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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Episode 30: Lambs and Wolves

Starring: Banshee, Dragon Fly, Jack Flash, and Mystery Man

Mystery Man - Takes a walk to acclimate himself to his new home on the grounds of the Teach Academy. As he does he is hit by a strong headache and spinning vertigo. He staggered over to a fountain to splash some water on his face, as he does, the fresh water seems to transform into salt water, and looking around he sees himself on the rocky coast of some strange land. He shakes his head and tries to make sense of this, eventually climbing to some high ground to get a better sense of where he is. He spots a man walking among the tide pools and goes to meet him. The man, Harold, seems to recognize him, and speaks with concern about his memory losses, how they seem to be getting more severe. He reminds Mystery Man, that it was he who brought him, and the others to this place, this time. Understandably confused, Mystery Man tries to coax out more information, and gets more and more puzzled. Apparently he has been time traveling, rescuing people from the past and bringing them to this place, a sort of Super Utopia. He explored further and found a small village inhabited by other supers, including the Villain Tiamat he had so recently fought. He was recognized, but no one seemed to expend much concern about seeing him, as though he was a regular figure there.
He decided to find another village, and warned about some dangers, he traveled by teleporting from one point to another in his line of sight. For a while this worked well, but soon, he was getting disoriented by the confusing landscape of a thick forest he traveled. Again he was hit by a sense of panic and vertigo, and he retreated to the light at the edge of the wood. When he did, he found himself back on the grounds of the Teach Academy.

Banshee - Wandered the Manor to learn it s layout, she passed by a week paper showing a familiar face, that of Damian Ravenna, former paramour and erstwhile leader of her cohort from before the event. He was the headliner of an acting troupe entitled "Le Theatre Rienaissance." The show was playing that night in Franklin to rave reviews, so she decided to check it out. The elite of Freedom City has assembled to watch the show. The show was sold out, but she went to the stage door, dropped a note to Damian with her name on it, and was soon granted entrance to the show.
It was a strange gothic pantomime. What was strangely still is that the audience seemed almost mesmerized by the activities on stage. How she escaped the stupor was unknown, but she witnessed hundreds of people in rapt silence staring mindlessly at the performance. She slipped out and explored. When she came upon Damian in his dressing room, he mentioned the Event, and how it changed things for him and others. He asked her if she was still willing to commit fully. He spoke in terms reminding of their dramatic past, of the sorts of people, lambs and wolves. When they played at Vampires in the past, that sort of language was common enough. The Vampires were the wolves who preyed upon the 'lambs' of humanity. No morality, no concern, just life and death. He made a sort of threatening comment about not fearing sacrificing a few of these lambs if need be. Knowing her own changes made her worry. Perhaps he too had changed. And he alluded to such as change as well. She eventually returned to her seat, witnessed the end of the performance, and saw the crowd rise to a standing ovation cheering wildly the odd show. She also them writing checks and dropping them into donation boxes around the theater.

Jack Flash - Jack had little time to reflect on the past adventure before his phone rang, and his parents called him home. Unsure how they would respond to the discovery of his super hero status, Jack was confronted by his parents. They were not exactly excited about his new vocation, nor convinced he had any idea what he was doing. They compared him disparagingly to his siblings (who by the way hadn't saved the world even once!)and showed a little confidence he'd pull off super heroism. He did his best to assuage them, and argue that he did know what he was doing. They suggested he seek some counseling before something bad happen to him, or by him. He eventually left the house frustrated to yet again fail to live up to their hopes, or please them. What more could he do?

Dragon Fly - was asked by Dr. Weischaus to sit for some more experiments (what with all of his other subjects being... gone). The prospect of spending more time with Susan, and out of some sense of loyalty to the doctor, Dragon Fly does. He shrinks and stands on a microscope pad. The doctor then irradiates him with a dose of microwave radiation. This causes him to shrink even smaller, and smaller. Soon the room begins to lose its distinctness, objects become so big, they become formless blobs. The smooth glass slide he stood on, became a jagged set of shards, then the shards became looming towers as he continued to shrink. Soon, even the glass became obscured by a dazzling electric display, and then darkness. Complete and udder darkness. Yet he could in a sense 'see' for what seemed like miles, still it was indistinguishable emptiness. He stood there suspended in the darkness for several minutes, until he glimpsed what seemed to be movement. It was a slick and evasive sort of movement, and he chased it from here to there. Then he tried to lure it out in the open with a feint. He succeeded, and immediately regretted it. The form was a vaguely humanoid, titanic form, miles high like a person's shadow extending from their feet, only it wasn't from his feet, and there was no light source. A tendril of shadow drooped down from the form and licked at him coldly. It felt horribly perverse, like an unwelcome thought brought on by a dream or ill wind. He pulled away and the dark shadows pursued him. He decided to stand his ground and resist. He breathed a quick burst of flame at the thing, but the fire was absorbed and quenched like a match in molasses. He turned to flee and felt the form following him rapidly. Darting here and there, he tried to evade the thing, then realizing the futility, he twitched the muscle that made him grow, and grow he did. But unlike his normal growth, this took awhile, second passed where normally it took but an instant. Finally, he was sprawled across the laboratory table in normal size.
He explained what he had experienced, Dr. Weischaus suggested without explanation that it was probably the evil at the center of the universe.

The team compared notes of their unusual experiences and Banshee warned that Damian might be up to something untoward. She wondered what it might be. DragonFly called up some old friends, and learned that some Goths were blowing cash fast on party drugs including some unusual stuff like Laudanum, Absynthe, and Opium. They began to wonder what was the plan when Ormand arrived home, clearly from the something formal, and spoke glowingly of the Theatre Rienaisance. They drilled him for details, and Banshee explained her point of view, but Ormand remained skeptical. He did contribute several thousand dollars to the troupe, but he was wont to do such things anyway. He showed them an invitation to an exclusive party at the estate of the Pierce family, of Pierce Communications, Freedom City's richest citizen. The mayor, the chief of police and countless others of wealth and power would be there.
They formulated a plan for Ormand and Banshee to go to the party. If something happened, they would signal the team (parked nearby) who would teleport into and save them. It didn't work out exactly as planned, when both Banshee and Ormand appeared to be enslaved to the will of Damian. Ormand summoned the team to the pool house, and there was a brief discussion about the future. He told them he didn't go by Damian anymore, he preferred the term Ba'al. Not wanting to lose the element of surprise, Mystery Man tried to subtly create a portal from the pool into the pool house distracting Damian. As Mystery Man tries to bend time, Damian catches his movement out of the corner of his eyes.
As the episode ends, the Team is ready for action, but Banshee and Ormand still appear in the thrall of Ba'al.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Episode 29 (Banshee's POV)

Moira, unsure what to do about the guards bided her time in the dining area oblivious to the other things happening in different parts of the ship. She did not want to take the risk of hurting the group of innocent elderly people if she used her powers so she waited.

she waited.

Keeping her eye on the guards she finally saw them switch off the safeties and begin to point their weapons at the group. She could no longer wait. Lifting up above the crowd she dropped her disquise and let loose with a keening wail at one of the group of guards. It worked!! They were down and apparently unconscious. She quickly turned to the others and wailed again. Her luck was holding, these too were down and unconscious.

Before she could do anything else a small voice sounded in the room asking if she needed any help. She quickly tossed the guns overboard and the small flying creature ordered some of the people to tie up the guards.

He/it then asked her to follow to help out one his/its comrades. They reached the cargo hold only to find a guy that Banshee recognized the one as being a member of The Immortals but did not recognized the guy in the white trenchcoat. She also recognized a blue skinned woman that they were fighting. They seemed to also be trying to destroy a huge rock that seemed both familiar and not familiar both evil and not.........she could not put it into words.

She flew into action once more trying to use her scream to take out the villians........and yes there were more villians. Strange looking ones. She did manage to hurt one but one that seemed to have all kinds of tenticles engulfed her and she couldn't do anything. The tiny creature that she had followed and Jack Flash hit it simultainiously and took her out but also knocked her backward against the wall.

Another hero arrived, one in chrome armor. He took on the crab guy. she managed to hit it but did no real damage to it. The guy in the white trench coat was hit by something that looked like a squid and disappeared. Jack was also hit and knocked down. She had a great opportunity to hit 3 of the bad guys with a blast and she took it. It worked!!! The squid and blue lady were sent reeling. She then flew over to Jack and took on some of his injuries. She then healed herself.

The Guy in the white trench coat returned apparently having been healed. The tide had turned in their favor. Jack had managed to crack the stone, the crab, the blue lady, the tenticled one, and a shark guy were all down and out. The squid managed to slip away.

She then followed most of the others to look for more of their team. Finding him with the leader of the villians was not good. As we were about to attack it was pointed out that the leader had Jack's parents under guard. There was no choice but to stand down. The leader turned into a dragon and took off, ordering the last member of the team to follow her. Fortunately he came to senses and did not follow her. While most of the others were shaken by what appeared to be fear at the sight of the dragon, she seemed to be immune to it. Interesting.

The team introduced themselves and asked her and the guy in white, who called himself Mystery Man, to come with them and meet someone called Armand or something like that.

Will be interesting to see who or what Armand is and if these people will accept her.

Episode 29 - Fish Wrap

William Thompson tried in vain to respond to the emergency calls. He was half in his suit, when he stumbled in his drunken stupor and fell to the floor, bloodying his nose in the process. Through the tears, and blood he spotted a virtual button in his head piece to activate the 'auto-pilot' Cedallion. He did. The mechanical voice offered to assist him and then 'heal' his drunkenness. An extremely pleasurable feeling went through his veins, and he was soon sober and ready for action. He checks the messages, and flew to the cruise ship's location.

Meanwhile. Mystery Man had traced a series of high capacity power cables from the ship's power plant to the cargo hold. He had to climb a deck to investigate. He turned invisible and started toward the hold with impunity, noticing some unconscious guards, with fishlike gills on their necks.

Banshee had since disguised herself to resemble an older person and was hanging out with the crowd of volunteers keeping an eye on the half dozen sailors and their automatic weapons.

The fight in the observation deck ended and Tiamat transformed into a half-dragon form and approached Marduk, who grudgingly let her. She mumbled something about wanting something from the Warrior God, and raked her claws across his chest drawing a thin line of blood. Then she held her hands out as though clutching a book and 'read' aloud from what she called 'The Tablet of Fate.' This had little affect on Dragon Fly, but the result was powerful on Marduk. She called him to her rightful place by her side, and he willingly stood besides her. Dragon Fly tried in vain to rouse him from her thrall, but in the end decided to head out and try to catch up with Jack Flash.

Jack Flash moved for the hold, but was stopped by that persistent menace, the locked door. Before he could come up with an alternative method, a voice came out of nowhere. The Mystery Man appeared next to Jack Flash and offered to help. Quickly they warped into the cargo hold, and Jack Flash made quick work of most of the Fish Men inside. The two worked together to take out the last one, and then Mystery Man set about disconnecting the stone dais from the power lines. Jack decided to take out the bound Torrent while he could, and he began to pummel the girl with his rapid fire fists. After his first blows she was able to signal Tiamat about what was happening, and Tiamat again reminded the Immortals of her hostages. Deciding that she probably wouldn't kill them immediately Jack decided it was worth the risk and continue to attack Torrent. Tiamat gave the order to shoot the hostages.

Torrent shook off her stun and slipped free from her bounds, she rose to her feet and with a gesture filled the room with water. This caught the men off guard. They struggled to swim in the churning hold. Mystery Man created a portal to channel the water out of the hold, and possibly catch Torrent, but the Water Elemental was able to elude that attack.

Up in the Dining Room, Banshee spotted the henchmen take the safeties off their weapons and turn them on the crowd. Acting quickly she rose from the crowd and blasted one group with a sonic wave. Then using the distraction from that she howled at the other sending all six to unconsciousness, and saving the hostages. So far luck was on the team's side. Dragon Fly showed up moments later, and the two of them headed down to the hold. At that moment Hephaestus showed up as well, and contacting Jack Flash made his way to the hold.

A battle royal ensued. At first the fish forces had the Immortals and allies on the ropes. Mystery Man was poisoned by the Cuttlefish, Banshee was stunned by Torrent, Hephaestus was occupied by the Crustacean, and the rest battled together in the center of the ship. Then Jack Flash used his machine gun like fists to pummel away at the rocky slab and managed to turn a good third of into dust, and leave the rest a pile of rubble. This seemed to turn the tide. Mystery Man recovered from the poison long enough to administer some drugs to removed his staggered condition. Banshee healed Jack Flash of his poison. And one by one the Fish Force was taken out. Eventually, only Cuttle Fish remained and she quickly escaped into the sea.

The team tracked down Marduk by his GPS and found him on the bow of the ship protecting Tiamat. She admitted defeat, but told the Immortals that she would be leaving with her team, and she didn't want a further fight. The team was dubious, but she had one last ace up her sleeve.
"You might not have cared about a bunch strangers Jack, but there are two people who'd like to talk to you."
She tuned in the comm-link connecting Jack to his parents.
Jack Flash is not one to negotiate. But, with the lives of his parents on the line, this one time, he gave in, and stood down.
Tiamta bade Marduk come with her, but he hesitated. She transformed into a full sized Dragon and commended it. This left him, and Jack shaken as the others resisted the fearful effect. That was enough to shake Marduk free of her Thrall, and he thought he might trick her into bringing him along. But, she noticed his change of demeanor, and left the scene, pausing only to remove her allies from the the hold.

The team saved the Thetis from a water doom, prevented Tiamat from enslaving/transforming/recruiting a couple hundred minions, and rescued Jack's parents. All in all a good day.

Jack Flash invited Mystery Man and Banshee to join them back at the Academy, and meet Ormand.

Next adventure everyone should be at 170 pts.

Episode 28 - Fish n'Ships

When the Thetis, one of the world's largest cruise ships, left the Port of Franklin, it looked little different from any other cruise. Thousands of mostly senior citizens set sail for the Caribbean. But this ship had some unusual passengers, and a short destiny.
Among the passengers were:
1. A group from the Pons De Leon retirement home of one hundred seniors, most nearing eighty, but all fit and vigorous. Along with them, the young goth geneticist contracted to study their unusual health, Moira O'Laren, a.k.a. Banshee.
2. A group of WWII veterans from the USS Eldridge, a destroyer used in the infamous Philadelphia Experiment.
3. There to meet with the Vets, Mystery Man, miraculously teleported to this time from the 1940s.
4. The parents of Jack "Jack Flash"
The Ship made it just outside US waters when it was "detained" by a Nuclear Submarine. The North Carolina, raised from the dead, stopped the cruise ship and began a lengthy search, claiming that there was a terrorist threat against the vessel. With careful precision the submariners rounded up the crew and passengers (close to 5000 people) and signaled the US Coast Guard and Navy to not approach the two. The ships were surrounded, but with a Submarine, the pirates had the advantage.

The Immortals, minus Hephaestus, who could not be reached by communicator and who apparently took on of the Academy's vehicles on a tear, showed up at the scene. They were given a zodiac raft by the coast guard and approached the scene undetected. They managed to get on the Thetis and begin infiltrating the scene. A quick reconnoiter by Dragon Fly revealed only 3 dozen men had boarded the ship, but they were heavily armed. He also saw some people moving something from the Submarine's missile bay to the cruise ship's cargo doors. He approached and saw a woman bound to some ancient stone disk being moved into the ship's hold. he recognized her, as a somewhat changed version of Torrent. The scene was being controlled by a beautiful woman who seemed in charge of the operation and strangely fond of the bound woman.

Shortly after arriving everyone was assembled in the main dining room, and an attractive woman gave a speech. She apologized for the inconvenience, but offered everyone the opportunity to find a new live, and restored youth if they were to join her. The rest she offered safe passage off the ship. Most of the passengers left in small, well orchestrated groups, but about 200 remained on the ship.

Dragon Fly informed the team of his discovery, and they moved down to that area. After Jack Flash quickly took out some guards, Dragon Fly tried to take out the leader, Tiamat, but one of her trusty body guards leaped in the way intercepting Dragon Fly's blast and falling the ground unconscious. Tiamat then threatened to have the hostages killed unless the Immortals stand ground. Grudgingly, they did, and they followed her to the observation deck. There Tiamat introduced her "Twice Born" a group of aquatic super villains: Mako, the man-shark, Cuttlefish, the shape shifting cephalopod, Crustacean, the crab-like armored hulk, and Anemone, a tentacled horror. There was some discussion about her plans, she claimed that she was going to take the whole ship, and the volunteers to her 'realm.' She offered the Immortals the opportunity to join her, but they refused and insisted she would fail. Jack Flash took an opportunity to slip out and race to the Cargo Hold to try to free Torrent. As she did the Fish Force joined the battle. It didn't last long, after a few rounds of sparring, Tiamat reminded the Immortals she still had the hostages.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Universal Maneuvers

Once again, I steal wantonly for Ars Ludi
This rule is in play immediately. I will bring little cards (customized for each of you) that give you your options. You can write in the name of stock maneuvers: sacrifice strike, called shot, forceful blow, etc..

Here is the rule.

Next time you want to do something a little different but have no idea how the M&M rules support it, try the Universal Combat Maneuver:

1) Think of an appropriate description of your maneuver, including how it's different from your normal attack.

2) Use a Move action to perform the maneuver.

3) Take a +2 on either Attack, Damage or Defense and a -2 on one of the other two. The adjustments apply to your next attack and last for a full round.

The description can be anything you want, so long as it fits your character and at least vaguely describes why you are getting the bonus and penalty you picked. For example:

Stand very still and take careful aim with your bow, shooting more accurately but making yourself an easier target (+2 attack, -2 defense)

Grab a telephone pole and swing it wildly (+2 damage, -2 attack)

Use your telekinesis to hurl a spray of small rocks at your target instead of one big rock (+2 attack, -2 damage)

Throw up a sheet of fire to singe the werewolf and keep him away from you (+2 defense, -2 damage)

Dig in and channel the spirit of the thunder god and throw sizzling bolts of electrical death (+2 damage, -2 defense)

There are as many as you can think of. They can be actions specific to the character ("I'm doubling-down on my wrist gattling guns!") or they can be based on the situation or the environment ("Water on the floor? Instead of grabbing him I'll lean down and electrify it with my Shock Gauntlets!").

The same move doesn't have to use the same bonus and penalty each time. It all depends on how it is described. One round Uber Girl picks up a telephone pole and takes a vicious wild swing (+2 damage, -2 attack). Later she picks up a similar pole and swings it in a broad arc that's hard to avoid, but throws herself off-balance in the process (+2 attack, -2 defense).

The idea is to encourage players (and the GM) to come up with creative descriptions in combat, and let them adjust the odds a little bit in the process.

"A game is a series of interesting choices" - Sid Meier

Superhero games are about doing cool stuff. Not just brave or heroic deeds, but fantastic, impressive, and sometimes completely implausible feats. Superheroes throw buildings at people or melt steel girders with their laser eyes.

M&M combat is fun, but in the end it's d20, and that means you are often doing the same thing over and over: rolling the same attack each round and seeing if you hit. Some characters have interesting choices all the time (like those tricksters with their feints, taunts and redirects), but the average superhero archetype has one prominent choice each round: attack!

Tactically that's not interesting. Even worse, because by the rules you are taking the same action over and over again (same roll, same bonus, same damage if you hit) you can get lulled into visualizing the character as doing the same thing too. Instead of seeing a dynamic super-powered slugfest, you're seeing boring punch-punch-punch-punch. When you make tactical choices, you visualize the situation more dynamically and dramatically whether you intended to or not, because you are seeing what is going on and what effect your choices have.

So tactical choices encourage color, but if you make a rule to cover each possible action or interesting move you'll have a big, big book of combat maneuvers, and you'll spend all your time flipping through it instead of playing the game, and you'll still just be telling people what is possible instead of letting them use their imagination. Stifling creativity = not good.

Fine Print

The move action to do the maneuver is in addition to whatever action you normally need to perform the attack. So if you want to punch someone (standard action) you need to spend a standard action in addition to the move action to do the maneuver. Move + standard takes up your whole round. You couldn't run across the street (move action), use a maneuver (second move action), and still attack in the same round.

The adjustment only lasts one round, so if you want to do it again next round, spend another move action to pick up another telephone pole after the first shattered, aim again, etc.


Yes, it gives everyone a weaker version of power attack, defensive attack, accurate attack and all-out attack, but with the added cost of a move action. If you already have those feats you can use them instead. Since the Universal Combat Manuever is only a two point shift instead of the five point shift from the feats, it let's everyone have a little more latitude without radically changing their PL balance (a character who can do 10 damage normally can swing only from 8-12 with the UCM, instead of 5-15 with a feat).

Yes, it replaces or trumps lots of others maneuvers (improvised weapons, aim, aggressive stance, etc). There could still be cases where you'd rather use the existing maneuver because it doesn't take a move action. The advantage is simplicity, which means (hopefully) players will spend more time thinking of cool descriptions of maneuvers and less time figuring out whether there is a way to do what they want in the rules.

No, it does not stack with other manuevers or feats that it logically replaces. You can't use the Universal Combat Maneuver along with Power Attack or Defensive Stance (for example), but you could use it with something like Sneak Attack or Grapple. [added 04/21/07]