Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Vanguard: Issue 182: Sacrifice.

Two days and 23 hours until the end of the world.

Vanguard continued their desperate Quest against the coming of Cthulhu.

The third artifact of power had been located in North Jersey of all places.
It was a large, exurban, public storage rental facility called “U Stor.”

Avatar and Symbiote knew the location immediately. It was where Avatar’s collection of antiquities had been stored by the mysterious unknown buyer who had purchased it from the Sotheby’s auction.

Symbiote had created a GPS tracking device and hid it deep among the books, crates and packages that were Jon’s collection. It had been at the storage facility since the auction.

Vanguard silently infiltrated the facility, overcoming the deathtrap spell called Soul Strangle.
Their victory was short lived.

Down the hall, ahead of them, space was rending itself apart! 

There was a small thunderclap and the familiar shape of a teleportation gate opened before them!
Except this one was blood red.

“Ai! Ai! Fhtagn!” called a voice from within the gate!
Then: “Thief! Who dares steal the property of the Warlock!”

Clone was reminded by his slight accent that the Warlock was an aristocratic Muscovite.

The Warlock strode through the gate like a conqueror, and behind him were Superstition, Mirage, Demonoid, the Witch, and a black robed man that Vanguard did not recognize. The gate remained open.

“Don’t you mean the property of the Crimson Coven, mate?!” corrected Mirage sardonically.

“Vanguard?!?” exclaimed Demonoid, leaping forward with eager glee as he licked his lips with a long tongue.

“Perhaps zey can be reasoned weeth,” whispered Superstition.

“Silence,” the Warlock spat. “Vanguard! Your souls will suffer an eternity of agony for this! I swear it.”

With the speed of winged Mercury, Avatar bolted forward at maximum speed, aiming for Demonoid with the intent of plowing into him with a shoulder and knocking him back into and along with as many members of the Coven as he can get.  He does this without regard for damage to himself. 
Avatar knocked Demonoid back and hard! “Oi!” The hellish horror sailed under the levitating Superstition, apparently activated her probability field. WHAM! He cracked his head on the cement floor, leaving a small crater. Demonoid continued through Mirage, who was revealed to be an insubstantial illusion, and straight into the Crimson Gate, which remained open. He was gone!

"Should've known these Coven morons would be involved in this sort of thing," Symbiote thought to himself.  "Ah well...let's get busy." With the lightning speed of The Accelerator, Symbiote rushed forward, down the path Avatar had just opened up, to the rear ranks of the Coven and struck the Witch straight in the chest, palm first, transferring all of his inertia into her.  SMASH! The bride of Satan was hit hard and flew backwards screeching through the Crimson Gate!

Demonoid leapt back through the portal into the storage facility, seething with pure hatred. He pounced forward at Avatar! “I’ll burn you alive and bathe in your ashes you little wanker!” he snarled and fire spewed from his misshapen maw! VWOOOOSHHH!!  Avatar was engulfed in flames!
(OOC: 12 points of damage! Avatar rolls with 6, and takes 6 from hit points. He is conscious and not on fire.)

Lightning Strike looked at the coven with disdain.  He knew they were simply another obstacle that needed to be overcome and that they clearly were pawns in this cosmic chess game.
He spoke to them, “You clearly know why we are here and what we want.  Hand over what we want and we will let you keep the rest of your petty hoard.  We do not have the time to waste beating you senseless once again.  You are smart enough to know that you can’t defeat us and will end up losing more than what we are looking for now.  Walk away with what little dignity you have left.”

The Warlock spat, “Ignorant child. You have no more comprehension of our motives than an ant does of God’s!”

SHAKOW! Lightning Strike charged to get in range and then loosed an electrical blast at the sinister sorcerer!  ZZZzzzZZzzZZZ kk-k-k! It crashed against Warlock’s magical force field, causing it to flicker and spark!

The Warlock was unharmed. He stared at Lightning Strike and bolt of blue mystic energy blasted from his forehead at the electric avenger! VOMmmmmm… BOOM! Strike was hit and knocked back 20 feet!
( OOC: 15 points of damage. Strike rolls with 6 and takes 9 from hits)
“Now do you understand? Leave this place Vanguard or face my wrath!”

Menagerie said, "I should have known the trap was your handy work Warlock. Over the top as always. So what is so important that you have to lay this kind of trap but can't keep it in a safer locale? Never mind, I don't care. I came to save the world from "He who's name should not be mentioned" not put you in your place again. You can thank us later."

Mirage chuckled, “Yes, Warlock. Why don’t you explain your grand strategy of hiding in plain sight? I for one would love to hear it again.” The Englishman’s words dripped venom.

The Warlock growled, “Silence, cur.” He turned to face Menagerie. “You. Druid. Alone among Vanguard’s rabble, you have a prayer of understanding. Against Cthulhu, there is no hope. The entire occult world knows there is little time remaining. Were Cthulhu and the other natives of the higher dimensions to intrude upon this plane of existence, it would dwarf every apocalypse ever imagined. Your blundering interference here threatens to destroy this entire universe.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Sentinel.

“Ah,” said the Warlock. “The ‘beacon’ attempts to see. You’ve squandered what time you had, ‘hero.’ You’ve no chance to secure every artifact in these remaining hours. No one does. We have but one desperate gambit left. We must sate the Beast the moment he enters our dimension. We will glut him with souls.”

“Souls? What souls?” asked Menagerie.

The Warlock addressed his fellow sorcerer with something approaching respect. “Souls the Crimson Coven will sacrifice to him, in order to save the rest of the world. We will feed him millions of souls to save billions of souls.”

“But that’s impossible,” said Menagerie.

“Not for me,” said the Warlock. “Using my artifact of power, and all the ley lines of the British isle, we will form a web of mystic energy. We will feed him the population of Great Britain. If we transmit that soul energy at him all at once, it will sate him, stuff him, glut him, and he will leave this plane, appeased.
A regrettable decision. And one not lightly made. But there is no other choice left. We are Earth’s only hope. We will sacrifice one nation, to save an entire world.”

Sentinel said, “And to save yourselves, you greedy, selfish…”  ZOT!  Sentinel flew at them and fired an energy blast at the Warlock! It deflected off his sparking flickering mystic shields. ZZZzzzZZz kkk-k-k!

The Warlock’s anger returned in an instant. “Fool! You’ll destroy the world. The souls of Great Britain will be devoured by Cthulhu one way or another. There’s no need for everyone to die!”

“Least of all us, mate,” smiled Mirage.

The dark robed wizard that Vanguard did not recognize turned to Avatar and spoke with an accent out of America’s south. “You’d best slow down, son, and listen to reason.”  He gestured with his hand, and Avatar felt himself losing speed! (OOC: Heightened Speed is negated!)
“Well if that don’t beat all,” said the wizard. “Still moving, huh?”

Clone wanted to get the Warlock away from the Coven in the hopes that Vanguard could make the rest of the Coven see reason - doubtful, but worth a shot in his mind. Remembering his last encounter with the Russian sorcerer, and how he had destroyed the Warlock’s Golem, he and his duplicates began to run back down the corridor from which Vanguard had just come. He shouted out, "Let’s go Warlock! This fight’s between you and me! Let’s end it!" 

The Warlock said, “Ukrainian peasant, I know not what ham fisted trap you are trying to set, but do stop your childish prattling.”

Once out of his sight, the Clones ran full tilt down the next corridor, toward the Coven’s rear flank!
(OOC: the Clones evade)

Symbiote looked into the Crimson Gate and saw the Witch emerging from it. Other, indistinct shapes were behind her!

The Witch limped through the portal, wincing in pain. Her face was twisted in hatred as she cast a spell in a language Symbiote did not recognize!

Suddenly, Symbiote was struck blind! He could hear the Witch’s malevolent cackling. (With his second action…) He reached out to grab her, but missed! “Hahaa! Heheeeheee! HahahhaahahaahaaahaAHA!”

Slingshot turned to Slate and said: "This will not work. We do not have the time to have a large fight and we are not in a position to do a smash and grab. This was supposed to be done without fight. I need you to focus on the artifact. I'll handle these, but it won't work for long."

Slate nodded. Seeing the Crimson Coven for the first time, he saw a battle of epic proportions building, which he agrees they do not have the time for.  
The young hero raced down the long corridor and stopped at storage locker 3219. ZARK! Slate disintegrated the door and floor to create a large diagonal hole down into the locker below that held the third artifact of power!

But nothing happened! The wall and floor remained unharmed!

Slingshot stretched closer and grabbed at the floor with fingers like crowbars, and tried to tear up a slab of concrete! Nothing happened. The floor remained in place! Slingshot looked at his empty hands. They felt strange… heavy.

Menagerie had been waiting for someone to open a path to the artifact. And no one had!
He transformed his shape into that of a cheetah and raced with all his speed to the area that Slate and Slingshot had unsuccessfully attacked. His cheetah senses told him something was wrong.

He gathered his courage and leapt directly at the indestructible wall and floor! There was no impact and he fell into darkness! He landed painfully atop wooden crates. CRASH! 
(OOC: 5 points damage, can’t be rolled with)
He sensed the artifact nearby, in the darkness, inside a crate.

Menagerie had guessed right! (with a successful Intelligence save)
He thoughtspoke to Vanguard: “Friends, the hole is there. It is masked by Mirage’s illusion. I’m near the artifact!”

Then to Archimedes: “I’m near the third artifact. We need to leave in haste.”

VOOM! The Crimson Gate suddenly shut, dissipating from existence.

And, next to Menagerie, a bright white portal opened. The Mystic had opened a gate to bring Vanguard home.

Menagerie mindspoke to his teammates.  “Within unit 3219, the Mystic’s portal is open.”

But the rest of Vanguard couldn’t see it. To their eyes, the wall and floor on the second level were still there!

To be continued!

OOC: Actions please, for one round of combat. See map below.

Fyi, As per the rules on Teleportation portals, the Mystic’s gate will close at the end of next issue. Until then, anyone may pass through it, hero or villain. Having been through this gate before, all of Vanguard knows this.


Current Conditions:

Avatar: Hit Points: 52, Power Points: 61, Manifestation: Hermes, but Ht. Speed is negated

Clone: Bodies: 4, Hit Points: 6, Power Points: 60, Hit Point Pool: 23, Evading

Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 39, Power Points: 62, Lightning defense activated

Menagerie: Hit Points: 21, Power Points: 50, Form: Cheetah

Sentinel: Hit Points: 30, Power Points: 58, Creation Points: 116, Shields: 100

Slate: Hit Points: 35, Power Points: 68, carrying exploration gear

Slingshot: Hit Points: 79, Power Points: 91, Invulnerability: 8

Symbiote: Hit Points: 43, Power Points: 80, Charges: 13, Copied: Accelerator, Blinded!


Awesome issue! Jeff.

Menagerie thought sent to his teammates. "Don't trust your eyes. The opening is there, follow me through it. If you don't then cover my exit. Your choice!"

Menagerie grabbed the artifact in his mouth and ran through Mystic's portal. He thought sent to Archimedes. "I am coming through but there is a chance some of the Crimson Coven are following me through, prepare yourselves!!"

Menagerie ran through the portal as fast as his Cheetah form would allow.

{OOC: If by some chance his Cheetah form can't lift the artifact he will change into the fastest predator that is able to carry it through the portal. My emphasis this turn is initiative (hopefully the Cheetah's from raised Menagerie's some) and speed.}

Once Menagerie is back at Vanguard Vault and the artifact is same. He will communicate with any team member that stayed behind to get out of there as fast as they can.

Via Vanguard.


Hi Tom,


The artifact is still in its 2' x 2' x 3' wooden crate.

Cheetah can't break open the crate or carry it in its jaws.

It takes an action for anyone to pry or smash open the crate, and it costs an action for you to transform. 

So you could transform into a shape that can carry the crate, and carry the unopened crate through the gate all in one action.

Or you can wait for a team mate to smash open the crate. If Cheetah can carry the artifact, you can carry it through the gate and still have an action.

Or a number of other options.

Hope that's clear.




“So you could transform into a shape that can carry the crate, and carry the unopened crate through the gate all in one action.”

That is my choice. What animal would agree with? I am thinking a gorilla or a baboon. I not sure if a gorilla meets the predator definition but a think a baboon would work. Does either animal work or do I need to think of different one.




Hi Tom.
Baboon will work. Both are technically omnivorous. But unlike a gorilla, a baboon will hunt and eat fish, birds and small mammals.

Also, your animal forms are always large for the species. So Baboon should have the strength to carry, or at least push, the crate through the portal. And opposable thumbs will help.



Baboon it is then.



"Great plan Warlock, because nobody ever eats the leftovers the day after the Thanksgiving Meal, do they?"

Although Kirk's eyes saw the floor Menagerie had leapt through, his energy senses knew more was at work and he moved towards the area projecting his energies in a soft flow like water all through the area outlining it for his teammates, marking the way towards the gate and their exit.

"Vanguard, follow Menagerie.  We're out of here."

As Kirk makes the exit apparent he will do what he can to secure any teammates that need assistance retreating.  If he has enough movement to send some energy to bring something down to block the corridor to prevent the Coven from advancing on the team or more members from coming through the Gate he will do so... or perhaps signal to Slingshot who has the reach to do so and to assist in getting the team out (he can do multiple grabs if necessary - together hopefully they can get everyone disengaged and gone before the gate closes).  Kirk will do whatever else he can with his energy to delay the coven the free his teammates.  With the close quarters perhaps he can toss up a wall between the two teams or seal the floor area once his team is down to the lower level to give them more time to escape.



Scott couldn't see the piece of concrete in his hands, but he could feel it's weight. It was confirmed by the others and Mirage's disappearance. He turns to his son, "Ethan, look out for Mirage, he's a slippery one. If you see him, pinpoint him to me, I have something handy for him. He hefts the invisible concrete floor.

[Just wondering if Slate's "heightened sense of comprehension" would work well against illusions]

1- Assuming no-one fingers Mirage for me, and I'm last to move (i.e. no one is left):

Scott will put down the concrete floor in such a way as to  block the corridorjust past where he figures the hole is from his perspective and will make his way to the portal. (Assuming it's not an action, He'll save his action to pummel anyone from the coven tries to cross the portal

2-By the time Scott moves, if there's someone left behind, he'll put down the  concrete as per #1 and will reach out and grasp whomever is left, then make his way down to the portal (without the saved action)

3- If the one that's left is lightning strike, I'll assume he can make his way home on his own and I'll save my action.


Avatar will move to exit the area with Vanguard as swiftly as possible.


OOC: In an attempt to avoid the turkey headed illthid... I was wondering the same thing about the heightened comprehension and illusions, but then again, this is magic...

IC: Slate saw Menagerie disappear, and was shocked.... how could this be? He moved forward and put his foot through the floor... It was an Illusion.  He'd read about this, but seeing it was quite something different.  Almost as if he was stuck in some kind of loop, he continued to stare at the floor until he heard Slingshot moving up beside him, Slate nodded to his father and leaped to action.  

Slate looked around and realized that Clone had gone around the hallway.  Slate made another portal through the next unit (2014) and into the hallway.  Holding one end of a rope he throws the other end through the hole he knows is there, whether he can see it or not.  He fastens the end on a nearby unit, and drops into the unit below, holding the rope loosely, following Menagerie's lead.  He immediately pulled out one of the high powered flashlights he brought for just such an occasion, and light up the room..., "I know it's no Avatar," He smiled at Menagerie, "but it'll do."  

He then called up to Clone, "follow the rope Clone."  

OOC: Slate will attempt to help Menagerie if needed, hopefully the others seeing the rope will know they can go through the floor as he did.  He will wait near the gate to see his father come down, and move through the portal, keeping the small spotlight pointed through the portal to light the way home.



As the four Clone's came to the intersection where they thought they would be running into an enraged Warlock, but didn't, they all immediately stopped and looked around for a second. Once the quartet of dynamic doppelgangers finally realized that the Russian mystic had 'blown off' their challenge, one of them turned to the others and said, " . . . well . . . this is awkward . . .?" Just as they were about to take off down the hallway once again in an attempt to flank the 'Masters of Malicious Magic', the 'Replicating Russians' suddenly saw a rope come through the seemingly solid wall next to them and land harmlessly at their feet. Before they could even try to figure out what was going on with this, a familiar voice called out to them, "Follow the rope Clone" - it was Slate! Each of the duplicates turned to face the others as if to see what each of them was going to, when out of nowhere one of them sighed heavily and said to the others, " . . . oh man . . . I can see it now, this is so gonna hurt." With that the four Clones all collided into each other as they all simultaneously lunged towards the rope ( OOC: They reformed into one Clone ).


If he ends up getting caught in a combat situation, Clone will once again use his action to Evade.


Lightning Strike:
If there are no options, just assume that I will go through the portal as shown.  Strike would prefer to divert the Crimson Coven to follow him so that the rest of the group can get away with the artifact.  Strike would put up the static charge screen like in Vanguard Issue #1 behind the rest of the group and then use the wiring of the building to get away.