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wyze2099 09-06-2020 11:02 PM

RPG Actual Play: TMNT Mutant Town
Here is an Actual Play account of the tabletop RPG that has begun in the Mutant Town community on Discord. It utilizes the Mutant Town setting from recent IDW comics.

Rather than use the TMNT & Other Strangeness system from Palladium, I homebrewed a much simpler system.

Think of this as an after-action report of the RPG, which is a common practice in tabletop roleplaying communities. I'll continue to update this as much as possible, particularly if there's interest in it.

I ended up with a handful of players who created the following characters:
  • Johann Sebastian Shark (formerly Michael Thompson), a cultured concert pianist shark
  • Crank, an aggressive bike messenger goat
  • Stan "Stinkbomb" Schemmel, a comic book fanboy skunk
  • Jasmine Smith-Garcia, a journalist fox with brittle bones and a healing factor

This past Friday night, we had our first official group RPG on voice chat, which I ran as Game Master. A summary of that session is coming in a couple of posts.

Three of the four players participated; the fourth, Jasmine's player, wasn't keen on voice chat and preferred to play out her character in text form in the misc-roleplaying channel. Which was fine with me. Jasmine's side story begins shortly before the events of IDW's TMNT #101, and I'll provide a running account of that at some point in the future. It's giving me a chance to play as Alopex.

Anyway, the previous Sunday, I ran Johann's player through a prologue session dealing with the mutation event itself, so I'll begin with that...

Next: Prologue - "Transmutations, Brand New Statements"

wyze2099 09-06-2020 11:06 PM

Prologue Session: "Transmutations, Brand New Statements"

The scene takes place in the neighborhood in and around Union Square Park in the summer. A man named Baxter Stockman, scientist and corporate CEO, holds a victory rally for his mayoral campaign now that his only opposition has recently dropped out of the running. Boasting about his "Action, Not Words" platform, he has drawn a crowd in and around the park.

Up the street, Michael Thompson, the man who will be later known as Johann Sebastian Shark, emerges from a neighborhood grocery store, preparing to head home, cook up some steaks, and settle into his weekend.

He's alerted to the sound of a loud explosion, followed shortly by machine-gun fire coming from the park. This sends citizens fleeing in all directions. Michael approaches the park, hoping to usher the panicked bystanders to safety by directing them to the nearest subway entrances. He rolls Charisma to do this, which is a stat he happens to be good at.

A harsh, gravelly voice takes over the loudspeakers as a feline humanoid wearing a white coat with a black armband takes over the podium. He's joined by an entourage consisting of what looks like a blue manta ray in a black t-shirt and tactical cargo pants, a skateboarding lizard, and a bipedal turtle wearing a red mask around his eyes.

He introduces himself as Old Hob, a mutant. He defines mutants as the dirty secrets the government has been keeping from the population. But he claims the humans are the real monsters. He announces that he and his kind are done hiding, being abused, and pretending they don't exist. He claims that rather than believing humans should all die the way he used to believe, now he wants them to feel what he and his kind have felt. Instead of changing hearts and minds, he wants to change everything.

Michael's efforts to clear out the bystanders gets increasingly difficult the closer he gets to Union Square Park. Now he has a clear view of the unfolding situation ... just in time for Old Hob to toss a glowing green object into the crowd. It's a bomb.

The bomb explodes in the crowd's midst, releasing a toxic cloud that causes the crowd to undergo nightmarish bodily transformations. In fact, the more their bodies change, the more they look like animals. Toads, crocodiles, cheetahs, badgers, and other animals of varying descriptions. And Michael himself finds that he's increased in size, his skin has turned scaly and gray, and he now resembles a shark.

The wind carries the green cloud further up the street and into more neighborhoods in the West Side of New York, causing even more of a large-scale panic.

The NYPD and the Earth Protection Force try to restore order by restraining and subduing the fleeing citizens. Three of them attempt to do so with the pacifistic Michael, who discovers that he's far more durable than he used to be. He simply absorbs baton strikes from the officers that would have laid him out even ten minutes ago. However, he finds he's not as susceptible to gas sprayed in the area.

He and other mutated victims awaken later in the gymnasium of a community center. EPF agents and medics are on hand, all of them in hazmat suits. The representaive informs the crowd of the changes that have been made while they were unconscious: all the mutated citizens are being quarantined in a specific area of Manhattan; a wall is beginning to be erected around the affected area as they speak. Unaffected humans are being relocated for their safety, while the infected citizens are told that they are not allowed to leave or make contact with uninfected citizens. Including their family and friends. Food, clothing, and other essential supplies will be shipped in through an official channel at regular intervals.

Naturally, this causes quite a bit of a stir among the mutated citizens. Some are concerned about missing relatives they haven't seen since the bomb went off. Some don't trust the authorities to act in their best interests. All of them are varying degrees of upset that their lives have experienced such a sudden upheaval.

Ever the peacemaker, Michael attempts to calm the rising tempers. He rolls high enough to be successful. At least for now.

The EPF spend the next few hours assigning new living quarters to the mutated citizens who don't already live in the neighborhood. Luckily, Michael does, so he ventures back to his apartment, recovered groceries in hand. He finds that his eight-foot shark form now barely fits in the tiny hallway outside his door.

He greets his next-door neighbor, an old lady who lives with far more cats than the apartment's lease allows. Now she herself has been mutated into a feline form. She opens the door to her own apartment and finds that her own cats no longer recognize, both in appearance and scent. She is devastated by this, as Michael offers a few encouraging words and enters his own apartment, groceries in hand.

Hunger gnaws at him, so he ends up cooking all of the steaks in his apartment blood-rare and goes on a feeding frenzy, his vision tinted red until he finally collapses into bed, exhausted. He breaks his bed in the process.

The wall is completed quickly. Months pass, and Michael and the other citizens slowly adapt to their new status quo, though it is one that becomes increasingly desperate as the walled-off area grows increasingly desperate. Michael adopts the name Johann Sebastian Shark, while the walled-off and neglected section of New York comes to be called ... Mutant Town.

Next Session: "Neighborhood Ruckus"

wyze2099 09-07-2020 04:38 PM

Session 1: "Neighborhood Ruckus"

Last time, I ran a player through a prologue session in which her character, Johann, was mutated into a shark during Old Hob's mutagen bombing of Union Square Park.

This time, I skipped ahead six months to the events of IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #101. I began with the following introduction:
"It's been six months since everything changed.

"Six months since an organization called the Mutanimals detonated a mutagen bomb in Union Square Park in Manhattan, altering the DNA of everyone touched by the fallout.

"Six months since the Earth Protection Force, under the orders of newly-elected Mayor Baxter Stockman, erected fifty-foot walls around New York's East Side, containing and trapping the mutated citizens.

"Six months since Old Hob's Mutanimals became the policing body within the walls, enforcing their own brand of order while the EPF zealousy patrolled outside the walls.

"And in those six months, the several city blocks that comprise Mutant Town have fallen into neglect and disrepair, and that's on top of all the damage that had befallen the area thanks to recent wars fought by crime families, ninjas, mutants, and even aliens.

"It's February. A harsh winter has accumulated a blanket of snow on the already-depressed area. Many people in Mutant Town are homeless, jobless, and increasingly desperate. The last supply shipment into Mutant Town was weeks ago, and the Mutanimals have held a tight grip on those supplies. That has led to the Black Market as an illicit possibility that some of become desperate enough to partake in.

? "Johann Sebastion Shark: You have recently been contacted by a group of entertainers called the Ratt Pack, who have set up shop in an abandoned theater. They're looking for entertainers, such as a pianist, and you'd like to prove your skills to them. All you need now... is a piano.
? "Stan "Stinkbomb" Schemmel: You haven't read any new comics in six months. Much like pianos, they're not considered essential supplies and are therefore not a priority for shipment. That's thirty-two weeks -- not counting fifth-week events -- of Wednesday arrivals you've missed out on. Not even reading every back issue available at the Book Wyrm and other Mutant Town book establishments have been able to satisfy that craving. But you've been assured the Black Market will hook you up.
? "And Crank ... just Crank: You've been contacted by Jeri Garcia-Smith, a nurse at one of the Mutant Town hospitals, to obtain medical supplies. Between the Mutanimals' brand of violence and the vigilante activities of a certain mutant turtle, hospitals have been filling up, and supplies have become scarce. But this shipment should have the supplies you're looking for, and you're just the billy goat bike messenger to deliver them.

"Which brings you all to a man known to hang out in an alley near the entrance to the abandoned 18th Street Subway Station. He's your Black Market contact, a man dressed in stylish '80s clothing straight out of reruns of 'Miami Vice'. It's after dark, but he still insists on wearing sunglasses. He's known as Fast Eddie. Oh, and he's a sloth mutant."

As the three player characters converge on Fast Eddie from different directions, he realizes maybe he should have scheduled his rendezvous with his clients better, because three of them crowding him would draw undue attention to him. He resolves to make this quick... which is precisely when he has one of his periodic slow-motion attacks, causing him to move and speak at the speed one would expect from a sloth.

Just as Fast Eddie returns to his usual speed, the party overhear a college-aged lizard woman (Mona Lisa) being harassed by a couple of low-level Mutanimal hoodlums: a raccoon (Bandit) and a large platypus (Puggle). They've cornered her in an alley not far from Alopex's shelter.

Johann and Crank intervene, the former attempting a peaceful resolution while the latter ready to fight.

Stan, meanwhile, uses the various discarded objects in the alley as cover for his stealth skills. As he looks around, he spots a little albino turtle girl huddling under a pile of boxes in the same alley. Wanting to get the girl to safety before a fight breaks out, he attracts the attention of everyone in the alley by standing up on the dumpster and shouting, "DISTRACTION!" The little girl bolts out of the alley, leaving footprints in the snow.

Tensions escalate between the player characters and the two Mutanimals. A short fight ensues, with Crank headbutting Puggle's duckbill, Stan going stealthy and getting to the lizard woman, and Johann tanking Bandit's nail-ridden baseball bat before convincing the two Mutanimals that the fight isn't worth it.

Puggle and Bandit run off, threatening to tell Diamond about this. It turns out the lizard woman, Mona Lisa, is carrying an unauthorized quantity of food which she had actually stolen from the Mutanimals' food bank. The Mutanimals had been hoarding the food supplies, contributing to the food shortage as supply drops have been increasingly rare.

As Mona shows her gratitude to the party. Johann gives her his name and number, telling her to call if she needs anything. Johann and Crank then return their attention to Fast Eddie, while Stan heads off to track down the mysterious white turtle girl.

Mona stands around awkwardly, realizing she now has to walk the rest of the way to Alopex's shelter by herself. Alone. Carrying contraband items liberated from the Mutanimals.

Stan follows the little girl's trail of footprints out into a sidewalk with quite a few more footprints of various shapes and sizes. He's able to keep tabs on which footprint is the little girl's. She bumps into a turtle woman wearing a gray hoodie and what looks like a yellow scarf. She introduces herself as Jenny; she asks if Stan has seen a young girl fitting the turtle girl's description. The two combine their efforts in order to locate the missing girl.

Johann and Crank catch up with Fast Eddie, who has been spending the entire conflict trying to make a run for it. He's moving in slow-motion again, so he's only made it to the subway entrance. Johann and Crank question him about the Black Market supplies they were promised. Fast Eddie returns to his usual speed; because he was in the middle of running, he ends up tumbling down the flight of steps leading underground. Johann and Crank catch him before he breaks something.

Grateful but wary, Fast Eddie promises to uphold his end of the deal and escorts him into the subway station that various members of the Mutanimals have made their own. The trains running through the subway stations under Mutant Town no longer make stops there. They just run straight through, leaving the Mutanimals to turn the Mutant Town stations into dens of iniquity.

And yet, a train does pull into the station and actually stop. The doors open, revealing a pair of figures wearing black and dark gray ninja attire. It's the Foot Clan, pushing a couple of large crates on flat rolling carts. As the Mutanimals set about opening the crates for their contraband items, and Crank talks to some friends of his, Johann spots a mysterious figure standing in the subway car. As the train departs, Johann realizes he's looking at a tall hawk mutant, who locks gazes with Johann. To be continued...

Next Session: "Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap"

wyze2099 09-12-2020 01:15 AM

Session 2: "Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap"
Johann Sebastian Shark just wants to leave with his crate of black-market merchandise, but the Mutanimals insist on inspecting it, opening up the crate and finding a bunch of parts they can't quite identify.

Crank, who stocks up on a backpack's worth of medical supplies, yells at them to show some respect and leave the piano parts alone; he says his shark friend is just trying to inject some class into Mutant Town.

A Mutanimal named Dragon Face takes an interest in this bit of conflict. A former Purple Dragon until he was kicked out by one of Casey Jones' attempts at reforming the Purple Dragons, he was mutated into a humanoid iguana by the mutagen bomb. He sports a black dragon tattoo on his face; he had a purple one previously, but it didn't survive his mutation, so he got a black tattoo of a similar design since then.

Dragon Face decides that the piano is a classy sort of instrument. Too good for Mutant Town. If Johann wants it to be delivered in such amazing shape, he should pay an extra shipping and handling fee. Johann is understandably reluctant about this. Crank's attempt to talk Dragon Face out of this goes poorly.

Johann and Crank emerge from a cargo elevator rising to the street, pushing the large crate on a rolling cart. Johann is dejected at having to pay so much on top of what he'd already paid for the piano. They have a bit of difficulty navigating the snowy terrain. Crank gets frustrated and shoves it with his aggression, causing the cart to roll down the street. Johann chases after it and gets it to stop.

This activity is noticed by Sally Pride, second-in-command of the Mutanimals, and by the vigilante known by some as Raphael, but by most of Mutant Town as the Nightwatcher.

Raph sees the crate, notes that Johann is out of place associating with the Mutanimals, and he wants to know what's in the crate. Sally, knowing about the Black Market shipment in the subways, has been trying to keep Raph from finding out about it. Crank applies as much sarcasm as he can, explaining it's a box of piano parts; Raph can check if he doesn't believe him. Skeptical, Raph does that... only to learn he doesn't know what he's looking at. Crank has to explain that it's what piano parts look like.

Meanwhile, Stan and Jennika have been tracking the little turtle girl's footprints through the snow, but the girl has been making winding paths like the little boy from the Family Circus comic strips.

Just as they find the little girl in an alley, they're found by a large, intimidating shadow a of a figure: the fierce Mutanimal porcupine named Diamond. In a possibly suicidal display of bravery, Stan charges into a pile of alley garbage in order to direct attention toward himself. Then he attempts to flirt with Diamond in the most awkward way possible -- again, in the name of offering the biggest distraction possible. It works. Outraged, she fires a few quills at him while Jennika ushers Lita to safety.

The quills miss Stan by inches, perforating his trench coat. Seeing this, the little girl lets out a frightened squeal. Deciding to keep Diamond's attention on him, he shouts "FIRE IN THE HOLE!" and unleashes a skunk spray in Diamond's face.

Almost two blocks away, Raphael, Sally, Crank, and Johann hear the girl's squeal, Stan's warning shout, and Diamond's particularly loud stream of curses. The former three take off running in the direction of the shouting, while Johann takes the opportunity to wheel his piano in another direction entirely.

Stan runs to the opposite end of the alley, continuing to taunt Diamond, who's been partially blinded by the skunk spray, her nasal passages burning like she'd been pepper-sprayed. Further enraged by him, she charges right at him, but his wily stealth and evasion save him, and the object that she thought was him turns out to be a fire hydrant. She clangs into it head-first.

Raphael, Sally, and Crank arrive and immediately start fighting Diamond, who has a hard time fending them off thanks to the skunk spray temporarily impairing her. Crank straight-up headbutts her in the muzzle, dealing more damage. Stan decides to use his stealth to hide from the battle.

On the verge of a swift defeat, Diamond unleashes a spray of quills in all directions. Raph, Sally, and Crank all catch a few quills apiece; Crank tanks them out of pure defiance. As Diamond beats a hasty retreat, she promises that Old Hob is going to hear about this. Sally calls after her that Diamond is hereby fired from the Mutanimals.

Jennika resurfaces with the little turtle girl intact. She introduces the group to Lita, a name she gave to the girl since the albino turtle can't seem to remember her own.

Raphael tries to remove the porcupine quills from his face and shoulder, but he finds they're barbed and difficult to remove. The group elect to go to Alopex's shelter get the quills removed, get patched up, gets some food -- and in Crank's case, drop off some medical supplies.

Stan, still in stealth mode, follows after them, staying out of sight. At one point, Raph and Jenny glance around cautiously, although it's unclear whether they suspect they're being followed, or if they're just wary of the next ambush to come out of the woodwork.

As the rest of them enter Alopex's establishment, Stan the comic book fanboy is triumphant about his stealth skills: "I am the night." To be continued...

Ending Notes:
  • Johann's player had to bow out of this session to get some rest, so I lightly NPCed Johann and kept him out of the action as much as possible. We'll see more of Johann when next that player is able to join us.
  • Speaking of characters kept out of the action: I felt a bit bad about relegating Jennika to the task of keeping Lita out of harm's way. And Sally and Raphael's contribution to the Diamond boss battle was just me mentioning that Diamond was fending them off. I reduced Diamond's total Hit Points by 10 to account for the damage Sally and Raph would do to her during the fight, but I didn't add them to the Turn Order. I did all that to make sure the combat was focused on the players' choices. Otherwise, the established-character NPCs would have dominated the fight.
  • I was vastly, VASTLY amused by how differently the Diamond fight turned out in comparison to the fight in TMNT #102. I think she might have been better off just fighting Jennika; at least she has a defense against hand-to-hand combat. A skunk cloud to the face? That gave her a -3 to all her rolls, and Stan got a +3 to his Defense in the process.
  • Dragon Face was a rarely-seen character created for the 2003 TMNT cartoon. Since IDW makes great use of different characters throughout the different iterations, I repurposed Dragon Face into an iguana mutant who's currently a member of the Mutanimals, and formerly a Purple Dragon. He really likes that dragon face tattoo, so he got a new one, but I imagine he's a bit embarrassed that the reptile he turned into wasn't an actual dragon. Or even a Komodo Dragon.

Next: "The World-Weary" (Side Story)

wyze2099 09-18-2020 12:02 AM

Side Story: "The World-Weary"
In addition to the tabletop RPG on voice chat, the Discord community also has a channel for text-based play-by-post roleplaying. One of the players didn't want to use voice chat, so she instead instigated a side story in which she played:

Jasmine Smith-Garcia, the aforementioned mutant fox with brittle bones and a healing factor that means she has to reapply her cast on a regular basis.

In her role as a journalist in Mutant Town, Jasmine uses an old plastic typewriter that has seen better days to type up a news story on the few sheets of usable paper she can find. While she doesn't live at the shelter, the place is warmer than the apartment she shares with her wife, a nurse named Jeri.

The clacking of Jasmine's typing annoys a gopher mutant wearing jeans, flannel, and a baseball cap. He shouts that "Some of us are trying to read a newspaper!"

Jasmine begins to offer a timid apology, but instead she holds her ground and points out that she's "trying to write a newspaper so you have a new one to read tomorrow." She even asks the man if he happened to find any real newspapers that might have blown over the Mutant Town walls.

The gopher in the flannel almost pursues the argument further, but he's discouraged by a pointed look by Alopex, who doesn't appreciate people being jerks in her establishment.

Alopex checks in on Jasmine, and the two end up in a conversation about Jasmine's relationship with Jeri, as well as whether or not there's anything to Alopex's rapport with "that handsome turtle".

At first, Alopex tries various methods to redirect the conversation away from the topic of Raphael, but Jasmine is persistent. Al admits whatever she has with Raphael is in a holding pattern, as all he does is show up to her shelter and eat food, seldom saying more than a few words to her or anyone else.
Jasmine makes Alopex promise her that "if he doesn't start noticing the way your eyes sparkle when you're talking with him, you make him see stars instead and hit him with the cooking pot?"

"You sure you want to give me advice like that?" Alopex asks. "Because I'll take it. Any old excuse to club some sense into that lummox."

The topic turns into the general state of Mutant Town, Alopex's shelter, and Alopex herself. Jasmine promises to offer her a listening ear and venting time when she needs it, because Alopex has been working herself ragged, and she's not good at asking for help.

Soon the outside door opens, admitting another visitor to the shelter. This is a shy white-furred woman with a feline mutation. She timidly admits she needs help in the form of food.

Jasmine and Alopex share a look. There's something about this woman's shy nature that makes them wonder if she needs more help than just food. And if there's anything or anyone from which she needs protection.

Alopex rolls Empathy, but she isn't able to discern anything specific. She and Jasmine soon learn this woman's name is Raelle Ravencroft.

As Raelle gets comfortable and eats some bread, she asks if anyone knows what happened "to us". It turns out to be a question about the mutations that changed them. Alopex tries to give some details about what happened, but she isn't comfortable giving too many details. The best she can say is that the substance in the explosive device was called 'mutagen', and maybe there might someday be a cure. There was even the promise of one last month, but that turned out to be a hoax.

The door opens again to admit another visitor, one who catches the tail end of Alopex's conversation. She's a huge polar bear mutant wearing a black leather jacket, sunglasses, cargo pants, and heavy boots. "Who says we need to be cured? I don't know about any of you, but this change has worked out great for me."

The polar bear woman, Tora, gives off bad vibes, which she confirms when she says she's been hired by the Mutanimals to hunt down the vigilante turtle named Raphael. She pins a wanted poster on the wall with the bounty printed on it. She's been offered a large sum of money and rations from the Mutanimals, and she's willing to split the reward with anyone who can inform her of Raphael's whereabouts.

Agitated by Tora's presence by a variety of reasons, Alopex stands her ground, ready for a fight. Jasmine tries to convince her that no one in the shelter would want to turn on Raphael. She isn't successful.

“Nice speech," Tora replies. "You should run for office, if this walled-off ghetto had one. But you know what? I don’t care if this Raphael is a sinner or a saint. He’s got currency on his head, and I’m gonna collect. I can already see there’s people here who want a cut of that as well. So I’m gonna get what I’m looking for.”

Tora bids them all a good day and exits, leaving a tense atmosphere in her wake.

Ending Notes:
  • The events of the side story currently take place shortly before TMNT #101, so Mona Lisa's encounter with the mutanimals in the alley hasn't yet happened. At some point I might align the two side stories as happening at the same time, but I didn't want the side story to get ahead of the main story.
  • Jasmine's wife Jeri Garcia-Smith is the nurse at the local hospital mentioned in Session 1. In that session she's sent Crank on the mission to procure black-market medical supplies, but in terms of this side-story, that hasn't happened yet.
  • Raelle Ravencroft is played by Johann Sebastian Shark's player. The text-based format of the side story allows players of the main story to create other characters they can play out.
  • As some might have guessed, Tora is an actual (but obscure) TMNT character. Tora was a video game boss created for TMNT 2: The Arcade Game for NES. As in that game, Tora is an immensely-strong polar bear who wears shades and a black leather jacket and works as a bounty hunter. There are two differences here: Tora is a mutated former human instead of an alien, and Tora’s a she instead of a he. I made the former decision because a polar bear mutant fits into this setting a bit better; I made the latter decision because Tora is typically a feminine name, even in Japanese where it means 'tiger'.
  • If any of you are interested in roleplaying in this Discord community, the link is in my signature. Besides the play-by-post side story, I have an opening for up to two more players in the main story, which is played Friday nights on voice chat from 11pm to 1am Central Time (aka 4am GMT).

Next in the Side-Story: "Loyalties at War"

Next in the Main Story - Session 3: "Eat at Al's"

wyze2099 09-26-2020 02:38 AM

Session 3: "Eat at Al's"
Johann Sebastian Shark pushes a crate full of piano parts through the snowy streets, eventually reaching the Pack Ratt Club. He goes in through the cargo entrance, where some hired workers help him with the crate and alert their boss.

Johann meets a man named LaBratt, a well-groomed rodent mutant wearing a snazzy tuxedo. On his arm is his girlfriend Spacey, a mutant cat who wears a cocktail dress and apparently likes to giggle a lot. Accompanying them is their bodyguard Mr. White, a large broad-shouldered rabbit mutant who seems to communicate only in an intense stare.

As the workers wheel away the crate to assemble the piano, LaBratt welcomes Johann to the club. He prepares to give Johann the guided tour of this club, a surprisingly-clean upscale lounge and casino in Mutant Town.

Several blocks away, Jennika and Raphael return to Alopex's shelter with Crank, Sally Pride, and the little girl newly-named Lita in tow.

Stan follows them as well, but it turns out he wasn't as stealthy as he thought; Raphael abruptly throws a shuriken in Stan's direction to startle him into revealing his location. Raph interrogates Stan to determine his intentions, and Stan apologizes for sneaking up on him.

Once in the shelter, Jennika takes Raphael off to another room to get patched up and porcupine quills removed from his face. Lita is introduced to the shelter's residents and regulars, though she's timid enough around them she mostly hides under a table and watches them.

Crank offloads the medical supplies requested for the shelter into Alopex's care, but she seems to be waiting on something or someone. As Alopex continues to talk to Crank and Sally, it's slowly revealed that she was waiting on a friend of hers named Mona to deliver some food.

Crank and Stan realize Alopex is talking about Mona Lisa, who apparently hasn't made it to the shelter since they last saw her. It becomes clear that Mona, left without an escort, was abducted by the Mutanimals. Furious, Sally immediately heads toward the door, ready to give Old Hob a piece of her mind. Concerned about Mona, Crank and Stan accompany her.

The grand tour of the Pack Ratt Club concluded, LaBratt, Spacey, and Mr. White lead Johann to a balcony overlooking a section of Mutant Town ... such as it is.

Mutant Town is a ghetto in every sense of the word, LaBratt tells Johann, an unsightly stretch of city blocks left to decay. Factions like the Mutanimals, the Sparrow-Hawks, and the Gun Bunnies have spent the first couple of months of Mutant Town's existence fighting for territory, which they now zealously control, but now it's the middle of winter, and everyone's starving.

LaBratt tells Johann he wants to give Mutant Town a beacon of hope, a place mutants can all be proud of. He wants to expand this vision to the rest of the district, but he realizes not everyone will welcome his vision.

He directs Johann's attention to the Gun Bunnies' turf, a park in Avenue A surrounded by apartment buildings that the Gun Bunnies patrol... exclusivey for rabbit mutants. And then there's one of the Mutanimals' hideouts, a shipping warehouse at the base of an apartment complex. LaBratt sees the other factions as squandering what they could be doing with their turf. Divisiveness and tribalism rather than enriching people's lives with entertainment. Johann is on board with wanting to build a better Mutant Town through entertaining at the club, which is excellent news for LaBratt.

Their conversation is cut short when Johann spots some activity through the window of the Mutanimals' warehouse. Namely, the lizard woman Johann met earlier looks like she's being threatened inside. Ever the gentleman, Johann makes his apologies that he has to leave so abruptly, and he hurries in the direction of the Mutanimals' warehouse.

Sally, Stan, and Crank approach and enter the Mutanimals' warehouse from a different direction, finding Mona Lisa tied up. Diamond is arguing with Old Hob about the status of her job, as Sally had shouted earlier that she was fired from the Mutanimals.

The arrival of Sally, Crank, and Stan interrupts the procedings. Sally demands that the Mutanimals release Mona, but Hob isn't interested. While they argue, Stan engages his stealth skills to make his way over to Mona Lisa, hoping to free her.

The sudden arrival of Johann makes the situation even more tense, as Johann recognizes Old Hob as the cat mutant who had set off the mutagen bomb six months ago.

Annoyed by all these disruptions and drama, Old Hob asserts that anybody who wants to prove themselves here and now as Mutanimals should throw out or otherwise dispose of anyone who doesn't. Diamond, Puggle, and Bandit prepare to square off against Sally and Johann, with Crank and his loyalties stuck in the middle.

Ending Notes:
  • Johann's player was able to make it to this session, so I kicked it off by catching up with what Johann Sebastian Shark was up to, and why he needed a crate full of piano parts in the first place.
  • LaBratt and the other members of the Pack Ratt Club might be familiar to readers of the Palladium TMNT RPG books. Also, the Sparrow-Hawks and Gun Bunnies are likewise also adapted from the Palladium corner of the TMNT multiverse. The ways in which they're similar and different will be seen over time.
  • It took a bit of effort to get Johann back in the same room with Crank and Stan, but ultimately it was a fun bit of world-building leading to a tense converging of paths.

Next in the Main Story: "The Hard Way"

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