Stories of the Betterverse: From Sea to Shining Sea

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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: The Curse of Gotham

Post by betterwatchit »

The Curse Of Gotham, Part 3

Rasoletti's Apartment…

The apartment building was in an affluent neighbourhood. Griffin and Constantine already passed two police cars cruising the area, and the cars in the lot were high-end. A middle-aged couple walked out of the building and nodded to Griffin and Constantine in greeting, but their attitude was obvious: "You don’t live here."

As they approached the door, Constantine asked "Griffin, can you get rid of Hush?"

Griffin told him "Yeah, I can slay Hush and deport him back to Hell, no bother."

"How can you do that?"

"Because Justice will work on him where a copper's gun can't, that's why! Now, you open the door and I'll evict the bastard. And one more thing."

"Yeah, Griffin?"

"I need you to lock the door behind me. I don't want Hush leaving!"

"Why not let me join you?"

"I know you're good at exorcisms, but are you trained to fight as hard as you can, willing to give even your own life if needed to make and keep a lasting difference without hesitation or regret?"

"No. No I'm not. And I can't just call you another fanatic because I saw the footage of you and Ms. Magus fighting hellhounds at Central Park."

"So you know I serve Their will better than any suicide bomber ever could. Now I'm going in there."

Once he was inside, Griffin got Justice out of his laptop bag and unsheathed it.

The apartment’s interior was drab. It wasn't messy, just boring. There were no decorations to speak of, no attempt to make the place appear like someone lived there. A trash bag stuffed with pizza boxes and the remnants of ready meals sat by the door, waiting to be dragged to the dumpster.

Griffin prepared to search the apartment. The bathroom could do with some cleaning, but it was clear. The kitchen needed a lot of cleaning, but it was also clear. The living room had the biggest slug Griffin had ever seen, the size of a newborn child, right on the middle of the floor. And Griffin could tell that it was in spectral form.

The slug said "Oh, it's you. From the hospital. Why don't you just sit down and relax."

Griffin wordlessly charged at the slug, nearly slicing it in half. The slug reflexively thrust a claw at Griffin.

Griffin could hear another voice in his head, a strong, proud voice saying in Helltongue: "<Yes… Rise up. Resist. You are mightier than this. You are strong, beyond mortal ken. You shall not be defeated by a slug. Destroy it. Do this in my name.>"

Griffin remembered where he heard that voice before: during his training, he was made to witness divine judgment and was even subjected to it himself. He heard voices like that in the specially shielded Hellmouth that anyone found wanting was thrown into. He was very lucky to have been forgiven, as it meant that he wasn't worried about going down there. But he knew what happened to people who did and not one of them came out.
Hush attacks Griffin with Tire Out: Perception Ranged Progressive Affliction 5: Fatigued, Exhausted, Incapacitated, Resisted by Will. Griffin gets 15 to resist.

Roll Initiative! Griffin gets 24, Hush gets 4. Both sides are using lethal force and Griffin gets a HP for entering combat. Griffin attacks Hush with the Flurry of Steel, getting 22. This increases the DC by +2. Hush gets 12 and is hit and Staggered!

Hush strikes Griffin with a Claw, getting 24. Griffin gets 27 to resist.

Hush: 1 Injury, Staggered.

Griffin finally cut Hush in half. This opened a very small Hellmouth to re-admit Hush to Hell.
Griffin performs the Flurry of Steel, getting 17. Hush gets a Natural 1 and is slain.

After getting his breath back, Griffin checked the bedroom before saying "It was done in the name of my Liege, not yours. And I'll see to you in a minute." He re-sheathed Justice, put it in the laptop bag, grabbed the rubbish bag and opened the door.

Constantine asked "Are you okay, Griffin?"

Griffin told him "Yeah. Hush is back in Hell where he belongs. The apartment’s desecrated and I heard another demon in there. I'll have to go back in in a minute to consecrate it."

"There's another demon in there?"

"No, it felt a bit more like it was projecting into the apartment. I just have to get rid of this bag and I'll be right back."

Two minutes later…

As Griffin came back, he said "Good thing I brought some hand sanitiser with me. Now, are you ready, Constantine?"

"Are you?"

"I am. Remember, don't ask any questions. Don't let the doubt in that they exploit."

Griffin unsheathed his sword and revealed his wings as he re-entered the apartment. Holy light shone from them and from Griffin's eyes as he said "No deals, demon! In the name of the Almighty, this apartment is now sacred ground! Get out of here, traitor! Go on!"

The proud-sounding demon sighed as he said "Oh, very well. If I must. When you change your minds, you will learn where to find me soon enough." Then the room fell silent and started feeling different.
This demon is a Tempter Demon from Deluxe Gamemaster's Guide, page 148. Griffin stunts Justice into Consecrate: Close Range Nullify 10 (Demonic Effects) with Burst Area. The demon gets 16 on its will save and agrees to leave.
Constantine said "F**king hell! You didn't flinch even once!"

Griffin said "Measures were taken to ensure that there's only one I fear, and no one else." He sat down on the sofa as he said "Now we can safely chill."
Last edited by betterwatchit on Mon Aug 28, 2023 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: The Curse of Gotham

Post by betterwatchit »

The Curse Of Gotham, Part 4

Rasoletti's Apartment, half an hour later…

Constantine asked "Are you ready to search the place?"

Griffin said "I'll check the computer."

Forty-five minutes later…

Constantine said "While you were checking the computer, I found a few things. Like this journal. The last entry reads 'I did it. He died because he was too lazy and stupid to stop drinking. Now I get my reward.'"

Griffin said "So it looks like he murdered someone. I found this seal as a JPEG, does it look familiar?"

"I don't recognise it. I have, however, seen this rubbing in Latin."
Rubbing wrote:"Hunc locum vigiles numquam obliviscantur, nam Superbus in hac Dei Domo tumulatus iacet."
Griffin said "I can read it. It translates along the lines of 'May the vigilant never forget this place, for the Proud One lies entombed in this House of God.' The other thing I found on the computer was this Google Earth overlay, along with a few saved locations."

Constantine asked "Is that Gotham?"

Griffin explained "The smaller polygon contains the city limits, which cover the city archipelago. The larger polygon is the county line. The saved locations are this flat, Gotham Cathedral and the last one is outside city limits but within the county. It's simply labelled 'Assistance Needed'. The details simply say 'Can't go there myself, but I need the info on the computer there.' Now this is a smoking gun!"

"Do you know what's there?"

Griffin said "Give me a moment while I go into Street View. Looks like an old warehouse. With a skylight. And it says that a Street View car was around there this month, so it should still be there."
Griffin and Constantine perform a Team Check with their Investigation. Constantine is the "leader" due to having higher Investigation. Constantine gets 26 while Griffin gets 24. They find everything in the apartment.
Constantine asked Griffin "So what now?"

Griffin said "I'm going to the warehouse. I need you here to let Rasoletti back in if he returns. Is that okay?"

Constantine went "Yeah, no bother."

After giving it twenty minutes, Constantine opened the kitchen door, which now led to the Oblivion Bar, a pocket dimension which catered to magicians and supernatural beings of all stripes.

The Oblivion Bar…

When Constantine entered the bar, he asked Detective Chimp "Have you seen Zauriel? I need a word with him."

Detective Chimp said "Yeah, he's over at our table."

As Constantine approached him, Zauriel asked "John Constantine. What reason would I have to talk to you?"

"Because I'm working with the bloke who calls himself Griffin to get rid of some demons infesting Gotham. He told me that he was an angel and that you could vouch for him."

"Actually, I can vouch for him. I bore witness as he kneeled before the Presence. I can say without a doubt that, whatever he did before, he is one of us now."

"You wouldn't happen to know his real name then?"

"I don't know it. I can tell you that every angel who would know it has a direct order about Griffin's identity: It is not to be revealed unless Griffin allows it or a direct order from above is given to do so. And measures were taken to ensure this."

"What measures?"

"I don't know what they are or how they work, so I cannot tell you. Even if I wanted to. You have to ask him about them."

"How about that sword of his? It's shorter than yours at any rate."

"I know the sword you mean. He calls it Justice. A shortsword made with a monomolecular edge that can bypass any armour. Its pure halosteel construction means that even ghosts and spirits can be cut down with it. He chose a shortsword as it's easier to conceal. Anything else, you have to find out by yourself."

The Warehouse…

Griffin entered the old warehouse via the skylight and started looking for an office. He found one and turned the computer on. The power was still there. That was when he heard a woman saying "Hello? I know you're there, Griffin!"

Griffin stepped out of the office with Justice sheathed but drawn. He said "I can see her, Psistar! I can see the ghost hovering around you, she's the reason you're called Trainwreck! She's undead, she has to go!"

Psistar begged "Can we-?"

Griffin declared "NO! Judgment comes for her today!"

The ghost said "He's a killer! He'll kill us both, Kara! Get him!"

Psistar fired a bolt at Griffin, who started to subdue her with Justice.
Psistar/Trainwreck's stats are on pages 84-86 of Rogues, Rivals & Renegades Collection One by Vigilance Press.

Trainwreck starts the fight Impaired. Griffin does a Well-Informed check, getting 21. He's heard about Psistar, AKA Trainwreck.

Both sides are using non-lethal force.

Griffin gets a HP for entering combat and another for his Honour: The Agreement makes it clear that the undead are to be put down!

Roll Initiative! Trainwreck gets 19, Griffin gets 12.

Trainwreck hits Griffin with her Psycho-Vision. Griffin gets a Natural 20 on his Will and resists. Griffin attacks her with the Flurry of Steel, getting 25. This raises the DC by +2. Trainwreck gets 18 and is hit and Dazed.

Trainwreck: 1 Injury, Dazed.

Griffin continued to subdue Psistar.
Trainwreck hits Griffin with her Psycho-Vision again. Griffin gets 26 and resists. Griffin attacks her with the Flurry of Steel, getting 30. This raises the DC by +2. Trainwreck gets 20 and is hit and dazed.

Trainwreck: 2 Injuries, Dazed.

Psistar said "Get away from me!"

Griffin felt like he was getting stiffer, but he fought on, even managing to bruise some ribs.
Trainwreck hits Griffin with her Psycho-Vision. Griffin gets 26 and resists.

Griffin attacks her with the Flurry of Steel, getting 27. This raises the DC by +5. Trainwreck gets 14 and is hit and Staggered!.

Trainwreck: 3 Injuries, Staggered.

The ghost went "He's beating you! Are you going to take that?!"

Griffin cried out as he was hit with a telekinetic blast, then he lashed out, landing a knockout blow on Psistar! He unsheathed Justice as he turned to face the ghost, who went "What- What are you going do to me?!"

Griffin impaled the ghost on the wall and said "Judgment comes for you this day!"

The ghost tried to pull herself off the blade, going "Who are-?! How-?!"

Griffin revealed his wings and said "My Lady, I beseech you! Let this soul know your judgment at last!" Justice glowed pure white and then the ghost was gone.
Trainwreck hits Griffin with her Psycho-Vision. Griffin gets 24 and is hit.

Griffin attacks her with the Flurry of Steel, getting 25. This raises the DC by +5. Trainwreck gets a Natural 1 and is Incapacitated!

Griffin spends a HP to Power Stunt Justice into Close Range Nullify 10: Possession Effects. The ghost has a Will of 6. She gets 8 and is banished!

After putting Psistar in the recovery position, Griffin went to check on the computer. The computer was intact and it hummed. It was old, probably dating to the turn of the millenium, but the data inside was much older. Griffin wasn't sure who wrote all this down, but at least he could learn what happened. If the disk wasn’t corrupted by long years in a disused office, that is. Luckily, it was recent enough to have USB ports. He copied as much as he could onto his phone before he revived Psistar.
Griffin uses his Healing Touch, getting 13. Trainwreck is conscious again.

Psistar sputtered "Wha- What happened? Who are you?!"

Griffin told her "I'm Griffin of the Host of Heaven. I helped you regain control of your life."

"Where is she?! What did you do to Tara?!"

"Tara's moved on now. She will no longer make you a Trainwreck, Kara. She's been the greatest obstacle to your recovery and advancement as a person. You don't need her, you never needed her."

"What did you do-"

"To Tara? Brought her to judgment, as is my divine duty. To your rather varied range of illegal recreational intoxicants? I'm taking them with me to destroy, that is my only sane response. One thing remains before I can conscionably leave you."

"What's that?"

"I can get the rest of the drugs out of your system. Cleaning up your life's on you, but I can help by making sure you don't go into withdrawal."

"…Do it."

"Very well."
Griffin uses his Healing Touch, getting 15. Trainwreck is cleaned up.
Griffin said "Before I go, I must say that Tara was only half-right about me. I've killed people, but I don't murder at the drop of a hat. And now I must go. Farewell." He then walked out of the backdoor and flew back to the apartment.
Last edited by betterwatchit on Sun Sep 10, 2023 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: The Curse of Gotham

Post by betterwatchit »

The Curse Of Gotham, Conclusion

Rasoletti's Apartment, half an hour later…

After he returned to the apartment, Constantine heard the entry phone ring. He answered it, saying "Hello?"

The voice on the other end said "It's Griffin, can you buzz me in?"

After getting into the apartment, Griffin said "I got the intel and it's some tasty stuff!"

Constantine told him "While you were raiding that warehouse, I called Zauriel."

Griffin asked "What did he say?"

Constantine went "He confirmed that you're who you said you were."

Griffin said "Glad to hear it. I've got a couple of passages to print out, you need to see them."

Two minutes later, a couple of sheets came out of the printer. Griffin said "You need to read these, Constantine."
Printout 1 wrote:It has been named many times, but the greatest power comes from those stories where it is anonymous. The steed carrying Bellerophon. The Serpent in the Garden. The hand guiding Hod’s bow. In each story, the one it guides comes to woe through their own foolishness. Eve eats the fruit, but through this gains knowledge. Bellerophon slays the Chimera, but climbs too high. Hod fires his arrow, killing his brother and never considering that he cannot see his target.

We then call up this guide of our own will, and we accept its help and its guidance. We shall keep watch for the temptation, the fall, the flaw that doomed those other fools. It is this temperance that saves us from ruin.
Printout 2 wrote:Those fools! Those Cyprian fools bound our guide in the new Cathedral! I fear that no one in this city will find their spark while Ai'tahe remains bound.

Griffin said "Those passages mean that my path is clear."

Constantine asked "You're going to Gotham Cathedral, aren't you?"

Griffin told him "Of course. I know that the Order of St. Cyprian who serve the Cathedral are the Vatican's magical branch. They keep that part low-key, but it's what they really do."
Griffin does a Theology & Philosophy check, getting 21. He's heard of the Order of St. Cyprian.
Constantine said "I'm somehow not surprised that the Vatican has a magical branch. And I'm not really comfortable with churches, so I'm staying here."

Griffin said "I can't force you to come, so I'll come back here afterwards if I succeed."

Constantine asked "And if you don't?"

Griffin told him "Then I probably won't come back at all."

Gotham Cathedral…

The sun was setting as Griffin entered the Cathedral, which seemed very foreboding. The inscription he could see behind the altar matched the rubbing he saw. It meant that he was at the right place. He asked the first priest he saw "Excuse me, I'm looking for Father Stepp. Please tell him that Mr. Griffin wants to speak to him at once."

The priest said "I'm Father Stepp. What do you want?"

Griffin revealed his wings as he said "Don't be afraid, Father Stepp. I am Griffin, angel of the Host of Heaven."

Father Stepp fell on his knees, saying "Thank the Lord you came!"

Griffin helped Father Stepp up, saying "On your feet, father. I'm only a servant like you, I don't deserve any worship. I know about the demon that the Cyprians bound here and I'm here to send them back to Hell."

Father Stepp asked "What do you need?"

Griffin told him "I need to get their attention."

Father Stepp said "Just go right up to the altar! The moment you get close enough, that should wake him up. He gets really annoyed at me refusing his temptations, Lord knows what'll happen when he sees you."
Griffin performs a Persuasion check. Due to Griffin being a stranger, Father Stepp starts out as Neutral towards him. Griffin gets a +5 for revealing his angelic nature to him. Griffin gets 25, making Father Stepp Helpful!

Griffin went right up to the altar, unsheathed Justice and shouted "Ai'tahe! In the name of the Almighty God, I order you to reveal yourself, traitor!"

The candle flames all turned blood-red. From the back wall, a man-sized shadow came oozing out. And while Father Stepp saw the shadow, Griffin could see the true and monstrous face of the demon Ai'tahe, who said "You dare much, angel! Give me one good reason why I should not tear your wings from your body!"

Griffin told them "I can get you back home to Hell."

"Oh, really? Did you see those iron grates outside?" Ai'tahe said, their tentacles pointing at each grate.

"Yeah, I did."

"Just remove them all and I can leave. That's all I ask of you."

"Very well. I'll see what I can do."

Griffin returned to Father Stepp and said "Father Stepp, I need you to stay outside and guard the main entrance. No one is to go in or out without my say-so."

Father Stepp asked "Are you absolutely sure about this?"

Griffin told him "Yes. I don't want him to endanger anyone else if this goes wrong. Is there anyone else in here, other than us?"

Father Stepp shook his head, saying "No. Not that I'm aware."

Griffin said "Then get outside. There's something I need to do."

Griffin flew up to the roof. The moment he touched the first grate, he had a vision.

A white-winged griffin tore the grates open and a ghostly creature within the Cathedral became more solid. When the last grate was cut open, the creature struck dead the white-winged griffin. Then another vision, where the white-winged griffin only sliced open one grate. The white-winged griffin re-entered the church and fought a battle against the creature. The visions ended before Griffin saw who won.

Griffin said "I understand, my Lady." He cut the grate open and returned to the entrance.

As Griffin landed, Father Stepp asked "Is it done?"

Griffin said "Not yet. I have to go back in there."

Father Stepp said "Go with God, Griffin." Stepp then crossed himself before opening the door to let Griffin re-enter.

When Griffin re-entered, Ai'tahe said "You haven't kept up your end of the bargain." Ai'tahe was much more solid now, they had a rather androgynous form.

Griffin said "The instant I touched that grate, I had a revelation from my Lady. All I need to do is keep just one grate intact and the trap keeping you here would be open enough for you to be pushed where I want you to go! And I command you, in the name of Archangel Annabelle and in the name of the Almighty, GO BACK TO HELL WHERE YOU BELONG, TRAITOR!"

Ai'tahe bared their claws as they roared "YOUR SOUL IS MINE, ANGEL!"

Griffin managed to cut Ai'tahe's face.
Griffin gets a HP for entering combat.

Both sides are using lethal force.

Ai'tahe's stats are combined from the Brute and Tempter Demon archetypes from Gamemaster's Guide Deluxe as done in my Combined Archetypes post.

Roll Initiative! Ai'tahe gets 21, Griffin gets 18.

Ai'tahe attacks with their Claws, getting 20. Griffin gets 29 and resists.

Griffin attacks with the Flurry of Steel, getting a Natural 20, Crit scored! Griffin spends the crit to raise the DC by +5, raising it by +10 with Multiattack. Ai'tahe gets 25 and is hit!

Ai'tahe: 1 Injury.

Griffin slew Ai'tahe, causing a great wind inside the Cathedral as a Hellmouth opened, swallowing Ai'tahe whole.

After Griffin caught his breath, he raised his sword and said "My Lady! Your servant asks you, if you so will it, to sanctify this place of worship that it may finally serve your greater glory at last!"

Justice shone with a bright light that seemed to engulf the Cathedral!
Ai'tahe attacks with their Claws, getting 22. Griffin gets 28 and resists.

Griffin attacks with the Flurry of Steel, getting a Natural 20, Crit scored! Griffin spends the crit to raise the DC by +5, raising it by +10 with Multiattack. Ai'tahe gets 9 and is hit and Incapacitated. Griffin moves in for a Finishing Attack with the Flurry of Steel, getting 29 and raising the DC by +5. Ai'tahe gets 16 and is slain!

Griffin spends a HP to stunt Justice into Sanctify: Close Range Nullify 10 (Demonic Effects) with Burst Area 2.

When the light faded, the Hellmouth was closed and the inscription on the rear wall now read…
The Lady wrote:Numquam locum hunc fideles obliviscantur, quia Superbus de hac Dei domo expulsus est.
Griffin returned to the entrance, saying "Father Stepp! It's Griffin! It's safe to come back in now!"

Father Stepp asked "Is he-"

Griffin hid his wings as he said "Ai'tahe is gone, back to Hell where they belong. And you should read the inscription on the rear wall."

Father Stepp read it out loud: "'May the faithful never forget this place, for the Proud One was driven out from this House of God.'" Then he said "This- This is the hand of God! A miracle happened here!"

A man entered the Cathedral, saying in Spanish "<Padre, I need help!>"

Father Stepp asked "<What's wrong, Javier?>"

Javier said "<My hands! They're on fire, but they're not burning!>"

Father Stepp asked "Griffin, can you help?!"

Griffin said to Javier "<I know a bit about this. I have to ask, do the flames hurt?>"

Javier said "<No, senor. I can feel that they're warm, but they're not… burning me.>"

Griffin said "<First, you need to calm down, Javier. You must calm down before you can take control of your power.>"

Javier told him "<I'm think I'm calming down now. And there aren't so many flames.>"

Griffin continued "<Now, picture a gas valve in your mind. The more you open it, the more flames come out. The more you close it, the less flames come out.>"

Javier said, with the flames swelling or shrinking, "<I think I'm getting the hang of this! Is this a gift of God?>"

Griffin said "<I don't know, senor. I think it's your metagene activating.>"

Father Stepp said "<I know a group who can help, Javier.>"

Griffin said "<I should go.>"

Javier went "<Before you leave, may I ask your name, senor?>"

Griffin said "<You can call me Griffin, senor.>"

Javier said "<I'll make sure to remember that name, Senor Griffin. Vaya con Dios!>"

Griffin didn't make it halfway down the front staircase before he tripped and was being dragged upwards and dangled from the Cathedral's clocktower. A voice from behind him said "I want answers, Griffin!"

Griffin sighed as he said "Evening, Batman. What do you want to know this time?"

Batman got in his face, demanding "What have you done here?! People are gaining powers all over the city!"

Griffin simply told him "Just put a demon back in Hell where it belongs, sir… And it looks like their presence was keeping the metagene from sparking up in this city. If you're going to tell me to leave town, I won't resist. The demon's gone, so I've already got what I came for."

Batman untied the rope and went "Go!"
Batman attempts to Intimidate Griffin, getting 21. Griffin is Fearless, automatically beating the check.

Rasoletti's Apartment, half an hour later…

Griffin rang the bell for Rasoletti's apartment. Constantine asked "Who is it?"

Griffin said "It's Griffin, can you let me in?"

Constantine said "Come in, we need to talk."

When Griffin entered the apartment, Constantine asked "Did you get rid of the demon?"

Griffin said "Yeah, I did."

Constantine asked "Then explain why I'm seeing people spark up left and right outside?"

Griffin said "The demon was suppressing the metagene of anyone born in Gotham who had one. Putting the demon back in Hell must have ended the suppression."

Constantine said "Do you realise what you've done?"

Griffin told him "Yeah, actually. A mass spark-up was an unintended side-effect of my divine duty, but given how my Liege plans things… I wouldn't be surprised if this was part of Their plan. I should go."

Constantine went "Yeah, go."

Griffin went to a nearby alley, revealed his wings and flew off back to Freedom City.
Griffin gets 2 PP. He puts one into Favoured Foe: Demons.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: The Curse of Gotham

Post by betterwatchit »

Power Play, Part 1
SPOILER WARNING! This adventure contains spoilers for Astonishing Adventures: Power Play. If you want to skip this story, click here to read the next story: From Sea to Shining Sea. SPOILER WARNING!
10th May (53 days remaining on waiver), Big Shirley's Hero Bar, Lincoln, Freedom City…

Big Shirley's was a soul food restaurant/bar in Lincoln where a few local vigilantes hung out. Griffin was finishing off some spare ribs and washing them down with a pint of Soder Cola.

Shirley said "I hear you were at Pyramid Plaza last week, Griffin."

Griffin told her "I couldn't stop the Blackstone Breakout as myself and the Legacy were stopping the Thieves Guild. But in our defence, we did manage to ensure that the person responsible for the breakout answered for his crimes."

Shirley, concerned, asked "Did you kill him?"

Griffin went "No, not quite. I'm only required to kill Hellsworn, murderers and the undead. I can see ghosts and other spirits as well as most other people can see the living. Including the ghost who was responsible for the breakout. My response was to exorcise him from his unfortunate host and help the man get home."

Shirley went "Holy-! What happened to the man?"

"The man was thankful that I freed him and he soon made his way home safe. The ghost is now facing the judgment he should have had a very long time ago."

Shirley asked "How long ago exactly?"

Griffin said "Put it like this: The ghost spent their mortal days in ancient Egypt." Griffin's phone started ringing, he didn't recognise the number. "I should take this." He answered, saying "Hello, who is this?"

A familiar voice said "Griffin, it's Midnight. There's a robbery in progress and we need your help!"

Griffin asked "Where is it?"

Midnight said "There's three stolen tankers going southbound on State Route 6, just passing Greenbank! FCPD are in pursuit!"

"I'm at Shirley's, I'll be there soon! See you later!" Griffin hung up and put some cash on the bar, telling Shirley "Here's what I owe you, I've gotta go."

Shirley went "Come back soon, y'hear!"

Griffin went to the alley beside the bar and flew towards State Route 6.

State Route 6, Southbound…

The hurried description from Midnight's call checked out: three full-size tanker trucks were careening down the highway, their silver tanks reflecting the flashing red-and-blue lights of the FCPD cruisers in pursuit. As a cruiser drew close to the cab of one truck, a pistol-wielding arm reached out the window and fired wildly. The cruiser's front tyre exploded, and as it veered off to the shoulder, a billowing cloud of white fog blasts out from the tanker, covering the police vehicle in a thick layer of frost while a goon clinging to the tank itself laughs maniacally. The other cruisers hung back as the distance to the speeding tanker trucks swiftly closes.

The first man with a hose was taken completely by surprise.

Griffin then landed on the cab's bonnet. The screen was already a bit smashed up, so he simply cut it open, shouting "PULL OVER NOW OR I KILL YOU ALL!"

The passenger went "That's Griffin, he'll do it too!"

The driver went "Okay, okay!" as he slowed the truck down.
The Nine Titans gang members have their stats on page 12 of Astonishing Adventures: Power Play. They are all Minions. There are three members per tanker truck; one at the wheel, one in the passenger seat and one on the tanker with a hose. Griffin's going to fight them one truck at a time.

Griffin gets two HP: For entering combat and due to the danger of three speeding tankers.

Roll Initiative! Griffin gets 21, the driver gets 13, the hoser gets 3 and the passenger gets 2.

Griffin's Favoured Environment is now active and set to Offence.

Griffin Charges the hoser with the Flurry of Steel, getting 23, raising the DC by +5. The hoser gets 13 and is Incapacitated.

Griffin Intimidates the driver and passenger, getting 18. They get 17 and are Coerced into stopping. The driver does a DC 10 Vehicles check, getting 23. He's able to safely bring the speeding truck to a stop.

Once they started slowing down, Griffin flew to the next tanker. The second hoser never knew what hit him! When Griffin landed on the bonnet, he took a headshot right between the eyes! It wasn't his first time getting shot. He roared "STOP THE TANKER OR I KILL YOU BOTH!"

The driver slowed down, saying "No need to get violent, pal!" As the tanker slowed down, Griffin flew to the last one.
Roll Initiative! The driver gets 13, the passenger gets 12, Griffin gets 11, and the hoser gets 6.

Griffin Charges the hoser with the Flurry of Steel, getting a Natural 20 and raising the DC by +10 (+5 from the crit and +5 from the Multiattack)! The hoser gets 9 and is Incapacitated.

The passenger fires on Griffin, getting Natural 20. Griffin's Impervious to the bullet.

Griffin Intimidates the driver and passenger, getting 22. They get 19 and are Coerced into stopping. The driver does a DC 10 Vehicles check, getting 16. He's able to safely bring the speeding truck to a stop.

The hoser on the third tanker sprayed some liquid nitrogen on to the road, catching two police cruisers! Griffin went "Lady's Heart!" as the cars slowed down. He thought 'They must have just had a refresher course.'
The Police Officers in their cruisers each do a DC 15 Vehicles check. One gets 18 and the other gets 17. Both of them manage to safely stop their cars.

Griffin swiftly floored the last hoser. When he got to the third driver, Griffin smashed the windscreen and bellowed "SURRENDER OR DIE, IT'S THAT SIMPLE!"

The driver went "Alright, you got us!"

After the truck stopped, Griffin unsheathed his sword as he said "I want you to answer my question. Do so, and I let the FCPD take you in. Don't, and I do you like I did your so-called friends!"

The driver went "Okay, okay! What do you wanna know?!"

Griffin asked "Who sent you to do this?!"

The passenger said "Okay, there's a new syndicate on the scene, the Black Rose! They're movin' in on everyone! Our guys, the Nine Titans, have been promised protection and positions in the local Black Rose if we do this job for them!"
Roll Initiative! Griffin gets 22, the driver gets 20, the passenger gets 14 and the hoser gets 13.

Griffin Charges at the hoser, getting 24, raising the DC by +5. The hoser gets 13 and is Incapacitated.

Griffin Intimidates the driver and passenger, getting 16. They get 5 and are Coerced into surrendering.

Griffin has to pass a DC 15 Intimidate check to make the hijackers reveal who sent them. He gets 21 and they talk.

Once the FCPD arrested the Nine Titans, Griffin dialled the number that rang him earlier. He heard Midnight say "Hello?"

Griffin said "It's Griffin, I stopped that robbery. Do you have Whatsapp or otherwise possess a more secure line? I don't want to disclose any more details over an unsecured line."

"I'll be right back."

A minute later, Griffin got a call on his Whatsapp. He said "Hello?"

Midnight's voice went "It's Midnight. What did you want to tell us?"

Griffin told him "It was the Nine Titans gang who stole those tankers. I made them knock it off, of course. They said that the Black Rose Syndicate put them up to it. So now I'm wondering what in my Lady's name a European syndicate is doing across the Pond."

Midnight asked "Are you nearer to Shirley's or to Pyramid Plaza?"

Griffin told him "I'm probably nearer to Shirley's."

Midnight said "Get there and call me back when you do. We can go together to have a word with their boss."

Griffin replied "I'll be right over."
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: The Curse of Gotham

Post by betterwatchit »

Power Play, Part 2

Outside Shirley's…

Griffin called Midnight, saying "It's Griffin, I'm at Shirley's. Where are you?"

Midnight said "The alley to your right," before hanging up.

When Griffin entered the alley, he saw the entire Legacy waiting for him.

Griffin said "I stopped that robbery for you lot. What else has been going on?"

Scarab telepathically told him "There was a theft like the one the Nine Titans attempted, where the thieves boosted several tanker trucks of liquid oxygen. A report came from a ceramics manufacturer that a large number of kilns were stolen from a warehouse. An entire missing container from Greenbank's trainyard, transporting a wholesale shipment of microwave ovens imported from China. A subway station has been knocked offline for weeks after most of its electrical cabling disappeared. And there was a heist in which several 19th century statues were stolen from City Hall. City officials claim that the statues’ removal was part of a larger redecoration, but no one's buying it."

Griffin had a flash of inspiration. "I know what they were really stealing, everyone!"

Freedom Eagle went "What, pray tell, were they after?"

Griffin told him "They were after the materials needed to make superconductors! The liquid nitrogen, oxygen, and the kilns are needed as part of the manufacturing process. The microwaves likely contain yttrium or other rare-earth elements that could be used as a base. China has most of the world's known accessible rare-earth elements, but it has strict laws about exporting raw rare-earth mineral oxides. But the laws don't apply to alloys or to finished products like the microwaves."

Freedom Eagle asked "What about the statues?"

Scarab said "From what I hear, they were made with a copper-barium alloy."

Griffin replied "Both of which would come in handy when making superconductive material. Does anyone know where the Nine Titans' boss hangs out?"

Lightbearer said "Yeah, I know where their HQ is. We can have a chat with Cronus there."
To reduce spoilerage, the actual DCs for the checks here are redacted. You must obtain your own copy of Power Play to know them. The DCs for these rolls are on page 3 of Power Play.

Scarab does a investigation check, getting 15. She knows about the other robberies.

Griffin gets 25 on a Technology check. He knows exactly what the thieves were really trying to pull.

Lightbearer makes a Expertise: Streetwise roll, getting 28. He knows where the gang hangs out.

The Olympus Bar…

Before Griffin went in, Scarab telepathically said "Remember, just signal if you need help."

The bouncer went "Where's your ID, pal?"

Griffin unsheathed Justice, saying "Is this ID enough, mate?"

The bouncer told him "Okay, pal, but you'll never leave here the same way you came in!"

Griffin went up to the bar and asked the bartender "Hey, mate! Who's in charge around here?"

The bartender went "Cronus is over there, but he's not in a good mood."

Griffin went to Cronus' table. The man went "And who the f**k are you?!"

Griffin revealed his wings as he said "The name's Griffin of the Host of Heaven. I know about you trying to take some liquid nitrogen that you never had any claim to. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't just cut your hand off for being a thief, as is the tradition?"

The Nine Titans' boss shuddered and held his hands up to placate any hostilities. "All right, hold up! You'll find it all out soon enough anyway—just don't tell 'em it was me who told you."

Griffin told him "They don't need to know. Now who are they? If I have to repeat myself, it'll be to a one-handed man!"

Cronus explained "There's this new mob in town, part of a big ring called the Black Rose something, taking orders from a freak by the name o' 'Oleander.' They're takin' over the city's underworld, one gang at a time. Now, me and the Titans, we're happy enough to work with 'em, but others ain't so much. The Ash Cats out of Greenbank, for one, they've been makin' all kinds of noise and puttin' up a fight. Bad call, if you ask me. I wouldn't want to get on the Black Rose's bad side— thought they were normal enough, but last few weeks, seems they've got a bit of, you know, super something on their side."

Griffin sheathed his sword as he said "Thank you for your co-operation."

As Griffin walked out of the front entrance, he told the bouncer "Shows what you know, sir."
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: The Curse of Gotham

Post by betterwatchit »

Power Play, Part 3

As Griffin left the Olympus Bar, Scarab went "I heard everything. There's a recycling center near where the Ash Cats hang out, let's go!"

Greenbank Recycling Center…

A semi-tractor hauling a full-sized trailer came to a stop in the middle of the road, and two groups faced off alongside it.

One side is dressed almost completely in black, with only a few flashes of colour on their hands and costumes. The opposing team better fit the image of a street gang, its members sporting spiked leather jackets and carrying makeshift weapons—except for the woman in a sharp-edged super suit standing at the truck's front end, lifting it so its spinning wheels are just barely off the ground. She dropped the truck with a resounding crash as the two forces close in, stomping into the fray.

Griffin drew still-sheathed Justice as he went "Take the Black Rose down!"

Freedom Eagle went "Griffin's set the pace, let's do it!"

Griffin and the Legacy attacked the Black Rose, laying them all out in seconds.
The stats for the Black Rose Enforcers are on page 14 of Power Play. They're all minions.

Freedom Eagle: 23
Black Rose Enforcer 1: 23
Black Rose Enforcer 2: 18
Black Rose Enforcer 3: 18
Lightbearer: 18
Black Rose Enforcer 4: 17
Griffin: 13
Midnight: 11
Black Rose Enforcer 5: 9
Scarab: 6

Freedom Eagle attacks Black Rose Enforcer 5 with his Gauntlets, getting a natural 1 and missing.

Black Rose Enforcers 1 to 3 try to Power Kick Griffin, getting 16, 11 and 19. Griffin's Impervious to the Power Kick.

Lightbearer fires a Light Blast at Enforcer 4, getting 18. The Enforcer gets 20 and is Incapacitated.

Griffin attacks Enforcers 1 to 3 with the Flurry of Steel, getting 18, 16, and 15. The Enforcers get 14, 4 and 4, getting Incapacitated.

Midnight sneaks up on Enforcer 5, getting a Natural 20 on Stealth! The Enforcer gets 14 and is Surprised, Midnight punches the Enforcer with his Combat Gloves, getting 22. The Enforcer gets 4 and is Incapacitated!

One of the Ash Cats went "Thanks for the save!"

Griffin went "If you know where these guys hang out, just tell us and we're square."

The Ash Cat told him "Yeah, there's an abandoned factory three blocks south of here, that's where they meet with the rest of us!"
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: The Curse of Gotham

Post by betterwatchit »

Power Play, Part 4

Flames started to blaze from the worn-out industrial building, some flaring in shades bright crimson and distinctive green. Smoke hangs in the air, and shadowy figures slip through the darkness. Car horns and shouts rose up from a nearby intersection, where one of the city's electric buses appears to have stalled in the centre of the intersection, blocking traffic.

Griffin said "I'm going in," right before he flew into the warehouse.

Griffin saw four figures wearing gas masks inside.

As he fought them off, a hidden sniper fired, grazing Griffin, who simply went "F**KER!" as he saw the muzzle flash from above and felt the bullet graze his cheek. He responded by charging straight at him!
It will be three rounds before the Legacy arrive and four before the fire starts becoming a problem. Griffin's Life Support renders him immune to the effects of the burning building. Lanius (the man with the sniper rifle) has four Black Rose Enforcer minions with him. All are wearing gas masks.

Lanius' stats are on page 15 of Power Play.

In the surprise round, Lanius fires. The rifle is loaded with five armour-piercing rounds, giving it Penetrating 5. (The AP rounds are an addition to the established adventure.) He fires at Griffin, getting 28. Griffin gets 19 and is hit. Griffin gets a HP for the surprise and is using lethal force on Lanius!

Roll Initiative!

Black Rose Enforcer 1: 26
Black Rose Enforcer 2: 23
Black Rose Enforcer 3: 23
Lanius: 21
Black Rose Enforcer 4: 13
Griffin: 13

Enforcers 1, 2 and 3 each attack Griffin with a Power Kick, getting 19, 10 and 8. Griffin's Impervious to the Power Kick that connected.

Lanius fires on Griffin, getting 21. Griffin gets 20 and resists.

Enforcer 4 does a Power Kick on Griffin, getting 6 and missing.

Griffin Charges towards Lanius, attacking with the Flurry of Steel and getting 27. Lanius gets 17 and is hit and Dazed!

Griffin: 3 HP, 1 Injury.
Lanius: 1 Injury, Dazed. 3 AP rounds remaining.

The sniper went "Never hunted an angel before! This is going to be fun!" Griffin fights through the pain as the sniper shoots him again.
Lanius fires on Griffin, getting 31. Griffin gets a Natural 1! He spends a HP, getting 19 and is hit.

Griffin attacks with the Flurry of Steel, getting 26. Lanius gets 19 and is hit.

Griffin: 2 HP, 2 Injuries.
Lanius: 1 Injury, Dazed. 2 AP rounds remaining.

The Legacy simply burst in, with Midnight taking the enforcers down.
The Legacy arrive. Initiative is now as follows:

Black Rose Enforcer 1: 26
Black Rose Enforcer 2: 23
Black Rose Enforcer 3: 23
Lanius: 21
Midnight: 16
Black Rose Enforcer 4: 13
Griffin: 13
Freedom Eagle: 9
Scarab: 6
Lightbearer: 6

Three Enforcers attack Midnight with a Power Kick, getting 18, 20 and 21, all missing.

Lanius fires on Griffin, getting 32. Griffin gets 25 and resists.

Midnight fires his Mist at the enforcers as a routine check. They get 18, 19, 16 and 11 and are all caught in it. On the Fortitude check, the Enforcers get 13, 7, 18 and 9, and are all incapacitated.

Griffin attacks with the Flurry of Steel, getting 25. Lanius gets 20 and is hit.

Freedom Eagle attacks Lanius with his Gauntlets, getting 22 and missing.

Scarab does a Mental Blast on Lanius, who gets 21 and resists.

Lightbearer fires a Light Blast at Lanius, getting 21 and missing.

Griffin: 2 HP, 2 Injuries.
Lanius: 2 Injuries. 1 AP round remaining.

The sniper said "This place will burn down any minute! You idiots had better run!" as he took a parting shot of Griffin, getting him in the chest and flooring him!

Griffin went "F**K! GET AFTER HIM! NOW!"

Lightbearer managed to blast the sniper as he was retreating.
Lanius fired his last AP round at Griffin, getting 34, crit scored! He raises the DC by +5. Griffin gets 13 and is Staggered!

Midnight can't reach Griffin, so he's dragging the enforcers out of the building.

Griffin can't pursue, due to his gunshot wound.

Freedom Eagle Charged at Lanius with his Gauntlets, getting 19 and missing.

Scarab uses her telekinesis to get Griffin down safely.

Lightbearer fires a Light Blast, getting 24. Lanius gets 12 and is Staggered!

Griffin: 3 Injuries, Staggered.
Lanius: 3 Injuries, Staggered. No AP rounds remaining.

As Scarab got Griffin out of the warehouse, she said "I can get the bullet out-"

"No! Not yet! We need Lightbearer for this as well, so I don't bleed out like a panicked victim who doesn't get how his world works!"

Midnight said "For what it's worth, the Enforcers are alive and unconscious."

Lightbearer went "The sniper's still alive!" as he placed the man in the recovery position.

The Freedom City Fire Department were soon able to deal with the fire.

Griffin went "Serves him bloody right, you ask me! Lightbearer! Scarab! Could you do me a favour? I know how you can do a little field surgery to fix the gunshot wound! When I give the word, Scarab will use her telekinesis to pull the bullet out. Once it's out, Lightbearer will immediately use his healing light to close the wound properly."

Scarab said "You know it's going to hurt, don't you?"

Griffin told her "I know, but leaving it in will be even worse! And hospitals tell the police when someone comes in with a gunshot wound!" He then got ready to bite down on Justice's hilt, saying "Now, Scarab!"

Scarab used her telekinesis to pull the bullet out of Griffin, who bit down on Justice's hilt as he was on the verge of blacking out. As he saw the bullet come out, Griffin went "Now, Lightbearer! Now!"

Lightbearer used his healing touch to close the wound and stem the bleeding.
Lightbearer does a Healing check on Griffin and gets 19. Griffin gets his Staggered condition and one Injury removed.

As he helped him up, Lightbearer asked "How are you feeling now, Griffin?"

Griffin told him "I want another shot at that sniper! That's how I'm feeling! He's lucky he's in an ambulance or I'd kill him! Adrenaline's leaving me, so I need a toilet and fast!"

Lightbearer said "There's a diner over there."

Griffin went inside the diner. He put $5 on the counter and said to the woman at the till "I need to use your bathroom, I'll have a glass of Coke or Pepsi or Soder afterwards."

The woman asked "You're not doing drugs, are you?"

Griffin said "No, I'm not, I need a whizz and fast! Can you get the door open, please?!"

The woman passed him the key, saying "I'm busy, so you'll have to open it yourself."

Griffin took the key and said "Thank you, ma'am!"

As he sorted himself out in the bathroom, Griffin thought 'Red urine. I'm going to kill that f**king sniper for this, I swear it!' He exhaled as he thought 'I'm sure I can find some other Black Rose to vent on.'
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: Power Play

Post by betterwatchit »

Power Play, Part 5

Griffin's Hotel, the morning after…

After his morning shower, Griffin went "That bloody sniper, I swear to the Lady…"

Annabelle appeared in the mirror, saying "You only have yourself to blame for rushing in like that."

"I know, Annabelle! I'm just as pissed off with myself as I am with that shooter! That was the closest anyone has ever gotten to killing me! It's only because the Legacy were there that kept me from explaining myself to the Lady direct."

"Do you have any clue as to how he could have wounded you?"

"My best guess is that he simply loaded that rifle with armour-piercing rounds, specifically in case someone like me got involved. That's how the Akimbo Assassin did it. And I had to explain to Scarab and Lightbearer how to do some field surgery with their powers to get the bullet out of my chest."

"I saw. And that was a very creative use of their abilities."

"That's going in my book for sure."

"All I can say is that if you stay with the Legacy long enough, you'll find the one who sent the sniper."

"Very well."

This was the moment when Griffin's phone rang. It was Midnight on Whatsapp.

Griffin answered, asked "Hello?"

Midnight said "Word on the street is that Barbie, the woman running the Ash Cats, wants a word with us."

"Any idea when?"

"Matt's Diner, Lincoln, 6 PM, tonight."

"I'll be there." Midnight hung up at that point.

Matt's Diner, Lincoln, 5:45 PM…

Griffin asked "So how are we going to play this?"

Freedom Eagle said "Simple, we all go in."

"Okay, but let me do the talking."

Griffin said "We're looking for Barbie, she said she was going to be here."

The server said "She's at the corner booth over there."

The fluorescent lights overhead flickered, and the clatter of plates and mugs behind the counter muffled the murmur of conversation from the diner's handful of patrons. At the large corner booth, a burly woman in sturdy work clothes and bandana looked up and gives a nod in the Legacy's direction.

Griffin sat opposite Barbie. With a gesture to thank the server for fresh coffee, Barbie leaned back and crossed her meaty arms as she said "So, you're this Griffin fella I've been hearing about."

Griffin said "That's right, ma'am. I'm with the Legacy of Freedom."

Barbie told him "There's a new crime scene in town. You heard? Yeah, the Black Rose Syndicate. International org, I hear."

Freedom Eagle said "We had a fight with them last night."

Barbie told him "I heard. They never had much presence here, but now they're moving in on everyone. Ugly stuff. The usual, you know, but then they deal in some bad business."

Griffin asked "How bad are we talking here?"

Barbie replied "Real bad. They've got some hard-nose French twig named Oleander running their local arm. Hurt lots of people, real people, you know? Not just them cloud-nine types."

Griffin told her "I know what you mean. And I know why they picked Oleander as their alias."

"Why's that?"

Griffin said "Oleander is one of the world's most poisonous trees. Honey made from its nectar is poisonous, so's the smoke made by burning it. I've even heard this urban legend of someone committing a poisoning by using kebab skewers made of the wood, so the more the victim ate, the sicker they got."

"Makes sense. So, the Black Rose. The gangs that go along with them end up on some weird runs. 'Steal these microwaves.' 'Get those cable spools.' Weird. But Black Rose don't like to hear 'no' if the next word ain't 'problem.' They've got themselves some strong fighters, and now it seems they got a super. A real one, not just a jobber in a suit, you know?"

Freedom Eagle said "I get it. So what are you not telling us?"

Barbie slaps a hand on the table. "Well, here's the deal. Tomorrow night, there's a big meet-up. Black Rose called up every crew in town and told them to show up at the old opera house—you know, the abandoned art deco place? I bet they'll make their demand. Probably claim control of the city, kill anyone who refuses, all that." She leans in. "Lot of folks there. Bet they wouldn't notice a few more, you know? Good upright heroes like you, I'm sure you want to know all about these new mugs." She leans back and watches expectantly.

Freedom Eagle went "So explain why we should be helping a bunch of crooks like you?"

Barbie told him "Right now, we all know our place. No one gang’s strong enough to take down the rest by themselves. We all stick to our turf. But one big name? There’s no stopping it. Bigger jobs. Bad ones. Lots of folks get hurt—us, people on the street, bystanders. That’s a harder nut for you guys and the boys in blue to crack, you know?"

Griffin asked "Makes sense to me. Do you know the opera house Barbie was on about?"

Freedom Eagle told him "Yeah, I know where it is."

Griffin said "Thank you for your time, Barbie."

Barbie said "Don't be a stranger!"
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: Power Play

Post by betterwatchit »

Power Play, Part 6

The next day, near the Opera House…

Griffin was in his tactical outfit, wondering out loud "Now where are they?"

Scarab telepathically said to him "Right behind you, Griffin." As Griffin turned around, Scarab asked "Are you feeling any better?"

Griffin told her "Much better. There's something you need to know."

Lightbearer asked "What might that be?"

Griffin replied that "The 3rd Street Sinners, those guys who wear purple and gold? Their Boss put $100,000 on my head. Proof of death's required for payment. You don't need to be a Sinner to collect. They realise I'm here, someone's going to make a play for it."

Freedom Eagle whistled. "Now that's a bounty!"

Griffin went "Anyway, I can see a way past the guys at the entrance. Give me two minutes, then follow my lead."

After getting to the upstairs window, Griffin thought 'I'm going to have to drop the guards to avoid being disturbed.'
Griffin has fully recovered from his injuries. He flies up to the 1st (UK)/2nd(US) floor. He gets 21 and makes the Stealth check shown on page 8.

The three Black Rose Enforcers are all minions.

Roll Initiative! The three Enforcers get 27, 22 and 17. Griffin gets 17.

In the Surprise Round, Griffin attacks all three Enforcers with the Flurry of Steel, getting 22, 19 and 19. The Enforcers get 15, 19 and 15, and are all incapacitated.
Griffin used Scarab's telepathic link to tell her "I've cleared the way, we won't be disturbed by any guards, come on up!"

The Legacy watched as the city’s assembled underworld—perhaps a thousand people—settled on the floor of the opera house, a sudden spotlight illuminates the stage. Once the light faded, a handful of black-clad fighters could be seen across the stage, along with a scowling man in a power suit with long, whiplike tendrils trailing from each hand. In front of them all, a woman dressed in black with silver gloves looked out over the crowd.

After a tense silence, the woman speaks with a French accent. "Good, those of you here tonight show uncanny wisdom. I’m glad to see you can follow orders. I am Oleander, poisoned blossom of the Black Rose and leader of the United States branch of our great Syndicate. I s’m delighted to have your support. To those of you who have already been helping us execute our plans—you have my gratitude. To the rest of you, I assure you, your chance to prove your loyalty is coming soon.

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering what this—the Black Rose Syndicate, the missions, this meeting—is all about." She grins with a fierce, cold ambition. "In 2007, the supervillain NegaWatt held the city hostage. It was only due to the meddling of the Freedom League that his plan failed. Eyewitness accounts claim that NegaWatt was killed—but, I think we can all appreciate how unreliable eyewitnesses can be. NegaWatt! LIVES!"

A projection shines to life across the ragged curtain behind her, showing a scarred man, laughing manically. "Tonight, we will once again take the city’s precious power grid hostage—and as part of the ransom, we will demand no less than the immediate and permanent exile of all heroes from the city!"

A murmur of surprise rushes through the assembled criminal underworld. When the muttering subsided, Oleander spoke once more. "As you are all now subsidiary arms of the Black Rose Syndicate, I’m looking forward to your full cooperation as we move to fully control our new territory. And you shall be the army with which we occupy this city. And I assure you, any of you who aren’t interested in cooperation will find yourselves facing a shocking end as NegaWatt personally erases you."

With a sudden crackle of electricity, the stage lights flare to near-blinding, and the stage falls into darkness. By the time the house lights recover, the stage is empty.

Lightbearer said "I know the guy on the stage, his name's Strand. He's tight with this fellow by the name of Jumpstart. Tight enough that it's weird they're not together this time."

Griffin went "I heard about NegaWatt! There was an accident around the turn of the millennium at a superconductor lab. NegaWatt gained his power over electricity, but it scrambled his brain. He tried to hold Freedom City's power supply hostage, but the Freedom League stopped him. The League said that he was last seen trapped underwater beneath a lot of collapsing rubble."

Freedom Eagle asked "Then why is he alive?"

Griffin told him "The League f**ked up! In this line of work, you NEVER count someone dead unless you have the corpse in front of you! We have to succeed where the League failed! Come on, we have to follow the Black Rose!"

Scarab asked "How are we going to do that?"

Griffin saw a phone in the pocket of one of the unconscious guards and used their thumb to unlock it, saying "Should be easy enough."

Freedom Eagle said "I use that kind of phone myself, so I know which menus to look in."

Griffin handed it over, saying "If you can get at the location data, be my guest."

Freedom Eagle told everyone "The weirdest thing is this FCTA substation that's near here."

Scarab said "Looks like NegaWatt's going to replicate the accident that sparked him up! That substation's where we're going, then! Let's move!"
Lightbearer does the Expertise: Superhumans check on page 8, getting 27. He knows about Strand. Griffin does the Investigation check on page 9 using Well-Imformed, getting 25! He knows everything about NegaWatt and what he tried to pull back in the day. Freedom Eagle does the Technology check on page 10, getting 18, so he knows where to go.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: Power Play

Post by betterwatchit »

Power Play, Conclusion

FCTA Substation 1…

Griffin and the Legacy were on the roof of the substation.

The interior of the nondescript substation resembled a spaceship as much as a modern facility. In addition to the massive banks of transformers are huge pieces of equipment with countless dials, levers, blinking lights, and readouts. Fat hoses snaked across the floor, leaking plumes of white gas as their coolants leak under the high pressure. Bundles of massive cables, sparking here and there, connected the transformers and the other equipment. The entire set-up is focused on a pod-capsule with a hinged lid and a giant latch, just large enough to hold a single person. Though the pod’s window is only partially translucent, the form of a human figure can just barely be seen within.

Griffin used Scarab's mindlink to say "Okay, I can see six people down there. Oleander and five other savateurs."

Freedom Eagle asked "Savateurs?"

Griffin told him "People who practice Savate, a French martial art."

Freedom Eagle went "France has martial arts?"

Griffin said "Yeah it does. Long story short, Savate mostly came out of the port city of Marseilles via the sailors there. They mostly kick so they can hold on to something when fighting aboard a ship. Which also helps when fighting in other unstable areas. Anyway, I have a plan."

Scarab asked "What's the plan?"

Griffin told her "Midnight mists the savateurs. After that, I'll help floor any of them still standing. I'm immune to the Mist's knockout effect. Scarab and Lightbearer will focus on Oleander, as will I after the savateurs are downed. I have a specific task in mind for Eagle."

Freedom Eagle asked "What's that?"

Griffin told him "I want you to move straight to the pod to see if you can drain the power away from it, to slow down or even prevent NegaWatt from sparking up again. Midnight is to assist you once the savateurs are down."

Freedom Eagle said "That's… actually a good plan, it could work. What do you think, everyone?"

They all nodded.

Griffin went "I'll lower Midnight, the rest of you know what to do. Let's do it!"

The Black Rose never knew what hit them. They were all laid out in a minute.

Freedom Eagle shouted "Midnight! Help me with this!"

Midnight went "On it!"

Freedom Eagle and Midnight successfully shut the pod down.

Griffin and the Legacy make it to the substation in one hour.

In the surprise round, Scarab does a Mental Blast on Oleander (whose stats are on page 16 of Power Play), who gets 20 and is hit.

Lightbearer fires a Light Blast at Oleander, getting 24. Oleander gets a Natural 1 and is Incapacitated!

Griffin spends his action lowering Midnight who fires the mist at the savateurs. Midnight fires his Mist. The Enforcer minions get 18, 10, 13, 16 and 6 on their Dodge checks, all failing. They get 14, 19, 14, 12 and 5. All of them are Incapacitated.

Freedom Eagle performs the post-combat Technology check mentioned on page 11, getting 26 and succeeding.

NegaWatt crawled out of the pod and he said "My powers! You took my powers!"

Griffin said "Damn right we did! We can't negotiate with terrorists like yourself. Be glad we didn't have to kill you! Someone cover the little burnout, I have a call to make."

A voice like thunder said "No need, Griffin!"

Griffin turned around. When he saw who spoke, he went "IT'S THUNDERBOLT! THE FREEDOM LEAGUE ARE HERE! EVERYONE GET YOUR HANDS UP! NOW!"

Thunderbolt went "Smart man."

Griffin asked "How did you know we were here?"

Thunderbolt said "I can sense where there's a lot of electricity in the area. Since I don't know any of you well enough, I won't explain how. Now explain why you're here."

Griffin told him "Very well, Thunderbolt. The Black Rose Syndicate had the gangs of Freedom City pulling various jobs to make superconductors to re-spark NegaWatt."

Thunderbolt went "NegaWatt? I thought he was dead!"

Griffin said "The previous iteration of the League forgot an important rule for this line of work, sir: Never assume someone is dead unless you have their corpse in front of you. They couldn't find him because he was still alive, but practically burnt out. The Legacy of Freedom and myself followed the Syndicate here. They tried to re-spark him, but he's now burnt out, probably for good."

Thunderbolt said "I've just alerted the rest of the League, they'll be here soon with the FCPD in tow. They want a word with NegaWatt and the Black Rose as well. Once they're all arrested, you can go."

An hour later…

As he finally walked out of the substation, Griffin said "I can't believe we met the Freedom League and got out of there without fighting them."

Midnight sighed "You and me both! Did you really have to heal everyone we knocked out back to consciousness?"

Griffin said "YES! You can't read someone their rights while they're unconscious! Waking them up like that makes sure that the arrests are done by the book. I learn how systems work so I can monkeywrench or grease them along as needed. And all those stolen goods are going to make the conviction stick this time! I'm heading back to my place, so I'll see you all later. Good night!"

Griffin unfurled his wings and flew off into the night sky…
The Legacy each get 2 PP. Griffin gets 2 PP.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: Power Play

Post by betterwatchit »

From Sea to Shining Sea, Part 1
This adventure is derived from Truckin' Turtles by Palladium Games. I've written a Conversion and Modernisation Guide for it. The Modernisation Guide will simply be referred to as the Guide from here on out. Page numbers will refer to this guide.
8 PM, 14th May 2017 (49 days remaining on waiver), Lincoln…

As Griffin came out of Shirley's Bar, he saw this old man being hassled by some bikers in leather jackets.

The old man said "Come on boys, let's walk away from this to fight some other day. I've got no beef with you."

One of the leather-clad men snorted "Well, maybe I have a beef with you!"

Another biker went "You don't belong here."

A third biker shouted "And you's gonna pay! In money and blood!"

Griffin drew still-sheathed Justice as he shouted "Oi! F**kheads! I am Griffin of the Host of Heaven! Fight me IF YOU DARE!"

One of the gang said "I know him, he's with the Legacy! I- I ain't messin' with him! RUN!"
Griffin attempts to Intimidate the Gang Leader and two Thugs, getting 21. The Gang Leader gets 17. The two thugs get 15 and 16, all are Coerced into leaving.

As the gang ran, Griffin helped the old man up. The old man said "ThanksI You're Griffin, right? I could use your help with something."

Griffin asked "With what, exactly?"

"Do you have somewhere where we can talk discreetly?"

"I know a place, I just came from there."

Shirley's Bar, Function Room…

As the old man sat down, he said "Name's Bert, thanks for helping me. Sure, I probably could have handled them kids myself, but it was nice to have the cavalry arrive. I guess I'm getting old and losing my touch. Walked right into that mess like a blind schoolgirl." Bert sighs and says "There's a delivery I'm doing in a couple of days, and I could use your talents as I'm expecting trouble."

Griffin asked "Where are you going?"

Bert told him "Out of state is all I can tell you right now. I can't really tell you much more than I have already. My contract forbids that I reveal the content or origin of my shipment. But I assure you on my honor that it is not illegal or criminal, and is in fact, very important for the welfare of the people of this country."

Griffin enquired "So what do you want me to do?"

Bert said "All I'm asking is that you'll ride shotgun with me in my rig. The whole trip will take about a week and I'm sure my employer will fly you back at their expense if you want. Plus, I can pay you a thousand bucks out of my pay. Will you think about it?"

"No need, I'm in. I've been wondering how I was going to get out of New Jersey and it looks like you've given me a solution. When are you heading out?"

Bert went "Well, it's Sunday evening now. I'll be leaving the Waterfront Dockyard on Tuesday at 5AM, with or without you. Look for the Blue Ox."
Griffin does an Insight roll and gets 20. Bert sounded pretty legit to him.

Back at the hotel, an hour later…

Griffin finished his debriefing, saying "And there you have it, Annabelle."

"I believe that you should accept Bert's offer. You said you wanted to see America, and now you have your chance."

"Fair enough. Also, is there anything that can you tell me about Bert?"

"According to his file, Bert McClusky is 60 years old, born in Columbus, Ohio. He entered the Central Intelligence Agency via the United States Army. He has never married, and he was involved in what you call Operation: Just Cause, the Gulf War and the War on Terror. He is currently semi-retired, working as an independent truck driver. His first job was hauling books for a publisher based in Washington State. He has no connections with organized crime or the otherworldly, nor does he have any history of knowingly working with powered individuals."
Griffin gets a Well-Informed roll and gets 20.
"Any idea what he did in the Agency?"

"You know as well as I do that Mother's policy on revealing classified information to the living - yourself included - is crystal-clear: Unless she directly orders its revelation, you must persuade whoever possesses such knowledge to tell you if you want it. I can, however, safely tell you that Bert is telling the truth that his delivery is not illegal or immoral to help with."

"Good to know."

"There's something else you should know as well."

"What is it?"

"Bert will not be alone."

"I understand."
Last edited by betterwatchit on Mon Sep 18, 2023 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: From Sea to Shining Sea

Post by betterwatchit »

From Sea to Shining Sea, Part 2

After checking out of the hotel, Griffin took a cab to the Dockyard.

Waterfront Dockyard, 16th May, 4AM…

Griffin approached Bert, saying "Good morning, Bert! Nice rig you have there!"

Bert said "Mornin', Griffin! The Blue Ox is a beauty, ain't she?"

"I agree. Also, I did my homework," Griffin said. "The Agency's charter forbids it from operating within the US itself. So they get a freelancer to do it, someone like yourself who they can vouch for."

Bert told him "Then you shouldn't be too surprised that I've done mine on you, Griffin. Your first documented activity occurred in May 2016 at a bank in Woolwich, England, taking down some Saint wannabes. At the London Comic-Con, you and the Golders Green Guardians laid out Doc Otaku. A few weeks after that, you killed Hexenhammer. I take it that was the first time you killed someone?"

"In self-defence, I assure you. And you'll never guess what I got up to a few weeks ago."

"What did you do?"

"Do you remember hearing about how a lot of Gothamites sparked up recently?"

"You did that?!"

"What happened was that me and a friendly acquaintance of mine found out about and successfully got rid of a pair of demons who were plaguing Gotham for over a century. They were suppressing the metagene in people born within Gotham city limits. When we sent the demons back to Hell, that was when the mass spark-up occurred. I think I might have hit the place harder in that one day than the Bat did in his entire life! And who just landed behind me?"

A female voice said "You were right, Bert. This guy's good if he could hear me land in the middle of a conversation."

Griffin turned around and saw a female rabbit as tall as he was, maybe slightly taller. He asked "And you are, ma'am?"

The rabbit said "Name's Thump. And why are you not freaked out at the sight of me?"

Griffin told her "I'm used to interacting with anthros like yourself."

Thump asked "Anthros?"

Griffin told her "Sapient humanoids with animal characteristics. Like yourself, Cheddar or Goldwing. Neither of you hang around the internet much, do you?"

Bert said "Anyway, we need to get moving, so stow your bags in the back of the cab while I do the final checks on the truck."

As Griffin put his holdall away, Thump asked "Why did you just check the inside of your bag?"

Griffin told her "I need to be able to get at a specific item if someone attacks us. You'll learn why, should the need arise."

After Bert entered the cab, he said "The ground rules for this trip are as follows: No smoking, no booze, no recreational drugs. You make a mess, you clean it up. If you've gotta make a stop, you announce it loud and clear, I ain't no mind reader. And I have the last word. My rig, my rules. Got it?"

Griffin nodded "Got it, Bert. Now, where are we going?"

Bert put a national map of the entire United States mainland on a table on the rear of the cab. "First stop is Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to pick up the cargo. Then we're headed to Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco. We'll be taking I-70 West for most of the way. Once we reach Utah, we'll leave the Interstate and make our way south-west."

Thump said "Got it. Any idea how long it ought to take?"

Bert told her "Five days when it all goes smooth, seven at the most. I hope to get as far as Ohio today, Missouri or maybe even Kansas tomorrow, and into the Rockies the day after that. We oughta be in Nevada on the fourth day, and on the fifth day, we should be in San Francisco. But you never know what you might find on the road and… events… might make it take longer."

Griffin went "Five days? It takes one day to cross Britain from Lands End to John o' Groats by car, if you get multiple drivers to take shifts. Looks like I'm going to find out how big America really is for myself!"

Bert said "That's right. Now buckle up. Once I start the cab, there's no going back."
Bert's stats (including those of the Blue Ox) are on Page 4 of the Guide.

After the engine started with a mighty roar, the radio turned on, saying "This is Road Trip Radio by Sirius XM."

Griffin said "I didn't know you had satellite radio, Bert!"

Bert said "Yeah, I can hear it anywhere in North America! You don't have it in England?"

Griffin told him "No, we don't. Nor anywhere else in the entire United Kingdom for that matter. We've got national radio networks in analogue and DAB, but not satellite radio."

Thump asked "Any idea why not?"

Griffin told her "Have you seen the size of Britain on an atlas, Thump? I'm pretty certain I could fit the mainland in one or two American states. There simply isn't enough of a market in Britain for satellite radio to be worth the bother. We do have satellite TV, though."

Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a few hours later…

Bert said "We're getting close to the facility! I'm not authorized to bring assistants inside, so you two get in the sleeper and sit tight. If you need to look around, the TV has access to the truck's CCTV, just set the channel to HDMI 1 and use the smaller remote to switch cameras."

Griffin told him "Understood."

As Bert parked at the facility, Griffin used the CCTV to look around.

Thump asked "What are you doing?"

Griffin told her "I'm using the CCTV to look around like Bert suggested. I don't have to leave the sleeper this way. So we're in a Stark Enterprises facility. Where is it… There! I can read the crates they're loading to the Blue Ox. 'Chocolate Chips. Caution: Do Not Drop.' I just have to turn the TV off before Bert comes back."

A few minutes later, Bert said "I'll talk once we're out of here."

Once they were out of the facility, Bert said "I've got one last pickup, shouldn't be too long. After that, we'll head off to California."

Two miles later, the Blue Ox was at another facility, one where they were clearly waiting for the truck as the forklifts already had the shipment ready.

After the crates were loaded and the Blue Ox outside the facility, Griffin asked "I take it those are also need-to-know only?"

Bert said "That's right. And I'm afraid you and Miss Thump don't. Just help me get it over to Silicon Valley in one piece. Of course, if anyone asks, we're hauling chocolate chips. Now, off to California we go!"
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: From Sea to Shining Sea

Post by betterwatchit »

From Sea to Shining Sea, Part 3

Selina's Stop, west of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania…

As the crew were finishing breakfast, Thump asked "I wonder why no one here asked about my appearance?"

Griffin said "I did a quick check on my phone as we went through Harrisburg. There's a comic-con in town this week as well as a parade going on, so they might just think you're a skilled cosplayer or a parader. Could be both for all the locals know."

Thump went "Oh. Makes sense. Hold on a minute, wouldn't your roaming rates be a bit… much?"

Griffin replied "They would be, if I didn't also have a dual-SIM phone that lets me insert an American SIM so I get data at rates that don't have the network back home shaking me down by the ankles."

Bert said "You planned this trip a little, didn't you?"

Griffin told him "An around-the-world journey, of course I planned it a bit. The hard bit is working out which countries and territories don't need a visa for your passport, which ones do and how long it takes to legally get them."

Bert said "Yeah, that makes sense. How did you get that sword of yours past Homeland Security, anyway?"

Griffin told him "I'm afraid I must keep that quiet, Bert. Besides, you wouldn't believe it if I told you."

Pennsylvania Turnpike, thirty minutes later…

As the crew were driving along, Bert asked "Could one of you check the camera?"

Griffin said "It looks like a lot of miniature cars, like those used at the parade."

Bert went "Yeah, cute, but do they have to drive so damn slow in every lane?"

Griffin said "Their engines aren't as big as the one in your rig, Bert. They probably can't help it. Hang on, the parade hasn't started and they're heading in the wrong direction!"

Thump asked "Is it trouble?"

Griffin said "Apart from the fezzes, Shriners are known to wear more Arabic clothes when doing parades to match their order's aesthetics, not this bodysuit stuff they're wearing here."

Bert said "Better arm up, just in case."

Griffin went to his bag and got Justice out, while Thump pulled a large-calibre handgun from her suitcase.

Griffin checked the cameras again. "I see a dozen potential hostiles surrounding us!"

Bert said "F**k! It's Chiquita!"

Griffin went "So that's the woman on the front camera! And those are grapping hooks they just fired, so I'm getting out there!"

Thump went "Right! You take the passenger door out front, I'll take the door here."

Griffin went "Understood!" He unsheathed his sword, opened the passenger door and flew to engage the attackers!

Bert, Griffin and Thump each get a HP for entering combat.

Roll Initiative!

Ninja 1: 25
Ninja 2: 24
Ninja 3: 23
Ninja 4: 21
Ninja 5: 20
Ninja 6: 19
Thump: 18
Griffin: 18
Ninja 7: 17
Ninja 8: 13
Ninja 9: 13
Ninja 10: 13
Ninja 11: 10
Ninja 12: 8
Bert: 6

The first two ninja are in front of the truck. Ninja 3-6 are on the driver's side, Ninja 7-10 are on the passenger side and Ninja 11-12 are at the rear.

It's no violation of the Agreement for Griffin to use lethal force to defend others who can be killed by an aggressor. And attacking someone on a moving vehicle certainly qualifies.

The truck's doing Speed 5. Thump's using the sleeper door on the driver's side to shoot from, giving her Partial Cover. Bert is in Full Cover.

All 12 Ninja Adepts from Gamemaster's Guide are minions.

Griffin went "You bastards want to GO?! Let's f**king GO!" He then kicked the door shut and cut the two ninja on the cab down. He could hear gunfire, which sounded like Thump was engaging them as well.
Ninja 1&2 spend their turn jumping on to the roof.

Ninja 3-6 throw Shuriken at Thump, getting 20, 15, 19 and 16.Thump gets 21 and 20 to resist.

Thump fired a shot from the Thumper at Ninja 3, getting 19. The Ninja gets 11 and is killed!

Griffin Charges Ninja 1&2 with the Flurry of Steel, getting 18 and 20. The Ninja get 7 and 9 and are killed!

Ninja 7-10 throw Shuriken at Griffin, getting 25, 19, 17 and Natural 1. Griffin's Impervious to the Shuriken.

Ninja 11-12 successfully climb onto the back of the truck.

Griffin managed to cut three ninja down. As he did an Immelmann Turn to regain altitude, Griffin saw that he missed two who were heading for the cab!
Ninja 4-6 throw Shuriken at Thump, getting 23, 10 and 12. Thump gets a Natural 1! She spends her HP to reroll, getting 21 and resisting.

Thump shoots at Ninja 4, getting 26. The ninja gets 13 and is killed.

Griffin charges Ninja 7-10 with the Flurry of Steel, getting 26, 27, 24 and 27. Ninja 7-10 get 15, 21, 10 and Natural 20! This kills three of them!

Ninja 11-12 head towards the cab!

Thump shot another ninja down and Griffin takes the two rooftop ninja down. They saw the remaining ninja speed off, while Chiquita's car just peeled out like it was fitted with nitrous.
Ninja 5-6 throw Shuriken at Thump, getting 17 and 18. Thump gets 18 and resists.

Thump fires upon Ninja 5, getting 28, crit scored! She raises the DC by +5. Ninja 5 gets 11 and is killed!

Griffin Charged Ninja 11-12 with the Flurry of Steel, getting 23 and 24. Ninja 11-12 get 11 and 16 and are killed.

Ninja 6 and 10 retreat and are out of combat.
Griffin flew back to the passenger door and opened it to find Bert pulling a gun on him. Griffin shouted "It's Griffin, it's Griffin! Hold your fire!"

Bert holstered his gun and said "Sorry about that. Looks like they've backed off for now. I'll explain when we get to the hotel."

Baymont Hotel, Rickenbacker Airport, south of Columbus, Ohio…

In Bert's room, he told Griffin and Thump "Our load is a tad sensitive. I can't give you all the details; heck, I probably don't know everything myself, but you deserve to know what I've gotten you both into. Them crates contain special computer chips, state of the art."

Thump said "That explains why we went to the Stark Enterprises facility."

Bert said "One thing we found a few years ago was that several microchips being used in our most advanced military hardware were actually Chinese knockoffs!"

Griffin went "Ow! So I'm guessing that those are US-made chips we're moving. Or at least proven to have been made in NATO countries like Great Britain."

Bert told him "So you understand how much those fake chips could endanger our national security."

Griffin said "Yeah. I can imagine a Chinese agent sneaking close enough to an Air Force base to remotely brick a $2 billion stealth bomber right before a US-China war breaks out! And since the issue is hardware related, you can't patch it away like you could with firmware or software."

Thump said "Which brings us in. I'm guessing that we're bringing them to Silicon Valley to make sure that they're free of bugs or hidden code before they're installed."

Bert said "That's right. My old buddies in Langley asked me to supervise transportation and babysit this load personally. Since, like Griffin said, they can't work in the US itself, they often hire freelancers like me to give them a hand. Besides, I owe them a favor or two."

Thump said "Looks like they had good reason to ask for help."

Bert told her "I got word a couple of days ago that a spy network 'may' have found out about the chips and my mission. And in our circles, the word may usually means to expect the worst. And I was right."

Griffin asked "Speaking of, what do either of you know about that Chiquita woman?"

Thump said "She seemed to have come out of nowhere a few years back. She's a big-time operator, mostly does industrial espionage. We think she's from Havana, maybe FSB trained. That stunt with the Shriner knock-offs fits her MO to a T."

Griffin said "Well, I'm off to get my dinner, I'll see you later."

Columbus, Ohio…

Griffin flew to Columbus for dinner. Due to its relative isolation, a lot of the big chain restaurants test-run their newest menus there as it's much easier for them to tell if people actually like it or not.

Griffin saw an Arby's, which he hadn't had before. And they were advertising a grand re-opening. He thought 'That usually means the food'll be a bit cheaper tonight.'

As he landed outside, a woman burst out of the door, saying "Thank God I'm out!"

Griffin asked the woman "What is going on in there?"

The woman told him "I manage the Arby's that just reopened! The place was built where a haunted house used to be! I think the ghosts have come back!"

Griffin went "Ghosts? Oh, I have this."

The manager said "What do you mean, you have this?!"

Griffin unsheathed his sword and flared his wings as he told the manager "Like I said, I have this."

As Griffin entered, he saw that the restaurant was a total mess and there were several people calling for help. He declared "I am Griffin of the Host of Heaven! Do not be afraid! Everyone clear out the front in a calm fashion, I've got this!"

As everyone ran out, he could hear someone whispering "What's an angel doing here?!"

Another whisper said "Who cares?! Form a body and let's make him join us!"

A small whirlwind gathered all the debris and several sharp knives, forming them into a humanoid shape. Griffin simply cut it down with a single leap and a couple of slashes.
The Burger Being's stats are on Page 5 of the Guide.

Roll Initiative!

Burger Being: 18
Griffin: 9

The Burger Being throws several knives at Griffin (using the Thrown Objects power), getting 19. Griffin gets 31 and resists. Griffin performs a minor Power Attack on the Burger Being with the Flurry of Steel, getting 23. The Burger Being gets a Natural 1 and is killed!

Griffin turned and said "I see you, you little poltergeists! Your time here is done! In the name of the Almighty, I banish you from the living world!"

Justice shone bright like the sun for a moment and the poltergeists were gone.

The manager came in, asking "Are they gone?"

Grifin told him "They are gone, ma'am. The poltergeists responsible have been made to move on."

The manager went "You did it! And with no collateral damage from you! How much do I owe you?"

Griffin squared up to her and said "Keep your money, ma'am! I speak from personal experience when I say that God's judgement cares not for the money in your bank, but for your actions! One last thing before I go."

"Wh-What is it?"

"The next time any employee of yours mentions a problem like this, you will listen to them! If you're too weak and enslaved by Mammon to listen, you will be exploited by those whose ambitions don't care for mere wealth!"

That was when Griffin flew off south, to the truck stop Bert refuelled at earlier. He got himself a cheeseburger combo before flying back to the hotel.
Last edited by betterwatchit on Mon Sep 25, 2023 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: From Sea to Shining Sea

Post by betterwatchit »

From Sea to Shining Sea, Part 4

17th May, St. Louis, Missouri…

In the early afternoon, the Blue Ox picked up a strange radio transmission…

A voice said "White One to Kapitan, Urgent."

A second voice said "Idiot! Maintain radio silence!"

White One said "All guards dealt with and we're getting kinda spooked. When is it going down, sir?"

Kapitan went "White One, repeat, maintain radio silence or else!"

A third voice said "Hostages secured, but we can't shut them up."

In the background, the sounds of crying could be heard and a woman's voice saying "Please don't kill us! Please… Oh God…"

Kapitan said "Maintain silence! I'll be right there!"

A few minutes later, as the crew approached the arch, another transmission took place…

A fourth voice said "Release the people, son, You can't get away with this. The Arch is…"

Kapitan said "I ain't your son, pig! Today, the Knights of White WILL be heard! This place is gonna crash and burn!"

Bert turned on the police scanner and heard a lot of chatter concerning the St. Louis Arch. He said "Sounds like some real bad stuff is happening at the monument. I've never turned my back on women and kids in need, and from what I've heard, neither do either of you. Let's pay the Gateway Arch a visit, shall we?"

As they drove to the Arch, Thump said "'Crash and burn…' Think they have explosives?"

Bert said "It ain't impossible. Before you go, I've got something you'll need."

Bert opened the box underneath his seat, which contained some serious hardware, including four walkie-talkies with headsets. He said "Set all the transceivers to Channel 3."
The walkie-talkies function as the Commlink from Hero's Handbook.

Near the Gateway Arch…

Bert said "There's a maintenance dock by the river, it'll let you slip in quietly. The elevators will be shut down as standard procedure to keep hostiles from using them, so you have to take the stairs."

Griffin said "Got it, Bert."

Bert said "Also, I've been to the top of the Arch before. There won't be much room to maneuver once you're in there."

Griffin said "I specialise in close-quarter combat, I can handle it."

Thump said "For your sake, I hope that ain't a boast."

By the Dock…

Griffin checked the door while in his tactical outfit. "Padlocked. I've got it." He sliced the padlock open in one stroke.

Thump sputtered "H- How-?!"

Griffin smiled as he said "The edge of Justice is simply one very long molecule. Its sheath is the only thing I know it can't cut. And now you know why those ninja I cut lost their heads or their lower torsos. Remember, no gunfire. We need to do it quiet."

Thump went "Yeah, yeah, I've got it." as she entered.

Bert said "I'll stay here. Make sure anyone you take alive comes down here."

Griffin went "Acknowledged."

Griffin and Thump made their way up the stairs. About halfway there, they saw three people. One of them was watching the other two place something on the wall. They laid the standing man out fast.
The Thug has a Sawed-off Shotgun (from Gamemaster's Guide). The two Militants are busy attaching something to one of the struts. Their Choose One skill ranks are in Perception.

Thump sneaks into position, getting 34 on her Stealth. Griffin gets a natural 20 on his Stealth roll! The Militants each get 19 and can't see either of them.

In the Surprise Round, Thump punches the Thug, getting 15. The Thug gets 8 and is Staggered! Griffin attacks the Thug with the Flurry of Steel, getting 17 and raising the DC by +2. The Thug gets 11 and is Incapacitated due to taking two Staggering blows!

When the man fell, the two younger men turned around. Griffin unsheathed Justice and said "Shut up and listen up! Turn the bomb off and drop all your weapons!"

Thump cocked her pistol, saying "Right now."

One of the bombers went "Alright, alright, just don't kill us!"

Thump ordered "Keep your hands up while my friend searches you."
Thump intimidates the Militants, getting 29. The Militants get 7 and 13, and are Coerced into surrendering.

Griffin patted them down. "Two pistols, two flick-knives, two radios. And I'm keeping these zip-ties. Tell us, how many bombs are there?"

A bomber went "Ten of them all through the Arch! They use this super-acid, the way I heard it. You've got 45 minutes before they bring the Arch down."

Thump asked "And how many hostages?"

The other bomber went "Forty of them are still here, the last I heard. For what it's worth, I think there's about nine of us left after this."

Griffin went "You two can take your so-called friend downstairs. A friend of ours be at the door to keep you from running off."

The first bomber went "Got it."

As they brought their "friend" downstairs, Griffin radioed Bert, saying "It's Griffin. You've got two guys coming down with an unconscious person. All three are hostile but disarmed, over."

Bert's voice was heard, saying "Acknowledged."

Griffin said "Both of us are proceeding further up the Arch, out."

Bert said "Understood, out."

Thump sniffed the bomb and she said "I've heard of this stuff. If you can focus on saving the hostages, I can find the bombs."

Griffin nodded and proceeded further upstairs.

At the top of the stairs, Griffin saw a ladder leading to a hatch. 'Perfect place to set a trap, especially when doing something time-sensitive! F**k it, I'm climbing it!'

Once Griffin opened the hatch, six people opened fire on him! Once he climbed all the way up, he roared "MY TURN!" as he laid five of them out in a single blow!
Roll Initiative!
Griffin: 16
Thug 1: 14
Pistol Thug 1: 13
Thug 2: 13
Thug 3: 5
Pistol Thug 2: 4
Thug 4: 2

Griffin performs a full All-Out Attack on all four SMG-wielding Thug minions and one of the pistol-wielding Thug minions, getting 15, 20, 16, 15 and 18. The SMG Thugs get Natural 1, 21, 5, and 18. The pistol thug gets 5. All are Incapacitated! the second pistol thug surrenders and is out of combat.

Griffin turned to face the last thug who put his hands up. Griffin told him "You haven't killed anyone yet. Take it from me, the moment you do, your life's only going to have one outcome. Drop the gun and knife and you'll get out of this alive."

The thug went "Okay, okay, just don't kill me!"

"Go downstairs to surrender and you'll live."

The thug said "Got it!"

As the thug climbed down, Griffin radioed "You've got one coming down who's surrendered and five more in a room next to the lift hall who are unconscious but otherwise unharmed. Over."

Bert replied "Acknowledged. Exercise extreme caution, out."

"Understood, Griffin out."

Griffin opened the door and found three men standing up, one of whom and had a woman hostage. He also saw two men tied up on the floor.

The hostage-taker said "Stop right there! Do it or she's gone, just like that!"

Griffin halted, going "Okay, I'm staying still! For what it's worth, I haven't killed anyone yet."

The hostage-taker went "I've heard of you! You're that Griffin dude from London! What are you doing here?"

Griffin told him "I was just passing through when I heard about this! And what happened to all the other hostages?!"

The hostage-taker said "I released them, they're running down the other end of the Arch as I speak."

Bert's voice came on the radio, saying "I'm seeing a lot of hostages leaving the Arch, they appear to be unharmed!"

Griffin hit the pressel twice in rapid succession to show he heard Bert.

The hostage-taker said "You're a pretty big deal, so I'll make you a deal. If you can defeat Joseph here, I'll let the last three hostages go and surrender. Willingly. What do you say?"

Joseph looked a little skinny, but Griffin knew better than most about how looks could deceive.

Griffin told him "If it's a fight you want, it's a fight you'll get!"

Joseph said "Very well, Karl," as he cracked his knuckles. "Any last words, you globalist lackey?"

Griffin said "I have only two more words to say to you traitors to humanity: NEVER. AGAIN." He then charged at Joseph.

Griffin gets a HP for his Legacy complicaton. He knows that his great-grandfather, the original Griffin, gave his LIFE to stop these people! How remiss would he be to put anything less on the line? He also gets a HP for using non-lethal force against someone trying to kill him.

Joseph is a Powerhouse from Hero's Handbook with his Stamina at 12.

Roll Initiative!

Griffin: 20
Joseph: 19

Griffin Charged at Joseph with the Flurry of Steel, getting 24 and raising the DC by +2. Joseph gets 29 and resists.

Joseph does an All-Out Attack on Griffin, getting 15 and missing.

Griffin saw an opportunity to strike somewhere vulnerable and was slapped back in retaliation.
Griffin attacks with the Flurry of Steel, getting 21 and raising the DC by +5. Joseph gets 17 and is hit and Staggered! Joseph punches Griffin, getting 21. Griffin gets 24 and is hit.

Griffin: 3 HP, 1 Injury.

Griffin then whacked Joseph in the knee, the stomach and then the head, knocking him out!
Griffin does the Flurry of Steel, getting 28, raising the DC by +5. Joseph gets 17 and is Incapacitated from two Staggering blows!

Karl said "I- I can't believe it! You killed him!"

Griffin said "Settle down. You or your friend can check that he still breathes. So that's all three remaining hostages going free and unharmed and all three of you unconditionally surrendering."

Karl said "Fine by me. The Arch will fall in twenty minutes. If they leave now, the hostages will get out alive. Larry, let them go."

Larry went "But-"

Karl said "I gave my word! Let them go! Unharmed or you'll have me to deal with!" He then sat on the floor, saying "I can't believe it. I actually lost. Before the Arch goes down, I want to ask one thing."

"What's that?"

"Is there any way the Lord will forgive me?"

"I'll say it so you'll understand it: He takes a very dim view of racism and sends such idiots like yourself straight to Hell. You have only one chance of making amends to His satisfaction."

"Name it."

"You must confess all your crimes at the police station, willingly. With a lawyer present to make sure it's all admissible in court. Name names. Out everyone in your old organisation. Make sure everyone knows that you now know what you did was wrong and that you betrayed and weakened humanity as a whole."

"That's a bit extreme!"

"That is not extreme, it is literally the minimum requirement. Anyone saying different is lying to you, even if they're your family."

"You really mean it, don't you?"

"I do. I really do."

That was when the lift came back up. Bert came up a lot of SWAT, saying "We got all the bombs in time, Griffin. And what's going on here?"

Griffin said "That skinny bloke I just laid out has super-strength so collar him at once! And these two have also surrendered."

As they took the lift down, Bert said to Griffin "I have to ask, why didn't you simply kill those guys?"

Griffin went "What's wrong with you?! If I killed that kid, he'd become a martyr for the alt-right to rally around! Not. Acceptable. By sparing him for trial, he'll make his cause look as illogical, stupid and weak in court as the left makes them out to be, so they'll have to pick someone else to rally around. And it takes a good while before the alt-right consensus works that one out. We should be at our destination before then at least. And by beating his champion, I just broke their leader harder than killing him ever could. Enough to convince him to out everyone in his old organisation. They're not doing something like this again."

Thump asked "You think pretty far ahead, don't you?"

Griffin said "It's not just winning the fight that matters, Thump. It's what happens afterwards you have to worry about. That's what matters in the long term. And if you can't think long term, you're not even capable of trying effectively." As the lift reached the ground, Griffin said "I think it's that way to the dock. The sooner we're both out of town, the better!"
Last edited by betterwatchit on Mon Sep 25, 2023 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stories of the Betterverse: From Sea to Shining Sea

Post by betterwatchit »

From Sea to Shining Sea, Part 5

18th May, The Blue Ox, driving through Kansas…

At the wheel, Bert went "I don't know how you did it at the Arch, that must have been the first hostage situation I've seen where no one died."

Griffin told him "I'm literally bulletproof, Bert. Around this time last year in Rochester, I leapt on top of a grenade and all it did was p*** me off!"

Thump went "I haven't heard anything about you operating in upstate New York."

"That's because it happened in the original Rochester in Kent, in south-east England. Not the Rochester you were thinking about in New York state. I hadn't even come here yet! Didn't you know that a lot of American and Canadian towns and cities got their names from British place names, Thump?"

Thump went "Now I think of it, some things I've heard are actually starting to make sense now."

Later that evening…

Bert was driving when he said "Would you look at that!"

Griffin was in the passenger seat as he saw the shooting star. "Yeah, I see it too! Hang on, I think it actually landed!"

As the Blue Ox approached, Griffin said "No smoke, so it didn't land on a vehicle. I'll wake Thump."

Thump said "I'm up, Griffin. What's going on?"

Griffin said "Just saw a shooting star hit the ground! That's where that weird light ahead's coming from."

Bert turned the engine off as he said "I've got a bad feeling about this." Then he opened the box underneath his seat and passed an M4A1 assault rifle to Thump and a flare gun and walkie-talkie to Griffin. Then he turned the lights off.

Bert said "Griffin, take the flare gun and see what's going on. If it's hostile, fire the flare into the air. Thump, you're with me, covering the truck."

Griffin and Thump both went "Got it."

Bert said "We're 50 miles from the nearest town, so we're on our own here."

Griffin flew towards the light, where a humanoid creature awoke with a roar.

The creature blasted a tree next to Griffin and roared "I am Ener-Tron! Give me the truck called the Blue Ox and the man named McClusky or you DIE!"

Griffin fired the flare before he charged and rained several blows down on Ener-Tron, who responded by unleashing an electrical aura from his body, which Griffin dodged by flapping his wings backwards.

Ener-Tron's stats are in Page 6 of the Guide.

Both sides are using lethal force.

Roll Initiative!

Griffin: 16
Ener-Tron 6

Griffin Charges at Ener-Tron with the Flurry of Steel. getting 28 and raising the DC by +5. Ener-Tron gets 22 and is hit and Dazed.

Ener-Tron unleashes an Electrical Burst. Griffin must make a DC 20 Dodge check. He gets 24 and only gets half the effect, which he's Impervious to. He's not Impervious to the full effect if he fails the check.

Ener-Tron: 1 Injury, Dazed.

Griffin landed a second combo and kept moving to dodge the lightning. Ener-Tron shouted "Ever since I came to your system, men have feared me!"
Griffin performs the Flurry of Steel, getting 27 and raising the DC by +5. Ener-Tron gets 26 and is hit.

Ener-Tron unleashes an Electrical Burst. Griffin gets 22 and survives the blast.

Ener-Tron: 2 Injuries.

Griffin landed a blow to Ener-Tron's head, but couldn't quite dodge the lightning in time.
Griffin performs the Flurry of Steel, getting 30 and raising the DC by +5. Ener-Tron gets 21 and is hit and Dazed.

Ener-Tron unleashes an Electrical Burst. Griffin gets 17 and fails to Dodge. He gets 22 on his Toughness save and is hit.

Ener-Tron: 3 Injuries, Dazed.
Griffin: 1 Injury.

Griffin dodged yet another burst, saying "There is only one I fear, and you're not Her!"
Griffin performs the Flurry of Steel, getting 30 and raising the DC by +5. Ener-Tron gets a Natural 20 and resists.

Ener-Tron unleashes an Electrical Burst. Griffin gets a Natural 1 and fails to Dodge. He gets 28 and resists.

Griffin managed to stab Ener-Tron in the gut and then he saw his chance!
Griffin performs the Flurry of Steel, getting 27 and raising the DC by +5. Ener-Tron gets 16 and is hit and Staggered!

Ener-Tron unleashes an Electrical Burst. Griffin gets 10 and fails to Dodge. He gets 28 and resists.

Ener-Tron: 4 Injuries, Staggered.

Griffin started his lethal combo. He ran Ener-Tron through, stabbed him in the heart and finally took his head off!
Griffin performs the Flurry of Steel, getting 26 and raising the DC by +5. Ener-Tron gets a Natural 1 and is Dying. His Second Chance kicks in! He gets 17 and is Dying from taking two Staggering blows. He gets 15 on his death check and stabilises. Griffin uses the Flurry of Steel as a Finishing Attack, getting 31, crit scored! The DC is raised by +10! (5 for Multiattack and 5 for the Finishing Attack Critical.) Ener-Tron gets 9 and is slain.

At the same time, back at the Blue Ox…

Bert said "The flare's up!"

Thump went "And I see someone from the other side of the road! *NINJA!*"

That was when Thump and Bert opened fire. Thump got one while the other jumped out of the way. Bert barely dodged a shuriken that would have got him in the throat.
Thump: 24
Bert: 21
Ninja Adept 1: 20
Ninja Adept 2: 19
Ninja Adept 3: 15
Ninja Adept 4: 6
Ninja Adept 5: 5
Ninja Adept 6: 1

Bert and Thump have Assasult Rifles with Laser Sights. It's night, but Bert's wearing Night-Vision Goggles and Thump has Low-Light Vision, they can both see clearly.

The Ninja Adepts are all minions.

Thump opened fire on Ninja 1 & 2, getting 18 and 19. The two Ninja get 11 and 20. One dies, the other resists.

Bert fired on Ninja 3 & 4, getting 17 and 16. The ninja get 10 and Natural 1, and are both killed.

Ninja 2 throws their Shuriken at Thump, getting 16 and missing.

Ninja 5 & 6 throw their Shuriken at Bert, getting 13 and 16, raising the DC of the one that hit by +2. Bert gets 25 and resists.

The ninja were nearly all cut down by the assault rifles. The last one leapt at Bert, cutting his chest.
Thump opened fire on Ninja 2, getting 27 and raising the DC by +5. Ninja 2 gets 15 and is killed.

Bert fires at Ninja 5 & 6, getting 16 and 22. they get Natural 1 and 21. One lives, the other dies.

Ninja 6 draws his sword and Charges Bert, getting 23! Bert gets 18 and is hit.

Bert: 1 Injury.

Bert managed to shove the ninja off him and gave him a 3-round burst.
Thump fires at Ninja 6, getting 13 and missing.

Bert fires at Ninja 6, getting 17. Ninja 6 gets 17 and is killed.

Thump saw the flare and said "I'll be right there!" She ran at super-speed towards Griffin's position. She asked him "Are you okay, Griffin?!"

Griffin said "I'm fine, but this Ener-Tron bloke tried to kill me, so you can guess what happened next. Is Bert okay?"

"He's been impaled. I don't know how long he'll last and he's the only one of us who can drive the truck."

"Show me. Pick me up and take me to him right now."

Thump picked Griffin up and ran back to the Blue Ox. As Thump put Griffin down, Bert said "If you've got anything for this…"

Griffin activated his healing touch as he said "I do. Show me your chest and I can get rid of that cut."

Bert unbuttoned his shirt and said "Whatever you're going to do, do it now!"

Griffin pulled the blade out and wordlessly put his hand on Bert's chest. The wound disappeared like it was being played backwards. He then said "It's safe to put your shirt back on now."
Griffin performs a Healing check on Bert. He gets 14 and the wound is safely closed.

Bert went "How-?!"

Griffin said "A gift from my Liege. If you're still alive, I can make sure you stay that way."

"Well, I appreciate it. And I know some people who can get rid of these bodies. I'll make a couple of calls, just stay out of the Ox until I'm finished."
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