"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….