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by Malcolm Sheppard

Xango and Blank are getting rappelling down the side of a Syndicate-owned building. Xango's decided to use a Forces 2 Effect to coincidentally stay in the shadows left as downtown lights play over the building. Xango succeeds, but halfway down the Storyteller says that lights from the bottom are making the coincidence a bit thin and that the spell will drop. Xango decides to go for full on vulgar invisibility instead. Fortunately, nobody's looking, so there are no witnesses. Xango gains 2 points of Paradox, for a total accumulated Paradox pool of 2.

Blank, meanwhile, pumps himself with Life, raising his Dex to 6. He'll lose a point of Quint or take one agg in 24 hours, but right now he also has 1 point of permanent Paradox. and gains 3 points of standard Paradox, for a total of 4 in his pool. He does not have to roll for a Backlash.

They break into the building, but their stealth efforts were caught on MANAR and four Sleeper security guards are there to confront them. They break into action. Blank pumps a vulgar Time 3 Effect to grab two actions while he ducks behind cover. This succeeds and accumulates 4 points of Paradox. Blank's Paradox total is now 8. Even if it wasn't vulgar with witnesses, his pool going above 5 means the player has to roll all 8 dice. The player gets 5 successes and consults the table. No flaws, but he rolls 5 dice (his Paradox successes), getting 3 successes -- 3 levels of Bashing damage, reduced to 1 by his soak. Blank is back to 4 points in his pool. It would be just 3, but one of his Paradox successes was for a Permanent Paradox point, which doesn't go away.

Xango holds up a skull and an SMG, firing it wildly to cause fear (Mind 2) coincidentally. His player rolls . . . and he botches! His pool is 4 dice (2 accumulated, 2 for the botched effect), but he decided he doesn't want to deal with Paradox again for the scene and spends a point of Willpower.

Blank easily kills two guards on the next turn. Xango decides to gain soak versus lethal damage using Life 3. This succeeds, and his Paradox pool increases to 7, but he spent Willpower, so there's no Backlash. This is handy, too, since even though Xango knocks out a guard on the next turn, NWO Agent Connor V sneaks up and gets a shot off.

Blank closes with Connor and tries to grow claws that inflict aggravated damage (Life 3/Prime 3). His player botches! This adds 8 points (3x2+2) to his pool of 4 for a total of 12. That's nasty; Blank's player rolls 12 dice and gets 9 successes, leaving him with 3 remaining Paradox. His claws entangle, adding a +2 difficulty to actions with his hands. His player also rolls 9 dice and is left with 6 points of Bashing from 6 successes. Blank's soak roll fails and he hits Bashing Incap.

Xango decides to get out the really big guns with a radiant Forces Effect, smiting Connor and the last guard with lightning. This fails, but Xango gets the Paradox anyway: 4 points. Again, his will holds, even though he now has 12 Paradox banked. In the meantime, Blank's been hit with aggravated wounds by Connor and is still knocked out.

The next turn, Xango succeeds and fries the last guards while injuring Connor. His Paradox increases to 16. Now safe, he uses vulgar Life magic to heal Blank. He gets barely enough successes to revive Blank, but gains 4 more points, for 20 total. Finally, he turns to blast Connor again.

Xango botches. He gains 8 points of Paradox for a total of 28. Blank runs for it while Xango adds agg soaking ability for 4 Paradox and 3 Permanent Paradox (soaking with 3 dice). Xango kills Connor (and survives the agg damage particle weapon Connor uses).

The scene ends.

Now, Xango's in for some pain. His Paradox now sits at 35. The player rolls the dice for 22 total successes. Xango rolls 2 dice and takes 2 levels of aggravated damage that even his magic cannot soak. He also gains 2 points of Permanent Paradox. The ST could have mandates a realm or Flaw or spirit. Of his 22 successes, 2 were from Permanent Paradox dice from the Life Effect, so he only discharges 20 points, leaving 15 Paradox. Adding 2 Permanent Paradox, it's 17 (12 standard, 5 Permanent). Xango drops the Life Effect and is left with 14 (12 standard, 2 Permanent) Paradox.

It's rough business and his recklessness has left him with some burdens, He decides to follow Blank out of the building.