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About JackValhalla

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    Rehabilitated Munchkin
  • Birthday 10/15/1977

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  1. This week's session played over Roll20. <On finding out that local law requires cutting off a thief's hand for a first offense> Assassin-subclass Rogue: Oh man I'm sure glad that I'm just a professional killer and not a pickpocket. The eldritch knight can't show his face in town, but his shield was recently broken. For reasons that defy all sense, the cleric and druid have decided that this shield -must- be repaired, not replaced. They polymorph the eldritch knight into a rat, keep him in a bag, and go to the armorer. They work out all the details for payment, materials, delivery, they come up with alibis and needlessly complicated stories of how it came to be broken in the first place. Shopkeep: Okay, so where's the shield. Druid and Cleric: stare dumb at each other. DM: was it on the Knight when you polymorphed him? Cleric: ... yes. DM: So now it's part of him until he reverts to his own shape? Druid: ... Yes. Shopkeep: So... the shield? Cleric: Ah, we, uh, forgot it. We've got to run real quick, we'll bring it right back to you. DM: Okay, so you're looking for the beggar's dog. We're gonna take this quick and easy, just a couple of up-down investigation rolls. Give me all the results and we'll see how you do. Druid: Okay, so I bombed it. But, uh, I can use the probability warp of my clockwork pendant to change my roll to a ten, so... ten? Sorceror: I rolled a one. But, I have advantage because of this magic item, so .. a twenty. DM: Uh-huh. One more for each of you, you're getting close. Druid: A one. I'm spending inspiration to re-roll. And... a nineteen. DM: Double-You-Tee-Eff with these rolls. Sorceror: I know, right? Okay, that's a nineteen. DM: Roll again for your advantage, you may get a crit after all. Sorceror: Nope, it's a one. DM: Hmm. One more investigation roll. Either of you. Sorceror: That's a two, and... a four. Screw it, I'm spending the sorcery points to succeed automatically. DM: Fine. Okay. Let me describe what you see. First, have any of you seen the movie CATS? <Full round of horrified screeching and protests from all the players> No specific quote for this one, but the cleric blew out most of his good spell levels curing a homeless roughneck going through drug withdrawals and severe malnutrition. Asks the down-and-out-er how he came to be this way, NPC reveals that he used to be an acolyte of the evil god that is opposed to the cleric's god. Lots of pointed glaring at the DM over that. <Evil cultists barge into inn room, looking for good-aligned priest.> Warlock: What? Who? No, I'm... uh... Carrie. <gives name of prominent local family that is known by every resident of the town> other player: Good trope: when someone is just AGGRESSIVELY bad at lying. Druid: Oh, yeah, we'd love to help you find those good-aligned priests. Hey, Carrie, why don't you help these guys get some tea? Warlock: .. Druid: -Carrie-, go get them some tea. Warlock: ... Druid: -ahem-, -Carrie!- Warlock: Oh, me? other player: AGGRESSIVELY BAD AT LYING <good-aligned priest in the next room over tries to escape through the window, rolls a hilariously bad stealth check> DM: That's a loud crashing noise. <Simultaneously> Warlock: I throw myself down the stairs to cover up the noise. Sorceror: I cast minor illusion of a crash to cover up the noise. DM: So, let's look at this. The cultists have heard a loud crashing coming from this direction, this direction, and over here, all at the same time. Player: SO BAD AT LYING Cultists go to investigate the noises. Sorceror, Warlock and Druid all roll Deception checks. Druid rolls high af, convinces cultist that that busted window frame was always there. Sorceror rolls high af and convinces that cultist that he's a wild mage and always wakes up with a sound of thunder. Warlock rolls hilariously poorly, tells cultist she had never seen stairs before. Player: I'm dying.
  2. When Jeanetta Theodore developed powers of precognition she was a technician in a particle-acceleration lab. Some last-minute adjustments had needed to be made, and she was not behind all the proper shielding when the neutral-terrene matter flashed. All of time opened up before her, and the first thing she knew was that she was going to need a secret identity to accomplish all her goals. So she finished her shift, clocked out, handed in her resignation and created the mask and name of Ultimatum. She dabbled in some street crime-fighting by night, using her ability to foresee every threat and produce countermeasures, from stun grenades to a well-placed taser. By day she was a vicious day-trader, who built a fortune not by finding winners but by short-selling the business fronts of various villains and criminal organizations like VIPER. The short-sales made her a millionaire, then a multi-millionaire, and eventually a billionaire, while driving down the stock prices of those business fronts and cutting the profit margins of villains she had never met. If anyone ever did a full accounting, she had probably done more damage to Doctor Destroyer's schemes than any hero alive. And as her funding has increased, her gadget pool has moved from self-defense tools to super-science weapons. In combat she is untouchable, unflappable, and unpredictable. When she received the invitation to the Virtue Capitalists, she already had a briefcase packed and a list of investments for the common fund.
  3. Most superpowers who reach truly lofty heights of wealth are villains, stealing and exploiting their abilities to enrich themselves. Most, but not all. The members of Virtue Capital are individually billionaires and collectively they are the board of directors of a series of shell corporations that have interests in almost every industry in almost every developed nation. There are six members, not including followers, bodyguards, assistants, support staff and other assets. They use their money and leverage to do good in the world, but as often as necessary they take a hands-on approach to crime-fighting on a scale that most hero teams will never reach.
  4. Someone has to hold down a desk, right? Sure, the cool parts of law enforcement take place on the street, in the field, and America's Best has its fair share of gunfights-while-hanging-off-a-helicopter, but someone has to make sure the paperwork clears, jurisdictions are settled, parts are requisitioned, reports from forensics are filed, funding is allocated and case files are kept up-to-date. That someone is Edith Salter, and within their team she is sometimes called by her callsign of Warrant. She takes care of all the paper-work side of the business, and has time to make coffee for the office besides. And all the action-hero geniuses of the team are so fixated on fieldwork and training that they have never realized how incredibly odd that is. Before she was Edith Salter, there was Madeline Plakhotnikova, a reality warper with a low-key ability: anything she wrote or typed became true, but only on paper. She could not write down "Captain Trouble is dead" and have him struck dead, but if she did so then somewhere out there, there would be a death warrant for that person. Captain Trouble's credit cards would be canceled and his funeral would be scheduled, causing no end of trouble. Whatever she wrote in a document, every other document would agree with it. Madeline made herself scandalously wealthy, did away with her enemies, and got away with it all. Then she changed her name, changed her history, moved into a brownstone walkup, and began inventing a superhero team of law-enforcement misfits that could do what she could not. She put on a pot of coffee and started scheming. ... and that's seven? Do I propose the next team?
  5. Assassin: Watch out! They're spellcasters! Split up or you'll get hit. Screw it, if you bunch up I'll shoot you myself! (minutes later five members of the party are caught in a single spell) Assassin: Remember? When I said don't bunch up and then I ran a half-mile down that hallway? Remember that? And you guys just stood over there? Cleric: The room's not big enough to split up! Druid, only other character not hit by the spell: Don't look at me, I got it right this time. Sorceror: So we made one ally and, like, ninety enemies. We should re-think our methods. (regarding NPC mind flayer we had been traveling with and just parted company from- ) Male Player: He was good in a fight but I -hated- making camp when he was around. Female Player: He wasn't that bad. Male Player: He kept looking at me like I was a cheeseburger! Female Player: Now you know what it's like, hmm? "Next time we get to a town with a magic shop, I need to get a new Horn of Blasting. My old one broke." (Every time a Horn of Blasting is used, 20% chance it explodes and destroys itself. The PC in question nearly died when "it broke".) (regarding whether to help save an Evil Empire or let it dissolve into chaos) Lawful Good Cleric: Where there is law, there can be justice. It would be easier to redeem the Empire than to build one anew. Super Edgy Hot Topic Goth Fallen Angel Aasimar: Hell naw! Death to the Monarchy! Anarchy in the UK! Barbarian: Never mind the bollocks! Sorceror: Whatever. Fireballs don't go stale. *rolls damage on fourth fireball of the session* Arcane Knight: *has been making every attack roll and failing every saving throw all session* Well, it's better than the alternative I guess. Barbarian: I'mma chop his face off. *rolls a brutal critical, does 32 damage* Barbarian: Face-chopping for the win! Cleric: *rolls to hit, does six damage* Well, it's no face-chop, but it's honest work. (the arcane knight warforged is known as FIv3, pronounced "Five", but it's an acronym of Fortified Infantry version 3) (Five starts screwing up in the middle of a battle against high-level monsters) Gnome Assassin: Fortified Michael Infantry the Third, you knock that off right now! *whole room dies laughing. warforged has new nickname*
  6. http://adeptplay.com/sites/default/files/Champions Now playtest.pdf
  7. In a world with super villains and super-criminals, the Department of the Treasury has to make certain allowances. Most of the department works to keep itself free of powered individuals, but the Internal Affairs division makes an exception. For one thing, the rest of the Treasury hates IA already and can't hate them more if they've got mutants or freak-weirdos working in their ranks. For another, a world with mind-controllers, shapeshifters, and so much else represents a real threat to the integrity of law enforcement, the treasury, and the mint. One of their top agents was Inquest, a man or woman with the ability to fully imitate the shape, voice, mannerisms and memories of another person by touch. On their watch, the Department managed not to lose any information to moles, super-spies or villains for years. The perfect infiltrator, the perfect bug-hunter, Inquest was effective enough to find any sign of any impropriety. Eventually, the heads of the Department started asking "what if I've got something to hide that I don't even know about?", and Inquest was quickly reassigned to a dead-end job full of showboats, screw-ups, and anti-social types. The mutant known as Inquest is stand-offish with the rest of the team, treating this assignment like an unearned punishment, and barely even speaks to the rest of America's Best outside of fieldwork. This arrogance and stuffy demeanor make this agent a frequent target of scorn, pranks, and resentment from the rest of the team.
  8. If you as the GM always always have a plan for what will happen if the heroes lose, and if that plan always always includes a way for them to win again, then the narrative down-then-up will always be preserved. Like GnomeBody I find that karma, inspiration points, fate tokens and whatnot tend to get spent when players are trying to avoid a fail. I used a system like that for a previous campaign, and the players were blowing them out to make ordinary Dodge actions in ordinary combat because a blast *might* Stun them for a phase. I eventually added a rule that you could only ever cash in a heroic token for one maneuver one time, and that worked somewhat better. The first time a character spent one on an EGO roll to push STR was the highlight clip for those tokens, but other than that they were clunky and disappointing.
  9. Nacon Unlike most of his teammates, Nacon does not maintain a corporeal form. A creature entirely of spirit, this Mayan war-god is incorporeal and invisible, known only as a voice and a pervasive sense of malice in the air. He maintains the ability to possess a mortal and fill them with his spirit and knowledge. When he borrows the body of a normal mortal, the skills and battle-fervor he grants them make them the equal of most superheroes in combat. When he manages to overtake a powered body, he adds his power to its own and creates a difficult challenge for a hero team.
  10. (so the game recently took a weird pivot and got very close to the tropes of the source fiction : ambushed by enemies, villainous monologues, knocked out, separated, one teammate breaks into enemy compound by force while the two powerhouses are sneaking their way in, one teammate captured and put in a deathtrap they escaped on their own, heroes wearing enemy minion armor to blend in, heroes faking being captured by enemy, unexpected trapdoors, gauntlet of villains) Ace: *waking up in deathtrap* New Pulp Fiction 2: Kidnapped by perverts in Las Vegas by Ace Frehley. Booming intercom voice: No Mister Frehley I expect you to die! Ace: *blank silence* Intercom voice: James Bond? No? C'mon! Ace: Learn to read the room, man. Enemy minion wakes up flat on his back with The Demon crouched on his chest. The Demon: If you scream, I can just pull your head right off. *Roll a 17d6 PRE Attack.* Minion: I believe you. Starchild: I was gonna roll Interrogation, but ... character in form of housecat infiltrating the enemy base: A sneak-a sneak-a sneak-a! Starchild: And get your friend some medical care, he's in a coma! Enemy minion who is literally a clone of the guy in coma: *running away* F**k 'im, he's an a$$hole!
  11. The Almighty, a band of six gods who are labeled as mere 'supervillains' by the mortals of this place and time. Each of them is a divine figure who was worshiped in the past but no longer. They don't necessarily share goals, some may be looking for new worshipers and others may simply want revenge against ancient enemies. They are banded together simply because each of them refuses to band together with 'lesser creatures', but each of them requires assistance in reaching their various goals.
  12. Burrow is the most and least public member of the Groundhogs. Unless scanned by mutant-detecting technology, she is completely indistinguishable from a normal human. She is the team fence and contact, the one that walks down the street in daylight and meets with clients that would like to hire the villain team. In the field, she is never seen, staying under several meters of stone and soil and never showing her face. She can sense vibrations through the earth with uncanny accuracy, and can open tunnels in the ground at will. For most of the Groundhog's enemies, the only defense is their mobility and maneuverability, but once they've been dumped down a forty-foot pit that fills in on top of them they are easy targets for the jaws, claws, and other weapons of Burrow's teammates. (Desolidification, only through earth and stone, Flight only through earth and stone, N-ray vision only through earth and stone, Tunneling UAA)
  13. Greatest Of All Time Though his name is rather difficult for most, he strenuously objects to anyone abbreviating it to GOAT. Despite the fact that his main combat tactic is to charge people and hit them with the horns that project up from his scalp and skull, a blow that hits like a freight train, out of all proportion to his actual speed and strength. His only other known power is that he can bite through any material and digest anything he can fit into his mouth, destroying it utterly. It takes him seconds to eat his way out of a pair of handcuffs, or to disable an alarm system by consuming it. His limited powers are offset by an amazingly diverse and well-developed suite of skills and proficiencies, he seems to know how to do just about everything and he seems to know someone everywhere he goes. When the CZ goes traveling, he normally serves as their guide, handler, translator and go-between.
  14. "Art thine downeth to clowneth?" (group of monsters show up, tightly clustered in a fireball-sized room. all the melee specialists in the party get initiative and run forward, engage enemies.) Fireball sorceror: "Guys, my fireball!" (melee specialists kill all but one of the monsters) Fireball sorceror: *sigh* r i p my fireball, I guess. (current story revolves around orcs that duplicate infinitely using sigils. we are bringing mind flayers in to help control the orc population. Barbarian: Now we just need to worry about the mind flayers figuring out the sigils so they regenerate every day, too. Whole Party: LOL that would be messed up. Barbarian: Guys I'm serious. Cleric of Bahamut: "Yes! We will guard the mind flayers and protect them all the way to the orc fortress. That is justice!" Assassin: You keep using that word... DM: Okay, so while those guys are defending the village from orcs, what are Druid and Arcane Knight doing? Super Edgy Fallen Aasimar Druid who dresses from Hot Topic: I colored a picture of a frog. See? *holds up her tablet w/ coloring app* Whole Party: Oh, yeah, wow, that's really cute. (on Loxadon cleric healing a mind flayer without setting down his weapons) "Touch his face tentacles with your face tentacle!" "Oh, right, I keep forgetting I have that."
  15. Among the golem-animated toys, there is power and skill and strength. But the Melog System Construction Kit takes the cake for versatility. These plastic bricks can reshape themselves into thousands of configurations, scooting around on wheels or walking along. As spies they are not as effective as the Mannequin, as combatants they will never beat Soldier John, and they're not as generally useful as Rainbow Sprinkles. But they can shape themselves into whatever the team needs, and in a pinch they can just scatter themselves across the floor and inflict terrible damage on anyone who walks over them.
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