Wednesday, May 16, 2012

ICONS Issue 5

DEATH AT 30,000 FEET!!

Lord Genovasis - The father of Meta-humans
Automaton - The Mechanical Marvel
Nate Brown - Lowly janitor (AKA The Sponge)
The Scarlet Hood - The bane of organized crime and political corruption
Prophylactica - The woman wonder of rubber!
King Cobra
Col.  Francis "Popeye" Sanders

Trapped aboard a Nazi airship loaded with stolen American weaponry, Lord Genovasis, Col. Sanders and The Scarlet Hood plan their next move.  They send their new ally, Tarpit, out to beat up the Nazi soldiers who have retreated offering him $5 a head.  Tarpit gladly takes them up on that offer and slushes off.

Meanwhile back at the Vanguard 13 headquarters, General Fairway calls the remaining members together to pursue the airship and aid the team.  Prophylactica, Nate Brown (the Sponge) and a King Cobra running to catch the gyro-copter take off after their companions.

Back in the airship, Lord Genovasis along with Penolope Kirt, the reporter, work their way up to the ship's bridge.  Sliding the door open he's attacked by a blast of fire from Firebat but dodges just in time and fires back with a machine gun.

The Gyro-copter catches up with the airship.  Prophylactica stretches her arms down and lets her companions climb down onto the top of the cockpit.  They see the flaming firebat flying around and King Cobra leaps through the window, summersaulting into a readied battle stance.  The Cobra sees Blitzkrieg running towards him with fists of super-speed while the pilot of the airship, Capt. VonStubbing fries Cobra's brain with a mind blast!

Automaton leaps through the window and attacks VonStubbing with his laser vision but is deflected by Stubbing's forcefield.  Nate, the Sponge, absorbs Blitzkrieg's super speed making her helpless against King Cobra's life drain.

Firebat blasts Lord Genovasis out through the cockpit door rendering him unconscious and turns his sites to King Cobra who continues to get blasted by VonStubbing.

Automaton keeps trying to bash through VonStubbing's force field but finds that any damage that gets through to the pilot makes the ship loose altitude.  VonStubbing is controlling the ship with his mind!

The Sponge then absorbs Firebat's flaming power which lets King Cobra's skilled wrestling wrap the former fiery villain up.  Penelope revives Lord Genovasis who takes the freeze-gun found last issue and blasts the helpless Firebat.

With two villains out of commission, Vanguard 13 demands VonStubbing to surrender.  VonStubbing refuses as he sees that he has the upper-hand as the airship's flight is entirely in control of his mind.  Vanguard 13 discovers that Firebat is VonStubbing's gay-nazi lover and threatens his life unless VonStubbing surrenders.  Fearing for his lover's life and unable to face surrender, VonStubbing,  with a "Heil Hitler" lets go of control of the airship and it plummets into a deadly dive towards the Atlantic ocean!

 The gyro-copter looses connection with the airship and the force of the falling mass of metal rips Prophylactica out into space.  Sponge, thinking fast, absorbs Firebat's power of flight and flies out to seek the wonder woman of rubber.  Lord Genovasis grows to his larger height and bashes through the ceiling of the cockpit.  He then grabs Blitzkrieg and tosses her out of the plummeting airship.  Automaton calculates the probabilities of the best escape out of this situation but discovers that his circuits are running into an unknown variable that show every path leading to the same unknown conclusion.

The Sponge finds Prophylactica and flies her back to the falling airship to have save the rest of the team.  Prophylactica shapes herself into a 'balloon' and Sponge fills her with 'hot air'.  The team grabs hold of Prophylactica and they fly out of the cockpit's hole in the ceiling.  But the everyone's weight is too heavy and they continue to plummet behind the airship which strikes the water with a massive explosion!  The fireball envelopes the helpless team but suddenly they are all enveloped in a blinding white light and then blackness....


Vanguard 13 wakes up in a British army hospital.  Brigadier General Wentworth informs them that their bodies were discovered neatly lined up on a beach a few days ago.  But he also informs them that they have been missing since November 1942.  It is now January 1943!  Vanguard has no memory of their loss of time!

Next:  Operation Drachenhaus!

Read the Shore City Chronicle!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Coming Soon!

I'm just about to polish off the layouts for Tales of High Adventure #2!
This one features all new original stories of mystery, science fiction and fantasy.  Also the space-fantasty illustrated tale Homeworld continues here as well.

This is the cover as it is at this point.  It will be available as a printed digest as well as a digital Kindle and eBook.

I'll keep you all posted but I should have it sent off in a in a couple of weeks.

Monday, May 7, 2012

ICONS Issue 4


Lord Genovasis - The father of Meta-humans
Automaton - The Mechanical Marvel
Nate Brown - Lowly janitor (AKA The Sponge)
The Scarlet Hood - The bane of organized crime and political corruption
Prophylactica - The woman wonder of rubber!
King Cobra
Col.  Francis "Popeye" Sanders 

With crime and violence rising in Shore City due to a turf war between rival gangs Vanguard 13 leaps into action!

The Scarlet Hood, following a lead first discovered in the abandoned lab of Mr. Roboto* (see issue 2 – Bashful Bliss), breaks into the upper floors of ACE Enterprises.  There he finds files revealing that ACE is buying up and smuggling arms to Europe.  He also discovers that someone called Dyna is resisting the pressure from ACE.

Suddenly, the door bursts open and in rush four gangster thugs lead by a costumed figure carrying a unique rifle from which sweeps a green ray around the room.
“You cannot escape from Radar!” as the green ray outlines the Hood's invisible form.

Realizing he is discovered and dodging gunfire, he lunges at Radar and smashes the radar-weapon but he is quickly wrapped up by the thugs.

On a rooftop across the street, the mysterious Col. Francis “Popeye” Sanders is keeping a watchful eye on the Scarlet Hood and seeing as the Red Avenger is in trouble, leaps across the wide gap and bursts through the window.  That gives the Hood just the distraction he needed to break free from his captors and pummels the thugs.  As Col. Sanders finishes off the other thug, Radar runs out of the room and shouts; “Do not cross the Mogul!”

Wanted by the police and hearing approaching sirens, the Scarlet Hood turns invisible and leaps out the window leaving Sanders and the defeated hoods.

Later, back at Vanguard 13's headquarters on the Fort Maudlin Army Base, Lord Genovasis is being interviewed by Penelope Kirt when Col. Sanders bursts into the room seeking the Scarlet Hood.  Genovasis covers for his teammate, defending him.  The Hood finally shows up to defend himself against this military backed new-comer.  Suddenly a call comes in.  Lord Genovasis' factory lab is being robbed!

So Genovasis, the Hood, Col. Sanders, and Prophylactica leap into their new e-Vaul van and high tail it to the lab.  At the loading dock they find a bunch of hoods lead by Little Augie Ceaser, the gun-totting gangster monkey!  They open fire on Vanguard 13 as they pile out of the van but Prophylactica expands her body to deflect the bullets and protect her team-mates.

The Hood leaps into action and tries to take out the gun sub-machine gun wielding gangsters, while Col Sanders leaps over to Ceaser and begins pummeling him with his feet.  The Giant Genovasis moves into attack but is stopped by a mysterious beautiful woman, The Mol, whom he instantly falls in love with.  Meanwhile, sneaking out from the back of the e-Vaul van is the reporter Penelope Kirt!

While the battle on the ground turns in favor of Vanguard 13, suddenly from a window burst a flaming figure who swoops down and captures the reporter.  From that same window, drips down an oozing black mass which takes a  humanoid form - Tarpit!  Prophylactica tries to punch Tarpit from a distance but nearly gets her arm caught in his sticky body.  As the flaming figure flies off with the reporter, Tarpit grabs the hood's truck and scales the wall of the building with it and escapes, as does the wounded Little Augie Ceaser!

Col. Sanders tries to leap after the escaping foes but misses and crashes through one of the lab's windows.  The Mol quietly escapes.

After the Hood questions the captured mobsters, they find their next clue at the Night Owl Club.  Disguised as gangster thugs Genovasis, Hood and Sanders enter the club later that night.  There performing on stage is The Mol whom Genovasis once again helplessly falls in love with.  The Hood, not wanting to play any games, spies the Octofather sitting in the corner with his henchmen and brazenly confronts him.  The Octofather is none too pleased but the Hood strikes up a deal.  He'll leave the operations of the Octofather alone for now for information on who the Mogul is and why is he cutting in on the Octofather's territory.  Octofather reluctantly agrees and gives the Hood the address to someone called Dyna.

Following that lead, they meet the elderly, hard of hearing Bernhard Von Kapivar, former member of the Tesla League (Corey was brilliant tying our unfinished 1920's Savage World campaign with our Icons campaign to unify an entire gaming universe.  Now, how can I fit our Swords and Wizardry campaign into this, hmmm.).

They get from Kapivar that the Mogul was trying to hire him and purchase his explosive weapons. He declined and has since faced trouble from the Mogul's henchmen.  He informs the Vanguard of a warehouse on the docks where the weapons are being delivered to.

Genovasis, The Scarlet Hood and Col. Sanders fly off in their gyro-copter to the warehouse.  There they find a number of trucks making deliveries of stolen weapons.  Invisible, the Hood knocks out two of the delivery men and Genovasis and Sanders disguise themselves and the three infiltrate the warehouse.

The weapons were being loaded aboard a high-speed airship with Nazi insignia!  Suddenly, everyone hurries aboard the airship as it takes off from the waterfront warehouse.

Leading the workers is none other than Baron Zero* (last seen in issue 1 - Bliss), guarded by Radar with a repaired radar gun and the flaming foe Firebrand holding Penelope hostage.  Radar scans the loading dock and discovers that the Hood is hiding!  The alarm goes out and the Vanguard leaps into action but so do the villains!  Tarpit traps Col. Sanders in his sticky grip while The Hood takes out some of the gun-men. Suddenly a speeding blur zips past the hood!  Blitzkrieg is back having escaped from the military prison* (introduced in issue 1 and 2 - Bliss).   The battle results in Radar's gun being destroyed, and Sanders and the Hood almost being defeated.  Baron Zero holds a gun to the reporters head but the Hood makes a desperate effort to put Zero out of commission but pays a price for his determined action.  Genovasis talks Tarpit into joining their cause. While the rest of the villains escape to another part of the ship.

Vanguard 13 is victorious though wounded for now but they are trapped within an airship headed who-knows-where, surrounded by enemies!

To Be Continued Next Issue!

Session Thoughts

This was the third session run by Corey and it was a doosey!  This was out usual three hour session but as you can see a heck of a lot went on.  Rules lite games such as Icons (S&W and others) makes this type of game play possible.  Corey had the general concept together but had to improvise some of the situations which came across flawlessly.  A great example of players not knowing what a GM has already planned compared to what the GM improvises.  Again, Icons makes improvising quite easy.  This session had it's ups and downs for the characters which created quite a bit of drama.  He ended the session with a cliff hanger but instead of continuing his story he's passing the duties to someone else.  That's great because the original concept for the campaign was to alternate GM building upon previous session storylines.  This will be a great experiment continuing an actual storyline with a different GM.  I think I'm picking up the next session so I've got some things planned....

Friday, May 4, 2012

Make Every Day An Avengers Day

Ya gotta love Marvel's Silver Age.  The heroes' light-hearted interaction with a populous that adored and worshiped them (and at other times hated them).  When else in the Marvel continuum would the mayor of New York declare an Avengers day to apologize for the way he treated Earth's Mightiest Heroes. 

But with the new Avengers movie finally being released here in the states, lets make today Avengers Day!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Icons: Split Dice

We had an Icons session on Monday (I'll post a recap shortly) and we quickly decided to "split the dice".

I have to say that it made combat move much quicker. I don't think anyone had an issue with rolling only one die as opposed to two - more dice equals more power. Anyway, the original ICONS method of the positive and negative die + ability/power + modifiers then compare for outcome always seemed to slow combat down while the numbers were worked out. With the Split Die roll, add and compare moved things along much quicker. I think we'll be using this from now on.

One other point is that when players have to make a general ability test we were still rolling the positive and negative. Though that worked fine, I thought it was a bit jarring to have the Players roll one die for combat and two dice for general tests. I'm thinking of moving general tests to split dice as well. The GM will then be rolling the 'negative' die in combat and in general tests ('negative' die meaning GM rolls the opposing die and adds the result to the difficulty).

The split dice bring up an interesting element. Since the GM is now rolling all oppositions to the PCs, maybe, just maybe when the GM rolls, his roll will be the 'attack' roll against which the players defense is compared. In other words, outcome switches depending on who is the 'attacker'; the zero no longer
always goes with the hero. The tables turn from giving the heroes the constant advantage to splitting the advantage between the hero and the villain. Not sure how this will play out. Maybe the heroes will become less 'heroic' as they loose that zero goes with the hero advantage. It's a minor thought but it could change the dynamic of the game quite a bit.

Beyond that, we're still a bit stuck on keeping stuns and slams within the flow of the combat. I'm going to re-read the optional rules in the Villainomicon to get some more clarification.

Anyway, the split dice definitely moved the combat forward more quickly.