Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ten Questions or Sucking up for Free XP

I noticed the "10 questions" section in the rulebook, so I thought I'd answer them for Volkrad. I'd encourage others to do the same.

Where are you from?
I'm from Grimminhagen, a medium size town in Middenland, not to far from where the story begins.

What is your family like?
I have a very close family. I have one older sister. My father is a laborer, putting food on our table any way he can. My mother is an expert gardener. They always protected me, even when they knew I was "different."

What is your social class?
As you may have guessed, peasant.

What did you do before you became and adventurer?
When I was old enough, I helped my father work. We hauled charcoal, worked in fields, etc. My "gift" was discovered the Celetial Wizard Faustus, who took my to Altdorf to become and apprentice. When I was ready to get my license, I went back home to find work. I did whatever I could, including using my new skill at writing and mathematics whenever possible.

Why did you become an adventurer?
I saved up enough money to get my journeymen's license. I got on a coach for Altdorf, but we ran into some soldiers who "requisitioned" the coach and most of my money for the war effort. I've been stuck in Untergard ever since, trying to think of a way to get enough money to become a journeyman. Adventuring seems like the easiest way.

How religious are you?
Very. I hold Verena dearest to my heart, but I respect all the gods. I pray to Sigmar to protect the empire from the hoards of Chaos. The gods guide my actions and decisions, and their plans and wishes can be read in the stars.

Who are your best friends?
I highly respect Faustus of course. He was kind and set me on the right path. My best friend from childhood was Gottolf, the son of a well-to-do Burgher. His father didn't like him hanging around with me, but he stuck by me.

What are your prized possessions?
My mother gave me some dried flowers from her garden, that I keep in a book.

Who are you loyal to?
The colleges of magic. I'm always on the lookout for dangerous hedge mages and others with the "gift" who need to be shown the right path. The winds of magic are too dangerous for the untrained. Of course, my family.

Who do you love/hate?
My respect for soldiers has certainly been shaken.
The only person I hate is a witch hunter. He tormented my family when I was growing up. Accusing me of witchery whenever he could. Even after my apprenticeship, he would not leave me alone. I understand the need to be vigilant, but I have followed all the rules, and do not use the winds for frivolous purpose.
I've never had much time for relationships with women, although I'm starting to worry that I'm getting to advanced in age to find a bride. I've sacrificed so much for my craft.

Monday, August 22, 2005


This Thursay had officially been declared a grill-out day. Bring your favorite dead animal flesh for charring.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mutants and Mayhem

Vanguard mission log:

The mutant known as Holocaust broadcasted on TV that he will destroy the new City Center building if construction is not stopped. Holocaust is a superpowerful mutant who attacked the Pentagon on 9/11. The government's superteam was only barely able to drive him away before he destroyed the whole Pentagon.

The people who are putting up the City Center seemed very interested in having us appear in a press conference before the time Holocaust gave as an ultimatum. We were staring at what could be a first shot in an all out mutant/human war, and they wanted good press! This seemed very suspicious. Mason was able to discover that the City Center is to house the new offices of the Institute for Human advancement. I should have seen that one coming.

I wasn't sure that this had anything to do with whoever keeps recording us, but I prepared to trace the camera signal, and we called in a favor to have a hacker trace the internet signal for us. I came up with a simple plan, and I thought were as prepared as we could be. I didn't know just how unprepared we were for the amazing raw power that Holocaust contains.

We set up our ambush. Holocaust arrived with two other mutants, Zephyr and Stormfront. They swooped down on us from above. I didn't even survive holocaust first blast. The amount of power was staggering, my shields couldn't barely dampen it. My recollection of the fight is naturally sparse, but I was told that everyone was involved in a desperate struggle. My teammates once again prove there mettle when things look grim. By the time I regained my feet, two Genocide Minutemen Robots were on the scene. (I think the Institute for Human Advancement is even more sinister than I thought) They murdered Stormfront in cold blood. They were not able to take out Holocaust however, and he started to tear down the building. I called him out and tried to stop him. He wanted to engage me in some kind of debate about me betraying mutants, but frankly, I was in no mood for banter. I managed to shore up the building before he blasted me into unconsciousness again.

When I woke up, I remembered the cameras. I spotted a flying camera platform speeding away. I managed to capture it. We were able to trace the signal back to it's source.

Finally, we will be able to get to the bottom of this nonsense.

At the location, we fight our way through a bunch of thugs. After dispatching them, we enter the facility. We trip some kind of trap, and are all teleported into separate Deathtraps. In my chamber, there are two vents that lower and raise the air pressure quickly. I realize that in not too long, I'll probably die from the Bends. I managed to use my powers to break the compressor, stopping my immediate danger.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team is dealing with their own chambers. The Flea manages to escape first, but is overwhelmed by our "host."

I notice that the power in the facility is fluctuating. I opened up the lights in my chamber, and crosswire them, causing a shortout. Our cells open and we managed to meet up in the hallways. We regrouped and go to meet our enemy.

Our enemy calls himself Interface. He's more machine than man. He tells us that Dr. Destroyer held him responsible for the failure of 9/11, and punished him. He's been studying us in order to take his revenge.

The fight was on. Interface had studied us well, and had lots of power, but he couldn't match our resolve. In the end, he lost and the Freedom League stood victorious.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

My Failure Part II

Part II
Adrian Vandleur, the most powerful member of a whole magic family according to Toad is currently laying low in Scotland. He as taken the form of a teenage boy so that he does not draw much attention to himself & seems happy to remain hidden. At least that’s what we found out when we came knocking on his door. So the plan was in order to get the information we needed about the Churnibog Demon, we would have to convince "young" Adrian to come back & see Toad. So our plan was to pretend to be American tourist whose car broke down in the middle of nowhere. In order to make this seem even more convincing Mason took the battery to my cell phone so they it would seem that we needed to walk to get other assistance. We arrived about a ½ mile outside of the castle Vandeleur was staying. Mason flattened the tire & we hiked the rest of the way to the castle. Mason & Trauma fought like cats & dogs the whole way there. The strange thing about our little team here is we seem to work well together despite ourselves. Perhaps the infighting gives us some insight that would normally be lost to us. I’m just gonna sit back & let them fight it out cause well……it seems to be working out..
We arrived at the castle & were greeted by a doorman. Perhaps that’s what I need is a doorman to keep an eye on things when I’m not at home. It might save on unwanted visitors anyway. We told the man of our plight. He let us in & summoned young Adrian to come with him to fix the tire. Mason, while on the way back to the car let a few hints out of the bag & soon Mr. Vandleur sent his doorman back to the castle. He proceeded to question us about why we were, really, here & we filled him in on the Toad situation. He was not happy. In fact, he was prepared to kill us; outright when he recognized me as the one some have been calling the chosen one. I still don’t understand this chosen one stuff. In fact, I’m starting to get a little fed up with it. Everyone in the magic community either wants me dead or to test my metal to see if I’m good enough in their eyes to be the chosen one. I got a tattoo slapped on me & now I am supposed to be some kind of miracle. The Society of the Silver Sunrise wants me dead. Kane decided after what I would call an unfair test wanted me dead. Harrington after I walked away from his tests & manipulations wants me dead. Now, Adrian Vandelur had decided to fight me to the death. He wants to kill my friends too. It’s a good thing for them I got charm. I convinced Vandelur that we would fight. If I win, we walk & he goes with us to see Toad. If I lose, he kills me & brain wipes the other two. I hope he is a trustworthy sort. So after a few volleys with my magic (I wasn’t even gonna try my ego blast. He’s a magician. He has to have some mental defense) I realized the fight was going nowhere. He was whittling away at my defenses & I was going to lose this fight. So, learning from the Hooligan how to impress a Scotsman. I turned up my strength & got into & out & out brawl with Vandelur. After knocking, him down a few times, he finally decided to give up.
Vandelur agreed to meet us in china town in a few days while we worked on getting information from someone Mason knew called Facet. Yet another afflicted individual who was absolutely off his rocker. If I’m learning the right lesson here the tattoo of mine is slowly going to take over & drive me nuts? So, I have that going for me…. Facet was our connection to the Gem of Amora. It seems that this group called the Triad somehow got superpowers from fragments of the Gem of Amora placed in each of their hands. They were currently on a job for Facet in Monte Carlo. Something about a big diamond shipment? We made a deal with Facet that we intended to break later I found. I’m not sure if I like the idea of that but since Mason & Trauma seemed insistent upon it. I didn’t have much choice but to agree. We were supposed to let them steal the diamonds for facet & then take the triad down. As I predicted this was going to turn bad for us later. A lesson I learned the hard way dealing with Harrington. So we arrived in Monte Carlo & the hotel where the robbery was to occur. We managed through speaking with the hotel concierge that the diamonds were in the safe & that only she & one other hotel employee, who was not in at the hotel at the time, had the combination. So as long as we kept her safe. We would be fine. This did not work out as planned. I arranged a date with her using my unnatural charm & appeal to yet again to my advantage. I then set out to look for Triad. They had to be in the hotel somewhere. Unfortunately, we left the wrong person guarding the front. Trauma didn’t recognize the Triad until they were leading my date away with a little mind control of their own. Fortunately, Trauma was loud when he started the fight. I wondered why he didn’t call me for back up. However, Trauma works in mysterious & strange ways I don’t understand much of the time. By the time Mason & I arrived, Trauma was about had. From out of nowhere, something right hooked me in the jaw. One Two……. Hey, where’s their third guy? I quickly conjured up my lights of Luiathon to make out friend fully visible. Mason began pumping bullets into the big guy. Eventually between the 3 of us we managed to take them down. Between my healing & Traumas strength we managed to pull the gems out of their hands without killing them. We have the Gems/Gem of Amora. Score one for our team.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Just a reminder that we are on Wednesday this week.

Also, I want to ask if we could go on Wednesday next week also? Sound off if that works for you or not.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

My Failure part 1

I have failed everyone. It is apparent now that my bad choices are having negative impacts on the people I care about as well as the innocents who get in their way. I look down at the two latest victims of my failure, the grounds keeper & headman at the Ramirez estate, I cannot help but feel shame. In addition, Anita who I do care about. Tied up to watch these acts of evil committed on those closets to her. The very potion that was to help her plight that she toiled over gone. My bad call to get involved with her. I put her in extreme danger. How could I let this happen? Nicademus……..It all started with Nicademus.
I don’t know if it is potential that Mason sees in me or if it’s that I’m a loose cannon in his eyes, but Mason has decided to take me under his wing so to speak. He is a very well educated man that has insight into magic & the occult. He is well studied I guess it’s because of his passion for writing. Anyway, Trauma spoke with him about helping cure the affliction Nicodemus suffered with. It was killing him & his Hippocratic oath did not allow Trauma to just let this happen if he could help. Therefore, Mason brought me in to help him with his research. I think I was more of a distraction to his work then his help but it was a nice gesture to let me in on this. What we found disturbed me on many levels. We found that Nicodemus suffered the way he did because he took the fast path to learning magic. I don’t know what all this entails but it caused him to suffer from a sickness that is slowly killing him. I have to wonder if I was on my way down that path before the Jerhima Gabriel intervened on my behalf. With all that is going on now, I wonder if he was too late. "We" did a bit more research & discovered another who suffered from this same affliction. Anita Ramirez who had transformed herself into gold in order to save her life actually lived nearby. Mason, Trauma and I decided to pay her a visit. For some reason mason was obsessed with getting her an expensive gift to win her over. Not sure why. Does he underestimate my ability to woo a girl or what? Anyway, after a brief visit with her I had a date. Mason was down a gold Tiara & Trauma was confused about what we needed to do. Through her studies we learned of a cure & we needed to fetch the following ingredient to make it work. The Heartsblood of the Churnibog Demon, The Gem of Amora, & the Ashes of a Vampire. Mason & Trauma went on their way as I had my way with Anitia. Never slept with a solid gold woman before. I think Mason was a little miffed about what he missed. He seemed a little grumpy when he had to pick me up at her place the next day. We had work to do though & were off. It was at this time that I started to receive calls from Edgar Winter. It seemed at first that all he wanted was to prank me. So shortly after running away with my refrigerator. We arrived at the home of one Mr. Toad. His man, is very good at what he does. He was not going to let us in. Even my charm was met with a blank look.. Finally, after many negotiations we were let in. However, we had to address Mr. Toad in writing. Eventually we spoke with Toad. He decided that in order for him to help us locate & get the Heartsblood from the Churnibog we would have to travel to Scotland & visit his uncle & convince him to return with us to give Toad the chance to be cured. Everyone I run into seems to be afflicted with something. What are we getting ourselves into?
More to come later

Losing Season


We need to face up to the fact that we have been getting creamed on the floor lately. You can blame the match-ups, or the schedule, or the quality of the food we get on the road if you want to, but winners don't focus on blame, they focus on game.

Over our last five matches we're 1-4, and that's not going to get us into the Tournament. We had a promising lead against the Vampires, but then blew it when we let their lead scorer get loose. In the park against Grond and the Mercs, we never even got our head into the game. Then we lost to Foxbat -- let me say that again, FOXBAT --who's the joke of the league. We won out at the Terminal, but we played like we were in high school, so those characters must have been even bigger losers than we are. OmegaWorld....

I'm not going to give you a cutesy sports metaphor about OmegaWorld. I just don't feel like it with over 30 people dead.

These games are for keeps, and we can't even play like they were just basketball.

When I was a junior in high school, I played for a season under the worst coach I've ever had. It was one of the more depressing experiences I've had in my life. His name was Mr. Nonie, and thanks to his "leadership" we had a near-winless season, in spite of some major talent on the team. I transfered.

That was the coach's fault, but what's happing to us is our fault. We play like we belong on Mr. Nonie's team.

The new season starts today. We need teamwork, we need drill, and we need a solid playbook. At the end of the season, we don't want Dick Vitale saying we belong on his "Foxbat's Favorites" team.

We all need to work on the playbook. I have some preliminary thoughts, but I don't know you guys' powers as well as you know them yourself. Let's think about this, and see what we can put together.

Preliminary Thoughts...

The first thing is, we're pretty much always on defense. That's just the way it is in the superhero game. We play a kind of bastard form of the man-to-man defense, and that's it. Sometimes we would be better off in a zone, or in a box-and-four. When we do play man-to-man, we need to arrange batter matchups.

Some players are hard to hit: If it's 'cause they're small, then I matchup well. Otherwise Triple Forte with his mental powers or Hooligan with his accuracy are good choices. Or do you do some kind of area effect, Vanguard? At least you could wrap them up in your force wall. Who would be best? It should be their default role.

Some players are hard to hurt: My punch can be telliing, and I have my Flea Bite as well. Trauma's also a heavy hitter, and again TF's mental powers can be good. And of course Hooligan's "Head-butt of Justice" combined with his uncanny ability to observe a player's weak spot, makes him a natural. Again, who's best?

Some players hit too hard: But nobody is going to throw them out of the game for intentional fouling, unless it's us. I dodge pretty good. Vanguard, does your force field give you the highest defense on the team? If it does, given your slower speed, you would be the best person to go one-on-one with the heavy hitters, keeping them tangled up while someone else on the team goes for the ball. Hooligan often seems to end up with this role, and it's not working for him or the team.

Hooligan would shine on the fast break, when the other team has the ball and is driving for the basket ahead of us. He's fast, and could get there to slow them down and throw off their shot until the rest of us catch up.

Another good role for Hooligan would be floor fights -- finishing off the cripples who are down but not out. I'm not good for that. I hate hitting a man when he's down (with my strength I could hurt somebody), and usually my tiny fist would be more useful somewhere else anyway. Hooligan's speed would allow him to get a quick blow off against a downed foe without throwing off his game.

But those are both incidental to his main role: Point Guard. He's the best player we've got for keeping his eye on who might be in trouble, and getting there with a little extra whallop. His speed and flexibility should allow him to add whatever might be needed at a given point, and so he should hang back from the cliches and keep himself available. This means that the power forwards have to drive for the basket and draw the other team, so Hooligan can shoot a three-pointer, or get the ball to whoever is open.

I've kind of focused on Hooligan a little bit. I suppose it's because I'm naturally drawn to critiquing a sports motif.

But these are just examples. We need to put our heads together, and work up a playbook. And then we need to stick to it. In the last combat, the Idiot King made a fast break for the door, and Vanguard called for backup, but nobody came. I was the last man for that job, because I can't manuever in confined spaces and still deal out any damage, but I was elected by default, and was pretty useless when it came right down to it.

Basketball is a science, and it demands 110%. The superhero game is the same, only more so. We need default roles in fight, we need contingencies for villains with different goals and motivations, and we need to work the playbook until it becomes second nature. We need all this if we want a winning season, and we want a winning season.

Anyway, that's how I feel about it.

The Flea

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bitter Justice

Vanguard mission log continued

We managed to foil some more sabotage attempts by the Idiot King. Flea thought he spotted him going into the house of mirrors. We pursued, and we almost were taken out by another of the Idiot King's deathtraps. I managed to use my powers to help me "see" the area around me. I think I haven't realized the full potiential that my powers have. I'll have to spend some time in the training room and see what else I can do.

Finally, we managed to find the Idiot King and his minions. He had a motley crew with him:

Zig-Zag-able to stretch and form his body in fantastic ways
Firefly-a shrinker who flies
Oddball-not sure what he is
Balthazar-seemed to be able to wield magic
Cryogen-able to manipulate temperature

We fought hard in the confined space of the Idiot King's control room. I convinced Zig-Zag that he was working for a homicidal maniac and he left. I didn't exactly want him to get away, but I needed to even the odds and it was the Idiot King I really wanted to catch.

I got knocked down, and Cryogen and the Idiot King escaped the control room and tried to flee. We gave chase. At just the right moment, Mason appeared from the crowd and got the drop on the Idiot King.

As I looked down at the prone form of the Idiot King, I tried to conjure up the anger I thought I'd have when we caught him. I thought of all those innocent people who died to served this maniac's plans. I imagined at this moment I would have to talk myself out of reaching down with my powers and crushing his windpipe. But I didn't need to. I realized that the Idiot King only wins if we let him change us. Just like the terrorists on 9-11, if you change, they win. Sure, I wanted revenge for all those people, but revenge has a way of eating you from the inside. Anyway, the Idiot King is such a sad individual, pity is my natural emotion more than burning hatred.

I guess I'll just have to settle for bitter justice.