Friday, June 12, 2015

Most Wanted Conspyramid 8: Witches and Witch Hunters

This last piece of the Conspiracy details the on the ground battles of the war between the Witch Cults and the Men with Green Gloves. This is where the PCs are most likely to encounter the magical war.

Level Thee Node: Witch Hunter General
Mother Superior: Margret Mary Stevenson found her crusader’s arguments and began her witch hunts quite seriously (if derangedly), but was eventually approached by Motivator in one of her disguises and redirected to proper Crusader beliefs in targeting invaders of the West. In this she became the Witch Cult’s attack dog against the various agents of the Men with Green Gloves. She spends her time hunting, finding and killing Asian mystics, chi-wielding martial artists and other possible foreign agents. Does your hero group happen to have any of those?

* No changes in character sheet.

If the players are nosing around here it’s because they’re taken Dragonhand or Tengu’s claims seriously, or by interacting with them, coming to Stevenon’s attention and looking like the sort of people she targets. Stevenson will watch from a distance, gather information, find ways to weakness detect and then call out isolated heroes and pummel them. She doesn’t ambush per se, but picks the times to openly attack that are worst for the PCs, preferring one on one duels where her invulnerability won’t get swamped. She keeps her flight power very quiet, waiting until no one can see her before rocketing to or away from the PCs location.

If that doesn’t work she’ll try to reason with the other PCs, playing it off as the usual heroic confusion – her psionic ability to appear on everyone’s side helps here – and actively shares her intel on the criminal organizations that Tengu and Dragonhand are connected with, recruiting the PCs as allies to the cause. She’s fervent and completely dedicated and this might work for a session or two. Until she shows up again with another blood stain on her mace for bashing some Vedic mystics head in. Then the PCs will have to go after her in earnest, including back tracking her funding, which leads them to UCL Crypto.

Level Two Node: Martial Artists on the Run
Dragonhand, Tengu: Both Daniel Han and Tamishi Kageuski are in the US because they are on the run from Asian magical/criminal gangs. Whether this is true or not – they might be witting or unwitting agents of the Men with Green Gloves - Motivator doesn’t believe in taking chances and they, like all other Eastern magical practitioners must die. To this end both are being chased by the agents of the Witch Cults, plus Motivator’s agents through MEDUSA which include Shadowjack’s orginization in addition to their own backstory enemies. What limited aid they do get comes from regular old criminals who want their services and from the unaligned Voodoo and Bruja practitioners.

* No changes to Dragonhand, increase Tengu’s level to 3rd
* Tengu’s E increases to 15, add a second spell, an audible illusion that lets him speak through someone else’s mouth, and a third that lets him summon the spirits of those who died in the air (or from falling) to answer questions or scout areas for him.

If the players are nosing around here its either because the GM decided to jump start this part of the plot for some wixua goodness, they discovered Shadowjack’s standing orders to hunt and kill these guys or a conversation with Mystico led them to track one or more of these guys down to discover more about the secret war. Both Dragonhand and Tengu will be deeply suspicions –they are criminals, performing crimes to survive and have no reason to trust the PCs – and reluctant to talk about the secret war. Neither knows a ton, but they do know there are balanced forces from Asia and Europe, and that the European group is the aggressor. They’re just collateral damage.

If the players are unable to earn their trust originally, they’ll have a second chance as once either is jailed there will be repeated attempts on their lives, their cases will get remanded to SHARP where they will vanish into Tartarus and potentially die in custody. If the PCs are already interested in their case this sort of behavior will keep their attention – especially if they have a dogged public defender who keeps raising the concerns to the heroes.

Both men suffer from the problem that they require magical artifacts and daily rituals to keep their powers. Depending on how things play out the PCs might need to sneak into SHARP holding cells to get the artifacts back before they vanish into Dominator’s custody. Alternately they’ll have to protect a pair of now non-powered informants from attacks on several different fronts.

Level One Node: Wanderer With Secret Lore
Mystico: Mandrake Hayes is kind of like Dr. Ricard Kimball crossed with John Constantine. If either men were voodoo priests with alcohol problems. He travels from town to town, hunted and haunted by the mistakes of his past, trying to help people along the way. You see a lot of strange stuff on the road, and when he’s at least a little sober Mandrake is a damnably intelligent, perceptive and well-read guy. He’s also part of a magical tradition that has nothing to do with the East v. West war that dominates this farthest left column of the Conspyramid, which makes him a good go-to guy for the heroes needing to find out what’s happening without tiping their hand.

* I should be telling you to reduce his level to 2, but I won’t because he’s not so much an enemy as a misunderstood protagonist. It will probably only take a single conflict for the heroes to realize that he’s kind of on their side. Sort of. I would recommend changing his side to Neutral or maybe Good.

If the players are nosing around here one of three things happened: 1) they encountered Mandrake and had a perfectly normal first meeting misunderstanding with voodoo priest and his pet zombie. 2) they’ve already heard about him and are coming to him for intel or 3) they discovered in the Coss Station files that their modified cadaver muscle implants are in part fibers from Mystico having once been hired by them to reanimate corpses and think that’s really creepy. (It also means he can use his Animal Control to control Bandit, and anyone else carrying around that semi-bionic tissue.)

He’ll answer their questions as best he can – including pointing the PCs at Dragonhand and Tengu as other magical types he’d encountered and got to know on the road who are in a spot of bother. Mystico likely knows everyone in the magical streets scene, but these are the ones that tie back to the plot. He has no real reason to fight the PCs, so will skip town rather than do anything else.

What he won’t do is get involved in some damn cosmic war, but he makes a great replacement PC with a broad knowledge set if someone’s character is removed from the action, or if the players befriend him he’s a wonderful dus ex machina as they start facing the higher levels of the Witch cults.