Monday, December 26, 2016

Triple Threat: Collected Posts I


Today's post is one of my promised Patreon goals - a collection of my posts in a single PDF. It's only accessible to my Patreon patrons (pledging or not!) who can go here to claim their prize. It is a current collection (as of 12/26/16) monster stat-blocks from the "Any Campaign" section of all Triple Threat entries.




Thursday, December 22, 2016

Aeon D-Team S01E02 - Meet the Fausts



Dramatis Personae
  • Alexander (played by +Daniel Dover ): 6’ 4’’, 225 lbs. Tall and muscular with a gleaming smile. He has almost iridescent white hair and faintly golden skin. Exudes a calm, quiet confidence, and moves with the grace of a dancer. Literally inhumanly attractive. He’s strong, fast, durable, indefatigable, and has some matter control powers. Cares about everybody and everything.
  • Eddie (played by +Ignus Pyre): 6’, 180 lbs. Outwardly disheveled looking, but his scruffy furs hide high quality gear underneath. Fairly average looking with reddish brown hair and a bit of stubble. Carries an enormous backpack but doesn’t seem too slowed by it, despite a slight limp, a pulls a trailer behind him made from the rear end of an old ford mustang. Honest, forthright and reliable, but won’t speak too much about his past. He seems to have a sixth sense for monsters and the dark fog.
  • Jacob “Doc” (played by +Asta Kask): 6’, 150 lbs. Kinda lanky with leathery, weathered skin and greying hair, offset by piercing blue eyes. He’s compassionate, responsible, and very careful with his words. Dreams of building a place where metahumans can live unprosecuted. Has some healing powers. Followed by a 45 pound cat, that flies and leaves a rainbow trail behind it. Yes, really.
  • Kurst “Kurt” Vetrson (played by +Antoni Ten Monrós): 6’ 4’’, 110 lbs. Wears layers and layers of clothing, but underneath them he’s anorexically thin and very pale. He always feels slightly cold to the touch, but despite the layers isn’t actually bothered by the cold. Young and usually speaks fairly coarsely. Absolutely hates wendigo. Has ice powers that he doesn’t like to use because they’re not fully under his control. Good with a bow.
  • Dr. Nicodemus "Nick" Faust (played by +Hal Batty): 6’ 4’’, 180 lbs. Tall and lean. Flaming red hair, chalk white skin, and coal black eyes. Also literally inhumanly attractive, and his charms work on men and women alike. Wears a dark charcoal suit with crimson waistcoat and cravat, with a long black overcoat, even in the midst of a blizzard. Has an arrogant smile on his lips, only offset by an intensity to his eyes. Master of magic
  • King the Maine Coon (NPC Ally): a huge Maine Coon cat (almost 50 lbs. and 4.5 ft long) that can fly/hover (leaving a trail of rainbow colored light), go "boneless," shoot lazers from its eyes, ignore a structure's ceilings and floors (but not its walls), and other more interesting abilities. He can haz cheezburger.

The Prodigal Sons
Eddie and Kurst
Sentinel Butte, North Dakota, 11° F light snow and heavy winds
January 28th, 37 AB, 12:00 pm
North of Poole’s Palace


Eddie approaches Kurst carefully after watching him stomp on wendigo heads and eat invisible sandwiches for a little while, and they begin to talk. During this talk Kurst says that he is a monster, like the wendigo, that he shares their blood. Eddie refutes this, telling him that if he was truly a monster, then he’d have killed the entire party months ago, and that he trusts him. Kurst stares back in disbelief ‘How can you trust me after I ate that girl’s arm?’ Eddie looks very confused, and tell him that he didn’t eat anything, Eddie had assumed it was some kind of PTSD. After a little more talking they begin the trek back to the castle.


Haunted Houses
Alexander, Faust, and Jacob
Sentinel Butte, North Dakota, 11° F light snow and heavy winds
January 28th, 37 AB, 3:00pm
North of Poole’s Palace


We cut back to the castle where there’s a commotion around the boy we saved from the wendigo after Jacob healed his arm. The people of Poole’s Palace are watching the good doctor in awe. Nick walks over to where Alexander is standing and asks to speak with him, but Alexander wants to take the boy to a private room first.

Once the boy is safely delivered to his very own private cell, Alexander sits down outside in a meditative position to speak with Nick, who sits down next to him. Nicodemus first admonishes Alexander for taking a potential enemy back to this safe place, he may nigh indestructible, but not everyone is. Nick then says he wants to return the boy back to the Saviors of the Heartland, which triggers a long debate about whether it’s the right thing to do. (Which Nick doesn’t really care about, but there are appearances to keep up.)

A woman comes up to Jacob and asks him how he did that, how did he heal someone’s arm? Jacob responds by telling her that wasn’t him, it was simply God acting through him.

Kurst and Eddie return bearing gifts, all the weapons, armor and goods they’d managed to take from the Saviors, and there is a lot, thanks to Kurst’s 3 on Scrounging. Nick asks them about slave collars, high-tech gadgets used by the Saviors to control their metahuman slaves, but sadly all of them had been destroyed in the fight.

Jacob goes to take a look at the boy to see how he’s faring, and discovers that he seems to have made a full recovery, he even cured the wendigo infection, which shouldn’t be possible. He then goes around healing every injured person in Poole’s Palace, before collapsing from fatigue. After resting a while he goes to talk with Kurst, because since their return, Kurst’s not been looking too good.

They talk for a while, with Jacob asking why he looks so pale, was this the first time he’s seen violence like this? Kurst tells him sadly not, so Jacob asks whether it was the wendigo, and he replies with a dry laugh, ‘Wendigo don’t scare me, no more than looking in the mirror.’While they’re talking the lights flicker, then die. So Eddie, Kurst and Mitchell head down to the generator to see if they can figure out what’s gone wrong.

Where Alexander is sat in the darkness he gets a sudden scent of lilacs and lily of the valley, and out of the corner of his eye he sees the tail end of a glowing, ethereal dress pass around the corner. He begins to follow the scent of flowers, until eventually he sees a woman disappear through a wall in front of him. He makes a roll and correctly guesses that she’s here for someone, that person being Nick, and quickly making his way through to the common room, he arrives just in time to see this woman reemerge from one of the walls.

Nick’s face goes pale, then absolutely rigid upon seeing her. At first she approaches with love in her eyes, but upon seeing his expression, she changes, becoming the image of a warrior goddess. ‘You dare to believe I’m not her?’ and Nick responds ‘Yes, I dare. He seeks to trick me, but does he forget? Tricks have been my stock in trade since I learnt to speak.’ With that she floats forward and drops a toy soldier at his feet, a toy he’d made when he was five years old, and given to her with the promise that he’d never let his father hurt her. At this point I let Nicodemus make an Occult! Roll, and Christopher confirms that this isn’t an illusion or a trick, but is in fact his mother. He chokes up and asks what happens, she explains that she just couldn’t take it anymore, couldn’t take his father’s abuse, so she took her own life. With her death, the pact she’d made with his father was broken, and he’d be coming for him. Nick says he was getting closer, each day was one closer to her freedom, but she just tells him he wasn’t fast enough.

She vanishes and is replaced by a tall figure with dark eyes, I know this man is Jonathan la Croix, my father. In my infinite wisdom I decide that Nicodemus should make a Fright Check, and roll a 15, leaving me stunned for 6 seconds, and costing me 6 FP. Alexander steps forward to reason with la Croix, but with a twitch of his finger he sends him hurtling back against the wall, and pins him there. la Croix and Nick start talking. The conversation starts with Nicodemus calling la Croix a monster, to which la Croix replies with ‘No worse than you, after all, you failed to save her.’ la Croix then tells him that he has until the Winter solstice, when he’ll be coming for Nick, to finally put him down. Nick gives his word that come the Winter solstice he will see his father dead. la Croix says that better men have tried, and before he leaves he lets us know that we have company. As the conversation neared it’s conclusion, Alexander turned the wall behind him into cotton, and sinks into it, but before he can use it to his advantage la Croix finishes talking and disappears. Jacob asks who that was, and Nick replies by saying ‘That was a monster, that was my father.’

Oblivious to everything that’s been going Eddie is downstairs working on the generator. It seems the room was originally designed to hold three generators, but it currently holds only two. Eddie asks Mitchell about this, and it seems there’s a third one in a local high school, but it’s swarming with wendigo, something like a nest for them. Kurst comments that it ‘seems like a job for an exterminator.’ (Cue gravelly voice and guitar solo.)

As we’re about to head out to see what this ‘company’ my father was talking about was, Christopher asks all make Perception rolls, and we smell the thick, cloying smell of fresh blood. It seems la Croix doesn’t have enough original thoughts of his own and has to copy mine. We end there.


After Action Report (Hal)
Again, another great session, although perhaps more so from my perspective than everyone else’s, since I got to spend a lot of time roleplaying Faust today, since learning of my mother’s death and my father’s plans made up the majority of the session. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out, Nick’s going to be pretty messed up for a while after the death of his mother, but we have almost a whole year before the Winter solstice comes around and la Croix will be a threat. The timing somehow feels off, but we’ll have to see how it goes, I’ve been wrong about this kind of stuff plenty of times before.


After Action Report (Christopher)
This was a pretty emotional scene as I sprang it on Hal with no warning. We'd planned it - but I told him it'd be several sessions from now. I lied. It's what GMs do. We lie. We're like the Doctor that way. I plan on thoroughly engaging the rest of the PCs and I've given them a quest of sorts - they have till the winter solstice to kill la Croix or Really Bad Things(TM) happen. Establishing this pivotal point in the plot early on was something I wanted to make sure happened. The fact that I ended up with essentially a party of paladins, an evil wizard, and a ranger (in DnDspeak) was just icing on the cake.


Session Soundtrack
"All Along The Watchtowers (Instrumental)" by The Forest Rangers ft Gabe Witcher (as the session "opening song")
"Home" by Edward Sharp and The Magnetic Zeroes
"The Ghost Scene (Hamlet)" by Patrick Doyle
"No Son of Mine" by Genesis
"The Ghost of You" by My Chemical Romance

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Aeon A-Team S03E02 - Subway System Shock


Dramatis Personae
Alexander Griffith aka Singularity (played by +Natiel Leealexander): a starving college student who moonlights as a private detective and a "failed" superhero (he was one of the first back in 2000). After his partner died he burned his costume.
Aysella Shinjitai aka Marionette (played by +Ann LS): a telekinetic who can detect Kyberian Energy, use telepathy, and boost or dampen other metahuman powers.
Hobs Ini-Herit aka The Alchemist (played by +Christian Gelacio): a straight-up matter controller with super-strength and devastating good looks.
Roth Reynard aka Red Zone (played by +Troy Loy): a super-genius with flame powers and a fear of heights.

Severus U. "Sue" Edgeworth (NPC Ally): Young angry man. "Super-normal" who's insanely good at hand-to-hand combat, infiltration, and other spy/military skills. What kind of name is Sue? It's the one he gave himself. Mock it at your own risk.
Sarah "Ras" Rasmussen aka Suicide Girl (NPC Ally): Girl with a deathwish. Gained superhuman powers after Aysella tried to save her from her wounds. This awakened her dormant abilities. Superhumanly strong, tough, and capable of extreme regeneration.


Meanwhile...
Heading down into the subway, the PCs follow their hired gun "Chu" as they look for Micheal who's been transforming into some kind of energy being and driven insane.

faciam ut mei memineris

Panic At The Metro
Alexander, Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
IND Fulton Street Line, 51°F, Overcast
Sunday, December 16th, 2007, 9:00 pm

80th Street & Liberty Avenue, Queens, NY 11417

Micheal Streetwood (now calling himself "KillerWatt") has in his rage hurt several civilians and threatened dozens of others with livewires he's controlling like his own limbs. When the PCs enter the area, Marionette does her best to talk Streetwood down, but is ignored. Fearing for the lives of the civilians she performs a massive feat of telekinetic power and pulls every single hostage out of reach of KillerWatt before he can do anything to them. Meanwhile, Singularity uses his signature ability and creates a microscopic blackhole to occupy KillerWatt. With a rapid and fantastic show of teamwork, the PCs combine their abilities to knockout KillerWatt by heating him up (Redzone and Sue) and then creating an in insulated capacitor to contain him (Hobs and Marionette). After he's contained they talk about what to do with him for a while and ultimately decide they will have to let AEGIS contain him.


Aftermath
The PCs decide to invest heavily into reconditioning Riker's Island as a prison for metahumans and to increase their funding for metahuman physiology - in the long term, this is the only way they'll be able to combat what's becoming a growing problem (MAD).


After Action Report/Rules Notes
While another short session it was also really productive. The players spent a lot of time talking theoreticals about what they intended to do with their characters and how they wanted to approach various problems. The issue of metahuman containment was talked about a LOT. One thing we also spent time discussing was which team the PCs were going to switch to at the beginning of next year since we only had one more game with the A-Team. It was decided that they'd switch to the Valiants (one of the established superhero teams in Aeon cannon), another New York City-based team. More on this later.

This session was also a little short as we got started later than usual due to traffic and getting meal prep done.


Session Soundtrack
"Electrical Storm" by U2 (Opening song)
"Three Hits" by The Indigo Girls
"How to Save a Life" by the Fray
"Savin' Me" by Nickelback
"Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash (Closing song)




Thursday, December 15, 2016

Aeon A-Team S03E01 - Dead to Rights


Dramatis Personae
Alexander Griffith aka Singularity (played by +Natiel Leealexander): a starving college student who moonlights as a private detective and a "failed" superhero (he was one of the first back in 2000). After his partner died he burned his costume.
Aysella Shinjitai aka Marionette (played by +Ann LS): a telekinetic who can detect Kyberian Energy, use telepathy, and boost or dampen other metahuman powers.
Hobs Ini-Herit aka The Alchemist (played by +Christian Gelacio): a straight-up matter controller with super-strength and devastating good looks.
Roth Reynard aka Red Zone (played by +Troy Loy): a super-genius with flame powers and a fear of heights.

Severus U. "Sue" Edgeworth (NPC Ally): Young angry man. "Super-normal" who's insanely good at hand-to-hand combat, infiltration, and other spy/military skills. What kind of name is Sue? It's the one he gave himself. Mock it at your own risk.
Sarah "Ras" Rasmussen aka Suicide Girl (NPC Ally): Girl with a deathwish. Gained superhuman powers after Aysella tried to save her from her wounds. This awakened her dormant abilities. Superhumanly strong, tough, and capable of extreme regeneration.


Meanwhile...
Two years have passed and the Eyes to the Future event (a tech fair Theia Dynamics puts on to get the best and brightest young minds the resources they need to reach their full potential). The city of New Orleans is still recovering, but it's becoming something of a boomtown thanks to the unusual number of metahumans found within the city.

The secret is out: metahumans are cropping up all over the place and the preeminent (official) superhero team are "the Valiants," Sentry remains hidden in the shadows as part urban legend and part boogieman "Better be good because they are watching." Since then the world has become strange and tense. North Korea, Russia, and Iran all have "metahuman" programs and everyone is grabbing up these "talented" individuals as fast as possible. Now, more than ever the world needs an example to look to.

Theia dynamics has become a household name thanks to the launch of their smartphone: the Promethean. It's a highly advanced (in GURPS terms, almost TL9) device that benefits from TD's satellite network. Effectively, every Promethean is a satphone, but at 1/10 the usual cost. They've also become the name in metahuman technologies and their advanced medical breakthroughs are used around the world.

Hobs has become the official spokesmen for Theia Dynamics, while Roth and has gone to work for them putting his brilliant mind to bettering humanity. Alexander and Sue have gone through the NYPD Police Academy and have been working as patrolmen for the last few months with their training officers, eventually being paired up. Aysella has become a freelance journalist whose hard-hitting stories are making a name for her. Jacob disappeared in the South American jungle a year ago and hasn't been seen since (even though others have looked for him). Shay has been working closely with AEGIS and effectively become the go-between for them and Sentry.

Omnium enim rerum principia parva sunt

The Tower
Alexander, Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
The Tower 51°F, Overcast
Sunday, December 16th, 2007, 9:00 pm

77 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201

A massive explosion rocks the second floor of the Theia Dynamics corporate building (nicknamed "the Tower" because of its massive height of 2,401 feet tall). Thanks to the advanced construction of the building the explosion is quickly contained and put out, but not without casualties. RePlay winds up in a coma, while Marion Streetwood is so severely burned he may never look the same and will require many surgeries. His brother, Micheal, whose remains are so badly charred they have to use dental records to ID him, died in the explosion. Six other scientists lose their lives in the accident.

NYPD sends out detectives to investigate the incident, but the fire's put out before the fire department can arrive. Detecting odd energy readings, Marionette and Redzone head down to the mini-fusion reactor that's powering the building. Inside, they discover Micheal who has become a being of raw electricity sought out the nearest location where he could rest. Unfortunately, Micheal has gone insane from the experience of going from matter to energy. Blaming Theia Dynamics he sets the reactor to explode and flees the building. Roth manages to shut it down before it can go critical.


Aftermath
Singularity finds a metahuman (a 12 year old kid calling himself "Pike A. Chu" who can track down electrical pulses in Chinatown. They hire the boy and he leads them back to Brooklyn where Micheal - now calling himself "KillerWatt" is hiding.


After Action Report/Rules Notes
This game saw massive changes in my player line-up. I lost two players and gained another. One thing I have noticed is that members of the A-Team tend to be very introspective as far as their characters and the world around them go. Not a complaint - but an observation.

This session was also a little short as we got started later than usual.


Session Soundtrack
"Requiem (Opening Movement)" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (during the explosion in the Theia Dynamics lab)
"Electrical Storm" by U2
"He Ain't Heavy (He's My Brother)" cover by the Justice Collective; original song by the Holllies.
"God's Gonna Cut You Down [remix]" from Battlefield 1 Original Soundtrack; original song by Johnny Cash. (at the end of the session as the "camera" pans out)
"Where is my Mind?" cover by Yoav (featuring Emily Browning); oroginal sound by the Pixies.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Aeon A-Team S02E04 - Courage in the Crescent City



Dramatis Personae
Alexander Griffith aka Singularity (played by +Natiel Leealexander): a starving college student who moonlights as a private detective and a "failed" superhero (he was one of the first back in 2000). After his partner died he burned his costume 
Aysella Shinjitai aka Marionette (played by +Ann LS): a telekinetic who can detect Kyberian Energy, use telepathy, and boost or dampen other metahuman powers.
Hobs Ini-Herit aka The Alchemist (played by +Christian Gelacio): a straight-up matter controller with super-strength and devastating good looks.
Roth Reynard aka Red Zone (played by +Troy Loy): a super-genius with flame powers and a fear of heights.
Jacob C. Wikvaya aka Shaman (played by +Thomas Phelps): A plant, animal, and weather-controller. Also a criminal-mastermind (but not by choice).

Samuel Donick aka RePlay (NPC Ally): A telepath who can do your standard mind-tricks, but is exceptionally good at altering memories.
Severus U. "Sue" Edgeworth (NPC Ally): Young angry man. "Super-normal" who's insanely good at hand-to-hand combat, infiltration, and other spy/military skills. What kind of name is Sue? It's the one he gave himself. Mock it at your own risk.
Sarah "Ras" Rasmussen aka Suicide Girl (NPC Ally): Girl with a deathwish. Gained superhuman powers after Aysella tried to save her from her wounds. This awakened her dormant abilities. Superhumanly strong, tough, and capable of extreme regeneration.


Meanwhile...
The PCs took a few days to get everything in order after visiting Colorado and Hobs took a shine to Caitlin so much that he decided to look after her himself. The PCs spent some time before we started discussing MAD and its implications. Once we did begin,the PCs began to talk about what their new partnership with AEGIS actually meant. Sentry receives a post card in the mail depicting 1950s New Orleans along with GPS coordinates and times. Marionette guess its the Postman (a metahuman who can see the future, delivers his prognostications via postcard with cryptic notes, and has been around for hundreds of years). The team then sets out to the Crescent City and make it there just as Hurricane Katrina makes landfall...

Alexander is still unsure of what he wants to do - if he wants to continue to use his abilities or disappear back into the framework. Sue makes him a costume like he's made other Sentry team members and has it waiting for him in his quarters at the Panopticon with a note:

"With abilities like ours you can only do one of two things: You can choose to be extra ordinary or you can choose to be extraordinary."

Alexander opts to done the mask again and joins the team as they head to New Orleans.

065 110 100 032 087 101 032 087 105 108 108 032 078 111 116 032 070 111 114 115 097 107 101

If It Keeps On Raining...
Alexander, Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
Various, 81°F, Muggy and overcast
Wednesday, August 29th, 2005, 8:00 am

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

The PCs are lead to a small holdout on high ground that's been taking people in and was organized by Honore Bennington - a metahuman with minor precognitive abilities. Honore has been stockpiling supplies for months with no inkling of why. Sentry helps him set up a "dry zone" by Hobs and Singularity using their powers. RePlay and Suicide Girl opt to stay behind at the High Ground (it's informal name quickly adopted) to protect the people there and supplies as well as to open a Ops center and deploy the rest of the team where they are needed.

Over the next 36 hours the team begins exhausting efforts to minimuze the storm's damage by...

...helping the Convention Center and the Superdome where people were in need of food and water. They arrange for buses to take people to safety and physically ferry (via powers or other methods) those who couldn't making sure everyone got to safety. (everyone)

...tirelessly evacuating the stranded, sick, and ill that were left behind by others. (Hobs and Singularity)

...deflecting the worst of the storm and forcing it from its path by using their pyrokinetic and meterokinetic abilities to change the weather patterns. (Redzone and Shaman)

....ensuring that the levee's pumps keep working no matter what. (the Alchemist and Singularity)

...in a show of mind-shattering power Marionette animates a hospital and hundreds of buildings nearby to get up and move themselves from the flood waters. (Marionette)

...coordinated the heroic efforts of other first responders (not powered but super in their own right) that showed up even though they could have died. Most noteable a man who saved a morbidly obese 850 lbs woman from dying by getting her into an inflatable boat. (Sue)

...helping a group of EMTs find children in a building that had collapsed and buried them underneath (Redzone and Shaman)


...the Levee's Gonna Break
Alexander, Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
Various, 81°F, Muggy and overcast
Friday, August 31st, 2005, 

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

After the storm passes the city becomes utter chaos and Sentry is effectively organizing all civil activities at this point. Other metahumans begin coming out of the woodwork to help their city. Looters become so rampent that the National Guard is sent in and Sentry sends out a team member with every company to help secure an area and bring order back.

Sue and Suicide Girl took a different route and began going after those trying to use the choas to settle scores or (more darkly) kill others. Sue always manages to find the places he's needed most and rumors of a "avenging angel of the Lord" showing up in New Orleans after Katrina spread rapidly.

The flying team members help rescue those stranded on their roofs and bring them to the High Ground.

The group stays on in New Orleans helping FEMA and the locals to repair and begin the efforts for rebuilding New Orleans. Though is was considerably less than it could have been. (Less loss of life and property than occured in the real world event.) The local treats the group like gods as they help feed them (Shaman), clothe them, give them clean water (Hobs), and give medical care (RePlay, Suicide Girl, and Marionette).

Singularity began to take pictures of the things that was going on. To make use of it for good propaganda and posting for Sentry. When the government finally gets involved and takes notice of the apparent god-like beings Sentry declines to speak with them and instead leaves with a promise and a warning:

We Are Sentry
We Are Everywhere
We Are Watching
And We Will Not Forsake


Aftermath
Once the PCs leave the city in their costumed identities they come back days later as themselves and use Theia Dynamics to help the process of rebuilding. They put anyone to work that wants to and provide free food, medical aid and care, along with shelter and other necessities. Overall their relief efforts cost hundreds of billions and instead of simply repairing the infrastructure damage in some places they completely replace it.

After Sentry's reveal and the capture of the Combustible Man by the Commander and his Regulator's later on in September, the United States government is the first of nations to admit that the Transatlantic Pulse has "bestowed amazing powers among [members of the populous]." With the secret out Sentry is uncertain of the future, but refuse to give up their mission to make the world a better place.


After Action Report/Rules Notes
I ejected my brother from the campaign completely. Three no-shows is my limit for face to face gaming.

The planning for this session had been in the works since the inception of the campaign. Hurricane Katrina was one of those events in history that I wanted to game out a better end. Call it catharsis or wish fulfillment, but that whole thing was a [BLEEP] top to bottom.

I ended up creating a framework for "Heroic Events" (think a table you can roll on to determine a crime, accident, disaster, etc. for your heroes to contend with) that I'll likely put into Pyramid at some point.


Session Soundtrack
"Sirius/Eye in the Sky" by the Alan Parsons Project (closing song)
"When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin
"Be Yourself" by Audioslave
"The House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals
"Who'll Stop The Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Aeon A-Team S02E03 - Mirror, Mirror



Dramatis Personae
Alexander Griffith aka Singularity (played by +Natiel Leealexander): a starving college student who moonlights as a private detective and a "failed" superhero (he was one of the first back in 2000). After his partner died he burned his costume 
Aysella Shinjitai aka Marionette (played by +Ann LS): a telekinetic who can detect Kyberian Energy, use telepathy, and boost or dampen other metahuman powers.
Hobs Ini-Herit aka The Alchemist (played by +Christian Gelacio): a straight-up matter controller with super-strength and devastating good looks.
Roth Reynard aka Red Zone (played by +Troy Loy): a super-genius with flame powers and a fear of heights.
Samuel Donick aka RePlay (played by +Curtis Johnston): A telepath who can do your standard mind-tricks, but is exceptionally good at altering memories.
Jacob C. Wikvaya aka Shaman (played by +Thomas Phelps): A plant, animal, and weather-controller. Also a criminal-mastermind (but not by choice).

Severus U. "Sue" Edgeworth (NPC Ally): Young angry man. "Super-normal" who's insanely good at hand-to-hand combat, infiltration, and other spy/military skills. What kind of name is Sue? It's the one he gave himself. Mock it at your own risk.
Sarah "Ras" Rasmussen aka Suicide Girl (NPC Ally): Girl with a deathwish. Gained superhuman powers after Aysella tried to save her from her wounds. This awakened her dormant abilities. Superhumanly strong, tough, and capable of extreme regeneration.

Meanwhile...
Learning about "Metahuman Awareness Derangement/Disorder" or MAD has rattled both the players and their characters in a way I didn't quite anticipate. This resulted in AEGIS and Sentry teaming up rapidly with the braintrust on the team working toward a cure or at least a method of detection. Things go back to "day to day" with normal patrols, bashing bad guys, and so on. All with the rise of people with powers occurring faster than the incidents can be covered up...things are coming to a head.

57 65 20 41 72 65 20 45 76 65 72 79 77 68 65 72 65


Battle Over the Hudson
Alexander, Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
Fort Tilden 81°F, Clear skies
Wednesday, July 15th, 2005, 1:00 pm

Somewhere on the Hudson


While on a normal patrol the PCs are alerted by Suicide Girl to some sort of crazy battle going on over the Hudson Bay by two individuals with powers (something the team has noticed is becoming more and more common. (Note: this is the famous "Battle of the Hudson" which is thought to be the first example of powers used in a very public, non-deniable way.) One of the figures is covered in reflective, mirror-like surface (the Mirror) and the other is hurling rocks at him (Artillery). Artillery is knocked to the ground and Singularity demartilizies him and the rest of the team as the Mirror blasts Artillery with his own powers.

When the Mirror tries to blast the area again Marionettes focuses her TK into a force shield to protect them (using God-Like Extra Effort and a Power Block she critically succeeds on both rolls for a whooping DR 420 shield). The Mirror slams into the shield trying to break it ends up dazed and on the ground. When the Alchemist tells him to stop the Mirror replies: "This man is a monster and you are a monster for protecting him."

Singularity decks the mirror as hard as he can (with a ST of 80 this is not a small amount!), but only succeeds in getting his attention. Redzone releases a fire ball onto the scene engulfing the Mirror in flames, but he seems mostly unaffected. Coming up with a quick plan, Marionette gets Sue to get into hand to hand combat with the Mirror and boosts his strength. Sue bounces off of Singularity's hands and using his momentum grapples the Mirror's head and slams him face first into the sand (despite the Mirror's higher ST rating Sue critically succeeded his to hit and ST roll by burning Karma Points to get this to happen). Next, the Alchemist and Redzone work together to turn the sand to glass and bind the Mirror to it (this results in a massive Binding ST of 8,200 since both used God-Like Extra Effort, added Super-Binding to their powers temporarily, and were boosted by Marionette).

The Mirror simply borrows Singularity's abilities and phases right through it. The Mirror starts screaming about everyone being against him and the voices being too loud. Shaman deduces that the Mirror is a power mimic and they might be able to overload him if they "feed" enough powers into him. They trick him into using their abilities and eventually he passes out from the strain.

After removing the improvised mask he has on they find out that Artillery is actually Arthur Keye - someone they went to highschool with. AEGIS is called and the two are taken into custody with Arthur being let go - as long as his story checks out. AEGIS asks for the team's help with an unusual problem in Colorado: it seems three blocks of Denver's suburbia has been turned into some glass-like substance. AEGIS flies the team out there and they begin investigating.


Crystal City
Alexander, Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
Fort Tilden 51°F, Clear skies
Wednesday, July 15th, 2005, 7:00 pm

Denver, Colorado, Unknown


AEGIS has found the culprit before the team lands - a woman named Caitlin Baker who appears to possess the ability to manipulate and transmutate things to glass. The Alchemist soothes her and manages to calm her down (natural 18 on a reaction roll) and after a few hours they realize that she's a newly manifested metahuman (and a powerful one at that) as she's turned three blocks into one solid piece of a glass - a monocrystal.

The Alchemist helps "walk her through" using her abilities to turn everything back to normal and then she tells the PCs that this happened when her ex-husband called her and threatened to take their son from her. THis caused her to manifest in a rather spectacular manner.


Aftermath
Taking her back to New York Marionette sent Sue and Singularity to deal with Baker's ex-husband...Justice will be done. Singularity watches as Sue seemingly "listens" to something he can't hear and somehow knows things he can't. Spooked out by it he lets Sue deal with Baker's ex- and in extreme display of retribution for his crimes (he'd killed his own mother for insurance money).

Redzone also sets up a way for others to contact Sentry via the Deep Web and an untraceable website.


After Action Report/Rules Notes
My brother missed yet another session. D< Not. Happy. Likely I'll end up dropping him because I don't have time juggling FOUR campaigns to cater to someone who's not interested in playing. I have a waiting line for my games and I can afford to be picky for who plays.

Other than that I rather liked the bit of "history" playing out in game like that. Most folks think the Artillery was the metahuman who stopped the Mirror - but in reality it was something else. I like how the A-Team is threading through the history of Aeon (even though it's not uber-glorious - though that's gonna change at some point).

Pondering Neutralize with Power Theft some - that ability is ludicrously broken in some situations. It's effectively an infinite points against the right target. There needs to be a way to fix that. I might adopt some of the rules I posited in this post.


Session Soundtrack
"Heart of Glass" by Blondie
"Mirror, Mirror" by Helloween (during the fight with the Mirror)
"Eye" by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Arsonist's Lullaby" by Hozier (during the aftermath when Sue and Alexander investigate Caitlin's ex-)
"Over My Head (Cable Car)" by the Fray

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Aeon A-Team S02E02 - Eyes To The Future


Dramatis Personae
Alexander Griffith aka Singularity (played by +Natiel Leealexander): a starving college student who moonlights as a private detective and a "failed" superhero (he was one of the first back in 2000). After his partner died he burned his costume 
Aysella Shinjitai aka Marionette (played by +Ann LS): a telekinetic who can detect Kyberian Energy, use telepathy, and boost or dampen other metahuman powers.
Hobs Ini-Herit aka The Alchemist (played by +Christian Gelacio): a straight-up matter controller with super-strength and devastating good looks.
Roth Reynard aka Red Zone (played by +Troy Loy): a super-genius with flame powers and a fear of heights.
Samuel Donick aka RePlay (played by +Curtis Johnston): A telepath who can do your standard mind-tricks, but is exceptionally good at altering memories.
Jacob C. Wikvaya aka Shaman (played by +Thomas Phelps): A plant, animal, and weather-controller. Also a criminal-mastermind (but not by choice).

Severus U. "Sue" Edgeworth (NPC Ally): Young angry man. "Super-normal" who's insanely good at hand-to-hand combat, infiltration, and other spy/military skills. What kind of name is Sue? It's the one he gave himself. Mock it at your own risk.
Sarah "Ras" Rasmussen aka Suicide Girl (NPC Ally): Girl with a deathwish. Gained superhuman powers after Aysella tried to save her from her wounds. This awakened her dormant abilities. Superhumanly strong, tough, and capable of extreme regeneration.

Meanwhile...
After dealing with Melvin Marrowitz (the seemingly psychotic "Shear") they take him back to the Panopticon and lock him up before chemically inducing a coma. Alexander is shown into Sentry headquarters after Aysella does a telepathic scan to ensure he won't betray their trust.

41 6e 64 20 57 65 20 41 72 65 20 57 61 74 63 68 69 6e 67


A Fortress of Solitude
Alexander, Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
The Panopticon 81°F, Muggy and overcast
Wednesday, July 6th, 2005, 7:00 pm

Unknown

They study Melvin for hours, scanning his brain with an advanced MRI, taking blood samples, and doing a full physiological work-up. What they find shocks them: Melvin's powers channel some form of energy (GM Note: This has been long established as Kyberic Energy, but the PCs are just discovering it for the first time here.) and it's causing him brain damage at the same time. The more he uses his powers, the worse it gets. His brain appears to be suffering from some form of neurodegenerative disease.

Moreover, they start to unravel how metahuman powers seem to work (GM Note: Roth's player critically succeeded his roll - even with the massive -20 I gave - and made a a discovery about how powers work in Aeon). After a while Roth comes to the conclusion that whatever this energy that gets channeled is, it's conducted from the hypothalamus and distributed throughout the brain from there. They figure if they can disrupt the limbic system overall it should disable abilities - or at least dampen them. The PCs bounce ideas back and forth and finally settle on trying to create a chemical.

A few hours later (GM Note: Yay for Quick Gadgeteer!) they have a working compound, but are hesitant to use it on Melvin. Instead, Singularity volunteers and before anyone can stop him injects himself. It makes him sick, but dampens his abilities for six hours (instead of the projected 12). Using Hobs abilities and Roth's know-how, they tweak the formula several times (which they are calling "Adimere") and eventually on iteration six try it on Singularity again. It works must better this time. Hobs muses on a way to weaponize it using Epipens....

They wake up Melvin and inject him with the drug. The effects are instant. Since metahuman powers requires the target to be able to concentrate/focus (this is why those with high Will scores are better at using their abilities), Adimere disrupts this and thus disrupts the use of abilities. Melvin immediately tries to use his abilities and...fails. They continue to monitor his brain activity and note that while his hypothalamus lights up as before, it's only momentary sparks. He continues to rant and rave about "Arthur, from school." Aysella deduces that he's talking about "Arthur Keye" (one of Fort Hamilton's most revered alumni who eventually became a football player and minor celebrity after he joined the New York Jets. Problem was Arthur or "Artie" was kind of a bully and a real asshole) and starts asking Melvin questions. He continues to rant about all the times that Artie bullied him

Alexander uses the Panopticon's computers to help him dig up anything interesting on Melvin in the last six months, but finds nothing. He tries the same on Artie, but nothing he couldn't find in a tabloid newspaper.

Not knowing what else to do, Aysella calls the Director of AEGIS and asks if he can house Melvin somehow safe until his condition is better understood. Director Daniel Legend informs them that Melvin is not the first to exhibit such symptoms, but is the most advanced they've seen. AEGIS has been calling it MAD or "Metahuman Awareness Derangement" after one of their researchers, Dr. Johan Unger, discovered it nearly six months prior. With the sudden influx of metahumans manifesting powers cases have skyrocketed. Doing some horsetrading, Sentry offers AEGIS access to their regenerative compound - Asclepius-37 for access to their database and information on MAD. The Director agrees and offers to house Melvin elsewhere on a temporary basis with the idea that Sentry and AEGIS can work together to create secure facilities to put rogue metahumans.


After Action Report/Rules Notes
My brother missed another session. Color me unimpressed and unhappy. Despite that, the game went pretty smoothly. This session didn't feature any real combat, but the players didn't mind. Lots of exposition. Lots of social interaction. Overall, it was good. I had fun revealing some of the setting information and seeing the player's reactions.

I did get an interesting idea on how to treat incremental inventions though (basically, a variation of the Deduction rules from GURPS Monster Hunters).


Session Soundtrack
"Weid Science" by Oingo Boingo
"I Saw It" by the Barenaked Ladies
"Fortune Days" by the Glitch Mob (as the "closing song" when the Director reveals that there are more cases like Melvin's)
"I Can't Get No Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones

Saturday, December 3, 2016

GURPS101: More Ways to Learn


I wrote some material for Bill Stoddard’s GURPS Social Engineering: Back to School, it wasn’t really used. There’s a lot about that book I don’t necessarily agree with, but I think overall it’s not a bad book. Here’s those outtakes...

...if you'd like to read more, consider becoming a patron!

Note: the link to the actual content for patrons is here.

GURPS101: Psychic Vampirism Power: Steal Form


GURPS Psionic Powers is one of my favorite power-building blocks for 4th edition. Something I banged out for a cyberpunk campaign that never got off the ground fast enough was the idea that a psychic vampire could steal someone else’s shape...

...if you'd like to read more, consider becoming a patron!

Note: the link to the actual content for patrons is here.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

GURPS101: Making Friends and Conjuring People


"Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life."
-- Pythagoras

The Allies advantage (p. B00) can represent a plethora of abilities. From a steadfast ally to the supernatural ability to summon a monster to fight for you.


Allies as Pieces Parts:
So what does Ally do and how does it do it?
  • Can be trusted and relied on completely, while not a mind-controlled minion they usually follow your lead.
  • Allies can cause trouble on their own: they might pick a fight with a gang, insult a local judge, etc.
  • If you betray, attack, or (unnecessary) endanger your ally you automatically lose character points earned for the session. Do this often enough and you will lose the advantage. If your ally dies and the GM believes you had a hand it you lose earned character points AND the advantage.
  • The "power" (e.g., point value) of your ally depends on the base cost. This value is then based on your point total.
  • How often he appears is based on his frequency of appearance. This is capped at 150% of your point value (but see below) for sentient allies. For non-sentient allies each +50% in point value increases base cost by 5 points.
  • Allies built on no more than 100% of your points may also be dependents.
  • You might have more than one interchangeable allies (e.g., a squad of robots). If so use the group multiplier.
  • As your point value grows so does your allies.

Associated Penalties:
None.


Rules as Written Allies Special Modifiers
A short list of modifiers for Allies appear below:
  • Conjurable (Enhancement: GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 9: Summoners, p. 4): Like summonable, but you bring a different being each time and requires a reaction roll.
  • Mind Bleed (Limitation: Pyramid #3/75: Hero's Jackpot): Causes you to remember your allies memories sometimes.
  • Minion (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 38): Your ally serves you no matter how you treat them.
  • Special Abilities (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 38): Can represent multiple things: they give you abilities (like how fiction often treats wizard familiars), political clout (your ally is a local big wig and can pull strings), gives you high TL gear (an inventor), etc. Pyramid #3/75: Hero's Jackpot (p. 19) allow this enhancement to auto-buff your ally if you are or use him to deliever ranged powers.
  • Summonable (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 38): You can conjure your ally from elsewhere. This requires you Concentrate a second. see this post by Kromm for more information.
  • Sympathy (Limitation: GURPS Basic Set, p. 38): Your condition affects your allies condition.
  • Unwilling (Limitation: GURPS Basic Set, p. 38): Your ally isn't your friend - he works with you because of something you hold over him.

Granular Costs for Allies and Dependents
(This originally appeared as an outtake from my Pyramid article "A Familiar Path" from my designer's notes. Note, that article is quite useful for creating allies.) GMs wishing for a finer “grain” for the point total of allies or dependents may allow the following, highly optional progression:


Points Built on...

Point Cost as Ally
Point Cost as Dependent:
0% or less of your points
-15 points
5% of your points
0.2 points
-14 points
10% of your points
0.4 points
-13 points
15% of your points
0.6 points
-12 points
20% of your points
0.8 points
-11 points
25% of your points
1 point
-10 points
30% of your points
1.2 points
-9 points
35% of your points
1.4 points
-8 points
40% of your points
1.6 points
-7 points
45% of your points
1.8 points
-6 points
50% of your points
2 points
-5 points
55% of your points
2.2 points
-4.5 points
60% of your points
2.4 points
-4 points
65% of your points
2.6 points
-3 points
70% of your points
2.8 points
-2.5 points
75% of your points
3 points
-2 points
80% of your points
3.4 points
-1.8 points
85% of your points
3.8 points
-1.6 points
90% of your points
4.2 points
-1.4 points
95% of your points
4.6 points
-1.2 points
100% of your points
5 points
-1 points
105% of your points
5.5 points
-0.8 points
110% of your points
6 points
-0.6 points
115% of your points
6.5 points
-0.4 points
120% of your points
7 points
-0.2 points
125% of your points
7.5 points
130% of your points
8 points
135% of your points
8.5 points
140% of your points
9 points
145% of your points
9.5 points
150% of your points
10 points
155% of your points
11 points
160% of your points
12 points
165% of your points
13 points
170% of your points
14 points
175% of your points
15 points
180% of your points
16 points
185% of your points
17 points
190% of your points
18 points
195% of your points
19 points
200% of your points
20 points




New Modifiers for Allies
Some new modifiers I've posted on the forums or use in my own game:
  • Cosmic, Customized Ally: You can create your ally's character sheet just as if he were a PC. Note, that with this enhancement and "Can be played as a PC" you effectively have the Duplication advantage, except you can have radically different abilities! +50% (Note: the GM may decide this requires +100% or +300% cost and should be used with caution!)
  • Projective Ally: When you summon your ally, you disappear when it appears (decide where you go, wherever it is you cannot be damaged as long as you ally is active). This is worth +50%.
  • Signature Ally: Allies can be built with Signature Gear (p. B85) this modifier simply makes it easier to record. +0%
  • Special Abilities (Can be played as PCs): Allows you to play the allies however you wish. From here. +50%.

Example Build: Artistic Summons
Artistic Summons: Cosmic Power 10 (Accessibility, Must draw what you're going to summon, -10%; Focus-Limited, Anything you can draw, -5%; Immediate Preparation Required, 1 minute (Margin-Limited, -50%), -15%; Reliable 2, +10%; Requires IQ roll, -10%; Trait-Limited, Allies with Minion and Summonable, -50%) [20]. Notes: Allows you to summon anything you can draw with an Artist+2 or IQ+2 roll and a minutes worth of work. This time is reduced by 6 seconds per point by which you succeed on your roll (minimum of 1 second). This being is worth 25% of your points (it's effectively built as Ally (25% or less; Constant; Minion, +50%; Summonable, +100%) [10]).


Powering it Up:
  • For every 20 points spent you can either summon an additional ally or a more powerful ally (e.g., 2 25% allies or 1 50% ally).
  • For 2 points you can do a quick doodle and your ally appears.
  • For 1 point you get a +1 to your IQ rolls to use your power.

Picking Over the Bones
Like my previous in depth looking at the mechanical construction of a ClairsentienceHealing, Illusion, and Leech, Allies is an interesting ability - if only because it is so versatile with what it can allow.