A White BPN for SLA Industries by Brendan Sometimes
Notes to other SLAers:
If you are reading this, then clearly it has found its way onto a web-site somehow. At the time of writing this I am Games Mastering a SLA Industries campaign and having little creativity or imagination, checked the 'NET for some ideas. Well bloody hell! I found plenty, despite the game's absence from the shelves for about five years, it clearly has a strong fan-base. Some of these fans can even write stories. Some of 'em can't. If you play SLA, check around for some groovy and pretty professional free-sites.
Anyway, the BPN's...
Firstly, I know that many established game groups have advanced considerably from March 900SD, many of you have set certain "truth elements" as fact in your campaigns. I hope you still find these ideas useful.
Secondly, although you will find some heavy-action scenarios in here, you will notice that I don't like the bigger 'n' badder nasty syndrome. Basically, I don't run stories where you get make-the-fucker-invulnerable-to-anything-smaller-than-17mm-HESH-Rifle-rounds-drug-dosed up pussies. Nor do you get the Give 'em huge honkin' guns for no fuckin' reason and let 'em lose on Thresher plots. This kinda shit doesn't sit well with me. It also defies the point of the game, so, if you don't like it, BITE ME, IT'S FUN!
"Forgiveness is at hand."
A while ago on the 'NET, I found a story called Eternal Legends, it was another fans' attempt at a supernatural BPN and though I liked it, I have not used it to date. Regardless, I liked the idea and decided to do something along the same lines. His adventure was a bit barren and I hate it when players have nothing to do. I also like to mix things up a bit and SLA makes that nice and easy. So, here is Mercyman. It lacks a little consistency here and there, and it isn't perfect, but it might work.
The simple plot is that an unknowable entity will interfere with the squad's investigation by whisking the suspects away to... Who knows where? I'm a firm believer in the 'never explain a mystery' school of thought and leave the realities of the Mercyman to you.
Colour Designation: White (Investigation)
Minimum SCL: 10A
Training Package Recomended: I&I
Consolidated Pay: 375c per Operative
Contact: Internal Affairs
Coverage: Station Analysis
Investigate unauthorised execution in Uptown, Secrecy is a priority, No Media contact or BPN will be rendered invalid, Sensitive and Efficient handling of case essential, Bonus for quick resolution. Contact Agent. K'rnth'r on #(6894) 593-285-584/5.
The players will detect the off-note in the BPN immediately (With any luck, anyway.) There is good reason for it. The victims are all I.A Employees, employees of the BPN assessment and release dept. I.A. already suspect that the killers are Ops themselves. And they're right.
The Blessed were a promising squad who specialised in anti-DarkNight intelligence. On an assignment four months ago they were discovered, captured and interrogated. For Three weeks they were tortured and abused by their captors. Finally, six of them managed to 'escape'.
Except of course, they didn't escape. They were allowed to leave. During their captivity, they had all been given a course of Spiral, a mind-altering drug designed by DarkNight scientists to be used against SLA. Spiral caused the members of The Blessed to become obsessed with avenging themselves and their lost comrades. Yet it also had made them critically fearful of DarkNight, or even the idea of confronting DarkNight ever again.
So their hate was turned inward, to their superiors in I.A. They are now butchering their way up the ladder. Starting with the I.A. BPN clerks who gave them the assignment and moving on to the BPN approval and assessment overseer, now they have begun to kill DarkNight Intelligence and Counter-intelligence agents & employees.
I.A realise the threat that these murders pose, but would draw ridicule if greater attention was put on the situation. They have done a good job of keeping the murders as innocuous and apparently unimportant as possible. This BPN has been given a S.C.L. of 10A to keep up such appearances. However, if the situation gets much worse drastic measures may have to be taken.
Oh, yes. And then there's the Mercyman...
(By order of likely appearance.)
K'rnth'r is a Internal Affairs Employee who effectively runs the Uptown 88 branch, despite only being S.C.L 6C. He is diligent and hard working but hates scandal within his dept. As a Superior Overseer he has considerable power and authority. He is a small and ungainly Shaktar who seems both weak and dangerous, never showing emotion and never seeming surprised by anything. He is near impossible to intimidate as he knows that no one is dumb enough to fuck with I.A. None-the-less, he fears that the murders will harm the dept. and doesn't want I.A to too carefully examine the running of his buildings.
Make K'rnth'r's traits up yourself, he's a poor combatant but a master company-man. He can make either a good antagonist or benefactor depending on the squads attitude and effectiveness.
'Distraught' husband of Leyna Hoveski, an I.A. BPN assessment clerk. Wesley is a red herring of the highest order. He has been fucking Leyna's half-sister Ala for two months now and wanted rid of Leyna. This slimy and smooth lounge-lizard will be VERY wary when a half-dozen SLA ops come banging on his door asking about a wife he doesn't know is dead yet. He'll weasel and cringe and generally incriminate himself by accident if interrogated. If his apartment is searched, he can be arrested for possession of Child Pornography Slugs, the charge he'll deny and then pin on his new squeeze. He honestly couldn't give a shit about his dead wife.
Ala only appears if Wesley Horveski puts her name to the squad. She's nothing to do with this story, having only slight connections with a skintrade dealer called Strach. This information should be forwarded to I.A.
Agent Barnaby Wales
Barnaby is the I.A operator who manages all data retrieval files from the building's core memory. He's big, fat and a sweaty geek who fills every category of the computer need and even creates a few new ones. He can't talk to women, especially pretty ones and is intimidated by people talking directly to him. His life revolves around lazily doing his job, eating cold pizza and masturbating over calendar girls (aren't you happy he dies?)
Lorri' is a prim and respectable mistress who is very proud of her establishment. If the Ops are civil and to the point she will be accommodating and helpful, if they fuck her around, she'll be a stubborn bitch and interfere any way she can. She's also got some BIG clients. Some of whom can make the Ops' lives miserable if she asks.
Sh'nare is a Wraithraider girl who is in no good state today, bathed in Carter's blood and in shock, she'll take some persuading to talk. If Lorri' insists, she'll tell the Ops everything. She is normally happy and well looked after, living a safe enough life in McGuire's bordello.
One evil bitch! DIEsect is a psycho who was unbalanced before Spiral was pumped into her system! A trigger-happy Op who has a reputation for irrational violence and the hardware to make sure she does it well.
Use human Operative template from KARMA, but give DIEsect enough additions that she's a potent threat to the team without really being unstoppable. She's only here to soften 'em up a bit.
Lamari is a gaunt Ebon man who replaces Barnaby at I.A when Garine whacks the latter. He's cool and distant, a little condescending of non-Ebons but does his job well. Unlike Barnaby, Lamari is combat trained and uses a Deathsuit.
Give him fair Combat traits, nothing much as the Ops shouldn't need to take him on.
Agent Ander Weisserman
Ander will only get to say "SHIT!" before being eaten by Garine. So there's nothing much to say here.
Ander's Chagrin Bodyguard will not leave a mindlessly destructive state unless perforated, he'll bellow and swing at anything he sees so just use him to slap your Ops around a bit. He does have a funky "There's always time for 69" T-shirt on. So he's gotta die!
Foamboy Frankie (Human)
Foamboy Frankie is the Blessed's de facto leader. He is under the full grip of Spiral and VERY dangerous. He was chipped and felt the need to rip out the implant meaning that he'll die soon anyway, until then he's pretty terrifying and should be a real challenge for the Operatives.
Use Human Operative traits plus Frother skills and weaponry, all round killing machine.
Garine (Stormer-313 Malice)
Garine will have just eaten Ander's head when the Ops appear. No more immune to Spiral than his squad mates, he'll battle away with Foamboy and Mac but is nowhere near their level. He should be erratic and demented (moreso than most Stormers anyway) and run when he begins to lose, that'll throw the players a bit. As soon as he's out of sight, the Mercyman confronts him.
Mac is fucked up, half dead from normal drug abuses, he's suffering full-blown nervous burnout at the time the Ops arrive, and Spiral kills him in a few turns and the Mercyman comes too late. It doesn't matter, he wasn't very nice anyway.
Ra'in is a tough old veteran of S.C.L 6D. He's been in four squads in total and was considered the best of the Blessed until their capture. The Spiral effect has warped him entirely, however. Where he was once loyal and brave, he has become dementedly aggressive, uncontrollably violent and utterly paranoid. This is why he's been given 'guard duty' with Soli for the events of the story. Despite his combined willpower and madness, he'll happily accompany the Mercy Man when he comes a' callin'.
Use Shaktar Operative traits in Karma, I'd definitely up his STR & DEX with some nuke Tendons though.
Soli is the only surviving Ebb-using Operative in The Blessed. She is struggling with the effects of Spiral and hasn't given in to it's destructive effects yet. In fact, she is forming an immunity to it, but will not succeed within the time-scale of the BPN. Soli is a new addition to the Blessed squad, having joined up along with Garine, so she's not as tough as the likes of Mac and DIEsect, none-the-less she should be a challenge for your Ops. Soli is really a cheap sympathy character, but if played right she'll give you a good Role-playing opportunity in the final scene. Basically, after suffering terrible abuse from DarkNight, she's forced into aiding her lunatic squadmates in a psycho-spree and is the only one left alive at the end of it all to take the blame. Depending on your Ops, she's either going to take the rap for it all and be executed for her crimes, or set free and be hunted by I.A for the rest of her life, kewl, huh?
Use Ebon Operative traits in KARMA, modified however you like.
The Mercyman is a mystery, an enigma creature that haunts Mort Central like a lost soul. His 'task' is to take the evil and the wicked away, to a place where they can be forgiven or atone for their sins. He appears as a shadow of semi-solid form and exudes and aura of compassionate pity. Those he has come to take are soothed and calmed by his whispered words, eventually consenting to be taken away regardless of their mental or physical condition.
The Mercyman cannot be harmed in any way, if attacked, his shroud-like form will rip and shred but he will remain entirely undamaged. He is also entirely non-aggressive, he cannot attack or retaliate in any way, he will only sigh and say "Oh pity you, lost soul, save you from yourself," And other such vague comments. There are no traits for The Mercyman, he has none. He seems driven to save the misguided and corrupt, taking them off to another realm and to a future unknown.
Spiral is a newly developed DarkNight drug (aren't they all?), it is a complex chemical compound that must be injected numerous times before any real effect will be shown. It's primary use is a an aid to hypnotic suggestion, it forces the user into a fugue state of near-sleep where they can be easily commanded orders which will remain in the subconscious for years. As a negative side-effect (except from DarkNight's point of view) it causes considerable nervous and mental damage after prolonged use and even more if no supply can be found for the addicted user. In the hands of a skilled Interrogator it can be devastating.
Game Effect: After as many doses as PHYS the user is open to any successful CHA suggestion for 30 minutes. Roll 2D10+PHYS-Total Uses, if failed, user suffers the loss of 1 Characteristic Point from STR, DEX, CON or COOL. If the total result is less than 0, the user must succeed a PHYS roll at -10 or lose a total of 1D10 Points of Attributes due to nervous and mental degradation. If a user ever fails two PHYS rolls in a row, he must immediately lose 2D10 worth of Characteristics and then roll his new PHYS as -10 or suffer a fatal nervous breakdown as his body goes into traumatic shock.
Addiction: -1 PHYS/dose.
Detox Effects 1D10 Characteristic Points lost.
Addiction: 1 per day.
CLASS="quote">"The sky weeps dirt-brown tears and the hot, sticky stench of stale refuse permeates the air. Thus does Mort rise for the day; sickly, ill and stained with black, dried blood. There's murder in the air today and lies, that's what Mort's about after all. Murder & Lies."
The squad will be 'lucky' enough to find this in a BPN hall or from any two-bit financier. It seems a bargain and a way of 'getting in' with I.A. Play this up to ambitious players but comment to the wise and the wary about botching I.A-issue BPN's and also note the odd wording to the mission description to those who should know better.
Conduct the beginning as you see fit. Until they go to I.A. U-88 they have whatever free reign you normally allow. I'd recommend allowing them to restock and resupply if you do this at the beginning of sessions rather than the end. If they dawdle about they get a Comm-call from I.A. Basically stating that their BPN will be invalid if they do not contact Agent. K'rnth'r within 20 minutes.
K'rnth'r has little to say over the Comm', he'll bluntly state that the squad should attend a briefing at U-88 I.A. dept. within the hour.
"Within the drenched high-rises and labyrinthine streets of uptown towers the I.A. complex. Grim, cold stone and blackened metal in unappealing and overbearing monoliths. Even this local dept. seems to drag dirty secrets into view and cast an uncaring glance on all with slated window-eyes."
I.A. buildings should be nothing new to your players, but try to interest them a little in U-88. It is ancient and darkly ugly, cancelling the desire to feel lest you give them some hold over you. The reception staff seem to eye the Ops with real fearful wariness and direct them to a desolate business room down a set of bleakly dark and eerily empty corridors.
K'rnth'r enters after them, let them get comfortable before he does, there should be fewer seats than Operatives, just to annoy them. K'rnth'r will get straight to business.
"'Welcome, be seated' he says in a crackling Shaktar voice, his dusky brown skin seeming loose and poorly fitting over his slight form. "There has been an unaccountable death at 9:15am this morning." He drums his claws across the dusty desk momentarily, "This was professional, calculated and specific, not the work of a serial killer." He glances across you all, staring cautiously, calculating his words. "This was an execution, an execution of one of my Internal Affairs administrative staff." He waits for the severity of this to sink in. "A great deal of information is not available to you about the victim, I.A. does not allow unaffiliated Operative squads access to private I.A. files." He inhales deeply, hinted nervousness visible in his movements. "I want this situation dealt with, immediately, no restrictions imposed except silence. This BPN is not to be revealed to anyone outside of this department."
K'rnth'r will promptly answer any questions, which, naturally you will have to cover on the fly. What he knows and what he's willing to reveal are two different things. He knows that these murders are being committed by Operatives but won't admit it at the moment. He will say that SLA licensed Operative weaponry was used in all cases and that DarkNight Infiltrators may be responsible. He won't actually comment on the number of murders, stating only that the one this morning was from his administrative staff. When asked where to start he will suggest Welsey Horveski, husband of Leyna Hoveski, this morning's victim, a BPN assessment clerk. He says that most of the information about the death can be found in the Computer database. Either that or to I.A. Records to gain what information they can about the victim. He will try to call the meeting to an end very quickly after a few questions, stating that he can be reached later (which, of course he can't.)
The Hoveski Residence:
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Wesley Horveski will answer the door quickly. He's a wry and slim 30 with somewhat receding brown hair and flawless skin. Dressed in a bathrobe and expecting his supplier to bring him some stash, his friendly smile will drop instantly when he sees Rain-soaked armour suits.
The apartment's interior is spartan and clean, spacious rooms with purposefully innocuous furniture and few decorations. The place smells of cigarettes and sex. Through a doorless frame leading into the bedroom, the Ops can easily see a pair of naked red-haired twins glancing out nervously. Neither are older than 18 and are clearly afraid of what's going on.
Wesley slouches back on sleek leather and asks what he can do with a cruel smile. Telling him of his wife's demise immediately puts him on edge, no remorse or concern will be detected but a sudden loss of control is apparent. If they tell him about the death, he is only slightly relieved and tries to appease the Operatives with whatever answers seem to please them.
His desire to have them leave will be easily detectable and will probably prompt further interrogation and searching. Wesley will not admit to killing her, though will unlikely be believed as he's clearly nervous. There are illegal pornographic slugs hidden in a wall panel safe. Upon mention of this he'll set up his current mistress Ala Waits, Leyna's stepsister, as his supplier, begging the squad for leniency.
How much you want to do with scene is up to you. I include it only to mess the players up a bit and hopefully get them to shoot the dip-shit, only to realise that they can get away with anything while on the BPN, I.A will cover it up as a 'necessary but regrettable incident during investigations'.
Continuing this pointless plot thread for the sake of believability, they can go to Ala's place in Suburbia. What transpires is up to you but should probably wind up with Ala being arrested for supplying illegal pornography. Her supplier Strach can be made the target of a future BPN.
Assuming a successful roll, the information on Leyna Waits Hoveski can be brought up. There is little that isn't classified at this point. It mentions her husband of four years Wesley, her administrative training in Collboro academy and any other irrelevant facts you care for. Make sure they note an attachment code to other files that they cannot access. Six in all, that should get them thinking.
"The lowest levels of U-88 are dreary and rotten, rusted wall plates and damp stairs lead you to U-88's Library Computers. Only space for one worker can be found amidst towering processor housing and multi-facet display screens. The smell of ozone and static lingers while the employee here snores blissfully in his chair."
Barnaby Wales is currently asleep with dick out and a few dozen porn magazines and nudie pictures around the walls. The greasy slob will startle awake if approached and be ridiculously embarrassed but more than happy to help. He will allow access to the complete files on Leyna Hoveski while he runs off and hides till the Operatives go away. They can gain much information on the numerous deaths. Trying to confront K'rnth'r will be a wasted effort, he cannot be found.
Regardless, they realise that over a 72-hour period, no less than nine I.A. employees have died, in reverse order of SCL, 10 downward! The next to go is one Edwin Carter who as his records show is partial to shagging underage whores at brothels.
Though they are unlikely to think of it, all of these files have been accessed recently by The Blessed too, they can trace the access to Ra'in and Soli's hide away if you allow it. It might help if they miss the other clues at the end.
He's not here, his place is a hole despite its Uptown placement. He lives in filth and seems more sex-obsessed than Barnaby. His diary reveals an appointment at McGuires today.
"A classic-chic building in one of Uptowns quieter districts, McGuires doesn't hide its purpose at all, young girls and boys lounge like products in windows making alluring gestures to passers-by. Begging you to play."
Inside is a different matter Lorri' McGuire is a woman of faded beauty who will deny Carter's presence initially, the Ops' attitude determining her reaction. Regardless, they hear a crash and gunfire echo from above and dash up no doubt.
"Fields of Red. A Glorious display of human anatomy is spread across the room. A room which, no doubt was once plush and welcoming with silk bedding and low candles. A gasping white-furred girl shivers in the corner as detritus drips off her naked form, another women, monstrous in visage hisses a mad cackle at you as she stands over the shredded form of a naked form."
DIEsect has just erased Carter, have her attack the Ops and fuck them up a little, then escape. Give her Grenades, a MAL, SHOCK Armour, whatever it takes to ensure her survival. She plummets out of the window, lets her armour take the punishment and escapes into the back-alleys.
Enter the Mercyman:
Chasing her into the side streets will allow the Ops to spot the Mercyman.
"As relentless flows glitter down sooty walls you scan the alleyway for your target, refuse and slimy mud are scattered across the alley floor. Yet the target cannot be seen. Her discarded armour and weapons are left unwanted in the mud and a silhouette of a man fades into the shadow depths of the endless city."
Needless to say, he's not trackable in any way. They may be able to get a few clues about his appearance but that's it.
If goaded to speech, Sh'nare will relate how DIEsect blasted through the window and destroyed Carter yelling that he 'betrayed the Blessed.'
While talking to Sh'nare or one another, the squad receives a call from I.A. It says to get their butts back a.s.a.p. and nothing more.
I.A. The Return:
The scene of Barnaby's gutted corpse in the toilets should be all the players need to figure something heavy's going on.
Agent Lamari will introduce himself and immediately steal the hearts of any female Op with his angelic looks, cool words and echoey voice. He's in charge of the Data retrieval and will keep nothing from the squad. If they mention 'The Blessed' he'll bring up the teams files and they'll recognise DIEsect's armour and weaponry, though not face as it's been mutilated by DarkNight since the photo was taken.
Camera files show an Open-skulled Foamboy Frankie howling 'revenge' and 'betrayer' as he eviscerates Barnaby in the toilet. The next name on the list is Ander Wiesserman. He's the next target.
This marks the apparent showdown of the story, all the big names are here (so the squad thinks) and it's going to be bloody. There's nothing to help Ander, he loses his head as the squad arrives. The rest should be a hectic free-for-all battle that could prove quite deadly since the squad is up against experienced Ops with SLA gear (though you might want to soften Mac & Garine a bit if you don't want to lose player characters.)
Give the player Ops some real hassle, if they just stand and shoot without using any real tactics or teamwork, waste one or two of them and point out their mistakes, they'll know better next time.
At a suitably dramatic point in the melee (use your own discretion here, I'd recommend letting Garine or Moe die first.) The Mercyman steps in from nowhere and orders the battle to end. It does! No player can oppose the Mercyman's will without a very difficult -10 Cool roll, even then the roll must be made every phase that they wish to act. He will go to each of the fallen and kneel as if in prayer. "Forgive me, I am too late, may you find peace my son/daughter." To the remainder of the blessed, Mac most likely, he asks "Child, do you wish to leave this place of despair and corruption, to have your soul cleansed and pure. Free for eternity?" Mac will twitchingly stare at the floor and then nod once. The Mercyman will open a portal in the shadowy wall that seems to lead into a blue, shifting warmth.
Mac's body will fade and all his tattered armour will fall about him as his spirit drifts silently into the blueness.
If you want to, and you don't think that a player will mind, pick his twisted and evil character and invite him into the blue, the Mercymans' words flood him with beautiful peace, promising happiness in friendly whispers. Whether he can resist or not is up to you, I prefer to let the player decide rather than a dice roll, but make it tempting.
Of course, all this means that the BPN is a failure, unless the squad thinks to check Mac (or Garine's) gear. His headset communicator is still active and Soli's voice is on the other end, asking what the hell is going on. I.A or the Shivers can trace this for the squad (though involving the Shivers may void the BPN anyway, if you want to tell your players that or not is up to you) and give the squad the co-ordinates.
Ra'in & Soli:
A burnt out apartment building in DT-5, reservoir crescent is the hideout the Blessed have been using. Ra'in and Soli can still be found here. How prepared for the players they are is up to you. If the squad talked to them on the Comm they will have set very clever traps and ambush positions, even if the squad tried to calm them or negotiate. This fight will likely be brief (especially if the player's squad is in tatters, I see no point in killing them now.)
The Mercyman will, off course, arrive soon enough and look to Ra'in, offer him freedom, which will be accepted immediately, offer the player Op who may have refused last time, perhaps even another Op if the player seems half keen. But he'll refuse Soli, stating "You are innocent child, you do not belong." Before fading away himself, leaving the players with their dilemma. Soli's capture will give them their BPN, yet she is clearly innocent of all crimes and they may chose to let her go. What happens after that is up to you. If they let her go, they fail the BPN and get a bad reputation with I.A (very nasty.) But may get a friend in Soli and certain members of the Ebon underground too. Regardless, letting her go should warrant extra experience points, perhaps +2 or more if the debate is well role-played. It is quite open-ended by intent. You all have your own campaigns to run and you'll want to tailor events of this BPN into it so I leave it to you to tie things off correctly.
B. Falconer, June 2000
Well, it's done. It's bigger than I intended and has grown in scope, but then most ideas do when implemented. A strong sexual undertone appears in the investigative scenes, I don't know where that cam from but hey! Now the plot has sex, drugs and violence! It's gotta be cool! I might do a continuance of it later, but I wouldn't let the Mercyman appear too much in your campaigns. Unless you like him a lot. In which case, let me know. I'll do more supernatural adventures.
Q&A About the Mercyman.
Ok, I've had a few questions about the Mercyman already and I'm willing to put things down here. I hope these help in running him.
Why does Mercyman take evil people?
Don't know, just sounded good. My thinking is that he's offering them a second chance of some kind. Good people don't figure into this, they don't need it.
Why doesn't he take every bastard then?
He has some criteria that must be met, he will not take Necanthropes for any reason. As for the rest, it takes a certain (warped) state of mind, such as one affected by Spiral to garner his attention. Finally, he can't be everywhere at once and I don't know if he sticks exclusively to Mort.
Is the Mercyman affected by Ebb?
Nope, he cannot be detected or harmed by Ebb. No reason, I just don't see why Ebons should have any power over him, consider him a 'something-else' entity.
What happens to a player character who gets taken away by him?
Who can say? Not me, I prefer him to be an enigma and I certainly don't think they should ever come back to tell about it.