Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Issue 46: The Quick and the Undead! The Vanguard Halloween Spooktacular!

Big City, Lonely Town. Investigation Day Two: Night.

Vanguard had become pawns in the battle for control over Big City’s underworld! The Five Bosses, through their thug Spider Girucci, sent Vanguard to eliminate their enemy Morgue for them. Knowing this, Morgue sent Homicide for Hire against Vanguard, who eventually routed the extranormal executioners!

Now, deep beneath the world’s largest graveyard, on the trail of Morgue, Vanguard has encountered a charnel house of horror: the very cream of Hell, poisoners, murderers, madmen and traitors, have returned from the dead and stood in Vanguard’s subterranean path! The undead, rotting revenants surged forward, intent on dragging Vanguard back down to Hell with them!

Forester had been looking for clues of occult activity since arriving from Haven. He had just struck the mother load. Forester asked the netted and unearthly remains of Happy Jim Hacker. "How are you here? What are you trying to gain? What do you need from the living?"
Jim Hacker hissed: “Let me outta this thing an I’ll show you!”

Forester fired a Scent Arrow at the walking cadaver of infamous cannibal Dr. Edward Guinness. PAFTTTT!!
The arrow struck the corpse-cannibal in the chest, coating his upper body with a powerful carnivore lure. The bony remains of Guinness’ face contorted as he tried to control his darkest impulses… and failed.
For the second time, Guinness successfully committed suicide, this time with his preferred method of murder. Guinness bit down and ripped shreds of dried rotten flesh from his grey arm, ravenously eating himself alive.

Forester stepped back from the grisly feast and asked the Ghost: "My friend, if there is a paranormal aspect to your powers, do you have any idea what's happening here with villains coming back from the grave?... And any chance that you could scout ahead for a few seconds to see who else might be headed our way?”

The Ghost’s customarily cheerful face transformed into one of grief. “I… I am not like them,” he insisted. But he held his open hand over the bullet-ridden ruin of Ice House Olsen, shut his eyes and said: “Someone… or some thing… raised these evil souls from the dead. This one just hours ago. Using the most evil beings buried in this graveyard, someone is building an Army of the Damned!” Then the Ghost eerily levitated forward, passing through the hordes of revenants to scout ahead. The apparition was gone!

Kairos held back, keeping the attack path clear for those with ranged attacks, as he guarded their rear flank.

Symbiote’s two remaining clones struck Fat Boy Clark again with martial arts punches! CHOK! KRAK! The gruesome gunsel collapsed to the earthen floor, his hands twitching softly. Then the real Symbiote tagged Slingshot as he stalked past on his way to the front. Symbiote’s two duplicates evaporated, leaving a hole in the front line, as Symbiote’s skin turned black, rubbery and muscle-bound! The Harness resized itself and notified Symbiote of his new simulated superpowers and super-weaknesses!

Sentinel quickly filled the hole left from the evaporating Symbiote simulacrums! CRASH! A massive battering ram of solid energy grew from his fingers, smashing the front line of undead! None were seriously damaged but many were knocked back, slamming into those behind them, spoiling the attacks of five of the grisly gravelings! Then, as quick as it appeared, the ram withdrew back into Sentinel’s personal energy nimbus!

Lightning Strike stepped forward and blasted away! White crackling lines of electricity surged from his hands into the exposed ranks of the returned! SHA-KOW! The bolt impaled the terrifying tommygunner, Oklahoma Slim Martin, and his skeleton was illuminated from within. The smoking form fell forward, dropping his heater at the feet of Clone. Oklahoma Slim’s hands did not twitch. “We need a plan!” Strike called.

Clone’s trio was alone on the front line of close combat. Together, they pried another tommygun from the cold dead hands of former mob boss Dutch Nelson!

Slingshot joined Clone at the front. The malleable man of might heaved a growing fist and threw it at the legion of undead from over the heads of the clones. KER-POW! The oversized haymaker caught two of the ghastly abominations, Blue Point Vance and Dutch Nelson, and put them down… hard! FWUMP! Their fingers quivered as they lay motionless. (OOC: FYI, That was a multiple attack, as opposed to an area attack)

Five more of the unspeakable horrors had been put down, but more had come to take their place, among them The Quickdraw Kid, a wild west gunslinger who met his nefarious end in Big City of all places in 1882!

The Quickdraw Kid was little more than a skeleton. His bleach white fingers fired his antique sixgun at Slingshot, hitting him square in the heart! BLAM! The bullet bounced of the big man’s rubbery hide! “What in tarnation?!!” exclaimed the cadaverous cowboy.

John Manchester, the famed Revolutionary War traitor, still had his noose still around his bone neck. His skull croaked: “Go back! Ye’ll not pass! Ye’ve entered the realm of the dead and theyre be monsters here!”
His ancient sword ran through one of the Clones through! He evaporated, leaving just two Clones left!

Unhappy Jim Hacker finally tore out of Forester’s tangle net. “What do I need from the living?” he said to the amazing archer. “This lead telegram should clear things up fer ya!” The grey skinned gangster leveled his tommygun at Forester!

Alfred Bath, Big City’s first serial killer, Maryann Wournos the poisoner and the rest of the reanimated wrongdoers could not get clear attacks. Between Sentinel’s knock-back attack and the bodies piled upon the ground in the tight bottleneck of the catacomb, there was no room.
But the mad dead pushed forward relentlessly. They would not stop until Vanguard joined their unholy ranks!

OOC: Actions?

Current Conditions:
Forester: Hit Points: 21, Power Points: 59
Kairos: Hit Points: 20, Power Points: 56
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 22, Power Points: 49
Sentinel: Hit Points: 12, Power Points: 23, Creation Points: 46, Current Armor: 46
Slingshot: Hit Points: 22, Power Points: 50, Invulnerability: 6
Symbiote with Slingshot’s powers: Hit Points: 17, Power Points: 30, Invulnerability: 8, Harness Charges: 9
Clone has two selves left, Ghost has not returned yet

Happy Halloween! -Jeff


"By the happy hunting grounds," Forester shouts as more undead opponents arrive. "Our enemies seem almost endless."
Forester fires a Smoke Arrow into the creepy crowd, hoping to confuse and delay the horde, if only momentarily. He intends the arrow to land far enough inside the mob so none of the heroes are affected.

"I say we make like a tree and ... leave," the woodsman says. "We can radio Ghost, regroup, and return with a solid plan."
The archer moves toward the exit, hoping his teammates will follow.


Symbiote couldn't help but shake his head briefly in amazement. Hal Harper was a man of science, after all. He dealt almost exclusively in the world of the quantifiable and the provable. He had little time for metaphysics, paranormal or the supernatural. Yet here, in the past hour, he'd met both a benevolent being that for all intents and purposes appeared to be a true undead spirit, plus these malevolent revenants.

Ghost was a true enigma, but Hal found it hard to believe that these rotting rogues were what they appeared to be--damned spirits from beyond the grave? Impossible. "Perhaps sentient beings who die violent deaths leave some sort of psychic imprint upon their decaying remains," Hal thought. "Sort of like the echo of a loud shout. It would appear to be consciousness, but not truly, any more than the image on TV is actually the true person. A metahuman wielding the peculiar energy I've discovered all genetic metas have in common--Morgue, perhaps?--could amplify and control this psychic echo. Perhaps the meta's genetic sequence...."

"Ah, screw it," Hal finally reprimanded himself. "Time to hit something."

With that, Symbiote launches an enlarged rubbery fist at Unhappy Jim Hacker, attempting to pulverize the grisly gunsel before he can fire at Forester or anybody else. At the same time, he'll follow the advice of the Battling Bowman and begin a strategic withdrawal, stepping backward slowly and cautiously, keeping his eyes on the undead horde while trusting Kairos to watch the group's back.

(OOC: Happy Hallowe'en, one and all!).


OOC GM Replies!
One small clarification that Forester would know: your communicators are satellite-driven, like a cell phone. Even if Ghost was standing next to you, you could not (pardon the pun) raise him at this depth.

However, Ghost's ability to see through objects in the material world might eventually tip him off to your retreat anyway.


As Kirk's mind raced for a plan, he heard Forester echo the thoughts going through his own mind. The team was worn from the previous battle and the numbers they faced were just too great with no end in sight. They needed time to come up with a real plan and be in top form to handle things.

"I agree with Forester, let's move out."

Slapping these things around is almost pointless at this point, so Kirk will hold his "attack" to protect his teammates and assist his team in the retreat. He will make sure no one is left behind and do his best with his limited remaining defenses to prevent anyone from being harmed further (ie, if the attacks of his other teammates don't prevent the attacks of the zombie team, then he'll attack to try to throw them off balance again as they retreat). Kirk would also try to assist the rest of the team with travel if it becomes necessary. Finally, he could extend a wall behind the team to prevent further movement of the creatures if they try to pursue them as they retreat, helping the team to get a lead on the pack as far as his creation could extend and then strategically retract the wall once they've got some distance.

Kirk also tries to get further energy reads from down the hall as he's doing this and tries to "log" in his mind all the facts he can about the energy signatures of these creatures in comparison to humans and superhumans.

I think that about sums it up and perhaps we'll be "closing" out this issue in record time.

I can already see the cover of the issue:
"See Vanguard retreat like scared little children!"
"Thrill to the zombies jeers as they run."

Sure to be a big seller and a fan fav!


I'll follow the herd, still keeping an eye out to the areas others aren't covering and still spoiling for a fight...!


Since Forester was the one who asked Ghost to scout ahead, and now realizing that he won't be able to radio the young hero this far underground, the archer is concerned that Ghost will feel abandoned or neglected if the team leaves.

Although Forester still wants to retreat, he intends to stay directly outside the manhole cover where they had entered the catacombs. That way, Ghost should be able to find him relatively quickly, without feeling as though the team left him for dead.


If a tactical withdrawal is the consensus, Then I would block them from coming after us by bringing down the tunnel on them. I'll be able to dig through if required and Ghost will be able to check what happened on the other side. Using my construction engineering skills, I'll make sure that I get a nice cave-in on top of them and leaving us fairly safe from getting hurt.


Lightning Strike:
Strike will agree with the consensus and make an orderly retreat as electricity probably doesn't have much of an effect on the undead.