Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Issue 91: Expedition to the Valley of Mists!

The Transantarctic Mountains. Antarctica. Night.

Looking to solve the mystery of Nanite’s lifeless condition, Vanguard tracked an enigmatic signal to the bottom of the world where their Manta Craft was attacked and destroyed by an unseen force!

Vanguard combed the wreckage to recover as much equipment as possible!
Using Sentinel’s energy construct as a large, mobile, glowing shelter dome, most Vanguard members worked in rotation to search among the snow, returning to recover and warm up before cycling out for another shift in the deadly cold.
Others stayed inside with CHESS personnel Harper and Manetti to sort through that which was recovered: the extreme weather gear (clothing and tent-shelters), flare guns, first aid kit, CHESS weapons locker, parachutes, hiking equipment and food rations were salvaged. The lanterns, flashlights and heaters were destroyed beyond repair.
Forester’s tracking skills detected no signs of people, nor the source of the attack.
The communicators remained inoperative. It was the local magnetic disturbance, not the devices.

The amazing Pegasus departed, but not before looking into Avatar’s eyes with recognition. John remembered having met this wondrous creature before! But when?!
The winged steed ascended silently up into the snowstorm and was gone!

Rather than wait until dawn, Vanguard preferred to make progress, no matter how slow.
So as darkness fell, Vanguard set out to cross the greatest mountain range in the world.
Forged hundreds of millions of years ago, the Transantarctic Mountains stretched 2000 miles across the frozen continent, dividing it east and west. 200 miles wide, with peaks reaching 3 miles above sea level, it would take hours to cross it in the dark snowstorm.

For the safety of all, it would be slow going. Sentinel’s wondrous energy construct illuminated scant yards into the falling snow. No stars to guide them. No moon. Just snow and the deep night. They would need to hover within sight of the ground at all times as it was their only point of bearing. The magnetic interference that rendered their communicators useless also fouled their compasses.

Long slow hours passed. Rotating scouts would range out into the night in turn, until the icy air forced them back inside. Then one of the scouts, Talon, thought he saw something in the snow.

After a cautious approach, Vanguard discovered the wing of an airplane jutting out from the white ground. There was no sign of the rest of the craft. Closer examination revealed the wing to be rusty with age. Slingshot wiped snow off the wing’s surface with an oversized hand, revealing a swastika emblazoned there. From the wing shape, Soldier hazarded a guess that it had been a transport plane. Vanguard recorded the numbers stenciled onto the wing but further exploration revealed nothing more. They moved on.

Inside the hovering shelter dome, Forester said softly: “Nazis in Antarctica.”
Avatar and Sentinel both knew that Nazi Germany had made several expeditions to "Neu-Schwabenland" as they named it, starting in 1938.

Vanguard continued on. In time, they felt that they had reached the ascent. Everyone was within Sentinel’s construct at this point, against the cold and lack of oxygen. Beyond the feeble glow of the construct, there was only pitch darkness.
Uneasiness gripped the team. Sensations of almost palpable dread that could not be easily resisted.

Descent. Mist added to the snow and soon replaced it. Another careful hour.

A pale smudge of light in the sky heralded the coming of the dawn. Vanguard had come through the night into the Valley of Mist! They continued their descent and passed out of the mist and discovered a vast valley nestled between the mountains, beneath the low ceiling of fog!

From their vantage point, high on the mountain side, they saw that the valley was green!
Daylight, diffused through the low cloud cover revealed a massive tropical rainforest, as large as the state of Rhode Island! Hills, plateaus, plains, lakes.
Sentinel opened his construct and warm air rushed over Vanguard! It was 85 degrees!
The air was perfumed with the scent of tropical flowers. Birds and monkeys could be heard!

It seemed impossible! Looking down across the lightening valley, they saw mighty waterfalls, fed by rivers fuelled from the snow melt of the surrounding mountains. Hot water geothermal lakes, springs and geysers, and at least three active volcanoes, heated the air and caused the permanent layer of white mist that blanketed the valley’s sky. The mist enabled a greenhouse effect that kept this impossibly fragile ecosystem viable! A delicate terrarium surrounded by icy desolation!

The sensations of dread faded along with the darkness and Shelley said, “Hal. Look over there. Those big trees have to be hundreds of years old. How long has this place been here?!”
Shelley got her answer. A roar. At a distance of a half mile, Vanguard saw the unmistakable shape of a Tyrannosaurus Rex stalking across a clearing!


SKKKRRRAAAAAAAA! Suddenly, they were on them.
Moving so quickly that Sentinel, Talon and Soldier barely had time to warn the team, a flock of Pterodactyl things cut through the air at Vanguard like ravenous eagles descending on rabbits!

They were terrifyingly fast. Mouths filled with razor sharp teeth. The knife-like fins protruding from the backs of their skulls seemed rounder, more bulbous than they were supposed to be (like the skulls of H.R. Giger’s Alien). The large brain case belied their intellect. These raptors were highly organized pack hunters! And big. Muscular. 30 foot wingspan. Sickle shaped razor claw on their wing finger.
None of this was right.

These weren’t Pteranodons! They were what Pteranodons would have evolved into had they survived the last 65 million years! (Imagine the Velociraptors of Jurassic Park crossed with Pterodactyls!)
Over a dozen of the deadly flying predators screamed down on top of Vanguard!

To be continued!


OOC: Actions?
Their ambush was not successful, thanks to Sentinel, Soldier and Talon. But your ground is treacherous; a steep incline on the side of a mountain base.

Everyone, Please outline your characters next TWO actions.
Everyone is fully rested from the time crossing the mountains, except Sentinel who is down 8 power points.

Symbiote, how many charges would you have spent duplicating powers over the last 4 hours, crossing the mountains? Thanks.

IC: Hal's first thought: "Amazing! Actual dinosaurs, evolved beyond anything in the fossil record! What a research opportunity! If we can biopsy or autopsy one, get a genetic sample, determine the structure of the wings on these creatures, just for starters..."

Hal's first thought is almost immediately overriden by his second thought: "These research opportunities are trying to eat our faces! MOVE!!"

Symbiote will then step between Shelly and the Velocidons (I'm trademarking that name, BTW) and launch a rubbery fist at the closest one threatening him or, more importantly, his sister. He'll be ready to extend a pseudopod out of his back to catch anybody he hears slipping down the slope.

OOC: Subtract two charges for the harness, Hal would've stayed fully powered up the entire four hours. This ain't his first rodeo.

Two things for future consideration: At some point I want to add an adaptor to the harness so that Lightning Strike can charge it directly, if possible.

And Harold is right, I should take Protect Shelly as a weakness in return for an extra upgrade. Something to think about when next I level up.

Ready for the next exciting adventure in this Savage Land we've discovered (sorry, couldn't resist)....

Viva Vanguard,



Avatar's initial reaction is to stare in awe at this lost world but he focuses quickly on the threat.Knowing that the rest of the team will leap into action as each sees fit, Avatar abandons his initial notion of manifesting as Zeus and using weather control to buffet the things from the sky as Talon, at least, will probably go into an aerial fight with them.
He thinks of Shelley as the most vulnerable of the group but she is all the way on the other side of a whole team of super-powered and/or highly-trained guys so trying to protect her from his location isn't a priority at this point.
Avatar's first action will be to manifest Hestia's shield and will also use some movement to try and "wade" into the "center" of the attacker's focus, attempting to draw attacks from others to himself (I am assuming that Hestia's shield stacks with my other Heightened Defense...if not, please tell me and I'll probably do something else). His next action will be to attack one of the velocidons with his sword. He will aggressively try and draw attacks toward him by attempting to present himself in front of the rest of the group and will equally aggressively attack the creatures, moving to wherever the action is thickest. If he can actually draw more than his share away from the rest of the group, he will do so, making it easier for those with distance attacks (i.e. LS's lightning, Slingshot and Slingshot Junior with long-distance punches, any energy weapon attacks, etc.) to use them without being under attack and having to defend themselves.
OOC: Jeff...what form does the light control take? Is it regular light control or would I manifest some sort of bow when using it to attack? When/if I manifest other stuff, like Artemis's skill with a bow, do I need such a weapon with me or would one appear? If I need one with me, I'll probably start carrying one. I'd like to be carrying a spear much of the time regardless of anything else.


GM Replies!
Hey gang. Hope you had a good Father's Day.

Symbiote wrote: Subtract two charges for the harness, Hal would've stayed fully powered up the entire four hours. This ain't his first rodeo.

GM Reply: Fair enough. That means they are due to run out soon, as it's been 4 hours. Let's say this charge will expire in 10 minutes.

Symbiote wrote: And Harold is right, I should take Protect Shelly as a weakness in return for an extra upgrade. Something to think about when next I level up.

GM Reply: Maybe. I still contend that Hal created this weakness through his own actions! Hal got Shelley a job with CHESS. Hal got her moved to Vanguard detail. Hal got Doc Rocket to slow down. Hal got Shelley to be the resident Nanite expert. Now you want a bonus upgrade for all your bad decisions? ;)

Avatar wrote: I am assuming that Hestia's shield stacks with my other Heightened Defense...if not, please tell me and I'll probably do something else.

GM Reply: The shield's power stacks with your Heightened Defense.

Avatar wrote: Jeff...what form does the light control take? Is it regular light control or would I manifest some sort of bow when using it to attack?

GM Reply: It requires no focus. Avatar glows with an otherworldly illumination and beams of light can be cast from his finger tips.

Avatar wrote: When/if I manifest other stuff, like Artemis's skill with a bow, do I need such a weapon with me or would one appear? If
I need one with me, I'll probably start carrying one. I'd like to be carrying a spear much of the time regardless of anything else.

GM Reply: You need a real bow, or other missile weapon.
I'll allow that you have a bow and spear with you, as you had time to acquire them in the long downtime period, and you went to the trouble of testing out all your new powers on that beach.



Shelley could be a weakness but, when working together with Hal, perhaps she could give an Intelligence boost?Thanks for the info on the weapons and other stuff, Jeff. I'll certainly have the weapons. As a matter of fact, I'll be using the spear rather than the sword against the flying things (in hand-to-hand vs. throwing it, of course).


IC: Adam thinks to himself, "What are these slack-jawed idiots staring at? Don't they realize the pinnacle of avian evolution is standing right next to them? Jeesh.....and they consider themselves scientists!".

IC: Adam yells to Symbiote, "Hey, if your interested in trying to copy my powers, now might be the time to try. I'm gonna show these overgrown buzzards what aerial combat is all about!".

Talon waits for Symbiote to reply, then flies directly into the mass of Pterodons with the hope of splitting their numbers, and possibly buying the group a few extra seconds to plan their attacks.

When he engages the dinosaurs in combat, he will try to use an attack/evade method of combat to avoid large numbers of simultaneous attacks on his person.

Viva Vanguard,


OOC: Busy week. Had some Kirk 'internal dialogue' on events when the issue was released, but no time to post --- bet you're all disappointed to be missing it

Quick reply so I'm in...

Kirk stretches his arms motioning outward and his energy flows forward and upward and coalesces into the form of a mighty ferocious T-Rex with its physical appearance and color matching its natural form as close as possible. The feet of the creation forms an immediate barrier around the team protecting the team from a direct assault. The T-Rex postures as if to attack the ongoing swarm and its mighty jaws and tail jut out in offense and defense as the swarm approaches.

Kirk wishing he had the cry of the T-Rex to go with his creature and calls to Forester hoping for the next best thing, "Don't know what you have in mind here, but some audio effect to go with my visual might further aid in abetting our attack." and he hoped a sonic arrow might be forthcoming.

Kirk's strategy here is (1) the visual image of the T-Rex alone might 'frighten' the flock and cause them to lose their attack and formation protecting the team (2) if they are 'too smart' for that, then the presence of the T-Rex should still hamper their flight patterns and attack plan (3) the T-Rex can 'attack' as they come and (4) the bottom of the T-Rex can provide an immediate barrier to the team not looking to attack them --- Kirk figures some of the team can take a step closer 'behind' the shielding for added protection, while those looking to go on the offensive can simply take a step or two away from the barrier to do so.

If this isn't clear, let me know.

Kirk wants to gauge the intelligence of the flock. Also, a little more info on our surroundings would help here to formulate an escape path if possible. There is nothing to be gained in prolonging this battle and if they can clear the area safely and proceed with the mission that is to everyone's benefit. This could be a 'natural' attack or it could be our enemy 'testing' us - either way, we need to get through it ASAP and proceed with the mission.

A good weekend to all.



Slingshot usually goes last. So he will be working on protecting others and making sure everyone is safe.This will include protecting the normals by putting himself between them and attacks.
Catching falling people (with his stretching powers) and essentially resorting to attacking as a last measure.
That's for the next two attacks rounds.


OK, changing my action. This is too good to pass up (especially with Slingshot already essentially doing the same action).

Symbiote will tag the Avian Antihero and fly into battle with him. He'll particularly look to tag the Velocidons in the wing, since that'll do some damage and the fall to the ground once they're unable to continue flying will do even more.

Viva Vanguard,


Soldier is a bit awestruck at the dinos (it's not something he's encountered before), but once he orients himself. He'll pose the following:
"Is this the type of thing you guys deal with regularly?"

He'll hold his actions, trying to get an better overview of the situation, and gauge everyone else's responses. He'll also take cues from the more experienced members of the team. In the even one of the non-powered CHESS personnel are endangered, he'll move to protect them. He'll use his fighting sticks to defend himself. If he see's an opening, though, he won't hesitate to act, and will make a HTH attack against any of the dinosaurs’ eyes, as he feels that's most likely their most vulnerable area.