Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vanguard: Issue 124: Blood Reward!

Vanguard had awoken from a madhouse into a strange, otherworldly landscape where they now fought the Crimson Coven for their team mate Avatar!

The Warlock yelled, “Crimson Coven! Now! Strike as one at the Avatar of the Pantheon, and the promised reward shall be yours!”

The Black Dragon glanced in the Warlock’s direction.
The Witch cried “Mine!” through bloody broken teeth!
The Fallen hissed “Mine!” from inside that terrible helm!
The Golem roared unintelligibly.
Sentinel saw the Wraith hesitate for a moment.
“Mine,” said the disembodied voice of a man.
Superstition, from beneath the bloody jaws of the wolf, cried, “Mine, curse you all!”

Avatar, with the speed of winged Mercury, circled behind the Warlock to place the shielded sorcerer between him and the ravenous occult creatures of the Crimson Coven! The Warlock turned to face him as the last son of Olympus crashed his sword once more into the cyan shield! SKRAASH! The shield flickered and went out, gone from existence! The Warlock braced himself. “To me, my Coven!”

The Black Dragon, his ebon flame extinguished from his hand, leapt forward, tumbling impossibly through the air! He landed next to Avatar and in one fluid motion, struck at him with all his momentum intact! POW! (16 points of damage! Roll with 3. Take 13 from Hits) Avatar flew back thirty feet away from the Warlock, who chuckled: “Yes. Break him for our master!”

The Fallen’s terrible attention had turned to Avatar now!

Talon saw his chance and clawed at her helm! SKASHHH!!! The bestial birdman’s strength tore the black helm open, revealing unnatural pitch darkness within it, and two cold glowing eyes!

The Fallen shrieked and flapped up and away from Talon, and then dove headlong for Avatar, hurtling down at the heir of antiquity with that black, unholy sword! KRANG!! The Fallen’s attack was parried by Avatar’s Hephaestus sword! Avatar was unharmed, but his sword was knocked from his hand somehow!

Superstition, meanwhile, had wriggled out from under the large wolf and levitated toward Avatar!

Soldier evaded (with his action) and moved to help Zephyr into the center of the perimeter. "Clone, can you spare a body to give me hand?!"

Zephyr whispered to the patriotic powerhouse, “Thanks Matt, you’re so sweet, but I’m okay. I can sense objects and their movements by the way they displace air currents! Come on! Avatar’s in trouble!” Shelley flew toward Avatar, with Soldier following her and covering her. Then Zephyr blasted the Fallen with a hurricane force wind blast that crashed the winged wrongdoer into the ground a second time to the sound of crumpled iron! “Gruesome, I could do this all day!” Shelley said.

The Witch was filled with hate for Soldier! The spiteful crone pointed at the star spangled superhero with her withered left hand and began to recite an incantation and… could not! Her speech was impaired by the Soldier’s taser round! The harridan screeched like a harpy in impotent rage!

Lightning Strike left the defeated Demonoid and raced back to the battle! Standing alongside Talon and Symbiote, he blasted lightning at the Warlock’s back! SHAKOW! With his energy shield destroyed, the Warlock took the full force of the extranormal electricity, crying out involuntarily! The wicked wizard turned and growled, “I curse you and your loved ones, Lightning Strike!”

Symbiote became more agitated and the Bronx began to come out in his normally controlled voice. "Hey, Kung Fu!! I ain't done wit chew yet! Ya hea me?!? I'M TALKIN' TA YOU!!!"
With that, he hurled another lightning bolt at the malevolent martial artist from alongside Lightning Strike! SHAKOW!

Black Dragon, forewarned, once more tried to dodge the lightning! The sinister sensei failed again! He was clearly wounded now. Breathing heavy, his attention turned from Avatar back to Symbiote! He held his arms out and his cape flowed… and.. transformed… into black reptilian wings! Then, the mystic master of martial arts himself transformed! Into a giant black dragon! Its body was covered in thick scales and the mighty leviathan reared up on its hind legs and released a deafening roar!!! (see image!)(Vanguard make their “cool saves” thanks to Avatar’s presence!)

The Warlock laughed. “Avatar of the Pantheon, your time is ended. Your power shall be ours! I can already taste it!”
VOMMMmmmmm BOOM!! Blue energy exploded out from the Warlock’s forehead again and blasted the demigod of destiny! (15 points of damage! Roll with 3, take 12 off Hits!)

Avatar was knocked back another thirty feet, across the broken marble terrain!

Menagerie, in his Wolf form, raced after Superstition and pounced at her from behind! His jaws caught her right leg, biting hard and pulling her to the ground again! THUMP! She was badly hurt and cried out! “Help me, Warlock!” Menagerie could smell her fear.

The Warlock, if he heard her, gave no sign of it, his avaricious eyes focused entirely upon the Avatar!

Clone said to the other Clones, “Our friend is in needing of us comrades!” The Clone stampede raced to aid Avatar! Two stopped to attack the Warlock, and both missed! “Peasant filth, you dare try lay hands on me?!” snarled the Warlock with a slight Russian accent.Three Clones stopped to attack Superstition with stones! All three hit her prostrate, wounded form and she was beaten into unconsciousness! “Warlock! Hel-”The Black Dragon’s scales looked as invulnerable as the skin of the Golem, so the remaining seven circled Avatar, ready to shield him with their bodies!

The Golem lumbered forward to charge that human shield! RRRAARRGGHHH!!! The mystical man-mountain roared and smashed down on a Clone that stood between him and the Avatar of the Pantheon! KERUNCH!! (Another Clone beaten unconscious and absorbed by the collective!) Plague began reforming his unnatural body again!! Avatar held his action from within his Clone fortress! (see below!*) The Warlock goaded his craven colleagues on! “Yes! Bring the Avatar to his knees! Break him, I command it!”

Sentinel flew on across the misty wasteland, tracking the mysterious energy source! The Wraith had stopped pursuit and turned back toward the site of the unseen pentacle and the battle, and was no longer in range of Sentinel’s senses! Sentinel knew Slingshot was far ahead of him. Then, in the distance, rising above the moonlit mists, Sentinel saw a pale silhouette. It seemed to be the soaring towers of a mighty city! The energy trail led directly to it!!

Slingshot hurtled through the air toward that mysterious city and Baron Samedi! He tried his communicator and found there were no satellites in whatever place this was!
Slingshot moved within range of Baron Samedi and stretched out a big hand at the voodoo priest and grabbed him, saving his wretched life! Scott reeled him in by reducing the length of his malleable arm and the vulgar houngan of the underworld said, “Ha! I knew you were no *@#$%! killer, boy! You haven’t got it in you!” Samedi was without his stick and voodoo doll of Slingshot, but he still had his hat.

Scott gazed at the city they were hurtling towards. The elastic engineer did not recognize its silhouette. The architectural style was different than anything he’d seen before, even at the Lost Lands or on the Star Giant. But entwined within it were elements that reminded him of Hellenic Greek architecture!
The wind rushing at them, the city growing closer. Baron Samedi laughed, “You have no idea what you are getting into, do ya boy?! Ha! Hahahahaha!”

To be continued!

Replies/Actions for one round of combat please.

*Avatar gets three attacks, due to Heightened Speed and the fact that I held your second action this ish since your situation was so changed, what with your human shield phalanx thanks to Clone. Next issue will be your second turn from this issue, then your two turns for next issue. The first two actions will be concurrent.

To follow is the 'End of Issue' Map, with continued thanks to Tom!
The map marks your placement at the end of Issue 124, but not which way you are facing.
Sentinel, Slingshot, Baron Samedi, and Demonoid, are off the map, to the “north.”
Okmenhotep, the Wraith and Mirage’s placement are unknown to almost everyone.
Demonoid, Le Fou, and Superstition are unconscious!

Have fun!
Viva Vanguard!


Current Conditions:
Avatar: Hit Points: 25, Power Points: 29, Manifesting: Heightened Strength and Speed
Clone: Bodies: ,Hit Points: 1 ,Power Points: 29, Hit Pool: 12
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 36, Power Points: 56
Menagerie: Hit Points: 14, Power Points: 47, Form: Wolf
Sentinel: Hit Points: 19, Power Points: 18, Shields: 28, Creation Points: 36, Evading til 126
Slingshot: Hit Points: 44, Power Points: 73, Invulnerability: 8
Soldier: Hit Points: 19, Power Points: 64, Invulnerability: 8, Evading til 126
Symbiote: Hit Points: 25, Power Points: 65, Charges: 13, Copied: Strike
Talon: Hit Points: 38, Power Points: 44
Zephyr: Hit Points: 13, Power Points: 58, Charges: 9, Armor: 25, Blind!


If the Fallen is low enough to the ground to reach, the Menagerie will move and attack the Fallen. He will use the same method as before, try to bite an extremity and use his momentum to knock the Fallen down.

If the Fallen is not a viable target, then Menagerie will run over to attack Warlock. He will leap in the attack to strike Warlock in the torso with his bite.

If the Fallen and Warlock are not viable targets, Menagerie will turn into an Eagle. He will fly over to Plague using his wings to generate wing in an effort to preventing him from forming, if flying through Plague wouldn't cause damange to Menagerie then he will do that to keep Plague from forming.

If the Fallen, Warlock, and Plague are not viable targets, Menagerie will turn into an Eagle. He will fly around Black Dragon's head attempting to distract or block his vision from attacking.

If the Fallen, Warlock, Plague, and Black Dragon are not viable targets, then Menagerie will run over to attack Witch. He will leap in the attack to strike Witch in the torso with his bite.

If none of these are viable actions then Menagerie will pick up Avatar's sword and bring it to him. If Avatar already has his sword then he will move to help protect Avatar and hold his action.



OOC: Seeing that Clone’s actions usually take place towards the end of the turn, I’m going to give my ICC Response in a way similar to Tom’s response.

IC: The two duplicates that are next to Warlock will try to attack him from behind ( I’m assuming that he is facing Avatar at the moment ). The three duplicates that had just attacked Superstition will try to circumnavigate the Black Dragon’s dragon form and head towards Warlock to attack him as well. If Warlock is down before any of them get a chance to attack him, then the five of them will head towards the rear of The Golem. As they’re moving towards The Golem they will start throwing stones at Black Dragon in an almost taunting fashion in order to get his attention. They know they can’t get passed either of these armed giants thick hides, but what if they could get the two of them to attack each other some how? Basically the idea is to get Black Dragons attention ( a.k.a. get him angry enough to try and attack the Clones ), get behind The Golem, and then try to dodge the Black Dragons attack ( a.k.a. evading ) so that it hits The Golem.
If either one of these Crimson Coven members are already knocked out by the time the Clone Army gets to go, then all the Clones will form up on Avatar to act as a human shield for him. They will use their turn to evade ( although they have no qualms being targets . . . they would rather not be hit lol ), making sure that they’re not formed up too tight as to block Avatar’s field of vision or preventing him from lashing out with an attack of his own. If evading an incoming attack would result in Avatar being hit instead, then the attacked Clone will forgo evading and take the hit for Avatar.

OOC: I hope that all made sense lol ;)

Talk to you all soon, -Kev


So where's that pile of manure?


I'm not sure of the distance issue here on either end anymore but I'd still like Kirk to get to the energy source feeding the Coven so that perhaps he can actually try to help in the battle. Seems like Slingshot is Kirk's best ticket. Kirk will send out an energy tether/construct to try to grab hold of Slingshot. Perhaps he could use it as sort of a megaphone to make Slingshot aware that Kirk needs the lift and he would state that he's picked up that an energy source from the city is directly tied to the Coven. If Slingshot is just outside of Kirk's range perhaps this could help attract his attention to grab hold back. If Kirk gets within distance of them and sees any flow of energy between Baron Samedi and Slingshot (ie either an attack or some sort of control being exerted over his teammate) he will smash Samedi unconscious first and ask questions later.
Given Kirk's current energy levels and that one more Wraith attack renders him powerless or worse (and that the Wraith certainly seems to have 'Kirk's number') he feels he has a better shot at assisting in the battle by hopefully eliminating the energy source, however if that doesn't seem possible and Slingshot wants to return to the battle and Slingshot slinging Kirk to the city won't get him there anytime soon, then Kirk would go back with Slingshot and hopefully be able to smash into and take out one of the Coven whose looking bad from the battle (perhaps the Witch at this point). I'm trying to avoid Kirk spending the next couple of issues flying towards the city as the battle ensues and being of no help to his teammates. Although it might provide some comedic relief ... that's not the role I'd hope for Kirk here. (Picture big splash pages of Vanguard battling the Coven with loud sound effects interspersed with small silent panels of Kirk flying at 'top speed' (currently a turtle's pace apparently due to his lack of power) towards the city, perhaps the same panel repeated except a bead of sweat slowly making its way from Kirk's forehead down his cheek) - very Giffenesque JLA. Again, NOT looking for that here, but right now, that's what it feels like :)
If I've misunderstood or missed anything in my current assessment of Kirk's situation here that might give me some more options, let me know. (ie my only other option is Kirk tries to turn around and head back to the battle under his own power, but he won't make it in the next round or two anyway and there is the best chance he will pass the Wraith on the way and be rendered powerless and/or unconscious by him if attacked - I've got to think Kirk has a better chance helping at the energy source than throwing a right hook into the face of a Coven member - although if that's his only option, he'd take it).

Best, Seth


OOC: Hi everyone.

Menagerie and Clone: Thanks! Understood.

Slingshot: The battle was in a ruin of some sort, littered with broken white marble architecture and statuary. The mighty city looms in the distance. The land between the ruin and the city, that you are now hurtling over, is a barren wilderness. You see no mud, water or manure. Only mist… and Sentinel, who is trying to flag you for a lift!

Sentinel: Your megaphone construct idea works in attracting Slingshot’s attention. Also, to be clear, I never said the energy was “feeding” the Coven. In Issue 122 I said, “Away from the myriad energies of the battle, the beacon of justice detected an energy current that connected the Crimson Coven to something far beyond Sentinel’s energy range. The energy type was new, but reminded him of Avatar!”

Sentinel and Slingshot: You can just barely reach each other via a Sentinel energy construct tendril AND a Slingshot super-stretched limb!

Best, Jeff


Thanks for the clarification and my misuse of the words - in my mind I knew there was a connection and just typed 'feed'. And if Slingshot makes the connection, Kirk will go where he leads at this point per prior choices emailed. A good week to all ... hey maybe because it seems like we're all just giving battle directions we can get an early issue :)



From your lips to God's ears - an early issue would be great! =)


Lightning Strike:
OK, if everyone is going to guilt me into it, I will post tonight so that there should be no reason for a delay. Of course you do realize that this will probably trigger a GM cataclysm that will end the universe as we know it.


Jeff: Does Avatar still have access to his bow and arrows? If so, what sort of cost does deploying them take? What was the earlier ruling on adjusting of the bow to account for Heightened Strength?


No manure?! Where are all the cows when you need them?! I'm easily satisfied. One medium sized paddy will be just fine. I see that Kirk is willing to hitch a ride, and this ride is willing to hitch! So I'll super stretch to grapple him to me.

Back to the Cajun, "You should really be careful. My temper got you this far. Do you really think it would be intelligent to tempt my one more time? There are very finite limits to my patience and you're treading it." Scott might squeeze him a bit as his temper rises again, just a smidgen. "If you have anything useful to say, say it. Otherwise zip it before you truly become roadkill."

OOC: regarding the city, will I make it in one slingshot? Do I need to find something to land to and use for another slingshot? How farther is it?


Lightning Strike:
OK, just on the off chance we might get an early comic and maybe a double-sized issue 125 I will post way early.

After blasting Warlock and seeing him becoming visibly staggered Strike pressed the offensive. He screamed at Warlock "It was scum like you that took away my loved ones. You want power Warlock!! Feel my power and burn in hell!!!" Strike let loose with a mighty blast with lightning crackling all over his form. Once Warlock is down, Strike will turn his attention to the Dragon or Golem, whichever is closer and more threatening. OK that's all for now.

Go Jets!!



Hey gang. More OOC replies below.

Avatar: He does have his bow and arrows. I think it’s 1/5 of full movement to deploy, and ½ of full movement to modify bow tension for your great strength.

Slingshot: You’ll land before the city in a few minutes, perhaps a quarter mile from the city. Distances are hard to judge due to the emptiness of the wilderness, and the mist. There is ample flat ground for an easy landing.

Slingshot and Sentinel: You guys will hook up so assume free conversation between you. Also, please give intentions for the immediate future. I’ll decouple you from the battle timeline. I’m assuming you continue to the city? Do you intend to enter on foot? Leap into it? Fly over it? Burrow under it? Thanks!

Lightning Strike: This is the big one, Elizabeth!

Best, Jeff


So it's just movement and not actions? If this is the case, Avatar will deploy and modify the bow quickly and start using it, first on The Warlock (one action), then on Golem (one action) and then on Golem again (last of the three actions).

IC: "Powers of the Pantheon, you want? Powers of the Pantheon you may have, then! Ares and Apollo guide these shafts!"


Seth, So what do you want to do? Fly/Jump in? I'm more than a little tempted to show up a la Hulk. I'm still carrying Samedi. He might be useful or we could just lose him a quarter mile out of the city.


Kirk would be thrilled to have Slingshot along to investigate the city (especially at his current power levels) but would be feeling concerned that his power wouldn't be in the battle helping the rest of the team... Slingshot is a heavyweight! I was hoping that the investigation of the energy link might lead to something that could turn the battle but am now concerned that whatever we do won't be in the time frame to help with that ...
However, assuming Kirk doesn't end up knocking out Samedi immediately within distance, he was already checking for energy levels for a sneak attack on Slingshot, so he'd likely remove any artifacts (ie the hat) that Samedi could use against them. Then he'd hit him with a 'mind read' as he and Slingshot ask a few questions like, "What are your intentions with Avatar and what is the ultimate goal of your group?" "What is the connection between your group and the city and your current attack on Vanguard?" "What does your group fear most that Vanguard can do here to win this battle?"
Samedi will likely lie or give mixed truths for theses sort of questions, but Kirk should be able to sort through it while monitoring his thoughts and perhaps we'll finally get some answers to the big picture here. On the city, as soon as Kirk gets within energy perception distance, he would try to determine the area of the source of energy tracing to the Coven to direct them and also whether it is inhabited, abandoned, etc by life forms. If we can pinpoint the area it would seem that a Hulk-like approach might be the only way to perhaps be able to take some action that might allow us to help Vanguard in the battle ... but a lot depends on if this is an inhabited city or abandoned and if there are only a few lifeforms around the energy source or what? We might land right in the presence of those granting Avatar his powers or just some mystical setup with a link to them and/or their dimension or something we hadn't thought about.
It would seem that to be of any use to the team whatever we do here would have to be quick and immediate. If we aren't doing that or it seems that isn't prudent, then it seems like we would need to consider going back to the battle itself now. Kirk can't make much of a difference at this point in the battle, but Slingshot could... and maybe if things went his way he could help take out another minor opponent before falling in battle. If we go into the city unless the mind scan shows differently, I'm thinking we need to knock Samedi out either way so he poses no threat. My question to Jeff would be does it appear that if we enter the city we may have enough time to influence the battle if we find something to do so... or are we that far out at this point? Or do we just not know? Given the above thoughts, what do you think Stephane?



Symbiote looks up at the huge dragon poised to strike before him. Huh. Didn't see that coming, the Analytical Avenger thinks to himself for a split second, his intensely curious mind tempted to ponder just how this could be possible. But then, before the split second is over, he remembers: There's a gigantic dragon about to attack me. OH CRAP!!!

OOC: Given that Black Dragon is probably still faster than Hal in this form, Hal will try to evade. If he can't and the Dragon gets claw or tooth on him, Hal will try to sheath his entire body in electricity in that moment, giving the sinister shape-shifter a hot foot or a bad toothache. That's all. Hope we survive.

Viva Vanguard,



I'm inline with you, Seth, regarding what to do. I'm sorry for the rest of the gang (especially with the dragon showing up..), but I think we just might have more effect neutralizing this "link".

1) interrogation

2) get into the city and investigate this link. So since I have to touch down a quarter mile from the city before rebounding.. Let's interrogate Samedi until that point then drop him there on the next leg of the jump. I'm a little weary to use my full strength on him.

IC: The wind rushing at them, the city growing closer. Baron Samedi laughed, “You have no idea what you are getting into, do ya boy?! Ha! Hahahahaha!” He looks at Samedi an icy smile on his face, "So your response to me saving you from certain death is this? Did you not just figure out that..", Scott raises his volume to full shout, "..PISSING ME OFF MIGHT NOT BE THE HEALTHY THING TO DO RIGHT NOW!" He resumes his calm voice, "So if you're not interested in becoming a splatter or better yet squished little rag doll, you might want to start talking and make yourself helpful for a change little man."


Sounds like a plan ... hope we get to do some good here. At this point, Sentinel and Slingshot are actually out of communication range to even know what is happening back at the battle ... and I'm hoping that the dragon is an illusion or ruse or certainly not the stats of a real dragon. I know the guys name, but think about it. He was pretty kick-ass just doing the flying martial artist before the battle really started - he laced into Kirk good. Then he pulls out the Iron Fist ... now your going to try to convince me on top of that he can transform into a bonafide giant dragon? If he was that tough you'd think he'd be leading the Coven, not following it... anyway, just my guess. Although my guesses and my gut haven't read things too well so far in this adventure so who knows :)

Looking forward to the next issue to find out!



Soldier, blushing at the complement, closely follows behind Zephyr to ensure she's not just playing tough. He'll evade as he moves to assist Avatar. As soon as The Witch begins to screech, she'll attract his attention. "Apparently the old bag's a lot tougher than she looks." He'll target her with two (multiple attack) of his explosive rounds, firing at the ground in front of her, hoping to catch her, and any other Coven member, near her, in the blast radius (he want to put her down quick, and move on to assist Zephyr and and Avatar).
He'll wait to see the results of his actions, before doing anything else (Save any actions I have left). If they don't take her out, and I have another action left, he'll try hitting her with another Taser round. If they take her down, and I have an action, I'll sprint to catch up with Zephyr, and help take the heat off of Avatar.


OOC: Sorry, missed this:
Sentinel wrote: My question to Jeff would be does it appear that if we enter the city we may have enough time to influence the battle if we find something to do so... or are we that far out at this point?

GM Reply: Hard to say. Physically, you guys are probably out of the battle. If you shut down the link it may or may not affect the battle, depending on what the link actually is. Your and Slingy's actions are pretty solid as written though. Also, fun.