Results from Previous round votes:
3 Vote: Plan Nevile on SV
1 Vote: Plan CCC on my blog
Morning: Seek Warband Members
Afternoon: Investigate Acquaintance: Grower
Owner Action: Investigate Acquaintance: Replayer
Builder’s Action: Investigate Acquaintance: Smasher
Day 16 Log :
5 AP at start of day (4 at end of last day +1 for half night’s sleep)
-2 for Seek Warband Members (3 AP)
Roll 7, +1 for success (4 AP)
-2 for Investigate Acquaintance: Grower (2 AP)
Roll 4, +1 for success (3 AP)
Owner: Investigate Acquaintance: Replayer
Roll 6, success
Owner: Investigate Acquaintance: Smasher
Roll 6, success
End of day, 3 AP
Recruit Warband Members:
“I know your dreams,” I told them, “For they were once my own.”
I gestured as I said it, just a kind of vague hand waving motion that they could interpret however they wished.
The Ultras of the Yard looked up at me, a figure silhouetted against the sky, a speaker towering atop the barrier that they could not cross. I had no doubt they’d come up with a suitably imperious meaning for a simple wave of my hand.
“You dream of glory, glory won in this place. You dream that those within will look upon you with favor, and invite you to share in our riches.”
This time the gesture took both hands, as I brought them together on the word ‘riches’, miming a grasping or grabbing motion.
“You are right to dream of this, my sisters!” I cried, raising my voice as I made my appeal. “Right to desire entry to this place. For this is the heart of the world, the hub it all revolves around.”
I gave them a conspiratorial grin, exaggerating the motion wildly to make up for the fact that they were a good distance away.
“All good things,” I quoted, “come to Shington. All the riches of the world, all authority and all might, flow from this place, and nowhere else.”
I reached down to my side and lifted up a can of Owner’s booze, an old world delicacy utterly unavailable to these poor souls, and drained it right there in front of them.
My eyes widened as it burned, and I narrowly averted a coughing spell. I hadn’t actually had all that much to drink in recent months. I probably should have replaced the liquid in here with something milder.
“All good things,” I continued, “and you.”
I set the glass down and pointed, letting my finger wander from one to the next as I monologued.
“You, the hungry ones. The strong ones. The young ones. You have so much to prove, and the way is so narrow. I know this, and you know that I speak true, for I myself but recently walked this narrow way.”
I brought my other hand back up as well, pointing out people on the other side of the square.
“This is your chance. This is your moment. The glory that you sought, that you’ve striven for, killed for? It can all be yours! I am the Warlord of the Regime, and I have come here today to witness your valor.”
Clapping and whistling greeted this proclamation, Ultras shaking fists and standing alert before me.
“Show me what you’ve got!”
I took my seat then, slumping back into the chair that I’d appropriated from Subtracter’s proxy.
It was a good thing that I’d brought along more of Owner’s refreshments, because the morning that followed was spectacularly boring.
I sat. I watched. I took the pledges of the worthy.
When all was said and done I had 17 names for my warband, seventeen Ultras to lead into battle.
Their gifts were simple and straightforward. Ultra strength, Ultra speed and Ultra toughness predominated among them.
Unsurprisingly their levels were mediocre, to be generous. None of those who had the potential to be invited on their own merits had taken my offer, for roughly the same reason that I’d never signed on with the last Warlord.
It was a crap gig. If they fought well, then I would be rewarded. If they fought poorly, then they died. My recruits were a mixture of those desperate enough to leap at even this chance, and those dim enough not to understand the nature of the gamble they were undertaking.
It was a start.
I knocked on my bedroom door, then waited a discrete interval before stepping inside.
“How’d it go?” asked Owner, tossing me a canned drink.
“Not badly,” I told her. “Not great, exactly, but not bad.”
“Grower agreed to join up?” asked Builder, wrestling one of her shoes away from Napoleon.
“I didn’t officially extend the offer,” I said, “but she expanded on the ‘you call, I’ll come’ promise that she gave last time. She is absolutely down to be a member of my Posse, she’ll fight alongside us if we pick her.”
Owner went over to the white board, checked off ‘willing’, by Grower’s name.
“How about…” she asked, moving the marker over to ‘capable’.
I gave a simple nod, taking a sip of my drink, only to immediately spit.
“Owner, this is diet soda!” I protested.
She just looked at me, bewildered.
“Diet soda was a kind of poison we used on rats,” I told her.
“Anyway,” I said, ignoring the temptation to blend the ‘cheap’ out of the soda, “Grower is capable and clever. I feel like, in time, she might well have succeeded to my position. She hasn’t made any mistakes that I know about.”
“What’s she asking for?” asked Owner, tapping the marker against the whiteboard.
“Nothing in particular,” I told her. “She is probably planning to move up into this position when I move out. Prevailer often finds things for successful Warlords to do, which would leave an opening for Grower.”
I gave them both a meaningful look.
“Oh, yeah, that’s no problem,” said Builder. “We obviously couldn’t ever be the warlord. If we pick her we’ll let her know that she’s next in line.”
“She’s really ok with being paid totally in the future?” asked Owner.
“Remember I gave her a blend,” I told them. “She’s already benefitted greatly from my patronage. She intends, I believe, to keep on doing so.”
Owner checked the ‘capable’ box, moving her marker along to ‘powerful’.
I pursed my lips.
“She’s…” I paused.
“She’s probably fine, right?” said Builder. “She’s ultra tough, and that growing power can be totally lethal.”
I massaged my forehead.
“It can, sure, and there’s the obvious synergies with both of your gifts. But it can’t beat Ultra toughness, and her own toughness isn’t all that high, and the blend I’ve given her isn’t exactly Ultra speed, it’s more…”
I trailed off, holding out a hand to the side, wobbling it back and forth.
Owner nodded, sadly, and moved the marker down to the next row.
In the privacy of my mind, however, there was one more box, and with some reservations I checked ‘moral’ off for Grower. I didn’t think she shared my own sympathies, didn’t think she’d ever join KEM or the Resistance, but as far as I could tell she didn’t go out of her way to be brutal to the humans. It factored into my decisions.
“How about Replayer?” I asked Owner. “How’d your meeting go?”
“I like her,” she said, immediately. “She’s cool. She threw cans up in the air and shot them, and, like, it was amazing. She juggled them with bullets.”
“You like everybody,” complained Builder. “A test that no one can fail isn’t terribly useful.”
That was a surprisingly good point, coming from Builder.
“Let’s go down the list,” I said.
“She’s willing,” I continued, remembering our last discussion, and the offer that she extended. “but I’m not sure how capable she is.”
Owner nodded along at that.
“Yeah,” she said. “I hear that. After the show she had to ask me where she could get more bullets. I don’t think she thinks stuff out ahead of time much, or, like, at all.”
“Was she maybe trying to trick you?” I asked, “Giving you the wrong impression?”
“I guess,” allowed Owner.
I doubted it, though. I remembered her offer to gun down people in the streets of the Lair, an offer which, if accepted, would almost certainly have led to her immediate death.
“She was, like…” Owner paused a second to pick the word, “sort of carefree, yeah? Like she kind of just lived in the moment, or whatever.”
I moved the marker along.
“Powerful is easy,” I said, checking it, “She’s got Ultra speed, ultra strength, and something that more or less doubles for Ultra toughness. On paper she’s one of the finest combatants in the Lair.”
“Did she reveal anything about her rewinding power?” asked Builder. “Like, did you maybe suggest she use that to get her bullets back, then see what she said.”
“Oh,” said Owner, “That would’ve been really smart.”
Inside my mind I left the ‘moral’ box unchecked. Anyone who would commit mass murder to prove a point wasn’t operating on any ethics that I could coexist with. The two of us were enemies, although Replayer didn’t know that.
I looked over to Builder.
“Did you have any better luck than I did with Smasher?” I asked.
She chuckled at that.
“It could scarcely have gone worse, maybe if I found her dead or something? Nah, it went fine.”
“Do tell,” I directed her. “What is she like when she’s sober.”
“Morbid,” said Builder. “I never really noticed it during the Ultra Fights, but this girl is seriously sad.”
“Oh yeah?” asked Owner.
“No question,” said Builder.
She took a deep breath, catching it in her throat to produce a sort of ‘fake cry’ kind of voice.
“When I…when I look at you, or at other Ultras, it’s like I see all the people who died, the people who died for our gifts! Like, why is it us who gets to live, huh? Why didn’t we die with them? Waaha Waahaha!”
“She’s depressed?” I asked.
Builder gave a helpless shrug.
“I was gonna go with wacko, but that sounds like a fine word for it. She hates herself, hates the rest of us. She is an Ultra who thinks the whole concept of Ultras are, like, wrong or whatever.”
I nodded along.
“You think that’s why she self medicates?” I asked.
“Also because drugs make you want more drugs, right? But yeah, I think the root of her problem is that, going by what she told me, her whole family took the Process together, she was the only one who made it out.”
“I see,” I said.
“It was apparently a long time ago,” continued Builder, “But, like, she doesn’t seem to get over it or whatever, she just keeps beating up herself about it.”
“Did you talk to her handlers?” I asked. “They seemed to have her best interests at heart, when I went there.”
“Yeah,” she said. “That was a good tip, I wouldn’t have thought of talking to the humans if you hadn’t suggested it.”
Of course she wouldn’t.
“They tell me that there’s a sort of schedule. They give her different pills, a little time with Blisser, that kind of thing, when they need to get her ready for an Ultra Fight. People kind of bend over backwards to accommodate someone with Ultra Strength three, so she’s always had the clout for it in the past.”
“Oh,” said Owner. “That’s great news. It sounds like if we just need her for the one battle, we can have them ramp her up for it, right? Like, it’ll be just like an Ultra Fight for her.”
I quirked my lip at that.
“But she wouldn’t be helping us in the meantime, wouldn’t be interviewing people or gathering soldiers, wouldn’t really contribute anything but fighting on the day of.”
Mentally I went through the boxes.
Willing, sure, or rather, the concept really didn’t have meaning for her. I could get her to fight, I was pretty sure, as long as I set it up far enough in advance.
Capable, hah. Not remotely.
Powerful, yep, Ultra strength three. If I wanted to throw a mountain at Ar Harbor, it was on the table.
Moral, yeah, actually. It sounded like she might be a little TOO moral, actually, but she clearly felt keenly the central injustice of our times.
“So that’s all of them,” said Owner, after a little pause. “Which one do you think we should invite, Blender?”
Days remaining: 14
AP available: (3 at end of day + 1 for 6 hours sleep) = 4/10
Timeslots available: 2, morning and afternoon
Builder Timeslot Available: afternoon
Owner Timeslot Available: afternoon
Posse: 2 out of 3 slots filled
Force size: 17
(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
Replayer — 1/2/0, she can ‘step back in time’ to undo damage that she takes
Smasher — 3/0/1, a woman who is billed as the strongest Ultra fighter of all time
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
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
[ ] 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.
[ ] Acquire Funds [Timeslot cost 1]
Description: Owner takes action to get more and more valuable assets within our world, increasing her overall funding, hopefully permitting her gift’s actions to be swifter and larger in impact. (Requires Write In clarification on how to do this)
[ ] Change Company [ Timeslot cost 1]
Description: Owner presently runs a package store, located in downtown Washington. She has, as near as I can estimate, a low six figures saved up. With this action I can direct her to acquire licenses, expand locations, purchase other businesses, or perform similar deeds, all based around changing the operation and activities of her imaginary franchise. (Requires Write In clarification on how to do this)
[ ] Company Action [ Timeslot cost 2]
Description: This is a catchall action for anything I might think of that could let Owner impact the main battle in Ar Harbor. Buying up local real estate and demolishing it on a certain date seems like the obvious course of action, but there are a lot of other fringe ideas that I’ve been entertaining. [Requires Write In clarification on how to do this. The first Action spent on this is about Owner doing tests to make sure this effort will work, the second actually kicks off whatever changes I want in the imaginary world.]
[ ] 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.