Merx #2

After running into his ex, Kane, Caduceus can tell that something is wrong. Something is coming...

Merx #2
Merx #2: An Air of Potential Danger
Merx #1: Feels Like Government Oppression
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.
The previous episode

An Air of Potential Danger

Episode 2

// Scene Setup

VERY interesting stuff last scene, and it was a bit chaotic. Upping the Chaos Factor to 4!

My expected scene now is that we're talking to Kane and seeing what he wants before Caduceus heads out to find Nana.

... roll a 1 for Chaos, meaning we get an altered scene!

3, Action. 54—Mass battle.

2, Action. 74—Dealing with calamity.

4, Action. 35–Hunted.

10, Mystery. 91—Fraud.

8, Social. 73—Preparation.

Iiiiinteresting.

We begin the scene with 4 momentum.

Of course. I decide to do one nice thing and this city uses that as an excuse to show me MY EX. Of all people.

... Fuck. He looks good.

Shit, I didn't put on deodorant this morning.

Silence.

And awkwardness.

Caduceus mumbled, "H-hey." He didn't typically crumble under pressure, but Kane was not just any guy. The six-foot-seven man could still make his heart flutter.

He couldn't read Kane's expression. He did, however, notice his eyes shifting left and right. And before Caduceus could protest, Kane wrapped an arm around him and walked off to the side away from the building.

"What—"

"Caduceus! How've you been?" Kane said with cheer and glee.

Caduceus knew something was up.

No one used his real name. In fact, everyone he spoke with used some variation of it. So if someone as close to him as Kane used his real name, he was either upset with him, someone else in disguise, or—

Kane smiled and scratched his beard, first with two fingers, then with three.

Their signal.

What happened? What's wrong? Caduceus pushed his thoughts into Kane's head.

I came by to check on Nana, Kane thought, his face filled with joy while his thoughts betrayed the worry hiding beneath. He'd become a pro at this. Hadn't heard from them in a while. I saw you walk in... and it looked like you were being watched and followed.

Shit.

So much for the greatest spy in the city, Kane thought, letting some of the worry and unease lift. Kane let out an audible chuckle.

// Stunt

This is equivalent to Take the Risk, perhaps. I struggled between this and Discover/Investigate, but I think that's me equating this move too much with a 5e Perception check.

Going to use Caduceus's eye for details so they can find a nice spot to get away to (+1).

1+6+1 = 8, weak hit. Not too bad, and this is the more interesting outcome, honestly. 

Caduceus pointed to a spot away from the building that seemed safe. After a few moments of pretend conversation, they dropped the act and let their guard down. Caduceus hugged Kane—tighter than he anticipated—and took a step back to take him in.

"You look good, Duece." There it was: the proper name for Caduceus coming out of Kane's mouth.

"You, too." It'd been what felt like ages since they last saw each other. Kane knew all about Caduceus's shady career and had been originally okay with it. In fact, they had helped each other out on more than one illegal task. "Are you still dating"—Fuck, what's his name? What's his name?—"Robbie?"

Kane snickered and shook his head. "Roland, and no. He just... wasn't right. Besides, that was almost two years ago. I... Um..." He cleared his throat. "I've been seeing someone lately. Actually working on saving up enough cash to... Um... Well... I think I'm going to propose to my boyfriend soon."

// Oracle

Time to save Caduceus from this conversation!

What's the nature of this "calamity"? Mythic Descriptor: 29, 19: Energetically Delightful.

My first thought is some kind of commotion after a loss on a big game. There's a flood of people in the streets. This could be tied in with the Mass Battle point, too.

Oooh. And what about Hunted? Yeah. I think I can roll all of this into one.

Caduceus plastered on a smile, quickly falling into the Supportive Ex character. "Holy shit. Congrats! Tell me all about—"

The street seemed to rock and the building next to them practically exploded. Even the mist shifted, though it settled back into place as if nothing happened moments later. People flooded the streets, chanting... something. The two men stood back in awe as they tried to catch a glimpse of what the hell was going on.

"Is this... a protest"—Kane squinted, looking at the signs—"full of incels?"

Caduceus pretended to hurl. "Not our prob— What are you doing?"

Kane pulled a phone from his pocket. If it had been any other person, this wouldn't have been a worry. However, Caduceus knew better than to think it was a simple cellphone.

Tech was never "simple" around Kane.

// Buff

Soo... Kane is one of the crew members! Well, he will be. Hush. Kane is a much better person than Caduceus is, so he's going to do what he can to help out.

Kane has some high-tech gadgets he can use (+1).

4+5+1 = 10! And what's great is that, normally with only 1 power, you get 1 Juice. But on a 10+, you get a minimum of 2!

So, we're going to create high-tech smartphone aaaaand... control city infrastructure.

"Those assholes are destroying people's livelihoods because they can't get laid... And not that I really support the police—" Kane pressed a few buttons on the device.

// Stunt

Along with his high-tech smartphone and control city infrastructure, he's also an expert hacker (+3).

3+4+3 = 10! Another success! Caduceus could never!

Only downside is that, as an Extra, all of Kane's tags are crispy, meaning they can only be used a single time.

Sirens sounded in the distance. Drones began flying overhead to douse flames. Traffic lights synced while city barriers blocked paths. Kane smiled as he put the phone back into his pocket. Caduceus gave him a look. "What? Just helping out."

"Look at you: the Big Bad Wolf, building up instead of knocking down."

Kane smirked. "Anyway, now back to you. What were you—"

Some of the men broke off from the crowd and made their way toward them. They were smiling—too wide with all their teeth on display—and gave off an air of potential danger.

"Are you Caduceus Ford?"

Again, no one used his real name. Something had to be wrong.

"Who the hell is asking?"

"Our employer would like to have a word with you."

And this was not the protocol for hiring him.

I'm leaving. Run in 3, 2— Caduceus pushed his thoughts to Kane as he set his feet. Kane nodded, and the two dashed off in separate directions as if they'd practiced it. He missed being in sync with someone, but—

No time for those emotions. It always hurt to think about him.

He'd caught the men by surprise, if only for a moment. The men hurried after, completely ignoring Kane. He felt a bit of relief knowing that, at the very least, Kane would be okay. Not that he couldn't hold his own. Just one less person to worry about.

// Stunt

quick on my feet = +1.

4+6+1 = 11! Yay!

But, I realize that him escaping isn't actually... fun? So I'm going to take a bit of inspiration from Ironsworn/Starforged and say that this Stunt essentially means he's "in control" of the situation.

These are Hired Thugs, a Collective of size 1 with Hurt or Subdue 3 and Threaten 4.

The men were persistent, even with all the distance he'd made. Fine, he thought. He stopped and turned around, watching them as they approached. They were determined.

Caduceus didn't exactly consider himself a fighter. No, that was what Kane or Nana was for. He did whatever it took to get in and out without causing much of a scene, or simply slipping away if it did come to that. His abilities—both mythical and mundane—reflected that.

But, he could hold his own if the situation called for it.

Caduceus took count of the men—a small handful, four—and sized them up. They didn't seem to be professionals or felons. Ordinary-ish people who could look intimidating. Easier to deal with than he'd thought.

He opened his mind to them.

// Buff

Sooo... let's hope this is a smart idea. What Caduceus wants to do is use his telepathy to read their surface thoughts so he can predict a foe's next move (+3). Yes, I purposefully picked his power tags for such a scenario lol

5+2+3 = 10! YAY! That's 3 power.

I know I want to give them a predictable-1 status. Because they're a collective, it would get reduced to 0 unless I go with the +1 size factor modifier or I make it predictable-2 (I think either works), using up 2 Juice in total. I have 1 left, so I'll make it ongoing.

He preferred focusing on single targets, but this was an exception. He couldn't afford to let his guard down. Their thoughts flowed into him, making them more predictable. He could use this to his advantage, avoiding their blows while landing his own.

One of them reached for a gun. Caduceus sprinted in their direction.

// Conflict

Another very specific set of power tags coming into play! (Conflict is Go Toe to Toe and Hit With All You've Got rolled into one)

turn intangible + phase through it + take what's theirs + quick on my feet for a +4. I think the predictable-1 also applies here, as it lets me know how they'd react to this attempt, so its bumped up to +5.

4+2+5 = 11!

Conflict (from the playtest, anyway) say you can pick two upgrades, as well as inflict a number of boxes equal to power. My first upgrade will be to deal an additional [power] in boxes, so 10 in total. And I'll also avoid a counterattack.

With 10 boxes, I would normally deal a tier-4 status with 3 remaining boxes (tier 4.3). Because this is a collective, it'll be reduced by 1 tier. I'm unsure if this means I reduce it to a whole tier (tier-3), the closest relevant tier (so, something like tier 3.2), or do I only remove a tier and not the boxes (so, it'll be tier 3.3, which is actually tier 4).

Regardless, the answer doesn't matter at this specific moment because Caduceus is going to inflict at least beaten-and-bruised-3 in all three possible answers. This is enough Harm on the Danger's Spectrum to knock it out.

He gripped the man with the gun's arm just as he fired a shot. Caduceus slipped into his phase mode, the bullet passing directly through him. It startled the crowd, some of the protesters rushing off in other directions. Caduceus could see the mist condense ever so slightly around them.

He unphased just his fist and knocked the guy out. As the man stumbled, he phased the gun from his grip and pistol-whipped another man who began to charge him. Phasing through him for a second, he elbowed and kicked the third man while firing another bullet into the air, startling the fourth, whom he proceeded to kick to the ground. In seconds, he'd disarmed and completely wrecked them while barely breaking a sweat.

"Now, who the hell sent you and why?"

The man he'd pistol-whipped moaned and groaned before responding. "The boss heard of your talents, your ability to acquire anything." The man reached his hand into his pocket. Caduceus pointed the gun at him and the man threw both of his hands in the air in surrender.

A business card fluttered to the ground from his pocket.

Caduceus eyed the card for a brief moment, then placed his attention back on the man.

"He will pay you handsomely. 5 million."

Caduceus scoffed. "With that much, can't he just buy whatever the hell he wants?"

"I don't know much more. All I know is that he wants to help this city."

Caduceus zeroed in on the man, letting his mind reach out and grab onto his current thoughts.

// Discover

telepathy + surface thoughts = +2.

5+1+2 = 8, weak hit.

Partial or vague info is most interesting here, I think. I know what the plan is, so I just need to relay that bit of information to Caduceus.

His thoughts were hazy—probably due to the pain, whoops—but Caduceus was still able to extract a bit of information from the man's mind. His thoughts confirmed that his employer indeed wanted something acquired and... that he had good intentions for the city. Specifically, to "save" it.

Whatever the hell that meant.

The hell does a good guy want with me?

Caduceus bent down to pick up the mysterious employer's business card, never taking his eyes—or the gun—off the man.

// Oracle

Is there any information to be gleaned from this card? Unlikely, -2. And Chaos 4 doesn't add anything (+0).

10+10-2 = 18. Holy shit. A yes. With a chaos roll of... 4!? This is both an exceptional yes and a random event?

So outside of a phone number, which we can presume is how Caduceus would've gotten in contact anyway, what kind of information is on the card?

Mythic Descriptor, 79 87: Officially Simple. That... surprisingly already lined up with the truth.

And for the random event, I went with the Personal Theme Focus table. I rolled an 80 on that and got... Ambiguous Event. Mythic Action, 88 78: Control Masses.

I think I can use this to tie something in...

The card was, surprisingly, not non-descript as he would have guessed. In the past, he'd received business cards with just a phone number placed in the middle, or a location and codeword. This card? There was no hiding who this employer was.

Roi Salvator. The name rang a bell. He owned a bar in the city and word on the street was that he was going to be running for some city official position. Caduceus had seen posters beginning to go up all over the city.

What the hell does Roi Salvator want with me?

He pondered over the details briefly before a voice from behind caused him to turn around.

"'ey man, trynna buy some kiss?"

He shooed the man away and turned his attention back to—

They were gone. Fuck. Most were limping, so he could have actually apprehended them. But he got what he needed, so he let them go. With a sigh, he shoved the card into his pocket. He'd dispose of the gun later once he cleaned his fingerprints off of it.

For now, he had to go find Nana.


Merx #3: GR8FULLY YOUNG
“O-M-G! ❤️🐘 My friend Nana is MISSING! 🔍They use they/she pronouns. They look like a sweet old lady but looks can be deceiving. Could use all the help we can get! 👀 XOXO”
The next episode

What's Kiss?

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