Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Starro My Destination: Superheroes: Year One

Last week should have been the last session of the G+ Superhero Game, but the group didn't make it to the final scenes so we'll play that out tomorrow with a big finish. Below is the post-session summary for Session Eleven as well as some of the background material I gave the players before the campaign started. 

THE STARRO MY DESTINATION 
WEEK TWELVE SUMMARY
With Mister Miracle’s revelation in hand, Firstwave regrouped in an attempt to bring figure out a strategy. They considered the several images from Miracle’s vision- the weird world, the campus, the docks, the STAR labs facility, and finally the underwater lair. They discussed the various pieces they’d put together Atlantis, the Last Son of Lemuria, Fenton’s Psychic Attack, the Cabal’s Disappearance, The Visions, the Green Crystal Magus Gem, the Vanishing of Various Villains, The Painting, The Black Knight aka Nathan Garrett, The Remaining Ward Point, The Serpent Crown, Devilfish vs. The Penguin, STAR Labs involvement, LexCorp’s Connection, The Laser Satellite, The Visualizer Tracer, and so on.

They worked on a couple approaches. First they looked into means for underwater travel and survival. A couple of the group could handle that, but others would have a tougher time. They rigged up some devices to assist them. Second, they examined records of the STAR labs offshore facility, but weren’t able to develop anything on that front. Miracle’s vision suggested that the floating lab wasn’t necessary directly connected to the location of Atlantis. Another means would be required to locate it. The group discussed speaking with STAR labs director Vaughn Chime, but decided to hold off on that. Three, Miracle tried to contact his friend Sonny Sumo who he’d seen- with a starfish mask- in his vision. Sonny’s girlfriend told Miracle that she thought he was with the hero.

The group decided to confront an outstanding lead, and travelled to Nathan Garrett’s estate outside of NYC. There they found the Black Knight bunkered down with a group of super-villain mercenaries: Grifter, Deathstroke, Firebug, and Captain Cold. Miracle alone approached and managed to diplomatically arrange a meeting with the Knight. He questioned him about the Magus Stone and his desire for it. The Black Knight explained that he hadn’t been looking for the Magus Stone, but rather one of a number of other clear crystals. He was cryptic but suggested that those crystals had been part of whatever had taken down the Cabal two years ago. It was clear that Black Knight didn’t have all the answers about that- there might be a connection between those and the stone but he wasn’t sure. He pointed back to LexCorp where the green crystal Magus Gem had been stored. Next Miracle questioned him about the Knight’s relation to the Enchantress. She had exchanged a number of interesting artifacts to the Knight for a mystical Atlantaen Trident. Miracle tried to describe the threat looming, but the Knight seemed skeptical. He was willing to give Miracle the benefit of the doubt because of the effort he’d made with Team Fury on the bridge. He agreed to give Firstwave his contact info if things did go horribly wrong- and also gave him the contact info for The Medic (who he suggested had some others with her).

With that information and those potential allies in hand, the group turned to a location seen in their vision, the Devilfish’s docks. Freeze contacted Captain DeWolf who said she would check with the Organized Crime Division about the Devilfish. However she was unable to get ahold of anyone who covered their territory. Firstwave headed to the docks. Thor and Miracle took to the air to survey as dusk fell. Iron Man and Mr. Freeze went in underwater. The latter located some sonar detection systems attached to underwater escape hatches for the buildings above. Iron Man after some consideration modified those, allowing him to take control of them at a later point. Thor and Miracle noticed two different operations going on up top. On the one hand, Devilfish workers seemed to be unloading packages from the ships. These mailing packages were then loaded on trucks and sent off. The other sinister operation seemed to be an industrial plant attached to the dockyards. They checked it out and found workers bottling and preparing many different brands of soda- from competing companies. They were then loading up pallets onto trucks. This process had clearly been going on for a few days. They stole a bottle of Dr. Thunder and passed it off to Mr. Freeze who took it back to the lab for analysis.

At the lab, Mr. Freeze detected some unusual organic components in the soda. Tony Stark found himself called away into the next room by a phone called. Mr. Freeze ran an energy sequence across the soda in an attempt to isolate the components. When it hit a particular frequency, something exploded and burst from the liquid- a massive purple-blue single-eyed starfish which attached itself to Freeze’s visor. His helmet began to crack from the assault. Desperately he froze himself and the starfish- which slowed it as it had to bore through the ice now. The cold seemed to have no effect on it. Meanwhile Tony chatted on the phone on the other side of the soundproof glass. With speed driven by desperation, Freeze tore his helmet off and threw it to the floor. He coated both with ice to hold them momentarily. Given a moment of breathing room, he grabbed up the beast and his visor and threw them into the atomic incinerator.

Freeze informed Miracle and Thor who sprang into action. They surveyed the situation- recording the license numbers of beverage transport vehicles. They considered intercepting them, but instead opted to sabotage and destroy their engines secretly. They tried to contact Captain deWolff to keep her up to date, and she informed them that she’d tried to contact other heroes with no result. They decided to take more drastic action and set fire to the bottling plant.

Freeze, meanwhile, figured out the energy frequency which had activated the bottled starfish. He ran some quick calculations- realizing that broadcasting the activator signal would require the use of a geosynchronous satellite. He immediate thought of the LexCorp Laser Satellite, but that hadn’t been launched yet. Instead he theorized that Fenton had perhaps been interested in the LexCorp satellite as a means of interfering with the activation signal- which would likely be sent from a STAR Lab satellite.

Mr. Freeze met up with Thor and Mister Miracle on the docks after they’d begun their sabotage- destroying the plant. However, even as they watched the fires- a group of super-villains came swooping in apparently in response. Each had a Starro starfish attached to their face, apparently a means of mind control. The attackers included Heatwave, The Top, Weather Wizard, Pildriver, Bulldozer, and Noman- all villains who should have been incarcerated on The Raft, the floating super-villain prison attached to Ryker’s Island. The group began to battle against the overwhelming odds- and managed to hold their own for some time. However a second wave of villains then appeared- including Queen Bee and MODOK, both also Starro’d. Things looked dark, but then Iron Man arrived on the scene. The fight whipsawed back and forth with one side gaining and edge and then the other. Then Mr. Freeze went down and the tide shifted. Battered and bruised, the group desperately decided to retreat, realizing that capture could only mean becoming a part of Starro’s growing legion. The flew off into the night and a city already under siege.

Next: THE FINAL SESSION(s) OF THIS ARC OF FIRSTWAVE: SUPERHEROES YEAR ONE: "RISING STARROS"



NETWORKS, CABALS, AND SYNDICATES

Traditional criminal organizations have felt the pinch not only from superheroes but from supervillains. Established territories and boundaries have collapsed, resulting in new wars and schisms. Some groups responded in force, others recruited metahumans- with mixed results. The most established and entrenched criminal organizations remain, but reduced and often under siege. Several significant new syndicates now occupy lost areas of influence in New York.

The Penguin
A shadowy figure operating behind the scenes. His colorful sobriquet suggests a superbeing, but no one knows for sure. All that can be said is that in the chaos following the July 4th event, the Penguin moved rapidly to wrest control of several mafia families and their associated business interests. Within a few weeks, he held a significant portion in his grasp- enough to make him a major player. Bucking the routes of family, loyalty, and tradition, the Penguin managed to take and keep control of underlings. They obey out of fear and appreciation for the advancements the crime lord has made in organization and quality of life.

Some expected the Penguin to quickly overstep himself, but instead he’s consolidated his gains. The speed of his initial takeovers seems matched with the patience of his present operations. His men and agents have tangled with superheroes, most notably Moon Knight. Penguin is said to have several low-level metahumans on his payroll to deal with those matters. Since settling down, he has extended contacts to other criminal groups, attempting to build a measure of trust.

Devilfish
One organization which has soundly rejected the Penguin’s overtures has been the Devilfish aka the Devilfish Boys. The group controlled small segments of waterfront and dockyard crime until last year when they expanded rapidly. As other criminal families fought one another, the Devilfish moved in to grab up adjoining territories. The FBI believes they now control the majority of crime in those zones. The Devilfish don’t communicate or negotiate with other criminal groups; they act decisively and with extreme force.

The group takes its name from the title given their leader, the Devilfish. Rarely seen, many suspect this lumbering brute may be a mutant. Close relations make up the inner circle of his organization; they share many of his traits and abilities. So far the Devilfish seem content to operate in more classic pursuits: loansharking, smuggling, extortion. They have not expanded into more complex or high-tech crimes.

InterGang
Technological crime instead has become associated with the organization known as InterGang. Smart, sophisticated and armed with the latest in equipment, they have targeted research facilities, cutting edge labs, and futurist corporations. LexCorp, Star Labs, Apple, Stark Enterprises, OsCorp and more have been attacked. InterGang combines industrial espionage, hacking, and cybertech smash & grab into one package. While some of their work appears mercenary, they also clear repurpose and utilize stolen tech internally.

InterGang seems to be centered in New York but has struck targets in Hong King, London, and Los Angeles. They don’t restrict themselves to hard tech- also targeting strategic intelligence, software, and biotech advances. Some suspect InterGang operates with a cell structure- making it more difficult to crack open. Several levels of operatives seem to be in play- with divisions overseen by metahumans or gadget-based supervillains. The group has clashed several times with Engineer and Iron Man, using the threat of public damage as cover for escape.

The Workshop
Some groups have concluded that the new era of metahumans requires a new approach to question of power and control. The Workshop considers superbeings a resource to be investigated, controlled, trafficked, and exploited. They have engineered several attacks to take blood and tissue samples from heroes and villains. More sinisterly, it is believed that they have been behind the disappearance of a number of newly emerging mutants and metahumans. In some cases, those kidnapped have shown up later allied with the Workshop itself. What this organization lacks in the power of high-level metas it makes up for in numbers. Rumors in criminal circles suggest that the Workshop has a larger agenda and that they have been extending activities in even more nefarious directions.

Pentacle
An unknown quantity in criminal circles. Some say Pentacle is a clearing-house for freelance criminals. Others suggest it has terrorist ties. The name Pentacle has been linked to a number of strange and unexplained crimes over the last eighteen months. This center around New York, but include the collapse of the LexCorp complex ruins in Metropolis. Beyond that, little can be said with any certainty. They have become a phantom, a ghost story told among criminals and law enforcement. Some say they have an inner chamber of control and conspiracy, drawn from the highest ranks of corporations. Others that they have a supernatural bent- investigating and stealing artifacts of the weird and arcane.

Professor Fenton, Master of ALGOL
Most criminals and crime organizations have taken on the atmosphere of the 21st century: from slick, polished, and corporate to hipster and underground. Professor Fenton, on the other hand, seems to be stuck in an entirely different century. Clad in a 1950’s era orange and black jumpsuit, the bald Professor cackles madly as he directs his men in their operations. His technology and equipment have a retro, almost steampunk look which belies their deadly effect. At first many believed Fenton’s manner and appearance some kind of joke or statement; however he appears madly earnest in his plans for world domination.

It would be more laughable if his group, mysteriously named ALGOL, didn’t possess such potent equipment. Penton himself seems to be able to project mental blasts, control the will of others, and even swap personalities between targets. Authorities have been able to get almost nothing out of captured agents and minions of Fenton. Their memories relating to the experience vanish immediately. Besides these flunkies, Fenton has several duplicates of himself- robots or illusions no one knows- who have shown up to turn the tide when he’s fought superheroes. Law enforcement has been baffled about Fenton’s origin and agenda, and even what ALGOL stands for remains a mystery.


Previous Superhero: Year One Posts