Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Snake in the Grass

Vanguard Mission Log:

We were contacted by the hero group known as the Justice Foundation. They tell us of a plan to simultaneously attack several Viper nests in order to triangulate their computer transmissions back to the main Viper instillation. The plan was bold and we agreed to assist. We needed to attack the L.A. Viper nest, which is one of the world's largest. The Justice Foundation suggests that we get some other local hero's to assist, considering how much resistance we might face (not to mention that Legion is not around). We put the word out and manage to get some local heroes to agree to the plan:

  • Crusader and Starburst agree of course. Crusader has no love of Viper and Starburst usually is willing to help out Crusader.
  • Nightstick: a street vigilante operating out of Chinatown. He doesn't agree to help us fight, but will use his considerable infiltration skills to scout the base for us.
  • Mr. Nobody: a shapeshifter.
  • Sgt. Eagle: A new face, at least to us.
  • Life Line: obviously he won't help us in the raid, but will be around to assist with injuries.
  • Black Phantom: technically retired, but he agreed to help in a limited fashion.
We put together a simple plan. The plan was for us to disable Viper's vehicle pool, then while the rest of us assault the main base, Mason, Black Phantom, Mr. Nobody, and Nightstick will secure the vehicles and watch our backs.

The base was of course well staffed with Viper agents wielding high tech gadgets. Viper did have several superpowered villians at their disposal.
  • Brick: superstrong and able to throw chunks of himself
  • Damage: a mutant who wears and armor suit
  • Hammerhead: a powersuit wearer with a really big plasma cannon
  • Mindwipe: a mentalist who is a little unstable
  • Faze: and energy projector who "fazes" in and out of reality
  • Shattershot: crazy hit man who likes shotguns
  • Shadowfist: bodyguard of the head Viper, Style
Things went relativity well. We made it into the base with a bit of resistance. On the first level, things got a little hectic. I guess it's not to surprising when you throw a bunch of heroes together who aren't used to fighting side by side. It quickly got disorganized, and the appearance of Mindwipe messing with Trauma's head didn't really help too much. We did manage to overcome the agents on that level, although I managed to get caught by a Viper blast and didn't see the whole battle. I'm told that Trauma's "girlfriend" Black Diamond showed up also, I can't even begin to make sense of that.
Things got a little out of hand after that. Mindwipe was down but not exactly out, and we failed to make sure he was out of the fight. Before I knew it, Hooligan and Starburst went ahead to the next level down and met the main Viper force. At this point we lost local superiority. The next few minutes were a blur of fists, blasts, and gunfire. It was a hard slog, and tactics went out the window and it turned into a superpowered scrum. Hammerhead was as nasty as we thought, and his plasma cannon caused a lot of difficulty. There was also a mystery guest that we didn't know about, and we still are a little unsure about.

The details of the battle are not so important. I feel that my leadership was not quite up to the task of this raid, and with all the extra allies, I lost control. Thing got out of hand and chaotic. On the other hand, our team showed a lot of Grit in the face of a deadly enemy. We all fought "tooth and nail" and managed to eek out a victory when things looked grim.

I will cover the aftermath in the next entry.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sweet Victory!

As usual nothing turns out as expected. In a way this may be a good thing though. It just changes our strategy a bit. Viper had a few more surprises then we thought they would. The first being the big energy cannon leveled on us from the roof of the main building. Second, they are not sending all of their sups all at once. They also seem to have a much larger force of “normals” then I had anticipated.
Mason & his teams plan seemed to go off without a hitch. Although, momentarily distracted by some guards that had squeezed through the cracks of his foam gun. Mason was easily able to secure all of the vehicles that were inside of the hanger.
As for the assault team, like I said, we had some extra obstacles to overcome. The grounds seemed to be swarming with viper agents. Trauma charged into the fray & was gunned down very quickly. Vanguard & I stayed behind & removed the threats on the roof of the hangar before moving forward. Mr. Nobody swooped down from the sky to take on the two agents on the cannon. The rest of the team rushed forward to aid Trauma in taking down the Viper agents that were swarming in on us. The strike forces with some strong shots from the Hooligan & Sgt Eagle were easily able to pick off the swarm of Viper agents. Meanwhile, Starburst was able to lend his support in taking out the cannons. This left me in a position to try to help Trauma back to his feet. He was hit pretty hard when I arrived though and although I felt a huge surge of power from my tattoo I was not able to revive Trauma. He would have to join us later on in the fight.
Confident, that Lifeline would follow up & get Trauma back on his feet we only paused briefly before entering the studio.
Rushing in our team met up again with a large number of Viper agent. How many bad guys can be dug into one city! We also encountered our first super. Brick Leaped forward & started to throw pieces of him at our team. We quickly took down Brick when Phase appeared out of thin air. I put the hammer down on his brain which really made him mad. He charged me & sent me flying. I landed on the ground & took a moment to dust myself off & to survey the situation. By the time I got back on my feet Phase was down. I clobbered his brain one last time for good measure & went on to resume the good fight. Next Damage popped through the stairwell. We opened a barrage of attacks on him sending him reeling. Starburst then blasted & blinded him & he retreated further into the lair. We paused briefly to catch our breath and headed into the next level of the lair
Even more viper agents! My god what were they planning to do to this city. Along with this group of agents was Mindwipe. He quickly took after Trauma which turned out to be a big mistake as no sooner did he mind control him did his girlfriend leap in to avenge him. We are going to have a little chat with Trauma about keeping well laid plans a secret. She could have compromised our whole mission. Not to mention she was using deadly force against our opponents. It’s a good thing lifeline was here to put all the pieces back together. I decided to make sure nobody was hiding out in the rooms that we were leaving behind so I decided to start opening doors. To my surprise even the cooks in the kitchen were armed. I decided to turn on the charm & pressure them into getting the team some grub. Since they were just the help & not real agents I offered to let them go after cooking me a good meal. They agreed & started right back to work. I finally caught up to Trauma & Sgt Eagle. Trauma was still under mind control. I did not realize he was so weak minded or I would have tried to clear his mind & set him back on task. I got Sgt Eagle back on his feet & prepared to head down to what was hopefully the final level of this crazy lair. Just as I started to move Starburst went flying up the stairs. It must be the work of Hammerhead I thought to myself. As he laid sprawling unconscious on the floor. He didn’t follow the plan & let me hammer him in the brain first.
The final battle took all the strength we could muster. In the end only a few of us remained standing. It was the closest & most hard fought battle our team has taken on to date, it gives me hope that we can be an effective fighting force in the upcoming war to come. I think Vanguard & I worked well as a team in the final battle. He knocked them down &I would mop them up. A great strategy for future fights. I may suggest we continue working together. I also think that as well as things turned out we should ask all the Heroes that joined us to be permanent members of the Freedom League. I do wish the Flea could have been here to see our team succeed. I think he would have been proud to be a part of us today. I think I will go to visit him & let him see how well things went. With this victory I have no doubt that we will be able to avenge his brutal attack.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hooligan Scribbles

Back to the grind with the LAPD. It had been awhile since the gits in blue had dragooned me for one of their little spills they couldn’t clean, and this one is a doozy.

Some freaked out serial killer has started picking off young attractive ladies in the L.A. area, and frankly, the Po-Po (I think that’s what Brother Hood calls them) won’t stand for attractive, young, dead white girls. I’m not a terribly big fan of them being dead myself, so I guess I have no real objection to lending a hand.

I’d just picked up some very preliminary info on the cases and was headed back to the SkyBox when I met the team rushing out. I hitched a ride to…where in the blue hell were we headed, anyway?

My questions were met with repeated answers of “YOU CAN’T KILL ANYONE!” Ugh. This shite again. I should have known. The Freedom League wants their victims alive, presumably so they can escape custody and ensure the League never goes out of business. I mean, I’m all for secure employment, but this is ridiculous!

The sketchy details I was provided were these: we’re on our way to a VIPER nest, our job being to scare them into dumping the data contents of their computers to another server far, far away. Apparently, someone was then going to make sure that info got into the right hands. Our hands? Whatever.

So we charged. I’ve elected to employ a new wait-and-see policy in combat, hopefully granting me more time awake and less time asleep. Flea convinced me it was worth a shot…Flea. Sigh. I hope he pulls through. He’s a good kid. A little na├»ve, but his heart’s in the right place. If I get my hands on the thugs…you know, maybe I’d better let the team handle it. Can’t have people dying on us. Wouldn’t be prudent. Isn’t that was President Bush used to say? The older one. Not this one. (Why is it that my opinion on this administration changes depending on which ID I’m sporting? Sometimes I love that Rumsfeld fellow.)

I digress.

My wait-and-see approach allowed to me to do considerable damage against the mooks and thugs that met us in the parking lot. One fellow in particular might have been too in the way of a soccer ball, but I think Lifeline attended to him. It gets tiresome to hear the groans of my teammates whenever I hit someone hard. They can splatter someone from hear to Nevada, claim accident, and the rest of the team consoles them. I actually do try to leave them in one piece, hit them a little harder than I’d like, and I’m a loose cannon out for blood. Utter shite.

We made it into the building – some sort of studio lot, it appears – and found more VIPER agents. We also found Phase, a right angering bastard if I’ve ever met one. What hits him? What doesn’t? When to swing? When not to swing? At least he seemed as pissed as I, and eventually we did away with him and with Damage, his little friend who ran ran ran. Mindwipe, on the other hand…a floating hippie? I moved from the bosom of Mother Scotland to find myself fighting a floating hippie?

We blasted him down the stairs in short order. Man, this fighting like a team…assuming that Starburst, Black Phantom, Lifeline, and whoever the new guy (Major Dick? Captain Falcon? I assume intros will be forthcoming after the brawl) are on our side…this fighting like a team thing could work. (It’s possible that in the heat of battle and fog of war I might have given Crusader the ol’ Headbutt of Justice. Despite what my ‘friends’ probably think, I feel just awful about the whole thing. At least there was no hugging involved.)

Making our team stronger was the unexpected appearance of Trauma’s girlfriend, Black Diamond. Oh, sure, she robs and steals and plunders and loots and is in fact a super villain, but hey – he likes her, so she gets a pass. (Are you effing kidding me? The team doesn’t like Brother Hood because of his ‘methods’, but Trauma’s allowed to bring villains to the base and blab our plans to them? WHY ISN’T SHE IN JAIL?!? Oh, right – Trauma is going to ‘rehabilitate’ her. Apparently, he has license to do that now. I’m sure he’ll produce the paperwork giving him just such authority Real Soon NowTM.)

I followed Starburst down the stairs to help restrain Mindwipe, committing not one but two errors in the process. First, I assumed either Starburst had put him out for the long haul, or the fall had done it for him (NOTE TO SELF – Please stop assuming your friends will kick a man when he’s down, no matter how necessary that may be). Secondly, in my haste to keep the mentalist from doing any more harm, I failed to notice that the stairs opened up into a room full of elite VIPER agents and supers.

Hammerhead took the brunt of one of my soccer balls, but didn’t seem to notice. He fired a photon blast at poor old Sunburst, putting him down for the count. I elected to retreat down a side hallway and take my chances with one or two opponents until the rest of the League arrived, but those two opponents turned out to be Scattershot and Damage. Whoops.

I put everything I had into a soccer ball on each of them, and did some hurtin’, but I knew two on one it was just a matter of time. That shotgun hurts. A lot. My teammates are here!

Scattershot’s shotgun is here. Again.

Hooligan go sleepy now.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Poor Leadership

I'm taking the blame for not showing good leadership during the last battle. Something about missing the first session threw me off. I'll try to to better in the future.


Cheat Sheet

Here's a link to a Hero System combat cheat sheet that might prove useful to some.
Find it here.


A letter to:
Captain Star-Spangled, 42 Much Drive, the ash heap of history

Dear Capt.;

Writing to you is futile, in more ways than one. But that hops, as the cool cats say, because I’ve been thinking of changing my nom de guerre to “PFC Futile”.

Where to begin? “They told me that you’d been to her, and mentioned me to him.” Viper is still Viper. It’s nice that some things never change, because the attack on the base was definitively not Golden Age. More like Brass Age.

The Freedom Bunch is sloppy, very sloppy. They’re sloppy in their dress, and they’re sloppy in their execution. To them a “plan” is something to discuss in your fancy penthouse, not something you implement on the field of battle. Rather than concentrating their fire, they just spray it around like water out of a hose. They keep their more homicidal members out of the planning sessions so as not to alarm their allies, and then they have a flying medic on retainer to patch up the victims of their excesses.

Blast. Listen to me go on. I’m probably the last guy in the world who should carp about homicidal heroes. And to you, yet. What was I thinking?

I wonder if the Freedom Bunch know a flying stone-carver?

The real problem with the assault was me. I’m just glad Fen Lo wasn’t there; I’d never hear the end of it. I probably won’t, anyway. Hiding things from him is not only futile, it’s counterproductive. Elbow in. Elbow in! ELBOW IN! I must, must learn to focus. Also to pick up my feet: I got flattened by a tossed agent when I thoughtlessly placed myself downrange of my allies’ fire zone.

Due to failures in my technique I missed almost half the time, and when I did hit I didn’t always take the target down. Now that latter would be understandable against some villainous behemoth, but Viper agents are supposed to go down if you look at them cross-eyed, aren’t they? Oh, wait, that’s if YOU look at them cross-eyed. I keep forgetting. I’m probably too busy turning green watching the supes flit around through the air. Maybe I should practice flying. Based on my batting average, I’m clearly flapping my arms enough.

The gadgets: I don’t always use them at the right time, or on the right target: the gas bombs are NOT for regular villains. Once I tried to get fancy with a two-fisted gadget attack, and got nothing. Another time I muffed my throw and slopped a flash bomb right onto one of my affectionate allies; haven’t I learned my lesson about being sure of my target?

To be fair, I did owe Trauma one. During the assault on the penultimate floor of the base, he got it into his head that I needed a hug, and much slapstick ensued. This is not to blame him: I think he got mesmerized by the villain called Mindwipe. I spent most of that phase of the battle dodging his embrace. I tried to out-run him, but he was a lot faster than I expected. He’s also got a grip like an atomic vise. You would have shrugged it off, but I had visions of Valhalla.

In the end, the job got done. That’s what it all means, daddy-o. So tomorrow it’s kata. Tomorrow it’s lay out the utility belt and repack it in the dark. Tomorrow we try to get to Carnegie Hall. Tonight it’s some Ben-Gay for my bruised ribs, and a little of that Sleep of the Just. If we’ve learned one thing, it’s that there’s always a tomorrow.

Stay out of trouble, and hope I do the same,
Sgt. Eagle

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Awakening

I have to change. My actions and deeds have led the Freedom League down a path that I still am unable myself to fathom. I have to learn to understand my destiny. For if I do not, I fear all of my allies will suffer the same fate as the flea. The foul face of the fleas attacker is now burned into the core of my own soul. The fleas attacker tortured him. Kept him at the brink of conscience & at the height of pain. He was made to suffer for what appeared to be no reason. Unfortunately, I think I do know the reason. The only logical reason to resort to this kind of torture as far as I can see is to send a message. A message that only someone with my powers and abilities would be able to see. I feel rage not only against the evil man that bestowed this punishment on the Flea. Not only on those that have the Gaul to name themselves Knights & aid in the Fleas demise as well as the murder of innocent youths. Mostly, I feel rage burning inside myself for allowing this to happen. The flea was the best of us. The one whose soul was least tainted by the everyday trials of life. Now I fear that by my lack of action against the forces of evil the flea will never be the same again. Trauma seems to have been successful at repairing the fleas body. However, his mind & soul still greatly damaged. I must seek a way to repair these wounds as well if the Flea will ever be able to join our crusade again.
It is time for me to change. Time for me to decide why I am doing all of this. Yes, these powers are giving me the fame I have always craved, but I am finding that fame may not be all it is cracked up to be. It is time I start using these gifts that have been bestowed upon me to help others more then to help myself.

With that in mind we have an opportunity to strike a blow against a large evil. Working with other heroes in the area we have the chance at striking a blow against a very powerful criminal organization called "Viper." It seems that some associates from my past have found a way to strike at the heart of this elusive organization. An organization with no identifiable center. By striking several locations at once & setting off their warning signals we can hopefully help find a way to shut down this group of high tech villains at it's core. In LA we have now assembled a team of agents & fighters to lay down an assault that will send a message back to the core of Viper. Other teams doing the same in other regions should then lead us to this "Vipers" main pit.

Our plan: To strike Vipers base in what appears to be an Indy Film lot. One strike team will go in and take out Vipers hanger full of vehicles while the rest of us will strike the area that sets off vipers warning & shutdown systems. With any luck we can also capture the leader of this cell so that we are able to extract even more information about "Viper" and its organizational structure.

This is a test for me. A test to see I can change my ways. To fight for more than my own selfish agenda but for the good of the great new world that will come.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

First Log


A letter to:
Doctor Cosmonaut, #1000 Journey’s End, wherever commies go when they die

Dear Doc;
Temptation has come and alighted on my shoulder, again.
I felt your shade was disquieted when I re-donned the mask, as
I wrote you then. I wonder how you feel now? My recent “successes”
have borne the penalty I should have expected, but didn’t: Crusader
came to me last night, with word of a raid a local supers group is
planning against a Viper nest. These supers (the Freedom Bunch, or
something of the kind) are recruiting for the mission. I was
grateful for the invitation (although not as grateful as I had been
for Crusader’s aid against the Astrologer; Crusader is really top
drawer stuff). The thought of going up against Viper again filled me
with a poignant longing; the Captain always loved fighting those
snakes-in-the-grass. Remember the time you teamed up with them, in
Chicago? It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “political
machine”. If it hadn’t been for the traffic jam on Lake Shore Drive,
you might actually have gotten away with it, but then you’ve never
been lucky, have you? Especially not that last time.
But that’s enough of auld lang syne. I went to Freedom Tower,
to hear their pitch. They’re an odd bunch. Their leader, Vanguard,
seems steady enough, although his cape flaps gently even when there’s
no breeze (and yes, I said I was done with capes, but you don’t see
ME wearing one, do you? Others can wear them if they choose – that’s
the American Way). Durante I didn’t get a clear read on, he comes
across much like he does on television. The negro, Trauma, had a
plucky sense of humor, reminding me somewhat of the way Flamestar
used to wisecrack all the time (you remember Flamestar, don’t you?
Summer of ’60, Malaya. We really cleaned your clock that time).
The real joker in the pack, though, was the one they called
Mason. I’ve seen him before, down by the docks, driving trucks.
He’s tied in with those Klu Kluxers. Dinky dow. Clearly he’s a
double agent for someone, but the question is: Who? Are the Free
Bunch infiltrating the segregationists, or is it the other way
around? I don’t have enough information, yet, to answer that, but
during the Viper raid it shouldn’t matter. I can keep an eye on the
mole for the present. I don’t want to go shooting my mouth off when
they still regard me as wet behind the ears, that’s just asking to
get my can kicked.
That’s the penultimate difficult with this, actually: Trying
to be honest without dragging my whole, sordid past across the
table. This isn’t about me, after all, it’s about them and their
mission; I’m just one-time fire support. I’ve told them that I’m
primarily a martial artist, and that I have some gadgets, and all of
that is true. What I used to be doesn’t come into this, at least not
much. As Sensei says, do not strike at the dragon while stalking the
The ultimate difficulty, of course, is how you would feel about
all this. That bothers me. In life your feelings were the least of
my worries, but in death they still haunt me. Karen’s right,
though: to refrain from doing good is no way to atone for doing evil.
We go in tomorrow. I’d better close this and get some sleep.
I hope it’s not too warm where you are.

Your only mourner,
Sgt. Eagle=

Monday, November 05, 2007

Combat Choreographer

Combat Choreographer

Just a reminder of the useful little tool to make your Champs combats a breeze.