The Verne Chieftain20 Jul 2016
The Verne Chieftain
Scene 1 - The Refugees’ Camp:
It is 2018, the 15th Anniversary of The Event, when this world born from the scraps and ashes from the Old World. The Breakthrough phenomena has bring some chaos, and just recently the world had found some peace, even considering the rising of Eretz Israel and the fall of Calliphate and China.
Africa has always been somewhat a powder barrel, and The Event only make things goes worse, with Warlords and Tribal Kings going into the Breakthrough and at the same time fighting without West support against the Calliphate. In the chaos and civil war many of the African countries are, the last respected institutions are those supported by Doctors Without Borders, actually almost the last really neutral institution in the world. One of those is Heroes Without Borders, that is supporting the last efforts from UNESCO, UNICEF, World Health Organization and other UN initiatives (now very weakened with the dissolution of NATO and the rising of League of Democratic States).
One of the objectives for Médicins Sans Frontières e Herós Sans Frontières (HSF) is to support and maintain the safeness on the refugee’s camps all around the world: with Eretz Israel rising, and other events, lots of people are now away from their original countries (some of them that no more exists, like Gaza and West Bank).
Sierra Leone was taken into the post-Event turmoil and had a quick, but bloody, Civil War until one of the most powerful breakthrough, Bengela (real name: Nelson Tshabalala) expelled the corrupt president from it and was elect some time after with promises of democracy. However, there’s lots of refugee’s on the big camp, nicknamed as Roque Santeiro (in honor of the biggest informal market in the world, established in Angola and closed shortly after The Event, that was by itself named based on an old pre-Event Brazilian soap opera). At least 10 thousand families lives there, with the support of many volunteers, breakthrough or not. The place is maintained by United Nations via UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), with support of all UN Commissioners and NGOs possibles, from UNESCO and UNICEF to MSF and HSF.
In this scenario the PCs arrives as newly-trained HSF recruits. They are taken in the Freetown airport and brought to Roque Santeiro by helicopter: Atlas, Vernes and other flying heroes as advised to not fly to avoid any uneasiness local military. Their contact is Corin Phakathwayo, one of the fixed HSF in the region. He’s known as his main perk to has no costume, nickname or crest: he feels herself as the modern Lothar, and is somewhat a good comparison, as he is a C-Class Ajax and is the first-in-command of the local captain of HSF.
When they get into Roque Santeiro, they feel the real problem: is a big sea of UN-tents, improved by Vernetech, and some generators maintained by a team of UN and HSF Vernes for power and communication. Time after time people came for Roque Santeiro and, although some of them obtain refugee visas for LDS countries and leave the camp every day, many more came.
In the main structure, they are received by the local fixed team of HSF and presented to the HSF captain in place. Diana (real name: Diana Souza) is half-Brazilian (father)/half-South African (Sotho lineage, by mother) A-Class Ajax, but don’t look as one: she’s very pretty with a big afro and somewhat slim, looking like a very beautiful woman from pre-Event films. However, she’s very serious and his look looks like she’s really business
“Alright, chaps, think you had the basic training at Genebra, but now it’s real life. Hope you are able to use your powers and more for something better than your own benefit.
Roque Santeiro is the biggest refugee camp in the world. Some countries has less people than we have here. There we have people from all the Africa, and from all the main tribes: nago, nubians, belize, sotho, xhosa, zulu, hutu, you name it. Also there’s lots of backgrounds and religions.
Our mission here is simple: help maintain security and order, provide support for UN forces, and general help. People here tends to be okay, but sometime things turns really grim because of the shortages on resources. Food and clean water are sometimes difficult to get, and the sanitary infra only didn’t collapsed thanks to our Vernes that works on the infra.
We have also some guys from other organizations to help us, mainly our “mother” so-to-speak MSF, some guys from World Health Organization, some Blue Berets from UN and so.
Well, enough about me: I’ll present you for our local team and you’ll present yourselves for them”
Although she’s very harsh, she also is very competent and feels the responsibility of local HSF leader.
The local HSF team main members are Corin, Diana and:
- Lesley Dimantas, MD, a little crazy psychologist breakthrough that is a A-Class Metamorph that is on this day using the name Squirrel Girl, but was already know as Daughter of Gaea, Galatea, Ceridwen and many other names. She’s known as a sassy girl with a kid’s heart and very competent in two things: metamorphing (she likes to adopt small animal parts as a kind of day-by-day fashion, like she does those days by having squirrel ears and tail) and psychologist, specially involving Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, specially those that results on or from Breakthrough. She’s a staple on the mental treatments in the camp, as many people came here after being expelled or run away from the tribal chiefs. Although she’s very cheerfully, she’s serious on his researches and treatments and in coordinating the support psychologist, heroes or not.
- Derek Stiles, M.D., a guy that is one of the so-called Sons of Aesclepius, those that have the so-called Healing Touch. Some believe that those are one kind of still to be cataloged breakthroughs, and others believes that he’s a Paragon, a kind of breakthrough that is not super-whatever, but is something like the common human apex. Anyway, he’s from CADUCEUS, a NGO linked with the World Health Organization, that is mainly focused on research about diseases and conditions away from the actual medicine, so he is somewhat “borrowed” by CADUCEUS to HSF. They are also linked with lots of Vernes that works on medicine. Derek looks a little under-confident, but he’s very skilled, so he’s Chief Medic in Roque Santeiro after helping in the downfall of the Verne known only as Adam and his medical terrorist organization DELPHI.
They are after granted his clearance levels, positions and so. They are also presented to their quarters: between people from HSF there’s only common quarters. Each quarter is for one team and, although very simple, they’re comfortable enough. They also have their communication links (although not private). The bunk beds are very simple, but made on a structure sturdy enough to resist to almost all kind of people, even the biggest A-Class Ajaxes. There’s also wardrobes where they can put their gear. They receive the common crest of Roque Santeiro’s teams (a Q letter styled on an angel halo).
During that day, they could be called for some simple missions, like escort some food convoys in and out Roque Santeiro (good mission for Ajax, Atlas and Projectors) or helping improving infrastructure at Roque Santeiro (for the Kinesis, Merlins, and Verne). There’s lots of things they could help: remember that, as a refugee’s camp, Roque Santeiro is in need of almost everything. There’s lots of simple actions that the PCs can do and, even being little things (like helping building a new camp hospital using Kinetic powers) they’ll have the chance to shine out before the refugee’s before going into a dinner, shower and bedtime.
During the night (their shift or not), they hear the sirens hearing. People came and ask them for help, and Diana goes for them, dressed into his equipment and holding his Longinus’ Spear, custom built to her by a HSF Verne. They will go for the camp front and see some guys coming. They are part of the local war-chief militia, a guy called Kwazani that wants to remove Bengela from power. They are considered a pesky problem, but this day they are strong: there’s lot of goons on them, equipped with black marked military weapons and, worst of all, lots of D-Class and even C-Class breakthroughs, especially Ajaxes and Metamorphs, with some Atlas and Projectors between them.
The PCs will fight one team of Goons (1 per PC) and another of Super-Goons (1 per 2 PCs). If things are getting easily, put some more, or split the PCs into fight the goons and protect Roque Santeiro: sounds like they want to abduct some people and rob part of the equipment, specially weapons and supplies.
This sounds like easy, but as soon the PCs show having an edge, the Kwazani Elite Team will show: Magog, Ianshan, Panther and Kilimanjaro
They’ll be a lot worse problem for the PCs and they maybe should give in. Specially Kilimanjaro and Panther are very strong on their powers and they are not too much for hurting the PCs. They’ll not kill the PCs, because, if they are taken out, they’ll be Shamefully rescued by the HSF team, including Diana, Corin and Lesley. If the PCs, however, are having some edge in them, make them run away, giving in the conflict, and putting them as Enemies of the Kwazani Elite Four
Any way, they’ll be presented with the main problem: Kwazani and his four elite goons.
Scene 2 - Dealing with Kwazani Four
In the next day, while UN soldiers does the protection and the Vernes does the best to repair Roque Santeiro, Diana call all the HSF heroes into the conference room.
“Okay, everyone. I’ve talked with the big bosses from Genebra and they decided that it was the last straw: it was the tenth attack in the last three months. We are under Clause B Intervention Rules, authorized by UN and LDS.
I want to make very clear: Clause B Intervention Rules still don’t authorize catching tangos using civilians as meat shield. We’ll need so to split you into teams to investigate some targets and try to find Kwazani’s HQ. We already have some local guides to help you with some of the chieftains and into the local cities, and find maybe some clues.
Now the characters can follow some ideas or receive from Diana some clues to some ways to solve the problem, to find Kwazani HQ Location (DR Supreme (+10)). Some clues can be found on those ways:
some of the local chieftains has A grudge with Kwazani, as he doesn’t, in their vision, give the proper respect to elders and wiser people. H, they are Somewhat hostile with the foreigner (DR Good (+4)). If people can provide them electricity, water or other things, they could Gain their hearts, what can help them to find clues about the Kwazani HQ
The Elite’s relative:
Although “evil”, the Elite Four have some parents. Especially Panther could get into a double-cross against Kwazani, because he have a daughter with AIDS: his deceased wife had AIDS and even Kwazani being a A-Class Verne could not heal AIDS. It’s a known fact that even some of the Ultra-Class Verne had not found a cure for AIDS, although thanks for the Medicine-focused Verne many of the worst diseases now have treatment that could avoid evolution and improve health stats and life quality. Use the rules for Negotiation or Contest rules. If the PCs are Successful, Derek and Lesley would work on those, bringing Panther as a Double-Cross.
Another one that could have a weak spot at GM Discretion is Kilimanjaro: she’s from an old lineage of witch doctors and sage man and (specially) women. Although uneasy with foreigners, she and them could be convinced to work with them and explain somewhat the problem: Kwazani had discovered a drug that could provoke the Breakthrough. And many are attracted on this, but just a few had a permanent breakthrough, all the other just having powers as long they use the drug, called Breakthrough Enhancer Drug. They’ll also say that the Breakthroughs that use this had an increasing into their powers, but at the cost of their sanity: with time, their mind are destroyed by the addiction.
A City in need:
Local cities are in need of all kind of things, specially shelter, food and water, and security against some gangs of BED Addicted (uses the Super-Goon mook to emulate). If they can put their powers on a good use for the local people, they could give the location of a BED Smuggler, a Witch Doctor (D-Class Merlin) that sells this to the local kids. He’ll have, obviously, his support team of Super Goons into a BED Overdose (+2 on their Power-related checks, -2 on everything else). If defeated, the Smuggler will put himself under HSF hands, knowing that the city people would try to kill him as soon as he could put their hand on him.
Shadowing the Shadow:
Obviously Kwazani will not left the HSF do their job that easy. Sometime a shadow will be follow them. Either could be a Super-Goon from Metamorph-type or even Panther. They could, if searching, finding them in the middle of local animals, like birds, meerkats, possums and even into the form of urban animals. It’ll be a DR Superb (+5) Investigate opposed check, because they are very skilled as passing as animals, but if they are found, they’ll run. If captured (treat as a Contest) they’ll reveal that Kwazani sent them and their families are hostage. Treat this as a negotiation, with the PCs Swearing they’ll rescue his families (in case of Success).
Each time they do one of those “missions” (City in Need and Elite’s relatives can repeat as many as make sense) grants an Aspect of some kind, that can be used to reduce the check for changing the Kwazani HQ Location Aspect into Found the HQ Aspect. If they Fail Epically into a check, or accept a Success with a Cost, make them be attacked by some Goons or Super-Goons and, if Epic Fail, lose all the Aspects they accumulated.
As soon they Found the HQ, they’ll be sent for to fight against Kwazani.
Scene 3 - Kwazani’s Fortress
Kwazani’s fortress is not that far from Roque Santeiro: it’s on a local mountain, with an access for it inside.
The base looks like somewhat from the pre-Event 007 shows: lots of Chemical Supplies and Weird Equipment. Goons, dressed into QBR suits without the head piece can be seen.
It’s up the GM to trace the route into the Fortress to the Kwazani Room (final DR: Superb (+5)). As a suggestion, treat this as a Contest between the PCs and the Room DR. Each victory the Room have give it a chance of a separated Conflict or for a Create Advantage that would mean the PCs were Trapped or Blocked on some way.
As far the PCs found Kwazani Room, they’ll be received by him, with a nice smirk and kind of Laser Gun in his hand.
“Oh, so at least we’ll be acquainted to each other. I’m Derek Kwazani, and, to put all the cards in the table, I’m what your Barlow guy call an Verne, A-Class. And if you are into that old-fashioned style, you maybe will cry something about surrendering”
Let the PCs do their show: in fact, stimulate them by Compel their Hero Aspects and so. But they’ll be surprised by a Energy Barrier capable to hold even an A-Class Ajax! (DR Mythic (+9)).
“Now, let us stay into the trope: now it’s time to me to say my ‘evil plan’, right? Oh, well, my plan is simple: bring power back to Africa. You see, no matter all the balderdash they talk about Europe or Asia or America being the civilization birthplace, Africa is the humanity birthplace. And before even Genghis Khan, there was big empires in Africa, not just Egypt, but also the Abyssinian, and many others. No matter what Israel calls, Egypt was stronger them then in the past. My objective is simple: bring Africa to their past glory.
And, to stay on our so called Journey’s Hero: how I would want to deal with this? Well, in my researches about the breakthrough I found some interesting common triggers that could be used to provide powers for anyone. And it’s this the way: by creating my own heroes, so to speak. After all, the hero of someone is the terrorist of someone else.
Alright: think I had my part in the trope. So it’s yours: die or run away.”
When he say this, he opens a Black Hole trapdoor that sent them to the next level below. In there, they can see a lot of Monsters (treat them as Super-Goons, 2 per PCs, with an Reduced to Animal Intellect Aspect over them). By the sides, they’ll see the fabric line for BED.
There’s some ideas for the PCs:
- Fighting the Monsters could be something very strenuous even for the toughest Ajax or Atlas, but someone with mind control or manipulation could try to control at least some of the Monsters, reducing the number to be fought out and providing some extra muscle;
- There’s a Failure in the place that could provide a way to contour and fight Derek directly. Although he have their Elite Four (imagine they don’t convinced Kilimanjaro and Panther to double-cross Derek) to defend him, they could deal with them, at least with some difficult.
- If the PCs were smart enough (or want to pay 1 FP to declare as a Flashback), they could be hooked up or the can hack a way to communicate their final position and provide HSF/UN/LDS forces with ways to invade the installation and fight the minions, freeing the PCs (maybe with Diana, Corin and/or Lesley support) to fight the Elite Four and Derek;
- They could convince the workers (all of them Addicted) that Derek is a bad guy. Although not that easy (DR Great (+4)), a good Mentalist or Merlin, or other kind of hero with mind manipulation powers, could work this and make people revolt against Derek. Although this could be a bad way to solve things (and all that against meat shield thing from HSF?), they could at least stop Derek this way;
- If they convinced either Panther or Kilimanjaro to Double-Cross Derek, they could made this into a way they could do on a good timing. This can result into the Elite Four splitting, specially Magog, that is totally loyal for Derek. Ianshan can be convinced by the other Elite Four during the fighting, or when she notes that Derek is using her as cannon-fodder.
No matter what happens, the PCs should be (being smart, lucky, or both) able to catch Kwazani alive, and their notes about BED being destroyed or used for good objectives (like Lesley using it to analyze and obtain extra info into breakthrough and the potential PTSD resulting from).
Epilogue and Hooks
The PCs should be appraised according their actions. Remember that HSF don’t like heroes that use civilians as cannon fodder.
Consider this a Minor Milestone.
The PCs then could still be at Sierra Leone or go after other things all around the world.
- in Derek’s files are some notes about a possible association between the Calliphate, some older people from China and the remnants of North Korea establishment to use BED as a way to recreate some übermensch-like projects that those old people had;
- Bengela is not that pleased of foreigners holding Kwazani, and wants it. However, as good as he is, he follows some old traditions, and Derek messed a lot with them, what would result in death penalty for him. How could HSF would deal with it;
- Derek had some notes about a thing called GUILT - Gangliated Utrophin Immuno Latency Toxins. Derek will recognize them as the work of the criminal DELPHI. Those notes are more advanced than CADUCEUS had. Is it a signal of a new GUILT outbreak, and what about the Sinners that would used to created those new strains, kids that would be used as Patient Zero for it;
- Corin is an ex-_Umkhonto We Sizwe_ (African National Congress military side when the party was clandestine during South Africa Apartheid regimen), and some of Derek notes reveals that some old guys from groups like AWB - Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, Afrikaner Resistance Movement in Afrikaans, would be using the BED to create a White Power Ideal… How to deal with this without bringing Africa into a political and social turmoil worse those from the end of Apartheid
Appendix 1 - Heroes Without Borders Team
|Organization Type||Just a small part of Heroes Without Borders|
|Mission Statement||Super-help for Super-Needs|
|Background Aspect||Genebra still don’t trust us totally|
|Background Aspect||Just don’t mess refugee’s camps|
|Legal Resource||Average (+1)|
|Public Relations||Fair (+2)|
Stress and Consequences
Appendix 2 - HSF Faces
Diana Souza (Diana)
- A-Class Ajax-type;
- The Power of Femininity;
- The team captain;
- Normally stays in the office;
- “Fight bureaucracy is like fighting a Ultra-Type”
|Superb (+5)||Discernment, Willpower, Physique|
|Great (+4)||Academics, Athleticism, Reputation|
|Good (+3)||Provoke, Presence, Fight|
|Fair (+2)||Shoot, Rapport, Drive|
|Average (+1)||Aid, Wealth, Contacts|
- Superhuman Physique (x4)
- Iron Blows
- Superhuman Recovery
- Gear: Longinus’ Spear
- WR 4
- Can use Fight instead of Shoot to be thrown
- Ground point: if someone is Cleaved by this spear, any electric-kind attack against it is considered Unopposed
Derek Styles, MD
- Son of Aesclepius (Paragon);
- Healing Touch;
- Still need to get confidence;
|Superb (+5)||Discernment, Aid, Academics|
|Great (+4)||Reputation, Rapport, Empathy|
|Good (+3)||Willpower, Contacts|
|Fair (+2)||Provoke, Deceive|
- Shield of Reason;
- Specialist (Surgery - for Aid);
- I’ve read about that;
- Healing Touch: your super concentration in the surgery make you remove completely, by paying 1 FP, any kind of opposition related with operation (contamination, critical patient’s stats, etc…)
Lesley Dimantas, MD (Daughter of Gaea, Squirrel Girl, and others)
- Breakthrough Psychologist;
- A-Class Metamorph;
- Usagi-mimi - like to use animal features as fashion;
- Specialization: Breakthrough Disorder and PTSD;
- “Breakthrough Camps are Criminal”
|Superb (+5)||Discernment, Shapeshifter, Academics|
|Great (+4)||Empathy, Deceive, Provoke|
|Good (+3)||Willpower, Contacts, Fight|
|Fair (+2)||Rapport, Shoot, Drive|
- The Change (Shapeshifter);
- Exchangeable Attribute Levels (x2);
- Stunt Pool (x8);
- Chimera: Lesley can turn parts of her body into other forms, using her Stunt Pool normally. Using this she can “aggregate” parts of creatures into her own. No need of checks to undo those partial transformations. The difficult is based on the size of the part of the body changed, from Mediocre (+0) for her ears, to Great (+4) for his arms, to Fantastic (+6) to make some part just show up, like a tail or wings (although changing her arms into wings would still be Great (+4)). This parts are shown as Aspects into the Lesley and still with her while she wants;
- C-Type Ajax;
- “No weird names for me!”;
- Diana has my back;
- “Tata Madiba!” - Under Mandela’s legacy;
- Haunted by Past: ex-_Umkhonto we Sizwe_
|Superb (+5)||Discernment, Academics|
|Great (+4)||Physique, Willpower, Fight, Shoot|
|Good (+3)||Contacts, Reputation, Empathy, Rapport|
|Fair (+2)||Drive, Provoke|
|Average (+1)||Deceive, Larceny|
- Superhuman Physique (x3)
- Iron Blows
- Superhuman Recovery
- Heavy Hitter
- Dazing Counter
- Killing Stroke
- Security Specialist
- Gear: Obsidian Machete
- WR 4
Appendix 3 - Antagonists
- B-Class Verne;
- 21st Century Witch Doctor;
- “Power! Science! Right!”
- Goons… Lots of!
- My Breakthrough Enhance Drug (BED) is my secret and my staple;
|Superb (+5)||Discernment, Wealth|
|Great (+4)||Academics, Willpower|
|Good (+3)||Rapport, Reputation|
|Fair (+2)||Provoke, Presence|
|Average (+1)||Fight, Shoot|
- Eureka! (x4)
- Breakthrough Enhance Drug (BED)
- +2 on all Power Rolls if used by a Breakthrough
- Can induce a breakthrough, at least temporarily
- Roll vs Target’s Willpower or Physique (the worst). Success provoke a temporary breakthrough (number of days equals shifts obtained). Success with Style and Success with a cost results into a permanent breakthrough (C-Style limit). Success with a cost provoke some problem from the BED use
- Highly Addictive
Kwazani’s Goons (Average Extra)
- Goons with Guns, On this for the money
- Shoot Average (+1), Fight Average (+1)
Kwazani’s Super-Goons (Fair Extra)
- D-Class Ajaxes, BED Addicted
- Fight Average (+1), Physique Fair (+2), Athleticism Average (+2)
- Superhuman Physique x4 , one of Charge, Iron Blows, Mighty
Kwazani Elite Goons (Good Extras)
- All of them:
- Loyal to Kwazani, A Powerful Africa
- Resources Average (+1); Rapport Average (+1); Willpower Average (+1)
- Magog (Real Name: Steven Cebekhulu)
- C-Class Ajax, Strong as a rock and as smart also
- Fight Good (+3); Physique Fair (+2); Provoke Fair (+2)
- Superhuman Physique x4; Charge; Iron Blows; Mighty
- Stress: Physical 4 + Extra Mild; Mental 3
- Ianshan (Real Name: Cynthia Sokwalisa)
- C-Class Atlas, Strategist, A Pure Heart behind a Tough Facade
- Provoke Good (+3); Rapport Fair (+2); Presence Average (+1); Fight Fair (+2); Physique Good (+3); Athleticism Fair (+2)
- Super-senses, Superhuman Physique x3, Your Own Missile
- Panther (Real Name: Robert “Bob” Nsele)
- B-Class Metamorph, A Funny Scoundrel, Don’t like to hurt others, A Daughter with AIDS
- Larceny Good (+3); Academics Average (+1); Presence Fair (+2); Discernment Good (+3); Shapeshifter Superb (+5); Willpower Fair (+2);
- The Change (Shapeshifter Skill); Exchangeable Attribute Levels x3 (Any); Stunt Pool 4 SFP; Slippery
- Kilimanjaro (Real Name: Josephine “Josie” Nondaba)
- B-Class Projector, “The powers of Nature are mine!”, From a Witch Doctor’s Family
- Shoot Good (+3); Athleticism Superb (+5); Academics Good (+3); Discernment Great (+4); Presence Great (+4)
- Human Rocket, Lethal Attack, Hard Hitting, Multiple Targets, WR 6/AR 2