Side Mission 03 – The Bleeding Edge, Chapter 1 – Part 1

Written by: Marius          Played on: 24 JuL 2010
PREVIOUS: Mission 19 – By Any Means Necessary
NEXT: Side Mission 03 – The Bleeding Edge, Chapter 1 – Part 2

This week’s run was another side mission as several players couldn’t make it; Cho, Wheeler and Jade specifically. We were, however, joined by our friend who had previously played Wednesday in Wetwork, Pure and Simple and Red Herring in The Curious Conch and Delivery Assistance side missions.

Rather than having her play one of the old characters, I wrote up quick new character that fit into the plot of the side mission and had her play a researcher, Dr Lori Cardile. It was an interesting challenge coming up with a character that would typically be defined as an NPC that was still interesting to play and useful in the plot.

The basics of this plot and the follow up chapters that will be played out at some later date were formed from a number of sources but took primary inspiration for its structure from the Gnome Stew’s book, Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots.

Detritus calls and asks us if we can take a pro-bonno job; he has a friend whose brother has been checked into a facility and she has not been able to contact him. It’s some type of research facility for his immunodifficiancy disease.

I accept. I call Clint, who owes me a favor as I just recently gave him 10K nuyen. At the chance to see a medical research facility up close Levi also agrees to be in on this one.

The cash loan was to help Clint in coming up with the money to pay for Alan Palmer’s medical bills so that he might recover and Clint could learn a few things about his past.

We head to the Red River Valley Genetic Research Facility. In the parking lot we board a tram, and head into the facility, making a 30 mile trip in only a few minutes.

Once there we get checked through security, they confinscate my knife, and Levi’s medical bag. The facility has a separate checkpoint for staff and visitors, and several security personel are armed with MP5s on slings.

As civilians enter the facility they are escorted by orderlies to their destinations, a sign reads that no unescorted civilians are allowed in the facility. We join a Doctor on the way to our destination, and Levi begins chatting her up. I notice the facility seams to have no perticular logical design, instead the passages are a maze of twists and turns.

At one point we meet up with Dr Logan and he walks with us for a while. He leads us to our intended target, Johnny. He appears very near death. Dr Logan explains the treatment to us, and mentions that it involves breaking down the immune system completely, and it could be fatal in unsterilized environments, but mentions Johnny will recover.

As the nurse opens the door I spy the code [56239]. Johnny flatlines soon after, a bunch of staff and equipment are rushed in, but it is no use. As the staff are giving up Johny bolts up in his bead and bites one of them. Clint puts a forcefield around Johnny and I rush into the room, and get the orderly and the good Doctor out of there.

Clint attempts to heal the bitten nurse. Around us other patients begin crashing, and then rising from the dead. The orderly attempts to lead us out of the facility, she is quite panicked and we can’t tell where the fuck we are.

Rather than doing the standard maze navigation style of “You reach an intersection, the hall goes left and straight, which way do you go?” and forcing the team to try and map it out, I chose to abstract their run through the hospital. I had them choose a destination (ie: the entrance, the isolation ward, the security administration office, etc) and set a difficulty value for it.

Every “round” of navigation I would roll a Navigation test for an NPC leading them there or they would roll if they didn’t have an NPC. Once the cumulitive number of hits reached the difficulty value of finding the location, they were there!

To complicate matters though, each “round” I also rolled a 1d10 on a table. About half the values resulted in the team not encountering anyone of note. Other values resulted in them running into a trigger happy security team, a mob of infected patients, or something similar. Sort of a Wandering Monster chart tailored to this specific session.

I liked this approach because it got rid of the boring “I go left.” “The hall goes fifty feet and then branches right and left.” “I go right.” and everyone trying to keep straight where they were on a hand drawn map. It also brought the best part of the game, the action and combat to the front by letting them randomly encounter small groups between the major plot points.

::Amber 3 Security lockdown, Dr. Logan; please report to security administration immediatly. Quarantine in affect, all staff return to your assigned work areas and wait for decontamination.::

We head to security administration where doctor logan was summoned. We hear gunfire from the direction we are headed. As I peek around a corner I see a security team poking some dead bodies, it appears they were shot by the security team, but I can’t be sure.

I inform the team to lie low, Dr Cardile rounds the bend and flags down security; they open fire as I yank Dr C around the corner to saftey. Clint casts a physical barrier in the hall in the middle of the corner, as the security team rounds the bend the first one slams into the wall and I get a running start and spear him, missing slightly it ends up being a full body tackle and headbut. He is stunned and disarmed.

The intent here was to have a security team “freaked out” by the infected trying to chew on several of them (and succeeding in killing them). I didn’t want the players running around with a large group of NPC’s that we would have to manage.

The security team had their backs to the players and was suppossed to be an easy opportunity for them to take them out and take their weapons. Currently the players are unarmed as they did not enter the facility with most of their weapons.

This was a change of pace from most runs where the team enters any situation with six weapons and boxes of ammo strapped to them. In this scenario, I could control how much ammo and weapons they had on hand and they had to be more careful with ammo consumption.

Clint drops the wall and levitates the second guys gun away, and the third opens fire hitting the downed guard. We continue struggling with security as two infected humans rush us, Clint double stabs one in the abdomen. I try to kick the guard in the balls, but miss.

Levi picks up the disarmed guards gun and kills one of the guards, he is tackled by the two Zeds. I hit one in the back as they begin eating a guard. Clint and the Dr run after a fleeing guard; Levi and I dispatch the bitten guard and kill the remaining Zeds. I loot a bullet proof vest and all in all we snag about 5 guns and 8 mags.

Generally, if I had an NPC take much damage from an infected attacking, then the NPC was most likely bit in the process and the infection was spread to them. This was a pretty standard infected/zombie meme so the team picked up on it pretty quick.

The quick infection rate of NPCs let me keep their “crew” short staffed most of the time so there weren’t large numbers of NPC’s to track. However, I didn’t hold the same rule to the players. The players, I ruled behind the scenes, wouldn’t be bit until they had been knocked out completely and the infected was allowed to continue attacking the downed player and not stopped by the rest of the team.

Its an obvious inaccuracy in the rule when you know it, but people at the table didn’t seem to notice and it made for more fun overall if the “heroes” weren’t getting turned left and right.


PREVIOUS: Mission 19 – By Any Means Necessary
NEXT: Side Mission 03 – The Bleeding Edge, Chapter 1 – Part 2

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