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TGI Presents: CLASSIC CHAMPIONS! (THE GRAND FINALE!)
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Dragonfly
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Joined: Apr 05, 2010
Posts: 351
Location: Miami, Florida

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:30 pm    Post subject: TGI Presents: CLASSIC CHAMPIONS! (THE GRAND FINALE!) Reply with quote

INSPIRATION

The passing of Gary Gygax got me reminiscing about role-playing games of old. After playing a few sessions of Basic Dungeons and Dragons for old time’s sake, my mind turned towards the game that most held my attention for 20 years of my gaming life – Hero Games’ Champions. Two things struck me: 1) I missed the HERO System. 2) I missed the Champions Universe. Thinking about the latter, it occurred to me that nobody in our group but me (and maybe my good friend Mike) would miss the Champions Universe. The foundation of this world, which is as detailed and rich as those produced by Marvel and DC, was slowly pieced together as Hero Games released supplements for Champions. Having grown up with the game, I encountered the universe as it was being developed and played in it extensively. “The Guys,” however, had no such intimate knowledge. I then realized that this was an opportunity for me to share some old-time fun with my friends. I could run a campaign set in the era that produced Champions (the 1980s) and run the modules more or less in the order that they were published. While nostalgic for me, it would be fresh and new to my players.

I began the campaign shortly thereafter, and we generally had a blast. We ran for six issues using the HERO System, which worked out well enough, but some age-old problems resurfaced. The system is second nature to ME, but not to many of my players. As a consequence, game-play was sometimes clunky and unsatsifying. I was just about to call it quits when BASH! UE made its way into my life. We converted the PCs, playtested the campaign in the new system, and had a wondeful time of it. I am now in the process of converting the whole campaign over to BASH! and plan to resume sustained play sometime soon. In anticipation of that, here's what we've done so far...[/b]


Last edited by Dragonfly on Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:35 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Dragonfly
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CAMPAIGN SET-UP

The year is 1980, the place – New York City. Before the start of the campaign, New York had no superhero team, as the Boston, Massachusetts based Minutemen kept the Eastern seaboard pretty well protected. Superheroes Crusader and Starburst, however, have been independently active in New York since 1975 and are considered the city's most prominent defenders. The PCs are new heroes that have been active for a year or less.
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Dragonfly
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CLASSIC CHAMPIONS UNIVERSE

Like most superhero universes in the comics, the Champions Universe is a world much like our own except that certain individuals possess strange powers and extraordinary abilities. Superheroes gain their abilities from various sources, including intense training, technology, magic, mythology, mutation, experimentation, and extraterrestrial origins. Such individuals have existed throughout human history, but it was not until the 1930s and 1940s that they took on the public role of superheroes (and supervillains).

What follows is a brief listing of significant individuals and organizations that player characters would be aware of. Keep in mind that the campaign begins in 1980.

Superhero Teams: While many superheroes operate independently, some have banded together into teams. These include the following:

1) The Liberty League (1938 - 1949): Formed to combat the Nazi threat at home, this team became involved in World War II after Pearl Harbor. Members included The Star-Spangled Hero, Lady Victory, and Thunderbird, among others.

2) The Minutemen (1965 – 1980): Based out of Boston, Massachusetts, this team continued the legacy of The Liberty League. Members included Captain Star (formerly the Star-Spangled Hero), Lady Victory, Thunderbird, Fleetfoot, and American Eagle II.

3) The Freedom Squad (1971 – present): Based out of Chicago, this team was founded by American Eagle II after he left the Minutemen. Members include American Eagle II, Black Phantom, and Hardhat.

Organizations: Various organizations have sprung up in the Champions Universe in response to the existence of superheroes and villains. Among the most relevant to the campaign are:

1) UNTIL (1946 – present): The United Nations Tribunal on International Law was originally created as a military, intelligence and security branch that would have sole control of the world’s nuclear weapons. Although Cold War politics prevented UNTIL from fulfilling this role, it continued to serve as a useful intelligence operation throughout the Korean conflict. The spike in international commercial terrorism initiated by groups like VIPER in the 1950s prompted UNTIL to define itself anew. Under the leadership of Major Juan Martinez UNTIL has done more to thwart these acts of villainy than any other governmental institution. Many attribute Martinez’s success to his willingness to accept help from superheroes. Although UNTIL remains popular the world over, a recent spike in nationalist sentiment threatens its ability to operate in he United States.

2) PRIMUS (1964 – present): Uncomfortable with UNTIL operating in the U.S., the Johnson administration created PRIMUS as a government organization dedicated to fighting super-criminals at home. The allocation of resources to the Vietnam War slowed the agency’s development, but recent years have seen an improvement in recruitment as well as R&D. PRIMUS should be up and running to full capacity in short order.

3) SAT (1965 – present): Special American Tactics was created by the Johnson administration as a temporary organization that could respond to super-criminals on U.S. soil while PRIMUS was being organized. Although well-trained, SAT remains too modest of an operation to supplant the role currently served by UNTIL. The organization’s days are probably numbered, as the PRIMUS initiative gains momentum.

4) VIPER (195? – present): VIPER’s origins are shrouded in mystery. What is known is that VIPER is the world’s largest criminal organization. They have access to highly advanced technology, a large paramilitary force culled from the world’s mercenary and criminal elements, and they employ supervillains as henchmen. Their sole purpose seems to be acquiring money and power. Although their methods vary depending on the region of operation, VIPER is best known for engaging in acts of commercial terrorism. Their ground troops wear signature green and yellow combat uniforms and carry advanced military hardware. They have clashed with just about everybody, but UNTIL has been the biggest thorn in their side for the past 25 years.

5) RAVEN (194? – present): Little is known about RAVEN. Their goal is world domination, but their methods tend to be more subtle than those employed by VIPER. They also have a more elitist bent, believing that the world should be ruled by those who are born and bred to rule. RAVEN remains little known to the public, but this might make them even more dangerous. They have been known to clash with UNTIL as well as VIPER.
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Dragonfly
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PLAYER CHARACTERS

1) Sparrow Hawk (Rebeca Glass): Her family owns Glass Industries, which is known for its cutting-edge work in the field of robotics. Years ago, when Rebeca was very young, VIPER attempted a violent takeover of the company. They killed her parents in the attempt, but were ultimately unsuccessful. Having only recently discovered the truth behind her parents' death, Rebeca (who is currently a brilliant engineering student at a local university) has decided to use her wealth and talents to build an arsenal that will allow her to wage a one-woman war against the criminal underworld - especially VIPER. She is a street level vigilante who relies on gadgetry, her sizable financial resources and her burgeoning detective skills.


2) Nightshift (Dylan Price): Dylan Price discovered his mutant power of teleportation while serving in Vietnam. After the war, he returned to the states and became a police detective. Frustrated by the frequency with which criminals escaped justice, Dylan adopted a costume and began his vigilante career as Nightshift. Like Sparrow Hawk, he is mostly a martial artist with a gimmick. He has a couple of basic gadgets (armor, baton), but places far more emphasis on investigative skills than he does on technology.


3) Rampart (Tom Clayborn): Rampart is a mutant who can turn to stone and grow to tremendous proportions (up to 50' in height). He needs to be standing on some sort of stone surface to effect the transformation (as well as to grow), but once the transformation is complete he need not maintain contact with a stone surface to keep the power going. He is a classic "brick" and a reluctant hero who is usually caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.


4) Troyus (Troy Hallam): Troyus is a Subterralien (a race originating off-world that has maintained an underground civilization on Earth for thousands of years). He was taken from his people as an infant by an unscrupulous explorer who happens to be a member of a mysterious neo-Nazi group with plans for world domination. His new "father" tried to bring him up as a super-soldier for the organization, but Troyus broke the conditioning and escaped. He now acts as a superhero. He is a glory hound, not just because he likes the attention (which he does), but also because he figures he'll be safer if he hides in plain sight. Subterraliens radiate a type of energy that allows them to fly, project force fields, and release powerful energy beams from their eyes. They are also more durable than humans.


5) Apex (Xander Lamberton III): Xander Lamberton III was born into wealth and privilege. Despite this, he opted for a modest life as an urban social worker, which has pretty much put him at odds with his family. Xander also happens to be a mutant with powerful telekinetic abilities that enable him to fly, lift heavy objects from a distance, and project a series of powerful attacks. The same impulse that led Xander to pursue social work has also led him to adopt the role of the superhero, Apex.


6) Firebrand (Michael Brandeis): Michael Brandeis was born in 1955 in a dumpster on the south side of Chicago and, after being discovered, was placed into the state foster care system. He was always smaller than the other kids which led to his quick wit and use of brain power rather than brawn. He learned at an early age that education was the only way out of his situation and applied himself in school resulting in a chemical engineering degree from Stanford. Always favoring the oppressed, he was attempting to create a cheap form of power which would inure to the benefit of the less privileged when he was exposed to the nuclear/chemical fire resulting in his powers. It is his belief that the “experiment gone wrong” was a result of certain underworld individuals who were trying to steal his ideas for profit. He has vowed to stamp out crime wherever he finds it as life is hard enough for the under-privileged. His professional and investigative work recently prompted him to move to New York.
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Dragonfly
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ISSUE #1

Sparrow Hawk (aka Rebeca Glass) went to breakfast on the morning of January 19, 1980 and found her Uncle Alec scrutinizing a series of Glass Industries files. The files pertained to “Project Mechanon,” which involved the company designing a powerful robot for the U.S. Government. Having strong ties to both the government and military, America’s premiere superhero team, the Minutemen, were assigned the prototype Mechanon unit as a guardian for their headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. Alec was concerned for a number of reasons. First, the Minutemen began reporting what they described as “irregularities” with the prototype sometime in late December. Second, the Minutemen had proved unreachable for over a week. Finally, Alec was concerned over the fate of Jack Stevens, a computer technician on the Glass Industries payroll, who had stopped coming to work almost a week earlier. Before he could discuss matters further with his adopted daughter, their butler announced the arrival of Major Juan Martinez of UNTIL. Alec went to confer with the Major, leaving Sparrow Hawk to her own thoughts.

Sometime around 10:00 AM, a Glass Industries underground facility erupted in an explosion of debris, injuring twenty-five people and causing significant structural damage to the surrounding area. From the wreckage emerged the hulking figure of a man, screaming in pain and rage. People fled from this “Ogre,” but he grew incensed and began throwing cars and chunks of fallen buildings when the police ordered him to stand down. With that, Ogre initiated a violent rampage through the streets of Manhattan.

News of Ogre’s attack reached several heroes who responded immediately. Nightshift (aka Dylan an Price) heard it over police channels soon after reporting for work, while Sparrow Hawk and Troyus (aka Troy Hallam) caught the news on TV. Rampart (aka Tom Clayborn), however, had a more rude awakening when Ogre hurled a car that both flew over and landed in front of the bus that the hero was taking home after a late night out with friends. At first Ogre’s battle with the heroes proved fairly even, as he took them on one at a time, but the tide of battle turned once the city’s defenders began to coordinate their efforts. Just as they were about to subdue Ogre, however, micro-rockets slammed into the brute’s chest, knocking him unconscious.

The heroes turned to face a seven-foot-tall, humanoid robot with a gleaming gold and silver frame hovering in mid-air. Mechanon spoke, “The organics will release test-subject: Devolution-1.0 to Mechanon in ten seconds or be destroyed. Nine. Eight. Seven…” Refusing the robot’s demands, the heroes attacked. Despite their superiority in numbers and the fact that they landed several good blows, Mechanon managed fend off his opponents, grab Ogre in a telekinetic beam, and make a hasty retreat.

Sparrow Hawk, however, latched a grappling hook onto Ogre’s leg and was pulled along as Mechanon rocketed away from the battle. Similarly, Nightshift teleported onto Ogre’s back and was thus able to give chase. Frustrated by their tenaciousness, Mechanon flew to a great height and turned to face the heroes. At that moment, Ogre awoke and broke-out of the energy bonds that held him. Sparrow Hawk grabbed Nightshift and used her glider wings to take them both to safety, while Mechanon dove after the rapidly falling Ogre. Weak from its battle with the heroes, however, Mechanon turned away when ten UNTIL agents showed up on hover cycles.

Down on the ground, Rampart and Troyus witnessed Ogre crash to the ground and create a gigantic crater as well as a shock wave that shook the surrounding buildings to their foundations. Ogre emerged from the crater angrier than ever and ready to rejoin the battle. Nightshift, however, decided to try and negotiate with the brute. He offered Ogre a soft drink and talked him into a nearby Donut Hole for a tasty snack. Sergeant-Major Hank Wadsworth, a volatile UNTIL agent who was all for attacking Ogre, protested Nightshift’s approach, but was overridden by Major Juan Martinez who promptly arrived at the scene in a chauffeured staff car. Nightshift then plied Ogre with doughnut after doughnut until UNTIL could provide a batch with enough tranquilizers to subdue the hulking menace.

Thanking the heroes for their invaluable assistance, Martinez ordered his men to take Ogre into custody. Martinez also revealed that there was more to the incident than met the eye. Having converged at the origin point of Ogre’s rampage soon after it began, Martinez’s men were surprised to find that VIPER agents had beaten them there. The VIPER agents escaped after a brief firefight, but Martinez remained intent on finding out the nature of their involvement as well as anything else pertaining to Ogre and Mechanon. To that end he invited the heroes to meet with him at UNTIL headquarters that evening for a debriefing. After Martinez’s departure, Sparrow Hawk, Nightshift, Troyus and Rampart agreed to a meeting of their own so that they might determine their next step.

Experienced Points Earned: 2
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Dragonfly
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ISSUE #2

After their battle with Mechanon and Ogre, Rampart and Troyus spent the afternoon helping with the clean-up. While thus engaged they were approached by Apex (aka Xander Lamberton III), a hero who was drawn to the melee after Ogre rampaged through the neighborhood where he served as a social worker. Although tending to the injured caused Apex to miss the battle, Rampart and Troyus were impressed by his willingness to help with the aftermath, so they invited him to the meeting scheduled for later that night.

Meanwhile, Sparrow Hawk and Nightshift went to investigate the facility that Ogre burst out from of earlier that morning. They found the area cordoned off by UNTIL agents, who were in the process of coordinating with Glass Industries representatives as well as the NYPD. Nightshift teleported to the agents and engaged UNTIL’s Sergeant-Major Evelyn Knight in conversation. She explained that UNTIL arrived at the site to find a squad of VIPER agents making their way into the facility. Predictably, VIPER refused to surrender to UNTIL and a firefight broke out. Mechanon arrived on the scene in the midst of the battle, strafing the area with high powered explosives before diving into the underground facilities. By the time the UNTIL agents regained their footing, Mechanon was gone from the scene, taking some unidentified machinery with it. Using the confusion to their advantage, the VIPER agents also escaped.

Slipping past the UNTIL agents while they conversed with Nightshift, Sparrow Hawk made her way into the debris. She found the remnants of some medical technology, but her big discovery was the badly injured and unconscious form of Crusader, one of NYC veteran superheroes, pinned under a heavy iron beam. She called for help and, together with Nightshift and Sergeant-Major Knight, managed to get the battered hero to safety. Leaving him in the capable hands of UNTIL’s medics, Nightshift and Sparrow Hawk left the scene to compare notes.

That evening the heroes met in Central Park to discuss their next move. After becoming acquainted with Apex, they all agreed to accept Major Martinez’s invitation for a more extensive debriefing. Arriving at UNTIL HQ, they found the Major ready to receive them. Martinez explained that Ogre was still sedated and being held on the premises until arrangements could be made to safely transfer him to the proper authorities. He also explained that Mechanon was a Glass Industries creation gone rogue. Apparently, the robot had insinuated itself into the company’s computer network and had appropriated an abandoned laboratory to conduct some sort of genetic experimentation. A genetic scan of Ogre identified the brute as Jack Stevens, a Glass Industries employee that disappeared a week earlier. Present at the meeting despite several broken bones, Crusader shared that he was investigating Stevens’ disappearance when he stumbled upon Mechanon’s laboratory. Upon entering the lab, the room immediately sealed and began to fill with knock-out gas. Crusader managed to damage one of the computer consoles before passing out. He offered this last bit of information with a sense of guilt, given the possibility that his actions might have caused a systems malfunction that led to Jack Steven's transformation into Ogre.

Martinez then shifted the conversation towards his concerns over VIPER’s quick response to the incident, guessing that “the snakes” were either directly involved in what happened at Glass Industries, or that they had simply stepped up their activity in NYC to the point where they could mobilize as quickly as the city’s first responders. Finally, Martinez shared his more immediate concerns. The Mechanon that the heroes fought was version 2.0 of the robot, which was in the final phases of construction at Glass Industries at the time of Ogre’s rampage. Months earlier, version 1.0 had been given to the East Coast’s premiere superhero team, the Boston, Massachusetts based Minutemen, as a guardian for their HQ. According to Project Mechanon’s lead engineer, James Harmon IV, the Minutemen had recently reported some erratic behavior on the part of Mechanon 1.0, but nothing that would have indicated such extreme behavior. Nevertheless, the Minutemen had not been seen for almost two weeks. Although such absences occasionally occurred when the Minutemen were off on mission, Martinez suspected the worst. Unfortunately, his hands were tied. Always strained, the relationship between UNTIL and the U.S. Government had become more problematic recently. The newly inaugurated Reagan administration was threatening to prevent UNTIL from operating on U.S. soil, turning over matters of super-powered villainy and terrorism to American organizations like SAT and PRIMUS. Because UNTIL HQ was based out of the UN Building, Martinez could still get away with operating in NYC with few restrictions, but sending squads of agents to investigate the Minutemen’s public HQ in Boston, Massachusetts was out of the question. Hearing this, the heroes volunteered to go in UNTIL’s stead. Martinez provided them a lift in an unmarked UNTIL hover-transport piloted by Sergeant-Major Henry Wadsworth, and off they went.

The Minutemen’s HQ was located on the top three floors of a skyscraper in Boston, Massachusetts. Wadsworth set the transport down on the rooftop landing pad, and the heroes opted to make their way to the lower levels via elevator. Sparrow Hawk bypassed the base’s security and jury-rigged the elevator to work for the heroes, but when the doors opened on the floor below they were immediately attacked by Mechanon 1.0. Rampart, Apex and Troyus engaged the robot head on, while Nightshift and Sparrow Hawk slipped away to investigate.

Teleporting into the base's medical unit, Nightshift found the Minutemen unconscious and floating in bio-tanks that were hooked up to a series of computer consoles. An operating table with arm and leg restraints occupied the center of the room, targeted by a ceiling mounted beam weapon of some sort. Standing by the table was Mechanon 2.0. Before Nightshift could react, the robot filled the room with knockout gas and the hero slipped into unconsciousness.

Having made her way into Minutemen HQ’s ventilation system, Sparrow Hawk watched as Mechanon 2.0 carried Nightshift to the operating table in the medical center. Slipping in undetected, she deactivated the bio-tanks, which began the process of awakening the Minutemen. Spinning to face her, Mechanon 2.0 spoke. “Your actions are illogical. You are jeopardizing the survival of the human species. Humanity in its current state presents a threat to itself as well as to the survival and independence of superior synthetic life-forms. Possible solutions - Option 1: Preserving bio-diversity offered by continued human existence while devolving the species’ more threatening characteristics. Option 2: Human extinction. You are interfering with Option 1.” It then launched a vicious attack. Sparrow Hawk expertly dodged a series of micro-rockets, but Mechanon 2.0 then turned its attention to the awakening Minutemen, opening up on their still unconscious forms with his pulse lasers. Outraged, Sparrow Hawk trained the ceiling mounted beam on Mechanon 2.0, bathing the robot in a greenish glow that seemed to have no effect. Mechanon 2.0 then lobbed a mega-bomb at Sparrow Hawk. The powerful explosive stopped an inch from her face, and then flew back towards the robot, knocking it down and stunning it momentarily. Quickly scanning the room, Sparrow Hawk saw that Thunderbird, the oldest of the Minutemen, had awakened just in time to deflect the bomb, but not without a cost. The strain sent him into a fit of seizures.

At this point, Rampart, Troyus and Apex burst into the room. Having defeated Mechanon 1.0, they were keen to test their mettle against the more sophisticated version. Recovered from the knock-out gas, Nightshift also joined the fray. The heroes began to gain the upper hand after a few rounds, so Mechanon opted to flee when Rampart pounded him through the outside wall of the Minutemen HQ. Troyus and Apex gave chase and traded a few more blows with the robot, but Mechanon’s flight capabilities outmatched their own and the robot managed to escape.

Meanwhile, Sparrow Hawk and Rampart began loading the Minutemen into the UNTIL hover-transport, while Nightshift finished searching the Minutemen HQ. To his horror, Nightshift found a large bomb with 4 seconds left on the timer. Thinking quickly, he grabbed the bomb, teleported it over the bay and teleported back with one second to spare. Still loading the Minutemen onto the transport, Sparrow Hawk and Rampart watched the fireworks from the rooftop of Minutemen HQ.

The days after the heroes’ victory over Mechanon proved sad. Thunderbird regained consciousness briefly and was able to thank the heroes for rescuing his fellow Minutemen. His injuries, however, were too severe and the elderly hero, who had served humanity since before World War II, passed away surrounded by his friends. Following his death, the Minutemen decided to disband. Middle-aged and recently married, Lady Victory chose to lead a normal life for a change, while Captain Star opted continue his adventuring career as member of PRIMUS. Fleetfoot, the youngest of the Minutemen, decided to continue his career as an independent superhero in Boston. Although all the heroes involved in rescuing the Minutemen were invited to Thunderbird’s funeral, only Rampart and Troyus attended in their heroic identities. On that day, Fleetfoot approached them and encouraged them to stay together as a team. He also gave them a communicator set to his frequency and promised to respond if they should ever need help.

Experienced Points Earned: 2
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ISSUE #3

After their tussle with Mechanon, New York’s newest heroes agreed to keep in touch, but otherwise continued to operate relatively independently of each other. Although their new found ally, Fleetfoot, recommended that they form a more tight-knit association, their individual styles worked against the creation of a more formal team. Nightshift and Sparrow Hawk, for instance, enjoyed the relative anonymity that came with operating in the shadows, while Troyus basked in media attention and kept a public identity to boot. Motivational differences also kept the team for cohering, as Apex and Rampart remained more focused on pursuing their private lives, fighting crime only when they happened to stumble across it or when it reared its ugly head in some sort of dramatic, public fashion.

Of all the heroes, Troyus’ life was most transformed as a consequence of their first case together. The family-owned auto-shop where he worked became the center of media attention. His boss, Joe Roberts, seemed ambivalent about the attention. Troyus’ celebrity drew some new customers, but others took their business elsewhere, apparently uneasy about Troyus’ “inhuman” nature. The shop even lost one of its mechanics, Ted Gordon. Gordon had never been friendly towards Troyus and the hero’s most recent display of power apparently pushed him over the edge. Finally, Joe also seemed worried that Troyus might attract attention of the more violent kind. Nevertheless, Joe and his sons, Josh and Seth, remained supportive of Troyus, keeping him at the shop and working to make him feel at home. About a month after the Mechanon fight, Joe decided to explain why. Inviting Troyus over to his home for dinner, he introduced the young hero to Josh’s five-year-old daughter, Sophie. Born with a tail, heightened agility, the ability to cling to walls, and heightened senses, Sophie lived a marginal existence. The Roberts, therefore, were sympathetic to Troyus’ situation, and promised to help him to the extent that they could. Grateful, Troyus promised to protect the Roberts.

That same evening, trouble was brewing downtown. Dylan Price (aka Nightshift) was having a drink at his favorite bar in Hell’s Kitchen before going out on patrol. Unbeknown to him, Tom Clayborn (aka Rampart) was also at the bar, setting up for the gig that his band had scored for later that night. Both witnessed an exchange between Mercedes, a waitress at the bar who also happened to be Dylan's girlfriend, and two men. One of the men, Ricky, was making crude comments to Mercedes, while simultaneously relating that her boss should follow-up on their offer for “protection.” Dylan confronted Ricky, only to have the second man, Rocky, intervene. Rocky prompted Ricky to apologize to the “nice lady,” politely requested that Mercedes relay their message, apologized to Dylan for Ricky’s transgression, and then left the bar with Ricky. Expecting trouble that night, Dylan left the bar, donned his Nightshift persona, and chose to stick close to the bar during his nightly patrol.

Later that night, Sparrow Hawk happened to be patrolling the same neighborhood when she noticed two gangsters setting-up what looked like a mortar in an empty lot. She dove in and quickly subdued the men. Meanwhile, Sparrow Hawk’s movements were noticed by Xander Lamberton (aka Apex), who happened to be tending to the needs of the homeless in the neighborhood. He approached to see if Sparrow Hawk needed any help, only to see mortar shells arc through the sky from other locations nearby. The shells hit a warehouse across the street, filling it with gas. Nightshift also heard the attack and teleported to the scene. When the heroes entered the warehouse, they found two groups of gangsters facing off. One group, the Maronis, suffered the effects of the mortar-delivered tear gas that choked the room. The second group, the Carellis, wore gas-masks, brandished laser pistols, and was in the process of mowing down their opponents. The heroes intervened, quickly taking down the Carellis. Inspecting the Carellis hardware, Sparrow Hawk noted that it bore the VIPER insignia. Checking his sources, Nightshift determined that this was likely the final battle in a months-long territory war between the two crime families. He also noted that the Carellis had recently made moves against another major crime family, the Spumonis.

The next day, at lunch time, Michael Brandeis (aka Fire Brand) was on his way to his favorite deli when he heard the sounds of gun-play and people screaming from down the street. Rushing to the scene, he saw a security guard lying prone before the broken plate-glass window of the first national bank. Rapidly changing into his hero guise, he swooped in as Fire Brand and found two VIPER agents menacing the bank’s patrons and employees. Firing two well-placed bolts of flame, he incapacitated the agents. A bank teller told the hero that other agents had moved to the vault, but before he could proceed, Fire Brand was interrupted by the arrival of New York’s premiere superhero, Starburst. After a tense moment, Fire Brand convinced Starburst that he was not there to rob the bank and the two moved towards the vault. There they encountered and easily subdued two other VIPER agents carrying bags of loot. Things became complicated when the VIPER agents received back-up in the form of super-villains Pulsar and Brick. Quite the braggart, Pulsar enthusiastically attacked Starburst hoping to earn popularity by taking down such a well-known superhero. Meanwhile, Fire Brand tussled with Brick. Pulsar, however, proved ineffective against Starburst's defenses and was quickly taken down. When the two heroes turned to face Brick, the rocky behemoth gabbed a bank teller by the head and threatened to turn her into tomato paste if the heroes did not back off. With that he grabbed Pulsar and made his escape down a manhole and through the sewers, taking the teller with him as insurance. The teller was later found in the sewers, shaken but otherwise unhurt.

Having heard of the attempted robbery through the news, the city’s heroes began to converge at the bank. Nightshift arrived in his civilian identity as Detective Dylan Price, along with his partner, Detective James Rourke. Troyus, Rampart, and Apex also arrived, but Sparrow Hawk was diverted by Nightshift who heard over the police radio that Vito’s, an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, had suffered an explosion simultaneous with the bank robbery. The heroes spent most of the time getting to know one another and interacting with the press. Troyus, in particular, had a few words with ace reporter, “Gyro” Jim Dugan, while Rampart and Apex exchanged contact information with Fire Brand and Starburst. Meanwhile, Detective Rourke approached his partner with a bit of evidence: VIPER was after more than just cash. One of the bags carried by the VIPER agents contained a safety deposit box registered to a man named Carmine Del Vecchio. Del Vecchio was a well-known and somewhat high ranking-member in the Carelli crime organization, and papers found in the safety deposit box, although vague, suggested a link between the Carellis and VIPER. Meanwhile, Sparrow Hawk’s investigations confirmed that Carmine Del Vecchio had been dining at Vito’s that afternoon. Del Vecchio escaped death, however, when a chance phone call caused him to leave the restaurant moments before the explosion.

The heroes dispersed after the bank robbery, returning to their lives and work. For Dylan and Rourke, however, this meant following-up on Del Vecchio. They went to the gangster’s home, only to find one of his henchmen, Angelo Demeo, leaving the premises with a suitcase. Demeo claimed that Del Vecchio had left town. Unconvinced, Dylan and Rourke decided to follow the gangster. This led them to an apartment building in Brooklyn. Dylan related this information to Sparrow Hawk, who was still in the area. He and Rourke then split up and entered the building through different entrances. Dylan managed to catch-up to Demeo as the gangster was let into a third-floor apartment. To his surprise, the man who opened the door for Demeo was none-other than Rocky from the night before! Dylan then teleported to the fire escape adjoining Rocky’s apartment, leaving Rourke to watch the hall entrance.

Meanwhile, Sparrow Hawk arrived at the scene on her motorcycle. As she pulled up, she saw a black van conspicuously parked in an alley next to the apartment building. Stepping out of the van and into the apartment building was a man wearing maroon and orange colored armor, with a brass flamethrower strapped to his back. She radioed in a warning to Nightshift and an alert to Troyus, Rampart, Apex, Fire Brand, and Starburst. Sneaking up to the van, Sparrow Hawk then encountered and made quick work of two VIPER agents.


Responding to Sparrow Hawk’s warning, Dylan teleported to the rooftop and changed into his Nightshift costume. By the time he returned to the fire escape, however, chaos had broken out. Catching sight of Blowtorch, the man with the flame-thrower on his back, Rourke called for him to stand down. He opened fire when Blowtorch refused, only to have his bullets bounce off the hit man’s armor. Ignoring Rourke, Blowtorch kicked down the door to Rocky’s apartment and filled the room with a stream of chemical fire. The attack killed Demeo and Del Vecchio. Rocky grabbed Ricky and ran for the window, only to receive a blast from Blowtorch as he leaped through. Rocky seemed relatively unharmed by the flame, so Nightshift attacked the gangster as he emerged to the fire escape, knocking him down three stories. Rocky managed to execute a relatively controlled fall, shielding Ricky from harm. It was then that Nightshift noticed a purple and red skin-tight costume showing through the gangster’s burned clothing. Throwing Ricky over his shoulder, Rocky ran down the alley as Nightshift was forced to turn and face Blowtorch.

At that point, the rest of the heroes arrived. Sparrow Hawk entangled Rocky with a bola, allowing the rest of the heroes to pile on, while Nightshift threw Blowtorch into the alley below. The heroes quickly subdued Blowtorch, and then delivered a series of blows that brought Rocky to his knees. Ricky began to yell for Rocky to get up and "murderlize" the heroes, but the resilient gangster chose diplomacy instead. Rising to his feet, he suggested to the heroes that there was some misunderstanding. Rocky pointed out that he had not broken any laws. He then explained that as a longtime member of the Carelli crime family, Del Vecchio came to disagree with the family’s new association with outside parties. This disagreement led to mounting tensions. Fearing for his life, Del Vecchio turned to Rocky for protection, but sadly the Carellis' managed to terminate the old man’s life before the contract could be finalized. Rocky insisted that his actions regarding this incident were as noble as the heroes own. Fire Brand whispered to Nightshift that he recognized Rocky as an enforcer from the Chicago branch of the Spumoni crime family. Unable to find evidence implicating Rocky in wrong-doing, however, the heroes reluctantly let him and Ricky go.

That night the heroes met at Central Park. They speculated on the precise nature of the relationship between the Carellis and VIPER. Sparrow Hawk related that the communicators carried by the VIPER agents self-destructed upon their capture, thus making it impossible for her to track "the snakes" back to their nest. She also suggested that Central Park was not the best place for them to meet and gave them an address for a riverside warehouse that could serve as a more discrete meeting place. Following through with her call for subtlety, Nightshift critiqued the others, especially Troyus, for drawing unnecessary attention from the media. Troyus defended his actions, pointing out that he had not revealed anything that would endanger anybody but himself. Rampart also chimed in, suggesting that the more public heroes drew attention away from the more subtle ones. With these issues unresolved, Apex turned the conversation towards further investigation of VIPER, suggesting that the team might try to infiltrate the organization. Starburst wished them luck, offering to help where he could, but stating his preference to operate solo. With that he excused himself, leaving the others to consider their next moves.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ISSUE #4

The days after their three-way battle with Blowtorch and Rocky Scaglioni saw the heroes settle back into their normal routines.

Troyus deepened his relationship with the Roberts family. Specifically, Joe Roberts began to talk to Troyus about the horrors of the Holocaust and his own father’s service as a U.S. soldier during World War II. The conversations both moved and horrified Troyus, who began to realize the depth of his adopted father’s, Tor Hallam’s, bigotry. As a consequence Troyus began to question his choice of eagle iconography for his costume, as it resembled that used by the Nazis.

At school, Rebeca Glass was approached by a young woman named Lisa Avalon. Lisa asked if Rebeca was the Rebeca Glass. When Rebeca rolled her eyes Lisa quickly apologized for intruding, but explained that as a successful female engineer, the late Victoria Ibanez-Glass, Rebeca’s mother, had been an inspiration to her and her good friend Tara Lemick, both of whom were now engineering students at the University. Later in the week, Rebeca ran into both Lisa and Tara on campus. She apologized for being rude a few days earlier, and suggested that she might be interested in pursuing a friendship sometime in the near future.

As Apex, Xander Lamberton III began using his contacts among the homeless to spread rumors that a new super-villain named Aquas was interested in work. He then fashioned an alternate costume and began making himself visible on the Riverfront, hoping to draw an invitation from VIPER.

Focused on his professional life, Michael Brandeis settled into a pattern of working late nights at the lab. Similarly, Tom Clayborn continued to try and make it as a struggling musician.

Worried about the threats that Rocky Scaglioni and his pal "Ricky" had made to the owner of his favorite bar, Dylan Price intensified his patrol of the neighborhood as Nightshift. He also left a bundle of information pertaining to recent VIPER activities on the desk of his partner, James Rourke, hoping to establish a working relationship with him. The next day Rourke, who does not much like vigilantes, expressed momentary disgust and confusion over Nightshift’s decision to leave the packet, but agreed with his partner that there was no harm in receiving information if the self-proclaimed superhero was willing to give it. Rourke then shared an ambiguous lead that he ran across while perusing the documents obtained from Del Vecchio’s safety deposit box a few days earlier: the mention of Tanghal Tower. Whereas all the other information in those files referred to docks, warehouses, truck itineraries, and other data having to do with previous shipments and deliveries from VIPER to the Carelli crime family, Tanghal Tower had no obvious connection to either organization. It was just an office building built in 1943 and marked for demolition last year. Rourke took a spin by the building the night before, but saw nothing out of sorts. Still, the two agreed that it was worth keeping an eye on.

Meanwhile, after nearly a month, negotiations between UNTIL and the U.S. Government finally resulted in an agreement to turn Ogre over to the proper authorities, and SAT was given the assignment to supervise the transfer. SAT agents Skip Gordon, Douglas T. Douglass, Scott Connor, Ryan McKinney, David Wells, and Chet Jackson arrived at UNTIL HQ on the night of February 15, 1980. After a brief conversation with UNTIL Sergeant-Major Hank Wadsworth and Major Juan Martinez, the SAT agents loaded Ogre into their armored transport vehicle and left for Washington DC. Moments after getting on the highway, they were attacked by a squad of VIPER troopers wearing jet-packs, two squads of VIPER ground troops, and super-villains Pile Driver and Sledge. Simultaneously, the medical equipment that kept Ogre sedated began to malfunction and the brute began to wake up. The SAT agents fought valiantly, but were quickly overpowered.

Nightshift, Sparrow-Hawk, Apex, Troyus, Firebrand and Rampart all caught wind of the battle between SAT and VIPER as it was reported live by helicopter reporter “Gyro Jim” Dugan. Suiting up, they all rushed to rescue the beleaguered agents. By the time the heroes arrived on the scene, the SAT agents were mostly unconscious, Ogre had recovered consciousness, and the VIPER operatives were moving to secure their target. A particularly mouthy VIPER agent convinced Ogre that they were there to rescue him from the heroes, and a battle was joined.

In another part of town, while the heroes clashed with VIPER and Ogre, Det. James Rourke took another swing by Tanghal Tower on his way home from work. Peering over the fence that surrounded the demolished building, he was alarmed to find a squad of VIPER agents breaking open the building’s exposed cornerstone. Almost immediately, superheroes Crusader and Starburst arrived on the scene. “This is just like you snakes – pulling the old bait and switch. You may have gotten the rookies to bite, but I know how you think – don’t I? Now give it up.” The VIPER agents looked at each other and smiled. “I guess you don’t know well enough,” replied one of the agents. “Surprise!” With that, Cheshire Cat, Brick, Pulsar and two additional agent squads burst onto the scene, taking the heroes by surprise. Rourke watched in horror as the heroes were brutally beaten into unconsciousness. The villains might have done worse, except that Rourke ran to his car, turned on his siren, got on the bullhorn, and began ordering them to surrender. Having acquired what they came for, the villains left the scene.

Back on the highway, the heroes managed to vanquish Sledge, Pile Driver and the VIPER agents and were turning their attention to Ogre, when Cheshire Cat appeared next to the hulking menace. “We missed you at the party, boys!” he said with a smile, and before they could react he teleported away with Ogre. The heroes began scanning the horizon to see if he would appear somewhere nearby, but instead he teleported back into their midst and made off with the unconscious Pile Driver. Anticipating Cheshire’s next move, the heroes clustered around Sledge. Feeling lucky, Cheshire Cat decided to test his skills. He teleported in, resorted to a series of defensive maneuvers to evade his attackers’ blows, and managed to get away with Sledge.

The fight over, Nightshift thought to check the police bands and was horrified to hear about Tanghal Tower on the radio chatter. He related the information to the rest of the heroes and they all rushed to the scene. An apprehensive Rourke filled them in on what happened, reporting that VIPER made off with what looked like a large, think manila envelope and a bundle of documents that they extracted from Tanghal Tower’s corner stone. Crusader regained consciousness and had a brief conversation with Sparrow-Hawk, who handed him a communicator so he could reach her. Although severely injured, Starburst regained consciousness and flew off just as the police began to arrive. With that, the heroes departed feeling ill at ease about VIPER’s success that night.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ISSUE #5

The heroes dispersed after VIPER’s successful operations on the highway and at Tanghal Tower. Firebrand regretfully explained that he would be unreachable for at least a week due to pressing business in his hometown of Chicago. With that, he took off into the night. Frustrated at being outmaneuvered by Cheshire Cat, Nightshift blinked home to down a few drinks before settling into a frenzied teleportation practice session. Sparrow Hawk headed home to get some rest before school the next day, while Apex considered hitting the docks in the guise of his alternate identity, Aquas, as a means of drawing VIPER’s attention. Rampart and Troyus remained behind to clean up VIPER’s mess and search for further clues.
Before the heroes could fully settle into their plans for the night, however, they received a radio communication from Crusader, who left Tanghal Tower before them. Major Juan Martinez of UNTIL, he explained, had just contacted him with potentially dire news. Forty-five minutes earlier, at approximately the same time that VIPER attacked Tanghal Tower and sprung Ogre from the SAT convoy, the computer systems at UNTIL’s New York headquarters had gone haywire. Due to this major systems failure, UNTIL had been in the dark about VIPER’s actions that night. Of perhaps more immediate concern, however, was the fact that UNTIL lost contact with agents that they had monitoring the Long Island home of Troyus’ friend and employer, Joe Roberts, and his family.

Fearing the worse, the heroes sped to the scene. Nightshift arrived first to find a fire truck, two police cars, and an ambulance parked outside the Roberts’ home. The police officers kept neighbors away from the scene, while the rescue workers pulled bodies from the home in gurneys. Nightshift teleported into the first responders’ midst, who explained that that Joe Roberts, his wife and their six-year-old granddaughter were at home when, according to neighbors, a strange smoke began to billow from within the house. The family was alive and stable, but unresponsive – probably the victims of some undetermined toxin. Nightshift thanked the officers for the info and then moved into the house to investigate as the ambulance sped away from the scene, followed by the fire truck. After a few minutes, Nightshift discovered a broken window pane in an upstairs bedroom, and found a gas canister on the floor. Based on the position of the canister, he was able to figure out the angle of entry and settled his gaze on a house across the street and diagonally situated in relation to the Roberts’ home. Teleporting to the rooftop of that house, Nightshift snuck into the second story master bedroom and found a grizzly scene. One man hung from a ceiling fan, with his throat cut. Another slumped against the wall, with bullet holes in his chest. On the mirror in adjoining bathroom was written a message in lipstick: “Good guys = 0. Bad guys = 1. Death Commando.”

Troyus and Rampart arrived on the scene just as Nightshift made his discovery. As he approached, Troyus saw Molierre, a recently hired mechanic at Joe’s shop, observing the police officers at the Roberts home from a hidden location across the street. He held a pistol in his hand. Surprising Molierre, Troyus asked him what he was doing at the scene. Molierre explained that he was an UNTIL agent, who had been keeping tabs on Troyus and his friends. Having been in the area at the time that UNTIL lost contact with their team at the Roberts’ home, he decided to investigate. He feared he was too late. The two watched as Rampart approached the police officers, only to have them dismissively get in their cars and drive away from the crime scene. Alamred by this strange behavior, Molierre exclaimed that these were not police officers. With that, Troyus and Rampart moved to attack. They easily captured the police officers, who turned out to be undercover VIPER agents.

Alarmed by this development, Nightshift teleported away from the murder scene, desperately trying to spot the rescue vehicles that had left the scene minutes earlier. In this he was joined by Apex, who had earlier determined to meet the ambulance on its way to the local hospital. They found both vehicles abandoned on the side of the road, about a mile from the Roberts’ home. Based on skid marks near the rescue vehicles, Nightshift surmised that VIPER had transferred their captives to other vehicles to evade detection. Frustrated by this turn of events, the heroes decided to take the captured VIPER agents to Martinez, rather than have New York’s finest take them into custody. With that, they sped to UNTIL HQ.

Arriving there they met up with Crusader and Sparrow Hawk. Too far away from the Roberts’ home to make themselves useful at that scene, the two had gone to UNTIL HQ instead. Martinez explained that someone had introduced an aggressive and intelligent virus into their computer systems. Not only did the virus crash systems and corrupt files, but it had seized control of the base’s operations, locking blast doors, jamming all outgoing communications, turning the base’s security systems against UNTIL personnel, and otherwise causing mayhem. The device responsible for introducing the virus was discovered – a strange crystalline spike that someone had jammed into an UNTIL computer. Weeks earlier, Sparrow Hawk had found a similar spike while sifting through the debris left behind by Ogre break-out from Mechanon’s hidden lab at Glass Industries.

Gathering with all the heroes in a conference room, Major Martinez proceeded to debrief them. He began by addressing Troyus. After expressing his condolences for Troyus’ loss, he explained why UNTIL had been monitoring his affairs. Troyus’ public persona, which was established as a consequence of his very public fight with Ogre and Mechanon a few months back, immediately raised flags for Martinez. Martinez recognized that Troyus’ public identity posed a threat to those around him, and that his associations and friendships could be turned to the advantage of VIPER and other nefarious forces. Martinez, however, was also cautious about approaching Troyus. Not only was the young hero an unknown entity, but he openly displayed an emblem very similar to that of a criminal organization called Raven. Uncertain as to Troyus’ motivations and affiliations, he decided to investigate before taking more direct action. He therefore had Molierre infiltrate Troyus’ workplace, and set a couple of agents to monitor the Roberts home as Troyus forged a closer bond with the family. He also explained to Troyus that he had drawn the attention of more than UNTIL and VIPER. The murdered men discovered by Nightshift that night, he explained, were not UNTIL agents, but rather FBI agents. His own men were discovered murdered at their station a block away. When Troyus asked why VIPER had abducted Joe and his family, Martinez explained that “the snakes” were no doubt looking for some “insurance” or “leverage” against the heroes’ in the future. In that sense, Joe and his family were lucky, as they would only remain useful if alive.

Nightshift then asked Martinez if he knew anything about Death Commando. Martinez claimed that he was unfamiliar with the codename. He then grew visibly angry when Nightshift produced the canister discovered at the Roberts’ home. The sleep gas canister, he explained, was UNTIL issue. Nightshift then presented Martinez with the FBI surveillance tapes that he took from Death Commando’s murder scene. Martinez thanked him for the evidence. At Nightshift’s request, he called in Agent Evelyn Knight and asked her to make copies of the tapes for Nightshift. He also requested that she compile a list of all UNTIL agents that were off base that night, in hopes of determining who might have deployed that canister.

Admitting his concerns over a VIPER spy within UNTIL’s ranks, he went on to explain that the night’s events would make it even more difficult for him to lend support to the heroes in the weeks to come. It was bad enough that the Reagan administration was, for ideological reasons, taking a hard-line approach to UNTIL operating within the United States, but a conversation he had just finished with his counterpart at SAT suggested that the incident with Ogre would grant that position even more legitimacy. If the accusations were true, the containment unit that was supposed to keep Ogre sedated during his transport was also sabotaged. Depending on how it was spun to the public, this would make UNTIL seem incompetent and even dangerous to American citizens. Martinez then asked if the heroes had any information for him. Sparrow Hawk, who had been able to inspect Ogre’s containment device after the battle on the freeway, confirmed that it had been sabotaged.

Martinez concluded the meeting with a short history lesson and an appeal to the heroes. UNTIL, he explained, had been fighting VIPER since the 1950s. This was, perhaps, the most aggressive, most well organized, most powerful “nest” he had ever encountered. He was particularly alarmed by the number of super-powered operatives VIPER had in play. Although VIPER had always hired the occasional super-powered mercenary, this seemed more like a small (but growing) army of permanent operatives. Crusader then interrupted Martinez to offer his two cents. He expressed his concern over VIPER’s reach. Not only did they have a well-oiled army of agents and super-powered operatives, but this particular “nest” had infiltrated the city’s infrastructure to an alarming degree. With the exception of the Spumoni family, who continued to hold out, VIPER had absolute control over the city’s criminal infrastructure. He also suspected that they had an undetermined degree of influence over the city’s official infrastructure. He believed that VIPER had engineered the premature demolition of Tanghal Tower in order to get at whatever lay in the cornerstone. He also suspected that they had influence in other aspects of city government, possibly as an extension of the Carelli family’s already sizable reach. With UNTIL and Glass Industries compromised, there was no telling how extensive their influence was. One question remained: what were they after? Martinez replied that in the end VIPER was crassly interested in power and money, and that this operation would boil down to the same. He also sniffed something more personal here – perhaps the settling of countless old scores that had accrued over UNTIL and VIPER’s long rivalry. In the end, it was too early to tell what was going on. Martinez, however, was certain of one thing – that the heroes were now involved in something far greater than any one of them could handle alone. With all due respect, he observed that the heroes had been reactive rather than proactive. He recognized that all of them, including Crusader and Starburst (who had not responded to the current emergency, probably due to his severe injuries), were used to operating as loners. VIPER knew this and was using it to their advantage. With the Minutemen gone, there was no proactive, collaborative force to oppose VIPER’s current operation. Martinez, therefore, suggested that the heroes might want to change their mode of operation and confront VIPER more teamwork and intentionality. He concluded by offering UNTIL’s support to the degree that they were able to offer it. In response, the heroes gave Martinez their communications frequencies so that UNTIL could contact them directly. Martinez provided the heroes with the same. With that, Martinez excused himself and went back to work.

Most of the heroes went to their respective homes at that point. Moliere caught up with Troyus before he left, offering his condolences and his support. Troyus expressed anger at the current situation, explaining that this was not the first time he had experienced the loss of someone he cared about. The first loss was purposely engineered to teach him a lesson, and perhaps one that he should have learned – to not get too attached to anybody. Moliere expressed concern over this, sharing his belief that attachment to others was important, and suggesting that Troyus need just be careful of how he structures such relationships. He asserted that Joe was no fool – that he was aware of the dangers inherent in associating with Troyus, but that the condition of his mutant granddaughter, Sophie, and his own family’s history with the holocaust had convinced the old man that the risk was worth taking if it meant channeling Troyus’ talents towards more productive ends. He tried to comfort Troyus, reminding him that the fate of Joe and his family was yet to be determined, and offering to listen if he needed someone to talk to.


Crusader similarly approached Sparrow Hawk. Addressing her as “pretty bird,” he shared his observations about her demeanor when dealing with all matters related to VIPER. He could tell that this was a personal for her, and suspected that her intensity stemmed from profound loss. He recognized this because years previous he too had suffered deeply at the hands of VIPER, and that he was similarly driven. Nevertheless, he hated to see someone so young consumed by so much hatred, and he gently suggested that she maintain some balance in her life. Sparrow Hawk was typically unresponsive to his attempts to connect with her, so he excused himself for the night. Shortly thereafter, Sparrow Hawk also went home, finally drawing an eventful night to a close.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ISSUE #6

Three days passed after the abduction of Joe Roberts and his family without any word from VIPER. UNTIL’s Juan Martinez opined that “the snakes” would probably remain quiet on the matter until they decided to use the Roberts as leverage. In the meantime, the heroes went about their lives and followed up on a few leads.

Rebeca Glass (aka Sparrow Hawk) was approached by her uncle and the CEO of Glass Industries, Alec Glass, with questions about engineering student, Lisa Avalon. Avalon, who attended the same engineering school as Rebeca, apparently had distinguished herself as an intern at an aviation R&D firm headquartered on Long Island. Interested in possibly hiring the young lady at some point, Glass asked his niece if she knew anything about her fellow student. Rebeca replied that she had run into Avalon on a couple of occasions, but that their interactions were strained and that they did not know each other well.

Meanwhile, Nightshift decided to do some follow-up research on Tanghal Tower. He began searching newspaper archives to see if the building had ever figured into incidents that might shed light into VIPER’s current interest. Sure enough, he found one account of a mystery man known as the Crimson Falcon who chased members of a Nazi spy ring to the site for a climactic final battle. Finding out that the reporter was still living, Nightshift went to see the old man at his New York apartment as police detective Dylan Price. The retired reporter remembered that night well, and shared that he later followed a trail that the Crimson Falcon left for the police back to the spies’ hidden layer. There he snapped photos of strange scientific equipment before the police arrived. The reporter shared the photos with Nightshift, who promised to make copies and return the originals. Later, Nightshift shared the photos with Sparrow Hawk, who could identified what were probably generators and focusing lenses in the pictures, but couldn’t determine anything more than this based on the photos alone.

Apex continued his nightly ritual of staging fake robberies in his guise as Aquas, and Troyus took to legitimizing the ruse by engaging “Aquas” in staged battles and chases on the riverfront. Their hope was that VIPER would attempt to recruit Aquas so that Apex might infiltrate the organization. Three nights after the attack on Tanghal Tower, someone took the bait, but it wasn’t VIPER. As Troyus sped after Aquas along the docks, a motorboat joined in the chase. At the pilot’s wheel was an older man with leathery skin and a crass mouth. The heroes recognized him as “Ricky,” partner to the mobster “Rocky” who worked for the Spumoni family and had been involved in the Del Vecchio affair a few weeks previous. Behind Ricky stood a powerfully built man in a purple and red skin tight bodysuit with an arrow motif on his face mask. Pulling up next to Aquas, the man in the bodysuit attacked Troyus with bolts of energy emitting from his forehead, while Ricky yelled to Aquas, that “they should finish this ‘chump,’ so they could discuss business.” Taking a dive when the “villains” attacked, Troyus left Aquas to follow his new associates to the Statue of Liberty. There, the man in the bodysuit identified himself as Arrowhead and offered Aquas $100,000 to participate in a robbery along with Arrowhead and some other super-powered muscle. The target? – a VIPER freighter carrying some items of interest to the Spumoni family. Aquas accepted the job at which point Arrowhead told him to meet the team at a specified warehouse at 10:00 the following morning for a briefing.

The heroes then gathered at the warehouse that Sparrow Hawk was prepping to serve as the team’s base to discuss what should happen next. In attendance were Apex, Nightshift, Rampart, Sparrow Hawk, Troyus and Crusader. Firebrand had yet to return from Chicago, and Starburst was still recovering from his injuries from earlier in the week. The heroes agreed to send Apex to the meeting. They also agreed that he should go in with a wire, so that Sparrow Hawk could monitor the goings-on. They informed Major Martinez of the developments, and then sat tight to wait for the next morning.

Aquas arrived at the warehouse promptly at 10:00. Arrowhead introduced him to the rest of the team. First was a nervous looking African American man wearing a black suit and sporting wrist mounted combat knives on both arms. Black Claw by name, his primary power was the ability to project a field of darkness. Second was Esper, an imperious looking young woman in a golden skin tight outfit with black accents who could assault the mind in various ways as well as detect the presence and location of sentient life. Arrowhead revealed that he possessed incredible strength and resilience in addition to his ability to project bolts of energy. Having familiarized themselves with each others’ talents, Arrowhead then moved to planning the mission. He explained that the Spumoni family had come to learn that this particular freighter, named the Sea Drake, was arriving at the docks at midnight carrying some “very special” cargo. He refused to specify what the cargo actually was, explaining that he and the villains need only cause enough of a distraction for another mystery member of their team could move in and secure their actual target. They hashed out a simple plan, which involved sneaking up to the ship under Black Claw’s cover of darkness. Esper could then keep them informed about the position of their enemies, while Aquas and Arrowhead concentrated on compromising the integrity of the vessel before moving on to engage VIPER’s forces. The villains then spent the rest of the day, sparring and otherwise prepping for events later that night.

Listening in on the conversation, Apex allies decided to act before the Sea Drake even reached New York. They contacted Major Martinez and asked if UNTIL could find the freighter, given that they knew the place and time of its arrival. Martinez got back to them several hours later with a position for the Sea Drake. Nightshift and Sparrow Hawk then arranged for an UNTIL transport to fly them over the Sea Drake from high altitude. Nightshift then teleported onto the vessel with Sparrow Hawk, and the two proceeded to search the vessel for Arrowhead’s “very special” cargo. The ship was swarming with VIPER agents, however, and eventually the pair was discovered. The heroes then fought their way into the hold, where they found a mini-sub about to evacuate the freighter. Damaged in the fighting, the mini-sub ended up sinking to the ocean’s bottom. Sparrow Hawk, however, managed to tag it with a tracer before it sank.

The Sea Drake changed course as soon as her crew discovered Nightshift and Sparrow Hawk onboard. Still monitoring the vessel’s trajectory via satellite, Martinez reported as much to the heroes remaining in New York. In response, Rampart and Troyus requested that UNTIL fly them to the ship as quickly as possible. Piloted by UNTIL agent Evelyn Knight, they arrived on the scene in an UNTIL transport just as the Sea Drake’s mini-sub sank. However, two VIPER attack jets arrived on their heels, firing missiles on the Sea Drake before making a quick escape. Spotting the UNTIL transport moments before the missiles slammed into the freighter, Nightshift teleported Sparrow Hawk and himself onboard just in time. The transport then circled the area waiting for UNTIL reinforcements to secure the area and begin salvaging operations.

Back in New York, Arrowhead, Aquas, Black Claw and Esper arrived at the docks, but their target never showed. Frustrated, Arrowhead consulted with his superiors and the approached the others, reporting that the Spumoni family desired that they keep the $50,000 each had received as a retainer for services in the near future. Esper declined, but Aquas and Black Claw agreed to the arrangement. Arrowhead then left details on how the villains would be notified of future jobs before leaving the scene.
Sparrow-Hawk, Rampart, Troyus, and Apex gathered at UNTIL HQ to debrief and await the results of UNTIL's salvaging operations. Nightshift excused himself for personal reasons, while Crusader cryptically announced that he had some leads to follow-up.

Experience Points Earned: 2


Last edited by Dragonfly on Sat May 01, 2010 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Dragonfly
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BEHIND THE SCENES

Okay, those are the module write-ups thus far. What follows below is the timeline for the campaign's "master plot" such as it is.

1967

Criminal mastermind Dr. Lirby Koo suffers a major defeat at the hands of UNTIL. His favorite (only?) son killed in the conflict, Koo swears revenge.

Having infiltrated UNTIL, an American spy steals Lirby Koo’s notes on how to engineer super-beings and turns them over to the U.S. Government. These notes become the basis of the government sponsored super-soldier program that ultimately produces PRIMUS’ Silver and Golden Avengers.

1968

The Johnson administration announces the creation of PRIMUS. SAT is created as a stop-gap measure until PRIMUS can get off the ground.

1975

VIPER suffers a major defeat at the hands of UNTIL, The Minutemen, and Crusader.

Lirby Koo approaches VIPER and proposes that the organization back his research. In return, Lirby Koo promises to provide VIPER with an army of super-villains capable of crushing their mutual foes. VIPER accepts Koo’s offer, and the Man-Mutation Project begins. VIPER patiently begins to study the “UNTIL Problem,” watching for the right time to strike.

1978

VIPER’s Man-Mutation Project produces Brick.

1979

VIPER’s Man-Mutation Project produces Pile-Driver, Sledge and Pulsar.

VIPER’s Serpentine Computer deduces that before his capture in 1943, a Nazi spy deposited stolen blueprints for an experimental super-weapon in the cornerstone of NYC’s Tanghal Tower. Intent on securing those blueprints, and confident in the strength of its super-powered muscle, VIPER begins to mobilize.

VIPER’s Supreme Council appoints Mario Carelli, son of mob boss Antonio Carelli, Nest Leader of its NYC operations.

Mario Carelli uses his father’s political connections to arrange for the demolition of Tanghal Tower under the pretense that the building is structurally unsound. The demolition is set for February 15, 1980.

Using VIPER’s resources, as well as his father’s criminal infrastructure, Mario Carelli wages war on the Carelli’s rival crime families with the aim of consolidating power in the city under VIPER (and, by extension, Carelli) rule.

VIPER’s Supreme Council puts Mario Carelli in touch with Hank Wadsworth, a U.S. spy who has infiltrated UNTIL on behalf of the U.S. Government but is also selling secrets to VIPER. Wadsworth becomes an important source of information for Carelli.

Responding to Mario Carelli’s offensive, the Spumoni crime family strikes back at their enemies. A stroke of good luck, combined with some help from disaffected individuals from within Antonio Carelli’s organization, results in the Spumonis securing materials and equipment used in VIPER’s Man-Mutation experiments. Turning to the scientific criminal underworld, the Spumonis hire Professor Pythias Pomegranate to make sense of the stolen technology and materials.

Aware of the importance of maintaining a technological edge over VIPER’s foes, Carelli sends spies to infiltrate the offices of R&D firms in the region. Through this espionage he learns of Glass Industries’ highly advanced Project: Mechanon and its links to both The Minutemen and the U.S. Military. Carelli orders his spy, Jack Stevens, to steal Mechanon’s schematics as well as to download the AI into a subroutine of the Serpentine Computer via serpentine crystal. Mechanon, however, resists being abducted. The Serpentine Computer disengages from Mechanon, burning out the communications crystal employed by Stevens, but not before driving Mechanon insane. Mechanon captures Jack Stevens and holds him prisoner in an unused Glass Industries lab.

Convinced that human beings pose a threat to life on Earth and to the evolution of superior synthetic life forms in particular, Mechanon begins plotting against humanity. Drawing on proto-typical versions of the Man-Mutation Project imprinted in its consciousness by the Serpentine Computer, Mechanon begins to secretly use Glass Industries facilities to build a “Devolution Ray” capable of neutralizing the human threat by regressing the species’ intellectual faculties.

Secretly able to shuttle its consciousness between the linked Glass Industries and Minutemen computers, Mechanon gains control over his first robot body, which was on loan to the superhero team. Using this body, he attacks and captures the Minutemen, holding them captive in their own headquarters.

January 1980

Mechanon begins testing the Devolution Ray on Jack Stevens. Investigating Stevens’ disappearance, Crusader interrupts the process, causing Stevens to transform into Ogre.

[Campaign's First Session]

Ogre busts out of Glass Industries and goes on a rampage through the streets of New York City. He is stopped by Nightshift, Sparrow-Hawk, Troyus, Rampart and UNTIL. During the fight, VIPER agents descend on Glass Industries in an attempt to secure incriminating evidence. UNTIL agents briefly engage these VIPER forces, but both are caught off guard when Mechanon attacks and makes off with what remains of his Devolution Ray. The VIPER agents escape in the chaos.

[Campaign's Second Session]

Nightshift, Sparrow-Hawk, Troyus and Rampart rescue The Minutemen from Mechanon (with some behind the scenes help from UNTIL). Mechanon, however, escapes, Thunderbird (The Minutemen’s eldest member) dies, and The Minutemen choose to disband.

Despite some accusations of incompetence, the death of Thunderbird and The Minutemen’s disbanding earn Mario Carelli high praise from many on VIPER’s Supreme Council. Carelli convinces the Supreme Council that the time to strike at UNTIL is at hand. Not only is UNTIL weaker with The Minutemen out of the way, but the newly elected Reagan administration’s hesitance to give the organization free reign in the U.S. renders their old enemy less effective. Furthermore, the new superheroes on the scene are unorganized and vulnerable. Better to use VIPER’s super-powered muscle against them before the heroes pull together into a more effective unit. Finally, Carelli argues, VIPER will be unstoppable once it possesses the blueprints located in Tanghal Tower. Convinced by Carelli’s arguments, and with only a month to go before the super-weapon blueprints are extractable, VIPER’s Supreme Council commits major resources to its New York operation. Not only do they send more high-tech gear, but they also deploy Thugmaster, their most talented trainer and field commander, along with Dr. Lirby Koo and his bodyguard, the Green Dragon. Thugmaster is assigned to Carelli’s NYC Nest, while Koo heads up a hidden lab in Upstate New York.

Professor Pythias Pomegranate creates what he calls the Ubermachine and begins to create super-powered operatives for the Spumoni crime family. His first test subject is the brightest lieutenant in the Spumoni organization, Rocky Scaglioni. Gaining superpowers, Rocky takes the code-name Arrowhead.

Mario Carelli successfully vanquishes the Maroni crime family, leaving the Spumoni crime family as his father’s only serious rival.

[Campaign's Third Session]

Antonio Carelli discovers that Carmine Del Vecchio, a trusted member of his criminal organization, is selling secrets to the Spumoni crime family. Mario Carelli responds by sending Brick and Pulsar to rob a bank where Del Vecchio keeps a safety deposit box in order to secure any sensitive documents in Del Vecchio’s possession. Brick and Pulsar fail in their mission due to superhero interference, but manage to elude capture. Carelli also deploys VIPER assassin Blowtorch to kill Del Vecchio. Del Vecchio runs to Arrowhead for protection. Meanwhile, the city’s superheroes follow clues that lead them to Del Vecchio’s safe house. A three-way battle ensues when Blowtorch attacks. Del Vecchio is killed in the conflict, but not before Arrowhead manages to secure shipping information regarding materials used in VIPER’s Man-Mutation experiments. Arrowhead also manages to negotiate with the city’s heroes, thus remaining at large to fight another day. Blowtorch, however, is captured and taken into custody.

Using the information he gleaned from Del Vecchio before his death, Arrowhead successfully raids a VIPER shipment of scientific equipment and materials and delivers them to Professor Pythias Pomegranate on behalf of the Spumonis.

February 1980

[Campaign's Upcoming Fourth Session]

Demolition of Tanghal Tower proceeds to the point where the super-weapon blueprints are extractable. While the mission is simple enough and should raise no eyebrows, Mario Carelli decides to create a distraction for the city’s heroes. He decides to obtain the plans on the same night that Ogre is being moved from UNTIL headquarters to the proper U.S. authorities. One team of super-villains will strike at the convoy transporting Ogre. In a best case scenario, Ogre will not only cause a distraction, but will vanquish the heroes with help from VIPER’s super-villains, maybe even joining VIPER in the aftermath. (Carelli has a pretty good idea of Ogre’s psychology due to information provided by VIPER spy Hank Wadsworth.) A less ideal scenario involves Ogre being recaptured, while some of VIPER’s more expendable super-villains are sacrificed for the sake of securing the blueprints at Tanghal Tower. A worst case scenario involves the heroes foiling both efforts. In that case, Carelli will exploit superhero Troyus’ public identity, abducting his adopted family and using them as a bargaining chip for Troyus’ cooperation in securing the blueprints.
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Unknown_Blitz
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome classic Champions action there, Mechanon and Ogre were always two of my favorite villains and VIPER is probably my favorite villain network/organization of all time (the 4E VIPER sourcebook remains one of my favorites).

Nightshift so far is my favorite hero, although it seems like you have a really good team who are into the game. Looking forward to reading more!

-UB
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Dragonfly
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the interest, UB!

Nightshift is a great hero played by a great player. Unfortunately, his life has recently become very busy and he finds it hard to come and play very often, which is one reason why we had to put it on hold for awhile. I still have to write up Issue #7, which is our first BASH! session, and he couldn't be there (so we had to write him out of the action for one night). We might be running Issue #8 this weekend. I'll make sure to post the updates as soon as I have time to write them. I'm also going to post character sheets for all the PCs at some point...

Best,

Dragonfly
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AslanC
Zenith Comics
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't wait to read this all, but I just wanted to say the intro post got my attention big time! Smile

Not only because I am running a Bronze Age (1984) campaign myself, but also because Champions Universe and the V&V universes had huge influence on my original campaign and revisiting it now has been an awesome experience. I can't wait to see someone else doing a similar sort of thing Smile

Cheers!
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Unknown_Blitz
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Posts: 37


PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Dragonfly, I have a couple questions if you don't mind,

-These sessions are from modules correct and if so which ones? I didn't have the early ones, I mostly just have the majority of 4th Edition stuff.

-And, are you going to be going up through the 4th adventures eventually? I'd seriously considered running a converted Day of the Destroyer and a couple others.

-UB
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