Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Vanguard: Issue 227: Viva Vanguard!

Vanguard did it. Vanguard had saved the world!

The Vanguard Reserves and the Soviet Super Soldiers rout the Ubermensch and the Japanese Imperial Guard of WWII that were transported here by the time-travelling magic of Mystic when he was possessed by Dr. Swastika.

Mystic says with sincere humility, “Thank you, Vanguard, for all you have done.  For me, and for this universe.”

Sentinel replies, “How long? How long did he have you?  Was that you back in the 1940’s or him already?”

“I… I don’t know,” Mystic replies.

     [OOC: In time, Mystic is able to divine with his mystical insight that he had been ‘himself’ up until Vanguard travelled back in time to the 1940s to quest for the Ring of Eon.  Doing so altered the timeline of Earth: The Ubermensch reported what they saw of Vanguard to Dr. Swastika; metahuman foes from an American future! Hearing this and understanding that the Reich would fall, the Dr. Swastika of the 1940s then altered his plans to ensure above all else that he would survive to see this ‘dystopic’ future, and have an army of extranormals with him to overturn it, including the body of his hated enemy, Mystic.

It was directly after that time travel that Oracle was killed by Mystic (Swastika) and Vanguard Vault was destroyed by SKULL (ever the agents of Swastika). The time distortion from the trip to the 1940s, and the ensuing alteration to the timeline by Swastika, prevented Oracle from predicting these ghastly events, including her own death and that of Archimedes.]

The World Storm soon dissipates and Soldier contacts CHESS via his cybernetic satellite link. They are en route to secure the defeated supervillains from beyond time and the grave for eventual transport to CHESS Castle.

Menagerie extends his Nature Sense. The threat to the Natural Order is no more. But his patron remains silent… missing.  Somehow, Menagerie knows deep inside that he must take her place.

Mystic answers Vanguard’s many questions. “It will be centuries before the stars are right again for the Swastika-possessed Cthulhu to attempt to return to Earth. Until then, I can think of no better guardians of these Artifacts of Power than you, Vanguard.”

“To Aperture goes the Mirror of Worlds from Ancient China. It has the ability to show other dimensions of existence, including your ‘Digital Zone.’

“To Avatar goes the Spear of Destiny. Wield it with honor, warrior son of Ares and Athena, and leader of men.

“To Clone goes the Circlet of Telepathy. When worn, you will be in telepathic contact with your legion of selves, anywhere on Earth.

“To Lightning Strike goes the Emerald of Life, it can heal any wound, even upon your unusual form.

“To Menagerie goes the sword, Excalibur, forged by the Lady of the Lake. The torch is passed.

“To Sentinel goes the Splinter of the True Cross. Locked inside is the secret of Resurrection and Life… for your wife, and your unborn child. I will show you how. But from then on, I shall refer to Lancaster only as “Pop Pop.”

“To Slingshot goes the Stone Idol of Cthulhu from the Ruins of Remorse in the Lost Lands. Its nullification powers over sorcery can help you continue to overcome your eldritch origins.

“To Soldier goes the Dagger of the Maya. This indestructible knife is a fearsome addition to your already formidable arsenal.

“And I shall safeguard the Ring of Eon. I will not use it, nor alter our timeline again for fear of causing further catastrophe.”

     [OOC: In fact, altering a different future obscured the coming of Cthulhu! It all happened in the now-classic Issue 169! -Ye excitable editor]

Aperture’s nanotechnology will transport the heroes back to New York again.

The World Storm ends. In time, order is restored globally. Vanguard are recognized as having ended the global crisis, and saving the world.

Those friends and loved ones that Vanguard had lost contact with during the global crisis are found alive.

Mystic works with Sentinel and the Splinter of the True Cross to return Shelley Harper to life. She is still pregnant and has no memories of death. Months later, Shelley gives birth to a healthy baby boy. He looks just like Lancaster.

Vanguard, REACH and other superheroes around the world (including the Vanguard Reserves, the former Liberty Legion, and the Soviet Super Soldiers) join the effort to rebuild and recover.

A new era of détente with the Soviets begins.

Vanguard Vault is restored.

CHESS is lauded for their efforts in the crisis, Director Grey is promoted and MEDUSA defunded, including its special projects division headed by Soldier’s father, General Steele.

Detective Hank Archer is found to be innocent of all charges and he is reinstated in the NYPD.

Government legislation targeting extranormals, and sentient non-humans like Nanite and Aperture, loses all steam.

Vanguard are the guests of President Taylor at a White House dinner in their honor where the President and hundreds in attendance raise their glasses and toast them in gratitude as the finest examples that America and mankind has to offer.

“To Vanguard!”

Congrats everyone!

Two things:

1) Experience Point Time!

Experience is awarded for:

-Battling and thwarting Doctor Swastika, preventing the coming of Cthulhu, and for saving the universe: 5000 points

The new totals:   Current XP      XP Gained     New XP Total        Your Level                  
Aperture:                9,000 5,000 14,000 5, a new level!
Avatar: 30,500 5,000 35,500 8, a new level!
Clone: 23,500 5,000 28,500 7, a new level!
Lightning Strike: 33,500 5,000 38,500 8, a new level!
Menagerie: 19,500 5,000 24,500 6, a new level!
Sentinel:               33,500 5,000 38,500 8, a new level!
Slingshot: 34,000 5,000 39,000 8, a new level!
Soldier:                 16,500 5,000 21,500 6, a new level!

Everyone gains a level.
Your ‘Level Advancement’ is the Artifact of Power you just received.

2) Well, it’s with a heavy heart that I have to tell you real life has finally caught up to me and I no longer have time to run Vanguard. But I can’t imagine a better way to end the campaign.

(Sorry, Jamey. I didn’t realize this was going to happen when you asked to join.)

I’d like to thank all of you. It’s been a real pleasure playing with you. Over the past many years, from 1st level to 8th level, in 227 issues, I had a blast and learned a lot.

If you care to write any IC wrap ups for your awesome characters, or their plans for the future, feel free to do so in the next two weeks and I’ll include it in this issue’s upload to the game blog:

Thanks again everyone, for everything. I wish you all the best in gaming and in life.

Viva Vanguard!

Jeff ]

The End.


OOC: Wow. I don't have words right now. I will come up with something soon.


OOC: Where's the weeping. And gnashing of teeth.  Bittersweet Jeff.  One of the best games I've ever had the pleasure of being in.

Thanks for allowing me to join!



OOC: Jeff,

I've been mulling this over for the last two days. I'm a little sad. This was probably one of the constant little joys in my life. Every two weeks to a month, I would get my comic and look at it with anticipation.

Thank you for hosting us throughout all these years. It was an awesome ride. I really enjoyed your challenges and your creative writing.

If you ever decide to start something up again, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I would be more than happy to do this with you again.

If you ever come to Toronto, reach out, I would love to have dinner/coffee/beer/what have you.

Same goes for the rest of you all.




OOC: I thought I would have my character response by now but I am conflicted. Menagerie is happy and I am sad. I will get to Menagerie this weekend but for now it is just me.

Thanks for a wonderful gaming experience.

Thanks for showing me how to GM by email. I had researched the Vanguard Vault archives as I prepared to launch my V&V email game and blog.  Your advice and encouragement was invaluable especially when I started.

Thanks for gathering a great group of players which I am proud to say I was one of.

Thanks for sparking my imagination and entertaining me with each and every issue.

Thanks for being my friend. If you are ever coming to McKinney, Texas or the Dallas-Fort Worth area please let me know. Jon and I would love to see you. If it is June 6 2018 weekend I know a great Role-playing game Con that we could play with Jeff Dee at.

Thanks for everything.



OOC: I wanted to thank all of you for having this opportunity to be a part of Vanguard, even if was for a shorter time than I would have preferred. I have read all the issues, and I will miss the adventures. I hope that one day I will be able to play again with you. Jeff, thanks for allowing me to participate. I agree with Tom, I am sad as well.



OOC: Wow...

So I didn't look at the issue (or posts) until Thursday evening and had to go out right afterward and was a bit overwhelmed by the announcement.

In my mind I'd really felt Jeff had been bringing the game to a conclusion and that things had such a definite feel since the 'death' issue (the dice gaming gods must have been mean drunks that day...)  but I'd put it out of my mind when Jamey recently joined the game so I was surprised.

I'd like to thank Jeff above and beyond for all of his time and such an amazing run.  I felt so bad so many times as he begged, pleaded, and cajoled us into doing our posts ... all the while pulling all the heavy weight himself.

I'm very grateful to have been a part of this game and to have had the opportunity to meet so many other great people along the way ... thank you all and thank you Jeff for bringing this rag-tag team together and making us shine.  I've been amazed by and enjoyed some of the creativity and writing of all of you at different times.  It's been a wonderful experience.

It is going to be incredibly difficult not having that little switch in my brain turn on and allowing me to bring Kirk to life anymore and not to have this creative outlet and the chance to be a hero and do good... even in our 'make-believe' world.  But again, I'm incredibly grateful to Jeff in keeping this amazing game running for so long.

I looked back and although my saved emails on AOL don't go back to the very first few it appears we have been doing this since 2005.  Well over a decade.  I think of all that has changed during that time... all that has happened in my life (in all of our lives) through Vanguard's journey and I am in awe. Vanguard  and Kirk have been through so many ups and downs of my personal life and has been an outlet.  Sometimes it was a refuge... sometimes trying to find the time to think about it and post seemed an overwhelming task.
I'm also in awe that I have spent 25% of my life with Kirk 'living' in that creative area of my brain.  That's crazy!  Certainly the longevity of our run transcends most others in the comic world and I'd think the gaming world.  Another testament to our incredible GM and all of you.

An early email asked where was the gnashing of teeth and tears... I can tell you none of us can gnash our teeth at Jeff not having the time to do this after all these years but I have shed tears thinking about this coming to an end and about my final posting which will hopefully follow.

I think aside from the creative outlet what I will miss most is the connection receiving that email gave me when it arrived.  It always made me feel 19ish again and brought me back to who I was then… and I always see Jeff and Tony at that age (and the others from our original group when they were active) when thinking about the game instead of the old men we are today (ok... older men, why push it more than it need be).

One thing I do know however, is that given the circumstances (ie the time, health, and responsibility load) that Jeff will come back to his need to create.  If there was a universal dictionary that defined 'GM' and tried to embody all that a good GM could and should be, our friend Jeff's picture would be beside it.  I am and will be forever grateful for the blessing of his friendship and the opportunity he gave me to 'play' in his worlds and to express some of my own creativity that had no other such outlet both as a young guy and through all these years of our email campaign.

And Jeff, when that day comes again when you feel the burning desire to take up those reigns of GM (and in my mind I don't conceive of 'if', it can only be 'when') I very much hope this is the world that you choose to return to and that I'm one of the fortunate few to get the call to respond ... and that I can do so when that time comes...

Viva Vanguard!


PS: And I forgot ...
Jeff - Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! for the happy ending.


IC: Menagerie stood silently allowing the sadness to wash over him in great waves of grief. In the secluded forest he stood before the saplings of what would be one day be great majestic trees. To his left was the beginning of a Juniper tree. It was Archimedes favorite tree. This would be his monument. "Man puts headstones for its departed but not Nature. Its monuments are built on the circle of life." The woodland shaman said repeating one of his lessons from his mentor.

To his right was where he had planted the Blue Spruce. "A tree to shelter you Snowball", Menagerie said with a wryly smile appearing, "blue because it was your favorite color to eat."

As the Mystical Guardian of Nature turned to walk away he said, "until we come full circle and meet again, take care my friends."

Menagerie returned to Vanguard to participate in the ceremonies to their departed friends and colleagues. He shared in times of mourning and remembrance with everyone.

Afterwards he announced to Vanguard he was leaving. "It is time for me to take on a new role. I will bring up and train the next protectors of the Natural Order."

Menagerie said to Sentinel, "Thank you for your leadership. I have learned a lot and I hope to lead my new team half as well as you led Vanguard."

To Avatar, "I will miss fighting by your side. Your brought courage to all of us. Please reach out to me from time to time so we can share in each other's research. I believe the gods will smile on that"

To Lightning Strike, "May your quest end soon  and may justice prevail. Your tenacity and steadfastness has been an inspiration to me."

To Soldier, "We have never been able to team up long but when we do it is the stuff of legends. If you are ever in need call me and I will come."

To Slingshot, " Your family is the first family of heroes. It is all because of you. Be proud in all that you have accomplished."

To Aperture, "I was wrong. You are a true man among men and a hero above all else.

To Clone, "My little buddy, you are a man of joy and wisdom. Never be afraid to share those gifts with whoever you meet as you travel this world."

To Director Grey, "Thank you for allowing me to join Vanguard and to help protect this world. Without you pulling the strings behind the scene this wouldn't have been possible at all."

"Now if you excuse me. I have one last friend to check on before I start my new adventure." With a big smile Menagerie said, "I will tell Pachyderm that Vanguard said Hi."

Leaping out the window, Menagerie turned into an eagle and flew away.

Via Vanguard Forever


IC: Soldier, though saddened by the losses that they had suffered, was happy to be with his "family". He enjoyed being back with the team, and had no desire to leave. Coming so close to the end of everything had caused him to reassess his life. Matt decides to call Kelli Riker, and see where it leads.

To Menagerie: That phone works both ways. You are one of my "Brothers" and I've got your back.

Vanguard Forever!


OOC: Going to ask for a final extension for Kirk's last post. I'd planned yesterday morning for it but ended up at the hospital supporting a friend whose dad had a stroke. He has been extremely healthy for 76 and my buddy hasn't had to do the ER thing like this so we went to support and were there through the afternoon. Thankfully he seems to be doing well.

With the extended weekend coming up I should find the couple hours needed.

Hope that's ok.



OOC: No problem!

It's not Vanguard if we don't extend the deadlines.  ;)


OOC: Oh, yes!!


IC: In the months following the defeat of Dr. Swastika: as the world slowly went back to normal, the courageous members of Vanguard awoke one morning to find Clone mysteriously missing from the Vanguard Vault. In his quarters, the group found his bed made, his room cleaned and tidy, and all of his personal effects strangely missing. His room looked as if he had never lived in it. The only thing they found in the room was a small note left neatly folded on the night stand next to Alex’s bed. The note read . . .

OOC: Wow! I can’t believe it’s actually over – I didn’t see that coming. I’ve been playing this game for eight years now and I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single moment of it. I’ve been playing it for so long that I can’t even imagine what it will be like not to play it. A really big piece of me actually didn’t want to write this final response for Clone – I was trying to convince myself that if I didn’t write it, then it wouldn’t be over. It is over though and I didn’t want it to end without saying a few things to all the members of our group.

You guys have become a part of my life – I know that sounds mushy, but after eight years I think of you guys as the friends I’ve never met lol. You’ve shared so much of your lives with me that I could never think of you as strangers. There were a lot of times that I wanted to offer condolences/advice/etc. to some of you as you shared the personal moments of your personal lives openly in the Vanguard emails, but I never did because I thought you might think me as ‘out of line’ or intruding or something (since I know a bunch of you are actually friends outside the game), but I just wanted to let you guys know that despite my silence, I always did feel sad/happy/etc. for you guys as the years and real-life experiences rolled by.

All of you have made a lasting impression on me, but there are a few that I want to address directly . . .

Seth (Sentinel), Thanks for ALWAYS raising the bar when it came to writing up responses lol! I put as much effort into my response as I could (and as real life would allow) simply out of respect for the amount of time that I saw you dedicating to yours – you truly inspired me to be a more dedicated player – thank you. I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts and I can’t believe that I won’t have the opportunity to read another. Take care of yourself and thanks again. I always saw Sentinel as a cross between Captain America (personality-wise) and Green Lantern (power-wise); I’m not sure if that’s what you were going for, but that’s always the way I saw it.

Stephane (Slingshot), Thanks for always being the ‘Awesome Side’ of Vanguard for me lol! Anytime that I wanted to get Clone in trouble, I knew all I had to do was look to you for a little assistance lol. You always brought out so much superhero-spirit in your character, but all the while never forgetting how important it was to laugh along the way – thank you for that.

Tom (Menagerie), We’ve played a couple of games together and I had a fun time in both. Thanks for always keeping the Snowball gag going; it might sound silly, but that always meant a lot to me for some reason.

Jeff (GM), I don’t think I can thank you enough for letting me be a part of all of this. You have been an AMAZING GM and a good friend – thank you. Where you found the time to always make this game happen, I don’t know. How you always managed to keep a game running for some many years and still keep the story fresh the entire time, I have no idea – but thank you for all the effort. You’re an absolutely outstanding writer and a great storyteller – thank you for all the great challenges. The time you spent making this world a ‘living place’ for all of us has never gone unnoticed – I always marveled at the dedication you gave each and every issue. Oh – and thanks for giving Clone the opportunity to start dating Rachael Ray – that was freak’n hilarious!

Clone (My Character), I started playing Clone back in Vanguard: Issue 93: The Lost World! - Tuesday, July 14, 2009. My goal for him was never to make him a superhero, but rather a normal guy walking around amongst gods. I wanted him to be the flawed and innocent-side to superhero comics and not the ‘POW’, ‘BANG’, ‘BOOM’ side of them. I wanted readers to see the class clown that hid his pain behind his humor, and the superhero who craved only to be normal. I think I was able to pull that off a few times thanks to all of you, and for that I owe you all a warm round of ‘thanks’. Thank you all for the opportunity to play around with Clone’s fragile and sometimes unpredictable human-side and for not getting upset by it – your patience and support were always appreciated.

Fun Fact: I actually sat down as I was designing the Clone character with Jeff, and put together a ‘cheat sheet’ of Russian phrase and words so that I would never have to struggle trying to bring you guys a Russian speaking superhero partner. I even started reading over Russian to English dictionaries lol.

If any of you ever feel like dropping me a line, please do so – you have my email address – I would love to hear from you all in the future. Who knows, maybe there will be a Vanguard Reunion Issue(s) down the line at some point. If that ever happens, count me in! Maybe a mini-series Holiday Issue(s)? Swimsuit Edition?

Thanks for all the great memories guys . . . see you all in the funny papers,


P.S. Random Vanguard-related thought - Two of the former members of Vanguard that I always secretly hoped would come back into the story somehow where Talon and Forester – I always enjoyed those characters for some reason.

Dos Vedanya, Comrades!

Viva Vanguard!


OOC: Thanks for the final extension Jeff.

Very early on in the campaign (likely the first issue or so), not understanding the workings of the game Jeff replied to my concerns and said something along the lines, "Hey, if you can't live out your dreams here, then where?"

So thanks Jeff for giving us that opportunity to do just that for so many years.

And it was with that in mind that I penned Kirk's final post. It's not my right to 'write canon' here in Jeff's playground nor would I want to do so, so simply consider it 'a possible future' for Kirk wherein some of the good that I wish was in my power to do actually gets done.  And yes, Kirk gets to live a full happy life.

I look forward to reading all your final posts after this is sent...

IC: The Final Entry:  The Possible Future

Kirk was amazed.  With Swastika gone, something that had weighed upon him for years, a threat he was sure with all his soul existed, but that no one else could seem to see, was lifted.  He was free. It was if he could breathe again after not knowing how long he had been oxygen deprived.  And with that, so many more threats that he perceived seemed to unravel of their own accord.  The world scene began unfolding around him the way it should.  The way he always hoped it could.  The way that made sense.  It was almost as if he now took a step back and of its own accord the rich tapestry of life wove his hopes into reality.
And he felt blessed.  When once he had wondered how he could go on and if he had forever lost his true self, and lost hope … somehow, he had received a gift greater than he had a right to conceive.  He had been made whole once again.  Shelley had been restored to him and Kirk stepped out of the darkness that had begun to envelope him for good.

(Personal Life)
Kirk’s bond with Shelly had always been intense and unique with his energy sense and telepathic connection, but having experienced her loss forever changed him.  That sparkle in his eye when he looked at her, that all young couples have at first, would never fade.  As their months together turned to years and familiarity could have bred indifference and being too comfortable to try, he never allowed that to happen.  And Shell, the amazing woman that she was, never ceased to dazzle him in new ways; and ever the stronger one, it seemed she didn’t need to experience his loss to cherish him always.
Whenever he thought he couldn’t love her more, he would somehow discover that he could and did.  The first time this happened was with the birth of their first child, his miracle boy that had been lost and miraculously restored to him.

They named him Jeffrey and he was gifted with an imagination and artistic sense second to none.  He could see endless possibilities and express them in brilliant ways to inspire others. Kirk was in awe of his raw talent and envisioned him changing the world and inspiring others in ways Kirk himself could only hope to do so.  He noticed something else about him; although he wasn’t quite as quick to see the good in others, once he did, and befriended them, he was loyal to a fault.  Something he certainly shared with his dad.

Soon after they had a second son, Anthony.  His approach to the world was far different from his brother taking after his mom and approaching things in an exploratory way.  Instead of playing with his toys he would take them apart examining how they worked together so he could understand what made them tick.  It came naturally to him.  And although he put on a tough exterior, Kirk knew it was a façade.  It seemed he was always bringing ‘strays’ in need of help into their home.
His love for Shelly would again take a leap when their third child came, their daughter.  They named her Dinah and she was the apple of his eye.  He adored her impish grin that reminded him so much of her mom.  And she used it to her full advantage; yielding her power wrapping him around her little finger.  One that Kirk sensed was also very powerful in the way of their family gift.

(Heroic Life)
Kirk had never been comfortable with the position of being a formal leader of men.  And although he would assume whatever role was needed for the greater good, he was always most at ease taking a step back and advising and helping to bring out the best in others to let them shine.  There was nothing better than seeing a person’s best self and helping them to become more than they thought possible.  With the change in the world order he saw the means to do more of that.  His bond with his friends in Vanguard allowed him to put his trust in them and he encouraged and invited them to work with him as they changed the world for the better.  They began to change perceptions and values one step, one life, at a time. It was amazing what a difference a few years or a decade can bring in baby steps that grow larger.  Especially with young ones as they mature and choose to envision a more positive and unselfish future and work towards that better world.

As REACH continued to grow and take on a life of its own Kirk wanted to do more.  Kirk, with Hal’s help, developed the Heroes of Valor (HOV) initiative.  It began as a means to honor those lost to The World Storm that gave their lives saving others like the team of CHESS that they had worked so closely with all those years and their mentors of the Liberty League like Sgt Strong and Doc Rocket.  Then of course they thought of honoring all those heroes of years past from the Liberty League to the Freedom Force since they had influenced the two of them so much and done so much for so many.  But they soon realized that the Museum and Social Media Presence they started needed to be expanded.  They would honor heroes of all sorts that gave of themselves to contribute towards making the world a better place for all … that worked towards a better future.  And to their surprise with the change in social thought after having lived through The World Storm and seen true loss, things took off quickly.  Rather than simply stopping threats as important as that was, Sentinel and Vanguard’s influence began to make the world a better place.  It seemed like each city wanted its own HOV Attraction with its various exhibits growing, and including local community figures further inspiring others to build a better future.

Those with gifts be it extranormal ones or not who wanted to do more were given the help to do so. Vanguard worked with REACH to set up mentor programs so that all could have the opportunity to become their best selves and help others to do so too.  It was truly and amazing time and Kirk was thrilled to play a role in it.

Never the end:
With all the good taking place it would have been easy to forget about himself.  Kirk would make sure he was the best father he could be spending the time needed with his family.  And he would never neglect his true love.
But he remembered the need to be always be vigilant.  He knew he needed to continue to work to find his own best self and to realize his own potential.  He’d hoped it would be simply to train the next generation but he would be prepared if it was because he received ‘The Call’.
With the assistance of Gramps he continued to develop the mental disciplines learning and mastering all aspects of telepathy.  He also continued to learn from Mystic to understand the workings of things from the mystical world view.  However, it was in time, after convincing them both to help him understand and master the ability of the telekinetic ‘mind blast’ that it all came together for him.
With his unique gift of energy sense and now having worked so closely with so many types of energy - his energy that he could summon and manipulate, the energies of science so much a part of Shelly’s work, the mental energies including telepathic and telekinetic, and the energy of life and resurrection from the Splinter of the True Cross he could finally perceive it.  The energy signature of a type of specific energy that ran through all the other energy forms, an ‘active force’ if you will, that seemed to support and propel them all.  Interestingly the energy he summoned and manipulated seemed to have the greatest concentration of that universal energy followed by the energy of life.
Having seen it and its flow and interaction he was sure of one thing.  He would grow to understand it further and he was confident that in time he would learn to wield it, to manipulate it, as he did his own energy.  And he began to wonder what good he do with it, how he could use it to help others, and how it could make the world a better place …


OOC: Thanks to all of you for all your thoughts and creative expressions.
And I hope the two best friends a young lone teenager kid could be fortunate enough to have take my shot at in-game tribute in the spirit it is meant.
And more thanks I can ever express to Jeff, that crazy crazy man that held this game together for so long!  You are an inspiration and the greatest!!!



OOC: I wish emails had a "Like" button


OOC: Me too.


OOC: Tom, I loved the Archimedes remembrance quote - really nice. And the sayings to each team member.



OOC: Thanks.


OOC: Kev -

Thanks for the very kind words.
And your assessment of Kirk's inspiration was correct. Jeff suggested him to be the Cap/old school Superman good guy type and with Green Lantern being my favorite and my fondness for the Golden/silver age of comics the idea of a legacy character grew from there. Jeff went beyond Sentinel creating the awesome Liberty League and their foes.  Totally cool.

And on a personal note I thoroughly loved your postings and your flair for humor in your writing which I simply don't have myself but wish I did (my one attempt trying in postings not succeeding). Clone was a total blast to read!

And I do certainly feel a bond with you guys too. I hope that at the least we get to occasionally email about hobby related goings on once in a while to keep in touch.



OOC: Thanks so much Harold.  It means a lot to me.

I likely mentioned in the past but when we got to role play in person when we were young Jeff always had songs he chose to enhance the game mood for certain arcs of the adventure.

While his choosing I recall were more dynamic, for this, when thinking about this final post and envisioning it in my head and then penning it (and even rereading it), I just keep hearing John Lennon's 'Imagine'



Lightning Strike:
OOC: Thanks for keeping me in the loop, even though I have not participated in quite some time.  I guess there comes a time when we all have to give up our roleplaying (I hope that this won't be my last chance) but we will never give up on our dreams.

It is hard to believe that I was first playing Dungeons and Dragons more than 35 years ago and rolling those dice in my parents’ basement and eating brownies.  The house is now sold and I can't go home again but this game kept me reminded of when I used to love playing a game for hours.  Seth and I used to torture Jeff for hours changing things up and doing what was least expected and likely but like a true counter puncher he managed to screw up our plans just enough to make us work for what we wanted.

I am sure Lightning Strike has plenty of opportunities to turn evil and become Vanguard's ultimate villain (I have experience in this).  Maybe we can all reunite and battle old age in about ten to fifteen years.

I have mixed feelings about letting my son role play.  Now it is primarily done on line and we can't roll those dice anymore.  I watched Stranger Things on Netflix and related in too many ways but those days are long gone.  I want to use my mother's old fabric cutting board and lay over the plastic once again and use those printers pencils with the peel off tape!  Damn I am old!

It has been great playing and reading and watching us all get older!  LOL!  If only real life could end up like Vanguard, we would all be heroes, but perhaps in different ways we already are!

Take care all,


OOC: In the past couple of years, I've been playing with my boys on and off. I don't have the time to devote and GM a game for them. Usually I get to play a one-shot with them every long weekend.

We do it old style with dice around a table. I've picked up D&D 5th ed and Shadowrun. I keep an eye for kickstarters for anything that might be fun. The one problem is that I have not been able to get them to play V&V (sacrilege!). Might be because there is so much Supers in Movies and whatnot.

Stranger Things was really cool and brought me back too, which sort of spurred me into getting an occasional game setup for the kids.

Seth: Your posts were always awesome. This one is no different. I wish I had the gift of the words as well as you and Jeff do. I'd wax eloquent more often. :)

Kevin: Thank you. I'm glad it worked for you too. I always thought that you had a very novel approach to your character and also were very good at staying in character with your posts. They were some of the funniest and greatest things I've read. The way you intentionally went on bumbling through some situations.. priceless.

All: I want to thank you again for a great time and great adventures. I'll remember this game very fondly.



OOC: Thanks Stephane.  Your insights saved us many times over too!



OOC: I'd really like to thank Jeff for letting me Join the game, and all of you for making it such a rich experience.

This game has been one of my favorite gaming experiences, and probably the best in my adult years.  I wish I had gotten involved sooner, but it was a great run.

Always open to doing it again if the opportunity presents itself, and I'd love to meet any of you in rl if your ever in the Dallas area let me know.

Aperture would probably be one of the next generation of heroes, and would definitely follow in his fathers footsteps.

I can see him becoming a leader of his own team down the road, possibly with Sentinel as a mentor behind the scenes.

Sad to see it end, but I certainly understand, and wish you all, especially Jeff the best.  I'd love to support anything you are working on, I hope we'll all stay in touch.

Farewell for now my brothers from other mothers,




I was planning to finally give you guys the last word.

But I really have to say thanks for everything, especially those kind sentiments. They are entirely mutual and equally heartfelt.

If I ever have time for a Vanguard reunion game, you're all invited of course. This game has been a blast to run, thanks to all of you.

Please keep in touch!

All the best in gaming and life,

Viva Vanguard!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Vanguard: Issue 226: The Return of Cthulhu

After countless millennia, Cthulhu and his pantheon of terrifying madness return to Earth at last.

They would soon remake the world in their horrific image.

And then, the universe.

Vanguard’s sanity is held together by a thread thanks only to Avatar, whose godly presence bolsters the morale of mere mortals.

Through the hole in the sky, beneath the lunar eclipse of the winter solstice, the cyclopean horrific beings writhe and undulate, ready to re-enter the world of Men.

Swastika-Mystic ascends to meet them, chanting with venomous ecstasy:

“’Ai! ‘Ai! Ftaghn! Thanarak! N'gha! Vulg'th! Zhro!”

Sentinel cries above the howl of the World Storm: “Vanguard, the altar and the design on the floor before are linked and imbued with unimaginable arcane power.  Whatever Swastika has done to ensure the dimensional gateway be open for Cthulhu’s entry at the right time – it seems to be the only thing I can perceive holding it all together now. We need to destroy his key to the gateway, or at least remove it from where it can be used by him!”

Avatar nods grimly and summons two more bolts of lightning from the heavens. This time, he doesn’t target Swastika, adorned in the flesh of Mystic and all the Artifacts of Power.  This time, he targets the sorcerous power nexus before the ancient altar.


Lightning strike joins in, firing white hot arcs of crackling electricity from both hands at the lodestone!


Menagerie shouts, "We need to destroy the source of entry!" as he weaves a powerful spell to drain energy from the nexus point of the dread ceremony. [OOC: Two attacks. PR: 36!]

After the devastating onslaught, the smoke clears and Vanguard sees the magical design is cracked.  Eldritch energy sparks from the occult symbol!

Swastika-Mystic turns away from the sundered veil of this reality, looking down at what the heroes have done. “No! Stop!”

Sentinel flies toward him, and sees all the other areas of the temple are connected in micro-ley lines to the altar and the design that evokes “rising steps” or “ascension.”

The golden age hero concentrates and projects his thoughts outwards towards Swastika high in the sky above him; not an attack but, he hopes, a reawakening.  For Swastika wasn’t the contact he wanted to make but rather the prisoner he held mentally and emotionally captive all this time: Mystic.  Mystic!
He reaches out, how his grandfather Lancaster, the original Sentinel, had taught him.
“Mystic!  Mystic!  We need you.  All of existence needs you.  Wake up man!  You are the most powerful magical hero known. We need you! Wake up!” [OOC: Spends 1 Luck Point]

Swastika-Mystic glares at Sentinel.
“No! Damn you! Not yet! It isn’t time! Not ye-eeeaaarrrrggghhh!!!”

Swastika-Mystic suddenly spasms violently in mid-air, a man at war with his own body, limbs lurching and flailing as he hurtles erratically though the storm, writhing, snarling, growling, screaming!
Far below, in the ageless stone courtyard, the ghastly, unliving corpses of the 13 sorcerous supervillains known as the Crimson Coven strike!

With chilling speed, preternatural strength and still-present super powers, the dead lunge at Vanguard!

Avatar withstands the undead malevolence of Superstition; his powers over Fate too much for her bad luck hex.
Sentinel’s shields defend him against the airborne Inferna’s hellfire blast! [OOC: -17 to shields]
Soldier acrobatically rolls with the zombie Demonoid’s vicious claws. [OOC: 15 damage. -8 to Invulnerability. Rolls with 7]
Slingshot is struck by the staff of the twice resurrected Baron Samedi [14 damage. Rolls with 9. 5 from Hits.  Still conscious]
Five Clones are felled by the undead legion of The Witch, The Fly, Pendulum, Mirage and the headless Warlock!
The invisible Aperture is not detected by any of the living dead!
Lightning Strike survives the necrotic claws of Big Bad [13 damage, rolls with 6. 7 to Hits. Still conscious]
Menagerie braves the assault of the revenant of Jack Lantern. [13 damage. Rolls with 3.  Takes 10 from Hits. Still conscious]
The unliving remains of Le Fou and Scarlet Fever miss their targets.

Then the heroes of Vanguard strike back!
Soldier fires explosive rounds into Demonoid and the undead thing collapses to the stone floor.
Slingshot grabs Samedi and hurtles him into the flying Inferna, knocking both of them insensate!
Clone’s army fells The Witch, Pendulum, Mirage and Scarlet Fever!

Above the desperate fray, the form of Swastika-Mystic suddenly stops buckling.
The remaining undead legion of the Crimson Coven that are still standing suddenly collapse!

Something leaves the form of Mystic…

…and merges into Cthulhu!
Mystic cries in his own voice. "I… no! Everyone! Swastika has left my body! But he is entering the body of Cthulhu! That was his master plan all along! Not only to destroy the world by summoning the Great Old Ones, but to possess Cthulhu itself!” he yells in horror.

The titanic thing from beyond space and time suddenly utters an inhuman laugh that chills the blood.
The Swastika-possessed Cthulhu begins to pass through the portal, entering into this universe!

Then Aperture sets his digital “anti-magic” cannon to overload.


It ruptures the seal before the altar. Eldritch energy explodes and dissipates, leaving only a smoking crater.

The rip in the fabric of reality closes, with the Great Old Ones, and the mind of Dr. Swastika, on the other side! The breach seals to a crack of thunder and the shockwave rocks Vanguard back!

Then all goes still.

The interdimensional crack in the sky is gone.

The lunar eclipse wanes and with it, the power of the World Storm.

The Crimson Coven are dead and unmoving.

And Mystic, wearing the Artifacts of Power, still lives.

Vanguard did it.
Vanguard had saved the world!

OOC: Actions for the next hour or so?
Congrats, everyone! Next issue: Experience Points!

Current Conditions: 

Aperture: Hit Points: 15, Power Points: 21, Nanotech: Invisibility
Avatar: Hit Points: 29, Power Points: 35, Manifestation: Heightened Speed, Weather Control
Clone: Bodies: 18, Hit Points: 1, Power Points: 65, Hit Point Pool: 18
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 29, Power Points: 59
Menagerie: Hit Points: 16, Power Points: 27, Form: Man
Sentinel: Hit Points: 28, Power Points: 60, Creation Points: 120, Shields: 83
Slingshot: Hit Points: 23, Power Points: 81, Invulnerability: 0 til Issue 227, Non-regeneratable HP: 42!
Soldier: Hit Points: 31, Power Points: 61, Invulnerability: 0 til Issue 228.


OOC: Worth the wait!


OOC: I enjoyed it. Now, what to do next?


OOC: Awesome issue!!!

Now I need to take a deep breath and figure what next.



[OOC] Wow. I'm not sure what to say there. I didn't think that setting the cannon to overload would do it. Good thinking Jon! Let me know if the next bit is a little too much for you all, but I think it's a valid finish.

[IC] Slingshot looks at the wreckage. Looks at the sky where moments before Cthutlhu was there. The parallels with another world shattering encounter was not wasted on him. He thinks to IT and Nemesis. This combination isn't quite so positive. He felt tired, exhausted. Did we win? At what cost?

He turns to the team. He surveys it. Slingshot is well aware that he was the one that has likely lost the least in this insanity, by pure luck. He walks up to Sentinel put a hand on his shoulder. He reaches out, extends, to all the members present, even Mystic, creating a link between them all, bringing them closer. His own flesh losing cohesiveness due to the large number of individuals and tendrils needed. When the whole team is closer together. He speaks up, overwhelmed at the situation and his own feelings, "The world survives to live another day." he says somewhat flatly, he continues more fervently, "How we continue from here is entirely up to us. You all are my brothers in arms and I trust you with my life. We have done so many times over. While we are Vanguard, I really see you all as my family. Family help and support each other. " Each tendril pulses creating a sense of a hug, "Now, let's pick up the pieces and start new."


OOC: I wouldn't try to follow that Stephane, so Soldier's post would have to be before yours. I also agree good idea on the cannon Jon.

IC: After a moment to catch his breathe, the Patriotic Powehouse's first thoughts are of The Vanguard reserves and The Soviet Super Soldiers. He checks his comm to find out if they require help.

If they don't, he will contact CHESS to request a team to collect the zombie remains.



IC: They did it.  They won!  And for a brief moment he felt exuberance.  He had done something right. He had made a difference.  And then that feeling turned to numbness as the reality of the cost returned. Vanguard as it had been was gone.  All the people he had made a life with, fought the good fight beside, were gone. Aside from these men at his side now and Grey, they were all lost. And then he realized, this wasn’t over yet.

Kirk turned to Mystic, knowing what he had endured … and the power he currently held.  And that they really didn’t know him.
“How are you doing?” he asked Mystic.

As they began to converse Kirk had to know, “How long?”  “How long did he have you?  Was that you back in the 1940’s or him already?”

Kirk needed to understand things.  At this point, at the very least, it had to make sense.  And he had to be able to understand the man standing before them.

“Do you feel he is truly gone?  Prevented from returning as Cthulhu is blocked from doing so?  Can he get back here?”  Kirk had wanted the menace of Swastika ended for good. He was prepared to end no matter the cost.  Now it seemed he was merely out of reach but somehow still out there.
Upon getting those answers and feeling confident they can count Mystic as one of the good guys again, Kirk turned back to Vanguard.

“We have two questions that we need to answer.  And it needs to be all of us that decide here.  First, looking especially to Mystic and Menagerie, ‘can the artifacts fix this?’  Can we fix all damage that has been done since this began?  And I’m not merely talking about our personal losses here, the world as a whole has been devastated by this event and loss of life likely unparalleled. And second, ‘what do we do with them?’ When they come for us, whether we are heralded as heroes or framed as scapegoats for all that has happened, the one thing that is clear is that this much power cannot be held in the hands of one being.  They were separated for a reason.  What do we do with the artifacts now?”

OOC:  Great issue Jeff.  Very glad the team survived the big event and we all had a share in the save.  And three cheers for luck points!  Hope the above doesn't cramp any of your plans but it seemed like it needed to be answered.  Certainly even if one of the good guys, Mystic can't have them for 'safe keeping' and no way we can turn them over to the government.


Menagerie stood still and listened to the world. He tried to reach out to the natural order. "Had his patron survived?" He waited longer. "Had he completed his mission or did the Natural Order still need its champion."

When asked about using the artifacts to heal the earth he said, "I don't know let me consult with Mystic"

Menagerie looked at all the artifacts and when he touched Excalibur ....

{OOC - Jeff I was thinking of somehow using Excalibur as part of Menagerie's next level advancement. I am thinking with Menagerie's connection to Merlin, Arthur, and the Lady of the Lake that he would have some tie to Excalibur. Maybe he absorbs it or something fantastic that you can think up.}

Menagerie will grieve over the loss of Archimedes, Snowball, and all of the Vanguard family.



Once everyone is together Aperture can gate them back.


Slingshot shivers at the memory of that monstrous god. Now that Zwastika merged with that thing, How can we protect ourselves? It will never stop trying to get back here. He looks around. We cannot get caught flat footed again.

He surveys the area, looking for anything that he can bring back and learn from. He will be better prepared next time. [OOC] looking for books, scrolls, anything that would help better prepare us for the next time[/ooc]

He turns to speak to Mystic: " Hand over the artifacts, Mystic. Until we know more, these objects need to be split. One artifact each. I'm sorry about the suspicion, but better be safe than sorry."

Unless we want to debrief here?

Jeff: Having all these artifacts of power, is there a chance to pull a mystical reset button? something that would help the world recover from the ordeal?


As Sentinel and Slingshot approach Mystic to reclaim the Artifacts, the Clones gather together slowly and begin to walk towards them. When the questions are asked about what should be done with the Artifacts and how will they be separated, the Clones digs deeply within themselves and offer to sacrifice part of themselves to protect the world and to hide the Artifacts once again. One of them looks up at Sentinel with says in a soft tone filled selfless regret and understanding, "We can hide them Comrade, we can be taking them to farthest reaches of world where no one will be finding of them and act as their guardians for as long as time allows."

Jeff, GREAT Issue! You actually had me with the 'Well, Earth had a good run while it lasted.' - I couldn't believe it when I read it. I thought to myself, "No freak'n way! We failed?!? Oh my God - Jeff did it - he took the story to 'the crazy place' - holy crap." I started reading the issue with a little fear and thought to myself, "This can't be happening." Absolutely epic conclusion - well done and well written - thank you, I truly enjoyed this part of the Vanguard Saga.

As for the players - thank you one and all - you've all made Vanguard an absolute joy to be a part of - Long Live Vanguard!

As for Clone, he's basically explaining how he is willing to have several of his duplicates cut ties with him (if this is even possible - Jeff's discretion - I believe he was able to 'pull this off' at least one in the past) and hide the Artifacts all around the world (sought of like the knight did with the Holy Grail in the Indiana Jones movie). If this plan is rejected by the other members of Vanguard, Clone will simply reabsorb the Collective and sit quietly in prayer for the next hour (very subtly rocking back and further as he does so), reflecting upon all the death and suffering that's taken place during this chapter of Vanguards chronicles as he does.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Vanguard: Issue 225: Earth's New Masters

Too late, the heroes. Hundreds of human sacrifices had already opened the doorway across the screaming gulfs of oblivion… to Them.

Within an ancient stone courtyard, six stories tall and open to the lunar eclipse of the winter solstice and the raging World Storm, Vanguard would soon die, joining Doc Rocket, Oracle, Archimedes, Shelley Harper and the entire world. Earth had reached the end.

For, adorned in the Artifacts of Power and the body of Mystic himself, Dr. Swastika the sorcerous psionic puppet master, is triumphant.

An unholy halo of mystical energy crackles around the devil as the sky itself is sundered and Earth’s ghastly new masters peer into this dimension with eyes gigantic, alien and malevolent.

At this sanity shattering sight, only Avatar’s supernatural power to bolster the morale of mortals in his presence stops Vanguard from fleeing in madness and terror.

Dr. Swastika makes Mystic’s mouth say:
“Come. Let us battle, as it was meant to be. Now, at the end of all things.
“Come. Make my victory complete, before I ascend beyond all of this.”

Avatar has heard enough. The embodiment of Mythology on Earth uses the power of Zeus to summon lightning down from the World Storm into the open jungle temple of the ancients!


When the deafening roar and the blinding flash fade, Swastika-Mystic still stands, completely unaffected! He chuckles darkly.

Invisible, Aperture races behind Swastika, readying his invention, the digital cannon.

Sentinel flies up, out of what he imagines the range of the anti-magic weapon to be, and uses his energy sense to examine the altar, and the design on the floor before it, and finds them linked and imbued with arcane power. A nexus hub of unimaginable magic.

Slingshot tries to guard Aperture but is unable to find the unseen scion of cyberspace!

Clone turns to Slingshot: "Quickly Comrade Slingshot, you must be shooting me at him!"

Slingshot complies with a smile.  Anchoring himself to two cyclopean stone pillars, the malleable man of might pulls back his elastic arms and hurtles Clone directly at Swastika! In mid-air, Clone instantly multiples into 23 bodies that rain down upon Swastika and harmlessly pass through him and crash headlong into Aperture who is standing behind him!

Swastika-Mystic is but an intangible ghost! An illusion!

Many Clones slam into Aperture… [OOC: 20 hit points damage! Cannot roll with damage due to being Surprised. Takes 20 to hits and remains conscious!]

…as Aperture simultaneously fires his digital cannon at “Swastika!” The beam of static passed through the mirage and hit Slingshot straight in the chest, digitizing part of his supernatural flesh!
[OOC: 18 damage! Cannot roll with damage due to Surprise. 8 from Invulnerability. 10 to hits. Slingshot stays awake.]

Swastika-Mystic laughs as he dissolves into nothingness. A mirror image of the possessed sorcerer-superhero suddenly appears on the other side of the courtyard, identically adorned in the Artifacts of Power.

Sentinel uses his energy sense to confirm that this second Swastika-Mystic is real.

Reeling, Avatar, Lightning Strike, Menagerie and Sentinel hold their attacks!

Suddenly, from out of the treacherous sky parachutes Solider!

The patriotic paratrooper navigates the gale winds with ease and drops into the courtyard. The epic battle between the SSS, the Vanguard Reservists, the Ubermensch and the Japanese Imperial Guard became a skyborn battle of the titans, in and above the clouds. Unable to fly, Soldier realized he would be more useful in this arena of operations and called an audible.

The star-spangled superhero quickly scans the terrain with his bionic eye and gets his bearings as he flashes Vanguard hand signals that confirm his true identity.
[OOC: Everyone, please welcome Jamey to the game, who will be playing the role of Soldier!]

Swastika-Mystic’s black laugh becomes a vicious snarl. “Now. Kill them!”

And the 13 dead bodies of the Crimson Coven, that surround Vanguard, rise from the beyond the grave, including the grisly, headless corpse of the Warlock.

Baron Samedi, Jack Lantern, Le Fou, The Fly, Big Bad, Inferna and Scarlet Fever:

As dead men awaken, Swastika-Mystic ascends to the hole in the sky, chanting with venomous ecstasy:

“’Ai! ‘Ai! Ftaghn! Thanarak! N'gha! Vulg'th! Zhro!”

Actions?!  [Lightning Strike, Sentinel and Menagerie have two attacks next issue. Avatar has three!]


[OOC: One square = 10 feet. ]
Vanguard and the undead revenants of the Crimson Coven are in the open courtyard (M9).
With 23 Clones on the north side of the courtyard, there are over 45 people(!) …too many for me to map clearly.

Swastika-Mystic is 100” (500 feet) directly above the temple now, almost gone to glory.

Seth: The four rough shapes in M9, in square formation, are cyclopean pillars of stone.
The small item in the upper left corner is rubble. The four stars in M8 are statues of gods long past.
The shape south of the altar, that looks like stairs, is a design etched in the floor.]

Current Conditions: 

Aperture: Hit Points: 15, Power Points: 21, Nanotech: Invisibility
Avatar: Hit Points: 29, Power Points: 44, Manifestation: Heightened Speed, Weather Control
Clone: Bodies: 23, Hit Points: 1, Power Points: 67, Hit Point Pool: 23
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 36, Power Points: 85
Menagerie: Hit Points: 26, Power Points: 66, Form: Man
Sentinel: Hit Points: 28, Power Points: 62, Creation Points: 122, Shields: 100
Slingshot: Hit Points: 28, Power Points: 92, Invulnerability: 0 til Issue 227, Non-regeneratable HP: 42!
Soldier: Hit Points: 31, Power Points: 70, Invulnerability: 8


OOC: Ha!  That didn't go as we envisioned.


OOC: It never does...


OOC: I have not read anything, but the title does not bode well.


OOC: Am I the only one thinking that a) The alter is where we should attack, and b) Warlock's head will show up later.

Jeff, As I cannot see how the team's are spread out, is there an area where none of Vanguard is close enough so that Soldier can toss a grenade in? I would not like to hurt the team.


OOC: Jeff, did the anti-magic blast miss the altar or did it not effect it?



OOC: I'd come to the same conclusion.  We have to break the 'key' to the gateway.  Will try to post IC this morning, but I think Aperature sending the altar 'away' (ie digitalize) it may be our best bet here if it were to work.



Been a while since I found time to do a total IC posting... but with the end of the world and all, glad I found the time...

Part I
It was seemingly the end of all things.  After all our loss and pain, and all our planning, it seemed all for naught.  Cthulhu stood ready to breach into our world and Swastika currently wielded the most powerful collection of mystical might known to humankind.  Vanguard’s best hope to vanquish him had failed and all his other possible adversaries were enslaved vessels now his pawns, or deceased… or both.
They still were missing huge pieces of understanding of these events but one thing still seemed clear, the only reason Cthulhu and his minions were peering and not entering was the timing.  Despite the mind-numbing events in gathering the artifacts one thing stood clear… the time, the time Cthulhu could make entry into our universe.  The one thing fixed in all this.
So Kirk did what he did best, calculated based on the known facts, and hoped.  He hoped this one last time he could perceive enough, against all apparent odds, to tip the scales in their favor.  To provide an edge so that good might triumph and innocents might be saved.  So that there might be hope of a better positive future.
“Vanguard, the altar and the design on the floor before are linked and imbued with unimaginable arcane power.  Whatever Swastika has done to ensure the dimensional gateway be open for Cthulhu’s entry at the right time – it seems to be the only thing I can perceive holding it all together now.”
Earlier Kirk had been concerned about sending the magical artifacts to the Digital Dimension, wondering if somehow the energies we defined as mystical meeting head-on an existence based on the building blocks of scientific knowledge, those basic digits of zeroes and ones, might itself become the nexus of the catastrophic event to come.   He held that in reserve in his mind, a last ‘Hail Mary’ if it seemed all hope had been lost.  It appeared now was that time.  With the end of all things here, what matter if such a miscalculation ended things moments sooner?
“We need to destroy his key to the gateway, or at least remove it from where it can be used by him.  ‘Send it away Aperture!’ he shouted, ‘Send it away!’”

Jeff, I’m going to assume no scientific energy type sources going on around here and my thoughts about the combination of those wrong since you didn’t indicate anything at all in that respect but the debris in the room still bothers me.  No other debris around, nothing where it might have come from.  What is the debris… and if it couldn’t be identified quickly we could always say that Kirk used some of his movement while flying to envelop it as he flew upward to examine it (if it is as out of place as it seems to be to me).
As Kirk gains altitude from above and sees the area does the arcane energy of the altar and image seems to spread to other areas of the temple?  Kirk’s gut still feels the image that looks like steps are indeed steps to another place… there are other areas of the temple that have steps that he can now see from above… are any of those areas emanating mystical energy?

Part II
Vanguard faced two problems.  Even if they destroyed the gateway and prevented the arrival of Cthulhu they still had their own ‘Mad God’ to face, who had destroyed all his other opposition and wielded a combined arcane energy never before known.  Whatever destructive force Kirk could muster on his own was a pittance compared to what Swastika possessed – there was simply no way it would be enough to stop him.
So Kirk concentrated.  He centered himself and tried to gather all that he was… it was difficult given recent events.  Even if Vanguard pulled this off, Kirk’s world was gone.  Shelly, his love, along with his unborn child had their life crushed from them.  His mentors and friends of the Liberty Legion and all the courageous fine men and women of Chess that had become his extended family were lost too. And it seemed that at his essence Kirk had been lost with them.  A pitiful shell of what he was waiting to join them.
But he tried.  One last time.  He focused to try to make a difference.  He remembered the training Gramps had given him and wished at this moment he had found the time to complete it so that he would have had a better opportunity for this to actually work.  But he somehow had managed to do this in the past even before beginning his training in the mental disciplines … with the Star Giant… in Vanguard’s first mission, before they were Vanguard, against this very same Emissary of Evil.
He concentrated and projected his thoughts outwards towards Swastika high in the sky above him, not an attack, but he hoped for a reawakening.  For Swastika wasn’t the contact he wanted to make but rather the prisoner he held mentally and emotionally captive all this time.  Mystic.  Mystic!
He hoped against hope he could reach out and reawaken the dormant hero held captive for so long.  Kirk reached out with his inner being, “‘Mystic!  Mystic!  We need you.  All of existence needs you.  Wake up man!  You are the most powerful magical hero known.  I know Swastika has held you captive and beaten … but things are different now.  We need you. Everyone and everything needs you!  And Swastika isn’t the only one with access to all the most powerful magical talismans known to mankind… YOU HAVE IT TOO!  Wake up and access the power he had brought into YOUR possession!  Be the hero you have always been again… Remember!  Remember who you are and what you know!  MYSTIC HELP US!”

Jeff – So the above really isn’t an attack but I’m guessing it will count as such if you allow the opportunity.   Although Kirk’s powerset doesn’t include reaching out like this as of yet his doing this isn’t without precedent.  And he has had training since that time.
Kirk will expend a luck point to make contact and to hopefully reawaken Mystic.  It is actually a good play here – Swastika may have dominated Mystic but whatever is left in there if him he is now in contact with all of the same arcane energy from the artifacts and there has to be something he can do to wield some of it.
Kirk may also need to fly higher towards Swastika or fend off an attack of his if he takes notice of him.  Guess you can decide on that or whether the above takes all his actions or what not.  I think all of the above is still just ‘one attack’ but you can let me know and/or hold the second until next issue.

Viva Vanguard!



OOC: I need a GM ruling. Will Menagerie's Essence of Life spell work on the Altar's energy. I want to drain it of its magical energy.



Thanks everyone.

OOC GM Replies:

Tom:  The altar wasn't targeted or hit by the anti-magic cannon. Swastika-Mystic was targeted and Slingshot was hit.
Essence of Life use is allowed only because Menagerie is a sorcerer type.

Seth: No scientific equipment.
Debris is stone rubble. It's not out of place. This is an ancient ruin.
Again, the altar and the design on the floor before it are the magical energy nexus.  Sentinel detected nothing equivalent in his range.
Reaching out to Mystic telepathically is a legitimate action attempt. Results, if any, to come next issue.

Jamey:  It's too crowded with friendlies in here for safe grenade use. There are 23 clones, and every zombie member of the crimson coven is closing with a hero. Sorry.

Hope I answered all your OOC questions. Please let me know if I missed any. Thanks.



As he approaches Vanguard, "I thought that I would lend a hand........and I can't think of a better group of people to face a possible Armageddon with."

As the Coven moves forward he replies. "Does anybody have a preference of who they want to dance with?"

OOC: Soldier unless otherwise directed will fight whomever comes toward him. If there is enough distance away he will use his pistol, or if range does not permit it he will pull his baton and prepare for hand to hand.


OOC: Thanks Jeff.

And Sentinel reaching out to Mystic with hope seemed to be a very Kirk-like action, coming full circle here... and really - Mystic is the most powerful mage known to the heroes and he is in direct physical contact with the most powerful mystical energies known the the universe - if even a small part of him becomes aware of that you have to think he can do something with it...



Menagerie uses his movement to activate his Willpower Defense.

Menagerie's first action will be to use Essence of Life on the Altar. "We need to destroy the source of entry!"

If the Altar is still function on Menagerie's next action and the Essence of Life had a noticeable impact (including Menagerie experiencing the spells PR costs of draining his power equally) he will use Essence of Life again and any luck points he has left of increase the drain.

If the Alter was not effected by his attack, he will hold his action until next turn.

If the Altar is gone because of other attacks, the Menagerie will use Essence of Life on Dr. Swastika.

If the Altar is gone and Mystic is fighting Swastika or taken control of his body away from Swastika, he will hold his action for next issue.



Soldier will evade and fire his explosive rounds. If any of the team seems to be in trouble, then he will move to assist.


OOC: Love the idea of reaching out to Mystic brilliant.

IC: Aperture gets up after being struck by Clone, and listens to his teammates regarding the focus of the ceremony.  Still invisible, he hopes to evade the "Zombie Coven".  He knows he doesn't have enough energy to switch powers again to open a portal to send the altar through.  Instead, he moves as close as he can get to it, and sets the Digital Cannon to overload.  Hopefully, this will diarupt the ceremony, and maybe drop some Zombies...

Viva Vanguard,




OOC: Jeff, how close are the zombies to the recently injured team members, and are they moving towards them?



I'll try to create some chaos and maybe improve my bowling score. Reach out and grab Demonoid and throw him at as many of them as possible, If I can catch baron samedi in the gang or inferna, all the better.



Due to the close-quarters nature of the immediate situation - the Clones will immediately engage as many of the recently risen zombies in hand-to-hand combat as possible. Hopefully the confusion of this mass-melee will; at the very least, provide the other members of Vanguard with an opportunity to pull off something dramatic against Mystic ( i.e. I'm hoping the army of Clones can keep the zombies busy if nothing else).

A super-simple plan; but with any luck, an effective one.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Vanguard: Issue 224: At The End of All Things

The countless corpses before the temple mean that the ritual has begun.  Perhaps it has already been completed! Either way, only scant minutes remain before the stars are right and Great Cthulhu can return to Earth at last.

The Vanguard Reserves and the Soviet Super Soldiers had drawn off the Ubermensch and the Japanese Imperial Guard, that Vanguard can act freely.
Without hesitation, Earth’s mightiest heroes hurtle into the black maw of the ancient Mesoamerican temple, tracking the artifacts of power by their unique energy signature through ageless corridors.

Vanguard rockets over the timeless stones, painfully aware that time is running out… for them, and for everyone on Earth.

They burst into an open stone courtyard, six stories tall and open to the lunar eclipse of the winter solstice, and the raging World Storm.

There they find Mystic, the superhero wizard of World War 2, made prisoner in his own flesh by the mad science-sorcerer, Dr. Swastika, who cruelly possesses Mystic’s body now.

He has the artifacts of power.  In fact, he is wearing them:

In one hand he holds the Spear of Destiny from the Lost Lab of Dr. Swastika behind the Iron Curtain.

In the other hand, he holds Excalibur, taken from Broceliande Forest in France.

On his belt is the Sacrificial Dagger of the Maya, recovered from the Crimson Coven in New Jersey.

On a finger is the Ring of Eon, found with the Liberty League in the mid-Atlantic circa 1943.

On another finger, encased within a ring, is the Splinter of the True Cross, taken from Black Bat.

Around his neck hangs the Stone Idol of Cthulhu from the Ruins of Remorse in the Lost Lands.

Atop his head sits an Iron Crown of which Vanguard knows nothing.

The Green Gem and the Bronze Mirror of Ancient China are not visible.  Perhaps they are secreted beneath his cloak.

(OOC: Mystic/Swastika is the red “S.”  Vanguard are the blue “V.” One square = 10 feet.
The shape due north behind Mystic is a design in the floor.  Beyond that, an altar.
Vanguard had just travelled via M1, M2 and M8.)
Magical energy crackles around Mystic, the artifacts forming micro ley lines, a web of arcane power.

Broken, at his feet, are both factions of the Crimson Coven. The Warlock’s head has been severed from his shoulders.

There is no one else here.

A deafening peal of thunder heralds a fearsome crack in the sky itself, forming beneath the eclipse of the moon. Eerie, otherworldly light, in colors unknown to Man, shines from it horrifically, as the rift grows wider and wider.

Dr. Swastika makes Mystic’s mouth say:
“Vanguard. At last. Cutting it rather close, don’t you think? 
“Come. Let us battle, as it was meant to be. Now, at the end of all things.
“Come. Make my victory complete, before I ascend beyond all of this.”


Current Conditions: 
Aperture: Hit Points: 35, Power Points: 22, Nanotech: Invisibility
Avatar: Hit Points: 29, Power Points: 44, Manifestation: Heightened Speed, Weather Control
Clone: Bodies: 1, Hit Points: 23, Power Points: 67, Hit Point Pool: 23
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 36, Power Points: 85
Menagerie: Hit Points: 26, Power Points: 66, Form: Man
Sentinel: Hit Points: 28, Power Points: 70, Creation Points: 140
Slingshot: Hit Points: 38, Power Points: 92, Invulnerability: 8, Damage that can’t be regenerated: 42!


OOC: So we need to use coordination in taking him down.  He will be all that he can be: fast, strong, impervious and deadly.

I assume this anti-magic cannon will be of great help. So I'll stay back and protect Aperture so he can attack accordingly.

I would like to see if anyone else focus on either taking him down or taking artifacts away from him.

Here are some Option:, as I'm slow, I expect Swastika to act well before me. I may not be able to protect Aperture as I expect I want to do.
1- Swastika disables Aperture somehow and we need to get the cannon in action: Slingshot will take the gun and go for it.
2- Slingshot will step in harm's way to absorb any hits destined for Aperture
3- Swastika hasn't moved against Aperture and Slingshot has an action at the end of the turn, I'll hold my action for next turn.


Menagerie has the choice of make a Devitalization attack, firing his pistol, or attempting to grab an artifact. He will be one of the last to act.

Which do we want to do on the first round? Everyone pound him or split between attack and grab?



Aperture will use his invisibility to get behind Swastika, and blast him with the Digital Cannon, hopefully disrupting the ceremony.


He will hold his action until the last phase (moment) of the turn. If Vanguard needs help stopping Dr. Swastika and the Anti-Magic cannon didn't work he will Essence of Life spell (Devitalization Ray).

If the Anti-Magic cannon worked he will use his pistol to shoot Dr. Swastika. unless no one is near him then he will toss a grenade.

If Vanguard is winning against Dr. Swastika then he will grab an Artifact and run in a direction away from anyone else with Dr. Swastika or Vanguard but no where near the WWII Super Villains.

If none of the actions make sense in the current situation then hold his action to next turn.

Menagerie said "Viva Vanguard! Save the world and lets stop this foul menace once and for all. It is the end of all things Dr. Swastika!"



OOC: At this point can we assume the broken bodies of the Coven are strewn around the room?  Do they appear unconscious-dead-or a mix-or can we just not tell at this point?

From energy read standpoints and vision - I know mystical energy has to be an insane level around Mystic currently - what about other areas of the room?  What are Kirk's perceptions?  Or primary concern"
(1) the altar
(2) the design on the floor (what is it?  looks like steps --- and when we dealt with the Coven earlier wasn't there something like that which actually led from one area to another?)
(3) what are the four images somewhat circular forming the edges of what could be a square of some sort?  Are they just stones in the temple or something new?  Can they be smashed and/or moved?
(4) What is the little item at the top left corner of the room?  (this looks really out of place - is this tech?)
(5) What were the four items with stars in the middle that way passed in M8?

... I won't ask about the other rooms since as PCs we haven't seen them ...
And here is a big question - does Kirk perceive any sort of high tech energy influences in the area?  They should stick out as a sore thumb in comparison to all the mystical stuff going on here.  Swastika has always been about the blend of science and 'magic' - maybe despite having the most powerful magical artifacts known science holds they key...

At this point once I get a read of what is around us I think one possibility is Kirk using his actions to disrupt the physical components of the room which would hopefully upset something Swastika needs here... or
What is the range of the anti-magic weapon?  Since the room isn't enclosed but open to the outside I'm thinking Kirk could take off upward at his top speed (yes, I know its not much) a if he is fleeing and giving up to distract Swastika from the others so that they can deploy the anti-magic weapon and hopefully he will get out of its range so he can return still with his powers intact and able to do something afterward.



OOC: Here's another thought. ZOMBIES

Would not be surprised if he's going to turn all the coven into Zombies and all of a sudden we have to deal with a dozen more enemies.

Anything we can do to clear the place fast?




Ok - time to go all superhero on this guys ass! Clone has a plan, it's last minute, risky, foolish, implosive, and probably not well thought out . . . but this is Clone we're talking about here, not Batman lol. Basically he wants Slingshot to latch onto the two pillars between Vanguard and Swastika, and literally form a giant slingshot in order to fire Clone at Swastika. If all goes according to plan, Clone will replicate as fast as physically possible in order to act as a shotgun blast against Swastika. Hopefully Swastika won't be able to take out all the duplicates flying at him and the Clone Collective will be able to knock him over like a bowling ball. If they're able to get their hands on him, the duplicates will start swarming him with more duplicates in order to bog him down. He realizes that this plan could go to hell in a heartbeat; but with the fate of all existence riding in the balance, he's ready to take that chance. With any luck, Clones shotgun swarm attack will distract Swastika long enough that the rest of Vanguard can get into place and put the beating of a life time on him.

Clone knows he can't beat Swastika with this move, but maybe he can buy the other members of Vanguard some time so that they can.

For all you X-Men fans out there, think of this as a crazy-ass version of Wolverine and Colossus's Fastball Special.


Clone quickly turns to Slingshot and says desperately, "Quickly Comrade Slingshot, you must be shooting me at him!"

Talk to you guys soon,



OOC: Ah! Now that's interesting! Slingshot is all about Fastball Specials. :)


OOC: Awesome! I was really hoping you would like that idea. Worst case scenario, the plan fails horribly and we all have a great laugh at Clone's expense lol


Avatar will try to smite Swastika with lightning prior to anyone else acting and then will hold an action to evaluate what effect everyone has.


OOC: If it appears the anti-magic cannon will be deployed and Kirk can get out of the range before it happens so he can attack afterward with his powers that would still work.