Lizard and Lunk

The continuing GURPS adventures of eight men who really should find better uses for their time.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Fight Boom! with BOOOOMMM!!!

It hasn't generally been our practice for the GM to provide the recap of his own adventure, but Brucifer is off gallivanting around the lower 48, so I'll try to provide some closure for this tragic and gruesome catastrophe that was unleashed by, um, me.

We plowed through an awful lot in one night, since I knew we were going to have some serious attendance problems in the upcoming weeks (see "Bruce gallivanting," above). Our heroes pushed forward toward what they believed to be the epicenter of the disaster: a deep shaft or well in the lower part of the building that had been used for gravity experiments several decades earlier. After fighting off a band of some kind of atomic primates in the cafeteria, then fending off the psionic attacks of some unfortunate mutated scientists, they arrived at the control room of the gravity-well. The control room was packed with electronic devices of various vintages, cobbled together in an obsessively meticulous way -- but for all of the effort, it looked as if the electronics wouldn't actually do anything. (So why is it there, and what really happened?!? Dum-dum-DUMMM . . . see, this is why the GM doesn't write these things.)

No time for such reflection, though, since a very big extradimensional baddie was waiting in the well -- one that may or may not have been the source of the psionic warnings that had been echoing in the heroes' heads almost since they entered the building. The first PC who entered the top of the well was nearly knocked off the catwalk by an enormous barbed tentacle emerging from the purple haze below. Deciding they didn't want to know what the tentacle was attached to, they sent a couple of guys to the local armory to pick up as much plastique as the teleporter could move, then dropped it on the monster's head. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to run a combat featuring bricks with rocket launchers dodging tentacles on the catwalk, but I'm not one to over-prescribe solutions -- as Huggy Bear said, I lay it out, they play it out.

Two sessions earlier, when the group first arrived on the scene, I essentially pulled my own PC, a walk-through-walls transmuter, out of the party by sending him into the building separately on some hush-hush mission from IST leadership. The lab had been working on panimmunity vaccinations, and he had a role in their disaster protocol: his job was to neutralize the weaponized bacteria that they had created for testing purposes. The rest of the group showed some curiosity about his agenda, not buying the cover story (which was actually 90% of the truth), then pressed on without him. Anyway, at the end, just before they dropped the big boom on the Lovecraftian horror, I felt I had to remind them that they still didn't know where their teammate was -- and that as far as they knew, he was still inside the building that they were about to blow to tiny glowing embers. They scrambled, pulled in some outside help, and yanked him out before demolition.

In all fairness, I still think that reminding them about him was the most realistic thing for me to do. The PCs had only been on the scene for an hour or so, meaning his departure would still be fresh in their minds. (Of course, there's also the fact that to the PCs, he's a real person whom they see every day, not an abstract character whom we think about maybe 0.01% of the time.) For that reason, it would have been unfair of me to make the PCs deal with the repercussions of allowing one of their teammates to die in an explosion that they caused. That being said, there's still a small part of me that's kicking myself for spilling the beans and not letting him be blown to bits.

For one thing, he had no further role to play in that story. I had only one encounter left, and it relied on at least one of the PCs' being affected by the extradimensional radiation, and Craig's PC had already been kind enough to get mauled by several of the atomic monkeys -- so I was fine there.

But on a larger scale, we had been talking in the previous weeks about how the Supers campaign had started to get a bit stale. In more than ten years, very little has changed. And even though we play Fantasy-genre much more often than Supers, it's worth noting that in that same time, we've retired two different fantasy parties and are well into a third. Nothing shakes up a comic-book story arc like the irrevocable death of a superhero -- all the more so when other heroes are responsible. And redemption-from-disgrace is a great story motivator. We had begun talking a bit about beginning a new supers campaign, and maybe making it different somehow from this one. The scandal of a character's death might have made a good springboard for a finale for this tale of ten years.