Seattle Side Mission 22: Dawn of the Artifacts – Midnight (Part 3)

Written by: Marius           Played on: 18 Jan 2014
PREVIOUS: Side Mission 20: Dawn of the Artifacts – Midnight (Part 2)
NEXT: Side Mission 23 – On the Fly 2.0 – Part 1

This session used the published scenario, Dawn of the Artifacts – Midnight. As such, there are spoilers so read ahead at your own peril.

We had shot up Winding Joe’s T-bird as he fled the campground. We spent some time assisting the Templar Knights with the injured civilians and beat feet when we heard sirens. We were able to beat the destination out of one of Senora’s team; she was headed for San Bernardino.

Frosty secured us transport on another T-bird and off we went. There are two main T-Bird routes the smugglers and coyotes use. The safer slower route is north and then west. The faster route is over the Mojave Desert. This is more risky, because if we were to go down over the awakened desert, there is little chance of rescue before we all die. we thought for a few minutes before making a decision. We decided to cross the desert.

Once we arrived in San Bernadino we were at a loss. We began touching base with any and all contacts we have in the area, throwing Nuyen at friends of friends. we get some leads, but are unable to determine for certain where the guy will set down. Frosty has a few friends in a gang called The Ancients. The Ancients are one of the largest gangs in North America. Originally an elf go-gang based in Seattle and formed from political outcasts of Tir Tairngire, the Ancients have members in Boston, New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, and Miami. They are mostly, if not entirely, Elf.

About ten members arrive, most are on racing style bikes. one or two of them are riggers, and had some drone bikes following them There are enough empty bikes for the entire team. The empty bikes include a huge three wheeled chopper for Jade, some regular sized racing bikes for the rest of the party, and a smaller off-road sport bike for Bear. It’s clear the sport bike was something “acquired” by the gang, it is not painted black and green like the rest of their bikes.

We load up on our new hogs and follow the Ancients into town. It feels good being on the open road, wind whipping through my hair. I have ridden a bike before, but not in a long time, and never with a huge group in formation. I can see why people join biker gangs. This is fun. I wish I had one of the Ancients cuts. The leather jackets they all wear feature a black center section with a bright green A symbol with a circle around it. The black sleeves feature two green stripes on the left sleeve.

We arrive at a safe house, definitely lower class, but not quite a slum. The chemical toilet is a big turnoff. we have been here a few hours when there is a noise outside. I check on it and see that we have some commandos inbound. “Guys, we are going to have company, and they are heavy. Everyone up NOW” I say over our comm channel. I take up position facing out the front window in the bedroom, along with Cho. Chekov is near the back by the table, facing the opposite direction. Wheeler is also on the front of the house, but in the main room. These guys are good, they have split into multiple fire teams and are coming from different directions. “It looks like we have some unknowns, and some bikers, but not the Ancients.” Wheeler says.

We wait until they are close before going off. I am still putting on my armor when Wheeler opens fire in the front room. Of the twelve of them we take down two before they have even gotten off a shot. Them splitting up has forced us to divide our force to cover all the angles. Throwing my helmet on I step to the window next to Cho and begin firing at targets with my Ares Alpha. I love this weapon. In combination with the gyro system in my armor, I can hardly feel the kick on the large bore rifle. I put a few rounds into a huge troll before he makes it past my range of fire. I hear him kick in the door and that is when I disengage my remaining targets.

“Cho, you are on your own” I say as I head into the living room. I see Wheeler dive back as the trolls fist smashes into the wall. He leans up and plants a burst of fire dead center. I unload a double burst into the trolls side as I step into the living room. Under our combined pressure, the beast falls.

I swing my rifle towards the open door just in time to see one of the bikers plummet onto the lawn from heights unknown. “Nice job, Bear.” I say as I pump round after round outside into the coming onslaught. When the bullets and mana are done flying, we have disabled all of our targets. Some lie dead, others just stunned. Bear and Chekhov work to revive one of the bikers while the rest of us drag bodies in off the lawn and pile them in the bedroom.

It takes us about an hour to get one of the bikers to wake up. Wheeler interrogates him with a little help from Jade. He spills the beans that the Eagles, those were the two guys leading the assault, work for the man who now has the sextant. He tells us of a warehouse open to the water, a secret underground tunnel. The sextant is on it’s way to Aztlan.

We hurry there, but arrive too late. By the time we arrive, only the Knights Templar remain. We consult Frosty and she agrees that pursuit into Aztlan at this time would be futile. Planning will be needed before another attempt on the sextant can be made. We head back to the safehouse.

I tried to prompt the team into earlier action to determine where the group had come from as subtly as I could, but they were intent on waiting and interrogating one of the prisoners after they recovered. Without a method to force them awake after being stunned into unconsciousness, they had no choice but to wait an hour for natural healing to take over and wake them up. Unfortunately for the team, the adventure very explicitly said that they had no more than half an hour before the artifact disappeared. 

It was a tough situation, but it should be given the amount of money on the line.

“Look, you guys did a great job. I know we did not get the sextant, but you defended me against a force that more than doubled your number, and only missed the sextant by a few minutes. Although we failed, we did not fail due to a lack of expertise or effort on your part. I am still going to pay you your finders fee. Now let’s get the hell out of Los Angeles.”

This was something I did not agree with as written in the adventure, but I stuck to it anyway. The adventure specifies that, even if the team fails, they should be paid the full finders fee for their efforts. This felt kind of like a cop-out to me, tough, risky situations and high payouts go hand in hand and losing feels like a fair option, but it was as written in the adventure. I was too tired by this point to think it through properly and hadn’t given it enough thought prior (I admit to expecting the players to succeed), but if I were to redo it I wouldn’t give them the full amount, but a smaller, consolation prize instead.

We call the Ancients and have them meet us at John Wayne airport. Frosty boards a private jet, leaving us on the tarmac. She made arrangements for us to catch our own flight home. We load our gear up onto the plane and get out of Los Angeles.

PREVIOUS: Side Mission 20: Dawn of the Artifacts – Midnight (Part 2)
NEXT: Side Mission 23 – On the Fly 2.0 – Part 1

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