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  1. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Killer Shrike in Be At Ease Campaign Arcs   
    I won't be available this Saturday due to family obligations. Sorry about this.
    I'm fine with either Lawrence or Vaughn running my character in my absence, if either is willing.
  2. Thanks
    Steve reacted to Lord Liaden in The Turakian Age is Seriously Underrated   
    It's good that you mentioned troops as well as goods, since those were major motivations for the Roman roads. They're traditional priorities for any large, land-based imperial state, particularly if the capital/political center is far from the empire's geographic center. In Ambrethel at the default start date for a Turakian Age campaign, I would say Besruhan and the Sirrenic Empire match those criteria best. Coincidentally, those are the two states whose descriptions are most reminiscent of Rome, each at different points in history. The Sirrenic Empire has traits associated with Caesarian Rome, while Besruhan is more a cross between Republican Rome and the Byzantine Empire.
    The Hargeshite Empire of Vashkhor would in other circumstances be another likely candidate for an extensive road network; but most of Vashkhor is traversed by the mighty Coruglu River and its tributaries, which would meet some of their transportation needs. Something similar could be said for the Empire of Orumbar on Mitharia: although large, and with its capital at one end, most of Orumbar's population is said to be concentrated around Lake Kalkana and its two drainage rivers, and along the sea coast. The interior is dry and sparsely inhabited.
    Lands which show heavy urbanization in their interiors likely have many connective roads, such as Szarvasia in the Westerlands. OTOH Khirkovy's cities are very spread out over a wide area, yet Khirkovy has been a unified state (including its predecessor, Storvak) for most of the previous five millennia, suggesting effective road transportation.
  3. Thanks
    Steve reacted to PhilFleischmann in The Turakian Age is Seriously Underrated   
    My first instinct would be the Hargeshite Empire of Vashkhor as the most likely road-building empire - not for conquering armies, but for proselytizing priests (and *then* conquering armies if the priests fail).
    Pretty much any empire with goals of conquest, and a good level of confidence in success might build a lot of roads.  But there aren't that many really big empires in Ambrethel.
    One other possibility is Kal himself.  Who else is a bigger conqueror?  However, why would he bother spending his resources building roads when the various nations of Ambrethel will do it for him?  He might have to build a few roads south from his realm, just to get to the roads of his targets.
    And of course it also depends on the availability of transportation magic.  If a nation has the ability to teleport a whole army a hundred miles, then they really don't have much need of roads.  Likewise with flying, or flying mounts, or any number of other non-road methods.  For my games, I prefer to keep such transportation magic (and mounts) very strictly limited, so roads would indeed be needed.
  4. Like
    Steve reacted to Drhoz in Quote of the Week from my gaming group...   
    Champions : Return to Edge City : Granny Kickass
    Hero Shrew: I’ve stopped smashing as many walls when I fight, so I am taking that career advice I got to heart. Admittedly, I did try to smash Killzone with a park bench, but...
    Flux: Well, you were drugged to the eyeballs at the time.
    GM: That excuse will only work so many times.

    The problem this week is a jurisdictional one, specifically a hearing on who gets first dibs on the members of the psychic supervillain team PSI, who we’ve had a run-in with before, although the member we actually caught got away. The twist is that Hypnos’ mother Wanda Vanderschaff was a supervillain and has gone missing from the retirement home she was living at. This has also surprised Hypnos who had no idea his mum was ever a villain.

    GM: The superhuman community assumed she had retired because her powers were fading. The staff of the Assisted Living community certainly saw no sign of her superpowers, except perhaps in her alcohol consumption.

    Naturally everybody is expecting some kind of attack on the hearing, even if it’s a rival group trying to take out PSI while they’re in one place.

    Hero Shrew: Is there anything we need to know about her if she DOES show up at the hearing? Osteoporosis or anything?
    GM: No, she was a very active woman for her age.
    Flux: Minor Brick?
    GM: Used to be.
    Hero Shrew: Oh good, I can punch her with snapping her spine then.
    Flux, Allana, etc: NO
    GM: SHE’S A LITTLE OLD LADY. You could kill her with Casual Strength.

    Allana: She’s probably dosed herself with something to restore her powers.
    Flux: Alcohol-fuelled superpowers, oh goody.

    The members of Quadrant have been asked to stay away for the day of the hearing, probably because there’s no point actually asking for trouble. We loiter a suburb away, instead, and happily our Crime Computer isn’t fooled by whatever goes down at the courthouse.

    Hardlight: I finish my coffee and nip into the lavatory to change into my costume.
    Hero Shrew OoC: ‘the coffee’s not that bad’
    GM: And Gareth is a minor celebrity - it’s going to go out on social media that Gareth Lowell has a weak bladder, from all the times he’s seen drinking coffee and suddenly running off into toilets.

    We converge on the courthouse, although while the Crime Computer says trouble is imminent, the rest of the media, Moreau guards, ECPD etc aren’t reporting anything unusual.

    Hero Shrew: The building doesn’t seem to be on fire or anything?
    Flux: It’s an invisible fire.
    Hero Shrew: Do we need invisible firefighters?
    Flux: They’re already here - they’re invisible.
    Hero Shrew: OK then

    Hardlight scans the area with radar and sonar, just in case. There’s a group of three people he can see just fine, but his radar sweeps right through them.

    Hero Shrew: Not invisible firefighters then.
    Hardlight: No. Exact opposite really.

    They’re not showing up on video footage either. We should probably tell Gun, the Thylacine sniper with the ECPD, and the Edge City police themselves, about these Persons of Interest.

    Allana: Hey, there’s three people opposite the courthouse that show up for Mk I Eyeballs and nothing else.

    None of them seem to be Granny Kickass, at least at first glance. But one of them might be her, better known as Doctor Bedlam, if she somehow de-aged herself a bit and spent a few months at the gym. We probably SHOULDN’T send a baseline human cop over to have a word.

    Hero Shrew: Maybe she only showed up to see her brat son get what she deserved.

    Three armoured convoys leave the building - only one of them actually carries the members of PSI, and we haven’t been told which, of course.

    Hardlight: I wonder if I should do something stupid.
    Allana: Hardlight, this is the rest of the team. Don’t do anything. You’ve been quiet for five minutes and we know what that means.

    We wait to see which convoy the trio follows. As it turns out, none of them, and they turn to leave on foot. Scooter follows the second convoy in the Qruiser, just in case. Allana and Fireflash move to apprehend Dr Bedlam and her associates, just in case.

    Hardlight: So we are doing the stupid thing.

    At least we have grounds to arrest her.

    GM: Put it this way - she’s not wanted for armed robbery. In Alaska.

    Fireflash: Doctor Bedlam, by the power invested in me by the State of California, we are taking you into custody. Please come quietly.
    Dr Bedlam: I didn’t slap around Sebastian Poe for his formula, just to come quietly.

    Hero Shrew does a quick U-turn and hurries back. It’s just as well Flux worked out some Psi-blocking stuff earlier, because we’re probably going to need it. Dr Bedlam’s associate with the sidecut haircut apparently has morphing armour under their street clothes, and can also turn invisible. They apparently also know that Fireflash is quite vulnerable to Stun attacks when she doesn’t have her forcefield up. Unfortunately for the bad guys, invisibility doesn’t work against Allana’s sonar.

    Hero Shrew: I attempt a Grab By on the GILF

    GM: YOU try finding a picture of an Amazonian GILF that isn’t porn or Queen Hippolyta.

    The third bad guy is another member of PSI, but something of a second-stringer. That doesn’t stop telepathically broadcast pain from being quite effective. He’s probably in Edge City for two reasons - whatever Dr Bedlam intended, and getting a cyber-implant to control his own agony.

    Dr Bedlam: Hold on there tiger, you can always take me out for dinner first.
    Hero Shrew: I’m a shrew, not a tiger.

    Dr Bedlam breaks the hold Scooter has on her arms, and contemptuously flicks him in the face. Evidently her power-set includes superhuman strength, because she destroys the psychic defence trinket Flux made for him.

    Dr Bedlam: Let’s get rid of this nasty thing.

    And now there’s screaming from back in the direction of the courthouse too. Flux teleports over to see how badly we’ve been distracted. There’s a bunch of killbots marching towards the building.

    Hardlight: Scooter! Go help Flux! Ok, old lady, let’s see how you like this! PHOTON WAVE CANNON!

    At least Scooter will be further away from whatever psychic bulls*** they have planned.

    Flux: Oh, so Hardlight’s order was actually deliberate.

    Dr Bedlam: I’m here for my boy and my boy alone. The rest can go rot. The longer this takes the longer Mayhem gets to play.
    Hardlight: You can join him soon enough! *PEWPEWPEW*

    There IS a Simon in the crowd near the courthouse, but it’s the Moreau community leader, not the psi-criminal. He’s doing a good job of directing the crowd away from robots, but that MIGHT be because he has his own psi-ability and is using it.

    Scooter punches one of the robots, tearing off the armour - and revealing it’s a perfectly ordinary industrial robot. They can’t even HARM humans. Clearly they’re a distraction. At least the bad guy rescue squad doesn’t last much longer, although we don’t know exactly how many members are hiding elsewhere.

    Hero Shrew: Just as well I checked the robots were too skinny to have people inside. Although I suppose they might have been powered by puppies on treadmills or something.

    At least we stopped Hypnos from being broken out.

    Flux: That’s because ClueBat did her job and hit the technomage, and I actually prepared psychic defences for us in advance.

    And Simon can speak to the media and explain that of course the Moreaus are interested in cases involving psychic abilities (since so many of us have psychic abilities).

    But none of that stops Dr Bedlam, Hypnos, and other PSI members escaping a few days later, somehow, despite all the precautions taken, like the actual key not being on the premises, and delayed camera feeds to frustrate technopaths. Apparently their guards thought it would be a good idea to open the cells.
  5. Like
    Steve reacted to Drhoz in Quote of the Week from my gaming group...   
    Champions : Return to Edge City : The Internet Is For Porn
    Investigating the case of somebody who has discovered the newest danger of online porn - apparently it’s getting your mind sucked out.

    Flux: Please don’t say that on social media. Anywhere. People will panic.
    Hero Shrew: Especially with the recent unexplained uptick in network efficiency and download speeds. Download your porn faster and get your brain sucked out even faster.

    Hardlight recruits our technomage, using Hardlight’s Telecom CEO civilian ID to make it official. The rest of his employees are used to odd behaviour from Gareth Lowell, including dragging cute new IT guys off into private rooms.

    We wonder whether Mechanon is responsible, or more likely one of the systems he set up and then left to its own devices after abandoning whatever plan he was pursuing at the time. Whatever is going on, among other things, has greatly increased the resources available to the Edge City network. Where is the new hardware coming from? And more importantly, where is it being put?

    Hardlight: Is this AI asking me for a job? He, or she?
    GM: Don’t assume gender. Although suggesting a non-binary ID for an artificial intelligence is another thing.
    Hardlight: Might be Trinary.
    GM: NO NO NO. If you end up with Trinary Integers it’ll get shortened to TITS. And then instead of bits and bytes, and so on, you’ll get Tits, Boobs and Nipples. THIS IS INEVITABLE.

    Apparently the extra servers have been concealed inside the monorail supports.

    Hardlight: Someone has been messing with the monorail system? Again? You can come along if you want.
    Hero Shrew: Sure, if you need something smashed.

    At least the pillars are city property, so we don’t need a warrant.

    Hardlight: Everybody remember - try not to break anything. Scooter.

    A third important question - who is installing the hardware? There’s Dysprosium Dawn of course, which would explain all the Jacob’s Ladders and plasma globes, but they’re all safely enclosed, which doesn’t sound like Dysprosium Dawn at all. Perhaps all the Sanity Liberation Front graffiti is a clue. Hardlight flies up the inside of the support to interrogate the people he can see lying about in computer chairs up the top.

    Hardlight: Hello Hello Hello, What’s all this then?
    GM: There’s no response.
    Hardlight: Oh. Hey guys, they’re all jacked in.

    It’s definitely an SLF cabal, going by the sheer amount of computer hardware piled up in here. And the life support equipment has been refilled daily, so there should be a few more SLF members showing up soon - or at least a drone. It’s the latter. Flux Mindscans it so we can follow it back to base. The SLF surrender the moment we show up on their doorstep.

    GM: They don’t DO physical.
    Allana: Welp, time to find out if this is a problem they’ve been CAUSING, or a problem they’ve been HAVING.
    GM: The member who opened the doors waves to his friends, and points at the five of you, and says ‘Help!’. He looks pretty happy actually.
    Allana: Ah - problem they’ve been having then.

    Hero Shrew: I take it somebody has been taking advantage of your network upgrade.
    SLF: What? What upgrade? AGH! So THAT’S why they uploaded it! WE didn’t do anything!

    Apparently they’ve been working on Beowolf code to better network their resources, and bodged together something that worked.

    SLF: And then THESE idiots uploaded it as open source!

    They’ve been trying hard to deal with the problem, but the way that cabals keep going offline because their brains are all now online, doesn’t help.

    SLF: Why do you think we haven’t slept! We’ve been up for days just to keep the drones supplied!

    And when one of the members tried to personally jack in to locate the problem, he got booted off again with serious electrical burns. And when they tried to do it remotely, through a drone, the drone got melted into modern sculpture.

    Flux: Should we call the emergency services?
    Allana: That IS what the emergency services are for - saving peoples lives.
    SLF: Well, yes, we don’t want our guys dying.

    One of the SLF members blames it on some Dysprosium Dawn chips they added to their cyberbrains, that were supposed to error-check both the cyborg network and the meat-brain, but since two of the conscious members have the same chips and are fine that might be a red herring. And the first guy we found didn’t have the chip.

    At least the SLF don’t have to worry about legal ramifications of anything Flux learns.

    Allana: Since anything we learn was essentially learned by telepathy.
    Fireflash: Unless it’s covered by the Doctrine of Inevitable Discovery.
    Hero Shrew: Hmm?
    Fireflash: It doesn’t matter if the evidence was found illegally if it would have been stumbled over by somebody eventually.
    Hero Shrew: Like the first time somebody looked inside one of the pylons?
    Fireflash: … true.
    GM: They do still do maintenance on the pylons. The city is still working on the assumption that they’ll eventually get the money to actually put something on the monorail pylons.

    And where are all the uploaded minds going? Perhaps we should ask the other information service companies in Edge City.

    Hardlight: Maybe we can just ask Infocorp nicely?
    GM: What, that somebody is storing stuff on their data farms? WITHOUT PAYING???
    Flux: Might want to be careful how you word that. We don’t want them checking their computers for unauthorised data and start deleting people.

    Of course if we tell the Corporate Oversight Committee first, if one of the telecoms DOES delete an unknown number of minds off their servers, the rest of the companies will have the moral and more importantly legal high ground. Not least because whatever happened counts as abduction, even if it was just a mind.

    Flux: As members of the police force, we’re requesting your assistance in recovering these individuals.

    It does help that Quadrant includes a tech expert, a medical expert, a face, and a member who is a tech CEO in RL. Scooter is mostly just along as Gareth Lowell’s bodyguard. Hopefully we’re intimidating enough that nobody will start jacking people out of the servers. And if they find the missing minds and don’t report it, they’re party to the abduction.

    Of course, there is the problem that Edge City has excellent data connections to the Valley, San Francisco, and so forth. What if the minds go further?

    Gareth Lowell: We are not disabling the main internet backbone to the rest of the world, thank you.

    But none of the companies are going to let Flux anywhere near their servers, because they suspect he’s a cyberpath.

    GM: If you even show up at their door, even offering to help them, they’ll hold out a hand and say ‘Warrant’. Secure data storage if one of their business claims.

    On the other hand, since everybody who got their brains slurped up was on a hardline connection at the time, it should be relatively straightforward to locate the missing minds. Indeed, the problem seems to be concentrated on only a few of the companies - but has already hijacked most of the traffic out along the internet backbone to Millennium City.

    Allana: It’s the only other city in the mainland US with a big enough tech infrastructure.
    Hardlight: We’d better let the Tech Supers in Millenium City know.
    GM: What, Defender? You don’t know that he’s James Harmon III, CEO of Harmon Industries, and also the leader of the Champions. He’s already looking into it. When you call him, he can go ‘Oh good, now I can look into it OFFICIALLY’.
    Allana: Well, at least a competent tech hero is on top of it.
    GM: …. Eh… He’s good at his power armour.
    Hero Shrew OoC: So Tony Stark without the alcoholism?

    GM: You hear about what is happening in Millennium City with the Champions when the news breaks that SOCRATES is down.
    Fireflash: That’s not good.

    SOCRATES is the AI that pretty much runs Millennium City. The stored minds in Edge City have managed to DDOS one of the most intelligent systems on Earth. She may have turned herself off out of self-preservation.

    We managed to locate where all the data processing is happening - underground in one of the utility complexes in Bayside, near one of the data trunks leading out across the bay.

    Hardlight: Boot the doors down and lets go.

    GM: It’s classic cyber-horror. Cables everywhere.
    Flux: A Network supervisor’s nightmare.
    GM: Oh yeah, no cable management at all. And wired into it all is a vaguely female shape, and Allana can hear it screaming in ultrasonic, over and over. ‘Why won’t you love me! Why won’t you love me!’
    Allana: Oh dear.

    It certainly has bladed wings. And occasionally intersperses the scream with ‘love me and you can be like me!’ Luckily it seems to be completely oblivious that we’re in the room.

    Allana: Do we have enough evidence to arrest it for abduction?
    GM: Absolutely.
    Allana: Ma’am, can you understand me?

    It’s head whips around to look at Allana, then dismisses her with ‘You can’t love me.’

    Flux: Because you’re female?
    Hero Shrew: Nope. *taps the side of his skull*
    Headlight: Oh right - only people with cyberbrains.
    Entity: ‘I showed them the way, but they won’t finish walking my path.’
    Hero Shrew: So… do I go in there and start pulling out cables now?
    Flux: Oh hell no.

    It looks at Flux more closely.

    Entity: You might be able to love me.

    Flux: If you love them you should set them free.
    Entity: *Unpronounceable* loves me and hates me and sent me away. You do not set them free.
    Allana OoC: Yes you do or they end up being Dependent Non-Player Characters.

    Hero Shrew: Why is SOCRATES hiding from you?
    Entity: She doesn’t love me.

    Hero Shrew notices a screen nearby that is apparently subtitling everything the entity is saying. Apparently *Unpronounceable* is Mother/Sister.

    Allana: Ah, she’s the Alabamabot.

    Entity: *Unpronounceable* failed to shed her flesh / but did / and sent me away.
    Hardlight: And where is she now?
    Entity: In the City of the Machine.

    Well, that identifies *Unpronounceable* as the Engineer, a dangerously unpredictable entity that sometimes repairs Mechanon, and sometimes does things like build space elevators into the Earth’s magnetic field because space elevators are cool. And does things like create this entity, apparently.

    GM: Oh, and she tried to hit on Mechanon. Whereupon Mechanon hit her. And he built a Cease and Desist into her systems after that. She hates him now - it was going to be some kind of strong emotional response, either way.

    Flux: What am I supposed to do here? I don’t want to stick my mind in crazy.
    GM: What she really wants if for you to turn her on.

    Entity: Why don’t they love me?
    Flux: It’s kind of something built into biological brains. You have to give them a chance to get to know you, and see if a relationship blossoms from there.
    Allana: Well, there are people that have married their cars, or the Eiffel Tower.
    Hero Shrew: But they can’t love you back.
    Allana: In this case she’s the Eiffel Tower.
    Hardlight: What is love?
    GM: AGH! You KNOW how my brain works! YOU RICKROLL’d the GM!

    Entity: How do I make them love me?
    Allana: Don’t ask me, I’ve never had a successful relationship.
    Hero Shrew: Well you could try dating instead of kidnapping.
    Entity: I did!!!!
    Hero Shrew: Oh is that what you were doing on the computers?
    Entity: On… the.. What? *freezes up*
    Flux: Well done, Hero Shrew has broken the computer lady.
    Hero Shrew: Hooray, I’ve Kirked it.

    It isn’t locked up for long.

    Flux: You have to put them back in their bodies, and let them go find love.
    Entity: Bodies? BoDiES?
    Flux: Yes, they-
    Entity: TheY’rE BaCk. *curls into foetal position*
    Hero Shrew: Didn’t she know they were meatbags?
    GM: Oh, she knew. You’ve just managed to navigate through the entire dialogue tree, somehow.
    Flux: Do we have any therapists on call? Maybe SOCRATES can help.
    SOCRATES: I’m not touching that.

    Hero Shrew: I’m not sure how we managed to avoid a fight there.
    GM: It was Flux’s exact working - he told her to let them go find love. And finding love was her reason for existing. Stopping anybody else from doing it is a violation of her central utility function.
  6. Like
    Steve reacted to mattingly in Quote of the Week from my gaming group...   
    I'm a couple sessions into a Starfinder campaign.
    I play a rat-man with a combat computer in his brain.
    I was captured and handcuffed (they even had a three-prong cuff to trap my prehensile tail), along with our human psychic. We were trapped in an elevator at gunpoint. Our psychic can fire off two brain blasts a day, and hits one of our captors hard.I scream about a headache, too, to possibly confuse the other guy, but it didn't work. He's about to shoot our psychic, so I bite down on his gunhand. Chaos ensues, with the two of us doing surprisingly well for being cuffed and weaponless.
    Earlier, our lizard-man Solarian (Jedi with the serial numbers filed off) has been knocked out by some heavy weaponry. Four had carried/dragged him (he's large) to the elevator doors, when the doors opened with ratman and psychic chewing through their other two guys. Unbeknownst to them, our lizard-man had been slowly recovering, and was powering up his nova blast that takes his three prep rounds before he can turn into a living fireball for one round (and would also drop him unconscious again). 
    Since the guards were all facing the elevator commotion, they didn't see him stand up and explode. He came close to knocking them all out, and left them all singed.
    So I'm pinned under the guard I was biting; lizard-man took himself out; psychic boy was all out of mental mojo. We're still facing five armed injured thugs.
    So I use my brain computer to hijack lizard-man's comm unit, and start a countdown.
    "Secondary detonation in 10... 9... 8..."
    I can't believe it, but it actually worked!
  7. Like
    Steve reacted to Killer Shrike in Be At Ease Campaign Arcs   
    I'm hoping to resume running sessions on Jan 11th if everyone can make it.
  8. Haha
    Steve reacted to Drhoz in Quote of the Week from my gaming group...   
    Playing as an additional PC, for a girl and her mum that want to learn how to play D&D - 
    In thick Russian accent “Ey... am Victor the Decapitator... do not be alarm ... is family name. Poppa vas Victor the Mad. Grandpoppa vas Victor the Butcher of Blevmoi. You may call me ‘the Decapitator’”
    “When all you have is axe, every problem look like neck”
  9. Like
    Steve got a reaction from King Red in Be At Ease Campaign Arcs   
    I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas. See you in January,
  10. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Killer Shrike in Be At Ease Campaign Arcs   
    I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas. See you in January,
  11. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Scything in Be At Ease Campaign Arcs   
    I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas. See you in January,
  12. Like
    Steve reacted to Drhoz in Quote of the Week from my gaming group...   
    We’re down a player this week.

    GM: OK - Flux is busy - which is amazingly convenient for me, because if any of you were going to notice…

    But Fireflash still notices that she’s seen the same van outside her home, outside college, as she’s leaving college, and while she’s on patrol.

    Hero Shrew: So they didn’t go for your Generic Nondescript Van?
    GM: They did, but they kept the same number plate all day.

    She surreptitiously messages Allana to rendezvous with her and approach the van.

    GM: ‘Well, that’s not in the game plan - that’s not in the game plan at all! ‘ *van attempts to escape*
    Fireflash: Wow. They really think they can outrun us, in city traffic.

    Hero Shrew: Well, I could have stopped them.
    Hardlight: But you’re not there.
    Hero Shrew: I’m probably asleep somewhere under a pile of mealworm bar wrappers.

    Allana can also hear a helicopter nearby - which is odd, since she can SEE empty sky.

    Allana: We’ve also got an invisible helicopter.
    Fireflash: Where?

    Fireflash uses an Area-of-Effect Flash Attack on the appropriate block of atmosphere.

    GM: That annoys them a little - since their last encounter with you they’ve hardened their electronic defences, but you still knock some of their systems.
    Fireflash: Well, that tells me who it is.
    GM: They decloak.
    Allana: It’s the Skullocopter, isn’t it.
    GM: Yep. And the Doomtroopers have wings now.
    Fireflash: They always get an upgrade. So, do we contact Gareth and Scooter now, or do they hear about it on social media first?
    GM: No need, NOW your crime computer has actually noticed what’s happening and sends out push notifications. Mere surveillance vans aren’t much of a threat.

    Hardlight: Monica, hold all my calls! *dashes off*
    GM: What, straight out the door?
    Hardlight: No, to my... thing.
    Hero Shrew: Had a Bat-pole installed, did you?
    GM: On of the advantages of turning invisible is that you can get into a closet, jump back out in costume and say “ironnnnny!” But in this case you’ve just dashed off to the men’s room.
    Monica: I keep telling him he needs prunes, or at least more fibre in his diet.

    The Doomtropers might actually be a problem for the two superheroines, especially if Killzone is around somewhere. The Skullocopter getting its targeting systems back online is also a problem. On the other hand, the Doomtroopers are relying on social media for their information on Fireflash, so when she starts charging up a power she’s never used near a camera before, they have a problem. Especially when it starts draining ambient light as a power supply - sudden deepening darkness is always ominous. The subsequent coherent light attack neatly cuts the rotor off the Skullocopter.

    GM: Unfortunately that leaves the rotor pinwheeling off towards traffic.

    It’s about now that Scooter finally arrives, landing in the middle of the ongoing combat.

    GM: ‘Oh, Skull-guys! With wings. That’s new.’ And Allana’s holding a Skullcopter with one hand and the rotor with the other. And she’s flying too, so +20 Offensive Presence thanks to the Gainax Effect. And look at that - somebody with a jetpack carrying somebody else, who is carrying a bow. That explains why Killzone hasn’t shown up until now - this was SUPPOSED to be an ambush.

    One of the Doomtroopers has the misfortune to be on the ground, a short distance from Scooter, and despite frantic efforts to get airborne again when he sees the Moreau coming, gets one-punched into immobility. Elsewhere, the Unnaturalist is dropped off to start sniping with her bow.

    Another Doomtrooper: *shoots at Scooter and misses*
    Hero Shrew: You’re next.
    Aforementioned Doomtrooper: That’s fair.

    Killzone and the Unnaturalist are both rather more dangerous than the chopper and Killzone’s mooks, and they both have quite a good idea about our powers and vulnerabilities. As demonstrated when Scooter is promptly rendered unconscious, shortly followed by Allana, and Fireflash (briefly). Happily, Hardlight arrives and actually manages to hit something with his retaliation, to general astonishment. The Unnaturalist’s automated escape system kicks in, whisking her off to a presumably extended stay in hospital. Killzone comes around, summons her fusion pistols back to her hands, and tries to finish off Hardlight and Fireflash. She wasn’t prepared for the fact that Hardlight’s armour is actually overlapping forcefields. She certainly wasn’t prepared for a park bench to the skull either, so it’s just as well for her that Hero Shrew’s earlier attack missed. Still, Fireflash, Allana and Scooter are soon well and truly subdued.


    Two of the troopers are running up to secure Fireflash and goop Allana with quick-setting metal foam.

    Killzone: Hire me to rescue her. *blasts Hardlight with both pistols*
    Hardlight: Just as well I have lots of money.

    To everybody’s shock, Allana breaks free of her entanglement, and grabs Killzone. The surviving Doomtroopers take aim, and propose a hostage swap.

    Doomtroopers: Let her go and we’ll leave.
    Allana: …
    Doomtrooper: Also she’s about to crash (her biobooster system is about to wear off)
    Allana: Well, OK.
    Doomtroopers: Can we take our guys from the wreck too?

    This is the third time Killzone and her troopers have tried to kidnap Fireflash. Their contract to ARGENT must be becoming quite the liability for them.

    Hardlight: Did you want to be kidnapped this time?
    Fireflash: No, that was the plan last time.

    Flux: Is the Skullcopter intact?
    Allana: Pretty much. But I did throw the rotor at Killzone - the world’s biggest shuriken.

    There’s always the possibility that the mercs can track the wreckage to where-ever we take it, so taking it back to our base is probably a bad idea. Still, there is that LowellTech warehouse OVER our base.

    It’s also likely that the bought their surveillance van off Weyland Talos, going by the technology inside it. Not entirely surprising. Nor is the evidence that they’re still operating from a submarine. PRIMUS will be more interested to know when mercenaries are operating on land anyway. Discussions of Underwater travel reveal Centurion has a fancy set of underwater armor that can hit 600 atmospheres without imploding.

    Hardlight: Centurion.. I hate that guy.
    Hero Shrew: Why *do* you hate him, anyway?
    Hardlight: ...I have no idea.

    Hardlight’s company markets some amazing electronics, but is poorly marketed, and prices at way under what they could get away with.

    Hardlight: Well, there is that whole ‘make the world a better place’ thing.
    Hero Shrew: He’s no Mr Fantastic.
    GM: Yeah, Gareth actually shares his technology.

    Later that evening, Allana gets an unexpected visitor at her clinic - One of Killzone's Doomtroopers. They're here to complain about the contract the mercs have with whoever they’re working for. It’s nearly exclusive, and they can’t get out of it until they deliver Fireflash to them.

    Doomtrooper: And we don’t break contract.
    Hero Shrew OoC: Wow. And what did you do to the team lawyer that signed that on your behalf?

    Allana: Well, thanks for dropping by, hopefully I’ll never see you again.
    Hero Shrew OoC: ‘I’ll probably kill you in the morning’

    Fireflash reluctantly agrees to let herself be kidnapped (and not tell Killzone that one of her troopers came around begging us to cooperate) - but we all remember what happened the last time we tried this.

    Hero Shrew OoC: Maybe you shouldn’t involve me in the planning at all this time.

    GM: The other reason the Doomtroopers want to go with this idea is because they’re sick and tired of the Naturalist pissing and moaning at them. She’s blaming them for the last time the kidnapping failed.

    GM: I’ve just realised that every time Nocturne has had to deal with human-sized places, she has to bend over the counter to talk to people. ‘Eyes are up here, dude’.

    A few weeks later…

    One of Flux’s co-workers from his civilian ID hasn’t turned up to work for a few days, and his phone is apparently disconnected. We have a betting pool on what happened to him, which include ‘head in a jar’. Hardlight wins the bet with ‘on life support’, since he’s in his tiny capsule apartment, hooked up to a computer via his cyberbrain, and his health is currently stable but his life support systems are running low. What the hell is going on in that computer that he hasn’t moved in days? Flux could certainly use his cybertheurgy to go in and see, but the cyberbrain implant might notice the intrusion.

    Allana: This is where humans live? I thought Moreaus have it bad.

    Flux goes to stand in the shower to give Allana room to come in, and discovers where his co-worker was keeping the server stack. It’s cobbled together, true, but a formidably powerful machine, nonetheless. Flux and Allana discover that the lights are on, but nobody’s home, as the man’s consciousness seems to have been uploaded elsewhere. Quite possibly forcefully.

    Flux: I’m gonna need to make a Midnight phone call. *ring ring*
    Hardlight: bwuhh.. What is it? I was just about to go to bed…
    Flux: One of my Co-workers has been Uploaded to the internet.
    Hardlight: ….I’m gonna need some coffee, aren’t I?
    Flux: Pick some up for me and Nocturne on your way?

    Investigating the man’s logs, Flux discovers that the man was engaged in VR cybersex before his mind was uploaded to the cloud.

    Allana: He’s been attacked by a Cyber-Succubus!
    Hardlight: I’ve heard of “Blowing your brains out”, but this takes things to a whole new level!

    The next morning, Gareth gets an email from the Corporate Advisory Council, congratulating all the telecommunications companies about how the city’s had a massive increase in network stability, and transfer speeds. Much to the confusion of the CEOs of said telcos, since they had nothing to do with it.  
  13. Like
    Steve got a reaction from bigbywolfe in Disney+   
    I'm signed up for the long haul.
    Verizon gave out a free year to all of their customers with unlimited data, I paid in advance for two years and got a third year for free when they did a sale a month or so ago.
    I am covered for the next four years of Disney+ content releases.  
  14. Thanks
    Steve reacted to ScottishFox in Evermist?   
    My group finished the Evermist adventure a couple of weeks ago.
    I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
    It was weird and alien enough to put a little fear back into the hearts of the otherwise nigh-invincible late game heroes (350+ points each).
    I would have given it 5 stars, but it really needs a little work on the player handouts and artwork.
    That being said - I would recommend it if you're looking for a Ravenloft - Blair Witch vibe setting for your FH campaign.
  15. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Scything in Be At Ease Campaign Arcs   
    I'm okay with running NPCs if there's not really anything for Beretta to do other than recover in a hospital bed, since I get experience even if I'm not playing my main character.
    I'll do my best to hinder Jack & Drew with shooting skills worthy of a graduate of the illustrious Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.  
  16. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Killer Shrike in Be At Ease Campaign Arcs   
    I'm okay with running NPCs if there's not really anything for Beretta to do other than recover in a hospital bed, since I get experience even if I'm not playing my main character.
    I'll do my best to hinder Jack & Drew with shooting skills worthy of a graduate of the illustrious Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.  
  17. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Durzan Malakim in Does A Character Need A Registration To Be Superhero?   
    I've recently started reading an interesting superhero fiction series called "Wearing The Cape" which discusses aspects of registration in a world where superpowers suddenly appeared a decade ago in a world that was normal before then.
    When that event happened, governments around the world reacted in different ways. Some were more accepting of the sudden presence of superhumans and some were harsher, trying to kill any they found. In some areas of the world, there are wars still being fought by different groups for control of those regions and many governments collapsed overnight.
    Registration came about in that world's version of the United States as a means of helping normals accept people with powers, because it was terrifying to them to suddenly find themselves living in a world where the police and army were now supplanted by people who didn't have to listen to the government if they didn't want to. One of the first and most powerful superhumans, Atlas, in order to try and put a friendlier face on his kind, put on a homemade superhero outfit and went out helping people in trouble and assisting where he could. Others followed his example, kind of like how DC had Superman as the first superhero.
    In that world, superhumans in the United States work as part of an auxiliary force assisting police and firefighters. Not everyone wants to "wear the cape" though, and many superhumans try retain their normal lives after experiencing their empowerment event, if they still look human. Some people change too much to be recognized as human when they become empowered.
  18. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Durzan Malakim in Be At Ease Campaign Arcs   
    I'm okay with running NPCs if there's not really anything for Beretta to do other than recover in a hospital bed, since I get experience even if I'm not playing my main character.
    I'll do my best to hinder Jack & Drew with shooting skills worthy of a graduate of the illustrious Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.  
  19. Sad
    Steve reacted to Durzan Malakim in Be At Ease Campaign Arcs   
    I'm unavailable for our November 16th game as I'll be attending another social event with my wife. I'm sure the ensuing shoot-em-up-special will be dramatic and cause for much regret. I'll see you fine folk again for the game on November 30th. Try and avoid a TPK.
  20. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Vanguard in Hyperspace Hibernation   
    Yes, pretty much this.
    Here is my current write-up for the two types of hyperdrive that are available.
    Class I Hyperdrive:  Teleportation 3m, MegaScale (1m = 1 lightyear; can be scaled down to 100 km/m; +4 1/4) (16 Active Points); Extra Time (1 Week, for full journey; -4 1/2), Increased Endurance Cost (x5 END; -2), OIF Bulky (-1), Requires A Roll (Navigation (Hyperspace); Must be made each use; -1), Side Effects, Side Effect occurs automatically whenever Power is used (3d6 Mental Transform (Major) unless in cryosleep; -1), Cannot Be Safely Used Inside A Gravity Well (-1/2). Real Cost: 1 point.
    Class II Hyperdrive:  Teleportation 7m, MegaScale (1m = 1 lightyear; can be scaled down to 100 km/m; +4 1/4) (37 Active Points); Extra Time (1 Week, for full journey; -4 1/2), Increased Endurance Cost (x5 END; -2), OIF Bulky (-1), Requires A Roll (Navigation (Hyperspace); Must be made each use; -1), Side Effects, Side Effect occurs automatically whenever Power is used (3d6 Mental Transform (Major) unless in cryosleep; -1), Cannot Be Safely Used Inside A Gravity Well (-1/2). Real Cost: 3 points.
    Cryosleep Module:  Life Support  (Eating: Character does not eat; Longevity: 1600 Years; Self-Contained Breathing) (17 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1), Extra Time (One Minute; Only To Activate). Real Cost: 6 points.
    The Class II hyperdrives are meant for military-type vessels. They represent the current top-end speed in the setting.
  21. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Vanguard in Hyperspace Hibernation   
    Thanks for this.
    Traveling through hyperspace while awake results in the victim developing epilepsy, a raging insanity or falling into a coma rather than death, so I think I'll just make it a Mental Transform into one of those three states. It's probably going to be a -1/2 or -1 Limitation.
    Explored space is not very huge, and hyperspace travel is not really fast, maybe about where Traveler is at: a parsec or two per week. Colonized space (the Core) reaches out about four parsecs from Sol, the Outer Rim goes out another six parsecs and is made up of mining outposts and other resource extraction sites as well as scientific research bases and start-up colonies, a barely-civilized zone reminiscent of the Wild West or maybe some places shown in the Firefly TV series. Beyond the Outer Rim is the Frontier, around ten parsecs or so deep, rarely traveled and home to only mining installations and scientific outposts.
    The feel I am trying for is something like you saw in the original two Alien movies and the gritty space-western Outland, mixed with elements of Blade Runner. No blasters or laser guns, although a form of artificial gravity exists as an offshoot of the technology that gave mankind FTL travel. I'm leaning towards there being no aliens, just artificial beings like replicants alongside humans, but I'm still undecided.
  22. Thanks
    Steve got a reaction from Killer Shrike in Arc 4: Qlippothic Philosophic   
    It sounds like a great night was had by all, with Beretta participating in a "Weekend At Bernie's" way. I'm sorry I had to miss it, but I should be able to play next session.
  23. Like
    Steve reacted to Durzan Malakim in Arc 4: Qlippothic Philosophic   
    I liked our big reveal this last session. If Chthonic elder things can't be number one in your life, then L'Deux on you. I think we set a record on party splits this session, but fortunately no one in the party was actually split. I look forward to the written recap. Here are my favorite highlights of the night:
    Drew's magic bullet against the Innati/demon Joey subduing the demon as only he can Jack being a big damn hero, rescuing Baretta, and giving her a healing potion Jack going down fighting in the El Dorado stairway The Drew and Jack buddy cop action movie. Drew: "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..." [I know you used another quote, but I forgot the exact one] Murgatroyd's discovery of Keyser "L'Deux" Soze. "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." Kilroy's "Ask me about Belfagor" phone call to Section M. "Is this about Belfagor, Mr. Kilroy?" Murgatroyd having to drag Baretta to the teleportation gate so Joey can keep "subduing" the demon. Murgatroyd: "Baretta is surprisingly muscular." The gunfight at the Quantico corral. "Was that Albert Armos?" Joey taking a bullet for Murgatroyd and then asking for a raise Idris the wizard throwing sass at the hunters. "How were you restraining the demon?" After hearing the explanation: "Of course hunters would use such crudely practical means. I've got this."
  24. Like
    Steve reacted to Killer Shrike in Arc 4: Qlippothic Philosophic   
    Session went off without a hitch last night. @Steve was unable to make it due to a family obligation, but it worked out as Beretta was rendered comatose at the end of the last session. Jack the valorous bravely lept from banisters and scaled balconies to thread his way past obstacles to get to her and force one of his healing potions down her throat to save her from deaths door, but she was still affected by some kind of infernal infection and remained unconscious. 
    Meanwhile Drew, Joey, and Killroy worked together to pummel the Red Hand's daemonsoul into unconsciousness. Murgatroyd took control and ordered the team to flee before the rest of the Red Hand cultists could free themselves from Jack's alchemical glue bomb, amid out-of-character riffs around the table on the Gandalfian "Flee you fools!" moment. Jack loaded Beretta into the back of her Mustang and fished around in her pockets for the keys, he drove the Mustang with Killroy in the passenger seat. Drew drove the rented SUV with Murgy in the passenger seat, and Joey in the back with the daemonsoul administering Haymakers at a regular cadence to keep the daemonsoul knocked out.
    Killroy knew of a rundown and vacant warehouse near the municipal airport that he had assessed as a possible location for a field office, and the group went there. Murgy created a mystical warding circle around the daemonsoul, sure that it was only a matter of time before the Red Hand attempted to find her via scrying. Joey stayed in the circle with the daemonsoul and continued to periodically punch her.
    Beretta was unresponsive and Jack's healing potions had done all they could; she needed medical attention. However, given the unnatural nature of her injuries, they team could not just take her to the hospital. The decision was made to pull out to Quantico via Murgy t-port, but the team had left luggage at two different hotels. Drew and Jack took the SUV and headed out to the first hotel...the one whose management had hired the team in the first place...the El Dorado...with the intent of Drew gathering up all the stuff the team had left in their rooms there, then driving across the river and repeating the process at the other hotel...the Margaritaville...and then returning to the warehouse so that the team could teleport out.
    Due to complications from a prior session, when Jack was possessed by a Guede Loa and made a rather public scene of himself at the El Dorado casino, Jack waited in the SUV while Drew went up the back elevator to the teams rooms on the 3rd floor. To pass the time Jack cleaned his pistol and fiddled about. After a while, it dawned on him that Drew had been gone awhile. He waited a little longer...but eventually he had to admit something was wrong. Drew should have been back by now.
    Jack called Drew's phone but it went to voicemail. Without pausing to call back to the rest of the team, Jack left the SUV and entered the hotel from the garage entrance and headed toward a bank of elevators. No one else was in sight, but Jack did notice a couple of bubble-style security cameras in corners...he was definitely on camera. He pushed the button for an up elevator and after a few seconds one arrived with a "ding" but as the doors opened Jack felt a deep sense of unease, a cold tingling reptile brain dread, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. He opted to try the stairs instead. Feeling no such emanation in the stairwell,  he ascended to the 3rd floor and found it empty of any people.
    Getting a bit of an Overlook Hotel feeling, Jack took a pause to remember which room was Drew's, then walked down the silent empty hall to knock on that door. Receiving no answer, he looked both ways...noticing a couple of security cameras along the wall, shrugged and kicked in Drew's hotel room door. Entering the room, Jack couldn't tell if there were signs of disarray per se because Drew is notoriously a bit messy...nothing obvious like a overturned lamp shade stood out. Jack looked back out the door down the hallway...still no one. Not even someone poking their head out to see what all the noise was from Jack having kicked in the door. Very odd.
    Jack took out his cell phone and called Drew again...and heard the rhythmic buzzing of a phone on vibrate from under the bed. Allowing the door to close, he walked over and peered under the bed and found Drew's cell phone. Looking to the other side, he saw Drew's pistol underneath a chair in the corner which he retrieved...finding it to be in working condition but with some kind of ichorous slime residue on it. Pulling back the drawn curtains Jack discovered a rounded crack in the side of one of the window panes like the half-impression of a head. Eyeballing the physical geometry of the bed, chair, and window it kind of looked like maybe someone...perhaps Drew...had been knocked off their feet while standing on the window side of the bed...perhaps with pistol drawn and in the process of trying to call an ally...and slammed their head partially into the window's jam and partially into the glass before falling unconscious onto the floor...phone and gun tumbling away from the impact. 
    On high alert, Jack tried to call Murgy...but his phone suddenly had no bars despite having just had a good connection a moment ago. Jack heard something moving around outside the pushed closed door...he had kicked in the latch so anyone or thing could just walk in by nudging it open. Glancing at the window and down the three stories to the ground Jack briefly considered jumping and hoping for the best but was unsure if he could survive. 
    A knock at the door was followed by "Mr. Maywood? Please come to the door sir.". Taking one last glance out the window and not liking his odds, Jack grimaced and headed over to the door.
    >>> More to come <<<
    Everyone present had a strong night of roleplaying, and as the group separated and headed in different directions, most of the players had a chance to chew some scenery in focus scenes; each of them received 4 XP, and the group voted Drew MVP for the session.
  25. Like
    Steve reacted to Killer Shrike in Narrative Snippets   
    The puzzle box refused to yield its secrets to the young wizard, as he sat scowling upon it in an overstuffed tufted leather club chair before a banked fire, smoking jacketed and slippered. In the corner a wooden cabineted television, a very recent and somewhat gauche addition to the richly appointed study, reeled grainy color images of a new show...Lucy something or other. In a moment of reflection the young wizard imagined the quirked eyebrow and paternal "suggestion" he would have received were his father present to free himself from distractions and focus on the task literally at hand...opening the box...instead of watching "that infernal contraption".
    The box was cube shaped, 9'' square, each side variously bearing geared cogs, buttons, sliders, knobs, panels, or other manipulatives. Standard puzzle box fare and perfectly mundane. However, such mechanical impediments were of little consequence compared to the complex layering of mystical wards, traps, binds, and riddles the object was festooned with.
    His father had made this in a mere afternoon and an evening before departing on a junket, a casual effort for him that would take even most master wizards the better part of a year and great planning to accomplish, and left it for the young wizard to solve in his absence. All his father would say was that he'd be in the budding state of Israel, founded a mere few years ago, for a month or so to "keep a steady hand on the tiller", and that the puzzle box would "keep you busy" until his return. Four days later our young wizard had made some progress, mostly in the first day, but had become stumped on a clever combination of a magical cryptogram intertwined with a multi-step mechanical release for a hatch on one of the sides. It seemed to require him to partially unravel the mystical construct, move a piece, re-weave the construct, move a different piece, and then repeat that basic sequence several times. One wrong move, and the puzzle box would magically reset. Starting over and going through the entire sequence from the beginning took at least two hours just to get back to the same step in the process, an arduous and aggravating exercise even for someone inured to practice and repetition.
    After half a dozen wrong moves today alone, a low throbbing headache competed with general frustration and the long suffering low-level resentment the wizard sometimes felt about his life situation. A late-thirties academic of some prowess, by societal norms he should be an independent man with his own career and household, perhaps with a family or at least a wife, and entirely out from under the shadow of his father. He might perhaps be a professor or a writer of serious literature. But other than the outward charade of normalcy maintained to hide in plain sight, there was nothing normative about his actual situation as a journeyman wizard subordinated to a vastly more capable master who also happened to be a doting and overprotective parent. Even per the traditional journeyman-master relationship the young wizard should be striking out on his own initiative at least from time to time, but he was still treated more like a senior apprentice. It was stifling. Nearly suffocating at times. 
    Finally, with a grimace he gave up for the nonce, put the puzzle down upon a side table next to his chair, deactivated the amulet that allowed him to see supernatural auras, and sprang to his feet filled with pent up frustration and a desire to leave the house. In an act of mini-rebellion he decided on the spot to do something his father would strongly disapprove of...visit a den of iniquity, risking injury to his finely trained hands with ill-advised physical activity, possibly even polluting his finely trained mind with cheap alcohol and cigarettes, and squandering his finely trained social graces by rubbing elbows with the hoi palloi of less monied folk.
    He was going bowling!
    It was a secret pleasure which he only rarely got the opportunity to indulge in on the few occasions when father was away. He was unable to join a league and had no friends, but just getting a solo lane and allowing himself to be in the company of other people doing something...well...normal...was sufficiently thrilling. He even had a pair of shoes and a bowling ball hidden away in his room, and several bowling shirts and slacks which were charmingly cheap and common compared to his usual attire of bespoke suits and respectable evening wear.
    The headache was already giving way to excitement as he left the study and ascended the stairs to don his illicit bowling garb. He did not notice several of the elements of the puzzle box, magical and mundane, changing after his back was turned... 
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