My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

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Aaron Sullivan
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My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:41 pm

Here I go again.

I’m always tinkering, always tweaking, always designing and redesigning campaign materials. It’s just one of my faults. I go back and forth with what I already have and what I want from the stuff. What roles does it fill? What holes does it leave? What’s needed and what most definitely can be lived without. I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past few years and past few mini-campaigns in M&M examining what worked for me as GM and what didn’t.

Hardly a new or even remotely novel experience for me at this point, as I have done it many times before.

Some of those reckless charges into analysis I’ve even posted about here before for, oh, both of you who were interested in reading about it. I continually cast a jaundiced eye at everything I have built and designed in my notes and in my prior efforts (Algernon Files material specifically). This time around, as I put together notes for running an Emerald City campaign, I pulled back to look at a larger picture. This pushed me to a few operating conclusions:

The first is that I have too damn many good guy NPCs running around in my games.

Yeah, that’s right. Too many.

In retrospect, both Algernon Files books presented too many heroes to take pressure off of the PCs. Sure, I did it for background color, to lay down an internal consistency and narrative framework so that everything meshed by the time readers dove into the bad guys’ backgrounds. But that’s irrelevant. What matters is that the PCs (or more accurately, their players) often feel like just another set of cogs in someone else’s story. I mean, I’ve long since accepted the fact that I enjoy Freedom City’s materials too much not to use them as the basis for most of my M&M games. Excellent maps, cool art, and lots of stuff already done for me, so my lazy butt doesn’t have to duplicate efforts. That’s always a clincher. But then I go and pour in a bunch of other heroes and their ties to each other and before you know it I have the equivalent of a combined Marvel-DC setting (not just one of the big two…both) with a dozen superteams, multiple world-class defenders and off to the side, somewhere depressingly down the pecking order, I insert my players’ characters. Who then ask themselves (through the auspices of their characters), “Umm, why exactly am I needed?”

A fair question.

Players need challenges more than they need yet another ally - retrospect tells me I should have simply concentrated more on bad guys. Players don’t need to see what other people’s heroes look like. They need threats and sparring partners. Period.

Ah, hindsight, you vex me so.

Another problem is that my past work tends to show my Bronze Age bias. Heavily. I likes me my traditional heroes and the tropes of their worlds. Guilty. But I have some players who don’t necessarily share my tastes (and who are a bit younger than me own wrinkled self). They see older NPCs, or NPCs that obviously owe more to stories and characters and ideas from decades previous to what they like or want. When I have players who are Geoff Johns’ fanboys, my Wolfman-Perez and Claremont-Byrnes predilections, even modified by a good dash of Ellis or Bendis, shows the gulf quickly. My threshold for gratuitous dismemberment and in-your-face cheesecake, though, is about as limited as my tolerance for camp, so I have to think about ways to meet in the middle in terms of tastes.

When I started contributing to the Freedom City world directly through the Threat Reports, I sent Jon a list of proposed characters to look over and see if any interested him. Some of those were previously-created characters I thought would be cool to “repurpose” from the Algernon Files pseudo-setting specifically as inhabitants of the world that Steve built. Some of them he agreed with and liked for that purpose, others he didn’t, but the important thing I took from this experience was how much I enjoyed breaking down certain character ideas and building them back up from the ground…keeping core elements but reworking everything else. It was fun. So I kept doing it, even if only for my own entertainment. I hate leaving things in the dust and cobwebs. It offends my sense of utility and my accompanying anal inner GM.

Also, I’m an egotistical prick who likes showing my stuff to people (no… get your mind out of the gutter… I mean my written stuff) and getting feedback. This problem comes as no surprise to those of you who’ve read my blathering on these boards before. Maybe I’m up to a whole three of you now.

Oh, giddy optimism, you run away with me.

So, about the time I started working on my contributions for the upcoming Emerald City sourcebook, I also started a whole new notebook with new ideas, re-designs and repurposings of prior material and so on.
I’m wacky like that.

Also, more than a bit egocentric.

Mea culpa.

This built up over time into a set of notes for an extended campaign set in Emerald City for my own players. Many plot points. Many new and interesting (to me anyway) bad guys. Many new interpretations of existing characters I wanted to use in new ways.

So, what I’m going to use this thread to do is list out a whole bunch of stuff.

Yeah. A bunch.

In some cases this will be so I can keep it all straight or to force me to crystallize stuff that exists as mere fragments bumping around in my head. I’m bad about that sometimes, especially the part about leaving things in fragments that I have to flesh out in a hurry later in order to use effectively.

Other items I’m throwing out here are so I can get feedback from people, even if it’s only to point out to me, “Dude, that makes no sense” or “Wow… that’s incredibly stupid” before I ever make my players suffer through the material in play.

In order, this will be the campaign guidelines my players are going to receive first, then a mondo catalog of plot points of varying importance, and then notes on NPCs and extra elements for Emerald City. I’ll even include the plot hooks I plan to adapt from the Threat Reports series (names and modifications only – I won’t be reproducing Green Ronin’s IP text here). After that, I’ll start adding campaign material in detail, including NPC write-ups, “Reports” and memos from AEGIS agents, and so on.

The few masochists who are trudging through this thread and feel like it can pipe up with questions if they’d like. Or they can just lurk. I’m flexible like that, what with it being a public forum and all. Yes, I am a shameless smart-ass. Hey, I did say my faults were plural. The word “litany” actually comes to mind. And if you’re not careful, I’ll find ways to use the word “stuff” with even more frequency in this thread. You have been warned.
Aaron Sullivan
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Aaron Sullivan
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:49 pm

Ground Rules, Assumptions, and Other Stuff to Keep in Mind

Yeah, I contributed material to the Emerald City sourcebook – but that doesn’t mean that any names or locations you read about here will appear in said book or survive editing and development pretty much at all. Even if the item in question is related to something I submitted to Jon or put forward for his consideration, it doesn’t mean anything I wrote (or show here) will look anything like what I turned in by the time it does (or doesn’t) show up in print. Jon may even wind up dumping every single thing I contributed before the final draft for the sourcebook is complete.

Hey, it could happen.

Also, a bunch of this stuff is purely my own addition after the fact. Either it never got submitted for perusal, or I know for a fact it isn’t going to show up in the book because it already got a thumbs down at some point. I don’t want people confusing material or forming expectations that then won’t be met.

Further, I have ideas formed about some EC stuff from seeing things mentioned here and there or seeing art that might not jibe with what is finally done with that material by other writers. For example, my ideas for Madame Macabre inspired purely from the mentions and pictures of her in existing material might stray considerably from what ends up being canon. My home-campaign version then won’t be the same as the GR version except in the broadest strokes, and the two shouldn’t be confused.

Long story made short -- Unless you actually see it in something GR publishes, it ain’t in any way official.

Period.

This is my take on EC, for my home campaigns, not necessarily Jon and crew’s in any form or fashion. This is the most important thing to keep in mind. Don’t make any assumptions on future GR releases based on what you read here. If Jon starts getting questions prompted from reading material here –

…Is “X” in the book?

…Is “Y” in the book, then?

…I don’t like “Z,” or frankly anything else I read in Sullivan’s thread - can you pull all that subpar crap from the book if it’s in there?”


--then I’ll likely get an unhappy email from “Got My Developer Hat On and I’m Tired Of Getting All These Bloody Questions” Jon.

I don’t like unhappy emails.

They pollute my aura.

They crush my vibe.

They do ungroovy things to my sense of nerd zen.

You don’t want to diminish my nerd zen, right?

Second – just because something looks familiar from Algernon Files usage doesn’t mean it retains the same background or details.* There are no TAF Sentinels and never have been in EC. No Covenant, no Aerie, and a number of good or neutral characters have been reworked as challenges to the PCs. Dr. Rune comes to mind quickly, in that respect. Think of it kind of like the DC relaunch, only with, you know, a lot more love and respect shown the material…and certainly a hell of a lot more logic and thought behind it. Most of this stuff is original or comes from Freedom City material, though. I’m repurposing the hell out of a lot of my old material, and there are more changes and “re-imaginings’ than I can comfortably enumerate in this introduction so I won’t even try to do so.

Important Points --

I presume a PL10 setting for my players. Power estimates in-world and comparisons are based around that. NPC builds keep that in mind, too.

When I feel it’s useful, I’ll include little pieces of in-world fiction. If so, these will use some of my characters as the PC analogues since I won’t be using my players’ work for my own ends or thereby putting words in their respective mouths.

Play starts approximately two weeks after the Silver Storm event, which I am placing in early April. In honor of it being set in Emerald City, I’m calling the new campaign “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green.”


So, just to recap:

8) There will be discussion of how I am using some Threat Reports and the Emerald City Knights chapters, so minor spoilers may crop up. You have been warned. 8)

8) This is my version of Emerald CIty inspired by the GR stuff -- it may not be what you guys actually get when you buy the nifty boxed set that you all want to buy in droves so that GR can afford to continue putting out nifty stuff. 8)
* As one example of “re-imagining” things: The Parliament of Shadows.

Originally, I had some vague idea of a quasi-formal convocation of bad guy supernatural groups that met to share information and (limited) assistance in a forum where they didn’t cause each other unnecessary problems in a world where the good guy supernatural forces were already a big enough threat. Also, to keep an eye on what those other bastards were up to – no one knows you can’t trust evil schemers like other evil schemers know it. This was how I referenced it in the original Algernon Files material. Looking over it recently I came up with what I think is a better idea.

The Parliament is the supernatural mafia.

Yep. The mafia.

All those member groups – the supernatural equivalent of crime families. Big bad independent players – the equivalent of self-made capos with their own outfits not beholden to existing families. They’ve split territory up among themselves. Occasionally they’ve squabbled over it. Messy squabbles, but messes kept out of the public eye. The public finding out about them is bad for business and therefore avoided. I have the better part of a dozen “familia” spread out around the country and the world, with a handful of individuals like Sepulchre and Czar Drago ceded territory and accorded rank on the basis of the “Too Damn Much Trouble To Deal With Otherwise” principle. As part and parcel, I’ve reworked not only what I had done for the Parliament proper, but also a whole ton of other supernatural stuff (see, told you I’d use that word again) from other areas, like the no-longer used or in-continuity Covenant organization.

Emerald City is problematic territory on the Parliament’s map. It used to belong to a sorcerer named Baron Baphomet, who was one of Maledictus’ lieutenants. But after Adrian Eldrich took down Maledictus, other powers within the Parliament carved up his territories, leaving most of his lieutenants weakened or dead. Then, a previously unknown player named Sammael moved in and took out the Baron, taking over Emerald City’s Parliament-based interests. So far, he’s proven a valuable addition to the organization, adept at playing heavier-hitters against each other and keeping himself alive and in power. But that could change without warning…
Aaron Sullivan
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:56 pm

Nuts & Bolts: Character Creation

• Player characters will be PL 10 and based on 150 points.
• Players have three options:
o You may create a character from scratch.

o You may use a player character archetype from the Core Rules, tweaking to taste (noting the same restrictions as the GM’s Kit option that follows).

o You may use the Random Generation tables in the GM’s Kit to create characters.


• Since they involve considerably more bookkeeping than other characters, the Mimic, Shapeshifter, and Summoner selections are not allowed – if you roll them, roll again. Specifically, this restriction applies to any character that uses a significant Variable power build or the Summon effect. Characters that use more limited shape altering effects (Growth, Shrinking, Elongate, Morph) are open to discussion.
• You may roll or choose when dealing with table selections.
• When you are finished, you may tweak skills and advantages in consultation with me if you think it works better for background or personality that you come up with for the character.



Background is up to you, but should make sense within the canon materials of the setting. Keep it logical, don’t dive into rampant munchkinism, and we’ll probably be fine. If you play a session with the character and just don’t like ’em, we can talk about changing out (within reason) until you have a character you are happy with that works within the parameters of the campaign.

This is a group game. Come up with backgrounds and personalities that will work well together. No pathological lone wolves, no brooding borderline psychos, and no characters with backgrounds designed to screw with other players and/or their characters. None of those are open to discussion. No … really.

The system works just fine. If your intent behind a character build is simply to see how far you can push the system till it breaks, we will quickly have problems with one another. The object is for everyone to have fun, including the GM. When in doubt, refer to the universal Rule of Wheaton.

You are required to have a minimum of two complications as part of your character background, one of which must be a Motivation.

We will use email to do a lot of bluebooking, which will hopefully alleviate some time concerns and let us get some things accomplished without taking away from other players during our limited face-to-face meetings.

Player buy-in is absolutely essential to any prolonged campaign play. Think through the peripheral details of your character. Why does he or she risk her life this way? How long have they been doing this? Are they natives to the area and if not why did they move here? Legacy ties to canon material are open for consideration (we can discuss) and it might be a good idea to think through what kinds of enemies (hey, even an entire rogues gallery is possible) and friends they already have before play begins.

Nuts & Bolts: House Rules
• Experience Points: Power Points for advancement are awarded on a story arc basis, not a session-by-session basis.
• Gamemaster’s Guide: We will be using the Knockback and Lethal Damage (lethal damage conditions heal one per day, not one per hour) Rules from Chapter 6. I’ll provide the text for those of you who need it. Go ahead and write down your knockback modifier on your character sheet. In the same vein, I am using the “Pursuit Challenges” and “So, What’s My Laptop’s Will Defense” sidebars from Pulse’s and Digital Demon’s Threat Reports (respectively).
• Power Profiles: Unless I tell you specifically otherwise, assume anything from this series is fair game.
• Impervious : As per the option presented in the Armor Powers Power Profile, Impervious Defense ignores effects with a rank less than its own (rather than equal to or less than half its rank) and Impervious ranks are limited to no more than the series power level. Another option from this sidebar is converted into a separate modifier – Hardened (+1 per rank).
Hardened: Make resistance checks normally but, if the effect rank is less than your Hardened rank, reduce any degree of failure by one; zero degrees of failure still counts as one degree of success
Background
This is an M&M 3e game set in the new Emerald City section of the Freedomverse. For our purposes, Emerald City is located in Washington State, approximately where Aberdeen, WA, is in the real world. The Atlas Mountains are part of the Cascades. I’m incorporating some Lockdown elements in that Buckner Ridge is located where the Atlas Mountains actually join the larger range about 40 miles East of Emerald City. The town of Black Pines (Threat Report #23) is due south of Mount Stanley about 22 miles.

Other neighboring (fictional) towns I’m adding to our area (i.e., not detailed in the EC sourcebook) are Cedar Wash and Pennywise Falls to the north, as well as Stockington and Ironbrook to the south (Ironbrook being situated on the coast). Seattle is only a couple of hours north and Portland a couple of hours southeast, but neither are really neighboring in that respect.

For our purposes, the following is considered canon:

• Background material in the Emerald City Sourcebook (when it is released).
• Background material released in the Emerald Knights adventure path.
• Background touched upon in the Threat Reports.
• Background from: Freedom City 2e core, Freedom’s Most Wanted, Agents of Freedom, and Worlds of Freedom, as well as the Freedom City chapters in Golden Age, Silver Age, Iron Age, Book of Magic, and Warriors & Warlocks.

No other sources are to be considered canon unless and until the material is introduced by me at the table.

Do not assume that any real assumptions can be made from the 2e game statistics given on NPCs – in addition to the mechanical changes in editions, it’s also been five years in-universe since the reference points of the core 2e setting book were completely accurate. Things can change in a comic-book universe mightily in five years time. There is still a Freedom League, but we’ll be seeing very little of them.

I’ll be using the villain options on the pre-existing free download Sentinels – if any of them strike you as good enemies for your PCs, feel free to hit me with details. Ask me about the availability of bad guys from other of the canon sources if they interest you.

I will give you a compiled list of thumbnails for important NPCs you will know as part of the Emerald City background. I’ll also list important locations and existing “conflicts” between various parties in the city, particularly after the Silver Storm event.

The title of the campaign is “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green.” In addition to honing system mastery for everyone at the table, a central theme of the campaign revolves around the exploration of Emerald City’s secrets, particularly how it seems to have suddenly become a very important part of the Freedomverse ….and precisely why that is the case. 
Last edited by Aaron Sullivan on Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Aaron Sullivan
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Aaron Sullivan
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:04 pm

PLOTS AND BACKGROUND
Emerald City is unique for a number of reasons, some of which are outlined in the following plot items. An overarching reason for this nature, though, is the presence of Madame Joy and SourceBook in the area (see Threat Report # 48). SourceBook’s reality-warping powers have made this area an attractive one in which to hide, somewhat off the radar of a number of powerful human and non-human powers.

Unfortunately, fate and the universe don’t react well to heavy-handed alterations and a “karmic backlash” of sorts has slowly begun. The first symptom was that Emerald City and its special nature came to Eris’ attention, attracting her to move in and work her special charms. A lot of the chaos that followed can be attributed directly to those dubious “charms.” The second major response was the awakening of Tellax and the Silver Storm mess that followed. Ultimately, the conclusion of the Starbreed plot item will result in SourceBook being removed from Emerald City, with no telling what the consequences to its protections suddenly vanishing will be.

**“A” Plots**
[Either very important, or openly recurring adventures]

• [1A] Emerald Knights adventure series (modified and tweaked by me)
• [2A] The Crime Union is stepping up recruitment as The Chamber slowly dissolves following the Silver Storm event (“The Crime Union” is one informal name used for this organization… “Fraternal Order of Evil” is a nickname given by some AEGIS agents). Rook is also fomenting dissension in the ranks, such as maneuvering Dreadnought against Hypersapien so he can replace both.
• [3A] Lady Violet Pennyworth fought many horrible threats to Earth during her short stint as Master Mage at the end of the 19th century. One of those was the extradimensional horror Qsathoggua. In their final confrontation, she fought a running battle against it and its cultists, culminating in a battle north of Emerald City where the aging Russian mystic Konstantin Vholzhikov and the lunatic shaman Dances-On-Graves conspired to open a dimensional gate to the elder horror’s own realm. She stopped both men, being forced to kill Vholzhikov in the process but trapping Dances-On-Graves in a space outside of space when she collapsed their rapidly-developing gate. One unforeseen consequence of this effort was the lasting existence of a ‘shallow,’ a thinning of the barrier between worlds, in the forest north of the city. This shallow has most frequently aligned with Arcadia and the Shattenwelt, allowing easier passage between those planes and Earth’s than would be normal elsewhere. The shallow figures into a number of problems:
o [3A-1] Paingarden (Blood Red Rose, Briarmane, Sequoia, Snapdragon, and Gravemoss) attempt to open a dimensional rift in the Elysian Forest between Earth and Arcadia.
o [3A-2] Madame Macabre threatens to use Konstantin Vholzhikov’s lost grimoire to complete the ritual bringing Qsathoggua to this dimension in exchange for it granting her immortality and dominion of the Earth. This turns out to be a scam intended to trick a life-extending artifact out of the Parliament of Shadow’s possession.
o [3A-4] The Seven Sins (Shard [“Pride”], Maw [“Gluttony”], Ember [“Lust”], Frenzy [“Wrath”], Blight [“Envy”], Mind’s Eye [“Sloth”], Keepsake [“Avarice”]) try to use the dimensional shallow to open a gate to Hell and free their father, the mystic criminal Hellbringer who was “Pride” in the original Seven Sins.
o [3A-5] The Kage Do covertly seize control of a number of ley line sites around the city and surrounding area that mystically relate to the shallow. This is part of a ritual designed to increase the power their patron, the Empress of the Unforgiving Moon, can exert from the Shattenwelt.
o [3A-6] Gautha of the Riven Tower (from Freedom’s Reach setting in Warriors & Warlocks) makes her way through the shallow with Pale Rider as her servant and with her son “Scion” in tow (adapt Cursed Wanderer and Demi-god Adventurer archetypes to 3e). She is seeking a lost artifact from her dimension and the PCs get drawn back to her world to keep her from using it.
o [3A-7] While transiting through the Shattenwelt near the shallow, Nachtkrieger discovers a “gate” to Erde. Unhappy over the events in Time of Crisis, the powers-that-be on “Nazi-Earth” would like a chance to strike back at Earth-Prime’s heroes. Enter representatives of the Ubersoldaten who start covert “negotiations” with Overshadow and his people.
• [4A] Multiple gang wars:
o [4A-1] The Steel Shogun and his Takazumi-Gumi Yakuza clan are moving against other Yakuza, the Triads and numerous other Asian crime syndicates based in The Eastern District. This puts them up against Dragoneye and his Triad almost immediately, and eventually against Dr. Sin, who is stepping up his covert backing for a number of the other syndicates (and is already using his Hand of Sin clone and agent Goldclaw to move against Dragoneye). The Takazumi are forced to hire numerous metahuman mercenaries (Quicksilver Dragon, Yohei, Tetsujin, and Oni) in response.
o [4A-2] Sammael moves to consolidate his power base (and thereby stave off takeover attempts by his rivals in The Parliament of Shadows). While this is mostly successful, it sparks violent retaliation from the vampiric bokor Voodoo Daddy and his Blood Brothers gang.
o [4A-3] Once the backers of Science City Eberesko are satisfied with Cortex’s wares, they’ll try a hostile takeover of his cartel with help from their Russian Mafiya partners (this begins after the “Taxi” hook and helps lead into the Dollface-Crazy Ivan specific violence).
• [5A] The Son of Set has come into his powers and is trying to work behind the scenes to cause problems. Just because he likes it. He is only slowly discovering, though, that another divine power is already at work fomenting chaos in the region – and not only does Eris not play well with others, she’s fully divine, not just a demi-god seed for a potential future avatar.

**“B” Plots**
[Either mostly happening in the background, or limited recurrence adventures]

• [1B] A recently rediscovered passage to Sub-Terra opens onto the surface near the base of Mt. Stanley. This passage had been sealed for centuries, but the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens had repercussions throughout the local subterranean framework; among other results, this volcanic activity created new tunnels and chasms which connected to the pre-existing and incredibly extensive cave network leading down to the abandoned Serpent People city of Sh’Kal’Sh’Kat, more than a mile below the Cascades. Also awakened at that time were two warring camps previously caught in magical stasis, a conclave of Lemurian Sorcerer-Priests and a clan of Morlocks. The two groups immediately enslaved the poor Subterrans that had been maintaining the city and set to war against one another again. The Sorcerer-Priests quickly became aware of and co-opted the small (and very well-hidden) colony of Serpent People living in the caves off the coast south of the city. This group acts as agents of the Sorcerer-Priests when they need to interact with surface elements for resources or information, such as acting as go-betweens with Atlantean exile Aquarius and her operations off the coast while subtly watching Coral Snake and her people to determine if they can use her.
• [2B] The Crime Union is trying to infiltrate the administrative infrastructure of the Buckner Ridge prison as it represents prime recruiting opportunities. Buckner Ridge is the designated “Meta Max” facility for the Northwest United States, just as Blackstone Island is for the Eastern Seaboard. It is located in the Atlas Mountains northeast of the city. It will be there, when it’s finished that is – the government is expediting the finishing touches on its construction to alleviate the stress of the pacific NW suddenly becoming a lot more crowded with costumed supercriminals.
• [3B] Dr. Simian tries to “court” Lady Serafina of The Menagerie (Lady Serafina, Talon, Harpy, Tusker, Carapace, Scaredy-Cat, Bengal, Raptor, and Sidewinder). This involves displays of intellectual prowess and the gathering of suitable gifts (i.e., a crime spree).
• [4B] Ghostworks hunts Lady Lunar who is in town to acquire a recovered Lemurian artifact of psionic potential (actually it’s Atlantean, but she doesn’t know that). She has manipulated Blackstar into aiding her. This occurs before the “Vendetta” hook.
• [5B] John Q. Public takes over small town north of Emerald City by replacing its people with his Model Citizens. Ghostworks manipulates the PCs into dealing with the problem.
• [6B] MEDUSA (Gorgon, Typhon, Charybdis; Ogre, Jetstream, Earth Mother, Killer-Watt, Jack-in-the-Green, Legion, Proxy) targets the Emerald City AEGIS and specifically Director Maddox, who are bringing a little too much stability back to the chaos MEDUSA prefers -- This escalates quickly and violently.
• [7B] Dollface takes grievous offense at Crazy Ivan and The Chessmen stealing some of her tech. She begins striking at the Eberesko reps and Chessmen fronts through proxies (such as The Cybertribe, Warewolf, and Black Box*), forcing a number of the local hi-tech players in EC’s criminal underworld (e.g., ARACHNE*, Cortex, The Foundry) to take sides in a quickly brewing “gang war”-like conflict. This ties into the Hook from Dollface’s Threat Report (#49) [* Yeah, these are both actually Dollface dups…but other people don’t know that.]
• [8B] Hivemother takes control of the Majestic-20 facility where she was being studied and begins producing Swarmtroopers for eventual seizure of city.
• [9B] The Goblin King circumvents the psionic buffers in his observation cell and transforms the city into the dark fantasy-land of his imagination. The PCs have to make their way through an altered landscape and deal with projected personas such as The Black Prince, Knightslayer, and the dragon Vermimortix. Then they have to break in to the altered Ghostworks facility where the Goblin King is actually being kept in order to get their reality back to the way it should be.
• [10B] Rachel Danger breaks into a hidden Ghostworks lab to free Galatea 2.0, but damages security worse than planned. Since this facility also houses some Majestic 20 prisoners, several escape, including Think Tank and Onyx. Banding together for mutual protection, this teenage girl-gang will also eventually attract Voodoo Child. In an effort to gull the conventional authorities into aiding them in hunting down and capturing the girls, Ghostworks implements a complex frame-up and propaganda campaign painting the little group as hooligans and budding supervillains. As a group, they will pop up on occasion to unintentionally cause the PCs headaches (and provide the GM a tool for dragging PCs places they otherwise wouldn’t go).
• [11B] The War Machine’s vendetta against Ghostworks hits town and threatens to expose the organization to public scrutiny.


**Throughline Plots**
[Mostly used for background color, with little interaction from PCs]

• [1C] The local AEGIS office is undergoing heavy restructuring following the Silver Storm debacle.
• [2C] The Chessmen are continuing to build their powerbase.
• [3C] Majestic-20 continues to hunt Xeno and Xeno, in turn, hunts Majestic-20 (who have possession of the tech it needs to get off-world).
• [4C] Doc Shock’s predations are ongoing.
• [5C] Victor fights a bizarre running war against enemies only he seems to know about or even see for that matter (old adversaries of his “father,” such as The Bonesmith, Mr. 13, and Emperor Jones, all of whom are supposed to be long dead) all the while being hunted by Vanguard reps.


Adapted Hooks from Threat Reports:
• TR 2: All Your Junkpiles Are Belong to Us!: [Additions/Modifications: Culprits are The Chessmen]
• TR 6: Not Always Better to Have Loved and Lost: [Additions/Modifications: King Babylon is the tantrum thrower.]
• TR 8: Yo! You in my ‘hood now, dog!: [Additions/Modifications: Allies are Anvil and Gator]
• TR 14: I Did A Bad Thing…: [Additions/Modifications: None.]
• TR 15: Dinosaur Bones: [Additions/Modifications: None.]
• TR 19: (Trident section): High-Priced Taxi: [Additions/Modifications: Representatives from Science City Eberesko (Crazy Ivan, Warhead, Perun, Vodyanoi, Sabredance, and Krasnoivolk) are taking possession of a new Combat Augmentation Drug from representatives of Cortex’s cartel. Ultramarine, Steelhead, and a bunch of Tines are on hand for the transport to Eberesko facilities in Vladivostok.]
• TR 21: Vendetta: [Additions/Modifications: Not actually Atlantis, but “Atlantis-In-Exile” as represented by Mako, Aquarius, and Kraken (as well as renegade Atlantean soldiers). Artifact is source of great magical power (which Coral Snake didn’t know until Aquarius’ people intervened).]
• TR 23: Street War: [Additions/Modifications: None.]
• TR 25: Trilogy of the Damned: [Additions/Modifications: Used to bring more information about the Parliament of Shadows to the PCs’ attention, as various members are Abracadaver’s targets for the books.]
• TR 27: The Tablets of Thoth: [Additions/Modifications: None.]
• TR 31: Armor Wars: [Additions/Modifications: Ties into the “tech war” storyline.]
• TR 35: The Minion Maker: [Additions/Modifications: Starts a feud between Azoth and Cortex.]
• TR 36: Power Potential: [Additions/Modifications: One of the sites is the Factor Four crystal HQ.]
• TR 40: Through the Looking Glass: [Additions/Modifications: All of the targets have Ghostworks’ ties.]
• TR 42: …Said the Spider to the Fly: [Additions/Modifications: If discovered, The Eightfold Web try to make it look like they were trying to sneak into MarsTech and AEGIS systems through the PCs’ access. In truth, the Widow is aware that The Chessmen have already infiltrated said infrastructure and are actually trying to sneak into Grandmaster’s organization through his already extant agents. The PCs are just a means to an end.]
• TR 43: Lord of Vampires/Night Life: [Additions/Modifications: Instigated by agents of Die Nachtkinder, who don’t know they’re being used by Dracula for his own purposes.]
• TR 45: At The Center of The Web: [Additions/Modifications: Jade Spider is using the gang war between the Asian crime syndicates in town (4A-1) to his own advantage. Weakened and off-balance due to the intensity of their fighting, he thinks the syndicates will be vulnerable to him swooping in from outside and picking up the reins of power.]
• TR46: Our Enemies, Ourselves: [Additions/Modifications: None. Zed’s recruitment is based on research rather than experience, however, as this should be the first encounter with him.]
• T47/48: Secret of the Starbreed: [Additions/Modifications: None. However, this is a rather important event as it highlights one of the major secrets of the EC setting area.]
• TR49: And Now It’s My Move…: [Additions/Modifications: None. This is the seed behind plot 7B.]
• TR50: Knight Moves: [Additions/Modifications:None]
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:05 pm

Basic Outline of Campaign Progression

Each session will have an “issue title,” a central plot point in operation, and many times at least one supporting plot (even if the PCs aren’t present for what’s happening – there will be a quick “elsewhere in the city” and brief description of what happened before returning to the PCs and the central plot). The Master List does NOT include PC-specific subplots brought in by their backgrounds and/or complications.

Since my crew only meets twice a month, the following should cover two entire years’ worth of campaign play (not counting breaks for other GMs and games), especially since there will be integrated “downtime” talked about in the sessions (“It’s been two weeks since you dealt with the Stormer attack on the convoy…what have you been doing during that time?”).

Session 1: [1A] Intro; [3A-5]; [4B]
Session 2: [1A] Part One; [5C]
Session 3: [1A] Part Two; [2C]
Session 4: [1A] Part Two-Continued;
Session 5: TR 2; [3A-5]; [5A]
Session 6: [1A] Part Two-Continued;
Session 7: [1A] Part Three; [2A]; [3A-5]
Session 8: [2A]; [4A-1]; [4A-2]; [4C]
Session 9: [1A] Part Three-Continued; [4B]
Session 10: [3A-2]; [4A-2]
Session 11: [1A] Part Four; [5A]; [5C]; [4C]
Session 12: [1A] Part Four-Continued;
Session 13: TR 15; TR 40; [3C]
Session 14: [1A] Part Five;
Session 15: TR 19;
Session 16: [1A] Part Five-Continued; [5A]
Session 17: [1A] Part Six;
Session 18: [1A] Part Six-Continued;

Arc Break – Award XP

Session 19: [1C]; [7B]
Session 20: [1C]; [4A-3]
Session 21: [1C]; [3B]
Session 22: TR 43; [4A-2]
Session 23: TR 31; [1C]; [3A-1]
Session 24: [3A-7];[4A-1];[10B]
Session 25: [4A-1]; [3C]
Session 26: TR 6; TR 40
Session 27: TR 25; [4A-2]; [4C]
Session 28: [2A]; [8B]; [10B]
Session 29: [3A-4]
Session 30: [9B]
Session 31: TR 35; [1C]; [6B]
Session 32: TR 25; [3A-2]; [2C]
Session 33: TR 14; [5B]
Session 34: [11B]

Arc Break – Award XP

Session 35: [3A-7]
Session 36: TR 46
Session 37: TR 49
Session 38: TR 50
Session 39: [3A-6]
Session 40: [1B]
Session 41: [5B]
Session 42: TR 8; TR 49
Session 43: TR 23
Session 44: TR 21; TR 42
Session 45: [3A-5]
Session 46: TR 47/48
Session 47: TR 47/48
Session 48: TR 47/48

Arc Break – Award XP
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:06 pm

Needed NPC 3e Stat List for Me to Complete
(italicized names are characters for whom I already have 3e stats)

“Crime Union”: [All - Not just Emerald City] Hypersapien (“Big Brain”); Amalgam, April Fool, Atomix, Azure, Battle Brothers, Cannon, Chain Lightning, Conjurer, Cyberknight, Dreadnought, Edge, Evergreen, Freakshow, Frostfire, G-Man, Ghostbot, Gloss, Hell’s Angel, Ironheart, Kismet, Longbow, Lord Quake, Megamorph (“Gargantua”), Mogh the Mighty, Mongrel, Mosquito, Number One Chi, Rocky, Rook, Scimitar, Shadowjack, Sunstrike, Tempus, Tom Foolery, Totem, Umbra, Vortex, Warewolf, Warwing, Witchfire, Wraith; [Recruits Post-Chapter Two of Emerald Knights] Anvil, Captain Oblivion, Epiphany Jones, Gator, Tar Baby, Trinity
War Machine: Spartacus Seven, Alpha Mech, Code Monkey, Kilroy Killware, Rifleman
Chessmen: Grandmaster, Endgame, Pawns, Bishops, Queens, Rooks, Knights
Trident: Coral Snake, Trawler, Ultramarine (and Steelhead), Tines
Cybertribe: Motherboard, Digital Demon, Pulse, Rez, Sister Steel, Heavy Metal
Science City Eberesko: Crazy Ivan, Warhead, Perun, Krasnoivolk, Vodyanoi
Paingarden: Blood Red Rose, Briarmane, Sequoia, Snapdragon, Gravemoss
Atlantis-in-Exile: Aquarius, Mako, Kraken, Renegade Atlanteans
The Kage Do [use the various ninja stats from the GMG]
Eightfold Web
MEDUSA: Gorgon, Typhon, Charybdis; Oni, Jetstream, Earth Mother, Killer-Watt, Jack-in-the-Green, Legion, Simon Sez, Proxy, Damascus, Tantrum, Alchemistress, Shriek, Apparition, Bile, Dragonfly, Druid, Jericho
Menagerie: Lady Serafina, Talon, Harpy, Tusker, Carapace, Scaredy-Cat, Bengal, Raptor, and Sidewinder
Seven Sins: Shard [Pride], Maw [Gluttony], Ember [Lust], Frenzy [Wrath], Blight [Envy], Mind’s Eye [Sloth], Keepsake [Avarice]
Factor Four: Professor Fathom, Granite, Sylph, Pyre
Looking Glass Gang: White Rabbit, Bill the Lizard, Dormouse, Alice, The Hatter, The Red Queen
Starbreed : Lord Erebus, Drakko, Ironmonger, Sisters-in-Scarlet, Skulk
Power Corps: “One” through “Nine”
Die Übersoldaten: Der Falken, Frau Doktor Veronika Von Frankenstein (and her Schoktruppen), Grendel, Jaegerin, Jotun, Parzifal, Die Spinne, Doktor Ernst Thule, Wunderkind (and his Kriegsmaschinnen)
Parliament of Shadows: [Bosses] Sabbath (and the Sisters of the Scarlet Moon), Lady Absinthe (and The Alchemists Guild), Morgaine (and The Unseelie Court), Kostechei (and The Brotherhood of the Beckoning Night), Der Drache (and Die Nachtkinder), Sepulchre, Dr. Rune, Czar Drago, Montressor (and the Manus Gloriae), Iblis (and The Circle of Brass); [Enforcers and Underlings] Amos Brimstone and Hellfire Smith, Totenkopf, Rictus, Vandal, The Arcadian, Fright Knight, Longclaw, Kid Kadaver and The Necronaut#, Bloody Mary and Hemogoblin, Vamlnr, Cabal, Bobby Bedlam, Nightmare Inc.
• “The Furies”: Rachel Danger, Galatea 2.0, Think Tank, Onyx, Voodoo Child



Individuals: Abra Cadaver, Azoth, Cerebrus Rex, Cortex, Blackstar, Dollface, Doc Otaku, Dr. Shock, Dr. Sin, Dracula, Dr. Simian, Dragoneye, Fineous Frost, Gallowgrey, Gamma the Atom Smasher, Goblin King (and Vermimortix, Knightslayer, and Black Prince), Hand of Sin, Highwayman, Hivemother (and Swarmtroopers), Imago, Jade Spider, John Q. Public (and Model Citizens, Polly Morph, Spyder, Technocide), Jolly Roger, Junkpile, King Babylon, Lady Lunar, Master Control (and his army of Skeletrons), Mastermind, Nachtkrieger, Overshadow, Professor Zed, Sammael, Son of Set, Steel Shogun (and Takazumi-Gumi), Sunbird, Victor, Voodoo Daddy (and Blood Brothers), V'Vohd V'Chote (as represented by Thraxas NiSaal and Sorian Starkiller), Xeno, Zarathustra

#[SHAMELESS PLUG] These two will actually be coming out as a Devilish Duo from the good Mr. Dawsey's Due Vigilance at some point in the foreseeable future[/SHAMELESS PLUG]
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:09 pm

CORPORATE WORLD

There are a number of corporate entities that make their home in Emerald City in addition to Brande Management and the MarsTech “empire” (Paladyne Industries and Redshift Energy, among others) that are in the EC source materials ((i.e., companies not detailed in the EC sourcebook).

A.R.E.S. (Armstrong Radical Engineering Systems) – A.R.E.S. is a small but heavily-publicized company founded by a team of young engineers who formerly worked for MarsTech. Several of them were let go following a prank gone wrong on the testing grounds of a series of powered armor prototypes. They lured away a few more of their project team friends to form their own company, specializing in computerized fabrication on small and tailored scales, as well as “boutique” technical designs and special effects support for television and movies. Media-savvy, they quickly branded themselves as stylish young turks in the ‘Silicon Circle’ of EC’s technology- community.
Avros Aerospace – Once a premiere defense contractor, Avros was run into the ground by a combination of reckless management and the cutting-edge competition of Paladyne Industries. A group of powerful corporations from outside the city acting together as The Magellan Consortium, who are behind an attempt to commercialize space travel with their Startreader vehicles, is currently making bids to take over Avros, as several of Avros’ proprietary projects were key components of the Startreader. MarsTech is keeping this acquisition hung up in court right now, as it in no way wants Magellan moving into town.
Biologik – A trailblazer in the field of human enhancement, biophysics, and metahuman studies. Though highly respected, the firm had for the last several years barely kept its head above the water financially and had become dangerously dependent on Department of Defense research grants to continue functioning. This might have changed recently when ASTRO Labs chose to partner with Biologik on a congressionally supported study of Silver Storm victims. ASTRO Labs is strongly considering acquiring the company in order to bring its staff, patents, and research library completely in-house.
Cumberland Industrial Laboratories (CIL) – A burgeoning pharmaceutical company, Cumberland is the recent rebirth of Cumberland Research, a company originally founded 20 years ago by Colin Cumberland. Unknown to world at large, Colin Cumberland was once the 70s era costumed villain Dr. Zodiac. He eventually retired and moved to Emerald City to open his own business and not get punched or shot at anymore.
Gernsback Concepts, Unlimited – “Tomorrow’s Technology…Timeless Tastes” is their advertising tagline. A small engineering and design firm that specializes in retro design (mostly art deco or steampunk exteriors that hide innovative electronics) and markets itself as “lifestyle technicians.” Actually, a legitimate cover (and enjoyable distraction) for Dr. Ethan Godwin Exeter, secretly an extra-dimensional wanderer from an alternate Earth and the face behind the persona of Jolly Roger, the airship pirate.
Gramm & Gramm Holding - A finance and banking firm that dabbles in many different areas. The Gramms are one of the leading families of the area and have contributed many mayors, a few congressmen, and even a governor during the 150 year tenure of G&GH. G&GH is also known in the area as owners of:
Crownmark Ranch – Stud farm and racing trainers responsible for Triple Crown Winner ‘Sweet Sins.’

Starbright Aquarium – City landmark and trend-setting public attraction.
InterSpace Entertainment– A media conglomerate, InterSpace Entertainment is responsible for the cable network ‘EPIK’ and the recording company ‘Muse Media.’ It is less well known as (but enjoying better profit margins from than its two most famous ventures) the owners of its cinema distribution chain ‘Maven.Com’ and its adult entertainment studio ‘Moonrise Productions.’
MacroThink – A local computer development firm currently being sold-off unit by unit after recently being acquired in a hostile takeover, MacroThink was bought out by MarsTech through a series of holding companies. While dismantling a portion of MacroThink’s infrastructure (as MarsTech plans to bring the majority of its resources in-house), many of MacroThink’s assets have been “disappeared” through malfeasance and incompetence, providing (notably) Cortex and Doc Shock with great benefits.
Pontifex Foods, Ltd. - Nico Manetti started Pontifex many years ago as a managing firm for his various canning and meat-packing concerns. Under the able hands of his son Enzo “The Mouth” Manetti, however, it has grown into a monster the size of competitor YUM! Brands and is the owner of a number of local and national franchises. Manetti has been the subject of many news articles, not only for his shameless mastery of self-promotion, but also because of the negative attention some of his marketing brands’ stereotypes have attracted.
Taco Tyrant – With its armored master villain caricature mascot , his ‘cyber-sombrero,’ and heavily-accented tagline (“With priseees lik theeez….evreeebodeee want to be my MEN-yon…ha, ha, ha!”), Taco Tyrant continues to bring in big bucks while being attacked in the press by any number of Latino civil and cultural groups.

Mars Needs Pizza – An old standard, this pizza chain has been around since the late 50s and was bought out by Manetti in the early 80s. The sight of Manfred the Martian on top of his pepperoni and cheese flying saucer pizza is a common billboard (Tagline: “Give-me-your-Pizz-Ah, Hu-MAHN-scum”), particularly in this area, where the chain originated.

The Duke of Beef a.k.a. “Duke Beef”- A burger chain with a faux-medieval motif, this franchise has seen better days. The closing a few years ago of its Bar-B-Q sister chain [Pork Palace] is seen by many as the beginning of the end for this venerable business.

Big Bobby Buddha’s All-American Chinese – A combination of Asian buffet and mid-tier western steakhouse. Big Bobby Buddha was played in national commercials for years by local actor Tommy Huang wearing his trademark 22-gallon hat (“I do everything twice as big as y’all round-eyes…and then some”). His death two years ago from congestive heart failure has left the franchise to pursue other advertising, as no one thinks replacing Huang would be a popular move.

Buddha Buddy Drive-Thru – A fast food chain with the same imagery as Big Bobby’s and the fictional conceit that Buddy Buddha was Big Bobby’s number one son whose impatience led him to open fast food places instead of the traditional restaurants of his father. Actually doing better than its parent chain in recent years.
Yamashira International – The US division of this multinational corporation is based in Emerald City and run by Hachiro Yamashira, nephew of the founder, Hariku Yamashira. A talented manager, Hachiro is perhaps better known as owning the world’s largest collection of memorabilia related to 60s and 70s era Japanese superhero Atomic Samurai (the collection is on display in a special glassed-off section of the central office facility). He has long suspected his uncle of having been the man under the famous hero’s mask, but is unfortunately a little off the mark – his uncle was secretly Glorious Golden Demon, Atomic Samurai’s archnemesis. Were he to ever discover this, Hachiro would be devastated.
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:10 pm

ADDITIONAL LOCATIONS AND BUSINESSES OF NOTE

BurgerMonster – Local fast food franchise (23 locations around the city). Famous for its “everything but the kitchen sink” burger, “The Frankenstein Special.”
Gramm Memorial Park – Aging baseball park built years ago by “Lady” Lily Gramm as a tribute to her baseball-loving father, legendary local power broker Hank “King Henry” Gramm. The Gramm family is currently trying to lure a professional baseball team into the city as a new franchise (the “Emerald City Wizards”) with promises of refurbishing the park.
Gristle – “Hole in the wall” bar and grill in a bad part of town. Caters exclusively to supernatural elements (and generally lower-class ones at that).
The Happy Carnivore – Local steakhouse franchise (eight locations around the city) that shamelessly advertises its incredibly unhealthy (and immensely popular) menu.
Ice Palace – Nightclub on the riverfront owned and operated by Fineous Frost (“retired” supercriminal from the 60s and 70s). Legitimate front for his continuing criminal activities: he acts as a fixer and go-between for numerous criminals and organizations in the costumed underworld
Ironclad Ike’s and The Patriot Depot – Two large and seemingly separate and competing gunshop franchises. Actually, both are owned by Gramm & Gramm (several layers of corporate obfuscation down the ownership chain). The traditional so-called “competition” between the two stores was a marketing experiment that succeeded far beyond the designer’s hopes.
Nine Worlds – Nightclub built from a former luxury hotel structure. The center of each floor was removed so that people on those floors can look up and down on floors above and below them. The club is based around a Norse Mythology motif with each floor representing a different world along the World Tree. The club is actually not associated with or owned by any superhuman, supernatural, or criminal representative. It’s just a cool club. The top floor (“Asgard”) has secure, private, heavily sound-proofed rooms that are occasionally used as neutral meeting grounds by various movers-and-shakers.
Patterson National Park – Forested area to the south between Mount Stanley and the town of Black Pines.
Pontifex Stadium – Sports stadium being constructed downtown by Pontifex Foods. Commonly considered a money pit following what happened to the facility whose abandoned development later became AEGIS’ “The Dome.” Efforts on behalf of Manetti and his company to build a professional football franchise (the “Emerald City Mountaineers”) continue to fail without slowing down development of the facility.
Sin Factory – Casino operated by Jackie and Johnny Deuce, twin fortunamancers. There is a brothel hidden in the underground section operated by Dolly DeVille, a succubus bound to the material plane through a magic doll. The entire establishment is a front for some of Sammael’s criminal enterprises.
Smoke and Mirrors – Nightclub that doubles as the central business HQ for Sammael’s enterprises
Visanno’s Italiano – Upscale Italian restaurant franchise with three locations around the city. Reputedly mobbed up …something the D.A. has never been able to prove.
Wyrmwood & Kaliban – “The Old Firm.” A law firm of dark repute that caters exclusively to the supernatural. Normal people can’t even find the firm’s offices except when the partners want them to…and that would be a bad thing for the normals in question.
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:13 pm

THE CHAMBER

For my purposes, I really only need to outline who the last set of active members were for the Chamber, the ones that finally threw in the towel following the Silver Storm event – that is, the ones Hypersapien (Big Brain*) felt had betrayed him on some level. I have in mind who some previous members were, dating back over the decades, as in my mind The Chamber has operated in one form or another since the 1960s when Von Sturm, trying to evade Doc Dynamo, and The Weeper, looking for somewhere The [original} Raven wouldn’t find him, both met up with a retired Angelo “Iron Skull” Carbarone and had their bright idea to form the outfit in the first place. But those don’t really matter unless a PC or two goes digging for info and gets really lucky.

No, none of that history nor this composition figures into The Chamber write-up in the sourcebook. My understanding is Jon and Steve are leaving it somewhat less defined so that individual GMs can fill in their own details. Like I’m doing here. ☺

We know from Part #3 of the Emerald Knights adventure and Big Brain’s monologue/rant that he and the predecessor to the current Dragoneye were both members. My take on the members are that they should each represent the thinking man’s supercriminal…not necessarily the traditional superbrains themselves (who generally let their egos get in the way of working well with others), but the planners and users who like operating through proxies or their own gangs and have a habit of working well in unison with similar-minded partners. I also know I want them to represent more than one generation of villainy, as they’ve gathered in Emerald City over time.

My roster:

Simon Pure:
After gaining the ability to transmute anything (or anyone) he touched into silver (and a greatly reduced aging rate in the process), Simon Pure caused the Patriot problems in the 1940s and then again in the 1960s during the early years of AEGIS.

Dr. Zodiac:
I already had this guy moving to Emerald City and opening his own corp under his real name, so it only makes sense with his background he’d fall in with The Chamber.

The Velvet Angel:
Tizzie Phelps used her native genius, stunning good looks, and hypnotic voice to become the power behind the throne of a criminal network spanning most of California in the 1970s. It took Libertine, The Crusader, and the second Doc Dynamo combining forces to bring that network down and force her into hiding further north up the coast.

Cipherman:
Motif villain obsessed with codes and puzzles, this former NSA asset caused Horatio Powers a lot of problems in the late 1980s before finding a relatively safe place to hide from AEGIS (making a puppet of the local AEGIS director was his idea and made him very happy to pull off so successfully over the many years use they got out of Mitchell).

Cyrus Mordant:
Cyrus Mordant was “Sloth” in the original Seven Sins back in the late 1980s and early 1990s before Hellbringer (“Pride”) was trapped in Hell by Adrian Eldrich and the group disbanded. A morbidly obese agoraphobe who used a combination of sorcery, technology, and many agents to run an information brokerage, Cyrus has used up the last of his life-extending favors owed and is showing his age.

Lady Sorrow:
The latest in a line of women who have passed down their empathic parasitism and empathic control abilities from mother to daughter upon death of the former possessor. Sorrow’s mother caused Doc Prophet problems decades ago, and she herself spent years abroad causing the British Ministry of Powers trouble, among other targets.

In addition to the actual members, the Chamber made good use of a number of contacts. The two most important recent ones in recent years have been Fineous Frost and Aquarius.

• Frost was a member back in his heyday (shuttling between EC and many other cities) before getting caught and sent to prison for a couple of decades. He didn’t have the clout to get his seat at the table back when he got out of the joint, but after setting himself up as an underworld fixer with a semi-respectable public face, he was valuable enough to get work from his former partners.

• Aquarius, formerly Princess Thassilia of Atlantis, moved to the Pacific Northwest and took up residence in an abandoned Lemurian settlement off the coast with her followers after a failed coup attempt against her brother the king many years ago. Her and her people, informally referred to as “Atlantis-in-Exile,” worked with The Chamber and a number of smuggling rings in the area for years before suddenly cutting off all ties a couple of years ago (which was fine with the Chamber, since then they didn't have to deal with her go-betweens, Mako and Kraken, the first who was annoying and the second who was damn creepy). The Chamber found Coral Snake and the Trident organization a more than acceptable replacement since then.

Following the Silver Storm event, the Chamber has effectively disbanded. The previous Dragoneye died and his successor is a little too busy to have anything to do with the group. Simon Pure, Velvet Angel, Dr. Zodiac, and Cyrus all melted back into the shadows. Hypersapien has thrown himself into expanding his Crime Union. Cipherman completely disappeared; given that the new AEGIS director in the area has made it one of her priorities to determine who helped her predecessor stay under the radar for all those years, it’s likely Cipherman has fled the city altogether. Lady Sorrow was poisoned and killed by her daughter, who was tired of her mother surviving for far too long and who had grown very impatient in wanting the powers she would inherit.


*This is one of a few characters whose name I changed purely for matters of personal preference. I found “Big Brain” a little too Silver Age for my tastes. Same with “F.O.E.”

Just my own hang-ups. No harm, no foul.

“Gargantua” also got a name change as I’ve read Rabelais and can never get the mental image of a sea of urine flooding the city streets out of my head when I hear the name; also, there’s also a very similar CHAMPIONS character with the same name
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Libra » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:00 pm

Mr. Sullivan, hello! It's good to see you planning to post regularly in this forum again. :mrgreen:
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by tylrlsaa » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:43 pm

Indeed. When the EC book comes out, I'm intending to swipe this thread. Purely for medical purposes, I swear.
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:28 pm

THE CENTER CANNOT HOLD...

The warm spring air breezed peacefully through the thoroughfare, a pleasant accompaniment to the symphony of sunlight reflected off the multitude of shop windows lining the Golden Brick Row. After a drizzly winter that had overstayed its welcome, the weather finally seemed to be cooperating with the much-voiced shoppers’ wish here in Emerald City for a mild and hospitable showing, one conducive to walking around and spending money. April was off to a good start.

Few of the shoppers sauntering up and down the endless row of shops, kiosks, and cafes paid much mind to the raven-haired beauty sitting alone at one of the tables outside Bingham’s Tea Shoppe. Though an attractive figure by any measure of beauty, the attention of those around her nonetheless seemed to slide and slough off her shoulders, with passers-by and fellow patrons in the café vaguely registering her presence more than actually noticing anything about her. She, on the other hand, was soaking in every detail of her surroundings, the people, the weather, the laughter and above all the bright, shiny joie de vivre.

“How dreadfully tedious,” she muttered half under her breath.

Taking a delicate sip of tea, she tapped her elegant and perfectly manicured fingernails on the wooden table. One tap, and the waiter ten feet away from her tripped, spilling hot coffee on a burly customer who responded loudly, obviously working himself towards violence. A second tap, and the elderly couple at the table next to her, married for half a century, began arguing, a hundred slights and buried resentments and forgotten quarrels bubbling simultaneously to the surface in ugly concert. A double tap and fights broke out at every table in the café, loud and vicious arguments quickly degenerating into fists thrown and crockery hurled. The woman rose from her seat, still virtually unnoticed by those around her.

“Better,” she said, “But still short of the mark…”

Several blocks away, too far for mortal senses here to follow but not for hers, a small truck made its way through the carefully controlled traffic points that intersected the pedestrian consumer paradise.

A small ornament at the end of a gold chain slid through her hand so that the ornament, a highly-detailed apple made of gold and about the size of a marble, dangled freely as her hand tightened around the chain, and a flick of her wrist set the apple twirling at the end of its chain in a controlled circle around her hand, its speed slowly increasing. There was a tension in the air, as if fate were straining against events, as if probability itself was being pressured to stand against something happening. A frown grew on the woman’s face.

“Damnable book,” she hissed, “meddling, meddling, meddling…”

“Enough of that, thank you,” she finally exhaled arrogantly, pushing out with her own will to help propel events on the course she did not want averted, that she was aiding to completion.

The truck suddenly exploded into a coruscating ball of silver fire and tendrils of burning blue shooting into the sky to expand outward over the mall and its environs as fast as the eye could follow. Clouds of silver energy burned across the sky a scant hundred or so feet above the Golden Brick Row, silver and blue blazing tentacles of energy lashing down as lightning discharged groundward in rapid succession up and down the lengths of the cloud’s surface. Where the tentacles or the lightning struck, chaos reigned. Aside from the direct damage of the energy’s contact with base (and flammable) matter, where the cloud or its accompanying light show actually made contact with people, those people changed. They caught fire, but did not burn…they grew, or sprouted claws or extra arms or wings…they released new and volatile energies at the stores or people surrounding them.

Thousands of people fled the area in blind panic. Hundreds more lay on the ground or amidst the wreckage, some damaged in the violent displays or incapacitated by physical changes they couldn’t control, and still others sprawled in tortured, final silence, their bodies fatally unable to adapt to the changes forced on them. And walking among them in terrible glory, dozens of new gods, monsters, and supermen wrestling with power they never asked for and little understood.

The woman watched all of this with the dispassionate, clinical detachment of a scientist observing one more in a series of interesting but routine experiments. Apparently satisfied at the outcome, she allowed herself a small smile.

“Yes. This will do just fine,” she said, the apple completing one last arc at the end of its chain to land with a smack in the palm of the opposite hand held behind her back. She looked toward the pacific, toward an entity few others even knew existed there.

Obviously well-pleased with herself, she finally whispered, “Let the game begin…”

Anyone that could have seen her, actually seen her and not just the mortal mask she had chosen to wear that day, would have been hard pressed to choose which sight was the more frightening, the chaotic spectacle of the Silver Storm, or the sight of an immortal and callous power as its physical form shattered into countless kaleidoscopic bird-shaped crystalline shards flying away in all directions.
Last edited by Aaron Sullivan on Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Aaron Sullivan
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:00 pm

**SPOILERSI will be discussing some of the details of Chapter 0, 1, and 2 of the Emerald City Knights Adventure Path. If you’re one of those people who are pathologically averse to spoilers and go ballistic when you see them, you’re gonna wanna skip this post starting NOW.
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:03 pm

As a general posting format, I think after this I’ll put the campaign recaps in the sub-board put aside for play recaps (M&M Story Hour, I believe). Also, I’ll be posting the stats for the PCs (with the players’ permission) and all of my NPCs in the Roll Call sub-board and linking from there. It’s annoying working in three places at the same time, but I think that’s the organizational intent of the boards, so I won’t buck tradition.



CATCHING UP
Last year, I started running the Heroes’ Journey story arc for my players. Six of the seven players used the generation charts in the GM’s Kit to create their characters and ended up with some interesting results, albeit a final mix that was a bit problematic in play (types and interactions, not mechanics). The seventh player decided she just wanted to adapt a pre-gen and chose “Princess” from the free download Sentinels characters. After rolling up their characters, a couple of the guys tweaked what they got until they were happy. One of the guys took three more trips through the process before settling on a character he thought he wanted to play, and then we started Episode zero and I watched to see how things shook out.

Episode Zero:
Boom. And there was chaos. And punching and shooting. Even with no PC knowing the other or making any semblance of any kind of teamwork or tactics, the opposition folded quickly.

One of the players, whose character was a gypsy mentalist running a new age book store in the open air mall of Golden Brick Row, decided she wanted no part of this getting punched at lifestyle – she helped people in need out during the crisis, but then went right back to hiding her abilities and slunk back under the cloak of anonymity (the player was offered a new job a few days after our first session and her schedule changed dramatically because of it, rendering her unavailable for future sessions).

The second of the three women in our group, playing “Aurora” a powersuit wearing character she jokingly referred to as “Tony Stark, except with boobs and better hair,” also found herself bowing out for Real Life™ reasons.

Three of the remaining PCs were stormers who manifested during the event – two were police officers responding to the crisis (a Warrior along the Altered Human path and a Flying Speedster) and the third was a shy college student (a Psychokinetic) following around a girl he liked who barely even noticed he existed.

The character Princess happened to be on the scene in one of those wonderful coincidences only found in comic books, and found herself guilting the college student into helping out after seeing him use his new psychokinetic abilities.

The last PC was a demon inadvertently freed when his binder was killed by some of the collateral damage inflicted during the event (hey, even sorcerers want a good cup of coffee now and then, and can get caught by surprise by a girder through the chest); yeah, this was the fourth result of the hard-to-please player and his runs through the charts.
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Re: My Emerald City: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green...

Post by Aaron Sullivan » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:06 pm

Episode One:
The cops were no problem incorporating, Princess was already trying to establish herself as a hero, the college kid took a shine to Princess, and the demon found all of these do-gooder types entertaining enough to tag along. I established a few things quickly, the first among them was the scale of the event and how overwhelmed the local authorities and emergency services were.

The second major point was the disparity in attitudes and competency displayed at AEGIS. The feds wanted info on every one of the new superhumans they could get their hands on as the immediate emergency wind down. The two cops cooperated, as did Princess. The gypsy (as I mentioned earlier) simply disappeared and Aurora, who had problems with authority similar to those of the movie-version of Stark, took off the suit and likewise disappeared. We agreed that she had found punching around a few bad guys prior to the event exciting, but watching men, women, and children dying all around her with little she could do to help was more than she was ready to handle; she decided to focus back on her research, increase her donations to charities, and work through her emotional trauma privately. Should the player ever return to the table, we can simply say she found her equilibrium and was ready to try the good fight directly again. The demon, who was already causing problems, found that the Special Projects personnel were prepared for things like him and rapidly found himself confined to a warded room and ritually banished (the player had quickly learned what would and wouldn’t fly in the game, the setting, the GM’s viewpoint, and his fellow players’ collective good graces – the banishment and later generation of a new character was a negotiated conclusion).

Agents Forsythe, MacKenzie, and Whitehead all made very good impressions on the player characters, and Agent Ramos made exactly the kind of impression he was supposed to make. We decided that Ramos was known among the ECPD and tremendously disliked by all the cops who suffered his presence and consistent low-grade abuse of authority. The Director however, and his immediate cronies, made distinctly bad first impressions…also as they were supposed to do.

Mitchell was corrupt, venal, and a bit of a control freak. More concerned with how the event was going to impact his ongoing arrangement with The Chamber than how it hit the public, he was rapidly watching his administrative juggling act accelerate out of his control. Thanks to Director Mitchell, the player characters were unceremoniously bounced out of AEGIS’ good graces as soon as the minimal paperwork was completed, and they noticed it was over the roughly ignored objections of the agents they actually respected.

In rapid succession, the PCs met the replacement character for the demon, an ex-AEGIS agent from R&D who had been called back to active duty in the Marines, invalided by an IED in Baghdad, and had built self-designed prosthetics to get his full-function back (and then some).

By a complicated series of events, the PCs then came into possession of information pertaining to the investigation – the ground zero evidence implying MarsTech involvement. They then also determined that Mars’ political connections and Mitchell’s political tendencies would result in it being several days before a carefully negotiated follow-up with MarsTech would even begin to proceed. This was understandably unacceptable to them, especially since any evidence of further involvement could be well-hidden or buried in that time. Using the new PC’s tech community connections, we established that Mars Tech had already expressed an interest in that PC’s cybernetics and prosthetics work, and so they arranged a quick meeting at the corporate campus that they planned to then subtly or not-so-subtly maneuver into a confrontation with Mars himself. The two cops, who had realized that ECPD regulations would not allow superhuman officers, wanted to go out on a high note as their careers ended and reluctantly agreed to the plan.

The meeting pretty much went as planned, with a shocked R&D rep figuratively trampled as the group made their way to Mars office only to find themselves facing a number of criminals who had arrived with questions of their own for the man. Cannon recognized the flying speedster as that flying cop that was shown on the news reports about the Silver Storm, the one ferrying injured to treatment, and we decided that Megamorph (a rebranded Gargantua) had briefly (and recently) fought Princess before, so violence erupted quickly.
Mechanically, I added a couple of AEs to Tempus’s time powers and moved some of Cyberknight’s powers out of the array as separate abilities. I did change their appearances completely, though, as I was not enamored with the way they looked in the end panel in the published material. The art I used is at the end of this set of posts.

The fight did not go well, at least not from the PC’s perspective. Poor rolls, what turned out to be a “sub-optimal” combination of abilities, and some tactical errors made things drag on for a while before the heroes dogpiled Megamorph into submission and three natural “1s” in a row did in Cannon. Tempus fled the field via teleport with Cyberknight in tow (and a half-hearted, “Oh, dear, Cannon is simply too far away for me to help. How will I ever forgive myself? Taaa. ”). The cyborg had gone all kinds of lethal force in the first round of combat, even before the villains had an opportunity to respond in kind, which did not endear him to either of the cops. They were still arguing, overyelling Mars’ attempts to talk them down and find out who the hell these people were, when the League reps arrived.
Aaron Sullivan
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