Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Vanguard: Issue 71: The Power of the Pachyderm!

25,000 feet above Athens! The mysterious circular craft of the Primate! Night!

The epic battle between Vanguard and Primate’s Ani-Men, for the fate of the world, halted briefly!

Crab Man said to Vanguard: “Inhuman said if I had the chance, I should jump sides. He said if I helped youse guys and passed a message from ol’ fish face to you, then you’d let me and Jellyfish go. We don’t want any part of the Primate’s plans. He busted us outta stir, sure, but that’s got nothin’ to do with anything now.” He planted his feet squarely and waited for a reply.

Sentinel said: “It’s clear that a continued battle between us benefits neither of us here today, and I’m all for giving people a second chance. Our imperative here is to stop Primate. Anything you can tell us to do that and help save the world would certainly say much about you moving forward; it’s not every day you get to say you helped save the world. Let’s say we start with where we can find him…”

Crab Man replied, “He’s gone home to Africa in a ship just like this one.”

Lightning Strike could confirm that. From his time in this saucer ship’s navigational system, the electrical avenger knew the saucer craft had been to the Congo.

Symbiote’s idea about the Primate’s instinctual desire to return to his home was true after all!

Gator tried to secure himself further and happened to look out the damaged porthole in the deck’s floor. “Something’s coming!” He shouted. Then, softer, “oh no…”

Sentinel detected a new extranormal beneath them all and moving fast…

KA-BOOOMM! …the bottom of the ship suddenly exploded inward! The Pachyderm had just burst into the cargo bay by going right through the hull!!

The grey goliath was nine feet tall and nearly as wide! He had been dropped five miles to Earth and all it did was make him mad! The elephantine elemental force had leapt back up and into the ship looking for those who sent him hurtling into the Aegean Sea! (namely, Sentinel and Slingshot!)

The cargo bay was no longer pressurized! Everyone’s ears popped! The air was colder than ice and had no oxygen in it! Vanguard donned their AEGIS oxygen masks! The gale-force wind threatened to blow everyone free from the saucer craft! Alarm bells! The sense of rapid descent!

Gator was no longer visible – he might have been thrown clear of the ship from the impact, still adhered tight to a piece of steel that plummeted down through the night!

The Pachyderm roared wild anger and bewilderment like a wounded animal! The armored hide plates that served as his skin were tattooed with frost and ice. He hung onto the wall, fingers crushing tempered steel, and looked around for someone to smash with his titanic fists! (imagine the Hulk meets the Rhino!)

“RROOOOOAARRRR!!!” (imagine the sound of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park!)

Kairos’ latent ability to inspire confidence in his allies was put to the test!

The ship lurched. The PA said: “Warning! Engines overheating!” Vanguard didn’t need to be told again.

Forester readied a parachute arrow and looked for a passenger…

Kairos, who had been scanning for a parachute, made his way across the windswept chamber, from handhold to handhold until the two secured themselves and jumped down through the gaping hole that the Pachyderm had torn into the ship’s hull. They were away! Plummeting into the frozen black night! (OOC: Each lose 10 power points due to exposure)

Suddenly… BLORF! SPLAGT!! The parachute arrow was fouled with the trademark wet grey web slop of Web! The two falling heroes looked up and saw the ambushing arachnoid clinging to the underside of the craft! He had been laying in wait! The two heroes hurtled toward certain doom!

Symbiote roared over the rushing air: "Sentinel! Slingshot! Get everybody off the ship! DUMBO AND I ARE TAKING THE QUICK WAY DOWN!!" Hal launched himself at the titanic terror--palms first! It was too good an opportunity to pass up, the scientific seeker thought. He ignored the wild look on Pachyderm’s face. He disregarded the dangers and dove right in, like he had done before. Reckless, they had called him in school. Hal liked to think of it as enthusiasm. Passion. But maybe there was something to what they said. After all, he was his sister’s brother.

Symbiote slapped his palm on the rampaging rhino creature and the Harper Harness activated!! It was painful this time. His form contorted like never before! He grew in scale and weight! His costume tore open at the chest, revealing skin that was rapidly thickening into thick, grey hide plates! In horror, Hal felt his intelligence dwindling as his brain and skull assumed the physiology of the Pachyderm! OOC: The Harness altered Hal’s DNA in the following ways (Hal can’t absorb skills, devices, magic, etc.)
1) Scale of the Hippopotamus! Size Change Larger: Permanent. Height x 1.5. Weight x 7
2) Hide of the Rhino! Invulnerability: 15 points
3) Animal/Plant Powers: Mammal.
a. Strength of the Elephant! Heightened Strength: +15
b. Strength of the Elephant! Heightened Strength: +15
c. Strength of the Elephant! Heightened Strength: +15
1) Bestial Mind! Lowered Intelligence: -12
2) Bestial Mind! Lowered Intelligence: -12
3) Savage Rampage! Low Self Control: When threatened, the Pachyderm must save on d20 vs. Charisma (Will) or enter into a blind rage, attacking friend and foe alike until the threat is gone!
4) Bull in a China Shop! Low Self Control: Whenever the Pachyderm attacks in combat there is a 50% chance of an incidental combat effect: the attack goes wild and randomly strikes someone or something nearby, or has some other significant effect.
5) Monstrous Appearance! Due to his hide and his permanent scale, he can’t pass for human

Weight: 1400 lbs. Basic Hits: 28 Agility Modifier: -6
Strength: 60
Endurance: 22
Agility: 12
Intelligence: 1
Charisma : 12

Damage Mod.: -1
Accuracy: +1 (+5 with HTH due to Hal’s Heightened Expertise)

Hit points: 373 maximum. Current: 280
Power: 95 maximum. Current: 83

Carrying Capacity: 152,740 lbs. (76 tons!)
HTH damage: 6d10
Movement Rate: 94” ground. Jumping: Over 92 miles! Over 46 miles straight up!

The gigantic mirror-image monstrosity that stood in Symbiote’s place roared an echo of the Pachyderm’s rage! Vanguard saw that Hal’s intelligence and perhaps his personality were gone!

(OOC: FYI: At this intelligence level, Hal cannot operate (ie: activate or deactivate) the Harness!)

Pachyderm couldn’t believe his eyes! The mighty man-monster stared at his terrible twin and then roared louder, pounding his massive chest in defiance and provocation! “ROOOOOOOAAAAAAAARRRR!”

Sentinel saw Vanguard’s trouble had just multiplied! Kirk turned to Strike, knowing he was the only one with any information regarding the rest of the ship and its possible value to them, and asked, “Is there anything here of value that we need to salvage that can help us thwart Primate’s plans?”

Lightning Strike yelled to Sentinel, “No. I have the Primate’s location!” Then to everyone else: "Get as many of the unconscious off the ship as soon as possible. I will be looking for an emergency communication system or the radar array and leave via one of those."

Then the crackling crimefighter transformed into electricity and entered into a computer panel. SHAKOOM! He was gone! Within the saucer craft’s computer system, the electric detective found no sign of Inhuman onboard. He located the radar array… his exit from the doomed craft!
(OOC: Where will Strike transmit himself to?)

Sentinel shouted to Crab Man, “Are there evacuation procedures?!”Crab Man shot the heir of heroism a look that said, “You gotta be kidding.”

Slingshot said to his wrestling partner, "Crab Man, is Inhuman on this ship? We need to rescue him if he's going to crash with this ship."

Crab Man said, “Nah. Fish face is with the 600lb. gorilla himself!” as he cradled the unconscious Jellyfish with surprising tenderness. “Now get us outta here!”

Slingshot extended alien tendrils around the seafaring supervillains and then allowed himself to be sucked from the craft! Once airborne, the pliable powerhouse sprouted glider wings to control their descent down to the dark, smoking remains of Athens! (Slingy’s Invulnerability helps against the cold. He only loses 2 power points)
Crab Man muttered, “Thanks, tough guy.”

Sentinel evaded and then siphoned off some of the energy from his shields to form a series of parachutes that were tethered together at their tops by a flexible cord that connected back to his energy shields. In this way he evacuated the remaining unconscious Ani-Men: Hyena, Viper and Cockroach!

As he exited the ship, he detected the extranormal energy signature of Web, clinging to the bottom of the doomed craft! Then he saw Web crawl back up into the ship!

But the parachutes had a life of their own; the beacon of liberty could not ascend without altering their construction! (OOC: By making parachutes, Sentinel just needs to carry 50 lbs per passenger, rather than their actual weight. This let him maintain more energy in his personal shields.)

Forester and Kairos, meanwhile, fell through the black night without a prayer. Vanguard’s gliders and parachutes were descending too slowly to save them! Suddenly, a shape flew alongside them! It was the AEGIS Pegasus, the defunct Euro-team’s six man aircraft! (Imagine a cross between the Fantasti-Car and a giant X-Wing Fighter.)

The ship matched their speed and retracted the canopy roof revealing Oracle at the controls! She maneuvered them inside and slowly decelerated until she could level off. VRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMM! (OOC: 5 damage to power points for the rough ride). The superheroic seer only said, “Where to now?”
But how did she know they would be in need of an aircraft?! Kairos’ luck? Or Oracle’s precognition?

Pachyderm and the Symbiote-Pachyderm were oblivious to Web’s return to the cargo bay! The two titans squared off in the eye of an icy hurricane as the automated PA counted down the seconds the ship had left!! The savage Pachyderm roared again and charged Symbiote! KA-SLAAAMM! The grey goliath’s fist was like a runaway freight train!
(OOC: 36 points of damage! 15 to Invulnerability, 8 to power points, 13 off hits! FYI, The attack triggered the Pachyderm’s ‘Bull in a China Shop’ Weakness:)
The earth-shattering impact caused the damaged hull floor to suddenly collapse with a sickening groan of bending steel and the twin titans plummeted, ready to slam away at each other all the way down! (OOC: 10 damage to power or hits, your choice, due to the cold. Let me know your preference!)

Vanguard, descending much slower, saw the colossal combatants rocket by! Then they looked beyond them, to the darkened skyline of Athens! Pachyderm was plummeting down to the city all over again, only this time he had a twin! They might still strike the AEGIS Spire, or worse, a building filled with innocent bystanders!!! And Sentinel lacked the energy to create another chute to divert them! To be continued!

OOC: Actions please!

Current Conditions:
Forester: Hit Points: 18 Power Points: 50
Kairos: Hit Points: 27 Power Points: 47
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 18 Power Points: 36
Sentinel: Hit Points: 5 Power Points: 32 Energy: 64 Shields: 33 Chutes: 4 Evade: -3
Slingshot: Hit Points: 39 Power Points: 74 Invulnerability: 0 until issue 73
Symbiote: Hit Points: 267* Power Points: 75 Invulnerability: 0 until issue 73 Charges: 9 (*Symbiote has taken another 10 points to damage or hits, his choice)



Forester suggests to the pilot that they follow Pachyderm. If Symbiote is losing his intelligence, and now prone to a savage rampage, he may need Vanguard's gaining his composure and returning to his old self after the fight.

Given Kairos's good fortune and in with the Greek gods, however, Forester will follow any alternate ideas that the karmatic-controlling crusader might have.


Symbiote will smash Elephant Man!! Symbiote will smash his stupid face all the way down to the ground!! Symbiote no longer remember much about where he is or what going on, all he knows is that stupid Elephant Man is his enemy! Symbiote smash!!

What's that? Puny GM wants to know whether damage should be taken from hit points or power points? Take them from hit points, or SYMBIOTE WILL SMASH PUNY GM!! Symbiote will also smash painters of sad clown pictures, telemarketers, slow drivers in the turn lane and studio executives who cancelled "Firefly!" SYMBIOTE WILL SMASH THEM ALL!!!!
(OOC: Kidding about the "puny GM" bit. But seriously, whoever cancelled "Firefly" is toast if I can find 'em).


Nice. Thanks, Jeff, for providing Greg with such an opportunity. Vanguard needs to damage the harness and get him out of this or else we will be victimized by him in both the real world AND the game world....but you SHOULD let him take a shot at the execs who cancelled "Firefly". I now only get to see Morena Baccarin and Jewel Staite in reruns of the "Stargate" shows or in my badly-abused "Firefly" DVD set.


Nice indeed. Haha.. Another great issue!


OOC GM Reply:
Thanks. Coincidentally, there's renewed fighting in the Congo. One army has actually seized control of the Virunga refuge, where the Primate was born, threatening the gorillas there. Articles:

RAAARRGHH!!! Symbiote will smash Rubber Band Man and Hot Greek Action Boy!! Symbiote SMASH EVERYBODY!!

(OOC: Dear God, I'm almost ashamed of how much I'm enjoying this. Almost.)


...and therein lies the danger, guys. He has Low Self-Control and Phobia/Psychosis IN REAL LIFE! Vanguard must act quickly or the fourth wall may be broken and we would then have to face a combined Greg-Symbiote-Pachyderm creature...! This would be a nightmare thing the likes of which the world has never seen. We must stop it.


And thanks for the smile it brought to my face and the laughter.IC:
Ok, my initial reaction was, 'I've got nothing.'

But then I came up with an idea. I've no clue if the logistics of our descent allow any of it or if it would be enough, but here goes.

Since at this point, the dangerous duo an engrossed with knocking each other senseless and oblivious to everything that is around them and simply in descent, as opposed to when Pachyderm was fired at the target building with additional velocity and direction, perhaps we could alter their course with a 'less-defined' approach and hopefully get them to avoid the city.

What if Slingshot took the shape of a ball and Kirk provided him in descent via his creation, a place to bounce and slingshot at the falling figures to try to alter their trajectory enough to avoid the city? Perhaps with the impetus Kirk could then try to alter their course further with a slide with his remaining power if Slingshot's 'bounce' wasn't enough. And I don't know if the Pegasus has any deflector type equipment on it (although Kirk likely would with his heroic lore knowledge) but perhaps with this triple team approach, even at our current physical conditions, we might alter their descent enough to save the city.

Also I was wondering and should know, although I've never done it before it battle, and usually it would have little purpose since the creations would be so weakened, but could Kirk just 'sever' the tether on chutes releasing them if he needs to do so for more maneuverability at this point? It would seem that as long as the chutes remained within his power range, they would still be working, but this might buy some additional maneuverability if it meant saving the city.

Likely this would be how Green Lantern does it as sometimes we see the panels with bunches of small creations that couldn't be created separately due to power limitations. Usually Hal and John don't take this approach, but I recall Kyle battles with it.

Perhaps it would give enough time for the Pegasus to take on the other passengers if they don't have any 'repulsor' type energy to aid in the redirection of the damaging duo or maybe they could pick up the passengers and then join the redirection. Probably the biggest problem would be they'd leave his range pretty quickly and then the passenger would begin free-fall.

Perhaps it would take multiple attempts of redirection as they plummeted towards the city.

Any chance of something like this working? I see no other shot at saving the city from the destruction of their crash with the current information on my end, but am open to any suggestions anyone else can think of.



GM Replies:
To Sentinel: The superball-approach to redirecting the twin titans sounds feasible though tricky.

Sentinel's fanboy knowledge of superheroes tells him that the Pegasus has no deflector capabilities. The Pegasus was designed by the ingenious ice-master, Professor Fahrenheit, ably assisted by Simon Simian.

Untethering the creations makes them into separate animate constructs, which costs power to do. Maybe GL trained to learn to do that with level advancement. Also, Kyle is not the Green Lantern, so right there it makes that power application suspect! ;)
Oddly I accept John Stewart in Justice League animated way before I accept Kyle.
Further digression: The Grant Morrison JLA issues of a few years ago were pretty great. But Kyle felt like Wally: another cocky, happy-go-lucky kid surrounded by veteran heroes.


Heh...I really have no problem with Kyle (or John or Guy). The Green Lanterns are a police force, after all, the more the merrier.

But don't get me started on this "Bucky is now Captain America" crap. In fact, don't get me started on Bucky being alive at all. Bring back Steve Rogers, OR SYMBIOTE SMASH!!!
Oops, there I go again.


Too bad about the Pegasus, but perhaps they could round up my passengers if Slingy is up for the superball attempt. I'm for trying to save the city and hoping the dice come to our aid to make it so.

If untethering the creations would cost more power, then its not doable here anyway (Kirk would be better off just recreating new ones then anyway and keeping the creation points currently in his creation. But at this point can't spare the power points period. We hadn't discussed it previously, so that's fine, and I really can't think of when having a bunch of one point creations would normally help a situation, so no big deal (although maybe a bunch of marbles to have a speedster trip of something like that might be a case).

Unfortunately the whole story-line of Kyle replacing Hal was handled so poorly and out of character and with so little respect for Hal fans that we could never warm to Kyle. It was only with Hal's return and a good writer's handling of it who was able to bring Hal back while still showing respect for Kyle fans that I grew to accept him (and performed the task of making Kyle heroic while still bringing Hal back to his proper role).

However, I always preferred John Stewart to Kyle and Guy and especially with the handling of him in JLU and its influencing his direction in the DCU. But naturally the next best Lantern to Hal in my heart would be Lancaster Ger ... er I mean Alan Scott.

If Slingy doesn't want to to make the attempt then Kirk would do his best getting innocents out of harms way from the crash, etc.

If we/he couldn't redirect totally away from the city, perhaps a last minute slide might be enough to alter their course to a less populated or if we're really fortunate not populated area. Is there a city dump nearby? An area cleared for new construction or area about to be demolished to allow new construction? Some abandoned industrial areas? If any of this catches Kirk's eye, he'd go for it.


I've always liked the Corp, especially the alien GLs, although they've managed to kill all of my favorites over the years from the original 60's crew (Tomar Re, Katma Tui, and Xax of Xaos, the 'Grasshopper' Green Lantern - He was featured in a backup story in one of the GL comics that I found in the basement closet (from my brother) that got me into comics. But Hal has been and always will be the Green Lantern to me and my favorite.

On Cap - Steve Rogers is Cap. He personified the qualities that make Captain America heroic and a role model and unique. Hope he is back again soon... and whatever happened to "Bucky dead"?

*** SPOILER ALERT *** in case you haven't read it in convention news releases ...

And I guess with Barry Allen scheduled to return as the Flash, there really is no one that stays dead in comics. I think that leaves Gwen Stacy ... unless she was resurrected in the 'Brand New Day' storyline? I stopped reading at that point.

Symbiote is welcome to SMASH PUNY MARVEL EMPLOYEES that killed Cap in my book.


Lightning Strike:
Hi All, Here is my action this period.
Strike is in the electrical system of the Saucer ship and has located the radar array. Realizing that the two Pachyderms (what a horrible thought) are hurtling towards Athens with no seeming way to stop them, he diverts himself to the navigation system. His plan is to alter the course of the ship to crash into the two Pachyderms, hopefully changing their path enough to push them out to the Mediterranean Sea. Hopefully, given his speed while in electrical form, he will have enough time to head back to the radar array and beam himself into the Aegis Pegasus. (OOC: If LS does not know that the ship is there, then he will beam himself into Aegis Headquarters.).

Strike does a quick calculation to see if he needs to increase the speed of the craft to create additional momentum to push the two titans to the sea. Not knowing the mass of the Pachyderms makes the calculation difficult as does not knowing the timeframe for the ship to overheat and explode. Ideally the ship would explode when it hit them, adding to the momentum. Strike is assuming that neither the impact nor the explosion would do enough damage to Symbiote to cause permanent damage.

OK, that's it for now. Hopefully, I didn't contradict anyone else's action but I don't have great e-mail access at the moment.

Take it easy,


There is access to the outside of the craft, I assume, so Kairos will go there and ready his cable in an attempt to be able to snare Symbiote if the two titans become separated.


I have no problems doing the Superball maneuver, but I'm currently carrying Crabman and Jellyfish.Jeff can I attempt that maneuver while carrying them? Or do I have time to drop them off and still do the maneuver?


GM Replies:
Stephane/Slingshot- You can ball up Crab Man and Jellyfish inside of you and make a big superball.
Or you could have Sentinel make energy construct parachutes for them.
Or you could drop them off in the six-man Pegasus craft which currently holds Oracle, Forester and Kairos. (BTW, it may soon also hold the unconscious Viper, Cockroach and Hyena, or it may not.)
Up to you.


Holy crapola! It's Thursday already! Sorry for the late entry.I'll drop the two off on the Pegasus Craft and I'll go for the superball maneuver.If I see that LS manages to successfully redirect the craft and do his thing, I'll reinforce with my bounce (hopefully flinging the real pachyderm farther than symbiote)... and if I see that LS is successful in his attempt, but the craft is headed for more property damage, I'll bounce it instead. (assuming I have the choice)."Crabman, take care of her and make sure nothing happens to my fellow vanguards, and I'll owe you one." Scott said as he dropped them off on the Pegasus.