long Supes 2006

Worst. Bond Villain. Evar

Yes, this is another post about my game. Like G said, I put in more effort at the begining, like a new romance.
Sooo, here’s what happened in the second session, played on Wedensday, the 16th of November. If I delay this any more, I’ll get backlogged. And the romance will fade into “bring milk” mundanity.

We open at the funeral of James, the driver that got killed in last session’s attack. Because Miller couldn’t make it, we retconned the tail of the last session so that Alex is still swimming and meditating in the Atlantic, and Winston Slade and Jack McDonald are the only PCs to show up at the funeral.
After the service, Slade is approached by a tall, heavy black man, in a good suit, with a deep, James Earl Jones voice. The man introduces himself as Sam Sunday, a lawyer hired by the deceased driver’s mother. He asks Slade if the attack might have been directed at Slade or the other passengers, and if James would have been particularly at risk because he was working in Slade’s employ.
Slade tells Sunday the cover-story concocted by Bernice‘s crew at the ETIA: that the attack was the work of two crazy NRA guys, who attacked the limo with a missile simply because it was a symbol of wealth. This story strongly focuses on the two missile-firing gunmen, and downplays (rather, hides) the involvement of the two Atlantean women which were taken into ETIA custody.
Slade gives Sunday his contact details, and bids him a cool farewell. He and McDonald drive back to the city, and on the way, they discuss the offer Slade made to McDonald the last session. Slade, who is all about self-reliance, tries to back-pedal out of offering Jack a full time job, and in the end he decides to train McDonald as a test pilot for his company, a vocation to which Jack’s super-powers make him particularly well suited. Slade also manages to give a lecture about the evils of NASA while the GM consults with NPCs in the usual place.
Still on the ride home, Slade receives a phone call from Jacques Davreux, a business partner who is also an investor in the Space Van project. Davreux inquires about Slade’s meeting with Daniel Suthers, the engineer he was in New York to recruit, and tells Slade he is in town – perhaps they can have dinner together?
Slade asks Davreux if he’s still into health food, and Davreux suggests taking him to a good Vegan resturant. Slade inquires if it’s OK to bring Jack, and Davreux is fine with this. Davreux also asks about the attack on Slade, and Slade tells him the NRA story.

Until the evening, Winston calls up his lawyer to tell him about Sunday (his name is too cool for him to be a minor NPC) and his personal assistant. Probably he also inquires into flight training for Jack?
Jack meanwhile goes home to pack, in his two-room apartment not far from the bar. He tries to catch up with his friends, his drinking buddy Ivan, an older Russian man who works as a cleaner at the bar, Gina Ramone, a hot executive in her early thirties that Jack has been trying to bed, unsuccessfully so far, and Rachel “Ray Sun” Sunkanovich, a physics geekette (but a Qoosit) around Jack’s age who works in some cool high tech job. We also learn that Jack’s sister is called Lisa, and his annoying brother-in-law is called Norm Dartmouth (I’m assuming a silent t there).

Anyway, dinner time arrives, and they head for Angelica Kitchen where they meet Davreux, whose in his early sixties, accompanied by his (young and hot) wife, Dominique, and their (Samoan) bodyguard. They make small talk, and Davreux tells Slade that from what he knows, the assassins that attacked him weren’t NRA hobbyist lunatics, but ex-IRA mercenaries. Then he goes around to trying to convince Slade to agree to some form of cooperation with NASA in the space van project, while Jack buries his face in the Dragon dish Slade recommended, and sneaks glances at Dominique’s cleavage. After a long argument, Slade grudgingly agrees to run these NASA proposals past Joachim, the chief scientist of the Space Van project, and see if they can be implemented without hurting the project.
Davreux also invites Slade and McDonald to join him in a visit to the plant in Jersey, an industrial center he’s invested in that is doing interesting work with greenhouse gasses.
Dominique looks distracted and worried, and excuses herself as soon as possible. Davreux exchanges some words with her in private, and sends her back to the hotel with Wang, the bodyguard (yes, I know that’s not a Samoan name. It’s his undercover nickname). Then, because Slade doesn’t drink, Davreux comes up with the suggestion of an after-dinner stroll.

They set off down the streets, and as they pass an old and seemingly-deserted warehouse, Davreux tells them that it used to house Aliens. Yes, apparently Aliens crash-landed in New Jersey in 1974, and the government kept the survivors under observation in this very same building, and, hang on, why are there lights on inside?

They catiously approach the heavy metal door, and Slade tries it, only to find it’s unlocked. Inside is a big, dark space, filled with weird junk under canvas trauplins. One impressive object looks like a big tank made of curved glass and metal, with still some green muck streaking the inside. They hear noise from the gallery above, and either Jack or Slade heads up, surprising two weird-looking bums that seem to be rifling through dusty cabinets and old cardboard boxes. One of them looks Arab, the other has long straw-yellow hair and a wollen cap, both are dressed shabbily and talk strangely, more distracted or confused than affraid. Jack confronts them, and they say the door was open. Slade makes some mention of calling the Police and while this doesn’t seem to scare the bums, they shuffle off. Jack notices they’re carrying something (plastic bags stuffed with newspapers, although one is stained at the bottom, and the straw-haired guy has something shoved in his coat.
Jack hurries after them, down an alley, while Slade and Davreux poke around a bit. They find a sticker with the phone number of the security company that is supposed to be guarding the place, and also such oddities as a huge, bizzare, semi-spherical construction made from pieces from about 30 sets of Mechano. They find old Time and Newsweek magazines, odd collages pasted on the cardboard of the Mechano boxes, and dozens of pairs of left-handed scissors, with part of one handle sliced away (We would notice those were left-handed pairs of scissors? You would if you were trained by the world’s greatest detective).
Meanwhile (or even before), Jack catches up with the bums, surprises them from behind, and asks in his pushy way what’s in their bags. One of them hunches close to him, opens the bag, and as Jack leans forward to look at the dark and wet mass inside, the bum hisses at him, his face changing, taking on a non-human appearance, with a wide mouth full of shard needle-like teeth, ridges of scales, a strange brow filled with odd bumps, and no discernable eyes or nose.
Jack keeps remarkable cool (I had Bo roll for this), smiles and says “Hello there! Welcome to our planet.” The aliens, perhaps taken aback by this uncanny composure, find themselves too abashed for the expected fight scene. Instead, Jack asks them if they were the aliens that were held in the warehouse, and what was it they took from there.
The abashed aliens explain that it wasn’t them, but rather others of their kind (although “of a different gender”). They took seed pods that were left behind. The importance of this is something they are reluctant to explain to him, because it has to do with sex, and it is improper to talk about sex in front of humans.
Jack lets them hotfoot it out of there, but not before giving them Slade’s business card, and taking their card in return (it has alien letters, the only readable text being a phone number).
Slade and Davreux are still investigating the warehouse; they find the phone number of the security company. Or have I done that already?
Jack arrives, and he and Winston discuss aliens, and Jack tells Slade that he suspects he is one himself. He suggests they set up some embassy or hostel for aliens, or something. I wasn’t paying attention.
Anyway, they head to ther homes, agreeing with Davreux to join him the following day for a tour of the Jersey plant.

Jack goes home and calls up Gina. They get together in a bar, and Gina suggests that they go home and mix their own drinks. They stop by Gina’s apartment and Jack waits outside while she goes up and collects some paper parasols (essential for the preperation of cocktails) and other stuff (booze, I presume). They head back to Jack’s apartment and we fade…

Meanwhile, in his hotel room, Winston makes some calls; he phones Bernice Malamud at the ETIA and has her confirm Davreux intel about the IRA mercenaries that took part in the attack on him; he asks her about the aliens held in the NY warehouse, and Bernice tells him it was handled by the FETA, the predecessor of the ETIA. There are no aliens there now, for a long time, and the place is owned by the department of Fishery and Game, and watched over by a private security company.
Winston has his lawyers check-up on the security company, and shortly he gets an e-mail from the outsourced team in Bangalore, showing the connections between “Pyramid Security” and “Eye Investments”, which is owned by… Davreux.
Then he goes to sleep and tries to dream of Alex. That is, share the boy’s dream, or something. It’s a psychic thing.
He wakes up, heart racing and sweating, but remembers nothing.

Morning arrives, Jack gets to Winston’s hotel and Davreux picks them up in his limo. They drive to New Jersey, while Slade asks Davreux pointed questions about the security company he owns indirectly. Davreux disavows all knowledge.

In the Jersey factory, Davreux and the local R&D people show Slade a presenttion about how they are working on using CFCs – super greenhouse gasses – to drastically heat up the atmosphere of Mars, as a first step in terraforming. The process will take decades, but this is really fast, they claim. The effects on Earth’s much thicker atmosphere would be dramatically rapid, they note.
Meanwhile, McDonald is prowling about. He notices a group of three tall silo towers, with odd rings connecting them, which are hooked to high power cables. He tries to ask workers at the plant about this construction, but they play dumb.
He joins Slade coming out of the conference room, and points out the structure to him. It looks a bit like a linear accelerator or railgun to Slade, although to make it work, you’d need to create a vaccum between the three silos, perhaps using an ignited fuel-air mix, perhaps sprayed out of those nozzles over there…?
Slade asks Davreux about this. Davreux laughes it off, nervously, and perhaps even says it’s meant as a prototype of a launcher that will send the greenhouse gasses to Mars.
Then he invites Jack and Winston to relax and come in for some coffee.
But the coffee is drugged, and when they wake up… (talk about heavy-handed GMing here… But it was late).
When they wake up, they are tied on the outside of two different silos that form the railgun launcher thing, facing towards each other and the center. Davreux is giving a quick and confused speech about how this launcher isn’t powerful enough to send those greenhouse gas payloads to Mars, but it can flood Earth’s atmosphere with enough CFCs to cause irreversable climatic change, ice-caps melting, etc. Slade and McDonald look at him in disbelief, and ask why is he doing this. He mentions frog boiling, and says that this is his way of forcing humanity to do something about moving out into space, instead of staying forever on Earth until it’s eventual depletion and collapse. They he starts the countdown.
Slade tries to knock Davreux off his post with a chi-tremor, but fails; both he and McDonald break free easily, and as Slade grabs the escaping Davreux, McDonald rips apart the electric cables and then – waves the sparking cable in the center of the launcher, which is filling with a volatile fuel-air mix. There’s a big explosion, and Slade barely manages to get Davreux out of the way.
They hurry to the parking lot and make their get away in the confusion following the explosion in Davreux’s car. Jack throws Davreux’s cellphone into the back of a passing pickup truck, and after switching to a rental car, they head upstate, to an Indian reservation where he has some friends. They leave the confused and somewhat incoherent insane industrialist at the remote reservation in the hands of some of Slade’s old pals, devoted “friends of the Earth”, who have ways of dealing with would-be eco-terrorists, and set back. Fade from Davreux’s peyote-addled blue eyes to the rental car driving down a lonely road through the dark woods, with a bleak and overcast sky behind them.


  • Sometimes, you don’t need fight scenes. The weirdness in the warehouse was good, and I should have kept the PCs guessing what Davreux was up to (they speculated he might be an alien himself…) instead of jumping the gun. As it is, Israel remarked that “it felt like he was trying to get caught”. Which is something that will figure into later sessions, I think.
  • Fighting mundanes is no challenge (I made the bodyguard fade into the background, having him sticking with Dominique, rather than risk him coming off as a wimp).
  • Does the campaign have more of a shape now? Is it about aliens among us, or is a broader scope a good idea? I have some vague comic-universe-conspiracy ideas, not all of them involve aliens. Or Atlanteans. Some of them involve both.
  • Don’t recap tired and late.

Where has this gone?

long Supes 2006

My mom had sex with space aliens and all I got was this lousy bar

New campaign notes – not really a recap, not buffed-up, just trying to capture the main points of the first session.

I have three players, the Knights of Time crew: Bo, Israel, and Miller.
Israel’s character is Winston Slade, an older, mastermind type character, evoking Rhas Al Ghul or Slade Wilson. Except without all the villainy. Slade is an American (for a change, I’m not going to play a minority – this does make it easier for Israel’s character to believably boss people around than in the last campaign, where his character was twelve). He comes from a humble (redneck ) background (Arkansas, perhaps), and although very talented, he always felt trapped and limited in his life, even when he became a stockbroker (we figured Slade was in his thirties in the eighties). Taking assorted self-help advice to heart, he had a sort of mid-life crisis, went to the desert, and came back transformed, filled with Native American mysticism, he’s decided to fix the world with his own two hands. Slade has a big thing about self-reliance, tought himself martial arts, and developed funky Chi powers, which allow him to send shockwaves through solid objects, walk on air (three extra steps), and (as we learned when we started playing), detect other people with super-powers.
Slade is now a rich enturpenuer, based in Los Angeles, and his current pet project is space-travel related.

Boaz’s character is Jack MacDonald, a 22 year old New York bartender. Jack’s parents inherited a bar (called MacDonald’s) from an uncle, and passed the burden on to Jack, his sister and her husband. Jack’s brother in law actually manages the place, and Jack doesn’t get along with him very well.
Oh, and recently, Jack has found out he has super-powers: he’s very strong, he’s bullet-proof (some telekinetic force field protects him), and he can freeze time to sort-of move in super-speed, or something. Possibly this involves messing about with the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics.
Bo claims that Jack has his super-powers because he’s descended from space aliens: they’ve been around for a long time, and (unlike Superman), they’ve been breeding with humans for a while. Ergo, superkids. Apparently, strange people have been visiting Jack and saying odd things to him that hint at this, things that only he percives, in moments where time stands still for everyone else.
Finally, Miller is playing Alex / Ajax, a 16-year old Atlantean. Apparently, the last survivors of Atlantis have maintained an unbroken cultural and genetic lineage into the present day; the line is carried on by the women, who have some form of racial memory to guide them. An Atlantean woman will usually have a child without marrying and raise her (the child is almost always a girl) by herself. Atlantean males are very rare, and apparently special, although Alex doesn’t know this.
Oh, and Atlanteans are genetic supermen and also basically Jedi. They have this weapon, like a curtain hanger (a cornice), except it’s a super-strong and super-flexible telescoping stabbing weapon, available as either a one-handed (sword-like) or two-handed (lance/spear – think Darth Maul’s double lightsaber here). Atlanteans should be tough enough to stop a bullet, and they make their own cornices as a rite of passage. Later on we also learn that Atlanteans have webbed feet (and possibly other aquatic adaptations).
Alex (Ajax is his Atlantean name) comes home one day to find his mother dead on the kitchen floor. Stabbed by an Atlantean weapon, apparently. She has been agitated recently. So he follows her contingency instructions to Vanish and hops on a greyhound bus to New York.
That’s all part of Miller’s background for his character. Now the actual session.
Israel tells us Winston Slade is in New York to recruit a prodigy engineer for his space project, because the founding genius is retiring. We decide the guy he’s trying to recruit is a friend of Jack called Daniel Suthers, and being a geek, MacDonald’s is the one plce he’d think of to take his out of town potential employer.
So, after they talk, Jack comes over to say hi, and Slade’s supergaydar goes off, and he gives Jack his card, pays the bill and leaves.
Only to find Alex fresh off the bus standing outside, keeping out of the rain under the awning in front of the bar.
So Winston invites Alex to join him, because he detects that he’s another super, and Jack runs out of the bar to talk to him. So all three sit in the Limo, and the driver, James, starts driving to the hotel, and they discuss destiny and big things along the way.
Except in Colombus Plaza (or wherever), a sniper shoots out the driver’s brains, and they all jump out (Alex drawing his double cornice, Jack protecting Winston) just in time for a missile to hit the limo and explode it (Winston just managed to send a chi-ripple to knock the dead driver’s foot off the accelerator and jerk up the hand brake).
Winston runs in one direction (where the shot that took out the driver came from), and both Alex and Jack make their way using their distinct styles (climbing the stairs in super-speed or retro-motion or whatever, vs. swinging aqnd vaulting using the cornice) to the other corner of the plaza, where someone is still shooting missiles down at the passing cars.
Jack and Alex burst into a room with two gunmen, with automatic weapons, body armor and an advanced mini-missile launcher. They take them out quickly – Jack smashes one guy’s head in with a slap, Alex stabs the other in the chest through his body armor.
Meanwhile, Winston has slightly more difficulty, as the room he’s reached is occupied by two women, a younger woman with a crossbow and an older woman with a steel whip. They are obviously pretty tough, but Winston can hold his own, so while the older woman engages him in combat (which culminates in him knocking the floor down), the younger woman makes a break for it, trying the door (which Slade locks with a chi ripple) and then through the window up onto the rooftops. Alex and Jack show up to help, and Alex pursues the younger woman onto the roof. She whips out a pair of Atlantean swords and they duel, Alex wins and stops before killing her, asking the woman (who is obviously Atlantean) why she’s stying to kill him. She calls him “Abomination”. He confronts her with the fact that he’s not going to kill her and knocks her out, going inside. Slade has disabled the older woman (the other woman’s mother, it seems) and has her hog-tied and held down with his knee pressing into her back. Alex and Jack show up and the older woman explains that Alex and his mother are abominations, that a male Atlantean and a woman who bears one are considered unclean and dangerous. The male Atlantean, she says, is genetically unstable, and upon reaching a certain age will produce endogenic viruses that can cause a devastating plague. Alex is shocked, but stares down the woman, confronting her too with the fact that he chose to spare her life.
Winston calls his government contact to clean-up and collect the two Atlanteans. The agents show up, screeching black vans and teams of operatives in bright coveralls posing as emergency workers. Winston’s contact, Bernice Malamud of the ETIA (Extra Terrestrial International Authority), introduces herself to Jack and Alex. She expresses sympathy for Alex’s loss, and asks him to spit in a test-tube. Apparently, her agency is familiar with Atlanteans and with the health hazards of male Atlanteans. They take away the two women and Bernice leaves Jack and Alex her card, asking Alex to notify her if he leaves town. She says that she’ll let him know if she learns anything about his mother’s murder. Alex is convniced that the two Atlantean women who tried to kill him weren’t responsible for his mother’s death – she was killed with a different (two-handed) weapon. Winston offers Jack and Alex to join him in LA.
Winston goes about arranging for the limo driver’s funeral, and orders plane tickets to LA for Jack and Alex. Alex goes to swim in the ocean and meditate. Jack reunites with his buddy Daniel, who has accepted Slade’s job offer. He offers Jack to be his roommate in LA. Jack tells his brother in law that he quit.

Thoughts: Miller has set up some clear goals for his character, find his mother’s murderer and the more nebulous “fulfil the Atlantean legacy” and the mysterious role of males in this. I actually had some vague thoughts about Atlantis when I started to think of this setting, and I think I can fit my more cliched ideas into Miller’s version of the Atlanteans. Israel has a character with some sweeping and ambitious goals, which are also pretty nebulous. Bo seems to have set up his character as an ordinary joe with ordinary problems that gains amazing powers. It’s a bit annoying I think how Winston’s money will now sweep aside all those issues. Also, Winston will drag everyone to LA, ditching the bar and the New York setting Bo was expecting.

Something else that bothered me was how angry I got during the session, throwing dice and acting hostile. I think part of this is my anxiety over GM/player power, with Israel saying that I can not really stand up to Bo. Miller’s presence just intensifies that, because he’s both more stubborn and more proactive than Bo. I think I need more of a system to help me stand up to the players – our current technique of “opposed roll of precentile dice, higher roll wins” annoys me, perhaps because it requires me to be assertive of my NPCs coolness and their ability to counter the PCs. And this makes it very easy for me to either wuss out or abuse GM power.