Sunday, May 13, 2018

Musgrave Adventure: The Missing Musgrave

One fine day - August the 4th, 1937, to be precise - Lady Evangeline Musgrave received a letter from her husband, Lord Geoffrey Musgrave.

Lady Evangeline Musgrave is a “reformed” tomboy who secretly yearns for the life of adventure she used to have with her husband, before their families put their foot down and forced her to stop adventuring and stay home to care for her daughter, Veronica. She still has some of her old skills, especially that of linguistics.

Her daughter, Veronica, never knew her mother to adventure, and grew up as a True Believer in aristocracy, the Upper Class, and Being British In General. She takes her role as the daughter of a lord seriously, though she looks down on "common people," much to her parents' disapproval. She is studying to become a nurse. While she inherited her mother’s good looks (and improved on them, to most accounts), she doesn’t believe a word of the stories her parents tell of mystical, magical artifacts.

The two were summoned by Geoffrey to visit the latest dig he was heading; he, his best friend (and idle rich) Desmond St Price, an investor named Hardy Fenton, and the German construction expert, Gerhard Stein, had uncovered what Geoffrey believed was a lost treasure, of the goddess Wurt! Hardy's two daughters were arriving by way of an airship, the Graf Zeppelin, to arrive in Frankfurt on the 10th of August, and he hoped his daughter and wife could meet them.

Josephine Fenton - Jo to all but the “stuffy grownups” - is Hardy Fenton's youngest daughter. She has the soul of an outdoorsman, and tends to trust her luck over skill. Her curiosity and stubborn nature frequently cause trouble for the siblings, but Jo sticks by her sister no matter what.

Francis Fenton, the elder sister of Josephine, is the more level-headed of the two Fenton siblings. Charismatic and smart, Francis has a very inquisitive nature. Though he has a habit of retelling war stories he’s heard… which may be a problem in Germany. Even so, he is always willing to help those in need.

Desmond St Price's daughter, and friend of Veronica, is Penelope St Price. Where Veronica is ladylike and polite, Penelope is strong, agile, and skilled with sword and gun alike. Her combination of a big mouth and insatiable curiosity frequently get the two girls in trouble.

...Though not as much trouble as Cuthbert Trillicker. Known as “Bertie” to his friends, and “that troublemaker” to nearly everyone else, young Bertie is the charge of his cousin Penelope and Uncle "Dizzy". Even though he is but the tender age of 8, he is still a formidable fighter.

And last but not least, Piper Ubend, son of Gregory Ubend, has worked for the Musgraves his entire life. Fast on his feet, and faster with a wrench, Piper can repair almost anything that moves, and quite a few things that don’t. Not only that, but Piper can drive and pilot with some of the best, though his overconfidence and big mouth can sometimes lead him astray.

The women, plus Bertie and Piper, traveled from London by plane, landing in Frankfurt. The next day, the Fenton sisters arrived, introducing themselves to the Musgraves and St Prices. Bertie, of course, plied them with many questions about their amazing trip on a floating airship.

Together, they traveled by train to the south, but when they arrived in Kößlarn [Kosslarn], Lady Musgrave found a telegram waiting for her. It warned that her husband had gone missing! Furthermore, it suggested that she return home, and let the authorities deal with it. Of course. Lady Musgrave would have none of that. She immediately checked into her hotel, where poor Penelope and Francis were put to bed - neither agreed with travel by air or train. The next morning, Lady Musgrave, Veronica, Jo, and Bertie headed to the police station (Piper remained at the hotel, to keep an ear out for any information).

Inside, Lady Musgrave insisted on meeting a Walter Böhm, the signer of the telegram. In a moment, a laconic figured strolled out, leaning on the counter. In broken English, he explained to Lady Musgrave that he was in charge of the investigation into the disappearances. He had been alerted to the vanishing of the men when a worker, employed by Herr Stein, had come to the camp and found it empty. Again, he suggested the womenfolk leave the investigation work to the authorities.

Meanwhile, Bertie discovered some pre-chewed bubble-gum and a 5-Reichsmark banknote under a bench. Jo's investigation was a little more fruitful - she found a poster that seemed important. Showing it to Lady Musgrave, they learned that it was a warning from Hitler himself; any treasures, artifacts, or historical findings were property of the Third Reich.

Back at the hotel, Bertie taunted the poor elevator operator to tears, and managed to get to push the buttons. After a quick meeting, they decided to first go shopping (for supplies, food, and a new machete for Jo, among other things), then found a taxi and went to the base camp, with Bertie spitting out the window, naturally.

At the dig, Bertie found the supply tent, and lifted two shovels; the ladies found a calendar, with the dates crossed off until the 9th, and a strange set of runes written on it, then circled: ᚹᚢᚱᛞ. A note to Lady Evangeline clinched it - Geoffrey thought he was double-crossed by a certain captain, and was setting out with his friends and workers to finish the dig at night. Jo found tracks leading from the camp - one group of leather work shoes, and a second group of jack-booted soldiers. They followed the footprints until they found the old ruins, pictured in the original letter; the soldier's footprints split off, as if searching, while the other footprints lead to a hidden cave.

Trying to hide their own footprints, Lady Veronica carefully scratched each out with a stick... until Jo sent her into the cave, and brushed the trail with a branch, doing a much better job. Veronica shuddered at the damp cave, but followed. Inside, they discovered a natural exit at the back of the cave, and continued deeper in - though the passage turned to worked stone, with a well-made archway overhead before long. On one side of the passage, a set of runes were all but illegible, worn down by age.

They followed the passage, taking the turns indicated by the runes in the letter. Behind them, the German soldiers found the cave, and began filing inside. As the reached the end, they could hear the soldiers being ordered into the various side passages, followed by sharp screams... it seems the wrong passages were very wrong indeed.

At the end of the passage was a room, filled with natural light from above; a single plinth stood at the end of the room, with a rather plain rock perched on it. While the others looked around, Jo found a footprint, and scrape marks; it seems there may be a hidden door somewhere! Searching for a key, she looked closely at the rock on the plinth. Acting on a hunch, she tried to turn it to the right... nothing. Switching hands, she cranked it to the left, and it suddenly shifted with a clunk! A grinding sound echoed through the room, then suddenly the entire floor tilted! As Bertie and Lady Musgrave slid down, Jo quickly tossed a hook around the plinth. Veronica tried to grab her hand, but slipped past. The two women and Bertie slipped down a clay-covered slide; at the bottom, they called up that it was safe. Giving the plinth a twist, Jo leaped into the hole as the floor slammed shut.

Bertie, ignoring the clay and mud on his clothing, began digging happily in the mud, and uncovered a pocket watch - Geoffrey's pocket watch, in fact! Moving on, they found four bowls - ceremonial alters, in fact. Lady Musgrave recognized the names: Wuotan, Donar, Nerthus, and Wurt.

Nerthus is also known as Mother Earth; Bertie heaped a shovelful of mud into the bowl, and it spun downward; the offering was a success! Wuotan, otherwise known as Odin, was offered a limerick (complete with dirty words), again by Bertie, and again it was accepted. Third was Donar, aka Thor; Bertie, hearing that he was the god of oak (among other things), tossed a burning torch onto the bowl. It seemed to be accepted, and the bowl once again sunk down and was covered. Finally, for Wurt, or Wyrd, the goddess of Fate, Bertie offered a single flip of a coin - change, from when he purchased some brass knuckles. As the coin spun in the bowl, it too slowly sank down. And then, the whole bank of bowls sank down into the ground!

Behind the bowls, a diffuse glow hid what was behind... as the four stepped through... they found themselves in a walled garden, outside! Behind them, there was nothing but a blank wall. Bertie immediately stepped forward, squirming out from Veronica's grasp, and darted aroudn the tree in the center of the garden. A woman with long, dark hair and a simple robe greeted him. "Hey! Who are you?" Bertie demanded.

The woman merely smiled. Bertie, seeing the cards in her hands, asked what they were for. "Oh... I can do a few tricks, I suppose."

Bertie, of course, was eager to see. The first trick - the woman tossed a card into the air, and it turned into a butterfly! Bertie... was unimpressed. He asked for a different trick. With a laugh, the woman asked for Bertie to pick a card. He pulled one - the Ace of Spades, she guessed, correctly. Scoffing, he pulled another. "Ace of Spades." Correct, again; confused, Bertie checked the card already in his hand. Huh. Tossing the other aces over his shoulder, he pulled a third card. Also an ace of spades! Finally impressed, Bertie asked about other games. "Oh... you will see, my child."

Meanwhile, the ladies looked a little further. On the other side of the garden, a cage held... the menfolk! Geoffrey, Desmond, Hardy, and Stein! However, the bars on their cages were too strong to bend, and there didn't seem to be any locks to pick. They turned to the woman, as three men came through the wall...

One was a man in a black leather outfit, complete with flowing cape and snazzy cap, and SS label on his sleeves. Beside him was the man on the poster - Captain Böhm! The third man was a very confused looking soldier. The woman clapped her hands, and between them, a chessboard grew - well, technically a Draughts board. On one side, the three Nazis. On the other, the four adventurers. Lady Musgrave stepped forward, tossing a knife at the SS officer - a hit! Jo followed up with an ax, another hit! The SS officer was looking pretty bad from the start. Bertie, too, tried firing a stone from his slingshot, but fired wide.

The SS agent fired and missed; the captain stepped forward, firing and missing; the soldier charged forward as well, firing at Evangeline, but the bullet glanced off her corset. He charged, his bayonet forward, but Evangeline dodged to the side, and coolly pulled her derringer. One shot later, and the soldier fell to the ground, a smoking hole in his chest. Jo slashed at the captain with her machete, but missed.

Jo, meanwhile, was joined by Bertie, charging the captain; he fired at Jo, but the bullet only grazed her arm. Bertie struck out with his knife, leaving a gash in his leg; Jo stepped back, took aim with her throwing ax, and sank the blade right between his eyes.

The SS officer fired wildly, missing Evangeline. Striding forward, she held out her derringer and fired. With a gasp, the SS officer fell to his knees...

The sound of applause sounded behind them; as they turned, the Draughts board vanished, as did the bodies of the Nazis. Behind her, the iron cages bent and twisted, becoming no more than simple bushes. Lady Fate (for, obviously, that was who she was) thanked the four for their help, and accepted the abashed apologies from the men. "The artifacts I protect are not meant for mortal men. But, what I have, I will share. For one, if ever you need assistance... call on me."

With a gesture, a door opened in the wall. Bertie, remembering the coin he offered, asked if, perhaps, he could have it back? With a wink, Lady Fate tossed him a coin. Not the single reichsmark coin he had tossed in, but a much larger coin... made of gold!

Heading out the door, the eight stepped into early morning light. Behind them, the four workers Stein brought stepped out, confused - they had stepped into the light behind the altar, and stepped out having lost four days!

Spotting a lone German officer guarding a car, Bertie dashed over, and immediately began making fun of him. Shaken by the sight of a British child waving a bloody knife and shouting, the guard nearly swallowed his cigarette. When eleven more figures stepped out, holding throwing axes, knives, guns, and other weapons... he quickly agreed to give them a ride to town.

On the flight back to London (with the Fentons, who cordially accepted the offer to stay for a while), the families caught up; Geoffrey, finding himself in the garden, first attempted to gather the items Lady Fate was guarding, and in trade found himself captured. However, it was the captain and the SS officer who posed the greatest threat. While Geoffrey merely wanted to collect the items for a museum, the Nazis, it seems, were under the impression the items were, in fact, weapons.

What further adventures await our adventuresome companions? Only time will tell!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors

The group consists of:
  • Guts, a warrior from another time and place, clothed in what seems to be living armor
  • Black Jaguar, a man in a catsuit who has with feline abilities. Hypothetically not a furry.
  • Kiree Myrr, a mind-reading blogger, with a penchant for monoblogging during combat.
  • Gray Blacklock, a lich with arcane powers.
  • The Crimson Dredd, bearer of a mystical bow and possibly other weapons.
  • And last but not least, Aaron Avery Ayers, a normal kind of guy.

The crew, only but barely recovered from their previous adventure, headed home. The next morning, they once again set out, this time for LA, the third of the three suggested destinations. Unfortunately... their teleporter seemed to have malfunctioned. Instead of dropping them within a few blocks of the Foundation's LA HQ, they instead wound up almost three miles away. Worse, the area around them was surrounded by dense forest! As they walked, the trees seemed to sprout from the ground, growing at a phenomenal rate.

Even more odd, the group seemed to have changed costumes; they were now clad in pith helmets and beige, multi-pocketed jackets, draped in the occasional bandolier. Only the mundane clothing seems to have been affected; Guts' armor, for instance, was unchanged. In fact, Guts was rather more at ease in this new terrain. Blacklock attempted to nullify any powers that might be affecting the area, and succeeded, though only for a brief time. The jungle crept back... Blacklock muttered about "illusions," and the team pressed on.

As they turned a corner, they saw a strange sight - four pirates, sitting atop an elephant! The pirates didn't seem to notice them, and the party remained out of sight. Dredd fired an arrow, attempting to nullify any illusion, and indeed succeeded; the elephant, for a brief moment, returned to its normal form: a streetcar, meandering along its tracks. Then, the streetcar was gone, again an elephant. One of the pirates kicked it, and away it went.

Not long after that, about halfway to their destination, they came across a strange scene - a group of natives carrying spears were facing down another small group of pirates! The two yelled back and forth, then suddenly, a young man strode into view. He was dressed impeccably in safari gear, and called out in a jovial, Edwardian British accent, asking the pirates to stand down, lest they be hurt. The pirates responded by firing at him; every shot either missed or was deflected by his clothing. Blacklock fired a blast of energy, and managed to wipe out the group of pirates in a single blow. The young man turned, and the group sized him up, as he sized them up.

Deciding on peace - for now - the group asked him about the forest. "I say, it's rather grand, don't you think? These mighty trees are called redwoods; quite the sight, eh?"

He gestured to a large tree that seemed suspiciously like an office building, only with bark and leaves. "I've been exploring these forests for, well, a bloody long time, let me tell you! Hmm? The pirates? Jolly nuisance! I've run into more than my fair share, but the rum buggers never stick around for long, wot wot! One whiff of a brave chappie in Her Majesty's Service, and they head for the hills!"

The party quizzed him about a few things, but eventually asked him about the Foundation headquarters. He explained that he had, in fact, been held there; or rather, brought in for questioning. It was a strange, dark place... but, once the slavers had attacked, they blasted the building to rubble, and he had made his escape - after taking out the slavers, of course. They may have freed him, but slavery was slavery, wot wot.

The tribesmen followed as the man - Thomas McDermott, he said - until they reached the HQ. It was, indeed, destroyed; still-smoking rubble littered the area. "The fort was totally destroyed, as you can see."

He lead the way into a half-buried tunnel, down a flight of stairs, and into a damp jail. The cells were open, iron-bar cells, with pallets to sleep on. Nullifying one of the cells showed it to be a modern glass holding cell, its walls solid; but as soon as the jungle reappeared, it was easy to put your hand through the bars. No simple illusion, then!

Thomas stared into one of the cells morosely... as one of the natives crept up behind him, and pushed him in! The forest began to fade; the native slammed the cell shut, and a moment later, the damp jail had been replaced with a hallway and three glass-walled cells! And the natives were suddenly revealed to be wearing Nazi swastikas!

The battle was short; the three "natives" were quickly taken down. The team quickly called for assistance - the Foundation. The man on the other end of the line was somewhat incredulous that they had managed to trap Mirage - Thomas's code name. It seems that Thomas has abilities far above what others had seen; at power level 8, his abilities were beyond comprehension. At a minimum, he could manipulate matter and energy to create forests and jungles around him, and add illusions on top of all that. What's more, he can manipulate the minds of those around him; most people never thought twice about his effect on the world. As they came into his presence, they merely believed that they had always been pirates, or natives, or slavers - slavers being what he called the Nazis.

As powerful and disruptive as he was, Mirage certainly had his uses; the Nazis the team brought down were part of an elite strike team, sent to destroy him... because every other Nazi force sent it had been destroyed! Giant mech or otherwise, Mirage had dealt with them all, swiftly and easily.

The man from Foundation suggested they send him north, to Canada; they were fighting a large incursion there, and his assistance would be appreciated - and perhaps, less obvious. He talked Blacklock through opening a very secure vault, and removing some handcuffs inside - nullifier handcuffs. Placing them on Thomas, the group lead him out of his cell, letting out a sigh of relief when he didn't reactivate his jungle...

Kiree handed him her phone. Even through the nullifying handcuffs, he still managed to change the electronic device into a paper map. Blacklock gave him a copy, then transported him outside the city limits.

As the others filed out of the destroyed Foundation building, into the bright sun - no longer obscured by a half-fantasy jungle - they saw a group of people waiting for them. Tough looking grunts, and a flying man hovering above them! With a scream of rage, the man sent his thugs forward - it was Ultraman! Super tough, super angry, and super scary!

Unfortunately, Ultraman was not prepared for the Crimson Dredd, who blasted him with three arrows in quick succession, not was he prepared for the leap-and-destroy from Guts. Ultraman fell to the ground, bleeding. After a quick talk with Foundation (who was ambivalent about doing anything with Ultraman - he seemed to get out of trouble a little too easily), they decided on dismembering him and tossing his composite parts into the nullifying cell. Brutal!

Meanwhile, Guts was the first to get a green chip; he drew the 3 of Clubs, which means his work has gotten the attention of a low-level group of supers, who want to help the cause!

The party returned home, with another victory under their belt, and 3 XP.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Supers: Broken Glass

The group is made up of:
  • Guts, a warrior from another time and place, clothed in what seems to be living armor
  • Black Jaguar, a man in a catsuit who has with feline abilities. I have it on good authority that he is not, actually, a furry, but time will tell.
  • Kiree Myrr, a mind-reading blogger
  • Gray Blacklock, a lich with arcane powers
  • The Crimson Dredd, bearer of a mystical bow
  • And last but not least, Aaron Avery Ayers, a normal kind of guy.
The group returned to their base; as Susan, aka Hacksaw, brought the team up to speed and introduced them to another member of the Foundation. She asked a few interesting, if terse, questions, such as "6? 8?" or the health of his dog and his grandmother. To the numbers, he responded, "No contact." The health of his pets and relatives seemed ambivalent. Though he seemed otherwise quite guarded, he mentioned three areas that may need assistance: LA, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

Meanwhile, Kiree took the girl to make supper. As a prank, they made a lovely salad, with a backup of spaghetti and meatballs, which they revealed with no small amount of glee. Oddly, the girl was the one that cooked the meatballs, and managed to cook them in under three minutes, even though she "burned them a couple times first."

After supper, the group decided to take a look around DC. They set up the teleporter, and leaving the girl in the company of another member of the team.

In DC, they found... everything was normal. No one seemed to be acting strangely, apart from the fact that everyone was acting strangely. It was a war with Nazi-aliens, but no one seemed to be upset about it. Indeed, it didn't look like there were any signs of damage! Kiree Myrr, probing a nearby mind, found that everyone had had their mind altered...

The Emblem of the Foundation
Susan lead the way to an elaborate entry point. After Susan entered a combination on a park bathroom's sink handle, the floor dropped out, sliding the group to a locked room, where Susan entered yet another password. The revealed a normal-looking subway train, which they took to another platform. This platform, meanwhile, was filled with over thirty well-armed men. After a bit of a standoff, the group was allowed to enter the base, where they finally met with a serious looking man, wearing a patch (pictured right).

The numbers Susan had asked about were, in fact, Foundation organizations. Level 6 is a black-book organization, filled with spies and data analysis; level 8 is... well, let's just say no one has ever heard of them, and for a very good reason.

The team was given the location of another base, which they immediately set off to find. It was in a warehouse district; inside, Kiree tried speaking a few different languages, indicating her need of a bathroom, but the secretary at the desk firmly indicated there were no public facilities. Undeterred, Kiree traded places with the rest of the group. As they entered the building, she pulled out her laptop and started a quick blog.

As soon as the party had entered the building, this time equipped with swords, a bow, and a smattering of arcane power, the doors slammed shut. Before anyone could react, the secretary blasted them with a vehicle-size flamethrower! Severely singed, the party - and Guts in particular - wasted no time in cutting down the secretary, two guards, and what seemed to be a normal person who whipped out a shotgun at the first sign of trouble. Hoping the guards were merely mind-controlled, Blacklock healed one of them... but the moment he turned his back, the man pulled out a revolver and scattered his brains across the wall.

The other guard was quickly knocked out.

Susan, stuck outside, was about to try breaking the door when Dredd opened it for her. Well, the glass, anyway. Stepping inside, Susan took a cursory glance around the room, then with a shake of her arm, popped a buzzsaw out of her wrist and chopped through the locked door at the back of the room. "Care to join me?"

Inside, the group ran into a rather large defense turret; Blacklock teleported next to it, and blasted it in one quick action. Hearing some noises in a nearby closet, Guts opened the door, only to find a man in a furry costume hanging from some coat-hangers. It seems that he had been brought in for questioning, and when the building was attacked, he was tossed into the closet "for his own safety."

Meanwhile, Kiree found something quite disturbing... while the yet-living guard was merely mind-controlled, the other man in the lobby seemed to have no natural memories before three days ago; a clone? A body blank? Whatever he was, he was definitely not natural. The woman, meanwhile, had a few more memories, though nothing useful that Kiree could find. After clearing the last day from the mind of the guard, she pushed him out the door, telling him to go home. The other two... she casually killed. Kiree, it seems, is hardcore.

In the next room, three thugs and a robot waited for the group. The normal chucked a grenade inside... only to have it flung back at him! Luckily, there was enough cover that it didn't go far, and no one was seriously injured. Susan leaped past into a doorway, and with a flick of her wrist, fired a plasma blast into a second thug. Armor... would have been useful. The blast burned a hole completely through the thug, and he dropped without a sound. A quick exploding arrow later, and the thugs (and the robot) were disabled. The group entered the elevator, which took them down... then over... then back up again, this time all the way to the roof.

Guts, seeing the helicopter there was about to take off, leaped out, and with a slash of his blade, chopped the end of the chopper cleanly off! Suddenly both lighter, and unable to steer, the chopper slid sideways until it hit the lip of the building, where it tilted over, and plunged through the side of the warehouse across the street! Just in case, Guts leaped after it. Inside, he found the smouldering remains of the chopper, with the pilot and two men in suits inside. What he didn't find, however, was any glass. The windows were plucked clean. As he straightened, he heard a voice above him: "You've picked the wrong side! You've already lost, you just don't know it yet!"

A figure flashed through a broken skylight and was gone. Or... rather... would have been gone, except that the Crimson Dredd was keeping a lookout. An arrow slammed into the man, followed by two more; severely wounded, the figure screamed, and returned fire before jumping to the alley behind the warehouse. Guts jumped to the roof, the followed. The man ran for the end of the alley, windows exploding behind him. Broken bottles, shattered windows, even decorative glass bricks exploded into a wall of glass. With a yell, the man tossed an enormous shard of glass towards Guts, slamming into him, even as more glass surrounded the figure. Guts shook it off, and swung his blade at the man, but flying glass deflected most of his attack. Dredd leaped down from the Foundation building's roof.

The man waved a dismissive hand at Guts, trying to hide his obvious injuries. A wall of glass snapped together over Guts' head, blocking his way; he had to run back and leap onto a neighboring building, and by that time, whoever that was had escaped. Dredd joined him, but could only surmise he had found a vehicle - or commandeered one.

Battered, and with a new enemy to look out for, the party regrouped...

The mysterious figure could have been none other than Baneul, a master of glass; but why was he there? Was he working for the Nazi aliens? Or was he part of another faction? Was he in cahoots with whoever was controlling all those people? Or did he have his own agenda? All these questions and more, next time on Supers!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Supers: Meanwhile, in Another Part of Town

A new superhero organization has formed. It is made up of... well, unfortunately, I completely forgot to write down who everyone is, and for that I appologize. Anyway.

Their base is carefully hidden in the Bahamas; a large, state of the art facility, well hidden, with access locally and by teleport. The teleporter can lock onto their security badge and teleport them to and from the base from anywhere in the world. Additionally, anyone without a badge will activate the security system: turret laser guns, or heavy flamethrowers. Their generator keeps everything running off the grid. Inside is a spacious command center, a workshop, a kitchen/dining room, a medical center, and personal quarters for 8. In case of capturing a super-powered individual, they have a single nullifier cell.

Shortly after the attack on Chicago, the group set out to assist the nearest Foundation base. They found the structure under attack, with human-sized mechs finishing off three survivors outside the building. Joining the fight, they saved the lives of Jeremiah Wong, a magic user, and Joe Franklin, aka Fire and Ice; Joe can split into two beings, one fire-based, and the other cold-based. After rescuing the two (or three, when Joe is split), they joined forces to defend the base, moving to the opposite side.

There, they found a large mech, surrounded by 6 different mechs, each with a special ability; the Exploding Man was quickly taken out, but the rest of the group managed to survive. The large mech took the Exploding Man hostage inside. The special mechs were destroyed, and the large mech was nearly defeated, when something came rocketing out of the damaged building, nearly knocking over the group's own spellcaster. The speeding form and the damaged mech were both teleported away...

Inside the damaged building, they found a locked room; the rescued mage contacted someone inside, and a young woman opened the door. Inside, the windowless rooms seemed to be decorated as a mundane apartment, complete with children's toys on the floor.

As the team discovered, the woman, Susan LaGrange, was taking care of a young girl, about ten years old. While Susan declined to explain why the girl was under protection, she did show off some of her own skills - Susan has Cybernetic enhancements, which she uses to great effect to protect her young charge. She cautioned the group against prying too hard into the little girl's abilities. Whatever the reason, the enemy forces seem set on finding the young girl.

Thus, the team offered to protect her; with the Foundation under attack, the hidden base may be the safest place for the girl to be.

Who are these Nazi attackers? Where did they come from? What do they want with a little girl - and what power does the girl possess? What are the names of our heroes, and why does the GM never think to write them down? All these questions and more will be answered this week, on Supers!

XP this week: 1 point for successfully defeating the mechs, and 1 point for agreeing to protect the girl.

Supers: A Few Important Details

I've finally remembered to put chips in my bag, and because this is a Supers campaign, I've decided to add a new color and effect. These effects are a little different from Shifting Horizon, and also a little different from Deadlands, so pay attention! The colors are as follows:
  •  White Chip : discard to reroll both dice, to soak wounds, or to cancel shaken.
  •  Red Chip : pass to GM to add a wild die to a trait roll or soak wounds at +1, or discard to cancel shaken.
  •  Blue Chip : discard to add a wild die to a trait roll, soak wounds at +2, or cancel shaken.
  •  Green Chip : discard to remove all wounds and shaken status gained that round, to add a wild die to any roll, to subtract a wild die from any enemy roll, or to gain an instant clue... but, draw a card from the Hand of Fate. Green chips cannot be discarded without using them.
  •  Black Chip : destroy to remove all wounds and shaken status gained that round, add a wild die to any roll, or subtract a wild die from any enemy roll; discard to cancel shaken or for an instant clue.
Discard means put back in the pot; destroy means remove from play. A trait roll is a skill or attribute, but not damage or tables. Soaking damage is done by rolling vigor.

The pot starts with 20 white, 10 red, 5 blue, and 1 green. On a major victory, the pot will gain one black chip and one green chip.

The Hand of Fate is a deck of cards, with each card representing an event or effect. Some events or effects are immediate and obvious, while others are more subtle, and take place later, or hinge on the player's actions. All cards, once drawn, are removed from the deck.

As part of the Hand of Fate, I'm also introducing Public Opinion - that is, what the world at large thinks of you. The scale ranges from -4 to +4:
  1. The public absolutely hates you; you are a hunted criminal, wanted dead or alive. Government agencies have a shoot-on-sight order on you.
  2. The public hates you; you are a wanted criminal, and police are authorized to use deadly force if required to detain you.
  3. The public generally dislikes you, and you likely have some high-profile enemies; you are wanted for questioning.
  4. Most people don't like you; police dislike your interference. You probably have some public enemies.
  5. The public doesn't really notice you.
  6. Most people like you, though you don't stand out.
  7. The public likes you; police are generally cooperative, and government agencies won't stand in your way.
  8. The public loves you; police are willing to help, and usually turn a blind eye. The media has only good things to say about you.
  9. You are a national hero; police and government agents will go out of their way to help you.
Each player has their own public opinion, and public opinion of your team as a whole is the average opinion of the group. You start with a generous +1. Acts of extreme heroism are often rewarded with a +1 shift, and acts of villainy punished with a -1 shift, but that's not always the case.

A few existing groups, and their scores:

  • Demented Dozen: -4 (duh - world-class villains)
  • Uncanny Squadron: +3.5 (protectors of the weak; RIP)
  • Superhero Alliance: +1 (loose group of a lot of heroes/antiheroes)
  • Foundation, Section 1: +1 (protectors, though seen as inefficient)
  • Foundation, Section 3: +3 (generally regarded as protective heroes)
  • Foundation, Section 6: 0 (little known about them; mixed reactions)
  • Police: +2 (some worries about dirty cops and police violence balance out heroic protection)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Supers: A Fine Day For An Apocalypse

Throughout the week, each of the heroes received the following letter:

To Whom It May Concern,

I need your help. I cannot reply on those I used to trust; one in particular will fail us in our time of need. I have proof of it. I know that alone, you cannot stop what is coming, but I hope that together, you will make an impact that will echo far beyond your abilities. Please find attached the means of travel; meet me at HERO Coffee Bar in Chicago, at 2 PM. I will be there if I can. You must help us. Without you... all is lost. I will see you soon.

The letter was unsigned; however, as it said, the letter contained a means of travel - plane ticket, bus pass, even taxi fare from the airport. Additionally, there is a single photograph in each envelope. The heroes, each for their own reason, followed the letter's instructions and arrived at the bar.

While there were a number of strange people - a bouncy Hello Kitty-bestickered woman, a blob of sentient green goo, a fellow in a mech, a monk, and an archer, to name a few. They introduced themselves to each other, and after a bit of waiting, asked the barista if he had seen anyone else. He handed over a note written on the back of another photograph. Everyone brought theirs out - all double exposed photographs. In fact, as someone noted, they all seemed to be the work of a heor known as Timelapse!

While each picture was of something different, each one was double exposed. The city skylines and placid streets contrasted with fire and mayhem, missing buildings, overturned cars, and other obvious signs of disaster.

A few of the crew decided to check out one of the buildings, a little over a block away. Nearly there, they ran into a crowd of thugs with guns and baseball bats. The thugs were quickly disarmed, some more so than others. In fact, only one managed to make it out of the encounter alive. The bodies were quickly disposed of by the green blob, who happily snacked on body tissue, bullets, guns, and all the random things they had in their pockets.

The gadgeteer in the mech suit caught sight of another fellow hurrying away, and gave chase. He was lead down the subway, onto the tracks, and through some side passages to a locked door; breaking in, he took out the man, but found nothing else of note. Another hero followed them, and together they found an ultraviolet flashlight and a list of names on the wall, including such names as Centurion (an invincible sword fighter), Nucleus (flight, clean atomic fire, radiation absorption), and Techannus (flying mech, super smart), as well as sidekicks, normals in position of authority, and even a few random newspapermen, talk show hosts, and police officers. There were a few supervillains on the list, too - Ultraman, The Bone Man, and Nuclear Winter grace the list.

Meanwhile, B. Happy (the one with stickers) helped the poor fellow who survived their group, albeit without a leg. She quizzed him a bit, but found nothing useful. Healed up again, she called him a cab, and sent him on to a safe place to recover, hoping that he would have a change of heart.

Reunited, the team went searching for the names on the list, locals first. The newspaperman was dead; so was the police detective. Upon finding the news anchor (also dead), the group caught the beginning of an interview with Centurion... who died on camera.

The only link between them was Silverage. The team gathered at Silverage's base to get some answers... but outside the Uncanny Squadron, they were attacked by two groups, one under War Diamond, and the other under the control of Ei8ht, an AI-powered mech suit!

The supers tore through the bad guys like chaff. Eventually, War Diamond stepped into Ei8ht, and the two blasted off, out of everyone's reach.

As if on cue, a hologram at the steps of the great hall sputtered to life. Silverage, leader of the Uncanny Squadron! For a moment, he was silent, then he suddenly loomed larger, and boomed, "I don't know what your goal is, here, but I can tell you this: your meddling has damaged events beyond even my control. While you've been bumbling around trying to solve mysteries far out of your control, you've hindered me more than you'll ever realize." His hologram slowly shrank back to human-sized. "I'm sorry. You couldn't have known. Please, come in; while I cannot repair the mess you've made, I might... but that can wait. Please, come inside."

The hologram blinked off, as the great doors to the Uncanny Squadron's headquarters swung open. Inside, huge screens display ever-changing images of past heroes associated with the Uncanny Squadron. Many have gold ribbons draped around the edges - notably, the Centurion's. At the end of the hall, another door swings open. Inside is a sparse office. Before Silverage could speak, a giant mech crashed into the building! It's Techannus; his mech was heavily damaged. He crawled out, bleeding, and staggered over to Silverage. "It's started... Silverage, just like Timeline said, it's starting... we couldn't stop them."

Silverage looked at the heroes. "It's not too late to stop them. They... they don't know about you. I can only hope they haven't gotten to you... Look in my safe - there are instructions there. The combination is..." His voice trailed off as a shadow fell over the skylight, but B. Happy managed to get the code from his mind... just before two massive shapes crashed into the room.

Before Silverage could utter a word, the smaller of the two shot him in the chest; the larger, moving faster than expected, grabbed the falling body and tore it in two. The two figures in mechanical suits turned, and with a squawk of radio noise, stomped forward.

Judy, a speedy monster with an armor-piercing sword, brought a hero down in a single strike, screaming, "Not now, you've got a headache!"

Punch, the larger of the two, grabbed another hero, hauling him into the air and punching him repeatedly, all while screeching, "Do stop the naughty, noisy baby, Judy!"

The gang fired all they had at Judy, hoping to bring her down, and bring her down they did; but that was not the end. With an evil laugh, one of their members, Rubber Face, revealed himself to be Wild Card - a supervillain! He blasted the others, hurting the monk.

B. Happy, meanwhile, had already opened the safe, and was quickly making her way out of the building.

As another hero fell, the gadgeteer bolted for the sky.

Finishing off the few remaining heroes, Wild Card grabbed his fallen henchwoman, Judy, and ordered Punch to carry her, heading off to who knows where.

Around the city, explosions rang out; fires leaped for the sky as silver flying saucers fanned out over Chicago, firing indiscriminately. Silverage's headquarters weren't the only target... Chicago is burning. The few survivors heard sirens in the distance, and the screams of panicked crowds. Whatever this is... whatever this was... the heroes knew they needed to get to the bottom of it.

Deadlands: The Ship

After a fruitful day of buying, trading, winning prizes, and stopping huge whirlwind generators, the party was ready to move on. Taking the offer of a local inventor of electric cars, they left town in the strange machine and headed into the Utah Deseret desert.

Come nightfall, the vehicle slowed to a stop. Not a hundred yards away was the dried-out hull of a huge ship! After some investigation, they found a hole into the interior. Their new friend, an animal trainer named Enrique, carefully walked up the side of the ship, balancing on the fallen mast. On board, he found... rats. Lots and lots of rats. Not normal rats, either - these rats were strange, disfigured, and most decidedly undead rats. He quickly fled the ship, which they then burned to the ground. It went up in smoke, burning so bright and hot they could feel the heat from the safety of the electric car. And inside, they saw Things thrashing and dying...

Once the ship had burned away to nothing, the group began poking through the ruins, uncovering a few coins here and there. Suddenly, with a crash and a cloud of dust, a tunnel under the ship opened up! And out came a huge creature, its eyes burning red, its skin hanging off it like a rug. An undead steer!

Undeterred, the paladin strode forward, meeting its charge. The battle was fast; the paladin swung his sword in a tight arc, chopping the beast nearly in half.

Hector and Enrique volunteered to go down into the hole. Inside, they found some undead creatures, which they fought off, and finally discovered the home of what was most likely the captain of the ship. Enrique briefly witnessed terrible images in his head of the captain and his crew capturing natives, enslaving them and murdering the rest...

In another room, they found a gold bowl; Hector, realizing it was likely cursed when it started to glow, blasted it with his shotgun. The bowl shattered, rocking the cave. A terrible screech filled the caverns!

Hector bolted for the entrance, leaving Enrique behind. Unfortunately, the entrance had collapsed; Hector ran the other direction, with Enrique tripping and stumbling behind, barely making it through the falling ceilings, half of which he was causing at this point.

Hector found light, and was able to leap up to a ledge, calling for help. The others dragged him up. He shouted, "There are zombies in there! Shoot them!"

Kiri, happy to be able to use some of her dynomite, tossed a stick into the hole. Enrique, surprised but still alive, tried to toss it back... and missed. While, somehow, he managed to survive the dynamite... the ceiling crushed him.

Once again, they set off towards civilization; the electric car started up when the last of the cavern had fallen in, and away they went.