Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Agenda e04: Adventure - Aberrant - Aeon Trinity

Episode Four
Adventure - Aberrant - Aeon Trinity

To the surprise of the players, this session was to be devoted to the future. The year is 2120, 29th of January, and the players find themselves crossing paths while on individual trips to Luna.  Dr. Sven Casperzak (played by Urim), a Corporate Doctor of the Aesculapian Order is reassigned to take part in a ground-breaking experiment.  The first six months of his new assignment has him merely receiving and replying to messages regarding shipments that were happening between Luna, the North American Arcology and a third location.   His assignment was a move initiated by Dr. Jerzy Grabowski and Dr. Malachi Ross and later, his relocation to the Beaulac Station at Luna was managed by Dr. Gustav Hans Beitz.  He begins feeling uneasy about the new assignment when Dr. Beitz demonstrates to him Subject 716, an old woman who has been given bioware grafts.  Dr. Casperzak realizes to his horror that members of his Order have undertaken human experimentation!

Elsewhere, Autumn Lacierda Wu (played by Mahar) of the Ministry has been working as the Fashion Affiliate for Vogue Magazine.  To her surprise, she is instructed to head immediately to Luna to investigate the event that had occurred at Cantor Station.  Aberrant supposedly had attacked, though witnesses claim to have seen other Aberrants emerge to fight them.  In the end, massive destruction and numerous deaths were the repercussions of the events.  As she surveys the scene, she finds a blood splattered area which hold no corpse.  She ponders on why she was assigned here as the Aesculapian Order arrives to assist.  Headed by Dr. Jerzy Grabowski, the rex informs Miss Wu that her role here is merely as a volunteer, and tha she is not to interfere with the actual investigation.  Autumn's Telepathy picks up images of a body having been earlier disposed of by Dr. Gabrowski, and so she attempts to learn more of that body.  To her surprise, they find the body in the scene, but it had been eviscerated of something that was inside of his body!  Autumn returns to the Ministry chapter house and finds Rebecca Bue Li already there.  Rebecca introduces Autumn to Marilyn Koziana, Deputy Director for Aeon Trinity, who then shares with Autumn her recovered memories of what they can only describe as a woman who had been forced to undergo some form of experiment.  Autumn realized Grabowski may be involved, and quickly maps out a plan to create some massive event to invite him and any associates to the party.  While there, she hopes to brain-skim them for information.  A pity she had no idea how bad the party's events would unfold.

And ironically, Erik Langley of Orgotek (played by Rocky) is informed by the Benefactor that he will be taking part in an investigation regarding a possible conspiracy that involves members of the Aesculapian Order and Orgotek.  Before more details can be sent, however, the Benefactor ends the transmission and warns Erik that the Orgotek Prexy will be coming to see him.  Barely second pass when the power outage happens and Prexy Alex Cassel slides into the room and tells Langley of the mission he needs him to fulfill.  Travel to Luna, keep a close eye and see if a company called Linma Telcom.  Langley's old friends, Andromeda and Patricia Willom, will be his way of entry.  Arriving at Luna, Langley which befriends the Willoms' and is introduced to a Dr. Serevitek Kriso, the current closes member of Orgotek who is working for the company.  Langley succeeds in getting the two to invite him to stay over, and while there, uses his powers to interface with the building computer. He finds numerous messages sent to someone named Miranda.  When Miss Wu's invitation arrives, Langley realizes it would allow him to get close to the Aesculapian's involved and possibly learn more.  

Dr. Casperzak is horrified by the events and shoots a message to Dr. Matthieu Zweidler in hopes of warning him of the events.  The message contains nothing but an old TwenCen song, "Help" by the Beatles.  He however fails to notice Dr. Beitz approaching him from behind and impairing his body, while another forces a drugged cloth upon his face to sedate him.  He awakens to find himself strapped as well to a machine and attempts to use Antitoxin on himself to counteract the sedative while Beitz boasts about the success of the Biorg Project.   He eventually succeeds in gaining back enough focus to disable two of his assailants with his mastery of Algesis and intimidates another to free him.  Dr. Beitz however runs off to escape. As he realizes he's back in Beaulac Clinic, he remembers that there were around 80 rooms in that very corridor.  He tries to rescue those he can, including the two newly arrivals who were about to be experimented on.  But as he directs them to hurry and escape, the eruptions begin and the Clinic begins to explode all around them.  Casperzak falls as the whole building collapses, and it is only his Psi abilities that allow him to survive.  Every one else in the Clinic finds their doom.

Erik Langley attends the party and quickly makes contact with Autumn Lacienda Wu in secret.  Langley had tapped into the Willoms' computer earlier and was now hoping for his SI, the Spider, do break the encryption of the files.  When he notices Dr. Gabrowski and Wu seemingly flirting while they drink, Langley peeks into Gabrowski's communicator and discovers two messages waiting:  "Everything is ready.  And the Biorgs are in position."  and "Best get out of there before the Demonstration starts."  Warning Wu of the possible danger, Langley heads out and learns that his messages to warn Operations had been intercepted.  Alex Cassel contacts him directly and admits he too has gone to Luna.  Receiving the report regarding the conspiracy which both Langley and Wu had gathered,  Alex suspects those guilty are enroute to the Space Station with the files.  Langley moves to intercept and this leads to his learning of what Option-8 really is.  Rumored to be an assassination/secret police of Orgotek, Langley learns it is actually an 8-minute period where a back-door is opened by Orgotek and volunteers from all over the world hack in concert to achieve greater results.  Langley tracks the two doctors at the waiting area and confronts them to claim the files.  When the two opt to fight back, Langley finds unexpected assistance from Marilyn Koziana, who happened to be in the area for a coffee date with a grey-haired man named Max.  

Autumn Lacienda Wu attempts to seduce Dr. Gabrowski in hopes of convincing him to give up the files of the project.  She knows it is only with the files that she can learn whether or not the supposed conspiracy regarding human experimentation is real.  Meeting with Langley, whom she recalled meeting before in an off-the-record investigation regarding the corpse of a supposed "Inspired" person, the two forge a temporary truce in hopes of getting more information about this conspiracy.  Autumn guides Dr. Gabrowski, whom she had utterly seduced with there powers and beauty out of the party.  The doctor insists they best leave to catch the "demonstration."  Though Langley mistakenly assumed the "demonstration" meant the building he was in was about to explode, Autumn soon discovers how much worse it gets.  The whole Clinic explodes as Dr. Gabrowski indulges Dr. Wu and tells her about their upcoming success with the Biorg Project and their work with "Miranda".  However, it seems Dr. Gabrowski himself is double-crossed, for before either of the two can do anything further, a bright white flash erupts and the very shuttle they are on explodes as well.

Back in 1924, The Shadow and Scarlet are in front of a class of young students.  They are making rounds to different schools to tell them about being a hero and about doing the right thing.  The act is a punishment for bringing Sarah Gettel to write negative things about The Aeon Society for Gentlemen.  As they head out, Maxwell Mercer meets them at the door and smiles at the school teacher who seems to be inspired by their actions.  "What is your name, Ma'am?"

"Judy Koziana," the teacher smiles.

"Lovely name," Maxwell admits, "I'll look you up some time."

Some time, indeed.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Agenda e03: Adventure - Aberrant - Aeon Trinity

Episode Three
"The Mysteries of Kali"
Adventure - Aberrant - Aeon Trinity

The scene opens with Nicklaus Klaus having a meeting with Lawrence Pope, the infamous white-haired man from the first episode.  Pope had called for a meeting, it seems, to clarify his position in the matters and to hear first-hand from Klaus his views on Aeon Society.  Pope, like Klaus, was once a member of Branch 9, and seeks to understand where Aeon Society truly stands.  Unhappy with how Branch 9 had supported certain dictators and questionable political figures in the past, Pope reiterates to Klaus how he is determined to bring down Aeon Society if the group happens to share the same views.  Klaus reminds Pope his membership in Aeon Society was the job he was given and that for him a job is a job.

Elsewhere, Candy Misselthwaite was enjoying some time in the poolside of the Aeon Society when Whitley Styles joins her.  He swims a few laps, clearly a man dedicated to keeping himself healthy, and addresses her respectfully when he realizes he is sharing the pool with a lady.  They talk about her missing fiance, who had vanished while at sea, and he asks if she ever plans to move on with her life.  She admits to him she has no plans to do so and cites loyalty as one of her virtues.

And in Central Park, Samuel Warren finds himself sharing some time under the morning sun in a conversation with Sarah Gettel.  The two had been sitting beside each other at the park when Sarah asked for a light.  Commenting how smoking is bad for her, Samuel ends up having a long cheerful conversation with the intrepid reporter.  The two clearly have a wavelength of sorts.  But when Michael Donighal appears and frustrates Miss Gettel, alluding to a history between them, Sarah Gettel walks out on them.  Michael reminds Samuel to be wary of talking to the press and leaves.  Samuel sees Sarah in the distance, and watches her for a bit, only to bear witness to three men abducting her as they drag her into an alleyway!

Klaus returns to the Aeon Society mansion to learn Maxwell Mercer with a number of other members are off to another mission at some undisclosed location.  Benjamin Franklin Dixon mentions the need to purchase something and has issues with opening the gate himself.  Klaus walks inside, amused, and finds Styles in a wet towel headed for his own room.  Accompanying the man, Klaus shares a conversation with the man while he get's a good shower.  The two discuss his past, with Styles admitting the semblance of a dreadful past.  Klaus maneuvers around some of Styles' questions, particularly about his suit, and learns that Styles writes a journal entry for each day the Aeon Society has existed.  Styles hears something beyond Klaus' perceptions, and tells the other that they best head to the Conference Room where a new mission is afoot.

Samuel had investigated the scene of the crime and managed only to get the name and plate number of the leaving truck.  Rushing back to Aeon Society, Samuel calls for a meeting and only Candy, Klaus and Styles are present.  Sharing what just happened, Styles suggests to Samuel to try searching his "Mental Room" for more information.  With Klaus providing smoke for meditation, Samuel dips into his memories and learns more about the kidnappers.  When the key factoid of them being Thugee is mentioned, Styles is visibly bothered.  With the truck having been sighted in the pier, the four quickly make their way there using Samuel's car.

At the pier, the group splits up in hopes of finding the truck (Maharasthra Carpets) which was carrying rugs. The group suspected Sarah Gettel was rolled up in one by her abductors.  Scarlet and the German investigate a liner, but find a dead end.  They do learn that the Maharasthra staff had "mistakenly" brought the carpets to another vessel before bringing them here, and both realize that vessel was the one they should have gone to.  The Sleepwalker finds a trail of rolled up small dollars, a trail which he suspected Sarah Gettel had left for them to follow, but learns that the ship it lead to had already left twenty hours ago.  Styles tries to see if a plane can be chartered but none happen to be available.  Thankfully, Klaus remembers Benjamin Franklin Dixon muttering about an experimental ship, and the group rushes back to Aeon Society to take it.

The ship is a small replica of the ill-fated Titanic, down to the smoke stacks and a miniature chandelier.  Styles' incredible perceptions guide the vessel as they chase after the Liner, and even with a powerful rainstorm hitting, the group manage to catch up with the vessel.  They find the deck empty of people, and unbelievably a pirate ship and an island had somehow appeared beside it.  While the German investigates the captain's deck, the Sleepwalker and Scarlet opt to head to the Pirate Ship to learn where the missing passengers have gone.  The German finds a surprise guest in the captain's deck: Lawrence Pope, who fears the passengers had been kidnapped because the Thugee are searching for him.  He admits he is a penultimate Master of Disguise and believes the passengers were gathered in hopes of weeding him out.  Making a deal with the German, Pope agrees to help rescue Gettel in exchange for the German giving him safe passage out of the predicament.  Pope somehow can change his appearance with a moment's focus and after first using it to mimic Scarlet to get close to Styles, he then knocks Styles out and assumes his form.  Pope and the German encounter a number of Thugee, and when the German misses one target, he quickly nicks himself on the neck to cause the Thugee (which he learned have a code against spilling blood) to retreat.  The two find a platform leading below the ground and take it.

The Sleepwalker and Scarlet explore the pirate ship and find it to be stocked with weapons and watched over by an armed crew.  Eventually the two reach the lower deck where a hatch leading to the island waits.  To their surprise, the Thugee have no problems with using guns and the Sleepwalker gets struck by a few.  Blood letting, it seems, is not illegal if the weapon drawing blood was not directed by the Thugee's strength.  They descend below to find the hatch leading to a long tube with a flat platform serving as an elevator.  Using her telekinesis to flick the switch, the platform descends to the island's underground depths.

The German and "Styles" stand before the passengers surrounded by the Thugee, and their leader, the Jemadar Paruq.  Paruq has Gettel wrapped in special paper cloth that is held aloft by two elephants over a pool of water.  Once wet, Paruq explains, the cloth contracts and will slide Gettel into shreds.  Paruq tells the two that the events were orchestrated to bring Styles here, as he is the promised one who will inherit the Thugee.  "Styles" and German discuss things quickly and decide to try to catch Paruq off guard.   The German admits "Styles" isn't the man Paruq seeks, but someone else.  And Pope reveals his true face.  Angered, Paruq commands the Thugee to attack.  But above, Scarlet and the Sleepwalker find the elevator ends in a glass room above the whole chamber.  After disabling the woman in the booth, the Sleepwalker realizes the devices before them are theater controls, which explains how Paruq has maintained his "favor of the Goddess Kali" all that time.  Scarlet grabs hold of the commands and uses it to tilt events in the German and Pope's favor.  Pope uses his abilities to manifest AS the Goddess Kali, and the German sways those present to believe he is an emissary of the true goddess.  Try as Paruq might, his words fall on deaf ears as the combined efforts of the team bring the Thugee to attack him.  "Kali" fires "lightning" at the elephants, causing Sarah Gettel to fly away from the pool.  The Sleepwalker then swings in to grab her and take her to safety.  By the time the Thugee calm down, however, the spot where they had attacked Paruq is empty, leaving no sign of where the man had gone.   Pope quickly offers the German a second deal, to introduce him as his sidekick, since his participation can no longer be ignored.  But on the last second tells the German to just claim he had left and to introduce him at a later date.  The German agrees to the price and plays his part well, even as Sarah Gettel later once again tries to win a new exclusive scoop with Aeon Society.

The next day, Mercer calls for another meeting.  He is infuriated with the headline and demands the three make amends and apologize to Sarah Gettel.  The reporter, ignored from her attempts to gain an interview, had written a very unflattering image of Aeon Society and even suggested they had broken the law by flying to Switzerland to break someone out of prison.  The three walk out on Mercer, unwilling to bow to the repoter's ego.  There is no denying, however, that the three are part of Aeon Society for Gentlemen.

At least for now.


The game's interludes included a glimpse of how an  Aberrant in the modern day was tapping into the web collected tales of Aeon Society and how she felt frustrated her incredible calculations would spoil for her what actions the group would undertake in a mission.

Another glimpse showed the Orgotek's interest in the Inspired corpse that the Ministry had acquired, and a Benefactor telling the Electrokinetic to agree to meeting with the Ministry liaison in secret.  To show why the corpse was important, the Benefactor allowed the man a glimpse of something called the Babel Dossier, which happened to be a future transcription of what was once the Journal of Whitley Styles.

And finally, back in the modern day, a young football athlete finds himself erupting at the height of a football championship game.  His life is forever changed, and his coach, a certain Donny Michaels, walks away with a smile.   The players are informed that Coach Donny resembles the other leader of Aeon Society, Michael Donighal.


Here's hoping the seeds I've laid for the game keep the mystery going.  I do hope this game actually reaches its ending given I've written it to work with all three lines.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Devil Caught In a Web : DC Heroes

September 2012
Devil Caught In a Web
DC Heroes

Ran another game for Gene and Rocky who both wanted to try another take at the super hero genre.  After having them choose between Marvel Superheroes' FASERIP system and DC Heroes MEGS, Rocky chimed in that DC Heroes would be far easier for Gene to grasp quickly.  While I also had my copy of the new Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game, that game still needs more time to grasp and embrace the system.  I love the Cortex System, but MHR kinda makes it harder to grasp than usual with all the sfx and doom dice and things.  Gene wanted to be Daredevil while Rocky opted for Spider-man.  I offered to have them choose a major comic event to explore, excited at the prospect of throwing them The Infinity Gauntlet or maybe even a Days of the Future Past touch.  To my surprise, they asked for Civil War.  Given Matt Murdock was actually in prison and Iron Fist was posing as Daredevil, I asked him which of the two he wanted to play.  Gene confirmed he wanted Matt Murdock, which posed a challenge for me to shape a game around.  Thankfully, inspiration hit me and I came up with this:

The game opens with Matt Murdock in his prison cell in Ryker's Island, staring at the blank wall.  The two policemen guarding him were chatting about how cruel it was to leave a blind man in a cell without a window.  Both seemed to be humoring themselves to pass the time since neither believed the accusation that Matt Murdock, blind lawyer, could in any way be the supposed Daredevil.  Neither was aware of Matt's hyper senses describing what was far beyond the wall in front of him, the fact that one of the guards had the scent of two ladies perfumes, suggesting he has an ongoing affair, or actually prefers ladies scents on himself, and the other was a recent smoker quitter.  His ears picked up the sound of energy humming, and he then realized coming towards him down the hallway were two men in Guardsmen armors that Tony Stark had developed to secure the prison, and spandex hitting the floor with the exact rhythmic pace used by Spider-man.

Spider-man had come to talk to Matt Murdock.  With the events of Civil War spiraling faster and faster, Peter Park was wondering if taking the step forward to unmask himself was what was necessary to convince others to cooperate with the Registration.  He had known Matt for a long time and once even posed as Daredevil to help him with a case when some guy sued Daredevil for property damage.  As he walked down the hallway, he felt his Spider-senses tingle, suggesting there was an ambient presence of danger looming in the area.  Thinking this was Ryker's, Spider-man tried to shrug it off as tension of being in a prison with so many possible threats.  He notices the Chameleon imprisoned at Matt's right side, who shifts to all these forms in hopes of agitating them.  And this serial killer on the left side, who sits quietly with a smile on his face.

The Guardsmen ask if Spider-man is okay, and he tells them he is going inside the prison to talk to Matt.  Matt and Spider-man share their opposing views on registration, on the importance of responsibility and liability, and whether privacy and the safety of one's one family is reason enough to keep the mask.  While they discuss, both realize the screws from the panels above Matt begin coming undone from the inside.  And with a peek, Spider-man realizes it is the Black Cat herself how seems intent on springing Matt Mudock out.  Hoping to avoid an escalation of issues, Spider-man shoots webbing to coat the opening sealed.  But white talons tear through and the Black Panther in a while outfit rips it aside and reaches down as he calls for Matt to take his hand.

Matt opts not to, and Spider-man blasts him with webbing to pin him down.  Daredevil would have normally evaded this, but since he was pretending to simply be Matt Murdock, he had to allow the webbing to hit.  With the Guardsmen now on full alert, Spider-man warns Matt Murdock not to try to escape.  The Guardsmen spread out searching for any trace of the intruders and Matt Murdock is thrown into the showers to be reprimanded for his "part" in the escape attempt.

Scene shifts to Tony Stark's office where Spider-man is debriefed by Tony on what happened in the prison.  Tony reminds Spider-man that his choice to unmask is important for the Civil war to end.  "If they see that someone like you would be willing to trust the movement, more will follow."  Spider-man heads off after a few snappy quips and decides to find himself a hot dog to eat somewhere in the streets below.  What he finds as he orders a hot dog, however, is an attack by what looks like the Hobgoblin!  Only this Goblin is female and seems to rely solely on exploding pumpkins and pumpkins that erupt like fourth of july fireworks. As he nets all the throw bombs with his webbing, a second threat triggers his spider sense!  Turning to the sound of a six-year old bystander calling out, "Barney!"  Spider-man finds himself facing a female version of the Lizard!  And narrowly escapes getting slashed by the mutated thing.  Leaping and twisting to evade further assaults, Spider-man's spider sense triggers once more and dodges an incoming bullet that was aimed at his temple.  Far above, atop one of the nearby buildings, a female Kraven the Hunter snars for failing to hit.  Spider-Man entangles the femLizard in more webbing, and is ready to bring the slam down on the Goblin when a feminine Sandman emerges from the drain to confront him.  Confused at the sudden gender-bending presence of his usual villainous gallery, Spider-man is thankful as S.H.I.E.L.D. finally arrives to control the situation.  Sand(wo)man is frozen in ice while Kraven(ess) is taken down by the soldiers.  The Goblin attempts to escape, leading Spider-man to launch a Spider Tracer to follow her later, thank the agents for a job well done, then finally swing off to chase after the wicked flier.

In the bathroom, Matt Murdock senses the guards exit as they let four prisoners into the showers.  The four are former flunkies that he had imprisoned after providing their connections to various criminal activities in the past.  But while he hold off on his own quite well even without using the full extent of his abilities, the arrival of the Black Cat once again brings him the question, "Join us.  The fight against Registration needs you."  Matt declines once again, and this brings the Black Cat to snarl at him.  Matt picks up the sudden hum of an energy source, and he realizes one of the Guardsmen was cloaked and in the shower at all times.  Dodging its energy blasts, Black Cat closes in and tears into the armor's helmet, leaving blood in her wake.  Matt feels very unwell about what has happened and with the incoming foray of additional guards, he surrenders once more and hopes things quiet down.  Back in his cell, he finds a final visitor coming to him at the dead of the night.  The Black Panther reminds him of his duties, and through Cloak, teleports them all back to the secret hideout of the resistance lead by Captain America.  There, they convince Matt to do his part to help Hell's Kitchen and to try to convince Spider-man to join his cause.  They tell him how Spider-man is being used as a figurehead to push their agenda, and Matt remembers the time when Mysterio nearly had him kill an innocent child.  Matt agress to help at last and Iron Fist trades costumes with him once again to allow him a chance to make a difference.  Matt goes to the Daily Bugle and leaves a note for Peter Parker to meet him at a nearby bridge.

But Spider-man won't make it there.  Trailing the Hobgoblin, he discovers the new Goblin turns out to be the multi-millionaire heiress Mill Hilton, and scoffs at the idea that she has become his new nemesis.  She acts like a caricature of herself as she detests his presence, and when the snarling form of Venom emerges, Spider-man ponders on how this day can get any worse.  The venom he sees seems more shadow alien than real, and Spider-man begins to wonder if the ordeal is some magical thing placed upon him.  He swings to the mansion of the Sorcerer Supreme and finds it abandoned and empty.  Calling out to whoever may be listening, Spider-man asks for the Sorcerer to help him out if he is willing.  The Doctor Strange he consults with, however, tells Spider-man that he had strayed from his path and must find his way back to his real destiny.  He whips out a wand and at one point, rips off his face to reveal a noseless face underneath.  What the Sorcerer Supreme presents as the embodiment of Spider-man's curse is a small red doll with devil ears on the head.  "Destroy it, and the world will be back in sync with how it was meant to transpire."

Daredevil waits at the bridge and instead of Spider-man finds himself assaulted by the Femmes Fatales!  Knockout and Bloodlust nearly throw him off the Bridge.  Mindblast loses consciousness when a well aimed Bully Stick smashes her brain canister.  Dodging the mettalic whips of Whiplash, Daredevil begins to have confusing flashes of still being in the prison and staring at the wall.    Spider-man starts to hear the voices of the Guardsmen still in the area, and between eyeblinks sees the Sorcerer Supreme's mansion replaced with the hallway to Matt Murdock's prison.  Sensing the psychic attack, Spider-man tries to locate the attacker, while doing his darned best to avoid injuring "Dr. Strange's Spells" which he knows are really the guards trying to tackle him down.  All the guards see are Spider-man suddenly attacking the prison where the serial killer was in.  Daredevil sense all save the serial killer's heart beats are panicked, and in a last ditch effort yells at Spider-man to punch to his immediate left.  Spider-man does so and his fist breaks just enough of the prison glass to strike the serial killer unconscious.

The confusing psychic hallucinations immediately end.

Fast forward to next scene, Spider-man is undergoing psychiatric evaluation and debriefing under Doctor Samson.  He shares that the serial killer turns out to be a latent Mutant with "living psychic parasites" that float around him like a cloud.  Both Matt Murdock and Spider-man were affected since the parasites were not held back by the glass wall.  The visions represented the killer's twisted views on many of the villains as sexy vixens that deserved being beaten up.  The serial killer, Burns, was not detected as a mutant because his mutation only surfaced that moment.  In response, Ryker's Island contacted the X-men and Emma Frost has arrived to claim the serial killer "as one of their own."  Spider-man steps out of the window and decides he needs a break from all this. At least for a while.  And by break, he swings off to deal with the first act of crime he sees.

As of Matt Murdock, the people on Ryker's Island decide to move him to a new location.  Given the events of Civil War, Tony Stark wanted the lawyer somewhere safer.  As he is being transferred, he sees Emma Frost and Burns boarding the X-men's jet.  He feels uncomfortable about the events, remembering how Mysterio once nearly made him kill an innocent child.  Deep down, he wishes the whole mess would come to an end.  In the distance, he sees Mister Fantastic arrive and talk to Tony Stark.  He overhears with his hyper hearing talk about, "Having to move foward with the prison" and something about not having "Enough space to house the more dangerous ones."   Time will tell what that project will be about.


So the game was a hoot.  I tried as much as possible to retain the events of Civil War yet throw a good plot for both players to explore.  The fight sequences were energetic and wild, with both players utilizing lots of dodging and fancy moves to take their opponents down.  Hero points were spent and freely earned, a lesson I got from John Wick who recommends rewarding any behavior that supports a game's genre.

Here's to another game soon.
I remember Gene saying, "O, DC naman!"

But deep down I'm tempted to throw them a Neil Gaiman-inspired game.
:-)  Hehhehe..

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dark Knight on a Dark Night : DC Heroes

Dark Knight on a Dark Night
DC Heroes

Gene had been wanting to get a taste of how a table top role-playing game goes, and I decided to throw him a quick one-hour solo game.  Given he's a comic fan (Marvel, but somehow like me owns more DC Titles), I asked him to name any super hero he wanted to try playing.  His answer was simple:  Nightwing.  But just as I showed him Nightwing's write-up in the DC Heroes main book, he corrected me and explained, "I want to play Nightwing when he had to be Batman in Bruce's absence."

And very quickly the gears in my head were turning.

First, I drew out the Batman character sheet I created for the previous Justice League game I ran for Rocky, Mahar and Urim.  Handing this to Gene, I told him, "While Nightwing may have been a different Batman than Bruce, given this is a solo game, I don't mind seeing you use the stats of Bruce Wayne over Nightwing.  There won't be anyone to compare them to.    You okay with that?"  Gene said he was, and that meant all I needed to do now was throw in a story.  Given Gene has never played a table top game before, I knew I had to ease him in slowly.  So I started with having him roaming the streets and encountering some thugs.  I didn't even reflect it as part of the game proper, but just let him get a hold of the dice rolling system, and how spending Hero Points can affect the game.

And once he got the hang of it, I clicked on the soundtrack to Batman Begins, and started the actual game.  It was the third night since the whole of Gotham City was enveloped in darkness.  Somehow, the whole city was suffering from a massive power outage, and while the Gotham Police Department worked their asses of to keep the city safe and under control, the eventual break out of Arkham Asylum was expected.  Batman contacted Oracle to find out which inmates were believed to have escaped.  Oracle admits they were still confirming given most were taking down any attempting to escape.  A few minutes would be needed before she could report a final answer.  Ahead, a building's penthouse area was enveloped in a blue glow.  Batman perched on the rooftop of the building across from it to survey what was going on.

It was Mister Freeze.  And he had a woman with him.  The woman was addressed repeatedly by Mister Freeze as his wife, Nora.  But the woman repeatedly denied being her.  Batman checked with Oracle and learned that supposedly only Scarecrow was the villain unaccounted for in Arkham.  Unconvinced, Dick insisted that Oracle double check, and upon learning that the Huntress was in Arkham, demanded that she check on Mister Freeze's cell herself.  When Dick saw Mister Freeze aim his Freeze ray gun at the woman, he knew it was time to act.  Without warning, beside him was Batgirl.  She motioned to him mutely whether he needed help.  And when Dick motioned no, she gave him a look which suggested she knew it wasn't Bruce beneath the cowl.  She leapt off the rooftop without a word.   Quickly throwing a Batarang, Batman forced Freeze to miss his shot, and during the shock of surprise, swung into the room to rescue the woman.

She was smiling.  That small fact made Dick worry.  In all the times he had come to aid a hostage, never would he find the hostage calmly smiling as he made his approach.  Most would be in tears or in a panic.  This one, however, was smiling.  Changing his mind, Batman slid past the hostage and landed on the rafters.  There, he prepared to convince Freeze to surrender.  But Freeze acted faster and another freeze blast was unleashed.  The cold hit Batman and forced him down to the ground, with parts of his arm covered in ice.  Gritting his teeth against the pain, Dick dropped a few smoke pellets to provide some cover.  With the rising smoke, Dick charged forward and hoped to tackle Mister Freeze, but his armored form was too heavy to bring down.   An ice-cold fist slammed into Dick's face but thankfully, he was able to take it and remain standing.   Using two batarangs, Dick slashed at the tubes that fueled Mister Freeze's cold, and while the man struggled to fix the torn tubing, swung to the hostage to bring her to the rafters with him.  Once again, her smiling face was all he could see.  And Dick knew there was more to this woman than he thought.  Oracle called again and in a small video feed, Dick could see the Huntress in the cell of Mister Freeze.  The man was indeed still in Arkham, raising questions as to who Dick was currently fighting against.  But ice blasted all around them both and Dick turned to see an ice prison had been created to trap them both. Quickly feeling for the small device in his belt, Dick drew out the laser cutter and sliced the bars away.  Without wasting further time, Dick grabbed the woman and this time swung to leave the penthouse and land at the next door rooftop.

The girl finally confessed the truth.  She had hoped to find a way to draw Batman to her.  She had been told that in this era, the Batman was dead.   Dick felt the sting of the truth.  When confronted to explain herself, the woman finally identified herself as Madeliene Grayson, a Bat of the year 4025.  Her clothing folded away like origami until her Batsuit became visible.  A stray blast of cold flew past them both, and Batman turned to see Cassandra Cain (the Batgirl) engaging with Mister Freeze.  She threw him a look that said, "I knew you needed help" but when her kick then decapitates Mister Freeze and reveals his robotic parts, she turns to Batman with an, "Oops" in her expression.

Madeliene explains.  She was fighting against a Count Chronos who boasted that she was holding a non-existent Legacy.  Count Chronos claimed that in this era, Batman had died facing a god.  And he had even used a gun.  Madeliene tells Dick how happy she is to know that Count Chronos was wrong.  That the Bat Legacy truly is based on the real one.  And that Batman is still alive and well.  Dick decides not to tell her the truth, that Bruce Wayne is dead, and that he has taken up the mantle.  She also tells him that in her time, Batman Incorporated is a massive group that operates to protect various planetary systems.  She tells him how each planet now has a Batman watching over it.  And how her Legacy is traced back to an ancestor who was part of the original Batman team.  Dick tries to stay calm and not reveal his thoughts that she might actually be related to him.  She activates her suit and Dick watches as black lines dance on her skin, forcing a Bat cowl with neon lines as ears, and a bat symbol on her chest.  She tells him she is happy to know Batman is alive and has to head back to her time before the Warp Tunnel closes.  Oracle then contacts Dick, telling him she has finally traced the energy loss that has caused the black out.  The location turns out to be where Dick currently is.  Dick finds himself wishing Bruce Wayne was here.  He'd know what was going on.

But Dick decides to help the woman.  Offering a batarang as a souvenir, Dick asks what else he can do to help.  She disarms her Batsuit and reveals that her legs are useless.  "The suit helps me walk.  I guess this is an inheritance from my great great grandmother or something," Madeliene muses and asks Batman to carry her into the Warp Tunnel.  Dick places her gently inside and decides not to say anything further.  As Madeliene vanishes into the light, power gets restored in Gotham City.  Dick finds Cassandra Cain once again beside him (almost making him yelp in shock) and she mimes, asking if he and the woman were related.  Dick chooses not to answer and instead asks Oracle if there has been any sighting on Scarecrow.  Learning the villain is at the docks, Dick once again assumes the role of Batman and swings out into the night, trying not to think about what might happen if he never ends up with Oracle.


The game was a quickie story, but I admit I felt it had a nice touch of an ending.  Gene definitely had fun, and although I must admit I was hoping he'd realize that the idea was Dick ends up with someone else, since Oracle's handicap was not genetic in nature.  But I guess ultimately he had fun and learned the system, which means come the time we ever run another game, he's ready.


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