Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Vanguard: Issue 120: None of That Was Real.

Vanguard had lost their minds and their powers. Actually, they never had superpowers to begin with. Nor did Vanguard ever exist. Vanguard was the delusion of several patients at Manhattan Psychiatric Center, a state run psychiatric hospital on Ward’s Island.

Their physician, Dr. Rochester explained, “You are all suffering under similar symptoms. You each fantasize that you are a comic book super hero. These delusions are quite powerful and complex. Treatment involves group therapy, so you were all moved to this ward some years ago by hospital director Grey.
“You have entered a period of lucidity again. In these periods, your proclivity for violence is greatly reduced and you usually have no memories of past periods of lucidity. We can only imagine how disconcerting this must be.”

It was true. The patients had no memory of this place. They were shown photos of themselves in this very ward. And handwritten messages from themselves!

Dr. Rochester said softly and solemnly, “We hope you can take some solace in the fact that we often make our greatest progress during these lucid periods, which can last for weeks. We’ll reacquaint you with each other, and then we can get to work.”

Frank, whose hygiene seemed like he’d been raised by wolves, suddenly threw back his head and screamed "But I beat Pachyderm!! NO!!!!!!”

Adam and John were completely withdrawn and unresponsive to most stimuli. It wasn’t uncommon on Ward’s Island.

Matt grew silent as well. From his wheelchair he scanned the dayroom and saw no TV, phone, computer, or portable data devices.

Steven was silent. He stood by a wall socket trying to make it do something, anything. This wasn’t uncommon on Ward’s Island either.

Slag-faced Scott asked almost to himself, "Lucid periods? We all become lucid at the same time? Nine people becoming lucid in the same timeframe?"

Dr. Rochester chided gently, “No, of course not. This cycle you did, but it’s a rare occurrence. The last time it occurred…” the kind old man looked at his thick case file, “was four years ago. I’ve theorized that it should occur more often given continued cohabitation, not unlike the synchronization of the menstrual cycles of women who live together.” It was hard not to trust the sweet, sainted face of Doc Rocket.
Frank turned and added, "And we create each other in our individual delusions when we aren't lucid? How do we share a commingled delusion?"

Dr. Rochester replied with patience, “During therapy sessions, you share your fantasies. You are all quite aware of each other’s “alter egos,” as it were.”

Pimply faced Kirk asked, “Do we have access to computers and the internet on our 'good' time here?”

Dr. Rochester smiled gently and said, “There is no “bad” or “good” time here, Kirk. But access to the internet, or to the news, can be quite upsetting so we do restrict its use.”

Kirk looked around, almost like a classic paranoid, for monitoring devices, cameras, anything that THEY might be able to hear him on. He saw none. But that’s just what they’d want Kirk to see!

Alexander admired his handsome face in the mirror. He looked like his brother. And his dad.
Alexander smiled even as he knew the other patients would resist reality. If that’s what this was.

Scott avoided the mirror and scanned for something that would show this all to be false. To no avail.

Hal tried to remember his father, his ex-wife, his sister. They had all seemed so real. He couldn’t remember if they visited him here on Ward’s Island. Or if they even existed.
Hal opened his shirt to see the scar Hyena gave him. It wasn’t there!

Frank suddenly threw his head back again and let out a scream of anguish, frustration, and fear all rolled into one gut wrenching bellow. He violently ripped his clothes and ran around the room crying and yelling “Why do I even want to LIVE!!!”

Rochester looked saddened. Lamb, Stone and Molloy gently corralled Frank and humanely restricted his movements for his own protection. Frank sat on the floor and started to cry with heavy convulsions. “What do I have to live for? In death, I had meaning. If I am alive then I am meaningless,” over and over and over.

Kirk ran to Frank’s side to comfort him. He spoke to Frank and then gave the Vanguard hand signal for “Alert! Be on your guard!” All the patients recognized it.

Doctor Rochester tried to gently restore order to the group therapy session, “Now... I believe… John, when we last spoke, that as an important step in your rehabilitation, you wanted to say to us that you don’t believe in Greek gods or avatars or divine power. None of that was real. Are you ready to renounce all tha…”

"Doctor, may I ask a question?" Hal interrupted.

“Yes, Hal.”

"What medication schedule do you have us on to control the psychotic episodes? I know that depakote is contraindicated for patients with suicidal tendencies..."

“I’ve always welcomed your interest in your recovery, but none of you have exhibited suicidal tendencies, Hal.”

Hal quickly discussed various aspects of drug therapy, psychotherapy and even ECT. "I really do want to increase my lucid periods. Do you suppose 35 gram dosage of melange might help?"

Scott drew closer.

Dr. Rochester smiled kindly and nodded, “Yes, Hal, it certainly should.”

Before Kirk could follow up with names of former members of Vanguard….


Red fissures of disbelief, appeared like cracks in a mirror, emanating from Hal. They defied the spatial planes of this room. Other cracks grew from the other patients. Recognizing the hand signals. Synchronized lucidity. Comingled delusions. “Are you ready to renounce all that?”


The dayroom at Manhattan Psych and everyone in it came apart like shattered glass and was gone.

All of Vanguard lay on the ground in a circular formation with their heads at the center and their bodies emanating outward like spokes of a wheel.

Vanguard were in their costumes! Zephyr exclaimed, “Hal! Thank god you’re alive!”
Vanguard were themselves again. And they were not alone.

“Impossible!” they heard a man’s voice whisper.
“They’ve pierced the nightmare illusion!” gasped another.
“Warlock, they’ll be able to see us!” hissed an old woman’s voice.

Vanguard saw they were in an otherworldly landscape of broken marble ruins beneath a red sky. Surrounded by shattered columns and crumbling statues of long dead gods and heroes; sightless eyes and passive faces gazing out from antiquity into infinity. Beyond the full moon were other worlds, other galaxies.

Avatar alone recognized this desolate land of lost heroes where he last encountered Penumbra and Oracle. He had last dwelled here in his dreams, when he called himself Kairos.

Surrounding Vanguard was a circle of figures that stood facing Vanguard with arms outstretched, as if in a ritual. (see image!) Beyond them lay the howling landscape and then a pale, eerie mist that obscured visibility beyond a hundred feet.

“Silence. Calm yourselves. They still don’t know where they are. We have the advantage,” said a female voice in a French accent.

“Superstition is right,” said the one called Warlock. “I want the so-called Avatar brought to me alive,” he commanded. “The rest we will sacrifice. Now attack, my Crimson Coven!”


They’ve escape the Deathtrap of Doubt, Despair and Delusion, but can Vanguard hope to survive…
The Crimson Coven!

Continued next ish!

(Replies/Actions for one round of combat please)

Have fun.

Viva Vanguard!


You got me Jeff!

(... same as it ever was ...)

I definitely expected some issues of us powerless running around trying to figure things out in the looney bin.

Although Kirk is going to respond to the danger at hand, he certainly isn't going to accept things at face value here any more than there. We go to sleep separately and first wake up in the psych ward powerless and now in some bizarre dimension type place in our costumes together.

(... how did I get here ...)

... since talk is free ...


"Zephyr. No personal names. Names are power in magic. My last memory before being here was going to sleep last night followed by what is now being defined by a group nightmare delusion. You weren't there. How did we get here? What can you tell us has happened since going to bed last night? ..."

And then as Kirk was saying it he repeated again "going to bed ... last night" as if the words unexpectedly got things falling into place for him. "The last real thing I remember was going to bed last night." And Kirk wondered to himself, "Did I ever wake up?"

OC Info Request

First thing Kirk has to do is summon his energy and shields (I'm assuming he doesn't have them yet) which pretty much means no attack for me this round, so let me know as much as the following as I get so I can try to figure out how to cause some damage (without causing damage :) )... although I might give you additional actions in case things work differently 'here'.

So, is Kirk feeling 'normal' again. If so, let me know what his energy sense is defining about this place and their adversaries. Any of them 'fired up' energy-wise more than the others so Kirk can assume they are the most dangerous here or the leader of what brought them here? What about the energies of the 'event' surrounding them that caused the nightmare illusion - does it seem like some mystical type energy is dissipating around Vanguard? Coincidence that beyond the eerie mist and their visibility is just beyond Kirk's energy sense assuming it is working (yup, checked my character sheet myself), he'll have to get on the move to allow for a read ...

Since you indicated we are just on the ground in a circle head to head, any markings on the ground that would normally go with a mystically ceremony that we need to mess up? Does it appear that anything else is containing us or restraining us?


"Avatar. Looks like your war begins with this battle. If you have any insights into what is going on here to help us now is the time to share."

With the mystical type appearance of everything around them Kirk says to Menagerie, "If this environment caters to any of us, its you. If you have any special read on things here, let us know."

"Vanguard, they want Avatar, let's make sure that doesn't happen!"


John is as mystified (no pun) as the rest of the group. He looks at Kirk and shakes his head.

"If something comes to me, I'll certainly share. Right now, I think we have our hands full!"

Avatar will activate both Heightened Strength and Heightened Endurance. I think that takes the entirety of his combat actions? If not, he will go ahead and attack. Does he see the entirety of the CC membership and this point?

With both of those powers activated, Avatar should have the following stats (including your switch of hit point mods for END and AGI): STR 33, END 36, AGI 22, INT 21, CH 21, hit points 141, Power 112 (down to 62 immediately from activation of powers), Accuracy +4 (+8 total w/Heightened Expertise), Damage +4, Carrying Capacity 3954, Base HTH damage 2d8. Big improvements over "basic John".

Does Avatar have weapons with him or is he unarmed? For clarification, does the bow let me use HTH damage regardless of what it goes to (like now)?


Before combat actually breaks out, Clone turns to Symbiote with an energized look of expectation on his face and says,” For me this is most unusual of ways to be meeting people comrade” He then charges off to join the fight and in a classic ‘David vs. Goliath’ move, Clone decides to go for the ‘big guy’ – The Golem. As he launches himself at The Golem he will divide into as many duplicates as possible, picking up any small pieces of the broken marble ruins ( to be used as bludgeons ) that he can find along the way ( if possible ), and then just ‘dogpile on the rabbit’.

Dogpile on the Rabbit – Bugs Bunny:

As the melee continues Clone’s goal is to just keep dividing up into as many duplicates as possible and just keep pummeling the living daylights out of the giant magical man-mountain, the Golem. Hopefully the overwhelming number of duplicates sitting on him will be enough to keep The Golem prone.

Jeff - if the Clone's do manage to topple The Golem and dogpile him, would any of them get bonuses to hit ( attacking from side / behind / etc. . . ) with the chucks of marble ( if they were even able to find any ) they're using to pummel him with?

SETH WROTE: Kev: Enjoyed the post and the revelation that Alexi would likely be happier here once he got himself 'on track' that in the 'real world'. I'm looking forward to Jeff having that come back to 'bite' and your handling it. And I enjoyed the Giffenesque interlude to Tony's post. ... Now how about the secret behind the scenes escape story of Boris from the clutches of the Soviets :)

RESPONSE: First of all, to understand what happened to Boris, you gotta understand who Boris the goat is. Now Boris was born to a thr ee-legged doe; he was always ashamed of this, man. And then . . . right after that . . . he's adopted by this man . . . Tito Liebowitz, he's a small time gun runner and a goat fight promoter. He puts Boris into training and so the next thing ya know Boris is good – he’s damn good, but then he had the fight of his life. They pit him against his brother Ivan, and Boris said "no way man, that's my brother, I can't fight Ivan" but they made him fight anyway, and Boris . . . he killed Ivan. Boris said "That's it!" he called off all his fights, and he started doing crack, and he freaked out. Then in a rage, he went completely off the deep end, and jumped over the Berlin Wall . . . and swam his way to America . . . wow . . . . . . so who can name the movie I grabbed that from?

Talk to you all soon,


[OOC] Menagerie is using his mystic senses for all their worth!! It is a real landscape or another landscape of the mind. Are all beings natural, abominations, or illusions?

[IC] Menagerie is mad! Sorcery was behind it! “Roger that!, Sentinel. I will let you know what I divine. Vanguard! Remember we are dealing with Spellbinders, the largest isn’t the most dangerous!”

Viva Vanguard


Thanks for getting me back in the 'cc'. I somehow got dropped from the list and missed all the interaction below. Boris is the 'man'. So tell me, has anyone had a pet goat as a sidekick? I see an upcoming level advancement ... of course Meneragie will so jealous! (but I have no clue on the movie you swiped it from)

And I loved the dog pile on the rabbit cut, having quoted it for close to forty years but not having seen it in probably like twenty (why don't they play the old time Bugs cartoon on any of the cable channels I have ???)



SETH WROTE Thanks for getting me back in the 'cc'. I somehow got dropped from the list and missed all the interaction below. Boris is the 'man'. So tell me, has anyone had a pet goat as a sidekick? I see an upcoming level advancement ... of course Meneragie will so jealous! (but I have no clue on the movie you swiped it from)

RESPONSE That scene is from the movie Half Baked - its the scene where they're burying Killer

Talk to you all soon,


Ok, I’m assuming no additional intel until we get into the issue, so here goes.

Kirk was plenty angry. He was infuriated over what they had just experienced. He was concerned that everyone on the team would bounce back from it. Here, he didn’t like the odds. Vanguard was outnumbered. They knew nothing about their intended captors. They were unfamiliar with the environment… but he didn’t miss a beat!
Kirk was fluidity in motion.
He summoned his energy and began to advance towards their enemies. As soon as his flight returned his running motion would turn to flight. If there are any of the markings of symbols that go with this sort of ceremony around them, tendrils of his energy extend outward marring and disrupting those symbols, seemingly with a life of their own, as if happening without Sentinel giving them a thought.

”Vanguard, I’ve got no read beyond the pale eerie mist as of yet, “and Kirk shot a glance at the red sky, “but clearly we’re not in Kansas anymore, “assume nothing about this place or yourselves at this point”. Kirk knew that any bits of information he could provide might lead to an advantage for them; he never discounted the resourcefulness of anyone on the team.
Kirk moved toward the biggest group of the Crimson Coven still located together and focused on whatever figure happened to be in the central midst of that group. As he got closer drawing that foes attention his energies swarmed around his fist making it appear larger … preparing for a direct striking blow to his face.

“We may not know where we are… but we sure as hell know who we are. And clearly, you don’t know who you’re messing with!” As Kirk engaged the attention of the central figure, at the last possible moment, his energized fist opened and metamorphosed. From the circle of the open palm, more closely knit fingers grew around it 360 degrees and instantaneously grew in size slamming against the members of the Crimson Coven around it and moving forward pushing them outward towards the eerie mists and beyond them.

Kirk flew outward with them trying to get a continued read on their environment. He would relay any useful information his senses gave him to the team for their use.

OOC: Jeff – I’m not assuming normal ‘game’ rules apply here and Kirk isn’t assuming anything either since he isn’t sure that they aren’t dreaming at this point (see my initial email). With the bad odds, Kirk is hoping that his actions will level the field a bit. Although he can’t sense anything beyond the hundred feet beyond his range, he’s thinking it not just a coincidence, and that if he can get as many members of the Crimson Coven beyond it, perhaps that will be a quick way of dealing with them.
He will pay attention to their reactions at being forced towards it as well as what happens if successful.

From a game perspective, I’m not looking to ensnare of take full control of multiple members of the Coven (ala encircling them as if in a force field) but rather to push them all outward and hopefully he’ll have a shot at that. He’s going to make it look like his is attacking one member and then hopefully take them all by surprise with that maneuver. If his power works somewhat normally here, he would have the ability to both grow his creation (ie the construct getting bigger and bigger to prevent them from getting around it) and to push them towards the mists (in addition to Kirk physically moving forward, his creations can jut forward even further in advance of him).

Of course, Kirk can be wrong here and nothing happen to them even if he gets them through the mist, but at the least he will hopefully separate a bunch of the Coven away from the rest of the Vanguard for the moment.
If it works that Warlock could be the central figure addressed, he’ll go for him ala ‘cutting off the head’.

Personally, Seth would like it to be Okmenhotep, as a wink to Hascomb. (for the other players: Jeff used that name in a campaign years ago, although beyond the name, I can no longer remember anything about it).
As always if any of this is unclear or not possible, just let me know… but at this point, it’s the best I can come up with.

Viva Vanguard!


As Soldier wakes from the illusion, he'll try to get his bearings, and shake off any after effects of the illusion, and begin scanning the area for any possible threats. As soon as he realizes that Vanguard isn't alone, he'll prepare to defend himself as best he can, and shout out a warning that they're being ambushed. If possible he'll evade, and save his action. If he's attacked directly, and this depends on if he's got his pistol or not, he'll fire at the most opportune time, especially if his target is at point blank range.


Here is Menagerie's turn. Please let me know if there are any issues. I had to write up my turn without the rule book beside me.

[OOC] Menagerie is using his mystic senses for all their worth!!
It is a real landscape or another landscape of the mind?
Are all beings natural, abominations, or illusions?
Is there power emanating from the circle?
Can he tell if there is a benefit to erasing or changing the symbols?
Can Menagerie sense if one opponent is weaker to the natural order than other?

[IC] Menagerie is mad! Sorcery was behind it! “Roger that! Sentinel. I will let you know what I divine. Vanguard! Remember we are dealing with Spellbinders, the largest isn’t always the most dangerous!”

[OOC] Here is order for Menagerie’s turn (if then statement order)

Activates Willpower Defense: 1 PR used (I don’t think this requires an action)

If Menagerie can seen power emanating from the circle or can determine there is benefit to changing the symbol then he will spend ½ of his movement changing the circle as his senses lead him.
If he senses this is not a real landscape and/or not all beings are real then he will pass his knowledge to Vanguard verbally

If he senses that a being is an abomination to nature then he will attack the abomination. His attack choice will be the best advantage over the abomination that he can tell from his senses (five senses plus heightened):
Bear for strength, power, and force;
Eagle for flying, speed, and surgical strikes
Cougar for distance, claws, and darkness
Wolf for senses and fast attack

If he senses that a being is weaker to nature then he will attack that being. His attack choice will be the best advantage over the being that he can tell from his senses (five senses plus heightened):
Bear for strength, power, and force;
Eagle for flying, speed, and surgical strikes
Cougar for distance, claws, and darkness
Wolf for senses and fast attack

Vanguard Vanquish!


Hi Harold,

No problem.

It takes an action to summon either of those, although you may now hold both at the same time after summoning them.
Which would you like to summon first? Strength?

You have your sword, spear and bow. I'll give full HTH with the bow if Avatar spends 1/2 of his movement to adjust the bow to his new pull.Best,


Yeah, Strength first. Only, actually, now that I know that.

Do we see everyone at once? If possible, Avatar will attack Warlock with his sword, when he can.

Real quick and dirty....

IC: Hal first looks around to try to determine Zephyr's position. "Sit rep, Zephyr! What the hell is going on here?" he shouts at her, even as he moves towards Lightning Strike to absorb his powers. (Hal knows he has Strike's powers "stored," but until he figures out how to make his carrying capacity permanent he doesn't want to rely on it too much. He's concerned he might somehow burn it out).

If he has any actions left after that (or if we're just moving straight into the next round), Hal will cast a lightning bolt at....oh, let's say...Demonoid (knowing nothing about these characters it doesn't much matter which one is attacked at this point. And Demonoid is one ugly Mofo).
Viva Vanguard,



Two questions:
1) Is Nanite anywhere in sight?
2) I don't remember my tentacle attack: Is it attack multiple targets or entangle one? Or did I have the option of entangling many?

Assuming: 1)No, 2) entangle many

Scott looks around for Nanite. He doesn't find her anywhere in sight. A somewhat threatening amorphous growl, "How dare you take it away from me." He flings his arms at the Coven. His arms grow to trunk-sized cords of writing flesh. His fingers grow too, into tentacles and extend themselves impossibly long grappling at half the coven (I haven't gotten a picture of the group for space distribution, but I'm looking at entangling Mirage, le Fou, Baron Samedi and Superstition). Next round will not be nice for whomever gets caught.

Assuming: 1)No, 2) entangle one

Scott looks around for Nanite. He doesn't find her anywhere in sight. A somewhat threatening amorphous growl, "How dare you take it away from me." With an exaggerated sneer, Slingshot throws a massive fist. Its size and shape is vaguely reminiscent of an anvil.He strains as he puts all of his considerable might behind it directly at Mirage, the likely culprit of the masquerade.


Lightning Strike:
Thank God none of that was real because I walk around the psych ward working in NYC every day!!!

Strike tries to regain his senses as quickly as possible. He remembers the strategies that have worked in the past. Cut off the head and the body will die. From the dialog we heard it appears that either Warlock or Superstition is in charge. Strike gets up and speaks to Vanguard. "We have been taken to places nobody should ever see. These bastards, whoever they are, need to see that we are not ones to be taken lightly."

Strike lights up the sky with crackling electricity and then lets a blast out at the french woman (Superstition). "Let's see how your mind games work against primal forces beyond your control!!!"

With a second action (if one is available) Strike will turn to electric form and attempt to locate metal in the area to move around the foes and position himself for a stealth attack in the next round.

Sorry for being the slacker again,


Hello All,

After Talon gathers his senses he will use his wings to drive him into as many of the advancing members of the Crimson Coven as possible to buy the rest of the group enough time to prepare.

He'll continue to fly about the members of the CC to attack where needed and to disrupt the actions of their stronger members.





Avatar, You do see everyone at once, they are in a tight circle around Vanguard. Assume you can access any of the Coven, as Vanguard is laying down.


1) Nanite isn't there, not even the tin toy robot.

2) Both, and yes:
"Special: Tentacle Attack: Slingshot may use his stretching power to form nets or tentacles that can attack areas. Slingshot rolls to hit each target in an area like a multiple attack, except misses do not cancel the entire attack. Anyone hit divides the damage of Slingshots HTH damage. If Slingshot attacks to ensnare or immobilize, there is no damage and struck targets that don’t save vs. Agility on % must use action to roll vs. Strength on 2d20 to escape. Area of effect = square root of maximum stretch or 30 square feet ( 6 one inch hexes arrayed however Slingshot likes.) PR as per multiple attacks. (Level Five Advancement)"