Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Vanguard: Issue 183: Smash and Grab!

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 right in North Jersey of all places.  Stranger still, it was in a large, exurban, public storage rental facility called “U Stor.”

It turned out the unit was rented by the Warlock and the Crimson Coven. About half of them teleported in immediately and a fight broke out in a long narrow hallway! Avatar and Symbiote charged deep into the Coven’s ranks as the rest of Vanguard searched for the artifact!





Mirage chuckled, “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 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.
  
Sentinel said, "Great plan Warlock, because nobody ever eats the leftovers the day after the Thanksgiving Meal, do they?"

“Simpleton!” snapped Warlock, all manners forgotten. He shouted down the long corridor. “We are discussing matters beyond your ken, despite the symbol upon your chest. The Great Convergence is an event lasting mere hours. If we successfully drive Cthulhu off, he will be barred from our dimension again for another millennia!”

Mirage jeered to Vanguard, “Just because your bloody kind finds nobility in dying for a lost cause is no reason to assume the rest of the world is happy to join you sanctimonious sots!”

Superstition tried to reason with Vanguard: “I cannot beleef you would be zo cruel. You’d let ze world die, condemn every soul on earth to agonizing death, because you do not weesh to dirty your hands? Eef you lack courage to do what must be done, zhen at least get out of our way!”

Demonoid chuffed, “Enough talking! There’s only one thing these pansies understand!”
The misshapen monster charged at Avatar, wanting to tear him apart, and missed! The myrmidon of mythology skillfully dodged those claws born of hell.

Symbiote was still blind! And he found himself cut off and surrounded by the supernatural supervillians of the Crimson Coven… and the mocking cackle of the Witch. Trying to guess her location by her hideous laughter, the scientific superhero reached out to his front left, trying to grab hold of her, and accidentally grazed the storage unit door next to him.
KA-FLANG! The touch transferred all of Symbiote’s stored velocity into the big aluminum door, blowing it off its hinges and hurtling it back into Unit 3209 at 180 MPH, smashing the unit’s contents flat against its back wall!

The Witch shrieked with malevolent delight at the wanton destruction, and the helpless hero. She readied her walking staff to brain the blind superhero groping about before her.

Menagerie had been waiting for someone to open a path to the artifact. And no one had!
He had 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 animal senses told him something was wrong.

Menagerie had 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! 
He sensed the artifact nearby, in the darkness, inside a crate that was 3’ x 2’ x 2’ large.

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

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

Menagerie had thoughtspoken to Vanguard: “Friends, the hole is there. It is masked by Mirage’s illusion. I’m near the artifact! Within unit 3219, the Mystic’s portal is open. Don't trust your eyes. Follow me through the opening. If you don't, then cover my exit. Your choice!"

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

Unable to open or carry the crate in Cheetah form, Menagerie assumed the shape of Baboon!

(OOC: Changing his Agility from 24 to 15. The rest of his action continues later!)

The dark robed villain still stared at Avatar in disbelief.

 The Warlock said, “Pendulum! What’s wrong?”

Pendulum said, “I don’t rightly know. He should be frozen in time. If I can’t slow him, perhaps I can speed him up. Age him 100 years!” The temporal wizard cast another spell at Avatar.

And nothing happened!

The Warlock said, “Fool. He is a living vessel for the power of the Proto-Pantheon! He’s immortal.”

Avatar couldn’t help but smile.

He didn’t know Superstition had just then placed a bad luck spell upon him. Had the probability-warping wench known how difficult it would be to put a hex on one who was in step with the universe, and luckier than a rabbit’s foot, she would have saved this feat for a time when Avatar was balanced on the ledge of a skyscraper over a river of hot lava.

Avatar, harkening to Menagerie’s thought speech, raced back to Unit 3219, slipped, due to some impossibly bad luck, and flew right at its door! Or rather, right at Mirage’s illusion of the door. Avatar passed through it, and fell down one story into the dark storage unit below! CRASH! He landed on Menageries’ Baboon form, and a nearby crate. CRASH!  (OOC: 3 points damage each, can’t be rolled with) 

Avatar rolled off the baboon that he didn’t expect to see and, in the white light of Mystic’s Gate, they both saw that his impact broke open the wooden crate.

Inside the small crate, surrounded in excelsior, was a black stone knife, the third Artifact of Power in Vanguard’s quest to stop the coming of Cthulhu!

Avatar, a trained archeologist, recognized it at a glance. It was a Mayan ceremonial sacrificial dagger!

The man of myth knew the Maya were an extinct Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and extremely advanced mathematical and astronomical systems.
Established 2000 years before Christ, many Maya city states reached their highest state of development from 300 to 800 AD.
During the 8th and 9th centuries, the Maya civilization fell into a sudden decline and many of its greatest cities were abandoned. This decline was coupled with a cessation of monumental inscriptions and large-scale architectural construction. No universally accepted theory explains the catastrophic Mayan collapse.

“Stop!” commanded the Warlock. He stood before the door to Unit 3219.  “Mirage, end this fa├žade now!”

The illusionary door evaporated, revealing the gaping maw that Slingshot’s hands and Slate’s eyes had carved out. The Warlock stood in the jagged doorway next to Slate and looked down eight feet at Avatar, Menagerie’s Baboon form, Mystic’s glowing portal, and the sacrificial dagger of the Maya. 

“Stop,” the Warlock repeated, this time softer. “That blade was used the last time Cthulhu came into this world.”

“What?” Avatar said.

The Warlock continued, looking through his mystic shields into the eyes of Avatar and Menagerie, “Over a Millennia ago, the last Convergence occurred. Cthulhu attempted to break through. The Mayans sacrificed themselves to Cthulhu to save the world. And it worked.  He devoured all their souls. He destroyed the greatest civilization on Earth. An entire culture was eaten alive and Cthulhu was appeased. The Mayans succeeded; the rest of the world survived. Now we must succeed. For the sake of our world!”
  
Avatar and Menagerie felt the powerful will of the Warlock! In their minds, they felt their resolve weakening. The Baboon picked up the black dagger with the aid of his opposable thumbs, and lifted it up toward the Warlock. The Warlock reached his hand out to take it and suddenly Avatar and Menagerie broke free of his spell!   (OOC: Thanks to Menagerie’s Willpower Defense, and Avatar’s Nobility of Spirit: +4 to save against evil mental domination)

Avatar and Menagerie shook off the Warlock’s influence and leapt into the Mystic’s portal with the dagger! “EEEK! RAARGH!” snarled Baboon Menagerie as he disappeared.

Sentinel called out: "Vanguard, follow Avatar and Menagerie.  We're out of here. I’ll help Symbiote. Go!"

Slate had seen Menagerie disappear, and then the illusionary door disappeared!  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.

Slingshot still couldn't see the piece of concrete in his hands, but he could feel its 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 hefted the invisible concrete floor slab with a smile.

Slate nodded to his father. After some quick mental calculation factoring sightlines, placement of all the illusions that were in this tight hall, Mirage’s craven nature, the crimson gate’s former position, and the energy blast crossfire that had occurred so far (and a successful Int save on %!), Slate said, “Dad, Mirage is hovering just to the right of the Witch… near the ceiling.”

Slingshot hurled the invisible slab with all his might. It was surreal, as if he was pretending like a street mime might. It must have sailed over Demonoid’s head.
“Damn your eyes,” said a disembodied voice.
SLAM!! There was a terrible sound and the concrete ceiling to the right of the Witch crumbled and part of it collapsed. THUMP!  CRASH!
Mirage materialized from invisibility. He was to the right of the Witch, under ceiling debris and Slingshot’s newly visible floor slab. Mirage was unconscious!

Slate looked around and realized that Clone had gone around the hallway. The scion of cyberspace used his eye beams to disintegrate another portal through the back of unit 3219, through the unit behind it (3114) and into Clone’s hallway!
Holding one end of his rope, Slate threw the other end through the holes and over the pit.  He fastened his end on his side, and jumped into the unit below, holding the rope loosely, riding it down to the unit below!  He landed next to Mystic’s Gate and the remains of the broken crate.
He immediately pulled out one of the high powered flashlights he brought for just such an occasion, and further illuminated the room..., "I know it's no Avatar," He smiled at Warlock, "But it'll do."  
He then called up to Clone, "Follow the rope, Clone."  

Slingshot stretched past Warlock and poured his malleable form down into the unit that held Mystic’s Gate.

Slate and Slingshot escaped into the portal, keeping the small spotlight pointed through the portal to light the way home.

As the four Clones 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 portal carve itself through the door to Unit 3114. A rope came and landed 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 reforming into one Clone.
Clone swung down the rope into the lower level unit, and leapt into Mystic’s Gate!

Only Lightning Strike, Sentinel and Symbiote remained. And the Crimson Coven.

The Witch took aim with her heavy staff at the back of Symbiote’s skull. Her intent was to kill him just for the fun of it.

Suddenly, Symbiote was far out of range!

Sentinel had extended a thick tendril of solid, animate energy down the long hall, wrapped it around the blind Symbiote, and reeled him in!

Lightning Strike had been holding his action in case Vanguard needed a diversion or other aid in escaping.

Pendulum said to Warlock as the beginnings of a magic spell crackled at his fingertips, “You want me to freeze time long enough for us to go through the gate with them?”

Demonoid barked, “YES! I want to massacre those thieving cowards! Get back here, Vanguard!”

“No my friend,” said the Warlock. “Stay your terrible hand. I have no desire to battle Vanguard in Archimedes’ place of power. Let them hold my dagger. There will come a time when even Vanguard realizes all is lost.
Then, they will contact us. Then, they may be finally ready to do what is needed, as the Maya did before us, and the Atlanteans before them.”
The Warlock addressed Strike, Sentinel and Symbiote. “We await your inevitable awakening.”

“Don’t hold your breath,” said Sentinel as he flew past Warlock, down into the lower storage unit and through Mystic’s Portal with Symbiote in tow. The portal shut behind them!

“When this is all over, we’ll be coming for you,” said Lightning Strike. “Until then, stay out of our way.” He transformed into living electricity, exploded violently upwards into the facility’s wiring, and was gone!

Vanguard’s new strategy for the quest had worked!  Mystic’s portal brought them home, and Strike materialized next to them. Earth’s greatest heroes were together again, back at in the Special Projects Room of Vanguard Vault. And Vanguard’s extended family was there to greet them.

Shelley Harper squealed, “Congratulations!” and gave Sentinel and Symbiote a big hug. Symbiote’s vision returned!

Pendulum’s magical effect on Avatar’s speed dissipated before the manifestation of Hermes’ power ended.

Nanite was relieved her husband and son were both unharmed, and embraced them warmly.

Oracle allowed herself a small smile.

Even CHESS Agent Drake shut off the work tablet long enough to join the small celebration.

Doc Rocket studied the black Mayan dagger and murmured, “Incredible.”

“Hey, watch where you point that thing!” Sgt. Stone said to Doc. “It might be loaded.”

Doc handed the dagger to the Mystic, who said, “I shall keep this safely in a nearby realm. Piercing the veil to another dimension will weaken me.” He turned to address Vanguard, “But I believe that I should be able to teleport you to the next Artifact of Power in one hour.”

“Let’s be quick about et,” harrumphed Archimedes. “Thar’s only two deys and 22 hours until the end of the world!”

Above Vanguard Vault, the night sky thundered and swirled with the growing power of the World Storm, relentless and inevitable..

[OOC: Replies to any and all of the above?]

This concludes Part One of the Doomquest of Great Cthulhu Saga! (a Vanguard comics mega event complete with limited edition variant covers)

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OOC: Thanks everyone!

Please now answer the following four things:

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

2) Please vote on which artifact location that the Mystic will gate you to next! If I can get this part done sooner than later, that would help me out.
  • The middle of the Atlantic Ocean
  • Northern France
  • The Lost Lands in Antarctica
  • Moscow (This is assumed to be the Spear of Destiny, in the possession of the Soviet Super Soldiers)
  • Nevada desert
  • Northern California
  • China

3) Please let me know anything your PC wants to do or say for the next hour. It’s 1 am.

4) Experience Point Time!
Experience is awarded for:

-Battling the Soviet Super Soldiers behind the Iron Curtain in the Lost Lab of Dr. Swastika! 250 points
-Not securing the Spear of Destiny from the SSS! 0 points
-Battling and thwarting Black Bat and destroying his Cadaverous Captains of Crime in Big City! 750 points
-Securing the Splinter Reliquary of the True Cross from Black Bat! 250 points
-Battling and thwarting the Crimson Coven in U Stor, New Jersey!  500 points
-Securing the Mayan Sacrificial Dagger from the Crimson Coven! 250 points

The new totals:      Current XP     XP Gained      New XP Total                  Your Level     
Avatar:                        25,500               2,000                27,500                          7, a new level!              
Clone:                          18,500              2,000                20,500                          5, a new level!           
Lightning Strike:           28,500              2,000                30,500                          7, no change in level
Menagerie:                   14,500              2,000                16,500                          5, no change in level    
Sentinel:                       28,500              2,000                30,500                          7, no change in level    
Slate:                             4,000               2,000                 6,000                           3, a new level!
Slingshot:                     29,000              2,000                31,000                          7, no change in level    
Symbiote:                     25,000              2,000                27,000                          7, a new level!                       

Half of you gain a level, mostly the folks that didn’t gain a level last story arc.

Avatar, Clone, Slate, and Symbiote get level advancements. Please see the house rules for what that means (pasted below).

Also, please note: Both Slate and Slingshot each have one previous Level Advancement saved (see Issue 165).

If you didn’t gain a level, but still want to add a new ability, you may do so by losing an existing ability, or gaining a new weakness, within reason. Up to you.

Once I get all this in, I’ll modify your sheets and begin Part Two of our spine-tingling saga-rama!
Thanks,
Jeff

Current Conditions at the end of the battle:
Avatar: Hit Points: 49, Power Points: 60
Clone: Bodies: 1, Hit Points: 23, Power Points: 59, Hit Point Pool: 23,
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 39, Power Points: 62
Menagerie: Hit Points: 18, Power Points: 49
Sentinel: Hit Points: 30, Power Points: 57, Creation Points: 116
Slate: Hit Points: 35, Power Points: 62
Slingshot: Hit Points: 79, Power Points: 90, Invulnerability: 8
Symbiote: Hit Points: 43, Power Points: 78, Charges: 13

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For them that needs ‘em:

Character Advancement Rules:
Every level, your character improves his abilities. 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.
You’ll recall that in character generation, one Hero Point can buy a Super Skill (e.g.: Heightened Intelligence A).
Two Hero Points lets you buy a Super Power (e.g.: Flame Powers).

So a Level Advancement gain 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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Thanks!

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Slingshot:
OOC:
1) I ain't leaving. You're stuck with me.
2) Let's go to the lost lands, since it was the second most wanted location last time.
3) I expect that the location will likely be that temple we saw. We need some form of protection against magic. Is there anything available? I'm willing to put any effort towards that if I can help. I don't see anything that my character can produce, but he'll assist, even if it's just by giving powerpoints. Otherwise, I'll rest.
4) Booohooo!

I'll see if I can work on something regarding my past and my tie to the Cthulhu mythos.

Stephane

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GM:
OOC:
Thanks.
You better hurry on your revisionist history. Events are going to overtake you soon. :)

Re: 4: Slingy saved his last Level Advancement, fyi.

Best
Jeff

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Slingshot:
OOC:
Yeah. I know. I'm tardy on this. Since I busted my back this week, I have a lot more downtime, I'll see about getting this one done by the weekend.

I know I kept it. I figured I might use it as things unfold,

Stephane

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Slate:
IC: Slate hugged his mother warmly, flushed with the success of the team avoiding an extended battle with the Crimson Coven.  He quickly checked his running program for updates on the locations he had programmed in his last search parameters.   He'll inform the team of any updates/news, but I think he's still prepared for the next jump.  When his father mentions the Lost Lands, Slate gets excited.  

He quickly downloads the mission logs and debrief files from the teams past trip, and quickly does a search for anything he can find about Echo, the Soviet Super Soldier of Sound that had been abandoned in the temple when last Vanguard had visited.  It had always bothered Slate reading the logs how easily her team mates had left her...

OOC: Slate will save his level up for now.

Jon

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Symbiote:
OOC:
Even though Symbiote was about as useful as mammaries on a bull in that last adventure, he wishes to continue.  ;)

1)  Yes, I'm still in.  Thank you for the opportunity.

2)  Hal votes for the Lost Lands of Antartica.  He will go in "wearing" Zero G's power template (still wanting to try that one out in battle) regardless of where we go UNLESS the team votes for the mid-Atlantic.  In that case, he'll go with Inhuman's template.

3) During the next hour Hal will simply rest.

4)  New advancement ability:  Twice now, Hal has been pretty effortlessly mind controlled by Black Bat.  He doesn't like it.  He'd like to increase his Charisma as a possible buffer against that sort of thing in the future.  In game terms, perhaps this could be Hal simply deciding that with menaces along the line of Mighty Cthulhu in his face, he simply doesn't have the time to be introspective and scientifically inquisitive any more.  He has to have a single minded sense of purpose, and let nothing distract him.

Happy holidays, heroes, no matter what flavor you celebrate.  Looking forward to saving the world in 2014!

Viva Vanguard,

Greg

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GM:
OOC:
Thanks Greg.

Actually, Symbiote helped out more than you know.
When he and Avatar knocked back Demonoid and the Witch hard into their teleportation portal, it caused a log jam/ pile up on the other side that prevented the rest of the Coven from coming through and joining the battle.
Last time Vanguard fought the Crimson Coven, they numbered 13. Having to only face six made a huge difference in the outcome.

Re: Advancement: At your level, that would be a +3 boost to Charisma.
If you prefer, you could buy Willpower defense for Mind Control attacks only instead. Up to you.

Best,
Jeff

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Symbiote:
OOC:
I'll do that instead,  then.  Maybe it'll help with Hal's New York style meatball pizza addiction too.

Thanks,  Greg.

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GM:
OOC: Sorry. There’s no defense against that.

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Sentinel:
OOC:
Yea, not going anywhere... 

IC:
THIS ISSUE - ADDITIONAL DIALOGUE-INTERCHANGE (IF APPROVED)

“Simpleton!” snapped Warlock, all manners forgotten. He shouted down the long corridor. “We are discussing matters beyond your ken, despite the symbol upon your chest. The Great Convergence is an event lasting mere hours. If we successfully drive Cthulhu off, he will be barred from our dimension again for another millennia!”

And there is was again. His symbol. Why did it seem everyone else knew more about its significance than Kirk himself?

“That blade was used the last time Cthulhu came into this world.”... The Mayans sacrificed themselves to Cthulhu to save the world... Let them hold my dagger. There will come a time when even Vanguard realizes all is lost. Then, they will contact us. Then, they may be finally ready to do what is needed, as the Maya did before us, and the Atlanteans before them.”

This information truly disturbed Kirk. Two of the most advanced civilizations of their time sacrificing themselves to stop Cthulhu. He needed to know more and there was no time in the midst of their battle and departure for mind reading, so he appealed to the Warlock’s greatest weakness, his ego.

Not hiding his concern and summoning a degree of innocence in tone of the Sentinel of earlier in his career Kirk asked, “Warlock, what are we missing here? We just have to prevent someone from summoning Cthulhu, how is it the Mayans and Atlanteans failed to do that? Why are you so sure we will fail and someone will perform the summoning ceremony?” and hoped that the Warlock couldn’t pass up a chance to show how much smarter he was than everyone else in the room.

If it seems Warlock is being truthful Kirk would add, knowing Warlock really couldn’t pass up the chance on this one, “My symbol Warlock, you referred to it earlier, is it connected to these events?”

This interchange could be inserted before:
The Warlock addressed Strike, Sentinel and Symbiote. “We await your inevitable awakening.”
“Don’t hold your breath,” said Sentinel as he flew past Warlock, down into the lower storage unit and through Mystic’s Portal with Symbiote in tow.

As Kirk flew through the portal looking back to be sure he had Symbiote safely in tow he could have sworn that though his sixth sense, his energy sense, he perceived the symbol on his chest emanating, glowing outward from within him. But surely it must have been his imagination. Even so, he was beginning to wonder, “did he choose the symbol or did the symbol choose him?”

Depending on what Warlock has to say or doesn’t you can adjust but Kirk would say to Archimedes and Mystic, “Warlock said the Mayans and the Atlanteans before them sacrificed themselves to satiate Cthulhu. Is there any other information or legends as to why they couldn’t prevent the summonings to begin with?”

ON THE NEXT LOCATION:
Kirk is still fine with Antartica, but added, “in lieu of what Warlock said about the Atlanteans, if now for Antartica then I say the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is the next location after that... perhaps we’ll find some clues as to what happened with Atlantis and the summoning of two thousand years ago that can help us today.”

As the team departs Kirk waits to get a moment alone with Archimedes (if Menagerie still happens to be present he will proceed) and points to his chest and says, “My symbol... it seems to have more significance than I may have thought. When I asked him, Gramps never indicated a significant reason for his choosing it. When I took up the mantle he said I could change it, but in all honesty, the thought never crossed my mind. Part of me has thought about digging deeper before, but that thought always seems to get lost. I’m starting to wonder if there really isn’t something more going on here. What do you think?”

Assuming nothing more important comes up here to occupy the hour, Kirk will rest and run through his mental training to prepare himself for Antartica as he remembered just being in that inhuman alien temple presented challenges.

Seth

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Menagerie:

OOC: Here is my turn.

1) Yes, I am still playing. I made it through this year with working trying to fry my brain, next year should be better.

2) First choice, Lost Lands in Antarctica, then second is Middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

3). He will rest to regain PP and will meditate to bring Willpower to forefront. If Archimedes asks, he will stay listening to Sentinel's concerns about himself and his symbol. He will help his friend however he can.

4) No input required.

Best
Tom


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Clone:
OOC:
Please now answer the following four things:

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

Leave the game?!? I just worked out an entire revamp of Clone's personality with you - I've got way too much to do there to just pull up stakes and hit the trail! No way - count me in!

2) Please vote on which artifact location that the Mystic will gate you to next! If I can get this part done sooner than later, that would help me out.
• The middle of the Atlantic Ocean
• Northern France
• The Lost Lands in Antarctica
• Moscow (This is assumed to be the Spear of Destiny, in the possession of the Soviet Super Soldiers)
• Nevada desert
• Northern California
• China

I'm thinking that the Soviet Super Soldiers; and God knows who else, will manage to pick up the artifacts further away from the United States - so I would personally pass on those spots. I'm also thinking; based purely on a gut feeling and what happened there the last time we were near that place, that The Lost Lands Location may be 'The End Game' location - so once again I'm feeling that this isn't the place to go. Moscow? I don't really see the need to go there yet - just an opinion though. So that leaves The middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Nevada desert, and Northern California - I would like to think that we could easily reach out to something in our 'backyard', so I'm going to vote for The middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

3) Please let me know anything your PC wants to do or say for the next hour. It’s 1 am.

I'm intentionally going to keep things simple with Clone's IC response for this issue and most likely in the next several issues as well. For the next hour Clone will just sit in a somewhat guarded position in a remote corner somewhere, keeping to himself and remaining relatively quiet. With his multiple personalities all over the place and the dominant personality being a loner type that survived for years on his own and in hiding, I think this should be the way I play him for now . . . but things will change.

4) Experience Point Time!

Jeff, I don't remember - did we use Clone's next level advancement when we switched things around on him?


>CLONE’S IC RESPONSE<

OOC: Should Clone be asked his opinion as to where to go to next.

IC: The visibly distant Clone looked up from the secluded corner he sat himself in and said matter-of-factly, "The Mid-Atlantic . . ." The 'Master of Multiplicity' then nuzzled back into the niche he was rested in and just stared quietly back at the other members of Vanguard.

OOC: Jeff, if you find you need additional dialogue out of Clone please feel free to add whatever you think works best for the story, or let me know and I'll do my best to get something out to you asap.


Talk to you all soon,

-Kev

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Avatar:
OOC:
Middle of the Atlantic, too

Too much going on for me to put much thought into it at this point.  Jeff, please do as you please with Avatar for this round.

Will think about the level gain stuff and bounce things off of you later.

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Lightning Strike:
OOC:
Hi,

Merry Christmas!!!  Sorry for being so slow.

Strike has no plans to leave Vanguard, at least until all of the artifacts are accounted for, and also is not adding any new powers.

He votes to go to the Nevada desert as it is the closest.

Short and sweet,
Tony

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GM:
OOC:
Thanks guys.

Kevin, you didn't use Clone's advancement ahead of time. 
You gave up old powers, like his sexy telepathy, to buy off old weaknesses.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Best
Jeff

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GM:
OOC:
Hey gang,

Attached are your updated character sheets. Please check that I didn't make any mistakes.

Next issue should come out Friday at the latest.

Best wishes for a healthy, happy, successful new year to all of you and your families,
Jeff

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Slate:
OOC:
Jeff,
Can we add Patron to Slate?  Power and Weakness

I know he's been hitting the vault storage facilities regularly... You could wait for a climactic announcement that the government now views him as a part of the team if you want... maybe after they save the world from Cthulhu... if they save the world from Cthulhu...

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GM:
OOC:
Hi,

Yes.
I like the idea of it being officially announced after the Cthulhu Quest. 
Does that work for you?

Best,
Jeff

PS: Indy gear will be useful in Lost Lands. :-)

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Slate:
OOC:
Looking forward to it, and yep works for me. I'll keep thinking about it, by then I may want to transition his prejudice to unusual looks (he has his mother’s eyes...), or something like that...

Jon

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Clone:
OOC:
Hi Jeff,
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner on this, but the holidays, work, and a bad case of the flu have made it impossible to do just about anything even remotely connected to my own personal enjoyment.

For Clone's next level I was thinking about bringing back his empathy - would that be a 1/2 power or a full power - I forget how we worked that?

“Heightened Senses: Empathic Link: Clone and his duplicates share a vague empathic connection which in the past has been used for a degree of control/coordination of the group. He has also demonstrated that this connection can be used sort of like a homing device to track dupes when they are close by, Range = Cha + Int inches.
Should Clone or one of his duplicates die, the others would immediately become aware of it and feel a deep sense of mental and emotional anguish, Range = infinite.
In no way does this ability allow Clone or any of his duplicates to telepathically or empathically communicate with each other or anyone one else, it’s simply an unconscious awareness of each other’s presence, PR=0.”

If it’s a full power than I'll hold on to this level up and apply it to my next level up to get Clone's Empathic power back. Once he has that power back, Clone will try to get back his Limited Telepathy.

“Limited Telepathy: Clones may broadcast thoughts to other Clones via mental communication. PR=1 per use. Range = 120” (Int x 10”). (Level Four Advancement)”

Happy New Year!

-Kev

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GM:
OOC:
Hi,
Great.
"Empathic Link" can be one level advancement. 
"Limited Telepathy" will be available later with another Level Advancement. Will modify your sheet and re-send.

Best,
Jeff

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