IC [HomebrewSupers] Zero Day

Aikireikinu

Tsundere Cat
RPGnet Member
Validated User
All is black.

Block letters in white fade into view.

ZERO DAY

As the letters fade into the night sky and stars dot the blackness, the Z rotates and the cross stroke levels out to form an H.

Monday, April 22, 2019, 10:13PM.

A shaky smartphone video of a person flying through the sky, doing loops.

Commentators on ASPN SportSport talk in amazement about how Terrence Jones of the American Basketball Association's Austin Armadillos went 23 of 23 from the beyond the arc in the 2nd quarter of the ongoing game against the New York Commodores, setting an ABA record.

Newscasters interrupt shows to report in bafflement about multiple incidents of, from lack of a better phrase, paranormal events.

Something has happened.

New York City

The city that never sleeps is wide awake, but still broadly unaware of what has happened.

Ramona Salinas Banderas

Ramona is riding down the street on her bike, dodging taxis. Her smartphone's music player glitches and cuts out. She pulls over to start it up again. As she reaches to unlock her phone, she feels it. The dance of electricity in its circuits. Data moving about. Files sleeping dormant. It unlocks, as if responding to her wish, and the music player starts up again.

Craig Salas

Craig had bedded down on some scraps of cardboard in an alley off a side street, hidden behind a dumpster. A tattered blanket around his shoulders, and empty wine bottle next to him. Suddenly, he wakes up, for what feels like the first time in years. Everything is clear, his mind completely lucid. Nothing hurts anymore. The tally of all the minor injuries he accumulated living on the streets wiped clean in an instant.

Tim Carter

Tim carries his bike over his shoulder the five flights of stairs up to his apartment. As he does, he passes his neighbors Alexei Osinov and Konstantin Silin arguing in Russian, as usual. A sudden wave of disorientation makes him stumble. He realizes he can understand them. And more. He's thinking in Russian.

Alex Daniels

Alex mentally berates himself as he looks in frustration at the steam grate in the sidewalk. The steam grate that he just dropped his keys into. He reaches helplessly for his keys, wondering what he's going to do. A sharp pain spikes between his eye and blinks as the pain passes. And realizes he's holding something. His keys.

Monday, April 22, 2019.

The world has changed.

You have changed.
 

Muskrat

Ancient Wyrm Kittensnake
RPGnet Member
Validated User
"What the hell?" says Ramona, staring at her phone is disbelief. "What just happened?" She shakes her head, not sure what to think of it--but she doesn't really have time to think about it, because she has a package to deliver. Something with a deadline the next morning, that whoever was supposed to get the document she was delivering would be working on all night. So she takes off again on her bike, putting the weird event out of her mind until she had time to worry about it.

As she dodges and weaves through the traffic, she comes to an intersection she can't just coast through because traffic is coming heavily at a crossways with her. She impatiently wishes the traffic light would change--and suddenly she sees the interface of the traffic system before her eyes. She can see the controls that will cause the light to change and allow her to move quickly through. Disbelieving, she reaches out with her mind to activate them--and, to her horror, watches as the light switches rapidly, without an orange light to warn moving traffic the light will switch to red. Cars crash into each other. Sweat breaks out on Ramona's forehead as she surveys the scene. As far as she can tell, there's no serious damage--although a lot of people will be wanting to take their cars to the shop. She breaths a sigh of relief. Whatever this is she can suddenly do, she needs to be careful--she could have caused someone to get seriously hurt. She looks around to see if anyone has identified her as the culprit, but no one seems to have a clue what happened. She takes off through the intersection, a bit shaken, but wanting to move on and deliver the package.

Once she arrives at the architecture firm where she's delivering her package, she jumps off her bike, locks it quickly, and heads in through the front door. Curious, she pries with her mind and sees she can see and make sense of the security system--never mind that she doesn't know much about computers beyond what any schmoe would know. Mindful of what happened at the intersection, she withdraws her mind from the security system and drops off the package, albeit a bit distracted and having trouble focusing on the receptionist in front of her.

On her way home, she considers what she might be able to do with this ability. She stops off at an ATM, puts in her card, but instead of withdrawing money from her meager bank account, she mentally interfaces with the machine in front of her, leaning in so the security camera won't be able to clearly see what she's doing. She finds that she can mentally override the machine's security and have it spit out $100 to her, without taking it from her own or anyone else's bank account. Not really a whole lot of money, but she doesn't want to do anything too suspicious. As she stuffs the money in her wallet, she thinks, Well, this could make life simpler. No more worrying about bills.

As she bikes home, she wonders what else she could do with this ability. Her mind is heady with ideas, from never needing to work again to hacking government systems to command the Border Patrol to release immigrants they're holding captive. She also wonders who, if anyone else, she can tell about this. And how the hell his happened.

At home, she picks up the news and learns that people all over the world have been showing weird abilities. So it's not just me, she thinks. That's comforting--but she still has no notion of where the ability came from or the limits of what she can do with it.
 

Fred

Surely you jest, Mr Fred
RPGnet Member
Validated User
"Bozhe moi!" Tim exclaims in surprise, interrupting Alexei and Konstantin, who look at him confused.

"We did not know you speak Russian, Tim," Konstantin says.

"Uh... Da," Tim replies and makes up a story about an old girlfriend who was really into Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. A story in Russian. As he talks, Tim realizes he's using slang and expressions that both his neighbors are familiar with, stuff you don't usually learn at a language school. He even knows jokes!

Five minutes later, Alexei and Konstantin are laughing, the argument forgotten. Tim excuses himself with a parting joke and goes into his apartment. He has a sense that there's something awfully weird about learning a whole new language instantaneously. Did he have a Russian nanny that he had forgotten about and now the language he had been taught as a toddler was rushing back? Was he obsessed with Russian cartoons?

None of that made sense, so he decides to go where everyone went when they had a question: the world wide net! Tim fires up his old laptop and hit Gaggle, whee he types "instant languages". It takes him four or five clicks to stumble upon a brand new uTube video that as already trending. It shows a flying man. The comment section is already blowing up and Tim finds a couple of links that take him to breaking news story of other strange events, some of which seem to involve paranormal abilities.

Superpowers? Is that it? I'm a mutant or something? he thinks. Was instant Russian his ability then? Maybe he was an universal translator? As superpowers go, it isn''t much to write home about. He barely remembers a character from the X-People comic books he used to read that could do that.

Somebody has to know something more, he thinks and searches again, trying to find anything that could give him answers: forums, support groups, news sites. Nichego.

I need to learn more about this... he considers and then a yawn take shim by surprise. Tim realizes he's dead tired. Hmm... I know! Tomorrow, I'll bike to Chinatown and see if I pick up Chinese.

Tim strips, takes a quick shower and crashes onto his bed. Two seconds later, he's sleeping soundly.

He dreams of Moscow, harsh winters, vodka-fueled parties and a woman named Nikita.
 
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Stattick

Electronic Thing
Validated User
Craig had a candle, and he had a spoon. He melted down some of the heroin he'd stolen from Fast Eddie. The tourniquet tight on his arm, he pushed the needle into his flesh in the last good vein on his right arm, right at the track marks. The vein was stubborn, and he had to fish for it with a dull needle for a bit, but finally he felt the hesitation and sudden lack of resistance that said he'd hit the mark. He pulled the plunger up a bit, watching the blood mix with the drug for a moment, the anticipation and need killing him, before pushing the plunger down.

Ice instantly filled the vein, and the world took on a purple haze. This shit is too strong, he thought. It shouldn't hit this fasssst... He realized the world around him was moving, but in slow motion, and his body fell backwards. OD, was the last thought as the pure fentanyl he'd mistaken for heroin hit his system.


Craig woke up clear headed. The hell? The needle was still in his arm, the tourniquet still tied. He didn't feel high. Didn't feel hung over either. He felt... clear headed. He cracked a smile. Clear headed, with a brick of powder he'd stolen from Fast Eddie when the dealer's back was turned. He didn't feel that deep gnawing of DT's setting in. But he just wanted to get high. So he lit the candle, picked up the spoon, and prepped another shot. He put the needle against his flesh, his unscarred arm, crisscrossed with healthy veins. I'm dreaming, he thought. I'm gonna get high in my dream...

He chuckled as he pushed the needle in, mixed the drug and the blood, and then pushed the plunger down. He felt it wash over him in a wave, but instead of the numbing euphoria, just a slight sense of well being. It was like the first hit of a cigarette after too long without, but that was all. Weird. So fucking weird... Ah, well, dream logic. It doesn't have to make no sense.


It all seemed too crisp, too clear to be a dream. So obviously, something was wrong with the drugs. It was bunk, somehow. Craig didn't have a penny to his name, and it was too late to hit the normal spots looking for cans. So he stood on a corner, panhandling, telling the old sob stories that got people to part with their change or a smoke. Soon enough, he'd collect up enough to buy a forty of Olde English, or whatever other malt liquor had beat it's price. If he got lucky, he'd get enough for a pack of cheap smokes too.


Forty minutes later found Craig in a hotel room. Some middle aged businessman, still in suit, wanted to "party". Craig hadn't had that kind of offer in he couldn't remember how long, years most likely. Craig hurried while he was the shower, but was thorough. He watched untold days of grime wash away. Then he dried off. And he couldn't take his eyes off of the reflection of himself in the mirror. He looked twenty years younger. And he looked like the man he might have been, if he'd been a better person, if he'd been able to control his drug usage, instead of the drugs controlling him. He was lean, but muscular. Ripped, he reminded himself of the new slang. He didn't seem to have a track mark on him. All of the old scars were gone, along with the wrinkles, grey, and receding hairline. He'd already tried to get fucked up again, when he got enough change for a bottle of the cheap shit, but even guzzling it, he'd only gotten a five minute warm glow, before that had faded. Craig hadn't even asked what kind of drugs the suit was carrying. Not much need, he looked like a banker. They usually carried coke or meth. He'd try his hand at that, if it was offered, during the "party" the suit was paying for.


The suit was gone. Craig hadn't even asked what the guy was using, he just took his turn on the suit's needle after the banker shot up. The suit got blasted on the meth, but Craig hardly felt it, and a few minutes later, the glow was gone. The suit left Craig a hundred bucks, in twenties, and the hotel room. So Craig ordered room service on the room's tab, just a sandwich and some soup (you couldn't get the good stuff from a closed kitchen in the wee hours), and after eating, he went down to the front desk for some complimentary amenities, such as a toothbrush, comb, and mouthwash, got some change, and then did his laundry. At the end of his very long and strange night, Craig set a wake-up call, and managed to fall sleep before dawn.


Craig bounced awake with the call, refreshed as if he'd had a full night's sleep, and hadn't a care in the world. He dressed in his best clothes, now clean, though they'd certainly seen better days. Then he slipped down into the breakfast room. Thankfully, no one seemed to give him the stink eye, so he filled a plate from the continental breakfast, and sat down to eat at a corner table. Like the night before, he ate like a starving man. He hadn't had an appetite this insatiable since he'd been an adolescent. On his third plate of high piled food, the droning of the TV finally penetrated, and he slowly realized that people had been staring at it fixedly the whole while he'd been down here, and talking to each other about what they were seeing. They were acting like the president had been assassinated, or planes had been crashed into buildings, or something.

Craig didn't care. Whatever it was, it had nothing to do with him. If it was bad, maybe it might make life harder on the streets, but that was frankly unlikely. Nevertheless, the curiosity got to him, and he found himself staring at the TV. And there was a man flying. Not very convincingly either, Craig had seen better special effects. On the other hand, the screen said this was being reported by CNN. Craig briefly wondered if it was April Fools today. But he caught the words being spoken, with ears that seemed to hear far better than he was accustomed, and was able to read all the fine print scrolling by, despite eyes that could no longer read the small print. And as they were talking about people reporting all kinds of weird powers they'd suddenly gained last night, Craig thought back on the strange night he'd had last night, and couldn't help but wonder if he was one of the people effected. Craig felt a nervous pang, and suddenly needed a drink or a shot or a snort. He couldn't face this kind of shit sober.

Craig wolfed down the rest of the food on his plate, walked over and grabbed a couple of the wrapped breakfast sandwiches at random, along with an apple and an orange. He shoved a sandwich and piece of fruit into each coat pocket, and walked out of the lobby's front door, out onto the busy city sidewalk. He moved quickly to make time, catching his location from the street signs at the first intersection. He needed to get back to that dumpster, and find his stash. He lit a cigarette while he walked, and felt the crisp new bills the suit had given him last night when he shoved the lighter back into his pocket.

What if it was permanent? What if he couldn't get high or drunk anymore? What if he was stuck this way? Would the cravings go away? He wasn't feeling anything from this cigarette, just a bad smell. And his smoker's hack was gone. His track marks were gone. His track marks were gone. He wasn't a junkie anymore. At least not right now. Not in this moment. No drugs had an effect... no DT's... and yet, here he was, running to find his stash. He could do this. He didn't have to be a junkie anymore. He had a second chance, for some reason. But what was he going to do with himself? He'd lost all his real friends and family years ago. He'd been a heavy user for... how long... twenty... twenty-five years? How do you make up for that much time, being a colossal fuck-up? He'd been using longer than he hadn't been.

He stopped. Then he just sort of slumped over onto the wall beside him. And then he just started crying. How was he going to deal with any of this?
 
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The Watcher

Registered User
Validated User
Alex looks at the keys in his hands in puzzlement, wondering how they suddenly got back into his hand. One second it was on the other side of a steam grate, hopelessly out of reach, and the next second he has them back again, with no idea how it happened. He definitely hasn't been drinking. He had politely declined any offers of free beer or wine from the potential client he had met with earlier that night due to the fact that he was driving. In any event the business meeting/dinner was a bust. From the way he had been indulging, Alex suspected the businessman had set the whole thing up as an excuse to write off a trip to party in the city on his taxes, and maybe to serve as an alibi to any wife in the picture.

No alcohol and the momentary sharp headache he had just now before his lost time suggests what? A stroke? No, he feels fully cognizant now, and besides, he was way too young and healthy. Fatigue? Maybe. In any event he seems to have gotten over it. Alex decides to make an appointment with a doctor first thing in the morning as he continues onto his car. The drive home is uneventful at first but then a crash happens at the intersection in front of him, causing a chain reaction of collisions ahead that has Alex frantically slamming his brakes. He realizes that it's not going to be enough. The car ahead is too close to his. If only there was another foot or so between them.

Remarkably though Alex discovers that after his car came to a halt that he did manage to stop in time. Getting out to survey what happened and steady is nerves, he realizes that his vehicle is a bit farther from the one ahead than it was just a few seconds ago. As an artist he has a good eye for things like distance and perspective. He knew he isn't mistaken or imagining things. The length between his car and the other somehow increased as they were skidding to a halt. In fact, it seems like the space between his car and all the others around him is more than what it was. Not blatantly so but noticeable enough for someone with his memory and eye for detail. Something undeniably weird had happened.

As he waits for the intersection to be cleared so he and everyone else can continue on their way Alex gets on his phone and gaggles things like "weirdness" and "paranormal" to see if any other incidents like this had occurred and been noticed. He doesn't find anything similar to what happened to him but he does get a few hits about strange and inexplicable events that were reported that night. Some have no obvious cause, but at least a few, like the man spotted flying, seem to involve people apparently getting powers.

Could that have been what happened to him? Was whatever happened with his keys and now his miraculous avoidance of any collision during the traffic pileup due to some ability he had gained? And if so, what exactly could he do? Alex decides the first thing he's going to do when he gets home is do some experiments to figure out if he had powers and if so what they were. Till traffic started moving again though all he could do is research. After reading a few more news articles he decides to log onto RP.com and see if anyone was posting about this stuff on Digressions.
 
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Aikireikinu

Tsundere Cat
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019. Zero Day +1. Morning

Wake Up America Morning Show on BCA

Barbara Byrd, the hostess, a middle-aged black woman, is discussing the overnight new with her co-host, Geoffrey Grigoreas, a middle-aged white man.

"George, it's really hard to believe what we're seeing! It seems like something truly amazing has happened overnight."

"It really is inexplicable, Barbara, but we can't deny what we're seeing. There are verified reports of hundreds of people across the country exhibiting, from lack of a better word, superpowers, or of having been changed in some way."

"That's right, and looking at Tweeter and other social media, there may be thousands more out there, and that's not counting the ones keeping quiet about it."

"It's like waking up and finding yourself living in the latest Wonder superhero mov--- Oh! Linda Kitchner has something to report."

A white woman at a street corner in Brooklyn is standing next to a massively built bald man with grey skin, who must be almost 8 feet tall, wearing nothing but a bed sheet wrapped his waist. He looks bewildered.

"Geoff, Barbara, I'm here with Mr. Clancy Thomas, who woke up this morning to find himself, well, like this. Mr. Thomas can you tell us something about yourself, and what you've experienced?"

"Um, well, I, uh, look, I don't know what's going on. I went to bed early, and around 10, I woke up when my bed collapsed under me. I... I don't know, I mean, I don't have any clothes that fit, I can't even order clothes that fit off of AmZoom. I... I'm the children's librarian at the branch library here. How the heck am I supposed to do story time looking like this!? Am I even going to be able to keep my job!?"

Linda looks at Clancy sympathetically. "It sounds like you're going to have a lot of adjustments to make. Mr. Thomas. Is there anything else you'd like to tell our audience?"

Clancy takes a deep breath. "Look, uh, this is for all the people out there like me. Please, please, for God's sake, be cool. Don't do anything stupid. Don't screw this up for those of us that can't hide who we are what we've become. Please. I just want to be able to live my life. I know Vice President Pinch looks like that Wonder Comics anti-Evolutionary guy, but let's not make that a reality."

"Thank you, Mr. Thomas. Back to you Barbara, Geoff."

Times of New York

APPARENT SUPERHUMANS MAKE THEIR PRESENCE KNOWN

New York Daily Report

WHAT. THE. F*CK!!??

New York Mail

ARE WE BEING INVADED BY ALIENS?

Ramona

It's morning. She has powers. She's got a job. She has powers. Now what.

Craig

As Craig slumps against the wall, a police officer, middle-aged, white, male, walks up to him. "Hey, are you OK?" The officer seems to be crying as well.

Tim

Tim rides his bike through Chinatown. Mandarin. Cantonese. He can read every sign. Understand every conversation. It's almost overwhelming. As he stops to take stock, he notices that he's unconsciously noticing where people's wallets are. His fingers itch. He knows just the approach it would take. Bump, lift the wallet, move on.

Alex

The mods on RP.com have a hard night, merging threads about reports of the new superhumans, eventually consolidating them into [SUPERS] News Discussion and [SUPERS] Speculation threads.

One of the mods, Sorceror, posts a general announcement thread with red text.

IF YOU HAVE POWERS, DO NOT POST ABOUT THEM ON RP.COM. WE CAN NOT GUARANTEE YOUR PRIVACY, AND OUR PARENT COMPANY DOES NOT WANT TO DEAL WITH SUBPOENAS. WE ADVISE NOT TELLING ANYONE ONLINE UNTIL THE SITUATION SETTLES AND WE KNOW HOW THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO REACT.

Before he knows it, it's morning. Now what?
 

Fred

Surely you jest, Mr Fred
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Tim rides his bike through Chinatown. Mandarin. Cantonese. He can read every sign. Understand every conversation. It's almost overwhelming. As he stops to take stock, he notices that he's unconsciously noticing where people's wallets are. His fingers itch. He knows just the approach it would take. Bump, lift the wallet, move on.
Crap, Tim thinks, a bit scared. The avalanche of information is overwhelming. He concentrates on other flows to quench the pickpocket stream.

Suddenly, he knows all about cutting and setting jade.

Then, he's fairly sure he could be hired as a cook at Joe's Shanghai.

Then, he can describe the applicability and advantages of all sorts of art materials.

Then, he's the king of bootleg.

The flood is interrupted by the insistent chirping of Tim's cellphone. It's a text from the courier company:

new delivery. 15 min

Tim thanks the gods for the distraction and pedals down Canal street. Ten minutes later, he's in the big garage that functions as the bike messengers's hub.
 

Muskrat

Ancient Wyrm Kittensnake
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Ramona reaches out to switch off her alarm clock--and finds herself doing it with her mind before her hand touches the clock. She goes about her morning routine and is out the door, heading to work, when she finds herself wondering, Do I even need to do this? I mean, I could probably just manipulate my back account to inflate the amount of money it in. She shakes her head. She's nor sure what she can get away with yet. And, if other people are gaining powers too, the bank might be on the lookout for tricks such as the one she's thinking of playing. She doesn't want to do anything stupid.

Frustrated with indecision, she leans in and bikes to work even harder, arriving early. She idly wonders if she could use her abilities to prank her manager.
 

The Watcher

Registered User
Validated User
After they had cleared the intersection and Alex was able to drive home he of course got on his computer as soon as he can. Besides seeing what various posters are saying about the situation on Digressions he checks Tweeter and HandBook to see if anyone he knows is talking about getting powers. If anyone is, he messages them to suggest that it might be wise to delete their posts rather than potentially out themselves to the general public. After all, no one knew what sort of attitude governments and the public will develop toward powered people yet. Better to keep quiet and only share the news with people you trusted till then. It's around two in the morning before Alex realized how long he had spent on the computer reading and posting. Deciding to call it a night, he heads to bed promising himself he'll get around to figuring out if he actually has powers and, if so, what they after he got some sleep.

One of the great perks of working freelance is that long as you met your deadlines and otherwise kept your clients happy you got a lot of freedom schedule-wise. After showering, dressing and getting some breakfast Alex had all morning to experiment. He first tries to recreate the first incident with the keys. Dropping them on the floor, he then focuses the entirety of his attention on them, trying to lift his keys by willpower alone. They stubbornly remain on the floor. After a couple of minutes of futile effort Alex chooses to try a different test. Reasoning that he had somehow repelled the cars that would have otherwise collided with his last night, he tries to shove a chair away from him just by thinking. Again nothing.

Frustrated, Alex moves to pick up his keys. Obviously he isn't telekinetic. He wonders if he had just imagined things after all. Or that maybe someone who actually had gotten powers had done those things for him and just let him think he was responsible. So distracted by his disappointment that despite all that was happening in the world he was still ordinary after all Alex almost misses the fact that his fingers has grabbed his keys before he had bent down enough to reach them. When he suddenly realizes it he drops the keys again in shock.

Stretching? But that wouldn't explain how the cars got pushed away. But if I didn't stretch just now then how did I reach my keys?

Looking back down, he tries to pick up his keys again while deliberately not bending to reach them. This time though he pays close attention to what he's doing. That's when he feels something change in the space between his hand and the floor, followed immediately by the keys being close enough to grasp. He hadn't stretched his arm to grab them. He had compressed the distance separating them to do so! He could manipulate Space itself!

Now that Alex has learned what ability he actually had he could now test how he's capable of applying it. He finds that compressing and expanding space are quite easy for him, as is bending it to alter the course of things moving through it. Compressing or expanding space an object is occupying would alter the size of the object but it retains all its other properties such as weight and durability. The same goes for living things. When he shrank himself he found he was strong enough to pick up the same things he could normal-sized and made as deep as impression on a cushion as he did, albeit a narrower one.

Once he mastered the simple stuff Alex moves on to more advanced techniques. He discovers that wrapping space around an area to create a pocket isolated from everything could be done quickly but it has a tendency of unravelling after approximately fifteen seconds after he stops exerting his power. Taking a minute or so to carefully bend things so the resulting spatial structure supports and reinforces itself let such pockets last apparently indefinitely. He has a similar experience while trying to create realms which extend into a fourth spatial dimension and gates which connect two locations directly. If he wants elaborate effects to last without having to hold spatial fabric in place constantly he needs to take his time creating them.
 
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Stattick

Electronic Thing
Validated User
Craig instinctively reaches out toward the friendly voice. "I... I dunno man... I-I, oh, everything's so fucked up, I don't even..."

And then Craig saw the uniform. Cop! Instantly, panic set in. The cop already had a hand on Craig's shoulder, and Craig was gripping the man's arm. Craig didn't even think about it, but instincts honed from years on the street kicked in. He lunged, to try to throw the cop off of himself, and if successful, spun to run away, despite the whole world being blurry through teared up eyes.

Spoiler: Show
I'm not sure if I need to roll here. It seems reasonable that a cop should know at least the basics of grappling, and probably be better than that if they've been on the force for a while. So not sure whether that would be me just succeeding, rolling 4d6 or rolling 3d6. So I'll roll both:

shove & run: 4d6 17
shove & run: 3d6 17

Strangely enough, that's a 17, either way you cut it.
 
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