Crosstime

The Mystery of the Tunguska Demon -- The Road to Hell

The Road to Hell

… is paved with DANGER.

Quick note before we begin: These are the basic rules for car chases—more can be found in the SRD

[At each exchange in a chase, the driver of the lead (“chased”) vehicle calls out an action. Even if other things are happening at the same time as the chase, this action declaration is made first, regardless of initiative. The driver declares a difficulty of his choice, and describes what complicated and dangerous maneuver he’s performing that this difficulty matches. He then makes a Drive roll against that difficulty. If he succeeds, he pulls it off, but if he fails, it goes less well than planned—the car gets banged up some or slips out of control, and the car takes stress equal to the number of shifts the character missed the difficulty by (as if an opponent had rolled the difficulty as an attack).
Example: Sally is driving a car at top speed, and is pursued by several grey men in a grey car. She tries a tight turn at the last minute, setting the difficulty as Great, hoping to shake the grey men. She has Good Drive, but rolls poorly and only gets a Fair result. The difficulty beats her roll by two, so the car takes a two-stress hit, marking off its second box—she scrapes up the side badly by sideswiping a street vendor’s cart. That’s not enough to take the car out (it has three boxes), but a few more goofs like that, and she’ll crash.
Next, the driver of the pursuing vehicle (see below if there’s more than one vehicle) rolls against the same difficulty. If successful, the car takes no stress and inflicts stress to the lead car according to the shifts on its roll as it manages to get close, slam bumpers, fire some shots, or otherwise make trouble. Alternately, if the pursuer is not looking to damage the lead vehicle, he may roll for a maneuver. If he fails, his car takes stress as if the difficulty were an attack—poor driving or overzealousness has had him sideswipe a vegetable stand, or rip up his tires on a tight turn. Eventually one party or the other will be taken out, and that should pretty well handle that—if the chased vehicle’s still in motion, an escape; if a pursuing
vehicle’s in play, capture!]

Dermot aims the jeep at the rocky path and guns the motor. Zooming across small rocks and around boulders, the jeep rocks sharply and just barely passes through the rocky area intact [Drive Fair ( +2) vs. Fair ( +2). Success with 0 shifts].

Just behind, one of the jeeps whips through the rocky area like a speed demon, getting close enough for its passengers to let loose a volley of gunfire. The shots rip through the cloth body of the jeep’s passenger section, and crack the windshield in several places as Dermot and THE WRAITH duck [Drive Superb ( +5) vs. Fair ( +2) = 3-shift success, +1 for Armed = 4-shift hit on PCs].

Behind that, the truck must be driven by a very skillful soldier, because it manages to get through the rocks with no more than superficial damage, and the driver even gets a shot off, putting a hole in the Jeep’s fender
Drive Great ( +3) vs. Fair ( +2) = 1-shift hit on PCs].

However, the last jeep punctures a tire on a sharp rock, spins out of control, and smashes into a boulder, exploding in a burst of flame [Drive Poor (-1) vs. Fair ( +2)] = 3-shift hit on self].

Dermot looks around at the jeep, assessing its damage. The broken windshield will be a serious problem, but the fender is hardly hurt at all [Jeep Health X 2 3 X]

[It is now THE WRAITH’s turn to either perform a unique action, or assist Dermot in some fashion. He can also spend Fate Points and invoke Aspects to assist in Dermot’s roll]

[Then it will be Dermot’s turn to choose a maneuver as per chase rules. As you’ll see on the map, there are two paths and two hazards coming up: a creek and a muddy road. Todd, you may take inspiration for Dermot’s maneuver from these hazards, or you can concoct your own—including coming up with hazards/paths of your own. Just keep in mind that you’re on a rocky Russian steppe, not the middle of London.]

smilesriles
Daevas aid me in my struggle. Come bring your howling winds of the waste! Bring the forsaken stinging sands of the desert!THE WRAITH turns, flares his black cloak and attempts to summon a sandstorm behind the jeep, using the arcane power of his Orb of Daevas. [Invoke aspect?]

hydingjekyll
Jesus, Mary and Joseph and a camel! These bloody backroads are almost as bad as a London street!” Fortunately, Dermot can make out a rather flat, relatively bare patch coming up [fate point]. As he comes to the clearing, Dermot whips the car into a 180-degree turn, suddenly bringing the Jeep to face back at the oncoming cars. [Drive check? Fair difficulty?] Bringing out his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device, he switches his Multi-Vision Goggles to infrared sight and crosshairs, allowing him to see and aim directly for the engine of the car in front and blast it, in hopes of killing its engine and making the rear car rear-end it. [Aspect: Multi-Vision Goggles]

GM
THE WRAITH invokes the power of the desert, and a tiny sandstorm whips up behind his jeep, drastically reducing visibility for the jeep behind [Invokes Orb of the Daevas, spends a Fate Point. Jeep minion gets -2 to Drive checks for next round].

Dermot successfully spins the car 180 degrees, causing Kulik to yelp in terror, and fires his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device out the window. The bolt of electricity sparks directly into the leading jeep’s engine, and it sputters out of control, unable to keep control with a dying motor and a blinding sandstorm [Dermot: Guns Great ( +4), invokes Aspect: Multi-Vision Goggles for +2: Fantastic ( +6) vs. Drive Great ( +4), -2 from sandstorm. Final tally: Fantastic ( +6) vs. Fair ( +2), jeep takes 4-shift Health damage].

As the jeep spins out, the truck’s superb driver just barely manages to avoid the wreck, and clips the door of the rolling jeep. The door flies forward and pops one of the front tires of Dermot’s jeep [Drive Superb ( +5), -2 from wreck = Good ( +3) vs. Fair difficulty, wins with 1 shift, causes 1-shift Health damage. 1 box is filled, rolls up to 2].

Dermot stares at the approaching truck, now ahead instead of behind, and simultaneously congratulates himself and THE WRAITH at taking out two of their pursuers, and realizes that one more good hit will leave the jeep unusable [Jeep Health X X 3 X].

[It is now THE WRAITH’s turn to either perform a unique action, or assist Dermot in some fashion. He can also spend Fate Points and invoke Aspects to assist in Dermot’s roll]

[Then it will be Dermot’s turn to choose a maneuver as per chase rules.]

hydingjekyll
Damn! I’d wanted to take them both out. Well, this may be a blessing in disguise. Get ready for a fight, Willoughby; I’m about to arrange more suitable transport!” Dermot steps the jeep’s brake pedal and stands, focusing his infrared and crosshairs on the truck’s engine, and gives another blast of his Non-Fatal Electric Discharge Device. [Fate Point for Guns—Multi-Vision Goggles]

GM
Dermot aims carefully, and lets loose a blaze of electric glory. It strikes the truck’s cab, and the electricity arcs around all the exposed metal, shocking the driver and occupants into unconsciousness. The truck, apparently unharmed, continues rattling directly at the jeep [Dermot Guns Epic ( +7), invokes Multi-Vision Goggles for +2, costs 1 Fate Point. Guns Legendary ( +9) vs. Drive Fair ( +2), Dermot succeeds with 7 shifts].

Having waited for this moment, THE WRAITH grabs Dermot and Kulik and rockets upwards, tearing through the jeep’s cloth roof easily. He moves like a dark bat, and easily deposits the trio on the roof of the moving truck. Dermot and THE WRAITH reach over and pull the doors open, letting the Russians’ limp bodies fall into the dust. Dermot handily slides into the driver’s seat and turns just in time to avoid striking his former jeep, as THE WRAITH eases Kulik into the middle seat before coming to a rest inside as well.

The trio breathes a sigh of relief, only to have their breath catch in their throats as a troop truck appears from behind a rocky outcropping, belching black smoke. The truck is bristling with weapons, as at least a half-dozen Russians cling to the side aiming pistols at Dermot and THE WRAITH, and another leans out the passenger window with a rifle. Behind the wheel is the Bear, and the fact that he is not hunched makes Dermot realize that the troop truck is monstrously huge, apparently built as outsized as its driver.

Dermot sees that he is almost out of steppe, at the dirt road heads into a steep and winding road down into a valley. He checks his new ride, and sees that it is in perfect shape.

New Truck: Health 1 2 3 4 5 6
Dermot: Health X 2 3 X 5 6, Fate Points: 3
THE WRAITH: Health 1 2 3 4 5 Fate Points: 4

[Time for a new maneuver (and just so you know, I might be slightly off on the stats, because my mapmaking/bookkeeping program is on the fritz, and I’m relying on memory).]

hydingjekyll
Thanam o’ doul, and curse the lot of ye!” Dermot shouts at the rear-view mirror. “Hold on, men. I don’t suppose either of you could distract our pursuers?” He stomps the gas, sending the truck lurching forward at suddenly-top speed. He makes a reckless-seeming hairpin turn between the muddy patch and the creek, dropping a Jameson’s Special concussion grenade out the window to hopefully blow the Bear’s truck off course and into the creek. [Drive check = Good, invoke Odds and Ends (mostly odds) to aid Driving]

GM
Dermot slides through the turn through the skin of his teeth, just barely avoiding slipping into the creek [Drive Good ( +3) vs. Good ( +3), succeeds with 0 shifts]. The concussion grenade bounces several times, then explodes violently just before the truck passes. The concussive force knocks a stone up from the road that smashes into the front grill, and water spurts from the ruptured radiator [Drive Average ( +1) vs Good ( +3), takes 2-shift damage).

The truck shudders as it heads down the winding dirt road off the steppe, the Bear still just behind.

[WRAITH, I’m waiting for your action, but if it doesn’t come in 12-15 hours, I’m letting Dermot go ahead. I wouldn’t do this normally, but chase scenes are the hard-drinking, hard-driving engineer’s forte]

smilesriles
THE WRAITH frantically rummages in the jeep for something, anything that might be of use in hurling or distracting.
Cheap parlor tricks and mystic spells aren’t going to do the trick against that juggernaut. I need something a little more solid.

GM
THE WRAITH searches all around, and eventually, climbs into the open back of the truck. There, he finds a rifle and ammunition. He realizes that his unexceptional gun skills will be sorely taxed by the bouncing truck, but it’s better than nothing.

[Dermot, your turn for a maneuver. THE WRAITH may assist with a gunshot if he likes, or may do something else.]

hydingjekyll
Damn, I’d hope that grenade would do the trick. Kulik, I donnae suppose ye’re any good with guns?” He swerves violently around a large boulder and barely around a patch of broken rocks that he picks out with the help of his goggles. “I’ll warn ye before I do anything like that.” [Drive check Great, invoke Multi-Vision Goggles for bonus/reroll to drive check]

GM
Dermot just barely swerves around the sharp rocks, narrowly avoiding a punctured tire [Drive Great ( +4) vs. Great ( +4), succeeds with 0 shifts]. The tires kick up a small stone, which flies into the windshield of the pursuing truck, creating a spiderweb of glass on the passenger side [The Bear Drive Good ( +3) vs. Great ( +4), 1-shift hit X X 3 4 5 6].

Dermot watches down the road and sees a tunnel approaching, unlit and dangerously dark.

hydingjekyll
Hold off with the guns,” Dermot calls out. “I’m switching to nightvision.” He hits the switch on his goggles and lets the tunnel light up for him. He powers straight through the tunnel in a straight line, handing another Jameson’s Special to Willoughby as the truck enters the darkness. “Be a pal and drop this out the window on your side, Alexander. The Russians might expect another from my side, but not on yours.” [Drive check = Fair; Odds and Ends]

GM
Dermot drives straight through the pitch-black tunnel, the nightvision setting on his goggles just barely providing enough visibility to avoid crashing, as he hands a grenade over to THE WRAITH [Drive Average ( +1) vs. Fair ( +2), invokes Odds & Ends for +2 = Good ( +3) vs. Fair ( +2), spends a Fate Point].

THE WRAITH, comfortable with the darkness but not with explosives, tosses the grenade a hair too late, and it explodes harmlessly before the Bear’s truck arrives [Weapons -2 Terrible].

In the darkness, Dermot and THE WRAITH can hear the Bear shouting orders in his tremendous voice, and shots ring out. Several bullets tear through the truck cab, nearly hitting the trio, and another strikes the wheel-well of a rear tire, bending the frame and forcing it to rub against the tire with a sickening whine [The Bear Drive Fair ( +2) vs. Fair ( +2), invokes The Bear’s Roar for +2 = Great ( +4) vs. Fair ( +2), truck is Armed for +1-shift damage = 3-shift damage.]

New Truck: Health 1 2 X 4 5 6
Dermot: Health X 2 3 X 5 6, Fate Points: 2
THE WRAITH: Health 1 2 3 4 5 Fate Points: 4

As the tunnel ends, the daylight momentarily blinds Dermot before he can turn off his nightvision setting, and his vision clears just in time to see a sharp turn and a steep drop.

[Compelling Multi-Vision Goggles. If Dermot takes a Fate Point, putting his total at 3, he gets a -2 penalty to make the turn. If he spends a Fate Point, putting his total at 1, he can make the turn at no penalty. Alternately, THE WRAITH can spend a Fate Point instead of Dermot if he yanks the wheel.]

smilesriles
THE WRAITH yanks the wheel, swerving the car while his friend is momentarily blinded.

gremlin1384
THE WRAITH struggles to pull the truck through the sharp turn, and skids against the railing, scraping a long gash in the side of the truck [Drive Average ( +1) vs. Good ( +3), 2-shift damage, THE WRAITH spends a Fate Point to avoid the Compel].

Behind, the Bear does little better, bending a fender as he skims the rail [Drive Fair ( +2) vs. Good ( +3), 1-shift damage].

New Truck: Health 1 X X 4 5 6
Dermot: Health X 2 3 X 5 6, Fate Points: 2
THE WRAITH: Health 1 2 3 4 5 Fate Points: 3

As Dermot readjusts his goggles, he and THE WRAITH see a mountain goat crossing the road just ahead.

hydingjekyll
Dermot McDanneher hits the gas, driving off the road and up the mountain/hill-side that the goat appears to have just descended, making a daring curve around the goat before returning to the road; despite acknowledging that a goat is just a heap of carbon that has evolved to fire its neurons in order to continue the path of least resistance, he’s still unwilling to harm a living thing (that hasn’t tried to shoot him) if he can help it. [Drive: Great, invoke Son of a Protestant Pastor]

gremlin1384
[OOC: I love Dermot’s justification and invocation for this.]

Dermot nearly strikes the goat, but a quick (and unwanted) prayer slips from his lips, and he swings out of the way [Drive Average ( +1) vs. Good ( +3), invokes Son of a Protestant Pastor for +2 = Good ( +3) vs Good ( +3), spends a Fate Point]. The goat bleats in terror, but relaxes as Dermot’s truck passes it by—just in time to smash into the Bear’s windshield. The goat’s carcass crashes through the windscreen, crushing one of the soldiers, and THE WRAITH watches in grim humor as the Bear tries desperately to get the goat and its innards out of his way [Drive Mediocre ( +0) vs. Good ( +3), 3-shift hit].

Dermot looks behind him and sees that the Bear’s truck is slowing slightly, and he realizes that one or two more good hits is all that it will take to knock the truck out of the race.

As the mountain road comes to the base of the steppe, it splits in two — the leftmost road appears straight and easy, while the right is rough and winding. However, to the right, in the distance, an eerie green glow lights the horizon [compelling Curious to Distraction to take the right path, 1 FP gain if you take it, 1 FP loss if you take the left].

THE WRAITH looks closely at the light, and seems to remember it from somewhere else [may make a Mysteries check to recognize it, but then cannot make another action next turn].

New Truck: Health 1 X X 4 5 6
Dermot: Health X 2 3 X 5 6, Fate Points: 1
THE WRAITH: Health 1 2 3 4 5 Fate Points: 3

hydingjekyll
What could possibly be causing that luminescence?” Dermot muses, completely unaware of the demise of the goat he just risked his life to spare. “An unexplored uranium isotope? Or possibly something related to the Tunguska incident?” Dermot wonders for half a moment, almost forgetting that he’s at the wheel. Then, “Well, one way to find out!” As he pulls the wheel to the right and hits the bumpy trail, it occurs to him that the rough road might also be useful for shaking his pursuers. He swerves around a little, just to be sure. [Drive: Fair]

GM
[+1 Fate Point to Dermot for taking the Compel]

Unfortunately, as Dermot turns onto the bumpy road, he realizes that it’s quite a bit bumpier than he had anticipated. A sharp rock pierces one of the truck’s tires, and Dermot hears the hiss of a slow leak [Drive Mediocre ( +0) vs. Fair ( +2), takes 2-shift hit, rolls up to 4-shift].

The Bear’s vehicle follows just behind, its heavier treads handling the rocks with much less difficulty. As the troop transport comes up, another hail of gunfire forces Dermot and his passengers to duck. One shot pierces another tire, and Dermot struggles to keep the truck moving straight (Drive Fantastic ( +6) vs. Fair ( +2), inflicts 4-shift hit, truck is Armed for +1-shift damage = 5-shift damage].

Meanwhile, THE WRAITH, head ducked as much as possible, stares at the subtle interplay of shifting light in the green glow, and quickly recognizes it as the telltale sign of a Dahaka summoning ritual—but with something unfamiliar to it. He estimates that judging by the quality of the glow and the usual speed of the Cult’s rituals, whoever or whatever is being summoned will arrive in three to four hours [Mysteries Superb ( +5) vs. Good ( +3)].

New Truck: Health 1 X X X X 6
Dermot: Health X 2 3 X 5 6, Fate Points: 2
THE WRAITH: Health 1 2 3 4 5 Fate Points: 3

hydingjekyll
Damn! Kulik, could you take a shot at our pursuers, please?” Dermot stares at the road through his goggles, trying to find a nasty pile of rocks to lead The Bear into, and upon finding one, tries to do just that. [Drive = Good, invoke Multi-Vision Goggles]

gremlin1384
Kulik nervously hefts Dermot’s electric gun and points it out the back window. As he fires, it slips from his fingers, and a bolt of electricity blasts through the roof. “Whoops.

Dermot aims himself at a large, sharp stone, then swerves at the last second, easily avoiding any further damage to his wreck of a truck [Drive Great ( +4) vs. Good ( +3), succeeds with 1 shift, invocation unnecessary].

The Bear, following too closely, drives right over the rock pile, puncturing both front tires. The troop transport swerves, out of control, and rolls end-over-end as it flies off the road. Dermot and THE WRAITH cheer as they see the troop transport explode in a red blaze.

Dermot and Willoughby relax, and begin driving more calmly. Following the green glow, they shiver as they realize that they’re only a few hours drive from the Tunguska site, a dangerous magical conflagration—and the final showdown.

[This topic is now locked. Begin posting in The Rise of Rasputin]

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