There Is No Spoony Veteran

Alright, let’s begin this Remembrance Day special with the opening scenario.

For those who don’t know what the Matrix is, it’s a franchise of movies set in a cyberpunk environment contained inside post-apocalyptic world. How this works is that machines have humans live in small pods that keep them in a comatose state, effectively keeping them active while they “farm” them as batteries.

In this comatose state, the humans go through a simulation of real life: The Matrix. They go about their day, knowing nothing of the true nature of their world. However, some do. And when they do find that something isn’t right, they end up finding a way out of that world and into the real world, now named Zion, where they join a resistance army. From there, they operate Hovercrafts that are armed with programs that allow them to re-enter the Matrix with what is basically a cheating device (you can ask someone to give you guns or teach you Kung Fu on the fly, for instance) whenever they wish to try and free other people from it.

Of course, this isn’t exactly easy. The Machines have what are basically administrators in the Matrix known as Agents, who can possess people and have extreme combat expertise. To face them is to dice with death. However, there is hope. The Resistance is given information in which one person will ultimately end the world and save Zion. This person is known as the One.

Our story begins during this search for the One. Many Hovercraft crews are told of the One and they all want to be the crew that says, “we found the One!”. Some of them even pretended that they already found them. Such is the case with our Hovercraft crew, the Somnambular.

[Q: Does anyone believe them? Purpose: To Knowledge. A: 43. No.]

Of course, no one believes them since everyone and their mother has done that trick before. As such, they’re ostracized and as a result, are sent to work on a cheap, less effective Matrix. The Machines have different versions of the Matrix set up for different time periods, linking what happens there to other Matrixes, effectively creating accurate historical re-enactments that have butterfly effects.

In this case, the Matrix they’re sent to is replicating WWI. There, they found someone who is becoming aware of the fact that they’re in a simulation and they jack in. And thus, our heroes jack into an old military base disguised as soldiers. They receive the call saying they’re in and begin their operation. Everyone is mostly motivated to go find this potential Redpill, except for Slifer, who is plotting to rig the operation somehow. Possibly by allying with the Agents.

[Q: Did he tip off the Agents? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 74, Surge to 76. Yes]

Oh yeah. He did.

[Q: Are they in the base now? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 15, Surge to 11, No, and…]

No, and they are instead in the allied base like they intended. Surge ends up triggering an event.

[Context: 23, NPC. NPC? 1, Ryan, Focus: 76 & 77, Mistrust Trials]

[Q: Are there any soldiers in the base? Purpose: To Knowledge. A: 51]

Yes, there are. They go over to the group. Both Shepherd and Slifer want to talk to these guys, but one of them will have to talk first.

[Matrix Roll. Slifer gets no successes while Shepherd gets a Matrix success.]

Shepherd pretends he is part of the crew and ask the soldier in charge where to go.

[Q: Does the soldier point him to the direction of the Redpill? Purpose: To Knowledge. A: 81, Surge makes it 83]

Yes, he does and according to the instructions, they are to immediately go to him, since he’s going against orders and is engaging on an assault on the enemy base. And thus, they make haste. Slifer is a little agitated that Shepherd took the lead, but chose to let it down for now. Thus, we end the scene.

Chaos has gone down because we had things in control.

[Scene Roll: 1]

Alright, so now we have the Agents show up.

[Q: How Many? 1 being one, 2-3 being two, 4-6 being three. A: 6]

Welp. Three Agents come out, grabbing control of some of the random soldiers as the heroes approach them. A fight breaks out with the Agents having the advantage.

[Q: Do the Agents identify the leader? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 96]

Yes, but they prioritize their target on Uno first to take him out, since Slifer told them about how he could be the One. The Agents open fire and, while Uno tries to bend the bullets out of the way, he was only successful for one swarm but couldn’t defend himself against the other. He is shot down almost instantly.

[Q: Does it kill him? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 53]

As soon as he hit the ground, Uno is dead. I ask this because, even if your Health, or Body Chips, are reduced to zero, it doesn’t necessarily mean death. Hence why I asked. But no, he’s dead. Shepherd just runs in guns blazing, but the Agent does that whole moving out of the bullets path thing.

However, using her Matrix Chip as a Benny to boost her Healing skill, Sling manages to revive and stabilize Uno.

[Q: Is he unconscious? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 1, Surge making it literally 0]

No, and unexpectedly…

[Roll: 4, Costume Change]

This means an NPC changes either sides or motivations. This feels wholly appropriate for Slifer since this can rein him back to being a good guy, however. So I’ll roll. Replacing the Agents, the Oracle, and the Machines for Slifer (since their motives are fixed), I’m going to determine which NPC it’s effecting.

[Roll: 3]

Yep, it’s Slifer. He begins to regret his stance with the Agents (or at least think calling them instead of backstabbing Shepherd personally is overkill) and instead runs off to go get help.

[Q: Do the Agents notice he’s running to get help? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 50]

Nope. They see him running, yes, but they don’t notice where he’s running to. Chill tries to go hand to hand with the Agent. While she gains an upper hand in the fight, he manages to pull off another cool Matrix stunt and sweep her attacks out. The other Agents weren’t lucky and only one of them manages to wound Shepherd.

Okay, this fight is going nowhere. The army arrives thanks to Slifer’s interference and they pretty much shoot down the Agents. They dodge, but they realize that one hit will be enough to kill them. So they run off. The army asks what the fuck happened.

I feel like telling them the truth will help. I tell them that the Agents are… well, agents of a machine empire that are trying to kill them because they’re trying to liberate Ryan, a potential Redpill. Shepherd also explains to them a brief recap on Bluepills or Coppertops and how the Agents can take control of them.

[Q: Do they believe any of this? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 9, Surge making it 7]

No, and they dismiss them as crazy. So, they try to detain the guys. However, Shepherd does some badass kung fu Matrix skills to knock them off and they run off.

Chaos adds because of how out of control this was.

[Scene Roll: 0]

WELP! RANDOM EVENT!

[Event Focus: 89, NPC Negative. NPC: 1, Ryan. Event Meaning: 84 & 53: Care Home]

Well, long story short, we end up getting to Ryan, our Redpill, who is preparing to rush the enemy in one of the many trenches, but when Shepherd makes the offer to fight a real war, Ryan doesn’t believe him and insists on staying in the Matrix, which he says is his home. Slifer, deciding to redeem himself, uses his leadership skills to try and convince Ryan on joining the resistance.

[Roll: No Successes]

Ryan just shakes his head and heads off into the fray. Shepherd refuses to have any of it and rushes to pressgang Ryan, getting the red pill ready.

[Roll: Double Success]

He manages to subdue Ryan and force him to consume the pill.

[Q: Does Ryan swallow it? Purpose: To Endings. A: 56]

Yes. He does. He doesn’t know it yet, but the pill he took ended up causing the signal in his pod to shut down, which makes the machines mistake the pod for a deceased pod. Thus, they kick him out of the Matrix and into Zion where the scene ends. Next scene will pick up when the Hovercraft crew pick him up. Chaos goes up because while we got what we want, we pretty much had to force Ryan into taking the pill.

[Scene Roll: 3]

However, thanks to the encounter with the Agents, the Machines know that this section of their “farm” is gonna be attacked so they have Machines go and defend it. Same as before, they face 3 Machines. Combat is gonna be fairly short given how the gameplay is meant to be inside the Matrix, not in Zion.

Then I realize the group have to make it back to the phone, so we’ll focus on them and then ask the engine whether or not the ship managed to hold off the Machines. However, the Agents are on their tail. Because I don’t like to do another long drawn out fight, this is gonna be a chase sequence. To make a long story short, all of them make into the bunker with the slight exception of an unconscious Uno. There’s a ringing phone for them to pick up and all of them managed to grab it and answer it. However, the Agents manage to catch up to one of them…

Slifer, who sacrificed his chance to get Uno back. The Agents pull up their guns and ask him why he betrayed his friends, only to go back to them like the coward he is. His response? “The grass is greener on the other side.”

Agents open fire.

But, in a shocking twist, Slifer managed to dodge the gunfire and use this as his chance to get the phone. He makes it out of the Matrix.

[Q: Does the Hovercraft outmaneuver the machines? Purpose: To Endings. A: 46, Surge making it 44]

Nope. And random event time.

[Event Focus: 1 = Remove Event. Event Meaning: 90 & 72. Failure of Adversaries]

So… This is how it goes: the Machines end up messing up and destroying each other (computers are known to glitch out, after all) and the humans end up with their Redpilled Ryan. Mission accomplished for the most part.

Uno will have to go through medical therapy, Ryan will have to be shown the ropes, and Slifer and Shepherd will have to be court marshalled for their crimes, but everything else is pretty peachy. We didn’t really go right into the war, sadly, but we managed to get our goal done.

This game session went alright. My only major gripe was that combat took a while, because everyone got double successes to cancel each other out and thus no one got hurt. Other than that, everything else went alright. I kinda didn’t like how that game ended with Shepherd pressganging Ryan into the crew, but given how he’s a “hard man who makes a hard choice”, it’s sadly par for the course.

Well, happy Remembrance Day.

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One thought on “There Is No Spoony Veteran

  1. Pingback: The Best Lines From Each Of My Sessions In 2017 | Solo RPG Voyages

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