A monster’s bounty – A weird cyberpunk fantasy adventure – S1E06 

Brief summary: Lt. Athen Smarte is a Hunter. Solitary warriors who hunt down and dispatch warp monsters. In the last session, she had left an abandoned military base in a hurry after residual warp magic and corporate goons made her presence too hot.

I thought, what better way to return back to my blog posts, than with a campaign I had abandoned.
After complete lockdown burnout and almost a month of vacations, I’m getting back in the saddle with Athen’s story. This time I’ll take the lessons I’ve learned regarding story drivers and apply them, but also I will try out one of the most popular solo engines out there, Mythic GME. Since I want to understand how it’s supposed to work, I’m not gonna hack it at all, and only resort to additional solo tools (such as UNE or BOLD) if required.

I think Mythic, which is Scene based, will fit perfectly with the vague distances of a cyberpunk city. No more trying to decide how many hours it takes to get from one place to the next. This isn’t some fantasy hex crawl adventure.

I took the time and created a Characters List. I had to make a subtable for the Hunter’s guild, since there’s just too many of them. Even though Taro could reserve special mention.

Characters

  • Hunters
  • Mao Hsai
  • Goblins
  • Merlin
  • Dirty Official
  • Quinn
  • Michal Morikai
  • German Kennet

Hunters

  • Taro
  • Col. Leif Faulknen
  • Cpt Jaenke
  • Konicek
  • Girbach
  • Quartermaster

I’ve also made a list of locations and threads

Locations

  • Vertden FOB
  • Home
  • Ocano Point
  • Gustav’s
  • New Gorky
  • Old Pictorial
  • Morikai Bread Factory

Threads

  • Investigate occult rituals in Ocano Point (main thread)
  • Investigate third-eye-drug exchange

Also, considering how the party had to turn tail and run, abandoning the scene in the last episode, I deem that the Chaos is high, with Chaos Factor starting at 6.


Now it’s time to set up the first Scene.
I’m considering that Athen will return to Vertden FOB to report back the failure in recovering the data, and also to investigate on the occult ritual remains they discovered on site. She knows that Mao Hsai has gotten to Ocano Point, but that doesn’t mean the potential danger can’t be overlooked.

Is Scene Modified? : 6 against 6: Interrupt Scene.
Event Focus: Ambiguous Event, Attract Animals

Athen has walked a sizeable distance away from Ocano Point. She recalls she has to walk four hours to get to the nearest road to get a cab back. The war has destroyed the entire infrastructure around the base. With her flashlight showing the way, she treads among the ruins back to her destination.
What catches her attention is sounds flickering in the darkness. She is alone, and a pack of beasts, mutated, warped or natural ones, would not be scared off easily.
Alarmed, she draws her sidearm, releases the safety and continues, avoiding closed spaces.

Athen will try to get a glimpse of what kind of creatures are following her.
Notice (d6): 8,4: Success with a raise. I’ll ask two questions.

Q: Is it avians? (50/50)
A: Yes
Q: Are they unnatural? (50/50)
A: No

So it’s either bats or owls. Experience dictates that owls are dead silent in the night, so I’ll go with the bats. With Mythic what is story interesting dictates what follows. There would be no point adding a scene where nothing happens, so I think that even if it’s a natural swarm of bats they could still behave unnaturally, and swoop in on Athen (not harming, but maybe bruises, a fatigue level) if she fails to avoid them. She might even lose her temper and fire off a blast with her pistol, possibly alerting other, more nefarious creatures.

Winds flapping about, Athen realizes its a swarm of bats. Filthy flying rodents she thinks.
Suddenly, the swarm changes direction, and flies directly on to her, and she tries to jump out of the way.

Agility (d8): 6,5: Success.

Athen dodges the swarm, as the bats turn again for another swoop. What the…

Agility (d8): 17, 1: Success with three raises.

Athen jumps out of the way, does a barrel roll, and gets in a shallow concrete ditch. The bats seem to be unable to detect her in the night. They do a couple more passes, and fly away.
Shocked, Athen can’t seem to get out of her head, why would creatures so low in the food chain try to hurt her.
Did it have to do with what happened in Ocano Point? Did she get hit by warp magics, or are the animals agitated by something else? intentionally? In any case she keeps her pistol at the ready and walks back in stealth.

Stealth (d6): 9,1: Success with a raise. She leaves the scene safely.

Time to close up the scene. On one hand Athen seemed to handle herself properly, but the whole animals attacking thing seemed chaotic. I deem Chaos Factor remains at 6. No modifications to characters or threads (I deem this bizarre behavior is in the main thread.


Again, next scene will be the return & brief at Vertden FOB.

Is the Scene Modified? 4 against 6: Yes: Interrupt Scene.
Event Focus: NPC Positive: Mao Hsai: Truce Outside.

It’s early morning when Athen finally gets back to where the cab had left them the night ago. The road is empty and deserted as it should be, but the sound of cars approaching gets her attention.
She hasn’t slept for so many hours, and tiredeness starts to kick in.

Q: Is it many cars? (50/50)
A: Yes

As they draw closer, she can see it’s a convoy. 3 armored SUVs rolling in. She tries to hide, but it seems they’re after her, as they brake quickly and do surround her position. She reaches for her sidearm, as the window of the middle SUV slides down.
The red haired man inside takes off his glasses. His silver eyes gaze at Athen.
“That won’t be necessary Ms. Smarte.” He says. “We’ve already talked with your boss. We’ve come to an… agreement. Pity we missed you last night. Would have saved you all the trouble.”
It takes Athen a moment to understand what is going on.

I’m going to use UNE for this conversation, as it seems to be the main focus of the scene.
Conversation Mood: Sociable
NPC bearing: idiocy
NPC focus: relics

“It seems both sides got what they wanted then. You got a nice fancy goblin blade, and in return you won’t try to restore the drives – which were fried any way. Win-win for you.” Athen replies.
“So you did your research after all.” The man says. “You’re stupid if you think all we wanted was one trinket. There’s… more. But rest assured, Mao Hsai has Ocano Point now. You got in, but now, you have got to stay out.”
Athen brandishes a card with her contact information and throws it to the window. “You’re gonna need this. When that sicko warp shaman comes knocking back. Because something tells me that evil, is still live and kicking around Ocano Point.”

Persuasion: 4,3: Success.

The red haired man takes the card. “We already have your contact info Ms Smarte. Mao Hsai is connected. You’d know this if you did your research.” He pauses for a moment. “You’ve seen these… mutilations before?”
“No.” She snaps.
“No?” He asks.
“No, I’m not telling you anything unless you let me help you. Listen you, I don’t give a fuck what you find to make more money. But if you stir up some old-war warp shit, that’s my queue. You want to find out who did this and if they’re gonna do it again? Let me back in, or get out of my way.” Athen replies.

Persuasion: 4, 6: Success. He agrees.

Q: Does he take Athen with him to the base right now?
A: Yes

The window slides back up, and as Athen believes they’re gonna storm off, the door opens. She enters the SUV.
“I thought there were no roads in shape to be driven to Ocano Point.” She says.
“Oh there are none, but we’re going to the helipad. We’re not gonna walk there.” The man smiles. He points to his crew. “I’m Chuo Kai-Hoa. My assistant will prep an agreement that you need to sign on. The place seems to drag you back in Ms Smarte. You can’t escape it.”

Characters: +Chuo Kai-Hoa
Chaos Factor: drops to 5.


I’m thinking the next scene will have to do with Athen doing research back in Ocano Point. With no obstacles, she will have the opportunity to investigate what happened there and if the threat is still active.

Is the Scene Modified? 8 against 5: No.

Athen took a short nap in the helicopter, but still she ain’t close to being rested. She was afraid she’d have lost the opportunity to investigate the base if she asked for a delay. Also it’s best to look at things while they’re fresh, unlike her.

Q: Where there any other macabre findings?
A: Yes

I realize here that in my previous session I should have made a Fear roll. I’ll take the opportunity and make the test now, since Athen revisits the spot, and there are more things to see.

Athen disembarked from the chopper with Chuo and two Mao-Hsai goons. She saw corporate suits everywhere. Some uniformed with guns, others in science robes, running about frantically. The heavily armored troops she saw last night weren’t to be seen anywhere. As soon as the rotor died, and they could make proper conversation, they guided her to the gross piles.
She braces herself for what she is about to relive. As soon as they enter inside the stench overcomes her nostrils.

Q: Does Chuo join in? (Likely)
A: Yes

Chuo puts a napkin over his nose and enters, seemingly unfazed by the visage.
“Ms Beyett here” he says referring to the suit next to him, “will be capturing the scene audiovisually. If you need focus somewhere, tell her.”

Something else I read in the Mythic GME is that you can ask questions regarding world truths. I find that this will help immensely with setting up the world.

Q: Have there been developed warp detection devices?
A: Yes

Athen nods. “Any chance we can get a warp detector? I have this gut feeling that dark magic was at work here.”
Chuo tells the other suit next to him, and he sets off to find it, as Athen starts investigating the site.
She tried to tell herself that seeing these in the light of day would make it less macabre. How wrong she was. She can’t shake the feeling that these people in there where flayed, skinned alive to provide for this experiment. But what causes her nausea, is that she can see that some of the experiments seem to have partially succeeded. She can see that some of the flesh constructs are seamless.

Fear: Spirit (d6): 3,2: Failure: Shaken. Vigor (d8): 5,4: Success.

Athen wants to get out. But she gets a hold of herself. Her hair is standing up. She’s on edge, but she holds her stomach contents together, and gets to the job at hand.

Notice (d6): 5,5: Success.

Q: Is the experiment a recent one?
A: No

At first she thought that whatever happened here was recent, since the flesh constructs seem to be fresh, to the contrary to the mummified rotten piles in the corner of the room.
Then she notices a huge circle marking the floor, under the flesh constructs, made with what else? dried blood. Occult symbols cover it end to end.
She notices a patch of skin that is lying half in the circle and half outside. The part that is inside the circle, is still fresh and preserved, while the part that is outside is dried and gray.
Athen points that out to the corporate suits. “Definitely warp magic at work here. I believe it’s old.”
“Doesn’t warp magic dissipate with the passage of time?” Chuo asks.

I’ll make a common Knowledge roll and if successful I’ll ask for a world truth.
Common Knowledge (d4): 2,3: Failure

“I don’t know how it works. I hunt them down and kill them. Will need to check out the database back in Vertden.” Athen replies.
“Have you vetted the entire base? Is the place secured?” She adds, while at the same time trying to avoid gazing at the corpses, something hard to do as the entire room is covered with it.

Q: Have they secured the place?
A: Yes

“It’s clear. Something else you want to take a look at, or are you done?” Chuo asks.
“Magic has pooled here. I wouldn’t put my guard down… even when uncontrolled by the enemy, it’s known to affect things and people…” Athen counters. “Can we take a look with the warp detector see if there’s anything we might have missed around the base?”
Some time later, a corporate employee with scientist robe arrives with a device on a two wheeled cart, and they start scouring the remains of the camp.

I’ll do a Notice test to see if they get a bonus in finding anything more.
Notice (d6): 5,5: Success
Q: Is there any other pooling of warp magic?
A: Yes
Q: Do they find the pooling of warp magic? (Likely)
A: No

They search the base around with the detector. The contraption blips a couple more times, but nothing serious. Overall it seems that apart from the occult site, the entire place seems warp free.
“I’d like a copy of the footage in that room.” Athen requests to Chuo as she gets back to the helicopter. “Maybe some research in the records will reveal something new.”

Persuasion (d4): 2,5: Success.

“We’ll review it and send you the relevant parts Ms Smarte. Thank you for your cooperation on this matter.” The corporate agent replies.
Athen smiles softly. “Thanks for the ride, and hey, if the shit hits the fan, give me a call.”

I’m not closing up the investigation thread just yet. Athen needs to make sure that everything’s inactive. There’s this gut feeling she has that all is not complete. Maybe it has to do with the bat swarm attack of last night.

I’m keeping the Chaos Factor stable.


Athen will head to Vertden, take a short nap in the barracks, and do the debriefing and research.

Is the Scene Modified? 4 against 5: Interrupt Scene.
NPC Action: German Kennet: Event: Persecute Fears

Q: Is Mr Kennet the subject of persecution?
A: No, therefore he is the object of persecution.

For the subject I’m gonna use UNE for inspiration: titled master. Heck I did not see this coming.

Athen arrives at the gate of Vertden FOB to come upon muscular Mr Kennet holding a man by the rear of his neck, pushing him around in front of the guards. The man is none other than Mr Morikai himself.
“…there was this hunter lady, Ms Smarte. She knows, she will understand!” she hears Kennet saying as she approaches from behind.
“Know what Mr Kennet?” Athen asks in a dominating voice.
German turns around, still holding Morikai who has been bruised quite heavily, most likely assaulted by his bodyguard.
“Ms Smarte! At least I know you aren’t in league with those filthy orcs.” He spits down to the ground in resent. “I was watching him, oh yeah I was watching him… human traitor!” He snaps and punches down Mr Morikai who bends his knees and drops.
“Calm down man. What’s going on?” She asks.
“He… he’s in league with them. That’s why they attacked the factory. When he couldn’t hide their presence any longer he called you, to cover his tracks. ” Kennet answers.
‘A gorkie?.’ Athen thinks. That’s what the orcs called their human collaborators during the war. When the humans had started winning the war, they even faced battalions of them in the battle. They were mostly saboteurs. Few if ever had been taken alive. They always perished one way or another.
The war ended, but the distrust had taken its toll. Witch hunts were set in villages, and many times people were accused and murdered in the name of some cleansing of traitors. More often than not they had nothing to do with it.
“We’ll take him inside Mr Kennet. If the allegations stand true, he sent to be tried. Just bear in mind, we hunt monsters not humans. Not anymore at least.” Athen tells Mr Kennet.

Q: Does Mr Kennet deliver Mr Morikai to Athen? (Likely)
A: No

Haha, okay, he may need some persuading first.

Persuasion: 15,5: Success with two raises.

It seems the diplomatic answer of Athen didn’t convince Mr Kennet.
“He ain’t going anywhere where I can’t see him.” German responds and grabs Mr Morikai by the neck, who tries to mumble something like “please”.
“You’ll come in to give a briefing as well, but you understand that we need to interrogate him alone. There are tests…” Athen lets her voice trail off, to make German’s imagination fill in the gaps.
The bodyguard lets his old boss loose in front of the guards.
“Let’s get them inside, different rooms, guarded. Notify Cpt. Jaenke” She tells them, and they follow.

Q: Does Cpt. Jaenke agree with the questioning process?
A: Extreme No

The Captain enters the holding room, and yells at Athen for good. “We do NOT interfere with human relations unless we’re attacked by a subject. Get them both out of here!”
“They could be…” she tries to say.
“I don’t care! We’re called to hunt a beast. We hunt it. We kill it. We get payed. Politics is what gets guilds closed down, and I as sure won’t go down this road. Get them out. If the muscle wants to kill his boss, let him have at it, I couldn’t care less.” The Captain continues.
Athen hangs her head as the guards escort the two men outside.
Once they’re outside the Captain asks for her briefing regarding Ocano Point, and Athen provides it.

I want to see if the Captain is aware of the Mao Hsai truce.

Notice (d6): 17,1: Success with three raises.

Q: Is the Captain in the loop?
A: Yes

As Athen recollects her memories and provides the briefing to Cpt. Jaenke, she can’t help but notice that he doesn’t seem to pay any attention to her story. As if he already knows.
Not involved in politics captain, right? she thinks to herself. Just the ones that you're not payed for.
When the briefing is over, she hits the bunk for some well deserved rest. Trying to piece all of it together. Questions, questions all over. Too many coincidences involving goblins and their work in the region. If there’s one thing she has learned is that there are no coincidences.
She’s definite that there are goblins working with humans, and there’s warp magic involved in all of this, but they’re all in the hiding and she can’t do anything about it unless she finds hard evidence. She still finds it hard to trust anyone, and the guild doesn’t give her that sense of home. They haven’t embraced her at all. Is it the truth, or is she just depressed? she wonders, as she finally falls asleep.

I’m increasing the Chaos Factor to 6 and adding a thread uncover local orc collaborators. She’s been told not to, but day by day it seems that her relations with the guild worsen.

Also, I’m giving Athen an advancement, per the SW rules.


Session Summary

A breath of fresh air! Mythic seemed to shine in this game style.
First of all, I did some thorough reading of the blue book, and realized that my own personal Player-Driven style wouldn’t play with Mythic well. So I tried to stick as much as possible to the guidelines by the author, and run it completely, Story-first. I was hesitant at first, but it worked perfectly!

What I really enjoyed though was the Scene-based game style of Mythic. This wouldn’t work well in a dungeon crawl or hex crawl or similar game were the timeline is full and there are no gaps, even if the filling is nothing happening and noone encountered. On the other hand it fits perfectly in modern, post modern and urban adventures games. Time to perform tasks is so relevant it doesn’t make sense anymore. It’s like movie time.
So what helped me was imagine the whole session as a movie or tv show episode. (Don’t confuse this with the cinematic style the author states in the book). We go from one scene to the next, where each scene has at least some story-telling importance, and if we need to know what happened in-between scenes, it’s just described within the scene that is playing. Perfect.

Now this isn’t to say that it all worked without a single hitch. I’ve had a few “how to interpret the results” times, but nothing I hadn’t encountered before while solo playing.
Also I can’t help but shake the feeling that some of my scenes are too short. I think dice results play a big role in this matter, and it could be just plain probabilities.

I’m still finding some gaps here and then in my story… who’s on my protagonists’ side, what does she feel about following orders vs helping the fellow man. I find that there are some situations where her character isn’t as defined as I would like to, in order to help me better decide what she does. Maybe she hasn’t decided for herself right now, and she’s just playing along, until it becomes crystal clear to her what destiny (the oracle) has in line for her. She only has to hope it won’t be too late by then.

I like how I’m adding more stuff to the world, and the world-building possibilities of Mythic. As I play more I find that the setting is more post-apoc and less cyberpunk to me, but it could be just the region the events take place.

I’m curious now to find out if the story will evolve as I envision it, or if Mythic will throw me another curveball and take it all in another direction, but overall I really enjoyed the game and Mythic GME.