After Action Report #2: The Triangle Initiative Mission One
Welcome Directors. This is a fantastic After Action Report written by Josh Unruh who is now given the official Oblivion title of OZ5. He is running the Triangle initiative from the Agents of Oblivion rulebook with lots of great modifications to flesh it out. Enjoy:
This was our first real session. We’d had a little chargen but that was several weeks ago and we had two new guys I’d more or less pre-generated characters for. So there was some explaining. More than I’d have liked as a GM trying to hit the ground running, but the new guys needed the primer and the old guys needed the reminder. Finally, we got down to the mission.
The Mister E that runs this crew is boss of the NE United States. Her office is in Washington DC, under the Pentagon, in the actual Oblivion HQ. She’s next in line for Nil’s job but nobody likes her. She’s starting to worry about that. So quietly, unassumingly, she’s putting together a cell that’s loyal only to her. She gets a bunch of novice Oblivion agents led by an older man with a long career and an axe to grind. Then she populates it with weirdos and misfits and drops in a young guy with endless ambition to make sure healthy competition is a part of the stew she’s brewing.
If she succeeds, she’s got a blacker-than-black bag of wolfhounds loyal only to her, ready to go to battle when the wolves inevitably come howling at her gate.
I went for a very Cold War style background. This would allow me to cycle in the weirder elements slowly and not overwhelm my players, both with rules and fiction. Oblivion has only hostile and neutral assets. Their Occult Branch is constantly playing catch up, magic apparently doesn’t exist, all sci-fi tech is so experimental nobody really wants to touch it. They need a leg up badly. The one who gives it to the agency will have a feather in her cap nobody can take away.
Enter the Haathar.
Meta stuff: I was afraid the gearing up phase would grind the game (which had already had WAY more explaining than I wanted) to a halt. Lucky for me, this is when my guys started to SHINE.
Agent Gray requisitioned a small sniper rifle, a DC Parks & Rec jumpsuit, and a clipboard. With these, he made his way to the top of the Lincoln Memorial and set up a command post.
Carl took his cue from the boss and got his own DC P&R jumpsuit, a scaffold, and a bunch of hammers, nails, screwdrivers, and other stuff he could throw at people with his mind. He’s also not really the trusting sort, so he got a shotgun microphone disguised as a broom so he could listen in on the meet.
Valentine took on the persona of a homeless hobo complete with shopping cart to hold all his C4. This man loves his explosions and he pretty much used his Resource Points to get a 9mm, then and spent all the rest on explosives.
Syber got himself a gasoline powered model airplane, outfitted it with a normal camera, lowlight camera, a thermal imaging camera, and an infrared camera to turn it into a camouflaged spy drone. Then he tied that into an Oblivion computer rig and smartphone and set himself up in the park off to the side of the National Mall where he could be the team’s eye in the sky.
Nance, as the handsome white guy, set himself up as a DC resident who just happened to be in the Mall soaking up the atmosphere. He could fade into the background or be as charming as he needed to be. He was the floating wild card, and he liked it that way.
The first thing Valentine does is mine the trash cans with both a smoke and explosive option. This was hilarious for two reasons. First, the rest of the table sorta freaked out about all that explosive in a civilian-rich environment. Secondly, the Blue Shadow hit team that was on the premises hadalready mined them. Before anybody makes a Notice or Tradecraft roll, the team knew something was up.
Valentine wires their C4 into his own bombs and steals the detonators. He pins them all to his arm so he can keep an eye on the blinking lights. When they stop blinking, he’ll know somebody is trying to blow things up.
Syber and Gray work together to spot the hitters. They see a few people who keep showing up and keep moving in specific patterns. Nance picks one wearing an Orioles cap and follows him long enough to note him making subtle hand signals. This was a clue there was a sniper who wasn’t in the communications loop, but nobody got it. Nance rolled so well on the Notice roll, though, that I had the guy stumble, catch himself, but in doing so, expose the gun in his waistband.
Five minutes to go time and Mister E asks if the meet is green. She was on their comms so she knew something was up, but the guys felt they had it under control. They give the green light. She folds her paper in her lap to show the Haathar the meet is on and she waits.
The Haathar show. They’re a middle aged man and a young girl. They’ve lied to Oblivion and said they were shapeshifters. In reality, the Haathar have the ability to turn living and recently dead humans into silicon based puppets they can wear like a suit through their telepathic powers. It lets them assimilate easily into the culture since they’re beetles as big as medium sized dogs.
Mister E goes off comm to have the meet. Carl tries to mind-read the little girl and gets buzzing feedback. They basically have time to exchange pleasantries before a shot rings out. The little girl dissolves into sand just as Valentine’s stolen detonators all stop blinking. The hitters the team has marked start moving with purpose towards the Lincoln Memorial end of the Mall.
I have Gray make a Common Knowledge roll to figure out where the other sniper is. He succeeds and narrows it down to the top of Washington Monument or the roof of the WWII Museum. There was no spray from the sand thing and no entry wound to inspect, so he can’t figure out which is more likely. He keeps an eye on them both.
Valentine blows the smoke bombs. All the civilians panic and run. Syber switches to infrared to see through the smoke and there are a LOT more hitters than they thought. Nance draws down and starts moving to intercept the hitters.
A second sniper shot is fired and the Haathar-man also falls into sand. Gray sees the smallest of suppressed flashes and knows the sniper is on the museum roof. Valentine is halfway down the Mall at this point. “Valentine! Get that sniper!” Gray yells into his comm. Valentine is off and running.
Carl heads for the Parks & Rec truck they set up in case of a getaway. He jumps behind the wheel and sends a mental SOS to Mister E that he’s on the way to get her.
Mister E is scanning for the sniper and was off comm when they discovered the hitters, so she has yet to take good cover. One of the hitters gets a shot off that hits her even through the smoke. Mister E dives behind the stone bench for cover while Gray picks that hitter off. But this exposes him to a very lucky shot from another hitter. He and Mister E both have one Wound.
Nance takes out one of the hitters as well, and continues to make his way through the smoke to Mister E. He realizes the smoke will dissipate soon and while the hitters are totally unaware of him now, that will reveal him to pretty much everyone at once. He doesn’t care. His boss, his meal ticket, is in trouble.
Valentine is still hauling ass towards the museum, but worries for his team. He detonates the trash can mines and takes out all but three of the remaining hitters. The hitters decide that’s a good time for a tactical retreat. They run for it.
Carl uses telekinesis to slam one of the fleeing hitters into the ground and throw him in the back of the truck (alive) before jumping the curb and crossing the lawn to get Mister E. Gray is crawling down Carl’s scaffolding to join them. Nance takes a few parting shots at escaping hitters, misses them, then joins the rest at the truck.
Originally, I’d intended for the sniper to get away clean except for some traffic cam images. I planned to set him up as a nemesis for the group. Since Valentine had done nothing but run after him (other than hit some buttons), I gave Valentine a shot to catch him in a Chase before the sniper escapes into the crowd. Three rounds, and he’d be gone. Syber flies his drone over to help keep an eye on the fleeing sniper. Together, Syber and Valentine roll crazy huge numbers and despite my HUGE STACK OF GM BENNIES, there’s nothing I can do. Valentine tackles him and starts choking him out.
The truck picks up Syber and is en route driving across the center of the Mall to help Valentine who is locked in grapple with the sniper, an albino man with a mean and sneering face.
That was a bit past our quitting time, so I ended it on that cliffhanger. Would Valentine manage to capture the higher ranking Blue Shadow agent? Would the rest of the gang get there in time to help? Would the whole team manage to outrun the DCPD en route to the scene? Just who is Blue Shadow? Is there a mole in Oblivion? Are the Haathar all they seem?
Everybody had a great time and is totally invested in everything so far. They did a great job thinking like spies, hiding in plain sight, and generally cleaning up a mission that was meant to be a milk run but had gone thoroughly pear shaped. It’s all set up for our next installment when they start to fill in a few, a very few, of the blanks.
I love being a GM and, if this is any indication, I’m going to love being a Director even more.
I hope this isn’t too long and you enjoy the read!
Josh “Operator#5” Unruh
Thanks Josh! We love reading this stuff! Gives me ideas for my own games. Till next time, keep those Reports coming in and let us know how we are doing!
Mister E Man