Sunday, January 29, 2023

Two More Fools Play Reports

While my blog itself has been mostly silent through 2022, I have spent an honestly unreasonable amount of time writing play reports for games I've played in or just spied on on Discord. I have, just now, realized that these play reports can, in fact, be used for free blog posts, which is currently the kind of blog post I need. 

This game used deus ex parabola's superhero rules, but exact mechanical details are not particularly relevant.

Session 1

As the long-running, action-packed, and generally much more reasonable superhero campaign One Less Fool noticed its fuel-air mixture was terribly wrong and caught fire, the GM attempted to start a side campaign with a pair of its players, who both conspired to send the game’s tone down some unplanned side alleys.

On a wet evening in Destin, Florida, Mr. Jefferies (Shift, Weird - cursed for his sins with the form of a rubbery clown and an endless hammerspace of inedible pies) and Checkmark (Think 1, Weird - a racecar driver dragged back from Hell and turned into an accountant) sit on the curb in front of a nightclub neither of them are cool enough to get into. 

Eventually, one of the patrons realizes the two of them are A) superheroes, and B) completely abject, and says he’ll toss them $100 if they go handle a job he doesn’t have time for - checking out a “ghost” sighted in a retirement community’s library. With nothing better to do and the prospect of Real Legal Currency, the PCs managed to drag themselves out of their self-pitying stupor and hike their way over.

By 10 PM they make it to the gate of the Shaded Palms Retirement Community and very suddenly come to the understanding that gated neighborhoods have gates in front of them. After a few minutes coming up with increasingly improbable Doordash-based lies, Jefferies drags his horrid clown body through the network of storm drains under the sidewalk and tosses a rope over for Checkmark. 

A little more walking gets them right to the unlocked library

and its decade-old computer lab, which sparked some conversation - Checkmark’s only real useful power is sending objects directly to Hell in exchange for a bit of money. On the one hand, they don’t want to get caught stealing from the public library - on the other, money can be exchanged for goods and services, which is more than enough to persuade them. While they pocket the hell-sent $360, they hear a footstep somewhere outside.

Since he doesn’t squeak whenever he moves, Checkmark creeps up to the second-floor meeting rooms, where he is soon confronted by An Ghost, Or Similar Creature, staring at him through a door. Filled with an excess of courage, he shoves the door open ready to give it the ol’ what-for, only to be stopped suddenly when it doesn’t try to maul him.

As Checkmark runs out of ideas and tries to offer the dog-skull-headed creature a cigarette, Jefferies hears someone running down another set of stairs and leaps up to block her path, starting a four-creature pileup as the dog-skeleton rushes to protect its master, Jefferies tries running down his list of pratfalls to prove he’s safe, and Checkmark runs down the stairs to make sure nobody kills anybody else.

Luckily, no one has much time to talk to anyone or pull their limbs off for fun, as after a few half-introductions, the creature’s controller warns that back when the PCs decided “Ah, the building is simply unlocked, we will open the door and go inside” they set off the burglar alarm. 

    However, the PCs kind of ignore this and instead drill down into a long and winding conversation about names (the woman introduces herself only as “Friend”), power classifications (Friend describes herself as “Weird ב”, a statement that doesn’t frighten her nearly as much as it should), and personal histories until a dozen police cars fill the library parking lot. Oops.
    Friend chops a hand towards the glass front of the library and it shatters as the dog-skull figure slams into it at hundreds of miles an hour, dragging Friend behind as it leaves a trail of destruction.

Jefferies and Checkmark decide that running does seem prudent, and are careful to take a path that leads them away from Friend and her runaway train of a pet.

They manage to get away as the cops stream after Friend, and later meet their patron to shrug and go “yeah, you know, exploding libraries - what’re ya gonna do”, a conversational tactic that works surprisingly well. 

Jeffries spends his week of downtime “clowning around” - no further context is provided.

Checkmark saves up money for a handgun and keeps in touch with Friend (now hiding out in a golf course sand trap) over the phone.

Session 2

While Jefferies hovers around a McDonalds waiting for Checkmark to get off his shift, superhuman problems come directly to them as a pair of men in red and blue hoodies respond to the time-honored teenage dirtbag tradition of harassing fast food workers by simply picking them up, biting them, and throwing them right out of the building.

This promptly clears out the restaurant, and as the until-recently-occupants call the police, Checkmark both remembers to blink, and to gather as much information as possible. Luckily, this set of bloodlusted superhumans readily hand out business cards listing them as “Sinistro e Destro” before running out the back door as the cops arrive.

Now that the McDonalds is definitely closed for the day, the PCs hurry through the rain to their local (non-destroyed) public library to feed the rest of the Italian business card through Google Translate, finding (among other things) their Facebook account, where they have just posted a picture of Sinistro standing atop a pile of bruised Home Depot patrons a mile away. More running brings them there, where they’re confronted by reporters for the Destin World-Herald, who succinctly explain their own institutional problems by asking Checkmark about the “dangerous potential space aliens”.

Checkmark is savvy enough to take every opportunity for publicity, even against his better judgment:

though within moments the sheer presence of Mr. Jeffries has driven the reporter into a crisis about spending her career trapped in a Bigfoot-and-Roswell rag in a rainy corner of Florida.

 Resigned to not making it onto the front page, the PCs bother the wounded for directions and chase Sinistro and Destro over to a local golf course as the rain transitions to a tremendous thunderstorm. Attempting to rouse the crowd of dried-out retired superhumans into an angry mob based on ideas like “helping other people” eventually gets one of them to admit that this is, for all intents and purposes, where supervillains wind up once the arthritis gets bad enough to stop them from holding cities hostage with death rays.

However, one of the retirees, Clarence (x-ray vision, complete with the risks of radiation exposure) is persuaded (more on the virtue of “beating someone up” than “helping others”) and as the PCs pile into his golf cart, Checkmark texts Friend, finding that not only is she hiding out at this golf course, but that she can currently see Sinistro and Destro beating an eight-foot tall mechsuit with its own arms.

The golf cart slowly trundles through the mud to the 7th hole, where sneakful trick plans like “blow them up with a firework purchased from the Hell Store” are slowly whittled down until “sneak up behind one of them and hit them in the head with a baseball bat” is the only idea left. Unfortunately, Sinistro and Destro are superheroes with abilities like “extra melee damage” and “extra HP”, as opposed to “accountant” and “clown”, so within a round Jefferies and Checkmark are both on the ground getting pummeled and trying to tie a blanket around Sinistro’s neck.

A golf caddy emerges from the rain and simply starts beating people indiscriminately with a club while Destro manages to break Checkmark’s jaw by biting it and Checkmark attempts to stick a utility blowtorch into Destro’s ear.

This at least gets Destro to run, so the PCs double up on wailing on Sinistro until the golf caddy manages to crack Mr. Jeffries down to 0 HP and forces him to drop the strangling-blanket. As Sinistro flees, Friend tries her best to stop him but her pet simply digs a 10-foot deep furrow in the golf green in the wrong direction.

With the time for violence over (at least, after Checkmark clocks the caddy upside the head with a bat, to even things out), the PCs check the injuries of both the mech’s centenarian occupant (a broken arm) and Clarence (deceased) and carry them back to the crowd.

While Checkmark is allowed to shove a golf cart into hell for a clean $1000, his broken jaw ends up hospitalizing him for the rest of the campaign.

Session 3

With Checkmark indisposed, his player replaced him with Meiosis (Weird, Fly), a man who can divide into two at will, and fly by having both of them push against each other, in clear defiance of all physical laws.  

While sitting around playing poker with the golfers, the PCs get their hands on, honestly, exactly the kind of problem they deserve to solve - the utterly ancient superman Cab Calloway has lost his cat. Luckily, Calloway’s minder had held onto another one of Destro and Sinistro’s business cards, this one complete with a ransom note for One Million American Dollars, Brought To What Used To Be The Library. 

Of course, neither Sinistro nor Destro are actually there, so the PCs wind up having to slowly follow their trail of petty theft and property damage around town until sighting them from the air all the way back at the old folks’ golf course, bent double under the weight of a refrigerator full of ice cream cakes. 

Meiosis’s player had, to describe it politely, “used out-of-character information” when choosing his equipment, so after dropping Jeffries on Sinistro he splits - one half attempts to beat Sinistro with a sledgehammer while the other drops out of the air to spray Destro in the face with paint, for Immediate and Permanent Blinding.

The dice do not like this idea, so instead of a clean, synchronized neutralization of both of them, Jeffries ends up wielding a shattered Nokia phone as a shiv and is promptly absolutely turned to paste as Destro crits him over the head with a commercial refrigerator. The fight continues with the PCs hounding Sinistro and Destro as they run to the retirees;

Destro does, indeed, attempt to pull Cab Calloway’s wheelchair out from under him, but as he reaches for it he, Sinistro, and a wide semicircle of shuffleboard court simply *pop* out of existence.

Luckily, as the PCs chased them, Sinistro and Destro ditched their stolen goods - Calloway’s cat, the fridge, and an old lady’s handbag with… an entire human skull, rendered perfectly in a single sapphire.

Mr. Jeffries spends his downtime reading about Cab Calloway - along with the rest of his century-long supervillainy career, he apparently once survived a Soviet assassination attempt with a suitcase nuke.

Meiosis rents out a self-storage garage and furnishes it for Friend to live in, assuming her pet skeleton-nightmare fits well.

Session 4

Rooting through the stolen handbag reveals plenty of identifying information, so the PCs meander over to the house of its owner, one Tanya Halls, who perhaps unsurprisingly for being the kind of person to own a life-size sapphire skull, is also the kind of person to have a six-foot-high oil painting of herself and her late husband in full pirate getup in her living room.

Said late husband ran a “completely above-board” extraterritorial gambling ship, which was “completely legal, no matter what that pesky Attorney General said”, until it sank in Hurricane Andrew. While said gambling ship has since been found, its cargo of millions of dollars in poker chips still sits at the bottom of the ocean since the local Fun For The Whole Family Diving Center took the last of Halls’ money and “””neglected””” to attempt a recovery.

And with the offer of one of the $25,000 cranberry poker chips in exchange for option B, the PCs run off to the Fun For The Whole Family Diving Center with petty vandalism on the mind. Veiled threats of legal action quickly turn into regular threats of sledgehammers applied to windows and doors, and moments after that decay into every staff member of the Center grabbing the nearest blunt object.

Meiosis applies his sledgehammer to a Center worker, suddenly realizing as the blow lands that people tend to stop being alive when you hit them in the head with hammers. As he’s soon pummeled down to 1 HP with a pipe wrench, and the police are already on the way, the PCs decide discretion is the better part of valor and flee.


Now trapped between a building full of angry boat renters and the wrath of a octogenarian gambling tycoon, with no money, no friends, and no plan, the PCs fleeing takes them further than they’d expected at first - certainly out of Destin, probably out of Florida, and honestly maybe out of the United States.  

While it did not come up in the logs, Two More Fools managed to have all the structural problems its parent game did - between each session were weeks of unpredictable schedule changes, injuries, and decay.

I hope Friend is still doing well in her garage.

Friday, January 20, 2023

1d8 Bayport Superheroes (for a certain value of "super", and for that matter "hero")

Despite generally being uninterested by Superhero Content And Media™, I find myself pulled aggressively towards deus ex parabola's Bayport - a model for superhero campaigns in a comically terrible mode, filled with petty crime, omnipresent corruption, and superpowers like "shove unattended items into Hell for money", "summon poor drawings of guns", and "turn into a glowing sphere", and players spending a decent amount of their time trying to figure out how to kill some unstoppable ultraman with a crowbar and a box of rat poison.

With my work ethic, ability to string words together, and inner soul completely pasted by completing Orbiters Local 519 (you may have noticed an unusually conversational tone in this post, for the same reason - I expect that in future I will return to my standard dry, unhelpful writing style), I realized it'd be Free Real Estate to dredge up some of the characters I never got around to using and turn them into Blogge Post.

I expect my next attempt to Blogge Post to occur somewhere around November, or maybe in 2025, so remember to set your watches, I suppose.

Third Eye - 1Σ, Zap, Weird

An ability to bend space, somewhat, allows Third Eye to both see through walls (though this is blocked by lead, and even through lesser materials his vision is reduced to only monochrome splotches) and, with roughly 5 minutes of focus, force a single human target to Save or experience tremendous health problems in the form of their head no longer being attached to their neck, and many parts of their head no longer attached to the others.

- Real name Page Fulco, history unknown and potentially concealed intentionally

- Quiet, jittery, impulsive

- Currently leading, or perhaps soon will lead, a cross-state manhunt after spreading a half dozen corporate executives over the walls of a single locked boardroom. 

Lucent - 1Σ, Fly, Ace

Lucent can treat transparent materials (water, plastic, air, etc.) as either glass or air at will, and can "fly" by walking up glassed-air staircases.

- Real name Liêm Quỳnh

- Purely heroic, motivated by selflessness and the love of mankind.

- Sometimes sighted in random positions over open ocean, standing on one of his platforms for an unknown reason.

Dead Zone - 1Σ, Weird, Martial I (+DEX, +CON)

Within 10 feet of Dead Zone, no sound can be produced - notably, it can be perceived - sound from outside can be heard inside the Zone, but sound from inside cannot be heard anywhere. Martial I represents extra running speed and jump height (roughly double human baseline).

- Real name Johanna Calvin, history includes work in the U.S. military before cutting out suddenly - we assume this is when her power became evident. At the end of that tour she never returned, so I suppose they must not have liked her all that much.

- Before the cut in her history, Dead Zone was well-regarded - reliable, trustworthy, and just the right amount of unscrupulous. It is unknown how many of these qualities remain.

- Currently out in the suburbs of Bayport, only leaving her home during the night. Otherwise, she seems to hold no routines - we may not be the only ones following her.

Scion - 1Σ, Martial I (+INT, +STR), Fly

Recovered a ruined alien mechsuit while digging in their back garden, and has been trapped inside ever since. Flies disorientatingly with half-functional engines burning lime-green, and attacks with the suit's hands - one seven-fingered metallic grasper, and one ferrofluid bulb morphing between long needles and wiggly-looking chainsaws.

While the suit has hundreds of buttons in reach, Scion avoids pressing most of them ever since hitting Hazmat Seal and getting a few good breaths of alien atmosphere.

- Real name Callisto Marley, prior work in astronomy (how do we know she found the suit by accident?), wife Lori Marley vanished around the time the suit was recovered.

- Cheerful, careful to avoid collateral damage, good reputation

- Rumors abound of a second entity inhabiting the suit itself - as Scion has never volunteered for research into the suit, and evades when questioned about its functions, this has not been proven.

Ouija - 1Σ, Perceive I, Ace

Able to perceive what he assumes to be the spirits of the dead, using this both for information-gathering and, with appropriate payment and preparation, send them as a torrent to possess others with the screeching, hedonistic, panicked dead for one hour per year spent.

- Real name Glory Grover. Age somewhere in his 20s, outward appearance around his 90s due to payments of lifespan. We expect roughly 8 hours of his ability remain.

- Gullible, paranoid, certain he has knowledge he does not

- Appeared recently in the news after causing the collapse of a Bayport crime family by possessing their head continuously over the space of months. We expect the remnants to be after him, and expect him to die.

The Lion of Paris - 1Σ, Martial I (+DEX, +WIS), Weird

A "reformed" museum thief with the ability to teleport small (size of a fist, roughly) objects into his hands. Notably does not function on living things, or portions of living things.

- Real name unknown, former aliases include "Doran Eugen", "Levi Hadley", and "Otto Emmanuel". Surveillance has never seen him in Paris, or anywhere in France for that matter.

- Self-interested, self-obsessed, unafraid of consequences; caught six years back after stealing the Swords of Temporal and Spiritual Justice from the Tower of London and using them to duel with a collaborator of his in broad daylight.

- Currently in prison in Germany, but we wouldn't find it particularly difficult to get him out, if it becomes necessary.

Stranger - 2Σ, Durable I, Perceive I, Ace, Zap

Stranger is able to see through the eyes of anyone he has touched, knows the name of, and trusts him (Perceive I). While looking through someone else's eyes, he functionally inhabits their mind and can appear physically somewhere inside their cone of vision - stepping around a corner in front of them, for instance (Ace). Once a day, when he would be killed by an attack, he does this automatically, landing in the view of the nearest partner (Durable I).

With effort, he is able to damage his partners directly, by reaching through their eyes to claw at them (Zap), dealing 1 damage per minute at functionally infinite range. Methods to protect from this damage vary - wearing a heavy mask to prevent Stranger from reaching your skin, dissolving the arms in water, attacking the arms yourself, or perhaps even pulling Stranger through by the arms.

- Real name Mirza Arezou, 1 wife, 2 children, 1 living parent.

- Well-read, polite, generally uncooperative with authority.

- It is unknown what threshold of trust Stranger's ability requires, and unknown how many people are wired into his system.

Hydrazine - 3Σ, Create (III), Fly, Durable II

Creates rocket engines at will, powered by already-ignited solid fuel. Lower bound for rocket size is around the dimensions of an American football - higher bound is slightly smaller than Hydrazine. If she desires, the thruster can be created already attached her through unnatural means. She is resistant to heat, impact, and changes in atmospheric pressure, but still needs to breathe air.

- Real name Ulyana Varlam, though we expect this to have changed thanks to the events of 1974.

- Uninterested in superhero work, uninterested in publicity, uninterested in money. Search for living family members?

- Several of Hydrazine's rivals still live - Polarity, Standard Bearer, and Milan have been found attempting to locate her.

Sunless Horizon Beta 2.3 Release

Commissioned from Scrap Princess excited screeching I've been posting about  Sunless Horizon  for about a year, and after finally gettin...