Actual Play: The Good Shepherds – Session 4 – Remember Shepherds, This is a Sneaking Mission

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A bit of a short session last night, but a pretty intense one. The Good Shepherds were still at war with the Fog Hounds, and as such we planned to keep hitting them. Last week, we found out that they were holding the family member of one of their “contacts” in the ministry of transportation hostage, and, if we could free them, they’d be willing to help us out instead. There is a bit of a pause at the stat of the session where we try to decide if there is anything else we want to do before we pull the trigger. We’re about to skip town for a bit (to transport the girl), and our lair is neither hidden nor secure, so I stash our vault and documents on our ship, which IS hidden when we’re not using it and with us when we are.

Anyway, we look at the score types, and decide that securing the girl is the important bit, with the transport being handled off screen. Echoes and Sarge both get exp for violence, so the temptation for an assault is high, but I feel like if we gun for the girl with force we might end up with a hostage situation. We end up calling this a “stealth” score. The plan is Sarge will start a fight out front, while Loki and Echoes sneak in the back. We feel that if I frame it like Sarge is just picking a fight with these guys we’re at war with, that won’t put the girl in as much danger than if it’s obvious we know she’s there.

It’s not an AWFUL plan, but I make it a lot worse at the last second, by inviting Echoes to back ME up instead. I do it because I know he wants that exp for being in a fight, but I forget that Loki doesn’t have the skills to pull off an infiltration by himself. Our engagement roll puts us in a ‘desperate’ position, which means this place has WAY more people hanging out there than we expect them to. On the upside, I make a good number of desperate rolls as a result and get some good exp that way!

I swear at the Fog Hounds a bit and tell them if they wanna mess with the Shepherds, I’m right here! I roll a 5, and so that will help out Loki, but it also means they shoot me. I take the harm to my armor, and we cut to Loki in a flashback, getting the blueprints of the building from one of his contacts. They’re a bit out of date, but they’ll manage. He then tries to sneak in, suggests a devil’s bargain where he bumps into a guy, and then fails, resulting in MORE guys showing up to deal with him.

We cut back to the fight out front, Sarge is outnumbered, but since he is ‘Not to be Messed With’ it isn’t QUITE as bad as it looks. I quaff my rage essence, and bust out my fine weapon, and manage to still end up slightly ahead in the effect math. The GM asks me what my intent here is and I know Loki isn’t doing too well, so I decide that Sarge is going to take out as many as he can until he gets the all clear, which we all know narratively means he’ll have to WIN. We call this an 8 tick clock, but luckily I am rolling great effect so I can knock out a few pieces in one roll. Another 5 means, I do it, but I’m taking level 3 harm in the process. I waffle, I could bust out heavy armor, but I might need it more later… I ask if my resistance to pain from my rage essence helps at all. There’s a bit of confusion about what I want, but eventually we settle on that for this scene I’d be able to ignore that harm’s effect, but I would still have it. That works for me, so I just take it.

Loki’s player is feeling useless meanwhile, not REALLY having the skills to see a way out of this, and we’ve been less social than he thought we’d be so a lot of his abilities are useless. He’s on the verge of just giving up on the character, when the rest of us tell him that if he doesn’t care if Loki gets killed, then he has nothing to lose by TRYING. He takes to that, and ends up throwing his slumber essence like a smoke bomb at the group, and manages to CRIT. That gets him feeling a bit better, we all have some off nights, and he manages to get the girl. Unfortunately he does flub his next roll and they get cornered.

Outside, we know something has gone wrong by this point, and so it is time for another roll to push inside and help. I roll my 2 skirmish dice and… 6, 6 that’s a crit, and enough to fill up the clock of defeating the guys outside. We push into the building, and manage to extract Loki and the girl and call it mission complete. We get a small handful of coins, and the cover operation claim for our trouble. The GM rules that our cover operation does NOT apply until our next score, and when we add up all the heat factors (including a devil’s bargain I took that added a bit more), we come to exactly 9, enough to push us to the next wanted level even though we had 0 heat going into this. On the plus side, rolling over like this means we’re still in the low level for entanglements, and roll “gang trouble”, which, since we have no cohorts (with flaws or otherwise), does nothing to us.

We take our downtime actions, Sarge is at so high stress and so badly injured that I decide it’ll be more efficient (and more fun) to have him become “lost” for a little while, so I just have him train instead of getting fixed up, this fills up his Prowess track and lets him open up prowl at 1 dot. Loki’s player, while that crit certainly helped him feel a bit better, still wants to take a break from him as well, and so trains to rank up his playbook, and takes jailbird, and takes the fall for our wanted level, bringing us back down to 1. I either missed or forgot what Echoes did with his downtime, but he’s sticking around. While we still took a war down-time this week, the GM said that, for now, we’ve proven to be more trouble than we’re worth to the Fog Hounds, and they are going to back off for the moment.

We handed out exp, and most of us did pretty well. The crew leveled up, and, since we were no longer at war, the need to take War Dogs as a veteran advance was less pressing. I’d still like to take it BEFORE the Shepherds end up at war again (Cause I am pretty sure the game is designed so that avoiding war is pretty difficult), but we took some upgrades instead. We secured our lair, and improved our personal training downtime. Echoes also leveled up his playbook, and took “tenacious”, meaning he can ignore that level 1 harm that’s been bugging him for a while. Next week, while Sarge recovers and spends some much needed family time, and Loki makes some friends in Ironhook, Echoes will be showing two new recruits the ropes. I’ll be playing “Witchcraft”, while Loki’s player will be playing “Chaos”, I’ll talk about them more then!

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