Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Issue 49: Gang of the Living Dead!


Beneath Lonely Town, Big City. Night.

At last, Vanguard found their quarry, Morgue, in the old catacombs beneath Lonely Town!
But he wasn’t alone. His former enemies, the Five Bosses were with him and now they were undead too. They had the haunted eyes of the damned.
Kairos’ morale-boosting powers helped Vanguard steel itself in the face of this disastrous turn of events!

Morgue laughed loudly. It was an ugly sound. “The peace conference worked out better than expected.”
His one good eye was full of merry hate. He snarled through clenched teeth. “So, Homicide for Hire wasn’t enough for ya, huh? You wanted a #$@%&* showdown, huh?! Well now you small fries have got one!”
Morgue held up a big bare fist. “This is yer last damned chance: Get the hell outta here! Big City belongs to me now! So take some air or else I’ll be forced to add you to my !#$%*& gang!!
Kairos came alive again in a sudden burst of speed! The soldier of Fortune itself ran full speed at the Octopus and at the last moment used his steel staff to pole vault over the surprised cephalopod but was met in mid air by…

The Cat! With incredible agility, the undead ninja registered Kairos’ true trajectory and leapt up to strike at him with his katana as their two arcs crossed in mid air! SHHHHHHRRRRRRRRKKKKKKK! The steel blade slashed deep across Kairos’ chest! (14 points of damage! 7 each to hits and power!) The Cat landed gracefully beside the Octopus and prepared for the onrush of heroes!

Kairos was hurt but he was now behind the line of undead crime bosses and his feet came down on Morgue’s big jaw! KRACK! The blow would’ve broken a man’s neck but the ruthless killer winced and shook it off. The fearless avatar of antiquity was within range of Morgue’s murderous reach, literally risking death!

Morgue was six and a half feet tall, as big as life and twice as cruel. He snarled savagely, “You little nothing! Kick ME inna face willya! I’ll bury you!” Morgue reached out his bare hand to extinguish Kairos’ life! The fated fighter barely leapt out of the way! “Kill these punks!” Morgue barked ferociously to his cadaverous captains.

Symbiote heard Slingshot’s suggestion to try to duplicate Morgue’s powers but saw no open path yet to the sadistic supercriminal. He waited for his best chance at the desperate gambit! (Delays action!)

The Ghost acted without hesitation. He lowered his intangible form into the earthen ground and disappeared! Suddenly he rose up behind Morgue and placed his hand inside the brutal boss’s back. Morgue cried out in anger! RRRAAHH! Snapping his thick neck around he growled: “Ya scuzzy freak! Yer hurtin’ me but that’s all!” The Ghost called to his team mates: “Morgue IS a revenant, like the others!”

Lightning Strike grimly aimed his arms at Poker Face and crackling hot electricity exploded from his hands into Poker Face’s namesake! SHAAKKOW! The gruesome gambler staggered back ten feet and crashed into a stack of wooden crates, dropping his tommy gun. His skull-like head was smoking but his red baleful eyes were still full of malice. Symbiote’s pathway to Morgue was half clear!

Sentinel hovered in a lotus position and taunted Morgue. “From all the rogues and cutthroats I’ve come across, I genuinely believe you to be one totally nasty son of a bitch. But, the one thing I can’t figure here is that when we loosed you from Swastika’s influence a few weeks ago, you were seriously pissed at him and his crew. Now, at least Swastika was honest in his control of you…”
As the beacon of liberty continued an almost imperceptible tether of energy whirled across the room, finding its target area above Morgue it formed into an image of hands holding strings attached to Morgue like a puppeteer pulling strings to make him dance, “…have you really convinced yourself you’re in charge here?”

Morgue wheeled at the puppet master’s hand and then glared pure hate at Sentinel. The merciless murderer was ready to kill. He roared like a tommy gun: “I ain’t nobody’s puppet! I’m the boss of Big City! That was the deal! One of you useless two-bit hoods ice this antique freak already!”

Sentinel reserved his full action waiting to get an open shot at Morgue. Failing that, he could smash a Boss with a construct that looked like their gravestone. But he extended his energy sense all around. The heir of heroism detected the anti-energy of the undead emanating from Morgue and the Five Bosses. He also sensed another large anti-energy source in the northernmost room!

Clone divided into three identical selves and advanced on Morgue. “His touch can only kill one of me at a time,” he said aloud. But the Cat crossed his path and the four faced off!

Slingshot saw Symbiote was bogged down and with only half a path forward. So he finished one. The pliable powerhouse stretched his arms forward, grabbed a big table and slammed it into Dexter Sinister! CRRUUNNCH! The psychedelic psychopath was battered against the earthen wall and fell behind the table. With that, Symbiote’s pathway was complete!

Symbiote saw his chance! The superheroic simulator raced through the opening in the chaos and lunged at Morgue who was distracted from Kairos, the Ghost and Sentinel! Hal slammed his electrified hand onto the racketeering revenant and was stunned when the Harper Harness activated! The Harness did not duplicate the supernatural powers of the undead, nor the skills the man had learned, but they did replicate the extranormal abilities that must have been Morgue’s in life and remained in his dead DNA!! There were:
· Death Touch: The character can kill by simply touching another life-form.
This requires a successful Hand-to-Hand mode attack.
If contact is made, the victim is allowed two saving throws on 1d30: once vs. his Endurance score and once vs. Agility. If both saves are made, the victim resists the Death Touch effects totally and the attacker spends no Power. If only one save is made, the touch is partially successful and the victim loses all of his remaining Power points, at a cost to the attacker of 10 Power points.
If neither saving throw succeeds, then the victim is killed dead and the attacker is charged 20 Power.
· Heightened Strength +15
· Weakness: Special Requirement: Must contact skin to skin for Death Touch to work

Slingshot saw this and smiled. His plan was working! The victory was short lived. The malleable man of might suddenly felt ill, disoriented. The smile fell from his face. The room was reeling, he looked and saw…

Dexter Sinister had touched Slingshot’s arm with his left hand as the degenerate druglord of decadence crept out from behind the table. Sinister was the only boss smiling ear to ear and his fleshless jester head laughed like a madman. Slingshot watched the walls melt and then he melted too. His body subconsciously reacting to what his mind was experiencing, his flesh poured down like liquid into a gathering black pool. His elongated arm came apart and splashed on the ground. (OOC: Mild fear. Extreme disorientation. Agility -6. Detection skills/4. Carry cap is halved. Movement/4.) The narcotic nightmare tittered, “Bad trip?”

Poker Face, his head’s electrical burns still smoking, leered at Lightning Strike. He held the deck of cards in his left skeletal hand and flicked the top card at Strike with his right. “Read ‘em and weep,” he croaked.
FLASH!!!! The card exploded before Strike’s eyes, blinding him! The electric avenger could not see!

Femme Fatale caught Sentinel’s eyes from across the room. The golden age gladiator was awestruck! Never before had he experienced such beauty. He no longer saw her as a reanimated corpse but as a stunningly gorgeous woman. A sensation of pure love washed over him despite his urgent instincts to resist! Fatale moved closer and his heart raced. It was he who was the puppet now! “Lover,” she purred. “Stop this silly fighting this instant! A girl could get hurt!”
Against his will, Sentinel obeyed! (OOC: Lose delayed action! Cannot initiate any hostilities!)
Sentinel’s face was taut. His jaw was clenched and his eyes wide. A bead of sweat crawled down his brow.
His telepathic training was useless! Hers was not a telepathic attack! “Darling, don’t you feel it? We share something that doesn’t come along every day in this dark, nasty world. You feel it too don’t you, tiger?
Well what are you waiting for? I need to be in your big strong arms. Hold me. Lower those little ol’ shields.” Sentinel felt forced to comply!

The Octopus, meanwhile, took one look at Inhuman and froze! His black oily eyes betrayed recognition, shock, fear, horror! Then something welled up inside of him and he roared angrily. He tore off this hat, trench coat and shirt revealing a frightening physiognomy! His dead blue-green torso had four massively muscled tentacle-arms, each with tiny rows of glistening translucent suction cups. Free of the constricting clothes, free to move, he leapt at Inhuman screaming savagely in terror!

Inhuman had set up an extranormal defense before Vanguard invaded Morgue’s lair. He had accessed clean water in the sewer and made it move according to his will! His amazing hydro-kinesis manipulated the liquid into a 6’ tall waterspout that circled him! This wall of swirling water was now all that stood between him and the rampaging behemoth that charged him! Two super-strong tentacle-arms crashed on him! One was fouled by the water defense, but the other struck Inhuman hard! POW! (OOC: 15 points! 5 off power! 10 off hits!)

Inhuman flew back and smashed his pipe wrench tool into the water pipe the gang had tapped and water burst from the coupling! The aquatic adventurer stood up and charged the marauding man-mollusk, emanating a sound not meant for human ears! The two angry amphibians wrestled and rolled along the path that had been cleared for Symbiote, finally crashing into the room in the northwest corner of the hideout! SMAASSHH! While grappling, the biologist could tell that the Octopus had no skeletal system!

Meanwhile, muffled noises were heard beyond the cave-in! Unhappy Jim hacker, the Quickdraw Kid and the gang of the damned was moving rocks and earth, slowly, relentlessly burrowing their way to the heroes!

The Cat moved with astounding speed and grace despite his state of undeath! He acted again, silently, ruthlessly impaling one of the Clones, killing him! The Clone evaporated leaving only two!

“That’s right!” roared Morgue to the Five Undead Bosses! “KILL THEM!”

OOC: Actions?

Current Conditions:
· Inhuman: Hit Points: 15, Power Points: 48
· Kairos: Hit Points: 13, Power Points: 67
· Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 18, Power Pints: 70
· Sentinel: Hit Points: 12, Power Points: 51, Creation Points: 102, Shields: 100
· Slingshot: Hit Points: 26, Power Points: 89, Invulnerability: 8
· Symbiote with Morgue’s powers: Hit Points: 19, Power Points: 87, Harness Charges: 7
Best,
Ye Ed

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Inhuman:
Private to GM: As A Key Note: Yes I am still going with the Alliance power and attempting to forge an alliance between myself and the Octopus (Including expenditures of many rare abilities), I would like to use my remaining movement to "act out" attacking Octopus, I assume that not really attacking doesn't take an action, please let me know if I'm wrong in that repect. Hopefully my remaining movement is up to the task :)


For you, Octopus and should there be a linguist within range my Speech of the Sea is first (during the water pipe destruction) drawing correlations between us to help forge the alliance "we are of the sea, we have been or are dead, we have more in common than all others here, help me to help you" the second part during my charge at Octopod will be "should you be willing, i'll aim to miss, throw me into the room and close the door behind you where we shall discuss matters better." Then i'll let him throw me if he desires to (more movement acting I hope!).


Of course if he really tries to harm me then I may have to change tactics. Just for clarity sake I was not intending for the alliance power to be mind control, more like friend gaining, giving the character the potential to gain something akin to D&D henchmen but on a very limited basis. However, even using all three abilities simultaneously(base, upgrade and Luck) does not guarantee i'll get anyone worthwhile. In addition it isn't my intent to willy nilly gain power but instead allow your characters greater depth though character interaction. heck I didn't even think I was going to get something so connected to my character.


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Secret GM Communication to Inhuman:
What really happened:
Inhuman flew back and smashed his pipe wrench tool into the water pipe the gang had tapped and water burst from the coupling! The aquatic adventurer stood up and charged the marauding man-mollusk, emanating a sound not meant for human ears!

His psionic power enabling him to communicate with all aquatic creatures, Inhuman said: “We are both of the sea! We have both died! We are more alike than they! Feign combat until we are alone! Let me help you escape from your torment and be free!”

The Octopus’ rage and terror abated at these words and he reluctantly agreed!

The two angry amphibians wrestled and rolled along the path that had been cleared for Symbiote, finally crashing into the room in the northeast corner of the hideout! SMAASSHH! While grappling, the biologist could tell that the Octopus had no skeletal system!

The two were alone and still smashing into barrels and crates with limbs locked as they traded words!
The Octopus cursed: “All right! Who the hell are you?! Looks like they did to you what they did to me!
Are they here with you?!?!” He didn’t look to happy at the prospect.

OOC: Replies?

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Inhuman:
Private to GM:
Inhuman though gritted teeth responded to his new allies questions in a low voice..."I call myself Inhuman, I was a scientist captured and changed by a process that is not ended." As his spineless ally rolled on top of him from the frantic thrashings the two were keeping up (assuming we are still wrestling)

"T...They ... however are ones who shall pay, now if you are willing I have a plan, pretend to lose, I'll let you escape after the battle, then meet me in two days at the source of the clean spot in the (Insert name of local large river with docks) with whatever info you can get to put these guys away for good and I'll do my best to fix quite a few things... including us and Them!!!!" Rolling on top of his spineless slippery adversaryturned ally Inhuman cries out in a loud voice "YOU ARE NO HIGHER THAN YOUR BASEST..." *KLUNK* the pipewrench slams into floor missing the Cephlopod but too close for anyone but the two of us to call "...ARGUMENT" *KLUNK* Again the pipewrench slammed into floor missing the Cephlopod but too close for anyone but the two of us to call (hopefully!)


(if he lets me do this btw, and if he pretends to be unconsious from the blows) i'll stand up, feign exhaustion and injury drag the pipewrench behind me and limp to within sight of the next target. Then lean against the wall and Holler "that was NOT fun, but who is next on the Inhumans dance card?!?" as he considers having his pipewrench named "base argument" in a moment of mirth. (if he has other questions or wishes to, the "fight" continues)


Action: is making sure the fight looks convincing, getting enough information to Octopus and preventing harm from coming to Octopus, same with movement.

OOC:Based on his markings what kind of Octopus is he? Pacific, etc.... the Seaborn Scientist wishes to know!

As a clarification and in order to step my power further away from mind control perhaps I also feel loyalty to the target of my alliance power, not enough to be a listed weakness (unless you feel that it should be), but keep in mind I have an interest in keeping them around for more than utility, they will become friends, should things work out that way. Should they die i will mourn. Should they seek the darkness I will help them return to the light. Should they oppose me, we shall struggle, but I shall take no joy from the fight.


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Kairos:
To begin with, I am working under the assumption that Kairos has knowledge of what is going on with the rest of the team. If not, please tell me and I'll alter actions appropriately.

With the three easternmost team members succumbing to one attack or another and with Morgue in combat with two other team members, Kairos sees that he must act to benefit the greater good. With that in mind, he breaks off from combat with Morgue and heads almost directly eastward, making a beeline for the area between Sentinel and Lightning Strike. As he sprints, he begins uncoiling the slender steel cable and grapple from his waist....

(OOC: Adjudicate as you will, but the following are my actions and intentions...)

Kairos, unmindful of his morale-boosting power but knowing that he can raise up the spirits of others with his actions and demeanor, calls out to beacon of bravery, "Don't let that corpsey courtesan fool you, Sentinel...she wasn't worthy of you in life and certainly not in death! Keep your mind on your mission!"As he's running he will, if possible, snarl a tangle of cable and grapple around Dexter Sinister. If successful in that, he'll throw the other end of the cable, also in a tangle for ease of catching, to Lightning Strike, yelling, "Give it the juice, Strike!"

Then, finally, Kairos will give himself the stim-shot, if possible.

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OOC GM Replies:
Kairos, this is great!
Here's how it breaks down, rules wise:
1) Calling out to Sentinel to boost his morale: This is fine. It will cost "movement" and will increase Sentinel's chances to break Fatale's spell. If you had spent an entire action in this manner, it would have done that AND given him an additional roll, for a total of two, to break her spell.

2) But your "attack" is used tangling Dexter Sinister in your cable.

3) Strike is blind, so Kairos should hand him the other end of the cable. This might be seen as 'movement' again, but I'll allow it.

4) Stimshot, as mentioned in an Issue 47 OOC GM Replies, requires your entire action for one "issue" of combat, attack AND movement, and the effects of the stimshot are immediate. So this can't happen.

But 1-3 are legal. Great idea!

Best,
Jeff

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Kairos:
OOC: OK. 1-3 it is. I may or may not do the stim shot with my next action, depending on how everything else goes.

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Sentinel:
OOC: I'm not sure how to do my post given Kirk's current situation. I've got some stuff that he'd tried to do to help combat Fatale's influence as well as what he'd do if his actions are his own.

To combat the effect: Since its not mind control/telepathy, perhaps its something environmental (pheromones ala Poison Ivy or the like), so Kirk would try to seal off his shields as he would in space/under water, etc -- although if that was the cause of her influence, I'd say that Kirk would have had his shields sealed already and wouldn't be in this situation.

In the post you mentioned that she caught his eye, in case its a visual thing, Kirk would change the color of his shields to blackness to prevent further contact and break control. (Even if he had to maneuver at this point, he knows the general layout and could work a bit using his energy sense so that he knows where the good and bad combatants are)

In case distance played a role, Kirk would flee towards the room where he sensed the other energy source. This is where he wants to go anyway and perhaps by going in that direction he might get out of her "range". Kirk doesn't want to leave his teammates but if he's right and that room contains the energy source "feeding" Morgue, he might be able to take out the problem altogether if its an item that is the energy source. Of course, if it’s an even-worse entity, revealing it might make things even worse ... but at this point it would seem we'd need to know. Either way Kirk would take action against it.

Assuming he does break free of the influence, he'd thank his teammate Kairos for the mental boost giving him the reassurance he needed at the critical moment.

Naturally, the last thing he'd want to do is lower his shields or go closer to Fatale ... if he can't break free and if somehow he could obey the letter or what she is saying without doing what she really wants, he would do so. (ie she said to lower his shields, so he would lower them beneath him and then raise them up immediately, or he would physically move his shields lower (he was elevated high above the others at this point) thus "lowering" them, but lower himself physically too thus staying within the shields.

I can't think of much more at this point given Kirk's status, but if you want me to clarify any of the above or take things in a different direction due to "rules" that I don't know about, let me know.
Thanks.
Seth

PS: I might add, that if Kirk does break free and he can handle things to see what's in the next room (so we know if it might be a quick way out of this fight) and still assist his team in the battle he would do so. I'm not sure if the room is sealed or he just has to look into it or what and what would be required in that effort, but if things were dire for one of Vanguard and he could turn things around he for them he would. Of course, I might not be doing anything helpful this turn anyway.
Seth

PSS: Kairos, By the way, totally cool action set. And although I'm thrilled with the assist to help Kirk break free, I thought the attack with Dexter Sinister and Strike was even better! Hope it works.
Seth

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Slingshot:
OOC: Can I actually do anything? if so... Scott saw the world around him shift. With little to no control over his body, but knowing full well that Dexter Sinister could easily take down the whole gang by himself, he knew that he had to neutralize him with the only weapon he had: his body. Slingshot had obviously little awareness of his surrounding. He completely missed Kairos' attempt at dealing with Sinister. So Scott did the only thing he knew to do. With a massive effort of concentration, he slingshot himself at Dexter with full intention of completely covering him with his body.


OOC: So I'm trying for a slingshot/tackle type of maneuver. Essentially slamming into him for maximum damage.
St├ęphane

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OOC GM Replies:
Sentinel: Since its not mind control/telepathy, perhaps its something environmental (pheromones ala Poison Ivy or the like), so Kirk would try to seal off his shields as he would in space/under water, etc -- although if that was the cause of her influence, I'd say that Kirk would have had his shields sealed already and wouldn't be in this situation.
GM: Correct. I asume his shields are always sealed off when they are "up" unless you tell me otherwise.

Slingshot: Can I actually do anything? if so..
GM: Yes you can, with the modifiers I mentioned in Issue 49. Your post looks great. Thanks!
Best,
Jeff

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Symbiote:
(OOC: Hmm, well, I didn't expect that. Figured absorbing Morgue's abilities wouldn't work at all, but at least I'd be able to hit him with an electric zap. Or if it did work, I figured he was the force behind the revenants and I would absorb that ability as well. I envisioned a dramatic battle of wills as I tried to wrest control of them from him.

Instead, it looks like our mysterious force in the corner is controlling the Deadites. And my primary attack is now Death Touch. Against a bunch of opponents that are already dead.

Oh well, I've still got some super strength here. And Ghost seems to be doing a good job of keeping Morgue occupied, even if he's not actually hurting him, and he would seem to be more or less safe from Morgue's death touch. So, I think I'll go after Femme Fatale. Bet Sentinel will have a better chance of breaking free of her spell if she's got a face full of knuckle sandwich to deal with).

IC: Symbiote murmurs to Ghost "Keep at him, buddy. We've got 'em on the run." With that, Symbiote will turn, take a run at at Femme Fatale, leap upon the wooden table between them and launch himself at her, intending to land a haymaker on the Mortified Madame. "Take a cold shower, lady! Or better yet, a dirt nap!"

PS: I'll throw in my Merry Christmas as well. Getting in on this game was definitely one of the high points of my 2007--Harold/Kairos and I have always loved superheroes since high school and we both always regretted that we were the only ones in our original gaming group who were really into it. Finally, after 25 years of gaming, I find a fun, courteous, imaginative group of gamers who truly "gets" superheroes and knows how to explore the potential in the genre. Thanks to Harold for turning me on to the group, thanks to Jeff for letting me in and thanks to everybody else for making me feel so welcome and making the game so fun. Can't wait for a full year of saving the world with you guys!
Best regards,
Greg
The Myrmidon of Mimicry (I think that's my favorite of my own alliterations in the game so far).

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Lightning Strike:
Blinded by the flash card, Lightning Strike is momentarily disoriented. When he hears Kairos coming to him with the cable, he instinctively reaches out and grabs it. At this point Strike has two options depending on rules and the limitations of his powers.

Option 1: Strike using his knowledge of the optic nerve and his unique physiology plays a hunch that by turning to electricity he may be able to undo the effect. He hopes that turning to electricity and running through the cable Kairos handed him, he can in effect shock his opponent simply by running through the wire (unless this is outside the rules.) Once he reaches the end of the cable, he will rematerialize, hopefully with his sight restored. When he comes out of the cable he will say "Card tricks don't impress me!! Did you really think you could blind a being of pure electricity."

Option 2: Strike calmly grabs the cable and runs a blast of electricity through it. He looks around and attempts to bluff Poker Face. "Card tricks don't impress me!! Did you really think you could blind a being of pure electricity."

After either option Strike turns to the members of Vanguard and says "We need to wrap this up quickly. We don't have much time before a small army of zombies pour through those rocks. We need to find out if it Morgue that is controlling them or someone else and since we don't know who else has this power, we have to focus on Morgue."

OK, that should do it for me!

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OOC GM Replies:
Sentinel wrote: "I'm not sure if the room is sealed or he just has to look into it or what and what would be required in that effort..."

GM Reply: The other room has a closed door leading to it, so you can't just look in. Also, if you manage to break free from Fatale's spell, you said you may darken your shields, so you wouldn't be able to look through a doorway anyway. ;)
Also, your energy sense indicates the heart of the dark energy source as being lower than where you are, so the door might open to stairs or a ladder down, further hampering a quick look into the abyss.

FYI, Opening an unlocked door is just a few inches of movement. Blowing a locked door to bits is like attacking any other non-animate object that is not in the possession of a character: It just costs 1/3 of your total movement to blast/smash/crush it. It is not your "attack" for the turn.

Sentinel wrote: "but if things were dire for one of Vanguard and he could turn things around he for them he would."

GM Reply: Helping a dire situation for one of Vanguard would likely require an "attack." Entering a room, even if you need to blow apart a door, requires "movement." So you might be in a position to enter the door in either event, unless you stayed here to boost morale.
Arguably, if any of the Five Bosses or Morgue are still standing, things could be "dire." Half your team was just neutralized in one attack wave. How badly do you want to go through the door? Are you going through the door unless you could save someone's life that moment instead? Thanks.

Replies to Strike: Great ideas.
A) Transforming into electricity costs your "attack." So you would not get a full "attack" on Dexter Sinister (assuming Kairos succeeds in cable-ing him ). Having said that, the circumstances would permit some electrical damage to go his way under this plan. Just not a full blown attack. But at least it's a shot at clearing your blindness.

B) If you just wanted to attack and not try to cure your blindness, it might warrant a double attack, as your chance to hit will be pretty great if Kairos succeeds in cable-ing DS. And bluffing Poker Face, the consummate conman gambler, would be pretty epic.

Please let me know your preference.

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Lightning Strike:
Since I am not a great gambler myself, I will go for Option A as it looks cooler and then I could emerge unblinded (assuming that works).

One question that can be answered in the next issue (or sooner if you want), from what we know or have heard about the undead, aren't they normally slower and less sentient than normal? The five bosses all seem to have their faculties and are quite quick. Is it possible that they aren't really dead in the normal sense and merely under some sort of mind control or do they all have obvious gaping wounds like the other zombies? Is that something Sentinel could detect or would have detected already? I am not that clear his powers or their limitations.
Thanks,
Tony

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OOC GM Replies:
Tony/Strike wrote: "Since I am not a great gambler myself, I will go for Option A as it looks cooler and then I could emerge unblinded (assuming that works).
One question that can be answered in the next issue (or sooner if you want), from what we know or have heard about the undead, aren't they normally slower and less sentient than normal? The five bosses all seem to have their faculties and are quite quick. Is it possible that they aren't really dead in the normal sense and merely under some sort of mind control or do they all have obvious gaping wounds like the other zombies? Is that something Sentinel could detect or would have detected already? I am not that clear his powers or their limitations."

GM Reply: Option A it is.
Re: Zombies: You're watching too many Romero movies!
The Five Bosses are clearly dead. Skeletal, skin coming off, grey flesh, gaping wounds, undead energy as detectable by Sentinel.
However, they are clearly under someone's control, because in life they were the enemies of Morgue and had sent Vanguard (through Spider Girucci) to kill him.

Back in Issue 45, Forester's Occult skills told him about the nature of these "zombies." I'll say he passed the info to all you guys after he was shot in the gut. Very Dramatically, laying bloody and passing out, he managed to croak this info out.
Here's what I wrote:

Forester’s knowledge of the occult tells him that these hideous monstrosities are not truly zombies.
A zombie is a reanimated human body devoid of consciousness. In contemporary versions these are generally undead corpses, which were traditionally called "ghouls". Stories of zombies originated in the Afro-Caribbean spiritual belief system of Vodou.

These creatures in the catacombs are clearly conscious and aware.
They are more likely revenants: a mythical, visible ghost or animated corpse that has returned from the grave to terrorize the living!

The word "revenant" is derived from the French, revenir, "to return".
Belief in revenants emerged in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages. Revenants share a number of characteristics with folkloric vampires, like inhuman strength and durability, and destroying them often requires some form of decapitation, burning, and/or removal of the heart.
Those who return from the dead were invariably evil in life. As to why they have returned from the land of the dead, folklore offers at least two reasons:
The first is that the deceased’s desire to complete a goal (usually to avenge its death) allows it to return from the grave as a creature vaguely resembling an intelligent zombie. These revenants often act alone, unless they died together.
The other possibility is that a powerful sorcerer (warlock, witch, demon) has returned a man from the grave. Such a revenant may be just as intelligent as it was in life but its will is usually bound by the one who summoned and controls it.

Various forms of walking dead exist in the myths and legends of nearly every civilization dating back to earliest history.

Revenants in Pop Culture include: Spawn, the Headless Horseman, the cursed pirates in Pirates of the Carribean 1, that evil skinless guy in Hellraiser 1, and probably Deadman although I bow to the DC junkies in the group on that one.
-Jeff

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Sentinel:
OK, assuming Kirk breaks free of Fatale’s control, here is the posting:

Kirk heard the encouraging cry from his fellow Vanguardian, Kairos, and in response he felt his hands clench into fists. Without thinking he crossed his arms in front of him as if he was “warding off” Fatale, and then his mind noticed what his eyes saw in front of him, his clenched fists and crossed arms formed a “V” in front of him; a double “V” actually, one facing upward, one facing downward.

He thought to himself, “V for Vanguard … V for Victory” and he began to repeat it over and over to himself as if saying a mantra to break Fatale’s influence. Tethers of his energy spun across the room to lock in contact with the doorway leading to the energy source he’d zeroed in on, his intended target, to guide him to it, as he began to adjust his energies to try to help him to free himself.

The double “V” of his arms seemingly enlarged in front of Kirk as his energies formed them into a huge shield-like battering ram as he audibly shouted the end of the mantra he was up too in his mind; “For Victory!” he words echoed through the chamber as he broke free of Fatale’s influence and zoomed towards the doorway (following the tether) intending to smash through it and into the source of the energy he knew was there.

“Sorry Fatale, although I’m flattered, and admire a strong woman as much as the next guy, as Kairos reminded me, you’re not my type. I’m into good girls, and the whole living dead thing just doesn’t do it for me.”

As Kirk smashed through the door entering the next room he added for his teammates, “There's an energy source through this room that reeks of the same disgusting type emanating off Morgue and the rest of his undead crew,” and then adding to his earlier taunts he said towards Morgue, “so tell me Morgie, what happens to the puppets when the strings are cut???”
As Kirk leaves room and the visual influence of Fatale he would begin to allow light to return to see as long as he didn't feel her influence reasserting itself. Kirk intends to continue towards the energy source smashing through anything in his way while continuing to pick up speed and continuing to try to define if it’s a device or talisman or a living entity. His intent is to enter the area where it is located and hopefully be moving quickly enough so that if there are defenses he’ll get past them. Since his shields are at full he’s hoping that he can smash into the device or entity adding his own strength and momentum into the attack along with his normal damage and perhaps even smash whatever it is against the opposite wall of the chamber destroying it/damaging it.

If Kirk gets that far and it isn’t a device/talisman or an evil type entity, but is somehow some innocent tied into all of this then he’d try to have a more focused attack depending on what he finds.

If I missed anything you need from me, let me know. I'm figuring at this point that Kirk's doing this won't take down the morale of the team with his words defining things and that if he's right, perhaps Morgue might send some of his undead crew following Kirk to try to prevent him thus assisting his teammates.