Vanguard Roll Call!

Vanguard Roll Call!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vanguard: Issue 185: Return to the Valley of Mists!

“Let’s be quick about et,” harrumphed Archimedes.  “Thar’s only two deys and 22 hours until the end of the world!”

Vanguard had the Splinter of the True Cross and the Mayan Sacrificial Dagger. At least seven Artifacts remained, and Vanguard knew their locations:
  • The middle of the Atlantic Ocean
  • Northern France
  • The Lost Lands in Antarctica
  • The Nevada desert
  • Moscow (This is assumed to be the Spear of Destiny, in possession of the SSS)
  • Northern California
  • China
Vanguard quickly voted which location to target next in their Quest: the prehistoric realm of the Lost Lands. The team split up to quickly make preparations.

With Archimedes and Menagerie beside him, Mystic said to Sentinel, “The All Seeing Eye is an occult symbol with many meanings and interpretations. You’ll note the triangle is a window into an occult (hidden) realm, where resides one who can see. Someone apart is peering through, watching the rest of civilization, and the world.” The golden age wizard continued with a thorough history of the symbol and its meanings.

Sentinel thought about all the three mystics had said and tried to absorb it and make sense of it.
 “A being of ultimate power guiding all of ‘this.’ I’m sorry, I just don’t buy it. I believe we forge our own destiny. But so-called ‘enlightened’ individuals or groups whether of this realm or beyond, whether human, superhuman, alien, looking to manipulate and control ... to shape things to their vision, that's something I’ve seen, studied, and met.
“One thing is clear though, I do need to get a handle of how this (Kirk held up his right hand in front of them and a flame of his energy emanated from it) relates to this” (and he held up his left hand and above it appeared the image of the All Seeing Eye he recalled from all his study, the symbol of the Illuminati) and he sounded a bit frustrating. “Perhaps once this threat has passed you can help me to do that.”

As Kirk began to turn to leave and started to lower his hands the image of the All Seeing Eye caught his eye and he stopped. A smile of excitement came over him as something that was always there in plain sight yet unseen suddenly became very clear to him. He turned back to them and raised his hands and said in astonishment, “Do you see it? Why didn’t I ever see it before?? Do you see it???”

And with both hands again outstretched the image of his power, his flame in his right hand morphed into an image of the insignia on his chest, mirroring the symbol of the Sentinel. The three mages saw the image of the All Seeing Eye in his left hand and the image of Sentinel in his right hand, a counterbalance with Kirk in the middle. And they saw the difference. To emphasize it in his excitement, Kirk had the eyes of both symbols begin to glow. The one being bigger than the other. And then he said it, “In the All Seeing Eye the eye is smaller than the triangle looking out, in my insignia, the eye is larger than the triangle! It’s not looking out of the triangle; it’s looking into it... into it at them.”

Mystic said, “Interesting…  A Sentinel against the Illuminati; against those, like Swastika, who sought secret knowledge to gain power over men. I’d like to think on that further, when we have more time.”

Sentinel thanked them and departed. After leaving the mages and recalling how Swastika studies had touched all of what was currently happening, and yes, many of Vanguard’s other missions and activities seemingly unrelated to him, Kirk was even more convinced that Swastika would play a role in the pivotal events yet to unfold. Given some of the reactions he had gotten from his ‘Swastika obsession’ from his teammates in the past he wisely kept that thought to himself. But he would keep his eyes open to further evidence.

Slate downloaded everything he could find on Dinosaurs, evolution, and selective breeding in an attempt to be prepared.  He studied the downloads with his mother. When Slate was absorbing the information, Nanite gazed at her son with a look of concern.
Slate assembled his adventure pack, and added to this jungle survival gear some water bottles, salt tablets, his sword, and found a bull whip in Vanguard’s trophy room to go along with his Indy outfit.  He also recalled that Forester had some luck with the Dinosaurs using audible and scented arrows, so he'll searched for something that might duplicate those effects. Before long he was trying to wheedle flash bang grenades from the Chess Master of Arms. “Forget it, kid. You’re not trained in grenade use,” he said.

Slingshot spoke to Nathan Lamb and Sgt. Stone and asked that they give their son a lesson in the hour they had. If they felt Slate had learned to handle them safely (with his amazing, heightened comprehension), then he’d ask their permission. It was up to them.
Menagerie worked with them on how to best implement Slate’s ideas. He hoped his background as a Park Ranger could be useful. While the Lost Lands are filled with amazing animals and reptiles they are still animals and reptiles. 

Slate spent his hour in the lesson. Sgt. Stone said, “Okay junior. Put down the whip and listen up. The first thing you gotta remember is never to…”  At the end of the hour, Slate had passed the class. When Vanguard regrouped, Slate carried four flash-bang grenades.

Meanwhile, Clone sat in a somewhat guarded position in a remote corner somewhere, keeping to himself and remaining relatively quiet. 

Shelley Harper approached him, blithely violating his personal space like only a close friend would.  “Alexi? You okay?” she asked as she put a sisterly arm around him. “Did you ever talk to Rachel?”  

Clone sighed gently and his mood seemed to change almost instantly at the mention of Rachel's name. With a hurt look on his face, Clone turned to Shelley and said in an obviously sad tone, " . . . look Shelley . . . I know you're just trying to help, and I appreciate that . . . but the truth is, Rachel doesn't want to be seen with a freak like me." He then looked down at his feet and continued, ". . . and I don't blame her."

Shelley said, “That’s not true! What do you mean? She really cares for you.”

Clone looked over at Shelley with appreciation and sincerity in his eyes; and a soft tone of regret in voice said, "Shelley . . . I . . . I can't talk about this right now, I have a briefing I need to attend . . . I'm sorry." The Master of multiplicity than stood and walked slowly towards the door without saying another word. His body language told Shelley that this conversation was over, but the backward glance that he gave her as he left the room said something else - he wanted her help.

Vanguard regrouped in the planning room with Mystic, Archimedes, Oracle and CHESS liaisons Agent Sam Drake, Sgt. Stone, Doc Rocket and CHESS Rook Shaw. Sarge rubbed his baby blues and looked at the time. “Three AM. How come the world never needs saving in the early afternoon?”

CHESS Rook Shaw was ready to brief them a refresher on the Lost Lands when he was interrupted by Slate. The scion of cyberspace had checked his running program for updates on the locations he had programmed in his last search parameters.  He had also checked the Vanguard logs and was prepared to update the team.

His running program had accessed satellite imagery of the Lost Lands from orbit. The valley, nestled deep within a remote mountain chain in Antarctica, was permanently shrouded in white mist.

Slate explained, “Geothermal lakes, springs and geysers, and at least three active volcanoes, heat the Lost Lands and cause the permanent layer of white mist that blankets the valley’s sky. The mist enables a greenhouse effect that keeps this impossibly fragile ecosystem viable. A delicate terrarium surrounded by icy desolation! 
“That’s not all. Ecological isolation has enabled dinosaurs to survive there for hundreds of millions of years. And not just survive, but continue to evolve… over all that time. Terrordactyls, Tyrannosaurus Maximi, even seven foot tall Dinosaur Men.

“In the Lost Lands, ancient non-human races formed their own culture, architecture and pictoglyph language, as evinced by the Temple of Terror. 
The valley of the Lost Lands is roughly the size of Rhode Island. Vanguard covered less than 8% of that area in their first visit, but as they descended from the Transantarctic Mountains, their vantage point revealed tropical rainforests, hills, plateaus, plains, lakes, swamps… an entire ecological system from prehistoric times that survives. 
“The heat and the mist defy satellite thermal imaging attempts. Magnetic resonance is likewise impossible, due to the proximity to the magnetic pole. And the mist and the World Storm thwart satellite visuals from orbit.”

Two red markers appeared on the satellite image, at opposite ends of the hidden, cloud covered valley. “Here is the position of the Temple of Terror,” Slate said, indicating the first marker. “And here, 32 miles away, is the Fourth Artifact of Power.”

This concluded Slate’s presentation. The youth politely gave CHESS Rook Shaw the floor in case he wanted to add anything.

“Um… No… that about covers it,” said Shaw.

Clone said, “When I went to the Lost Lands with the Soviet Super Soldiers, they too had no solution for its blind spot regarding satellite imagery, mag res and heat scans.”

CHESS Agent Drake emailed to each Vanguard communicator scans of the pages from Swastika’s journal that included his expedition to the Lost Lands.

The mere mention of the mysterious pictographs in Dr. Swastika's Journal was enough to open Clone's eyes wide with excitement and interest. He quickly chimed in on the conversation with an obvious enthusiasm, "Perhaps I can help decipher those; I mean besides having a healthy interest in the occult, I am fluent in six different languages."
With the time remaining, Clone scanned Swastika’s German notes. The twisted Nazi genius had seen the Temple of Terror during a Nazi expedition to Antarctica. The mad scientist sought lost occult secrets that he could use to transform himself into a god among men. This life-long obsession led to many discoveries including, perhaps most importantly, the ability to create what men call “super powers” in humans. 
Later in the journal, Clone read that Swastika was furious with Doctor X of the Soviet Union, for having stolen some of his work. These stolen secrets allowed Doctor X to eventually detect and create extranormals for the Soviet Super Soldier program of the Cold War.
When Clone glanced up, his eyes happened to rest upon Symbiote who was siting four feet from him. The scientific superhero was arguably the foremost living heir to Swastika’s work into the study of super powers and what caused them.

Mystic regarded the map of the Lost Lands and asked: “Where shall I gate you in?”

Sentinel said, “I’m very surprised the artifact isn’t in the temple. My head says, given that, along with our time frame to retrieve the other artifacts, it would be wise not to divert our attention to the temple. The temple itself is a threat. I will never forget what it did to Echo, or its effect on me. It’s seems foolish to risk injury that isn’t a necessary part of our primary objective. And as we know, even the travel to the temple could result in a dinosaur attack upon us, risking further unnecessary injury at a time we can’t afford it. But that being said, my gut tells me that the temple plays a key role in all this somehow.”
 Sentinel turned to Avatar and asked, “John, the glyphs we managed to obtain when we were at the Lost Temple, does anything in your translation and research somehow make the Temple seem relevant to our current situation?”

Avatar replied, “It’s clear the Temple was erected ages ago, by a pre-human race devoted to Cthulhu and the twisted pantheon of mad gods who wish to return to our world.”

Sentinel turned to Slingshot and asked, “Scott, you could likely transport the team that distance in what, ten to fifteen minutes, if we traveled incident free?
“I say we drop in right on the artifact and grab it first no matter what our decision about the temple. Do any of you feel strongly enough about visiting the Temple; that it’s worth the dangers of investigating if we aren’t forced to port out immediately once we secure the artifact?”

Slate, still smiling, flushed with his success in describing the Lost Lands said, "I have to agree with Sentinel, we don't have the time for a protracted search.  I truly feel Echo is still there, and that she can be saved, but the fate of the planet is in the balance here.  We need to get in, get that artifact and get out.  We still have a lot to do, in less than three days!"

Slingshot would like to do some research into the pictoglyphs that resembled him at the Temple of Terror, but will bow to the team's priority. The malleable man of might said, “Avatar will likely be the single individual responsible for our sanity. If he's not in, then it's a non-starter.”

As Vanguard began to discuss where they should head first and what they should do once they arrive in the Lost Lands, a look of upset and confusion crossed over Clone's face. The Duplicating Dynamo suddenly breaks his silence and barks out a question in a somewhat sarcastic tone, "We're not really discussing this . . . are we?" He instantly realized that he may have come off a little rough and immediately softened his tone as he continued.
"Listen . . . I'm all for checking things out and flipping over a few rocks just too see what’s hiding underneath, but the Temple of Terror . . . really? I mean, am I the only on that remembers what happened to Echo at that place?" Clone then tried his hand at some dark-humor and begins to twist and turn his body wildly as he frantically wiggles his fingers back and forth. Looking out at the other members of Vanguard, Clone noticed that nobody was laughing and instantly straightened out his posture and continued with his rant, "Look, all I'm saying is that we should stay focused on the task at hand - get the artifact, and then get the hell out. I won't lie; my gut tells me that the Temple has got some part to play in all of this, but for now I think we should just grab what we need to grab and move on."

Menagerie agreed. The shamanic shapeshifter recommended the team traveled directly to the Fourth Artifact of Power’s location. Investigation of the Temple of Terror could happen after the mission was complete. “While there is important knowledge to be gained from the Temple, stopping the threat to the world is of the utmost importance.
“If we are successful and have to wait before we can teleport back then would be the best time to investigate how the ancient cultures and races of the lost millennia relate to the threat of Cthulhu”.

Symbiote recommended heading directly for the artifact. He's fascinated by the temple (studying the properties and effects of magic is still somewhere on his to-do list) and he felt for poor Echo, whom he would love to free and restore to her original form.  But Cthulhu is coming, there's no time for side missions.  Of course, there's a fair chance the team be lead there anyway. 

Heaven alone knew exactly what the team will encounter once they arrived, but the super evolved dinosaurs were a fair guess.  He'd had a thought about that--these dinos were supposedly cold blooded creatures (unless they've evolved into warm blooded, and living in a tropical climate there's no reason why they would have).  They'd never even seen ice, nor had any of their ancestors.  A cold based attack would probably work well against them--it's why Hal wanted to absorb Siberian's powers the first time they visited the lost lands.  He spoke to Avatar.  "Can you use the power of Zeus to conjure up an ice storm if it comes to that?" he asked.  "I'm betting these creatures will go comatose quickly, or at least will have no idea how to navigate on an ice slicked surface."
Avatar said simply, “I can.”

Symbiote activated the Harper Harness’s power template of the Homicide For Hire member, Zero G just before stepping through the portal, ready for the next challenge. (OOC: It replicated the following powers:
1)  Heightened Strength: +15: Symbiote’s Strength is now 30. 1d12 HTH. HP and PP modified below.
2)  Gravity Control: As per V&V 2nd edition.
3)  Flight: As per V&V 2nd edition rules
4)  Weakness: Low Self Control: Maximum flight altitude is his Gravity Control range (30” or 150 feet)
5)  Weakness: Reduced Agility: -5: Symbiote’s Agility is now 13. His Accuracy is +1.

Vanguard entered the Lost Lands through Mystic’s magical portal and were immediately struck by the heat and humidity of the rainforest. It was summer solstice here. And it might have been daytime but, like the rest of the world, it was no longer easy to discern day from night.  A thin rain fell.

They were on a plateau, overlooking a region the size of Rhode Island. From their aerie they saw the impossible prehistoric valley before them. Dense tropical forests, deep canyons, pristine rivers and lakes, smoking volcanoes, and breathtaking waterfalls from dizzying plateaus, all beneath a dark sky of mist. The Lost Lands were breathtakingly beautiful. Perhaps all the more so because of their precarious state, surrounded on all sides by a climate deadly to the valley’s inhabitants. They saw flora and fauna of another millennium. They witnessed Terrordactyl flocks, Sauropod herds, Tyrannosaurus Maximi (their skulls eerily elongated) hunting in packs, dragonflies as large as eagles, and plants that could devour men whole. 

Menagerie and Sentinel detected the magical energy signature of the fourth artifact of power and Vanguard set out in its direction, fast, low and quiet, so as not to attract the attention of the Terrordactyls above. The team’s speed protected them from curious predators.

Vanguard suddenly found a stone path in the jungle and cautiously came upon a silent clearing that held nearly two thousand Dino-Men! Vanguard remembered they were seven feet tall, lithe, fast and lethal! (Velociraptors meets Giger’s Alien!)

Beneath the valley’s mist, the World Storm and the solar eclipse beyond, they had gathered for some sort of occultic ritual. They were eerily still, and had not yet detected Vanguard’s stealthy arrival.

Vanguard clung to the tree line for cover. The Dino-Men had gathered at the base of an active volcano. Into its side was built an ancient stone ruin around what could best be described as a sacrificial altar. It seemed like something out of time and space, built ages ago by hands that were not human. Its size and shape were hard to gauge because its architecture was somehow non-Euclidean. The altar’s surface was carved with the same kind of pictoglyphs from the Temple of Terror.

Surrounding the altar was the immense stone ruin, perhaps 300 feet across, filled with the silent, torch-lit legions of Dino-Men who faced it. It had been a stronghold of some kind, aeons ago.

In the skies above, patrolled a half-dozen Dino-Men warriors with long lances riding Terrordactyl steeds. The deadly flying predators were the result of 65 million years of merciless evolution applied to the Pterodon! (Imagine Velociraptor-Pterodactyls!)

On the ground, beyond the moss-covered walls of the ancient Ruin, near the treeline, patrolled four Dino-Men warriors atop Tyrannosaurus Maximi.

The nearest row of Dino-Men was merely 25 feet away from Vanguard. They faced the altar. Vanguard had never before been this close to the Dino-Men. The Vanguardians who had witnessed the Star Giant, and what Echo became, recalled the same dread sensation of being in the presence of something that was not right. The sense of fear was abated only by Avatar’s supernatural powers.

Menagerie and Sentinel could detect the energy of the Fourth Artifact of Power. It was atop the sacrificial altar, near dark and distant shapes that seemed to lead this silent ritual. From this distance, Vanguard could not yet see what the Artifact was. Nor had Menagerie or Sentinel ever encountered an energy signature like it before. The closest comparison was the anti-life aura of the Necronomicon.

To be continued!

OOC: Here is the Ruin:

·    Every single floor-square inside the Ruins’ walls has a Dino-Man standing in it, facing the Altar.  There is one Dino-Man in every turret. They face inward toward the Altar.

·   The Altar is marked by the Red A.

·    Vanguard is hidden near the Red V.

·    The three main gates on the central path to the Altar are all open.

·    The Northern cliff (at the top of the map) is the side of the active volcano.

·    Each stepped ring in the Ruin rises ten feet as it climbs higher to the Altar.

·  The crumbling stone walls are ten feet high (for a total of 20 feet from the floor to top of the wall on the inner rings when looking inward)

·   The left, right and bottom edges of the map mark the treeline for the prehistoric jungle that surrounds the Ruin.

·    The four Dino-Men riding Tyrannosaurus Maximi are each near a different corner of this image.

·   The ruins are torch lit. It’s dark, hot, humid and rainy.

Actions please?  

Viva Vanguard,

Current Conditions:
Avatar: Hit Points: 49, Power Points: 85, Manifestation: None
Clone: Bodies: 1, Hit Points: 23, Power Points: 67, Hit Point Pool: 23
Lightning Strike: Hit Points: 39, Power Points: 85
Menagerie: Hit Points: 18, Power Points: 66
Sentinel: Hit Points: 30, Power Points: 62, Creation Points: 124, Shields: 100
Slate: Hit Points: 35, Power Points: 73
Slingshot: Hit Points: 79, Power Points: 92, Invulnerability: 8
Symbiote: Hit Points: 62, Power Points: 93, Charges: 12, Activated: Zero G


OOC: Holy crapola. I just read it. Can't we just go back to the temple? I think I like those odds better.

Since I'm out for the week (more or less) I'll start talking strategy.

I think the best thing we can do is get in and get out fast. There are multiple ways to do that. Do is super fast, before all these people move. Or do it normally and stop them from reacting fast.

At this point, looking at the array of powers we have, the second is likely going to work.

What power set does Avatar have enabled?

If he pulls a snowstorm, and Symbiote gravity stops anyone else (dunno the range available), Scott could slingshot in and get out next turn.

Couple of questions:
1-  Do I have the range to get to the podium in one jump?
2-  What are the odds that we can stretch the surprise moment by another turn?

Comment: Boy do I wish we had someone with teleportation powers, or better yet, invisibility.



Avatar had no powers activated upon entering the Lost Lands.
Symbiote's Gravity Control range is 30" (his new Strength.)
Slingshot can slingshot to the Altar in one jump.

Odds are low to zero to get two turns of surprise. But one turn has two actions. To that end, if Vanguard's plan involves an "ambush" or surprise, then everyone, please give me two actions per PC in case you succeed. Thanks.



OOC:  Ok.
So technically, assuming we have a surprise turn, I could go in take the time and come back by the end of the round and we can teleport out immediately. You guys hold your actions or actively prevent  my detection or aid me in my escape?


OOC.  Technically, yes. 



OOC: Is the side of the active volcano something that we might be able to use to our advantage?  Any lava flows visible?


OOC: The volcano is active. It's smoking and there are a few small lava flows visible near its peak, none that threaten the Ruins.



Lightning Strike:
OOC: Hi all,

Three day weekend so I actually had time to read the issue and reply early.  Given that the ruin appears to be totally stone, there does not seem to be any conductors that could allow Lightning Strike to reach the altar in an instant.  However, if Avatar could hurl a thunderbolt like Zeus, then Strike could hitch a ride on it and materialize and grab the artifact.  With his second action he could wirelessly transmit himself back to one of the communicators that would be turned on before the action started.  In that way, Strike could grab the artifact and get out in two actions and then all Vanguard would have to do is escape from 2000 Dinosaur men.  Piece of Cake!!!

That’s the plan I would propose but if anyone has a better idea, I am up for it.  I am not looking to have combat with these rejects from the stone age.

Whew!  What a relief to post early!  Now I can go back to fun stuff like getting the kids to clean their rooms!

Take it easy,


OOC: WE ARE DOOMED! Anthony replied early! :)


OOC: I just can't believe either option is going to go as smoothly as expected, both sound like quick in and outs, things rarely go as planned, but then again, Tony just responded on day 2 so stranger things have happened. :)

 2000 DinoMen does sound like more than We'd want to take on.  Since just flying away isn't really an option with the Pterodactyl presence.  Perhaps a few of us should cause some kind of distraction...

IC: "Hey, I just happen to have a few Flash Bang Grenades..." :)

Slate will be more than happy to participate in any distraction, but he's probably going to require transportation, as he's probably not faster on foot than the DinoMen.  

So first action is creating a distraction, second is creating a defense/support for whoever goes for the artifact.

Whoever takes the bait, er, artifact, don't forget your bag of sand to put in its place...



Menagerie could take dinosaur form and Slate could ride him as he delivers the flash bangs



OOC: Brace yourselves.  I'm going to reply early too.  Or at least on time.

Sigh:  The two power templates I've been dying to actually use have been Accelerator and Zero G.  I pick Zero G....and we end up in a situation where the powers of a speedster would come in quite handy (to zip in, grab the artifact and zip out).  Some days a hero just can't win.

Oh, well.  I really like Lightning Strike's "ride the lightning plan".  Avatar whistles up a thunderstorm, Strike rides a bolt into the temple, grabs the artifact, wirelessly transfers himself back to us.  I can make him weightless to get up into the clouds and catch the lightning bold.

We do have a bit of an advantage in that at least some of our powers are subtle.  The sudden thunderstorm will seem strange to the Dino-Men, I imagine, but they won't necessarily assume it's enemy action, or even necessarily know which direction it's coming from, and Avatar can (presumably) summon it from cover.  My gravity attacks are invisible.  Sentinel, correct me if I'm wrong, but you can make your constructs any color you like, correct?  And they're more or less translucent?  You could bring down some storm cloud-colored whammys from the sky and it would probably take them a while to figure out what's going on, especially if you target the Terrordactyls.  Altogether, we might be able to wring an extra round or two of surprise if we limit ourselves to invisible or subtle attacks for the first few rounds.

Though I do love the idea of Slate, riding a dinosaur, throwing flash-bangs.  Something about it makes me giggle.  I'm for watching that raw confusion.  And once Strike has the artifact, how quickly can Avatar switch from Thunderstorm to Blizzard?  I still suspect these guys will be vulnerable to cold.

If we go with any version of this plan Symbiote will target random clusters of Dynomen with crushing gravity, after he gives Lightning Strike the boost up to the clouds.

Viva Vanguard,



OOC: For that matter, the Gravity Control power could be used to neutralize the flyers from cover and then we could use Sentinel's flying constructs to rule the sky.

Avatar will go ahead and activate Weather Control.  Seems like all the suggested plans head that way and it's useful, anyway.  Never really used it before.


OOC: Before reading player posts my thoughts were exactly along with Slingshot's plan.  The distance was too far for Kirk to do a snatch and grab with his construct so Slingshot heading in was my idea too.

However one thing I realized is that Slingshot or Strike heading in solo won't work because although we know the artifact is at the altar area we don't have 'eyes on it' yet.  In other words either Kirk or Menagerie has to get close enough to identify the actual artifact from whatever ever else is around.

I didn't care for the Strike idea because it would be limiting Avatar's role to a delivery system for Strike and choosing his powerset for him with it really being unnecessary; and Strike already has electricity at his disposal as a weapon and our resident 'God of war' has much more that he can do offensively that would be seemingly be more effective.  In addition, I'd be concerned that the mystical aspect of the artifact mess with Strike's ability to return back to the team with it in electrical form.

Other thing that struck me is that even if Jeff 'makes it easy' we likely are going to have to gain possession of the artifact.  My guess would be it is either the sacrificial dagger or equivalent being used in the ceremony (better case scenario) since that might be easier to snatch or grab or (more likely) an amulet worn by the high priest of some equivalent that (for my money) amps him up into something more than an ordinary dinoman.

So I say we all get prepared to use the surprise, everyone is ready to attack and defend with their powers if (when) necessary. Slingshot and Sentinel go in towards the altar together - under whoever's power works best and then once Kirk identifies the artifact they have two attempts to grab it.  If they succeed they head back to the rest of the group and go.  If for some reason they cannot gain possession of the artifact then I say Slingshot slingshots the artifact and whoever is holding it back towards the rest of Vanguard.  If the high priest won't give it up then lets just grab him with the artifact if that is easier and getting the artifact directly and quickly isn't possible (gamers that know the rules have your say here - that surely isn't me).

The closer we keep Vanguard together as a group the less advantage they have regarding their numbers.  In essence they can have a thousand dinomen there, but only so many of them can physically get to us to attack at one time and the closer our ranks are together the less of them can actually reach us.

Naturally Jeff will likely have something happen to prevent everything I said but it would seem if we can surprise them, and perhaps use powers that don't have to have us breaking up and physically engaging them separately we should do well here.

Also as Sentinel and Slingshot go in, once they  lose the element of surprise and attacks start or as they slingshot out Kirk could use his constructs to clear their way back to the team.  And I was also concerned with all the lava around if that is used as a weapon against Slingshot, fire is his weakness, so Kirk's role could be to defend him while he is handling retrieving the artifact and deflect any such attacks, etc if it comes to that.

At any rate, that was my plan and reasoning although I'm sure Jeff will be sure to have all hell break lose  with things we don't know about yet.

Funniest thought that came to my mind that here we are with this horrific dinomen, coming in to what appears to be an Aztek-like Cthulhu sacrifice about to happen and even Kirk, Mr Talk-it-out and be diplomatic, isn't thinking about diplomacy... so this would be the one time that things wouldn't be what they seem and the dinomen are are actually good guys and would be the one group to have just given us the artifact if we asked...  I pictured the chief priest with a monocle acting all distinguished and with an English accident, "Why old chaps, we'd have just given you the artifact if you showed proper manners and simply asked."


PS: Greg, I would think Kirk's constructs translucent could blend relatively well in a storm and act how you said should things go that route.


Lightning Strike:
C’mon Kirk!  Give up the limelight once!  You can’t save the world every time!


OOC: I can surely try. But have no fear. There is no doubt that Strike and all of our characters will get their moment to shine. And I have no doubt that no matter what strategy it won't go as easily as planned.



OOC: Hey everyone,
There are plans in discussion that are at cross purposes with each other.  As always, everyone gets to control their own character.  Free will and stuff.  So if Captain Awesome has a plan that hinges on the Dread Stalker's participation, and the Dread Stalker gives me orders that have nothing to do with Cap's plans, Cap's outta luck.

So by the turn deadline, please come to resolution among yourselves. (Ha! Good one.) Or more likely, if you have orders that rely on another PCs' actions please make sure you send me backup plans in case your orders can't be carried out.  Conflicting orders could result in your character losing his action. "Civil disorder" we used to call it in Diplomacy.

Thanks everyone.  Good luck!



OOC: So I'm game to have Sentinel piggyback a ride and cover my flexible behind as well as confirm the item while I retrieve it.

I would like to see the other teams engaged in stopping the dinomen from reaching us..
Symbiote using gravity control to stop the flyers, or maybe stop the tyranosaurs.
Slate might use this gaze attack to collapse walls in such a way as to block their path.
Avatar create a blizzard slowing them down.

Another question which may change my actions: Looking at the lava flows, does my engineer skills show me a structural issue that we can take advantage of?

Slingshot is not particularly interested in killing dinomen, but if it comes down to it, we need to understand all of our options.


OOC: Stephane:
Slingy's structural engineering skills tell him:
The volcano is approximately 5,000 feet tall, from base to apex.
There's a massive, natural formation in the volcano side (half way up its slope) that diverts the lava flow away from the Ruin. If that formation was destroyed, the Ruins could eventually be in jeopardy from the slow-flowing lava.
If the volcano side were torn open, the Ruins could potentially be in jeopardy immediately between falling rock and flowing lava. But that would require considerable explosive force.



I have to honestly say that the last bit there about asking them for it never even crossed my mind.  I'm picturing slavering beast men with claws and teeth, of course where we are, and the temple motif probably lend themselves easily to that mindset.

I still think creating a distraction, some distance away is a good idea, but I haven't figured out the transportation issue, knowing we'd have to come back together before the portal was formed.  

Menagerie could do his Mega Pterodactyl  thing, to get to the top of the tower, and scout things out, and mind speak back to us the location/additional information regarding the artifact.  Slate would love to jump atop, and go for a ride  after sending the info back to the rest of the team, they could lead the flyers off, dropping some bang bombs to distract without really hurting the local residents... while they are distracted, Slingshot and Sentinel can do their thing... still works with the Avatar/LS combo for backup.  

As Menagerie and Slate come back, Symbiote can pull any fliers following them out of the sky with his gravitonic powers.  Clone of course providing support for all three teams as only he can...

Sounds like it might work, at least until the monkey wrench hits. :)



OOC: I figure we have to move ASAP before we are seen and lose the 'round' of the surprise element.

And I think we don't want to risk losing the element of surprise by doing too much before proceeding... but this is probably the first time that simply asking wasn't what came to Kirk's mind due to the setting.

I'm also figuring that as soon as Slingshot/Sentinel get to the altar all hell breaks lose and nothing goes smoothly as planned.  At that point, with the element of surprise gone, the rest of Vanguard springs into action according to their battle plan.  It did seem to me, to the degree we could stay together, that limits the effectiveness of their vast numbers.



OOC: Great minds are thinking alike, Jon.

Menagerie will changed into a Terrodatcly and have Slate ride him. Hopefully the Dinomen will think we are one of their patrols. He will support whoever in Vanguard is going after the artifact including sensing where it is. He will mind-speak its direction. Menagerie will recommend that Slate have his flash bang grenades ready to either use on the Dinomen if they try to leave/attack Vanguard or on any air patrol that flies too close or on any ground based Dino Riders (I think they are riding on a T-Rex) comes too close as well.

Jeff, let me know if you think you need more from me but I expect any further instructions will be OBE when it hits the fan. If we make it further Menagerie will make sure he gets Slate and the Artifact to safety helping the rest of Vanguard as he can.



Guys, on another note, I could activate Heightened Speed and Immunity to Fire/Heat and run to the artifact, get it, and flee up to the lava, making it difficult for anyone but the flyers to catch.  Symbiote could be taking out the flyers from a flying platform with Sentinel and they could pick Avatar up on the volcano.  Others could be distracting in a different direction.

If we had enough time, maybe Slate could digitize away enough of the volcano to route lava our way and cause problems for the mob of enemies.

Just throwing out ideas.

At this point, Avatar is just going to activate Weather Control and start dropping the temperature.  While this will not likely be enough to greatly affect anything, maybe it can hinder movement and fighting effectiveness enough to matter.


Since I'm so late; and the bulk of the battle plan seems to have already been worked out, I'm going to keep this simple . . .

Crouched down behind an ancient jungle tree, Clone remains as silent and stealthy as possible ( we aren't exactly in thie right kind of place for a lot of chit-chat ) while the senior members of the group put together the teams plan of attack.

When the time comes to attack, Clone will divide into as many duplicates as possible and they will all scream and shout as they charge into battle ( hopefully creating a rather tasty-looking distraction to these prehistoric lizards ).

GREAT ISSUE! One of your best so far, Jeff - I could actually envision every second of the story with vivid clarity! I definitely got the feeling of dread and danger as I read it - Great Writing!



OOC: Thanks Kev!