Monday, December 24, 2012

From the Deeps of Space! (Part Two) or "Who let the dogs out?"

Our intrepid heroes started nosing around town and stumbled across a group of Cappelan soldiers reinforcing the edge of the shield wall with posts to help distribute the load.  After jumping the hapless dog technicians, Spectrum took apart one of the repeaters and was able to figure out that based on the size and strength of the shield, they had to be putting forth an almost incalculable level of power to maintain it.  The repeaters would take up some of the slack with an internal power pack to supplement whatever was generating the field currently.

The group was able to triangulate one of the generators, and they headed off in that direction.  It lead them to an isolated farm that happened to be hosting a large pyramid shaped spaceship that was part of the machinery powering the force shield.  They charged into battle immediately, and fell afoul of 3 squads of Cappelan soldiers (30 total), 2 War Droids, and 2 Scout Cycles! 

Things didn't look good for the invaders.

In a heartbeat, the team TORE through the invaders, dropping them all in less than 3 full rounds.  The ship itself was now involved, and lobbing heavy artillery at the heroes.  Working together they were able to blow a hole in one side, and the boarding operation began.  The heroes surged through the craft, destroying the internal structure as they went, and soon the ship was going critical!  Spectrum reversed the emitted force field to slowly just envelope the ship, and they escaped just as the field closed and the ship detonated.

They figured out that there must be six more base ships like this based on their readings from the now slightly diminished field, and that if they could take out two more, they'd disrupt the integrity enough that Proditor Cappela could break through with reinforcements.

More in part Three.

Now as an added bonus, here's a shot of Peake Harbor! (The yellow missile in the corner is the top of one of Bluegill's Manta Robots).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

From the deeps of space! (Part One)

I think it should be depths, but I digress.

Our heroes had just settled in to their base after the origin extravaganza, when they got a visit from one of the most powerful, and still suspect, members of the V&V universe.  None other than Proditor Cappela had come a callin'!

Yup, the most POWERFULLY AWESOME DUDE EVAH!!!  Not that I'm biased.  Nope, not me.


Proditor arrived to explain to the Protectors a bit that they already knew: For years, Proditor had been a villain, and partially mind-controlled by the spirit in his suit.  The sentient computer controlled by the enigmatic and powerful Cappelans! In fact, he had chosen his name as a subconscious cry for help: Proditor (Latin: Traitor) Cappela (Italian: Choir).  He admitted he hadn't been real with it at the time, and didn't know the Latin word for choir.

This all finally came to a head while he was working as an enforcer for V.I.L.E.  As he watched the blood of a man he barely knew cooling in the air as it fell from his fists, he'd whispered "no more..."it grew in volume until he lashed out at the controlling presence of the super suit he wore, eventually tearing free of it's control and destroying it's sentience. His powers grew dramatically as he asserted his own will for the first time in years. (M&M notes: Proditor is PL13 in my world, and roughly analogous to Superman at the end of the Superman Animated series.  There are trust issues, and a lot of story driven drama.)

Now working for the good guys, he helped beat back a scout group of Capellans that had tried to infiltrate in Africa, and closer to home, had stopped the second plane on September 11th.  Still occasionally not trusted, he has gone out of his way to earn back the trust of the world.  In the process, he has become one of, if not the most, powerful superheroes on the planet.

And now he needed help...

The Cappelans were back, and this time, they were striking closer to home.  Tupper Lake NY (Pop approx 3800) was going to be taken unless the heroes moved quickly!

Well the Protectors knew about both sides of the Proditor coin, and believed that he was earnest, so they hopped into their Superjet.  The team consisted of Spectrum, Surge, Kali, Descartes, Kali, Bouncing Babe, Windsor, and Ferra.

Racing to the North, they arrived at the town, and looked around.  Things were quiet...too quiet.  Of course, this was when the force field went up sealing them inside, and leaving Proditor Cappela on the outside futilely trying to pound his way in to help the group. 

After testing the strength of the field, they decided that they couldn't circumvent it, and they would need to find some other way to free the town and its people.  Their first conclusion was that the power requirements for a field this powerful and complete would be enormous.  They headed into town to see if they could figure out where all of that power was coming from, and what they could do to ruin it.

Everything goes BOOM!!! Or, the joy of origin stories.

We had some shake-ups in the team, as Mach's player wasn't really enjoying her PC.  she talked to me, and we came up with a new character; Bouncing Babe!.  You can see the rough miniature I cobbled together for her above.

We also had two new players, in the form of Ferra and Descartes. Ferra was a powerful magnetic controller and former member of the teeny-boppers who had gone away to college, and was now coming back to see if she still had a home in Peake Harbor.  The other was Descartres, who thought, therefore he was.  A massive metamorph of almost unlimited capability, his origin dovetailed nicely with Bouncing babe's.  It went a little like this.

A phone call came in to the Protectors HQ, and it was the nation's number one superteam, Response Force One.  They needed Mach, and asked her to join the big leagues.  They didn't put it that way, but the Protectors sure did!  They were supportive as Mach went off to "join the show" at the national and international level. (I wanted to write out the PC, without killing her or doing anything overly corny, so I went with the genre honored "joining another team" bit.  Everyone was pretty happy, and it came full circle months later!)

Next, Ferra came back, and there was a tearful reunion and farewell as she had trained under the now departing Mach, but she had also worked with Kali, so the moment was bittersweet.  She was invited to join the team, at least as a reserve member while she figured out her plans, and Ferra accepted.

Across town a young Private Investigator was tracking down another dead beat ex-husband, but she was starting to have second thoughts when she saw him entering the dilapidated warehouse.  She followed, and inside saw the whole thing was a front for ONI, the super powered mega villain agency!  They were known to work with the tongs, and since Peake Harbor has a large Asian community, they had been trying to make inroads against MS13, the Jamaican Posses and the Lucky 7's, a smaller Irish gang.  But ONI was a lot more.  Not just gang bangers, or even agents, it also boasted super-powered members, like the samurai armor wearing leader our inquisitive PI found inside!

The bullets and energy beams started flying and soon the disturbance had been reported to the Protectors who raced to the scene!  They arrived in time to see a strange ethereal mist filter into the warehouse, then there was a pregnant pause, and the whole place exploded in green flame!  A mass that looked like a giant wad of gum came flying out and splatted against a building, slowly oozing it's way down to the ground.  The Protectors were stunned when it said "Ow...."

They were even more surprised when another voice answered with an "Ow?" from the wreckage.

Shifting through the debris, they found a man-like figure forming out of the ruins.  He gradually shifted until he looked more like the heroes around him, and introduced himself as...well, he didn't know.  He realized that he thought, and thus he was, so he must be Descartes!  He didn't know how he knew this, but he did.  Over near the talking puddle, the heroes had managed to get her to calm down enough to get herself in order as well, and she made a basic body and started talking to the heroes.  After making sure that ONI was well and truly gone, they spoke with the local police and then retired to their base to sort things out.

Once they got there, they discovered that the young woman was a PI, and that she was interested in working with the heroes while she figured out what these new changes meant for her life.  After considering a slew of names, she settled on the off-handed suggestion of "Bouncing Babe".

Descartes asked a lot of questions about the nature of life, reality, law, order, chaos, and pretty much anything else that touched his fancy, so the heroes decided it might be a good idea to keep a watchful eye on him as well.  He still had no idea where he came from, or how he was created, so unlike Bouncing Babe, he was a true enigma.

With the origins out of the way, we settled the group at 8 team members; Spectrum, Surge, Psytrix, Ferra, Kali, Bouncing Babe, Descartes, and Windsor.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Release the Kraken!


 So the group returned to Peake Harbor, leaving Surge in the care of the Crusaders and their medi-doc.  (Again, this to me was an example of the strength of the genre.  The player of Surge wasn't available at the start of this game, or the previous one, so it was easy to write him out of the picture with something that was totally fitting for a comic-book game).  Mach and Psytrix were both out on personal business, dealing with their normal lives.
Arriving back at their base, the group had messages from the US Marshals Service to clarify their status and to get them through the process of clearance so that the Protectors could be sworn in as Federal Marshals.  Again, the worry about the ease of all this paperwork reared it's head, and the group decided it was time to really look into it.  A lot of hacking and phone calls later, they discovered that their way had been eased by direct input from none other than Atomic Robo of Tesladyne Industries!
Spectrum put in a call to Atomic Robo, who apparently was in a car headed somewhere based on the call quality.  Robo confirmed that he had done what he could to green light the group's progress as he felt that Peake Harbor needed a new team.  He felt that the local groups were stretched thin, and that with the departure of the Teeny-Boppers, the area was ripe for the picking.  Oh, and he was right outside with a favor to ask, and could he come in to chat?
So Robo told the group about another organization that Tesladyne was working with in the Potomac region; The Verne Foundation.  They are associated with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and oh yeah, they had their own atomic submarine with a glass nose!  Unfortunately, they were also currently in trouble, facing off against the notorious Blue Gill and his Kraken pet!  Hopping in to Robo's car, they raced off towards the bay, and then in to it!  It seemed the car was a recent invention, a convertible hydro-car that could switch to hydrofoils at the drop of a hat.
Racing to the scene of the fight, they came across Bluegill, his Kraken, and three huge armored Manta walker robots all in the process of attacking the Verne Foundation and their super-sub!  As they raced in to save the day, the heroes got another call, and Surge announced he was up and ready to go!  Teleporting along electrical lines, he arrived nearby and hopped on to the speeding car as it closed the distance with Bluegill and his cronies.
Kali, Surge, and Windsor jumped on to the sub and started attacking the incoming hordes.  Surge struck first, short circuiting one of the massive walkers, and causing it to crash against the hull of the sub.  He quickly jumped up on to it, and used his new vantage point to start a running duel with the other two robots.  Kali surged forward and grappled with the Kraken!  The two staggered back and forth, the contest leaning first one way and then the other.  Finally, Kali braced herself and lifted the mythological monstrosity out of the water, and then heaved it a mile away!
Windsor helped Surge with the walkers, and eventually, all three robots were dismantled.  That left Bluegill to Spectrum.  The two feinted back and forth, testing each other's defenses, but then Bluegill got lucky and tagged Spectrum hard with the water jet from his Trident!  Spectrum staggered, but managed to get off an area force blast that left Bluegill in the same state.  When they both snapped out of it, they found the rest of the Protectors around them, the fight now over.  The team got a ride from Robo back to the mainland, and turned Bluegill over to CHESS. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

There's a Crisis at Crusader Citadel! (Part Two)

As the Protectors arrived at Crusader Citadel, they could see storm clouds wrapping the entire top of the building. Realizing what that meant, Spectrum and Psytrix rocketed into the air and engaged Stormlord. Meanwhile, Mach raced up the side of the building to scout out the roof and look for a way in. She cleared the edge and had just started to look around when she felt an overwhelming presence filling her mind. Marionette was on the roof as well. Mach tried to resist, but as Kali and Windsor arrived, she succumbed to the mental mastery of the mighty mind mistress! (Ah, alliteration...)

Mach ran at Windsor who barely managed to evade her attacks, and Kali managed to get a hand on Marionette. From there, it was a four arm wrap-up as the battle above concluded with Spectrum and Psytrix joining the fight against Marionette, and Stormlord crashing to the roof unconscious. The combined force put down Marionette all but instantly and freed Mach from her dominance.

Spectrum took a crack at their security system, dubbed it "adequate" and then promptly overrode it to allow the team to get into the Citadel. They advanced quickly, and managed to find the med bay, along with the Crusaders, all wrapped up and knocked out in their own medi-pods! Some more quick work bolstered the good guys' ranks by a whole other team, and they all advanced into the master control room, the home of the Crusaders' AI, Teacher.

The remaining Crushers were in the room, trying to transfer the secret files of the Crusaders to a remote network so that they could sell the information to the highest bidder. The good guys weren't really keen on this happening, so the battle royale began!

Of course this time, the odds were really against the remaining Crushers. Mocker, Hauntress, Temper, Vulture, and Hornet did their level best, but against two teams, and with most of their true heavy hitters already down, it was a curbstomp. The only one who proved hard to take out was Hauntress, but Laserfire and Spectrum overloaded her with teamed attacks and discorporated her essence. Eventually the battle wound down and the Crusaders thanked the Protectors profusely for rescuing them. In return, they offered to look after Surge since a normal hospital would be less advanced in treating Supers.

The teams parted on good terms, and the Protectors headed back to Peake Harbor, just in time to meet with a representative from the Governor's office who gave them their official status as state troopers. They also got the lease for their base. It used to belong to the former Peake Harbor team; the Teeny-Boppers, a group of teen heroes formerly mentored by Mach and Kali.

So they had a base, official status, and everything was moving along so easily.

Mach and Kali commented that it was too easy. They had been through the whole process of getting a base, getting police powers, and all the rest, and it never, ever went this quickly or with this little issue. They assumed it was due to the influence of Light Industries who was bankrolling the team, but when Spectrum "called his boss" his accountants and lawyers also remarked that this was going almost too perfectly.

Something was up.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

There's a Crisis at Crusader Citadel! (Part One)

Okay, so as they were tracking the Crusaders from Canada, the team decided that they should contact the Crushers usual foes; The Crusaders.

Chicago's premier super team had been around for a long time and they were very well known.  However, when they called them, all they got was the Crusaders AI Teacher.  There was a pre-recorded message and no additional data on what was happening ro why the Crusaders were unreachable.

Surge decided that he knew the Crusaders, so he'd just teleport over to their base and talk to them in person.  After getting the run around from the AI, Surge was spotted outside by a local reporter, and due to his fame, was asked to comment on the odd goings on with the Crusaders.  Halfway through the interview, he got that itch at the back of his neck as a lightning bolt slammed into him from above!  Now surge is an excellent electrical blaster.  He also happens to be utterly immune to the effects of electricity.  Somewhere up above, Stormlord cursed his luck as he shifted to winds.  But, the game was up and Surge discovered that Stormlord is not as resilient. 

Being naturally suspiscious sorts, the rest of the team contacted the Chicago police department, and they were routed over to the Mayor's office!  The deputy mayor spoke to the team, highlighting the city's fears that something had happened to the Crusaders, and asking the Protectors to get there as soon as possible, as the Crushers were spotted at the Field Museum!

As soon as the Protectors told him about the museum, Surge raced recklessly ahead, teleporting via electrical lines and managed to hold off the Crushers until the rest of the team could arrive.  However his valiant effort cost him as FIST blasted him into unconsciousness as the team cleared the doors.

The battle was on!

FIST, Bull, Mercury Mercenary, Mace, Manstar and Shocker were causing general mayhem, and threatening the skeletal remains of Sue, the world's most complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton (inside joke).  The Protectors engaged, pulling the Crushers into the more open grand hall, and in short order, MACH had pummeled Mace with a flurry of superspeed punches, Windsor had taken out Hornet with a combination of net and blast arrows, Psytric had dropped Mercury Mercenary with a stunning array of mental blasts, Kali had wrapped up FIST and literally crushed him out of his armor, and Spectrum had dropped Shocker with a combination of pulsed blasts and super strong punches.  Bull was the lone hold out, but the players chose to talk him down instead of making the fight worse, and after a short while, and with the gift of some bubblegum, Bull decided it was better not to fight and gave up.  The team held the villains until the Chicago PD and CHESS showed up to take them into custody.  They then got Surge into an ambulance and headed over to Crusader Citadel.

Sidebar here: Having PCs out of action, missing for the story or whatever seems ridiculously easy to do in Supers games.  It's an ironclad staple of the genre, and having people out actually seems to make the story flow better.  It's also nice to able to accomodate real life since we're not all teenagers with tons of dispoable time anymore.

Memory fades with age

One of the things that totally slipped through the cracks was that as the group was gearing up to go after the Midnight men, they had a new member join them: Surge.

Brash, arrogant, and famous, Surge was an electrical blaster of no small ability.  He came from Chicago, relocating to the area of Peake Harbor to help out since they obviously didn't have anyone as awesome as him on the team.  Surge helped in the fight against the Midnight Men, and almost managed to stun Marionette in Canada.

So back to the story.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Behind the scenes

I'm going to pause here to inject some of the stuff I try to add in to my games.  In this case, an original supers team mentioned last post, a team the players haven't met as yet, and the background from one of my players.

The top pic is Canadian Shield.  From left to right, we have: Mosaic, Rebound, Kodiak, Big Nickel, Magus, Hellfighter, and The Arrow.

Next are the New Knights. From left to right: Spitfire, Stalwart, The Clansman, Union Jack, Gurkha, and Silver Shadow.

And lastly, the origin of Jonathan Light, aka, Spectrum.

Jonathan Light: A Beacon of Technology

By: Gina Giseppi      Originally published in the Peake Harbor Weekender Magazine; Sunday, October 30, 2011
Peake Harbor has seen a recent technology boom, with none more prominent than the move of the global headquarters of Light Technologies Unlimited here from Silicon Valley. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jonathan Light at Harborview Bistro here in Marina West to get to know the young CEO of LTU.
He arrived on time wearing a handsome grey suit with a black polo shirt. His brown hair is close cropped and his face is clean shaven. He looks young for his 35 years, with alert blue eyes that seem to take in every facet of his surroundings.

Gina: Thank you for meeting me Dr. Light.

JL: It’s my pleasure Gina, and please, call me Jonathan…Doctor Light was my father. (he said smiling)

Gina: Okay, Jonathan. I guess we should start at the beginning. We know very little about you here on the east coast outside of the major facts of the last few years. Can you tell me about your childhood?

JL: Sure. I was born in Las Vegas NV, in 1976. My father as I am sure you know, worked for the government as a scientist and engineer. Mom still is a High School math teacher to this very day. She does not need to work and hasn’t needed to for a few years but darned if she doesn’t love teaching. I had a pretty abnormal childhood. Dad worked long hours and I was always around math and science. Apparently I inherited all that from my folks. I went to private school in Nevada and then Cal Tech for my undergrad and masters in Engineering. Got my Theoretical Physics Masters at MIT followed by Doctorates in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering and Theoretical Physics. I was actually working on my next Masters in Electrical Engineering when pop passed and I had to drop it to take over the company.

Gina: Lets talk about that if you are willing. Your father was known as one of the most brilliant inventive minds to ever work for the government. He played a big role in the creation of the SR-71 and basically revolutionized the concept of Stealth jets according to recently declassified documents. Were you close?

JL: Sort of. As you can guess by where we lived he drove to the airport on Monday morning, and there were times when we did not see him all week, or days where he would get home after 9 pm and be out the door at 6 am. When he was around we were pretty normal. He took me to my martial arts classes and baseball games when he could. We would, and I know how geeky this sounds, sit up some weekends solving math and physics problems and equations. Mom would sometimes help, and she was always doing little things to “cultivate her genius men” as she used to always say. Looking back, outside of the math problems, we were relatively normal.

Gina: Then while you were at Cal Tech your parents moved to northern California so your father could start his own business?

JL: Yeah. He tried really hard, but while he was a brilliant scientist he knew next to nothing about running a company. I helped out when I could, but my studies kept me pretty busy. He finally got to a point where LTU was surviving. Not really turning too much profit, but not losing money either. As I finished my Masters Degrees and Doctorates was when we realized he was sick. He had done a great job hiding it from mom and I, blaming stress and long hours. He held on for a few more years, but I was basically running the company. When he passed, I took over as CEO and began looking to grow and expand.

Gina: So why the move here?

JL: Peake Harbor is rapidly becoming the Silicone Valley of the East Coast. I mean can you blame me for moving here? The area is lovely, great people, and a fantastic proximity to DC and a few major military installations. It will save me hundreds of thousands of dollars on travel alone…plus…no earthquakes. I hate earthquakes…Of course what happens? I move here and one occurs. (he chuckles). I guess that’s how it goes. Anyway, I really enjoyed my time on the east coast at MIT and decided that if LTU was going to hit it big, a change of scenery was in order.

Gina: And the IPO? All set for that?

JL: Absolutely. We have been prepping for this a long time. It is time to take LTU public and get the funding we truly need to create the life saving tech we do now on a much larger scale. We do not have the exact date set, but it should be announced soon.

Gina: If I can change topics for a moment: One of your warehouses was recently the scene of a break-in by some powered crooks and a subsequent fight between them and what seems to be a new super hero team. Any thoughts?

JL: I am just happy that nothing major was stolen and none of those brave heroes were hurt on my account. I know some are wary of costumed protectors, but as long as they work within the confines of law, I see no issue with their actions. As I said at the press conference, I thank them for their effort and hope that they will continue to light the sometimes dark streets of Peake Harbor, the way LTU carries the torch of invention and the latest in medical, engineering and non-lethal combat technology. (he grins sheepishly) Sorry Gina. Bill in PR would kill me if I didn’t say something like that in this interview.

Gina: Fair enough. So on to the social side. Is there a special lady in your life?

JL: Invention is my girlfriend right now. In reality though, I am so busy with the IPO and the move that I don’t have time to go out. So I guess the answer is no. No special lady.

Gina: One final question. What comes next for Dr. Jonathan Light?

JL: The IPO my main focus right now. After that, who knows? We are close to a demonstration of some new shielding tech that might change how we protect our troops, but I cannot say much more than that. I would like to end by saying thank you. Not just to you Gina for this enchanting Q and A, but to all of Peake Harbor. This city has made me and my whole company feel welcome from day one. I look forward to building a future together.