Issue #2, Vol. 2 (January 27th, 2007)
Harold Loman, the new liaison to the City Council comes by the base and
introduces himself. He does a meet and greet with each individual
member of the team, asking about their experiences so far and asking what
they need, if anything. Some feel he's sincere, others may think
that's salesman "charm".
A local reporter sets up shot for the afternoon outside the base, trying to get interviews. She bothers Harold somewhat in her tabloid manner, but ultimately leaves, shouting the threat at the base: "One way or another you'll talk to me!"
The heroes are invited to the grand opening of OMEGA WORLD, the brand new theme park based on the hit television series To Save The World, about a fictional group of heroes modeled roughly after the Champions of Millennium City (Except, interestingly enough, for an alien character). With such areas as Hero Have and Villain Alley, it's the deadliest place on Earth! It's nice to have real heroes on hand for such an event; especially ones who reside in the campaign city.
All of the assembled team above go to the park. Geoff Gardner is fascinated by the concept of rollercoasters; Couch Potato is a fan of the show and wants to ride the rides (and if possible, Network for purpose of producing TV shows); Rift and Thok are there, probably, because that's where the chaos will undoubtedly be. Vector is there because his Secret ID girlfriend wants to go to the park. So he goes without the rest of the group.
CACTCH A KID, WIN A KEWPIE DOLL!
First note of a problem happens when the rental carts begin to lurch out of control, occasionally bumping a pedestrian then coming to a stop. Not far off, trouble happens! The Grand Carousel begins to spin wildly out of control. Children cling to the horses and try to keep from flying off. It's spinning at 15", which means hitting the ground they'd take 7D6 (Being children, it's likely enough to put them into bleeding).
Thok successfully Teleports on and grabs a child then jumps off, floating away until the momentum slows. Geoff Gardner's robots seize the Merry-go-round forcing everyone to make a roll to stay on board. Surprisingly, only two children come flying off. One is caught by Vector, who has had to try to do his best to conceal himself because he's not in his Hero ID. He took advantage of a moment when his girl was waiting in line for tickets at the American Theater to jump into action. The other was nearly caught by Geoff Gardner but is just out of reach. Thok is on the trajectory and turns around and just catches the child. The robots will hold the Carousel until the motor burns out, which is not until the end of the turn.
In the meantime, Rift has spotted a shady individual running off with custody of a woman. A quick check of his handy-dandy Villain database yields and individual meeting that description known as the Black Harlequin. They are fleeing toward Adamantine Mountain. The group pursues and due to Thok's teleportational distance, gets there first. He finds the woman is there in the small utility room that serves as the service entrance to the attraction. She's cowering in the corner. As he doesn't see the Black Harlequin, he ports through the opening and into the mountain where he finds the very same woman (or a duplicate?) dangling from a beam. Near as he can tell, the one in the utility area is a holographic image. However the one dangling seems to be in legitimate trouble. She's dangling over the tracks, and there are rollercoaster cars coming through on a regular basis. Worse yet, seated on the beam above her is a teddy bear, armed with a knife, sawing through the rope. Thok opts to appear below her and fire up at it.
Upon arriving, Rift sees the woman inside the entryway but cannot identify her as a hologram. As he's deciding his next action, in rushes Vector, who has had to find a makeshift costume. In this case, it's the costume of THE BULLET (a character from the TV show) except wearing the mask of Nighthawk (The Champions Universe's batman knockoff). As vector rushes through the doorway, it triggers Rift's danger sense! He realizes a wall is coming down over the entrance. With his moment to act he ducks in so that he's on the inside of the closing wall. This leaves Jeff Gardner and his Robots to pound on the outside when they arrive. The other side of this little room is covered by metal bars that drop down. Bullet-Nighthawk-head turns deslodified and runs through the bars. Rift doesn't recognize his friend due to the costume and decides that guy just trapped him in the room.
Well, as Vector goes up on the beam to fight with the deadly teddy bear with the knife, more toys emerge! A veritable mini-army of toys emerges:
I suppose I could detail every bit of the action but it would take me all day, seeing as there were many events in the game. So I'll hit the high points...
Rift keeps considering shooting the stranger in the Nighthawk mask and Bullet costume, but Thok the Mute Illithid tries to get in the way and keep him from shooting because he's managed to recognize who it is.
While Vector removes the toys that are on top of the beam, he also pulls the woman up there so she can hang on, out of reach of the toys below... well except for the springy-dog, who can stretch out and bite at them. Once he's freed the woman he leaves her up there so that he can drop down and fight the toys on the ground, which is amusing in that it encourages Thok to try to rescue her. It's funny in that the jo-jo the squid-faced man is trying to rescue a woman in terror. Hmm... wonder how that worked out.
Thok manages to get the door open so Geoff Gardner can get in, but the bots are too big for the room, so they stay outside. The team trash the toys and save the girl, who turns out to be an actress! Couch Potato shows up now and recognizes her as the girl who played Azure Flame, a troubled heroine in Season One of the show.
(NOTE: The reason I didn't use a DNPC here--and there were a few--is that you needed the clue about him focusing on people having to do with the show.)
ROLLERCOASTER--OF LOVE (Say What?)
Next problem: The Speeding Bullet (A rollercoaster) is out of control! It's going 125mph and the Black Harlequin blares a warning over the park speakers and the headsets of those present that slowing the train will make it blow. Wisely, the first thing they do is try to re-engineer the system. The engineers show Thok to the computer and he makes an excellent roll (Which is important for two reasons: He stabilized the speed, which at 165mph there's a progressively bigger chance for the rollercoaster to fly off the tracks, and also because that's near the limit of the movement of PC's present; And it was not an easy roll.... a -5 roll to succeed. Each time you miss it gets harder too).
Rift also does a nice move, turning Desolidified and going below the rollercoaster so that as it goes by he can look up. He spies explosives on the underside of one of the first cars. Vector uses his great speed to get Thok and himself on board. Thok is in the front seat, however, he cannot see any explosives under there, so he decides to teleport to the second cart.
Ahem... Mark chooses this moment to roll an 18 on the attempt to target the moving spot in the rollercoaster. ZAP! He teleports INTO the vehicle then is kicked out to the nearest safe place. Fortunately he has retained his continuing-charge force field and will survive the crash but it's not as big a problem as T-porting into an object. Mark rolls to determine the extent of the damage and gets the worst result. He rolls a D6 and determines he will take 5D6K of damage (without defense). He then rolls those dice and... doesn't die! Really a lucky roll, with lots of ones and twos. He takes 11 or 12 BODY and falls to the ground in pain, but at least he's conscious (though unable to act).
They try the other version of this move, with Vector pulling Couch-Potato into the vehicle and Tater flying off with the coaster patrons.
However, no one has examined the bomb. You could have found out the following: An electronics roll could have told you that the sensor was hooked to the power of the train. Shutting down the power grid would have disabled the whole thing. Also, Demolitions would tell you it's wired to the third seat and if it goes below 100 lb., kaboom! Which it promptly does when the guy is removed from the seat.
The team is safe. Vector aborts to desolidified and is fine. Patrons will... LIVE. Their harnesses count against the damage, as does some of the vehicle defense. Most are below 0 BODY and must be treated immediately, which Rift does to great effect.
(Another Note: Had the team figured out the thing with the power, there's a very interesting little trap below the park involving a Field that offers 5 STR resistance per 5" you move. So 30" of movement down the hall would mean the character met 30 STR resistance. Adding your STR 25 to that (Vector for example) would yield 55 STR resistance against you. Would take a while to figure out you have to move slower than your STR to get to the generator room.)
No one died in the incident though many are critical until healed by Rift and paramedics. And he does a very good heal on Thok to put him back into action.
No other incidents are going on, but some investigation of the area yields some chaos at Templar's "Knights of the Realm" attraction. People claim that knights are hacking people to bits in there!
Seems that Black Harlequin tinkered with the 3D movie in there so that it showed a lot more blood than usual. Upon going in, Vector encounters five robotic knights, and a warning that to save the girl they must defeat the knights. An investigation yields an executioner; Essentially a normal guy hired to wear the executioner outfit and kill her if they don't beat the knights. The players engage the knights, except Thok, who moves close enough to the executioner to realize that he's a normal person! He uses his mind control to "suggest" the guy run away, which he wanted to do anyway! So nice choice. Thok will catch up with him and telepathically interrogate him, yielding information that he's been hired by the Black Harlequin but doesn't know the plans as a whole; Just that there's guys hired for the Shooting Gallery and the JFO tower.
At this point one should wonder WHY they didn't find a trap in the JFO tower, where the meet and greet with the park backers and the studio heads was held. This hasn't occurred to anyone.
When his mind is searched for information about the location of the Black Harlequin, Thok discovers that he's a big fan of HECATE, the show's villainess (whom he views as a heroine). Thok realizes he would be somewhere having to do with Hecate, and he frantically searches the map and tries to pantomime (in the typical funny and confused fashion) the information. Finally he spots the place!
HECATE'S HOUSE OF (EASILY DEFEATED) HORROR
I blew it here. I needed to call an audible and beef up the Black Harlequin, because the team took him out in the quick fashion. Heck, they did it so fast that Geoff Gardner didn't even get to act. Harlequin simply failed his attack with "Not-so-silly String" at Couch Potato (An Entangle; Which would have really f'd you up there, gesture boy!).
The Harlequin was on the 3rd floor, where he's managed to wire most of the park's events so that he can instigate and view them on numerous monitors. Bound here in chairs are the 5 members of the Sudsy Awards panel (The voting group who determined that to Black Harlequin's chagrin, that Hecate was voted "Best Villainess" rather than "Best Heroine" as he felt she deserved).
You might note that had you not easily disabled him, he would have attempted to kill these folks. Though crazy, he knows that there's not a jury in the world who won't commit him rather than execute him.
From here the party disables the other traps (The Shooting Gallery, and the basement generator trap, which I forgot to mention, since it didn't come into play anyway).
Vector gets back to his girlfriend as quickly as he can. Hope he paid for the costume! Terry at "Terry's Treasures" needs to make a living, you know.
Alexandra Shaw offers her card to the two most presenceful/attractive members present. Turns out you're all average looking (except Thok) so it's quite a horse-race there. Couch Potato and Geoff Gardner are offered her card. She's an agent. She used to be known as "Lioness" back in her superhero days, but in retirement she's agent to heroes. Tater pitches her a reality show.
(TWO notes on DNPCs: Vector's girl was only involved in that she was a distraction. Rift's DNPC was in the park, and had the characters gotten to the SHOOTING GALLERY, they would have found she was the target! But you disabled that trap before it happened. Lucky girl.)
In the wee hours of the morning the characters are contacted by PRIMUS. Relevant info is sent out to all PCs via the base computer system and instant messengers.
Seems that PRIMUS has detected movement of something toward shore. It was too small to show up as anything too important. Too small for weather phenomena, too big to be a standard craft, etc. Coast Guard goes out and discovers it's a Godzilla-like creature, whom we'll refer to as Zorgatha. PRIMUS and the police are evacuating the section of the coastline where he appears to be coming ashore. Uncle Slam was only showing if necessary, which it wasn't, since the team did well against it.
Thok thinks twice about mental attacking it first (wisely). Vector can't hit it for effect until it hits the shore (and I really needed to put movement penalties for sand, but it really wouldn't have mattered in this case, as it turns out). Thok's one phaser blast yielded a point of STUN. The real blast however was from Rift's phaser on KILL. It did sizable damage. He got even with Rift by stomping on him, squishing him flat and pressing him into the sand. But he lives and actually wakes up next turn.
Thok does some Ego-Whippage on it, Vector does some run-by, Couch Potato does his largest damage attack, and Geoff Gardner's Robots try to hold the creature, which is enough to keep it from casually brushing them off; He has to actively break free.
It's a pretty good coordinated effort that eventually leads to the idea of targeting the head. In retrospect, I shouldn't have allowed it. (Think of a bunch of mosquitoes flying around you; Biting your head isn't really going to be any worse than the rest of the body; Also, for next time we fight something like this, I need to remember there's a bigger range mod for shooting the head of something so tall). But it was a good choice and yielded better damage from everyone involved. the creature fell over and pinned the two robots, who had to be extricated.
The team goes back and gets some more sleep once the monster is fully secured and hauled off for examination. He is taken to Sea Life Project. It's a government facility well off of the coast where they perform research on all forms of marine biology. This guy is not explicitly marine, but he had no problem walking quite a ways across the ocean.
Footnote: Momentum (Alan's other character) is called by one of her contacts, which is unusual. This girl called to say that she has seen something unusual while out exploring the ocean from the direction the creature approached the area. She discovered something that looks like a Submarine... sorta. Well, not any submarine she's eve seen before. But kinda. She'd like the team to take a look.