Monday, July 02, 2007

Episode 36 - Iconoclasts

The battles were joined.
Marduk vs Enlil - the Other Immortals versus the Genies (It seemed appropriate)
At first things seemed to be going well. Marduk surprised Enlil with his enhanced powers, thanks to a power boost from Ea. The Immortals acted quickly to take out the Marid (the genie healer) and gained a quick advantage. One after another the Immortals took down the Genies. The Djinni, first, then the Ifrit. Only the Dao could not be brought down.
But then things turned on the team.
First Marduk was grievously wounded and dying on the battlefield.
Then DragonFly, Banshee and Mystery Man get knocked unconscious.
Phoenix manages to get Marduk to safety.
Marduk then has a strange vision as he is dying. Ea, with a little help form Dr. Heimholtz, invoked Paul Simon calling him to seek out Friends and Lovers.
He awakes and sees Phoenix, an old Friend, and thinks about Phoenix's former Lover, Tiamat, holder of the Tablets of Fate (which she took from him before). Phoenix grudgingly took leave of his friend and sought out Tiamat on the shores of Somalia (a short jaunt for him). He was able to alert her to his presence by tapping out the tune Jumping Jack Flash on a set of desalination pipe. This does bring her to him, and he agrees to owe her a favor in return for the Tablets. He returns to Iraq with the Tables (in the form of a small conch shell). Marduk uses the Tablets to determine that Enlil will fail his mission.

"And so it passed, Enlil's plot was foiled, and the power behind it would disappear."

Meanwhile Phoenix goes to rescue his teammates. DragonFly was found injured but alive under some rubble, Phoenix quickly got him to a US military hospital.
To find Banshee and Mystery Man he had to consult with Ea. Straining to get an image, Ea directed Phoenix to the union of two great waters. Reasoning that the two waters were the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, he traveled the short distance to site. There was the Dao standing over the bound, unpowered, and unconscious forms of Banshee and Mystery Man. Phoenix, an unstoppable force, versus the Dao, an immovable object. Blow after blow from the Phoenix failed to do anything to the mountain of magical earth. He wasn't able to hurt the Dao directly, but by timing his attacks he was beginning to find 'cracks' in the defenses. Still it would take too long he needed another tactic.
Meanwhile, Marduk dragged himself from Nippur to Babylon (borrowing Lancaster's Humvee) and found himself walking into the reforged gates of the ancient city. There high upon another ziggurat stood Enlil mocking him from above. Marduk poured himself into a single arrow and aimed it at the God atop the stairs. He aim was off, the shot had barely enough force to reach Enlil. It bounced off him and fell to the ground harmlessly. He looked incredulously at the arrow and down at Marduk.
Back at the river junction Phoenix tried reasoning with the Dao, and the creature seemed without concern or interested other than serving his master. Acting on a hunch, Phoenix raced back to the castle base in Nippur and found the four objects which bound the genies to Enlil. He commanded the Genies to free his friends, and leave. The Dao did his bidding without comments. For now the Immortals were free.
Weeks later the team finds James Allen in a Baghdad hospital, without powers, and unable to consider returning to Freedom City or the vicinity. He speaks of staying in Iraq, pursuing his studies for real, and of serving these people, his people.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Episode 35 - Before the Deluge

The Immortals managed to defeat the Genies, but the battle was not over. Mystery Man had gotten Ea (Enki, Dr. Heimholtz) to safety and the doctor warned him not to let the team face Enlil, fearing he was too powerful. Once sure he was okay Mystery Man returned to Lancaster's home.
Meanwhile back at the estate, the team faced the Sandstorm and decided to take the fight inside Lancaster's home. They were able to get in fairly quickly, but not before Enlil managed to zap both Phoenix and Marduk with bolts of lightning.
The team discovered the office of Lancaster with some Cuneiform tablets and computers showing seismic and bathymetric data of a site roughly a thousand miles south in the Arabian Sea. They piled the stuff back to their inn, and following Ea's advice they split up to find Anu.
  • Ea and Mystery Man discovered a mystical castle where the ruins of an ancient Ziggurat should be. Mystery Man accepts this on faith, since he sees only the ruins.
  • Phoenix and Banshee notice a highly stepped up presence of Military and Paramilitary (Cromwell Industries) personnel as though they were on alert, when they heard of the castle, they quickly, but casually make their way up there.
  • Marduk and Dragonfly find the rug merchant who recognizes Marduk's armor. They banter a bit, and Marduk asks about Anu. The rug merchant points behind him. There stands the little girl he met earlier. She offers little in the way of answers, and if anything is more cryptic than the other two.
The team plus Ea and Anu assemble at the gate of the Ziggurat, but most of the people saw only ruins hidden behind the hurricane fencing. Slowly they all began to see the great gaudy gold and jeweled palace. No windows and no other doors, just one big locked one. DragonFly pushed his shrinking and was able to enter the lock of the big door, and using his 'vocational learning' was able to unlock the big door. The team entered and found themselves in a large hall with an enormous throne at one end covered in ancient glyphs. Dr. Heimholtz's curiosity got the best of him, and he went to read the inscriptions. As soon as he touched the throne he disappeared.
There was some dicussion about wht to do next. Phoenix did a quick search of the building, which was complicated by a vast series of deadend and useless corridors. Marduk and Anu discussed Marduk's intentions. Did he come to claim the throne, to start a war or what? Marduk said he would take the throne. And he did. He did not disappear. He demanded the return of Ea, and his wish appeared to be granted as the doctor reappeared.
The team made its way upstairs and discovered a temple room with a strange altar connected to a bank of computers and monitors. Anu says that there is a star in the altar. Ea says it is time for he and Anu to bestow their powers on Marduk. He removed his amulet, and asked Anu to imbue it with her power. She asked Marduk if that is also his wish. He said yes, and so she did. The amulet grew and took the shape of a large lens. And seconds later all hell breaks loose. A rocket of fire and energy launches from the lens and blasts through the roof of the castle. "Heimholtz" says "That went better than I expected" but seemed to have lost his German accent. Before they could respond, Enlil (in the shape of Heimholtz) teleported away with Anu. Marduk summoned his mighty sword in hopes of destroying the lens. His attack is partially successful. His mighty blade damages the lens, but the point of impact becomes a 'leak' in the energy stream and a cone of explosive force knocks everyone in its path against the wall and into unconsciousness. The main thrust of the energy flies in a parabolic arc southward to the Arabian Sea where it boils away the water.
Phoenix searches the castle for Anu and find her, as well as Ea and Enlil. He rescues Anu returning her to the altar room, then goes to explore the rest of the castle, including another locked door. He permeates through the locked door, and finds himself in a cylindrical room, after a momet inside high winds begin which rapidly turn into tornado winds. When the team goes to rescue Ea, but Enlil sends him to join Phoenix in the whirlwind dungeon.
The team spends precious time rescuing the various people, and discovers that the effects of the blast are beginning to be noticed by the satellite systems. The damage has already begun.
Above them they saw Enlil playing with the USAF jets sending their missiles flying and swatting at the jets as they try to fly past.
It seems clear that they can't just destroy the lens. But now the real Heimholtz offers Marduk his power, which he gladly takes. Anu says that she can send the star away, once Marduk releases it from its prison. She warns that after he releases the star he will be in no shape to deal with Enlil. The team girds itself for a fight with Enlil before they can deal with the Star Beam.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Episode 34 - The Gods Must Be Crazy

Some time has passed since the last adventure. Phoenix (formerly Jack Flash) has learned of his new abilities, in particular the ability to generate flames around his body by vibrating his molecules at super human speeds. Hephaestus and Ormand packed up and set sail for a sea journey of unspecified distance and duration. Hephaestus indicated he would leave his suit behind, just to avoid the temptation to use it drunk. Marduk finished up the semester and finals and found himself talking with Dr. Heimholtz as the later prepared his things for a journey of his own. He told Allen (Marduk) to get packing as the two of them we leaving for Iraq shortly. Mystery Man and Banshee acclimated to the environs of the Academy and began to work with the team to develop some secret maneuvers (to be determined later). Banshee also spent some time on the lab working up Jack's (Phoenix's) DNA to determine what changed during his resurrection.
A couple weeks later, Drs. James (Marduk) Allen and Hans (Ea) Heimholtz arrived in Baghdad and traveled to the site of the ancient seat of power, Nippur. This was now a relatively quiet suburb of Baghdad. The explored the city for sometime but never doing the sorts of things one would do to establish a dig. There was no bargaining for supplies, no arranging with the local authorities, it was different. Finally Heimholtz just sort of shrugged his shoulders in frustration and admitted he had brought Marduk here, because he felt summoned. He was sure it was for a 'summit' of the Gods, and yet no one had come for them. As if on cue, a Bentley pulled up and Lord Ewan Lancaster, of the British Museum greeted them. He invited them into his car and drove them to his estate outside of town. He too seemed interested in the events transpiring and suggested that the Gods might be trying to recreate the story of a great deluge sent to destroy mankind (which Marduk prevented in mythology). There was much talk of the three suggesting that Heimholtz (Ea) and Lancaster were two, and there was some mysterious third. The way the conversation went, Marduk was led to believe the Third was Enlil a vengeful and cruel god, so presumably Lancaster was Anu.

They returned to the town, and shortly thereafter encountered a strange phenomenon in a hidden courtyard. Rising up from a fountain, a strange blue genie like form appeared and attacked them. It was no match for Marduk, so cowardly it attacked Heimholtz. He was stricken paralyzed and dehydrated. Marduk rushed to help him. Holding him in the water seemed to help him. Whiled holding him the Genie (Marid) escaped. He was also visited by a young Iraqi girl who seemed to believe he was baptizing the old man. She disappeared in the crowd, and when Marduk abandoned his charge to follow her, he lost her several times. When he did catch up to her, she was gazing up into the sky, there he saw a US helicopter plummeting to the Earth. He leaped into its path and managed to cushion its fall allowing the crew to escape with only minor injuries, but leaving him unconscious under the mighty wreck. When he returned to the fountain, the girl and Dr. Heimholtz were gone.
He contacted the Team and let them know his situation. They decided to join him, and called in a favor with the gov't to fly out.
Once the team assembled they decided to visit Lancaster again, and hope to learn something. Marduk asked a contact in the reserves to help him out, and once again a helicopter arrived to shuttle the team to Lancaster's villa. They had to be dropped off outside the compound, because technically, the army considered that area British.
When the team entered the compound they were greeted by Lancaster who wasted few words before confessing that he too was a God, and not Anu, but rather Enlil. He summoned his four genies before the Immortals: Djinni (air), Ifrit (fire), Dao (earth) and the Marid (water) encountered before. Phoenix went into Plan A, and ensnared Lancaster. Then general brawl broke out. Lancaster was able to teleport out of his bonds, but his genies remained. This fight was a close one, at one point or another, nearly all of the Immortals were knocked unconscious, as were most of the Genies. The Marid had some sort of healing powers, and healed his allies making them difficult to keep down. Eventually, the Immortals focused their attacks on him, and once he was knocked out, the rest began to follow. They took out the Djinni and amazingly the indestructible Dao, and had snared the Ifrit when he tried to flee, taking Phoenix with him. At that point a supernatural sandstorm arose to defend the villa from their onslaught. Mystery Man portal'd blindly into the villa and miraculously found Heimholtz and rescued him from Enlil by teleporting with him his maximum distance. The rest of the team sought cover from the terrible winds and hunkered down until they could properly siege the small palace.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Episode 33 - Ashes to Ashley, Tusk to Tusk

The funeral of Jack "Flash" Summerhall was not much different from any other small private funeral. Grieving family, friends and coworkers there to show their respects, an ex-lover there for one last look. But this funeral WAS quite different.
During the ceremony what appeared to be some former acquaintance seemed unusually moved for someone who claimed only to be "an old girlfriend from college." She made two rounds to the coffin and shed many tears over the wooden casket.
Also present, not unexpectedly, but perhaps unfortunately, William Thompson, a.k.a "Hephaestus" clearly intoxicated, and stumbling. Mystery Man didn't recognize him, out of costume, and helped him to the ceremony, keeping him upright.
The ceremony went much as one expects these things to go. Marduk noticed the woman (above) glaring at him with an accusing look, and was about to speak with her, when something behind her caught his eye. Not wanting to alarm anyone, he signaled to the other team members to sit tight and let him check it out. He strode into the part of the graveyard occupied by large marble crypts, there, hiding behind one of the larger such crypts was the unmistakable form of Tusk, the Human-Elephant. Tusk tried to grab the god of War, but even caught off guards, Marduk's reflexes were too quick. He easily eluded the pachyderm's grasp. Wondering what brought the elephant man to the funeral, Marduk tried reasoning with the man-beast. He found himself staring into the deep eyes of the villain, and suddenly 'falling into them' as though he was racing down a waterslide. Moments later he found himself, once more inside the body of Tusk. And once more his own body addressed him with impunity. A fight broke out and Marduk in Tusk's body found himself struggling against the superior foe inside his own body. The rest of the team, noticing the combat, came to his aide, but seeing only their friend engaged with a known villain, they helped knock out the body of Tusk. Strangely when that happened Tusk didn't stay down. Apparently freed from Marduk's control the "real" Tusk was able to once again assert control over his body, and seeing four super heroes surrounding Tusk decided to flee. He didn't get far before Banshee and Mystery Man brought him down. Sadly for Dragon Fly, this left him alone with the villain in Marduk's body, who summarily dispatched him with a single blow.
Eventually the team got up and found 'Marduk' holding Jack's mother tightly to him. Dragonfly challenged him to release the frightened woman, but Marduk held her tight and began moving her to a car. With Marduk's strength he could snap her like a twig.
Eventually, Mystery Man was able to liberate Mrs. Summerhall, and the team was able to face Marduk without a hostage. By name the real Marduk had once again gained control of Tusk and entered the fray. Seeing his best friend's mother held hostage, seeing the villain use his own body for the crime put him into a rage. And like a rogue elephant, Marduk gored the villain, in his own body with his sharp tusks. His body fell bloody and dying from a mortal blow. If not for the quick actions of his team, his body might have died. Then through force of will Marduk once again traded placed with the villain sending him into the body of poor Tusk.

As all this was happening, something else was happening as well. Whether it was a coincidence of time. A preternatural sense of his mother in danger, the tears of his tragic lover falling on the coffin, Jack woke up. He was without movement or sensation except for his ears to the near silence of the tomb, his eyes to the blackness of the coffin. Somehow he knew he was buried, he knew he had to get out, but he couldn't move. Then the pain came. His nerves rapidly regenerating, but for a man who experienced time 500 times faster than a normal man, that regeneration was agonizingly slow. He recalled the claims of physicists that death in a black hole, though certain, would take an eternity as the very fabric of time stretch on to infinity at the same time as space itself. For Jack Flash the pain was excruciating and seemingly unending. But beneath the pain, beneath the dread and fear, was the heart of a hero. Through inhuman fortitude and endurance Jack persevered and survived. Eventually his body regenerated to the point no physical damage remained. The scars of his torture would linger a while longer.
Trying to recreate the trick that saved him from the fate of C4, Jack vibrated his newly reconstituted body to the frequency of the wood and soil above him and pushed his way out of the grave.
Those still in attendance stood shocked to catch of glimpse of him. They saw the very air about him charged with St. Elmo's fire as he literally rose, like the phoenix, from his own ashes. Seeing the oddity of his situation Jack sent a simple signal "catch you back at the ranch" and he was gone. His mother turned to see him only for a moment, before Jack moved so quickly he could not be seen. As suddenly as he appeared, he was gone, only a small cloud of smoke stood where he was, and that quickly dispersed.

The team secured Tusk, or whoever it was, but that did not end the drama. As soon as the immediate danger was over Dragon Fly turned on Thompson and knocked him down. He began to pummel the helpless man until Mystery Man pulled him off their erstwhile teammate. Dragon Fly lit into the sodden Thompson with condemnation and accusations. He blamed Hephaestus for Jack's death and the escape of the dangerous villains because of his drunkeness and his failures to be a hero. He insisted that Thompson could not be trusted with the powered armor, and insisted it be removed from him. Although mostly passive during this, Thompson defended his possession of the suit and refused its surrender. Eventually, through the cool-headedness of Mystery Man, they all returned to the Academy and discussed the matter.

Jack explained his experience as best he could, and cautioned the team from revealing his coming back to life before he could figure out whether he could spare his family from future danger by allowing the world to believe him dead. He told the team to, for now, call him 'Phoenix.'
Marduk's wounds were treated and by morning he was fit and ready for action. His godlike constitution accounting for his remarkable recovery. No longer needing sleep, Phoenix was startled in the late morning just before dawn by the doorbell. When he went to check it, he saw a figure flying off into the dawn, and a Conch Bouquet of flowers. In Ashley's (Tiamat's) handwriting was the note:
Welcome back to the land of the living.
You can thank me when you have a chance.
Be seeing you. -A

The Immortals having defeated death itself, now faced a more intractable foe. They agreed to debate the status and role of Hephaestus in the team, given his obvious alcoholism.
Everyone gets 1XP.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Redirect Update

I was looking up something else, and came across this in the Mutants and Masterminds Official Answers Forum:
Redirect Action

So, despite being listed as a Reaction, the Redirect Feat actually does require some planning.
Round 1. You make a bluff attempt against an opponent to redirect her attack if she attacks you. This is normally a standard action (but for -5 you can make it as a move action).
Round 2. If in fact, she does attack you, AND misses, AND you succeeded in Bluffing her (your Bluff exceeded her Sense Motive) you get to decide who she attacks with the attack.

So this is somewhat more limited then we played it last time. However I noted another tidbit (ironically from a question I posted over a year ago).


So, in effect you can make the person attack herself! Sort of a Judo-style defense.

And if you have Acrobatic Bluff, you can substitute Acrobatics for Bluff.
(I will also allow a person with Acrobatic Bluff to substitute Acrobatics for Sense Motive when resisting a redirect).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Banshee's journal

Later in the day after the battle with Damien.

Dragonfly asked me if i had some sort of shielding power. I told him I wasn't sure. I know that if I hum in a low pitched tone I can heal somehow; a long keening wail can produced fear in others; a short, high intense scream seems to create some sort of sonic blast; a longer, more sustained intense scream seems to cause the same sort of blast but it also seems to cover a wider range than the other one does; I know that if I hit a high c I can disintegrate objects.......the higher and intense the stronger the object; and a really high, almost ultrasonic scream seems to deafen people.

I wonder if I could produce some sort of sonic shield..........hmmmmm....will have to experiement with this. But where? I may have to find an out of way place to try this.

Banshee's journal

Whew! this is the first day I've had a chance to even chance to log in everything has been happening way to fast. I have met the Immortals. An interesting group to be certain. They have asked me and another person, Mystery Man, to join them. For now I have accepted. They seem to know more about what has happened to me than anything I have found out on the net.

My thoughts on them. Mystery Man is an odd fellow. He says he is from the past and was involved in something called the Philadelphia Experiment. From everything I have read of it, it was supposed to be fiction. Now I find that it was indeed real. I wonder what else the government has stated to be fiction is indeed real?

Hesphastus is another odd fellow. He seems to relie on the suit he wears. The others are worried about his drinking problem. I have not had real chance to talk to him so do not know what would cause a problem like that.

Jack is nice fellow. Has issues to say the least. Not the least of which is that we just fought his ex-girlfriend. That has to be hard to see someone you cared for now on the other side of the law.

Marduk for someone who claims godlike powers he seems rather down to earth.

Dragonfly.....hmmm......he seems full of himself. he seems to want people to know he has had a hard life as I can see no other reason for his constant references to his jail time. He also seems to have prejudged me based on how I look. That annoys me. But then I may be prejudging him as well. I will try to keep an opened mind where he is concerned. Though I do wish he would not continual see the flaw in plans all the time.

Ormand our benefactor is indeed a rare man. He has turned his home into a base for us. Most interesting.

I have been here for a few days, exploring, settling in. I found a magazine that had Damien's face on it. Seems he has turned into some kind of avant guard actor. I should go see if I can see him. The show is sold out so I will have to see if I can get in some other way.

Man the back stage doorway is full of goths. haven't seen this many in one place in years. Has to laugh to myself when one of the girls says I'm to old. I am the original goth chick. I give the guard a note with just my name on it. Let's see if Damien remembers.

Biting my tongue to keep from laughing as I am let in. I can hear the chick now, "hey why she can get in and I can't. she's to old for him. It's not fair. what did she say on that note?"

Damien has changed in someway. I can't quite put my finger on it. He knows I've changed. He has full of himself as he ever was but more so. There is something way odd about all of this. Before I got a chance to go back stage I was enraptured by the performance. So was everyone else. way to enraptured. Damien.........something about him. I need to let the others know.

Ormand was there at the show. And he didn't realize that something was odd. We definitely need to check out Damien. He is giving a party. .... a formal party........I'm to be Ormand's date. chuckles.

There was indeed something going on......But Damien seems to be as charming as ever. He wants us to join him. I don't see why not. He seems to be very reasonable.....We leave him with the party goers and head home. After discussing things at home we realize that he had used his powers on us. We are going back to take him out and to prison

After a short battle at the pool house we find Damien in the study. Mystery Man, and the others take him out and we cover him with a blanket. I knock him out and take him to Blackstone Prision.

While we are being shown where he will be at I find that the tunnels are just a wee bit to confining. I probably could stay with the group but they could get narrower if we go on..........No I can't stay. The others go on the tour.....Something in the back of my mind is not sitting well. Something that Dragonfly said............oh well.

Now in retrospect what Dragonfly said earlier..........'do we think we have him or is he making us think we have him' may have been accurate.

Damien, along with several other inmates have escapeed their cells and are running around in the lower levels. He has control of a dozen guards or more. Dragonfly has done some scouting and it seems he has The Kid, somekind of techno mutant, someone called Impact, an italian mobster, maybe a few more. And the Burning man.

We found some doctors still unscathed but on the same level as the burning man who is loose. We are currently hold up with them......hmmmmmmm. the burning man is here but is not on fire.something is going on. Jack has gone out to talk to him.

Whatever was said it didn't take Jack has attacked the Burning man.......Suddenly the entire corridor is full of fire and smoke. Noone could have survived that. I get the doctors behind some cover............Before anyone can say something Marduk opens the door and instantly a backdraft fills the room with fire.......everyone is caught in it.

Jack is dead.......Mystery Man tries to take out the burning man but doesen't succeed. He goes away. We try to take care of the wounded. I do my best in healing all those who need it.

While we are discussing things the elevators sound like they are working and someone is coming. Looks like a guard..........seems wrong...........Sure enough it was one of the european villians......He teleports away before we can do anything. Soon the rest the others from that group are coming......We start fighting them. I take most of them with a scream while the others take out the rest.........good start......

MysteryMan opens a portal to the surface and Dragonfly heads up to see if he can contact the warden.......After a few tense moments he says it is clear and to come up. We get restraints and put them on the villians. We talk about plans and we we know......

Again while we are discussing things we hear the elevators.......instantly the guards are on alert....It seems that the Herald and other guards are here. He says that Damien has poisoned them and if we let him go he will leave the antidote behind......We check. It was a trap......Damien starts a fight.

MandM opens a portal behind Damien and took Marduk with him. Unfortunately the bull deamon and Impact were there as well......Seems Damien can call up and control insects, make people invisible.........what else can he do....Dragonfly seems to think he is not really here....After a few tries I manage to take out Impact.........Then something else happens.

We find that it was all a diverson.........It appears that the Herald, the burning man and the kid along with damien have all escaped.

While we manage to keep the Trash, the bull demon and impact from escaping we did not get Damien. It seems to be a hollow victory.

What is Damien up to? What does he want with a technomutant and the herald and the burning man? What is the significance of his chosen name........Baal? I will have to do some research on that name. Prehaps if we find the mythos behind it we may be able to get a sense of his powers.

Episode: 32 Dances with Wolves

Seeing their fallen comrade, Jack Flash, the team burst into action. Mystery Man folded space around himself and slid through the cracks of reality through the door into the corridor and goes to attack the Burning Man. He warped the space around the Burning Man and the flaming foe retched from nausea.
Marduk kicked open the door to rescue Jack. The backdraft sucked the flames into the medical lab. Dragonfly hoping to keep the fires at bay with this wings ended up causing the fires to swirl around the lab engulfing them all, Immortals and medical staff (who were partially protected behind some cover). Not the most auspicious beginning, but the day was not lost. The Burning Man said something like "mission accomplished" and headed off, leaving the team dying or otherwise injured. Banshee took up the call and uses her healing vibrations to accelerate the healing in the various team members and innocents caught in the blast, she then turns her healing powers on herself. Once the team is healed up. They portaled the medical personnel up to the entry level and started to plan their next move.
But they don't have long to plan, a man posing as a guard started to talk to them and they figured he was not what he seems to be. Before they can get much from him, he vanished and a fight begans with the freed European Villains - Scharfschütze "The Sniper" an invisible sharp shooter; Le Fauchon "The Falcon" a dart throwing flyer; L'Araignée "The Spider" four armed four legged wall crawler; Elegast "Elf Spirit" elvish trickster, El Toro "The Bull" strongman, Attacante "The Striker" disgraced Italian soccer star able to manifest balls of energy. Banshee got a free shot on the villains and summarily dealt with four of them with a single wail. The €urotrash were nearly finished with a single blow. In relatively short work, Attacante and Le Fauchon are brought down by the Immortal's teamwork. They gathered the villains and DragonFly traveled in a portal made by Mystery Man to the entry level. There he was captured and interrogated by the Warden. Both DragonFly and the Warden were worried about the possibility of shape shifters and mind controlled people. The Warden left the room and gave DragonFly ample opportunity to escape from his bonds by secretly instructing the guards to drop 'their guards.' DragonFly didn't take the bait, and thus earned the Warden's temporary trust.
The team sent the €urotrash through the portal and then joined the Warden on the main level. In a power blackout, using paper blueprints and battery power lamps they began to work out a plan. The Warden reminded them that "Plan B" was to sacrifice the hostages and try to destroy the lower levels, and anyone down there. The team tried to come up with an alternative. Their planning session was cut short by word that the elevator (wedged to a stop) was moving. The team ran to the main landing deck as the doors open.
The Herald and a dozen "guards" appeared in the elevator and the Herald pleaded for a truce. He claimed the men were poisoned, and that they would die if the officials did not grant passage to the villains. Of course, this wasn't going to happen, but the confusion generated by the incident was enough to allow the mind controlled guards opportunity to leap over the heads of their confused comrades.
"The Herald" transformed in Ba'al and all hell broke loose.
Mystery Man, DragonFly and Marduk teleported into the Elevator behind Ba'al only to be shunted to a nearby space since the space their were aiming for was occupied. The illusion dropped revealing the mighty form of Impact, and the Bull Demon. Impact leaped into the air coming down with a mighty crash, creating forty foot crater in the reinforced floor of the landing site and creating a shock wave that destroyed virtually every piece of equipment in the large room (including the Paladin Battle Suits of the prison guards) and knocking down pretty much all of the human guards.
Ba'al summoned a massive swarm of flies which distracted and obscured the battle field, then transformed into a swarm himself. A brawl ensued.
The turning point in the brawl was some creative combat with Mystery Man tricking Impact into a sucker punch that landed on his own ally the Bull Demon knocking the mighty villain unconscious. Impact himself managed to laugh off most of the attacks leveled at him until Banshee managed to peg him with a lucky shot (Double Critical) that knocked him out in one shot!
Apparently defeated Ba'al appeared in mid air in his human form quite confident. He admitted the two bricks were planned sacrifices, just as the €urotrash and prison guards before them. He taunted the group, used his emotion control on Banshee who seemed always susceptible to his charms. He didn't do anything particular aggressive to the group, in fact he seemed quite passive. This led DragonFly to posit he was yet another illusion, but when he focused he insect self to find the the Lord of the Flies, the figure of Ba'al appeared to be real. Several attempts to fell the Dark Lord failed as their blows and blasts just went straight through him. He laughed stalling for time. At one point he tried to lure the team away from the Elevator, but only succeeded in attracting more attention to it. Mystery Man and DragonFly 'ported into the shaft above the elevator and spotted a light from above. When they investigated they found signs the Burning Man had tunneled a way out of the shaft to freedom.
Ba'al laughed menacingly having accomplished his goal, and floated up through the ceiling to freedom. The team reconnoitered and discovered that Ba'al, the Herald, Deus X, and The Burning Man had all escaped. By talking to the guards he had in his thrall they learned that Ba'al always seemed particularly interested in Deus X and the Herald more than anyone else. They also learned that the Herald seemed moved mostly by concern for the young boy, perhaps explaining his willingness to go along with the plans of Ba'al.
The team prevented the escape of several villains: €urotrash, Bull Demon, and Impact, any of whom would be a great threat to the world. But the escapees would no doubt return to plague the world. And, the Immortals have lost another one of their own, Jack Flash, one of the founding members. Would they be able to recover?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Episode 31 - Thrown to the Wolves

Starring - Marduk, Jack Flash, Dragon Fly, Banshee and Mystery Man

Jim Allen gets the bad news: his Television show has been canceled. The University has asked him to take on greater teaching responsibilities and he finds himself co-teaching with his old Mentor Dr. Franz Heimholtz. Heimholtz has been missing since the Event, and reappeared suddenly asking for his old job back. The university agreed, but insisted Allen co-teach with the old man who seems somehow changed since the event.
During the fist lecture, Heimholtz literally bores his class to a stupor and stops his lecture mid stream to speak with Allen. The students, some of whom still seem awake, do not seem to notice anything. Heimholtz speaks cryptically about the Eye of Ea, and the threat of Tiamat. He foretells a great evil, beyond the pale of Tiamat herself, but expresses some confidence since Marduk has the Tablet of Fates. When Marduk reveals that the Tablet was taken from him, the professor seems nonplussed. Still optimistic, he warns Marduk that he should seek out and protect the one who sought him ought and knew of his powers.

Meanwhile back at the Pierce Estate, Mystery Man's pre-emptive strike fails to land on Ba'al as the villain vanishes from sight before he can get it off. Banshee, in the emotional thrall of Ba'al tries to convince the team not to attack him, and when he appears there is a brief exchange of banter. Ba'al then exuded his emotional control, and the team, to a member fell under his control. He gave them the fools errand of 'rescuing' a falsely imprisoned man from Blackstone Island, and sent them off, while he would detect and isolate the 'corrupt' members of Freedom City's elites.

They returned to the base to discuss plans for rescuing the Bull Demon, then they thought better to try to extricate him legally, then as they considered this more, the plan seemed to fall apart, and their enthusiasm for Ba'al faded as well. Marduk appeared and helped spur them to shake free of the dark villain's influence. The team shaken by this set back considered their options and were going to give up for a bit when they were reminded of the situation back at the mansion. Ba'al had hundreds of people in his control, vulnerable to robbery, coercion or worse. So they formed a quick plan to get him and deal with him quickly.

They teleported back to the house to discover Ba'al had set these people to commit embarrassing acts which he was filming no doubt for blackmail purposes. In a surgical strike they grabbed Ba'al and 'ported him back to the mansion where a brief fight ensued and they were about to incapacitate him. Jack Flash stayed behind and in a few moments had rounded up the evidence of the debauchery, and rounded up Ba'al minions as well.

They took Ba'al themselves to Blackstone Island and were given of brief tour of the place. They saw the liquid bath the Burning Man was kept in, the high security cells for the big bruisers, and ran into the Herald who was given considerably more liberty in the prison. The Herald recognized Mystery Man and seemed a bit miffed that he had let him rot in the prison for so long. Mystery Man was understandably perplexed, and the Herald looked into his mind to find out why. He discovered that this Mystery Man predated the one that sent him to this place, and this knowledge seemed to assuage him somewhat.

The party got a little tour, and then went to leave. They did not get far. They were in their Osprey awaiting clearance to leave when they received information that Ba'al was not in his cell. Then communications started to fail. The team portaled back into the prison and set about trying to help. The first most pressing need was that the Burning Man had somehow been freed from his containment. They also found some unconscious guards. A brief survey of the area showed many of the prisoners had been released. Dragon Fly went to scout the lower levels and discovered the same. In fact it seemed that several of the prisoners were conferencing in the lower level. He had apparently enthralled several guards as well. He overheard them talking about a plan to be patient secure the area, and how this was all possible with the help of Deus Ex, the boy technomage. Clearly Ba'al was in charge. He spoke of the next stage of the plan occurring when the Burning Man did his job. Dragon Fly returned to the team before being discovered.

The team managed to find some surviving staff in the hospital and while planning their next move they discovered the Burning Man at the door, extinguished. He spoke briefly with Jack Flash before the speedster got frustrated with the direction of the conversation and went to clobber the man.

Inside the hospital section, the team tried to watch through the soot stained window the action in the hall. They saw the two discussing something but could not hear the conversation. There were some frustrated gestures by both men, then with a blur of action Jack unleashed a volley of blows on the (un)Burning Man. As his body collapsed to the floor, a flame erupted in the air, filling the corridor. For a brief moment they saw the silhouette of Jack Flash standing against the blast, then smoke and fire obscured their vision.