Having been found neatly lined up on a British beach, with three months unaccounted for, Vanguard 13 recovers in a Royal Army Hospital (see last issue - bliss).
Later, in a secret meeting with Brigadier General Wentworth, the team is briefed on current events. The Nazis have a new armored villain called The Iron Cross which is wrecking havoc on allied bombing runs over Germany and had even defeated Britian's super-man The Crusader! Fearing that the Nazis have advanced in their creation of Meta-humans, Vanguard 6 was sent in to infiltrate a known Nazi scientist's castle. They never returned. The allies want Vanguard 13 to go behind enemy lines and to discover the fate of Vanguard 6, capture Professor Drachen, and if possible defeat the Iron Cross.
To aid V13, the British have offered the services of The Crusader (looking forward to a rematch with Iron Cross) and The Ravagers, an elite commando team.
The plan decided upon was to airdrop V13 in the valley near Castle Drachenhaus and then, with Prophyaltica's help, scale the cliff face and storm the castle while Crusader and the Ravagers cause a distraction at the main entrance.
However, before leaving, Lord Genovasis, trying to perfect his Meta-human serum doses Nate (The Sponge) and ace reporter Penelope Kirt. The serum changes Nate from a power absorbing mutant to a being controlling light itself; The Damn Lightbulb! Penelope Kirt, however.....
So the raid begins, Vanguard 13 is ready at the base of the cliff when they hear explosions going off in the distance - The Ravagers have begun their attack and Crusader is flying around smashing all the spotlights. Suddenly there is a louder explosion as a ball of fire blasts upwards from the castle and engages Crusader. The Iron Cross and Crusader go flying off, battling each other high up in the sky!
Prophylacita stretches herself between two trees and slings King Cobra up to the castle, only her aim was off and Cobra smashes into the cliff wall. Only his martial art skill keeps him from falling down. He shouts down to the wonder woman of rubber to just stretch up to the castle and let everyone climb up. That shouting, however, alerts the Nazi guards who turn a spotlight down upon the heroes and begin firing! Col. Francis "Popeye" Sanders, climbing up Prophylactia, leaps the rest of the way to the castle wall, face to face with the armed Nazis. He leaps up and smashes the spotlight allowing King Cobra to climb up undetected. Hit with the gunfire, Col. Sanders leaps back down to safety and is quickly healed by The Damn Lightbulb!
Meanwhile, King Cobra grabs the first gunman and tosses him off the edge of the parapet into the valley below then dodges the gunfire and he grabs a second guard. Col Sanders leaps back up along with Damn Lightbulb and they finish off the rest of the gunmen.
In a panic, King Cobra slides back down Prophylactica to see if the Nazi he tossed over the wall was still alive - he wasn't. King Cobra has a code against killing and this affected him quite deeply, keeping him distracted throughout the rest of the mission.
Back up on the castle parapet, Damn Lightbulb and Col. Sanders watch as a number of armed troops rush out of the barracks to join the fighting at the castle entrance.
United once again, King Cobra, Damn Lightbulb and Col. Sanders sneak into the barracks and enter the main courtyard of the castle. Finding some stairs leading down they come upon the the underground lab of Professor Drachen! Drachen was watched over by his bodyguard; Black Diamond! On two slabs and being prepared to be experimented on was Vanguard 6's All Star and his sidekick All-American Girl. The Archer was roaming around the lab armed with his arrows and apparently working for Prof. Drachen! Some Nazi-bots (last seen in issue 1) were guarding other doors and locked in cages were three misshapen monstrous human - Jewtants! The other two members of Vanguard 6; Hangman and Centurion, were nowhere to be found!
Professor Drachen invites his 'guests' to come in but Vanguard 13 just takes that as a cue to leap into action! Col Sanders leaps across the lab to take on two of the Nazi-bots and lands on the cage holding the Jewtants! Damn Lightbulb uses his intense blasts of light to disrupt the other two robots while King Cobra rushes The Archer, dodging his net-arrow!
Freeing two of the Jewtants, they turn on their Nazi-bot captors and destroy the robots while the third attacks Col. Sanders. Cobra takes an explosive arrow to the chest but finishes up the Archer with one punch sending him into the labs machinery starting a fire. All this while, Black Diamond confidently watches with a slight smirk and when Prof. Drachen has had enough destruction done to his lab unleashes his body guard on the Vanguard! She happily flies over to King Cobra and gives him a good bash. Damn Lightbulb blasts her with his light but she seems unaffected by it. Col. Sanders again leaps across the room and lands directly into Black Diamond bounding off leaving her unharmed. She gives him a round-house kick sending the super soldier flying!
As the Jewtants battle amongst themselves Black Diamond confidently faces her foes. How will Vanguard 13 defeat this seemingly indestructible villain!!?!?
This was our 6th Icons session. It seemed to go pretty well. I'll try to get some feedback from the players on what they think of the game and how they're enjoying it. Had a bit of a slow start but it got going pretty quickly once the assault began. Brian, who has been running Nate (aka the Sponge) and known for Tibag Backstabber in out Swords & Wizardry game summed up the session nicely with this email:
Icons proceeded as planned, including a serum-related mutation for the Sponge.
I believe Lord Dijonaise or whatever experimented on Nate because he had no idea he was a member of the team.
"You, unidentified negro" he said. "Try this cheap beer and tell me what you think."
Nate is now a controller of light...with a force field, blast, and light-creation, plus he has strike and healing.
So much for his hatred of the spotlight...now he is the spotlight. "'course it had to be a WHITE light..."
He has renamed himself "the Damn Lightbulb".
Zach unleashed three caged Jews that had been experimented on and mutated by the Nazis...two attacked the Nazis and one went after him...giving last night's session its title:
"Rise of the Jewtants" (comic book pending)
As we left, Black Diamond was about two pages from killing us all handily. Not kidding.
We've been using Determination a bit more but it's still something that has to be brought up and reminded about. The slams and stuns are still a bit wonky working into the flow of the game. I think we're going to have to house rule that a bit. Finally, the players are facing their most powerful opponent yet - seemingly virtually unbeatable. At the end of the session we were looking at combined attacks and it seemed that it still would be pretty tough to beat Black Diamond. This could be an instance where a weakness needs to be found over just brawn.
Most of the NPC heroes (Vanguard 6 and the Crusader) that we've used in our sessions (Corey and mine) were picked up from various Icons playing aids including Villainomicon and Hero Pack 1. Great resources all around.