told Builder. “Tell me about Joker. How did your interview go?”
I’d cleared out the house so that she wouldn’t be eating constantly this time and thus she answered me straight off.
“I mean, it wasn’t exactly, like a formal deal or anything. We’ve both worked in the Ultra Fights for a long time. I just had her over and let her know my new situation.”
“What’d she think?” I asked.
“She thought it was pretty daring of me. I didn’t tell her about how I’m bulletproof now, so she probably just thinks I’m gonna get shot. She tried to pressure me to finish up some stuff for the league before we set out.”
“Not so sentimental then?”
“Joker made her brothers take the Process at the same time she did, at gunpoint. She’ll do anything.”
“Did you get any more details about her gift?” I asked.
“Yeah, yeah,” she said. “Though that’s mostly from knowing her so long. She might have been, like, hiding her best stuff all that time or whatever.”
“Sure,” I rejoined. “Just give me the highlights.”
Billy came in, brought her a packet of chips. The little traitor.
“Ok, so, it is really easy to get hung up on her special gift, right? Like, to think of her as the girl who does disguises. That’s what the audience mostly does.”
She fondly ruffled Billy’s hair, let him run on back out.
“But, like, remember she has Ultra Speed two, ok? That’s ridiculous. You don’t get just how fast that is. I don’t get how fast that is. It is ridiculous. She is, like, so fast.”
“Ok,” I said. “I’ll try not to forget that. Do you have any more qualified descriptions? Like, so many miles per hours or something?”
“Yeah,” she said.
I waited for her to elaborate on that, only to hear crunching noises instead.
I drummed my fingers while she finished up the bag, looking away as she licked the salt off of the inside.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“SO FAST!” she said, spreading out her hands for emphasis.
That was just great.
She could tell from my impression that I wasn’t super impressed by this information, so she moved on to the next point.
“As far as her disguising power goes, I know a lot more stuff about that.”
“Let me guess,” I returned, somewhat drily, “Is it SO GOOD?”
“Yep!” she answered. “She has to touch someone, skin to skin, before she can change the way that they look, but it only ever has to happen once.”
I nodded, not terribly surprised.
“So she could change you?” she said.
“Yeah,” she answered, “Sometimes they had me be other people. She put her gift on me a bunch of times.”
“How long does it take to switch?” I asked.
“It is instant,” she said. “She can do as many people as she wants, change them whenever she wants. As long as she’s touched them.”
“Where do the disguises come from?” I asked. “Can she only make people look like someone that she’s already seen, or maybe touched?”
She shook her head.
“It can be whatever she wants. We had her make people look mad wounded a lot. Or she can just like change hair color and stuff.”
“Impressive,” I responded. “Does it have any weaknesses?”
“Oh, yeah, no doubt. It isn’t real. The disguise is only visible, it isn’t like, gonna be there if you feel for it. It doesn’t do sound or smell either. And it goes away if she goes to sleep.”
That was a significant weakness, meaning that long term infiltration for someone hidden by her gift would be extremely inconvenient.
“Is that it?” I asked.
“Yeah, that’s about all I can think of about her gift,” she answered.
“Did you sound her out about joining up?” I asked. “Like we talked about?”
“Sure,” she said. “She kind of treated it like a joke when I asked about it, made gun shooting motions at me. I think she has the same worry that I did, you know? That she might get shot.”
“Do you think that she’d join up without that worry?” I asked.
“Probably,” she said. “Everyone in the league was basically on board for your team, right?”
“That they were,” I said.
“I dunno,” she said. “She might have more conditions or whatever, if you talk to her yourself. I wasn’t sure she was taking me totally seriously, you know?”
“I’ll consider it,” I answered.
Days remaining: 18
AP available: (7 end of last day + 1 for 6 hours sleep) = 8/10
Timeslots available: 2 (morning, afternoon) + special action available with Owner
Builder Timeslot Available: 1 (afternoon)
Posse: 1 out of 3 slots filled
Force size: 0
(Ultra format: Role, Ultra Strength/Speed/Toughness, other gift description)
Builder — 0/0/0, a woman who can alter objects for miles around into other things, blessed with a ‘Bulletproof’ blend
Owner – housemate, 0/0/1 operates an imaginary firm, with real effects on the world,
Maker- Friend, and protégé of Snitcher, 0/0/1, can summon the spirit of things
Clawer – Ultra fighter 2/0/1, melee combatant, deadly hooks for hands
Stopper – partner of Clawer, 0/0/0, steals form’s velocity by looking at them
Sticker – Did dentistry for her brother, 0/0/2, Creates slime, can choose its stickiness
Grower – 0/*0/1, an outside Ultra I sponsored into the Lair, has a bullet blend from me, can rapidly increase the size and mass of objects
Joker — 0/2/0, a woman who can change what other people/herself look like
Masher- Enemy, and fellow protégé of Subtracter, 3*/0/3*, trades off strength and durability as she moves or stays still
Picker – First Fist protégé, 0/1/0, ‘selects the outcome of things’
Tracker – Running buddy, 1/0/1, Creates tracks, and can move things on them
Shower – Adder’s protégé, 1*/0/1*, gains strength and durability from witnesses
Echoer – Singer I am a fan of, 1/1/1, can duplicate any action that she sees
Bubbler – Operates Ultra clinic 0/0/?, traps things in bubbles that heal and move them
Sucker — Ultra entertainer, ?/?/?, pulls objects/people towards her at incredible rate
Gunner — 0/0/1, she shoots tracking Ultra Blasts at roughly Ultra Strength One
Chiller — 1/0/1, can freeze any object she touches, leaving them brittle and easily broken
Cutter — 1/1/1, she is a brutal front line combatant
Smasher — 3/0/1, a woman who is billed as the strongest Ultra fighter of all time
Swimmer — 1/0/1, she can ‘swim’ through solid surfaces
Burner — 0/0/1, she can summon Ultra fire from anywhere that she can see
Maxxer — 0/0/0, she can augment the gifts of other Ultras, pushing their gifts
Puncher — 1/0/1, her strength and speed both go up when she repeats her movements
Replayer — 1/2/0, she can ‘step back in time’ to undo damage that she takes
[ ] Invite Owner into Posse (Timeslot cost: 0, AP Cost 0, auto success)
Motive: Owner has more or less volunteered to join me, no more work is needed to get her onboard. I already trust her to watch me while I sleep, and her gift and Builders have some intriguing synergies. She can feed Builder, she can probably get a company car or even helicopter to fix my transport problems. There’s a lot to like about the idea.
Concerns: She would be a second member of my posse with no particular combat gifts. Ultra toughness one doesn’t particularly terrify the world. She will also probably do me any particular favor I need without having to be part of my Posse, I might want to save my slots for people who aren’t already well disposed to me.
[ ] Contact Knights (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, returns 1 on success)
Motive: My recent actions have opened up the possibility of collaboration with the Knights of Purity. Their assistance could be valuable, insofar as they don’t count towards the Regime’s ridiculous rule against outnumbering our enemies, and I might be able to acquire some of their blessed equipment if I play my cards right.
Concerns: I don’t know if I really want to be associating with such a group. KEM wouldn’t mind, but the Resistance would pull away from me, and I might end up coming into contact with Second Fist or their sponsored Ultras. It is likely that anything they might want from me would be rather evil.
[ ] Seek Transportation
-[ ] Scavenge (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)
Motive: My current transportation sufficed for me in my troubleshooter role, but I will likely require a larger vehicle, or several vehicles, in order to bring everyone to Ar Harbor. I can seek to find something in the suburbs and surrounding towns.
Concerns: Leaving Shington could be dangerous, and I am far from guaranteed to find a bus or truck suitable to my needs, as the area has already been heavily scavenged.
-[ ] Trade with existing owners (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: As above, but instead of fixing up ruined vehicles I’ll negotiate to get them from their current owners.
Concerns: Snitcher may disapprove of a warlord being civil
-[ ] Seize by force (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)
Motive: As above, but instead of asking my contacts for vehicles I’ll just take what I want. My role as warlord and my Tally should minimize resistance
Concerns: People like their vehicles, and won’t like the one who takes them. I will make enemies.
-[ ] Seek Transportation [Adder + Company] (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: As above, but Adder can use his gift to make something for my purposes, and the Company can duplicate it and make it permanent.
Concerns: Adder and I are not close, he may decline to aid me, owing to his rivalry with my sponsor, Subtracter.
[ ] Seek Target Information
-[ ] Company (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: The Company logs every Ultra they create. Their Ar Harbor records would be useful information
Concerns: Ultras migrate and conceal their gifts, this information would be incomplete
-[ ] Subtracter (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: Subtracter is the military leader of the Regime, she will have information on this target
Concerns: Subtracter is stupid and violent, I don’t like to be around her
-[ ] Survivors (Timeslot cost:1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: There have been 2 other attempts at Ar Harbor. I can seek out and question survivors in the outer city.
Concerns: I may be unable to find any survivors, and I may be misled by liars.
[ ] Seek Posse Members
-[ ] wander & gossip, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: There are dozens of powerful Ultras in the Lair. I know only the barest fraction of them. I can learn the basics on 1-6 of them in a few hours of socializing and gossiping, opening up in depth investigation options on them and adding them to my list of acquaintances.
-[ ] At Ultra Fights, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)
Constraint: Only available in the afternoon or night on days divisible by 4 (day 4, 8, etc)
Motive: There are dozens of powerful Ultras in the Lair. I know only the barest fraction of them. I can learn the basics on 3-12 of them in a few hours of socializing and gossiping at this kind of event.
Concerns: Ultras associated with the Fights are more likely than most to be melee combatants.
[ ] Seek Warband Members
-[ ] At the Yard, (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: The Lair is surrounded by hundreds of Regime Ultras. The strongest come to the Yard to show their power and appeal to those like me, who would give them purpose. I should be able to gather between 5 and 20 Ultras of such caliber.
Concerns: I will need to provide housing and direction to these Ultras, or risk them wandering off. I can expect to spend at least an action a day on them, and training them might well eat up more. Ideally a Posse member will be tasked with this.
-[ ] [Gang name] From a Gang, (Timeslot cost: 2; AP cost 5, refunds 3 on success)
Motive: The Ultras that surround Shington are organized into Gangs dozens strong. If I can recruit such a force I might have my whole Warband right there.
Concerns: These Ultras likely already have patrons in the Lair, who I would need to negotiate with. Their leader would also likely want a place in my Posse, and she would be the primary locus of their loyalty until I’d had time to win them over.
[ ] Investigate Acquaintance:
-[ ] [Name], (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success, 2 if we become allies)
Motive: I can spend some serious one on one time with an Ultra I’ve chosen, evaluating the capability of their gift, the alignment of their values with mine, and their basic ccompetence. If all checks out, I might move them into my Ultra Allies column.
[ ] Invite Ally into Posse:
-[ ] [Name], (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 3 on success)
Motive: If I want to bring an ally into my posse, get them to take actions on my behalf and rise or fall with me, this is the way to do it. I will only take this action on those I’ve already made allies, and once this has been taken it is difficult to undo.
Concerns: Posse members are most of the way into my circle of trust, and will operate on my behalf, representing me to stranger. A mistake here would be dangerous and damaging. I should be careful before taking this step, potentially investigating a prospect several times.
[ ] Seek Information on Snitcher’s patterns
-[ ] Passive listening (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 1, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: Snitcher can ride my senses at any moment, and bring Her along. If I am ever to contact my KEM allies, my resistance allies, or show any kindness or weakness whatsoever, I need to understand when this is likely to take place. Gossip can hint at this, particularly if I carefully steer conversations. This action would be mostly undetectable, even if he was riding me when I took it.
-[ ] Active interrogation of Snitches (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 2 on success)
Motive: As above, but rather than listen for random gossip I will seek out other linked individuals and directly ask them how often he rides their senses, and what actions he has reacted to in the past.
Concerns: More likely Snitcher notices this, unknown consequences of that.
-[ ] Confront Snitcher Directly (Timeslot cost:1; AP cost 4, refunds 3 on success)
Motive: As above, but take the simplest possible route. Go to Snitcher and ask him for the deal.
Concerns: I am sponsored by Subtracter, not Snitcher, he may not wish to aid me. He may demand favors or other services in exchange for the information.
[ ] Seek Information on Regime military operations
-[ ] Ask Subtracter (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 3, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: My life depends on doing this right. I need to get a basic understanding of what She is expecting from my attack on Ar Harbor. Do I need to seize the Company Facility? Kill all the enemies? Are there any constraints on how I go about it? Subtracter is the leader of the Regime’s military, and my sponsor, she will know these answers.
Concerns: Subtracter is stupid and brutal, and she killed my neighbors, I hate spending time with her.
-[ ] Ask Around (Timeslot cost: 1; AP cost 2, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: As above, but ask survivors of previous missions instead of my evil boss.
Concerns: My predecessors may not have told them everything, their views of their missions may omit certain command level details that I need to worry about.
[ ] Relax and Recuperate
-[ ] By visiting Blisser (Timeslot cost: X (slots spent until AP reaches max), AP cost 0, returns 3 per time period. DANGER, this action may cause addiction)
-[ ]By lounging around, (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 0, refunds 1 on success)
Motive: I could do with some rest.
-[ ]By patronizing entertainment areas (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 1, refunds 3 on success)
Motive: I could do with some rest, and I might learn some things by socializing
-[ ]By using my gift to repair the city (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, refunds 5 on success)
Motive: It needs to be done.
Concerns: This is not becoming behavior of a warlord, Snitcher may take notice, and people may talk
-[ ]By using my gift to heal people (Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 1, refunds 5 on success)
Motive: This is why I have my gift.
Concerns: This is not becoming behavior of a warlord, Snitcher may take notice, and people may talk
[ ] Organize Armory [Timeslot cost: 1, AP cost 2, returns 2 on success)
Motive: I carry, in my backpack and on my person, various items to blend with if the need arises. I am overdue to look through my setup and take an inventory, once that is done I could seek out new objects if I am missing anything useful.
[ ] Seek new residence [ Timeslot cost: 3, returns 1 if successful ]
Motive: I could get a lot more done if I got a full night’s sleep
Concerns: Owner and I have guarded one another’s rest for a long time. I wouldn’t necessarily be able to trust a new person to the same extent.
[ ] Action: Other (Timeslot cost: x, returns x if successful)
[ ] Assign Assassination mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 3, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]
Description: KEM are the only humans who fight back on a consistent, day to day basis. We’ve come up together, they and I, and pointing them at my foes is only common sense. If I give them a target, then I trust them to make a good faith effort to put that Ultra down. Their odds of success, of course, vary wildly depending on how much info I can provide, and the gifts of the Ultra in question.
[ ] Assign Information Gathering Mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 2, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]
Description: The humans are the ocean in which the Ultras swim, the saying goes. The Resistance’s capacity to gather information about Ultras is unsurpassed. If I give them a target, then they will give me every bit of public information on the target, and often times a little bit more. Ultras are people, after all. I believe this with all my heart. And people trust other people, even those that they ultimately shouldn’t. I can assign as many targets as I wish, but the more I assign the less details I will probably get, and the longer it might take.
[ ] Debrief Information Gathering Mission [Timeslot cost 1, AP cost 0, returns 1 on success, can only be done in the morning, uncertain Snitcher risk]
Description: The information that the Resistance gathers is worthless if I never regain it. Using protocols I’ve worked out ahead of time, and my recent discovery of Snitcher’s habits, it should be possible for me to take the Resistance’s reports with minimal risk. I expect I should give them a day or two for local targets, and possibly as much as four for targets in Ar Harbor or further afield.
[ ] Repair Structure [Timeslot cost 1]
Description: Builder can repair most any structure any structure in just a few hours, spreading broken portions back into place and generating new matter as needed.
[ ] Construct Known Structure [ Timeslot cost 1]
Description: Builder can construct any easily described structure with the same ease that she repairs them. Her present education limits this to extremely primitive structures, but that might well be changeable.
[ ] Construct Known Items [Timeslot cost 1]
Description: Builder’s gits aren’t limited to buildings. If she can get a perfect understanding of an objects, and samples for every component, then she can form any items that I might desire. The easiest way to accomplish this, of course, would be to provide her with a sample.
[ ] Memorize Patterns [ Timeslot cost 1]
Description: Builder’s gifts are heavily limited by her imperfect education. The more patterns I can get her to learn, the more she can construct from any given material. If I provide her with patterns or specimens I’m pretty sure she can memorize them and add them to her arsenal.