Running Blackest Night

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Running Blackest Night

Postby Quistar » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:09 pm

Like many out there, I am planning to run my group through their own Blackest Night "mini-series." This has been long-delayed, mainly due to emergency family visits for medical issues, a little due to scheduling conflicts. I am finally returning home (again) and hope to get this rolling asap upon my return.

I'll be posting general thoughts on builds for Black Lanterns in this thread, as well as plot summary spoilers for the story arc, which will take about a month to run all told. Since at least one of my players reads these lists (hi, Gerry! :) ), this first post will be spoiler-free so my players can avoid the details of what is to come. Thus, this post will be ending momentarily.

Thoughts and suggestions from other GMs are more than welcome, including tales of your own BN crossovers. My own series will be covered using the sub-header "Blackest Night: Guardians."

- Andrew <:-(}

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Running Blackest Night: Overview and Meta-Planning

Postby Quistar » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:40 pm

Some spoiler space before I begin....
















Okay. I've obviously spent a lot of time (more than a year) actively planning this, knowing I was going to run it for almost a year before that. Most of the planning involved presentation and creating the "feel" or mood for Blackest Night.

It's a horror story for superheroes, and one that works far better IMHO than most I've seen. It hits on both a personal and physical level and presents a serious threat to, literally, ANY character in the DCU, regardless of power level. Even the Spectre was challenged by this threat, and victimized by it as well!

Some of the highlights/features of the storyline:
* The dead have risen, mostly characters known to the heroes and villains of the DCU. Loved ones, close friends, deadly foes...they all come back as deadly enemies. Some are physical threats, some are just there to mess with the heroes' heads.
* Can you say Zombie Apocalypse? These Black Lantern zombies are serious trouble. They gain the powers of the black power rings, plus any powers they had in life. And they just can't be destroyed by ordinary means. Aim for the head, they'll just grow it back next round and keep on coming, tirelessly, while you slowly wear down and wear out. And anyone that gets killed is fodder to join the Black Lantern Corps, which just makes a bad situation worse.
* The whole mass-attack on the living is really a front. The Black Lanterns' primary goal is not to kill the living, but to provoke an emotional response from them. The more emotion they get, the more their rings absorb and fuel to the Black Central Power Battery, whose purpose is to summon the Avatar of Death, Nekron, to the mortal plane.

There's a lot more, and I'll reference these ideas in context while discussing plotting and scheming, but you get the general idea. Look up the Blackest Night article on Wikipedia or elsewhere for a more detailed summary.

Key elements of planning this story arc as a GM were/are:

* Make it personal. I made up a player survey for each of my players with two basic questions. One was to list one or more NPCs in each Player Character's personal history that had died sometime in the past and would come back to haunt them. My players complied, giving me a nice supply of Nightmare Fuel to use against them. :twisted:
Along these lines, I also asked the players to rank each of the seven emotions of the Emotional Spectrum for how strongly each would reflect their feelings and personalities. The stated reason for this request was to let me, the GM, have the Black Lanterns accurately "read" the heroes' emotions during combats, as shown in the BN comics themselves. The real reason is a bit more devious, and I'm sure many of you will figure out where that is going...but more on that later...

* Make the threat serious but (possibly) survivable. Remember the third highlight from above...the battles are a front. The primary goal of the Black Lantern Corps is NOT to kill the living (well, not too many of them), but rather to push for extreme emotional responses to fuel up the Central Battery. This means less effort at direct attack on the whole, and a lot more roleplaying and in-character manipulation, mucking with their minds and feelings. All things considered, death is less painful. :twisted:

* Parallel, but don't overwrite, the main storyline. The first Issue or two of the story will be solely that of my group's characters, the Gateway City Guardians. The BN threat will come to them in the middle of their own storyline, and they'll have to deal with the immediate threat before going off to Coast City to get involved in the Big Bru-ha-hah. When the heroes DO get to Coast City, they'll encounter the major plot elements, though they'll quickly be shunted into their own personal battles that will be just as "cool" as the ones from the comic, but not contradict/counter them. Those other scenes will be "lost in the fog of war." Nonetheless, the Guardians will definitely get a chance to do their part and shine as the heroes they are!

* Since the roleplay is SO important to dealing with Black Lanterns, I'm going to give some leeway to both PCs and NPCs on the usual limitations for "speaking as a free action." The encounters will be far more enjoyable for both the players and the GM if we can take time to banter and roleplay the encounters with familiar Black Lanterns, not just roll dice to fight them.

These are the major broad considerations I'm making in planning the story arc. Next posting I'll deal with the basic mechanics of how I set up Black Lanterns statistically and how I plan to use them. If I remember key points that should have been in this posting but I forgot, I'll edit them back in later.

- Andrew <:-(}

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Running Blackest Night: Stat-Blocking Black Lanterns

Postby Quistar » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:12 pm

Now to get into the nitty gritty. I started by checking out Black Hand's entry from DCA Heroes & Villains Vol. 1, page 60. Some of the Force Array effects of the Black Ring are the same as from his Power Siphon device, but others are added to his standard build in the Black Lantern sidebar. That raises him from a standard PL 11 to PL 13. This includes the Immortality and Regeneration aspects that make Black Lanterns so damned hard to permanently "kill" in the comics.

I used those stats as a starting point for what I called my "Black Lantern Bystander" build to reflect the more-or-less ordinary, everyday people that the black rings would bring back. Then I considered the social aspects of being a Black Lantern. Obviously the rings have a complete "download" of the memories (but not the feelings) of the bodies they control, giving them first-hand information about the PCs.

But here's the thing. The rings are also linked through the Central Power Battery. This means the rings have a central database of ALL of the data culled from ALL Black Lanterns. And you know, being the devious, emotion-provoking bastards they are, each and every BL will use this information to maximum effect! :twisted:

With all this in mind, here is the basic stat block I made up, with commentary/analysis following.

===============================================================================

Black Lantern Bystander - PL 10

Strength 0, Stamina -, Agility 0, Dexterity 0, Fighting 0, Intellect 0, Awareness 0, Presence 0

Advantages
All-out Attack, Daze (Deception), Daze (Intimidation), Diehard, Eidetic Memory, Fascinate (Deception), Fascinate (Expertise), Fascinate (Intimidation), Fascinate (Persuasion), Fearless, Power Attack, Startle, Taunt, Well-informed

Skills
Close Combat: Take the Heart 10 (+10), Deception 5 (+15/+5), Intimidation 5 (+15/+5), Persuasion 5 (+15/+5), Ranged Combat: Power Ring 10 (+10)

Powers
Power Ring (Removable (indestructible))
Force Manipulation Array
Force Blast: Blast 10 (DC 25)
Force Constructs: Create 10 (Volume: 1000 cft., DC 20)
Life Draining: Weaken 10 (Affects: Stamina, Resisted by: Fortitude, DC 20)
Lifting: Move Object 10 (25 tons)
Movable Constructs: Create 10 (Volume: 1000 cft., DC 20; Movable)
Know Your Enemy: Enhanced Trait 24 (Traits: Deception +10 (+15), Intimidation +10 (+15), Persuasion +10 (+15), Advantages: Daze (Deception), Daze (Intimidation), Eidetic Memory, Fascinate (Deception), Fascinate (Expertise), Fascinate (Intimidation), Fascinate (Persuasion), Startle, Taunt; Limited: Only effective against people the Black Lantern knew well in life.)
Risen
Immortality: Immortality 20 (Return after 3 seconds)
Immunity: Immunity 30 (Fortitude Effects)
Regeneration: Regeneration 20 (2 per round)
Spectral Sight
Enhanced Trait: Enhanced Trait 4 (Traits: Insight +8 (+8))
Senses: Senses 5 (Accurate: Detect Emotions, Acute: Detect Emotions, Detect: Emotions 2: ranged)

Offense
Initiative +0
Force Blast: Blast 10, +10 (DC 25)
Grab, +0 (DC Spec 10)
Life Draining: Weaken 10, +10 (DC Fort 20)
Lifting: Move Object 10, +10 (DC 20)
Throw, +0 (DC 15)
Unarmed, +0 (DC 15)

Complications
Disability: Black Lanterns are only able to perceive living creatures by seeing their emotional auras. Anyone that manages to control their feelings so completely that they shut them down (by using the Trance advantage or by making a Will save DC 25) becomes invisible to Black Lanterns and cannot be attacked
Motivation: Death: Black Lanterns exist to bring order to the universe by destroying all emotion, and all life, in the universe. They also seek to create as much emotional response from their targets as possible by provoking strong emotional responses. They possess all of the memories of the host body and use that knowledge to their advantage in combat.
Weakness: Black Lanterns can be destroyed by limited means. The light of any two Lanterns of different colors can be combined in a single attack to destroy a Black Lantern. The White Light of Creation can also destroy Black Lanterns. A few heroes, including Dove and Halo, can create this effect.

Languages
Native Language

Defense
Dodge 5, Parry 5, Fortitude Immune, Toughness 0, Will 10

Power Points
Abilities -10 + Powers 117 + Advantages 5 + Skills 18 (35 ranks) + Defenses 20 = 150

===============================================================================

Design Notes

These BLs are designed to be "personal" foes only, not combat monsters. They have minimal defenses because they are meant to be easily "destroyed" by a single attack. This doesn't matter since Regeneration/Immortality brings them back the very next round to continue torturing the heroes. With more Toughness, the BLs wouldn't "die" as much, reducing the horror effect.

The Force Array is a throwaway thing really, to be used or not as desired. The Bystander BLs are mainly there for social interaction, or as a distraction from a greater BL threat.

My major contribution to the stat block is the Know Your Enemy power. Limited to use only against people the BL knew well in life, this allows them to use old memories and feelings to distract, intimidate, guilt-trip, and otherwise mess with the PC's mind. Many scenes in the BN crossover stories made use of these tactics, but without the stats to back it up in the game it can fall flat. Thus, I threw Know Your Enemy into the mix.

Black Lanterns based on existing super-beings would work similarly. Since Stamina is a "null" stat for the undead, I give such characters Protection equal to their previous Stamina score (when possible) to keep them on par, or combine it with existing Protection within power level limits. Considering the major benefit of having the Immortality/Regeneration combo, having a higher Protection or Toughness rating is not nearly as important as it was for the living NPC's stat block.

A certain amount of juggling will be needed to balance this in combat, and I may change this after running the initial combats. If so, I'll post fixes in this thread.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

- Andrew <:-(}

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Team Roster: The Guardians

Postby Quistar » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:31 pm

Our playing group has had 4-5 steady players for most of its history. Some players came and went, one switched PCs along the way, and we changed GMs early on and I've been running the game ever since. Our first GM ran the game using the DC Animated Universe as his baseline. When I took over I switched almost entirely over to the pre-New 52 comic book standard, primarily since I've almost never seen any of the DCAU material and just can't work from it. There are one or two tweaks because of this that will smooth out a bit in the end.

We started the series at PL 10 and most of the PCs are now PL 11. The three mainstays of the team from the start are:

* Amaranth (my PC/NPC), a folksinger that was located and accepted by a Star Sapphire power ring. Obviously the ring had a quirk since it considered a "male" to be capable of great love and worthy of joining the corps. This is a source of frequent jokes about him being the "gay lantern" (likely why Geoff Johns decided never to have a male Star Sapphire in the books!) and distrust by the rest of the SS Corps. He's a cheerful, happy fellow that uses his power ring to play nonstop soundtracks during our adventures ("Do you have ANY idea of the MPX potential of a power ring???"). Yeah, this is Feature 1: Personal Soundtrack. And it works SO well!

* Boomer, a sound technician for Lexcorp that got sound-based superpowers from a work accident. Energy controller/blaster archetype that's in it for the glory (Motivation: Recognition).

* La Tigra Bianca: Animal activist and environmentalist whose power source is unknown. She has cat-like powers and claws a la the Cheetah but also can summon animals native to the local area. She and Cheetah actually got into a "catfight" a while back and consider each other enemies as a result.

In addition, there used to be a plant-controlling heroine called Hempstress (you may :roll: or :lol: as you wish!). The player and character left the group a while back and have not returned. Hempstress is rumored to be living on a commune in South California. :wink:

Our former GM decided to join the group using a DCAU version of Hawkman (as per the Justice League cartoons, where Hawkgirl was in the spotlight instead). Knowing that Blackest Night was coming up, he decided to switch characters and now runs a DC-compatible version of Captain Thunder from the Freedomverse books!

In addition, we used to have a looney gadgeteer named Ellipse (...) that went around with tinfoil on top of his head and experimenting with dimensional travel and such. The player moved out of the area but I have permission to use the character, who most likely will become a villain mad scientist. Obviously this will factor into Blackest Night, but not in the way he thinks it will... :evil:

Our final player is the only child in the group, a 12 year old that has been through MANY characters and finally settled on Sonic Ice, a speedster with cold powers. He fuels his powers from ambient heat rather than the speed force, and is currently MUCH slower than the Flash family. I expect him to catch up as he earns PP.

The current active team roster is: Boomer, Captain Thunder, La Tigra Bianca, Sonic Ice, and Amaranth (who is a part-time member due to his endless wandering on the folksinger routes of America - and yes, I do actually calculate his flight times when he's on the road!). Ellipse is entirely in the background with his obsessive research. The team does enjoy an NPC minion, an artificial intelligence called P.I.P.E.R.S. (Protocol Information Processor for Electronic Reconnaisance Software, though every time he mentions it, the AI uses different words for his acronym) that manages their headquarters and provides useful data. The floating-head avatar of P.I.P.E.R.S. has the appearance, voice, and snarky personality of the original Holly from the BBC series Red Dwarf, for those in the know. :twisted:

These are the heroes that will try to survive the Blackest Night.

- Andrew <:-(}

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Re: Running Blackest Night

Postby chao-ren » Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:12 pm

This looks AWESOME!!! Please continue to keep us updated... Will be running a full lantern game in the future and wanted to try a blackest night even later in it... So this helps alot! Thanks!
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Re: Running Blackest Night

Postby Quistar » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:00 pm

chao-ren wrote:This looks AWESOME!!! Please continue to keep us updated... Will be running a full lantern game in the future and wanted to try a blackest night even later in it... So this helps alot! Thanks!


Thank you! I'll be glad to share details with you as the game progresses, along with Evil Secret Plot details of what is to come. Odds are I'll start the game next Friday when all my players can be in attendance.

- Andrew <:-(}

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Re: Running Blackest Night

Postby Dragonblade » Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:49 pm

This sounds cool! I'll be keeping an eye on your updates. :)

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Blackest Night: Guardians Issue #1

Postby Quistar » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:35 am

It's noon on Friday in Gateway City. Sonic Ice is busy in his civilian ID at S.T.A.R. Labs, working on a crucial deadline for his latest project. Amaranth, also in civilian guise, is lounging at his favorite coffee shop and performing acoustic guitar tunes for the customers. Captain Thunder and La Tigra Bianca are making a PR appearance to promote awareness of endangered species. Across town, Boomer is performing a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new homeless shelter and basking in the glow of his own limelight.

In a pocket dimension of his own design, Ellipse sits at his computer array, adjusts the aluminum-foil skullcap he always wears, and presses a button on his console.

An alert goes out to the Guardians' communicators. Sonic Ice notes it, but cannot pause at this crucial juncture to answer. The others will have to handle it without him.

Boomer's super-hearing would normally pick up the alert regardless of background noise, but he set his communicator to "silent" before the ceremony started. Oblivious to the impending danger, he continues to smile for the cameras...

The others answer the alert from P.I.P.E.R.S., their electronic majordomo: somehow, Amazo has found their secret headquarters (within a set of stack islands off the coast of Gateway City) and is attacking it!

Captain Thunder and Tigra cut their appearance short, the Captain carrying both her and her pet bobcat, Bobby, into the air. They are contacted en route by Amaranth and make plans to converge simultaneously and try to get Amazo out of their HQ before it is totally wrecked. A basic plan is formed in the seconds before arrival.

Amaranth places Captain Thunder within a power-ring formed giant slingshot, flinging him at Amazo. The Captain grabs him and slams the android through the outer wall into the ocean, where Tigra Bianca's summoned electric eels are waiting for them. The HQ's automated systems seal the breach before major flooding damages any vital systems.

The eels strike, but are unable to harm Amazo; during the ensuing battle, it becomes clear that he has already duplicated Captain Thunder's immunity to electricity! Amazo uses the Flash's vibration power to escape Cap's hold and reverses it, dragging him up out of the ocean into a thick, heavy fog, effectively blinding the Captain. The laughter and familiar taunts of his old foe, Doctor Stratos, ring in his ears as the humidity levels quickly rise to stifling levels around him.

Inside, the other Guardians are about to go to Cap's assistance when La Tigra Bianca is blindsided by a sneak attack from the Cheetah! Their last meeting was a bloody catfight that Tigra barely won with some help. Amaranth went to her aid, but was quickly occupied by the reappearance of his own foe, the Red Lantern known as Rancor! Amaranth went toe-to-toe with his old friend-turned-enemy, his power ring counting down his rapidly depleting charge as he struggled to beat Rancor. (OOC: Red Lantern rings rapidly drain the charge of nearby rings of other corps, except blue.)

Outside, Captain Thunder managed to successfully hold off the assault from both Amazo and Stratos, but the effort prevented him from checking in on his teammates.

Amaranth, realizing they were in trouble, asked P.I.P.E.R.S. to send out a general distress call to the JLA. A sinking sensation followed as he realized that the HQ's artificial intelligence was no longer responding.

Another player joined the battle, also a thorn in Amaranth's side: the new, female Psycho-Pirate! She had manipulated him on a previous occasion to attack his teammates, with somewhat humorous results. This time she played for keeps, making Amaranth hate Rancor with a passion! His face contorted with fury, Amaranth snarled and launched himself at Rancor as his power ring shut down, leaving him at Rancor's mercy. (OOC: Since a violet power ring is fueled by the wearer's love, switching him to rage totally shut down the ring's functions.)

Meanwhile, Cheetah played dirty and switched her attacks from La Tigra Bianca to Bobby, dealing him a near-lethal wound with a swipe of her claws! Desperate, Tigra unleashed her fury, knocking Cheetah unconscious. She then scooped up Bobby in her arms and raced for the Medical Center, hoping she was in time to save Bobby's life.

Amaranth, deprived of his power ring's protection, went down as Rancor's vomited blood burned his skin and rendered him unconscious. In true Red Lantern fashion, he was about to go for the kill, but Psycho-Pirate intervened. She used her power to make Rancor hate Captain Thunder instead, and the Red Lantern launched himself outside to join the battle there. Psycho-Pirate smiled and removed Amaranth's power ring.

The Guardians' Auto-Doc is easy to use; just place the patient on the bed and activate the device. The bobcat was quickly stabilized, leaving Tigra to go back and help Amaranth. Unfortunately, she ran face-first into Psycho-Pirate, who forced her to feed deep sadness and despair over Bobby's injuries. The villain toyed with her emotions, one after the other, running poor Tigra up and down an emotional roller-coaster while she waited for the others.

Outside, Rancor joined the battle against Captain Thunder. With the odds against him, Cap was pummeled into submission.

The heroes awakened in one of their own detention cells, their powers negated by the cell's energy field. With them were Sonic Ice and Boomer. Circe had joined the other villains as they lounged about gloating about their success. Amazo lay on a lab table, his brain pan opened and wires plugged into his electronic brain; he appeared to be in sleep mode.

Once he saw the ringless Amaranth awake, Rancor threw himself at the detention cell's force field, eager to slay his hated foe. Psycho-Pirate tried to stop him by forcing Rancor to feel love for his former friend, and that proved to be his undoing. Once Rancor's rage was gone, his power ring severed the connection to him and sought a new wearer. Since a Red Lantern's ring replaces his heart's functions, he went into immediate cardiac arrest and died a bloody, horrible death. :twisted:

As Amaranth tried to cope with the sudden, bloody loss of his old buddy, Circe activated a viewscreen to show them the mastermind of their defeat: Lex Luthor! The Guardians' first mission involved Lex's secret efforts to reprogram Amazo to do his bidding, and Lex has held a grudge against them for their meddling ever since. Moreso since La Tigra Bianca had Bobby pee on Lex's expensive Italian suit. :wink:

After the mandatory gloating, Lex revealed his secret accomplice, who made all of this possible: the Guardians' own tinkerer and inactive member, Ellipse! It was child's play for him to reprogram P.I.P.E.R.S. and the HQ to allow the villains silent access to the facilities. It was nothing personal, but Lex offered him WAYYY too much money to pass on the deal!

Just as Lex was about to enjoy the prolonged torture and execution of the team, the world suddenly became as black as midnight.

It was only 2:45 in the afternoon.

HQ's systems were working fine, aside from Ellipse's sabotage. Satellite telemetry revealed the problem: darkness had completely enveloped the earth! The sun was just fine, but the earth was shrouded in darkness that nothing could penetrate.

Looking perturbed, Lex ordered his team to carry out the execution as quickly as possible and save the recording for him to enjoy later. Luthor then logged off.

A moment later, the sound of thunderous crashing echoed throughout the HQ. Someone, or something, was smashing its way in!

The villains were confused and unprepared as a number of black-clad figures broke through the walls of the Detention Center. They were clearly dead and rotting, in some cases familiar to the assembled heroes and villains: a ring-possessed SILVER BANSHEE, the original PSYCHO-PIRATE (Roger Hayden), and a male CHEETAH!

As the figures broke in, almost unnoticed, a tiny black ring buzzed like an electric insect and landed on the still, cold hand of Rancor's corpse.

"STEPHEN RANKIN OF EARTH...RISE!"

And rise Rancor did, his uniform now a black, corrupted version of itself. Rancor looked at Amaranth with cold, dead eyes.

"Hey, Jeffie. Miss me?" :twisted:

(TO BE CONTINUED)


Additional GM Notes:

* All of the villains in this session had encountered or fought the Guardians previously. They are Lex Luthor's "Guardians Revenge Squad."

* I created Rancor to be Amaranth's "evil opposite" archenemy many months before the "New 52" reboot, the Red Lanterns comic, or the creation of the Rankor character in said comic. I was pleased to see I was on the right track with the name! :D

* La Tigra Bianca, realizing that honest emotion might overcome Psycho-Pirate's artificially generated "love" for her, came on to Amaranth successfully in an earlier adventure. The resulting hook-up led to a steady romance between the two.

* The players of Sonic Ice and Boomer were unable to play this session, so their characters were taken out in cut-scenes. Sonic Ice raced out of his lab as soon as he finished his work, too late to save the others. He was intercepted en route and frozen solid by Doctor Stratos, who knew of his weakness to intense cold. Boomer finally noticed multiple alerts on his communicator and took off for HQ. He met up with Circe along the way. She taunted him about the "wonderful modern science" that a mutual acquaintance had taught to her, particularly...vacuums. She then magically projected a vacuum around Boomer, cutting off his powers (sound needs a medium to travel through, and a vacuum doesn't work!) and suffocating him at the same time. He was unconscious before he hit the ground.

* Using the ongoing Luthor revenge plot served two purposes for me. It let me keep secret the start of Blackest Night until the very end of the session, giving it the surprise value it richly deserved. It also gave me villains that would attract Black Lanterns of their former victims. The heroes hadn't been active long enough to generate super-villain Black Lanterns to come back and haunt them. But their foes included brutal killers that had created their share of corpses along the way...and those victims would DEFINITELY come back to haunt them! Of course, our heroes just happen to be around to act as collateral damage...

* As noted previously, Ellipse (the gadgeteer) WAS a PC in the game whose player moved out of area. He had planned for him to go evil and gave me permission to use him in my game that way. I'm certain he'd approve.

* Captain Thunder turned out to be a LOT harder to take down than I'd anticipated. The player was good with letting me narrate his defeat, seeing where this was all going plotwise. I'll have different strategies in mind for dealing with him again should the plot demand it.

* Originally I was going to include Black Vulture (modified from the Threat Report to be a Feitheran Hawkman foe) for this battle, but with two of my players missing this seemed to be overkill. His main purpose was to bring BLACK LANTERN HAWKMAN into the battle since they have an old grudge. Odds are I'll just table this for now and have BV reappear later. I will also add one or two other Black Lantern supervillains to the battle at the start of next session, I just haven't decided who would show up yet.

* Circe was the invisible ace-in-the-hole for this battle. She moved in to end the Captain Thunder pile-on with a Will-based sleep spell. Her primary target was supposed to be Boomer but his player was unable to join this session so I kept her in reserve mostly.

* When P.I.P.E.R.S. first contacted the heroes, his line was: "Emergency. Emergency. There's an emergency going on." This was straight out of a season 1 episode of the BBC series Red Dwarf; P.I.P.E.R.S. has a face-avatar that is identical in look and voice to the original Holly from Red Dwarf.

* After the electric eels failed to make a difference, La Tigra Bianca considered summoning a whale to smack Amazo. Then she remembered that Amazo possesses all of the powers of the original Justice League of America, including Aquaman. She decided not to find out if she could control fish better than he could. The funny thing is, once Captain Thunder took the fight out into the ocean, Amazo had the advantage over him thanks to Aquaman's aquatic adaptations.

* As part of his revenge, Lex Luthor devised a sinister torture for both La Tigra Bianca and Bobby, who she ordered to pee on Lex in their first meeting, ruining his suit. Bobby was placed in a metal cage and injected with drugs that forced him to urinate frequently and uncontrollably. The cage was hooked up to an electric charge that would shock the poor kitty each time he relieved himself. Yes, PETA is after Luthor for this violation. But it had the desired result. :twisted:

* After Cheetah's deadly attack on Bobby (leaving the feline Incapacitated and Dying), La Tigra Bianca returned the attack and rolled a natural 20...critting her into unconsciousness! I let her enjoy her momentary victory, since she had to save Bobby's life and get ready for the heartache to come.

* Amazo is fun because you can keep trotting out different power sets to deal with different situations. I regret that I didn't make full use of Martian Manhunter's abilities. I tried using his telepathy on Captain Thunder but the ranks are too low to really be effective. J'onn has shown to be more powerful a telepath in the comics. I REALLY wish I'd used his invisibility in the fight though!

* Amazo's first move upon encountering the heroes was to duplicate any immunities they had. He was immune to electricity before the eels or Cap tried zapping him, but it was fun to watch the players try! :twisted:

* Yes, I killed Rancor, the villain I created for my hero. As a wise author once said, sometimes you have to kill your darlings. The plot demanded it, but the payout will be well worth the sacrifice starting next issue!

Unfortunately, work scheduling has interfered with our next planned session or two. I will try to reschedule around it, so it might be a while before I post Issue 2, but I promise it will be worth the wait!

- Andrew <:-(}
Last edited by Quistar on Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Team Roster Update: New Blood!

Postby Quistar » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:57 pm

I finally decided to post on a local meetup dot com group to recruit new players; with only 3 regular players it didn't take much for a game to be cancelled.

What I got was exactly what I was looking for. A single player, and a trio (father-son-girlfriend). I've got the characters set up and ready to join the game, which brings all new challenges to the series!

We now have:

* The Kid, a homemade Robin-type. Grew up poor but brilliant, threw together cobbled-together equipment, trained hard, and started fighting the gangs in a one-kid war on crime. Imagine what one of the Robins would be like without Bruce Wayne's megabucks and you get the idea.

* Blackout, a former hacker criminal turned good. He has a battle suit that enhances many of his abilities, a "Gamma Tool" for combat, and the mutant power to communicate with and control electronics. He's been working with the FBI as penance for past sins and is now a bona-fide superhero.

* Strawberry Pop, an obscure 1990's video game heroine that Blackout somehow pulled out of the virtual world of the game into reality! All of her powers are candy-based, so she flies on a cotton candy cloud, shoots disabling clouds of pixie stick dust, cracks a licorice whip, etc. She's also addicted to sugar (shock!) and incredibly naive about how the "real" world works versus her native virtual one. This will hit her hard when we continue Blackest Night later today!

* Grave Digger, an undead revenant played by the 7 year old son of Blackout's player. We have only stats for him so far, but I get the feeling he's probably going to end up a revenge-motivated Crow type. Pretty tough physically, which normally is good...but he's going into Blackest Night and there's a black power ring with his name on it coming for him soon. :twisted:

This brings our group to a potential 7 players on a good day (with my PC/NPC being the 8th as needed). On one hand, it means I'll probably have steadier attendance for play. On the other hand, it also means I have to plan differently for a more powerful and diverse group. This next session's Black Lantern assault will no doubt test us all to the limit!

- Andrew <:-(}

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Preview notes for "Many Unhappy Returns" (Issue 2)

Postby Quistar » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:17 am

Rather than interrupt what will be a LONG summary with details about the returning departed, I'm going to list them all in this post for later reference.

Issue 1 ended with the start of Blackest Night and the arrival of the first Black Lantern villains. This includes:

* Cheetah II (Sebastien Ballesteros), who temporarily stole the powers of Barbara Minerva, the first (modern) Cheetah. She got them back and killed Sebastien for his troubles. Now he wants payback.

* Psycho-Pirate I (Roger Hayden). who is here to retrieve his Medusa Mask from the current PP. She will NOT be happy.

* Silver Banshee, who was established in backstory as a one-shot villain for Boomer. Since Boomer is immune to all sonic effects, it was an easy fight for him. Round 2 will not go his way thanks to the Black Power Ring she now wears!

* Rancor, former Red Lantern and sworn enemy (for personal reasons) of Jeff Johnson, Amaranth (not quite of the Star Sapphire Corps).


Those are the "super" Black Lanterns. In addition, I have a whole slew of "normal" ones come back to haunt the heroes and villains in Guardians HQ. They use the stats I posted earlier in this thread for Black Lantern Bystanders, tweaked as needed. These include:

* Summer Gardner, Capt. Thunder/Ray’s wife, who died in childbirth. She will torment him with memories and questions about Ray Jr. and make him feel guilty for not saving her.

* Uncle Ash “Firebug” Forrester, La Tigra Bianca/Diana’s uncle. A psychotic failure, he burned down Diana’s house and almost killed her when she was five years old. Her father saved her while Ash died in the fire. His face haunts her nightmares to this day.

* Denise Riley, dead girlfriend to Boomer/Marcus Caine. She was crushed by debris at the concert where he got his powers. She will play on his guilt and shame.

* Achilles Stratos, father of Dr. Stratos (if the Doctor is still alive). He will berate his son as a disappointment to drive his rage and fear. NOTE: I created him as a foil for Dr. Stratos for this plot. Doc's backstory mentions nobody in his personal life so I created someone that would provide Nightmare Fuel for my game.

* Julio dé Reyes, father of Rey (The Kid). Former Latin Drug King, killed in a turf war battle. He will play on the fact that he hooked Rey’s mother on crack to drive his rage.

* James Lewis, former Massachusetts high school principal, robbed of his retirement funds by Axel Isaacson’s (Blackout's) hacking activities. He died alone and broken in prison, a suicide. He will push the guilt button on Blackout until one or the other is destroyed.

* Manny Tannenbaum, a maintenance man at the park where Strawberry Pop works, the first man she ever saw die in the “real” world. He’ll play up guilt for all it’s worth.

* Myrtle Caine, Marcus’ grandmother. She died in the nursing home his mother banished her to in her old age.

* Col. Jack Gardner, Captain Thunder's father, who died on a secret flight mission for the Air Force.

* Diana Forrester (Sr.), Tigra’s mother that died in childbirth. She was a sweet, caring, selfless woman that was protective of animals. She pretends to be that way now until it no longer suits her purpose.

* Daniel Stronghold, Sonic Ice/Timmy’s father, a cop that died in a car crash heading to work. He was aggressive and tough on Timmy and his mother. He will put Timmy down and make him feel small and inadequate.


The actual lineup of Black Lanterns may vary depending who shows up for the game. Boomer's player has been coming off 12-hour shifts Fridays so he has been too tired to actually play with us lately. I suspect that the mercurial player of Sonic-Ice will end up ditching us for video games, which he will regret once he sees how Issue 2 ends!

Anyhow, there's my list of Nightmare Fuel for this session. More after I run the game!

- Andrew <:-(}

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Blackest Night: Guardians Issue #2, "Many Unhappy Returns"

Postby Quistar » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:31 pm

ONE WEEK AGO: Amaranth and Sonic-Ice introduce new recruits Blackout and Strawberry Pop to the team at their sub-island headquarters after meeting them during a battle against Evil Star and his Starlings. Meanwhile, new vigilante "The Kid" gets lucky and spots them heading towards HQ from the shore; he locates the hidden entrance to the underwater monorail and disables the security to get inside. The heroes allow him to come inside and question him. After some checking, they decide to take him on as a provisional member, mainly to watch over him and tutor him (The Kid is only 13 years old!).

NOW: Amaranth, Captain Thunder and La Tigra Bianca are trapped and powerless in their own detention cell by Luthor's "Guardian Revenge Squad": Circe, Cheetah, Rancor (now dead), Psycho-Pirate II, and Dr. Stratos. One of their own, sometime member Ellipse, has betrayed them to Luthor. Before the villains can complete their revenge, the skies outside go totally black. Moments later, crashing sounds and rumbling announce the arrival of the Black Lanterns! The villains are confronted by CHEETAH II (Sebastien Ballesteros), PSYCHO-PIRATE I (Roger Hayden), a newly “revived” RANCOR, and SILVER BANSHEE!

The heroes start this session with THREE Hero Points each instead of the usual one!

While the heroes try to get free of their cell, the Black Lanterns take a heavy toll on the villains. The two Cheetahs square off, with the undead one quickly getting the upper hand thanks to his rapid-healing and undead immortality. Silver Banshee's keening devastates Dr. Stratos, since she knows his real name and can easily kill him with her power; he is quickly on the ropes, losing Stamina rapidly. Rancor starts attacking the cell's force field to get at the ringless Amaranth. Roger Hayden goes after his successor, the new female Psycho-Pirate, duplicating his own death at the hands of Black Adam by shoving the Medusa Mask, her face, and her brains through the back of her head, killing her instantly. Hayden scrapes her blood and brains off the mask, dons it, and flies off to Smallville to confront Superman and Superboy (in the Blackest Night: Superman miniseries). The new Psycho-Pirate gets a black ring, rises, and creates a duplicate Medusa Mask using her power ring.

Circe, seeing where this is going and thinking about how many people she has killed over her millenia-long existence, teleports away to hide out until the whole thing blows over!

Luthor had already signed off his viewscreen to monitor the larger situation outside. On his screen, Ellipse looks offscreen and screams in horror as his screen goes black!

The captured heroes try to figure a way out of their own detention cells. They realize that the only way out is to get released from the outside, so Amaranth tries a trick that he read Green Lantern has done before, commanding his power ring from a short distance (Extra Effort Power Stunt). He connects to his ring and uses it to deactivate the detention cell, freeing them to join the battle. Rancor quickly removes Amaranth from the fight by threatening to fly to Brooklyn to kill Amaranth's parents, leaving him no choice but to pursue his former best friend into space and out of the melee.

La Tigra Bianca scoops up her wounded pet Bobby the Bobcat and whisks him back to the Med-Center's Autodoc to get him healed, then returns to help the others in the fight. Captain Thunder makes some early headway, easily smashing some of the Black Lanterns, only to see them reform in mere seconds, ready to fight again. Dr. Stratos, in dire straits and close to dying, takes advantage of the heroes' freedom to escape and flee the area under heavy fog cover.

Meanwhile, the new recruits (The Kid, Blackout and Strawberry Pop) witness the fall of Blackest Night back in the city. They contact HQ to find out what is going on only to get P.I.P.E.R.S.' answering service. Knowing that something is wrong, they head to the shoreline to access the monorail, only to be attacked by a new Black Lantern, an undead revenant antihero called Grave Digger that just got a Black Ring. The very sight of the creature scared the heroes enough to retreat to the monorail and HQ for reinforcements!

Once inside, Kid and Strawberry Pop joined the larger battle while Blackout connected to the compromised HQ computer to purge the virus and reboot it. He just managed to finish the job as Grave Digger found him, rising out of the twisting metal floor to loom over him menacingly. His courage paid off as Strawberry Pop tried a new trick, sealing Grave Digger in a Hard Rock Candy Shell! This trick also saved the unconscious form of the Cheetah, whose undead counterpart was about to deliver a killing blow. Blackout then redirected the detention cell's force field to contain some of the Black Lanterns.

The newcomers' arrival was timely. After a fierce battle of wills, Captain Thunder fell under Psycho-Pirate's influence and was turned against his own teammates! Meanwhile, The Kid got clever and lured Silver Banshee into their Training Room, where he activated the first combat sequence he could think of: Kryptonian gangsters! Out came three robots made up to look like General Zod, Ursa and Non! The sidekicks forced Banshee to the ground, while their leader declared "Kneel before Zod!" as he belted her in the jaw! La Tigra Bianca followed and started putting the hurt on Banshee, keeping her off-balance!

Meanwhile, Strawberry Pop interposed to take the brunt of the assault from Captain Thunder, who was unable to penetrate her bubble-gum force-field.

Despite their progress and cleverness, the heroes were slowly losing the battle, until the sound of electric insects once more filled the air. But this time, the power rings weren't black...

(BOXED TEXT ALERT!)

“Rey dé Reyes of Earth: You are capable of great Rage. Welcome to the Red Lantern Corps.” (The Kid)
“Axel Issaacson of Earth: You are capable of great Avarice. Welcome to the Orange Lantern Corps.” (Blackout)
“Timothy Kenneth McCormick of Earth: You are capable of creating great Fear. Welcome to the Sinestro Corps.” (Grave Digger)
“Raymond Gardner of Earth: You are capable of overcoming great Fear. Welcome to the Green Lantern Corps.” (Captain Thunder)
“Strawberry Pop of Earth: You are capable of great Hope. Welcome to the Blue Lantern Corps.” (Duh!)
“Diana Forrester of Earth: You are capable of great Compassion. Welcome to the Indigo Tribe.” (La Tigra Bianca)
“Bobby of Earth: You are capable of great Love. Welcome to the Star Sapphire Corps.” (Bobby the Bobcat)

As each ring lands on you, it transforms your costume into a Lantern-variant appearance. All of your wounds are healed, your power restored! Grave Digger's black ring shatters, and Captain Thunder is free of Psycho-Pirate's control!

Above you, a short, glowing blue bald woman wearing a flowing white robe floats calmly in mid-air. Behind her, you see Amaranth, unconscious and in street garb, contained in a blue energy aura.

“I am Sayd, Guardian of the Blue Lantern Corps. I welcome each of you as temporary deputies of your respective corps for the next 24 hours. The time has come for us to save the universe from the threat of the Blackest Night!”

TO BE CONTINUED…


Notes and Extras

This session required a hell of a lot of planning. It also required a lot of last-minute adjustment based on which players/PCs were active in the game, especially for determining which PC got which power ring! I knew that we had three new adult players joining the game after Issue 1, so I used a Flashback to show them joining the team a week before Blackest Night even started. This made the transition a lot smoother.

There were a few wild cards. Boomer's player is out for the foreseeable future due to his player's work schedule; he was supposed to get the orange power ring due to his egomania. Fortunately, Blackout gave me the seeds for his PC's former greed in his backstory, so he truly deserved the Avarice ring! Sonic-Ice's player is a 12-year-old with a short attention span; he decided to play video games that night, so his PC did not get the blue hope ring as I'd planned. Strawberry Pop got it, and it made perfect sense for her as a video-game character. They tend to be driven by hope more than most other human emotions.

Grave Digger was created for the Blackout player's 7-year-old son, who decided to play video games with the 12-year-old. I don't blame him, he's a bit shy and has never played a RPG before. So I decided to borrow Grave Digger as an NPC Black Lantern (he was going to have to make a few Will saves for that anyhow) and scare the PCs some more.

Originally the violet love ring was going to Strawberry Pop, but I realized Hope worked better for her. So having run out of PCs, I gave it to Tigra's sidekick Bobby, who really loves her!

I had originally planned for a bunch of the more personal Bystander-level Black Lanterns to show up, but this big battle took about 2 hours to run and I knew I would never have time for them. They got bumped to next issue's story. Don't ask me what I was thinking when I planned this! :roll:

I knew going into this that there was potential for frustration. This is how the story went in the early issues of Blackest Night, before the Black Lanterns' weaknesses are discovered by the heroes. They regenerate 2 points per round (Regeneration 20) and come back from death/destruction in 3 seconds (Immortality 20), so fighting them straight up is a losing battle. Thinking outside the box is required.

The players tried removing the rings, which unfortunately is impossible at this point in the story. Even clawing and ripping the rings off their hands wasn't effective. It WAS very messy! The bits and pieces just grew back together!

Using the HQ force-field cells was a clever move, as was luring them into the Training Room. Hero Points for those maneuvers!

On Amaranth: At the end of each combat round I did a cut-scene where I showed Amaranth's conflict in space. The text of that battle appears below. It added nicely to the overall horror mood of the adventure:


AMARANTH’S STORY
These three cut scenes should be read at the end of each combat round, in order, until completion.

MEANWHILE, IN SPACE (ROUND 1)
Amaranth pushes to his limit to catch up with Rancor in mid-flight. They are at the edge of the atmosphere; Amaranth realizes he must be trying to use a parabolic arc to cut short the time needed to reach his parents’ brownstone in Brooklyn.

Focusing his love for his parents, Amaranth creates a large energy hand to grab Rancor, halting his flight.

R: “What’s the matter, Jeffy? I thought you loved reunions!” He summons a black energy hand to pull free and then arm-wrestle Amaranth’s force construct.

A: [Rage, Will, Love] “Come on, man, knock it off. You’ve been dodging me for years. You walk away from a friend without word one of explanation like that, you owe a brother, you know?”

R: “Are you that clueless, Jeffy? I’ll make it simple: You took Jane Sweet away from me! You remember her, don’t you? Maybe I’ll visit her next…”

A: [Avarice, Compassion, Love] “Jane? For real? Bro, I ASKED if you were interested in her before we hooked up! You said no! And now you say THAT’S what ticked you off so bad? You’re kidding me!”

R: “Man, you really ARE clueless! I was mooning over her like a lovesick calf. I shouldn’t HAVE to have said anything if you knew me as well as you thought you did!”

A: [Rage, Will] “You know what? It doesn’t matter anymore. You made a lot of bad choices, Steve…not being honest, walking away instead of working it out, letting your jealousy and hate overwhelm you…you know what? I’m done feeling bad about it. I’m just going to stop you from making another bad choice before someone else gets killed!”

Amaranth launches a series of violet shooting stars at his undead foe, tearing holes in him that quickly repair themselves. Miles below, the battle at Guardians HQ rages on…


MEANWHILE, IN SPACE (ROUND 2)
As his face comes back together, Rancor taunts Amaranth:

R: “Yeah, you wouldn’t want your precious Mommy and Daddy going belly-up because you made kissy-face with some girl years ago, would you? What WOULD they say? Oh, don’t bother, you can ask THESE kind folks here…”

Flying into view are the Black Lanterns that used to be Amaranth’s grandmother and grandfather!

Granny: “Jeffrey? Dear, is that you?”

A (shocked): [Avarice, Hope, Love] “Oh my…Granny? Gramps? You’re back! But…what’s happened to you?” Forgetting about Rancor, he flies forward to embrace his long-deceased grandparents!

Gramps: “Well, all of us dearly departed got a second chance to come back and visit, Jeff. I must say, you’ve done well by yourself! I do wish you’d finished college, of course, but you’re doing all right with the music thing!”

A: [Compassion, Love] “Awww…thanks Gramps!”

Granny: “But, Jeffrey…there’s something we need to talk to you about. Something important you need to know.”

Gramps: “She’s right, Jeff. You’ve been deceived.”

A: [Fear] “WHAT?”

Granny: “Remember those space hussies that gave you the ring? Well, they didn’t tell you EVERYTHING about how it works, or what they’re really up to.”

A: [Fear, Love] “What do you mean? Explain.”

Gramps: “Well, Jeff, the Star Sapphire Corps are devoted to love…TOTALLY devoted. They take a hard-line approach to their goal that pretty much means ‘love conquers all’…no matter what the cost to the rest of us.”

Granny: “He’s right, dear. When they can’t get someone to agree with them, they lock them up in a big cocoon-like ‘conversion crystal’ that reprograms their mind and heart so they become slavishly loving, and want to make everyone else feel that way too!”

A: [Rage, Fear, Hope] “You…you’re kidding, right? This can’t be true! That’s nothing more than a mind-wipe…and that isn’t love, it’s anything BUT love!”

Gramps: “Well, Jeff, if you’re so eager to be certain, there’s only one way. Ask your ring. It won’t lie to you.”

A: [Fear. Hope] “Ring…is what they’re saying true?”

Ring (in Majel Barrett’s voice): “Affirmative, ring-wielder 2814.2. You can summon the conversion crystal as needed.”

A (shocked): [Rage, Fear, Compassion, Will] “NO! That isn’t love! And if that’s what the Star Sapphires stand for, then I will NOT stand for it! This is going to change!”

Ring: “Ring-Wielder 2814.2 doubts the mission statement. Reprogramming is necessary to make him an ideal agent. Commencing.”

The ring envelops Amaranth within a crystal shell that spreads across his body, rapidly enclosing him inside! Soon all but his head is trapped in the cocoon!


MEANWHILE, IN SPACE (ROUND 3)

As Amaranth struggles against his own power ring, the Black Lanterns leer over him.

Rancor: “You always did look pretty in pink!”

Granny: “Oh, dear. This can’t be good for Jeffrey!”

Gramps: “Don’t worry, honey. I’m sure he’ll man up and handle it!”

A: [Rage, Fear, Will, Hope, Love] “No…freakin’…WAY!...is this happening! I…will…NOT…become…a…ROBOT! NEVER!”

Straining his will to the limit, Amaranth finally shatters the crystal, freeing himself!

Ring: “Ring-Wielder 2814.2 is no longer a suitable agent for the Star Sapphire Corps. Initiating search for a replacement.”

With that, the ring flies off Amaranth’s finger and departs. His uniform reverts to Jeff Johnson’s street clothes, and the protective aura that keeps him alive in space is gone. Gasping for breath but finding none, Jeff reaches out to his beloved grandparents for help! [Fear, Hope, Love]

Granny: “Oh dear. I don’t think Jeffrey is going to make it, do you?”

Gramps: “No, honey-bun. I don’t think he is. Such a shame. But it’s really his own damn fault for becoming a good-for-nothing hippie!”

Granny: “Yes, I suppose you’re right. Oh well, we tried to warn his parents. Such a shame they didn’t have more children…”

And Jeff Johnson, out of breath and out of time, goes numb with the cold as his sight grows dim. The last thing his grandparents see before he loses consciousness is a small glimmer of HOPE.

(END)


I had planned to include the Black Lanterns' "Emotion Vision" detail in the main combat, where they literally "see" the heroes' emotions as the corresponding colors of the Emotional Spectrum (red for rage, orange for avarice, etc.). I wrote in specific notes for this in Amaranth's sidebar. It's much harder to remember to do this while running a mass-combat!

Obviously, I had this plot point in mind for Amaranth for a long time. He has a firm personal code when it comes to personal freedom, and the idea of altering someone's emotions against their will, even to make them a "better" person, amounts to psychic rape as far as he's concerned. Of course, he never KNEW his ring had this power because the Star Sapphires, who really didn't like him from the get-go, didn't tell him about it. This led to his "fall" at a very dramatic and lethal point in the plot. I teased the players by saying, "By the way, did I mention that this issue's cover has the blurb 'The Final Appearance of a Guardian' on it?" :P

It was a plot convenience to have Sayd, the second Blue Lantern Guardian, come along as this precise point to save him and help the Guardians in their darkest hour. I had planned to do something special and give the heroes power rings for this adventure. It's a temporary thing, but it will help them through the crucial plot problem of destroying the Black Lanterns and getting to the bigger threats later on. It also lets them play with special powers and new Complications that come with wearing the various rings. :twisted:

Amusing side note: When a Black Lantern ring claims a corpse for membership, it announces their real name as it takes over the body. I had never given the new Psycho-Pirate a name, just a personality (manipulative amoral psychologist). So I took a similar character, Marvel's Moonstone from the Thunderbolts, and made PP's name "Sofia Carlin" after Moonstone's name, Karla Sofen. :P

An even more amusing sidenote: I forgot to note the best line of the night. As Amaranth was talking to his grandparents about the Star Sapphires and their dirty little secrets, grandma referred to them as "those space hussies!!" The players loved the line so much I awarded myself a hero point! :D

I ran this session last week. Due to holiday plans, we're suspending the adventure until January, when we will continue with issue 3! Now that I've given the PCs Power Rings, it's time to kick it up a notch... :twisted:

- Andrew <:-(}

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Blackest Night: Guardians Issue #3, "Getting Personal"

Postby Quistar » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:38 pm

Having just received their power rings, our heroes quickly took the battle back to the Black Lanterns that had invaded their headquarters. La Tigra Bianca, the new Indigo Tribeswoman, quickly attuned to her power ring and realized the big weakness of the Black Lanterns: exposure to combined light (green and one other color) of the Emotional Spectrum would sever the black ring's connection to the corpse, destroying that Black Lantern. Despite some mishaps as they attempted to figure out how to make their rings function properly ("This ring is defective!" shouted Captain Thunder early in the battle as his green ring fizzled), the heroes managed to turn the tide and vanquish their foes.

A brief chat with Sayd, the Guardian of the Blue Lantern Corps, revealed that she encountered the unconscious Jeff Johnson (formerly Amaranth) in orbit right after he lost his power ring. She destroyed the Black Lanterns menacing him and placed him in a healing blue cocoon to restore his health while he slept. Realizing she could turn the tide of the battle on Earth, she created seven duplicate power rings to grant worthy bearers the powers of each color for 24 hours, long enough to help stop the Blackest Night.

The Kid quickly flew off with his new red ring, seeking gangbangers to take revenge. He was replaced by part-time Guardian member Firefly, who was given the yellow power ring of fear. At Sayd's suggestion, the heroes hit the city to help out until they were called upon for the greater battle. They combined powers to catch a crashing jet airliner, a victim of the many disruptions caused by the worldwide blackout, and then took care of the looting that was spreading across Gateway City.

It didn't take long for Black Lanterns of their loved ones to catch up with them and harass the heroes, but with their combined ring power they were easily able to send them to their final rest. The emotional toll, however, would linger.

A call from the Flash alerted them to big trouble in Coast City to the south, only about a 10 minute flight using their new power rings. But along the way they ran into a snag: the reanimated, flying form of Doomsday, now a Black Lantern! Acting swiftly, they combined all their rings' beams into a single strike, severing the ring's connection and sending Doomsday down into a crater formed by his own crash-landing.

Moments later, Doomsday rose up from the crater, free of the ring and alive and well...and ready for a fight!

TO BE CONTINUED...

GM Notes

Catching up a bit on these postings, there is one other session to log in still for the Doomsday fight. Thanks for being patient, readers!

Some more player shuffling has gone on...The Kid's player had his first child and can't make games anymore, so I quietly wrote his PC out of the game. The actual child that would have played Grave Digger never joined the group, so his character likewise went away on his own mission. My housemates' daughter, Tati, decided to bring in her old PC Firefly and join us for the night, so I gave her the yellow ring based on her character's intimidating nature. I doubt she'll continue playing regularly, but it was a nice treat to have her along for the night.

The first trick the PCs had to master was how to use their power rings. I settled on having them make Insight checks, starting at DC 20 and going down -2 for each additional attempt to use the ring. Once they succeeded, I didn't require re-rolls. This allowed me to simulate the difficulty of tapping into the power of the rings emotionally without using the PCs' newly pumped Will scores (after spending Power Points).

Looking back, I realized that I had made a major error in giving the PCs the power rings at this juncture, because once you do that, the Black Lanterns are far less of a threat in small numbers. This robbed me of the roleplaying time I wanted with their deceased loved ones this issue because they quickly eliminated them with the rings. In retrospect, I should have had the villains' Black Lanterns come on stage and leave quickly, letting the PCs' personal Black Lanterns mess with their heads properly. Lesson learned, so readers, learn from my mistake before you plot out your adventures!

My "personal" Black Lanterns included the following:

* Summer Gardner, Capt. Thunder/Ray’s wife, who died in childbirth. She tormented him with memories and questions about Ray Jr. and made him feel guilty for not saving her.
* Uncle Ash “Firebug” Forrester, La Tigra Bianca/Diana’s uncle. A psychotic failure, he burned down Diana’s house and almost killed her when she was five years old. Her father saved her while Ash died in the fire. His face haunts her nightmares to this day.
* James Lewis, former Massachusetts high school principal, robbed of his retirement funds by Axel Isaacson’s hacking activities. He died alone and broken in prison, a suicide. He pushed the guilt button on Blackout for his former (and current) avarice.
* Manny Tannenbaum, the maintenance man at the park where Strawberry Pop works, the first man she ever saw die in the “real” world.

While my timing on introducing them sucked, I do consider myself spot-on in other areas, such as continuing to up the ante as the plot advances. And yes, there is worse awaiting the PCs after they dispatch Doomsday!

In other news, I gave Blackout an Orange Lantern minion (permanent) in addition to the other ring functions. She's shaped to look like his partner/romantic interest Strawberry Pop, which raises all sorts of interesting questions that perhaps are better left unanswered. :wink: He also made one hell of a scene by using his ring to take over local radio and TV broadcasts and proclaiming that he, Blackout, was now in charge! Considering his codename and the worldwide blackout still going on, he's going to have a hell of a lot of explaining to do when this event is over and his ego returns to normal! :roll:

Issue 4 coming soon!

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Blackest Night: Guardians Issue #4, "DOOMSDAY"

Postby Quistar » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:44 pm

Doomsday rose out of the crater formed when he fell from the sky, freed of the black ring and full of rage. Only the Guardians could stop him!

Captain Thunder quickly led the attack, drawing Doomsday's attention to give the others time to plan. They decided to combine ring power and pull Doomsday off into outer space, where his lack of flight power would hinder him. Despite taking some lumps, they succeeded. Unfortunately, Doomsday's Adaptation power allowed him to adjust, firing bone spurs out of his feet to thrust him forward in "flight" in the zero-g of outer space!

Blackout, driven to be a glory-hound by his orange ring, got clever and used his tech's illusion-generator to create a retreating image of Superman to buy them some time. They had a general plan to lure Doomsday out towards Jupiter, the nearest high-gravity planet, while using their power rings' databases to gather information about Doomsday. This quickly briefed them on his powers (many) and weaknesses (next to none).

His lengthy history, however, revealed some possible weaknesses to emotion, based on his history as the ultimate abused child. La Tigra Bianca used her indigo ring to simulate the same violet light as her bobcat Bobby's ring, and they combined them to try trapping Doomsday in Star Sapphire Conversion Crystals...which, if they worked, would seal Doomsday in a comatose sleep cocoon while converting his rage to love! This plan had limited results, with Doomsday repeatedly shattering the crystals before they could seal him entirely.

As a backup measure, the heroes used their databases to look up black holes for possible disposal of the problem, choosing the one farthest away from Earth to make it less likely that Doomsday would get back anytime soon! Tigra shifted her light back to indigo to use her Interstellar Transport to teleport all of them to the vicinity of the black hole, and while Doomsday struggled to break free of the Conversion Crystals, the heroes combined their beams to shove Doomsday into the black hole, removing his threat for the time being!

After another quick teleport back to Earth's Coast City, the heroes realized that they were far from out of the dark:

Long before you reach the outskirts of the city you see signs of battle. Flashes of rainbow light streak back and forth across the Coast City skyline.
At the edge of the interstate leading south into the city, you see the cause for the alarm: a gigantic, twisted Black Lantern, rising like a dark blister out of the earth. It hurts to look at it through the darkened haze. And surrounding it are the millions slain of the ORIGINAL Coast City, and they are attacking everyone!


TO BE CONTINUED...

GM Notes:

I am amused by the fact that, as bad as Doomsday is as an opponent, the players considered him to be nothing more than a distraction to the greater problem of Blackest Night. :D Of course, the updates they kept getting, from the Flash and their power rings, drove that point home. This is definitely an adventure arc full of "bigger fish."

This fight was only one encounter I had written up for Issue 4, and it turned out (as I expected) to be the entire issue/session. Given the flexibility of powers granted by the various power rings, I figured the Doomsday fight could take either five minutes or five hours, depending on how clever the players got, so I overplanned. I did advise the players before the session started to be creative and think outside the box, because duking it out with Doomsday to the last would probably leave most of them dead (just ask Superman!).

I did my homework before running this session, since I hadn't read most of the recent appearances of Doomsday in comics. Overall I consider his repeat performances diminishing returns, because nothing can really compare to his first triumphant salvo. I mean, he killed Superman! After that it's all downhill unless you do it again. But this was my one big chance to use Doomsday in context and make it workable. Without the power rings, the odds would have been heavily in DD's favor.

Despite my offering the hint "What Would Amaranth Do?" none of the players figured out to use the Database function of the power rings until I took a Hero Point for inspiration from a PC. Amaranth had frequently used this function to get info on villains throughout the series, but apparently everyone forgot about it. Never assume the players will remember the important stuff, especially if they haven't been using power rings themselves!

Doomsday's background (which can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_(comics) ) is pretty compelling, aside from the fact that Dan Jurgens totally got evolution wrong. I adjusted by saying the scientists that created Doomsday altered his cells to simulate evolution with fast adaptation, which is pretty much what Doomsday does; real evolution takes place over generations. As a side note, when I first read Doomsday's secret origin, I was disappointed that Superman never made the "ultimate abused child" connection. If I was him, I would have stopped fighting and given Doomsday the Mother Box he had borrowed from the New Gods to comfort Doomsday and give him the maternal love he had always wanted but never gotten. Oh well, I wasn't writing the book...

One interesting point is that Doomsday can only be killed (and presumably defeated) by the same means only once, after which he is immune to that power or strategy. Fortunately wikipedia lists all the ways Doomsday has been killed previously, an impressive list by any standards. Fortunately for the heroes, "crushed in a black hole" wasn't yet on the list!

The players made excellent use of the power rings in this session, taking the fight into outer space where they had the advantage (and less collateral damage). Once reminded of the Database function they used it to maximum effect, looking up black holes and star charts and such. And the individual ring powers, like the Conversion Crystals, were brilliantly executed, if not totally effective. Hey, he IS Doomsday! Over time, it is possible the Crystals might have prevailed over Doomsday's Will score of 12, but he's a tough cookie no matter what resistance he uses.

I had entertained the possibility that the blue hope ring might have been used to figure out what Doomsday hoped for (basically a mother's love, as I see it) and present one of the hope-illusions to that effect. With different emotions at play with the rings, there were many ways to approach and solve the problem. Love was the first one the players thought of so I went with it. Whatever works!

On the bright side, Doomsday didn't get a red ring for his rage! :twisted:

Tigra's player really wants Doomsday to come back in a future story wearing a purple/pink Star Sapphire tutu. As GM I doubt he'd succumb fully to the Conversion Crystals based on his success to date. For that matter, the crystals would likely crack in the gravity well of the black hole long before Doomsday himself would. And there's no saying where the black hole might spill out, dumping Doomsday elsewhere in the universe for future mayhem! I will say this, though...it'll be a lot tougher if they ever have to fight him again WITHOUT the power rings!

Next session starts with the PCs using the Mass Combat rules from the Gamemaster's Guide. While seven billion people died when Coast City blew up a few years ago, they'll only face maybe 70,000 of them, so it isn't too bad...

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Blackest Night: Guardians Issue #5: Dark City

Postby Quistar » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:21 pm

With Doomsday far behind them, a black hole and half a universe away, the Guardians blazed a path of rainbow light as they charged the assembled hoard of former Coast City residents, now Black Lanterns, that "stood" between them and the giant Black Power Battery on the horizon. Over and over, they lashed out against the undead with their glowing weapon constructs, smashing them between hammer and anvil, fist and palm, cream pie and wild animal, until they dispersed the hoard enough to fly through.

The center of the battlefield was occupied by a host of Earth's super-heroes locked in battle with more Black Lanterns, many of them fallen heroes and villains, including Hawkman, the Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and far too many others to count. Opposing them were the Justice League, Teen Titans, Justice Society, and many, many others.

The main opponents were clear to see: Scar, an undead Guardian of the Universe; Black Hand, the instigator of this massive assault; and the one he had just summoned to the land of the living when the Black Lantern's charge reached 100%: Nekron, Lord of the Unliving. The dark haze surrounding Nekron made it hurt to even look in his direction.

The Guardians - Captain Thunder, Strawberry Pop, Blackout, La Tigra Bianca, and her sidekick, Bobby the Bobcat - arrived just in time to witness Nekron's masterstroke, as he animated a Black Lantern Batman to join his throng! The stunned heroes reacted with shock and confusion, and this final emotional spark allowed Nekron to reclaim eight heroes that had previously died and come back to life, and add them to his own army: Superman, Wonder Woman, Superboy, Donna Troy, Kid Flash, Ice, Animal Man, and Green Arrow! To make matters worse, Green Lantern and Flash were targeted by black rings as well!

Green Lantern had just enough time to ask the nearby Guardians to handle this new threat while he and Flash shook off the black rings pursuing them before they vanished from sight. Wonder Woman, Green Arrow and Superboy quickly found others to fight, leaving the remaining five for the Guardians to handle. The battle was quickly joined: Superman and Captain Thunder clashed, the very air screaming in protest as they collided; Kid Flash began harrassing Blackout; Animal Man and Ice took on Tigra and Bobby; and Donna Troy charged at Strawberry Pop.

With their temporary power rings, the Guardians were able to hold their own against the converted heroes and quickly put what they had learned to good use. Capt. Thunder, Blackout and Bobby combined their ring beams to target Superman, quickly freeing him from the black ring's influence. When a similar attempt by Tigra and Strawberry Pop failed to affect Donna Troy, the heroes quickly realized that these agents of Nekron would require THREE different color beams in order to break the connection to the black ring. Armed with this knowledge, and the help of the freed heroes, the Guardians managed to negate this new threat and return their attention to Nekron and company.

Meanwhile, Green Lantern and his allies destroyed Scar. A number of other heroes combined forces to try to pull the giant creature trapped inside the giant Black Battery out; they were quickly joined by a new agent, heralded by the old Diana Ross song "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand!" Jeff Johnson had returned, but not as Amaranth: he now wore a Blue power ring, dressed in modified street clothes, used his ring to surround himself with a gigantic avatar of himself, and played tug-of-war to retrieve the prisoner of the battery!

Also during the Guardians' battle, Nekron and Black Hand together killed one of the Guardians of the Universe and used his body organs to perform a ritual to summon the White Entity, the embodiment of Life Itself, from hiding. Nekron then began attacking the Entity with his scythe, causing great pain to every living thing in the universe!

The assembled heroes quickly realized that the Entity could not act without a host. Sinestro made an abortive attempt to absorb and use the Entity, becoming the first White Lantern in the process! Sinestro won a temporary victory against Nekron, but was unable to hold the Entity for long; his ego was not aligned with the Entity's purpose, and Nekron turned the tables on him quickly. The Guardians, realizing the Life Entity's vulnerability, used their rings to snatch it away from Nekron, and then tried to merge with it themselves, hoping their combined love for life would be enough to harness its power. And it was!

The Guardians became White Lanterns, and shared their newfound status with the heroes that Nekron had earlier subverted. Together, their combined White Lantern ring beams dealt both Nekron and Black Hand a devastating blow! Black Hand was revived from death, Nekron was "mortally" wounded, and the Anti-Monitor freed from the Black Battery and restored to life! The Anti-Monitor wasted no time seeking revenge on Nekron, who barely banished him back to the Anti-Matter Universe before returning to his own realm in defeat!

And, of course, twelve heroes and villains were restored to life by the White Entity, for reasons that would be explored in the Brightest Day maxiseries and other DC comics.

In the aftermath of the battle, the Guardians reunited with Jeff and found out what had happened to him in orbit and since they left him to recover. During the battle for Coast City, one of the few Blue Lanterns present was killed, and his ring sought a replacement wielder. As it turns out, Jeff had enough hope to draw its attention and wield its power. He had been talking with Saint Walker, and agreed to go to the Blue Lantern homeworld Odym for the lengthy interview and testing that would be necessary for him to become a bona-fide Blue Lantern. Thus, he would be gone for a while, a week or two probably, before returning to Earth again. When the Guardians asked him what code-name they should call him now, he shrugged his shoulders and said "Amaranth was always a mouthful, and 'eternal love' doesn't really fit what I am now. Just call me Poet. It's what I've always been."

With that, Poet flew off, leaving the Guardians to help the cleanup effort in Coast City.

THE END


GM Notes and Ruminations

This session was a lot more freeform than the others, without a full script, because at this point in the plot there was a LOT of paralleling the main plot in the Blackest Night miniseries. I was literally going through the BN Hardcover Compilation and sharing pages with the players as I went along, once the mass battle was done, with instruction to the players to "interrupt and act" as they wished. Not an ideal setup, and not one I'd recommend in the future unless you REALLY feel you must have the heroes included in the Big Story. I'm not sure it worked as I'd have liked and I don't plan on doing it again anytime soon.

The initial fight with the Mass Combat rules was not what I'd hoped. Part of it was the scale, part of it was not being sure how to set up the stats: do I use one BIG group of Black Lanterns, with its own stat block, or a few smaller units, one for each PC? I opted for one large group, which was easy to hit, hard to damage. Ultimately, it didn't seem very interesting to run, which was not as I'd hoped, so I called the fight after 2-3 rounds and allowed the heroes to punch a hole in them. I'll see if I can get a better grasp on those rules another time. The important thing was to keep the game interesting and keep it moving.

The battle with the converted Black Lantern heroes was pretty decent. I took the stats of the heroes as given in H&V and assumed most powers and defenses would be the same in the end, aside from adding the Regeneration stuff that kept the BLs going. Some were more challenging than others, obviously, but I always had the option of having them use the Stamina-drain touch that BLs all possess.

Obviously, at this point in the plot, the heroes knew the secret weakness (combine a green beam with another color to destroy a BL), so I upped the ante. This time, since Nekron himself had recruited these heroes, it would take THREE beams, including green and two other colors, to break the control and free the BL. By sheer chance, the heroes did this in their first attempt with Superman, and I chuckled to myself. When the second attempt, using TWO ring beams against Donna Troy, failed, the players quickly figured out what had changed and regrouped to do three combined rings per shot, and that was that.

Some interesting events came up during this battle: Animal Man used the ability of a mouse to squeeze out of just about anything to escape a power ring cage construct. Ice flooded the force bubble she was stuck in with black ice until it burst. Kid Flash played hit-and-run to annoy Blackout. And when Superman confronted Captain Thunder, he let out this little Easter Egg:

"Are you kidding me? I'm SUPERMAN! I've defeated alien armadas, flown through the hearts of suns, saved this pitiful mudball and the entire UNIVERSE more times than even my super-brain can count! And YOU? You're nothing but a cheap knock-off of Captain Marvel! And an INFERIOR one at that! You are no contest! Just give up now and die!"

Which is more or less true, kinda, no offense to the M&M team! Once Superman was himself again, he quickly apologized to Captain Thunder for what he had said and helped the heroes. No offense was taken. :D

It took a while, but once the players fully grasped what was going on with the White Life Entity, they took control of the plot (and the entity), giving them a group Will check and a Crowning Moment of Glory that brought the tale to its original, intended conclusion (with a little help from our PCs)!

Poet...ah, there's a story. When we first started this series (under a different GM), I wanted to create a non-green Lantern for two reasons. One, Earth already had 4-5 native GLs, I felt they were overused. Second, there was a lot of variety to play with now thanks to the multiple corps. My original pick was Blue (his code-name would have been "Azure"), but once I realized how limited Blue Lanterns were (as written) without a Green Lantern nearby, I changed gears and went with Violet/Star Sapphire instead.

You see, I love turning stereotypes and "classic" combinations on their ears when I create PCs. I'll play the demon-blooded paladin or the orc bard given a chance just because it goes against the grain. So a male Star Sapphire? I had to do it. Unfortunately I hadn't counted on the ENDLESS stream of "Gay Lantern" jokes from the other players; that, I'm certain, is why Geoff Johns never had any men in the corps. So I started thinking about switching back to my original idea, which became easier once I took over as GM.

In the time since I first thought about running Blackest Night (almost 2 years ago!), new options came up for me to make the shift from Violet to Blue. Saint Walker joined the JLA in the year before the New 52, and discovered that any high-willed energy wielder could serve in place of a Green Lantern to fully activate his blue ring's energy powers (in this case, Mikall Tomas/Starman). Strawberry Pop or Blackout could serve that role, meaning I could easily use all but a couple ranks of my powers and enjoy myself normally. And so I did.

The scenario with Jeff rejecting the Violet ring made perfect sense to me. It's a little disturbing how easily so many heroes in the comics just accept the Conversion Crystal thing without the words "psychic rape" coming to mind. Jeff, being a freedom-loving hippie type, would NEVER go for that. And once he found out about it, he didn't, and he and the ring parted ways. It was never meant to last.

I did actually do a Blackest Night: Aftermath game, which I will write up in the next installment, and then give my further thoughts and ruminations and wrap up this thread with my conclusions.

- Andrew <:-(}

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Blackest Night: Guardians Aftermath: Nothing to Fear

Postby Quistar » Sun May 19, 2013 1:43 am

One week after Blackest Night ended, life was more or less back to normal. Poet (the former Amaranth) was still out in space being assessed for membership in the Blue Lantern Corps. La Tigra Bianca returned home to Gateway City. Captain Thunder decided to take a leave of absence from the team to spend more time with his son Bolt. And Blackout and Strawberry Pop stayed behind to help with the cleanup operations in Coast City, ground zero for the event.

While dining in downtown Coast City at a cafe with an outdoor terrace, the heroes heard a scream. They wasted no time racing to a darkened back alley to find a young clubgoer lying on the ground, wide-eyed and shaking with terror. There was no sign of his assailant and the man was unresponsive.

A quick trip to the hospital revealed that this was not the first such victim; two others had been brought in over the last week with identical symptoms, all found downtown. Questioning revealed that, aside from the changes expected from being exposed to a severe scare, there were NO foreign chemicals found in any of the victims. Something had just scared them to the point of being comatose.

Further investigation of nearby street cameras monitoring the area revealed an anomaly: the alley where the man was found darkened noticeably right before he was attacked, though unfortunately no video of the attacker was on screen.

Armed with this knowledge, the heroes planned a sting operation, with Blackout wandering around as bait while Strawberry Pop flew above him on a cotton candy cloud. Their efforts soon bore fruit as Pop noticed an area of darkness moving towards Blackout's location. She alerted Blackout via radio and arrived in time to assist.

The attacker was shrouded in darkness, wrapped in rags and cloaked to conceal his identity. The only thing visible about his face was a pair of red glowing eyes. Upon spotting him, Blackout felt himself being overcome by fear. Strawberry Pop, being a digital lifeform, had an easier time mustering her courage and treated the encounter like any other video game fight. Blackout's Gamma Tool blaster had no effect, but Strawberry Pop's soda stream was able to take the wind out of his sails, and he soon fled down a sewer manhole and out of sight.

Consulting the Guardians' A.I. Majordomo and resident know-it-all, P.I.P.E.R.S., they made no headway on identifying their attacker. The only major fear-based villains in their database were the Scarecrow and Phobia of the Brotherhood of Evil. Phobia was in jail. While there was no evidence of Scarecrow's trademark fear gas in any of the victims they found, they realized that he had been present in Coast City during the Blackest Night event, temporarily wielding a yellow power ring. He had not been seen since.

Fortunately, Blackout was able to find a pattern in the attacks to date: they all occurred around a central location in downtown Coast City, an out-of-business bakery, now abandoned.

Sneaking into the bakery at night, they noted a faint noise coming from a basement door. Once they opened it, cries of pain and terror reached them clearly. It wasn't even necessary to sneak down the stairs, the screaming more than covered their movement. Blackout went down while Strawberry Pop covered the top of the stairs.

At the bottom were a half dozen citizens chained to the walls. Another crouched in a fetal position on the floor as the Scarecrow loomed over her, demanding to know what she saw, what was scaring her!

It was then that Pop felt strong hands shoving her down the stairs from behind. Fortunately she was tough enough to take the fall with nary a scratch. Alerted by the noise, Scarecrow turned just in time to see Blackout blast him senseless.

The attacker from the alley ran down the stairs to engage Strawberry Pop in melee, held at bay by her sticky candy creations. Meanwhile, Blackout ran to the helpless villain and asked him who their unknown foe was; as he fell unconscious, Scarecrow remarked that he had no idea.

While waves of fear struck the heroes with almost physical impact, this time both were able to retain their composure and act. Together they were able to knock him unconscious and take him prisoner.

As they wondered what to do with the strange metahuman, a blue glow heralded the arrival of Saint Walker of the Blue Lantern Corps. He believed he knew what the Terror was and how to handle it.

During the battle of Blackest Night, the avatar of fear, Parallax, came to join the battle, though it disappeared before Nekron was dispatched. Walker suspected that the residual energies of Parallax combined with the subconscious fears of the frightened citizens of Coast City, giving birth to the embodiment of their fears, the "stranger danger" that became the Terror. The reason it sought victims around the downtown area is because it was drawn regularly back to the Scarecrow to drink in the terror inflicted on his victims. Satisfied, the Terror creature left Scarecrow to continue his work.

Saint Walker then focused his blue beam upon the creature, which dissipated into yellow mist and vanished. Assured that all was well, the Blue Lantern bid the heroes farewell and returned to his work, leaving the others to return to Gateway City and the next adventure!



GM Notes

This was planned as an aftermath for Blackest Night after I found the Terror in the very excellent Threat Report compilation book. Due to some attendance issues, I ended up running it halfway through the actual adventure when only half my players showed up one night, and just kept secret everything but the eventual outcome (i.e. the heroes won). This meant I couldn't reveal that Amaranth lost his violet ring and gained a blue one, among other things.

Captain Thunder's player bowed out of the campaign due to work and time pressures (one reason the Blackest Night series took so long to complete), so his in-character reason for leaving was inspired from meeting his dead wife as a Black Lantern. The event made him realize that he needed to spend more time with his still-living son, who in our campaign is a member of the Teen Titans as Bolt.

I ended up tossing the Scarecrow into the story at the last minute when one of my players requested a chance to meet him. I realized he fit perfectly into the fear-themed adventure I was planning and did so. This enhanced the adventure nicely even though, as a villain, Scarecrow was an easy "kill" for the PL 11 heroes.

The Terror was fun because of his unique ability to be immune to harm from anyone that is afraid of him; given his Aura of Fear power, this can be a challenge, but it was not an insurmountable one.

The adventure was a fun aftermath to the Blackest Night saga.

- Andrew <:-(}


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