Monday, June 1, 2015

Most Wanted Conspyramid 3: MEDUSA

Continuing from the last post in this series we’re adding a new column to the Conspyramid with MEDUSA – the Military Espionage Department, United States of America. This group recruits captured super-villains for rehabilitation as clandestine agents and develops high tech to build their own super-agents. These assets are used to explore, recruit and degrade foreign military science and protect US assets from same, though sometimes that means ‘liberating’ it to create ‘deniable’ weapons for use black ops use.

Adding this column to the Conspyramid expands the conspiracy from a corrupt police organization to domestic espionage. This could have a huge change on play, but given the villains involved, that this is still a super-hero story and it’s placement in the Conspyramid we’re going to say it’s just the regional office. Plus in this version its one where the people involved got to hell with good intentions rather than by chartering a jet there the way Buzzard’s Boys did. (This would change somewhat if you add in the next column of the Conspyramid, which we’ll do later).

Regional MEDUSA has significant control over the local SHARP program; Buzzard’s effectiveness with the Freakshow led to his being tapped for more work, and his willingness to loan out his men for domestic black ops support and cover up any messes makes him a key part of their team. One kept at arm’s length of course, and just as Mirage knows Buzzard can hose her, he knows MEDUSA can hose him. No one else in Buzzards Boys explicitly knows about the connection, but Psi-Phon has enough ideas about where some of the non-psionic captives go to make a good guess.

Level Four Node: MEDUSA Regional Office

Trickshot: Roy Alexander was the first super-villain recruited for a suicide mission as a test, and he worked out very well. Still with MEDUSA in his secret ID he is now in charge of this regional office based on his sterling field record and charm, but is in way over his head. He trusted too many people who tracked mud into his office and now has to cover it up or lose everything.

* Increase level to 11 and increase age to 40; he’s been in this game a while.  
* Node Level: 4
* Add Govt/Bureaucracy as a background, acquired via training. Other training raises C to 15.
* feel free to add more specialized bullets, however outrageous, to his guns. If he has had time to prep against the investigating PCs powers he certainly will be ready for them.
* Give him a Security Clearance of 10 thanks to his high status.

If the players are nosing around here it’s because they’ve tracked things up through his corrupt Asset Runner or have made the tie from Buzzards dirty SHARP operation. Of course even finding out MEDUSA exists is hard, it being hidden in both the Army Intelligence and DARPA budgets and behind a dozen shell companies. PCVs will be stymied by previously set up false leads, very difficult data analysis, recently abandoned warehouses, etc. This node is protected by government espionage level secrecy.

If the PCs do find it through the projects Alexander funded that he shouldn’t (Cross Station) or the former super-villain agents he shouldn’t have he will confront the heroes directly and come clean, sort of the programs are defensible if looked at in the right frame, he can cover everything up with national security and is willing to work with the heroes to close down the project as long as they keep quiet. He will threaten to make their lives really difficult if they do blab about the secret government programs and he can certainly do so to an extent, but contrition will be believable enough

He’s more comfortable burning Cooper and his corrupt cops. He suspects Cooper has a dead man’s switch of data somewhere, but is emotional enough to put a bullet in Cooper’s head and call it done. Trickshot isn’t normally a killer, but he knows how bad a man Cooper is, and might be better able to live with himself if Cooper dies in a hail of gunfire and gives the heroes a nice clean ending to a bad man.  If the PCs are approaching from Cooper’s organization and Alexander thinks he has enough to connect he might just pull the trigger in advance, hopefully freezing their investigation there.

You’ll notice in both of these cases Trickshot is trying for a bank shot, while pleading out to a lesser crime. This is his prior MO, so that’s consistent. Players my find it unsatisfying if the presumed big bad at the top of the conspiracy escalates by talking and helping them dismantle his own works (under the cover of state secrets and national security), but it should make for an interesting change. It also makes it harder to climb higher if there’s a higher to climb. At least until Cooper’s dead man’s switch goes off and the PCs inbox is flooded with files incriminating MEDUSA. 

More to come next post

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