Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Issue 24: The Aryan Apocalypse!

The Mid Atlantic, onboard the CHESS Omni-Carrier, late morning.

The countdown to nuclear Armageddon back-lit a maniacal “Agent Grey” as all across the vast Omni-Carrier, CHESS troops mobilized to capture all superheroes onboard!

Dr. Swastika’s laughter was as cold and derisive as ever, even coming from Agent Grey’s lips. He still couldn’t resist monologuing:
“I must thank you cretins. This plan will work out even better than the Tsunami Machine plot! The nuclear strikes will be blamed upon you heroes, and on SKULL. Do you remember our Reichstag Fire?
Extra-normals will become suspect again, and CHESS will have no choice but to place the nation under martial law, to protect America from the vile clutches of SKULL!
In this body, I shall assume command of CHESS and therefore the United States, whose fearful, terrorized survivors will gladly relinquish liberty for protection. So falls your precious democracy! Victory is mine!”

In a burst of flames, the Blue Comet raced into action! He fired upon the wall-sized window, melting a gaping hole into the bullet proof glass. He hurtled through it and out of the Omni-Carrier. Spiraling up, higher and higher, he was soon above the dark rain clouds and into the bright sun. The Trident SLBM he tracked required a sub-orbital spaceflight.
The cyan speedster followed the Boston missile’s jet trail straight up.

Sentinel flew out the same ruined window to track the nuclear missile that threatened New York City! The missiles were already too far from each other to hope to tackle more than one. Its smoke trail took Sentinel straight up, higher and higher until he too broke through the cloud cover and burst into a bright blue sky. He saw Blue Comet closing on one missile, as he slowly closed on the other…

Slingshot followed Sentinel, pouring his liquid form through the window hole.
Reassembling his shape on the hull of the Omni-Carrier, the pliable powerhouse stretched his arms out, anchored them, and then slungshot himself straight up! Hurtling through the clouds, he streamlined his form for better aerodynamics, and modified his “wings” to adjust his trajectory! He was gaining on the missile, but in seconds its main engines would fire, rocketing the Trident faster than sound toward unsuspecting Washington DC!

No one trailed the missile screaming toward Philadelphia!

Meanwhile, back in the ready room, sudden exposure to the elements had sent a cold blast of wind through the room. Drake eyed the covered support tank at Viper’s words about the mad Nazi’s head.

Then Viper quickly lunged forward at the Dr. Swastika-possessed Agent Grey. KRACK! The human serpent connected with a powerful right hook to the jaw. Grey/Swastika nimbly rolled with much of the damage.

Agent Grey was fast. He laughed: “What a stroke of luck! This specimen is a highly skilled and experienced combatant. Perhaps the best I’ve seen.”
He squinted with his one good eye as he continued: “He also has an uncanny ability to detect the weaknesses of his opponents. He’s already taken the liberty of noting all your flaws. A rather cautious gentleman, I must say. For example, this subhuman snake-creature is vulnerable to extreme cold, and you,” he said matter of factly to the amazing archer, “are in a weakened state due to some lack of focus. Fascinating.”
With that, Grey suddenly fired his futuristic energy pistol twice at Agent Sam Drake. BZZATT! BZZAATT!! Drake fell to the floor in a crash, unconscious!

Forester took aim. He released an arrow at Grey’s one good eye. THUNK-k-k-k-k-k-k! The arrow entered the wall directly behind Grey’s eye. The agile agent had deftly dodged it!

In a shower of white sparks, Lightning Strike transformed into pure electricity. The jagged bolt entered the computer circuitry of the Omni-Carrier and a second later, Strike reformed on the other side of the ship! He was in the radar transmission station. Alarm claxons were sounding. Two surprised technicians fled at his shocking, sudden appearance.
In order to safely transport himself via a carrier wave so that he would not disperse, major modifications to the existing dish array needed to be carried out and fast! Time was precious; the scientific superhero got to work!
He soon realized that the carrier wave would be unable to “transmit” him back to the Omni-Carrier. The best he could hope for was a one-way ticket! His work was unfinished when a big CHESS Knight burst into the room! The white powered armor’s speaker barked: ‘Freeze, extra-normal! You’re under arrest!”
(OOC: Action, Strike?)

Meanwhile, high above the Omni-Carrier, the three flying heroes were far from each other, but each suddenly had a barrage of white energy blasts erupt alongside them! SHAKOW! SHAKOW! SHAKOW!
They were warning shots!
Each hero looked down and saw one CHESS Knight trailing! One Knight on each hero; three Knights in all. Their white powered armor had boot jets, and their oversized carbine rifles were still smoking from the white hot energy beams! The blank-faced helmets made them seem calm and at peace as they shouted orders the heroes could not make out.
Comet was outpacing his Knight. The Knights on Sentinel and Slingshot were each gaining on them!
(OOC: Actions?)

Back in the wind-tossed ready room, the door imploded and in flew three more CHESS Knights!
The Knights’ helm speakers barked: “You’re all under arrest! Get on the floor! Face down with your hands behind your backs! Now!”

With Sam Drake unconscious, Grey was the only other CHESS agent in the room.
Agent Grey commanded the Knights: “There’s no time for that! Fire at will!”

To be continued!


Each of you are facing CHESS Knights, the famed powered armor division of CHESS, not to mention Dr. Swastika/ Agent Grey and four nuclear missiles about to go supersonic!

Here’s everyone’s current condition:
Blue Comet: Hit Points: 10, Power Points: 53
Forester: Hit Points: 5, Power Points: 61
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 2, Power Points: 48
Sentinel: Hit Points: 5, Power Points: 52
Slingshot: Hit Points: 8, Power Points: 78
Viper: Hit Points: 5, Power Points: 83

Furthermore, Forester has still not regained his Heightened Sense abilities, as per his weakness.
Thanks! -Ye Ed


Sentinel OOC Questions and GM Replies:
OOC: "Regarding the communicator -- if I want to broadcast wide range is there a setting versus just trying to dialogue with the knight following me?"
GM: There are a few channels available, you can test them, if you want. They were all set on the same channel when Drake offered them up. What do you mean by "wide range?"

OOC: "Is there anything that prevents my actions from my last posting of trying to encircle the missile?"
GM: You (and Comet and Slingshot) didn't get close enough to the missile to be within range of your powers yet. You might be able to next issue.

OOC: "Can I try to angle myself so that the missile would block a shot from the knight if he did attack?"
GM: Tough to say. You could try it. You're struggling to get within range of your powers with it, let alone pass it. You're not the fastest flyer, having opted for air inside your energy creations, rather than extra speed.

OOC: "How far am I from the missile versus the knight's distance from me etc?"
GM: Approximately 200 feet. Your energy creation range is 150 feet. The CHESS Knight on your tail is also approximately 200 feet away from you (and 400 feet away from the missile). The range of his power blasts CAN reach you, though!

OOC: "Have I been able to get any read off the computer system guiding the missile so I know if I have a better shot at redirecting it electronically versus taking physical action? (ie encircling it?)"
GM: Your energy sense has a range of 100 feet. So, you are out of range there too! However, encircling it seems more likely. You should be able to detect electrical energy within any electronic device with your Energy Sense. But you can't control that electrical energy.
Best, Ye Ed


"Hold your horses, Grey," Forester says after the CHESS Knights arrive. "My Neurophasic Arrow should knock some sense back into you and restore you to sanity."

One arrow remains visible in Forester's quiver, but he leaves it in place. Instead, the archer appears to grab an invisible arrow and shoot the unseen object at Grey.

OOC: Forester's action toward Grey is an attempt to "talk some sense into him," per the Mind Control entry on p. 15 of the 2nd edition rulebook.


As an aside to those without the 2nd edition rules:
James is referring to rules covering an attempt to get someone else to "snap out" of mind control. He's trying to reach Agent Grey's personality and get him to reassert dominance over the mad genius, Dr. Swastika. He's spending his action to do it.
Slingshot attempted a similar thing, when Swastika controlled Sgt. Stone (way back in the now classic Issue 17).
Ye Educational Ed


Sentinel's OOC Questions and GM Replies 2:
GM: There are a few channels available, you can test them, if you want. They were all set on the same channel when Drake offered them up. What do you mean by "wide range?"
Sentinel OOC: I guess what I'm trying to ask at this point is there some way that what I say can actually be broadcast on wide range and hopefully picked up other knights, the speaker system on the carrier, or anything beyond perhaps just the main relay station or the other heroes. I would assume that they were set for the other communicators (other heroes) to hear them and the main station relay. Could what Sentinel says be broadcast beyond that?
New GM Reply: Correct. If it's a CHESS frequency, you might get the Knights and maybe agents on the Omni-Carrier. He could broadcast onto the other channels. But he doesn't know who would be monitoring those channels.

GM: You're not the fastest flyer, having opted for air inside your energy creations, rather than extra speed.
Sentinel OOC: Yes, yes, don't think I haven't thought about that having said, "as long as I can fly at a reasonable speed I'm not that worried about it"; naturally it would come back to haunt me and hopefully NY City doesn't pay the price for it. But I guess it was still the more reasonable move since we would likely have suffocated under the water (or at least me) a few issues ago and I would be losing consciousness and getting lightheaded from lack of oxygen right about now anyway due to the height and amount of oxygen in the atmosphere above the clouds.

GM: You should be able to detect electrical energy within any electronic device with your Energy Sense. But you can't control that electrical energy.
Sentinel OOC: Good reminder... I think I was forgetting that although sensitive to all energy I can only manipulate "my" energy (at this time at least).

GM: Approximately 200 feet. Your energy creation range is 150 feet. The CHESS Knight on your tail is also approximately 200 feet away from you (and 400 feet away from the missile). The range of his power blasts CAN reach you, though!
Sentinel OOC: Achh! Too much game rule details for puny head ... must ... not ... ask ... such ... questions!

GM: The CHESS Knight on your tail is also approximately 200 feet away from you (and 400 feet away from the missile). The range of his power blasts CAN reach you, though!
Sentinel OOC: Can you give me a general idea of how tough the Knights are? Certainly Sentinel would have an idea from his research on heroic activity and such, but Seth has no idea. Are these slightly amped up goons or am I potentially facing Iron Man here?
New GM reply: Probably somewhere in the middle. The public knows:CHESS Knights wear high tech powered armor (They can probably take more than one hit).Their energy carbines are accurate and can cause serious damage. They have built in jet boots that enable them to fly. Their maximum speeds have not been made available to the public. Nor has the public been made aware of their sensory/ communications capabilities. CHESS Knights are experienced, professional, federal law enforcement agents. And you know Ratman and Shockwave just surrendered to a group of CHESS Knights (although Rat and Shock's morale was probably low).

OOC: Slingshot's actions will be to use up his action to evade while he continues to attempt to catch up to his Missile. My priority one is to get to the missile, if calling evasion will reduce my movement, then I'm not calling it.

Speaking into the communicator hoping his companions have theirs on, "Swastika is a nasty piece of work. The bastard has thought of everything." Glancing back at the knight following him, Scott tries to broadcast on all channels of his communicator, "How does this damned.. Got it. Hey you there, I don't know your name Knight, but I'm trying to stop a missile aimed at good ol' Red, White and Blue. I wouldn't mind a hand instead of you shooting at me."

"I'm not a bad guy! Ask your HQ where the missiles are headed, and help out instead of shooting at me! Use your noodle!"

A quick apology to Slingshot since he posted first, but my actions will be similar to yours - ie making a speech to try to convince the Knights to help instead of fight.

My plan was to have Sentinel make his speech and to move ahead to try to stop the missile per prior postings on this turn - I'm not going to attack the Knight since I don't want to risk the missile taking off out of range and my losing a chance to intercept it and thus dooming New York... can I talk, try to stop the missile by encircling it while trying to evade the Knights attack (if he has one) or is my going after the missile the equivalent of my "attack" for the turn. My guess would be it is, but if I can do that and still evade it would be foolish not to do so, and, in essence, my prior inquiry about trying to position myself behind the missile and such was a physical way of "trying to evade" but I guess doing it without using the game rules.

If I can't evade and go after the missile does it seem like I would lose my opportunity to ensnare the missile while I was "evading"?


"You couldn't hold still for me, could ya?" Viper barks at Agent Grey.

The Chess Knights break in....
Viper turns to face them and moves in front of Agent Grey. He does his best maniacal laugh.
"Muwahahahahahahah-ha-Haaaa! You'll never catch me, you Chess pawns!" Viper fakes a charge hoping to draw their fire. He's holding his action to evade the Chess gunfire. Since he positioned himself in front of Grey, he's hoping that Grey gets hit after he jumps out of the way. If for some reason Viper gets hit, but only slightly (like he doesn't die) He's going to roll with the shot and play dead or hurt.

Blue Comet:
OOC: Well, this won't be the most creative turn; and since he's out of ear shot there isn't an opportunity to say anything particularly cool.

The cyan speedster will take both actions to attack the missile and disable or destroy it, preferably trying to start a fuel rupture and let the explosion do the rest. (Hell, it's a miracle of science that they don't explode on their own nine times out of ten.)

However, if he disables the missile in the first action he'll then take the second as movement to get to the next closest missile. If he can't do that then he'll take it as an evasion against his oncoming attacker.


As Sentinel flew to intercept the rocket he was surprised to see the CHESS knight in pursuit THIS quickly. As he worked the communicator he was given moments ago he was tempted, very tempted, to broadcast his message on the widest dispersal possible, in hopes that if somehow they failed, the world could be warned about what happened here this day and perhaps other friendly ears might pick up the message and assist even now.

But at this moment, there just wasn’t enough time for a message to help the people in those cities. He pictured the chaos that would erupt in the streets if people knew what was coming and with the short notice the unlikeliness of any of them getting far enough away to be safe … no, if they should fail … he couldn’t even think about it. Failure was not an option.

He turned on the communicator, and if he’d set it correctly, it would hit the other communicators and the omni-carrier and he hoped that perhaps his signal might actually go through the switchboard and into the craft’s speakers and be broadcast throughout the entire ship at this point …

Kirk did his best to channel the spirit of Lancaster as he spoke, that authoritative voice that somehow demanded attention and obedience, not out of fear like the voice of Swastika, but motivation from knowing that this voice would never lead you wrong, that whatever was said was the best way with that most purest motivations…

“Agents of CHESS stand down! This is Sentinel of the newly reformed Freedom Force. You know that under the leadership of Agent Grey we just returned from a CHESS operation against SKULL; you know this because Agent Drake just led a successful battle aboard the Omni-carrier repelling SKULL’s forces before retrieving us. Grey went MIA during our mission and was just revealed to be compromised by SKULL forces – he is no longer in control of his actions. He has just fired CHESS missiles at New York, Washington DC, Boston, and Philadelphia in an attempt to destroy those cities so that SKULL can take control during the chaos that follows. All of this can be verified with the video of our debriefing in which Grey took these actions. I repeat, Agent of CHESS, Stand Down! The lives of the people of our nation depend on it!”

“To the CHESS Knight in pursuit of me: you see the missiles and their trajectory. You know the truth of my words. Rally the other Knights and do what’s right here to protect the people you’ve sworn to protect! I’m going to stop this missile heading for New York, or die trying!”

With that Sentinel outstretched his body in flight further and, in a flash, disappeared from the view of the Knight. A second later, the Knight saw the golden light of the Sentinel reappear in the sky edging further and further towards the rocket cutting across the sky like tendrils in pursuit of the missile, reaching to embrace it.

OOC: Guess with all these speeches I’m making we should have upped Sentinel’s charisma when we created him.

From a power standpoint here’s what Sentinel will attempt to do:
After making his hopefully inspiring speech, he will have his creation around him glow as best it can like a “flash” at that point he will change the color of his creation to mimic the background of the sky and hopefully he will blend in with the background so that if the Knight still decides to attack he will not see him. If it’s possible, he would also have the outer part of his creation that is around him match the temperature of the atmosphere, in effect, masking him from heat sensors, etc. After the moment of that shift, he would continue flying at full force towards the missile and then have his creation work towards extending like a bright golden tendril towards the missile. In effect, if the Knight plans to attack he would likely go after the very visible extension of the creation rather than the area of space actually occupied by Kirk.

As the tendrils work towards ensnaring the missile, Kirk would avoid covering the rear with the projection mechanism, but instead grab onto the rest of it letting it continue. Once secured, then Kirk would use both his flight and the fact that he is within the creation to draw himself closer to it physically. If at this point it appears that the Knight is actually hostile and trying to attack Kirk, he would “ride” the rocket away from the Knight and after the Knight is left in the lurk he would then try to redirect the missile into the upper atmosphere where it can do no harm. He would either try to alter the trajectory with his creation, perhaps forming attachments to redirect it or if that seemed to fail he would try his plan of cutting off the air from the propulsion system.


Lightning Strike:
Lightning Strike turns to face the Knight. "I don't have time to explain what the situation here nor do I have the inclination. Too many lives are at stake for you to follow orders blindly."
LS assumes that these knights must be powered electrically somehow so he targets his attack on the power system of the armor hoping to short it out and then get back to rigging the radar array.

OOC: Do we have communications between the heroes? If so and assuming the knight is disabled, Strike radios the others through the communicator. "I am heading for the rocket on course to Philadelphia but unfortunately it's a one way ride. If any of you could pick me up after taking care of the other rockets, I would be most appreciative."

As soon as the radar array work is finished, LS will transform and follow the carrier wave.


OOC GM Replies:
LS wrote: Do we have communications between the heroes?
GM Reply: Yes, via CHESS communicators that Drake supplied, so your message went out to the others.
Sentinel/Seth wrote: Guess with all these speeches I’m making we should have upped Sentinel’s charisma when we created him.
GM Reply: He has the highest Charisma of the player characters. Maybe during character advancement, you could elect to pump it up?

Sentinel/ Seth: If any of this needs clarification or is unclear, or not within my limits, let me know.
GM: There’s a lot of great creative stuff here. Two quick clarifications about your powers’ limits:
a) You can control the color of your illusions, but it’s not a perfect chameleon ability that gives you invisibility. But your plan might still be worth an attempt. Why not try it?
b) You can’t control the temperature of your creations.
However, remember these power augmentations during character advancement!