Part 1 here.
When last we left the Runners, they’d just left Wichita, Kansas, and were planning to make their way east to St. Louis, hoping to evade their pursuers…
Unfortunately, the Chaser cast a wide net and they’ve begun recruiting civilian cops. They’ve started setting up check points all over the place. The Runners soon find themselves coming up to a checkpoint. They’re in a line of cars. Up ahead are a couple cop cars, lights flashing. Nathan turns to the others “Okay, everyone keep calm, I’ll get us through this.”
He pulls up to the front of the line and a cop comes up to either side of the vehicle. The first one leans in and starts asking Nathan the usual questions. He decides to use his powers to allay suspicion and get the cop to let him go.
Time for Nathan to roll. He succeeds in getting past the road block, but his Psi power surges. The Chasers begin to gain on them, but he gets another question answered. He also gets hurt.
Using his mind to “push” the officers to trust him, his plan works, but works to well. Not only do the officers completely trust him and his companions, but they all become immediately suspicious of each other as well as the rest of the people waiting in their cars. As Nathan pulls away, things come to a head behind him and officers start shooting at one another. Of course, a few of the civilians have weapons as well, and it escalates to an all-out gun fight. A stray bullet smashes through the back glass of the car and grazes Nathan. The stress and the pain brings back more memories. He now knows that he can use his powers to push people to murder (answer to question 1 — 2/4 questions answered).
Meanwhile, the Chasers are arriving at the Bad Dog Motel & Bar outside of Wichita. Two of the Chasers stand out from the rest. The first one is wearing extremely dark sunglasses, even though he’s standing under the bright lights at the motel front desk. He bends down beside the remains of the manager and picks up some of the ash, smelling it & tasting it. The second stand-out is wearing the usual uniform, but slightly more unkempt. He walks into the back-office where the camera recording equipment used to be. He sits down and starts gathering up the loose wires. Suddenly his eyes close and his eyes move rapidly behind his eyelids (at this point I write “Psi-Sniffer” & “Creepy Psi-Tech” under the Chaser’s Methods).
Back in the backwoods of Kansas, Nathan gets a little farther down the road, but has to pull over because of the pain and blood. Everyone gets out and Sheila tells him to lay in the back of the car so she can tend to his wound.
Definitely a significant action. We got a little meta as Sheila actually wants to cause Nathan more pain — one more level of harm. Nathan’s player was cool with it, so we roll with it. So, Sheila’s goal is to hurt Nathan more, using her future-causation Psi Power. She succeeds in causing more injury to Nathan, gets a memory, and the Chasers don’t gain any ground.
Using her powers Sheila locks in the future where the bullet didn’t just graze Nathan, but lodged in his head. She cries out, “I can’t help here! It’s worse than it looked, the bullet is still in his head.” Nathan is nearly unconscious from pain and shock. Sheila suddenly remembers where her son is. His name is Bryson and he helped capture her. She gets an image of a man in a well-kept uniform, always wearing too-dark sunglasses (beside the Psi-Sniffer, I write Bryson — answer to question 4 — 2/4 questions answered).
Fedora shoulders Sheila aside and puts his hands around Nathan’s head, determined to save him.
Again the dice come out, this time with the goal of taking care of the bullet lodged in Nathan’s head. Fedora succeeds at getting the bullet out and getting a new memory and keeping himself from Harm, but the Chasers get a step closer (and catch up).
Using his power over matter, Fedora is able to transform the bullet in Nathan’s skull and use it to knit back together damaged tissue in his brain. Fedora suddenly gets a sense of those who are chasing them and pulls the name Johnny Honduras from Nathan’s mind. He gets an image of a man in an unkempt uniform that has an aptitude for gadgets (Johnny Honduras is the Psi-Sniffer — answer to question 3 — 2/4 questions answered).
Fedora stays in the back of the car with Nathan and Jumpsuit climbs into the driver’s seat. Before he can even get settled, they’re suddenly surrounded by lights and sound. Multiple helicopters in the air and headlights in front and behind them. They’re getting surrounded by the Chasers. Sheila just barely manages to get back in the car before Jumpsuit hits the gas.
Jumpsuit immediately turns out the lights and closes his eyes, using his psychic powers to sense his surroundings and find a way out.
Definitely a significant action with the intent of getting past and evading the Chasers. He succeeds on his goal to get away, but gets no memories.
Relying on his psychic senses, Jumpsuit is able to navigate back-woods roads and trails at full speed and quickly outdistances the pursuers. Everyone is able to relax a bit. Jumpsuit decides he doesn’t want to go to St. Louis and turns south, instead, towards Branson.
Beaver Bed & Breakfast
As dawn arrives, Jumpsuit his driving the car over a bridge on the outskirts of Branson. The bridge (and two others) leads to an island in the middle of the river to the Beaver Bed & Breakfast. Driving down back roads all night, no one else really had a chance to realize the direction they were going in. There’s a small argument about the change in plans, but they’re here and it’s a chance to rest and recover.
It’s off-season so there’s only two couples currently staying at the B&B (plus the elderly couple that owns and operates it). Feeling much better after a night of rest and remembering what happened when Fedora offered to secure rooms, Nathan says that he’ll go in and get rooms for everyone. He goes in and talks to George Habernathy. They chat a bit and Nathan asks for a couple rooms. George works up an invoice and Nathan tries to push him to give it up for free.
Time for the dice! He fails in his goal of getting the rooms for free, but regains a memory, and the chasers get no closer. But his Psi*Power surges.
George is a stubborn old man and Nathan has a hard time exerting influence over him. He pushes harder and notices George start to tremble a bit and his nose starts to bleed. Before he can back off, George falls to the ground. Dead. Within seconds 5 similar thuds are heard throughout the house (George’s wife, cooking breakfast, and the two other couples). The good news is: they have the B&B all to themselves now. But at what cost?
Seeing George lie dead before him, Nathan has a memory of the first time he killed someone. They were playing a chess and Nathan lost. Then he lost his composure, and “pushed” the loser into slamming one of the chess pieces through his eye, killing him. Nathan remembers it being a white bishop, which he still carries (answer to question 2 — 3/4 questions answered).
Meanwhile, Jumpsuit decides to scrounge up some breakfast and Sheila heads off to find an empty room to get some more rest.
Fedora heads outside and starts to have an existential crisis of sorts. He’s seen what they’re all capable of (minus Sheila, really, but Jumpsuit obviously has his reasons for not trusting her). He starts to think that maybe they should be caught. Maybe they should be locked up. Maybe they’re too dangerous to be free.
Before he knows it his emotions run wild and all he wants to do is trap everyone in place and wait for the Chasers to catch up. At the same time some part of Jumpsuit’s psychic senses gives him a warning. He’s not ready to be trapped in and he starts seeking a way off the island.
First, we see what happens with Fedora. His goal is to trap everyone on the island. He rolls and succeeds in his goal, but his Psi*power surges. The Chasers move one step closer (catching up) and he gets a new memory.
All he can think of is building a huge wall. In his mind he pictures a wall wrapping around the island, reaching to the heavens. He pushes his power to the breaking point and to create that kind of wall requires a lot of energy and a lot of material. The 3 bridges leading to the island are destroyed. All of the plant and wildlife on the island are destroyed. Also most of the earth on the island is used up. The island shrinks. But in the end is a huge, glittering wall surrounding the B&B. Made entirely of diamond. Seeing the tower raising to the heavens causes Fedora suddenly to remember when he was born. He’s older even than anyone thought. He clearly remembers being alive when the Tower of Babel was raised and when it was destroyed. His power over matter at such a basic level must confer some very great regenerative properties (answer to question 4 — 3 of 4 questions answered).
As he’s marveling over what he’s created, he again hears the sounds of helicopters. And, now boats. Looking through the clear wall he sees the banks of the river swarming with uniformed soldiers and boats coming in from all directions. Above helicopters begin circling around the wall.
At the same time this is going on, Jumpsuit’s fight or flight (in this case, flight) instinct is in full effect. In the basement he starts reaching out his senses looking for a way out.
Jumpsuit’s goal is to get away. I said he was still risking Chase, since this was kind of simultaneous with Fedora’s action. He’s able to get away, but the Chasers move forward relative to him and his new location (so they still catch up). His Psi power stays under control, but he doesn’t get any memories back to answer any questions.
In the basement of the B&B Jumpsuit somehow finds an underground entrance to some tunnel. The underground railroad used to go through here and he finds a tunnel that eventually leads him under the river. Behind him he hears sounds of destruction and the tunnel caves in behind him (thanks to Fedora). He stays ahead of the cave in and eventually gets to the end of it, coming up into the basement of the old court house (new location). Unfortunately, he’s not alone. As he surfaces, he realizes he’s surrounded by uniformed soldiers, all of them with their weapons pointed at him, flash lights blinding him after his time underground. He catches a glimpse of someone, must be their leader, wearing dark shades.
Back at the B&B Sheila & Nathan rush outside to see what’s going on. They feel betrayed by Fedora trapping them in here, but he immediately starts apologizing, “I’m sorry. No, I didn’t mean this. We have to get away.” He immediately heads to the car and starts using his powers to modify it for some purpose only he knows right now.
Through the wall, they can see an agent walking up to the wall. Behind him are a couple more soldiers and they’re carrying some kind of equipment. Fedora recognizes him as Johnny Honduras (the Psi-Tech). He starts setting up equipment and attaching things to the wall. No one’s sure what he’s doing, but no one wants to find out whether he can really breach it or not.
All the windows and exhausts and hinges and everything else on the car starts sealing up. “I’m getting us away from here, as far as possible, where they can never follow us.” They look at Fedora questioningly. He looks up. “The moon. I can keep us safe in the car.”
Nathan shakes his head, there’s no way he’s going. Sheila’s still a bit in shock and sees it as her only way out. She climbs in the car.
Fedora wants to fly to the moon in his modified car! Looking back, there probably wasn’t enough narration on how he’d accomplish that with his particular power, but we were hitting the climax of the story, so I went with it. Plus the Chasers can follow anywhere, so it’s still exciting. Anyhow, he makes his goal, but his power goes wild, and he doesn’t regain any memories.
The amount of energy to somehow get the car to the moon is tremendous. It starts rising up the wall surrounding the island, but starts to slow down. Fedora starts to concentrate. Suddenly the diamond wall explodes outward as Fedora pulls from it the quantum energy he needs to keep pushing the car. The car shoots up as the exploded wall wreaks havoc on the surrounding area. It will take quite a while, but Fedora and Sheila will eventually make it to the moon (new location).
Back on the ground, Jumpsuit is surrounded. He’s not sure how he’s going to get out, but he’s got to try. He closes his eyes to keep out the distracting light and decides to run around the room causing confusion.
Definitely another significant action. His goal is to get away and escape. He fails, but keeps his Psi power under control, gets another question answered and gets injured in the chaos.
He starts running around the basement and the soldiers open fire. Jumpsuit is able to dodge bullets as he senses when shots are being fired. Eventually most of the soldiers are dead or bleeding, but he gets grazed by a bullet and goes down hard. When he comes up the man, Bryson (the Psi-Sniffer) is standing over him. “Are you okay, Holmes?” Jumpsuit looks confusedly at Bryson. “Just wait a minute.” Bryson calls in some more guys and hands Jumpsuit a near-identical orange jumpsuit to the one he woke up wearing in the helicopter. He puts it on and remembers that the jumpsuits can erase and restore memories (answer to question 2 — 3 of 4 questions answered).
Beaver Bed & Breakfast
Back at the B&B it’s just Nathan as he watches the car rise up into the sky. After the explosion, he gets back to his feet and sees one small section of wall still standing. Behind it is the Psi-Tech, Johnny Honduras, down on the ground, maybe unconscious. All the other uniforms are down. Nathan decides the only thing he can do is to take Johnny hostage and use him as leverage to get away.
As he gets closer Johnny starts to stir, so Nathan reaches out with his mind to keep him compliant.
Nathan breaks out the dice one last time. He’s able to capture Nathan and not be captured himself, he also gets a memory (his last), and keeps his Psi power under control.
As Nathan approaches Johnny, he reaches out with his mind, keeping him cowed so he can easily take him hostage without killing him or injuring him. Johnny’s on his knees. As he gets closer Johnny starts to struggle up and looks up at Nathan. Nathan looks down to see… a bald, dark skin dude. Nathan sees himself. Nathan remembers that Johnny Honduras is his twin breather (answer to question 4 — 4 of 4 questions answered).
With all of one Runner’s questions answered, we go into the end-game, the crossroads, and each runner gets a short epilogue of sorts.
Nathan is no longer running, because he’s: hidden. Nathan escapes with Johnny and the find an abandoned military base to call their home for a while. They have an uneasy truce as they’re trying to rebuild trust and neither sure where it’s going.
Jumpsuit (Holmes) is no longer running, because he’s: making a discovery. When he puts on the new jumpsuit all of his memories come flooding back to him. He remembers that he was meant to go undercover and be a mole. He was working for the Chasers all along.
Fedora is no longer running, because he’s: home. With time and patience he’s able to carve a home underneath the moon, where hopefully no one can ever get to him.
Sheila is no longer running, because she’s: turning the tables. Sheila falls back to her old stand-by: taking out psychics. She keeps the peace with Fedora as long as necessary, all the while keeping her mind to the future and looking for that opportunity to bring about his death.
Wow, what a ride! Kansas City, Wichita, Branson! And destruction all along the way. I loved that by the end of it, they were all basically (or well on their way to being) super-villains. Felt like an origins story of sorts. We really had a blast.
Looking back there’s probably a few things I would have ruled on differently, but in the moment we were having a great time and that’s really what matters most. I really look forward to playing again sometime.
I love. Absolutely LOVE the dice mechanic. Every time (minus two really fantastic rolls) the dice hit the table the players would groan as they’d have to decide how to divvy up the dice. Every time it was a tough decision and it was delicious.
Also, realizing that putting a 6 on Recall is the only way to answer your own question was a fantastic moment. There were definitely a few times when the other players got to answer someone’s questions and there were some groans as they didn’t like what they discovered about their own character (but in a good way, no being a dick).
Almost a week later and I’m still buzzing over how much fun I had playing this game. A+ would play again.