Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Issue 41: Big Trouble in Big City!

Big City, Queens. Investigation Day Two, 7:05pm

Vanguard’s desperate battle with the deadly professionals of Homicide for Hire continued!

The Mercenary’s communications were out. He had to yell orders to his team of extranormal eliminators. “Reform the line!” he barked over the chaos of the battle but few could hear him!

Symbiote’s new ears could hear the Mercenary, and his new reflexes beat Hyena to the mark!
"Time to get fixed, little doggy!" the Myrmidon of Mimicry snarled as he launched himself at the hirsute hitman, attacking with all the savagery his newly borrowed powers could muster! Symbiote’s new claws ripped deep, drawing blood and an angry howl from the Hyena! RRIIIPPPP!

The Hyena’s animal hearing also detected Jim Harrik’s voice even at that distance. He would obey the Mercenary… in a moment. First he snarled to his dubious doppelganger, “I’ll skin you alive for that.”
All mirth and merriment had left the monstrous murderer. He pounced like a wild animal, lacerating Symbiote with his razor sharp claws! SHHRREDD! (21 points of damage! Symbiote rolls with 9 and takes 12 off hits!) The bestial duo was evenly matched. Experience gave Hyena an advantage! Intelligence gave Symbiote his! Following the Merc’s orders, Hyena withdrew across the parkway.

The Mercenary scanned the smoking battlefield from the high ground, cursing the dead communications. His binoculars fell upon the unaccounted for extranormal anomaly: Symbiote.
Most everything else was going according to plan… except for him. He had Hyena’s powers. Who else could he copy? Harrik’s caution had kept him alive and out of jail this long. Deciding to tie off this loose end now, Harrik slung the grenade launching carbine. Slingshot could wait.
The Mercenary kept something special on him in case Hyena got out of line. Might be useful here. Worth the shot. Couldn’t hurt. The Mercenary pulled a light rifle off his back. He loaded it with silver bullets, fell to one knee, took aim through the telescopic sights and fired. BLAMM! BLAMM!
Both silver bullets tore into Symbiote’s body! (OOC: 20 points of damage for the bullets (Harrik has Heightened Attack), doubled because they are silver = 40 points! Symbiote rolls with 8 and takes 32 to hit points! He’s still conscious, but Owch!) The loss of communications suddenly bothered Harrik less.

Kairos, meanwhile, balanced upon a steel girder and waited before the swirling ebon mist portal. He swung a weighted line in a lazy arc. The other end of the line was tied around a precariously perched cement mixer. Nothing came through the portal and the destined demi-god waited.
Then Kairos sensed something. Two sardonic, sly eyes peered out from the mist, observing him. Then they were gone. Suddenly, the portal began to shrink in upon itself!
The avatar of antiquity was forced to act! Recklessly, he dropped his anchored line and leapt off the 50th story of the unfinished skyscraper out into mid-air at the dissipating portal! (Continued below!)

Forester simply shrugged at the baleful blank eyes of Zero-G, turned to yet another new foe and fired a Flare Arrow at the Mercenary, who had been directing the enemy ensemble with binoculars in hand safely outside the battle lines. "News flash," the hero called out.
The trick-shot troubleshooter’s aim was true as ever, but the arrow didn’t strike its intended target!...

Penumbra saw to that! Mere moments before the arrow would have struck its bullseye, a circular black mist mysteriously manifested in mid air along the arrow’s trajectory. It was about 3 feet in diameter and spiraling like a galaxy. The arrow flew into it and disappeared!
A second mist portal materialized in front of Forester and the arrow sailed out of it and detonated! Pop! A bright white burning flare ignited, casting blinding light to the eyes of all who beheld it! Forester caught his own Flare Arrow full in the face. He was blind! Both small swirling mist-rifts remained open.

Lightning Strike turned his attention to Zero G. "Your time of retribution has arrived. You took your shot, now it's time for mine!" SHAKKOWW! A blast of lightning exploded from Strike’s hand, rising upward like a lightning bolt in reverse. It pierced Zero G and kept rising to the sky! The anti-gravity assassin was hurt but still active! Then, Lightning Strike closed on the Mercenary’s location. "We can't let the Merc attack from a distance and let him pick us off! We need to bring the fight to him!”

Zero G shook off the attempted electrocution. His alien, blank eyes glowing with crackling star energy, he saw the Merc move off of Slingshot, so Zero G resumed attempts to acquire the envelope. From 100 feet above the ground, he gestured one hand and a pulse of gravitational force fired from his body and slammed down into Slingshot like an invisible fist. WHHUUUMMPPP! (OOC: 17 points! Invulnerabilty takes 8, Slingy can’t roll with any of it and takes 9 off hit points) Scott was knocked flat and pinned to the ground! The force was crushing his chest, inexorable and unstoppable!

Sentinel repowered his shields and laughed at the Atomic Brain with mockery and derision.
“Just so you understand what really is happening here,” Kirk removed his mask ever so briefly, revealing his handsome youthful vigor. “Behold the ravages of time! I only wish you still had physical eyes to see for yourself, but I’m sure you ‘get the picture’… I'm sorry to see that time has left you as merely some disembodied grey matter with delusions of grandeur clutching on to that tin can hanging near you posing as a body… and for that reason, I do pity you.”
Indicating the Brain’s unimportance, Kirk turned and flew back towards the battle scene. His aura took the appearance of a 1940’s G-Man as he landed near Jim Harrik atop the elevated train tracks, forcing the Mercenary to turn to face him. “So, are we going to do this the easy way or the hard way?”

The Atomic Brain gave in to madness and he screamed. Even through the electro-speaker box, the inhuman scream clearly and painfully transmitted soul-aching anguish, self doubt, extreme isolation, loss of everything including loss of one’s self, and failure of a magnitude unimaginable.
His force field flickered and sparked as he violently exploded upward in flight, to chase his life’s tormentor, Sentinel. Hurtling through the air, radioactivity leaking off of his form, he didn’t stop screaming. By the time he caught up with the beacon of liberty, the scream was a raging cry of pure hate. The hate formed words. “KIIIILLL… YYOOOOOUU!!!”
The Odinium body fired its atomic death ray at Sentinel but rage ruined his aim!
The Brain missed Sentinel and almost struck the Mercenary but the Merc heard the Brain coming and nimbly got out of the way. VVWOOOOMMmmmmMM! When the terrible green beam stopped, 25 cubic feet of the elevated train track structure had completely disintegrated! The Brain screamed louder.
The Mercenary shouted angrily: ‘Doc Bot! Get yourself under control!!”

Slingshot was starting to wonder if this hero biz was all it was cracked up to be. Pinned, hurt, burning, and still deaf he stretched his neck and limbs experimentally and suddenly, he could hear again! Panicking cars screeching on the parkway, shattering glass, bystanders screaming, parked car alarms wailing, men shouting, and the inhuman scream of the Atomic Brain; it all hit the big hero at once. The elastic avenger’s head must have left the silence field that the unconscious Silencer’s device was still generating!
Slingshot saw the Mercenary, a king on a chessboard watching from behind the pieces he expertly deployed. Well, the long arm of the law was catching up with Harrik today… literally. From his prone position, Slingshot threw a punch that was a quarter mile in the making. The giant fist caught the Mercenary unawares due to the deadly onslaught of the Atomic Brain. KER-RACKKK! The impact knocked the Merc back and off the tracks! Harrik grabbed onto the edge and hung from the elevated track! Then Slingshot heard something behind the Brain’s scream. A horn! A train was coming!
Sentinel heard it too! In fact, he could see it!

Kairos, for the third time today, experienced the disorientating sensation of moving through the spaces between space. The interdimensional void’s blackness let go of his eyes and the fated fighter was suddenly in mid air again!

Leaving the vanishing portal that had teleported the Sentinel One to the construction site, Kairos was now 20 feet above the elevated tracks of the 7 train! And the 7 train was on it! BANG! Kairos crashed down atop the first car of the moving train and almost flew off it but he grabbed a roof rung and hung on! (7 points of falling damage. Kairos rolls with all of it.) The train was leaving Shea Stadium, packed with fans from the doubleheader’s first game, and heading straight for the epic battle between Vanguard and Homicide for Hire!
Hanging on with one arm, Kairos squinted and blinked! The tracks ahead were gone… completely evaporated! A 25 foot hole, 20 feet above the street, was hurtling toward them! The train operator slammed the breaks and blew the horn, but Kairos knew the train would never be able to stop in time!

Everyone was now aware of a 7 train barreling toward the gaping maw created by the Atomic Brain!!

To be continued!

OOC: Between turns bookkeeping:
Slingshot kept burning from the thermite in the Mercenary’s grenade. His black rubbery skin continued crackling and melting! (OCC: 10 points! He rolls with 7. Takes 3 from hits)

Forester rubbed the spots from his eyes and regained his vision! Then he quickly scanned the area for Penumbra who had been acting from hiding for too long. The hawk-eyed hero spotted the space-bending supervillainess’ current location! (see map)

Kairos: You didn’t use your “attack” this issue. Next issue, you have 2 “attacks” and one “move.”)

Current Conditions:
Forester: Hit Points: 21, Power Points: 62
Kairos: Hit Points: 44, Power Points: 65
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 28, Power Points: 64
Sentinel: Hit Points: 20, Power Points: 41, Creation Points: 82 out of 82 into shields
Slingshot: Hit Points: 32, Power Points: 63, Invulnerability: 0 until issue 43
Symbiote-Hyena: Hit Points: 35, Power Points: 76


"Yeeoowch," thought the wounded Duplicating Dynamo, as he loped forward, cradling his injuries. "Well, nobody said this was going to be easy."

Symbiote quickly assessed the situation, and found himself becoming angry. Hal had studied extranormals and their powers for years. There was still much to learn on the subject, but he had come to one inescapable conclusion--being an extranormal was a gift. It was a privilege, being given these powers so far beyond those of mortal men. Monsters like these Homicide for Hire criminals were abusing their gifts, gifts that should be used in the service and protection of mankind. Maybe Hal wasn't a real extranormal, maybe his powers were only borrowed and temporary--but he wasn't going to let selfish, venal goons like the six before him destroy innocent lives or squander their own abilities in the name of evil. He leapt forward and....

(OOC: And exactly what he does next depends on the situation, and how fast he can move. The map seems to place me awful far from the center of action, not sure I can do anything within the next round. Nevertheless, here are my three options, in order of preference and, unfortunately, probably also in order of improbability.

1) Using the superhuman strength speed and agility borrowed from Hyena, Symbiote bounds up the elevated track superstructure to Sentinel. "Hi, my name is Symbiote. I'm here to help," he says to the Symbol of Liberty as he touches him on the shoulder. Upon absorbing his powers, Symbiote creates tracks for the barrelling train to cross while levitating himself out of the way. "I've got the train handled," Symbiote tells Sentinel. "Take out one of the villains!"

2) He bounds forward to Slingshot. "Hello, I'm Symbiote," he tells the Vulcanized Vanguard. "Big admirer of yours. In fact, for the next few minutes, I'd like to be just like you!" He then touches Slingshot, and reaches up to grapple Zero G. The idea is to grab ahold of the levitating villain, encircle him with my arms and then pulling the rest of my body up so that I completely ensnare him and constrict him with Slingshot's super strength. It'll be pretty tough for him to use amplified gravity on me if I'm literally wrapped around his body.

3) He bounds after the retreating Hyena. "Leaving so soon, Laughing Boy?" he snarls. "We weren't done with our dance yet!" and attacks the snickering slayer again.

Let me know which of these is possible, and if you have any questions)

Best regards,

It's amazing how a little sleep will clear your head. If I am allowed to go forward with option 1--reaching Sentinel and absorbing his power--and if by the time I get there he's already created the tracks, I will instead use his power to create shields to protect us both, since I assume most of his creation points will go into the tracks, leaving him vulnerable to the Atomic Brain).

(OOC: Looks like the runaway train upon which I happen to be riding is a "Sentinel save". I certainly can't stop a speeding locomotive and I can't think of anyone else, with the possible exception of Slingshot, who could do anything about it. Therefore....

Some questions:
1. Do I know that Mercenary is hanging from the tracks?
2. What can I do with two "attacks" and one "move"?

Several scenarios spring to mind:
1. Use the com to ask Sentinel to create a simple funnel slide that I can jump on and be carried under the tracks to attack Mercenary. This may not be possible due to timing or because he might have to use the bulk of his creation points to make rails and/or hold off the Atomic Brain. If this WERE possible, then I would try to hit him in mid-air and knock him off the tracks and then hit the ground rolling and ready to fight him ASAP.
2. Use the forward momentum of the train to heighten my damage as I leap from it and slam into Hyena feet-first and then bash him with the ol' staff. While I'm agile, I would probably go ahead and use a luck point to attempt to ensure that I make the jump rather than unheroically splattering myself on something.
3. Run toward the back of the train, trusting that Sentinel is going to save it, and then jumping off onto the tracks around where Mercenary is (whether I know it or not) and then being able to (finally) get in the fight (unless Penumbra teleports me somewhere else, that is).

Final answer will depend on answers to the questions above and some more thought.)

As the train roars onward, Kairos again resorts to the teachings of the Stoic philosophers in calm acceptance, gauging the situation that he is approaching...


In the wake of the blinding flare from his misdirected arrow, Forester tries to seize the moment and use his camouflage skills to duck out of the limelight (if possible).

Even though he had trained with the blind Marksman and worked with the eye-patched Brian Grey, this was the first time Forester had actually considered what might happen if he himself lost one of his senses or became physically impaired in some other way.

With his vision in tact, the wide-eyed weapons master moves toward Penumbra. His goal: To approach discreetly (if possible) and fire a silver-colored impact arrow at Penumbra, the "portal princess."


OOC: First off - Greg - loved the posting. Looks like Kirk has found a kindred spirit on the team ... and with you and Kairos aboard we'll be leaning even further towards the "heroic" ideal.
In order for Kirk to move ahead, I'll need to know exactly which way Symbiote is going to act ... and a couple of other comments for you and Jeff to consider so you can determine your actions.

First off, Kirk has to act to save the train no matter what (unless someone else does it first); there's no question at this point that is his first imperative here, that's his "weakness", although when developing the character I viewed it as part of his personality, and a strength.
I believe at this point that I can do this as part of "movement"; and still get an "attack" this turn; assuming I'm not pounded to pieces by multiple hits.

I've no problem with Symbiote duplicating Kirk's powers, but judging from your "duplication" of Hyena. I think if you duplicate my powers that is your "attack" for this turn and you don't get to actually use them until next turn; which means you can't do anything else. In addition, forming any moving creation if a turn for me, so you wouldn't' get to "attack" for two turns, although you could create the shields as a defense within one.

Jeff and I just discussed, inanimate creations, which are movement and not action expenditures, which may actually work here, but again, I don't think you could do that until the next turn if your action is duplicating my power.

Jeff, can you give me an estimate of the minimum number of creation points I would need to use for an inanimate creation to meld with the tracks to allow the train to pass? (You just wanted to come up with a reason for me to use this power didn't you??? :) )

My initial reaction is to just spread out my current creation to form the tracks, but I'd like some of the stats on the inanimate. It also appears that I'm going to have to try to materialize a creation within the Brain's shield (whether it works or not) since everyone is occupied so a team-up against him isn't possible just yet.

A couple of other factors involved for Greg, I don't know how your power works versus the damage you've taken, but from a hit points standpoint, Kirk is the weakest, and if your prior physical damage in the Hyena attack continues with you while absorbing Kirk's powers and transferred, you'd be in bad shape. I'm just pointing this out for you and for Jeff to explain since I don't know how familiar you are with the game rules, etc and I'm certainly not that familiar with them or your powers to explain it, but I noticed it as a concern.

Second, Kirk's shields are up so I don't know how well you'd be able to absorb his powers at this point - if you need physical contact or just proximity. We might have a situation where Kirk would need to allow you to touch him, (ie lower his shields in the location you were approaching him) which might be questionable (at least in your thought process since we haven't had previous contact and you are an unknown entity at this point) --- and Jeff, you'd have to let me know if I've had enough of a view to see that Symbiote is on our side here since Kirk just arrived back at this part of the battle scene and I don't know how much or if anything was picked up via our communicators.

One thing this battle has showed me is speed plays a major role in the actions and Kirk is also the slowest on the team, again another thing to take into account in your choice; Kirk goes last among the heroes and the "landscape" can change between turns before he gets his action to a great extent (ie witness the first round).

Finally, I don't know if you absorb character's "rested/full" powers or current-power levels, but if its "full" then from a power standpoint Slingshot seems to be the team powerhouse based on the damage he can inflict and the damage he can take.

And since we're discussing plans between characters (which we always used to do during the game, but don't do much via email since we're not sitting around the same table), if you can absorb without physically touching the entity, the Brain seems to be "untouchable" by any single character due to his defensive forcefield and has that incredibly nasty "death-ray" so you might want to think about him. Kirk has spent all his time up until now just trying to keep the rest of the team out of the path of his deathray (which has been successful) and try to figure out a way past that forcefield (not so successful).

Kirk was hoping to get the Brain back to the scene of the battle where a number of Vanguard could hit him all at once and hopefully penetrate his shields; and I thought Slingshot had one of the best shots since he seems to do much damage plus never seems to miss hitting his target, but currently Slingshot has more problems than he can handle. And speaking of Slingshot, does anyone know that he is still on fire and burning? Is this something apparent to Kirk or the rest of the team? If so, is there a possibility that Kirk could extend part of his creation to put a virtually "skintight" aura around Slingshot for a moment to deprive the fire around him of air and extinguish it - we could communicate this via our communicators so he'd allow it. But you'd have to let me know the possibility of doing (again using movement) along with using another part of my creation to form the tracks and an estimate of how quickly it would take the flames to extinguish in this manner ... and I would think Slingshot would have to "hold" further actions until this was accomplished, could it be done within a turn?

Just some additional thoughts and inquiries so we can decide the actions we take. Hope none of this was too much Jeff. Thanks.


PS It's always more productive to ask forgiveness than permission. :)


OOC: Good thoughts, all of them. The deal breaker, however, is that your shields are up. I can't absorb powers through a force field.

I'd wanted to do this because I'm operating from a vantage point of "The Three Laws of Superheroics" recently adopted in the otherwise mediocre Shadowpact comic from DC. One of the few interesting things from that title was their adoption of three laws, based on Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. To wit:

1) A superhero will always act to protect innocent lives.

2) A superhero will always act to protect his own life and the lives of his allies, unless to do so would contradict law one.

3) A superhero will always do his best to defeat a villain and his machinations, unless to do so would contradict law one or two.

So I really wanted to help save the train, and hopefully keep the Brain from cooking you. But if your Shields are up, the point is moot. I assume I could see these Shields so Jeff, unless I'm committed (and if I am, that's the way the cookie crumbles), I'd like to scratch option 1 off my list and either go with option 2 or 3. Not sure I could've gotten there in one round anyway.
Thanks for the help Seth. Looking forward to working with you if we survive this.


GM OOC Replies:
Replies to Symbiote: Leaping across the parkway isn't a problem for you with Hyena's abilities. But...
Re: Option 1: Symbiote sees that Sentinel has an energy field surrounding his body that would make touch impossible without Sentinel's permission. Since you're a stranger (who was fighting the Hyena, but out of view of Sentinel) you might not get it. You can alter your action, and I’ll charge a 5 point delay in your initiative.
(Hey Sentinel, if Symbiote copies your powers, that would include your Energy Sense which enables you to identify extranormals. You just spent an Inventing Point to help prevent its discovery! And since you can’t read minds (yet), Symbiote’s intentions are unknown to you. His voice wasn’t caught on communicators. Harrik isolated him early on, with Hyena on the other side of the parkway. )
Re: Option 2: Your attack on Zero G would have to wait, because you will use the "attack" phase of your action absorbing new powers from Slingshot.
Let me know what you want to do. Thanks.

I like the Laws of Superheroes.
You mention saving the lives of the hero, his allies and innocents, but what about saving the lives of supervillains? If an unconscious villain falls in the way of a lava flow, should the hero save him? Is that law 4? Maybe it is for guys like Sentinel?
What about gratuitously killing villains unnecessarily in terms of stopping them and protecting innocents, like Wolverine does and Batman doesn’t?

Replies to Kairos: You don't know Harrik is hanging from the tracks. Your detect hidden is 17% and you didn't make it. This probably rules out action option 1, but the others seem fine.
You have two attacks and one move this issue. Normally you get one of each, but because you saved your attack waiting at the portal, you can carry it over. This means you can attack twice this issue. Twice against the same target, once against two targets. Up to you.

Replies to Forester: Your camouflage ability is nature-based and you are in one of the most urban areas on Earth! However, it’s night, so I’ll give you a partial bonus to your chances. But not the full ability.
Replies to Sentinel (and Symbiote): Sentinel could technically create an inanimate structure to fill the hole with movement and still retain an action.
However, to hold a train up will likely require plenty of creation points, leaving you with few left as “armor”. Every “creation point” represents 50 lbs. of carrying capacity. So, if all your creation points were put into use in this task, that would be 82 points. They could support 4100 lbs, or a little over 2 tons. Might be enough. But any creation point (whether animate or inanimate) that is expending its energy holding up a train can’t be serving as armor, or a power blast or any other activity!
Sentinel’s weakness (or strength) might force him to sacrifice protection to save the train!

One thing that might help you is to use your “attack” to “evade” which is a one-turn long action that makes it harder for people to hit you. You get the 10s digit of your power as a negative to be hit (-4 currently). And remember, the Brain is suffering negatives to hit right now. Or you could not evade to attempt to create a construct inside Brain’s shields. If you devote 5 points to attempting that it shouldn’t hurt your train efforts.

The damage Symbiote takes while he has Hyena’s powers will be proportioned to his own hit points.

Seth, Slingshot doesn’t have a great “to hit” chance. He attacked Silencer, who had no defenses when it comes to the “to hit” charts that don’t factor armor. And he did hit the Mercenary, but Harrik was unaware due to your hijinx with the Atomic Brain, so it made it lots easier to hit him, since his Heightened Defense ability only works when aware.

Everyone within eyeshot of Slingy (see map) can see that he’s burning. An issue of combat is about 8-15 seconds (except for matters of dialogue), so that’s how long a skintight “casing” around Slingshot would be in place this issue to attempt to put out the fire. The points it would require is up to you, and again, you would be pulling from the train structure. Probably less than 5, if it works?


OOC: As I say, attempting to copy Sentinel at this point seems like an unworkable idea in general, so I'll take the five point penalty and stick with option 2. Need to help out Slingshot before he ends up looking like one of those strips of tire tread you see semi trucks shedding on the highway.

Just for edification and entertainment I dug out my copy of "Shadowpact #11" and looked up the Three Universal Laws of Superheroics. I didn't remember them exactly right. Here, directly from Detective Chimp's simian maw....

"First Law: The lives and safety of innocent bystanders will always be protected. Second law: The lives and safety of you (the superhero) and members of your team will be protected to the extent that it doesn't conflict with the first law. And the third law: The lives and safety of all opponents (meaning the bad guys) will be protected to the extent that it doesn't conflict with the first two laws."

I guess stopping the villain and his machinations was just a given. As I say, it's kind of a cool concept and I would have liked it from the JLA, the Avengers, some team like that. Shadowpact is a bunch of chaotic supernatural heroes--half of them have been evil at one time or another in their history (Blue Devil is possessed by a demon, for pity's sake). But they all run around being unfailingly orderly, polite, forthright and virtuous. In fact, the way Bill Willingham describes every character's super powers in terms of range, area of effect, duration, etc, etc. you know he's an old gamer who lucked into a job writing comics. It'd be fine on any other title, but Shadowpact should be more chaotic. It's why I dropped the book. For a team of silver age paladins like the virtuous Vanguard, however, I think the three laws can work.

OK, geek interlude over. Back to the carnage, as far as I'm concerned.


Kairos takes in the view from atop the speeding train and nods to himself, seeing how things might unfold. Wishing that he could do something about the train did him no good at the present. The fates of those aboard were already written, though with Sentinel on the tracks ahead, he thought that their stories would probably not end on this day. There were other matters that he COULD affect, though...

Breaking his staff apart (OOC: this takes an inch or so of movement only, I'm hoping, instead of an action), he takes a few brief, running steps and leaps out into space once again, hoping that the momentum of the train might add something to his attacks. At the apex of his arching leap, he lets one part of his staff fly toward the hovering Zero-G (OOC: hopefully Zero-G will not have anticipated such a thing, if he even realized that Kairos was in the area, and, if hit will not be able to roll with the attack AND, perhaps, the attack might have a better chance to hit since he MAY be unaware). As his leap carries him toward the merciless ground, he tucks his feet under him and, if possible, lands feet-first into the furry fiend know as Hyena.

(OOC: As stated above and here, I have some high hopes.

1. That the train's speed will add to my damage, even if I take some damage with it (hopefully it will be transferred to Hyena)
2. That neither Zero-G nor Hyena are expecting an attack from Kairos and that I will, therefore, have a bonus to hit and that they will not be able to roll with the attack if hit
3. That splitting my staff is a matter of a tad bit of movement and not a whole action or anything major

I see a couple of "to hit" rolls here as well as maybe an agility check of some sort. If you could give me an idea of what sort of chances I have on some of this, I can use a luck point or luck points accordingly. For a feat like this, I'm certainly going to have to burn one or more.)


Lightning Strike:
OOC: Although I am still formulating my full action, I would like to ask the GM a question on feasibility of an action.

LS would like to use the magnetic induction field he created in an earlier issue (GM can look it up) to magnetize the rails so that the train will become attracted to it and either become stuck or slow it down enough to give the others time to build a construct across the gap. LS could approximate the weight of the train and passengers (best guess) and then determine it's velocity taking into account the braking action in order to determine what voltage (or amperage) is required to generate a magnetic force strong enough to stop the train. It would be ideal if LS could stop the train, thus allowing some of the more powerful members of Vanguard to continue the fight because obviously they won't stop attacking us just because some civilians are at risk.

If this plan is feasible, I will flesh out the action with some dialog and keep the game moving.
Truant Tony


OOC GM Replies:
Replies to Kairos: Your plan is not impossible. It'll require agility saves and "to hit" rolls, negatively modified by your speed but positively modified by targets being unaware, perhaps. It'll also cost one luck point.

Replies to Lightning Strike: This plan could also work. It'll cost an Inventing Point to figure out the physics of balancing it all correctly.
You should notify the team via the communicator of your plan if your goal is to let others continue fighting. (Fortunately, Kairos will probably depart the train with his momentum intact before you get to act)

Cool stuff, everyone!


OOC: Symbiote, with the additional info that Sentinel really didn't see what happened earlier with your character he'd have to view you as an unknown entity at this point and act with caution. Had he witnessed your heroic efforts, he'd likely have trusted you and allowed your action.
It's too bad because this would have been a dynamite meeting for the two characters!

Kirk's persona would have him follow this sort of code (Shadowpact), and perhaps even more.
I actually follow Shadowpact also, since I'm a sucker for any issues that take older and more obscure characters and breathe new life into them ... so how could I pass on a series that made Detective Chimp a star ... even if their base of ops is a rip-off of Munden's Bar (don't know if you know the reference from First Comics from the 80's).
Interestingly, I believe the writer of Shadowpact was actually known by the original Freedom Force players (which currently include Jeff and Tony) before my role-playing time began.

PS: Hey Jeff. Kirk has to act to save the train and it sounds like manipulating his current creation would be the way to go here. I do question one area of your reasoning both with your accessing Kirk's use of his powers and with Tony's plan.

I was planning on Kirk sharing the points as he normally does between attacks/defensive and since he just made the creation being in good shape here defensively, but I forgot that using the creation as a carrying agent, would deter its shield usage ... and I remember that we had a big discussion about this when he carried the water to the fire.

However this situation is a little different. Kirk isn't looking to carry the train here. He is looking to briefly allow the train to pass the area missing the tracks. And I think your calculations ignore the momentum of the train.

Kirk just needs to be sure that when the train hits that area his creation replaces it for the seconds that the main portion of the train passes the area, certainly the momentum and the weight of that train moving forward should aid in the amount of support needed for the train to pass. Once the head of the train passes the danger zone smoothly, the momentum should help carry the rest of the train passed also.

I would think that the support needed to allow the train to pass with its momentum and speed would be much less than what would be needed if Kirk were to lift the train itself. He just needs to replace the track area to allow the train to continue in its course and he also has the infrastructure still present from the remaining tracks to latch his creation for additional support.
I think Tony's magnetizing plan doesn't take the momentum and energy in motion of the train into account and would likely wreak havoc with the structural integrity of the tracks, the train itself, and assuming he could stop the train instantly (which doesn't seem possible), the passengers would all likely end up splattered at the end of the cars they were riding).
I would think that factoring in the momentum and energy of the train would allow less structural points to give Kirk some defense (hopefully) and perhaps, depending on when the train passes, might allow him to shift some of his points back towards shields before the Brain's next onslaught.
I would think what you were stating would apply more were Kirk to try to simply lift the train to safety? Or did you already factor the momentum and stuff into your estimates and the train is just that heavy?

PS On figuring out about the train, if Tony's idea wouldn't turn the passengers to paste and is reasonably reliable how fast would the train stop -- would Sentinel be able to see the train stopped and the passengers saved before his action?
Otherwise we both might be using our actions to accomplish the same task -- and with Tony stopping the momentum of the train and me counting on it, we'd be working against each other.

OOC GM Replies:

Sentinel wrote: "Otherwise we both might be using our actions to accomplish the same task -- and with Tony stopping the momentum of the train and me counting on it, we'd be working against each other."

GM Reply: You're right. You'll have to coordinate between yourselves. Tony mentioned a gradual stop, so I don't think everyone will be turned to jelly. The maximum speed of these trains is around 55mph, and it's only a few blocks out of Shea Stadium. The train operator has just hit the brakes. He'll never stop in time, but might with Lightning Strike's help. Then again, he might not!

In terms of weight, please look here: did we ever game without the internet?)

One (empty) subway car weighs over 80,000 lbs. You can lift 4,000 lbs. With motionless, load-bearing support shapes like arches and ramparts, I'll give you 8,000 lbs.

I was factoring in momentum, and the fact that the hole is shorter than one car. Hole: 25 feet. One subway car: 60 feet.

You'll need all the points you can spare to build this structure. And your structure will only work if the train passes over it. If the train stops on your construct, there will be a problem. This calls for decisive action! Not to mention coordinated teamwork between Seth and Tony! Those poor Met fans are doomed… even more than usual.

Best,-Ye Ed


OOC: At this point Kirk would have to take action to save the train unless it was saved before his turn -- if you slow it to the point where it wouldn't pass his construct, but not enough to stop it before the opening, then you've doomed the train since, thanks to Jeff's Internet info, Kirk couldn't come close to supporting the weight of the train.

I'm thinking that working with the momentum is the safer way to go since I can do my construct with movement and there's a chance you might not succeed with your roles to get it done or if you do it still might not stop it in time. Plus even if succeed, you'd leave the train and its passengers directly in the midst of the battlefield motionless.

The downside for my construct plan is that while I'm doing it I'm going to be defenseless -- on the positive end, as long as the other villains don't decide to attack me and we only have to worry about the Brain, I go before he does, so the train should get saved before he pulps me.
Also if the train should stop before passing the area we are in trouble again, but it does sound from the description that it is moving too fast to stop in time so it should still have enough momentum to pass.
What do you think?

Quick question Jeff. Is there a fire hydrant within a reasonable proximity of Slingshot? Which I would have to assume given the location there is. And if so, since it is an inanimate object would I be able to knock its head off with movement of a construct (which might be possible as part of my turn depending on how Tony's plan to save the train goes) or would it be considered an "attack".


Lightning Strike:
OK, a shocker but I will post early!!!

LS looks over the hurtling train and what Homicide for Hire has done!!
He briefly calculates what the momentum and weight of the train is and decides there is only one course of action (OOC: Spend that Invention Point, hoping that this could be useful in the future). He quickly radios all of Vanguard and says over what he hopes is the protected wavelength of Vanguard.

"I have calculated the mass and momentum of the train and given that the tracks are electrified, I believe I can stop the train. This will take all of my concentration. I need you all to take the attack to the Mercs and watch my back. Assuming their attack is full force on us, the chance is that they will take their eyes off of a non-aggressor."

LS will assume that the rest of Vanguard will take action to cover his back (and possibly prepare for a backup plan should LS fail and spend his action magnetizing the tracks in the effort to slow and stop the train before it hits the gap!!
Punctual Tony


OOC: Jeff, here's some more clarity on Forester's planned attack. If possible, Forester will spend his luck/inventing point to boost his chances of performing the following: Duck out of sight following the near-blinding burst of light from his misdirected Flare Arrow, then discreetly fire his silver-colored impact arrow at Penumbra. Forester's goal is to surprise her--so (with luck) she'll be too startled to evade, roll with damage, or redirect his shot. I don't know if this will work, of course, but that's what he'll attempt. And treating this as an unprecedented one-shot action would sit better than simply going out an un improbable limb.

And ... Since I think lucky, one-shot actions require some justification, I'll propose that Forester is getting extra access to his potential ability following his recent flashback to meeting Marksman (when injured by Hyena) and now after being attacked with his own blinding arrow (another unexpected reminder of Forester' blind mentor). This is definitely a "coyote" maneuver--and perhaps foreshadowing to how the archer might develop his skills down the road.


OOC GM Replies:
Forester: Understood. Probably Luck rather than Inventing.

Non-late Lightning Strike: Understood.

Sentinel wrote:
'Not that it matters since we aren't going that route, and since I don't know how Symbiote works, it might not apply, but since this is only a minor nuisance of Kirk's power of "energy sense" and Kirk just discovered it himself recently by his own deductive reasoning and experimenting, this might not be readily evident (especially with the inventing point to prevent its discovery). Kirk apparently had this power for years without knowing it because he didn't know how to perceive it or interpret the patterns. With all of the other energy perceptions being received for the first time it seems like it would be something overlooked just as Kirk overlooked it most of his life.'

GM Reply: Detecting things in the game is a function of Intelligence. Symbiote has Heightened Intelligence.
Also, once you came in contact with extranormals outside your relatives, you discovered the ability relatively quickly.
Who knows? Perhaps your grandad prevented you from discovering this ability due to its ramifications?
To clarify, the Inventing Point was used to bury the info in Sentinel's head against telepathic scans.

Finally: What do you, Seth, see as the true source of Sentinel's awesome powers?
Do you think it's his mutant DNA, passed down from his family, just like he was told?
Is it a psionic discipline that was taught to him by his granddad, while his granddad told him it was an inherent mutant ability to give Kirk the confidence to believe in his ability?
Is it a combo of the two? A mutant ability that required extensive psionic training over years and years?
Is it magic?
Is it an artifact from another world that is hidden under his bed, or maybe under his skin?
Is it something else?

If you don't have a strong opinion, that's fine too. Just let me know, please.

Also, there are fire hydrants, of course. Attacking any inanimate object, not in the possession or control of an animate being, only takes movement. So, you can attack a fire hydrant with movement and still have an attack.



Scott gritted his teeth at the searing pain of the fire. The train was gunning for the hole that lunatic created. Something had to be done. The Merc was secondary now.

OOC: There are lots of people doing or thinking the same things. So for the sake of the argument here are my moves in order of preference or priority. I'll let the initiative handle who's doing what.

#1- The Train: Since my hand is already over there, I was thinking of using it and extending it to support/create rails. Something similar to what I did with the Star using engineering to setup something that would not be difficult to support.

#2- Grab the Atomic Lunatic by one leg and slam him down into the ground.

#3- Grab the Mercenary in a fist, tightly bound.

This will be NOT using the arm that has the note.


Little Timmy Charnetsky loved to ride the train. He knew everything about them. Today was a big day for him with the Mets game and all, but the highlight of the day was the train ride. When Timmy grew up his dream was to design trains.

Timmy was surprised by the sudden excitement on the train as he heard the adults talking about a big super-hero battle nearby; he held his Vanguard action figure close in hand zooming it through the air. “Get the bad guys!” he said out loud to himself playing with the figure.

Timmy’s imagining was interrupted when suddenly a man came bolting through the car from the subway car in front in a panic. “It’s gone! The tracks in front of us are gone! We’re moving too fast … we’ll never stop in time!” and he ran past Timmy’s seat arms whirling in a panic. He wondered where the man was planning to run on the train.

Frantic passengers started to all look out the windows and scream. Timmy wasn’t too worried until he looked up in his mother’s face and saw the terror in her eyes as she let out a loud scream.

Tears began to build in Timmy’s eyes and he was about to add his own scream to those of his mother when he was distracted by the flash of light in the sky; as he turned his eyes towards the window they first stopped on the action figure he still cradled in his hand. The outcry never reached his lips for it was then, out the window that he saw them, and he knew in his heart he had nothing to fear…

Pause Interlude:

Kirk was clearly dismayed. It seemed none of his gambits were paying off big and now the Brain had put the lives of a train full of people in jeopardy. As much as he knew he wasn’t the Sentinel that the Brain hated and had driven him insane, by assuming the mantle, he did indeed did feel responsible. If he wasn’t the one to stand up, then who?

He was also dismayed by the lack of teamwork by his fellow hero, Lightning Strike. Strike seemed more like the stranger he met on the rooftop a few weeks ago than the man he’d fought beside since then. Kirk felt Strike’s solution was the wrong play. Still, Kirk reasoned that he’d seen the scientific genius work his miracles firsthand; perhaps he saw something better with his keen mind that Kirk had missed. He’d have to trust that was the case … but still, even if successful, it left the train stranded the midst of the main battle instead of safely continuing past it. Grey’s words from a few days earlier burnt into Kirk’s mind; “this team really needs to choose a leader.”

Since Strike’s plan wasn’t open for discussion, Kirk adapted, if Strike wanted the attention drawn away from him, Kirk would make it so. He also realized that the Atomic Brain’s untouchableness made the situation dire and with the new threat to the train and the rest of the team enmeshed in their own battles, he’d have to make a hard call.


Kirk remembered “the talk.”
When he asked Gramps, Lancaster turned his back to him for a moment as if steeling himself to answer, as if he had both anticipated and dreaded this question for a long time.

His normally strong eyes showed a sparkle of sadness in them.

Little Kirk asked again. “Did you ever kill anyone?”

Most men would have sidestepped the question, or simplified the answer. But not Lancaster, and not with Kirk, never with Kirk.

“Son, when people think of those bygone days of World War II they like to romanticize it like Hollywood and pretend that things were simpler and purer than now. And perhaps is some ways they were. But truth be told, it was a war son. In war, people die. There’s nothing clean or pretty about that.”

“But I think you’re asking me a little more than that. When we use our gifts, many times it’s to battle men that have started their own little private war; when such men take action, as much as we try to prevent it, people get hurt.”

“If you’re asking me should you take a life in the future to save lives, I can’t answer that for you. You’ll have to decide that for yourself when that time comes. But I will say that those of us with gifts have the responsibility to act as preservers of life to the best of our abilities. But that being said, at the end of the day, although to some we may seem godlike, we’re just men, and not gods, and much is beyond our control and our abilities. As you mature, keep your heart pure and your motives ideal, and be true to yourself; you’ll know the right thing to do when the time comes.”

End Flashback.

Kirk rose upward into the sky. As he did so, his power, his energies cascaded from him throughout the surrounding area encompassing it. Contrasting moments earlier when the battle first began when they were dark to conceal, they were now in their more natural hue for Kirk, sparking bright like the sun, echoing the good that flowed from his soul. The Sentinel of light. As his energies glistened in the sky they reflected the sunlight which made them seem even brighter. Onlookers couldn’t help but gaze at awe at the display.

(OOC Kirk’s using his energy as a distraction and to draw attention from Strike’s activities. I’m not looking for this to be an attack or anything of the sort, just a bit of a light/energy show … and this goes along with Kirk having his energies ready to take different actions depending on exactly what transpires.)

(1) If somehow Strike fails to slow the car properly and it appears it still has enough momentum to move past the area he will use his energies to the full as an animate construct to replace the missing tracks and allow the train to pass. (I’m assuming this is unlikely to be needed)
(2) If somehow Strike slows the train, but not enough to stop it totally before the opening, Kirk will reinforce his efforts by using as much of his animate construct as is needed to form a soft cushion – perhaps a pillow or the like to be sure that the train stops safely on the tracks before the opening. (a possibility)
(3) If Slingshot is still on fire by the time Kirk’s action comes and his points have not been needed totally to save the train, and he has enough movement, he will have his creation knock open a fire hydrant aimed at Slingshot so that the fire can be put out; if he had enough movement to funnel the water at him initially he would do so. (it’s likely Slingshot will have this solved on his own, but Kirk would try if it seemed possible or needed by teammate by his actions)

If Kirk has to use his points as carrying capacity to save the train, that would mean he couldn’t really use them to attack, so he’d use the option to evade as you had suggested.

Assuming Kirk isn’t needed with the train save, then as he rises to sky level he matches the height of the Atomic Brain and the energy show continues focusing from around the area to around Kirk himself. He “eyes” the Brain and outstretches his hand pointing towards the Brain and all the energies seem to focus around him and then arc forward across the sky at the Brain.

This is all part of the big show and a physical distraction. Kirk’s real attack is that he focuses on the area just above the “brain” of the Brain. He tries to create an animate construct within the forcefield of the Brain. (I'm figuring on about fifteen points unless you think something else would be more appropriate) His hope is that since he can create them anywhere within the scope of his field of power, that he would be able to focus on the area and bypass the forcefield protection. In addition, since he cannot attack with it this turn, the hope would be that since it is being formed within the limited area of the interior of the forcefield, it would take up the space within it and that 750 pounds of weight falling on the brain of the Brain would do some damage. He try to take up the area within the forcefield so that
(1) the weight would damage the brain
(2) the brain might have to either drop his forcefield allowing him to be open to attack or disengage his brain from the body to allow space in the forcefield and prevent his brain from being smashed against the robot body
(3) spend his next action countering this appearance of the construct instead of attacking or destroying something else

Kirk really has no idea if any of this will work but does know that the brain of the Brain is enhanced from his energy sense and feels he is taking necessary action in this case to preserve the lives of bystanders and his teammates (see flashback sequence)

Resume Interlude:

The people on the train around Timmy began to cheer and hug each other. “Vanguard! Vanguard!” some of them shouted raising their arms in celebration. His mom’s tears of fear turned to tears of joy as she embraced him.

Timmy looked around at everyone, and smiled and cheered along. It was at that moment in time that Timmy knew. He was sure. When he grew up, he was going to save lives.

End Interlude.

OOC. Jeff --- Save Little Timmy! :)


Lightning Strike:
OOC: All I know is if I was playing one of my old characters, little Timmy doesn't stand a chance. I guess that's the price he pays for being a Met fan!!!

Anyway, Strike uses logic and physics above all. He has calculated the necessary force needed to stop the train before disaster strikes and he also recognized who amongst the team is most capable of taking out the remainder of the villains. Although efficiency may not be the most palatable solution for the team, it is the most effective. It remains to be seen who steps up and takes the mantle of leadership of Vanguard, but one thing is clear in Lightning Strike's mind, sentimentality is not one of the strengths of a leader in this harsh world. Perhaps it may have been in the bygone era that Sentinel formerly secured but it clearly is no longer quite so simple.

OOC: I will leave it to our creative GM to put this in character speak to promote the most conflict among the characters!! :)