Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Issue 92: Attack of the Terrordactyls!

Antarctica. The Valley of Mists. Dawn.

Looking to solve the mystery of Nanite’s lifeless condition, Vanguard tracked an enigmatic signal to the bottom of the world where their ship was destroyed by an unknown force! Stranded, without transport or communications, Vanguard discovered a tropical valley lost in time and populated by dinosaurs!
Hungry dinosaurs.

SKKKRRRAAAAAAAA! 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!

Talon yelled to Symbiote, "Hey, if you’re 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!" The avian antihero waited for Hal to act!

Soldier also held his action, watching and waiting!

Forester expertly fired a Scent Arrow at one of the Mesozoic monstrosities in the center of the flock! Fwoooosh! Paff! It hit, releasing a powerful musk odor, designed to lure predators! Two neighboring Terrordactyls immediately attacked it, sending all three spiraling down into the valley in a writhing tumble of blood and leather wings! The amazing archer said, “These Stone Age stooges aren’t so tough!”

Avatar manifested a large glowing circular shield from out of thin air! The chosen champion of Olympus scrabbled higher up the steep cliff that was the base of the mountain Vanguard had descended when they entered the valley. Higher than his teammates, John attempted to draw the creatures toward him!

The Terrordactyls laid into Vanguard in an organized attack, pinning them hard against the steep cliff!

Three deadly dinosaurs hurtled at Avatar, drawn in by his aggressive posturing. Pow! Crash! Two were deflected by Avatar’s mystical shield! The third was dodged entirely! SKRAAAAAA!

Two prehistoric predators came at Talon, attracted by his wings! One missed, but the other’s fangs tore into Talon’s flesh! Chomp! (10 points damage, 7 from Power points, 3 from hit points!) Talon needed to get airborne!

One ravenous raptor dive-bombed Soldier and tore at him with his wing finger’s curved claw! Shhrrrkk! (7 points damage, all taken from Invulnerability!) The military man of mystery was unaffected but the quarters were too close; Soldier couldn’t find an opening!

One lunged at Forester, attempting to grab him with its powerful leg talons, and missing entirely!
One Terrordactyl cut through the air at Slingshot! Its razor teeth cut deep but had no affect on his ebony, elastic epidermis! (8 points damage, all from Invulnerability)

Two ravaging reptiles bit at Sentinel, not comprehending his glowing energy shields! (-16 from shields)
One antediluvian adversary swooped down at Manetti, cutting him badly with a curved claw! SHHK!

One Mesozoic monstrosity screamed down into Symbiote, whose synthesized superpower of stretchable skin protected him from the thing’s slavering fangs! (8 points damage, all from Invulnerability)

The last leather-winged leviathan set upon Shelley! It lifted her in it powerful talons, ready to fly off with her! Shelley screamed! (imagine Fay Wray on Skull Island)

Soldier leapt to Manetti’s aid! The Terrordactyl that wounded Manetti was preparing for the kill when the patriotic powerhouse crashed into it with a speed unexpected! Targeting the thing’s eyes with his bare, armor-meshed hands, Soldier hit hard. KRAK! POW! The Terrordactyl was beaten into unconsciousness!

Symbiote prepared for the worst. In case he’d need to get airborne to help Shelley, he tagged Talon and sprouted large black wings from his back! The Harper Harness simulated these amazing abilities!
1) Animal/Plant Powers: Avian (-2 to Strength, -2 to Endurance, +3 to Agility)
a) Wings: Talon has large, black, feathered wings that are silent. Permanent +3 to Agility. Cost for winged flight is 1 Power Point per hour. Maximum speed is 172 MPH.
b) Natural Weaponry: Retractable claws on Talon’s hands give +3 to hit, and +6 to damage
c) Heightened Strength: +7
d) Heightened Endurance: +7
e) Heightened Senses: Talon has vision and hearing 3 times the human norm. Detects X 3.

Talon, having been tagged, flew directly into the Terrordactyls, trying to split them, draw attention and begin a dinosaur dogfight! (Evasion. Fyi, Talon made his save against Low Self Control and is able to evade and not “fly” into a murderous rage.)

Shelley Harper struggled in the Terrordactyl’s crushing grip. Her holstered energy pistol was trapped, like her torso, beneath the dinosaur’s claws. It flapped its 30 foot reptilian wingspan preparing to fly off!

Slingshot stretched up to get a better vantage point. Then he launched an oversized black fist at the Terrordactyl that was carrying Shelley off! KRUNCH! The pliable powerhouse’s punch broke the dinosaur! It dropped Shelley and fell lifelessly down into the valley!

Shelley hit the steep cliff side and hung on tight. “Thanks, Stretch!” she called.

Sentinel stretched his arms, motioning outward and his energy flowed forward and upward and coalesced into the form of a mighty, ferocious T-Rex! The feet of the creation formed an immediate barrier around the team protecting them. The T-Rex postured as if to attack the ongoing swarm!

The sudden arrival of a large predator sent the Terrordactyl pack reeling!

Sentinel called to Forester, "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!” Forester smiled and nodded.

Manetti, bleeding, scurried down the steep mountain base and pulled Shelley back up and behind the makeshift barrier of Sentinel’s T-Rex’s feet!

(next combat round!...)

Talon and Symbiote brought the battle to the sky! In a three-dimensional aerial dogfight, the twin titans chased a group of Terrordactyls over the treetops of the valley below, spinning and darting in mid air! SHRED! SHHRIK! Each used sharp claws to quickly vanquish a Velocidon!*

Soldier saw an opening and leapt up onto the back of one of the flying nightmares and spring-boarded higher up to crash a roundhouse into the eye of another, that had been distracted by the Tyrannosaur construct! CHOK! The star spangled superhero knocked the creature out cold and landed on the steep cliffside without harm!

Avatar likewise pressed into his avian attackers! The son of Olympus impaled the largest of them with his spear, running the 200 lb. dinosaur straight through! Its scream became a death rattle and John kicked the carcass from his bloodied spear and prepared for another!

The half dozen Terrordactyls remaining pulled way back in long arcs across the sky. They shrieked at each other in some form of communication as they regrouped, and reformed their line. Then, ready, they began their charge!

Slingshot didn’t wait for them to reach him. Another big fist smashed one right of the sky! KRA-POW!

Forester had been waiting with Sentinel, as he modified a sonic arrow with a mini-tool kit. He wanted its wail to be lower in pitch. The two heroes were ready and…

Sentinel animated his energy creature to simulate a roar at the Terrordactyls attack formation! RRRRRRROOOOOOAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! rumbled Forester’s modified sonic arrow as the T-Rex raised its deadly jaws and flailed its tail!

The Terrordactyls broke off their attack, scattered and flew off.

Vanguard was triumphant!
Lightning Strike appeared from the useless communicator and formed himself into human shape again. KRAKA-BOOM! The sparking superscientist looked around coolly, wondering what had just happened.
(OOC: Insert wisecrack here, somebody.)

There were few injuries, Manetti being the worst, and he would be fine in time.
But Vanguard was still stranded in this strange, lost world. No transportation, no way out, and no way to call for help!

From their aerie on the steep mountain base, they saw the lush prehistoric valley spread out before them was at least 150 miles in diameter. Dense tropical forests, deep canyons, pristine rivers and lakes, smoking volcanoes, and breathtaking waterfalls from dizzying plateaus, all beneath a sky of white mist.

The signal they tracked seemed to emanate from the center of the valley.

What now?!

OOC: Actions please, for the coming hours.
Assuming you follow the signal: Do you fly to it? Walk?
Hurry? Or explore this lost world? How fast do you want to cross the ~75 miles to the valley center?
Stay together? Divide?

And there’s always the option of not following the signal too, of course.

Thanks! And Happy Independence Day,

*The term, Velocidon, is trademarked by Greg


I'm a glider. I can likely pick up most of you and glide to a fair distance before having to touch down. It still has us vulnerable to terrordactyls, but I"m not sure that I'm interested in traveling 75 miles on foot, especially with Manetti being fairly hurt.
I'm sure that with Sentinel possibly having everyone in a bubble used as a levitation mechanism while I glide the whole thing as far as possible, we could reach a fairly long distance..
We could wait for Sentinel to catch his breath if he's exhausted (i.e. recuperate some power points)


Well, gentlemen...I'm thinking that Talon and Symbiote should go scouting with Lightning Strike riding along in a piece of electronics as a back-up if needed in combat or to drop into some enemy system if one is found.


I was thinking the same thing. If everyone involved is willing.


"Talon, Symbiote and Lightning Strike?" said Forester.
"Aren't you forgetting the team's original scout?" smiled the amiable archer.


Agreed. Can Sentinel or Strike give us a "dead reckoning" of the direction to fly for the source of the signal?


Yup. They, as well as the tracker device Slingshot made, can.


Forester, true enough...

IC: "Good point, you might be able to see things even Talon and I won't. If you're willing to be carried I'll take you, Talon can carry the communicator with 'Strike," Hal says.

Symbiote turns to Shelly. "Stay behind something--anything," he urges her. "And have that blaster ready. Remember what Dad taught us about guns: At least three shots, center mass, and if you're glad it was the other guy instead of you don't waste time on remorse, just buy yourself a donut at the end of your shift."

Hal then spreads his wings, giving a few tentative flaps, looking them over with appreciation. He turns to Talon. "These things are great," he says to the Feathered Fighter, indicating a wing with his thumb. "You should try to relax and enjoy them more."


OOC: What time of day is it?


OOC: How fast can we travel, and how are we stocked for food and water?


Kirk can carry non-flyers to the center in a little over an hour. Given we've already just begun to see the dangers here from the 'natural' environment and have yet to encounter the real 'enemy' he would be against breaking up the team. He would again suggest perhaps moving in two groups toward the center, but staying within visual range of each group. The half hour to forty-five minutes quicker Talon and crew could get there doesn't seem to be a big enough different to warrant splitting forces in his opinion.

Once we get towards the center and see what we find, at that point it may be prudent to have some of the team scout ahead for intelligence while others stay behind, or have groups scout out from different angles (some aerial, some ground, etc).

Also, please advise as to whether communicators work within the valley. Kirk is hoping that the magnetic disruption of communications (if that is what caused it) might not be present within the valley. Also, if the team leans towards splitting into two here, at least we'd still have contact between the two teams (if this is so, Kirk would still advise against splitting the team but would feel better about it).

Kirk shows personal interest with Manetti and Shelly to be sure they aren't too shaken after the attack and assists Manetti with first aid (although he lets teammates more versed in first aid take the lead if come to assist).

Kirk would cooperate with the team regarding any assistance in navigating toward the source, although at this distance he'd think that Slingshot's device has a better range and is thus currently more accurate than either his or Strike's powers.


-It is dawn, 4:30am in the land of the midnight sun.

-You have food and water for 4 days, recovered from the wreckage of the Manta Craft.
And you can see unusual, fruit-bearing trees from your vantage point as well as freshwater streams and lakes formed by snow runoff from the mighty, surrounding peaks!

-Your ground speed will be affected by the thick vegetation in areas.
But Talon can fly at over 170mph. Symbiote too. Avatar can also increase his personal speed.
Sentinel can create an energy construct that can fly the entire team at 55 mph.
Slingshot can actually carry the team and walk with long, Stilt Man-like legs over great distances at an equivalent of up to ~100 mph! Symbiote too, if need be.

-Communications are still out due to the local magnetic disturbance.

GM Question:
If you fly: are you flying over or under the rainforest canopy? It ranges from 20- 40 feet high, and will cover approximately half of your journey.


Like I said, I'm more than happy to carry the team (I hadn't realized I was able to make quite that much mileage on foot) to destination with the flyers as scouts. (I'd probably appreciate recon on the ground floor or near it).


With Slingy's speed being double Kirk's this sounds much better. Kirk can make a construct for safe passage for non-flyers and for himself (slow-poke flyer) for Slingy to carry more conveniently and safely, and this way we don't split our forces and lose contact.It would seem at this speed we might be able to just speed past any further predator attacks also without being sidetracked.


So if I understand it correctly Slingy will carry the bulk of the group while Talon and I and our passengers scout slightly ahead. As to the question of above the canopy or below...seems like it wouldn't make much difference. If above, enemies could shoot up out of the folieage at us. If below, they could drop down from the branches. What Harold, Denny and I called a "red button" decision back in the day. Gonna press the red button on the wand or not? You could be equally screwed either way. With this in mind I suggest we weave in and out, above and below, if possible.


Works for me if it works for the rest of the crew. Hopefully you guys spot whatever it is we are looking for prior to them noticing us and perhaps we can 'control' the terms of the initial encounter.Seth


Lightning Strike:
This works for me as well. Strike will pop out of the communicator, get a quick update on the situation and then pop back in. He is not big on small talk.



Symbiote turns to Shelly. "Stay behind something--anything," he urges her.

The center of Shelley's brow came down. She was about to spit an icy retort when Hal continued: "And have that blaster ready. Remember what Dad taught us about guns: At least three shots, center mass, and if you're glad it was the other guy instead of you don't waste time on remorse, just buy yourself a donut at the end of your shift."

"All right," Shelley said. "Thanks. Look, I'm starting to think the only way this is going to work is if you stop treating me like your little sister and start treating me like you do other CHESS personnel. Do you think you can do that?"


Hal's face grows solemn. He turns away from her and walks to Forester, getting a firm grip underneath his arms, preparing to carry him off for the scouting mission. He turns his head back to Shelly, grinning. "Probably not," he says, giving her a wink as he and Forester lift off.


To sum up: Everyone carried by moi while I run at 100MPH, the fast flyers do recon and alert us at of any impending doom, everyone else, just enjoy the ride (unless we have more unpleasantness to deal with, likely).

We should be able to make track and be able to slow down once we near whatever we are looking for.


If I can, I'll use my sensor to perform the ground recon. Just let me know if I spot anything of interest to the group. I'll also, check on the non-powered members of out little band.IC: "If anyone see's anything, respond with the 3D's...Direction (as in clock direction: 1 O'clock, 3 O'clock, etc.), description, and distance."