Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Vanguard: Issue 131: The Gathering Storm.

Months have passed since the diabolical designs of the Dark Avatar were defeated by Vanguard.

Hank Archer still awaits trial on Riker’s Island. Sentinel’s telepathy detected the psionic trace of Black Bat in Archer’s mind, perhaps explaining his downturn, depression and attempt on Silas Caine’s life. Hank Archer believes Caine was behind the murder of his nephew, Steven, and his wife. Unbeknownst to Archer. Steven survived and became Lightning Strike.
Detective Archer is separated from the general prison population for his own protection. Symbiote and Zephyr’s father, Hank’s former partner in the NYPD, visits Hank regularly to keep his spirits up.
Will Sentinel reveal his telepathy to the public in an attempt to clear Detective Archer’s good name?! And is telepathic evidence even admissible in court? It has never been attempted before.
The Primate is still imprisoned in Hotsleep beneath CHESS Castle, the maximum security penitentiary for extranormal criminals. Hotsleep is a classified procedure that places a subject in an indefinite dream state. The process has been recently audited by CHESS and the US Government, and determined to be flawed enough to warrant transfer to a new process, yet to be determined. Several firms are submitting proposals now. It would be a delicate matter, transferring the most dangerous extranormals in captivity. In the meantime, Doc Rocket, Symbiote and Zephyr have assisted with the creation of support technologies such as telepathic signal jammers in Primate’s cell, under the watchful eye of CHESS Castle.

The Supreme Court reaffirms that beings, creatures or entities that are deemed sentient and possessed of human-level intelligence or higher are recognized as equal to human beings by the United States, with all equivalent rights and responsibilities.
Nanite had followed this case closely and seemed relieved with the outcome. Nonviolent but vocal protests erupted nationwide in reaction to the extended definition of “human.” Silas Caine spoke at several. Inhuman, former member of Vanguard, spoke at counter-protests!
The Court furthermore ruled that the Constitution does not extend to the federal government the power to ‘devolve’ prisoners or otherwise render them nonsentient, as a punishment for crimes committed.
If anyone were to end the perceived threat of the Primate, it would be done without the consent of law!

Hugo Chavez is overthrown by a people’s uprising. Democratic elections produce a new, pro-American President. Venezuela soon privatizes its oil resources in joint ventures with Exxon Mobil and Future Systems, a Silas Caine subsidiary.

Silas Caine has enjoyed increased donations toward his still undefined political action committee since the attempt on his life. Lightning Strike’s investigations intimate that Caine is no longer involved in organized crime in Big City, aka New York.

Nanite enters her fifth month of pregnancy. Created by the Entity (a.k.a., IT or It) as a living hybrid bridge between his Digital Zone and our flesh and blood one, she is completely compatible with humanity, as her delicate condition can attest. She is happy, healthy, nervous, tired and decorating a nursery in Vanguard Vault. Slingshot is never far from her side.

REACH blossoms. Donations pour in along with mostly positive press coverage. The organization does good work; helping people and changing lives.

Lancaster Gerard talked with Sentinel, Symbiote and Doc Rocket in his study, before a crackling fireplace. “The Mystic? Hm...” His pale eyes were far away and he smiled. “Miles could never stand him.”
Doc Rocket grinned, “’Dr. Mysterioso,’ he called him.”
“He was completely undependable,” said Lancaster. “Mercurial. Secretive. Arrogant even.”
“Pulled our fat from the fire on more than one occasion, I don’t mind telling you,” said Doc.

Soldier makes discrete inquires with former military buddies and CHESS personnel he trusts about the activities of his father, General Steele, in Venezuela. After the fall of Chavez, few will talk. Two, in fact:
One, Lance Robinson, Soldier’s old Army Buddy from Iraq, said he heard vets and other soldiers of fortune were pouring into Venezuela before Chavez went down. Lance had nothing connected to Soldier’s dad, but did hear talk that the Mercenary, aka Jim Harrik, leader of Homicide for Hire, was in Venezuela.
Another friend, Sam Drake, agent of CHESS, who gets on with Soldier due to their similar pasts and philosophies on discipline and training, took pity on Soldier over a beer one night and said, “Matt. Look. Between us, your father is rumored to be connected with MEDUSA.”
Soldier had never heard of MEDUSA.
“I know,” said Drake. “Above your paygrade. Military Espionage Division, United States of America. CHESS is the cards the government will show on how they work with and on extranormals. MEDUSA are the cards the government holds to its vest. Two different agencies, two different approaches.”
Drake took a drink of his beer. “Fyi, Dr. Ashe recently transferred to MEDUSA.”

Talon mostly makes himself scarce, loner that he is.

Menagerie settles into life at Vanguard Vault. He contacts the Canadian Park Service and finds that Pachyderm and Snow Leopard are well. Months pass when they are unseen, and then spotted again.

The Owl, in captivity at CHESS Castle, is the only Animal Revolution member willing to speak to Menagerie. The former lieutenant of the Primate entered the visitation room in safety orange coveralls, fierce intelligence and pride burning in his large eyes. The echo of the disturbance in the natural order flared around the brilliant birdman. Without his technological wonders, the Owl was a low security threat, elevated to medium due to his past associates, and was cuffed and escorted by a CHESS Knight.
“Who?” the Owl said to Menagerie, “… are you?”
The Owl was not looking for a mentor, at least not one currently detained in Hotsleep.

Gadget Girl, also a medium level threat at CHESS Castle, is happy to kill time during Symbiote’s visits. She’ll help him improve the Harper Harness in exchange for an official statement from Symbiote as to her good character, with the intention of reducing her remaining sentence. Her first mods, executed during her attempted heist of the Harper Harness were gratis, just the first free taste of how she could help, she explained with a playful smile.

Avatar broods on the recent revelations at the city of the lost gods. In time, he shrugs their weight from his shoulders and thinks, “What is in the past might matter but what is in the future is the only thing that can be controlled. Time enough to consider these things in the dark of the night when sleep does not come.” John sees that he has a duty, a purpose, and is determined to take hold of his destiny. With a renewed sense of purpose, he returns to training.
KTANG! FLANG! Avatar’s sword caromed off Sgt. Stone’s rocky hide in the training room. “Holy cats! What the hell’s gotten into you?” Stone smiled, during a particularly energetic sparring session.
John hires a friend to run his store after CHESS declines to. (John, let me know who this is. Thanks.)

Lightning Strike’s alter ego, Sparks, infiltrates Big City’s underworld. His sources tell him Whisper runs Big City now. Yup, the same Whisper who was the lieutenant of Femme Fatale. The same Whisper whose sudden disappearance sewed suspicion and mistrust among the Five Bosses, eventually allowing Morgue to bust his way into them. Morgue was an agent of the Black Bat, and Strike suspects Whisper is too.

Clone seems withdrawn and distant. Sentinel and Doc Rocket reach out to him to make sure he’s handling the adjustment all right. His family also takes notice.
“Alexi, is everything okay?” his father asks, probably at the prodding of Alexi’s mother.

Zephyr divides her time between Nanite, and serious training with Sarge, Avatar, Soldier and Sentinel. When Zephyr gets knocked down, she gets back up.

Symbiote joins his father’s visits with Hank Archer. He also continues to assist Nanite with her pregnancy as best he can. He'll carefully monitor the Digital Zone for changes or anomalies. Hal finds nothing related to Nanite’s condition. One night, after a Vanguard team meeting, Hal visited the wall sized screen inside the Vanguard Vault that let him see the Entity’s dimension, to begin another observation period.

That universe was black with billions of glowing chrysalis gossamers that formed shapes, landscapes, cities of glowing, pulsing data. The gossamers connected to billions of diadem screens. (Imagine Tron, the Matrix, Neuromancer, etc.)

One electric blue screen showed unusual activity. Several man-shaped figures were walking through it… entering into the Digital Zone!

Symbiote alerted Vanguard, who were still in the Vault from the team meeting.

Vanguard burst into the Computer Lab. The gateway to the Digital Zone was a titanic, wall-sized portal (ala Jack Kirby). There was a forcefield across its surface.
Through the portal they saw that nearly a dozen explorers were crossing the Digital Zone. Monofilament energy tendrils connected them back to their screen of origin, like virtual lifelines. By the time their black protective suits were visible, it was clear the data-nauts were headed straight toward Vanguard!

OOC: Actions?
And replies to any of the above?
Everyone’s conditions are at full.

Have fun.


All of the following will take place prior to Vanguard entering the computer room:

Soldier, intrigued by his conversation with Sam Drake, becomes determined to find out exactly what MEDUSA is, and what they do. He’ll begin combing through old case files, intelligence reports, and anything else he can get his hands on looking for information on them, and their activities. He’ll also be tracking events as they unfold in Venezuela, seeking if he can find any connection between Silas Caine, his father, and MEDUSA. He’ll also be keeping tabs on his family, namely his father, as he knows he’s tied into the events in Venezuela, he just can’t prove it. If possible, he’ll see what info he can dig up on Mercenary, and the other members of Homicide for Hire (does CHESS have files on them?).

While he’d like to share his theories with his team mates, he wants something a little more solid than gut feeling and hunches to go on. In the event he does manage to dig up anything, he’ll compile the information into a file, and keep it stored on a secure lap top in his quarters. He’ll continue to see what information Sam Drake can provide him, but he doesn’t want to push him too hard, as he’d like to build up his relationship.

When not busy, with the team (as per my last notes on the training program he’s undertaken), he’ll spend his spare time checking out a few local eateries, as he loves a good steak, as well as looking over a few historical sites, and checking out some of more upscale night clubs.

Soldier’s actions/comments in the computer room:
Upon viewing the screen – IC: “Anyone have a clue as to who hell these guys are?” As he does so, he’ll begin scanning the screen to see what his sensors can pick up, and moving into defensive position that will allow him have a clear field of fire, and some sport of protective cover, just in case a fight breaks out.


OOC: Interesting.
If I understand my character sheet correctly, I have power templates for most every metahuman I've copied so far stored in the computers at Vanguard Vault but not in the Harness itself. So I can copy stored powers directly from the computer while at the Vault, or by touching a metahuman while in the field. Is this correct?

On to the adventure...

IC: Hal orders the computer to put the Vault on whatever would be the equivalent of Star Trek's "yellow alert," warning Vanguard and CHESS personnel alike. He speaks into the intercom: "Vanguard, please report to the computer lab. It appears we are about to have...visitors," he says. While the rest of the team reports (and even for some time afterwards, if necessary), Hal works furiously at the computer, laboring to isolate the lab from the rest of the building and the rest of the world. If these datanauts are creatures of IT or some other form or carrier of malevolent programming he doesn't want them infecting the rest of the building (or the rest of the world's!) computer systems. He'll enlist the computer skills of Sentinel and Zephyr if necessary once they arrive.

If I'm correct about being able to copy powers from the computer, Symbiote will copy Mother Russia. If not, he'll copy Slingshot once he arrives. He'll then suggest a wait-and-see position. If our visitors try to signal us from the other side, I suppose we can let them in and see what they want once the computer is quarantined. If they stop to study the gateway (indicating that they weren't expecting to find it and are here on some mission unrelated to us), I suggest we wait awhile and observe, see if we can figure out their intentions. If they try to attack the gate...let's get ready to rumble.

Viva Vanguard,


OOC Replies:
Everyone: Symbiote and Soldier both said something akin to, “If it looks like a fight, I’ll get ready.” Please give me a little more if/then detail on those actions, on the outside chance of that possibility. J

Soldier: Thanks. CHESS has files on the Mercenary and Homicide for Hire, mostly created from an encounter they had with Vanguard a while back (Issue 39 to be exact!).
Further investigation will have to wait until after the Datanaut encounter.
Re: ‘night spots’: did Matt have another date with Kelli Riker, the CHESS field agent he dated in Issue 108?

Symbiote: The Harness Telemetry is in the Special Projects Lab on the 84th Floor. The Gateway to the Digital Zone is in the Computer Programming Lab on 82nd floor. However, I expect Hal keeps the Harness ‘loaded’ as SOP.

Telemetry may be uploaded from the Projects Lab at a cost of one hour per set of powers, and one charge.
Example: You want to load Morgue. It takes an hour, and you now have 13 charges in the Harness. Activating Morgue’s powers costs another charge.
You can still copy powers in the field as you always have, at the normal costs.

Who is currently loaded in the Harness, please?


OOC: Let's say he has Mother Russia loaded, and Symbiote will activate that template before the door opens (or is blasted open). With that particularly meta's ability to absorb damage it's a logical choice. One of my favorite moments from a Legion of Super Heroes story: Some villains are going to blow up a building Ultra Boy is in, thinking themselves clever because it's a surprise attack and he presumably won't have his ultra invulnerability activated. The building goes boom...and Ultra Boy comes walking out, unharmed, and start wailing on them. "How did you know we were here?" they ask in dismay. "I didn't. But I never turn my invulnerability off, in case of just this sort of situation," he replied.

Anyway, with Mother loaded up Hal is willing to stand in the middle of the room, directly in front of the door. If the datanauts are friendly it won't be a problem, if not he is now among the team members most qualified to "take the first arrows." He'd recommend that Sentinel join him (with shields up, of course) since as team leader he should make first contact (and his energy scan will help us determine what's what).

Viva Vanguard,


Hank Archer: Looks like we won’t be dealing with this in the current story arc, but Kirk will have discussions with Symbiote and Strike regarding this situation and ultimately with Grey and Drake. He will occasionally accompany them on visits to Archer both out of concern (he had a genuine respect for Archer and friendship developing) and to check for further influence of the Bat. Kirk would inquire as to whether Chess could pull some strings to resolve this situation for Archer quietly. If Caine is the one preventing it, perhaps scheduling a personal conversation with him about it and other things is overdue. (Note: Kirk would NOT do this alone)

If it ends up revealing his limited telepathic abilities would legitimately aid Archer then the decision to come forward is an easy one for Kirk. While he certainly sees the value of having them secret for Vanguard and Chess, maintaining that advantage at the cost of a good man’s life and reputation it too high a price. It’s not a difficult decision for Kirk and there is no hesitance. (ie I think this attitude goes right along with his character and ‘weakness’)

Gadget Girl: Kirk would voice his concern about giving Gadget Girl further access to his tech… how much will she learn from it for her own use? He knows that Hal will keep a close eye on her while she is working with his systems, but suggests always having another scientific eye on hand at all times. While he knows Hal will check everything she does to be sure she doesn’t install anything to turn the tech on him or be able to take it over herself, he feels ultimately that is her goal here. He states that although he knows most of Hal’s tech is beyond Kirk’s understanding, if any of Gadget Girl’s modifications involves computer tech or programming, he’d be happy to try to double-check things for Hal too. He suggests having Shelly review everything after Hal’s initial checking of things. Hopefully the extra eyes would prevent GG’s getting by whatever tampering she is planning.

Datanauts: Kirk summons his energies and zooms towards the Computer Room. Upon entering, he finds Hal already doing exactly everything that went through his mind to do to secure the Vault. As he enters (assuming Hal hasn’t finished securing things) he immediately begins assisting him, his energy shaping extra hands if needed to multi-task. Kirk’s energies also immediately flow from him at floor level as he forms them into a translucent shield of his energy over the technology driven force field covering the gateway to the Digital Zone. If this is IT on the attack, we don’t know how quickly IT may assume control of the Vault’s tech and if they are going to be attacked hopefully Kirk’s shields will absorb the first blows and prevent Vanguard from being caught unaware. IT may be able to disable the technology driven force field, hopefully not Kirk’s shielding.

Kirk’s head raced through the possibly scenarios for the data-nauts. Their last image of the Zone was the battle between IT and Nemesis, but they didn’t know the outcome. Nothing definitive like seeing the Temple collapsing in ruins like on their last mission.

Kirk used his energy sense to get a fix on the room. Of data and energy flow in and out so that if the data-nauts got in, he’d know if they got out of the room. He then begin to focus towards the gateway to see if he could get any reads on them as they approached closer. Did all of them appear the same? Were they of the same makeup? Were some of them ahead or closer than the others? Were they moving at different speeds or in synch? Did it seem possible some were being pursued by the others?

Kirk turned to Slingshot and Strike and said, “If this is an attack and they breach this room, our priority is Nanite.” He knew Scott would be there without a thought and that Strike could get there quicker than anyone. “And frankly, even if this ends up appearing to be an emissary mission of some sort, in my mind, it’s still all about Nanite, we don’t let our guard down in that respect.” He looked for some nods of agreement with the team.

Kirk made direct eye contact with Scott and said to him, “We’ll protect them Scott. We’ll protect them both.”

He noticed Soldier poised seemingly in control of the entire area and scanned the room noting all of Vanguard ready for action. He shot a last glance to Hal at his side as if to say “ready” and see his affirmative nod and then he spoke.

“Greetings. We wish you peace. My name is Sentinel. I speak in behalf of Vanguard whose gateway you are now approaching. We’d request you stop your approach at this time and identify yourselves and your intentions.”

If Kirk senses anything happening with his senses he will inform the team immediately. He hopes if it is an attack that the force field holds, but if not that his shield will protect the team initially and make sure they are fully aware and prepared to take action on the intruders. If datanauts intentions are immediately hostile, at this point, we don’t know what form they will take on our side (ie energy forms or physical forms) so it’s hard to give you scenarios here. If Kirk’s shields are blown totally away allowing them to breach the room, his first action would be reforming them. If he still has them and they are physical forms he would batter them with his construct, perhaps back towards the gateway to see the effect on them if they are forced back into the data world. He would do his best to prevent any from infiltrating the Vault.
Looking forward to catching up on the last mission :)



“Who?” the Owl said to Menagerie, “… are you?”

“I am Menagerie; I am an agent of the Natural Order. I have come here to understand what the Animal Revolution’s purpose is.”

“How do you plan to maintain the Cycle of Life and preserve Nature in a way that mankind does not?”

“Why do you still consider yourself an animal? You walk and talk like man?”

“It appears to me you are a hybrid animal/man. Are you the qualities of the best of both or the worse?”


Vanguard burst into the Computer Room. On the wall sized monitor they saw that nearly a dozen explorers were crossing the Digital Zone.

Menagerie looks at the Digital Zone in shock, “What is this? How does it represent a threat to us?”

[OOC] Menagerie will use his heightened senses to figure out what is going on. He will position himself in the back to support the team. He will maintain his human form unless he is told to change by Sentinel, Symbiote, or Avatar.



To Sentinel on Gadget Girl: "Believe me, Kirk, the last thing I want is to give a woman who tried to kill me a few weeks ago free, unfettered access to our tech, " Hal says over coffee, perhaps even just before the Digital Zone alarm. "I've been thinking about safeguards. I'd like to talk to the Castle warden, see if I can get her furloughed here to work with me--obviously after a thorough search and scan both by Castle personnel and our scanners. Once she's here, I'll work with her and I'd like to have Doc here as well. I'd also like you and Shelly here--incognito, disguised as lab techs so GG isn't son on guard. Between your computer expertise, your telepathy, your energy scanning power and me, Doc and Shelly's overall sharp eyes, hopefully we'll keep her under control."

Before the conversation goes much further, however, the D-Zone alarm starts blaring. If we survive we'll take this up further.

Sentinel wrote: “He shot a last glance to Hal at his side as if to say “ready” and see his affirmative nod and then he spoke.”

Liked this line. Has a very "Kirk and Spock" mojo too it.

OK, bring on the Datanauts. I'm sure they're a friendship expedition.

Viva Vanguard,



John is training at the time, covered in sweat and dirty from a long Olympian Crossfit-style workout. He grabs up his weapons and runs toward the trouble.


As always, Nanite's safety is priority one. A couple of questions.

"Vanguard burst into the Computer Room." = We are all there? Me included? Nanite as well? If she isn't there, where is she?

If she's not there, does the PDA work? or is there no signal?

Do the Datanauts look armed? are they walking out like a battle unit or more like a bunch of bewildered scientists? (Having had that tactics training, I should be able to tell).
Are they identical? size/shape/behavior? Do they have a clone-like quality or robot-like quality? I'm just trying to see if they have individuality or not.


Assuming I'm there…

Soldier Says: "IC: “Anyone have a clue as to who hell these guys are?”

Slingshot says to the group, "For those that are recent, this is a gate to the Digital Zone. We narrowly stopped an invasion from The Entity into our world a year or so ago. We lost a few people to the Digital Zone. Nemesis was left battling IT while I wasn't able to grab Cosmonaut, a Russian Hero."

In a moment of realization, Scott turns to Clone and says "We may need your Russian. Be prepared."

- Assuming they are not moving tactically, otherwise I might change my move -
He takes a step to the fore, putting himself in front of the others protectively (if Nanite is there, especially her), his fists slowly growing in anticipation of a fight and speaks:

"Explorers, You have entered a different dimension. This gate is guarded by Vanguard. Who are you and what are you doing here."


OOC Clarifications: (IC stuff will occur later.)

The Datanauts aren't carrying weapons. They aren’t marching in formation or with any kind of tactical precision. Their speed is moderate; viewing the area with interest; not charging, but not wandering aimlessly.
Their suits are identical. They are one group; no faction is chasing, or otherwise at odds with, another.
But they move like individuals. Different gaits, paces, body language. There are variations in size and build.

Nanite isn't a Vanguard team member. She doesn't burst into the Computer Lab. The rest of you do, at the sound of the alert.
Nanite is in the building, on the 83rd floor, in her quarters. (The Computer Lab is on the 82nd floor) She may come down out of curiosity to see what the alert is about, but not as the first response team reacting to potential trouble. She may be reached via PA or communicators before Symbiote locks down the room.



Re: Gadget Girl: Too funny. Would you believe I forgot that Kirk could monitor her thoughts while the work is being done. So what distraction will Jeff come up with that will require our immediate attention and her being left with your tech ... :)

Symbiote wrote: “Liked this line. Has a very "Kirk and Spock" mojo too it.”

Thanks. Usually I run the 'scene' through my head as to what's happening and why and it seemed to work with that you'd already set up. Would be cooler with all hell breaking loose in the next 'panel', but I'm not thinking its going that way just yet either.

Slingshot: Thanks for the above explanation to the newer members of the team. I was about to explain too with Menagerie's question making me realize that not everyone on the team was present for that encounter (though you'd think my brain would have got it with Soldier's post - oh, well).

And we're off to this year's adventure! Viva Vanguard!



Just to finish my entry here's my OOC list of entries:
I'll wait to see if these guys are actually hostile. I'm going to assume that they are somehow descendants/followers of Cosmonaut, which is why I asked Clone to get his Russian ready. I know that Cosmonaut wasn't a friendly, so I'm waiting to judge if not hostile whether these are friendlies.
1) If they attack, I'll defend and beat up the biggest.
2) If they do not attack, I'll keep looking for anything that might betray them as being tools of IT and be very suspicious if they try to get to/talk to Nanite.


Kirk turned to Slingshot and Strike and said, “If this is an attack and they breach this room, our priority is Nanite.” He knew Scott would be there without a thought and that Strike could get there quicker than anyone. “And frankly, even if this ends up appearing to be an emissary mission of some sort, in my mind, it’s still all about Nanite, we don’t let our guard down in that respect.” He looked for some nods of agreement with the team. Kirk made direct eye contact with Scott and said to him, “We’ll protect them Scott. We’ll protect them both.”

A moment later three of Clone’s duplicates ran out of the computer room just as one of the duplicates turned to face both Sentinel and Slingshot and said in a tone of determined certainty, “I will be protecting them with my lives, comrade.” The remaining duplicates took defensive positions at various points around the computer room and readied themselves for a possible attack.

Clone will have split up into as many duplicates as possible. If the situation turns ugly he will do what he can to keep the fight within the computer room – blocking exits with his duplicates, etc.If the three duplicates that ran off to guard Nanite run into any trouble they will immediately relay any information about their situation to the other duplicates within the Clone collective.
Talk to you all soon,


Hello Vanguard,
Talon sneers at the monitor as he tries to understand the coming threat. "'s about time we got some action around here. Aint nothin' to do but eat, sleep, and read Symbiote's comic books." Talon raises an eyebrow and looks at Symbiote. "That stack you keep hidden in the bottom drawer of your desk is WAY better than the one's you gave me, by the way."
As the rest of the group prepares for the oncoming fight, Talon spreads his wings, bares his claws, and growls. "Give me some room, fellas. I'm gonna roll out the welcome mat for these things!"

Best Regards,


Symbiote turns to Talon, outraged. "Those were in mint condition!! They'd better be back in the mylar..." he begins.

"HAL, FOCUS!" Zephyr snaps.

"Sorry," he says, turning back to the gate.


Lightning Strike:
Steven Archer regrets the fact that his uncle is in jail facing a trial for attempted murder that he prevented but knowing that Black Bat manipulated Hank into doing it gives Lightning Strike the impetus to dig deeper. Why would Black Bat want Caine dead and if he did, why not do it himself or have one of his underworld lackeys do it? It was time to follow the money trail. What company would benefit most from Caine's death? Who was his principal competitor? Strike would investigate some of the mob fronts, their legitimate businesses used to most likely launder money. Perhaps one may be a Caine competitor in which case that could lead Strike to Black Bat and perhaps a way to clear his uncle.

As soon as Strike hears about the datanauts he transmits himself to the Digital Zone. Seeing them approaching on the monitor he speaks to the others. "If this is an attack, it does not strike me as particularly subtle. Perhaps their intentions are benign but we should stay alert and look to the safety of those in the vault."

Strike will stay ready with the others but does not necessarily believe this is an attack.

That's all for now.

Off to bed!


Soldier finds nothing on his father or Silas Caine yet but the star-spangled superhero’s early investigations into MEDUSA quickly begin to remind him of what astronomers call dark matter.
Like dark matter, Soldier cannot detect the existence of MEDUSA, but can only infer its existence from its invisible, gravitational pull on visible objects and systems.

Whatever MEDUSA is, they seem big, organized and entirely covert.


Menagerie said to the Owl, “How do you plan to maintain the Cycle of Life and preserve Nature in a way that mankind does not?”

The Owl raised an eyebrow and quizzically regarded the animal in man’s skin. Then calmly and reasoned, he said, “By eliminating Man, for all our sakes. Mankind cannot preserve Nature. Man threatens all life forms on Earth, the entire Natural Order, with his shortsighted and insatiable avarice. He alone murders the animal kingdom for sport or pleasure or fashion. His path can only lead to ruin, and not for himself alone. He will take the world down with him. And all the creatures upon it. Man reigns from atop the most Unnatural Order.”

Menagerie said, “Why do you still consider yourself an animal? You walk and talk like man? It appears to me you are a hybrid animal/man. Are you the qualities of the best of both or the worse?”

The Owl replied, “Best and worst are decidedly human concepts. The world will change. It must. And those of us with unique physiology may earn a place by the Primate’s side. They cannot hold him forever.”

The Owl turned to look at the bars of his cage. “When the war comes, between Nature and Man, you will need to choose a side."


Lightning Strike followed the money trail and could find nothing that led back to Black Bat! Frustrated, he started over, reconsidering the original mystery: ‘Why would Black Bat want Caine dead and if he did, why not do it himself or have one of his underworld lackeys do it?’

Then the answer struck him (with a successful detect hidden). This wasn’t so much an attack on Caine as it was on Detective Hank Archer. Why target Hank Archer? To get at Lightning Strike.
Thinking back to that tragic night, Hank Archer tried to convince Strike to join him to murder Caine!
(Flashback to Issue 112!)

Lightning Strike reviewed the case file of his own murder in a dark alley in Big City with Detective Archer who said, “It’s likely our suspicions are the same. In fact, I think I know who you really are.”
The big tired man exhaled wearily. “Or at least I thought I did.”

He indicated the case file with his bleary eyes. “You know the victims were my nephew and his wife… my only brother’s only son. Their killer was that Luddite freak, but we all know Silas Caine was pulling the strings. I read the classified CHESS reports at the end of the Five Bosses Massacre. Says Black Bat put you in front of Caine, with the perfect out. You could have killed that bastard Caine and gotten off scott free. But you didn’t.”
“It was then I figured maybe I didn’t know who you were.
“Anyway, you just said yer willing to bring the guilty parties to justice. Any way necessary. Beyond any official capacity. I’m interesting in hearing what that really means, mister. Because I know where Silas Caine is right now.”

Strike pauses after listening to what Detective Archer has to say. Then, "If you know where Caine is at the moment and you have suspicions that he is engaged in criminal activity, then I will go and see what I can find. I want to see him brought to justice but I will not be a vigilante. He will be brought before a jury of his peers and he will be exposed for the vermin that he is. If I can make that happen, then perhaps your nephew can rest in peace."

Detective Archer said, “You know that Caine’s wealth will make sure he never sees the inside of a court room.” The big man checked his wristwatch. “I know Caine’s whereabouts but he is not currently ‘engaged in criminal activity.’ So now I know where you stand. Sorry to have wasted your time, Lightning Strike.”
Detective Archer retrieved the case file on the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Steven Archer and left the alley.
(End flashback!)

This was all done for Strike’s benefit. This isn’t the first time the Bat tried to encourage Lightning Strike to give in to cruel revenge and start down a path to darkness. The Bat knows Strike’s secret identity!
Black Bat doesn’t want to kill Caine or Archer or even Strike as much as he wants to seduce Strike to succumb to his most evil tendencies! And he sees the death of Strike’s wife as the way it will be accomplished!

Vanguard PBEM House Rules!

With gratitude and thanks to anyone who ever posted a house rule to a V&V forum.

House Rules:
Start with V&V 2nd edition, and make the following changes:

Basic Characteristics:
Charisma also represents Will. This is already factored into the rules.

Starting Stats are: 18, 16, 14, 12, 10 Like all things, this may be modified based on the strength or weakness of the character.

Hit Points:
Swap Strength and Agility hit point modifiers.

Detect Hidden and Detect Danger:
Add your Level to your basic % chance.

The type of Superpowers called Skills will now be referred to as Super Skills.
All players start the game with a number of skills equal to: Int /10 (rounded) +4
Anyone may add Int/5 skills during any Level Advancement

When using a skill, your chance at success is (primary stat for the skill x 3) + Level %
Example: Kairos’ skill at Archeology is (his Intelligence (21) x 3 + his Level (3)) = 66%

Anyone may take any skill twice. Doing so makes the multiplier a 4, not a 3. Of your starting skills, one is assumed to have been doubled already, and is the character’s Primary Skill
Example: Sentinel’s primary skill is Computer Science: (Intelligence (15) x 4 + his Level (4)) = 64% Conditions and Difficulties can modify a die roll negatively or positively.

Super Power Descriptions:
Death Touch: 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.

No character may have more than 2 actions per turn (usually 1 action per Issue) unless the character has a base initiative of 46, due to Heightened Speed, Heightened Agility, etc.
In that case, they have 4 actions per turn (and 2 actions per Issue).

Hand to Hand Combat: The base chance to hit with HTH is 10. All numbers on the HTH attack column of the Combat Chart are likewise multiplied by 2.

Level vs. Level Modifier: Eliminate the chart and subtract the target’s level from the attacker’s level to get the combat modifier.

Experience Points:
Powers like Armor, Invulnerability, Noncorporealness and others can augment the experience points earned for capturing a villain.

Fighting a villain, but not capturing them, can still earn partial experience points.

Morale Checks/Cool Rolls:
When something bad or insane happens (like the first appearance of the non-Euclidean Star Giant or of the 100 foot tall Doomsday Robot, or the sudden arrival of 40 super villains), a character rolls one d20 against their Charisma to see if they lose their cool. Charisma is the strength of a person's personality.

If the roll is equal to or lower than their charisma, they remain calm. If it’s higher than their Charisma, then they will suffer a -1 penalty per point over their score on ANY d20 roll, or -5% on d100. Every turn, this modifier is lessened by one point (So it takes 8 turns to wear away a -8).
Comic book examples:
-Psycho-Man has Emotion Control Fear that makes everyone lose their cool and suffer such penalties.
-Batman has a skill called Intimidation. If he succeeds on his skill, he can force cool rolls on opponents. Low-Charisma goons get so scared by Batman that they can’t hit him with machine guns.
-Wonder Man freezes up when he first encounters the all-powerful Count Nefaria.

A person can attempt to calm others. By using all their remaining movement to talk or yell or bark orders they can raise everyone's charisma score by their cool roll reaction modifier, to talk them down from their state of panic, etc. (Thereby quickening the duration of the negative modifiers).
Comic book example: Captain America’s speechifying to WW2 infantrymen or low-level Avengers, like Wonder Man circa 1970s.

PBEM Communication:
IC means In Character. This is you roleplaying your hero.
OOC means Out of Character. This is the Player speaking.

Luck Points:
Every level increase gives you Charisma/10 Luck Points. For example, if you’ve got a 12 Charisma, then every level you get 1.2 Luck Points.

What are Luck Points good for? Here are the possible uses:

-Add a +4 Bonus Modifier to any single die roll (attack, damage, skill, saving throw, etc.) during a pivotal dramatic moment. You must call it before the dice are rolled. Example: Luke closes his eyes and blows apart the Death Star by trusting in the Force.

-Have a brilliant idea. Examples: Crack a code, create a code, navigate through a labyrinth, cut the red wire not the blue wire. You can also attempt a significant breakthrough in a chosen mundane profession: this could be a first novel for a freelance writer, a big Vegas weekend for a professional gambler, or a major published work for an academic.

-Gain a vital clue or hint from the GM. -Create a “one-shot” invention. If you’re a super-scientist or a MacGyver type, you can cobble together a new device. The drawback: a limited duration of use, and you need the required materials and resources in order to build it. Examples: Lightning Strike augments a carrier wave to transmit himself to the nuclear missile. Reed Richards goes to his lab and quickly builds a flame-retardant foam-thrower gun to combat a fiery villain. Chance to successfully create a one-shot invention: Intelligence x 3%.
This and the Character Advancement Rules takes the place of the V&V inventing rules.

-Develop a highly useful contact. Example: Commissioner Gordon from Batman.

-Escape death. Regardless of how far past the negative of your Basic Hits, your character somehow miraculously escapes death but is reduced to 0 Hit Points and 1d6+3 Power. Comicbook villains are infamous for this use of Luck Points.

-Anything else you can think of. Run it by me for approval.

Rules for Character Generation:
Here’s my approach to V&V character generation, designed to help power balance among the player characters:

You may choose your super powers and super skills. Every adult super-character has 3 hero points to generate a character.

A super skill is an ability that usually comes from training. It costs 1 hero point. Examples: Heightened Intelligence, Heightened Senses, Heightened Expertise, etc.

A super power is a full-fledged paranormal ability. It costs 2 hero points. Examples: Power Blast, Invulnerability, Flight, Force Field, etc.

Weaknesses are flaws that harm a character.
One super weakness gives you 2 additional hero points to spend on powers and super skills.* Examples: Blindness, Mute, Low Self Control, Kryptonite, Claustrophobic, etc.
One minor weakness gives you 1 additional hero point to spend on powers and super skills.* Examples: lesser versions of the above: Blind only during the Day, Low Self Control that can be managed through a device or other means, Psychological Limitations, etc.

(*A superhero character cannot add more than 2 additional hero points via weaknesses)

So your starting character will have one of the following Power Combinations:
a) One super power and one super skill.
b) One super power, two super skills, and one minor weakness.
c) One super power, three super skills, and one super weakness.
d) One super power, three super skills and two minor weaknesses.
e) Two super powers, and one minor weakness
f) Two super powers, one super skill, and one super weakness.
g) Two super powers, one super skill, and two minor weaknesses.
h) Three super skills.
i) Four super skills and one minor weakness.
j) Five super skills and one super weakness.
k) Five super skills and two minor weaknesses.

With every level increase, you get an additional ½ Hero Point to add new abilities to your character.

Character Advancement:
Every level, your character improves. Here's how.
First, throw away the V&V rules on Inventing and Training. Use this instead:

With every level increase, a character may add 1/2 a hero point to their sheet. This is equivalent to ½ of a Super Skill or ¼ of a Super Power. If you really want a new big, full-blown super-power, you may save up Hero Points until you can afford it. Or you may buy new weaknesses to help offset its cost. See below.

The ways that superheroes get new abilities include, but are not limited to:

a) Training to get better physical super-skills or stats. Comic Book Example: the X-Men in the danger room, Captain America in the gym. Game Examples: Slingshot trains to improve his chance to hit with his fists by +2. Sentinel trains to increase his Charisma (Will). Stat point increase = (9-your new level).

b) Studying to learn new skills, areas of knowledge, or even powers. Comic Book Example: Wolverine learns Japanese, Batman was constantly studying to improve his skills, Doctor Strange studied to learn new magic spells. Game Example: After the death of Nanite, Slingshot wishes to study Robotics.

c) Mutation of an unexpected nature. Makes the most sense with heroes whose powers are tied to their DNA, like mutants or ‘accidental scientific’ origin types. Comic Book Example: Chemicals trigger a mutation in Beast’s DNA, giving him blue fur. Hypothetical Game Example: The Harper Harness has an unexpected side effect that permits Symbiote to hold one absorbed super power for a 24 hour duration. Inhuman mutates further and grows webs between his fingers, increasing his swimming speed.

d) Discovery of pre-existing powers that are latent or otherwise hidden. Comic Book Example: Invisible Girl is discovered to have Force Fields, years after her origin event. Game Example: Sentinel discovers he always had latent telepathic senses, related to his Heightened Senses. Kairos discovers he has the ability to manifest the powers of Greek Gods.

e) Finding a new device, object, etc. These can also come with Weaknesses or future plot points. Comic Book Example: Spider-Man’s Venom costume. Hypothetical Game Example: Forester discovered a mystical charm on Morgue’s corpse and is foolish/ clever enough to hang onto it.

f) Invention of a brand new power. Usually works best with super scientist types. Comic Book Example: Ant-Man becomes Giant Man by inventing Size Change Larger. Game Example: Lightning Strike invents Energy Absorbing powers, so he can gain Power Points from any electrical source, not just massive ones. Forester devises 2 new special arrows for his arsenal.

g) Receiving powers from another being. These too can also come with Weaknesses or future plot points that are not always pleasant. Comic Book Example: Frankie Raye becomes Nova at the hands of Galactus. Hypothetical Game Examples: In gratitude, the Black Bat gives Kairos the gift of immortality, with only a few strings attached. ;)

h) Modification of an existing Super Power, usually through practice. Comic Book Example: The Human Torch trains to go Supernova with his Flame Powers. Cyclops learns to create a wide beam blast that lets him target an area. Hypothetical Game Examples: Forester masters a new ability to slow his heartbeat and feign death. Sentinel learns to make his energy creations fly faster, or make them glow bright enough to temporarily blind a target.

i) Also: Heroes may opt to pay down their Weaknesses, eventually eliminating them! Comic Book Example: The Thing’s Reduced Charisma, that had him acting as nearly a villain in Fantastic Four issues 1-50, is severely lessened thereafter. Game Example: Forester meditates to control his lycanthropy.

Your new abilities should make sense with your character’s existing personality and motif.


Zephyr Character Sheet!

Superhero fangirl Shelley Harper couldn’t believe it when her own brother became a superhero! Fuelled by the sibling rivalry that had steered much of her childhood, Shelley invented the Zephyr System Windsuit! Now, driven by her thrill-seeking nature, and the love of justice she got from her dad, Shelley fights with her brother, rather than against him, as Zephyr!

Secret Identity: Shelley Harper
Gender: Female
Born: 1984
Height: 5’ 8”
Weight: 135 lbs.
Origin Type: Homemade
Personality Archetype: Thrill seeking daredevil
Level: 4
Experience Points: 10,500
Player: NPC / Greg

Super Powers and Super Skills:

1) Heightened Intelligence: +7

2) Wind Control Device: The Zephyr Windsuit: 15 charges.

a) Limited Weather Control: As per Weather Control rules except Zephyr can only create wind effects. May create a blast of wind that attacks as per Tornado or Hurricane, except the damage caused is not hit point damage to a character. Rather, the 3d6 or 2d12 respectively are a Knockback Effect caused by high winds. Example: Zephyr rolls 2d12 against a villain, and gets a 10. Subtract the villain’s basic hits (4) and he is pushed back 6” as per the Knockback rules. 1 charge per use.
A defense may be activated by created high winds around Zephyr. Cost: 1 action to set up the defense and 1 charge per hour. Defends as per Vibratory. (Level Four Advancement to upgrade defense from TK)

b) Flight (half speed): Zephyr may fly at 117 MPH (515” per turn). 1 charge per hour.

c) Heightened Senses: Can sense air current patterns near her. Range: 10”. This essentially works like radar sense (she can sense objects and their movements by the way they displace air currents). Detects are x3. 1 charge per hour of use.

d) Armor: 25 points of body armor to protect her body from buffeting winds. Suit also has flight goggles for the same reason.

3) Heightened Physique: +4 Strength, +2 Agility (Level Two Advancement)

4) Patron: Vehicles, base, mundane gear and weapons are all available through an employer.


1) Special Requirement: Air: Limited Weather Control, Flight and Heightened Senses need an atmosphere to work (don't work underwater or in a vacuum) and may be reduced if she is in a natural weather pattern that already has overwhelmingly strong wind currents (a tornado or hurricane).

2) Super Power Limitation: Zephyr’s powers stem from the windsuit, which can be removed from her and possibly used by others!

3) Patron: Character may be required to perform tasks and duties at employer’s request.

Strength 13
Endurance 18
Agility 17
Intelligence 21
Charisma 17

Hit Points: 17
Power Points: 69

Carrying Capacity: 260 lbs.
Hand-to-Hand Damage: 1d6

Accuracy: +2
Damage Modifier: +3

Detect Hidden: 20% (60%)
Detect Danger: 60% (72%)

Reaction Modifiers: +2 from Good, -2 from Evil

Movement: Ground: 48” per combat turn. (One inch equals 5 feet)
Air: 117 MPH (515” per turn).

Healing Rate: 1.5 hit points per day.

Luck Points: 4.2

Occupation: CHESS Scientist
Skills: Physics, Robotics, Cybernetics, Electronics, Computers, Meteorology, Occult Studies, Vanguard nonverbal signal code, First Aid, Manta Craft Pilot, Tactics, Biology

Windsuit designed by Shelley with Hal's help.

Shelley used her Level Three Advancemen to learn the CHESS/Vanguard skill package

Zephyr quit Vanguard after the events of the Vanguard Omega Saga.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vanguard: Issue 130: Destiny of Dark Avatar!

From within the heart of an ancient Ragnorok, a new battle raged to rock the heavens! For in the lost city of dead gods, Vanguard faced the Dark Avatar inside the Temple of the Pantheon of Evil!

The Dark Avatar surveyed the shattered statues of the Dark Pantheon, and grimly cast another black spell. This one summoned into existence a translucent, mystical energy wall between the battle and the remaining statues (see map)! VER-RANG! It ranged to the walls and ceiling. She placed herself on the same side of the barrier as Vanguard, so she could continue murdering them!

“I’ve still more than enough power left to make all of you beg for mercy,” she promised.

Avatar was determined to keep Dark Avatar’s attention on him so that the rest of Vanguard was free to act! Without a word, he ran at the 40 foot tall titan of terror and quickly scaled her armor, never alighting for long at any one point (like Legolas scaling an Oliphant). When the demigod of destiny reached her neck, he slashed at it with the sword he forged with the skill of Hephaestus! SSHUNK!! Avatar’s aim was true and he drew blood!

The Dark Avatar snarled in her booming, giant voice: “So the Pantheon’s sacrificial lamb still has some bite left?” WHAMM! She struck Avatar with a hand that was bigger than him, sending him flying off, backwards and down! (22 points of damage! Roll with 1, takes 21 off hits!) Avatar landed on his feet again, but another attack like that would kill him! Her cold laughter filled the massive temple.

Talon summoned what strength he had left and flew another ‘strafing run’ at Dark Avatar! SKASH!! His claws slashed her! Her armor was so damaged now it was no longer protecting her!

Soldier he yelled out, "Be careful, Clone's on the other side of the barrier. We need to get him out of there!" Using the column as cover, he took aim at the ceiling above Dark Avatar and fired a pair of explosive rounds! BOOM! BOOOMM! Heavy stones were loosed from the explosions and tumbled down into Dark Avatar’s back, shoulder and head! THUMP! KRASH! She roared in pain and anger.

Lightning Strike surveyed the mystical wall blocking him off, trying to figure out a way to get to the other side of it. When he heard Soldier reporting Clone’s position, the electric avenger transformed into living lightning and disappeared! SHAKOW! Almost simultaneously, he poured out of Clone’s communicator in a rain of sparks, destroying it, and assumed human shape again! Strike was on the other side of the barrier! He then took aim at an undamaged statue, the God of Death, and SHAKOOM!! blew it to bits! Dark Avatar raged, “No!” There were five statues remaining!

Symbiote fired a lightning bolt at their fearsome foe! SHAKAKOW!! Her armor offered no protection.
“Aarrh!” she growled.

Zephyr flew toward the mystical wall and blasted it with a gale force wind! WHOOSH! Almost nothing happened! The wall merely moaned. In fact, no air even deflected off the wall’s surface. “Guys,” she said, “I think this thing just devoured that wind blast.”

Menagerie moved to the stairs to transform when his senses suddenly detected the smell of sulphur wafting up the stone stairwell. Dark Avatar’s mystical shield smelled of sulphur. She had cast the barrier through the lower level as well! (see last ish! Clone made it through before she formed the barrier!) The shamanic shapeshifter assumed the form of Man and moved to the barrier to observe the Coven. The corrupt conjurers still waited and watched.
Menagerie called to them: “This is not a fight between good and evil. Nor is it a fight between life and death. It is a fight between existence and destruction. No one can side on the sideline when the stakes are this high. What does the Coven gain if all there is … is nothing?”

Sentinel joined the mysterious mystic. “Hey Samedi! Knew you’d make it to the endgame, Smiley. So how’s that quest for the power of the Avatar working out for you and your cronies?”
The beacon of liberty ended by asking the Crimson Coven, “So tell me, where do you think you all fit into the equation with The Dark Pantheon’s Scorched Earth policy?”

The Coven members heard Menagerie and Sentinel and were silent. Samedi still wore his manic grin, even in the face of cosmic oblivion. Mirage frowned. Okmenhotep seemed to actually be smiling.

Sentinel then formed a construct inside the wall, trying to disrupt it or make a path that Vanguard could use to reach the other side. The wall moaned and disintegrated the construct until nothing was left of it!
Watching it, the mystical wall didn’t appear to be a solid. It was more like a damage field or a wall of flames. Things could move through it, but they would be damaged by it!
Sentinel formed a final construct, inside the statue of the Goddess of Discord and War! KABOOM!! It imploded and the Dark Avatar’s armor disappeared! Her face was that of a beautiful woman, with serpents instead of hair, like the mythical Medusa!

Slingshot saw Clone across the way. "How did he get there?" Scott wondered. He searched for Clone’s exit and found no way to the other side, except maybe by smashing through an exterior wall.
He turned and saw the Dark Avatar standing between the two remaining pillars. He smiled. “Time to give something back.” The pliable powerhouse stretched his big arms around the two remaining pillars and then pulled with all his might to bring them down on top of Dark Avatar! KRASH!! KA-THOOM!! The hundred foot stone columns bludgeoned the evil giantess mercilessly, breaking bones and driving her to her hands and knees. She was struggling for air. “Curse this vessel!”

The Clone that was behind the magic wall quickly divided to create ten more duplicates! Suddenly all eleven Clones poured out of the antechamber to topple the four remaining statues!

The Crimson Coven was waiting and ready (saved actions), and could have stopped the flood of duplicates. Instead, they did nothing!

KRASH! The statue of the God of Hell was toppled by two Clones!

ZGRASH! The statue of the God of the Undead was broken by two Clones!

SMASH! The statue of the God of Monsters was destroyed by two Clones, and Dark Avatar’s form changed again! Her face became more human, and the serpents were replaced with ebon hair.

BASH! The statue of the Goddess of Magic was smashed by two Clones, and suddenly the mystical barrier disappeared with a moan! Dark Avatar’s supernatural speed left her. And she began shrinking back to human size!

There were no undamaged statues left in the unholy temple!

Dark Avatar cried, still on her hands and knees, “Nooo! Stop! We’ll spare the Earth! We’ll give it to you… as a plaything!!”” Her voice was different; deeper.

The Clone that was on Vanguard’s end of the unholy church, charged her. Increasing his pace, he reached down to the ground and grabbed the nearest piece of broken column and heaved it at her and said ( in Ukrainian ), “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin,... but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty!” SMASH! Dark Avatar was badly injured!

Avatar retrieved his spear and closed to attack before the Pantheon’s speed and strength left him!

Dark Avatar rolled onto her back, beaten and exhausted, revealing her true face. Her true identity.

It was Penumbra.

She was as different from Dark Avatar as was Kairos from Avatar…
…And perhaps more: she was not blinded by Amnesia. Nor was the Dark Pantheon content to merely manifest in their champion, instead choosing complete possession.

Broken and bloodied, she looked up at Avatar and snarled, “Next time, I shall utterly destroy you.”
Avatar struck her with the butt of his spear! KRAK! She was unconscious.

Mirage said, “Wait, wait! What was that plaything part again?”

Okmenhotep said in English, “Well done, Vanguard.
I shall imprison her, so that she isn’t reincarnated into a new life form. I shall also put an end the spell that is holding you here. Likewise, the Crimson Coven.
Farewell, Vanguard. I hope we meet again. If we do, please call me by my real name: Mystic.”

With that, he fired an eldritch blast from each hand to destroy the two remaining lode bearing columns! VRAK! And as the temple of evil came down in an avalanche of stone, Vanguard saw the environment and everyone in it disappear into nothingness as they headed for home.

Vanguard materialized atop the Vanguard Vault! Dawn was breaking. It was going to be a beautiful day.

Replies to any and all of the above?


This concludes our story arc!

Loose ends:

Sentinel, Symbiote, Zephyr, Menagerie and anyone interested in the history of superheroes has heard of the Mystic. He was a mysterious sorcerer who was an infrequent and mercurial ally of the Liberty League, the golden age heroes of WWII. The Mystic was never photographed and his motives were often inscrutable.

Before long, Vanguard will share the information they discovered when they were separated. It seemed that in the temple, Dark Avatar was nearly omnipotent. Outside of it, she was nearly powerless, which is why she needed to employ the Crimson Coven to deliver Avatar to her with the promise of immortality. A promise she never intended to keep.

The Coven believed Vanguard would be pulled into the matter eventually, given Avatar’s relationship and proximity to them, so they decided to strike Vanguard and Avatar simultaneously.*

Wishing to avoid a direct confrontation, or worse, an invasion of Vanguard Vault where Vanguard would be best defended, the Coven attacked Vanguard in their dreams where they would be most powerless. Once contact was made, they transported Vanguard’s physical selves to the Pantheon’s home dimension and ensorcelled them via the nightmare illusion spell.

When Vanguard pierced the illusion, the Coven had no choice but to attempt to defeat Vanguard in battle and bring Avatar to the Dark Avatar. The Coven’s morale was quickly broken by the unexpected fair fight.

*It’s possible that Okmenhotep / Mystic was never on Dark Avatar’s side. Perhaps he manipulated the Coven into involving all of Vanguard, so that Vanguard would handle the threat Dark Avatar represented to the multiverse.

Vanguard had been gone for approximately seven hours.


Please now answer the following 3 things:

1) If you wish to leave the game for whatever reason, now is the perfect time in terms of our story. But I sincerely hope that none of you will leave. Those that stay, please continue:

2) Please let me know any major things you’d like your character to do over the coming weeks/months. Remember, your actions help steer this mighty, unwieldy saga! Your characters’ lives sow the seeds for future adventures.

3) Experience Point Time!Experience is awarded for:

Surviving the Nightmare Illusion Mind Trap: 500 points
Detecting a clue to help smash the Nightmare Illusion Mind Trap: 500 points (Symbiote only)
Battling and Defeating the Crimson Coven! 1000 points
Exploring the Lost City: one dose of Occult Studies skill
Escaping the Mists of Madness! 500 points
Defeating Dark Avatar: 1000 points
Deducing the statues were her power source: 500 points (Slingshot only)
Thwarting the Dark Pantheon’s plan, and saving the Multiverse: 1000 points +1 Charisma point

Everyone gains a new level!

Every level increase means:
Better combat ability. (An attacker’s chance to hit is modified by the difference between his level and his target’s levels. Example: a 1st level hero attacking a 6th level villain gets a -5 modifier to hit. That same villain gets +5 to hit the 1st level hero. )
+1% to detect hidden and detect danger
Charisma/10 in Luck Points! (see game site for Luck Point rules)
New powers and/or skills! Please check the site on Character Advancement to figure out what you want to do on this, and then let me know! Have fun with this.

Once I get all this, in a week and a half, I’ll modify your sheets and then begin the next thrilling adventure arc in our senses-shattering saga-rama!

Thanks everyone.

Viva Vanguard,


Current Conditions at Issue’s End:

Avatar: Hit Points: 4, Power Points: 17, Manifesting: Cosmic Awareness
Clone: Bodies: 12, Hit Points: 1, Power Points: 35, Hit Pool: 12
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 36, Power Points: 27
Menagerie: Hit Points: 14, Power Points: 53, Form: Man
Sentinel: Hit Points: 19, Power Points: 10, Shields: 3! Creation Points: 3
Soldier: Hit Points: 19, Power Points: 56, Invulnerability: 8
Slingshot: Hit Points: 11, Power Points: 56, Invulnerability: 8
Symbiote: Hit Points: 18, Power Points: 49, Charges: 13, Copied: Strike
Talon: Hit Points: 36, Power Points: 0, Fatigued
Zephyr: Hit Points: 13, Power Points: 55, Charges: 6, Armor: 25


Jeff, once the team gets together and gets a debrief completed, Soldier will make his own entries into the files he's been keeping. As far as advancement for soldier, I'd like to improve my accuracy with my pistol, so Soldier will be spending some time on the CHESS firearms range (anyone who wishes to join him is welcome, as I think that everyone should have some familiarity with any weapons or devices used by the team, and the CHESS agents supporting us), for his 5th level advancement, for now, I'll go with the next item on the list I'd previously sent you.
In his "downtime" he'll be doing a little research on his father, and his father's involvement in CHESS activities in Venezuela (if possible he'll make some discrete inquires with former military buddies, and CHESS personnel he feels comfortable speaking to).


Awesome story arc! I can't believe I got to meet Dr. Mystic and battle Penumbra! I mean Menagerie got to. Yes I have read Vanguard history all the way up to the 5 Bosses and Black Bat before joining.

For my level advancement, I want Menagerie to have the ability to mentally communicate with Vanguard when not in human form. Whether it is a two way telepathy or a restricted send only ability to up to you Jeff.
If it is restricted for gameplay purposes but wouldn't count as a 1/4 power then I was thinking of a partial form of Weakness Detection - No bonus to hit but can determine a NPC weakness.


1st Choice: Telepathic Speech: One way communication into someone's mind, while in animal form is what we had on my list. It is still my first choice, I am unsure whether that is considered a complete level advancement. I remember that get all of Telepathy would take 4 advancements to get. If Telepathic Speech is a complete level then I am good with it.

2nd Choice: Weakness Detection. It can be an expansion of his Heightened Senses in theme.

Downtime: Menagerie will get a cat. He will frequent any nearby parks, zoos, wildlife reserves, or wildlife entertainment centers. He will attempt to get to know the other Vanguard members. He will learn CHESS and Vault procedures. If there are any Animal Revolution members in the CASTLE that he can meet with and maybe mentor with CHESS permission/supervision. He will attend Soldiers combat sessions. He will contact the Canadian Park Service to make sure Pachyderm and Snow Leopard are doing well.
Let me know what your thoughts are on this.

He will see who in the Vault likes to play poker.


Jeff, again, another great story arc. I wish I had picked up on the statues on the first turn in the temple. it would have cost me fewer hitpoints.

To guide my decision on the weeks/months ahead (can you be more specific? ;] ), When we get home, some idea as to how Nanite/baby is doing.

Also can you find any of the emails we traded on idea of things to follow on and the advancements? I've been looking in my emails, but I'm not finding it.




Another fun romp. Loved the "everything you know is wrong" opening for this chapter.

My next advancement will be, unsurprisingly, finding a way to make Gadget Girl's power storage modifications of the Harness permanent. If this involves more visiting her at Chess Castle and interviewing her, so be it.

Hal will also continue to assist Nanite with her pregnancy as best he can. And though he'll be circumspect about it and not mention it to either Nanite or Slingy unless they specifically bring it up, he'll also carefully monitor the Digital Zone for changes or anomalies, seeing if anything coincides with Nanite's condition ("there's a pulse of energy from the Zone every time Nanite feels the baby kick!" or something like that). He'd love to be wrong, but Symbiote is still afraid this pregnancy may be The Entity's way of kicking open a door to our world. (Plus, I always loved the way Reed had a gateway to the Negative Zone right there in his lab at the top of the Baxter Building, thought it was one of the coolest concepts in the Fantastic Four).

As long as he's checking up on old cases, he'll also check in to see if the courts have made a decision on devolving The Primate yet.

Ready for the next adventure! Oh, and apropos of nothing....I have found the material my real life superhero costume shall be made from....

Viva Vanguard,


OOC Replies and questions:

Thanks everyone! I’ll finally catch up the site over the next 7 days, so you can see what each other were up to when you were separated.

Slingshot: If the statue weakness hadn’t been detected I think Dark Avatar could have won! :0
Fyi, Downtime will not exceed the 5th month of Nanite’s pregnancy. So far she seems healthy. Do you want to know the baby’s gender?
I’ll start hunting up your advancement list and forward it to you.

Soldier: Do you want your level advancement to be weapons accuracy or the next item on your advancement list? I’ll start hunting up your advancement list and forward it to you.

Symbiote: Thanks. You’re good to go. Thanks for the padding link too!

IC replies to come later.


Badly injured and exhausted from the fights, John takes a couple of days off from the store. After the mandatory debrief, he holes up in his apartment and broods over what has happened.

While he certainly accepts the existence of super powers and such, the ongoing revelations that the gods of Greek mythology (and likely others) are real and at work in the universe shakes him up. Raised in the Greek Orthodox traditions, though not really following them as an adult to any great extent, he nevertheless had always assumed that there was one God and not multiple ones...and certainly not that he was an agent of theirs in the world.

Good and evil had never really meant a lot to him. The world was shades of gray, some darker or lighter than others but shades of gray, nevertheless. He had gotten into the costumed hero thing more out of a sense of adventure than anything else but now? He was truly and agent of the gods and, apparently, and agent of good, at least in simple terms. He regretted his dream decision to drink from the chalice offered to him. What effect would that have on him now? Anything? Was it possible that his actions had set these events in motion? Had his reckless decision done harm?

After brooding over these things for a few days and healing up, he shrugs them off. What is in the past might matter but what is in the future is the only thing that can be controlled. Time enough to consider these things in the dark of the night when sleep does not come. John sees that he has a duty, a purpose, and is determined to take hold of his destiny. With a renewed sense of purpose, he returns to training

While not disinclined to scholarly pursuits, he is a scholar of the humanities and not of modern science so he sees no real way of aiding the likes of Symbiote and Zephyr. He is, first and foremost, a warrior, and his broad range of abilities makes him an ideal sparring partner for anyone on the team who desires such. He jumps into training with zest and begins working on Endurance as his next level's advancement.

He decides to devote more and more time to Vanguard and less to his store. He appeals to Vanguard's patrons to see if some low-level agent or agents could be assigned to the store in some sort of duty capacity as he wants it in good hands and his own interests secured. If this can't happen, he'll hire someone he knows and trusts to work there.


“Farewell, Vanguard. I hope we meet again. If we do, please call me by my real name: Dr. Mystic.”

Kirk shot a glance first to Hal and then to Menagerie and replied, “Dr Mystic, wait, how can we …”

And as the temple of evil came down in an avalanche of stone, Vanguard saw the environment and everyone in it disappear into nothingness as they headed for home.

“… contact you?”

OOC: Jeff: Thought the above would be Kirk’s reaction and funny. First panel of dialogue takes place in the ‘Dark Dimension’ or whatever we are going to call this place; Kirk finishes his sentence as he reappears atop the Vanguard Vault.

As always thanks for your efforts and another great story arc. I’m very much looking forward to the website update so I can see what I missed.

Level Advancement:
I think we’re still working on toughening up Kirk’s stats. In the back of Kirk’s mind is his being ready to handle Swastika upon his reemergence and I’m guessing you’d prefer not to do another charisma at this point so I was actually thinking intelligence.

However, if you’d prefer to hold off on that we could do one of his stats to get him some more hit points under the shields. I’d like to see him go a bit quicker too, but I don’t think that gets him more HPs, so what do you think would work best for him.

For power type stuff, this adventure really showed how the power points going on Kirk render him ineffective in battle quickly. Also Vanguard needs a defense against an intangible foe. I’d envisioned Kirk getting these sort of things down the road when he comes to grips with his true origins and full grasps and understands energy manipulation. But I think those revelations would be in his far future and not now.

Let me know if you think the intelligence or another more physical stat would work better for now.

Down time:
(1) Some continued training with Soldier.
(2) Continue to pursue REACH activities.
(3) Kirk checks in on John throughout this time trying to be a friend and sounding board if he needs it, at least until he sees John has worked through things. He postulates that he still doesn’t believe in the whole ‘God’ part but certainly there were beings that inspired humans to describe them in those terms and they seem to be the source of his powers. He think however, that if those ‘Dark Gods’ and in another dimension and could have possibly returned, then perhaps the “Gods of Good” aren’t as totally ‘demised’ as this adventure would lead us to believe. He wishes they could make contact with Dr Mystic to find out more for John… and also to help Menagerie discover more of himself.
(4) Kirk spends some time talking about Mystic with Hal from the fanboy perspective and keeps up to date on Nanite’s progress.
(5) He keeps up with Scott to be sure that since they aren’t in the midst of a crisis, he is dealing with his upcoming fatherhood all right and not becoming overwhelmed.
(6) He tries to help Menagerie to feel welcome and get acclimated.
(7) He checks up on the progress with getting Clone’s family safely relocated.
(8) Kirk visits Lancaster to spend time, tell him about the adventure, and find out if he can recall anything more about Dr Mystic that he hadn’t told him before.

If I’ve missed anything or have other stuff on the backburner that I’ve forgotten about, please remind me.

Real World:
Vacation 2/12 – 2/19. Paula and I are going to Grand Cayman to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? (well, that’s for Jeff and Tony). Hotel should have WIFI, but I won’t know for sure if it works as other hotels in the Caribbean have said they’d have it and it really didn’t function, so don’t be surprised if I’m out of the reply loop for a bit as I try to get the office stuff done so I can leave and deal with the mess at work when I return.

A good week to all.


OOC: Is there a specific training program you want to undertake? Personally, Soldier would like everyone on the team to be familiar with his pistol, and to have at least some basic medical training, as we tend to sustain a fair amount of injuries (burns, broken bones, gunshot wounds, etc.). He'd also like everyone to be familiar with any standardized equipment the C.H.E.S.S. support staff carries on a regular basis. Also, did we ever decide on some form of non-verbal code?


I know I want it, all I ask is a variation that Menagerie can do in animal form: Head movement and limb waving.



OOC: Hi Everyone:
At Vanguard’s request from last downtime, CHESS can offer a training packet of the following skills:
-First Aid
-Language: non-verbal signal code
-Heightened Expertise with CHESS firearms: +1 (costs two skill slots)
-Manta Craft pilot
-Tactics (lets you retro-actively call out trained maneuvers like the Cannonball Special, as well as increases your chance of Surprising foes, predicting their movements, etc.)

But this packet would take up your entire Advancement.
If you only want 1 of these, it would take up 25% of your advancement. 2 skills is 50%.
If you take 4 skills, you get a 5th skill for free.

Doubling up on a pre-existing skill increases your chance of skill success.

Soldier: I think your smartpistol is biometric and prevents others from using it.

Avatar: Thanks!!

Sentinel: Happy Anniversary! Intelligence works with the character, and also gives you more Power Points, and therefore Creation Points. It’ll bump up hit points a little, and increase your detection abilities and Telepathy powers.

Menagerie: Thanks!



OOC: Just out of curiosity, if it DOES have biometric security, would Symbiote be able to use it if he used his harness to copy Soldier's DNA? Does the harness copy ANY DNA, only giving the super-powers of the super-powered, or does it just copy powers only and it's not a question of copying DNA?


OOC: Good question. I think the Harness only copies superpowers and weaknesses from DNA. Otherwise he would absorb stats, appearance, and other things stored in DNA. But these could be cool possibilities for level advancements. Best,Jeff


OOC: This is accurate (only copies meta-powers and meta-weaknesses) but yes, this could be a great update someday!


Lightning Strike:
Regardless of how late I normally post, I will not be dropping out any time soon. Every time in the past when I took time off, I returned to a new character or came back as a villain (see Black Bat).

Anyway, Lightning Strike would like to improve his agility. He may move at the speed of lightning but in terms of actions in the game sense he moves like molasses. It is time to get him to move quickly in both actions and speed.

I am definitely looking forward to the next story arc as we are rapidly getting to the point where our characters are nearing super powerful level when we face the Galactus types.

It's clobbering time!!


OOC: Yea, I'm getting tired of those non-powerful non-Galactus level types like the Entity and the Dark Avatar


OOC: Yeah it's about time I took off the kid gloves.



Great Job Jeff! Loved the story - very dramatic conclusion! As far as leaving goes - not a chance - you won't get rid of me that easily lol ;) As for leveling - as much as I would love to get a few more Endurance points for Clone, I'm going to go with the 'Heightened Senses: Telepathic Connection' upgrade we discussed a while back. I can't wait to see how it works in a scenario - it'll definitely make Clone a better fighter ( e.g. more organized attacks ) and probably improve communications between the group should we ever split up again. I'll have to get back to you on the IC stuff - I have a few things I want to do and I want to make sure that I've got it all straight before I post anything. Again - great job Jeff - thank you. I also wanted to thank everyone in the group - its been a lot of fun playing with you guys - thanks for all the laughs and smiles. This is without a doubt a really terrific campaign =) Talk to you all soon, -Kev


Lightning Strike:
OOC: Now we all know that all of those super-powerful villains defeated the heroes but kept them alive so that they could eventually find the ultimate nullifier!! I think Vanguard needs to get their ass kicked to make us all a little humble. Not that I am looking forward to it but we need to remember that with great power come great responsibility.



Request received.


Lightning Strike:
OOC: It could be like that 1960's Avengers issue with the cover that read "The Bitter Taste of Defeat" and had Cap unconscious against I think the original Power Man but I could be wrong.


OOC: You are right about the title. Here is the cover art.
It was the second Power Man who later becomes Goliath and then Atlas.
It is a good thing Menagerie has been killed once, being killed a second time shouldn't hurt too much, right Jeff? RIGHT Jeff?

Maybe Menagerie should have picked animals that run away very fast instead of predators.



OOC: clarification: We all got a level of Occult Studies?


OOC: Yes. Anyone who already had it now has two doses of it.


Kirk would continue workouts and such like last downtime. In addition to the bonding, I'm thinking that Matt's military training and discipline and scheduling is something a bit different from all of his training with Lancaster. I think the such a disciplined schedule goes against his personality but he is seeing the benefit potential in Soldier and is intrigued by it. Kirk was been promoting interaction with CHESS personnel and promoting a mutual respect since the start and is glad to have someone more easily accepted by CHESS and promoting this spirit also.

On the skill set specifics, I'll address in another email reply.



Hi Jeff.

Heightened intelligence it is as I thought that was actually the most practical character-wise at this point too and had it in mind since the completion of our solo adventure (but no leveling occured for Kirk then).

Also, if I understand per last leveling, since we cannot do the full seven points to a stat, we do get to use some leveling for skill type stuff (you said part of last leveling was creation of REACH.

Is that is so and I can get some skills, I'm not sure how much you count that stat increase, so from the CHESS training pack I'd take
(1) First Aid - since Kirk has been doing this anyway as much as he could. I'm assuming he really should have basic knowledge from his training with Lancaster and his experience over the years, but this would make it formal and I guess help with actually rendering aid in game terms.
(2) Non-verbal signal code - If Kirk only gets one, he'd choose this first, both to support Matt is trying to bring this discipline to Vanguard and to take the lead in setting an example for the others and also to promote continued integration and acceptance of Vanguard by CHESS personnel.
(3) Tactics - Again, more for the role you've given Kirk in the team.
(4) Manta craft pilot. Actually my personal first choice and hopefully he gets in the next skill package with tactics. I've been dying to get Kirk to fly the manta craft since early adventures. Must be my personal wish that I could fly along with a tip of the cap to Hal Jordan.
(5) Heightened expertise Chess firearms.


As the other members of Vanguard slip quickly back into the familiar and normal routines of their lives; one member seems to be struggling with something – Clone. Contrary to what most might expect from the multiplying menace of mirth and mayhem, Clone seems to keep to himself after the group arrives back into the ‘real world’. Visible signs of what one could easily describe as antisocial behavior begin to display themselves more and more as the days pass. His characteristically uplifting and lighthearted view of the world seems to have been replaced with a noticeably gloomy disposition for some reason. His involvement with social events and activities such as watching his soap operas and Rachael Ray with the other members of Vanguard, volunteering his time with the REACH program, regular church attendance, and even the time he spends with his family; all seem to have been affected by this unexplained personality slump. Aside from occasionally visits to The Vaults kitchen to grab a small meal; courtesy of Clone’s mother, Alexander is rarely seen leaving his room. When approached by other members of Vanguard or his family about the apparent ‘funk’ that he seems to be in, he simply answer with a forced smile,”I am being o.k. . . . I am just needing of some sleep . . . I am to be being better soon.”
OOC: OK – to be honest I’m not 100% sure were I’m going with all of this – it just seemed fit. I actually started writing up a whole thing were he was helping his family relocate, donating time to the REACH program and his churches community center and such, but something made me change it. I was thinking that after everything he has been through since he’s met Vanguard, it all might start to ‘get to him’ after a while. He is after all only a 22yr old farm boy from a small Ukrainian village – all of this superhero stuff might be a shock to his system. Freeing his family from the Russian government, being labeled a traitor by his former government, defecting, traveling to other dimensions to combat evil beings, seeing his ‘real’ face in that dream-like illusion created by the Crimson Coven, etc. . . might be a bit much for poor little Alex to mentally and emotionally handle ( in accordance with his Weakness: Psychological Limitation ). I would image that he would need a ’few minutes’ to sort through it all and come to terms with his ‘new life’. I was also thinking that this self imposed isolation and personal reflect period might be a good way to slip the Heightened Senses upgrade in that I chose for my new level.
Jeff if you want/need to change any of this around a bit to fit into the campaigns story a little better, by all means go for it =)
Talk to you all soon,


At first, Kirk will allow Clone some distance, figuring everyone needs some time to deal with stuff. However, when Kirk notices the continued decline and particularly that he is isolating himself he takes more direct action to confront and assist. Some personality types need time alone to work through things (ie like Kirk making himself available to Avatar but not pushing - he feels Avatar would want and need to work through it mostly himself - it is different for Clone) - Clone is a people person and needs to be around people to heal, not away from them.

Kirk will approach Alex to speak to him alone and would try something along these lines.

"Alex, I know you've been through a lot of adjustments lately and that perhaps Vanguard's missions and encounters are of a scale different than what you've experienced personally. One thing that keeps me going is that I've learned and been taught that things are seldom what they seem and even once we think we 'have it together' things can quickly change. I'm thinking this past adventure with your alterate self and then seeing evidence of all those 'gods' may be shaking your faith in yourself and your religious faith, which is a huge part of you.

Now although I don't personally ascribe to belief in a monotheistic God, what you saw with incarnations of all those gods certainly doesn't preclude the existence of your one ultimate God. I'd discussed this with Avatar too, just because we discovered evidence of beings whereby many of the gods mankind has worshiped exist, doesn't mean that the worship ascribed to them is accurate and preclude other forms. In my mind, what we found is evidence of alien creatures, ahead of man at the time of encountering them, and from which our legends and gods were based by a more primitive society of men... if Vanguard fell through time and encountered much of any society of ancient man, we'd likely be worshipped as gods if we weren't careful.

Don't let what we encountered shake your belief system. We found more questions, not ultimate answers.

Alex, I'm afraid for you and the path you are following - I'd refer you to the words of your greatest prophet, 'there is more happiness in giving than in receiving'. You've lived your life that way until now, and cutting yourself off from your giving spirit and your love of people isn't going to help you here. I believe one off your Proverbs warns against the one isolating himself and that isolation leads to the loss of good judgement. You are experiencing that here. Let us back in, even if you have to force yourself at first, and things will come together inwardly for you also.

You have family and friends that care about you Alex, remember that, and take advantage of it. Let them help you as you've always tried to help others."

OOC Hope this helps get Clone back on the right path - and it seemed like something Kirk would be compelled to do.



As Seth/Sentinel indicated, anyone that is increasing stats (due to limitations on the increase) has advancement gains left over.
Please quickly let me know if you're taking skills with that. :)
For example:
Strike gains 3 points of Agility and takes First Aid and Nonverbal Code Language.
Avatar gains 3 to Strength and takes Tactics and Expertise with CHESS weaponry.

Stephane: I'll allow the weakness buy down, but it'll be awful subtle given that it's half of a '1/4 Super Power' in strength! ie: 1/8 of the Weakness would go away.
Talon: you haven't replied to the turn yet. Please let me know when you can reply!



OOC: An attack bonus with the sword? Work on simultaneous activation of Avatar powers rather than one at a time? Decrease in cost of use of Avatar powers?


OOC: Jeff: Assuming I can retroactively do a quick change.. I'll tweak my entry to the following:1- Advancement: 50% on two skills: Non-verbal, Tactics. Keep the rest for further use (next level)I'll stay close to home keeping an eye on Nanite, the pregnancy, and training with the others/CHESS in the above skills.I'll also continue furthering the REACH program. I'll give as much of my time as I can safely do (depending on how the pregnancy is going).


OOC: Hey Jeff would it be possible to do a little retro stuff with Clone? I didn’t realize how much time was going to pass between issue 130 and 131. Given the amount of time that transpires I was hoping to maybe expand a bit on the Clone / Sentinel discussion, work him out of his slump ( nobody stays in a bummed out mood that long – especially Clone ) through a short little narrative, and maybe work with Symbiote for a little bit ( once Clone gets his old personality back ) on a special project ( if Symbiote has the time and is willing to help ).
Given his vast scientific background; especially within the Skill fields of Science, Genetics and Research, I was hoping to work Symbiote to develop ( using Clone’s Inventing Points/Luck Points/etc. of course ) a weapon for Clone – a staff. Instead of always having him grab weapons of opportunity from around the campaign setting ( sticks and stone for example ), I was hoping to come up with some kind of melee weapon ( a staff comes to mind ) that would duplicate itself along with Clone as he uses his Multiplicity power.
I’m not trying to increase Clone’s powers at all with this – I was just hoping to see the character develop a bit more by having a weapon that he can be consistently seen with as opposed to always reaching for chunks of marble on the ground, a stash of CHESS pistols stored in weapons locker, etc. . . I also wanted to work in a bit of character development type stuff – a new costume ( with a back story as to why he came up with a new one of course ), and a short narrative explaining how his new telepathic link power came into being – if that would be ok.
I’ll start working something up once you get back to me on what you’ll allow to transpire during the months between both issues.
Talk to you all soon, -Kev


OOC: Personally I'd love to see the narrative if Jeff allows and you have time to do it and feel free to use Kirk to further assist if it fills a need in your/Clone's efforts.



Pending Jeff's approval Symbiote will, of course, be happy to help with this.


Kev/Clone: Character development is always welcome! Go for it.

Re: Staff: We’ll need an “unstable molecules” type name for the (Soviet) science of how his costume duplicates. Any ideas? Then the same principal can apply to a staff.
We'll also need a pseudo-reason why Clone can't duplicate the cash in his wallet, or a cat he’s holding. Maybe the staff is somehow made of the same molecules his uniform is?
Let me know your thoughts on this. Thanks.



OOC: Suggestion: Staff: Maybe it's a duplication limitation. As long as Clone identifies the object as par of his core "self" (a la matrix) then he'll duplicate it. You can only change your core self items at level increase/training time?


OOC: Kev, I don't know if you have thought this out already but the email really spurred my imagination at lunch.

Here is what I thought of. You are welcome to use any of it that you like. You are also welcome to laugh and hit the delete button.


Straight Russian translation of Unstable Molecules from Google: Nestabil'nyh Molekul

Origin on Clone's Costume

Since Clone was a mutant at an early age then it can be surmised that the mutagenic event impacted the area he lived in as well. I am speculating that Clone's Father and Mother were able to use the local cotton and hemp crops to create clothes for their child. For most of his life he had his clothes duplicating with him.

When the Govenment brought the Human Collective to Moscow, they also brought a collection of cotton and hemp with them. There the Soviet Agricultural Engineering Academy (S.A.E.A) was able to determine the proper mixture with normal textile materials to the collective mutagenic material and still have it duplicate. It is a 20/80 split of normal to mutagenic. S.A.E.A. was disappointed to discover that the mutagenic effect on the plants did not give the plants 'superpowers'. Which meant that production efficiencies beyond normal growth cycles were not possible. They were pleased to discover that the mutagenic effect was to positively interact with 'superpowers'. All Soviet Super Soldiers are uniformed with this wonderful material. The Oleksienko Collective's (as it is referred to in the Kremlin) only crops are cotton and hemp by order of the Minister of Textiles.

S.A.E.A. named the mutagenic compound: Oleksienko Molekul.

Origin of the Staff

Clone's brother has been secretly grafting hemp stalks into different hard wood trees. He has been successful with oak. He has figured out how to do the grafting on a mature tree and still cause the tree to take on the Oleksienko Molekul properties. Because the tree was still alive and growing, the amount of mutagenic plant needed for grafting was significantly less. He was able to secret the hemp out of the Soviet Union. He has made the Staff for Clone.

Thanks for a fun lunch


Sorry for the Clone side story/narrative not being done yet – I am working on it still and was really hoping to have it done by now – I will do my best to get it out asap