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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/28/2020 in all areas

  1. 8 points
    Zeropoint

    In other news...

    RELEASE THE QUACKIN'!
  2. 2 points
    Pariah

    2019-2020 NFL Thread

    Wasn't sure whether to post this here or in the Politics thread.... Fans rip Garth Brooks for Barry Sanders jersey, thinking it was for Bernie Sanders This was at a concert IN DETROIT, mind you....
  3. 2 points
    Yup, @Chris Goodwin pretty much knows where I'm coming from. My previous post traces some of my thinking, and @Hugh Neilson does a good job of outlining the challenges I'm facing. There's plenty of evidence that the people who are already playing are going to continue to play what they prefer in the ways that they already prefer. There's also good evidence that new people aren't picking up HERO System because it's like drinking from the fire hose, and who is going to invest a year of solid study to get the system mastery that it would take to even begin to design a game that others may want to play? @Gnome BODY (important!): As for GURPS, just as few people play that these days as HERO System, although the marketing machine of Steve Jackson Games keeps it going. God help us if they release a 5th edition of GURPS, because it'd probably bury HERO System for good. But the other systems you bring up are clearly more viable these days. Fate and Fate Accelerated are very popular these days, and draw in new gamers all the time. It's funny that you mention Powered By the Apocolypse, because that's sort of the model I was thinking of when I started this thread. PBTA games are introduced so frequently, and are bought and played so consistently, that I think it stands as a good model for today's market. Each game using PBTA as the toolbox is its own game, and presents the rules in its own way, making its own assumptions about how to apply the rules, etc. PBTA has a proven track record that it can power new game generation. HERO System likes to boast that it could do such a thing, but it simply doesn't. Champions isn't a game: it's still a game genre and a toolbox of rules, but there aren't any decisions made that are required in an actual game. PBTA always has a handful of new games being played at conventions, and has a very strong online presence (from what I can tell) with a new generation of gamers who want rules-light games that can be learned and played in a weekend. My contention is that HERO System should be like that. Now, I'm with you in spirit about the Powers. That's what makes HERO System what it is. But the marketing says that we can use those Powers to build anything without actually showing us what those things could be. Unless of course you buy a genre book, a setting book, perhaps an enemies book and and equipment guide, etc. This is the exact opposite of what DOJ should be doing, yet it's been the model for almost 30 years now. It's time to rethink what the HERO System is about. And I'm rethinking things for the future by re-visiting the past games that were "one book games" in the '80s. The Powers were in the background, and sorta bled through at times in something like Justice, Inc. with the weird talents and such. But they were great applications of the HERO System without simply being a rehash of the same set of rules with a new genre spackled over them. I don't want to presume to lecture anyone on the value of the game, or the history of HERO System or anything like that. As has been pointed out, we all have our ways of playing the game. But we are experienced HERO players here, and can actually pick the rules up and make the games we want to play for ourselves. We seem to forget that new people just cannot do that yet. So we need to be able to show them how it is done. This is most definitely for players who are new to the HERO System toolbox, and we teach them by not exposing them to the toolbox. We show them a game that is complete in and of itself, presented in one book, and playable as quickly as possible. This is not going to be a superhero or fantasy genre. It just isn't. We'd have hit that market if it was going to work. So I'm imaging a game that has mass appeal, that sparks the public imagination and taps into a cultural trend. It may not be the sexiest application of the HERO System, but I think a modern adventure game based on action movies is a great inroad. We don't have to teach the Powers, but we can show how all the equipment, weapon and vehicle lists were made with the Powers, although the builds themselves should be saved for an appendix and sidebars. People who don't care, won't care no matter how much we try to teach them the powers. People who do care will have enough leads to go look up the rules themselves and build their own stuff if they want to. This is just a thought experiment for now, but hopefully not a vanity project like Champions Now is. I want it to be viable, and potentially have a convention/market/online presence. That can only happen with a complete gestalt shift for how the HERO System is presented to new players.
  4. 2 points
    I see nothing wrong with being flexible enough with the game (and the system) to allow this sort of "combat stunt" if it makes the game more fun for everyone. However, I would stop short of inventing an entirely new game mechanic just to formalize it for regular use. That just leads to all kinds of issues that I think are best avoided, and quite frankly I don't think it is necessary. Just let your son (or whomever) feel really cinematically heroic for a Phase and move on.
  5. 2 points
    Logan.1179

    "Neat" Pictures

    Apparently, Dracula Parrots Are A Thing And They Might Be The Most Gothic Birds On Earth
  6. 2 points
    Tech

    Supers Image game

    Amy Schutzer, once a female wrestler known as Wondra, ended up in the hospital with severe fractures over her body due to illegal moves by her opponent. She was told she'd heal, but would be severely limited in her movements; she'd never be what she was again. Doctor Helena Amory of England heard of her plight and contacted Amy. She knew of a respectable geneticist who was working on an experimental serum that would regenerate her body and was looking for someone who was willing to test it. Amy agreed and met with the geneticist, Dr Robert Harvard. Harvard informed her of the risks, which she would have to agree to before proceeding. The risks were that it would regenerate her body, but that it would also likely give her superpowers. Should it fail, Amy would be no better off and millions of dollars of research would be fruitless. What Harvard was trying to achieve was a serum that would heal broken bodies but not give superpowers. As part of the test, Amy was forbidden to speak of the research to protect Harvard from agencies greedy for it or even supervillains. Amy agreed to everything. It was merely a few hours after the serum was given and Amy's fractured body was healed, even better than better. As expected by Dr. Harvard, she also gained superpowers, superpowers that would prevent her from ever being a wrestler again. She was enormously strong, easily able to push a train engine with one hand and although she wasn't invulnerable, she healed superhumanly fast. Despite not being to return to wrestling, Amy considered being given a new life more than worth the cost. Still, Amy thought, Wondra would not be forgotten. No, if anything, Wondra would be in the news, on the lips of everyone. Wondra was now the newest superhero around and the media loved her! Wondra is in the league of the superstrong heroes in strength, combined with incredible regeneration and her wrestling skills, she is a formidable match for many villains stronger than her.
  7. 2 points
    It is not going to sell because it is Powered by Hero. It is going to sell, if it sells at all, because it is a good game, and players and GMs enjoy it. If they enjoy GURPS, or d20, or Savage Worlds, or playing video games, more, then they will buy those games. It's not labelling it as "elegant and fun", "balanced" or anything else that will make it sell. It will sell if people play it, like it and want more. They are not currently buying the "build your own power" system. They have to want to dig through that design system because they have seen what it can do, they like it and they want to learn to use it to build their own games. Us telling them "hey, it's great - it's elegant, fun and balanced, reverses hair loss and makes your teeth whiter" is not going to sell the system. Playing the system sells the system. Right now, they are daunted by the Wall of Words, and will not play the system, so we need to front load that work so they can play a game without a Doctorate in Hero-ology. And if some of them are happy just playing the game(s) Powered by Hero, not tinkering at all and not wanting to build their own game - well that's fine too.
  8. 2 points
    Currently? They don't. We have evidence that it turns people off. If people can't get through it to the elegant game system underneath... ...we end up where we are right now.
  9. 2 points
    One of the things I liked about presenting the two statements to my players was that it was a rorschack test. Following the text, I had players create characters separately in response to the statements without reference to each other's choices and they each came up with different details. Our two statements were: 1. Techno-wondrous discovery 2. Fraught personal drama, in Seattle, Washington I intentionally left out any details about when powers first appeared, how people got powers, what forces powers drew on. Those questions all got answered from what the player's designed. It resulted in a bunch of good background that informed how the world worked as we played.
  10. 1 point
    Scott Ruggels

    Strange, Small Crafts

    People forgot the obvious one. Food carts. Prepared food that can be put together by anyone who can cook. A lot of folks forget street food. I may joke about "Fried Weasel on a Stick"*, but the food is out there. Living in Los Angeles, food was always available from food trucks, food carts (danger dogs), ice cream carts, and fruit carts. Now there may be restrictions as to what can be sold (no alcohol), but the offerings can be varied and add local flavor to your cities and towns. *Stolen shamelessly from Sam & Max
  11. 1 point
    Cancer

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

    This is in my future
  12. 1 point
    Cancer

    2019-2020 NFL Thread

    "Dumb" is like entropy. At best it stays constant. Most cases it increases. It never decreases.
  13. 1 point
    Duke Bushido

    What makes a complete game "complete"?

    My hobbies include camping, which I had hoped to share with my kids. They are damned near grown, and I've had time to take them _once_, when they were very, very young. They also include my bikes. I have five, and if you've seen one of my videos, you will see two of them rotting in the yard. The last time I was able to fire one up and enjoy was... Eleven or twelve years ago. I play a two-hour Sunday afternoon game with a group of kids, and the only reason I can find time for that is to go out of my way to turn down work that I actually need. I don't even particularly enjoy it; it's a bit simplified in plot and theme. I do it to try to keep interest in role playing alive, and it's about the only time I have to spend on my own kids (who have joined the youth group game. We've backed it down to the second Sunday of the month, because that's all the time I have. I play a "bimonthly" game that hasn't met in six months, and when it does, only about half of us can make it. When I log on here, I am on a break from work or depriving myself of the sleep I need so I can enjoy discussing a passion with like-minded people. I have fallen asleep at my desk more than I have in my bed, just to read the thoughts of other players. You know _you_, and no one else. That goes for all of us: none of us knows what demands are upon any of the rest of us. I do leave from time to time, for a couple of years at a stretch, when this place becomes too much frustration in exchange for the small pleasure I steal by being here. Granted, it's quite possible I'm just lazy.
  14. 1 point
    Logan.1179

    2019-2020 NFL Thread

    So many things wrong with this, but this response in particular is noteworthy...
  15. 1 point
    Excuse me. Did you perhaps mean to say something like "...a lot of the problem is that gamers these days have jobs, and mortgages, and parents getting on in years, and kids ready to go to college?" Is "laziness" really what you're going with instead?
  16. 1 point
  17. 1 point
    Logan.1179

    Jokes

  18. 1 point
    Tywyll

    A Fragile World

    See I was looking at Tank stats last night, with a 20 DEF, it's difficult for your Hulk expy to punch and damage, unless he's bought AP for his Str or something, but doing that will mess him up if strict AP limits are enforce. So yeah, I think to even barely fit the comic model, you need mundane vehicles and buildings to take double damage (and maybe give free AP) to really even touch 4-color expectations. I think this is partially from damage inflation over the editions and the idea that 10 is the average Body, even for mooks.
  19. 1 point
    Cancer

    NGD Scenes from a Hat

    A fierce debate among astrologers erupts as to whether the coronavirus is governed by the constellation Corona Borealis or the constellation Corona Australis, and whether galactic longitude has any role in classical astrology.
  20. 1 point
    BoloOfEarth

    NGD Scenes from a Hat

    People begin thinking the Coronavirus is caught from drinking Corona beer. (Proving that daft doesn't preclude something actually happening in real life.)
  21. 1 point
    Just to add to this CEO compensation has risen 940% since 1978, while typical worker compensation has risen only 12%
  22. 1 point
    death tribble

    NGD Scenes from a Hat

    They get you to do their naked balloon modelling segment New Topic: What the Coronavirus did next ! (the dafter the better)
  23. 1 point
    Oh, well fair enough then! Good luck!
  24. 1 point
    In 2018 Trump fired the entire pandemic response team and cut funding for the CDC so drastically it had to abandon disease prevention efforts in 80% of countries, including China.
  25. 1 point
    Shoug

    Swords in science fiction -- why?

    I think the best explanations for the inclusion of swords in a setting include magic. I don't mean that in a demeriting may, and I also don't accept "science magic," or rather, using a rather cursory interpretation of some very broad and disparate scientific concepts as an explanation for "The tech really did just advance all the way back around to swords." I'm talking about mystical magic. Magic that is purposefully left vague and purposefully made to function as magic achetypically. Stuff like The Force, Psionics, and The Spice (much of Dune is drenched in mysticism). If I were to approach this subject in my own worldbuilding, my solution would stick it's tongue in its cheek and say "I know I'm magic." I think I'd include Qi and Kung Fu, basically. Once widely known to be extremely deadly, Kung Fu could never match the speed, range, and flexibility of small arms combat, and so it slowly died out. Now that unpowered (not mechanized) armor has gotten to the point where small arms are ineffective against it, some are relearning the ancient arts of Kung Fu to gain an advantage in violent encounters. Kung Fu is combat of the Qi, and can only be defended against by Kung Fu. A sword strike charged with Qi would pass through armor, leaving it undamaged, and slice down the man inside it. If a Kung Fu user is caught without his armor, surrounded by people with guns, he would be in a bit of a pickle.
  26. 1 point
    Essentially true, but 6E Champions Universe doesn't include Teleios, hence no stats for his cloned soldiers. That's all in Champions Villains Volume One: Master Villains. CV1 is probably your most concentrated 6E source for agent-level combatants for Champions. Besides Teleios's creations, the entries for several other masterminds in that book include fully-statted minions at that level, e.g. Baron Nihil, Doctor Destroyer, Istvatha V'han, King Cobra, and the Warlord.
  27. 1 point
    Pariah

    Musings on Random Musings

    No personal animosity intended, DT.
  28. 1 point
    But what's the draw of a system Powered By Hero instead of a system Powered By GURPS, or Powered By Fate, or Powered By Powered By The Apocalypse , or Powered by D20? HERO's not the only point-buy fish in the pond, and GURPSers will avidly proclaim their point-buy is better for not-supers. Every system's going to label itself as "elegant and fun". Every game's going to proclaim it's "balanced". Every toolbox is going to vomit half a dozen genres it supports onto the back-page blurb. What makes HERO better? My answer is the powers system. If that's not put on display, I don't see any reason somebody would pick HERO over GURPS or another competitor.
  29. 1 point
    This is certainly very doable from a purely logistical perspective. The work required wouldn't be excessive, the cost wouldn't be prohibitive, and it would be a nice shout-out to the past. It would also do nothing, IMO, to move the needle away from the current marketplace indifference towards the system/brand.
  30. 1 point
    We don't have to sell Hero to people who have played Hero for years or decades, like those of us on these boards. But it is clear we are not a big enough market to keep a business making Hero product afloat. Hero as a game design tool can allow the construction of a game Powered By Hero, which (hopefully) demonstrates that the system itself is elegant and fun, and that the construction rules are balanced (as they were used to build all components of the game or games). So we end up with three pools of buyers/gamers: - those who like these specific games, and will buy them (either one specific game, or multiple games using the system in different settings, genres, etc.), and support materials for them, into the future; - those who like the game, but want to tinker with it, so they buy the System rules for the sole purpose of tinkering with existing games; and - those who are introduced to Hero System and want the whole system to build their own games (maybe even games that are marketed and attract more gamers to Hero).
  31. 1 point
    How do you use a flail in a non-flail way? What does that look like?
  32. 1 point
    Badger

    Today's Dumb Criminal Story ...

    I am an accepting kind of person. But, foot fetishes are just weird. 😁
  33. 1 point
    Hermit

    In other news...

    So many great band names possible by taking words from this headline
  34. 1 point
    dsatow

    Do You Reveal PCs' Backgrounds?

    From what I could remember the game had 4 Spd 7 characters fighting 3 Spd 7 Characters and a bunch of agents at the bottom of the tripsheet. The bricks were speed 4 and were fighting bricks. Back then, most brick actions were limited and most agents had low damage attacks (I've changed my retinue of attacks since 4th ed). So all the lower damage fighters fought each other while high damage high defense fighters fought each other. The people playing the bricks would leave their DCV and Def on the table for people to see. They would get hit a lot, find out how many times they took stun and resume later. Their defs, stun, and con were high enough that it didn't matter in the short term. So say you are at segment 9 as part of the brick pack and just finished your segment, this meant all the agents would go. Then top of 11 with the 7 characters(PCs and NPCs) going, then top of 12 with them all going again, before the bricks went. Assuming each action took 3 minutes, that's 42 minutes of non-brick actions. This doesn't include speedsters who did multiple move bys. If a brick aborted, it was even worse for them.
  35. 1 point
    Brian Stanfield

    Do You Reveal PCs' Backgrounds?

    As I mentioned in the OP, it’s a pulp campaign so no fancy technology to help them keep in touch. Looking back on it, I probably should have had her standing guard outside and then give her some mysterious dude lurking in the shadows to keep her occupied and engaged.
  36. 1 point
    Here's another try, based on a campaign I ran a few years ago. 1. A secret society of mystics recruits superheroes to save the world. 2. All-out global war against invaders from beyond the stars.
  37. 1 point
    steriaca

    Supers Image game

    Flexra Mentalla was once a 90 pound weakling. When her boyfriend was picked on by the bullies of the beach, she sent away for one of the Buddie Mussels guide book for Mussel Masterie. When her boyfriend scoffed and left her, she started to read and follow the techniques inside the book herself. She became Flexra Mentalla, Heroine Of The Beach. Now she stops crimes by flexing her biceps in strange ways. She is also superhumanly strong and tough.
  38. 1 point
    Oh thank goodness it got a like, the needy cup of my ego was near empty!
  39. 1 point
    This is a brilliant post, Hugh. I've run through the character sheets of D&D and HERO and the spell cards vs. the book write-ups between the systems and I keep coming away with presentation being the primary problem for players. The numbers of stats and derived stats and attributes you have to track in D&D is within 1 or 2 of Fantasy HERO. Last Sunday I'm playing D&D with a group of veteran players and we still had to look up several items during the session. The combat maneuvers are simpler, but overall game play is about the same level of complexity. HERO, minus the build your own custom powers bits, isn't any more complicated, but it is perceived as overwhelmingly complicated. I think you're really on to something here.
  40. 1 point
    I figured it out, they should have Taylor Swift background music for Bloomberg ads. Because if there are 2 things I am forced to endure, I might as well get them done in one shot.
  41. 1 point
    Ninja-Bear

    Martial Flail Maneuver

    Duke that’s what the +3 OCV in effect for to bypass shield bonus. Note that the effect OCV won’t raise your total OCV. The shield range for OCV bonus is +1- +3. So for example if you have a medium shield +2 then the standard flail would be -1 OCV but you ignore the +2 shield DCV. In the Fantasy book, it notes that this maneuver is a wash for a small shield due to its bonus is only +1. However I did think though that this would still be useful to avoid said shield if it’s magical and you needed to still avoid hitting the shield like it has some sort of damage shield.
  42. 1 point
    Wow, Bloomberg really a lot of the audience on his side... *Looks at $1750 dollar price tag on each ticket* Oh
  43. 1 point
    It's also important to keep in mind what Castro displaced. Sanders is old enough to be well aware of the full history, not just "Castro commie, commies bad."
  44. 1 point
    That's true. But it's also true that Cuban are healthier and live longer than Americans, while paying nothing out of pocket for healthcare and paying 1/4 as much per capita as the U.S. In a tiny Third World country that has spent most of its existence under embargo. Cuban refugees in Florida aren't stupid, their beef was with the authoritarian regime, not the Cuban healthcare system.
  45. 1 point
    Brennall

    Tabletop Simulator

  46. 1 point
    Bloomberg's ads were invasive and annoying and probably did him more harm than good.
  47. 1 point
    Pariah

    A Game of Numbers

    Or 9,144,000,000 Å
  48. 1 point
    I dunno, as Tanks go they're kinda crappy.
  49. 1 point
    Greywind

    Snippets

    Warren wasn't sure what surprised him more. Boyd's apparent intelligence or Jason's willingness to listen considering past interactions between these two men. “Is this on the company network?” Jason asked. “No. I've been working on it on my own. I'm not someone that the suits...” Boyd coughed. “Sorry. I'm not someone that management listens to.” “I'm listening,” Jason said. “I want a copy of your work.” He pulled the writing pad closer. “How are you with presentations?” “I've never had to give one outside of a classroom,” Boyd said quietly. Jason wrote something out on the pad. “This is the email address I want you to send your proposal to. The working copy you have now is fine. This second email address is someone who can help you with your presentation work.” “I don't understand,” Boyd said. “There is a meeting at the end of next month. You will be there to present on this after you get it cleaned up.” “This isn't what I was expecting,” Boyd mused. “Jump the line to the top and you find yourself with more work,” Jason said. Boyd nodded. “I appreciate it, Mr. Scott.” “Something else on your mind?” Looking guilty, Boyd said, “Yes, sir. I've been wondering about Beth.” “She still works for me,” Jason said. “When she left with you I was so angry.” “That was you in the pickup with the shotgun.” Nodding, Boyd said, “I was angry. I was drunk. Afterward I kept expecting the sheriff to show up on my doorstep. As the days went by and nothing happened I had to wonder why. I went by Beth's and talked to her dad. He told me she'd left town with you. “I had entirely too much time to sit and think. About the mess I'd made with Beth. About the mess my life was heading towards. I got counseling. I stopped drinking. I wasn't going to college to play ball. Never saw myself leaving town, really.” “What did you do with the shotgun?” Jason asked. Taking a heavy breath, Boyd looked at the ceiling. “I cleaned it. Put it back on the rack. It was my granddad's. Haven't been hunting since. Like I said, it kind of opened my eyes about where I could end up. That wasn't who I wanted to be.” “You missed.” “I'm sorry.” “Apology accepted.” “Can I ask you, Beth... Is she happy?” “I think so,” Jason told him. “Is she... Married? Seeing anyone?” “Boyd, as her employer, out of respect for her as a person, and more importantly as her friend, it isn't my place to answer any personal questions about her.” “I understand,” Boyd said. “I'll will get this emailed and start getting it cleaned up, then.” Boyd stood up, narrowly missing the server. “Mr. Scott. Warren.” “Merry Christmas, Boyd,” Warren said as the other man walked away. “Can I get you gentlemen anything?” she asked. “No,” Warren said. “I think we're pretty much...” “Refills, please,” Jason said, cutting Warren off. “Also two hot chocolates. One with no whipped cream. The other with extra whipped cream and cinnamon.” “Coming up.” Warren gave Jason a questioning look before turning around to scan Rosie's. Turning back, he said, “Kate and Leah coming?” Jason nodded. “Boyd didn't miss.” Jason shook his head. “Then why?” “I had a pretty good idea of who it was at the time. Understood where he was coming from. At the time I had more important concerns, if you recall. I didn't need to be sidetracked dealing with the sheriff about an inconsequential shooting.” “If it had been anyone other than you it wouldn't have been inconsequential,” Warren said. Jason shrugged. “It would have been even less of a concern to me and more of one to the sheriff. I'm sure they would have caught the perp, tried and imprisoned him. As it was, it didn't even rate the paper, since if anyone else heard the shot they would have written it off as a hunter.”
  50. 1 point
    Greywind

    Snippets

    Frank stood up. “If you will excuse me, this old person has had entirely too much excitement for one night. Thank you, Jason, for the invitation. And the book.” “My pleasure, sir. Sleep well.” “Good night, Daddy,” Beth said. Jason pulled his coffee cup out from under the coffee maker. “Would you like something?” “A glass of wine if you have it,” Beth answered. She slipped her shoes off and drew her legs up on the couch. Jason brought her a glass. “I didn't realize everything matched,” he said, noticing the blue reinforcement of her hosiery. “Attention to detail. Isn't that why you hired me?” She lifted the hem of her dress until the wide blue band of her stocking top was visible, revealing the blue strap of her garter belt. “Everything matches.” Jason dropped himself into a chair tiredly. “This evening got to you, didn't it? Even with everyone there being a friend or at least them having had some impact on your life.” “Batteries are nearly drained,” he admitted. “Entirely too many people all at once.” “So what was the sketch in Daddy's book?” “One of you.” Jason appeared a sketchbook and a pencil. “You aren't.” Jason looked at her. “I are.” The pencil started moving on a page. “Fine. Just make me look good.” He chuckled. “I capture the beauty. I don't improve upon it.” Beth toyed with her wine glass. “So what was the delay tonight?” “Croystetter.” “Artimus or Miriam?” “Yes. Apparently one of them got wind of tonight and Miriam wanted to know why I didn't invite her. It seems both of them are in town tonight. I'm just glad neither showed up at the gallery.” “I can't imagine them crashing,” Beth said. “Crash, no. Totally tasteless and below their station. But show up, get my attention and get a last minute invitation I wouldn't put past her.” “I see your point.” She took a drink of wine. “What are you going to do?” “Nothing. I already did it. I made it clear to her in no uncertain terms that I wasn't interested in seeing her, socially or otherwise.” “Ouch.” “I doubt it hurt much. I don't think she was chasing after me for her own sake.” Jason yawned. “You should go to bed. I'll take the couch.” Jason slipped his pencil under his left thumb, pinning it against the sketchbook. He gave Beth an annoyed glance. “My apartment. My rules. The lady gets the bed.” He stood up. “I'll take the couch.” “That's hardly fair. We could share it.” Heading down the hall, Jason said, “That's a tempting offer.” Trailing after him, Beth said, “Well, it doesn't seem right that I'm putting you out.” “You aren't.” He set his sketchbook on a bureau. Beth glanced at it. It was remarkable to her how finished it looked in the short amount of time Jason had worked on it. He had done it all in graphite, but at some point he'd switched to a blue pencil, shading in bits of her hosiery, dress, and makeup. “Needs a bit more color,” Jason said. “At the very least your lipstick.” Beth nodded. “Before you go running out of here, would you help me with my dress?” She turned her back to him, allowing him access to the zipper. Jason reached for the pull tab. His hand began itching. Yes! Take her! Claim her! “Something wrong?” “No,” he answered. His watch began beeping. He glanced at it and pushed a button, silencing it. “No more argument. Looks like I'll be sleeping in the tower. Assuming I sleep at all.” He caught the fabric of Beth's sleeve, and disappeared it. Beth shivered in the cool air. Turning to face him, Jason gave her a gentle smile. “You're right. It all matches.” He reappeared her dress and lay it across the bed. “There are hangers in the closet.” He turned towards the balcony door. Beth caught his arm. He turned back to her. Standing up on her toes, she kissed him on the cheek. “You looked like you needed it,” she said with a smile. “Be safe.” Jason changed. Pulsar pulled open the balcony door and stepped out, sliding the door closed. He launched himself into the sky. Leaning against the glass door, Beth watched him go. “Guess I have an idea of how Marlene feels at moments like this,” she said to herself. When Pulsar was a distant red light, Beth pulled the drapes closed and readied herself for bed.
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