Throwback Thursday: Supers 1200, Session #4: “Along Came A Spider”
Is it Thursday already? Between real life and stocking the dungeon, I haven’t had much to post… but the saga of the 1200 point supers continues.
Unlike the Dungeon Fantasy game, the Supers 1200 game was not played “cards up”. The PCs had secrets from each other and background motivations that were hidden. Since I didn’t want to leak extra information at the time, sometimes the reasons behind the PCs decisions are obscure. For example, in this session, we see Goliath pursuing a private project: the resurrection of his father. Living in the Marvel Universe, he had noticed that sometimes, supers come back from the dead. He figured, with enough research, he could uncover a method to bring back his dad. When he questions Hawkeye and goes to consult with Doctor Strange, it’s in pursuit of that goal.
Another thing that might not come across well in play is the nature of the Spirit’s powers, since she herself didn’t really understand them. She was actually the ghost of a cop, whose death had focused her (presumably mutant) powers, turning her into a disembodied ghost. Instinctively attempting to return to the land of the living, she found that she could merge with the body and mind of a dying person, taking possession of their body while also taking on something of their skills and goals. Each cycle of death-and-rebirth would overwrite some amount of old memories with the partial memories of the new host, which clouded her understanding of the process and of her own identity. (All of this was back-story and special effects for Unkillable 3 with Reincarnation.)
While in the world of the living, in a body, the Spirit’s natural low-level telepathy kicked in. She couldn’t read thoughts, or individuals, but she could tap into the telepathy energies generated by minds and use them for various effects. Her powers would wax and wane depending on the number of people around her. To use her full power, she had to be surrounded by a major city. She could take a tiny bit of the citizens’ psychic energy, and channel it into affect probability, heal herself, make herself stronger, and so forth. She could also sample the currents of the peoples’ thoughts, giving her Illuminated and the power to pick up skills possessed by the people surrounding her.
Befuddled as she was, she decided that all of this meant that she was the chosen avatar of the spirit of the city. (Thus, the name.)
Araignee and EL13T had simpler motivations. For the most part, they just wanted to mess with folks. Araignee had a bit of a hero-crush on Spider-Man as well.
Cash was a go-with-the-flow kind of guy, but over time, he developed a sense of the politics of being a mutant in the Marvel Universe. As the game went on, he seemed to become more militant.
Dr Pym announced a visit from a Dire Wraith expert on shapeshifting, to examine Sauron and his ongoing infection by the tecno-organic virus. Between the villain’s normal transformation into a dinosaur-man hybrid, due to mutant pterodactyl genes, and the transformation into a shape-changing Phalanx caused by the T-O virus, Pym felt the need for an outside expert.
While discussing the visit in the hall of the Infinite Mansion, the students met Mockingbird and Hawkeye, who were apparently using the Mansion as a short-cut while dealing with some terrorist plot. The students offered to come along and help, but were turned down due to their inexperience. While Mockingbird gave Araignee the drill sergeant treatment, Goliath struck up a conversation with Hawkeye. Things were going well, until Goliath brought up Hawkeye’s death and resurrection. At that point, Hawkeye declared that they were wasting valuable time, and drew Mockingbird away.
Discussing the incident with Jocasta, the students learned that Hawkeye had been killed and resurrected, twice, by the Scarlet Witch, a mutant with power to manipulate probability and, indeed, reality itself. While Mockingbird had been reported dead, on the other hand, she had actually been kidnapped by the Skrulls.
The next day, the students were excited to meet their guest instructor, Spider-Man. Araignee, in particular, was almost giddy. They quickly became less interested, when they discovered that the class was to be “chemistry for superheroes”. Araignee asked if they could all go out on patrol, but Spider-Man pointed out that he would need to talk to Pym and get authorization before taking the students out in public.
The students found themselves with time on their hands. The Spirit pointed out that they could follow up on tracking down her “evil twin”. Goliath had Jocasta open a door to his lab on the helicarrier. There, he set up a search of the databases he could access through his position at SHIELD, looking for anyone in a hospital in a coma, or with a terminal condition, making a miraculous recovery, either in Mexico City or New York, since the team’s trip to Mexico.
While Cash eyed the expensive computer equipment, Araignee and EL13T grew bored and quietly slipped out of the room. In the hall, they saw a group of passing SHIELD agents, jogging in formation. Araignee followed out of curiosity, clinging to the ceiling out of sight, while EL13T took the form of a generic, clean-cut agent, and joined the tail of the group.
The search didn’t turn up any clear leads, so Goliath and the Spirit continued to poke around. At one point, while scrolling through patient listings, she pointed to one group of deaths at a New York City hospital and remarked that they weren’t random, they were the product of conspiracy.
When the group of SHIELD agents jogged past the command center, things got out of hand. Araignee couldn’t resist trying to press some buttons, blowing her stealth. Under cover of the confusion, EL13T dropped back to a concealed position and observed as she was arrested.
Meanwhile, back in the lab, the others were surprised by the “intruder alert” alarms. Immediately figuring out what had happened, they rushed out, just in time to join Araignee as Maria Hill tore into her, and them. Seeing a way he could do the others a service, EL13T transformed himself into a perfect duplicate of Luke Cage and approached, claiming that he, too, wanted to teach the students a lesson. He convinced Hill to hand them over to him for concentrated punishment. As soon as she was out of sight, they fled back to the Mansion.
Back at the Mansion, the students decided they might as well go look into the murders the Spirit had picked from the hospital data. While in the Mansion’s halls, they ran into Vlox, the Dire Wraith expert, being escorted into the Infinite Mansion by a Spaceknight. Pym mentioned that they would likely need to transfer Sauron to the Raft, if they couldn’t get the T-O infection under control, as the Mansion wasn’t as well-equipped for superhuman containment. The students offered to help, but Pym assured them everything was under control.
During all the talking, the Spirit got bored and left.
Eventually, the other students had Jocasta open a door in Greenwich Village. Goliath talked the group into using that location as part of his recent researches: he wanted to try to talk to Dr Strange, semi-famous mystic. Araignee and EL13T were quickly distracted when they spotted Spider-Man swinging by, and left to follow him. Cash and Goliath forged ahead.
While swinging around, EL13T started to receive mental messages, saying things like “Why will you not join?” and “Are you there, father?” The messages cut off on a distinctly sinister note, mentioning “fleshy ones” outside who would “join” by force. EL13T realized that this must be its “offspring”, Sauron, completing the transformation into a Phalanx and reaching out to join the hive mind network – the same network that EL13T itself had been released from.
Meanwhile, the Spirit was smacking a confession out of the head of surgery at a NYC hospital, having gone to track down the conspiracy behind the murders.
At Dr Strange’s house, Cash and Goliath rang the silken pull-rope provided. The door was answered by Wong, Strange’s man-servant1. He immediately took a dislike to them, and would not admit that the doctor was home, or that he would ever be willing to see them. While Goliath pressed their case, Cash faded back to take a look around. Discovering Wong’s market bicycle chained nearby, he broke the lock and made off with it, seeing if he could break the sound barrier on two wheels.
In the meantime, Araignee and EL13T had caught up with Spider-Man. While they talked, both spider-people had a flash of spider-sense. Spider-Man took off like a shot, followed closely by the two students. He led them to a cathedral, where they saw what seemed to be Daredevil, a noted hero and friend of Spider-Man’s, at the mercy of Will-o-the-Wisp, one of Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery. Racing ahead of the students, Spider-Man tried to attack ‘Wisp, only to fall to a sneak attack as it turned out that “Daredevil” was actually Venom in disguise!
Araignee and El13T launched themselves into battle, with the shapeshifting robot taking the form of the Scarlet Spider armor, so that the villains found themselves beset by a gang of spider-people. Venom was up for the fight, but ‘Wisp panicked, went intangible, and started to flee.
Meanwhile, on the far side of the cathedral, the Spirit was dragging the guilty doctor to confession. They ran into Cash, still on Wong’s now-battered bicycle. He offered to give them a lift, which the Spirit accepted over the civilian’s protests. As they approached the front of the building, they saw the glare from EL13T’s boot jets and heard Venom’s roar of rage. Cash dropped the others and the bike, as its wheels were starting to smoke a bit, and ran up the wall to join the battle.
On the other far side of the cathedral, Goliath was walking around in a daze after Wong’s expert tongue-lashing. He, too, saw EL13T’s boot jets. Realizing that something must be up, he approached, growing as he went, only to be countered by Rhino. Rhino had been lurking in the shadows near the cathedral, watching for interfering supers. He charged, but Goliath went to full size and stepped over him, avoiding the attack.
Venom and Araignee exchanged words, while the Spirit sent “good vibes” towards her friends. Under the influence of her powers, one of Spider-Man’s web-shooters exploded from damage sustained in his fall. The web fluid inside exploded, engulfing Venom. Araignee took advantage of the distraction, kicking him in the groin and punching him repeatedly. EL13T went after Will-o-the-Wisp, but was dazed by the villain’s hypnotic light show. Venom tore himself free, leaping to a higher perch to get some room. Araignee followed suit, and the two engaged in a duel of amazing jumps.
Goliath picked Rhino up. As the villain beat upon his thumb, to no avail, he drew back and threw Rhino directly into the biggest bell in the cathedral’s bell tower. Rhino fell to the cathedral floor, where the damaged bell fell upon him.
Rang by Rhino, the bell gave out a huge clang. Having worked his way into position, Cash used his whirlwind attack to blow Venom off the cathedral, putting him near the Spirit, on the ground. The sound of the bell (and a dose of lucky mojo from the Spirit) caused Venom such pain that he fled, rather than continue the fight.
Seeing this, Araignee dropped to the cathedral floor and knocked Rhino unconscious. The students gathered together, watching as Will-o-the-Wisp tried (and failed) to flee at his painfully slow pace. When the authorities, and reporters, showed up, Goliath pulled a mini-EMP generator from his pocket to kill the cameras. In the confusion, the students jumped through the cathedral’s doors, back to the Mansion.
As the doors slammed shut on the crowd of confused reporters, there was a clap of thunder and a loud voice: “Who would dare tamper with the bicycle of Wong?!?”
Back in the Infinite Mansion, the students bumped into Vlox again, but this time, she was walking around free. When confronted, she explained that when Sauron’s escape attempt began, she had been set free. The students appeared to accept her protestations of innocence. Checking in with Pym, their offer of assistance was again turned down by Pym, who claimed that the situation was relatively under control.
1Yeah, that’s what they really call him.