GURPS: Red Sky

Clean Slate, Chapter 1

OSBI Agent Howard Lee is in a fight.

He is in Tulsa, having become obsessed with some of his older cases now that he’s see the dead walk and other previously unimaginable things happen. One of these cases is Shay Mackenzie, a young woman he put on death row for the crime of killing her parents. According to her, they were already dead when she murdered them and burned their corpses to ash, but everyone thought she was trying to go for the insanity plea at the time. Thanks to Aoibheal pointing him in this direction, Lee is now less sure.

The trail has led here, to an underground fight club in Tulsa run by some lowlife punk named Riley Pike who is a known associate to Mackenzie. To get access to Pike, Lee has to fight three men, all of whom had reputations as bullies with bad tempers. They converge on Lee … and in a flurry of elbow smashes, knee strikes and shin kicks, Lee puts them all down. Hard. All three of the would-be fighters are badly injured and in need of hospital care, while Lee himself is untouched. Every person present who saw this is alternately intimidated and very impressed with him. As to Lee himself? Not only is he fine, but he is also quite enthusiastic about the very idea of a fight club. He wants more.

From Pike he learns that Mackenzie came to the lowlife because she wanted to learn how to fight. Real street fighting, not fancy martial arts crap that’s just there for show, and Pike reveals that he once saw her take on six guys at once … and kick their asses. For a tiny slip of a girl, that was pretty awesome. As to why Pike was thoroughly unavailable for the trial, he will admit that he was afraid that he might get thrown into jail for his part in aiding her break into some rich guy’s house in Oklahoma City the night before she killed her parents. He provides the address and is grateful that the scary guy who just laid out three hardcore fighters in eleven seconds without a scratch (who looks suspiciously like a cop for some reason) doesn’t beat him to a pulp.

EST-CItyPlace-OK.jpgIn Oklahoma City, OSBI Agents Jack Carter and Wufei Qing are in transit in the truck assigned to them when they hear the following on the radio: All units, we have a 10-23 (officer needs assistance) at 204 North Robinson. Possible hostage situation developing. Without hesitation, Jack changes their direction and heads toward the City Place Tower where they discover a pair of familiar faces, Officers Sullivan and Davis, who inform them a silent alarm was sent from the penthouse owned by Grant Petersen and the alarm company immediately contacted the police when they reviewed their CCTV cameras and observed armed men entering the penthouse.

Carter immediately assumes command of the situation and tasks Sullivan and Davis to set up a perimeter while he does some recon. He breaks out his ridiculous-looking cape, much to Qing’s confusion, then orders the probie to wait for his signal. Armed and mostly invisible, he advances into the tower and takes the elevator up to the floor below the penthouses. Via his radio, he orders Qing to follow in a few minutes.

When the door opens, though, there is an armed gunman waiting. The man sweeps the elevator, his eyes not able to see Carter due to the cape’s glamour, and then backs away. Seeing two armed guys in this hallway, Carter lets the elevator door close, then goes down two floors so he can sneak up through the stairwell. As he does, the second man – who was guarding the door – hears something and advances to investigate; again, the cape’s glamour prevents him from actively seeing Jack but the guy definitely hears something and tries to find it. Carter lets him pass … and then tases him in the neck. He quickly cuffs the poor bastard, rips out the man’s radio, takes his weapons and gags him before informing Qing (who is now in the elevator with some other officers) of his location.

Back up the stairs he goes and, with the rifle butt, he bangs on the door to attract the attention of the guy in front of the elevator who moves to investigate. As the door opens, Jack realizes too late that the guy he cuffed has managed to get his gag free – the man shouts a warning to his buddy, but by then, Jack is already pulling off an unexpected wrestling move that sends the second man down the stairs and into his partner. Despite this collision, both bad guys scramble to their feet, with elevator guy shouting a warning to his compatriots in his comm-piece while trying to ready his rifle; cuffed guy has no weapons since Carter took them so he reaches for his buddy’s sidearm.

And into the mess bursts Agent Qing and his backup, ATF Agent Moretti, guns drawn and shouting for the bad guys to get down…

PERS-Ghost-Librarian.jpgSofía Torres is at OU in Norman, racing into the Bizzel Memorial Library. Over the last few weeks, she’s been researching a ghost who has been attacking students and has finally identified who this memory is: the very first librarian who controlled these halls in 1890, after the library was originally built. According to what Sofía has learned in her research, this woman committed suicide in 1903 by setting the library on fire (and burning it to the ground.) No one is quite sure why this librarian killed herself – her very existence is actually something of a secret – but Sofía suspects that that the ghost’s choice of location is a clue.

It is a commonly known “fact” that students use this part of the library – known as the Stacks – to hook up for anonymous sex and, indeed, as Sofía enters, she can see a couple already on the ground, gasping as they try to breathe while a malicious-looking ghost looms over them. Fortunately for these idiot students, Sofía has prepared.

First, she breaks out some chalk and draws a circle, though she does not activate it just yet. Instead, she puts this circle between her and the ghost and, once she’s gathered adequate energy, calls out to the ghost in a taunting manner. “Hey,” she exclaims, “I thought this was supposed to be a threesome!” As she expects, this actually causes the ghost to recognize her and float forward, ominously lifting an ethereal arm … but Sofía is ready and activates her circle trap the moment the ghost crosses the threshold. Instantly, the two students are able to suck in oxygen and they bolt in terror the moment they can get to their feet.

Ignoring them and the raging ghost, Sofía begins the slow, laborious process to permanently banish this ‘footprint in stone’ and, as a result, is forced to pit her will against that of this image. It is a narrow thing – this ghost is old and angry and spiteful – but Sofía is successful in forcing it to effectively destroy itself by raging against the circle trap. She is relieved when the ghost is gone, then less so when she notes the destruction within the confines of the circle. Fortunately, none of the books were damaged … though she notes a ghostly shadow against the wall and realizes that it is a likely permanent relic of the ghost’s passing.

From the exit, someone claps and states, “Well done, Wizard Torres.” It is Auric Craft. And he needs her help.

For Colin Jenks, rent is nearly due.

WeirdGambler.jpgHis apartment isn’t cheap – even though a woman was murdered there! – and since YouTube has been demonetizing a bunch of videos, he’s had to turn to alternate means, which has led him to Riverwind Casino in Norman. He’s generally careful to avoid winning too much and actually doesn’t have to cheat this time as he cleans out an especially irritating gambler lowlife who looks vaguely familiar to him for some reason.

As he gathers his chips to go cash out, Colin notes that security seems to be closing in on him for some reason, so he glances at a nearby slot machine that an old granny is working at and it serendipitously gives the woman a massive jackpot, complete with alarms and whooping lights. He hopes that will delay the security people long enough for him to get out of here intact …

But alas, Big McLargeHuge clamps a meaty hand on his shoulder and asks politely if Colin will come with him. This seems to be the limit of Mr. McLargeHuge’s vocal repertoire, though Jenks does attempt to engage the man-mountain-thing in some witty repartee. Colin is escorted to the elevator, unceremoniously shoved in, and the hulking security guy hits the basement button before standing in front of the elevator doors so Jenks can’t get out. The doors close and the elevator begins to go down.

And keeps going down, much to Colin’s confusion. When the doors finally open, he’s convinced they gone at least twelve “stories” down … and the view beyond is even more unsettling. He finds himself in a massive and dark cavern, though he sees some strange glinting ahead. The elevator seems to lose power and his curiosity gets the best of him so Jenks advances forward to investigate the glinting which he discovers to be sacks and sacks of gold coins and ingots. When he turns back to the elevator, he finds it gone.

“You have stolen from me, Colin Jenks,” a voice announces from the shadows. A moment later, a positively gigantic coyote appears out of the dark, looming over Colin at an impossible height. The animal narrows its eyes as it stares at him. “You have stolen,” the impossible creature says. “From me.”


GM Notes:

  • Matias’ player had to temporarily bow out due to grad school, so his character likely won’t be involved. Woo’s player (new to this campaign) was out this week due to a wedding he had to attend.
  • Overall, I was fairly satisfied with this. Got a slightly later start than I would have liked and while working on the recap, I (naturally) noted some things I should have done differently (like the gunman & the elevator; he should have done something to force the elevator to stay where it was, like maybe jam something in the doors so they couldn’t close), but hopefully I can resolve the stuff that was missed next week.
  • Was caught unprepared for Carter’s decision to just storm into the tower without first trying to gather any intel, but that’s fine. I think I managed to roll with the punches fairly well.
  • Colin’s scene was too short and too rushed, but we were closing in on midnight and I wanted to end on a certain spot, so … will try to do better by him next time. That said, who was that mysterious gambler who looks so much like Jack?



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