Merx #1

Caduceus Ford—the Rift of Hermes—discovers that his latest target has an unexpected tie to one of the only people in the city he cares for.

Merx #1
Merx #1: Feels Like Government Oppression
Merx #0.1: Act 1, Scene 1 (Preview)
In this preview of “Merx,” Caduceus arrives at one of the local clubs in the city as he waits for his target to arrive. While he waits, he decides to play the savior. Just this once.
The preview chapter

Feels Like Government Oppression

Episode 1

// Scene Setup

The preview scene was very much a controlled scene, so I'll drop the Chaos Factor down to 3. Note: I'm using Mythic Variations 2, where the Chaos Factor (CF) starts at 4 and stays between 3 and 6.

My expected scene is that Caduceus is looking for Emmeline after last night.

I'm using the Adventure Crafter and Mythic. My chaos roll for starting the scene is... 7. Our scene starts off as expected.

We begin the scene with 1 momentum, our minimum.

Let's begin...

// Oracle

Where is Emmeline? Mythic Descriptors: 11 and 65 = Busily Mighty. This sounds like an office, a super tall one. I didn't establish a day of the week in the preview, so let's say that it was like a Thursday. Today will be Friday.

Aaaaaand we're going to start this entire campaign off strong by saying he was able to spend some Downtime last night, giving Attention to his Personality Logos. He's good with his mouth words. This bumps our momentum up to 2.

What's Emmeline's last name? Decide to take MM&D's inspiration and use the Xanathar's naming table. 1d6, where even is female: 4. 1d100 human name, 78. I pull Richards from the male table.

The Richards do what for business? Mythic Actions: 69 and 30. Run Possessions. My first thought is something like repossessions, but, if we're thinking big business, why not a bank? They lead to repossessions. It's a big bank that gives out a lot of loans. So, this password he's looking for must be something to access the files on their systems.

And I still have the other 3 clues from the preview still banked which should help give Caduceus some insight into her and maybe her family's business.

Using a Clue to say he knows when she's going to arrive, which leaves me with 2.

Is it crowded in the bank? 50/50 shot, but we're at Chaos 3. Favorable result would be that it is crowded, as he could sneak around a bit in the crowd, so it'll be a +2. 4+3+2 = 9, no. Chaos roll of 3, but nothing happens because neither are the same or both even/odd.

Fuck this city.

Did anyone in this god-forsaken city detest it as much as Caduceus did?

Highly doubtful.

He sat near a large floor-to-ceiling window in one of the city's many coffee shops—the ones that dotted every corner, the ones with the paper straws, the ones filled with people on fancy laptops—and watched the passersby on the street. They all seemed content with the city they were stuck in—this city of mist and secrets. It was dirty and overpopulated, and every other day something was being destroyed. Not that the civilians knew what was going on. No, that was reserved for people like Caduceus—the people that made this city what it truly was.

Before leaving the club the previous night, he had grabbed the couple's attention and enjoyed their company until only a few hours ago. He was tired but it had been worth it—couples looking for a third were truly the best. The only cost was the craving for caffeine and aspirin.

No amount of either could get him to tolerate this city, however. If he could fuck over the city even a little bit—and get paid for it!—he was down for the job.

Whatever his employers wanted, he could acquire. True to the myth within him, he was a messenger—of sorts. There were no boundaries that he could not cross, no secret buried too deep that it slipped from his grasp. Hermes made it possible for him to go anywhere and take anything he wanted.

Retrieving login credentials from Emmeline Richards—the eldest daughter of the family that ran the Richards Credit Union—would be a piece of cake.

The building practically glistened in the sunlight. And, as typical for the city, there was a hint of mist. It never truly disappeared, no matter the weather. Caduceus could see pockets of heavy mist dotting the area and obscuring the windows of some of the taller buildings. A part of him wondered what it was hiding.

Rarely did the mist consume the city—on those occasions, however, something big was happening. Monsters flooding the streets, secret wars between multiple factions, Avatars trying to take over the world. All of it only visible in its true form to those who had been awakened, like him. Everyone else saw a bad storm, a riot, or some sort of rare natural disaster. The mist changed the details to keep its biggest secrets under wraps.

Nothing big was happening now, he was sure of it. It was a typical day.

How boring.

Caduceus shifted his attention from the mist back to the building.

Emmeline had just arrived.

He took his last sip and tossed the drink in the nearest receptacle, then headed towards the building after her. The fall air nipped at him through his gray sweatpants and dark blue jacket. A good day in his book. Two guards were posted at the entrance. He slowed down, going so far as to wave a few cars to pass before crossing the street. He didn't want to draw any extra attention to himself.

// Mechanics

I'm trying to figure out the best way to present this, so let me know if it's confusing/unneeded/etc.

Underlined words will be story/power/weakness tags. Typically, if I feel a scene has enough weight to it, I'll toss a few story tags in to aid or hinder my progress and give some life to scene, or they'll result from Oracle rolls.

// Oracle

Is Emmeline visible? 50/50 (+0), but a +2 from Chaos 3.

6+1+2 = 9, no. Chaos roll of 4.

As he entered the building, he took note of the other guards looking over the few customers within, as well as the security cameras dotted here and there. If he needed to be sneaky, it would take some effort. But he wouldn't have to as long as—

He cursed silently. Emmeline was nowhere in sight. Presumably, she'd have headed to her office. Caduceus scanned the room, doing his best to act as normal as possible. He needed a place to duck off to. Another curse word as he realized there was not a bathroom in sight, at least not one he could reach.

He moved to an island off to the side and grabbed a deposit slip. After a few moments of scribbling nonsense on it with a pen left lying around, he found his new target: a teller who seemed to be working on something not too strenuous.

Time for Plan B.

Caduceus opened his mind and let his thoughts drift toward the unsuspecting male.

I should go get Emmeline and ask for her help with this.

// Stunt

Did I mention I was trying to use the City of Mist: Reloaded moves? Well, I am. They're essentially condensed versions of the regular City of Mist moves. This would be a Take the Risk in CoM. Mind you, the moves are still in beta as the new version isn't released, but I wanted to use them.

Using telepathy and put a thought in their head, for a total of +2.

4+5+2 = 11. Strong hit! This is simply a success for Stunt (and Take the Risk).

The teller—a tall, lanky man wearing a suit that didn't quite fit him—sighed and scratched his beard absentmindedly. Caduceus smiled as the man then stood and headed out of sight. Moments later, Emmeline appeared, though she wasn't too pleased with being summoned for such a menial task. The teller began pointing and talking sheepishly as Emmeline stood there.

Eager to finish the assignment, Caduceus pushed another thought, this time toward his actual target. He didn't need much, just for her to bring the prize he sought—the password—to the forefront of her mind so he could snatch it easier.

I'm going to have to sign in when I get back. What's the password again?

// Debuff

Same two tags: telepathy and put a thought in their head, for a +2.

I'm using Debuff (the move actually De/Buff currently, which is just Change the Game positively and negatively) here because I need more than simple success or failure. With this Debuff, I want to make Emmeline more susceptible to providing valuable information for the linked move, Discover.

4+3+2 = 9. Weak hit. Still a success when it comes to this move.

With 2 power, I'm going to give Emmeline a thinking-about-the-password-2 temporary status.

He could see her nose scrunch as his suggestion took root in her mind. Caduceus wasted no time in reaching within to get what he came for.

// Discover

(This is Investigate.) I can't use telepathy for this move, as I used it for the Debuff. However, I specifically can use surface thoughts now. I'm trying to probe her brain for the password, which is on her mind.

surface thoughts + thinking-about-the-password-2 for a +3, but, for the hell of it, let's invoke his chaotic thoughts weakness tag to reduce this to a +2. She was disrupted from her work and dragged down here, so while the password is still on her mind, there's also a bunch of other stuff. And in City of Mist, having your weakness tag invoked gives you Attention, which is what we need to get stronger. This bumps our momentum up to 3.

6+3+2 = 11!

The risk was worth it! We have a power of 2, so we get two Clues. Obviously, we'll get the password we're after.

And let's use this to springboard to a new scene...

A string of letters and numbers poured into his brain. He took the pen and wrote them down and shoved the deposit slip into his pocket. Caduceus smiled and headed towards the exit—

—and he smells like that hoarder tenant. Ugh. Good thing she's gone—

Hoarder tenant?

Caduceus paused. When was the last time he talked to Nana?

He tilted his head to the side as he thought, then continued on. Delivering the password to his employer would be a simple task. Once that was out of the way, he could check on his old friend.


// Scene Setup

That was actually a pretty chill scene. Nothing absurd happened and it was all very well under control. If I was playing original Mythic, I'd lower the Chaos to 2, but Mythic Variations 2 sets the lower limit at 3, sooo... we're still at 3.

Expected scene is that Caduceus goes to see Nana and check in on her after what he learned from Emmeline's thoughts.

Rolling for a chaos of... 2! This means it's an interrupt scene.

I mentioned that I'm using the Adventure Crafter, and I'm going to use those for interrupt and altered scenes. If this had been altered, I would take what I roll up next and apply it to how I envisioned this scene already. However, this is an interrupt, which means I'll pretty much be thinking of a completely new scene with these rolls in mind. Let's begin!

My themes are as follows: Action (1-4), Tension (5-7), Social (8-9), and Mystery/Personal (10a and 10b).

9, Social. 87—Corruption.

3, Action. 24—None.

6, Tension. 77—Followed.

2, Action. 83—Sneaky Barrier.

7, Tension. 88—Abandoned.

I won't go into full detail as to what each of those mean here (please check out the Adventure Crafter!).

This corruption is probably some bigger plot that involves getting Nana evicted from her home. The sneaky barrier could be Caduceus trying to get into Nana's home? Abandoned makes sense: she's been evicted. While this is an interrupt scene, it's playing out more expected than I originally thought. HOWEVER, the followed is probably what's the most unexpected here. So, lucky me, I've already laid some groundwork so I know some truths about the world. And I think I can work with that...

Caduceus leaned back in his seat, the noise of the city barely a whisper beyond his earbuds. Even the groans and thuds from the bus didn't bother him, at least for the moment.

Once he'd arrived at his destination, he hopped off the bus and took in the sight before him. The sign out front read, "Welcome to Cottage Houses." Beneath it, in a small type that practically oozed with a feeling of government oppression, read, "In conjunction with Acinvar City Housing Authority and Richards Credit Union." He rolled his eyes.

It was a multistory apartment building that had to have been built half a century ago. Mist dotted small areas, and the parts it didn't hide exposed the shitty state the building was in. He wasn't sure how it still passed inspections—if anyone was actually inspecting it. Despite it all, many people called it home. His friend, Nana, was one of those people.

He stepped toward the building, eager to check on Nana, when the unmistakable feeling of being watched fell over him. He'd been in his line of work long enough to recognize when something was off.

He slowed, eyes carefully scanning his surroundings.

// Discover

people watching + an eye for details = +2.

5+1+2 = 8. Weak hit. Of the possibilities, I think just vague clues are the most interesting.

We already know he's being followed, but all he can deduce is that it feels like someone else.

And all he can see is...

A tall, hulking figure in the distance seemed to be watching him, staring at him. Whoever it was was doing a poor job at concealing themself.

The hell? Had his previous employer put a hit out on him? Was he expendable now? He cracked his neck. He didn't want to have to put someone in their place right now, but he would if pushed.

The figure moved. Towards him.

Caduceus picked up speed and headed into the building.

// Stunt

(Sneak Around.) espionage + quick on my feet = +2.

6+4+2 = 12. Strong hit! This just means I succeed.

Once inside, he headed up the seven flights of steps to Nana's floor. He picked up his pace, making sure that no one was following him. For the moment, at least, it seemed as if the coast was clear.

He made his way to their door and raised a hand to knock, only to freeze at the sight of what was taped there.

"An eviction notice?" Fuck. "Nana, I'm coming in!" He gripped the handle and attempted to twist the door open, but no luck. It was locked.

So, he walked through the door.

Through the door.

// Stunt

(Take the Risk.) When I was playing this, I had a hard time deciding whether or not to make this a move. There's no real danger, other than being seen. I decided to go with a move, though I won't always take this route when it comes to him phasing. I felt as if I could make this interesting on a failure.

turn intangible + phase through it + quick on my feet = +3. And also going to invoke his weakness tag still needs air, as we've already established that Nana is a hoarder. He'll have to make sure he can get to a spot where he can breathe! This turns my bonus into a +2. (And bumps our momentum up to 4!)

3+2+2 = 7, weak hit. But we get Attention on our Mobility themebook. Wh0ot!

We'll say that, as a result of him struggling to find a spot to breathe, when he actually does, it's... well... really bad air. We'll give him sickened-2.

His hand slipped in first as he checked his surroundings. Still safe, so he let his entire body slip through the door. Boundaries meant nothing to him—unless it was with a person, then he was a gentleman. Ask the couple from last night. But walls? He acted as if they were nonexistent, a mere suggestion. He stepped foot into the room and—

What the hell was by the door? He kept moving, longer than he anticipated. He knew of Nana's hoard—it came in handy more than once—but he didn't know it had gotten this bad. There was nowhere to breathe by the door. When he did find a spot, he fell to the ground and gulped air down his throat. This was followed by immediate regret as he inhaled the wretched scent of something that had spoiled, causing his stomach to churn and his eyes to water.

The room was dark and dank and smelled like complete awfulness. Trash was piled almost as high as the ceiling. He could smell stale water in the distance. A rat scurried off at his presence and Caduceus realized he had landed in some small animal's dropping. He shot up to his feet and almost gagged again, but he held his composure.

"Nana? Nana are you in here?"

// Discover

Let's see what we can find with an eye for details = +1.

1+2+1 = 4. A miss! Yikes.

Let's roll on the Mythic Action table to see what kind of Hard Move we're making. 83, 49: Assist randomness.

A random inspection perhaps? Someone's coming to inspect the place. TIME TO GO!

He looked around for the elder but it was as if they were no longer there. Fuck. With anyone else, he'd be able to put together some kind of clue as to how long it has been since they'd been in the apartment, but the hoard made that almost impossible. He was unsure if something had been used recently or if it'd been left out for—

He heard keys at the front door, and the handle turned. "This is a hoarder's unit, right? We'll have to be careful when we get inside," he heard a voice say on the other side.

Fuck! There was no time. He prepared himself, breathing slowly and waiting for the right moment.

The door began to push itself open, shoving the hoard behind it, and Caduceus took off running toward the wall.

// Stunt

I think this is kinda being Sneaky? So we'll go with that CoM version.

We're going to turn intangible + phase through it + and quick on my feet = +3.

4+6+3 = 13. Nooiiiiicceee!

Just as the inspectors entered Nana's place, Caduceus found himself on the other side of the wall, back in the hallway. As they shut the door behind them, he hurried down the steps and back out into the open, fresh air of the city.

Fresh was a bit of a stretch, but anything was better than Nana's apartment.

As he calmed his nerves, he got that feeling again. Someone was watching him.

"Duece?"

His eyes widened. It all clicked in that moment. He recognized the tall, hulking figure he'd seen earlier, combined with the deep voice of the man that used to be a constant in his life. When was the last time he had heard his voice? He looked good.

Before him, brow raised, stood Kane Wilder.

He hadn't expected to run into his ex-boyfriend here.

Kane Wilder

Merx #2: An Air of Potential Danger
After running into his ex, Kane, Caduceus can tell that something is wrong. Something is coming...
The next episode
Merx Rendezvous Point
The Merx Rendezvous Point is a members-only place where game statistics, photos, and other behind-the-scenes info is stored.

Supplements Used

City of Mist: Player’s Guide - Son of Oak Game Studio | Core Books and Sets | DriveThruRPG.com
The Player’s Guide includes everything essential for players of City of Mist, both old and new - an introduction to the
DriveThruRPG Affiliate Link for City of Mist: Player's Guide
Mythic Variations 2 - Word Mill | Mythic | DriveThruRPG.com
Introducing new rules variations to power your Mythic adventures! Mythic Variations 2 is a collection of rules modificat
DriveThruRPG Affiliate Link for Mythic Variations 2
The Adventure Crafter - Word Mill | The Crafter Series | DriveThruRPG.com
The Adventure Crafter Create Adventure outlines, seeds, and events for any RPG, in advance or on the spot!The Adventur
DriveThruRPG Affiliate Link for The Adventure Crafter

Stock image credits

Photo by Benjamin Suter on Unsplash
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Download this photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash
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