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.