This is GM Only, a look into the notes I write for the games I run. This post contains all of my notes for my first session of the Suicide Squad game I’ve been running on Google Hangouts. Since this game is being recorded you can hear what actually happened here: Issue #1: Secret Origins.
“I don’t believe in ‘evil’. Different shades of gray is all.” – Captain Cold
Amanda Waller wants to repopulate Task Force X. There is only one catch; She need’s Nick Fury to sign off on it. In order to convince Director Fury that TFX is still worth S.H.I.E.L.D.’s time she’ll first need to convince him that this new batch of convicts are worth cutting deals with. To do that, the new recruits need to be tested.
This issue starts with the characters waking up in a stark white room, greeted by Amanda Waller. Includes introductions to the main cast and flash back to some of their career highlights. The issue ends with the characters waking up as they free fall into Amazon Rainforest.
Everything is black. A voice, droning and mechanical, cuts through the stillness.”We move in three. Two.”
The crash is loud enough to wake the proverbial dead. Another voice,”GODDAMN IT, EDDIE!” Then only a deep, rumbling, inhuman laughter. There is a flash of light and the the laughter fades away.
We see Edward Blake,the Comedian, carrying a wounded Remy LeBeau, Gambit, past heavy steel doors. A trail of blood marks their passing and Owen Mercer, Captain Boomerang Jr., does his best to not step in it. A female voice barks out of nowhere, “What the hell happened out there? Where is Lawton?”
Comedian laughs, “Venom jumped the gun. Gambit took it in the gut and Modeus scrubbed the op. We fell back and bombed the fuckers from a distance. Didn’t see Brock or Lawton after that. Didn’t know where Boomer was until after all the work was done.”
“Not getting shot.”, Owen chuckles.
The female voice returns, “Modeus. Report.”
“Mission successful. After detonation there were no insurgents alive. Vitals for Edward Brock reported brain death during the bombing. Floyd Lawton’s vitals failed but I can not confirm cause of death.”, Modeus reports.
When the group reaches the medical level they are greeted by a muscular woman in gray slacks and a purple shirt. “Doc, take care ofLeBeau. The rest of you, back to your cells.”
Captain Boomerang smiles, “Time for recruitment, huh?”
“Shut up you filthy coward.”, Waller snaps,”You’re not even a tenth of your Father and he was worthless.”
Smash cut to the exterior of a small folksy village. This is the Golden Boughs Retirement Village, the containment facility for magical creatures and practitioners located fifteen miles outside of Buffalo, New York. Quaintly called a Retirement Village this place is hardly anything polite. The warden, a man going by the name Mr. Revise, is a descendant of the Literals, a group of magical beings who personify concepts. Revise being the embodiment of the Editor with the desire to “fix” the universe. On the surface Revise claims to only wish to strip magical creatures of their darker elements but in truth he wishes to rid the world of magic in favor of science. Waller’s voice returns over the scene, “Mahmoud Atef, also known as Iblis.” Then a adeep baritone voice begins to give a well worn speech.
“Did you know that Earth is home to over fourteen million species of life? Yet nearly ninety-nine percent of all life that has ever existed on this planet is now extinct. Most people are so blindly arrogant that they believe it can’t happen to them. Except extinction happens every day.”
Amanda Waller stands just behind Nick Fury as the latter speaks. They stand in a small foyer and sitting in a chair in front of them we see Iblis for the first time.
[Prompt Mike to describe Iblis, and offer the chance for a small quip.]
Smash cut to the exterior of the iconic Alcatraz Island. Located in the San Francisco Bay, one and a half miles from the city, Alcatraz was re-purposed in 2008 to help contain the growing mutant and metahuman criminal population as part of the new H.A.M.M.E.R. agency. The island is home to the Omega Machine, a device designed to siphon off a mutant and metahuman energy to normalize their powers and then transfer that energy to the San Francisco power grid. Waller’s voice again, “Andrew Bangs, also known as Sharpshooter” Fury continues his speech.
“Extinction has come in millions of ways to billions of species of life. Genetics, pollution, disease, and even climate change have wiped out their fair share of life. But far and away the most common cause of extinction on this planet is conflict.”
Fury is now standing in front of Sharpshooter, who has been stripped to his underwear and strapped into a strange apparatus. His eyes struggle to focus as waves of euphoria wash over him.
[Prompt John to describe Sharpshooter, and offer the chance for a small quip.]
Smash cut to the exterior of a small island prison. This is the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane, the containment facility for insane and special needs criminals, located on a small island in Lake Michigan three miles from Chicago, Illinois. Founded in early early 1900s as the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, a private treatment facility for the mentally ill. It wasn’t until 1974 that Arkham went public and became the world’s first mental health super-prison. After years of bad press and breakouts the facility was sold and renamed Ravencroft. While escapes have decreased dramatically little has changed in regards to the treatment of it’s inmates. Waller’s voice returns again, “Damien Cross, also known as the Nemesis Killer.” Followed by the return of Fury’s speech.
“The Earth’s human population is divided among hundreds independent states that interact through diplomacy, travel, trade, media, and, you guessed it, conflict. Humanity is always at the edge of extinction. Every single day the Earth spins and we, as a species, move closer to checkmate.”
Inside old Arkham Intensive Treatment wing, behind a layer of thick glass sits a the Nemesis Killer.
[Prompt Chad to describe the Nemesis Killer, and offer the chance for a small quip.]
Smash cut to the inside of a server room where hundreds of LEDs blink away. This is the Code Zoo, a digital containment facility located inside the Big House on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s helicarrier. The Big House is used to store robots, androids, and cyborgs while the Code Zoo houses artificial intelligences, and dangerous computer code. Few know what it’s like to be tossed inside a system with every murderous bit of code ever written. Even the worst prisons in the world don’t have the level of aggression and destruction displayed in the Code Zoo. Hundreds of lines of code die every second. Waller’s voice again, “The Emergency Crisis Handling Infrastructure Diagnostic Networking Apparatus, or E.C.H.I.D.N.A. Which believes itself to be Nikolay Stevanovic.” Fury’s speech continues.
“When the Superman arrived our world changed. Some people think the rise of Supers forestalled our own extinction while others think it’s hastened our demise. I’m not a philosopher and it’s not my job to figure out which group is right. My job is to keep extinction at bay.”
Fury stands at a terminal connected to the Code Zoo. On the display a rendered image of a man watches him speak.
[Prompt Eichlos to describe Nikolay, and offer the chance for a small quip.]
We see the faces of all four criminals as Fury concludes his speech.
“Sometimes that job requires the use of forces outside of the usual channels.”
Fury then steps aside and Waller glances to someone at her side and smiles, “Gas ’em.”
Everything fades to black for a moment before turning a blinding white. There is a large circular room and in the center Mahmoud, Damien, and Andrew lay on the floor. On a small stand against one of the walls a computer starts to power on as the three men regain consciousness. The last thing anyone remembers is passing out in their various cells.
The players all have a chance to talk with each other before Waller shows up. When things seem to be ready to move along, go on to the next part.
Then the doors slide open and a muscular black woman in tight gray slacks and a button down purple shirt steps into the room. “My name is Amanda Waller and you have been selected for recruitment into a top-secret government program. I have executive level clearance, which means I can offer you a full pardon if I see fit. Your participation in this interview is mandatory. At the end of the screening should I find you wanting I will have you returned to your prison of origin. If you prove to be a good fit for my organization we’ll talk again. Until I can make a decision this facility will be your new home. Gentlemen. Welcome to the Vault.”
Depending on how the players react to this information things could go down a number of ways. Regardless of the immediate outcome, eventually everyone will be shipped off to Level 05, The Holding Tank, either willingly or by force if required.
Others in Belle Reve:
- Comedian [Level 2 -Volunteer]
- Captain Boomerang Jr. [Level 6 – One Mission Left]
- Modeus [Level 3 -Indefinite Hold]
- Gambit [Level 4 – Medical Hold – Ready for Release]
- Captain Cold [Level 9 – Four Missions Left]
- Bronze Tiger [Level 7 – Eight Missions Left]
- Dr. Michael Morbius [Level 08 – Ten Missions Left]
- Elektra Natchios [Level 07 – Two Missions Left]
- Magnus Lehnsherr [Level 10 – Eight Missions Left]
- Teth-Adam [Level 13 – Indefinite Hold]
- Felix Faust [Level 09 – Ten Missions Left]
- Caitlin Snow [Level 10 – Ten Missions Left]
- Killer Croc [Level 5 – 12 Missions Left]
Non-Criminal New Arrivals:
- Rick Flag III [Level 2 – Recruit]
- E.C.H.I.D.N.A. [Level 05, awaiting transfer to Level 3]
- Iblis [Either Level 02 or Level 05, awaiting transfer to Level 10]
- Sharpshooter [Level 05, awaiting transfer to Level 11]
- Nemesis Killer [Either Level 02 or Level 05, awaiting transfer to Level 12]
Along with the four players, Waller has pulled Rick Flag III up for a tryout. Flag is under the impression that he’s been selected for evaluation to lead a special forces team, unaware that it’s a team of criminals. Both Flag and Comedian are free to move around the facility and stay on Level 2. The rest are held in in Level 5 while their evaluation proceeds.
Ask the players to each come up with a criminal or two that are also being housed in Bell Reve, what Level they are being held in, and how many Missions they have until their release.
Focus efforts on letting the characters get to know each other and encourage them to tell quick flashbacks to their past.
At about quarter to 10pm, read this:
The Squad settles in for another night in Belle Reve. Their slumber is deeper than usual and their dreams more troubled. When they wake up it’s to the deafening sound of wind and sensation of falling. As they recover from what now a clearly drug induced stupor they find themselves several thousands of miles in the air and falling fast. Below them stretches a vast jungle and it grows closer every second. Then a short chirp in their head catches their attention, following by the sound of Amanda Waller’s voice echoing through their crainum. “Welcome to the Amazon.”