Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Vanguard: Issue 142: A Changed Man.


Within Vanguard Vault, Vanguard battled their evil, future selves: Vanguard Omega!

Dynamo held the fist he had just used to hammer Lightning Strike Omega and caught a reflection of his face in a dead computer monitor. He stopped and looked at himself in disbelief. “..so…old …” he murmured.

Avatar overcame the toxic venom of the spider bite! (made his End save between turns. No further effects).

Lightning Strike called to the rest of his team.  "We are taking the battle to them but we can't rest now.  There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal."  Then the high voltage vigilante fired a blast of powerful current at Talon Omega’s back, catching him completely unaware!  The blast electrocuted him, momentarily revealing his skeleton! SHAKOW!
“YEAARGH!!!” the avian alter-ego snarled. His skin was smoking but he was still conscious!

Strike said, "We need someone to engage Lightning Strike Omega to ensure he can't get to Dynamo.  Symbiote and I will be ineffective against him so we need someone to engage him hand to hand!!"

Talon Alpha paid no heed to those words. Like his criminal counterpart, he was now lost to bloodthirsty rage!
Talon Omega had said, “You sure do talk a good fight, kid.”
Talon smiled a wicked grin. "And I'll still be talking after I take you down!"
“GRRRAAHH!” growled Talon Omega as he slashed Talon again! (despite your Luck Point)
ZLASHH! (16 points! 5 from Power, 11 from Hits!)

Talon fought back through the pain! The two bloody brawlers tangled! SKAASSH! Talon’s claws sunk into Talon Omega’s gut! The feral fiend gasped for air and hit the floor, unconscious! THWUMP!

Lightning Strike crossed the battle field and blasted Avatar Omega savagely! SHAKOW!

Avatar Omega said, “Once this one is dead, I am going to murder you, Stephen!”

Avatar continued the deadly swordfight with his twin titan! “Yield to me!  The path that you've chosen is NOT the hero's path!"
Avatar Omega snarled, “And what would either of us know of the hero’s path, John? Are you referring to the mercy we showed Otom the Seer? Or perhaps the concern we had for Shelley’s feelings? Stop fooling yourself, ‘hero,’ we’re as vain, violent, and selfish as Zeus himself!”

Avatar paused. Thoughts raced through his mind.  He knew some of this to be true, and yet...
"You group us together and yet it's not so!  Wallow in your own failures all you wish but don't include me therein!  A hero is not a hero because of the absence of faults but because he can overcome them!"
"You must regret those things to which you have given voice!  Have you thought long and hard on them?  Sat alone in the night and traced your failure back to each lapse?"

“On the contrary,” scoffed Avatar Omega, “I accept them! I am at peace with what I am; with who we are. I need no fig leaf called “heroism,” to justify my actions, like some sniveling mortal!”
KANG!
“You and I, John, we both do what we want.”
KLASH!
“And we take what we want.”
ZANG!
“Why the fa├žade? Why delude yourself? Why not accept what you really are?!”

The swords danced between them.  John was oddly detached, body locked in the duel between him and Avatar Omega but his mind sailing above it all. "It's said that courage isn't the absence of fear but rather the ability to overcome it!  It's the same with all of the other virtues and their opposites!  A hero's hardest battles are fought within!"

“And the heart of your battle is your denial of your true nature!” sneered Avatar Omega. “That weakness is what stopped you from seizing the power of the Dark Pantheon! And it will stop you from saving this world!”

Avatar called, "Here is another truth for you, John!  When all else is lost, when all is dark and the heart fails, when you're sitting there in the night with your regrets, know that, at the end of all, there is still HOPE.  Redemption is lifeline of the hero fallen from grace.  Yield this challenge and seize that moment, for it will not come again!  Remember why you chose the name 'Kairos' in the first place!  Make the hero's choice!"

“Words!” jeered Avatar Omega as he lunged again at John’s head! He missed (thanks to another Luck Point)!

Avatar pressed the attack, fighting ferociously past Avatar Omega’s defenses and SHHNG! Impaled Avatar Omega’s chest. Omega spat blood and crumpled to the floor! John had won the Cosmic Challenge! A final crack of supernatural thunder heralded the return of his powers! Once more could he manifest the Twelve Olympians, once more was he the one true Avatar! The speed of Hermes returned to him!
But the unholy powers of the Dark Pantheon were freed, loosed into this universe!

Both Symbiotes had shut down each other’s Harper Harness! But only Symbiote Omega had his current genetic template discharged! Hal Alpha still had the powers of Lightning Strike!

Symbiote looked at Symbiote Omega, his depowered counterpart.  The Patient Zero for all that went wrong on Omega Earth, the dark mirror of everything Alpha Hal Harper stands for and believes.
"NOT QUITE AS SMART AS YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE, ARE YOU, YOU SON OF A..." KRAKA-BOOM!!!  The remainder of Hal's roared rebuke is drowned out by a thunder clap, as Hal hits his fallen counterpart with a lightning bolt, knocking him back to the console wall! KRASH!

Symbiote Omega was injured and staggered and silent. Powerless, he did not attack. Instead he looked at Lightning Strike Omega, and at Dynamo.

Symbiote suddenly felt a sharp sting at the back of his leg! He risked a glance down and saw a black spider on him! The first stage of the poison caused extreme pain and trouble breathing! (14 points damage, cannot be rolled with!) Hal remained conscious!

Sentinel said to Clone, “Alex, search your memories, do you know what Vanguard Omega fears will happen in our future… so we can prevent it?”
Kirk focused on his energy sense once again, this time specifically for the pattern of Menagerie Omega.  Since he knew it echoed that of their own Frank Donovan he knew exactly what he was looking for amidst the chaos of the battle, sidestepping and bypassing other readings.  Upon locating and locking in on him there were no words exchanged, as it would have served no purpose.  Kirk’s energy swarmed over the area forming a bug swatter, smashing the arachnid off Symbiote’s leg, onto the floor and out of the battle! SPLAT!
Menagerie Omega was unconscious!

All four Clones then simultaneously turned their heads to look at Sentinel and respond in unison, “Da comrade…” Clone’s duplicates then pause for a moment as they once again divide themselves!
“ . . . it is themselves that they are fearing . . . themselves and their mistakes!”
Alex wanted to make as many as he could and was astonished when he suddenly made 20 more! (PR=20)
Now there were 24! And they all held staffs. (OOC: we’ll discuss this at Level Advancement!)

Clone searched the memories of the Clone Omega collective for what Vanguard Omega feared will happen in Vanguard Alpha’s future and found it!

In 2012, in this world, Silas Caine becomes the President of the United States!!!
His anti-extranormal policies take root and spread like sickness.

After the City of Dead Gods, Symbiote Omega became obsessed with the idea of multiple realities. He created a device that allowed him to see into them!
Through this device, Vanguard Omega saw a parallel universe where Detective Hank Archer succeeded in killing Caine in the hotel ballroom, and without Caine, the anti-extranormal wave never occurred.
The action that Vanguard Alpha must take, and will never take, is to kill Caine before he becomes President.

Vanguard Omega is prepared to do what they must to protect their loved ones, to even redeem themselves. They have no faith in Vanguard Alpha’s ability to stop this universe from ending up like theirs!

(OOC: I assume Clone will share this info next issue, so everyone may act as if they have knowledge of this.)

Slingshot Omega single-mindedly threw another giant roundhouse at Slingshot, without even freeing himself from the T-Max’s jaws! KA-POW!  (24 points! 0 to Invulnerability! 6 from Power. 18 to Hits!)  Slingshot flew backwards, but remained conscious!

Menagerie thought-sent to Slingshot, “Have you ever played baseball.  Interested in a little BP? I have a nice rubber ball I can throw, let’s see how hard you can hit it?
Slingshot replied: “Batter up!”
Coordinating their actions, Menagerie threw Slingshot Omega at Slingshot with as much force as a T-Max could create!

Slingshot stepped forward and used the massive console to smash Slingshot Omega in mid air! WHAMM!! The pliable perp was a high line drive into the far wall! SLAMM! He fell to the ground, stunned!

Slingshot said, "You lost your family, but instead of helping me with mine, you try to take it away from me. You know that you can help and work with me! This is my last attempt at making sense out of you. Choose!"

Slingshot Omega replied weakly, “I choose… that I want my family back,” before passing out!
  
Lightning Strike Omega and Symbiote Omega were the only ones left standing!
Their only hope lay in turning the tides with the secret weapon Dynamo held. They charged him!

Symbiote Omega produced a sensor device from his tool belt. “There’s something in his belt pouch,” he said as he reached toward the enfeebled former leader of the Freedom Force!

Dynamo was still and oblivious, except for his right hand. FAP! It grabbed Symbiote Omega’s extended wrist with a mind of its own!
Still looking at his reflection in a dead computer monitor, Dynamo repeated, “No…”
“… this… this… is not right… If I was in Limbo… why would I age?...
“This … is.. not… RIGHT!”
Symbiote Omega suddenly began to age! 60 years old. 70… 80 years old! 90… 100… 110!
The sinister super-scientist screamed with everything he had as his skin withered away from his bleached skull. The shriek died and a clatter of parched bones hit the floor at Dynamo’s feet. 
Lightning Strike Omega froze.
Sentinel detected the energy signature of the Ring of Eon permeating all of Dynamo!
Dynamo went on ignoring everyone, speaking to himself. “This … is.. not… me…  
“Try to remember! I… and… the Freedom Force… tried to save the world… my world… from Eon… at the end of a black hole… and.. when we defeated him… I tried to wrest the… ultimate weapon… from his lifeless form…. 
“I transformed… into Dynamo’s shape… and fought with them… and lost… I was cast into the black hole… with the ring… *
“I awoke in Limbo… as powerless as the Ring of Eon…. My abilities were gone… I was trapped… in the form…. of my most hated adversary… forever! 
“… there was no escape… the ring was dead… in time, I forgot who I was….
“… After an eternity, I began to believe… that I was Dynamo.
“But I’m not.  
“I know that now… now and forever… that I am….
“DOCTOR CHANGE!”
As “Dynamo” said those last two words, three things happened: 
His entire being reorganized itself on a molecular level into someone that Vanguard did not recognize! 
The floor Vanguard was standing on disintegrated from impossibly sudden age, along with three floors below it! An annihilation sphere revealed 3 floors up and 3 floors down in the Empire State Building, and opened the Vanguard Vault to the elements! (see map) Dr. Change was the center of the now-empty sphere.
There were no civilian casualties in the building; the Vault had been evacuated for the Datanaut Invasion!
Vanguard and Vanguard Omega were in mid air, falling three stories within the Empire State Building!
Lightning Strike Omega shouted in something approaching pure terror, “You fools! You’ve BROUGHT DR.CHANGE HERE THROUGH THE PORTAL!!!”

To be continued!
(*OOC: On Earth Alpha, Change was wiped from history when he fell into the Black Hole at the Dawn of Time. (see secret history on the game site) Therefore he could not been seen in Nemesis’s memory of the battle. Quote:
Nemesis and the Freedom Force encountered the sinister celestial, Eon the Eternal, at the Dawn of Time. There was another with them, whom Nemesis watched with suspicion even though he fought alongside the Freedom Force. Somehow Sentinel could not see this stranger.

They battled within the Big Bang, the universe expanding all around them! Eon smote Dynamo’s ruin across the face of a monolithic asteroid and then targeted Nemesis, transporting the avenging android through the corridors of time!                                                                    -Vanguard, Issue 98)

OOC: Actions! One action worth of orders please!

Current Conditions:

Avatar: Hit Points: 33, Power Points: 20, Manifesting: Hermes

Clone: Bodies: 24, Hit Points: 1, Power Points: 6, Hit Pool: (special)

Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 42, Power Points: 55

Menagerie: Hit Points: 40, Power Points: 27, Form: Tyrannosaurus Maximus!

Sentinel, Hit Points: 2, Power Points: 19, Creation Points: 38, Shields: 38

Slingshot: Hit Points: 45, Power Points: 57, Invulnerability: 0 until 143

Soldier: Hit Points: 28, Power Points: 54, Invulnerability: 0, Regeneration deactivated, Unconscious!

Symbiote: Hit Points: 39, Power Points: 61, Charges: 0, Copied: Lightning Strike

Talon: Hit Points: 20, Power Points: 50

Zephyr: Hit Points: 17, Power Points: 51, Charges: 9, Armor: 7



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Menagerie:
OOC: Oh ... my ... didn't see that coming 

I kneel before the awesomeness of our GM and beg forgiveness for whatever I have done to incurred his terrible wrath.

Viva ....
Tom

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GM:
OOC:
:)

Thanks,
Jeff

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Menagerie:
OOC: If there are 3 feet of open air below him, Menagerie will change into an Eagle.  I believe I can go from T-Max to Eagle for 1 action.

If Menagerie can stand on something he will slam into Doctor Change.

I am expecting to get real strong against the Natural Order Vibes from this dude.

IC: Menagerie thought sends to all of Vanguard. "Does anyone know who this is? Why does he think he is an enemy of Freedom Force?"

Via Vanguard
Tom

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GM:
OOC: Menagerie is aware of Dr. Change from these events from Vanguard Issue 136 that occurred at the public library in the Omega Universe...

"Wondering why Oracle’s precognitive powers didn’t prevent the Animal Revolution, as they did in their world, Vanguard finds bound news magazines that report she was murdered years earlier, by a villain named Dr. Change.
Vanguard had never heard of Dr. Change but in this world (the Omega-Universe), he was infamous; the Freedom Force’s most implacable foe, a brilliant scientific and criminal mastermind who could control and rearrange the molecules of his own body.
He was never apprehended, and there are no reports of his activities after the S’Korian invasion of Earth (please Google search the game blog to read up on the S’Korians, Eon the Eternal, and the Freedom Force if you need to).

Dr. Change murdered Oracle in a battle with AEGIS, and therefore Oracle could not help prevent the Animal Revolution. In the 1980’s he also murdered a Freedom Force member named Zephyr, a speedster unrelated to Shelley Harper.

There were few other differences between this world and their own that could be detected. Technology seemed slightly more advanced here, and society less optimistic and civil, even before the Animal Revolution."


If it affects your actions, please assume that a Vanguard member will tell you what they learned in Issue 98, and what it means in terms of what Dr. Change/Dynamo just said this issue:

That is, that Doctor Change existed on Earth Alpha, just as he did on Earth Omega!
During the invasion of Earth by Eon the Eternal, Dr. Change sided with his arch-foes, the Freedom Force, to help save Earth for his own selfish purposes.
In the battle, Dr. Change and the Ring of Eon fell into a Black Hole at the Dawn of Time, erasing his place in history. It was as if Dr. Change never existed in Universe Alpha. This is why Vanguard doesn't know who he is, and why Sentinel couldn't even see him in Nemesis's memories in Issue 98.

After falling through the Black Hole, Dr. Change had apparently been trapped in "Limbo" for all that time, trapped in Dynamo's form, and only now has finally returned home!

Whew!

-Ye Expositional Ed

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Menagerie:
OOC: Thanks, I will keep Menagerie's action choices as submitted.

The provided information will just make Menagerie more determined to stop Dr. Change

Via Vanguard
Tom

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Sentinel:
(OOC: Jeff, I’m assuming that although the three floors are gone in the range of the annihilation sphere, at this point the structural integrity of the Vault is intact, if not please let us know … and we can ask Slingshot to verify if necessary (architectural skill).  These actions are based on assuming we’re not concerned with the Vault coming down at this point – once per storyline is enough J )

Kirk wanted to slap himself in the head.  Perhaps people thought his devotion to heroic lore , his devotion to the lives of heroes past, was nothing more than another aspect of his naivety, but they didn’t get it.  There are patterns to be found as events are examined in the lives of heroes.  In those patterns, little tidbits missed by most, come the clues to being prepared for the unexpected, for the  twists that accompany the threats.  These patterns become evident to those that know where to look.  Kirk’s gut told him that Doctor Change was a key.  He desperately wanted to find out more about him before leaving the Omegaverse.  In limbo his gut perceived that things weren’t what they seemed to be and his mind thought of Doctor Change for no reason … other than this was how things worked in the heroic world… and he should have listened to his inner voice.  But he couldn’t know that Doctor Change would himself have been fooled into thinking he was Dynamo.
Lightning Strike Omega shouted in something approaching pure terror, “You fools! You’ve BROUGHT DR.CHANGE HERE THROUGH THE PORTAL!!!”

“No Steven.  You did this; you and your whole team when you chose this dark path.  If there is virtue still within any of you then join us now to put things right.”
With Kirk’s current power and physical situation he knew his strength wasn’t going to be key in finishing this battle, he was little more than a light show. But he figured if he was going to be a lightshow then he would be Grucci in spectacle.
“I know that now… now and forever… that I am….

“DOCTOR CHANGE!”

Kirk rose to a distance but that of eye level with Dr Change and spoke.  “About time!  We were getting bored waiting for your revelation.  But certainly it’s fitting that the final player be revealed for the endgame.” Kirk raised his hand gesturing and his energy flowed to the side of the two of them and a gateway sparkling with power with energy cascading around it formed and in the midst of the gateway the image of a man began to materialize and form.  As his image coalesced the costume and grandeur became clearly evident to all that could see … especially Doctor Change.  And Kirk shouted, “You’ve been on the sidelines waiting long enough Dynamo, he’s here now just like you said.  Come and finish him.”
Then Kirk said to Vanguard, “Take him.  Ranged attacks, hit him with everything you’ve got.”

OOC:  At this point I’m hoping Change is still somewhat bewildered, is focused on his hatred of Dynamo and what he has endured and is clueless about what Kirk can do powerwise.  There is no reason to think he knows whether Kirk can open up a teleportation gate or anything like that bringing Dynamo here.  Although Kirk’s image will never look real enough in full form to fool Change, I’m hoping this display will buy our team a round or two where Change focuses on the thought of facing his archenemy and it gives Vanguard the chance to take him out.
All of the above should take Kirk’s movement.   For his action it would be (1) try to separate Dr Change from the Eon device (hopefully taking possession) or if that doesn’t seem likely, (2) try to lock on Change’s mental thoughts so as to get a clue as to how we can beat him here.  As a third alternative if the two actions don’t seem viable as the game board changes, he will evade as one shot past his shields takes him out of the battle and there’s about 2/3 chance of his shields being ineffective here.

OOC: On our ongoing discussion about death of the Atomic Brain, I intend to reply when I get the time to explain further but thought it more important to get my post done.

 Best to all,
Seth
Viva Vanguard!

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GM:
OOC Replies to Sentinel:

1) The Vault is not visibly collapsing. Sentinel knows the building was reinforced when it became Vanguard HQ. Slingshot would know more.

2) How many construct points are in the Dynamo "gating in' construct, vs. points being used on his shields? Thanks.

3) Finally, your Weakness specifically says, "Sentinel can never lie" !
Your idea is pretty brilliant though. You might consider doing this anyway, taking a hit to your Charisma for violating your strict moral code, and then buying down this weakness at your next Level Advancement. Or you could change your action. I recommend the former. It's up to you.

Best,
Jeff

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Symbiote:
First and foremost, Hal will change to electrical form, aim himself at a piece of rebar or some thing else metallic at the remaining building below, land safely and then assume human form again.

I assume this is going to take up what movement I have this round.  If not, he'll throw a lightning bolt at Dr. Change.  If I understand the Vanguard world mythology correctly, Hal doesn't really know who or what "Dr. Change" is, all he knows is HE'S GOTTA HIT HIM!

Best regards,

Greg

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Slingshot:
Seth, If you relay (telepathy?) to Slingshot what you're planning, he's more than willing to do the lying and all you have to do is show the image of Dynamo.

If Sentinel does his dirty work, my actions will go two possible ways (this is mostly driven by the fact that I'm slow as molasses).

1) if Sentinel does his dirty work, and the Omegas don't take any offensive action against us, I'll do my own ranged attack:
            - Assuming I can stretch that far, I'll whack him with my console
            - if I can't stretch that far, I'll throw the console at him.
2) if Sentinel does his dirty work, and the Omegas do take any offensive action against us, I'll defend my comrades and whack the offensive Omega with my console.

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Clone:
As the Clones start to fall through the hole opened up by Dr. Change, the duplicates react with a speed that only their unified survival instinct could possibly provide. Like army ants crossing a great chasm, each of the duplicates reaches for the other to form a chain of limbs and collective consciousness. That brief contact with the other is all each of them requires to keep the hope of survival alive. Acting out of desperation, each of the falling Clones absorbs the other until only the ones still standing on a solid surface remain. Like fisherman desperately pulling in their catch, each of the Clones frantically grabs for the other.

When the last of the Clones is absorbed, each of the remaining duplicates grabs a hold of their staff weapon and braces for the final battle. They know all to well what Dr. Change is capable of ( OOC: Having been at the library in the Omega-verse and through Clone Omega’s memories ) and they stand ready to fight ( OOC: Saving Action??? ).

OOC:
Holy Hanna! That was a fan-flip’n-tastical* issue Jeff! ( see definition of fan-flip’n-tastical below )

To be honest I’m not sure how much Clone can do at this point. He’s nearly out of Power Points and he can’t fly – feel’n a bit like a fish out of water on this one.

I was actually hoping to find a bit of direction in some of the other responses for this issue – really at a loss here unfortunately. If my saved action can be used to fulfill some kind of need for the group I would gladly use it for such. Aside from that all I can think to do is maybe have one of the duplicates throw their staff at Dr. Change ( using a Luck Point ) in hopes of knocking the Ring of Eon out of his hand ( assuming that he is holding it in his hand and not actually wearing it ).

If any of the above seems to not apply then I’ll just use my action to Evade an incoming attack from Dr. Change.

Sorry about the ‘less the amazing’ response this issue.

*Fan-flip’n-tastical: adj ( fan*flip*en*tas*ti*kul ) 1. Unrestrained and amazing in its conception 2. a superb, remarkable and completely unreal event or occurrence 3. a completely ‘cool’ and utterly brilliant display 4. Vanguard Issue 142: A Changed Man

Talk to you all soon,

-Kev

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Talon:
OOC: Hello All,

After Talon Omega falls, Adam will take a moment to calm himself and look around the room to assess the condition of the rest of the team.

When Dr. Change destroys a section of the building he will fly to help anyone that might be in danger if the need presents itself. If everyone is alright and accounted for he will move to attack Dr. Change.

Best Regards,
Denny

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Avatar:
Avatar was taken by surprise but only momentarily!  The speed of Hermes upon him gave him faster reaction speeds but to no avail!  Still, the drop is minimal to a man with his reaction speed, training, experience, and physical abilities!

OOC:  Hopefully it should be a three-story drop and not a three-story fall for John as his reaction speed is fast and he's used to acrobat maneuvers.  While he may take some damage, he should be able to make it without the sort of consequences someone without his powers, abilities, and experience might have.  Assuming that this is so...

Avatar drops and rolls with it, coming up in a defiant stance and observing what the rest of the team is doing.

OOC:  Not really knowing what is going on, Avatar will delay his action(s) for the time being.  If this is ok, I will inform you of actions as this unfolds.  My action may have been taken up with the fall and recovery.

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GM:
OOC:
Slingshot's plan of having Slingy lie for Sentinel, at Sentinel’s direction, probably doesn't pass muster ethically. It reminds me of the sin of an Orthodox Jew hiring a Gentile to turn on his oven on the sabbath. Sorry.

Thanks, Kevin for the kind, and really funny words.

Viva Vanguard,
Jeff

PS: So I've seen Apes, Cap, Super 8, Thor and Midnight in Paris, but not GL or Cowboys and Aliens or Transformers 3 or Potter 7.2.
Of what I've seen, Apes, Midnight in Paris and Super 8 were my favorites. Cap and Thor were fine but not earth shaking.

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Avatar:
OOC: Want to see Apes pretty badly.  The CGI looks great.  One more step toward replacing actors and making characters look like they SHOULD look.  No more cheesy padded costumes, no more Arnold or Momoa as Conan.

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GM:
OOC: Minor Ape Spoiler....
 
The film wasn't as action-packed as the trailers led me to believe, but it was still great.

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Slingshot:
OOC: Watched GL, Cap, Thor, X-men: first class

I put GL/Thor/Cap on the same level of, "OK" decent pop-corn movie

My favorite this summer is Xmen: First class.

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Sentinel:
OOC: Hi all.

Thanks to Stephane for trying to give me an out here, but in reading the offer I'd agree with Jeff.  Also, from a game standpoint, Sentinel can only read surface thoughts, not project them.  I thought perhaps we could use Menagerie's new ability to project the thoughts but it really would require some back and forth and the bottom line is that it would still be Kirk initiating 'the lie' as Jeff sees it.

On my end of things, I viewed it as a bluff.  I certainly don't want to play Kirk in the Vanguard poker game if we have one :)
 And in Jeff's initial reply, my first thoughts were Spock's line, 'I exaggerated' ... but in thinking about it, there is no exaggeration (ie we've had no contact with the real Dynamo ... sadly) so if it isn't a bluff, it really is a lie.

Which brings me to my next point.  In all honesty although we started the campaign as a silver age type and it progressed into bronze age at least (in my mind), it really seems we've landed in modern age at times to a large degree in tone.  Certainly the current issues' death of
Symbiote Omega seems to fall in that category as does Sentinel Omega's deadly attack on our Kirk.

My question here is from a game standpoint how does everyone feel about Kirk crossing this line and doing as Jeff said, 'buying down' the weakness.  I certainly see both the irony given the title of this issue (A Change Man ... does this make next issue A Changed Man Part Deux) and Kirk taking this action in lieu of much of what he has said to Sentinel Omega in this battle, but in my mind Kirk being able to bluff in a situation like this doesn't lessen him as the 'light' of the hero world and is a bit more realistic given the tone of the world.  I'm not looking to move Kirk out of where he has been as we always envisioned him as the Superman/Captain America image of good, do all of you think taking this action would do so?  I really don't want to play out a 'fall of Sentinel' storyline for this sort of action.  Personally I don't think something like this out of line, but I want to know if you do.

I would also add as a sidebar  for later discussion since it will take some time for me to type my reasoning and I don't want to delay the next issue based on it that if we do state that Kirk deliberately killed the Atomic Brain it is insane we are even having this discussion now.  In desperate measures he can choose to deliberately take a life but in equally desperate times he can't bluff (or lie) to a villain?  At this point our team is in bad shape from the battle and is facing what we know to be one of the deadliest foes in the Omegaverse with virtually no knowledge of his power other than he is a shapeshifter... and he just vaporized one of the strongest doppelgangers with a touch.  Again, I'll try to send a separate email on all of this so as not to delay the next issue, but I think in thinking Kirk deliberately killed the Atomic Brain that also skewed the view of Symbiote's decision in the Animal Revolution taking the heroic out of it and making it darker.  In my mind, Hal made that decision to prevent Kirk from having to make the call to crossing the line to 'deliberately take a life' knowing how difficult it was for him when he had accidentally taken the life of the Atomic Brain.  If Kirk deliberately killed the Brain, then that rendered Hal's sacrifice meaningless.  If Kirk has already crossed that line, why not do so again?  It was equally tragic because Kirk had seen the effect on Doc Rocket's crossing the line and 'vowed' he'd make sure Symbiote would never have to do so because he saw how it plagued Doc (and Doc is the Vanguard equivalent of Symbiote in Kirk's eyes).  Then in the next adventure, not only does Kirk witness Hal cross that line and make that decision, but he did it to save Kirk from having to do so!  That was why Kirk reacted as he did at the time to Hal's defense.  And that was what made Hal's decision heroic (doing what some would say was the 'wrong thing', but for all the right reasons)... well, I guess in my digression I've said a lot of what I did want to say on that, but again I'm sorry because it does seem to involve this current decision.

From a character standpoint, I can see Kirk crossing the line here since he feels this is a bad situation, no one else has come up with anything better, he is viewed as leader/spokesman, and feels it his responsibility to buy the team a chance here... but again, I don't want to tarnish his character or lead Vanguard down a dark path.  What does everyone else think about this?  This really matters to my decision here.

And I guess I'd add from a character standpoint in game terms, I'm concerned just how bad this will hurt Kirk since I kind of feel Kirk lagging behind in the superhero 'arms' race.  I've noticed this time around after last level advancements that Kirk has fallen behind in terms of when his character goes (from being in the middle to being last) and was going to use character advancement for speed just to get back into the pack (I think I had been ahead of Slingshot and now we are on par and behind the rest, but at least Slingshot is our power hitter).  So, not doing that, and also losing more of a primary part of his power (charisma) puts him that much far behind.  And given that in both the last final battle and (assumingly) this one, Kirk was/is running on fumes long before the 'finale' of the battle it seems my concerns somewhat valid.

As far as the image of the gateway and Dynamo - I was viewing this as just an extension of his current projection and not a new construct.  Again, with Kirk's current power levels he doesn't have the power to play with to do another construct here.  We've always allowed Kirk to manipulate his existing energy and share it with his shields together.  The one time this didn't work was when he was carrying the water to the burning tenement the energy being used to carry the weight wasn't considering as shielding him - since this is nothing more than a show, I would think he could share it and the energy flowing to the gateway 'materializing' it would be the tether.  Also, Kirk would naturally keep this display going as long as possible for distraction since ultimately if he forms an image of Dynamo it wouldn't pass as real (I believe we've established that although Kirk can control the colors there would be a certain amount of translucency and that the only way that could be compensated is if Kirk added illusionary powers or something along those lines down the road - correct me if I'm wrong on that or misremembering).

Sorry for being my normal wordy self on this, but I really do want to know what everyone thinks about Kirk doing this if it is going to alter his character perception to a large degree, etc.  That includes you too Jeff, can we have Kirk take this step without diminishing his heroic place in Vanguard?  Do you feel me perceptions of the tone of things off here?  Or do you see the decision flow as natural character development (ie perhaps some growing up) in the current Vanguard universe?

Thanks.
Seth

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GM:
OOC: Ye gods!
Thanks for thinking this through, Seth.
Replies:

1) Losing this weakness doesn't make Sentinel a villain, or bring about Sentinel Omega in the Alpha Universe.
Sentinel will still be a hero, like everyone else in Vanguard who doesn't have this weakness. I think Kirk will always try to do what's right. Personally I don't want to see the fall of Sentinel. Just imagine the monologues!  ;)

2) Normally your constructs are part of your shields because you are inside the construct (like the giant version of Sentinel way back in the first combat Sentinel had). When he's made a giant hand, I didn't bother to mete the points out because no one attacked the hand at that time. But here you're intentionally making a target. You want Change to attack the simulacra Dynamo. That's the difference.

3) Re: The Atomic Brain: Symbiote didn't know that Kirk had "crossed the line", and even if he did, he might have wanted to spare him that pain again.
Your arguments lay in the aftermath. I'm saying that 750 lbs. is a lot of weight to smash into an exposed, unprotected brain. But I don't wish to shake the foundation of your guy. Like I said before, I saw it as regrettably necessary, like Kirk lying to Dr. Change now.  Time to grow up and lose that weakness!  ;)

4) Sentinel is a powerhouse of Vanguard. Period.
OOC-wise, what took you apart in the Omega fight was actually your own team mates trying to massacre Sentinel Omega before he got his shields up. I ran the fight so that, where applicable, the Omegas would mirror you guys, to simulate the idea that they are you guys from an alternate reality, and also to throw a new element/challenge into a superteam fight. So, the Omegas targeted you before you could get your shields up too.
IC-wise, it happened because the Omegas knew you so well.
I can't remember a time that ever happened to Sentinel before.
 You don't play a lot of role playing games, so you don't have a lot of context, but believe me when I say Kirk is really tough. However no hero in this game (or in comics) is indestructible. What's the fun in that? Even Superman had Kryptonite.

5) Yeah, we're probably in the bronze age now. (But btw, villains have enjoyed dramatic gory deaths since the pulps. Just deserts and such.)
But some of the alternate universes Vanguard has seen are definitely from the modern age.

Best,
Jeff

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Menagerie:
OOC:
Sentinel said, “Which brings me to my next point.  In all honesty although we started the campaign as a silver age type and it progressed into bronze age at least (in my mind), it really seems we've landed in modern age at times to a large degree in tone.  Certainly the current issues' death of
Symbiote Omega seems to fall in that category as does Sentinel Omega's deadly attack on our Kirk.”

I admit I don’t even know what is considered modern now.  I still mostly read comics that are 30 years or older.  I like the distinction of 4-Color vs. “Not”.  To me Sin City, Authority, Spawn, and other recent stuff are “Not”.  Menagerie because of this power can drift into “Not” by how I write my attacks as “tooth and claw”.  That is what I want to avoid.

Superman telling a lie is still 4-Color, his giving someone a lobotomy is “Not”.

I see nothing wrong with Sentinel buying off his weakness.  He can still be a man of honor and good without having the weakness. I have always view Superman and Captain America capable to telling a lie. Shoot, Superman lied to Lois Lane and Perry White all the time. To Lois it was both as Superman and as Clark Kent.

On the subject of Atomic Brain’s death, every time I read it, I see Sentinel as attempting to stun Atomic Brain. Because he was attempting to finish it quickly to save lives (including his own), he miscalculated how heavy the projected brick would be and how unprotected the brain was.  Sentinel did not plan of committing a killing attack, he underestimated how much he needed to stun with his planned attack.  Nothing at all like, how Captain America defeated Baron Blood. (To me, the greatest Cap story ever).

That is the difference I saw between Sentinel Alpha and Omega. Alpha’s attack was a stun attack that by mistake became a killing attack and Omega’s was a killing attack all the way. This would be borne out by impact that Dr. Change had on the Omega world as Jeff told us:

“There were few other differences between this world and their own that could be detected. Technology seemed slightly more advanced here, and society less optimistic and civil, even before the Animal Revolution.”

I hoped this is what you were looking for in feedback.

Viva Sentinel,
Tom

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Sentinel:
OOC:
See below and thanks to Tom for his thoughts.  His view of what happened is exactly what my view has always been and is the way that I've always had Kirk view it and had him react to it. I never thought otherwise until your comments recently about Sentinel Omega and was totally surprised by it.  I think my description in the original email went to great lengths to try to explain what Kirk was trying to do without killing the Brain.  Please see below for my explanation on the 750 lbs and more.

Seth

1) Very good ... and yes, I can monologue anyone to death.

2) I thought that as long as it was all one construct (ie attached) the sharing was how it worked other than if part of the construct was used physically in a different way (ie holding/carrying/supporting the weight of the water).  However ultimately this is your call here.  Do keep it as the one construct so I don't lose even more power, but at this point I'll allocate everything other than enough points to keep me aloft (support my own weight safely).  If there is something nearby that Kirk can grab on the wall to support himself or an area he can 'fly' over more closer than three stories let's have him do that ... I'd give even the flying points except he only has two hit points currently and I'm hoping that if something minor happens it will help him to stay conscious while the construct is still serving as a diversion.

3) There was a section in the email post that I didn't underline last time but should have: (I'm figuring on about fifteen points unless you think something else would be more appropriate)

This was my (Seth's) attempt to try to prevent an accidental death.  I remember trying to figure out how much weight to put into the construct and was pretty clueless.  I didn't want it to be lethal, but knew nothing about the Atomic Brain's brain.  Frankly in my mind I was figuring it had superhuman hit points of sorts and wasn't a one hit point or less human brain.  I was afraid that if the construct was too light it would simply have no effect at all.  I didn't know if the actual brain had one hit point or ten or a hundred.  So I wanted it enough so he couldn't ignore it.  I thought the above line gave the power back to you to adjust things to keep it from being a killing blow since in my mind that wasn't something Kirk would do nor did I think you would allow it.

4) In our last battle the energy leach character took much of Kirk's power early in the battle and to me it seemed with the initial damage this time I was back in the same situation.  But in hindsight in other battles Kirk did fair well into the battle, so I guess it is the circumstances here in recent battles.  Fair enough.

This is the only role playing for me, so its this and memories, so I'll believe you.  Personally I feel Slingshot and Avatar are the heavy hitters of the team; Symbiote has the potential too depending on his chosen power set.

5) Early Golden age had the gory deaths too.  Silver age not so much to my recall.

As an FYI on Kirk's reaction to accidentally killing someone and taking it so seriously, early in the Bronze Age when Green Arrow first accidentally took a life he quit the hero game and joined a Buddhist Convent to cope for a time.  I know it’s hard to believe in the post 'snict' Wolverine modern age, but it was so. 

On the decision here about Kirk's action, assuming no one else thinks differently than what you and Tom feel, let's do this.  I do hope it accomplishes some good for the team as intended.  On the charisma penalty and character advancement/weakness buy back, I'll leave it in your hands trusting you to be fair and you can explain further during leveling.

FYI, I'm hugely concerned for the team given the aging/death of Symbiote Omega which is why Kirk shouted for ranged attacks.  I'm guessing at this point that this was more the Eon device at play than Dr Change, but it really is just a guess.  Kirk will pay attention to the energy readings ... at this point, I'm thinking either our gaining the device or overloading it is our 'win' here.

Thanks.
Seth

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GM:
OOC: OK. I thought the 'more appropriate' line was about perhaps making it more than 15 points, not less, in order to ensure his defeat.

Let the official canon show it was a mistake on Kirk's part!

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Avatar:
John isn't quite sure what he's seeing but the sphere of destruction and his own fall indicates that this probably isn't a good thing.  He's exhausted from his use of Weather Control followed by his use of Heightened Speed and then his battle with Avatar Omega.  He's running almost on "Empty" but knows that's when actions count the most.  He can't reach Change with any hand-to-hand weapons so he only has a couple of options available to him.

OOC:
Question:  Does he still have his bow and arrows?  Lots of chances for them to get lost or broken in all of this.

If he has his bow and arrows, he will use the last of his Power Points (and maybe even have to go into Hit Points) and activate Heightened Expertise with Bow, which should give him massive "to hit" bonuses when in conjunction with his AGI modifier and the Heightened Expertise that he already has.  Once this is done, he will take advantage of his everything that he has activated and his regular powers and shoot arrows at Dr. Change, hopefully doing some damage and keeping him busy.  Regular shots only, at this time.  Not going to call shots to specific locations until something comes up to warrant it.

If his bow and arrows aren't available, he'll active Light Control and begin to shoot arrows of light at Dr. Change.  He'll have no Power Points and be eating into Hit Points to do it, but I see no other alternative at this point.

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Lightning Strke:
Strike will also change to electrical form and then materialize back on another level.  Strike will not assume that Dr. Change is necessarily a villain based on what his counterpart screams.  He will regroup and see what the rest of Vanguard does. 

OOC:  Strike will hold his action assuming that materializing into another tier is not his entire action.  It stinks when as a player I know and have fought against Dr. Change yet have no knowledge of him as a character. 

Re: Sentinel: I say he is a killer!!  Be true to yourself and embrace the dark side.  Of course Lightning Strike hasn't killed anyone as far as I remember so he may be all talk and no action.  I am also thankful that nobody thinks of Lightning Strike as a Heavy Hitter so I can continue to stay under the radar!!

Tony

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