Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Vanguard: Issue 80: The Master of the Birds and Beasts!

Africa. Night. The volcanic island. The power core of the Primate’s Lair!

The animal kingdom revolted against that which would have dominion over them. The attack was more savage than anyone expected, and tinged with revenge. With claw and fang, they attacked their would-be master in his own home, revealing his blood to be as red as theirs.
With screams and howls they mobbed him over fire, smoke and sirens. They tore at him viciously for his hubris. (imagine the final scene of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes!)

The Primate cried out, “Carl! Help me!” as the lava rose higher!

Inhuman replied, chillingly: ““I do not trust you, however I am committed to ALL life even those who throw away the lives of others. I am committed to paths of righteousness, without you helping humanity they will surely kill you easily, which is the true price of we the beasts. Without humanity helping you they shall face dreadful lives of abject worthlessness.”
The fish man moved to shield the Primate and Snow Leopard, but he was too slow!...

Kairos Kong crashed his steel bat into the Primate again! KER-RACK!

Forest-rilla suddenly returned to the upper catwalk and carefully, deliberately nocked and fired a razor arrow at the super-intelligent silverback! Whooosh! THUNK! It lodged itself in his right bicep!

Snow Leopard vaulted herself up at Simian Sentinel as he swooped down. She attempted to seize control of Doc Rocket’s Transmission Disruptor! (and she would have succeeded if you hadn’t evaded last action, lucky for you all) The feline femme fatale missed!

Symbaboon pounced up and grabbed hold of Snow Leopard and touched her bare face! Unbeknownst to the adaptable ape, the Harper Harness activated! Symbaboon felt himself change! He was becoming a cat-ape hybrid!
(OOC: Gain the following:
1) Animal-Plant Powers: Mammal
a) Heightened Agility: +15
b) Natural Weaponry: +3 to hit, +6 to damage, and aids in climbing
c) Heightened Senses: Smell and hearing; detection percentages are doubled.
d) Special: Resistance to extreme temperatures. Gives Willpower defense vs. Cold attacks.
e) Special: Increased sense of balance: Roll twice for Agility saves and choose the better roll. Also, halve all falling damage.)

Symbaboon was a simian-feline amalgam! Then suddenly he felt his body wrench and he changed again! He became a human feline! But most importantly, he had his mind back! He was Symbiote again!
(OOC: lose all Ape related powers and weaknesses!)

Simian Sentinel pressed the attack on the Primate! WHAMM!! SMASH!! Blunt tendrils of brute force hammered the master of the birds and beasts!

The Primate was a wounded, cornered animal, but he saw his chance! He roared and lunged explosively at Simian Sentinel! In mid air, the mighty ape reached through the undulating vortex of golden energy and seized the Transmission Disruptor! He smashed it into splinters with his bare hands!
(OOC: On the Primate’s next action, he will be able to use his Animal Control powers on the Vangorillas!!)

Lightning Lemur howled and created another bolt of electricity from his furry black hands! KRAKA-BOOOMM! The Primate was hit again and badly wounded! He fell to one knee on the iron catwalk!
Sling-utang, still enraged by Forester’s Scent Arrow, crashed cruel oversized fists down onto the Primate, bludgeoning him into unconsciousness! Then the big ape placed a foot onto the Primate, pounded his chest and roared in victory! The Vangorillas joined in, and their bloodlust frenzy was ready to tear the Primate apart when…

Inhuman contained the Primate within a whirling, cascading globe-wall of rushing water, shielding the Primate from his wild attackers and surely saving his life! But the amphibious altruist could not reach Snow Leopard!

Inhuman and the newly restored Symbiote tried to stop the volcanic eruption via the geothermic power station controls. They looked over the catwalk helplessly as the entire lower level, and the power station, were swallowed in the rising lava! Nothing would stop the eruption now!

Using the unconscious Primate inside the water globe as bait, Inhuman and Symbiote lured the Vangorillas to safety. Up out of the volcano’s opening, they climbed and flew!
Sling-utang felt the intense heat from the rising lava and almost collapsed! (OOC: per your Weakness)

The last they saw of Snow Leopard, she was racing deeper into the facility!

With seconds to spare, Vanguard made it out as the volcano erupted, firing smoke and ash into the upper atmosphere! RRRRRRROOOOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR! The ground shook, molten lava bled down into the viridian jungle of the island, and they were forced to find safe ground.

Vanguard had the Primate and the Owl’s body with them. Symbiote radioed Manetti and Oracle and warned them off. He wanted quarantine, unsure if the Ani-Man microorganism survived the eruption.

The Vangorillas were calmed at last by the rainforest. In the coming hour, Inhuman and Symbiote searched for a way to return their comrades to human form!

They deduced that all Ani-Men (in game terms, anyone with “Animal Powers”) were immune to the microorganism, Inhuman included! So Symbiote repeatedly duplicated Inhuman’s Ani-Man powers as a precaution against re-infection! But the Harper Harness would be out of charges in less than two hours!

Searching their captives, they hacked into the Owl’s personal wrist computer, and discovered that the Owl had secretly created an “antidote” to the microorganism, perhaps due of his fear that he was not a true Ani-Man, and therefore immune. Inhuman had heard the others whispering that the Owl was not one of them. Perhaps the Owl believed them and took the precaution of protecting himself! The formula was recorded in the computer’s memory, but they needed a lab.

The facility below them was destroyed, consumed in lava. With their clock running out, they had Manetti and Christensen don protective gear and land the plane on the smoldering island!

With a Luck Point each (sorry, there’s no other way at this point), super scientist Symbiote and biologist Inhuman successfully reproduced the vaccine onboard the Manta Craft’s lab.

Vanguard was returned to human form!

Oracle raised Interpol and in time, Doc Rocket. Reports were coming in. The global crisis had ended! The animal revolution was over!

But the world would never be the same again!

To be continued!
Congrats. This (mostly) concludes the Primate’s story arc!
Here’s what I need from you now, faithful players:

1) What are your actions for the next few hours, please? (FYI, most of you are beaten up bad.)

2) Everyone has gained a level from the experience points earned from this 20+ issue epic saga! You each need to tell me your character advancement ideas (see below for details).

Replies are due in a week and a half, by end of day Tuesday, March 10th. Thanks!


Experience Point Time!

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

Experience: Vanguard (minus Inhuman) was involved in:
· CHESS Castle Jailbreak: 1200 points
· The Primate escaping Hotsleep: -200 points*
· Tracking the Primate to Europe: 200 points
· Experiencing Death via Oracle’s premonition at the AEGIS Spire: 200 points
· Defeating the Ani-Men in the saucer ship over Athens: 1000 points
· Battling, but not capturing, the twin Pachyderms in the Athens Steel Reclamation facility: 500 points
· Becoming the Pachyderm Symbiote (Symbiote only) : -500 points
· Defeating the Primate and his Ani-Men in the Volcano: 800 points
· Ending the global Animal Revolution: 300 points and +1 Charisma Point

Experience: Inhuman was involved in:
· CHESS Castle Jailbreak: 1200 points
· The Primate escaping Hotsleep: -200 points*
· Gaining the Owl’s Trust: 200 points
· Defeating Slugg and his assassination attempt: 300 points
· Aiding the Ani-Men with info on Vanguard: -1 Charisma Point
· Sowing doubt and fear among the Ani-Men, resulting in two going AWOL: 300 points
· Defeating the Primate and his Ani-Men in the Volcano: 800 points
· Ending the global Animal Revolution: 300 points and +1 Charisma Point

* fyi, if the PCs had gone directly to Hotsleep on Level 5, a scenario existed that kept the entire saga within the walls of CHESS Castle; Pachyderm, the saucer ship, and cell block after cellblock of rioting prisoners, plus an awakened Primate trying to seize control of the prison’s failsafe mechanism: a nuclear bomb. This would’ve been a greater negative XP modifier, if the odds hadn’t been so stacked against you.

So, everyone gains 1 level!

Every level increase means:
Better combat ability.
(An attacker’s chance to hit is modified by the difference between his level and his target’s levels. Example: a 1st level hero attacking a 6th level villain gets a -5 modifier to hit. That same villain gets +5 to hit the 1st level hero. )
+1% to detect hidden and detect danger
Charisma/10 in Luck Points! (see website for Luck Point rules)
New powers and/or skills! Please read the rules info on Character Advancement to figure out what you want to do on this, and then let me know! Have fun with this.


Character Advancement Rules:

Every level, your character improves. Here's how:

First, throw away the V&V rules on Inventing and Training. All heroes improve in comics, not just the inventor types! Use this instead:

With every level increase, a character may add 1/2 a Hero Point (see Character Creation) to their sheet.
This is equivalent to ½ of a Super Skill or ¼ of a Super Power. If you really want a new big, full-blown super-power, you may save up Hero Points until you can afford it. Or you may buy new weaknesses to help offset its cost. See below.

The ways that superheroes get new abilities include, but are not limited to:

a) Training to get better physical super-skills or stats.
Comic Book Example: the X-Men in the danger room, Captain America in the gym.
Game Examples: Slingshot trains to improve his chance to hit with his fists by +2. Sentinel trains to increase his Charisma (Will) by 7 points. Inhuman swim-trains to increase his Endurance by 7 points.

b) Studying to learn new skills, areas of knowledge, or even powers.
Comic Book Example: Wolverine learns Japanese, Batman was constantly studying to improve his skills, Doctor Strange studied to learn new magic spells.
Game Example: After the death of Nanite, Slingshot wishes to study Robotics, Computers and Cybernetics. After his encounter the Primate, Kairos wishes to study Zoology and Microbiology.

c) Mutation of an unexpected nature.
Makes the most sense with heroes whose powers are tied to their DNA, like mutants or ‘accidental scientific’ origin types.
Comic Book Example: Chemicals trigger a mutation in Beast’s DNA, giving him blue fur.
Game Example: The Harper Harness has an unexpected side effect on Hal’s DNA that permits Symbiote to hold one absorbed super power for a 24 hour duration. Inhuman’s uncontrolled transformation continues and he grows webs between his fingers, increasing his swimming speed.

d) Discovery of pre-existing powers that are latent or otherwise hidden.
Comic Book Example: Invisible Girl is discovered to have Force Fields, years after her origin event.
Game Example: Sentinel discovers he always had latent telepathic senses, related to his Heightened Senses. Kairos discovers he has a low-level form of Cosmic Awareness due to his supernatural origin.

e) Finding a new device, object, etc.
These can also come with Weaknesses or future plot points.
Comic Book Example: Spider-Man’s Venom costume.
Game Example: Forest-rilla discovered a mysterious device in the Primate’s lab and was foolish/ clever enough to hang onto it.

f) Invention of a brand new power.
Usually works best with super scientist types.
Comic Book Example: Ant-Man becomes Giant Man by inventing Size Change Larger.
Game Example: Lightning Strike invents Energy Absorbing powers, so he can gain Power Points from any electrical source at a quicker rate. Forester devises 2 new special arrows for his arsenal.

g) Receiving powers from another being.
These too can also come with Weaknesses or future plot points that are not always pleasant.
Comic Book Example: Frankie Raye becomes Nova at the hands of Galactus.
Game Example: Forester decides to remain an ape and keeps the powers he received from Primate’s microorganism.

h) Modification of an existing Super Power, usually through practice.
Comic Book Example: The Human Torch trains to go Supernova with his Flame Powers. Cyclops learns to create a wide beam blast that lets him target an area.
Game Example: Forester masters a new ability to slow his heartbeat and feign death. Sentinel learns to make his energy creations fly faster, or make them glow bright enough to temporarily blind a target.

i) Also: Heroes may opt to pay down their Weaknesses, eventually eliminating them!
Comic Book Example: The Thing’s Reduced Charisma, that had him acting as nearly a villain in Fantastic Four issues 1-50, is severely lessened thereafter.
Game Example: Forester trains until he needs to meditate less often. Lightning Strike trains to gain better control when in electrical form. Inhuman’s uncontrolled transformation seems to be slowing. Etc.Your new abilities should make sense with your character’s existing personality and motif.



OK. You’ve got a week and a half to have fun with all this stuff.
Then I’ll craft your new and improved character sheets.
After you approve them, we’ll begin the next adventure arc in our senses-shattering saga-rama!

Thanks everyone.



Very cool, Jeff, very cool. Kairos, for the next few hours, will assist the others as needed (i.e. minor medical care, an extra set of eyes or hands on projects, etc.) and will then, when able, get some sleep.

Still thinking about training, Jeff. Kinda waffling between Strength and Agility right now. Also wondering about an additional full power and a weakness, though I'm not sure how I would justify it or what it would be.


Forester was overjoyed to be himself again, and grateful to the teammates who had helped him. After meditating, in the hours ahead, Forester will contact the nouveau dojo that Marksman had established in Canada, as well as the Renaissance Faire where Forester had worked before getting his powers. How were his old friends and associates affected?

The super-archer will then scan headlines for any recent reports of:
* super-villains without animal powers had taken advantage of the chaos to go on any rampages of their own.
* humans turning into animals during the latest crisis.
*new heroes emerging--anywhere across the globe--to defend against the attacking animals.
*animals that defended humans (instead of attacking them) during Primate's rule.

As for advancement...
Forester still has one Impact Arrow left from his replacement quiver in the Manta Craft. Even before his first encounter with Hyena, Forester had considered adding a Silver Arrow to his arsenal. Because he believes other were-creatures might still be at large, Forester would like to change all future Impact Arrows into Silver-Tipped Arrows (for the same damage, if possible). If there's room for more of a 3rd-level bonus, Forester would like to add a Garlic Arrow to his weapons. Mechanically, it would function like his Scented Arrow--but suited to contain vampires.

GM Replies:
Forester: You once said you wanted to use this advancement to create some kind of mystical immunity, with the notion of it helping your alleged lycanthropy. Did you change your mind? Just checking; I'm happy either way.
Also, the headline scanning stuff is great. Probably can't get to it in the next few hours, but I'll save it and report back once Forester has some downtime.


Hey Jeff,
Nope I didn't change my mind. But I had mentioned the Silver Arrow (back at 1st level) and Garlic Arrow first (after the Black Bat encounter) much earlier--so they're still at the top of my list. Forester even mentioned the Garlic Arrow to Inhuman during an in-character reply last year, so I don't want to bail on those ideas.

IC Because of Hyena's repeated "coyote" comments to Forester, and Marksman's arms' length tendency to treat the actor like the antichrist, Forester came to the conclusion that he must have been been attacked by a were-creature on the day he met Marksman at the Renaissance Faire years ago--and that only daily meditation had somehow prevented Forester from ever transforming into a were-animal. Following his recent transformation into a gorilla, Forester was now even less interested in turning into a lycanthrope. He hoped that since he had never become a were-beast, that perhaps he might have developed a type of immunity to the disease. But he would continue to meditate daily either way.

OOC: Yes, I still want Forester to develop immunity to ever becoming a werewolf (and a vampire, etc.)--but realize that might not be able to happen until 4th level, since the Silver Arrow and Garlic Arrow were higher up on my to-do list.--js

Hey Jeff,I'm not trying to create a lot of extra work for you, but Forester still feels out of the loop about what exactly CHESS entails. Approximately how many CHESS operatives are there? Are there CHESS agents in every major city? Do CHESS agents other than Vanguard fight criminals on their own? Did CHESS agents capture all of those super villains who were in prison but who never faced Freedom Force or Vanguard? Does CHESS castle house supervillains on behalf of other nations? Is the U.S. acknowledging to other world leaders that Hotsleep was a contributing factor in global catastrophe? Is the death penalty enforced in the United States in the campaign universe? If so, have supervillains been executed?


Private to GM:
At some point during the time when most of the rest of the team are in "ape form" and while working on the antidote for the ani-men virus, Symbiote will arrange to be alone with Primate's unconscious form ("Hey Carl, I need some fresh beakers before I try mixing the serum...could you go to the galley and sterilize these?"). While the Aquatic Avenger is out of the room, Hal will inject Primate with the hypodermic stored in his tool belt.

Hal will then find a way to restrain the ape, and see if it worked when he awakens. He'll argue against the team executing Primate if any of them propose it, insisting that the creature be allowed to awaken so they can "interrogate him about the Hotsleep experience." If/when Primate awakens with the mind of a normal ape Hal will act just as surprised as everybody else, even suggest that Sentinel do a mind scan to try to determine if he's faking it.

OOC: I'll get my public reply to you in a day or two. Thanks for an awesome adventure, can't wait to go to hell!!!


In more or less chronological order...

1) With the help of Inhuman and the Chess agents (and perhaps Oracle...what doing with her?), Hal will find a way to restrain Primate before he wakes up. Hal doesn't want to toss him back into the Hotsleep bed because a) as has been discussed, Hotsleep didn't do such a great job of restraining him the first time, and, b) he wants to try to interrogate the Sinister Silverback--try to figure out just what happened to him in Hotsleep, how he engineered his escape, how he got his new animal control powers, etc, etc. He'll keep a sedative hypodermic nearby to put the big ape back to sleep if it looks like he's starting to escape or regain control of the nearby wildlife. Let us know what he has to say.

2) Once Slingshot is restored to humanity (or at least Slingy's version of humanity), Hal will "borrow" his powers again for the regeneration capabilities. He'll also recharge the harness on the ride home.

3) Upon reaching Vanguard headquarters he'll introduce Shelly to the rest of the team. He'll also check on the welfare of his father, his ex-wife and Hank Archer (though his inquiries about Hank will be subtle, Hal still wants to try to protect his identity from the old detective if he can).

4) Symbiote will download telemetry on the four new metahumans he "copied" on this adventure--Crab Man, Pachyderm, Snow Leopard and Inhuman--into his computer. If Inhuman is willing he'll also give the Nautical Knight a full physical, making sure Primate didn't experiment on him or interfere with his physiology. Hal will also run a full diagnostic on the harness, since he was somewhat occupied with other things when he did so back at Aegis Spire.

5) He'll also talk with Sentinel about Hal's inability to copy his powers. Clearly, the source of the Avatar Of Liberty's powers is something previously unknown. If Kirk would like he'd also be happy (and honored!) to interview Kirk's venerable grandfather on the subject as well.

6) Like Forrester, I want to know what's happening with some of the villains that got away. Symbiote believes Crab Man and Jellyfish should be given a pass to live their lives out in peace as long as they commit no new crimes, but he's particularly concerned about Pachyderm (FAR to dangerous to be allowed to roam free, as Hal knows from regrettable first hand experience) and Viper (did the Reptilian Roustabout come to his senses after we stopped Primate? Have we heard from him, did he show up a few days later with a chagrined apology?).

7) Finally, for my level upgrade, I'll do as you suggested--modify the harness to the point where it will hold a borrowed set of powers for 24 hours instead of a mere ten minutes.

And when do we get to hear about Inhuman's side of the story? Inquiring minds wanna know!

Great adventure, looking forward to the next one.
PS: Forgot to add this...

Symbiote is appalled and enraged at the concept of Hotsleep. For one thing, it's clearly far from foolproof as the planet's near-death experience just amply demonstrated. For another, he considers it to be monstrously inhumane--trapping sentient beings in their own bodies, unable to move, without contact with any other living being--those villains that weren't already insane are probably mad by now. He's determined to end the program, even going a little rogue if that's what it takes to get it done.

To start, he'll research the Hotsleep system from a scientific and statistical direction--who created it, how it worked, who it's been used on, who (if any) has been released from it and what experiences they reported. Also, what villains are being held in Hotsleep now, and as much as we know about their powers.

Hal will ask politely for this information, but if Maas Biolabs or even CHESS balks at giving it to him Hal will do what it takes to get the info he needs--including using Lightning Strike's powers to hack into the system. Or perhaps Sentinel's computer knowledge could be useful, if he wishes to participate in this mini-crusade (and all players are certainly welcome to help me with this if they wish).

Ultimately, Hal wants the program shut down. Those villains that can safely be held by more humane methods he believes should be done so. If there's somebody just too powerful and dangerous, however...Hal believes they should be moved to Coldsleep. Yes, I remember that a legal ruling outlawed it because it technically stops a subject's heart. Hal doesn't care, the danger is too great. It wouldn't be the first time a nasty secret was kept for the greater good.

If Hal gets a lot of resistance from Maas Biolabs particularly, he'll even resort to blackmail. "You're flawed, inhuman system just nearly destroyed the world, gentlemen. And I'm one of the people who barely managed to stop your former guest, Primate," Symbiote will tell them. "I bet I could get an interview with the ACLU, Amnesty International and any major news outlet in the world. How do you think they'd feel about your company after it was discovered how you've been treating these sentient beings? And to top it all off your cruel treatment didn't even accomplish what it was supposed to do, that one of YOUR subjects escaped YOUR system and caused uncounted deaths? Something tells me you wouldn't get a bonus next year. Or you might even see the inside of a jail cell. Hell, maybe even the inside of a Hotsleep bed."

If any CHESS or Maas Biolab seriously balks at the secrecy of a new Coldsleep program, Hal will snap back. "So you've got a big secret to keep now," he'll say. "Big deal. Everybody seems to have at least one or two these days."


Forester will speak to Brian Grey, in front of the other heroes: "When you first recruited me, on that original mission to the depths of the ocean, you warned that CHESS had become corrupt. Was the Hotsleep program part of the corruption that you saw? If so--and even if not--what residual corruption still lingers within the organization?"


I was looking at your examples. I'm not willing to let go of Nanite quite yet. While it would be fun to get another power or some more stats, I'm thinking of storyline..So you suggest: After the death of Nanite, Slingshot wishes to study Robotics, Computers and Cybernetics.Are these one level of advancement each?Just trying to see what are my options..


OOC GM Replies:
I’ll reply to stuff that occurs in the next few hours, or involves your level advancement.
Stuff involving the return home will be handled when your characters get there. Likely next ish. J

Kairos wrote:
Still thinking about training, Jeff. Kinda waffling between Strength and Agility right now. Also wondering about an additional full power and a weakness, though I'm not sure how I would justify it or what it would be.

GM Reply:
Re: Agility and Strength: Depends on whether you see him more like Daredevil and Spidey (more Agility) or Captain America and Batman (more Strength).
And if you need ideas for big weaknesses, one could be centered around the Penumbra Dream: That Kairos is not the Avatar of Luck, but of War.

Symbiote wrote:
Finally, for my level upgrade, I'll do as you suggested--modify the harness to the point where it will hold a borrowed set of powers for 24 hours instead of a mere ten minutes.

GM Reply:
Actually, my suggestion was that one power, not set of powers, lingers for 24 hours. Do you still want this? If yes, did you see it as a mutation side effect of having your DNA screwed with so often, or an Invention / Enhancement on the Harper Harness device?
Forester wrote: I'm not trying to create a lot of extra work for you, but Forester still feels out of the loop about what exactly CHESS entails.

GM Reply:
I’ll answer the CHESS questions in a mega-post that covers the whole organization for you, to come asap

Slingshot wrote (privately):
I was looking at your examples. I'm not willing to let go of Nanite quite yet. While it would be fun to get another power or some more stats, I'm thinking of storyline.So you suggest: After the death of Nanite, Slingshot wishes to study Robotics, Computers and Cybernetics. Are these one level of advancement each?

GM Reply:
It has to be worth it, to choose that over +7 to a stat.
So, let’s say that choosing skills as a Level Advancement means that you get Int/5 skills, rounded off. So you would get 3 skills.



A follow up question to your answer on the skills: is there any delays to getting these skills? Would I be able to use those skills within the current downtime? or would it have to wait until the next one?


GM Replies:
Hi Stephane,
Barring an unforseen choice, everyone will get their Advancement before the downtime session.
Ideally it's supposed to represent a thing you've already spent time developing.
In your case, you've been working alongside Doc Rocket, Symbiote, Strike, Sentinel and other scientists on the Nanite situation for some time now. You've learned something in the process.


Hmm...I'd really rather not have to "sift" through multiple powers and decide which one I keep for more than ten minutes...can we split the difference and say he keeps an entire set, but only for 12 hours? Or even less if you insist, it just seems like ten minutes is a little restrictive.

As for how it happens...let's say it's an improvement of the Harness. It seems like a lot of characters who get their power from a device eventually end up absorbing it as a mutation (it happened with both versions of The Atom, the character I sort of based Hal on) but I'm not ready to take that step...yet. ;)



Jeff, The options in front of me:
1. Take a modifier to Strength

2. Take a modifier to Agility

3. Take a full-fledged power plus a weakness geared toward the War God thing:
a. Full Heightened Strength B plus Low Self-Control or Phobia/Psychosis
b. Full Invulnerability plus Low Self-Control or Phobia/Psychosis

4. Full-Fledged power plus weakness geared toward a general representative of the Greek Gods
a. Heightened Speed or Heightened Agility B plus a weakness to represent Hermes
b. Heightened Intelligence B plus a weakness to represent Athena
c. Go out on a limb and do something like Light Control plus a weakness to represent Apollo
d. Maybe something like you suggested at one point and take Cosmic Awareness plus a weakness

Lots of choices. Any ideas? Any future plans where one thing or the other might work better for YOUR purposes?


Inhuman looked over at Symbiote in his cat-man form as they led the gorilla guard away from the advancing lava. “Look Symbiote, the Infirmary is over there.” Inhuman gestures to the northwestern part of the island. “If we act swiftly we can turn that isthmus into an island and save it from the lava giving us some good tools to save the planet”.

Inhuman paused as he looked at the congealing blood and bruises from his previous fights, then consolidated a set of shields over himself
“I want you to try stealing Primates power so you can tell the VanGorillas to work with us, because it appears to be possible to divert the flow of the lava away from areas 1&3 to the north by using a combination of lake water to cool and harden part of the lava as a shield wall as well as blasting away a new channel for the lava to flow down to the sea (and perhaps using pieces to shore up the wall). This could allow us to access the Infirmary (area 3) to make the antidote much faster (as well as possibly without the use of a luck point.) I am willing to try to pull this off” Inhuman paused as his face gave tiny clues that he was thinking like a vampire squid “Dangerous and risky, I know but so is this virus. In addition I can get some of us healed up with the infirmary supplies while we try to get that thing up and running.”

“Those powers may also help us find out where Snow Leopard is, if she has something worse planned I am aware of secret doors to 'the unknown' connected to areas 10& 11. Snow Leopard could have escaped down them to somewhere else”. “You could also tell us if there are other hidden Animen, and stop the attacks on the planet as well as perhaps lead us to a golden age of communication with our animal brethren.
But of course, the decision is yours, what do you want to do? “

“Whatever your decision I will work on healing the others using my medical skills “(band aids, and hydrogen peroxide for everyone!) until it is obvious that the team will recover from being Vangorillas.While everyone is being cured I will ask for the fates of various Animen and have Primate Secured. As soon as the work is done I will search for the other end of the exit (see 1) using my Aquatic sense looking for a place the tunnel gets close enough to the surface for me to track. I will blow my way in if I have to. I will also look for hot spots where the tunnel could have been filled in with lava. If there is intel that the criminals (Slugg and Ratman) fled i will warn the others to maintain an alert guard at all times and scan for signs of their passing as I search. Leveling: +7 to Int After he returns to Human form Inhuman will probably cautiously inquire as to whether Lightning Strike had the surge detector bomb go off....


GM Replies:
Symbiote: One entire set of powers for 12 hours isn't really splitting the difference between one set of powers for 10 minutes and one single power for 24 hours. :)
For a single level character advancement (which represents 1/4 of a full superpower (or 1/8 of your form of Absorption) I could let you hold the entire set of powers for 120 minutes (up from just 10)

Inhuman: Lava will fill the entire installation. Your water powers are currently holding Primate. And you are trying to shepherd a pack of wild monkeys. The safest way, with the best chance of success, is the path described in Issue 80. Symbiote could tell Inhuman that there are jets in the sky with medical facilities.
Symbiote suspects he cannot duplicate the Primate's powers, based on the super-intelligent simian's origin.

Kairos: "In Tune With the Universe" (Limited cosmic awareness)
Once per day, Kairos could spend a Luck Point to ask one 'yes-or-no' question from The Cosmos.
His percentage chance at success is (the amount of power points he expends during that attempt) x 3.
So if he spends 33 power points, he will have a 99% chance of success.
A roll of 100 is always a failure, with dastardly effects for Kairos.
A roll of 01 gains Kairos more info than yes/no.

This ties in nicely with his "in tune with the universe" motif, even if you don't tie him to Athena.

For this, I'll also have to add a Weakness that Kairos is basically already suffering under: Partial Amnesia regarding his true identity.


Yeah, Greg, that'll be great when you absorb the powers (AND WEAKNESSES) of another tough villain.I can't wait for when you screw up your own DNA and you're some freakish merging of various villains...kinda looking like the Mongrelman picture from the Monster Manual II in AD&D. Huh...actually, that's NOT a bad name for a hero with some Animal Powers and maybe the Prejudice weakness...


Thanks to Jeff for all your efforts and the great adventure!

On the alternate Chess Castle saga – I kind of thought this adventure was going to go more that route originally.

I noticed we only have limited downtime since you said next few hours and some things brought up seem to involve more than that, so he might not get to do all this stuff.

FYI, remember Kirk has a ‘power crash’ coming (unless the whole gorilla experience off set it) from the usage of the health booster – if it happens during ‘down time’ all the better but just in case.

A bunch of Kirk’s concerns and intended actions were mentioned by others already, but I’ll mention those Kirk would try to be involved with given the time.

Kirk would work with containment and interrogation of Primate. Hopefully his limited telepathic abilities would pickup any activities of Primate through his surface thoughts and help gain information and Kirk would have the best chance against an unexpected mental attack if somehow he ‘came to’.

Kirk would absolutely check in with all his teammates to keep everyone’s ‘morale’ up after this hard mission and to continue working on the friendships he’s started. After all Vanguard really is his ‘family’ and life at this point.

He would go out of his way to be personable with Hal’s sister and meeting her. From all the heroes thus far, Kirk is most drawn to Hal’s personality and is interested in his family (relationships Kirk lacks) and his interaction with them. He’d watch the interaction between Hal and his sister to get a better ‘read’ on his new friend.

Thanks Hal and Inhuman for saving the team from ape-dom.

Since sometime’s Forester’s nature makes him seem more aloof he wants to go out of his way to prevent him from isolating himself (while respecting his need to privacy – he should at least know as one of Vanguard he has a choice) … especially since Strike already has that role and a chip on his shoulder that makes drawing him out tougher (and Forester doesn’t have that problem thankfully).

Kirk got some mission time logged with Slingshot and is also feeling more comfortable with him to follow up.

If Forester mentions his idea of scanning the headl ines, Kirk would try to access his own computer systems which are set up to monitor this sort of stuff (this is his setup outside of Vanguard headquarters back home); although I don’t recall if we’d been offered official quarters in base, if we were, that would be Kirk’s primary residence now.

Kirk is definitely interested in anything regarding Viper. He hopes to hear (and really needs to believe) that somehow he was overly influenced by Primate; he is concerned for his current well being.

Kirk would also push for leniency and some sort of official pardon Crabman and Jellyfish; he’d like Vanguard to be able to notify them once they push it through to once again offer them a second chance and either way make another plea for them to stay on the straight and narrow.

Kirk wants to hear about Inhuman’s ‘adventure’ (so does Seth) so he can come to understand him and what to expect from him in the future.
Kirk still hasn't logged much solo time with Kairos, but would still check up on him. As an OOC aside, its interested that given some of the developments you've got going with his character currently, as well as some of Kirk's future route as a character (in my mind at least), that they could easily wind up on opposite ends of the 'cosmic' spectrum years down the road.
Kirk wants to check in on the well being of Sgt Stone since he last left him fighting animals in Central Park. He wants to touch base with Doc Rocket, especially with their last interrupted conversation. His relationship with both of them continues to evolve since he felt that he knew these men before meeting them and he now feels a sense of responsibility for their well being since t hey have ‘stayed on’ as advisors partly due to his influence and prompting. He really got a sense for how wounded a soul Doc Rocket is for some of the decisions that he felt he had to make in his heroic career and wants him to always feel it was worth it as much as that is possible and make sure he knows how profound an effect he has had on future generations.

On the Hotsleep discussion – Kirk would remain uncharacteristically quiet initially listening to his teammates concerns and the replies they get.

On level advance: At this point we are going to go with raising stats. We spoke about this last time around about Kirk’s low hit points and it came into play with him needing to take the stimulant, so that would be on his mind. However, since mos tly the rest of the team is all physical power oriented he is concerned about being able to handle some of the less physical threats (ie Swastika mind, Black Bat’s influence, etc) plus his own powers are highly tied into willpower. Last time you suggested splitting the advancement three points to two stats instead of one to seven – however, I question whether the split would actually make much of a difference in actual game terms and it seems like doing seven points on one stat this time (and the next stat next time hopefully) might work better. But I’m not sure which one to do. And I’m not sure which is better in game terms. Although I think I’d prefer to increase my will, I think the hit point thing is actually more practical at this point since we’ve had a number of foes that have to go head to head with Slingshot (and Symbiote Slingshot) who can give massive damage and I’ve felt that Kirk wouldn’t survive a single blow beneath his shields. What do you think game-wise and character-wise at this point?

Kirk absolutely wants to talk to Hal about his inability to copy his powers and would be open to all of his theories in this regard (the obvious being his abilities aren't mutant in nature). He is planning to go discuss things with his grandfather (if we get downtime before the next adventure picks up) & he tells Hal he would definitely see if Gramps would be open to meeting him.Kirk wants to arrange the 'meet' both because he knows it would mean something to him (he's seen that Hal has the same love and respect for the prior generations of heroes first hand) and also because he's taken the time to introduce his 'family', Shelly, to him and to Vanguard and he'd like to reciprocate.OOC Jeff, we've never discussed how much Lancaster would be open to this; whether he is fine with it or would have some reservations. We've deliberately left much of Lancaster's activities 'in the dark' in development for exactly what he has been doing in recent decades (aside from raising and training Kirk), so you can let me know. I'd actually be interested to know if there were reports of heroic activity in the area that could be attributed to Lancaster taking action locally to help with the situation (I'm assuming he'd have done it covertly, although I could be wrong). If not, Kirk would likely ask him what he was up to when the world was coming to an end.Again, this certainly wouldn't happen in a couple of hours and would assume some extended downtime before we are drawn into the next 'adventure'.

Special thanks to all the players too. I'm certainly enjoying the ride and enjoy everyone's postings!


If gambling didn't break one of the five precepts, Forester would bet
3 arrows to 1 that Sentinel's powers are a psycho-physical manifestation of good incarnate. (Hence the previously discussed icon on his chest, and Sentinel's good-to-a-fault weakness.)


I definitely see Kirk ultimately evolving toward being a universal-type being with his 'energy' he taps into being the basic building block of all that is (ie creation) and in time his continuing to learn to manifest that energy in its various incarnations; the fact that he has the 'energy-sense' and that Lancaster (the golden age Sentinel) does not indicates he is something more than what has been running through the family genes. He is definitely a protector of life by his nature currently, but I don't know if that is by personality so far or by more. We've seen his harsh reaction to the anti-energy he sensed from Black Bat and I played that up. But its tough to define 'good' anymore; seems like beauty, its in the eyes of the beholder.

What his ultimate role in the universe proves to be will be a bunch of fun figuring out. But I'd think Jeff will have Kirk (and the rest of us) guessing for some time as to the ultimate source of his powers and what it means and I think a bunch will come from where everyone's continued play and the situations that Kirk encounters bring him. Anyway it goes, I'm looking forward to it. Seth


Forester is pleased to see Sentinel's effort to stay friendly and welcoming during the gorilla-aftermath.

"For the longest time, I've been meaning to clear up a misunderstanding. The FIRST time we almost died, under the ocean, against the Swastika regime, I realize you were taken aback when I kept asking about the nature of your powers. My timing was off, I admit," the archer said.

"But I've been so fascinated by your powers, by your legend, that I didn't want to die without knowing more," he explained. "Maybe I was prying, but I wasn't spying. If anything, I was acting like a fan."

"Meditation aside," he continued. "I am still a performer at heart.
I'm used to people who LIKE to talk about themselves. But everyone at CHESS, from Brian Grey on down, is so tight-lipped, so incapable of volunteering information. Too buttoned-up for small talk, too defensive to let others in the loop, and so suspicious that they interpret reasonable inquiry as disrespect or low morale."

"I am not bitter at CHESS for the global tragedy we've all faced. But the Hotsleep oversight was symptomatic of the organization's reactionary approach to law-enforcement, and don't-ask-questions approach to defense," Forester added.


GM Replies:
Sentinel, If I were you I would add 7 to Endurance. It'll give you the most hit points that one level advancement can offer, and it'll increase your power points and therefore your Creation Points!
Your Charisma (Will) is already going up every adventure cycle, you goody goody.

Re: mindscan: You'll need to wait for Primate to awaken because unconscious, animal or nonsentient minds are all immune to the effects of telepathy.
Do you (or anyone else) want to try to wake him up? If yes, how?


If we do awaken him, I vote that we wait until...
a) Everybody is de-gorillafied.
b) Everybody is at least rested up to full power points, and Slingshot and I are fully regenerated.
c) We have him surrounded, and one of the CHESS agents has a tranq hypodermic handy.
d) We have some other restraints on him...either something we jerry rig or some energy restraints created by Sentinel, and....
e) We're in the air, at an altitude where birds can't fly. We can tranq him before we land.


Make it so; that's my advancement. It makes sense with his non-stop action the past few days that his endurance would be built up in the future too (ie the non-stop, rest-deprived pace this time makes it easier next time).

On the Primate thing; my actions were in support of Symbiote and Kirk would follow his lead - I just figured that since I can read surface thoughts Kirk should be using that skill should anyone try to interrogate Primate and he should also pick up any mental sneak attacks if Primate tries one; he would hope his thought shield might prevent him from falling under Primate's influence in the event of an attack(although I haven't forgotten that Kirk is still concerned over his experience in the Hotsleep and that something more didn't occur there and Kirk not remember) (yes, it seems the only time I'm not paranoid and let my guard down is when you get me :) )

Kirk would suggest waiting for more controlled conditions (ie back at Chess headquarters) before waking Primate unless anyone came up with good reasons to do it prior (ie perhaps Symbiote thought Chess would prevent it - although at this point they have little reason to prevent it and they likely want to find out how he escaped the hotsleep as much as we do).
I'll give an in character reply to Forester's most recent posting.


I'll bow to majority opinion, but unless somebody has a really compelling reason not to, I'd rather wake him up now. Symbiote doesn't entirely trust CHESS--or at least the parts involved with the Hotsleep program--right now, he'd like to find out what the ape knows before they can get to him.

Plus, I admit, I'm curious as to what he has to say. IIRC correctly Jeff did a bit of an "in-between issues issue" when we were questioning Black Bat underneath Big City during the last adventure. If you're willing, Jeff, could we do that here? Or think of it as a "Vanguard One-Shot Special." Sigh...seems like every other comic I buy these days is a "one shot" or limited series. It's like they stick a vacuum hose straight into my wallet....


Slingshot:Re: Skills: Frankly, what I would be concerned about is giving me the best chance at getting Nanite back. If all three make sense then I would go for that.Frankly, I was thinking of going with a +7 Agility, but I'm interested in furthering plot points too. ;)Decisions, decisions.


Private to Symbiote:
You're secretly administering the intelligence killer before Primate is awoken, and most of Vanguard are still apes?

If it succeeds, Symbiote will lose Charisma for lying to his friends. Part of the secret burden you mentioned to Doc Rocket.


“Gentlemen, I don't believe that the importance of this prisoner can be stressed highly enough. Through his plans, untold numbers of people have died horrific deaths and untold billions or even trillions of dollars worth of damage have been done around the world. This evolved ape may not even be a candidate for Hotsleep any more. He deserves the death penalty, make no mistake. I am not above judging and executing him here and now and would likely do the latter since I've already done the former but I know that some of you would object and I also believe that the world needs to see him on trial for what he's done. Saying this, though, I have little faith in the system as I believe many countries will argue about where, how, and when to try him. Still yet, if we want to claim the mantle of heroes, delivery of him to the authorities is what needs to be done and that needs to be our major focus for the immediate future.”

After that, healing up and organizing is what we need to do. I think that the team is coming together well, even considering that we have no official leader. Certain bonds are forming and power-driven tactics are coming together. More experience is all that is needed. We need to brace ourselves for the times to come, for I feel that this is only the beginning of our trials.

(OOC: Kairos will continue practicing Agility-based stuff, raising his Heightened Defense a little as discussed unless Jeff gets back to with me on another possible increase that was mentioned.

Kairos will also speak with Forester more since we seem to be gravitating toward working together a little bit in combats. Since Forester is a weapon-user, I'll see if he'll teach me about his arrows, their powers, and how to tell which is which in case I end up needing to use them if he's down or if it's just needed for some reason.

If possible, Kairos will also get with Slingshot and Symbiote and work out some practice on techniques in combat that might involve one of them slinging me across some distance. Practice it out over water, maybe, or I could have some fun and be slung back and forth between them somewhere, kinda like my own super-trampoline.

Speak some with Lightning Strike on possible synergies and actions in combat. Focus on stuff like we did in combat with Black Bat's minions and have L.S. ready to shock persons through my cable or some other medium, if necessary.

Get to know Sentinel a little better with some conversation about how he and I could work more effectively together.

Speak with Inhuman in the same manner. His water control might fit in with L.S.'s electrical abilities at some point.

I also think that Kairos WILL try to pay court to Symbiote's sister, too, if there is an opportunity.)


OOC: How about a "spotlight on Primate" Supervillian issue?
We interrogate, that brings up memories, they get telepathically picked up and we have an issue...I am delaying further thoughts than a few hours in the future for specific reasons, which will be covered later.

Inhuman, claiming immunity as well as detection of some of Primates abilities, will request to be present for any interrogation of Primate. Inhuman, after the team is Fixed, will relay the following statement:

"I am willingly surrendering to Vanguard as a representative of the US Government because I fear I may have inadvertently committed several or even many crimes in my attempts to convince the Ani-men to trust me. I all ways attempted to deliver more disinformation than information and keep true secrets away from the Ani-men because in part I have no wish to betray anyone. At a guess from the way things fell out it wasn't the best plan but it was about as well as i could do. However I would like to look for the escapee Snow Leopard and continue to help."

Oh yeah, Jeff, I thought up a name for the Suicide Squad type group we were discussing: RearGuard:D


Hey Jeff, I noticed that you're now starting to post Issues 62 and up on the
Vanguard site. Thanks!

Here are a few more actions for Forester:

1. The super-archer will check on Dr. Chiropterus, the sonar-sensitive bat-villain who remained uncaptured during the prison attack. Forester will ask his former opponent if he experienced anything unusual during the global animal attacks. Did he feel elevated levels of anger? Were his senses heightened? Or lowered? Did he feel any form of telepathic influence? Anything?

2. Forester checks the CHESS database to see of Freedom Force or any of the World War II heroes ever encountered any werewolves?

3. Forester will ask Doc Rocket if he knows of any were-creature experts anywhere.

4. We know that Hyena has some type of mystical sense--which allowed him to smell "coyote" on Forester many missions ago. And that mystical sense was the only power of Hyena's that Symbiote was not able to absorb. If Hyena was a type of werewolf--affected by a magical disease--would Symbiote have been able to absorb his canine powers?


OOC GM Reply:
Thanks, James.
Here's what I can answer while Forester is on the Primate's Island, with no link to CHESS databases up yet:

Forester wrote:
We know that Hyena has some type of mystical sense--which allowed him to smell "coyote" on Forester many missions ago. And that mystical sense was the only power of Hyena's that Symbiote was not able to absorb. If Hyena was a type of werewolf--affected by a magical disease--would Symbiote have been able to absorb his canine powers?

GM OOC Reply:
You don't miss a trick. It's true: Hyena has a heightened sense that includes scent, hearing, etc. but also a mystical sense.
Symbiote's power copies superpowers seated in the DNA of a subject.
Hyena's transformation is supernatural, but the results of that transformation involve a new, concrete, DNA set: the hyena-man. So Symbiote can duplicate those hyena powers, but not the supernatural Transformation power, nor the Supernatural Heightened Sense, neither of which was centered in Hyena's DNA.
Don't know if or how Forester can figure this out in character, but that's the OOC GM reply.

I'll answer the others when Forester back home or the CHESS database link is back up.



OOC: Jeff, I know I posted a request for +7 Int for leveling but would you consider:
+6 Int, +1 Skill : Super villain Subculture and/or Research

Plus possibly: 20-40 pts. armor, requires water shields, does not apply to penetrating attacks,
Inhuman fills his water suit, slightly expanding it so that he appears to be more muscular this results in an additional layer between him and certain kinds of attacks.


GM Replies:
Inhuman / Alex wrote: OOC: Jeff, I know I posted a request for +7 Int for leveling but would you consider: +6 Int, +1 Skill : Super villain Subculture and/or Research
Plus possibly: 20-40 pts. armor, requires water shields, does not apply to penetrating attacks,

GM Reply:
For a one level advancement, you could get +7 to any stat, OR Skills to the tune of Int/5 (in your case, 3 skills).
So if you want one skill, that's 1/3 of total skills permitted. Which means I could give you 2/3 of the total stat increase permitted or 4.66, which I'll call 5 points to Intelligence.

Armor is a 2 point cost to get 120 points of regular biological armor.
A one level increase gives you a quarter of that, or 30 points of armor. So that is feasible, but not in addition to the stat/skill increase combo, or anything else for that matter.

If I were you, of the above choices, I'd increase Intelligence 7 points. It fits Carl's personality, helps a bit with hit points, damage modifier, detection rolls, and most importantly increases your Hydrokinetic capacity and therefore hydro-damage.



1) For the next few hours, Slingshot will attempt to regenerate as much as possible with what's at hand (I'm unsure what's actually available). He will listen to Inhuman's monologue (and I'll post in those threads).

2) Level advancement: I've decided to go with the 3 skill advancements discussed earlier in the GMs replies posts. Scott will make a personal attempt at reviving Nanite. Jeff, since you only mentioned the next few hours, I'm not sure how far I can start planning. I would study and research Nanite all over again, including the possibility of finding traces of her programming over the net.


Re: Symbiote’s telemetry download: Inhuman is Willing and would like to point out there should be an 'earlier' copy of Inhuman meaning you only have 3 'new-new' downloads and one 'old-new'(and remind you to not overwrite the previous Inhuman download for DNA degradation comparison)Jeff, OOC: future leveling if you take two levels of the same stat increase does that give you a total of +15 or just +14?
and yes still taking +7 Int (Look guys! i'll do better next time I Is Smartered!!!!)


Hey Jeff,
Here are my write-ups for the two modified arrows I'd like to add at 3rd level.

Silver Arrow: A silver-tipped Impact Arrow, HTH+d8 damage.

Garlic Arrow: Releases garlic upon impact, which can mirror the tagging and tracking effects of a Scented Arrow, and might interfere with the abilities of vampires.

Since it looks like I may gain a luck point at 3rd level, could I use that as a way to explain the resistance to were-disease that we've talked about? If so, here's what I have in mind...

Body Power: Daily meditation prevented Forester from ever experiencing the effects of lycanthropy after he was bitten by a were-creature. Over time, Forester has grown 100% resistant to the disease (even if he does not meditate).


GM Reply:
Private to Symbiote:
At some point, when most of the team are in ape form, Symbiote, while working on the antidote for the Ani-men virus, arranged to be alone with Primate's unconscious form ("Hey Carl, I need some fresh beakers before I try mixing the serum...could you go to the galley and sterilize these?"). While the Aquatic Avenger is out of the room, Hal injected the restrained Primate with the hypodermic stored in his tool belt.

The great silverback’s eyes opened at the touch of the needle. The fiercely intelligent orbs slowly clouded as his mind, his identity, his personality were utterly destroyed. Murdered. The Primate closed his eyes again as he kept breathing. Symbiote’s serum was a success and he quickly covered up his actions from his teammates. (OOC: Hal loses 1 Charisma point)