Monday, March 4, 2019

On Silent Wings

Owls Go Hollywood
On Silent Wings

Over the towering skyscrapers of New York, three silent figures glide overhead. Slowly, they approach the waterfront, wings gently flapping, as they cross the roofs of crumbling old word buildings. Then, a towering, high tech fortress looms over the water like a sullen giant.

The Owlmandos are approaching the headquarters of SoloChem, a violent crime cartel. Over the past few weeks, an instantly addictive designer drug called “Blue Ice” has been hitting the streets. Det. “Bulldog” Payne, their liaison with the New York Police, has traced its manufacture to the top floors of this very respectable-looking, though heavily fortified, building. Mass shipments are due to leave tomorrow for destinations around the country, where they will be given away as “free samples,” creating hordes of instant addicts.  Bribes from SoloChem boss Fred Porcelain have kept the cops away, but the Owlmandos have no such restrictions. They have been charged with destroying the lab and the shipments, but to retrieve any documentation and samples, for later prosecution. 

The building is too well-fortified for a direct assault, which is why the Owlmando’s were sent on this mission. The roof is the weakest point, and the silently swoop around the building to gather information.

The roof is empty except for a few small chimneys, a helicopter, a two-foot wide air duct, and a bored goon yawning as he patrols around the rooftop door. A walkie-talkie hangs on his hip, and he is listening to it through a pair of headphones.

Gawain glances at his brother Tristan, who responds with a curt nod of approval. Gawain breaks formation and swoops high into the air, then folds his wings and dives quickly at the bored guard. 

At this point, Gawain should need to make a Prowl check to sneak up and attack the guard. But, given the description of the guard and the module and the fact that they’re freaking owls, I just give him the automatic surprise for this attack. While I don’t intend to go into detail for every battle in this module, I do want to a few samples here and there. And this, being the first fight, is as good as one as any.

So, we’ll start at the beginning. Normally for a fight, each combatant needs to roll a d20 for Initiative, and act in descending order. However, since Gawain has surprise on his side, this also means he gets to act first for the initial melee round.

First Action
He does still need to roll his attack. He is going to attempt to tackle the goon, especially trying to do a Knockout. He rolls a d20 and gets a 7. Adding in his +8 bonus to Strike, his total is 15. Enough to hit, but not a knockout. The damage for a tackle is 1d4 (2), which gets his damage bonus of +10 added in for a total of 12 points of damage. The goon has 30 S.D.C. (which represents minor wounds) and 18 Hit Points (representing real, significant damage). He loses the 12 from his S.D.C., leaving him with 18.

Now the goon gets to respond. He just got tackled by a huge owl-man, and that’s not something that happens every day, but he’s not terribly hurt. I need to figure out how he will respond. I could use a yes/no question from an Oracle, or just decide. Instead, though, I decide to roll a die. There are four possible things he could do.
       1)     Frantically radio for back up
       2)     Try to break free of the grapple
       3)     Be so stunned by what happened that he is effectively motionless
       4)     Something else.

I roll a d4 and get a 4. As I have no idea WHAT that could be, so I turn to Mythic and get Carelessness Adversities. In a cold panic, he lashes out at Gawain, hoping to headbutt him.

He rolls his attack [d20] and gets a 10. Enough for a hit. But, Gawain as a trained martial artist can attempt to Parry automatically. He does, and rolls a 9. Normally, this would not be enough, but +14 to Parry/Dodge comes into play, giving him a comfortable 23. He easily thrusts his shoulder in the way, negating any attempt the man had to respond.

Second Action.
Gawain will attempt to Crush/Squeeze his opponent, something that he learned from his wrestling skill.  There’s nothing in the rules about how to implement such a maneuver, so I treat it as a normal attack. [d20] 16 +8 for 24. Goon will attempt to Parry [8] +2 for 10. Goon takes an additional 14 points of damage.  He now has only 4 S.D.C. left.

Before the goon does anything else, he needs to get away from Gawain. Oddly, there’s nothing in the rules about escaping from a grapple. But there are rules for escaping being entangled, so I’ll use those. Goon will attempt a Dodge roll to escape. He rolls a [d20] 2 and adds his +2, which gives him a 4. Gawain rolls his strike [d20] and with a result of 8, it’s clear that the goon is still pinned.

In theory, the fight should go on like this, but Gawain has 5 total attacks per melee, and so has 3 remaining, while the goon has none. As the goon is completely pinned, I just decide that Gawain successfully squeezes him into a sleeper hold. Once the goon is out, Gawain ties him up and secures him, as he brothers float down.

The Owlmandos land on the roof top, and do a quick search to make sure there are no other guards. Once convinced, Percival grabs the walkie-talkie from the guard, hoping it will provide useful information for their insertion. Tristan heads to the main door, but quickly sees that it incredibly well secured. He waves over Percival to check it out.

The door is incredibly well secured. Percival needs to roll his Surveillance Systems skill (base 55%) to even understand what is there. He gets a 44, and realized that it will be incredibly challenging to open (-20% to Surveillance Systems and Pick Locks). Failure on either will sound an alarm.

Meanwhile, Gawain checks out other locations on the roof. He spies the air duct. While far too small and delicate for a human, the small and light Owls could easily enter this way. 

I know which insertion method the module recommends, so I decide to make a roll on Mythic to figure out which choice the Owls will make. The air duct seems the best bet, so I set the odds to Likely (75%). I roll and get a 74. They decide to go through the air ducts.

They carefully remove the grate from the air duct. Before they enter though, an idea occurs to them. They can see in the dark far better than humans can (Mutant Trait of Nightvision), so why not attempt to cut the power?

This is an option not covered by the module, and honestly, I have no idea if buildings in New York would have such access to the electrical system. So, I once again turn to Mythic.

Do they find something to give them access to the buildings electrical system on the roof? 50/50 (50%) The result of 01, which is an Exceptional Yes. They can not only shut off the lights, but even those that rely on emergency power, such as magnetic doors and security cameras.

Percival makes his Electrical Engineer roll and Gawain makes his Demolitions roll. They place a small explosive in the system, which they can remotely activate. Their plan is to quietly enter the ducts, try to figure out where they need to go, and then detonate the explosion. When the power goes, the goons of SoloChem will be on alert, and the Owlmandos want to keep the element of surprise for as long as possible. 

Preparations made, the brothers creep into the air duct, hopefully ready for whatever SoloChem can throw at them.


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