Just finished session 2 yesterday and had a real blast! The characters were pulled out of their unit and reformed as TOG120 (P for Provisional). With 92% of the Allied Talents that hit Omaha Beach dead, it makes sense that TOG Command would be looking for anyone who manifested a Talent on D-Day, regardless of how useful, and cobbling together ad hoc units to go counter the Nazi Ubermenschen threat. We added one more PC per player, and I put in an NPC to make a squad of 8. So, it was the four survivors of 2nd Platoon, one guy from the 1st ID (The Big Red One), 2 from the 101st, and another 29th Division man.
They had about four days to figure themselves out as a fighting unit, work a little bit with their powers, and get a briefing from their nominal CO, a British Zed Talent named Captain Henley. Then it was right back up to the front.
Outside St. Lo, they went to assist their old unit, the 116th. The battalion had been stopped dead in its tracks by a squad of German Talents holed up in a manor house. Until the PCs cleared them out, the battalion of normal troops wasn’t going anywhere. So the characters got a terrifying lesson in hedgerow fighting. Lacking the immediacy of the beach landing, moving forward through the Normandy countryside was just as frightening if not much more slow going.
They hit an ambush just outside the manor, and an enemy Talent with an MG42 started trading shots at them. The German gunner, much to everyone’s annoyance, was able to deflect incoming bullets! The firefight went back and forth a bit, and the Sarge was trying to figure out what to do, when a German Talent with the Hyper Command stat got on his portable loudspeaker and ordered the Americans to “Show yourselves!” Despite a high-cost Contest of Wills, 6 out of 8 of the men either lost the bidding or failed their rolls and walked right out of the hedge and into the gunner’s line of fire! Sarge was hit and dying, and the medic wth the healing power couldn’t get to him yet. Whoa! TPK looming on the next round!
As the MG42 tracked in, one of the guys who’d stayed hidden decided to try to draw the gunner’s fire and broke cover. This GI’s Talent was that anyone who tried to kill him suffered some really bad luck (a variation on the Jinx). The only other remaining American talent not standing stock still for the firing squad was a flyer, who took off to try and drop a grenade on the gunner. So, the gunner fired at our man drawing his fire, but the jinx worked and he missed. Then when the grenade went off nearby, the shrapnel caught him under his helmet and killed him.
Just to remind everyone, all these rolls are being made in the open. I am not fudging anything and we’re playing for keeps. The tension this creates for us is amazing. The whole squad, this whole campaign, was about to end when the Hyper Command set them up to be slaughtered. We were all looking at each other going, “It’s over!” as I reached for 10D to roll for the MG. And then one of the players just did something with his character that was utterly heroic, totally selfless, nearly guaranteed to get his character killed, a creative use of his Talent, and pulled it out of the fire! Super cool!
The medic gets to Sarge and brings him back from the brink of death (for the 3rd time in the campaign!). Everyone else hits the next field where the guy with the loudspeaker is running away. The GI’s are so pissed they mercilessly gun him down. Then a German Talent with the disintegrate power jumps out of the hedges at one of the GI’s and is this close to being turned into a cloud of dust blowing the wind. The only thing that saves him is his Hyper Senses which prevent him being totally surprised, and a Width 3 burst with his Thompson, that eats a die out of the Jerry’s Brawling pair causing him to miss. Crazy close! big sighs of relief!
In the next field, another German with Hyperstat Body goes at them with a 20mm cannon (handheld). Being the superman he thinks he is, this Nazi is just standing there shooting. The two GI’s on point hit the dirt, thanking the gaming gods that my dice suck and I get no matches on a burst that had it hit would have dismembered both of them. TOG120 gets their Hypersniper into play and drops the overconfident Nazi with a shot that curves up under his chin.
Pushing on to the manor house, the squad splits, half going right to clear the area around the house, and the other half going in. The team that goes into the house runs into a nasty piece of work; an Ubermenschen who can shoot bolts of electricity. This guy is upstairs busy having his way with the French farmer’s wife (after electrocuting him to death). The team gets into a shootout with him, and one of the GI’s gets zapped in the head, not killing him but knocking him unconscious (this poor GI woke up with his eyebrows and some of his hair burned off, his vision blurred, and some of his tooth fillings melted). Unfortunately for the Nazi shocker guy, the GI Jinx Talent did his thing again, and the Nazi’s rubber insulating suit came open (the part he needed to do his business with the farmer’s wife) causing his electricity to feedback, stun him, and then the GI’s gunned him down.
Out in the orchard, the other team found the last surviving Nazi talent hiding behind a tree. This guy was ready to surrender and did so. Good thing too, since he could change into a berserk elephant! So, the fight wound down, and the 116th moved up to secure the house. unfortunately, they didn’t capture the Ubermkommandogruppe’s leader, who had slipped away back to St. Lo.
So, it all went very well. There were some real pucker factor moments and some really good role-playing. The players felt they had gotten really lucky, and I agreed – they were dead on the turn they succumbed to the command to show themselves, but just barely managed to survive it. Fortunately for them, I was not playing the Germans as a team, in hopes of demonstrating how the Nazi supermen believed their own propaganda that they were each a one-man army. Naturally, the next Uberkommandogruppen they run into will be much more likely to have their s**t wired more tightly…
The players love the life and death aspect of the game (“If we had all been killed there and then I would still have been satisfied.”) I can see they’re getting attached to some of their characters, and they know that when one of them dies it’s going to hurt. They very narrowly escaped some big losses this game, through lucky dice and quick thinking.
Next game they’re heading into St. Lo and some city fighting. I’m expecting casualties to be high again…