Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Issue 59: Jailhouse Rocked!

The top secret location of CHESS Castle, 30 miles north of New York City

Last Issue! The Manta Craft was in the black smoke now. Rain came down hard. Wind. Lightning. Thunder. “Where do you want me to put this thing?!” yelled Larry Manetti. Prison yard sirens were audible. Men shouting. A loud explosion boomed. The sound of buildings collapsing, or maybe walls?!

The ship broke from the smoke on a pass over and got a visual. It was bad. The building that gave access to the underground prison was broken open like a fatal head wound. Men bled out. Dozens were visible with more coming, all in orange jumpsuits. They raced across the yard. Some were flying. There were two CHESS Knights down and not moving.
The impact crater was on the generators! They were burning the smoke plume. The access building burned too.
Through the craft’s cameras, from the CHESS Omni-Carrier, Ajay started identifying super-villains. Out of their costumes, he could only ID half.

Now! Wind and rain shook the Manta Craft as Manetti tried to keep it in the air. He struggled to get within the walls and hovering twenty feet from the ground. As he descended, suddenly all communications with CHESS went out! Vanguard’s communicators dropped out as well!
Lightning Strike said softly: “The work of an extranormal, somewhere down there.”
At this range they saw the impact had caused tremors that had rocked the prison structures. Some had partially collapsed. There was concrete rubble everywhere. But the outer walls still held.

"Larry may I borrow the external speakers?" Inhuman extends his hand to the pilot and awaits the operator’s transaction. He then uttered unintelligible sounds through the amplifier.

“Gimme that,” muttered Sam Drake as he grabbed the mic from Inhuman. ‘Attention! This is CHESS and Vanguard! Get face down on the ground NOW! This is your only warning!” A roar of defiance rose from the prisoners of the surface buildings. Six of the unidentified extranormal convicts in the yard got down, but no more. The rest continued racing for the walls! Jellyfish and Crab Man drifted west.

Manetti yelled: “This is the best I can do!” and opened the craft’s side hatch as it hovered. The rain was louder. The yells of rioting prisoners in the surface buildings. Sirens. Gunfire. Thunder. Pure chaos.

Drake turned to Vanguard. He had noted the tremor of fear that had rippled through them.
“Pull yourselves together,” he said as he checked his pistols. “You’re superheroes, remember?”

Kairos was first from the hatch. He landed in the yard and the weather was wild. He was instantly soaked. He ran to a guard tower that had movement within. Bursting inside, he found five lightly armed prison guards trying to rally their courage. Two tried their dead radios. Relief washed over them as they recognized the Soldier of Fortune itself. Kairos said: "Are there emergency generators or any other way to keep the rest of the population from escaping? We need to keep the bulk of them down below and not let them get out! These guys are minor compared to what's coming if we can't contain this!"

One said: “The backup generator didn’t kick in! Security is all down! That big impact must have knocked the generator off line! It’s in the sub-basement! You’ll never get through all those prisoners!”
“Wait!” said another. “That crater was a hundred feet deep if I’m a day. That could be the approach!”

Kairos subvocalized into his communicator, "Strike...can you power the prison with your personal energy? Is that something that … damn.” His communicator was dead from the localized static field!

Forester leapt from the Manta Craft into the yard! Visibility was almost nil! He had to move closer to the escaping prisoners to see them through the downpour. The arboreal archer fired a sonic arrow at the airborne Dr. Chiropterus! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! The mad biologist clutched his oversized bat ears and fell to the ground with a wet thump! He was still moving but disoriented! (OOC: Weakness to sonic attacks) Forester then called: "Hyena… you need our help~ You cannot run from the pack!"

Hyena heard Forester and loped toward him with an animal laugh. “You punks best be on your way. You’ve no idea what level of crap you’ve just stepped in. Sanctimonious bastard!” The feral freak suddenly and savagely clawed at Forester, but only managed to shred Forester’s cape.

Sam Drake leapt from the Manta Craft. He opened fire on Hyena with his energy pistol! BZAAT! BZAAT! The jovial jackal was hit but not seriously wounded. Drake moved toward the impact crater.

Symbiote saw he needed strength and range. He touched Slingshot and the Harper Harness activated! The powers felt different than last time. Then the black-skinned Hal leapt from the plane!
(OOC: 1) Chemical Powers: Rubber. Permanent. No ranged attack or Chemical Powers defense.
a) Stretching Powers: Maximum stretch: 186” (930 feet!) May form a 465-foot square, or a 233-foot cube! Minimum Stretch: 1/8” thick. Costs movement to stretch. Adds to movement rate, ‘slingshotting’ allows him to jump without a running start.
b) Invulnerability: 8 points of damage may be ignored per turn. Works against kinetic, energy and elemental attacks (not mental blasts or inhaled poison gas, for example.)
c) Natural Weaponry: +2 to hit with fists, from stretching. No damage increase.
2) Heightened Strength: +30 to Strength.
3) Regeneration: Slingshot can heal per turn. Up to one action may be spent per turn to regenerate, enabling Slingshot to regain his full Healing Rate in that phase. Slingshot cannot regenerate damage from fire or heat.
W1) Unusual Appearance: Skin is black and rubbery. Can’t pass for human easily. No secret ID.
W2) Minor Vulnerability: Takes double damage from fire and heat based attacks.
W3) Special Requirement: needs plastic/petroleum/rubber as a raw material to regenerate)
Hal looked up and saw…

Elemento flew up into the center of the storm beyond view! The weather wizard saw Sentinel following. SHA-KRAKABOOOM! Two lightning bolts pierced the heavens and struck Sentinel’s shields! (16 points!) They bounced off harmlessly and Elemento’s face fell! “What the-?” he moaned.

Sentinel’s ‘fiery’ shields extended an energy tendril that grew into a sphere that encapsulated Elemento! Inside, the elemental was savagely battered but not into unconsciousness!

Two unidentified extranormal convicts flew off over the walls, in different directions!

Lightning Strike leapt down from the Manta Craft and followed Symbiote’s suggestion. The electric avenger fired white hot bolts of lightning at the wet ground near a group of escaping convicts, letting the puddled rainwater carry his current! The prostrate Dr. Chiropterus cried out and twitched as he was electrocuted into unconsciousness! Accelerator yelped, “Hey! Watch it there, Sparky!” Two unidentified convicts also fell hard to the ground from the attack!

Mother Russia didn’t feel the current in the least, even as electricity smoked and popped near her feet. She looked up at the rain that fell on her face and smiled and cried. “At last. I am free once more!” (translated from Russian) She then leapt up into the sky and disappeared into the dark clouds!

Smog was distressed by the gale force winds. His voice was like a hundred smokestacks. “Free!... Now I may take my revenge upon this accursed world.” And he allowed himself to be pulled by the wind out across the river. He did not dissipate, but in time his thick smokey laugh did. “Hahahha ahhah haha!”

Triceratops charged the wall with his head and shoulders down. KER-RASH! The reinforced concrete was no match for the Jurassic juggernaut! The wall gave way and crumbled down! RRRRRMMBBBLLLL!

Slingshot said, "I will handle Triceratops" and with that, he slingshot himself at the enormous villain!
SHOOOM! The malleable man of might was hurtling directly at the prehistoric powerhouse and then unexpectedly sailed right through him and into the concrete prison wall! KER-RAASH!! (OOC: 14 points damage! 8 off Invulnerability, 6 off hits! Unable to roll with the damage due to the surprise!)

Triceratops swirled and disappeared! He was a hologram, an illusion! So was the hole he had seemingly put in the wall. But not the real hole that Slingshot had just unwittingly replaced it with!

Figment laughed, did a strange little jig and sang happily to Slingshot:
“Deceived! Destroyed! Oh feckless eyes! Be not disillusioned!... Try!”

Crab Man lifted a gigantic slab of concrete from the rubble and hurled it at the Manta Craft! It was 20 feet long and it tumbled end over end as its trajectory brought it sickeningly closer and closer! (OOC: Imagine the catapults at Minas Tirith in Return of the King!) It missed by an inch! Larry exhaled.

Inhuman was last from the Manta Craft. “Good luck!” Manetti yelled. “Send up a flare when you need me to come back!” he called as he closed the hatch and roared off before the lost control of the plane!
VROOOOOOOMM! The seaborne scientist ran through the downpour toward Crab Man and Jellyfish.

Jellyfish pre-empted his attack! Inhuman saw she was a translucent, protoplasmic organism in the shape of a beautiful woman. She lashed out at him suddenly and connected with her hand! Her bio-sting numbed Inhuman’s chest and the sensation spread! Inhuman fell over, momentarily paralyzed!
She laughed contentedly with her old team mate from the Sinister Sea Squadron.

Inhuman’s voice was slurred from paralysis as he spoke the language of the sea from the wet ground, trying to entice them to join him.

Crab Man thought about the offer and rumbled, “Nah. We got other plans, brother. Maybe you should be the one joinin’ us, Huh? Learned that lesson too late, huh guppy?” He laughed at his own joke. “Come on, baby,” he said to Jellyfish and the two continued to the hole in the wall where Slingshot lay!

Accelerator hurtled around the prison yard, gaining speed as he chuckled to himself. Then he stopped on a dime in front of Slingshot who had the misfortune of blocking the exit. “Hold that pose, kid,” Accelerator said as he touched Slingy’s elastic ebon epidermis. ZOOOOMMM! Impossibly, Slingshot flew off at incredible speeds across the prison yard! All of Accelerator’s previous momentum was somehow transferred to Slingshot with just a touch! He landed against the eastern wall with a crash! The sinister speedster smirked. “Get’s ‘em everytime!” (OOC: 12 points of damage. Slingy rolls with 8)

Two more extranormal criminals emerged from the quake-damaged access building! One was not immediately identified. The other was Ratman! He was not wearing his mechanical tail!

The chaos of the storm and the prison break was building!

OOC: Actions?!

Current Conditions:
Forester: Hit Points: 31 Power Points: 68
Inhuman: Hit Points: 25 Power Points: 59 Note: Currently paralyzed!
Kairos: Hit Points: 44 Power Points: 81 Evasion: until first action in Issue 61
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 40 Power Points: 70
Sentinel: Hit Points: 20 Power Points: 51 Creation Points: 102 Construct: 86
Slingshot: Hit Points: 45 Power Points: 81 Invulnerability: 0 until Issue 61
Symbiote: Hit Points: 80 Power Points: 102 Invulnerability: 8 Charges: 13

Inhuman does not make his save between turns vs. Paralysis!


"Don't be afraid, Hyena. This won't hurt," Forester says, hoping that provoking the feral foe will keep him from escaping.

The archer then fires a flare arrow at Ratman. If the unidentified extranormal is nearby, Forester will direct the arrow so that criminal also will be affected by the blinding flash.

OOC: During the momentary burst of light, does Forester see anything else unusual/noteworthy?


"One said: “The backup generator didn’t kick in! Security is all down! That big impact must have knocked the generator off line! It’s in the sub-basement! You’ll never get through all those prisoners!”
“Wait!” said another. “That crater was a hundred feet deep if I’m a day. That could be the approach!”

Kairos nods and motions to the battle raging outside, "Vanguard and CHESS are on the scene,'s only a matter of time until this situation is back to normal. I need you to concentrate on staying together and defending yourselves as well as helping if you can. Do any of you know the layout of the sub-basement? If so, tell me where I can find the backup generator."
OOC: Kairos will listen to instructions if anyone volunteers any and will then or will otherwise dash off across the yard toward the impact crater, evading if he must or attacking if he can't evade for some reason. Once reaching the crater, he'll look for a relatively safe way down or stand his ground near the lip of it if he's pursued. If he must fight at the edge of the crater, he'll attempt to let his foe's own momentum carry them into the crater if he can re-direct it (if said prospective foe is attempting a melee attack, anyway).


Presumably the Piscine Powerhouse is Paralysed in body, but not in mind Inhuman thinks 'well, no teamwork and some of us get our buts handed to us... '
He mulls over the new information.

OOC: If the paralysis affects the mind also Inhuman will be incapacitated for a while yet, however since his psionics is mental Inhuman will try to determine if Jellyfish is in front of Crabby or if she is behind or beside. If she is in front and in range he will attempt to paralyse her and hope Crabman runs her over.... turnabout is fair play :) If she is in range anyways he will probably paralyse her anyways, maybe Crabman will not be willing to leave her behind.
If they are not in range he will take the rainwater in the local area and while trying to keep the escapees grounded (by leaving their water alone) he will also temporarily insulate the others by draining water from near them.

If he feels he can make some reasonable attempt at Communicating with Lighting Strike Inhuman will suggest that "Perhaps he could find the source of the static and take it out or even drain it by recharging power from the ambient static it is putting in the air?"

OOC: Inhuman Would like to Identify Jellyfish & Crabmans Order as well as likely ocean of origin (Skill check) if possible I would like to estimate from a skill check (assuming these take no actions) the weight of Crabman and where and how many "tentacles" with Cnidocytes Jellyfish has. Inhuman would like to verify there are no Cnidocytes left on his skin.(medicine skill check) *In addition Inhuman will have his Hydration sense on "full blast" checking for illusions as well as invisible people.Should the terrible two be out of range for the paralysis attack Inhuman will use his attack action to grab all of the nearby water (up to 200 lbs , 100 for defense 100 for other uses assuming I can combine those as a single "grab") and proceed to "body surf" without standing up to within range of an attack to attempt to paralyse Jellyfish. Should I feel my throat begging to close up or my heart begin to falter I will use the controlled water to open my throat (making a 'ring' for beathing purposes) and if necessary take over blood flow if my heart is paralysed. i am prepared to surivive no mater what and continue battling on. Really OOC : If Inhuman is paralysed for a while he will probably be seen as Even Creepier than he allready is, barely able to groan, and supported only by his power he will probably look like a dead thing shambling around..... "Brains..... BRAiiins..... Need to use my Braaaaaaaaiiiiiinnnnnnss....."

* here is how the Cnidocytes work as well as some of the more deadly versions (death touch/poison for the box Jellyfish)


(OOC: THAT'S Mother Russia?!? I visualized her as being more of a Babushka type, or maybe looking a little like that murderous nurse from Miller's "Born Again" run on Daredevil. Wow. Pity that she seems to have Hulk-jumped away. Although on second thought maybe not so bad, we've got enough on our hands).

IC: Hal looked around, this wasn't going the way he'd hoped. He still believed sealing the breached wall was the key to salvaging as much as possible of this situation. He also still wanted to copy Elemento's powers and use ice to close the gap (and, frankly, because his mix of powers sounded like a lot of fun to use) but it looked like it wouldn't be happening for a while. Sentinel seemed to have the Weather-Wielding Wag well in hand, but he looked to be too far away for Symbiote do much to help him and eventually copy the villain's powers. Besides, other situations needed his attention.

He looked askew at the conflict between Forester and Hyena. Having been on the receiving end of the Snickering Slayer's wrath, Hal seriously doubted that Forester's plan to somehow befriend and reform the killer would work. Still, he was willing to defer to the Fearless Fletcher and allow him time to try to persuade Hyena--at least until such time as Hyena drew real blood. If the murderous freak actually harmed Forester, however, Hal was determined to bounce his furry head all over the courtyard.

And Symbiote felt like he could literally do that! Between his own efforts in the gym and Slingshot's recently increased power, Hal felt like he could take on the world. Which was good, because for the moment it appeared the very world itself was aligned against him and his teammates...

So Hal decided to take out arguably one of the more dangerous opponents--Accelerator. The old military saying is that "speed kills." An opponent who can deal out damage and then zip away before facing retaliation could be a real problem. Hal had a plan...

The Copying Crusader will compress his body in a spring-like manner and then launch himself into the air, making an arc towards Accelerator. He hopes the Velocity Villain will be too occupied with events at eye level to be looking up much. Hal will then spread his body wide so that he falls over Accelerator, covering him completely and enveloping him. (OOC: Think of something like a Lurker Above from AD&D). Hal will then try to constrict the Mountebank of Momentum, squeezing him into unconsciousness. If Accelerator attempts his transferred inertia trick and tries to drive Hal into a wall--well, he's trapped inside Hal's grasp, he'll be taking the trip as well, and hopefully will receive some transferred damage too.

Drake turned to Vanguard. He had noted the tremor of fear that had rippled through them.
“Pull yourselves together,” he said as he checked his pistols. “You’re superheroes, remember?”
OOC: Jeff, can you let me know the tone of Drake’s remark here. Is he genuinely trying to encourage us and be helpful or just being sarcastic here? … and why do I get the feeling you’ll be saying ‘both’?

“Wait!” said another. “That crater was a hundred feet deep if I’m a day. That could be the approach!”

OOC: Well, duh, do I feel stupid not considering it before. Jeff, since getting the backup generators going was part of Kirk’s concern and suggestion from the beginning and since Kairos can’t let us know about it, with Kirk’s aerial view and seeing Drake and then Kairos heading in that direction I’d like to get Kirk there too.
It’s your call as to when and how quickly Kirk realizes this since he didn’t hear the Kairos info, but the general ‘issue’ did list Drake’s actions so Kirk would be aware of it.

Jeff: Can I continue my attack as outlined from the last turn here? It seems like I ‘have’ Elemento at this point. Might I continue with the forward motion, etc described last turn? Kirk would be hoping that perhaps he is the one causing the storms and his being forced out of the sky, etc might also help with that situation.

Depending on what happens here, I’d be good trying to go for the ‘display of power’ as outlined in my previous post if I still thought it might help things some with escaping prisoners, or I’d be happy pummeling Elemento towards the crater area since perhaps he could be ‘used’ in powering the backup generators somehow too (electric control/generation).

GM wrote: I owed you this from earlier: You asked why did Bat's hypnotic control over half of Vanguard end when it did (just as they entered Caine Citadel)?...g) It was all done so that you would think that the control was broken. But it wasn't. Black Bat still controls them.

I hadn’t actually thought of (g) which is a scary possibility, especially given Black Bat’s confessed control of Stentor over time and Stentor’s apparent ignorance of it. This gives even more reason to try to see if we can find a trail of what happened to Stentor. And if the Bat had that power twenty years ago, how powerful would his mental control be now? If we haven’t discussed this as a group (and we haven’t unless we retcon it), then we need to do so after this mission. It would seem we need to get a telepath to probe the minds of the heroes to see if they are still possibly under Bat’s dormant control. I guess you can put this on the back burner to be brought up at our next ‘down time’ issue since we’d have to get their reactions to the possibility, their reactions to submitting to mind probe, arranging for it to happen, etc... that is, if you want to maintain it a genuine threat and possibility, and right now we’re in more than enough trouble without getting into it.


OOC will be all I can come up with today. My computer is on the fritz and I won't be able to do more. I apologize to the group.. It's combat anyways.. ;)
Mother Russia is gone. Ratman, Accel is being dealt with. I can't touch Smog. That leaves Crabman, Jellyfish and Figment. So I'll go for the easy hit.I'll retry my previous move with Crabman and use him to knock out Jellyfish and anyone else in the way (figment or the new unknown guy).