“Strange Tales From Chicago,” Session 2 — Bernie’s Diner

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for the second session of Geoff’s miniseries:

>>Player Characters for “Strange Tales From Chicago,” Geoff C.’s street-level superhero game, using FATE Accelerated Edition, Skype, and an online dice roller, Sunday, 27 October 2013:

  • Fightin’ Fritz” [Gene D.]-male human, flashy Tank, wants to pound knuckleheads, knows all the brawlers about town
  • Capt. Grommet” [Beruk A.]-machine whisperer, wants to get back at the man; knows lots of techies
  • The Crocodile” [Byron V.O.]-old tough guy, wants to clean up the city and get paid
  • Dr. Occult” [Josh C.]-master of occult, seeking enlightenment; knows stage magicians
  • Angel of the Night” [Sara F.]-gargoyle-themed guardian of the city, lives above a library

>>Chicago, “1 to 2 October 1982:” Capt. Grommet goes to the police labs, where he finds three forensic scientists eating pie. They confirm that the Tylenol taken from a pharmacy is poisoned with arsenic, but the honey toffee Grommet got from the store proprietors is safe.

Meanwhile, Fightin’ Fritz, the Angel of the Night, the Crocodile, and Dr. Occult stake out a container ship to which they had followed four goons from the “Salty Dog” bar. They boldly board the vessel, and some longshoremen say that Atilla, Bonaventura, Genghis, and Leo are lazy and standoffish co-workers.

Capt. Grommet persuades Officer Fine and three police officers named Austin, Bruno, and Steve to come with him to the docks. Stealthy Angel leads the way into the hold, followed by mighty Fritz, garrulous Grommet, turbaned Dr. Occult, and crotchety Croc.

At the crew quarters, Angel hears voices and maneuvers to the far side of a cabin door. Fritz opens the door, and one of the four goons swings a chair at him. Dr. Occult throws playing cards in an effort to distract their foes, and Angel knocks away the chair.

The four men, who are suspected of disturbing the pharmacy that sold the tainted Tylenol, try to slam the door in Fritz’s face. Capt. Grommet throws a serving tray but misses, as Fritz slams the door into one mook.

Dr. Occult smacks another in the junk, and Croc moves in. After a few more punches, the four pharmacy perps are subdued. Dr. Occult then hypnotizes Atilla, who reveals that a man named Earl in a fancy suit paid him to stir up trouble at the pharmacy. Atilla says that Earl can be found at Bernie’s Diner most nights.

Ralph's Diner 1982
Early 1980s diner

The private investigators of the “Drop Squad” drop off the four men with the police and head to the diner. Bernie vouches for Earl, saying that he has supported numerous charitable causes. Capt. Grommet and Dr. Occult realize that each person they talk to gives a different description of Earl.

After some cajoling, Bernie says that Earl frequents the “Old Watch House,” a high-end brothel. Croc recognizes the place and takes the group there. Fritz and Dr. Occult stay in the car, while Angel watches from a nearby roof.

Dr. Grommet and Croc warn the skeptical madam that a mass murder might threaten her girls and business. She reluctantly gives them permission to review security footage. They identify another incarnation of Earl.

Meanwhile, Dr. Occult consults his fellow wizards to search for Earl. The stage magician and Fritz must also fend off a potential hubcap thief. Sometime later, Croc and Fritz go to the police station to review mug shots in search of the elusive Earl.

Capt. Grommet finds a permit for one of the charity performances that has a return address in the warehouse district. He also tracks down the tailor who made Earl’s suit. A public records search for “Earl” with no last name turns up 30 instances, astonishing Dr. Occult with bureaucratic incompetence.

Meanwhile, Angel’s rooftop surveillance is interrupted by heavily armed mercenaries from Craft International. She retreats and reports to the rest of the “Drop Squad,” who suspect that she found unrelated criminal activity.

The next morning, Fritz and Dr. Occult visit the custom tailor, who gives them a hard time about their eccentric attire. He eventually admits to serving a slight Asian gentleman, not a tall blond man.

Croc goes back to the Old Watch House, where he talks with Lucille. She says that Earl, or at least someone by that name, is a regular patron. Dr. Occult talks with accountant Irwin and learns that he has a twin by the same name.

Capt. Grommet reviews local news footage of various charity events to see if any of the suited Earls makes an appearance. The private detectives keep the police informed of their progress in the homicide case.

They return to Bernie’s Diner, but the blond Earl (one of seven, who presumably hired the four thugs) spots the group….