View Full Version : DM Help Overlooked a Character Arc Moment, Need a Way to Fix It

2016-05-18, 10:30 AM
I'll try to keep this brief, so I'll leave out a lot of fluff but if you have questions let me know.

I'm GMing a supers game, loosely based on the Emerald City Knights adventure path (Mutants and Masterminds 3e). However, I've changed quite a lot to fit into our homebrew world and to tie in the PCs. I'm also running this as a Suicide Squad-inspired "bad guys used for good" themed game.

One of the PCs (Mr. Red) is a nanoswarm whose background involved finding some nanite material and getting infected with it. This nanite material is the same as that which causes the "silver storm" in the original adventure path (ECK Chapters 0 and 1), though I've changed the description to be more of a "bubble" instead of storm to mesh with Mr. Red's background. In this campaign, the nanites are Grue technology - in fact, the Grue themselves are basically made of the stuff.

So they have discovered the nanite material and know what it is (though not the connection yet). The character arc to be revealed is that Mr. Red's nanite origin is the same as the "silver storm" material, which originates from the Grue.

Last session, the PCs were transported to another planet (the home planet of one of the PCs), which were in a war with another alien race, the shapeshifting Grue (similar to ECK Chapter 6: Into the Fire). The castle guards took the PCs prisoner, and had them scanned and questioned to determine if they were Grue spies. I reported, in character from the NPC doing the scan, that none of the PCs were Grue, and the remainder of the session was played out as if nothing suspicious was up, including meeting the queen (alien PC's mom).

To keep with the character arc, however, the scan should have revealed an anomaly with Mr. Red. He is NOT Grue, and would not scan the same, but his makeup has similarities, and there should have been some discussion or reaction due to that.

Any ideas how to dig myself out of this plot hole? Retcon, flashback, or otherwise. I told my players that I missed something last session, but they don't know what. I could ignore it, but I'm not sure if this will mess with their immersion when other details of the link between the Grue and Mr. Red come to light later. They might never even recognize the lapse, but I was planning to make this another dot for Mr. Red to connect.

Thanks for any help.

2016-05-18, 10:41 AM
Some thoughts:

It could be legal, but highly embarrassing, to be of the nature he is on that planet? The scanner-person chose not to comment, as that would have been horribly tactless, but s/he had to report it. Someone then has 'the talk' with the PC, informing them of how their situation is in the eyes of these people?

The scanner was malfunctioning; perhaps due to Grue influence (virus-like this is spreading throughout the planet), and this is the first sign that the Grue are planning an invasion?

The similarity is less obvious than that, and only a singleminded old scientist in a back lab somewhere puts the pieces together, and now wants to study the PC to vindicate his ridiculed (but correct) theories?

2016-05-18, 11:55 AM
Or maybe they simply stated that he is not grue, which is true, but they wrote something weird on some sort of report about the scan. Then you can have them get access to that scan.

2016-05-18, 12:45 PM
Have the PCs get scanned again ... but by someone using a different model of the Grue detection system.

Say they are sent to speak with someone at the local government offices. They may have been scanned once, already, but going into another secure building may run them through yet another security checkpoint.

Maybe the first scan was done with the newer, improved model. It acted correctly in identifying the PC as "not Grue" ... but the older model still running at the front door of the government center is not as smart, and it flags the PC. Instant panicky people, distrust, reasons for RP. If the player is being escorted by someone that knows the result of the first scan, that NPC can be the way to stop a fight from breaking out, "Wait, I saw you get scanned back at the last station? Whats' going on?"

If the players allow themselves to be arrested, then someone can show up with different version the new scanner, and re-scan the PC ... this time getting the same "negative" result just like the first scanner showed. That should open the door for an NPC investigator to bring in the science types to figure out what is going wrong with the scanners, and thereby give an avenue of information/plot point sharing with the PC.

Or maybe the newer system is sabotaged in some way, and the PC just showed them that the older system is better. (Battlestar Galactica, anyone?)

If you worry that the players will choose to fight their way out (thereby wrecking their alliance with the good guys), there is a way that it can be turned around. The players got past the "current model" scanner without a problem, but when they are inside the government building, there is a scientist present that is testing a "cutting edge" system - and that cutting edge system flags the PC. The scientist may freak out, but when he calms down, his scientific curiosity can get the better of him. This causes him to open a dialog with the PC. The scientist learns more about the biology of the Grue, and the PC learns the plot point.

The benefits of the second one is that the PC gets access to a highly intelligent person that can pass on the plot point within the context of the universe.

2016-05-19, 08:27 AM
These ideas are all good. Unfortunately, and I forgot to mention this, they're already back on Earth, so none will fit into the current timeline. However, I could have an alien scientist show up hoping to further investigate the similarity. Or perhaps have one of the Grue appear to see why he is similar to them.

2016-05-19, 11:07 PM
Hm, how did they make it back to earth? Maybe the aliens suspected he was a grue spy, and gave him enough rope to hang himself, as it were. If he attacked the queen, they would know he was a spy (maybe they had snipers at the ready the team didn't spot). If they teleported back to earth, maybe they left a surprise inside Mr. red's body (virus, bomb, etc) to bring back to his 'grue friends.' Also works if they went they took a ship (implanted while sleeping, etc) and makes everything work while giving you another plot hook (get rid of X). The queen's PC daughter might also have a few words for mommy dearest on acting like a friend and then trying to kill one of her friends.