Results from Previous round votes:
2 Votes plan CCC
[Morning] Train the warband in combat with Mist around their feet
[Afternoon] Practice with Builder (see below)
[Owner] Purchase street maps of Ar Harbour, and the area between here and there. Her street maps won’t be perfectly accurate in this world, due to not showing roads that are no longer in repair, but they should still prevent us from getting totally lost en route.
[Builder] Practice the combat uses of her skill. I get hold of a bunch of balls (the polystyrene “particles” used in that museum should do) and throw them at her; while her job is to use her Gift to stop them after I let go but before they hit, largely by making them grow ‘sails’ or other bits in mid-air.
The aim here is for her to practice using her Gift on small, moving targets while under time constraints. This will be a useful skill under both a union ambush or an attack by the Tank.
[Smasher] Afternoon: Train the warband in combat.
Day 27 Log :
7 AP at start of day (6 at end of last day +1 for half night’s sleep)
-2 Train warband with smoke machine (5 AP)
Roll 9, +1 for success (6 AP)
-2 Practice with Builder (4 AP)
Roll 3, +1 for success (due to Builder’s roll), (5 AP)
Builder Train for combat use of her skill
Roll 10, success
Owner: Purchase Street Maps
Roll 9, success
Smasher: Train the Warband in combat
Roll 6, success
End of day, 5 AP
Train the warband in smoke impaired circumstances:
A single month’s training, or not even that, would never have been considered enough in the old world. Expertise took ten thousand hours, or something similar, and even a simulacrum thereof wouldn’t come quickly.
I knew this, I did.
But it was still easy to look over the warband and think about how far we’d come. Their ability to follow directions, their fighting spirit, and even their ability to integrate the exotic tactics and stratagems we’d planned felt like it had come leagues and bounds.
I had to remind myself that the proof was in the pudding. I’d never seen them kill en masse before, and this new training had never been truly put to the test. I’d given them a few weeks of discipline and instruction. I probably hadn’t truly changed them.
But damn it felt like we had. They had no trouble with the smoke machines, running through all of their drills while the ‘haze’ settings output pooled around their feat. They dodged imaginary gunfire, kept track of sight lines, engaged imaginary enemies and performed as well as I could’ve imagined.
Thinking that, however, put another chill up my spine.
As well as I could’ve imagined.
If they had little to no experience in group fighting, how much less did I have in orchestrating it? I’d never led a group of 50 Ultras into battle against an equivalent force on prepared ground. I’d barely even spoken to someone who had.
Should I have spent more time with Subtracter? The woman was a vicious brute, she’d stolen my life away, but if I put all that to the side could I have gotten more out of her experience? She was one of the few living who’d done what I was about to do.
Long practice kicked in and I stopped second guessing myself, pushed instead of second guess the second guessing. I had asked her things, had gotten minimally useful replies, and a loathsome task. Her experience would have hinged on her gifts, which I lacked entirely. Advice from her would have taken the form ‘fly rapidly around kicking everyone’s heads off until She appears, then lick her boots.’
Nonetheless, it was easy to fall into such patterns. I’d had a month. Looking at my warband, I thought I’d done pretty well, but had I done well enough? Was there ways I could have done better? Would it be sufficient?
Tomorrow, King Arthur would tell me the answer.
Work with Builder on training her gift in combat:
“This isn’t working,” I told her.
Builder didn’t say anything, but the brand new black eye made her agreement more than obvious.
“What’s going wrong?” I asked. “Balls only fly because they are shaped for flying. If you can just make them have protrusions that are a different shape they should miss.”
“You are throwing the balls too fast,” she complained, in a monotone voice, “Like I told you at the start, and again after the first hour!”
“No one is going to gently toss weapons at you,” I retorted, heatedly, “They are actually going to try and kill you. We are talking about arrows, bullets, or at the very least slings and thrown rocks. I’m not exactly a trained pitcher, here. If these are too fast for you then you aren’t going to stop anyone who is trying seriously!”
She held up both hands in a congratulatory gesture.
“Ex-act-ly!” she said, “I’m not a combat Ultra. I made that clear to you when I joined up! My conjuration isn’t like Adder’s, it takes time for things to manifest. Even a brisk walk makes it hard for me to put something on someone. Something at any kind of pace? Forget it!”
I scowled at her, trying to figure out how to motivate her.
“And shouldn’t your gift be protecting me?” she complained. “That hurt a lot, and I know Ultra strength doesn’t go along with projectiles.”
“I made you bulletproof,” I told her. “That has nothing to do with thrown objects.”
She pulled a face.
“It’s how my gift…”
Ok, yeah, I got the irony.
“Look,” I said, “I’m not pressing you because I enjoy it. Or because I’m trying to emphasize how you much you depend on us or anything. You know me well enough to know I’m not about that. I’m trying to save your life. We are going into battle. Tomorrow you will live, or you will die.”
She looked up at me.
“Throw again,” she said.
I grabbed the museum prop, took aim.
Life wasn’t a movie. You didn’t suddenly get better at something just because you needed to. I drew my hand back to throw, already sick with the certainty that the ball would fly unhindered, would slam once again into my friend’s form.
I threw it.
Or, at least, I tried to.
But something had joined my hand to my waste, and something else had grown rapidly across my eyes, a sort of stone visor.
“Shit!” I snarled, moving a hand up to push the visor aside.
Builder had moved, while I’d been distracted, and was now hunkered comfortably down behind the couch.
“That wasn’t the drill!” I objected.
“You said to stop the objects, well, they move too fucking fast. So I stopped the stationary target. Best I could do.”
I chuckled, dropping the prop down to the ground alongside the powdery stone she’d built up on me.
Life wasn’t a movie. But movies were made by people, people drawing on their life experiences. Desperation wasn’t magical, didn’t give you new capabilities that you’d never had before. But it was certainly inspirational, and, on the right day, if you were lucky, it might let you make better use of the abilities you already had.
“You already know how my part went!” said Builder, cheerfully.
Owner shot me a dark look from where she knelt at her side, a cold cloth pressed to the bruise around her face.
It was possible, I’d allow, that I’d thrown the props a bit too hard.
“And yours, Owner?” I asked.
“I didn’t beat up any of our friends, if that’s what you are asking!” she fired back.
I looked over to Smasher, finally invited to a briefing, letting Builder settle Owner down a bit.
“Training’s going well,” said Smasher. “They were all talking about your morning thing, so I put them through their paces, tired them out. Stuff went pretty good.”
I grinned. I could tell that things had gone well because Smasher had arrived without her characteristic haze of alcohol. I had no idea how long her straight edge my last, but we’d been lucky enough that it got her to the edge of the battle. If it went one more day she’d actually fight alongside us.
“I got your maps!” interrupted Owner. “They are great. And I didn’t just get the ones of the Old world either?”
I looked over dubiously.
“I also bought maps based on what the situation might be if, say, there’d been a few decades of decay and urban war. It didn’t cost me anything to try, and my gift came through!”
I still figured the maps of the old world, or at least of Owner’s version of it, would be more useful, but there might be something of worth in these. Worth a look, anyway.
“I’ll check them over,” I said, “Now get some rest. Tomorrow is a big day.”
Walter Note: The battle will be more than one update long. You are deciding on your initial approach in this week’s response.
– We attack on the 28th. The only person who finds out about this early is Prevailer, who gets to discover this on the 25th. On the 26th, those members of our Posse that we can trust not to blab find out.
-On the 28th, Smasher and the warband find out. Preferably while being herded into the trucks.
– Merlin’s invisible troops are, of course, invisible. They are also carrying Knight equipment. Picker’s assassins carried Knight equipment. Hmmm. But what the Knights are asking for in exchange for the use of their equipment is morally completely reprehensible. I can’t countenance that, and would lose my Resistance contact if I did. (I would deserve to lose my Resistance contact if I did that. I would be truly a monster.)
– I need to bear in mind that Merlin and Arthur might have empowered the same people. That is to say, some of Merlin’s invisible assassins might have Ultra Strength, or Speed, or Toughness. They’re already hitting above their weight – on top of that, they may actually have some weight to hit on top of.
– Another option for dealing with Merlin is to take advantage of KEM. I know where she lives, what she can do and who she cares for; leaving that report on Merlin in the right place should be enough to get her killed outright. However, I shouldn’t use KEM on more than one person. Merlin is a greater threat than Guinevere.
– Third option – use Owner to demolish Merlin’s house in the middle of the night (buying and demolishing the property).
– Fourth option – take advantage of Builder’s stuff-stretching ability to ensure that our confrontation happens in an ankle-deep flood. Even invisible people can be seen walking through ankle-deep water – if nothing else, by the foot-shaped hollows in the water.
– We hope the KEM managed to take out Merlin, and we further hope that doing so reversed her Power’s effects. However, if not, we have a multipronged strategy against those invisible troops. Firstly, Merlin herself is killed quickly – sniper bullet, if necessary (no showboating here). Second, a smoke machine may make invisible people visible, and a laser can blind their spotters, effectively making them ineffective on the field.
– Guinevere is easily handled. I need merely imbue my Posse with fireproof; after that, Smasher can take her out easily. (Ankle-deep water should mess with her, too, by extinguishing a lot of fires).
– Lancelot and Arthur are unlikely to be trouble in the final confrontation.
– That giant Union tank, on the other hand, is a problem (and not a small one). But Builder should be able to deal with it; her power works at any range. She can close off any gun barrels by extending the barrel material _inwards_, she can mess up the engine by making the internals just grow crazy spikes everywhere, and so on. Once she can see it, she can ruin it utterly – and probably without even leaving any external sign of her sabotage, so it can all be blamed on the Union being idiots.
– Builder is our go-to person for ranged anti-Union-tech operations. No machine can long survive her vengeful gaze, once she’s decided to smash it. And if the Union gets wise to the point of limiting our visibility (say, with smoke), the Smasher can just smash the smoke…
– If the Ar Harbour team don’t want to come out and fight, we can draw them out by taking hostages. from the people they care for. This strategy is unpleasant and distasteful, but it will work, and will draw them away from buildings. Moreover, I don’t actually need to permanently harm the hostages, not if I’m threatening enough.
-Talking of Smasher, if she can smash *fire*, then Guinevere doesn’t stand a hope.
Days remaining: 0- Go time!
AP available: Not tracked in crisis situation
Timeslots available: Not tracked due to crisis, you will be assumed following the plan unless votes contradict
Posse: 3 or 3 out of 3 slots filled
Force size: 45
(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,
Smasher — 3/0/1, a woman who is billed as the strongest Ultra fighter of all time
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
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
Travel Arrangements: We are traveling to Ar Harbour by truck/buses. How many trucks has Builder crafted for us? The minimum is 2, in order to fit the whole Warband. The maximum is 6, just based on how many people we have who can drive. Please indicate in your Travel Arrangements vote how many trucks you want to take, the order they will travel in, and where each member of the Posse (including Blender) will be riding, as well as where the 4 squads of your warband are going. Owner and Blender are 2 of the six drivers, along with 4 Warband members.
Blender has worked out 3 routes to get to Ar Harbour. The Direct route is the fastest, and will see you reach the area at the very end of afternoon. She used it when she was a troubleshooter, and isn’t a hundred percent sure it will easily accommodate the buses, and it is also what anyone who works out that you are driving here on this day will take. The Indirect Route is the safest, sticking to main roads that will definitely take the trucks, but it will take a little longer, seeing you arrive at dusk, which assumes a degree of patience that She might not show. The Circuitous Route is better for the vehicles than the Direct Route, but not so good as the indirect, and you’ll arrive solidly in the night. Its saving grace is that it sticks to back roads, and renders it incredibly unlikely that the Union will be able to launch a strike on you before you arrive in Ar Harbour.
For ‘Travel Route’, vote for one of those 3 choices, please. Your secrecy screens you off from leaving earlier, since the Warband won’t assemble until dawn.
You’ve worked out a few possible places to start the attack. Outside Town sees you stop the buses from beyond where you hope the people of Ar Harbour will see them, then launch an attack on foot, charging into the city and taking out the enemy as they come. Inside Town sees you drive the buses into Ar Harbour and pull them to a stop immediately outside of the downtown storefront area you are supposed to preserve, whereupon you will launch the aforementioned infantry attack. DownTown will see you drive the buses right into the center of town before you disembark, delivering your Ultras to the center of Ar Harbour’s population.
If you’d like to propose an option other than those 3, please comment on this post or in the SV thread, and I’ll give it a yay or nay as a vote choice.
Specify how many (if any) warband members you would like do anything other than fight using their Ultra gifts (remember the patterns that you’ve had Builder memorize during the quest . Note that if you set them to use the truck’s smoke machines, lasers, or large guns they will have to stay with the trucks for as long as they do so.
Your warband is split into 4 squads, and can’t be commanded at any smaller levels than that. Broadly speaking, its basic behavior is to engage and defeat any enemy forces it can. But the details can be quite important.
First squad is the largest, and has the best close range fighters. Second squad is another close range squad, just less good than first. Third squad is about as good at fighting as second squad, but did the best on all of the ‘oddball’ drills, the smoke stuff, laser stuff, etc. They are also a close range unit, but Smasher thinks they would be best for anything strange that comes up. Fourth Squad are the Ultras with ranged gifts.
You believe, at this point, that Arthur has Ultras, Knights (that is, beneficiaries of her gift), humans with guns, and Ghosts (that is, beneficiaries of Merlin’s gift), their Union tank and the Round Table members themselves. You can assign any squad or Posse member any particular target priority you’d like. This can’t be incredibly detailed for a squad, but Posse members/Blender can manage strategies of arbitrary complexity.
Note that due to setting KEM to action and not getting their report you aren’t sure that Merlin/Ghosts are still going to be factors in this battle. It is also possible that there will be other forces you didn’t manage to discover. Future votes will allow you to react to developments on the field, but anticipating them now will be more effective.
Another note to keep in mind is that your command and control technology is yelling. If you send a squad away from Blender it will follow orders/its own judgement until and unless you link back up with it.
As a last note, and the most important, consider that She will be watching through Blender’s eyes.
Please give a response for each category, votes will be tallied as a whole. (Given our quest’s particular participation pattern, it is likely that any vote slate which is seconded will carry the day. I encourage you to question one another before you place your support, work together to come up with something you believe in. You’ve put months of effort into this, don’t falter at the finish.)
One thought on “Regime Quest 30”
Okay, the Direct Route is begging for a Union ambush en route. The Circuitous Route is begging for Her to take exception to the idea of a night battle.
Unless… perhaps I can take the Generating Light aspect from one of the truck headlights into myself, glow like a giant beacon? (*Yes* it’ll make me a target and a half, but then I can attack at night without any worry that She will be unable to see the action).
Short of those sorts of shenanigans, though, I’m thinking that the Indirect Route might be our best option.
As far as transport arrangements go, I’m thinking four Trucks, each containing one Squad. The front truck is driven by Blender, who must be seen to lead from the front; Owner gets her choice of which of the other three to drive (if she doesn’t choose she gets third truck from the front) and Warband members drive the other two.
First Squad, along with Smasher (i.e. the Heavy Hitters) are in the second truck. Second Squad (In Your Face) accompany Blender in the first truck. Third Squad (Tricks Up Our Sleeves) are in the fourth truck, with Owner and Builder, while Fourth Squad (Long Patrol) are in the third truck.
(All definitely negotiable if you have better ideas, Nevill; this is just a first-draft proposal)
I think that Inside Town is our preferred attack strategy; this keeps the smoke machines near the battle, hopefully without too much damage to the buildings.
As to equipment and tactics; we’ll need to have a couple of people running the smoke machines when we start the battle. They pretty much just need to be turned on and then left alone.
I think it would also be a good idea for Builder to create one or two *big* fire extinguishers on the way in – just in case, because we might need to extinguish a big fire once we’re there. Or perhaps those bulletproof ponchos… let’s leave the choice up to her.
If they come out to meet us, then we’ll have a straightforward fight; First and Second Squads head out to deal with any Knights; Third Squad heads out to deal with any Ghosts, and Fourth Squad takes down any humans with guns.
If they *don’t* come out to meet us, then Third Squad mans the guns, and they (along with Fourth Squad) start taking pot-shots at things that are not buildings until the Ar Harbour squad start taking us seriously (and then we fall back on the plan for them coming to meet us).
Smasher and Blender will lead the response against any high-level Ultras (Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, or Lancelot). Builder will take the lead against the tank, immobilising it while the rest of us (and the Warband) try to slow it down.
Owner and Builder will probably spend most of the battle relaxing in the back of one of the trucks, occasionally yelling encouragement or advice (until the tank turns up and Builder gets her big moment). I will politely request that they stick to bottled water for refreshment and stay away from the booze, but there’s really no way to enforce that. They are, however, welcome to make use of the guns and/or lasers and/or fire extinguishers as they wish. (If, as seems likely, Merlin is no longer an issue, then it’s best if She never sees Owner joining in the fight).