"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….