Author Topic: Know Evil Sequel: Puretide's Gambit  (Read 6019 times)

Salrantol

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Know Evil Sequel: Puretide's Gambit
« on: June 25, 2013, 10:37:14 PM »
This past weekend I introduced some of my gaming buddies to Eclipse Phase with a one-shot sequel to Know Evil. I called it Puretide's Gambit (or If It Weren't For Yelena Chikako, The Earth Would Already Be Reclaimed). Girard, after three years cultivating favors and studying astrobiology at TAU, uses his familiarity with Firewall protocols and extensive contact network to find a motley band of sentinels who have found themselves on Firewall's bad side. With promises of restoring their standing with Firewall, he recruits them to repeat Manjappa's plan to reclaim the earth.

As a first run, some elements went very well, while others brought to mind just how terrible I am at one-shot games.

The opening portion of the game went exceptionally well, as the team spent the seven-month trip from Luna to Oberon planning their heist. The objective: break into the secured servers of Chat Noir (the same place that houses power for the habitat and other essential systems and, thus, the most secure place on the habitat) to steal the super-secret plans for the cylinder. As I figured it, EXOtic Bio-Solutions was a Manjappa front group and disbanded once the cylinder was delivered to the inner system, so the only place where the plans could be found would be in the Love & Rage Collective's "No Really, Everything That Comes Through The Gate Is For The Good Of Transhumanity" trash bin.

The question, of course, is how does a autonomous collective hide its hypocritical super-secret project files from the public while maintaining that they are a transparent organization, fully subject to the oversight of the masses? The answer I chose is: Hide it behind a Reaper-morph guarded by an AI that blocks any connection from anyone without 80+ @-rep. The cutoff point for a level 5 favor (at base Networking) seemed a good starting point for allowing access to this security. The additional security of a network of eight cameras outside the lockbot-guarded door behind which the Reaper lurked would prevent casual security jobbyists (job-hobby, the only employment most autonomists know).

The plan was to unleash a large squad of Kaos AIs from a disposable ecto with instructions to jam the cameras and turn them away from the door so that the lockbot could be disposed of by a plasma rifle, then have the character with 80 @-rep (which I, admittedly, didn't see coming when designing the scenario) jam the Reaper and have it open the door. Then the hacker character would move in and use the passcodes which "Proxy Puretide" (Girard) had obtained to access the secret blueprints.

The plan quickly fell apart (in typical Know Evil fashion) when not one, but two of the Kaos AIs critically failed their hacking checks to access the cameras, thereby telegraphing their presence to the entire security jobbyist community. However, this allowed the hacker to, very publicly, defeat the Kaos AI and earn some @-rep. The plan had to change, so after some purchases, the hacker proceeded to use another disposable ecto to hack the cameras' systems and force a reboot. The autonomist smuggler jammed the reaper and opened the door to allow the hacker's newfound casemorph body with kill switch and neutrino transceiver to run in, obtain the files, and transmit them out. A lucky critical success by a jobbyist got the cameras restarted just in time to see the autonomist's jammed reaper melting the intruder into slag. So yes, their failure resulted in them *gaining* rep for their crimes.

I need to better develop the trip to Solemn with the astrobiology specialist (pruned fork of Girard), and then to earth via transorbital shuttle hidden in mass driver ammo (it's tough to have an idea of how many exsurgents to send after a group for their first real combat), but the wacky hijinks of "Sure, we *could* just farcast out with this farcaster we brought with us, but we *do* have this shuttle, so we might as well just try and see if we can beat the killsats (spoiler: they didn't even get *that* far) and make it to Luna so we can keep these morphs," was certainly amusing. It held my attention like driving past a train wreck.

One player spent over 100 points on his morph, then didn't even use it, since it was a synth so he didn't dare bring it to Solemn, and he didn't want to lose it long-term, so he didn't bring it to earth.

I would be interested to hear if any more-experienced EP players/GMs would agree with my setup of an autonomist super-secret facility security, and from Jason if this sounds like the way Girard would go about repeating Manjappa's plan.

Daerke

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Re: Know Evil Sequel: Puretide's Gambit
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2013, 02:00:03 AM »
sounds like a fun game.

Just out of curiosity, have many people played games in the Know Evil Continuity? I consider it Canon to the Eclipse Phase 'verse myself
« Last Edit: June 30, 2013, 01:10:37 AM by Daerke »

Tim

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Re: Know Evil Sequel: Puretide's Gambit
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2013, 11:32:47 AM »
I would say the title of the game should be Know Eviler.

Jason

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Re: Know Evil Sequel: Puretide's Gambit
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2013, 12:45:56 PM »
I would be interested to hear if any more-experienced EP players/GMs would agree with my setup of an autonomist super-secret facility security, and from Jason if this sounds like the way Girard would go about repeating Manjappa's plan.

Sorry it took so long to get back to you, but school and job-hunting have been crazy! But dude, this sounded like an awesome one-shot and a great homage/sequel to Caleb's amazing Know Evil campaign. I'm really surprised that someone latched on to Gerard as much as you did to write up this scenario. After all, it took me some time before I even had a feel for him beyond the 2D muscle-bound characterization. Indeed, I didn't feel a strong emotional attachment to him until that final confrontation with Lt. Gardis.

With that being said, I think you did an admiral job with his plan to retrieve the cylinder plans. I don't think I ever envisioned him becoming a Proxy through Firewall since he wanted out after realizing that Warden was behind everything. I liked the name Puretide though. For me, Gerard would have trained guys for Firewall as per their agreement, while searching for like-minded individuals to fulfill Manjappa's plan. Using these individuals and the resources of his patron, Cesare, Gerard would have led a team after it directly.

I really liked the idea of forking himself to go to the university and study astrobiology though. I hadn't really considered that. Since Gerard knew a bit about botany, I figured he might find some scientists with similar reclaimer leanings to assist him.

It really sounds like a great game. I would love to hear thoughts from your players.

Also, side note: Gerard is someone's patron in Ross's new game. That's the only spoiler I will give for right now. I'm so excited to see how that plays out.

Salrantol

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Re: Know Evil Sequel: Puretide's Gambit
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2013, 10:26:07 PM »
I don't think I ever envisioned him becoming a Proxy through Firewall since he wanted out after realizing that Warden was behind everything. I liked the name Puretide though. For me, Gerard would have trained guys for Firewall as per their agreement, while searching for like-minded individuals to fulfill Manjappa's plan. Using these individuals and the resources of his patron, Cesare, Gerard would have led a team after it directly.
It appears I was unclear. Girard was NOT a proxy. He used his knowledge of Firewall protocols and his contacts through training Firewall recruits to impersonate a proxy and set up a disposable team. That disposable team is now in even more disfavor with Firewall after succeeding on this mission. Boy, will they have I-rep in a century, though.

And I did understand that Girard would run a mission himself, but it's important not to let the NPCs outshine the PCs, so I had him posing as a minion so as to not give away his identity (either as Girard Hume or as the "proxy" that had hired them). I gave them little teasers that would have tipped them off if they had listened to Know Evil (I had linked it to them well in advance of the game). I gave him the "Wait, That Was You?" Negative Ego Trait for the vid of him trying to keep a group of uplifts from beating the snot out of a bioconservative, which the player characters remembered, but obviously didn't link to a Firewall agent. Then, one party member, who was a professional mercenary, succeeded on Profession: Mercenary to recognize "the xenobiologist" as a pro during a shootout with the neo-primitivists on Solemn.

And for your information, the time when I got interested in Girard was when he showed his true colors as a reclaimer on earth, by being willing to risk the mission and the enmity of his well-established, highly-skilled team for a chance to really reclaim the earth.

Jason

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Re: Know Evil Sequel: Puretide's Gambit
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 10:57:48 AM »
It appears I was unclear. Girard was NOT a proxy. He used his knowledge of Firewall protocols and his contacts through training Firewall recruits to impersonate a proxy and set up a disposable team. That disposable team is now in even more disfavor with Firewall after succeeding on this mission. Boy, will they have I-rep in a century, though.

I thought that's what you meant. Gerard was never really skilled in deception, but given the circumstances, I could easily see him pose as a Proxy. After all, he had Earth's salvation in hand and lost it. He was always straightforward in all his interactions. Obviously his tactics would need to change if he could get a second chance. Plus, there's the plausible deniability aspect.

And I get that the focus should be on the PCs. Perhaps this evolution in his strategic thinking made him realize he should not lead the mission directly. So I really like that you took him down this path...a very natural character arc!

In hindsight, I wish I would have completely turned on everybody at the end. I thought about it. I even considered killing some of the other PCs. But I'm glad you liked how I played him at that point.