Glassworks

"Glassworks: the Devil's Den" Session 6
Strangers with candy

Fellow role-players, here are Jason’s and Gene’s notes for Session 3.6 of the “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 7 April 2014:

“The Eighth Legion,” Player Characters for Jason E.R.’s Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, using Icons (previously DarkPages and the Cortex: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game), as of spring 2014:

  • “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-male metahuman, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, armored vigilante, and team leader at subway base
  • “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American, exiled demigod able to change into a giant eagle, onetime park ranger now working in a pet shop
  • Matthew Shanks / Merlin [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy; member of Hamilton’s mystical Conclave
  • “Samuel Adams Jackson/ The Stranger [Beruk A.]-male human Buffalo Soldier released from Purgatory, time-displaced bounty hunter with dark force manipulation and shadowy steed Gabriel (from Gene’s Mutants & Masterminds: “Drake’s Port” and Josh’s Dresden Files: “Dallas” scenarios)
  • “Erwin Schrodinger/ Erwin72 [Brian W.]-male replicant, law enforcer from an alternate timeline with the ability to tap alternate dimensions
  • Empty Spoon [Rich C.G.]-male metahuman, Tibetan refugee with mystical air control (apologies to Avatar: the Last Airbender/Legend of Korra) and speed, seeking revenge for the destruction of his monastery
  • “Adriana Novak/ Phantasm [Brian S./ absent ]-female metahuman, former magician’s assistant turned permanently invisible; used the power of illusions to commit crimes but trying to turn over a new leaf

“1 February 2014:” After defeating supervillians in parallel universes, fighting zombies at a prison, and investigating disappearances and kidnappings, the “Eighth Legion” regroups at its not-so-secret base of operations at an abandoned subway station in Hamilton’s Fairmont neighborhood.

The vigilantes review a coded list with marginal notes by Ricochet, a onetime co-conspirator of Phantasm in the “Technoluminati.” The list is from a printer similar to the antiques removed from the SIRC warehouse above their base.

The would-be heroes decipher some of the locations and people listed in the fragment of plans by the as-yet-unidentified insane mastermind, believed to be reclusive video game programmer Frank Zorn, aka Franz Keidel. Previous evidence suggests that he has the ability to glimpse potential futures and nearby realities.

They also try to correlate the data with recent battles with other metahuman teams and data such as the fact that several notable Hamiltonians share a birth date of Feb. 27, 1933. After again debating what to do next, the superheroes split into squads.

The Cloaked Quarrel and recently returned Phantasm drive to southern New Jersey to question Ricochet further. The Stranger tries to track the shadow creatures that escaped from one of his portals and later appeared at some key battles.

Erwin72 creates duplicates to go with each squad. Thunderbird visits Harrow House, a home for outcast familiars, to talk with headmistress Rebekah Dejardines. Merlin casts a locator spell to find the “quintum” chip from Lepton City that Rasayana stole.

DarkStorm contacts Oryx Industries to review security footage of the kidnapping of CEO James Orex and his daughter Maggie Orex (Tim’s girlfriend). The recording shows Orex being dragged from his limousine by someone holding an amulet. Empty Spoon initially accompanies DarkStorm but then joins Merlin to check on Metion, the Wind Lord.

On the way to New Jersey, Kyle recalls some past cases, and Adriana calls ahead to the prison holding Ricochet using one of her law-enforcement aliases. Back at the base, Matthew finds that the chip seems to be in his extradimensional library.

Sam follows the shadowy trail to a cavern, where he sees two people and a horse in chains and a woman drawing dark energy from them. She says, “You’re early” before the mystical bounty hunter teleports back to Hamilton.

At Harrow House, Rain learns from Urvogel, an archaeopteryx with an Elizabethan ruff, that Dejardines, like much of Hamilton’s mystical Conclave, has departed. The shapeshifter also notices Devil’s Head candies, which an imp is eating without apparent ill effect. Grizzel Greediguts apologizes for eating the Enchantress’ (aka Rebekah Dejardines) candies.

DarkStorm checks Sharp Harbor (“L032” on the printout), but with two of the three historical ships gone, there are no additional clues to connect onetime “Devil Doll” Maggie and her missing father to the hidden mastermind’s schemes. All other costumed crime fighters have recently gone missing.

Other lines in the printout refer to the Baylus Museum (L031), people not to be harmed (P003 and P122), and both the Technoluminati (G034) and the Eighth Legion (G008). The secret mastermind has apparently accounted for all variables.

Flamboyant mage Metion greets Merlin and Empty Spoon. He claims to know nothing about why the Conclave is abandoning its home city. When Merlin asks for a lozenge, however, he offers a Devil’s Head candy (X007) and says he had hoped that the Wizard (P064) would take on Mihai de Burigny as his apprentice, even as “P010” (possibly Zorn) is in charge of the Red and Blue Society.

At the prison, the Cloaked Quarrel (in civilian garb) feeds illusionist Phantasm questions as she impersonates Samantha Telling, or vampiric supervillainess Sanguine. Phantasm then identifies herself as “Agent P045” to Darick Farkash, a.k.a. Ricochet, in an attempt to draw him out.

Ricochet claims that he worked on three “subroutines” and admits that the Technoluminati didn’t destroy an Enigma code machine (X011) taken from a German U-boat (L023) as instructed. Ricochet also refers to Phantasm’s mentor Silverfish as “P037” and his sidekick Firebrat as “P038.”

In addition, the captured criminal alludes to two “traitors” — “P094” (possibly Phantasm herself) and “P122,” whom Erwin believes is Ernest Gutner, a “Zorniac” and fan of Zorn’s video games. Sanguine promises to eventually help Richochet escape and to put in a good word for him with the mastermind.

The Eighth Legionnaires reconvene at their base. Merlin, the Stranger, Thunderbird, and Phantasm enter his library. All the books on the pocket dimension’s shelves have been replaced with volumes of Milton’s Paradise Lost and Horace’s Odes, both of which were quoted by an adolescent Keidel/Zorn.

Merlin finds a bowl of Devil’s Head candies with a note in his own handwriting reminding himself to eat. The acting head of the Conclave has a flash of being tortured and force-fed. Grizzel, who came with Thunderbird, gobbles much of the candy.

The Cloaked Quarrel notes that the Devil’s Head candies are similar to the Indian Head candies used to create the bandaged female arsonists known as Devil Dolls. The latter mind-controlling sweets were manufactured by a defunct company bought by D.J. Sharrif. Kyle check’s Matthew’s apartment for more candy, while Erwin looks for Ernest.

The Stranger recommends heading straight to the dark dimension where he saw people being drained of energy. The Cloaked Quarrel and Empty Spoon agree, but they are outvoted when Merlin writes the missing verses in the books of poetry. The books disappear, and five video game consoles magically appear.

The Devil’s Den game includes characters eerily similar to the Stranger and Merlin, while Legend of the Four Winds features Empty Spoon. Versions of Erwin and Phantasm inhabit the Lepton City game, and Tim is pleased to see Operation DarkStorm.

The Cloaked Quarrel and Thunderbird put a candy in the slot to start up the Jade Bow game, which disappears, along with both of them! The young archer and shaman find themselves on a grassy plain where Mongol-style and ancient Chinese troops are fighting.

Kerbala of the Green Flame, a mystic they remember from a prior meeting, appears and exhorts them to join the fight. Kyle dons the Jade Panoply, while Rain shifts to giant eagle form and sees a nether dragon snaking through the battle.

The Cloaked Quarrel strikes the monster with glancing blows, and Thunderbird draws its attention. Kerbala casts a spell, and just as the dragon is about to devour the Cloaked Quarrel, Thunderbird calls out for Kittaguka to aid them, using her true name. The Cloaked Quarrel and Thunderbird find themselves chained to the wall of the cave that the Stranger had described.

Shadow Queen announces the arrival of “P063” and “P064” and turns to a dragon cage, where Rain’s mentor Kittaguka is imprisoned. Kyle recognizes the “Amazing Mr. Fantastic” [Brian W./Non-Player Character], “Shadow Fury” [Bruce/N.P.C.], and “Nightmare” [Sara/N.P.C.]. The Shadow Queen adds that “P025” is secured.

Back in Merlin’s library, DarkStorm tries to play his eponymous game. He finds himself back in the Cold War and is briefed on a covert mission to infiltrate the Soviet Cosmodrome at Baikonur. Tim parachutes into the virtual installation and is soon surrounded by Mandroids serving supervillain Kraken.

DarkStorm leaps over the Mandroids and knocks out Kraken with a punch. When a rocket launches, the armored hero manages to deactivate the controls, apparently “solving part of the shadow interface.” He also finds himself in the cave with Shadow Queen and her prisoners.

After losing a few teammates, the Stranger decides to create a dark portal to get himself, steed Gabriel, Empty Spoon, and Phantasm to the cave. Merlin eventually follows via his own magic.

Thunderbird and the Cloaked Quarrel struggle with their shadow-reinforced bonds. Erwin72 pulls out his pistol and shoots at the energy-draining machine containing the quintum chip. His bullet bounces off a force field. Empty Spoon tries to suck the air from around Shadow Queen and Dream Hunter, another supervillain.

The Stranger draws shadows from the manacles but is unable to grab the chip. DarkStorm bursts out of his restraints, while Phantasm picks the lock on Thunderbird’s. Merlin steps through one of Phantasm’s illusory replicas and joins the fight.

Thunderbird, back in eagle form, attacks Shadow Queen and the dragon cage, but to no avail. Erwin also shoots at the dominatrix, stunning the Coven member, while the Cloaked Quarrel strains at his cuffs. Astride Gabriel, the Stranger tries to trample Shadow Queen and dodges a shadowy blade.

Empty Spoon is less fortunate and is injured, and DarkStorm puts back on parts of his armor. As he did once before, Dream Hunter forces some legionnaires to swap bodies. Sniper Cloaked Quarrel, in the Stranger’s body, shoots at Dream Hunter.

Gunslinger Stranger, in Merlin’s body, blasts Dream Hunter, knocking him out and allowing the mage to return to his own body from Thunderbird. Rain had found herself in boyfriend Kyle’s relatively weak body.

Replicant Erwin shoots at the cage, and martial artist Empty Spoon blows the energy-draining machine away from Kittaguka, whom he then frees. The team grabs its gear, the device with the quintum chip, and the other prisoners.

The Cloaked Quarrel helps the Amazing Mr. Fantastic, Shadow Fury, and Nightmare leave Merlin’s library and the base so they can get medical treatment. The Stranger pushes a ball of numerous spirits summoned by the Shadow Queen back to a realm of darkness.

DarkStorm helps restrain the Shadow Queen and Dream Hunter so that local authorities can take them away. Thunderbird stays with Grizzel and Kittaguka, whose cintomanni (dragon pearl) is cracked. She is too weak to return to human form and squeeze out the exit from Merlin’s library.

Merlin and Erwin72 go back to Metion at Indian Beach. They find the mystic packing to leave for the “Atlantean Redoubt,” which they realize might be the site (L002) visited by the Technoluminati aboard World War II-era submarine Icefish and where they were supposed to deliver the Enigma message.

Empty Spoon finally visits herbalist and sifu Kunzang Tenzin, who treats his injuries. Tenzin mentions that Shadow Queen is the one who destroyed Empty Spoon’s monastery, causing the speedster to race back to the base for revenge….

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"Glassworks: the Devil's Den" Session 5
Necromancers anonymous, or Orange is the new black magic

Fellow role-players, here are Jason’s and Gene’s notes for Session 3.5 of the “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 24 March 2014:

“The Eighth Legion,” Player Characters for Jason E.R.’s Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, using Icons (previously DarkPages and the Cortex: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game), as of spring 2014:

  • “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-male metahuman, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, armored vigilante, and team leader at subway base
  • “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American, exiled demigod able to change into a giant eagle, onetime park ranger now working in a pet shop
  • Matthew Shanks / Merlin [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy; member of Hamilton’s mystical Conclave
  • “Samuel Adams Jackson/ The Stranger [Beruk A.]-male human Buffalo Soldier released from Purgatory, time-displaced bounty hunter with dark force manipulation and shadowy steed Gabriel (from Gene’s Mutants & Masterminds: “Drake’s Port” and Josh’s Dresden Files: “Dallas” scenarios)
  • “Erwin Schrodinger/ Erwin72 [Brian W.]-male replicant, law enforcer from an alternate timeline with the ability to tap alternate dimensions
  • Empty Spoon [Rich C.G.]-male metahuman, Tibetan refugee with mystical air control (apologies to Avatar: the Last Airbender/Legend of Korra) and speed, seeking revenge for the destruction of his monastery
  • “Adriana Novak/ Phantasm [Brian S./ absent ]-female metahuman, former magician’s assistant turned permanently invisible; used the power of illusions to commit crimes but trying to turn over a new leaf

“31 January 2014:” One squad of superheroes raced metahuman mobsters to obtain a computer processor in Lepton City, while those left in Hamilton, Del., learned the true identity of video game programmer Frank Zorn. The “Eighth Legion” reunited in time to defeat the “Technoluminati” at a stolen submarine beached in New Jersey.

But now, they must find and stop a mysterious mastermind who has killed hundreds of people at a prison and whose meticulous schemes may mean the end of Hamilton!

On the way back from New Jersey to Delaware, the legionnaires make some phone calls. The Cloaked Quarrel sends swift Thunderbird and Empty Spoon ahead to check the James T. Vaughn Sr. Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del., where they had helped foil breakout attempts.

DarkStorm calls Oryx Industries and agrees to meet with tech magnate James Orex, one of several influential Hamiltonians sharing the birthdate of Feb. 27, 1933. His companions don’t trust any of the city’s big corporations. Tim uses his new jetpack to fly ahead, leaving Kyle to drive.

The Stranger explains how some of the team encountered androids, drug dealers, and supervillains in Lepton City and how Erwin72 apparently perished in the destruction of Helix Towers. The Cloaked Quarrel recaps the investigation so far, but Phantasm is nowhere to be seen.

Merlin interviews his three potential apprentices. Priory, the son of Soul Mage, is polished but cocky. Goth Domini is slightly more humble, admitting fallibility, but she seems a bit too knowledgeable about the dark arts. Eager Mihai de Burigny has more academic awareness than practical experience. He is also a member of the local Red and Blue Society.

Thunderbird and Empty Spoon see a rolling mist across the prison yard. A single figure approaches them with a purposeful stride. It turns out to be Erwin72, who wants the chip that was taken from Lepton City!

Agent Schrodinger’s reunion with Rain and Empty Spoon is interrupted by a voice over the loudspeakers, chanting “kydtayn siacca.” Thunderbird recognizes it as the spell used to animate a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and that the ~1,000 dead convicts are about to be turned into an undead army.

Bioroid Erwin tries to block vents with his suit jacket, and Thunderbird shifts into giant eagle form and blows the external speakers with a sonic scream. Mystical monk Empty Spoon is briefly dumbstruck and then races around to find the corpses, most of which are in the gymnasium. He considers flooding the buildings, and Thunderbird knocks down power lines.

The trio also finds warden Richard Gladstone in his office, with a small burn through his head, probably from a laser. Three helicopters approach, reminding the crime fighters of previous skirmishes at the jail. One blasts a hole in the gym wall, and zombies in orange jumpsuits start to stream out.

Thunderbird flies out and recognizes an Oryx Industries logo. She clears some of the fog with another sonic blast. Erwin72 aims his pistol and creates duplicates of himself. Empty Spoon bends the winds to remove air from the first chopper’s cabin, knocking out its pilots.

The Cloaked Quarrel, the Stranger, and Merlin arrive, followed by DarkStorm. Sniper Cloaked Quarrel and armored DarkStorm tie building doors shut, delaying the escape of the reanimated. The Stranger creates dark portals to grab the pilots from the crashing copter.

Merlin’s heir and namesake recognizes the spell and indignantly realizes that it was culled from recordings of a museum flash mob. The second helicopter blasts the first one, and Thunderbird is struck by shrapnel.

Erwin72 drops some of the zombies with headshots. Empty Spoon redirects the winds to hold back the masses in the gym and to deflect an incoming missile. Unfortunately, it destroys DarkStorm’s beloved sports car.

DarkStorm flies out to the second and third helicopters and the U.S. Army officers tell him that they were chasing a stolen Oryx Industries copter with live military-grade weaponry. They also say reinforcements are on the way, and DarkStorm warns them to watch out for zombies — er, biohazards — and recommends incinerating the bodies.

Kyle runs to girlfriend Rain to help remove the shrapnel once she’s back in human form. He calls over military medics as they arrive. Merlin successfully casts a counterspell, de-animating the undead. The magician then summons his would-be adepts and asks them to track down whoever set the recording and killed Gladstone.

DarkStorm learns that Maggie Orex, his girlfriend who was once brainwashed into being a Devil Doll, has disappeared. Tim takes off, and Empty Spoon follows. Erwin 72 tells the others that his memories and personality were retrieved from a Gold Cross MMDS chip and put into a museum-piece body 25 years after some Eighth Legionnaires visited Lepton City.

As his world slid toward destruction, Erwin says, desperate measures including reactivating him and taking power from the captured Maxwell’s Demon to send him back through time and dimensions. The “quintum” chip retrieved from Helix Towers could act as a skeleton key among dimensions, granting whoever has it great power and the ability to destroy universes.

The Red Right Hand, a violent vigilante and trusted ally, calls the Cloaked Quarrel on a burner cell phone. Amid sounds of battle, he says to find him. Merlin casts a locator spell and finds him at the Stevens Inneman Refractory Co. (SIRC) warehouse above the Eighth Legion’s secret base.

Thunderbird carries the Cloaked Quarrel, and the Stranger takes Erwin72, who leaves some copies behind with Merlin’s apprentices, on his shadowy steed Gabriel. Empty Spoon again flies ahead. The group decides to enter from below, through the abandoned subway station near its base.

The superheroes find 20 dead Devil Dolls, women wrapped in bandages with mind-controlling Indian Head candies in their mouths. DarkStorm comes and is relieved to learn that Maggie isn’t among them.

The Red Right Hand is also dead, and the Cloaked Quarrel unmasks him, revealing Sgt. Scott Scowronski, a police contact of DarkStorm. He has a handprint burned onto his face, echoing the verses found in the adolescent notes of Franz Keidel’s, a.k.a. reclusive programmer and possible mastermind Frank Zorn.

Merlin examines Maggie’s phone, found in a pile outside. It uses a signal on an Atlantean wavelength, roughly corresponding to the same area as the German U-boat visited by the recently defeated “Technoluminati.” Merlin’s three recruits also determine that Scowronski was killed by a member of the Red and Blue Society, but not Mihai.

The Cloaked Quarrel takes the remaining candies from the antique Indian Head vending machine, which DarkStorm happily smashes. Thunderbird makes an anonymous call to law enforcement authorities.

Erwin72 and Empty Spoon observe that, based on the evidence, likely foes have enhanced strength, kinetic force powers, lasers, elemental control, and flaming hands. DarkStorm agrees to return the quintum processor to Erwin and arranges to meet James Orex at his lab to get it.

However, the Eighth Legion finds Orex’s car empty and a guard turned to sulfur. As the costumed crew enters the Oryx Industries facility around 11:00 p.m., it hears someone down an elevator shaft say that it’s expected.

Erwin72 looks down another elevator shaft and is shot at by a woman with an amulet. Thunderbird, back in eagle form, begins climbing down a cable. Invisible assassin Rasayana [“Alchemy”] stabs her in the wing.

DarkStorm grapples with a woman made of living ruby – Kuruntam [“Ruby”], while the Cloaked Quarrel and Empty Spoon take stairs down at super speed, past the sounds of gunfire. They spy a pair of shadows that had escaped during one of the Stranger’s teleports.

The Stranger dodges Kuruntam. A flying skull with flowing hair, Vetala [“Spirit”] attacks Merlin and makes him phase through the floor. Erwin72 leaps and grabs the amulet from Ani Patel, a.k.a. Gandahka [“Brimstone”]. Thunderbird unleashes a sonic scream at Rasayana.

DarkStorm and Kuruntam slam each other into walls, while the Cloaked Quarrel and Empty Spoon return from sublevel 9. The Stranger tries to aid DarkStorm, and Erwin runs from Vetala. Thunderbird charges at Vetala.

Merlin manages to stop sinking through floors and returns to corporeal form. Empty Spoon knocks out Gandahka, and the Cloaked Quarrel fires a sticky bolt at Vetala, briefly muting her. The Stranger begins forming a shadowy whip.

DarkStorm trades blows with Kuruntam, eventually incapacitating her. Merlin returns, but Rasayana has escaped. Vetala breaks from her gag, but the Cloaked Quarrel’s stunning bolt takes down the last of the three members of “One and Manifold.”

After they’ve been restrained, the Eighth Legionnaires interrogate the three India-based supervillainesses. DarkStorm starts smacking people around, but the Cloaked Quarrel gets some information with conversation.

Patel seems ignorant of James or Maggie Orex, despite the fact that her team was attacking an Oryx Industries facility. She seems impervious to threats of violence because One and Manifold has been promised immortality by the as-yet-unidentified mastermind (suspected to be Franz Keidel/Frank Zorn).

The women do mention seeing a woman with flame powers (maybe Inferna?) and that the malevolent plan to unravel Hamilton — and the multiverse — will unfold over the next few weeks….

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"Glassworks: the Devil's Den" Session 4
"Zorniacs and Erwinator"

Fellow role-players, here are Jason’s and Gene’s notes for “Glassworks” Session 3.4, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 17 March 2014:

“The Eighth Legion,” Player Characters for Jason E.R.’s Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, using Icons (previously DarkPages and the Cortex: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game), as of spring 2014:

  • “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-male metahuman, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, armored vigilante, and team leader at subway base
  • “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American, exiled demigod able to change into a giant eagle, onetime park ranger now working in a pet shop
  • Matthew Shanks / Merlin [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy; member of Hamilton’s mystical Conclave
  • “Samuel Adams Jackson/ The Stranger [Beruk A.]-male human Buffalo Soldier released from Purgatory, time-displaced bounty hunter with dark force manipulation and shadowy steed Gabriel (from Gene’s Mutants & Masterminds: “Drake’s Port” and Josh’s Dresden Files: “Dallas” scenarios)
  • “Erwin Schrodinger/ Erwin72 [Brian W.]-male replicant, law enforcer from an alternate timeline with the ability to tap alternate dimensions
  • Empty Spoon [Rich C.G.]-male metahuman, Tibetan refugee with mystical air control (apologies to Avatar: the Last Airbender/Legend of Korra) and speed, seeking revenge for the destruction of his monastery
  • “Adriana Novak/ Phantasm [Brian S.]-female metahuman, former magician’s assistant turned permanently invisible; used the power of illusions to commit crimes but trying to turn over a new leaf

“Hamliton, Del., 30 to 31 January 2014:” The heroes known as the “Eighth Legion” pursued leads to stopping a mysterious mastermind’s plot across parallel dimensions. In Hamilton, the Cloaked Quarrel, Thunderbird, and Phantasm saw a submarine carrying the “Technoluminati” be taken out to sea and questioned Stevens Inneman Refractory Co. (SIRC) employee Harvey Thorn.

Meanwhile, in the alternate universe of Lepton City, Erwin72, the Stranger, DarkStorm, and Empty Spoon met mobsters at the Iron Orchid Migraine Cabaret and fought Maxwell’s Demon at the Helix Towers.

In Hamilton, the Cloaked Quarrel and Thunderbird return to their secret base of operations in an abandoned subway station. Merlin, who has been interviewing potential apprentices, is surprised to learn from Kyle that SIRC robots have taken trophies from their base and from Rain that members of the mystical Conclave are leaving the city.

At Helix Towers, the Stranger tries to blind the glowing Maxwell’s Demon with a patch of darkness. Erwin72 chases Jani Gold, who is trying to steal an advanced computer processor from a safe. DarkStorm punches Maxwell’s Demon through another floor, causing more structural damage.

Empty Spoon, a.k.a. “Saffron Lightning,” leaps down after the so-called demon. DarkStorm hangs onto him, “riding the lightning.” However, once he’s out of the force field protecting the bridge vault, Maxwell’s Demon regains his powers.

Merlin conducts some online research about reclusive video game programmer Frank Zorn, whom is suspected of being able to see possible futures as well as a murderous mastermind. Matthew notices that one entry has been edited by Ernest Gutner, a German “Zorniac” or fan last seen at the Baylus Art Museum shortly after it was robbed by the Technoluminati.

The occultist also notices that “Zorn” is German for “wrath” and is probably a pseudonym. He, Kyle, and Rain go to the museum and pose as college journalists to interview Jeanne Baylus. She says that the exhibit of classic games will continue and that Gutner has been helpful. Baylus also notes that the young man can be found at Hamilton’s hall of records.

Over in Lepton City, gunslinger the Stranger creates portals of darkness to teleport down. Gold pulls out her twin Zero-Approach Kafka-Cell hand cannons, forcing local law enforcer Erwin72 to dodge. Armored DarkStorm and martial artist Saffron Lightning continue chasing Maxwell’s Demon, even as the huge Helix Towers start to collapse around them.

Gold shoots at Erwin, presses buttons on the vault, and disappears! Saffron Lightning and DarkStorm slam into Maxwell’s Demon, rendering him unconscious. The skyscraper crashes down, destroying several city blocks. The Stranger later finds pieces of bioroid Erwin72 in the wreckage.

Gold reappears next to the vault, and DarkStorm knocks her out. Tim realizes that the combination lock displaces people through time unless they press the right combination of tiles [see Quirkle ]. He, Sam, and Empty Spoon figure out the moves, and open the safe. It releases a mutagenic phase cloud, so the Stranger must retrieve a metal briefcase.

From the Baylus Museum, the Cloaked Quarrel, Thunderbird, and Merlin head to the municipal archives. Merlin casts a locator spell, which finds the submarine with the Technoluminati beached in a remote area of southern New Jersey. The Cloaked Quarrel agrees to a road trip and calls blogger Conchita Melendez.

She points out that more people are connected by the birth date of Feb. 27, 1933. Not only was fugitive SIRC employee Harvey Thorn born on that date, but so was Rosa Gualtero, who was rescued by the Black Hat [Gene D.], who allegedly traveled back to 1942 [see Jason’s “DarkPages: The Gate With Dreadful Faces” one-shot].

In addition, Russian mobster Viktor Ozerov, magnate D.J. Sharrif, and tech boss James Orex share that birth date!

Gutner does prove helpful, and Kyle again poses as a fellow student and Zorniac to persuade him to share his research on Zorn’s true identity. Together, they find a Franz Keidel born to Richard Keidel and Rosa Gualtero in 1962 in a house in suburban Fairmont. Before going to New Jersey, the Cloaked Quarrel, Thunderbird, and Merlin take Gutner to the house.

As emergency response units and other synthetic humanoids arrive at the ruins of Helix Towers, DarkStorm turns Maxwell’s Demon and Jani Gold over to the local authorities. The Stranger is unable to find enough remains of Erwin72 to heal. Saffron Lightning leads the way back to the ship on which they arrived in this world.

As they drive to Fairmont, the Cloaked Quarrel and company make some phone calls. He warns the Red Right Hand, a helpful but violent vigilante, that something big is coming. Kyle also tells warden Richard Gladstone to secure the corpses of prisoners killed during a second incident at the James T. Vaughn Sr. Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del.

The same spell used to animate a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton at a natural history museum might be used to create an undead criminal army. Gladstone says he’ll call Sgt. Scott Scowronski, his man at the morgue. Merlin reviews his applicants: well-connected Mihai de Burigny; Priory, recommended by his father, Soul Mage; and natural talent Domini.

The trio finds the Keidel-Gualtero house uninhabited. The Cloaked Quarrel, Thunderbird, and Merlin talk Gutner into joining their search inside. It looks like Franz’s parents left some time ago, but the outside of the house is still maintained, and it still has electricity.

An antique desktop computer and a high school binder provide the only clues — juvenilia concerning “Dexter Crimson: Private Investigator.” They’re enough to confirm that Franz Keidel became Frank Zorn and that he had the ability to perceive across time from an early age. The group also finds a Masonic bible.

The would-be heroes drop off Guttner and the laptop, swear him to secrecy, and head after the Icefish, the World War II sub that shadows released by the Stranger had taken to the site of a sunken German U-boat.

In New Jersey, Merlin casts a spell drawing DarkStorm and Empty Spoon back to their home plane of existence. Reunited, the “Eighth Legion” approaches the beached vessel and looks for signs of the Technoluminati. One soon appears in the form of a flash grenade!

The Cloaked Quarrel, the Stranger, and Merlin are briefly incapacitated by Flashbang, a former cohort of Phantasm before Silverfish set her straight. DarkStorm tries to fire Gold’s gun but finds that it’s DNA-locked.

Empty Spoon takes down fellow speedster Ricochet, who drops a case. Former super soldier DarkStorm then chases Flashbang, and arcanist Merlin casts a lightning bolt. Gabriel, the Stranger’s shadowy steed, turns into a normal horse, thanks to Mundane’s power drain.

The Cloaked Quarrel uses his custom crossbows to fire a sticky bolt at Mundane, but the sniper’s flare bolt is deflected. Blackout uses a force field to evade the Stranger. Empty Spoon ties up Ricochet.

DarkStorm finally knocks down Flashbang, and Blackout only briefly eludes the team in the woods. Empty Spoon calls for local police and waits with the three supervillains. The submarine is empty, but the case contains a 9-rotor Enigma code machine.

Because the unidentified mastermind’s plans for Hamilton are still unfolding, everyone but Empty Spoon and the prisoners heads back to Hamilton. The Cloaked Quarrel calls Gutner, who says that the old computer contained two quotes:

“Already the Father has sent enough of snow and
dreadful hail upon the earth, and having hurled with
his red right hand his thunderbolts at the sacred citadels,
has terrified the City.”
-Horace’s Odes 1:2

“What if the breath that kindl’d those grim fires
Awak’d should blow them into sevenfold rage
And plunge us in the flames? Or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arms again
His red right hand to plague us all?”
-Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” 170-174

The Cloaked Quarrel is disturbed to hear a seeming reference to the Red Right Hand, but he agrees that the verses confirm that Keidel/Zorn has had apocalyptic visions and must somehow be stopped.

DarkStorm plans to take the data from the SIRC machines and check it with the code machine, while Merlin hopes to use magic to track down the current location of “Wrath.” Swift Thunderbird and Empty Spoon are sent to check on the prison morgue, as the Chinese Year of the Dragon fast approaches….

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"Glassworks: the Devil's Den" Session 3
Arrival in Lepton City

Fellow role-players, here are Gene’s notes for Session 3.3 of Jason’s “Glassworks” superhero scenario, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 24 February 2014:

“The Eighth Legion,” Player Characters for Jason E.R.’s Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, using Icons (previously DarkPages and the Cortex: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game), as of spring 2014:

  • “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-male metahuman, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, armored vigilante, and team leader at subway base
  • “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American, exiled demigod able to change into a giant eagle, onetime park ranger now working in a pet shop
  • Matthew Shanks / Merlin [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy; member of Hamilton’s mystical Conclave
  • “Samuel Adams Jackson/ The Stranger [Beruk A.]-male human Buffalo Soldier released from Purgatory, time-displaced bounty hunter with dark force manipulation and shadowy steed Gabriel (from Gene’s Mutants & Masterminds: “Drake’s Port” and Josh’s Dresden Files: “Dallas” scenarios)
  • “Erwin Schrodinger/ Erwin72 [Brian W.]-male replicant, law enforcer from an alternate timeline with the ability to tap alternate dimensions
  • Empty Spoon [Rich C.G.]-male metahuman, Tibetan refugee with mystical air control (apologies to Avatar: the Last Airbender/Legend of Korra) and speed, seeking revenge for the destruction of his monastery
  • “Adriana Novak/ Phantasm [Brian S.]-female metahuman, former magician’s assistant turned permanently invisible; used the power of illusions to commit crimes but trying to turn over a new leaf

“Hamliton, Del., 29 to 31 January 2014:” The “Eighth Legion” responded to prison breaks and the tripartite threat of mysterious criminal schemes. At Sharp Harbor, the superhero squad was split in two when some members apparently blinked out of existence.

The Cloaked Quarrel uses a new glue bolt to block the periscope of the U.S.S. Icefish, a retired submarine boarded by the “Technoluminati.” Thunderbird rips open a hatch, but the criminals can only be heard scampering around the metal decks.

Phantasm, who was once a member of the “Technoluminati,” creates an illusion of the Stranger, Erwin72, DarkStorm, and Empty Spoon in case they’re being watched. Merlin is called away by mystical affairs.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, the World War II cargo ship Bullock appears in Lepton City’s Sharp District. Maxwell’s Demon, clad in a glowing yellow suit, flies off, leaving the Eighth Legionnaires to answer to multiple Erwins, synthetic law-enforcement agents.

Erwin72 asks the Stranger to create multiple shadowy portals as a diversion. DarkStorm is ready to fight, and Empty Spoon holds the officers at bay with gusts of wind. The other bioroids say they are hunting Anomaly S48, whom Erwin72 identifies as Maxwell’s Demon.

Aboard the U.S.S. Icefish, the Cloaked Quarrel calls out to Blackout, Flashbang, Mundane, and Ricochet to surrender, but they seal themselves in a compartment. Three spirits, which were released when the Stranger had teleported through their dimension, enter the sub and surround it with a dark haze.

Phantasm notifies the local authorities of problems at the harbor, and Thunderbird takes flight to survey the scene. The Cloaked Quarrel drops his cell phone into the sub, even as the shadows prevent water from entering and take the vessel out.

The young archer, shapeshifter, and illusionist return to the “Fortress of Fortitude,” their base in an abandoned subway station. Kyle reminds Rain and Adriana that they have an appointment the next morning with Harvey Thorne, a person of interest at Stevens Inneman Refractory Co. (SIRC).

In Lepton City, Erwin72 quickly explains to the Stranger, DarkStorm, and Empty Spoon that he is one of four models. The Rudolph uses its ability to see the future to strategize, and the Alex synths patrol and command. The Joe, which has tactical precognition, is designed for rapid response.

Erwin72, a.k.a. Agent Schrodinger, manages to keep his extraplanar companions from being arrested. Rudolph62 says that Maxwell’s Demon is a “dimensional lacuna” and agrees to let the Eighth Legionnaires help hunt the supervillain before destabilization spreads.

DarkStorm finds a reassembled video game console whose components the Technoluminati had stolen. It eerily parallels his team’s current situation. The armored vigilante hands over the computer parts to Rudloph62 for analysis.

Time-displaced gunslinger the Stranger and monk Empty Spoon are confused by talk of Schrodinger’s research into singularities and quantum entanglement.

The next morning in Hamilton, Kyle, Rain, and Adriana don business clothes and go to SIRC’s Cobalt Tower downtown. Secretary Abigail Williams shows them to an oak-lined office with nautical decor.

Harvey Thorne, a 30-year veteran at SIRC who served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, quickly sees through their disguise as real estate developers interested in the Fairmont neighborhood, home to a mysterious financial processing center (and the Fortress of Fortitude).

Adriana says that they’re actually interns sent by a SIRC competitor. Thorne wonders aloud if it’s the Eden Institute, D.J. Sharrif, or Oryx Industries, and Kyle indicates that he has connections with Oryx (actually through DarkStorm). Confident Thorne still agrees to give them a tour of the facility that afternoon.

The crime fighters return to their underground base and decide to open a nearby hatch into the SIRC building ahead of their tour. The Cloaked Quarrel, Thunderbird, and Phantasm find a huge warehouse full of servers and dot-matrix printers.

One spews names, Social Security numbers, and addresses, all with the birth date of 27 February 1933 (possibly Thorne’s). Another antique printer reels off seemingly random equations ending in a null set. They take some of the reams of paper for further study.

Beneath Lepton City’s glittering skyline, the fearless foursome hunts for Frank Zorn, the lead programmer for the video games and a suspect in a meticulous but insane plan back in Hamilton.

The Stranger, Erwin72, DarkStorm, and Empty Spoon go to the Iron Orchid Migraine Cabaret, a “vein arcade” or nightclub. Numerous drugs, such as Coma Plus, Friendzy, Merge, Shadow Fury, and Soar, are available, apparently legally.

The intoxicated humans give Erwin a wide berth as he leads the way to a roped-off area. The Eighth Legionnaires meet a strange group of criminals. Jani Gold is a statuesque enforcer with big guns (Zero Approach Kafkacell Hand Cannons), and Remmer uses his skills to raise money.

The Scholar [Gene/Non-Player Character], in 18th century garb, provides backing and legitimacy. Aurora Stevens [Sara/N.P.C.] is a young courier under the wing of mob boss Adriana Novak [Brian S./N.P.C.], a nonpowered alternate of Phantasm!

Novak seems bemused by Erwin72’s request for help finding Maxwell’s Demon or Zorn. The Scholar compliments the Stranger on his fashion sense, but Empty Spoon doesn’t trust the would-be revolutionaries.

Tim considers Novak’s offer for the newcomers to conduct a heist: to obtain a quantum chip guarded by a logic puzzle in a Helix Tower safe. DarkStorm’s companions disagree.

In the SIRC server farm, the Cloaked Quarrel, Thunderbird, and Phantasm see a monitor displaying footage of people touching a large bone and chanting “kydtayn siacca.” The archer and eagle shaman recognize that as the invocation of a flash mob at the Ramseir Museum of Natural History, where the late Erichtho once animated a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.

The trio tries to leave, but they are surrounded by security robots. Rather than fight, the Cloaked Quarrel leads the way through the hatch and runs toward the surface rather than lead the droids back to their base. Kyle, Rain, and Adriana separate to continue their investigations.

Rain goes to Harrow House, an orphanage for master-less familiars, to talk with Rebekah Dejardines about the chant. The enchantress says that senior members of Hamilton’s mystical Conclave are leaving the city. Kyle tracks his cell phone and the Icefish to the site of a sunken World War II U-boat.

Adriana seeks out Silverfish, the superhero who set her straight, but finds his snotty sidekick Firebrat instead. He looks at the equation printouts and says they’re related to quantum fields, brane theory and N-dimensional space.

Speaking of alternate dimensions, the other Eighth Legionnaires decide to leave the Iron Orchid. As “Saffron Lightning,” Empty Spoon uses super speed to snatch Aurora for further questioning by DarkStorm at one of Erwin72’s safe houses. Aurora mentions District Fatima, which might be parallel to Hamilton’s wealthy widow of D.J. Sharif.

The interrogation is interrupted when Erwin learns of a sighting of Maxwell’s Demon at Helix Tower. The glowing anomaly is apparently unable to get through an invisible barrier around the massive skyscraper.

Empty Spoon blasts the demon with air and jumps off the tower as he falls. The Stranger throws shadow bolos but misses, and DarkStorm joins him on shadowy steed Gabriel in riding vertically down the twisting tower. Erwin72 aims at their foe and notices that Jani Gold has entered the building, presumably also to steal the chip.

Saffron Lightning stops their descent by smashing Maxwell’s Demon through a window. The supervillain disintegrates part of the tower in an attempt to get away. Erwin72 and Gold slide down the tower, and the Stranger teleports himself and DarkStorm so that Gabriel can try to trample Maxwell’s Demon.

In Hamilton, Kyle, Rain, and Adriana meet Harvey Thorne and feign ignorance during their tour of the SIRC data center. Thorne looks around for robots but doesn’t see any. He panics when the Red Right Hand, a violent vigilante, appears with a manila folder.

Thorne confesses that his boss, Frank Zorn, has been using SIRC as a front and has been buying up exotic technologies. In return for sparing his life, Thorne is compelled to say nothing of their meeting and to inform them if he hears more from Zorn.

The Cloaked Quarrel thanks the Red Right Hand, with whom he has previously worked, for his help taking out the robots and warns him that a major criminal enterprise is about to happen. The sniper, Thunderbird, and Phantasm return to their base and aren’t surprised to see that a vending machine, which once dispensed dangerous Indian Head candies and more recently held a Devil Doll dagger trophy, has been removed by the robots.

In Lepton City, DarkStorm punches Anomaly S48 through the floor. Maxwell’s Demon tries to slam him in return, and the Stranger throws his shadowy bolas. Erwin72 pursues Jani Gold, who is in an ascending elevator. Will the two superhero teams be able to stop the unfolding cross-dimensional horrors in time?

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"Glassworks: the Devil's Den" Session 2
"Fortress of Fortitude"

“The Eighth Legion,” Player Characters for Jason E.R.’s Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, using Icons (previously DarkPages and the Cortex: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game), as of spring 2014:

  • “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-male metahuman, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, armored vigilante, and team leader at subway base
  • “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American, exiled demigod able to change into a giant eagle, onetime park ranger now working in a pet shop
  • Matthew Shanks / Merlin [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy; member of Hamilton’s mystical Conclave
  • “Samuel Adams Jackson/ The Stranger [Beruk A.]-male human Buffalo Soldier released from Purgatory, time-displaced bounty hunter with dark force manipulation and shadowy steed Gabriel (from Gene’s Mutants & Masterminds: “Drake’s Port” and Josh’s Dresden Files: “Dallas” scenarios)
  • “Erwin Schrodinger/ Erwin72 [Brian W.]-male replicant, law enforcer from an alternate timeline with the ability to tap alternate dimensions
  • Empty Spoon [Rich C.G.]-male metahuman, Tibetan refugee with mystical air control (apologies to Avatar: the Last Airbender/Legend of Korra) and speed, seeking revenge for the destruction of his monastery
  • “Adriana Novak/ Phantasm [Brian S.]-female metahuman, former magician’s assistant turned permanently invisible; used the power of illusions to commit crimes but trying to turn over a new leaf

“Hamliton, Delaware, 28 to 29 January 2014:” After preventing a prison breakout and fighting supervillains working for a mysterious new mastermind, members of the Eighth Legion regrouped at their secret subway base.

The Cloaked Quarrel, the Stranger, Erwin72, and Empty Spoon tell DarkStorm, Thunderbird, Merlin, and newcomer Phantasm about how they learned of rumors of a criminal mastermind plotting a three-stage attack on their city.

Erwin72 and Thunderbird go back to the secret metahuman prison beneath Hamilton’s Korean War Memorial downtown to try to track Inferna and Maxwell’s Demon, who escaped. Inferna’s molten footprints fade after several steps, suggesting that she shifted back to human form.

The Cloaked Quarrel texts Conchita Melendez, a blogger following the vigilante community. She tells him that Maxwell’s Demon was a member of the “Seventh Legion,” a previous band of colorful characters. The demon apparently wore a glowing yellow gargoyle costume and was also known as “Anomaly S48,” with the power of “quantum manipulation.”

DarkStorm contacts police detective Scott Scowronski and learns that Dmitri Chesnokov, a former colonel in the Russian Spetsnaz (special forces) and recent employee of mob boss Viktor Ozerov, is being held at the James T. Vaughn Sr. Correctional Center.

Scowronski also says that the Stevens Inneman Refractory Co. (SIRC) had a false alarm a few years ago, but its building in the Fairmont neighborhood has had no other incidents.

The Stranger explains that a hatch in a tunnel near the “Fortress of Fortitude” led to a SIRC financial center that strangely lists only one employee. Harvey Thorne is a 30-year veteran who has an address in Kings Gate. Secretary Abigail Williams calls Kyle, who posed as a real estate developer, to move up his appointment with Thorne to 8:00 a.m. the next morning.

The Eighth Legion splits into three squads. DarkStorm, the Cloaked Quarrel, Empty Spoon, and one of Erwin’s duplicates drive to the prison to interrogate “The Colonel.” The Stranger, Thunderbird, and another Erwin go to the South Market to shake down criminals to find out more about the mastermind.

Merlin, Phantasm, and yet another parallel Erwin go to Sharp Harbor to visit three old ships said to be involved in one of the meticulous but insane schemes. The vessels are the U.S.S. Superior, a frigate from the War of 1812; the Icefish (SS-367), a World War II Balao-class submarine; and the Bullock (AK-165), a WWII Alanosa-class cargo vessel. The last ship also served in the Turkish merchant marine, was renamed the S.S. Edime, and was refurbished by tobacco firm D.J. Sharif.

At the Vaughn jail in suburban Smyrna, Del., the Cloaked Quarrel talks with warden Richard Gladstone, who is grudgingly grateful for heroic help stopping the recent breakout attempt. The Cloaked Quarrel manages to resist the temptation to taunt personal nemesis Palmetto.

DarkStorm questions Chesnokov and pretends to be a sympathetic super-soldier, at least until the Colonel sees Empty Spoon looking into the holding cell.

At South Market, the Stranger pulls his revolver on a local drug dealer. He pulls him into an alley, then into a pocket of darkness. Thunderbird shifts to avian form to follow, even as startled bystanders record the incident with their smartphones.

At Sharp Harbor, Merlin and Erwin take a tour of the three antique warships, while Phantasm slips away from the group to explore the Edime’s cargo hold. She finds five stripped-down video game cabinets and vending machines that dispense Devil’s Head candy.

Col. Cheznokov tells DarkStorm that Empty Spoon fought well and that his newest boss pays generously. The mercenary declines DarkStorm’s counteroffer and asks for the time, confident that he’ll soon be released.

The Stranger dangles the druggie, who says that a flash mob is planned for the Ramseir Museum of Natural History, the site of previous misadventures. As the three teams compare notes, word comes over the police scanner of mass trauma at the museum.

The Eighth Legionnaires race to the scene, where several people appear to be suffering seizures and are bleeding from their mouths. Thunderbird smells tomatoes and guesses that these pranksters are the flash mob. Phantasm projects an avatar and talks with the police, while Empty Spoon quickly searches the museum.

From the renovated glass dome, the martial artist can see people gathering around a Tyrannosaurus Rex and chanting. The late Erichtho (a.k.a. Anna Lucia Schizzitano) once animated that skeleton during an attempted heist of a jade dagger. The remaining flash mobbers disperse.

However, another alarm has gone off at the Baylus Museum of Science and Technology, and the police radio says those guarding the 1,200 inmates at the Vaughn facility are again in danger. DarkStorm takes Thunderbird, Empty Spoon, and an Erwin to the prison.

The Cloaked Quarrel takes the Stranger, Merlin, Phantasm, and another Erwin to the Baylus Museum, and yet another version of Erwin heads back to Sharp Harbor to make sure the ships are secure.

Another helicopter sits in the prison yard, this time a larger military model. In avian form, Thunderbird unleashes a sonic scream and pecks at the cockpit, scaring the pilots.

Speedster Empty Spoon runs into Inferna, who sends fiery blasts at him and armored DarkStorm. Erwin leaps to catch up, and gunslinger Stranger’s shadowy steed Gabriel tries to trample the villainess.

DarkStorm draws his shotgun, but neither his bullets nor Empty Spoon’s air control affect Inferna. She gets away, and DarkStorm is surprised to find that both guards and prisoners appear to have died, bleeding from the mouth like the flash mob foreshadowed. Thunderbird finds a remote detonation device in the helicopter, more evidence of a diabolical plan.

Erwin suspects a Rudolph-series replicant, whose precognition was used to enforce the law in his home dimension. DarkStorm and Thunderbird wait for more state troopers to arrive, while Empty Spoon rides the winds to join the Erwin at the docks.

Meanwhile, at the Baylus Museum, sniper Cloaked Quarrel and company see Jeanne Baylus talking to police. She explains that “Pixels,” a special exhibit of 1980s video game consoles, has been robbed.

Phantasm notices a dazzle disc on the ground and recognizes it as a souvenir from Flashbang, a former colleague in the “Technoluminati.” Illusionist Phantasm tells her new companions that the group probably conducted the heist and includes Flashbang, dark force manipulator Blackout, reflective speedster Ricochet, and power drainer Mundane.

Wizard Merlin and duplicate Erwin examine the captions in the exhibit curated by Ernest Gutner. They describe the Hamilton Gaming Co., before eventually being sold to D.J. Sharrif. The lead programmer was one Frank Zorn, who created several best-selling video games from 1980 to 1984 before disappearing.

Strangely, characters in those games, such as “The Devil’s Den,” seem to predict the Eighth Legionnaires! Over the radio, the Stranger speculates that somehow Harvey Thorne and Frank Zorn are the same person, and Erwin says that the as-yet-unidentified mastermind might be able to see the future.

Merlin casts a spell and determines that the game parts have been taken to Sharp Harbor. The Stranger, Merlin, and Empty Spoon argue over where to go next in trying to thwart the hidden mastermind’s plans.

The Erwin incarnation there reports that he sees the Technoluminati leaving the S.S. Edime and boarding the Icefish. The entire Eighth Legion converges on the ships.

Erwin notices the Technoluminati checking their watches. The Cloaked Quarrel and Empty Spoon head toward the sub. However, Maxwell’s Demon appears and begins to phase out with the cargo vessel.

DarkStorm, the Stranger, Erwin72, and Empty Spoon jump onto the Edime as it vanishes, leaving the Cloaked Quarrel, Thunderbird, Merlin, and Phantasm with the Technoluminati on the Icefish….

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"Glassworks: the Devil's Den" Session 1
Breakout!

Fellow role-players, here are Jason’s and Gene’s notes for Session 3.1 of the “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, which Rich hosted in Waltham, Mass., on Monday, 27 January 2014:

Hamilton remembers when its streets were rough and newly trod. When its people slept in peace and dreamed of tomorrow. It wakes at night, a jagged ghost dulled to the sounds of gunfire, the smell of smoke, the touch of razor wire. It weeps, and the sky opens with a roar. It’s raining in the city, and the gods are going to war.

Glassworks is set in the city of Hamilton, an urban sprawl on the eastern seaboard of North America. Glassworks is inspired by occult noir, hardboiled crime fiction, pulp adventure and gritty, street-level cop dramas. Its themes explore the allure of immortality, the shadows of the past, the fear of death and the corruption of power.

“The Eighth Legion,” Player Characters for Jason E.R.’s Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, using Icons (previously DarkPages and the Cortex: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game), as of spring 2014:

  • “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-male metahuman, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, armored vigilante, and team leader at subway base
  • “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American, exiled demigod able to change into a giant eagle, onetime park ranger now working in a pet shop
  • Matthew Shanks / Merlin [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy; member of Hamilton’s mystical Conclave
  • “Samuel Adams Jackson/ The Stranger [Beruk A.]-male human Buffalo Soldier released from Purgatory, time-displaced bounty hunter with dark force manipulation and shadowy steed Gabriel (from Gene’s Mutants & Masterminds: “Drake’s Port” and Josh’s Dresden Files: “Dallas” scenarios)
  • “Erwin Schrodinger/ Erwin72 [Brian W.]-male replicant, law enforcer from an alternate timeline with the ability to tap alternate dimensions
  • Empty Spoon [Rich C.G.]-male metahuman, Tibetan refugee with mystical air control (apologies to Avatar: the Last Airbender/Legend of Korra) and speed, seeking revenge for the destruction of his monastery
  • “Adriana Novak/ Phantasm [Brian S.]-female metahuman, former magician’s assistant turned permanently invisible; used the power of illusions to commit crimes but trying to turn over a new leaf

“Hamliton, Delaware, 20 to 27 January 2014:” About a year has passed since the city’s latest superhero group pursued an arson investigation that uncovered kidnappings, corporate intrigues, mob wars, and supernatural conspiracies.

The Cloaked Quarrel welcomes newcomers to the “Eighth Legion’s” headquarters, an abandoned subway station. The Stranger, Erwin72, and Empty Spoon look around as the Cloaked Quarrel explains how the Jade Bow Affair brought his team to Inneman Station in Fairmont.

During the hunt for the cintomanni, or dragon pearl, the young crossbowman and company found dragon hunter King Naga and the indomitable Harrier, deceased members of a previous generation of mystery men and women. They eventually learned that murderous vigilante Red Planet was in love with shaman Kittaguka.

The subway station contains a few trophies, including a machine dispensing Indian Head candies. The dangerous sweets have been replaced by a Devil Doll dagger. The Hamilton Candy Co. was later bought by D.J. Sharrif, whose widow Fatima seeks to redevelop the Annex.

Meanwhile, DarkStorm works on improving the base of operations, and Merlin and Thunderbird meet with the Conclave, Hamilton’s mystical organization. Phantasm seeks to go straight after encountering Silverfish.

The Cloaked Quarrel struggles to explain how the police scanner, walkie-talkies, and smartphones work to the time-displaced Stranger, Erwin, and Empty Spoon. They recommend searching for alternate exits rather than having to walk back to the Penn Station intersection.

Gunslinger Stranger tries to comprehend modern lifestyles and prejudices, as replicant Erwin72 sends multiples of himself to search nearby tunnels. Martial artist Empty Spoon bends the winds to lift himself to a hatch. The Cloaked Quarrel recommends waiting to open it until they can verify what’s above.

Erwin and the Quarrel check online and find that the Stevens Inneman Refractory Co. (SIRC), a manufacturer of specialty lenses and mirrors, owns the building above the hatch. The company is best known for the cobalt SIRC Tower downtown, which is the unofficial symbol of the city and after which the Hamilton Blue Sox baseball team is named.

The Inneman building above the subway is supposedly home to a financial operations center, but only one employee is based there. Harvey Thorn is a 30-year veteran, and the Cloaked Quarrel poses as a real estate investor to get an appointment with him next week through secretary Abigail Williams.

The Cloaked Quarrel gets a text message from Conchita Melendez, a blogger who tracks costumed heroes and villains. She had worked with the noirish Black Hat [see DarkPages one-shot] and the brutal and secretive Red Right Hand.

Melendez tells the Cloaked Quarrel of rumors of a new player in town recruiting for three intricate schemes. Although the unknown mastermind is allegedly insane, the schemes are so flawlessly planned that villains are buying into the ideas, she says.

The Cloaked Quarrel asks the Stranger to saddle up for a hunt, since the InterWebs can provide only so much information. Erwin looks forward to taking down criminals for interrogation. Empty Spoon offers to visit Kunzang Tenzin, his shifu (teacher) at the “Wheel of Joy” herbal shop in Germantown, since Chinese New Year is coming.

After some discussion, the Cloaked Quarrel takes the rookies to Krasnaya Strela, a Russian restaurant in the style of a railroad car. Kyle Martins dons his civilian garb as a college student but still manages to talk his way past burly bouncers.

Sam A. Jackson’s cowboy hat is a big hit with the Russian mobsters, and Empty Spoon wears a nice Nehru jacket. Agent Shrodinger wears a dark suit and keeps quiet. Kyle greets crime lord Viktor Ozerov, one of the survivors of the recent mob wars.

Ozerov complains that enforcer Ilya Petrovich, code-named Tarakan, has disappeared. Kyle notes that Petrovich is probably catching up with his dysfunctional but powerful family and was among the super soldiers experimented upon with DarkStorm.

In addition, Ozerov’s replacement for Tarakan, Dmitri Cheznokov (aka the Colonel), has also left. Ozerov extends an offer to DarkStorm or the Stranger to serve in his organization. Although the Italian Mafia is decimated and under new leadership [see “Santanica Pandemonium”], Ozerov says that Latino gang La Basura (Monday Garbage Pickup Zone 1) is on the rise.

Cheznokov was a colonel in the Spetsnaz (Russian special forces) and was recruited by the mysterious new mastermind to lead a team. The would-be heroes are surprised to learn that a massive prison break is planned, apparently for the James T. Vaughn Sr. Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del., a suburb near the Annex neighborhood.

Kyle thanks Ozerov for the information and hastily leaves the restaurant. Melendez says that chat discussions have revealed that the mastermind is also looking for people with naval experience.

Hamilton’s Sharp Harbor has three old ships: the U.S.S. Superior, a frigate from the War of 1812; the Ice Fish (SS-367), a World War II Balao-class submarine; and the Bullock (AK-165), a WWII Alanosa-class cargo vessel. The last ship also served in the Turkish merchant marine, was renamed the S.S. Edime, and was refurbished by D.J. Sharif.

The Cloaked Quarrel considers staking out the harbor with Erwin, but the sniper decides instead to take all available heroes to the prison. As night falls on Smyrna, the Stranger creates a dark portal to teleport into a guard tower, releasing shadowy creatures on the way.

Erwin72 gives one of his duplicates his firearm and prepares to talk his way into the prison. At super speed, Empty Spoon reconnoiters the perimeter and finds nothing suspicious. The Cloaked Quarrel’s initial research finds that warden Richard Gladstone has a good record.

A helicopter bearing the state seal arrives. From their perch on a nearby hill, the members of the Eighth Legion see a heavily armed team get out. An electromagnetic pulse grenade douses all lights and electronics in the area.

Erwin reveals that he can jump to anywhere he can see. The Stranger summons his steed Gabriel and rides over the 30-foot tall wall. Empty Spoon levitates on a cushion of air, and the Cloaked Quarrel shoots a grapnel line to get to the prison yard.

Empty Spoon creates a vacuum in the helicopter, incapacitating the pilots. The Cloaked Quarrel uses his mystical crossbows to fire a flare bolt, briefly blinding the raiders with night-vision goggles. The Stranger and Erwin help subdue the armed attackers, and the Cloaked Quarrel explains to the guards surrounding them and Gladstone that he’s one of the good guys.

Empty Spoon hears on the helicopter radio that “the Beta Team is a go,” and the warden tells the Quarrel that there is a secret detention facility beneath Hamilton’s Korean War Memorial. The Eighth Legion races south, across town.

One of stone slabs at the base of the memorial has been moved, and the fearless foursome finds guards being tossed around like rag dolls. They descend a staircase under flickering fluorescent lights, and the Cloaked Quarrel momentarily considers sealing themselves in rather than allowing supervillains to escape.

They descend, and the Cloaked Quarrel recognizes sometime nemesis Palmetto, whose cockroach-like costume has been improved. Whiptail, a woman in a lizard-style outfit complete with a tail, knocks out the remaining guards.

Empty Spoon faces off with Whiptail, as the Stranger shoots with old-fashioned firearms. Erwin72, who has retrieved his pistol, shoots at Whiptail. The Cloaked Quarrel fires a blast bolt, knocking Palmetto down several steps.

Enemy reinforcements arrive. Col. Cheznokov fires at the Empty Spoon with a triple-barreled shotgun. Inferna, a woman wreathed in flames, burns Erwin72, and Palmetto sprays a foul-smelling liquid on the Cloaked Quarrel and the Stranger, knocking them down.

Empty Spoon deafens the villains by manipulating the air around them, and Erwin tries to punch Inferna while sending a parallel to look downstairs. The Stranger shoots at Palmetto and the Spetsnaz colonel.

The Cloaked Quarrel shoots sticky bolts, but they miss. Whiptail evades the Empty Spoon’s fists, as Cheznokov blasts Erwin, whose duplicates disappear when he’s unconscious. The Stranger creates a shadowy chain, as Erwin and the Cloaked Quarrel recover.

Empty Spoon continues deafening their foes, and the Cloaked Quarrel’s fire-extinguishing foam arrow has no effect on Inferna. The flame fatale escapes, even as the Stranger subdues the colonel. The Cloaked Quarrel and Empty Spoon knock out Palmetto and Whiptail, and Erwin secures the colonel.

The Eighth Legionnaires leave Palmetto, Whiptail, and Col. Cheznokov for the authorities and check the cells of the secret superhuman prison. Five cells are intact, with labels indicating their residents: Entropy, Kerbala, Kraken, Lady Snow, and Ouroboros.

However, the sixth one, which held “Maxwell’s Demon,” is empty. The Cloaked Quarrel, the Stranger, Erwin72, and Empty Spoon head back to base for backup, since two other incidents are planned beyond the prison breakout….

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Glassworks Session 6
Dragon Tales

Jason and fellow role-players, here are my belated notes for your last superhero game (for now), which Rich C.G. hosted at his apartment in Waltham, Mass., on Monday, 6 August 2012:

Player Character roster for Jason E.R. “Glassworks” Bronze Age/noir superhero scenario, using the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game (based on Margaret Weis Productions Ltd.’s Cortex system, originally using DarkPages):

  • “Eli Wasserman/ the Amazing Mr. Fantastic [Brian W.]-male metahuman with shadow manipulation, semi-retired superhero and private investigator
  • “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American metahuman park ranger, able to change into an eagle
  • “Matthew Shanks/Merlin” [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy
  • “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-male metahuman super soldier, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, and armored vigilante
  • “Summer Winters/ Santanica Pandemonium [Rich C.G.]-female human nurse and mother/demon with flame powers, newly aware of her dual nature
  • “Ezra Goldman/Daedalus” [Beruk A.]-male metahuman with the ability to temporarily imbue machines with personalities

An assortment of metahumans had gathered to investigate missing persons cases, a string of arsons, and a race for mystical items in Hamilton, Delaware. After a pitched battle with various factions at the South Market docks, the would-be superheroes regroup.

Thunderbird and Merlin go to the remote mountaintop to meet her parents. They tell the young woman that she should finish the job and slay the dragon she recently encountered.

Although tobacco firm D.J. Sharrif has released Eli Wasserman from his investigation of the disappearance of scientist Boyd Burch, the group decides to confront the company’s leadership and phones for a rendezvous.

At the empty Harrier Stadium, DarkStorm and Daedalus wait at an end zone. The Cloaked Quarrell hides in nearby bleachers, and Santanica Pandemonium is ready to take flight from across the stands. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic waits outside to provide backup.

A limousine arrives, and Faisal Marzug gets out. He says that he is authorized to speak on behalf of Ms. Sharrif, but he has no comment on Burch or the conflagration in the South Market. DarkStorm mentions the cintomanni — a.k.a. the “dragon pearl” or Philosopher’s Stone — and says that he knows the location of Mora Petrovich-Burch (whose body has been turned to glass).

Marzug expresses interest, but is interrupted when Santanica recognizes the limo driver as Dr. Ben Nitten, a member of the Coven! “You killed my wife!” shouts the chauffeur, who’s actually possessed by Dream Hunter. Nitten was apparently the husband of the late witch Erechtho, or Anna Lucia Schizzitano, daughter of Tony Schizzitano, a lieutenant in the Galati crime family.

Other members of the “Graveyard Shift” arrive — Shard and Jaguar Knight. Worse still, the costumed vigilantes are affected by a spell that causes their consciousnesses to switch bodies! Armored DarkStorm and mystic archer Cloaked Quarrel trade bodies, as do winged Santanica Pandemonium and gadgeteer Daedalus.

The heroes fumble with remembered skills but suddenly clumsy limbs. The Cloaked Quarrel (in DarkStorm’s body) fires a shotgun at Dream Hunter but is hit by slivers of antimatter from Shard. DarkStorm takes the limo and tries to run over Dream Hunter, who’s in Faisal’s body. Jaguar Knight swings his obsidian-toothed club at Daedalus, who responds with Santanica’s flames.

CQ/DS hits Shard with his/their staff, but Dream Hunter sings, forcing another soul swap. Santanica Pandemonium, now in the Cloaked Quarrel’s body, fires a crossbow bolt at Jaguar Knight.

DarkStorm, now in Santanica’s curvaceous form, hurls hellfire at Shard, who dodges. The Cloaked Quarrel uses Daedalus’ bionic arms to stretch and attack. Shard grabs Jaguar Knight and teleports out, and Dream Hunter disappears. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic calls an ambulance for Faisal and his driver, and the heroes eventually return to their own bodies.

Back at Eli’s office, the adventurers bind their wounds. Kyle points out that even though they didn’t get Faisal or the “Graveyard Shift” to talk much, the stadium skirmish demonstrated that both D.J. Sharrif and the Coven (mystical rivals to Hamilton’s Conclave) are still looking for Mora and the cintomanni.

Merlin and Thunderbird return and agree to a bold plan. They contact Papa Chongo and ask him to spread word that the Jade Warrior’s Panoply will be at the Fountain of Unity.

The Cloaked Quarrel prepares to don the jade breastplate (recovered from the late King Naga), dagger (taken from Erechtho’s museum raid), and helm (which Thunderbird took from the dragon). He already has the remains of the bow from his predecessor, Toxaris the Sniper. Merlin casts an additional psychic ward to protect the Cloaked Quarrel.

Daedalus fabricates some lozenges similar to the “Indian Head”-brand candy that was used to control the bandaged arsonists known as Devil Dolls. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic, still mourning his comrades from the “Seventh Legion,” isn’t sure if all the cases can be wrapped up, but he agrees that the gang war has to stop.

Thunderbird struggles with her destiny, which Kittaguka and her parents have told her is to slay the dragon she met at the South Market. Merlin is more concerned about Santanica Pandemonium, who wants to fill the power vacuum in the Mafia. DarkStorm gets his vehicles to bring the glassified Mora Burch to the park, and aged shaman Kittaguka guards it at Thunderbird’s request.

At the Fountain of Unity, a fragile truce allows representatives of various groups to convene. Angry Shard arrives, as does Russian mob boss Ozerov and his henchman Tarakan. White Magus and Soul Mage of the Conclave appear, and the Cloaked Quarrel bravely assembles the jade armor and warns the amused power brokers not to interfere.

The dragon arrives and takes Mora’s body from Kittaguka. Tarakan attacks the Cloaked Quarrel, who dodges. Thunderbird asks the dragon to heal Mora, and Merlin asks the great beast what it wants. It responds by sending him a vision of the cintomanni, which are harvested from its kind.

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"Glassworks" Session 5
The darkness inside

Jason and fellow role-players, looking back, here are my belated notes for Session 5 of " Glassworks ," which Rich C.G. hosted at his apartment in Waltham, Mass., on Monday, 23 July 2012:

Player Character roster for Jason E.R. ‘s “Glassworks” superhero scenario, using the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game (based on Margaret Weis Productions Ltd.’s Cortex system, originally using DarkPages), as of spring 2012:

  • “Kyle Martins/The Cloaked Quarrel [Gene D.]-male human college student and legacy crime fighter with mystical crossbows
  • “Eli Wasserman/ the Amazing Mr. Fantastic [Brian W.]-male metahuman with shadow manipulation, retired superhero and private investigator
  • “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American metahuman park ranger, able to change into an eagle
  • “Matthew Shanks/ Merlin [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy
  • “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-female metahuman super soldier, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, and dark vigilante
  • “Summer Winters/ Santanica Pandemonium [Rich C.G.]-female human nurse and mother/demon with flame powers, unaware of dual nature
  • “Ezra Goldman/Daedalus” [Beruk A.]-male metahuman tinkerer with the ability to temporarily imbue machines with personalities and communicate with them

The band of superheroes continues its investigations into connected cases involving arson, kidnapping, murder, and magic in Hamilton, Delaware. After finding retired vigilante “Red Planet” slain and fighting costumed villains in abandoned subway tunnels, the group heads to the docks at South Market.

DarkStorm drives to the neighborhood, which hasn’t yet gentrified like Old Harbor. The Cloaked Quarrel uses his new grapnel bolts to get around more quickly, and Thunderbird and Santanica Pandemonium fly overhead in the night.

Merlin stays behind to continue his research into the cintomanni (also known as dragon pearls or the Philosopher’s Stone), and Daedalus examines the strange equipment retrieved from various warehouses and the train tunnels.

At the edge of about 2,000 containers waiting between the cargo ships and tractor-trailer trucks, Santanica recognizes a group of cars belonging to the Galati crime family (her in-laws). The Amazing Mr. Fantastic pretends to be a member of the Mafia attending the meeting and bluffs his way past the guards.

As expected, the Italian mobsters aren’t the only ones searching the market for the last piece of the jade warrior’s panoply. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic, the Cloaked Quarrel, and DarkStorm hide among the shipping containers as four police cruisers arrive, no doubt tipped off by one of the factions seeking the cintomanni.

Two helicopters shine their searchlights, and DarkStorm stealthily approaches the police officers to listen in. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic and the Cloaked Quarrel go down to a pier, where they see a small submarine surfacing! The vessel bears the logo of Oryx Industries, Tim’s employer and a company involved in metahuman and mystical experimentation.

Winged Santanica Pandemonium and Thunderbird evade the police choppers and witness the eruption of a gang war. Russians affiliated with Ozerov emerge from a container and fire machine guns at the Italian mobsters.

The police cars explode. DarkStorm and those on the pier overhear the voices of the “Graveyard Shift,” including Jaguar Knight, Ghost Owl, and the Cremator, who killed the Cloaked Quarrel’s predecessor, Toxaris the Sniper!

Bloodthirsty Santanica Pandemonium flies into the fracas as feathered Thunderbird blows a container onto the Russians. One helicopter fires missiles at the Galati vehicles, and the Amazing Mr. Fantastic bravely leaps onto the sub. Armored DarkStorm wrenches the hatch open for him.

Ghost Owl, the spirit of a Native American chief, destroys one helicopter with an ectoplasmic tomahawk. The Cloaked Quarrel tries to coordinate his companions by radio and dodges falling wreckage and bodies.

Jaguar Knight screams something about human sacrifice and jumps onto the cargo ship, brandishing his macuahuitl (Aztec club or sword with obsidian teeth). Meanwhile, the Oryx sub uses a drill to dock with the ship below the water’s surface.

Most of the Italian and Russian mobsters are dead, as are the police, so Cremator fires his entropy gun at the Cloaked Quarrel. The arcane archer narrowly evades disintegration. Young Kyle tries to make a quip but is rattled by the fearsome supervillain.

Santanica Pandemonium blows up the second helicopter with infernal flames, and Thunderbird dives to the Cloaked Quarrel’s aid, blowing Cremator into burning wreckage. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic sneaks aboard the submarine and follows a tunnel into the cargo ship.

However, when they forcibly separate the two vessels, they begin taking on water. Eli manages to get ahead of the doors sealing flooding compartments, and DarkStorm leaps from the sub to the ship.

The battle becomes even more pitched as members of the Coven arrive. The destructive mystics from New York are rivals to Hamilton’s Conclave and include Erechtho, Shard, and Obsidian. As Merlin predicted, the Conclave’s Soul Mage, Rebecca Dejardin, and Metion the Wind Lord face off with them for a spell duel.

Floating Ghost Owl attacks Thunderbird, who aerobatically dodges. The Cloaked Quarrel retreats from Cremator by swinging to the cargo vessel. Already aboard, Jaguar Knight hacks at the ship’s crew and the boarders from the sub.

The Amazing Mr. Fantastic entangles Erechtho in shadows, and DarkStorm shoots at the snaky sorceress. DarkStorm then confronts Jaguar Knight but is injured. Shard and Erechtho take their fight over the bay, as Metion aids Rebecca. Soul Mage fires a Mystic Bolt at Jaguar Knight, who uses his air control to flee.

Thunderbird outmaneuvers Ghost Owl by flying into the ship’s hold, and Cremator stalks off. The Cloaked Quarrel crosses the top deck and hears a disturbance below. A huge Asian-style dragon emerges, with a cintomanni on its forehead and a jade helm in its mouth!

The Cloaked Quarrel gets the dragon’s attention with the jade crossbows on his bracers, but he and his team reluctantly agree to let it go. Thunderbird flies after the dragon, as Santanica Pandemonium hurls Erechtho onto a helicopter blade and throws her body into the ocean.

Shard (a.k.a. Jesse Garon) disappears after the Cloaked Quarrel shoots at him. Cremator is found knocked out with a dagger from one of the Devil Dolls — masked, mute, disfigured women under mind control. The Cloaked Quarrel later identifies Cremator as Mark Kessler.

In the hold of the contested cargo ship, The Amazing Mr. Fantastic and DarkStorm find their sometime ally, the Red Right Hand, who has been badly wounded by the dragon’s claws. The creature ripped open the metal container that held the jade helm. As the survivors leave the burning harbor, the Red Right Hand explains that Ilya Petrovich was an enforcer for Craig Thurman.

Santanica Pandemonium sees among the fallen Tony Schizzitano, a Galati lieutenant and the father of Anna Lucia, also known as Erechtho. The group also recalls ties between Oryx Industries and Mancari Security, a front for the Galati family.

Thunderbird follows the dragon as it flies hundreds of miles west and buries the helm in the desert. She returns to ask her super friends what they should do next, since the artifact could yet be retrieved by the competing groups.

DarkStorm goes back to James Orex, head of Oryx Industries. Not surprisingly, Orex claims to be ignorant of the sub, just as he had feigned ignorance about “Project Jabberwock” and scientists Albert Boyle (murdered) and Boyd Burch (still missing).

Mora is glassified and revered as mother by a cockroach-themed gang. Orex blames Gail Rivero, head of contracting, for the dabbling in things man was not meant to know. Tim demands to see his brother, Wesley Gray.

Kyle goes with Tim to the Eden Institute near Boston. They find Wesley covered with insectoid bristles and incoherent, driven insane by similar experiments conducted on Tim and other metahumans. The Cloaked Quarrel persuades DarkStorm to return to Hamilton as quickly as possible.

The Amazing Mr. Fantastic asks Merlin to locate the White Magus, who may know more about their former “Seventh Legion” colleagues and the cintomanni. Meanwhile, Santanica Pandemonium talks with the third of three demons involved with the Galati family. They again offer to help Summer find her son in return for a dragon pearl.

Tim asks Rain to take him to the shaman Kittaguka so that he can ask her to help his brother. Richard, the White Magus, explains to old ally Eli that Kittaguka was once known as “Indian Princess” and that Red Planet killed King Naga out of jealousy, even though the Harrier’s former foe had reformed. How much does she know?

Having located the final jade relic, as well as a real, living dragon (with its flight-enabling gem), Hamilton’s latest heroes try to untangle the web of enemies and close their cases….

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Session 4: Disco Roach Motel

Here are Gene and Jason’s notes for Session 4 of “Glassworks,” which Brian W. hosted at his home in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 9 July 2012:

Player Character roster for Jason E.R. ‘s “Glassworks” superhero scenario, using the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game (based on Margaret Weis Productions Ltd.’s Cortex system, originally using DarkPages), as of spring 2012:

  • “Kyle Martins/The Cloaked Quarrel [Gene D.]-male human college student and legacy crime fighter with mystical crossbows
  • “Eli Wasserman/ the Amazing Mr. Fantastic [Brian W.]-male metahuman with shadow manipulation, retired superhero and private investigator
  • “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American metahuman park ranger, able to change into an eagle
  • “Matthew Shanks/ Merlin [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy
  • “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-female metahuman super soldier, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, and dark vigilante
  • “Summer Winters/ Santanica Pandemonium [Rich C.G.]-female human nurse and mother/demon with flame powers, unaware of dual nature
  • “Ezra Goldman/Daedalus” [Beruk A.]-male metahuman tinkerer with the ability to temporarily imbue machines with personalities and communicate with them

As an impromptu band of metahumans and crime fighters reviews its cases in Eli’s office, the semi-retired vigilante gets a distress signal from his Seventh Legion communications device. Fanboy Kyle recognizes the “VII” symbol and 1960s technology.

The “Amazing Mr. Fantastic” recognizes the signal as coming from John Getz, a.k.a. “Red Planet.” The group goes to the Indian Beach neighborhood of Hamilton, Del., and finds Getz’s tract home trashed.

Merlin identifies the deceased as members of the Coven, a New York-based rival to Hamilton’s mystical Conclave, who lie sprawled amid the wreckage. DarkStorm is impressed that Red Planet, a “brick” or “tank” of the Seventh Legion, didn’t go down without a fight.

Eli attends to Getz, who is mortally wounded and gives him a burned-out cintamanni (also called a dragon pearl or philosopher’s stone). Red Planet notes that it was a trophy from King Naga, who disappeared years ago. The costumed villain’s breastplate was part of the jade warrior’s panoply that various parties are seeking.

The rocky brawler says with his last breath that “He was always her white knight.” The mournful Amazing Mr. Fantastic notes that Richard, the White Magus, was once known as the “White Knight.” His partner Eva Ball, who was recently entangled in the Devil Doll arsons, was known as “Damsel.”

Santanica Pandemonium keeps an eye out for Erichtho, Shard, or other members of the Coven. Thunderbird and the Cloaked Quarrel search Getz’s apartment for clues and find an old subway map with an extra line. Apparently, a Metro line to Fairmont was built in the late 1960s but was never used – the metro project funds were diverted to the infrastructure of the Annex. The team leaves before the police arrive.

Back at Wasserman’s office, Daedalus keeps watch on prisoner Rasayana, who with Erichtho attacked the estate of industrialist James Orex. Merlin hides the cintamanni in his extra dimensional library.

Thunderbird observes that the stations on the train map correspond to the arson sites leading toward Glassworks. The assembled heroes agree to go to the crystal factory at Inneman Station.

DarkStorm makes sure to park his vehicles a safe distance away, and the Cloaked Quarrel shoots a nylon line to lower himself into the disused tunnels. Santanica Pandemonium unfurls her demonic wings and creates a whirlwind to lower the others.

Flashlights in hand, the investigators don’t go far before they meet four cockroach-themed malefactors! Palmetto, whom the Cloaked Quarrel had humiliated in their first encounter, praises “the glory of the mother.”

Death’s Head engages Santanica Pandemonium, who erupts into an infernal blaze. Discoid readies his disc shooter, as Palmetto dodges crossbow bolts. Hisser and Thunderbird trade sonic attacks.

The Amazing Mr. Fantastic misses Discoid, and Thunderbird slams Palmetto into a wall. Death’s Head and Santanica Pandemonium grapple. Merlin conjures up an illusion of a giant can of insecticide, but it’s too dark for his foes to see.

DarkStorm uses his staff to parry shots from Discoid, while Merlin casts Chain Lightning. A muscular man wearing a mask watches the conflict from the sidelines. Santanica Pandemonium later identifies him as Ilya Petrovich, or “Tarakan”, the nigh-indestructible bodyguard of Russian mob boss Ozerov.

Cloaked Quarrel misses Hisser, who responds by inflicting horror on the young hunter. DarkStorm drives off Hisser, and Santanica Pandemonium tackles Death’s Head. Thunderbird disrupts Hisser’s sonic scream with a thunderclap.

Palmetto blasts his stink guns at Cloaked Quarrel, who narrowly dodges. Discoid and DarkStorm maneuver, while the Amazing Mr. Fantastic blinds Palmetto with darkforce manipulation.

Death’s Head pummels Santanica Pandemonium, but superior Thunderbird saves her winged ally by knocking him out. Discoid’s weapons find their mark, wounding DarkStorm, and the do-gooders stumble about in the dark.

Santanica Pandemonium ends the battle by blasting the area with flame. Three of the four roaches scuttle away, but Petrovich apparently broke Death’s Head’s neck rather than allow him to talk. DarkStorm and Santanica Pandemonium take his mask as a trophy and for further analysis.

The subway spelunkers continue on toward Inneman Station. Music from the ’60s emanates from speakers, and inside a wall, they find the skeleton of King Naga. According to the Amazing Mr. Fantastic, Naga was a villain and had fought Harrier back in the 1950s before reforming.

Merlin takes the jade breastplate, and the Cloaked Quarrel tracks wires from a speaker northwest to a strange vending machine in Stevens Station. It dispenses Indian-brand candy, which was manufactured at the factory where the group recently encountered Devil Dolls and a mystic dragon cage.

Santanica Pandemonium knocks the dispenser over, exposing elaborate machinery and more wires spreading through the tunnels. The women who were turned into masked, wrapped pyromaniacs must have each placed a quarter in this machine, even though it’s in an unused station. More mysteries.

Back on the surface, the super friends continue their many inquiries. DarkStorm finds out that Maura Burch, the wife of a missing scientist found turned into glass, was originally entomologist Maura Petrovich, tying her to both the Russian mafia and Oryx Industries. She must be the “mother” Palmetto referred to.

Santanica Pandemonium interrogates Rasayana, whose real name is Keith Lucido. The goon says that Erichtho merely hired him and gave him alchemical armor (with some invisibility). Eli then turns Lucido over to the police.

Thunderbird and Merlin consult mystic Kittaguka. The old woman tells them that Dream Hunter and the Coven have the helmet of the jade warrior. The Cloaked Quarrel has his bow, Santanica retrieved dagger, and King Naga had the breastplate.

DarkStorm and the Cloaked Quarrel go to meet the Red Right Hand at the ‘Forcements. The violent vigilante tells the armored wonder and crossbow-wielding kid that “everybody’s looking for a warehouse in the South Market — the Russians, the Italians, the Coven, and the Conclave.”

The Amazing Mr. Fantastic recalls that D.J. Sharrif hired him to find missing chemist Boyd Burch and believes that he may be tied to dragons. Burch had gone to Ozerov for protection against the Galati crime family because of his gambling debts. He and the roaches apparently sought the dragon pearls for glassified Mora.

Kittaguka tells Thunderbird that King Naga, like her ancestors, was a dragonslayer. Merlin says the package that everyone is looking in the South Market could be the last cintamanni, the helmet, or even a dragon.

Merlin goes to the White Magus to share what he has learned so far and to ask about the Devil Dolls and Red Planet. The Cloaked Quarrel wonders why so many people are seeking the pearls and the related jade warrior’s panoply.

After dropping off Lucido, Eli finds Faisal Marzoug in his office. On behalf of Ms. Sharrif — who wants to rename Hamilton’s Annex sector as “Fatima” — Marzoug gives Eli a check for $25,000 and says that his services are no longer needed.

Late one night, Santanica Pandemonium receives a shadowy visitor. The “independent interest” offers to lead Summer to her son Timmy (and presumably, ex-husband Bobby Galati) in return for the inactive dragon pearl.

DarkStorm learns about Todd Klukas and that the Hamilton Candy Co., which produced the Indian Head brand, was bought by D.J. Sharrif. This connects back to the strange machinery and the mystic dragon cage…

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Session 3: Alley of the Devil Dolls

Here are Gene and Jason’s notes for Session 3 of “Glassworks,” which Brian hosted at his home in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 25 June 2012:

Player Character roster for Jason E.R. ‘s “Glassworks” superhero scenario, using the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game (based on Margaret Weis Productions Ltd.’s Cortex system, originally using DarkPages), as of spring 2012:

  • “Kyle Martins/The Cloaked Quarrel [Gene D.]-male human college student and legacy crime fighter with mystical crossbows
  • “Eli Wasserman/ the Amazing Mr. Fantastic [Brian W.]-male metahuman with shadow manipulation, retired superhero and private investigator
  • “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American metahuman park ranger, able to change into an eagle
  • “Matthew Shanks/ Merlin [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy
  • “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-female metahuman super soldier, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, and dark vigilante
  • “Summer Winters/ Santanica Pandemonium [Rich C.G.]-female human nurse and mother/demon with flame powers, unaware of dual nature
  • “Ezra Goldman/Daedalus” [Beruk A./ absent ]-male metahuman tinkerer with the ability to temporarily imbue machines with personalities and communicate with them

>>Session 3: “Getting the Shaft”

In response to a rash of arsons and mysterious murders, a strange group of people gathers in Hamilton, Delaware. Kyle summarizes what he and his newfound super friends have learned so far for Eli:

The Case of the Masked Arsonists: The masked and wrapped women known as “Devil Dolls” have been setting incendiary devices around the city.

Devil Doll I was caught setting fire to properties belonging to the White Magus, leader of the mystical Conclave to which Matthew belongs. She was later revealed to be Eva Ball, former partner of Richard/the White Magus, and was taken for treatment to Rain’s grandmother, the shaman Kittaguka. Mute Eva recalled escaping from some institution.

Devil Doll II was captured while setting fires in a line leading to a factory in the Glassworks neighborhood. She turned out to be Maggie Orex, daughter of James Orex, the founder of the firm Oryx Industries. Maggie was also Tim’s girlfriend who was believed to be dead, and both Eva and Maggie suffered from serious physical and emotional/mental injuries.

The Case of the Glass Woman: Upon foiling a Mancari Security armored car heist by the costumed Palmetto, the Cloaked Quarrel had discovered a glass woman in a metal casket. She was Maura Burch, wife of the missing Boyd Burch, a chemist at tobacco firm D.J. Sharrif.

Eli had been hired by Faisal Marzoug on behalf of Ms. Sharrif to find Boyd, who had been kidnapped from D.J. Sharrif’s facilities at 54 Tennant Street in the Annex — a neighborhood that Sharrif wants to rename “Fatima.”

Meanwhile, DarkStorm had gotten a tip from fellow vigilante the Red Right Hand about Burch’s former CalTech classmate, Oryx scientist Albert Boyle. Boyle had been found murdered near a warehouse at 315 Mycroft Ave. in Fairmont. Burch had been working on something called “Project Jabberwock,” which involved “reverse-engineered DNA” and “umbral matter.”

Near where Russian mobsters (led by a man named Ozerov) had been watching Burch’s apartment, the Cloaked Quarrel had found primal runes later translated as “Little Jack Horner.” Kyle also made contact with the Red Right Hand and believed that the D.J. Sharrif and Oryx Industries cases were somehow connected.

The Case of the Dragon Pearl: Merlin and Thunderbird had been assigned by the Conclave, a group of about six mages, to search the South Market for the “cintamanni,” a.k.a. the “Philosopher’s Stone” and the organ responsible for certain dragons’ flight. While apprehending the Devil Dolls, they had encountered Santanica Pandemonium.

The fiery winged woman had fought Erichtho of the Coven over a jade dagger at the Ramsaeir Museum of Natural History. Summer’s ex-husband Bobby Galati, of the Galati crime family and Mancari Security, eventually surrendered the dagger to her at All Saints Hospital.

Santanica/Summer also later mentioned that she has been seeing the face of Dr. Ben Nitten (who had summoned three demons to question her) and some peasant flickering around other people. Is he a shapeshifter, some spirit possessing victims, or a figment of her fractured imagination?

The “jade warror’s panoply” apparently included the jade dagger and the Cloaked Quarrel’s crossbows. Other mystics from the Conclave and Coven, including Shard, were hunting for the cintamanni.

Making connections: While the Red Right Hand may have killed Albert Boyle for his involvement in shady Oryx Industries research, Boyd Burch was likely also searching (or had even obtained) the dragon pearl to try to change his wife Maura back to flesh and blood.

Because of his gambling debts, Burch had apparently turned to Ozerov for protection, even as Mancari Security had his wife, and Bobby Galati ended up with the jade dagger that Erichtho had taken from the museum. How were the jade warrior’s panoply and the cintomanni connected? What were the Devil Dolls trying to flush out with fires toward Glassworks, and for whom? Who wrote the primal runes, and what was Dr. Nitten?

Back into the field: Rain and Tim go to Kittaguka’s to check on Maggie. The Native American shaman tells her granddaughter that Devil Doll II’s wounds were caused by science, not magic, and that she needs herbs from Kunzang Tenzin, a member of the Conclave, from which she was expelled. Matthew and Kyle plan to visit the White Magus to check on Eva/Devil Doll I.

Summer is upset to find that her ex-husband Bobby is missing, along with her son Timmy. Now aware of her Santanica Pandemonium identity, she asks her former mother-in-law about Timmy. Apparently, the Galati crime family is angry that Bobby has gone into the witness protection program and fears that he may expose the family’s leadership to law enforcement.

Eli calls in his “science guy,” Ezra Goldman/ “Daedalus,” to track down Palmetto. However, the “Amazing Mr. Fantastic” and Daedalus, as well as Merlin and the Cloaked Quarrel, are sidetracked when Santanica Pandemonium calls for backup as she, Thunderbird, and DarkStorm go to the warehouse in Fairmont where Albert Boyle’s body was found.

An alley connects Mycroft and Pallas Avenues, running between an apparently abandoned factory and a warehouse whose security DarkStorm found was still active. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic believes that the warehouse is a decoy or trap and that the best way to any subterranean hideout is through the factory.

Thunderbird and Santanica fly to the roof of the warehouse and use their wings to buffet security cameras out of position. Daedalus reroutes other monitors near the doors, then he and DarkStorm join the others at the factory. They easily break in through a window.

The Cloaked Quarrel finds machinery under tarps that has been reassembled in a strange configuration. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic looks for clues and sees scratch marks in the floor. Santanica Pandemonium keeps watch outside.

In a dusty office, Merlin and company find unused “Indian” brand candy wrappers belonging to the defunct Hamilton Candy Co. He and DarkStorm also find a cargo elevator that leads to a lit shaft.

Daedalus and the Cloaked Quarrel find that some of the devices can be moved to slots in the factory floor, but as they interact with one, it pierces a barrel of fluorescent goo. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic contains it with his summoned shadows, even though the private detective doesn’t like using his powers.

Armored DarkStorm and the magical Merlin descend and find a corridor with about 20 Devil Dolls! The masked women stand in rows, seemingly inert. Closer examination determines that they are inhibited by pieces of “magic candy.” Merlin hits all of the Devil Dolls with a lightning storm, forcing the candy out of their mouths. The wrapped saboteurs begin advancing toward the two metahumans!

In avian form, Thunderbird flies down but tells the Cloaked Quarrel that everything is under control. Gadgeteer Daedalus and the young Cloaked Quarrel are curious about the machinery, while the Amazing Mr. Fantastic recommends caution and notes the commotion down below.

Santanica Pandemonium enters and is drawn to the devices. The Cloaked Quarrel draws his mystical crossbows in alarm, but the fiery woman comes to and identifies the devices (later confirmed with Merlin’s divination) as components of a “mystic dragon cage.”

Winged Thunderbird knocks down some of the Devil Dolls, and Santanica flies down and pulls out DarkStorm, who doesn’t want to harm the women, and Merlin. The group narrowly escapes the factory, despite Merlin and Santanica’s desire to destroy it.

The crime fighters regroup and discuss what to do next. Thunderbird goes to Kittaguka and asks about the dragon cages. She learns that her ancestors were known as dragon slayers (Unktehila), a history that seems related to the hunt for the cintamanni.

Merlin has one of the candies chemically analyzed and contacts White Magus. Summer/Santanica wants to send a bloody message to the Galati family but decides to leave her ex-husband and son in the relative safety witness protection until she can solve her cases.

Eli uses his psychology experience to help Maggie remember her time as a Devil Doll. She says that the fires were set to drive something out of the buildings. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic theorizes that Faisal may have hired him on behalf of a real dragon.

Despite the Cloaked Quarrel’s misgivings, DarkStorm brings Maggie to her father James Orex. Summer accompanies them as a nurse and is alarmed when she recognizes the butler as Dr. Nitten!

James seems happy to be reunited with his daughter, but his house goes into security lockdown as Santanica and Merlin look for Dr. Nitten. Metal plates drop in front of windows, security guards scramble through the mansion and its grounds, and the outer gates close and lock.

The rest of the would-be superheroes borrow one of Matthew’s vehicles and get past the outer perimeter’s security measures. Santanica blasts through doors and walls and pursues a nearly invisible man.

Matthew’s secret identity as DarkStorm is blown before his boss, but James says his first concern is Maggie’s safety. The CEO of Oryx Industries claims that Project Jabberwock was mothballed as a failure and that he knows nothing of the Devil Dolls’ arson scheme or Albert Boyle’s murder.

The Cloaked Quarrel manages to pin the man fleeing Santanica Pandemonium, who redirects her attention at new arrival Erichtho. The flying witch casts fiery snakes at berserk Santanica and Thunderbird. Merlin and the Amazing Mr. Fantastic try to block Erichtho, but she, Rasayana (the man with the invisibility suit), and Dr. Nitten teleport away.

DarkStorm tries to do damage control with the Orexes and call for law-enforcement backup for the candy factory. He also makes plans with the Cloaked Quarrel to contact the Red Right Hand, mainly about the corporate espionage and organized crime. Daedalus analyzes the candy sample, which uses a neural inhibitor and “reverse-DNA” to control the nearly dead women.

Furious Santanica Pandemonium and Merlin want to track down Erichtho and Dr. Nitten and to find out more about the cintamanni and jade warrior’s panoply. The Amazing Mr. Fantastic, the Cloaked Quarrel, Thunderbird, and Daedalus plan to head to the second factory in Glassworks….

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