Saturday, October 20, 2012

Buster Squad 5 - A Necessary Evil Actual Play Volume 6

Into The Wild

Mindstorm, Flux, Kale and Socks were loaded aboard a small cargo plane, headed over Asia.  Dr. Destruction had arranged them a flight with a pilot that the group knew fairly well…”Eagle” McGee, the pilot/mechanic/handyman for the former protectors of the Earth: Alpha Force!  Socks had a weird flash looking at him…remembering back, back before the V’Sori…when he was part of a group that had held McGee hostage…a group of villains…that’s strange.

Flux and Socks kept bugging McGee about letting them fly, each kept getting turned down…and McGee finally turned his handgun on Socks when Socks started to press buttons.  Kale, meanwhile, was very relieved when he was able to regenerate the horrible damage to his groin from the previous mission.

The plane flew over China with a sobering look first-hand at the devastation that had been caused by the V’Sori.  Some time later, McGee informed the team that they would be heading over Siberia…this excited Socks for some reason.

The instruments began to seize up, and the lights in the plane flickered.  McGee told the team not to panic, they were just having complete instrument failure.  When they got mildly agitated, McGee pointed out that he’d crashed planes before, and it would be fine…to which Socks said he’d rather have someone whose never crashed before, namely him, flying the plane.

When the plane was definitely going down, Flux summoned the air to buffet the plane, and Mindstorm joined him, the two guiding the plane down to the ground and a reasonable landing.

Once on the ground, the team was rather annoyed…though safe and sound.  They got outside the plane and looked around, seeing some trees and a lot of wasteland.  Socks got a scent on the wind, and notified the team that Fins and Drones were coming!

Mindstorm flew into the air to see what he could see, which wasn’t much.  He and Flux again combined their powers to try to snow over the plane, hiding it from view.  Socks, meanwhile, burrowed into the ground to make a hiding place for the team.  The team laid in wait, as Kale tried to sense what was above but couldn’t, so Socks moved in…only detecting two Fins and half a dozen Drones, Socks relayed this to Mindstorm who made the order to attack.

Socks erupted from the ground and went at a Fin, while McGee lunged from the hole and pitched a snowball at the other Fin.  Flux, Mindstorm and Kale emerged, with Flux sending eruptions of flame and Mindstorm hurling lightning.

Socks dropped his Fin, but McGee’s plan for Flux to blast two Drones while moving in on one Fin and unleashing his fiery aura didn’t work out too well, as the Fin shrugged it off.  He then attacked Flux and Kale, injuring the Atlantean sorcerer.

A Drone blasted McGee, injuring him very badly.

Socks also took a hit from a Drone, and the team was getting awfully concerned with how much damage the Drones were dishing out.

Socks caught something else approaching, and a robotic form grew from a tiny size and slugged him!  With a bit of a laugh, announced he was here to kill the team!

Mindstorm unleashed energy knives and went at the remaining Fin, but only got light wounds.  Kale took a step back and blasted him, but the Fin just pressed him.  Socks slashed at the robotic attacker, who shrugged off the claws and then turned to the plane and magnetically tore the door off, whipping it at Mindstorm, MISSING and wrapping it around a Drone.

He then sheepishly laughed, saying he’s still learning that trick.

He then decided that if he’s going to kill our villains, he should introduce himself:  He’s the “Multifunctional Automaton Requisitioned for Killing” Designate: Talos!

Notes:  At this point, Mindstorm’s player dragged me out of the room and strangled me.  Why?  Because Talos, aka MARK, is Good Mindstorm’s best friend in our Marvel SAGA game.  Back to the game.

Flux blasted Talos with flame, but it did little.  Socks attacked repeatedly, but Talos shrugged it off.  Kale unloaded a mental assault on the Fin and staggered him, then slipped away.  The very wounded McGee moved in as well, using the plane for cover.

The Fin kept shrugged off assault after assault, even when Kale burnt his powers out firing eldritch energy into him and not harming him.

Flux and Mindstorm grew frustrated at their inability to stop the Fin, until one Drone tried to blast Flux and the shot was deflected by his air field into the Fin, killing him.

Talos turned his back on Socks, giving him a free shot, to clobber Mindstorm…but had his confidence shattered when the scrawny leader of the team shook off his big fist!  Talos, clearly rattled, decided to leap away, swearing he would be back!

Mindstorm, harnessing the weather, unleashed lighting to drop the remaining Drones.

Flux moved quickly, trying to nurse wounds…and when Kale regained his powers, he made with the magical healing on his friends to get them back to fighting shape.

McGee worked on the plane late into the night, frustrated because nothing seemed to be broken…everything just seemed to be locked up.

Socks, Flux and Mindstorm managed to fix the door of the plane, and get it refitted.  McGee gave up for the night, and the five of them took shelter inside the plane.

As the group tried to rest and the night stretched on…the plane began to rock!  It went back and forth…and flipped upside down!  Mindstorm flew out of the plane, and caught a glint of metal…Talos had magnetically flipped the plane upside down!

In the process of taunting them, Talos accidentally let slip that a couple of miles up the road, V’Sori Warlord D’Beck had a Drone factory firing on all four cylinders and that Talos would make sure that the villains didn’t get anywhere near the village they were using as fodder for the Drones.

Talos has a big mouth.

Realizing how bad he was shooting off, Talos decided to get with the fighting as the team exited the plane.

Ready to take him en masse, the team left themselves wide open for Talos dropping the plane on them.

Flux and Kale did not get away in time.

Flux slipped free and blasted Talos with fire, but Kale grew enraged at being pinned down, teleported out from under the plane and ripped into Talos with a well-placed shot from a palm blaster!

Talos, stunned, quickly shook off the disorientation and leapt away, threatening to finish them off after the cold did its work!

Then he returned throughout the night, bugging them repeatedly and threatening to kill them some more.

He also told them that he had magnetically locked up their plane, and it wouldn’t move again as long as he, um, drew breath…or whatever.

Socks burrowed into the ground so he could avoid listening to him.  Talos went to the tunnel entrance and offered to come down and fight, but gave up when Socks gave no response.

As daylight came, the team departed the plane and headed toward the factory, planning to assault the Drone factory…when they caught sight of about fifty refugees in a forced march, led by a Fin, and surrounded by Drones!

Socks burrowed ahead, trying to come up on the Fin in the lead to take it out.

McGee cried out “OMIGOD IT’S A FLAMING COMET!”, completely distracting the Drones and Fin alike!

Kale vanished into the crowd as Flux and Mindstorm unloaded with fire and lighting on the Drones.

Socks tried to surprise the Fin, but this was no mere grunt, but a K’Tharen commander and he was waiting on Socks as he erupted from the ground…but he missed Socks altogether!

Mindstorm and Flux kept hammering the Drones while the Fin Commander and Socks feinted, parried and brawled.  Each man kept getting light hits on the other, slowly trying to wear them down.  The crowd went into a panic and ran this way and that, getting caught in the electrical and fiery bursts of Mindstorm and Flux.  Flux shrugged it off, figuring that if they died, that would make for fewer Drones.

Suddenly, one of the refugees threw its shawl off and revealed a yellowed complexion, bloodshot eyes and a cannon in its mouth!  It opened fire on Mindstorm, but missed.

Another attacked Socks, helping the Fin double-team him until Kale blew it away with a Palm Blaster.

As the people tried to run away, back to their village, Kale cast a spell and caused the earth to rise up, separating them from the Drones!

The wounded Fin soon found itself unable to hit Socks, while Socks failed to score a strong enough hit to put it away.

Kale finally told Socks to burrow, which he did, as Kale telekinetically yanked the pins on the Fin’s grenades, causing the fusion grenades to erupt and kill the Fin.

In all the confusion, the team realized that Eagle McGee had disappeared.

Flux provided the theory that McGee was one of the beings that had a cannon in its mouth, but Talos popped in and pointed out that he saw a pair of those guys, called Hyper-Drones, dragging McGee to the factory!

The team braced itself to fight Talos once more, but Talos said he’d had a secondary directive initiated:  To find the Protean secrets in the nearby village!  Once more, his loose lips piqued the interest of the team, and they became split:  Head to the factory, or head to the village.

After offering to reprogram Talos was rejected, a rather amusing exchange ensued in which they agreed to go with Talos to the village to find the Protean secrets, and then battle to the death.  Talos agreed, and Mindstorm made him promise not to leap away this time.  Talos assented, saying that “to the death” means “To The Death”.

The unlikely quartet then headed to the village.

As they neared the village, Socks and Mindstorm felt a strange pull drawing them closer, and once inside the village, Flux felt it, too.  Socks followed the sensation, inside a home, where he tore apart the floor and dropped to a cavern underneath the home!  Mindstorm followed while Talos, Kale and Flux watched on…Kale said he would follow, but told Talos he would be going first.  Socks, Mindstorm, Talos, Kale and Flux entered the cave…but not before Talos asked if any of them had any potato chips.

Immediately, a spear shot from the wall, but Socks managed to dodge it and smack it aside.  This put the lot of them on notice.

Socks had the perception to notice traps set in this place, but not the skill to remove them.  He spotted some kind of pressure plate in the floor, which Mindstorm just flew over.  Talos shrank down and then leapt over it, and Socks ran across the wall.  Kale flew over it as well, while Flux made a pathway extend from the walls to walk over it.

The team winded their way down and into a larger cavern with a stream, and crossed it.  A cavern in the distance was glowing with a bright, bright light and the urge to advance was overwhelming.

Socks entered the final cave, batting away a swinging blade, as he stared at a shining, crystalline formation!  A legion of voices emerged from within, and they thought they could see figures inside…

…when Talos decided now was time to kill them all.

Talos spun on his heels and decked Kale, but Flux ignited Talos and did horrible damage to the robot!  Mindstorm unleashed lighting, and the onslaught was too much…the fight was over quickly, with Talos wiped out!  As the team was impressed with themselves, the voices from the crystals turned into one: Willy the Fish!

The team looked on in awe as Willy explained that they were appearing in a form that would be familiar to the team…and they explained how the Proteans had been massacred by the V’Sori, and came to Earth because the V’Sori had come FROM Earth…this little tidbit turned the team on their ear, but Willy continued.  He explained how they had crashed in Siberia over 100 years ago and posed as humans, until The Outsider ordered them to move out into the world and procreate.  He spoke of their vision of an 8 pointed star, and how they didn’t know what that meant until The Outsider came to Earth, battled the Silver Sentinel and Star City was born.

He told them that they are the descendants of those Proteans…bred to fight this invasion that The Outsider knew was coming…and a tremendous flash of light filled the chamber, healing Kale, and then disappeared.

The team, shaken by the revelations, took the metal body of Talos and exited the cave.

There they found the people in a panic, for Warlord D’Beck was on the march, and bringing his entire detachment…100 Drones, Hyper-Drones and Fins, to sack this village for daring to run!

Mindstorm figured they should move around the army and get to the factory, while Flux offered another idea: They run.

Kale said maybe they should fight, and Socks silently assented.  They saw the villagers, panicked and desperate, grabbing any weapons they could to defend themselves…Mindstorm looked at Kale, nodded, and moved into action.

Telepathically feeding thoughts all around, he directed Socks to dig trenches and pitfalls, and began whipping a storm.  Flux began drawing the elements to him, while Kale cleared his mind and summoned his magic.  Socks had a very clear, important goal:  Kill this Warlord.  Kill D’Beck.

Somewhere in the distance, a V’Sori airship looked to be approaching, but the team shut it out.

Mindstorm tried to repair Talos, and he came to…threatening to kill.  Realizing that reprogramming him was out of his ability, he was able to find a retired Soviet scientist in the village.  The scientist agreed to work on Talos, but said it would take some time…shoddy American work is hard to deal with.

The foreboding approach of D’Beck and his minions sent chills through the spine of the villagers…then Socks caught the V’Sori on the wind, roared, and dove into the Drones.

The battle was joined.

Socks ripped arm cannons, and arms, from his opponents.  He dodged and ducked, slashed and swiped, swept and pounced.  Drone and Fin fell.  The ferocious warrior sought his target and would not be denied.

Flux summoned a whirlwind, blasting Drones aside.  He scattered men left and right, giving openings for the villagers to fall in behind Socks.  Drones saw Flux, Mindstorm and Kale standing in the rear support line and opened fire.

Mindstorm brought electric death from the skies, lashing into the Drones and Fins.  Hyper-Drones opened fire on him, but his force shield was impregnable.

Kale was a man possessed.  Sweat ran from his mask as his eyes glowed and spell after spell ripped from his lips.  Eldritch bolts tore through the air, the earth erupted around his foes, trees tore from the ground and swept their enemies aside and Kale yelled out to the villagers: “Fight now!  Fight for your lives!”

D’Beck was stunned at the fury of the onslaught.  He expected an overwhelming slaughter of defenseless people…not trained superhumans pushing back.  The land itself was pushing back, with his men falling into pits that had been dug into the ground!!

His will very nearly broke right there.

So long since he had faced real resistance…but he held.  He had brought Asia to its KNEES.  He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of MILLIONS.  He cowed the populace of China with overwhelming force and a vastly outnumbered army.

D’Beck held.

His men paid in blood.

Socks was a dervish, tearing through the field.  Fins closed in on all sides, tearing at him, but he pressed on.

Flux swept his twister through the crowd and bolstered the charge of the villagers when a bolt struck him in the chest.

Mindstorm, swept up in the moment, drew his energy blades and charged, tearing into the Drones and fins.  He fought side by side with common people, and have gave them a chance to live.

Kale hurled blasts around Socks, deeper and deeper into the field, trying to help clear the path.  He felt his powers burning out, even as he dug deeper and drew up fallen villagers to continue fighting.  He said, quietly, to a driven Socks that could not possibly have heard him: “We will not fail you.”

D’Beck was furious.  He ordered the airships forward, even as he saw a singular form tearing a swath toward him.

Every time Socks took a foe down, two more rose up.  For a moment, he imagined that this is what Bully must have felt like, leading Tula Michaels’ resistance fighters…and for a moment, he swore he saw Bully fighting by his side as he grabbed a Hyper Drone’s mouth cannon and ripped his head off.

Flux was consumed:  Earth, Air, Fire, Water all answered his call as he drew the elements to him and he turned them against the foes in force!  The planet itself was answering his call to remove his obstacles.  A V’Sori airship was blasted away by the turbulence of a gale force.  A single Fin broke toward him…and was consumed with fear.  This mighty K’Tharen warrior ran far, far away from this unassuming half-Atlantean.

Mindstorm became a whirlwind of energy blades, slashing and stabbing, ducking away from attacks.  A handful of Drones were swept aside in a telekinetic barrage.  A Fin came up on him from the side, but lightning struck it down.  A Hyper-Drone struck, digging into the side of Mindstorm, causing him to slip.

Kale began to fall to his knees, his powers overwhelming him, but he would not give.  Delirium was setting in, and Kale screamed out to Leviathan, needing more power to continue pushing back.

D’Beck broke.

He ordered the retreat.  His last line, his elite Fins, pulled back.  The Drones began an orderly withdrawal.  D’Beck began to run like Hell.

Socks hit the hard line of Elite Fins.  Villagers were killing off his wounded behind him, but the Fins were closing around on him in front.  Fire…lighting…magic…the Fins were rocked, shocked and finally slashed.

Socks broke through the line.

Flux hammered forward, using his four-pronged assault to batter the opponents down.  He was in sole position to see the amazing thing:  Their own losses had been slight, if it all.

Mindstorm prepared to be brought low by the Hyper-Drone that had stabbed him, but a villager with a machete attacked it.  Mindstorm rose up, joining the assault, then flew into the air and unloaded a dozen lighting bolts in rapid succession on the retreating forces.

Kale struggled to stand, a Fin desperately threw a grenade…as it exploded, Kale retaliated…and the Fin’s own head exploded as well.  Kale was thrown hard to the ground, exhaustion overtaking him.

D’Beck ran.  D’Beck ran for his life.  This horrible, slavering spectre of Death was bearing down on him.

A sharp pain in his leg brought him down and claws tore into the flesh around his face.

D’Beck turned to Socks and begged for mercy…

“Please, let me live…I will give you anything you want!  Anything at all!  Name it!”

“I want your heart.”

This Warlord who had been an integral part of the invasion of Earth…who had cowed Asia to the point that he only kept a small garrison and a Drone factory…who had unleashed death and devastation on millions…begged for mercy…

…and received none.

D’Beck thought he was at the top of the food chain…and found out that this bloody, unintelligent beast of a man was his better.

As claws dug into his torso, reaching for his heart, D’Beck cursed whatever foul being could have created such a monstrosity.

The proud warlord D’Beck died in the snow of Siberia at the hands of a man who had been twisted by the V’Sori into a killing machine.

Notes:  We ended there, with the group planning on finishing the job sacking that Drone factory, and trying to reprogram Talos, presumably to replace Bully.

This was my first experience with the Mass Combat rules, and though it was on a fairly minor scale, it felt epic as all Hell, my players and I agreed. Mindstorm used the Adventure card granting d6 in a skill to pick up Knowledge (Battle) for this session...and the sheer badassness of the team did the rest.

The most epic session of an RPG I have ever ran.

Socks is now a Veteran, and the fates of Eagle McGee and Talos will be decided at the beginning of the next session.