Episode 3 – Power Play

 

Sandra Hansen has wanted to make a move that would put her in a position of power ever since ‘The Storm’ and now she believes the time has come. Deciding to parlay Tremmel’s new found cachet earned during the Grik invasion to supplant Martin as the de facto leader of the humans.

 

Acting, as always, from behind the scenes, Hansen begins her scheme by attempting to recruit Reynolds as muscle. This process involves playing on Reynolds’ prejudice and pits Hansen’s Willpower + Influence / Persuasion in a series of Opposed Rolls against Reynolds’ Intelligence + Discipline with the difference in the rolls being totaled as a HARD Complex Action with a time increment of one day. If the Con takes more than two weeks, Reynolds refuses to join the scheme. However, Reynolds counters with his own plan, namely if Hansen sleeps with him, he will agree to join her plan.  

 

Once Reynolds is in, Hansen turns to the next pawn, in the form of the Easy Mark Chester McKenzie. Hansen will again use her Willpower + Influence / Persuasion in a series of Opposed Rolls against McKenzie’s Intelligence + Discipline with the difference in the rolls being totaled as a HARD Complex Action with a time increment of one day. If the Con takes more than two weeks, McKenzie refuses to join the scheme.

 

If Hansen is successful in conning Reynolds and McKenzie, she baits Tremmel into arguing with Martin. The Argument is a series of Opposed Rolls that measures Stress versus Composure (Alertness and Willpower). Verbal attacks are made with Willpower + Influence / Persuasion versus Willpower + Discipline. The higher roll inflicts Stress. The first one to accumulate Stress “damage” equal to or greater than his Composure loses the Argument.

 

While it is virtually certain that Tremmel will lose, the spectacle of the argument leads McKenzie to have a Discussion with Martin. A Discussion is similar to an Argument, but is resolved as a cooperative Complex Action with all parties involved adding their Skill rolls together attempting to reach a Threshold of HARD. McKenzie will use Intelligence + Persuasion, while Marin will use Willpower + Discipline.

 

If the Threshold is met with three or fewer rolls, McKenzie is considered to have achieved a breakthrough in his opinion of Martin. This redefines their Relationship to where McKenzie loses confidence in the pilot and is convincing enough that humans who were not part of the Discussion are also shaken.

If the Threshold is met in four to six rolls, McKenzie makes enough of a point that the Discussion changes the Relationship in a negative fashion temporarily for a week, giving anyone else that starts a Discussion will gain a two-step Skill bonus against Martin.

If the Threshold isn’t met after six rolls, McKenzie fails to alter the humans Relationship with how they see Martin.

 

If McKenzie is successful in altering the Relationship with the other humans, he calls for a re-vote to determine the leader of the humans and nominates Tremmel as a candidate. Reynolds then proceeds to attempt an Opposed Roll of Willpower + Influence / Intimidation versus Willpower / Discipline on the weaker humans (Bergholz, Arthur Monaghan, Nagal, Potterfield, Lloyd Arquette, and Xiong) to get them to vote for Tremmel.

The candidates must make an Opposed Intelligence + Influence / Persuasion roll to state their case for why they should be the leader. The winner gains a one-step advantage to skill, while the loser gets a one-step penalty. If either candidate rolls an Extraordinary Success, they gain a two-step advantage with the loser gaining a two-step penalty.

 

After the statements, the other PCs will vote using Intelligence + Perception with the penalties / bonuses from above against a HARD difficulty. If the PC succeeds, he votes for the winner, if they fail the roll, they choose to vote for the loser, simple majority wins the election.

 

If Tremmel should win, he becomes the leader of the humans. Shortly after assuming power, Tremmel starts to distance himself from the other humans. He trades oil to hire a dozen Lemurians to build a new house he calls the ‘presidential suite’ and once completed, he hires half a dozen non-Clan Ag Lemurians, also paid by oil, as his personal guard. When he moves into his new home, it is a poorly kept secret that Sandra Hansen is there frequently overnight. In addition to Hansen, the other member of his ‘inner circle’ is George Reynolds who gains the title of ‘Executive Officer’ and grows increasingly abrupt in his treatment of anyone. Initially, Hansen uses her position behind the throne to assign humans she doesn’t like to the remote assignment at the oil well head.

 

However, Tremmel’s vanity gets the best of him and he starts scheming on his own. He starts with assigning humiliating tasks or assignments almost certain to fail, just to make his ‘rivals’ look bad. In addition, he secretly has a couple Lemurians that act as his spies tracking what the other humans are doing. As Tremmel’s assignment start off reasonable, it takes time for the other humans to realize what he is doing. This is represented by each human not in his inner circle rolling against an AVERAGE Complex Action of Composure (Alertness + Willpower) with a time increment of three days. Whoever reaches the Threshold first starts an Argument with Tremmel regarding his behavior.

 

Regardless if the PC that argued with Tremmel wins or not, they will be confronted by Reynolds, either immediately if Tremmel loses or within twenty minutes if he wins. Reynolds attempts an Opposed Roll of Willpower + Influence (w/Intimidatin’ Manner) to scare the arguer into silence. All other PCs have to roll a HARD Alertness + Perception roll to spot the intimidation attempt and intervene on the arguer’s behalf. Reynolds takes the support as a challenge and immediately lashes out with fists in all direction.

 

Tremmel takes the challenge personally and opens fire from the porch of the presidential suite with a Thompson. Reynolds retreats under covering fire and joins Tremmel, along with his personal guard, to defend the surprisingly well fortified building. Reynolds has a BAR inside in addition to everyone having Scotas. One thing Tremmel overlooked in his plans was that the other PCs would call upon the Iron Brigade for assistance in breeching the walls of his fortress. The walls are Armor 4W and have 20 Life Points. The cannon do d8W damage. Run the siege as normal with two cannon and 20 soldiers backing as many humans as wish to join in the fight.

 

When the walls are breeched, any surviving Lemurians flee, but have to roll Agility + Athletics / Dodge to avoid Reynolds gunning them down for cowardice. The two humans fight until killed or rendered unconscious from wounds. When the shooting starts, Hansen flees the confrontation before she gets sealed in the fort and when captured, she claims Tremmel took advantage of her and she was too scared to say anything. This is an Opposed Roll of her Willpower + Performance / Acting versus the other PC’s Intelligence + Perception with a simple majority deciding her fate. If less than half of the humans believe her story, she’s jailed with Tremmel and Reynolds until their trial, if they survived. If they did not, she is released, but gains the Branded (Major) Complication. If more than half believe her, she is set free, but has a two-step penalty to all Social Skills for two months as the others learn to trust her again.

 

If Tremmel or Reynolds survives to be captured, their fate depends on if anyone other than the personal guard was killed, human or Lemurian. If the answer is yes, then the humans can invoke the Rite of Expulsion. This is another Argument in front of Aako-Hris-Am. If the accused wins, they are set free, but earn the Branded (Major) complication. If the accused loses, they are escorted under heavy guard twenty kilometers into the jungle and named outcasts, never to return to Davao on pain of death.   

 

If Tremmel loses, both Reynolds and Hansen abandon him, causing his vanity and his chip on the shoulder to get the better of him and he starts scheming on his own. He begins to lose d6 Stability per week unless he succeeds with a HARD Composure (Alertness + Willpower) roll. This loss will only stop if he can complete a FORMIDABLE Complex Action of Willpower + Discipline with a one week time increment before his stability reaches zero. If he succeeds with the Complex Action, he can begin the monthly stability rolls. If he fails, he gains a Paranoia (Major) complication.

 

As he deals with his internal demons, Tremmel begins to think that the other humans are no longer worthy of his loyalty. He begins starts recruiting local thugs to keep an eye on the others. If Tremmel’s stability reaches zero, he will be convinced he needs to act to save the humans from themselves and he begins plotting a mutiny. Since it was Martin that caused him to lose the vote, obviously that it is Martin that is the problem and he’s got to go.

 

One night as he is walking alone, Martin has to make an Opposed Roll of Alertness + Perception versus Agility + Covert / Stealth. If he succeeds, he gets his full defense of his choice, if he fails, he only gets his Innate Defense, and if he should roll a Botch, he gets no defense at all from the two dagger armed Lemurian thugs that have ambushed him. However, every other PC except for Reynolds and Hansen must roll a d8 and on a result of 8, by blind luck, they happen to be at the right place at the right time to intervene. How long it takes them to reach Martin depends on the results an Agility + Athletics / Running roll and consulting the table below:

 

Roll

Easy

Average

Hard

Formidable+

Time

Four Rounds

Three Rounds

Two Rounds

Next Round

As soon as reinforcements arrive, the thugs flee. The PC(s) can pursue with a HARD Opposed Complex Roll using Agility + Athletics / Running against the attacker’s same skills with each roll taking one combat turn. The first to reach the threshold number wins, if the PC wins, they corner the attacker who immediately turns to fight savagely and has to be beaten unconscious or killed to subdue. If the attacker wins, they lose the PC(s) in the alleyways. If both reach the target number in the same round, whoever has the highest total wins. If an Attacker is captured alive, he turns out to be a known petty criminal and he immediately implicates Tremmel.

As soon as it becomes obvious that Tremmel was responsible for an attempt on Martin’s life, the Davao Guard along with the PCs fan out to find the renegade pilot. This is represented by a FORMIDABLE Complex Action of Alertness + Perception each roll represents one minute and if Tremmel isn’t located within ten minutes, manages to reach the Macao Clipper. If a PC thinks to roll a HARD Intelligence + Perception / Deduction, they will realize that it is likely that Tremmel would head for the plane. Anyone that beats the Threshold in time or makes the Deduction roll, they arrive at the Macao Clipper in time to catch Tremmel as he boards and must fight the enraged pilot. Tremmel fights like a wild man with a dagger and must be beaten unconscious or killed to subdue.

 

If by some odd chance, no one stops Tremmel before he reaches the plane, he attempts to take off. Since he has never flown a multi-engine aircraft before, he must succeed with a HEROIC Ship’s Agility + Piloting to get the plane airborne. If he fails, the difficulty becomes an attack roll doing basic damage to the plane.

 

Once in custody, the humans may claim the Rite of Expulsion. This is another Argument in front of Aako-Hris-Am. If Tremmel wins, he is set free, but earns the Branded (Major) complication. If Tremmel loses, he is escorted under heavy guard twenty kilometers into the jungle and named outcasts, never to return to Davao on pain of death.  

 

In this option, Hansen avoids blame and long lasting consequences with a HARD Willpower + Performance / Acting roll. If she fails, she gets a one-step penalty to all Social Skills for a month. Reynolds on the other hand, automatically gets a two-step penalty to all Social Skills for two months as the others learn to trust him again.