Amar Gupta aka The Iron Sikh (played by Christian): Brick. Taxi Driver. Ass-Kicker. Sikh. Tagline: “Being a man of faith means to live it.”
- Amie-Belle T. W. Lee aka Whisper (Played by Curtis): Cold War era super-soldier/spy that got put in the Freezer, because she got poisoned. After getting thawed out and cured she tried to back to work, and was given an “adjustment period”. Uncle Sam called 2 years later, with work… because once you’re in, you’re in for life. Tagline: “In and out without a whisper.”
- Beauregard K. “Bo” Ratnam aka Wirerat (Played by Brice): Technopath, inventor, and hacker. He specializes in co-opting enemy systems and tech assets. Tagline: “Nice tech – I’ll borrow that.”
- Rafe Hanlon aka Nyx (played by Chris D.): An umbrakinetic petty thief still on work release several years later, on his way to becoming a true agent and hero. Tagline: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
- Vincenzo L. dePrezzo aka Threshold (Played by Rory): Doctor, Mathematician, and Scientist (yes, capitals) and Spatial Manipulator. Threshold can bend space like a pretzel, teleport, obliterate things, and has extraordinary senses. He’d rather be in a research lab than fight. Better known for his work with Doctors Without Borders, the United Nations, and disaster relief than famous battles. Tagline: “I can be there in a snap!”
- Derrick K. Ratnam aka Ledgerdemain (NPC Ally): Spin doctor and media liaison for Project VANGUARD. Twin to Bo. Tagline: “Well, actually that’s not how it happened…”
- Jodie R. Swann aka Surferboy (NPC): Dude. Aero- and Hydrokinetic. Really laid back, but wants to make a difference. Has a advanced glider/drone he rides on. Tagline: “Like. Let’s just chill, dude.”
- Stainless Steel Rat aka “Sir” (NPC Ally): Bo’s best friend and assistant. A sentient drone in the shape of a stylized shiny metal rat mindlinked to Bo. Specialties are rapid repair construction and modifications. Imagine if K-9 and R2D2 made a baby and it looks a bit like a rodent. Tagline: “Repairs and upgrades in progress”
- Tierney M. Ward aka Rush (NPC): Speedster and former member of the Bullet Hell Brigade. Tagline: “Was that fast? I thought that was fast.”
- Zubayr Sajjad Marou aka Five Stars (NPC): Driver. Pilot. Klubbe gig worker.. From N’Djamena, Chad. Used to go by Darryl Bell to sound more American. Tagline: “I can get you there in time.”
Previously . . .
It’s been a few years since the inception of Project Vanguard and Nyx has been the only remaining member of the group after Doctor Thanatos and Marduk got killed about a year ago and the Commander got reassigned to a different team while the Iron Sikh is doing things elsewhere. However, Vanguard has been successful enough to continue on and recruit new members including: Beauregard Ratnam a technopath otherwise known as Wirerat, Vincenzo dePrezzo a spatial manipulator known as Threshold, and an older soldier Ami-Belle Lee who was part of a super soldier program almost three decades ago only to get frozen and revived about two years back to adjust.
There are several others as part of the team including a squad of mundane special ops, Zubayr Maroun, a former and current Klubbe Driver otherwise known as Darryl Bell or Five Stars, and a few more metahumans: Derrick Ratnam otherwise known as Legerdemain, a spin doctor with the ability of influencing others. Tierney Ward otherwise known as Rush, a fairly young metahuman speedster. Jodie Swann, otherwise known as Surferboy, a matter controller that’s able to control Air and Water along with a fancy tech board that allows for surfing on air.
Wirerat has been coerced to join the team via the CIA’s manipulations after he attempted a governmental overthrow in a different country, he’s been given a basement floor to do his own thing while Nyx has been getting run ragged for the past year.
Since the previous incarnation, Nyx has been being sent in to break up over five different organizations, at one point just teleporting in, binding everyone up, and then teleporting back out.
Whisper has been on ice to deal with a medical issue which they could not figure out until recently where they’ve started to give her regular medication to stall and perhaps reverse the damage that had been done while she recovers up in the Appalachian Mountains. They sent a liaison from the department of metahuman affairs to speak with her about joining Project Vanguard which makes her wonder if she’s to become a deniable asset again. She gets flown out to the grove where the home of the Project Vanguard has been set up. Both Wirerat and Threshold have been there for a few months already with Wirerat being intimately familiar with the security systems.
At The HQ
Nyx, Threshold, Whisper, and Wirerat
Tuesday, May 21st, 2019, 0930 hours (EST)
Tomkins Cove, NY 10986
Once everyone arrives, in either holographic or normal means, Jannat Bernheimer, the Project Vanguard aide, presses a button on her phone and a holographic display of a Germanic castle gets displayed while Whisper immediately goes into investigation mode asking what is going on with the castle. It’s suspected that it’s a base for a Neo-Nazi movement, but recently there’s been badly marred bodies found in the vicinity of the castle to which Wirerat asks if they haven’t just fabricated a reason to nuke the place. Apparently that’s not on the list of things to do according to Jannat, saying that the Germans have asked for their aid. Whisper, in turn, asks for the original German investigation documents before they’re sent off.
They’re sent off in their mobile base and spent several hours flying over the Atlantic, which is terrible for Threshold as he’s used to going places quite a bit faster via his spatial manipulation powers. Wirerat wasn’t forced to go aboard the plane and instead just there teleremotely via The Stainless Steel Rat. Whisper requisitioned a lot of gear, including a rifle with a very fancy scope able to tag targets out to far ranges.
Castles in the Sky
Benjamin, Fiona, Harlowe, and Harvey
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019, 0430 hours (GMT+2)
Fürst-Malte-Allee 1, 18581 Putbus, Germany
Zubayr Maroun lands the plane off the coast of Germany on an island of Rugen at Lauterbach around 10 at night in an empty field, and once they land they initiate stealth mode. They’re told to speak with the local police if possible and Legerdemain is already on the phone speaking with the local constables to speak with them. As they wait for a bit, cars approach their landing spot in the field where Ralph Lange, a constable, approaches them and speaks with Legerdemain who gets the local temperature before Lange speaks with group, apologizing for his bad English only for Whisper to respond that she can speak German just fine while Nyx says he’s not much better at English.
Lange gives them a rundown on the castle, that it was built in the 13th century by Count Lauterbach and was purchased by a private party about six months back. Everything had been fine, they were pumping money into the local economy and things seemed alright until the local power grid started experiencing a large amount of drain coming from the castle. Then pets started going missing and large box trucks started coming in, several a day. They had permits to renovate the castle, but it doesn’t look like there’s any actual work going on while cops were politely shooed away when they investigate. Then starting about 72 hours ago, people started to go missing totaling to five people who turn over the dossiers of the people. Lange, in particular, wants to go along to find out what’s going on as his family has been a part of the town for nearly four centuries.
Whisper asks Wirerat to compose a list of local laws for her to peruse concerning local law enforcements and while doing so speaks with Lange about the victims for further information about the victims that aren’t in the dossier, but there’s nothing more. Threshold suggests getting closer and scouting things out so Whisper asks for the location of the tallest building in town that isn’t the castle but unfortunately there’s no good spot for a sniper nest forcing her to have to join in the investigation with the rest of the team. Wirerat tells her that he’ll keep an eye on things from where he is via the town’s cameras. Whisper asks how many cars the local force has, and it’s basically just one car to a person with a very basic fire engine.
Legerdemain, having planned the op by looking at the photos with his wrist computer while The Stainless Steel Rat modifies its configuration from horizontal to bipedal and latches onto Nyx before he drops into shadow form and they warp close to the castle, Nyx with The SSR and Threshold around the other direction. The SSR/Wirerat detects out the castle via warps and investigates things via his scanning senses, same with Nyx. What they can see is a ridiculous amount of cameras all over the place, hidden in good locations with camouflage and two drones flying around the castle taking note of everything in a circular patrol. The guards are well armored from head to toe and well-armed with random patrols, never taking the same route twice.
Nyx stunts his scanning sense and sends out a single ping causing visible ripples in the darkness only to feel the familiar pang of a telepathic metahuman and is moderately stunned for a moment before he alerts the team that there’s a telepath out there and the guards are alerted. He can tell where the closest vent is to the computers though and moves to warp himself and The SSR there to shut it down. Unfortunately, he never makes it though SSR did. Nyx’s teleport is hijacked as he appears before a very familiar form of darkness as he sees another darkness controller in front of him.
With Whisper coming into the scene with Surferboy, she starts climbing up the side of the tower with great rapidity, scaling the wall like a climbing wall while a mental blast scourges Nyx’s mind which he attempts a power defense against to almost no avail, barely managing to get out of it at the same time a giant burly man runs out of the tower onto the same platform as Nyx.
Nyx takes a good look at the darkness manipulator, determining that she’s got a different, but similar powerset to himself and is definitely wary of her considering that she managed to divert his shadow shifting ability and has a corrosion attack that works in an AoE around her, an obscuring ability, and a teleporting ability along with an ability lock down other’s powers, but isn’t sure if it’s just limited to darkness abilities or everyone’s. He spills this over the radio to alert the rest of the team as the soldiers start to move around the castle, with some soldiers rushing to the side of the tower that Whisper is scaling and fires over the side as Whisper dodges the bullets by rolling side to side on the wall, managing to get hit a few times to minor effect. Nyx begins to parry the guns firing at him with his shadow whips, slicing them all in half. The opposing darkness manipulator attempts to blast Nyx with shadow that looks vaguely like shadowy fire with a blue tinged aura only for him to slip forwards towards his attacker causing her to miss. Threshold warps onto the top of the tower Whisper was climbing and uses his spatial manipulation to close the distance between her and the top of the tower. While things occur outside, The SSR being close to their security computers, channels Wirerat’s abilities and takes over one of the drones, armed with machine guns and many sensors.
Whisper, now at the top of the tower, starts attacking with knife and axe slashing into her opponent’s necks and killing one of them and glancing off the armor of the other. The giant of a man jumps over the tower towards where Threshold and Whisper are fighting. Nyx, meanwhile, sidles up to his counterpart, sweet talking her into surrendering and coming over to his side, they pay quite well after all, while doing so he can physically hear the telepath object, only a few yards away, leaking the information to his teammates while more soldiers fast-draw their pistols and fire at Nyx only to find them sliced in half like their rifles. Whisper, on the other hand, defends herself handily from her attackers. Their newfound ally and darkness controller, Nox, warps around the map, using her ability damaging her opponents badly enough that they pass out. Threshold sizes up the giant that just landed on his tower and locks him in place spatially. Wirerat aims The SRR towards the mainframe to start hacking it, taking over the computers, the security systems, the communications hub and more.
Whisper keeps hacking at the soldier in front of her, slashing into his neck and killing him. The telepath attempts to break Nyx’s mind again to destroy only for Nyx to turn the tables, knocking him first in the groin and then destroys a foot, causing him to keel over and be stunned. More guards start storming Nyx’s tower as he lashes out with his whips, slicing their firearms in half again causing the remaining ones to start charging at Nyx with knives, attempting to stab the shadow. Whisper continues to dodge fire from soldiers across the roof from her. Nox warps across the rooftops, firing off another attack disabling more opponents. Threshold teleports onto a nearby spire and then fires his obliteration beam at the giant from behind, somewhat hurting him and destroying his clothing. Wirerat possesses another computer, discovering that it’s air gapped and something he’d really like to get access to the data on.
Whisper charges towards the giant and slides around to attack him, aiming for the skull and dealing a large amount of sheer damage to his head and knocking him out unconscious with a blow heavy enough to split the giant’s skull. Nyx moves towards the telepath who is struggling to get up and drains him of fatigue knocking him out completely. Nyx keeps getting swarmed by soldiers attempting to hit him and failing. Nox eventually makes her way over and drops another attack knocking out the rest of the soldiers surrounding Nyx despite his protests that he’s got everything in control. Threshold warps over to another tower and binds one of the remaining soldiers that keeps firing at Whisper. Wirerat uses his powers to create a bridge between the air gapped computer and his personal computers to get all the data that he can, getting a complete copy of everything on the computer.
Whisper moves to tend to the giant to stabilize her opponent with first aid while Wirerat slowly makes his way through the network to grab all the data he can. Nyx hands off cuffs to Nox and tells her to hogtie the soldiers while radioing out for metahuman restrains which is a chemical injection in this case as Five Stars pilots the VTOL and keeps it steady right at the top of the tower. Legerdemain calls in back up to transport the captives to jail while the mundanes charge in to find scientists busily burning paper trails and destroying hard drives much to Threshold’s consternation and Wirerat’s amusement. It seems they’ve been experimenting with human beings, there being multiple tanks filled with people, the missing people, some of whom are no longer alive.
Wirerat argues with Legerdemain for a moment before he calls the scientists bigger asses than Legerdemain. Nox pops out of her shadow form saying that she better get paid, cause if she isn’t going to get paid then she’s going to get a bit crazy to which Nyx asks if there’s any hidden Nazi gold in the castle, maybe under the bed. There’s no gold, but there is some bearer bonds in a hidden safe that she knows about, to which Nyx implies that he never heard about them. Legerdemain has been going through the intel, saying that it’s stuff that Lynch, their handler, has been looking for, evidence that it’s the Germans attempting their version of the Promethean Treatment much to the interest of Whisper and confusion of Threshold.
They’re going to secure the site until another team can be routed over, taking about eight hours to get there. Lange is in shock, seeing some of his friends and neighbors in tanks and dissection tables, to which Whisper attempts to console him to no avail. They stick around for a while for Threshold to find information, finding things in various hidden areas and a private work lab with stairs going down and out somewhere which he follows downwards to find a path to a small grotto with a pier and no boat, it’s simple to guess that there was someone there that got away or just wasn’t there to which Threshold informs Legerdemain about. Nyx gets Nox to show him around the secret safe that no longer contains bearer bonds where he finds files in Russian which he can’t read despite his attempts. Nox takes a look at Nyx, sighs, and then hands over several vials that she had looted from the safe.
It takes them a few hours before they get back home where they start getting debriefed and they have to explain that they recruited another asset in the form of Nox.
After Action Report (GM)
Back to AEON and we have a new B-Team. The first B-Team involved several supers working for the NYC MAPS program and dealing with various rogues and supervillains. The second team’s first line-up included only the Commander from the previous team and several new ones. Coming back to the line-up is now only Nyx from the original VANGUARD line-up and no members of the team from B1-Team. B2 is still all about VANGUARD and helping people out whether it’s a global emergency or a nasty supervillian trying to ruin your day. They also work on the sly for the CIA’s Black Chamber (though they don’t know that it’s not just the CIA yet) to deal with problems before they become insurmountable and gather intel as needed.
Today’s session started with a combat – like I prefer to do – but turned into a very fun roleplaying experience as well. The PCs explored their abilities and what they could do. We also didn’t have a team leader so I would later appoint Rory to that task given his character’s abilities. The line up is fun: an umbrakinetic thief with a heart of gold, a super soldier from the 80s, a scientist spatiokinetic, and a agoraphobic technopath. The NPC line-up is equally interesting with Five Stars returning from the previous season, Derrick (the identical twin of Bo), Rush, and Surferboy. Given how deadly things can be I’m not sure that the latter two NPCs will make it. But we’ll see.
I must admit I was annoyed with Nyx trying to make an ally out of the team’s other umbrakinetic, but it was totally in character for him and activated several of his foibles. Wirerat really was also totally in character avoiding the combat and nicking the enemies computer and security set-up. and picking fights with his twin. Overall, a great session and I really enjoyed coming back to the world again. I’ve been greatly inspired and writing quite a bit since I decided to go back here so I could use it as a testbed for a book I’m writing.
This session went late into the night and almost 90 minutes over my max time.
Bonus Report from Rory.