Friday, November 16, 2007

Infinity Storm #4: Night Life

• Real World Date: 10/26/2007
• Game Date: 7/9/2007

Previously the pages of … Infinity Storm
The city is uneasy after Dr. Stratos’ assault of Blackstone Penitentiary, the terrible storm that accompanied it, and the subsequent escape of several superpowered villains. The heroes who destroyed Strato’s weather machine and helped subdue the prison riot are keeping a keen eye out for escapees while simultaneously trying to get some much needed rest.

Paladin, the Techno-Knights, has been rebuilding his droids, most of whom were badly damaged in the Blackstone fight. Flynn, the archer extraordinaire, has landed a new day job as a stunt double on the set of a new TV project codenamed “Freedom Vice”. And Dragoon, the Man out of Time, awoke to discover he’d developed strange new – and exceedingly unstable – mutant powers.

With the help of Paladin and Dr. Albright (publicly known as the former WWII era superhero Beacon) of the Albright Institute, Dragoon has discovered that his genetic mutation was caused by neutrionos from Earth’s sun interacting with his alien DNA. Dr. Albright has synthesized a pill to help his body regulate these new powers, but unpredictable power surges are still likely … if less common.

And now ... Issue #4: Night Life
It is a troubling time for our heroes.

The child he inadvertently mentally blasted into a coma weighs heavy on the heart and soul of the hero Dragoon, who hopes to find some way to make amends. Paladin is disturbed by D.C. Stranton, Agent of AEGIS, who has taken a witch-hunter like interest in the Techno-Knight's sometime compatriot and fellow superhero Gray. And Lilly, the Spirit of Youth, is struggling to adjust to her life as a homeless teen while simultaneously trying to use her new powers for good. And then there are the escaped villains, who are no doubt planning their next big crime wave...

Our Heroes

Paladin, the Techno-Knight
Dragoon, the Man out of Time
• The Indomitable Gray
• Lilly, the Spirit of Youth


• Power points earned: 1

7/9/2007 9 a.m.

Paladin upgrades his armor to support autofire, but doing so fatigues the armor. He also boosted its super-strength. Officially deems his droids “squires” The week begins. Paladin assigns “the Professor” to assist Dragoon in patrols.

Psychic Breaks
7/9/2007 9 a.m.

Dragoon goes to visit hospital and buys bear to give to buy. Meets crazed mother, who comes out screaming at doctor saying her boy will wake up, and she won’t have him moved to the crazy ward. Dragoon tries to comfort her but fails miserable. He goes back to the institute, asks to speak to the doctor, but finds he’s still at his conference and wont’ be available until the eventing.

Pretty Spry for a Dead Girl
7/9/2007 11 a.m .

Lilly takes up Paladin’s offer on the cell phone, the agree to meet at his business office in Greenbank. She goes, he gives her a heavily modified cell phone, then explains how to use it – press button and speak name of hero, it will connect to them.

Paladin asks about her “death” problem – she explains she was killed in car crash, then woke up alive. Now no one wants to be around her. She tries not to be scary, but sometimes she is when she needs to TK or stuff. Used to get good grades in math.

He interrogates her about being dead, asking if she must sleep or eat. “That’s it, that’s all I know this is kind of new. The guy at the morgue was surprised.

“That’s fascinating. I’ve never met anyone whose been dead before.”

He looks for dead people or people with death connections in his database

• Lantern Jack
• Hellqueen
• Hades
• Silver Scream

Maybe you could talk to them about your condition. Lilly says something about girl. “I hope she’s not real, ‘cause if she is I think something bad might happen to the city. I don’t know, something like … Doom. She talks about a boy whose lost. And dreaming guys. I don’t think she’s bad, I think someone killed her. Don’t think she can here me she just rambles on with prophetic stuff.”

Paladin gets a little freaked. “Here, write everything down you can remember. So we can cross reference in database.”

He then explains he has a secret lair they can go to research.

“Alright, but I gotta hurry . This is when they throw the good stuff at Burger King.”

“um, ok I have food…”

She then says she’s going to the library at the college to learn more.

Laying Low in the Dock District
7/9/2007 9 a.m.-10 p.m

Learns that black suited AEGIS were asking about Gray from a co-worker. Decides to spend the day up in a crane. That night goes to a pub, hears various myriad rumors about Gray either being a hero or a terrorist.

7/9/2007 1 p.m.

He decides to find more information about the boy Timmy Whitefield. He decides to hcks his way into Hospital web site then launch attack across network to secure records but fails three times. He’s surprised, but remembers that there’s metagene research being done there that might explain things.

Stymied, he calls Dragoon to learn what he found out about the boy. Dragoon rambles on about the woman not liking him, and let’s slip that she said something about the Yellow Man or Yellow Men.

The Kings in Yellow Are Coming
7/9/2007 3 p.m.

She sees yellow flyers for Kings in Yellow. She does research on Lantern Jack. Also does research on the Dreaming City. She learns it is referenced many times in the pulp stories of the 1930s, and checks out a book on the subject. Having no card, she decides to “borrow” it, assuming she’ll return it later.

She sees yellow flyers for Kings in Yellow. She does research on Lantern Jack. Also does research on the Dreaming City. She learns it is referenced many times in the pulp stories of the 1930s, and checks out a book on the subject. Having no card, she decides to “borrow” it, assuming she’ll return it later.

Raving the Knight away
7/9/2007 11 p.m.

He goes on patrol, finds sounds of rave in progress as well as two supers on stage, making people nausous and causing some to flee and throw up. A bunch get upset and start picking a fight.

Police are dispatched; Gray calls paladin, who dispatches a Sherlock to investigate. By the time they and the Sherlock arrive, they fled. The Sherlock shows up when Gray is human form, surprising him. “What the?” He says and throws phone against wall.

Sherlock reports back that he’s not sure that Gray was there, since he didn’t give a good response and then broke phone. Paladin has Sherlock try to apprehend him, stealthly disable him, dispatching Gemini him (not knowing if the metahuman has done something to Gray).

It tries to stun him and fails. Then Gray tries to flee, but the Sherlock easily keeps up. This time, the Squire tries to dazzle him.

Reports back “attempts to neutralize have not proven successful.” Gray ducks into a 70s bar, finding a bunch of swingers. The Sherlock instantly follows and proceeds to hide in plain sight. He finally leaves, shaking off the swingers, and outside he finds Gemini waiting for him.

“Halt Perp”, the robot says. Gray ignore him.

“What have you done to meta human designate Gray?”

Gray, trying to cover his human persona, says “I don’t know, I just found the phone.”

Advice from the Beacon
7/9/2007 6 p.m.

That night Dragoon talks with Prof. Albright. Albright says he doesn’t think the boy has any physical trauma, but could have mental trauma, perhaps the telepathic blast that did psychic damage, even knocking his mind to another reality or plane of existence, causing him to become lost.

The Professor, who had been with Dragoon, hears all this and reports back. Paladin adds this to the database, starts mining and realizes the potential connections – the lost boy, the city, the yellow men.

“It all makes sense!”
7/9/2007 7 p.m.

Paladin summons Lilly to his secret lair, then has Professor cancel patrol and summons him to headquarters as well.

There, Paladin tries to explain what he thinks happened. He introduces Dragoon to Lilly. He explains that Lilly has been receiving portents, visions, some sort of catacylsm coming to the city. Paladin also informs them both that Gray has gone missing in the Docks. Dragoon, confused by what’s going on, decides to go look for the missing Grayson.

“No, no it’s a dead girl who comes and tells me things”

“It’s ok, I occasionally blast people with my mind.

“Ok, scary ghost girl tells our scary ghost girl about evil thing coming to the city. Also tells her about a Dreaming One in the city who needs to be found and a lost boy who wants to be found. And strange yellow ones who seek the underground.”

“Also did some research on the King in Yellow, a play since the 1800s, its never had a successful run, and strange things just happen in cities. Also, there’s this Kings in Yellow band coming, supporting their new album the Unblinking Eye.”

She says, “Hey that sounds like the name of a story – ‘The Unblinking Eye’”. They decide to go to the hospital and find the boy.

Paladin does research on boy, members of the band, seeing if they have siblings who match 15-year-old girl.

The Search for Gray
7/9/2007 11 p.m.

Dragoon flies out on the city, the droid lecturing him and updating him on the status of the boy, using less then flattering terms. The voice grates on his nerves, and the headache that’s been building all day explodes, causing cosmic energy to slam into the Squire.

The Squire responds by hitting him with dazzle. “This unit is under attack. Reporting back to Maker.” It jumps off bike and tries to hide in plain sight.

It reports back, Paladin asks what’s happening, wondering if Grue are invaded. Paladin determines that yes, he did damage the unit. “If you gave the robots nicer voices, and didn’t give me headaches, maybe I wouldn’t have had to release on them”.

He arrives at warehouse. Talks with cops who tell him that feds are looking for associates of Gray, and then tells him to inform Paladin that Rant and Rave hit the rave.

He ducks down alley afterward, arguing with the Squire. Gray sees them, decides to meld into ground, reach up and tug at Dragoon’s leg. Startled, the Man out of Time blasts him with energy, hitting Gray and stunning him momentarily.

Sherlock orders him to stop. Finally, they talk. Gray said feds are after him and has to hide. They argue about best way to make contact, and then decide to head to hospital. Paladin’s about to call.

The Dreaming City
7/10/2007 1 a.m.

They hover outside. Lilly goes inside, reads mind of nurse, learns kid is in psych ward. Paladin breaks into the hospital, meets Lilly on 6th floor. Lilly cloaks herself and Paladin to look like nurses with illusion.

They hear him screaming. “Mommy … I want my mommy!” And then: “Mommy … is that you mom? Mommy I want to go … you’re not Mommy!” Followed by another scream. And soon after: “That music. It’s weird music. But it sounds like home. I want to go home.”

They rush to the room, and Paladin scares the crap out of a nurse as Lilly drops their disguise. He tries to tell her that they are there to help and that the book is under under psychic assault, but she’s shocked and starts screaming; Lilly calms her emotions down enough for the nurse to calmly walk to the main desk, call STAR Squad and announce that a power-suited maniac is in the psych ward.

Paladin, who hears the call as its routed through 911, sends a message to the STAR Squad explaining the situation.

Lilly tries to call the boy to him, reaching out to him, trying to get him to come to her telepathically. He’s lost and confused. He sees a woman, and he’s scared. Suddenly, as Lilly reaches out to the boy yet again, she’s pulled through to the Dreaming City.

Freedom City Teamups Present: The Brains and the Brawn #1

Exploding form the pages of Infinity Storm: The Brains and the Brawn!

• Real World Date: 10/15-11-7, 2007
• Game Date: 7/8/2007

Previously, in the pages of Infinity Storm, Dragoon underwent a mutation that caused him to suddenly manifest new (and apparently random) superpowers. He's struggling to get those powers under control with the help of Paladin while simultaneously teaming up with the Techno-Knight to track down recent escapees from Blackstone Prison.

A New Partnership
"Paladin? Dragoon here," the Hero out of Time says into his communicator. "Just wanted to thank you for your help with my "situation". Turns out I have a latent mutant gene which just activated. The Doctor gave me something to help keep it in check. I'll just have to be careful. But thanks again for the help."

After a long pause, Paladin replies "Sorry Dragoon. I've been working on some upgrades to my armor for the last few hours. A latent mutagenic gene, hmm? We'll have to monitor that closely. If you'd like, I have very sophisticated medical scanning devices here in my lab. I'd recommend scans every two weeks at the most."

He then says. "I've got my Sherlock's out looking for the prison escapees. Do you have any availability to help track them down?"

As they talk, Gray, pressing the little red button Paladin put in his cell: "Hello? Hello? Who is this? I'm trying to reach my voicemail. Are you the operator? Hello? Heellooooo?"

Paladin thinks to himself, "Dammit, I'm going to have to alter these phones so that I can contact them but they can't initiate contact with me".

Paladin imitates his best operator voice and replies to Gray: "Please hold while I connect you to your voicemail". He then re-routes his call to 911, knowing that they can trace his call back to him and will send the police to his location even if he says it was an accidental connection.

Dragoon, noting know about Gray's call, continues: "I was going to propose exactly that. You seem to have connections I do not, and we seem to work well together. Perhaps one of your androids and I can patrol things and call you when needed. This way the android can also look after me should something happen. I do not wish to harm anyone else.

"Speaking of, have you heard any further about the young boy? Is he alright?"

"His name is Timmy Whitefield. He remains in a coma. Serious but stable condition at Freedom City Hospital. In the pediatrics wing," Paladin replies.

Hearing this, Dragoon -- still slightly blue tinged, but looking mostly normal -- changes back into his civies and heads to the hospital.

Girl Troubles
Lily is bored. She's having a hard time not hanging out with her "normal" friends, but has decided that trying to contact them probably wouldn't turn out well at all.

Helping people, on the other hand - it's something to do at least. Is this why she was brought back??

So far, every time she's tried to help at some sort of disaster, she's basically been fighting alongside those same other weirdos. So, if she's going to do this whole superhero thing (God, the world totally hates her), she needs to find these goons. But how?? She only ever sees them at the big disasters, and it's not like they advertise or anything...

That bucket-head guy - Paladin? - was talking to the cops on some kinda radio. Maybe they know him or something?

Lily visits the local public library and sets up a free LOL (Liberty Online) email account. She then makes a bit of a clamor by phasing into the local police district station in full scary ghosty mode. She waits a second until she has everyone in the squadroom's attention, and then puts her hands on her hips and strikes what she hopes is a heroic pose.

Hovering above the room feeling like a total choad, she intones "I am Lily, the Spirit of Youth. It seems that Freedom City may be in need of a few new heroes, or something. Please, like, see that this message gets to Paladin."

She then TK's a piece of paper with her email address on it to one of the policemen, mumbles "Um, OK. Uh, thanks." and turns and flies out through the nearest wall.

Shortly thereafter, Paladin responses to Lilly's "message" left with the police. "This is Paladin. I hear that you were looking for me. The police were a little freaked out. What can I do for you?"

Lilly writes back:

Paladin -

Hi, it's Lily - the girl that was helping at the airport, and fighting the bad guys at the docks and the prison and all that. Do you know those other guys that have been helping us rescue people and stuff? Are you guys like a super team or something? (If you are, you should really get some matching uniforms - it's hard to know who's who...)

Anyway, I have these powers, and I'd kind of like to continue helping people if I can, but I don't know how to find the rest of you. You know - other than listening for explosions and death rays and stuff. Maybe we can get some walkie talkies or cell phones or something? I can't really pay for them though, so dunno.

There's also some other creepy stuff going on that I don't understand. I think something bad's going to happen.

Anyway, write back if you guys want some help sometime.


To this, Paladin replies:

I admire your desire to do good with your abilities. The others new heroes that I've met, Dragoon, Grey, Gear and The Bowman do seem to keep popping up whenever there's trouble. We're not an official "team", but I have given the others secure cell phone/communicators so that they can get in touch with me.

If you'd like, I can send you one too, but please be aware of the limited minutes on the phone. It would be unwise for you to spend 4 hours a night talking to your girlfriends about boys or how life is pain or how 'norms' just don't see the utter futility of hope or how Disintigration is the 'best album ever' or how your parents just 'don't get it'. It would be better to save the phone for emergencies. Like the Death Rays and Explosions kind.

Speaking of your parents, what do they think about you risking your life to take up superhero-ing? I don't think you should be doing this just for kicks. If you give me your address, I'll send you the cell phone and we can discuss more later.

Lily doesn't respond well to this:

Dearest Paladork:

Just because *you* spend 4 hours a night talking to *your* girlfriends about boys, don't assume you know anything at all about me. As for how life is pain? Life was just fine. It's death that sucks - you should try it sometime.

I don't have any parents to disapprove of anything that I do anymore. I'm not looking for any either, so you can secure your cell phone where the headlamp don't shine.

Hugs and kisses,

PS - Disintegration?? Are you really *that* old??

Paladin responds:

Okay, I get it, you're not a typical teenager. But what's all this death stuff? And are you saying you're an orphan? Shouldn't you have a foster family at least? Or are you trying to say that you're homeless?

You're going to have to clue me in, since I don't know anything about you or your abilities.

pps - you don't have to be old to appreciate the Best. Album. Ever!

But Aenima is pretty damn cool, too.

Again, Lily's teenager personality shines through:

XP Congratulations, you've reached the 90's - keep trying. Here's a link for you before your bones petrify completely. (You may want to avoid any tar pits btw...)

No, I'm not saying I'm an orphan, dummy - I'm saying that I'm dead. Hellooo? Floats through walls and can fly? Can poltergeist stuff around? Can possess the living and scare people? At your service - Lily the undead freak. The teenager that really *can* scare the living shit out of you...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Worlds of Freedom

Green Ronin is planning a new Worlds of Freedom source book for Freedom City that will cover alternative realities, histories and futures, a la Crisis on Infinite Earths. The first design journal is up on the M&M web site and gives an overview of the book's chapters.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

ECORE Central

ECORE Central is a news site chronicling the latest superlink news, announcing new third-party products for Mutants & Masterminds as well as fan creations such as character sheets and combat trackers.

Infinity Storm #3: Downtime

Previously in the pages of ... Infinity Storm
Blackstone Penitentiary is in ruins, its defenses smashed by the electrical fury of Dr. Stratos, Master of Weather in an attempt to free his Crime League associate Devil Ray. Several of the new heroes of Freedom City – Dragoon, Gray, Paladin and Lilly Tombs – responded to the disaster and managed to subdue two of the prison's many freed supervillains: the duplicitous Mirror Man and hulking Brickbrack.

With the assistance of super-guard Strafe, they were also able to quell the ongoing riot by the mundane prisoners. They weren't able to prevent everyone from escaping though. Several supervillains are unaccounted for, including the Ecstasy addicts Rant and Rave, the racist hatemonger White Knight, the master thief Magpie and the rock monster and Factor Four cohort Granite. Some are believed to have fled the island and the city, but at least one took a boat to the mainland.

And now ... Issue #3: Downtime

The heat wave that blanketed Freedom City for most of June and early July has finally broken with the passing of Dr. Stratos and his superstorm. The heroes have returned the city and are trying to go about their normal lives while simultaneously searching for signs of the escaped villains.

Our Heroes

Paladin, the Techno-Knight
Dragoon, the Man out of Time


• Power points earned: 1

Blazing Arrows
7/7/2007, 7:20 a.m.

Flynn's awakened from a deep sleep by the ringing of the phone. He groggily picked up his phone to discover Saul Thompason, his agent, on the other end. He learns that he's just been hired as a stunt man on a new action series code named “Freedom Vice” that's shooting down at the docks. And that he's late.

He heads out on his bike, has a hellish time navigating traffic, ultimately blowing out his rear tire as he flies down Greely Street toward Riverside and Route 4. He expertly (far more expertly then earlier in his drive) wrestles it to a stop.

He calls Paladin (calling him Guardian) by mistake “It's an emergency ... the Arrow Bike got a flat tire!” Paladin sighs and says “I only said call me if there's an emergency and hangs up ”.

With no help from Paladin coming, Flynn ducks into a side alley, scrambles to get into his uniform, and then uses his sling and grapple arrows to swing out across the building tops in order to get to the docks on time. Arriving there he meets up with Saul, who informs him that he's got a role as a minor actor as well as acting as a body double for the star. His immediate job is to pilot a speed boat to intercept a second craft, jump to the second boat, deliver a line, mock knock out two bad guys and then seize control of the ship.

Blue Man Reclining
7/7/2007, 7:45 a.m.

Dragoon awakes and feels awful, with a bounding headache. He argues with himself about going into work on a Saturday, but ultimately decides he doesn't have to. Instead, he sits in his recliner, watching TV and is nearly overwhelmed by the sensation that his skin is going to explode. He fights the feeling, and it passes ... but the experience freaks him out.

Paladin at Work
7/7/2007, 7:54 a.m.

Paladin writes a series of programs to monitor events and activities in the city. After repairing two of his Sherlocks, he dispatches them to start patrolling Freedom City looking for escaped prisoners.

When he gets Flynn's call for help at the docks, he decides to dispatch the droid Ovid to help him. The robot radios to Flynn declaring “inbound ... refrain from stupidity until I arrive”.

Arrow at Sea
7/7/2007, 8:15 a.m.

Meanwhile, things are moving too quickly for Flynn who finds himself suddenly on a cigarette-style racing boat before Ovid's arrival. “Oh well, hopefully he can resuscitate me when I drown...” He drives the boat out to sea, catches up with the other stunt craft and – as the chase helicopter catches the whole thing on film – makes a spectacular jump to the other boat. He then knocks out the pilot, backhands the other unconscious, delivers his line, and seizes control of the boat.

He's the hero of the cast for getting the scene off in one take, and he celebrates by going out drinking with the cast.

Power Surges
7/7/2007, 11:30 a.m.

Back at his apartment, Dragoon nearly succumbs to erratic power surge that strikes him as he stumbles to his bathroom. He takes one of his pills designed to hide his native blue skin color from the natives, but it doesn't work. He takes another, and decides to head to Freedom City Library to do some research.

At the library, and covered up in an overlarge hoodie t-shirt to hide his blue skin, he hits Google and does a search on “earth diseases 21st century skin

“Crap,” he thinks, scanning the results, “none of this is about blue skin”.

Then he does a search on “headache body reaction”:

He sees an item in the results about “emotional reaction.” “I don't think I had an emotional reaction,” he muttered to himself. He then switched gears and decided to do a search on “freedom city genetic research”

His search turns up two noted genetic researchers in Freedom City:

Dr. Emily Tanner, Freedom Medical Center: Brilliant doctor obsessed with understanding the physiology of mutants. She's the first result he finds, and subsequent searches turn up articles on her research in the American medical association journal as well as NATURE describing her work on various projects on DNA, opinion piece on future of humanity's evolution, blogs and forums complaining about her obsession, her interest in the Atoms, etc.

The other notable result is Dr. Langston Albright, Albright Institute. He's a former hero – Beacon of the Liberty League – who now researches superhuman powers and might be able to help. His office is located in Hanover.

While at the library, Dragon headache grows, made worse by an annoying kid. He can't take it any more, and finally turns and focuses ... and the kid drops unconscious. Mother comes over and says “Timmy ... what's wrong Timmy?”

Disturbed, he asks librarian to help with kid. Then Dragoon calls Paladin on the sly, and reports emergency. explains he had a headache and knocked kid unconscious. Paladin conferences in Flynn, who gives background on Albright. He decides to go to the Institute to speak with the esteemed scientist.

Knock First, Ask Questions Later
7/7/2007, 12:40 p.m.

He goes there, and tries to talk his way into seeing Albright. They make him wait for a few hours, at which point he gets angry and demands to see the doctor. This has the inadvertent side effect of triggering one of his episodes. This time, he hulks out, growing in size and strength and triggering the Institute's defenses, which quickly subdue him.

No Rest in Dreamland
7/7/2007, 11:47 a.m.

While Dragoon is at the Langstrom Institute, Ovid evaluates the kid (over the protests of his distraught mother) finds that he's in a coma and that he can't revive him. Also determines that the individual was the victim of a telepath attacks. Ovid's logic circuits are confused; the droid is a brilliant doctor, and should be able to determine why the child can't come out of the coma. And yet he can't. He reports his progress (or lack of it) to Paladin, then heads over to the

It's Not Easy Being Blue
7/7/2007, 1:20 p.m.

Back at the institute, Paladin responds to the call about Dragoon hulking out. He arrives just in time t help and convince the institute that Big Blue really is a good guy. He teleconferences with a holographic Dr. Langston Albright (presently in Boston for a conference) and with the help of Ovid's incredibly advanced medical scanners, they determine that Dragoon is in a state of cellular flux. Later that night, they are able to determine the problem is caused by Dragoon's alien DNA interacting with the neutrino's from Earth's sun, which in turn is causing an unexpected mutation.

Albright gives Dragoon some pills to help him control his power, but warns that there will still be surges; they'll just be less frequent.

It's Not That Easy Being Gray Either
7/7/2007, 5:07 p.m.

That night, D.C. Stranton, Agent of AEGIS, shows up at Paladin's headquarters and demands to know everything about Gray, whom he believes is a criminal who assaulted a prison guard and broke into a secure federal facility. He's not allayed by Paladin's claims that Gray is a good guy and that it's all a misunderstanding; instead he makes veiled threats about his ability to use his government power to get Paladin's government contracts pulled and generally make the Techno-Knight's life a living hell. Paladin gives the agent as few details as possible, and essentially tells him to go ahead and try.

When he leaves, Paladin crafts a device to nullify paralysis and telepathic probes and makes plans to get it to Gray, just in case AEGIS decides to try and take the fledgling hero down. He also does some research on Stranton, and discovers the man is the AEGIS assistant bureau chief in Freedom City, and has powerful, anti-meta allies in Washington.

Atlas Rising
7/8/2007, 9:20 a..m.

The next day, Paladin has a far more cordial visit from Freeman, the CEO of FreeSpace and the costumed hero known as Atlas. The CEO of Earth's leading private suborbital and orbital launch firm informs him of his plans to build a space station in low-earth orbit, and his need for space suits with offensive/defensive capabilities not unlike those of the Paladin armor. He asks Paladin to submit a proposal and bid for the project, informing him that he's been very impressed by what he's seen so far.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Infinity Storm #2 – Reign of Chaos

Previously in the pages of ... Infinity Storm
A terrible thunderstorm, summoned by Dr. Stratos, Master of Weather, has struck Freedom City. As a motley band of heroes was able to disable the storm generators Stratos had placed around the city, but not before the evil doctor was able to use his accumulated meteorological power to hammer Blackstone Penitentiary in Freedom Bay.

The resulting blast shattered the prison’s walls and knocked its electrical systems – including its supervillain containment fields – offline. Now the heroes are faced with a potential crime wave of epic proportions as villains attempt to flee the ruined prison…

And now ... Issue #2: Reign of Chaos

Our Heroes

Dragoon, the Man out of Time
The Indomitable Gray
Paladin, the Technoknight
Lilly Tombs, the Spirit of Youth


• Power points earned: 1

July 6, 2007 8:55 p.m.

Lilly – the Spirit of Youth -- woke up from a horrible dream to the sound of a terrible explosion that shakes the city. Catching glimpse of flames far out at sea, from the direction of Blackstone Penitentiary, she makes herself incorporeal and heads in that direction. Arriving at the prison she finds mob in yard trying to overwhelm guards, a hulk (Brickbrack) trying to tear his way into one of the towers, another group trying to get into a second tower, and a third with gunfire raining down in guards in center of courtyard.

Lilly, seeing Brickbrack trying to take apart one of the towers tower, mindcontrols him to aid the guards in their fight. He leapt to the center of the fight and began wading through the prisoners fighting the guards.

Paladin Informed
Seeing the explosion, knowing that Dr. Stratos had been headed that way, Paladin immediately contacted the authorities. He learned from them that Blackstone Prison had been hit, that one of its four stone guard towers is in ruins, that its electrical grid has been smashed, and that its super villain population is loose. Among those known to be on the island are Rant and Rave (twenty-something superpowered drug addicts), Devil Ray (member of the Crime League, known associate of Dr. Stratos), the White Knight (racist villain, associate of the neo-Nazi group SHADOW), the expert thief Magpie and Granite, the member of the Factor Four whom Gray had battled earlier.

Hearing this, Paladin sends out his probes – Sherlocks and Professors – to find his fellow adventurers and recruit help.

Gray sensed the explosion at Blackstone, and headed out to the ruined prison where he found the melee ongoing in courtyard. He swam underground, emerging near center of fight. He realized that many of those around him appeared identical … and were intent on taking down the Paladin-armored super. He vaguely remembered hearing the name of these “villains” before: Mirror Men, spawned by a singular Mirror Man villain.

The power-armored individual identified himself as Strafe, a prison officer, and – thinking he is another of the villains -- orders him to stand down. Instead Gray initiates a shockwave knocking most of the combatants to their knees, including Strafe.

An outraged Strafe stumbles to his feet and says “I TOLD YOU TO STAND DOWN!” and unloads on Gray, staggering him. Several Mirror Men start cheering on Brickbrak thinking he’s on their side (and not mind controlled). Others try to pile on Gray, but fail to knock him out. The fighter turns and knocks one flying, and as he slips unconscious, the Mirror Man shatters.

Enter the Dragon
Dragoon tried to join the fight, following Strafe’s order to hit Brickbrack. He missed however. Strafe then tried to drop the huge brawler with a repulser blast, but the giant took it. Paladin arrives and declares to Strafe that he and his friends are attempting to assist with crowd control. He includes Gray among his friends, but Strafe was skeptical.

Lilly had Brickbrack tell the guards that he’s under her control, and helping them. She then had him try and grab a Mirror Man. He misses, and Lilly retreats to a tower where she erects a protective barrier.

Strafe unleashes a blast burst that pummels Gray into unconsciousness and shatters the two mirror men on him.

Lilly, seeing how arrogant Strafe is, decided to release Brickbrack, who proceeds to knock the power-armored guard into Dreamland. Gemini – the construct paladin had assigned to help with the field melee – radioed “Creator, we’re going to need some help here.” Seeing this, Dragoon flew in and strikes at Brickbrack, who shrugs of the attack.

Lilly spoke to his mind, and told him to take out the Mirror Men instead. Paladin dispatched Ovid to revive Gray. He summoned the rest of his minions – two Sherlocks and a Professor -- to dazzle the prisoners in the towers while he reacted to the battle below. He flew at Brickbrack, unloading with his dual repulsar array into his chest, which stuns the man The ordinary prisoners, seeing the arrival of the heroes, flee.

Mirror Mirror
Mirror Man saw them flee, said in mirrored unison “We’re NOT going back inside” and suddenly there were another 15 of them in the courtyard.

Lilly tried again to fry Brickbrack’s brain into submission, but fails. Dragoon attempted to take down the hulk as well, but can’t stagger him. Paladin, suddenly surrounded by duplicates, lashed out at a Mirror Man. but can’t hit. Gemini, however, shattered one with a blow.

The troubled youth shatters a third of the Mirror Men with a telekinetic blast. Dragoon tries to grapple Brickbrack in an attempt to teleport him far into the air, but the brute shrugs off the attack.

Mirror Men launched a grapple wave that pinnedGrey, Dragoon and Gemini. Lilly tried yet again to fry Brickbrack’s again, and failed. Grey punches the Mirror Man that grappled him, shattering it. Three mirror men try and strangle Dragoon, but the space veteran merely smiles. Three others bash in Gemini’s helmet, disabling the robot.

Frustrated, Lilly flew down in front of Brickbrack, manifesting a ghostly aura that caused the brute to scream in terror and flee blindly.

Staggered, Gray tried to strike the Mirror Men around him but missed. Strafe, resuscitated by Ovid, got to his feet and unloaded on the Mirror Men and Gray, bruising the hero, shattering the Mirror Men. Seeing Strafe fire on her friend again, Lilly used TK to grab Strafe, and chucked him into the bay.

Paladin contacted Strafe to make sure that he’s alive; the super-powered guard reported that his armor was holding, but that he was sinking into the water and said he’ll have to walk back.

After the Fight
July 6, 2007 10:20 p.m.

After the fight, Strafe said he knows criminals and that Gray may not be one yet … but he will be. He then goes to assist his fellow superguard, Warboss, in the prison. The warden thanks for Paladin’s assistance, and asks they go search the perimeter. They find that several boats are missing. Grey reports one of the boats made it to the city, while Paladin receives report on military band from Coast Guard of submarine activity off the coast.

Within the hour, transport from Lockdown arrived, escorted by STAR helicopters. Strafe and Warboss start loading prisoners on to the plane.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Infinity Storm #1 - Lightning Crashes

Previously in the pages of ... Infinity Storm

We were introduced to a new generation of heroes in Freedom City, including the rock-like Gray, the Goth teen Spirit of Youth, the pizza-delivering speedster Turbo, the techno-knight Paladin and the man out of time, Dragoon.

The heroes saved jumbojet from certain destruction after one of its engines caught on fire, rescued two children from a burning inferno that consumed an abandoned warehouse and defeated two members of the Factor Four -- Granite and Sylph. The former was knocked unconscious and taken into custody by the city's STAR Squad; the other escaped into the depths of the wharf district.

And now ... Issue #1: Lightning Crashes

It has been a troubling week in the City of Heroes. The proto-heatwave of late June has transformed into the real thing, sending temperatures into the low 100s and straining the city's power grid to the breaking point. Rolling blackouts are commonplace, and there is no relief in sight, despite nightly thunderstorms that have shaken the city to its bedrock.

As the sun dawns on July 5, Granite remains in Blackstone Prison. No one has seen his three Factor Four cohorts, but speculation is high that they are somewhere in the city. A rash of locked-room burglaries -- in which jewelry is stolen without the locks on their stores being broken, their alarms being triggered, or their cameras caching sight of anything -- have people speculating that the villain Downtime might be back in the city.

But it's the heat that's on everyone's mind. It's the heat that has tempers short. And it's the heat that may be the city's greatest enemy this summer.

Our Heroes

Flynn, the Master of Arrows
Dragoon, the Man out of Time
The Indomitable Gray
Paladin, the Technoknight


• Power points earned: 1

A Quiet Week in the Country
June 30, 2:00 p.m.

Meanwhile Bobby Phoenix, a.k.a. Dragoon, has been inspired by recent events to return to his country home to finish work on his sky bike, a contraption from the future which will allow him to quickly move around the city and keep up with his fast-moving new friends.

Trouble in High Places
July 3, 2007 10:05 a.m.

In the wake of the near-crash of the 747 and the subsequent assault by the Factor Four, Paladin makes an effort to follow up with his contacts in FEMA, NTSB and Homeland Security. At the last, he finds unexpected resistance from the agency's higher echelon; despite having designed the well-respected Paladin-class army he's found himself locked out of the leadership's offices.

Why, his lower level contacts don't know but some think he's proving to be too successful in his private endeavors ... or perhaps a rival contractor has been talking down his work in an effort to get their own product purchased by the government.

July 3, 2007 9:00 p.m.

After his battle with Granite, Grayson (a.k.a the Indomitable Gray) was eager to further hone his fighting skills with his next bout in Freedom City's semi-pro boxing circuit. Going under the name "Slugger" Fraiser, Grayson's opponent was "Thunderstrike" Collins, a brute of a man renowned for his no-holds-barred, all-out attack style of boxing.

The fight was an intense one, with Thunderstrike landing blow after stunning blow and Grayson taking every hit. Bloodied and battered, the hero was almost out of the fight when he landed a tremendous counterblow that knocked out his opponent and won him the fight.

It also earned him the scorn of some dapper-looking criminal-types who'd been watching the fight in the audience and clearly had bet against them. They left, clearly disgusted ... and cursing his victory.

Unauthorized Withdrawal
July 4, 2007 9:00 p.m.

The next night, as Fourth of July fireworks exploded overhead, the city met its newest hero: Flynn. The young master bowman, who had recently saved a young girl from mugging, had taken to patrolling the city in search of other criminals.

He found them at an Eastern Seaboard Bank (E-Sea Bank) in Southside where a group of burglars had decided to take advantage of a brownout to make an unauthorized withdrawal. He snuck up on the burglars, incapacitating one with a stun arrow, snatching up a radio he'd been using and then telling to the others to look outside the bank's front window.

They did so, and seeing the masked bowman they fired their pistols at him. Flynn deftly avoided the hail of bullets, firing a barrage of his own arrows that incapacitated most of the villains, and sent one running outside.

At the same time, Paladin was intently working in his Greenbank lab when he heard the police band squawk about a burglary in progress, and immediately leapt into action, zooming across the city at breakneck speeds and arriving just in time to see one of the crooks fleeing from the bank. He stopped the man in his tracks with repulsar blasts, then paused to talk with the hero who’d broken up the robbery.

Impressed by Flynn, and respectful of the young hero’s hope not to get tangled up in police inquires, Paladin agreed to stay and deal with the cops while the archer melted back into the night. Before he did so though, Paladin gave him a communicator with which to contact him, just in case.

The Storm
July 6, 2007 8:30 p.m.

As night fell, a terrible storm built over Freedom city. The clouds stacked miles high, looming like a giant over the metropolis.
Dragoon, his bike fixed and cloaked to look like a Japanese-style motorcycle, arrived back in the city just as the front overtook him, sending torrents of rain cascading from the sky … and bringing a brutal barrage of lightning with it.

The powerful bolts struck from the sky in unnatural surges, and as Dragoon watched, he could see the strikes seem to coalesce around three points in the city. These points, in Hanover Park, Southside, and Downtown, glowed with a terrible power that cut through the dark rain. As he watched, he could see that power suddenly arc skyward, striking a central point roughly over downtown Freedom City.

The point expanded to become a radiant sphere … and the sphere began moving out to sea.

The Golden Peril
July 6, 2007 8:35 p.m.

Meanwhile, the rest of the city’s defenders were not caught unaware. Paladin, monitoring radio traffic in the city while subconsciously scanning a dozen web sites, noted the coming storm and the sudden appearance of the lightning bolt foci. He leapt into action, contacting the rookie hero Flynn for assistance.

He met the hero, flew him to Southside, and together the investigated one of the lightning focal points. They found a strange weather machine atop the Golden Calf Casino, the selfsame building Paladin had damaged two weeks earlier saving an airliner from certain doom.

Flynn volunteered to deal with the construct and disable the device while Paladin flew skyward to investigate the glowing sphere moving over the city.

“Dr. Stratos, I presume?”
July 6, 2007 8:37 p.m.

As Paladin approached the orb, he discovered there was a person in the middle of it. A quick scan of his personal law enforcement database quickly identified the individual as Dr. Stratos, master of weather and leader of the Crime League. The caped villain flew serenely over the city, caring little for the destruction the storm was causing around him.

Paladin streaked toward him, and demanded that the villain stand down. Dr. Stratos merely turned his head to the hero, smirked, and then watched as a lightning strike came down near the heart of downtown … and the bullet train line. Frantic radio traffic from the Freedom City Transportation Authority quickly confirmed the worst: the train had lost power and was in danger of careening out of control. Forced to choose between fighting the villain and saving innocents, Paladan made the only choice he could make: he dove for the train.

As Dr. Stratos continued out to see, Paladin fought to bring the train under control. By the time he wrestled it to a stop, the villain was long gone.

Triple Threat
July 6, 2007 8:45 p.m.

With Paladin struggling with the bullet train, it fell to the other heroes to deal with the weather control devices no doubt deployed by Dr. Stratos. Flynn continued his fight against the android protecting the device at the Golden Calf, eventually disabling it with nullification arrows that drained its power and allowed him to use kinetic arrow heads to destroy the device.

Gray arrived downtown and determined that a second of the devices was located on top of the Federal Building. When his attempts to talk his way into the building failed, he decided to travel underground and swim in through the basement. He then pounded his way up to the roof, where he found another android and device. The pitched fight which followed drew the attention of the Feds, who rushed to the roof.

They arrived just as the hero destroyed the device by throwing the android into it. They demanded that he stop immediately, but Gray ignored them and instead dove off the building, plummeting 50 stories to the ground. Rather than smashing into the pavement however, he “dove” into the ground, plunging through it like an Olympic diver.

Finally, Dragoon flew across the city to the Promenade Park in Hanover, where he found another of the devices that had – until recently – been thought to be a Hanover Institute of Technology science experiment. After making several strafing attacks from his rocket bike, Dragoon leaped into melee with the device’s android guardian, destroyed it, and then smashed the machine itself.

Blackstone Down
July 6, 2007 8:50 p.m.

Disabling the devices caused the streams of electrical power and caused the super storm to immediately fall back to more normal levels. It wasn’t enough though. Dr. Stratos, supercharged by the devices, unleashed a catastrophic blast against Blackstone Penitentiary. The explosion was seen -- and felt -- throughout the mainland city.

To be continued in Issue #2: Reign of Chaos!

Hero High

Green Ronin's Hero High's out in print:

The Crime League is on a rampage downtown, but the prom is tonight and, worse yet, you've got a make-up test tomorrow! But then nobody said life was easy at Hero High!

On of our players picked this up at GenCon, and surprisingly the book has heroes that are Power Level 10, which what our non-teenage heroes start at. I was expecting something more in the 5 to 8 PL range.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Paragon Design Journals

Green Ronin is releasing a new campaign setting, Paragon for Mutants & Masterminds. It's very different from Freedom City, and seems to be going out of its way to provide a very untraditional source and background for its universe -- think the strangeness of indy comics, not the four-color normality of the DC and Marvel main streams.

They have two design journals up talking about the new campaign; while we won't be using any of this for Infinity Storm, it might be worth checking out for some future supers campaign.

* Paragons Design Journal: Believe... and You Will Fly: Basic campaign concepts
* Paragons Design Journal #2: Chapter-by-chapter source book overview

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Infinity Storm #0: A Morning Like Any Other

Our Heroes:

* Dragoon, the Man out of Time
* Turbo, Saving the World in 30 minutes or Less
* The Indomitable Gray
* Paladin, the Techno Knight
* Lily, Rest for the Wicked


* Power points earned: 1.

A Morning Like Any Other
June 29, 2007 8:35 a.m.

The day began like any other day. Bobby Phoenix up on a job site, helping weld structural steel for the new FreeSpace Inc. headquarters downtown. Juan Rivera in Lincoln, sleeping in after a late night of delivering pizzas up and down Freedom City's South River. Mav Grayson sitting with his fellow dockworkers, ready to put in another long day of unloading freight at the Wharf. Lily Tombs wandered the outskirts of the Liberty College campus, looking for a donut to filch and still shocked she wasn't dead. Or rather that she was dead … but hadn't stopped moving yet.

Sleep had never truly come for Charlemagne “Charlie” McInnis, as was so often the case. The genius technologist catnapped through the night, but awoke after 30-45 minutes with fresh insights into his latest design. That morning found him bent over his work bench, nano-vision focused on putting the finishing atoms on his latest creation.

And then the alarms began to flash. "--declaring an air emergency, repeat this is Noreaster Flight 7112 declaring a [snick][snit] emergency … lost and engine … not sure we can make it in… McInnis was on his feet instantly. His body armor immediately shot into place around him, wrapping him in the best protection that technology and his own brilliance could create.

Moments later Paladin, the Techno-Knight, was streaking over Freedom City, ready to do whatever it would take to save that plane.

Terror in the Sky
June 29, 2007 8:36 a.m.

Racing toward the plane, Paladin gleaned all he could from the city's police, fire and air traffic bands, augmenting it with data collected from his own remote probe streaking toward the target. It was a last-generation 747 on its way in from New York City. The outer left engine had exploded and was on fire, and the pilots reported losing hydraulic pressure throughout the plane.

He met the plane just north of the I-525/Route 4 junction northeast of the city. The pilots welcomed him, even if they didn't know him … his greatest fame to date had come from building an earlier incarnation of the Paladin-class power armor for government. Techno-geeks and armor-freaks admired his skill, but the rest of the world was oblivious to his genius.

Until now.

Paladin moved up and under the plane, matching his velocity to its and grabbing hold of the left wing to stabilize the aircraft. First things first though. One of the engines had already exploded, shrapnel had shredded part of the wing and damaged the second engine. Rocketing along below the wing, Paladin alerted the pilots that the second engine was in danger of shutting down, which would send the plane into an irrecoverable, and fatal, corkscrew.

Working quickly, Paladin was able to jury-rig the second engine so that it wouldn't fail, at least for now, then got to work on the rest of the problem.

He dispersed a cloud of nanites into the 747, confident he could use them to assume control of the plane's hydraulic subsystem and then let the pilots tell him how to control the left side as they dealt with the right.

He was wrong. The entire hydraulic system on the left side was shot, and would take time to repair. He was good, but not good enough to repair a dying plane in flight in the minutes -- maybe seconds -- they had before the plane crashed into Freedom City.

He'd have to do it the old fashioned way. He reached out, grabbed the wing flaps … and began wrestling the plane toward the runway.

* * *

Bobby Phoenix, didn't see the plane as it careened past I-525, but he couldn't help but notice it as it screamed into downtown's airspace -- and seemed to level off at an altitude that would take it streaking into the growing superstructure of FreeSpace Tower. He immediately shouted a warning to his co-workers, telling them to get to safety. As they ran, he ducked behind an I-Beam, dug two metallic bracers from his backpack, and slapped them on. Instantly, he became Dragoon, the Man out of Time. He might not be able to get to the plane in time -- it was moving at an ungodly speed -- but he could stop it from killing anyone.

Or at least try.

He rose up into the air above the building, not sure what he was going to do, but doing it anyway. Then suddenly the plane rocked wildly and Dragoon caught glimpse of a metallic gold and green suited figure being knocked back from one wing. Instantly, the powersuited figure -- a hero? A villain? -- was back on the wing, righting the plane and helping it gain altitude over downtown.

Ah, a hero then. The plane and power-suited figure screeched overhead, leaving a billowing contrail of black smoke in their wake. Dragoon followed, his braces slowly powering up to full-flight speed. He wouldn't get there in time to save the plane, wherever "there" ended up being, but he could help in the aftermath.

* * *

Mav Grayson heard the plane before he saw it. That terrible rumbling was unnatural coming from the sky and when he turned to look at it's source, he spit out his coffee. "By the earth …" he muttered as the jet narrowly missed crashing into the rising superstructure of FreeSpace Tower, apparently with the aid of a power-suited hero of some kind who seemed to be struggling to lift the thing skyward.

"Umm … cover for me for a sec" he told his co-workers, "gotta go hit the john." 50 feet later he'd transformed into the Indomitable Gray and was phasing through the Earth at breakneck speed. He couldn't help the hero in the air -- flight was not his thing -- but if he could make it to the airport in time…

* * *

This is going to hurt, Paladin thought as the plane careened over South River, hurling itself toward the casino district. The 747 was only a few hundred feet of the ground now, and even that was a miracle. It passed over the Boardwalk, clipping the sign for South Side Palace and sending the Techno-Knight crashing into a nearby rooftop. He was instantly airborne again, throwing himself at the plane and barely catching it in time to push it just high enough to clear one of the outlying dorms at Freedom College.

He could see the airport. But he couldn't see how to land the plane. It's just … too … big … he thought, and then thought better of it. Too big to land safely … but with a buffer … He instantly extended his personal force shield, enveloping the plane with the best protection genius can make.

It was almost enough to save it.


The sound of his neighbors' roof-top shoots woke Juan from his night's sleep. Cries in Spanish about a plane crashing instantly caught his attention. "I told myself and God I would be a hero. That I would use these new powers for good … and it seems the Devil has provided an opportunity." In a millisecond, he was dressed in his black uniform with the embroidered silver gear on the chest. Two milliseconds later he was at the Jordan International Airport, arriving just in time to see the plane, completely encased in a protective golden cocoon, crash into one of the airport runways.

He could make out a green-and-gold power-suited hero atop the plane, and the shield was clearly radiating from him. And just as clearly, that shield was failing. It's golden aura was quickly fading, and as it did, the plane dropped closer and closer to the ground. When the shield gave, a shower of sparks and fire erupted from the undercarriage of the plane.

I am in time. But I am always in time, Juan thought. No, not Juan. Juan delivers pizzas. I am Turbo … and those people need my help!


The plane was down. For that, Paladin could thank his technology, which had cushioned the crash enough to keep the plane intact. But now it was sliding dangerously out of control, spinning across the runway like a drunken teenager on a sheet of ice. And wouldn't you know it, they were spinning right toward the nearby terminal, another fatal catastrophy … but not before it killed dozens of assembled police and fire crews.

But he was out of tricks. The suit had done everything it could. He had done everything he could … and it wasn't enough.

At that moment, a gray form rose from the ground. Armored in stone, larger than a man, and heavily muscled, the creature grabbed hold of the plane's tail. The strain was clear on the creature's humanoid face as it wrestled the plane to a halt, stopping its terrible slide toward fiery destruction.

It's crew and passengers weren't saved yet though. Paladin's sensors told him the concentration of jet fuel vapors was rising quickly, and it was only a matter of time until something sparked and the entire plane went up.

He raced to the jet, tore off a door, and quickly threw up a renewed energey field in an attempt to protect the doorway from any explosions. The door fell to the runway, and an emergency slide suddenly blossomed into existence.

Then something unbelievable happened. A gale force wind blew Paladin back from the door, and as he struggled to determine its source, he saw the crew and passengers from the plane suddenly manifesting by the assembled rescue team at the end of the runway. In less than a minute -- it happened so fast his sensors couldn't even track it -- everyone on the plane was off of it.

He caught the barest of glimpses as each person was deposited -- there was a black-clothed form that appeared as a series of flickers -- but it wasn't enough for a positive identification.

Confused, Paladin flew to the ground, intent on thanking the gray man for his help, but his fellow hero was nowhere to be found, apparently having melted back into the tarmac.

As he steeled himself to go speak with the rescue crew and the police, he heard a female voice behind him. "Why do you supervillains always do that? Cause the plane to crash, and then stick around to see what happens?"

Paladin turned, and saw a young girl -- maybe 15, maybe 16 -- standing before him dressed entirely in black. "You should turn yourself in now," she said, and suddenly Charles felt her words had unnatural weight to them, as though he not only heard them … but felt them. On any other day, he might have listened to her, as impossible as that might seem. But he'd just saved a plane. He'd done nothing wrong. And he was not going to listen to the likes of her!

"No, I don't think so" he said softly. The Goth girl looked confused, then scared.

"You're not going to listen to me …are you. But it worked yesterday…" she said in a barely audible whisper, then turned and began running away … and fading away. As she ran, Paladin's sensors told him that she was becoming less solid, like she was phasing out of this reality. He was intrigued ... but he had to deal with the survivors first.

He let her leave, then walked over to the police and started explaining what had happened. It was going to be a long morning.

* * *

Dragoon hovered over the South River, watching the entire event from afar. The plane's controlled crash, its sudden arresting stop, the just-arrived rescure crew, the instantly assembled mob of passengers. The situation was under control. Definitely going to need to fix up the sky rider, he thought. Things move too damn fast in this city.

The Inferno
June 29, 2007 11:04 p.m.

That night, Lily is staying in an abandoned building in Southside, playing over the events of the day and why her powers failed her, when she mentally heard a hears a cry for help and caught a flash of fire and fear.

She immediately phased through the building, toward the source of the mental scream, and found a warehouse on fire. Knowing the mental cries had come from the second floor -- from some kind of office, and apparently from two young girls -- she fearlessly ran through the burning wall of the warehouse. Walls can't stop me, so why should flames? she thought. Then the pain hit her, as the fire leapt from the walls to her ethereal skin, transforming from searing orange to a terrible blue in a moment. She screamed in shock and disbelief. Isn't anything going to go right today?

* * *

Bobby Phoenix was watching an ancient black-and-white TV in his dingy one-room apartment when he heard the scream and caught glimpse of flickering red and orange light coming from outside. He instantly slapped on his bracers, transforming himself into Dragoon and running outside. He quickly saw the flames a few blocks over, and flew to them.

Hearing a scream from inside, he threw up a defensive shield and broke through a warehouse window, shrugging off the flames as he did so. Inside he saw a young girl wreathed in blue flames … a girl who looked more like a ghost than a person. He moved to help her only to see her shake her head violently.

"No, I'm … I'm ok," she said, grimacing through pain. "There's two kids in here -- down that hall, in an office I think. Get them… I'll be fine". He did as she asked, running down a smoke filled hall -- thank the Lords of Time that his filters could keep out the choking particles -- and found the door the girl had spoken of.

He tried to kick it down, but it stubbornly held. "No time for this" he said, materialized his energy sword, and vaporized the lock and most of the door. Inside he found two young girls, who'd clearly been living in the office for some time. "Are you hear to save us?" the older one asked, clearly terrified.

"Yes -- just hold on to me -- I'll get you out of here," although even as he picked them up he couldn't see how. The bracers would protect him, but only him.

The teenager he'd passed on the way in had the answer. She appeared at the door, solid now, and blue flames gone. "Stand next to me," she said, "I can protect us from the flames, but only if we're touching." Together, they left the building, Dragoon carrying them, the teen protecting them with some sort of blue-shimmering energy field.

Safely outside, a woman shouted "My girls! You saved my girls!" Dragoon floated down to the woman, lowering the girls and the teen to the ground. "You saved them … thanks you sir!" she said.

Dragoon merely nodded. "You're welcome." He looked at the teen, who was dressed all in black, something he knew was an oddity in this time period. "you're welcome" she muttered and then suddenly disappeared.

Bobby Phoenix, the Man out of Time, thought that was a good idea … and flew off into the night.

Rock Fight
June 29, 2007 10:04 a.m.

The next day, Grayson as back down at the docks, same as the day before, probably the same as next week and the rest of the year. He was up in the crane, waiting for the crew below to signal it was time to start unloading containers. From his vantage point, he could see most of the Wharf, and thus, it was impossible for him to miss it when the front third of one of the larger warehouses was suddenly swallowed by a sinkhole.

"Crap," he said, then radioed his supervisor. "Gonna take a break. Be back in 10."

Moments later he was down in the ground, swimming through the earth and emerging through the floor of the crumbling warehouse. He quickly moved to the mouth of the sink hole where he found a worker clinging to the edge. Gray ran forward, snagging the man by the scruff of the neck and lifting him to safety.

That's why he didn't notice the orange-tinged mountain appear beside him until it was too late. "Hey, remember me?" the voice rumbled. "Time for some payback."

As a stony fist crashed into his face, Gray did remember his opponent. It was Granite, of Factor Four. Super-villains through and through -- their last fight, down on the docks, had destroyed a half-dozen containers and a crane. Last time, Granite had been working solo. Would he be as lucky this time? Some how, he didn't think so…

He turned toward Granite and unleashed a blow of his own, knocking a chip of the stone-faced villain, but little more. The two then traded blows back and forth, sending explosions of sound rocking through the Wharf. Then Granite showed off a new trick, stepping back and bringing his huge stony hands together in a thunderclap of sound that staggered the normally indomitable Gray. He reeled under the blow and thought: Is this the day -- after surviving an encounter with aliens, after wrestling a plane to a standstill, hell, after spending more than a decade working the docs -- that I die?

As he swayed at the edge of the mental and physical precipice, he saw a mist-like form appear, and knew it to Sylph, one of Granite's fellow members of the Factor Four. And he thought the answer might be yes…

* * *

Granite's thunderclap rocking across the water of the South River, rattling windows on the Boardwalk, and sending echos ricocheting through Southside and Lincoln.

Juan was the first to respond, instantly dressing and running at near-warp speed down Route 4, where he caught a glimpse of a dust cloud rising over Riverside. He appeared in the warehouse a moment later, entering through a door and standing next to Granite. The stone giant didn't even have time to notice the speedster before Turbo had punched him, nearly knocking Granite sideways.

That got the elemental's attention, and he turned to fight the new arrival. Sylph, who had been unsuccessfully attempting to suffocate Gray with her vapors, saw the speedster as well, and decided to use her power on him instead. The noxious fumes shot toward him and penetrated Turbo's mask, causing him to choke violently and gasp for breath.

* * *

Elsewhere in the city the Spirit of Youth herself heard the distant rumbles, and phased up to the roof of the warehouse she was crashing in to see what the problem was. Noticing the smoke cloud, she instantly went airborne to investigate. She wasn't alone. The fighting in Riverside set of seismic detectors in Paladin's lab, and who promptly suited up and launched himself toward the docks.

Bobby Phoenix heard the distant thunderclaps form his apartment in Southside, and quickly did the same.

Lily made it to the warehouse first, arriving in time to the gray-skinned "hero" she'd seen at the airport the day reeling as though from a blow, while a vaporous woman had a black-suited man's head wrapped in a misty tentacle.

Who to help?: She'd met the gray man before, and thought she might have caught a glimpse of the black suited one at the airport. They might be heroes, they might not but the two elementalists they were fighting had made the headlines too often for her not to recognize them as members of the Factor Four. Those were definitely villains and whatever the motivations of those fighting them, as a hero herself, she had to take down the Factors.

Lily called out Sylph's name, and the airy woman turned to look at her. The Goth girl sprung her mental trap, manifesting the most terrifying visage she could imagine. Unlike her experiences the day before, this time everything worked exactly as she expected. The woman immediately screamed, retracted her misty appendage and flew away from the battle screaming.

A second later Paladin appeared, flying in through the ruined entrance to the building and repulsor blasts slamming down on the mountainous villain.

Granite caught one glimpse of the goth chick and the power-suited freak, and knew what to do next. He brought his hands together in a thunderclap that knocked Lily from the air, sent Gray staggering backward, and nearly knocked out Paladin.

The brick-skinned giant stepped forward, preparing to pick up Gray and beat a retreat. He had what Doctor Fathom wanted; it was time to get down to the Waterfront. But before he could turn and leave, yet another hero arrived. Dragoon came streaking down out of the sky, took careful aim at the villain, and shot a blast of energy from his bracers.

That was too much for Granite, and he finally fell to the ground, unconscious. Their enemy defeated, the heroes quickly picked up Granite and Gray and moved them to a safer location outside of the warehouse. There, Paladin accessed the police radio frequency and asked for an immediate pick up of a superpowered villain. The police responded by dispatching the Freedom City STAR Squad -- a special unit trained to deal with super-powered threats -- to transfer Granite to secure holding facilities at Blackstone Island prison.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Superhero Podcasts

Here are some podcasts I found useful when preparing the Infinity Storm campaign:

Accidental Surivors
Episode 010 - Four Colour to Ashen Gray

Episode 011 - Spandex and Trenchcoats: Superhero Characters

Episode 012 - Running A Superhero Game

Fear the Boot
Episode 51 - running a superhero game

Friday, June 29, 2007

Spirit of Youth #0

Lily Tombs was a normal American teenager. Sure, she was a bit of an outsider at her school – a little too goth to hang with the emo kids, a little too spooky to fit in with the other smart kids, but still a little straight-laced to bang around with the freaks and burnouts. In all though, given that every high school kid has their own little social ups and downs, she was just a normal teenager. Until she was killed by a speeding hit-and-run driver while crossing the street walking home from school one sunny afternoon, that is.

Lily awoke one day later in a hospital morgue with no recollection of the intervening time. She only knew with certainty that she had indeed been killed, and that she should no longer be walking the Earth.

What was she to do? She was dead - she couldn't return to her family and former life, could she?

An encounter with a member of the morgue staff galvanized her hesitation to return to her "life". The man was panicked into a frenzied state by her sudden resurrection, knocking over tables and instruments in his panic to get away from her, and eventually took hold of himself enough to snatch a scalpel from a nearby tray and advance on her, intent on destroying this blasphemy before him.

Lily could feel his hate and loathing; his knowledge that she should not be. But no - it was more than merely reading his body language - she was inside his mind! As he lunged at her, she put her arms up defensively to cover her face, but the man collided with something just in front of her – was it a piece of plexiglass?? That wasn’t there a moment ago, was it? Had she done that?!?

Her split-second reverie was shattered when Lily realized that she could not only hear the man’s every thought, but that - with a mental push or pull - she could manipulate the flow and contents of the man's consciousness!

With a reaction somewhere between horror and fascination, she forced the shaking young man to halt in his steps, and with a little effort, and sorting, and prodding, convinced him to forget their shocking encounter and that he was in desperate need of a cup of coffee from the hospital cafeteria.

This immediate threat avoided, she slumped against a wall in mental exhaustion – and slipped right through it! She was now in a section of the hospital’s underground parking garage – and hovering a few inches above the sidewalk! Would this nightmare never end? What was happening to her??

As she walked the streets, passersby glanced at her with hesitation. She could feel their strange repulsion of her, and their confused thoughts about why a pretty young woman should make them so inexplicably uncomfortable.

She was lost, displaced, out of time. She did not belong here, in this place, among the living. But she didn't know where to go – there was no place for her.

She wandered for days, sleeping in abandoned buildings, eating food from stores or restaurants whose employees were convinced that she'd just paid. This thievery and deception felt wrong, but she really had no recourse - and hell, she hadn't asked for this to happen.

Lily wandered for weeks, utterly lost and alienated. Any others that were not subtly repulsed by her presence seemed to be the degenerates, the forgotten and insane that wandered the back alleys and subways, and worse, the depraved and malicious. To them her proximity was somehow tantalizing and hypnotic, almost awe-inspiring.

She was horrified and sickened, and in despair sought solace and isolation. The "normals" avoided her presence, and the outsiders and creeps wanted to be uncomfortably near. She could only find a modicum of peace in loneliness.

She considered suicide, but only the thought of that presence, that cancerous dark will waiting for her on the other side, stayed her hand. She was utterly lost. Where to go - what to do? Why even try? She feared she would go mad. Sequestered, she had only boredom and loneliness. Out among the others, the voices threatened to pull her
under like a drowning tide.

Sitting in an abandoned tenement one morning lamenting her situation, Lily realized that she was utterly without purpose. How can someone exist without a purpose?

It was at that moment that a tremendous crash resounded outside the building, against the wall she’d been leaning against. She reflexively called her shimmering “shield” around herself and quickly flew through the nearest opposite wall lest the hovel collapse on top of her.

The scene in the street was chaos. Cars were tipped over and light-poles sheared off and lying in the street. She turned the corner to see that super hero guy – the one that could shoot ice from his hands – being pummeled into the hood of a taxi cab by that mean robot bad guy. Quake-face, or whatever he was called – she’d never bought into the press’s fascination with the whole super community.

Ice Guy was bleeding profusely, and just lying there limp on the crumpled remains of the car while the hulking, terrifying super villain bashed his senseless body with berserk rage. Without thinking, Lily screamed, “Stop it! Leave him alone!”

Quake-o suddenly ceased his frenzied attack and turned to face her, staring. Moments passed and nothing happened. The street was silent, save the crackling from some downed electrical wires and streetlights.

Lily’s eyes widened. Tentatively, she said, “Go on – get out of here. Leave us alone.” To her amazement, the hairy spandex-clad freak blinked at her once, and sedately turned and loped off down a side street, out of her sight.

“Holy crap…”, she breathed. After a few moments of shocked contemplation, Lily ran off to flag down an ambulance for the fallen Ice-dude. Frosty-Man. Whatever.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dragoon #0

Real Name: Bobby Phoenix

Powers overview: Alien gauntlets allow Bob to fly, give him a personal force field, and are capable of firing a ray. Due to his military experience he is a skilled combatant and martial artist, as well as a skilled pilot.

Character overview: Bob doesn't speak too much of his past. But what you do know is that he was in the military and he's alter ego job is as a construction worker. He just moved into freedom city recently, and has immediately made a name for himself. He is a good natured man always with the right things in mind, though at times perhaps a bit to eager.

History overview: A small town guy, Bob joined the military when he was young. There he was trained in the martial arts, and as a pilot with the call sign Dragoon. When he got out he started working construction. During one of his jobs where he was cleaning up after a supervillian attack, he came across a mysterious pair of gauntlets. Much to his surprise, they granted him super-abilities. At first he used them in secret, helping incognito. But as he became used to the hero thing, he decided it was time for an alternate identity. Recently, he has come to freedom city seeking to aid in their time of need.

Turbo #0

Juan Rivera, a 20 yr old puerto rican from Freedom City, works as a pizza deliverer for one of the big chains in a less than desirable section of the city. He maintains an sparse apartment, and his big interests seem to be his car and his motorcycle.

During childhood, Juan didn't seem to stand out in any real way. That is, until adolescence, when he showed remarkable innate fighting skills while getting picked on at school. In an effort to keep him from hurting himself or others, his family enrolled him in a private school (which their minority status enabled them to afford through the benificence of others). There, he gravitated to solo athletics such as gymnastics and swimming. He did well, but did not stand out, either athletically or academically.

Juan showed no real interest in higher education, and moved from job to job after graduation until settling into his current employment, which he's held for almost two years now. He has no strong connection to family or friends in the city, and is probably closest to his manager at the pizza place.

He was not "super" in any way until about a month ago. That night, when trying to make a delivery on time (30 minutes or it's free, says Uncle Enzo...) he was in a terrible accident. His car collided with a truck carrying the ASTRO Labs logo and numerous placards identifying all sorts of hazardous materials on board. In the accident, he was bathed in a mix of chemicals and various unknown (or undisclosed) substances. These mixed with the chemicals from his car engine and propulsion systems. After hospitalization, doctors were concerned Juan would never walk again, much less participate in any of the athletics he had enjoyed as a kid. They were suprised when he seemed to recover with remarkable alacrity...

The accident seemed to have given him amazing powers. Juan, for fear of becoming a freak or some sort of lab rat, hid the burgeoning powers he discovered, letting the doctors only see that he had regained his normal health. To himself, he discovered that he could move at superhuman speeds, and that he was tougher than before.

Juan has no real desire to become a star of any sort, but growing up in Freedom City has instilled in him the belief that it is the responsibility of people with powers like he now possesses to become champions of good. So, garbing himself in an all-black combat suit with a protective helmet and a stylized silver gear on the chest, he has dubbed himself "Turbo". He has not yet used his powers in any way in a public setting or to fight evil, but he is just about ready to step up as the newest speedster in Freedom City...

Flynn #0

Andrew Kilter (aka Flynn) was a US 2004 Olympic hopeful for the gold in the small world of archery. His father was an executive and his mother had died when he was 10. Andrew’s older sister, Amanda, is the well known one for her 2000 gold medal in figure skating. It is much more impressive than his silver medal. He lost the gold against Germany’s Hugo VonElrich. Hugo is a rival which Andrew will never get to compete against again or the fact that Hugo dated Amanda during the 2000 Olympics.

After the Olympics, the sponsorship monies are ending and America is looking for their next unsung hero in, of all things, archery. After a few movie deals and stunt work, Andrew Kilter is looking for a job and after being an archer, a lot of things fail in comparison.

He fights with just being a ‘normal guy with a job’. Andrew struggles for something to make him larger than life to truly make a difference in the world with the skills that he has.

Andrew found his calling the night he saved a young girl named Shauna Wilson by shooting an arrow out his apartment window at a criminal named Sean Davis. The first arrow skewered through the man’s upper arm and second arrow went through his knee when he tried to run. In return for his kindness, the civil suit for the injuries took its toll.

The good news is the Shauna’s father, Thomas Wilson owns a technology corporation (Wilson Electronics, where he's now a research analyst) which is helping Andrew in his cause. Together they work to Andrew’s goal of protecting the city.


Flynn as he is named wears a black outfit with a series of pockets, pouches, etc. Over his head, he has a hood and a small mask. He carries various arrows, most notably the detach impact (blunt damage / breaks on impact) and the taser arrows which numb the victim. He also carries tonfas which seem to assist in upclose and personal fights.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Infinity Storm, Vol. 1. Issue #1: A Distant Star

June 24, 2007. Astronomy graduate student Alfred Carson is conducting observations of the Ort Cloud when he spots a new object the size of Manhattan. Closer examination reveals a reflective profile unlike any asteroid or comet ever recorded. Curious scientists probe deeper and discover the object appears be attracting and absorbing its Ort cloud neighbors in ways that defy the laws of physics. Earth's greatest heroes -- the Freedom League -- are dispatched to investigate the object, aided by the solar system's defender, the Star Knight.

Their absence does not go unnoticed. Five days later Dr. Stratos, sensing the perfect opportunity for revenge against his arch enemy Captain Thunder and the Freedom League, launched an assault against Freedom City's Blackstone Prison, summoning a power surge that overloaded the superhero penitentiary's electronics and opened the way for his Crime League associates to crack open its walls.

Now the prison's superhero inhabitants are loose in the world, America's traditional super-powered defenders are nowhere to be found, and an unprecedented crimewave is about to sweep the country ... starting with the Home of Freedom. Can anyone rise to save the city from this superheated catastrophe?

Gray #0

Grayson was a mild-mannered longshoreman at the local port by day, and a successful amateur boxer by night. That was until he was abducted by the unfathomable Mysterions.

Taken to their lair, and transformed into a living weapon to do their bidding, little did they know Grayson's stubborn Scots-irish heritage would manifest itself into a free willed brawler that nearly took apart their secret base underneath the bay, and destroyed all their plans for world dominance.

Now loose in the city, and occasionally foiling Mysterion plots, Grayson still works at the docks, and sometimes even boxes (deliberately "pulling his punches" in a contest of pure skill, so as not to reveal his true character), but his nights are in the pursuit of justice, freedom, and liberty as....GRAY!

Paladin, the Techno-Knight #0

Paladin Origins

Ever since Charlemagne “Charlie” McInnis could remember, his father, a medeival history professor, would tell him tall tales of the adventures of chivalry and knighthood. Young Charlie was enthralled by their exploits, and their sworn duty to protect the weak against those who would use them evily. Charlie loved all of the tales, from Arthur and the Knights of the Round to Ivanhoe to Robin Hood to tales of secret societies and the Knights Templar. But his favorite tales were those of the great king Charlemagne and his 12 Paladins.

As Charlie grew older, it was apparent that he possesed a great intellect and a natural aptitude for science, a gift that eventually allowed Charlie to attend one of the premier scientific universities in the country.

While in college at MIT, Charlie started working on the project that would change his life forever. Alarmed by the rise of all of the “superpowered” individuals and especially the relative inability of standard police forces to deal with the increased threat, Charlie started developing a mobile weapons and protection platform to help give the edge back to the forces of Law and Order. Thus was the beginning of the powered armor that would eventually be known as one of the premier standards in law enforcement, the Paladin Armor.

In a related line of research, Charlie started to look for ways in which the interface for the armor could link directly to the wearers brain, making the armor a true extention of the wearers will. The most promising line of research was in nanotechnology. Alas, Charlie sponsors did not share his enthusiasm for injecting human soldiers and police with nanotechnology. Frustrated by their unwillingness to authorize further nanotech testing, Charlie proceeded by injecting himself with a wide array of nanotech.

The nanotech suceeded beyond Charlie wildest dreams. He found himself able to interface directly with computers and issue commands to them from a respectable distance.

Charlie started to put his Paladin armor research on hold while he further developed the nanotechnology. Within a year, he was able to develop several useful abilities due to the nanotech that he was injecting into himself. Alas, his sponsors were not happy that he failed several benchmarks for developing the Paladin armor and took the research Charlie had already completed and shut down his funding.

Embarrassed by the dissolution of his main project and overriding goal, Charlie devoted the next 9 months to perfecting the first version of the Paladin armor, nicknamed “The Squire” (due to the fact that it was only a working prototype) [in game terms, this armor was proably PowerLevel 2]. Featuring enhanced strength and resiliance and speed (on foot), the Squire armor far outshone what the government had been able to do with the Paladin research.

Impressed, the government re-opened the development project and in the next few years Charlie produced several more advanced sets of armor, dubbed “Champion” [Power Level 4], “Knight” [Power Level 6] and “Myrmidon” [Power Level 8]. At the height of the project, the Myrmidon armor provided great strength and protection, flight, basic armament and a comprehensive communications/sensor array. Although the government was immensly satisfied with the results, Charlie knew there was more he could do with the armor.

Charlie argued that the true pinnicle of the Paladin program, was to integrate the wearer and the armor so that the armor became less of a protective suit and more of an extention of the wearers own body and will. Charlie tried to convince the project leaders that the next best step was to fully envision his dream and create the ultimate armor, which he finally bestow the designation Paladin class, and which would rely upon the nanotech interface to increase efficiency and effectiveness tenfold.

Once again the government was unconvinced and decided they had already achieved “Paladin class” powerarmor and they started to put the Myrmidon armor into production along with a more heavily armed varient and started winding down the project.

Undaunted, Charlie decided to continue his work in private, reasoning that just as before, if he completed an advanced set of armor on his own, which demonstrated the increased efficiency and usefulness of his nanotech approach, the government would reconsider. Thus the superhero Paladin was born.

During the year that it took Charlie to perfect his design of the true Paladin armor, the government put the earlier design into field use at the newly opened superhuman prison known as the Lockdown facility.

It was during the finalization of Charlie’s new Paladin armor that destiny intervened.

Charlie was in his start up company Scientific Applications, or SciFi Apps. He didn’t have any outside contracts at the moment, so of course he was deeply engrossed in working on his advanced Paladin armor.

The nearby explosion broke his concentration though, as several tools and pieces of armor fell to the floor in a clatter. Exiting his lab, Charlie rushed outside only to see a hulking behemoth of a man roaring in defiance as the regular police forces attempted in vain to restrain him.

Charlie’s first thought was that the police would be able to handle it. After all, the STAR Squad had to be on their way, right? But then the superstrong villian picked up a police car and threw it down the street, right over and uncomfortably close to Charlie’s head, and right into another two police cruisers speeding to the scene of the distrubance.

“Well, I guess this is as good a time as any for a field test”, Charlie thought to himself as he ducked back into his workshop amid bursts of gunfire, crashing explosions, crackling megaphones and roars of defiance.

It took Charlie several minutes to don the Paladin armor (Charlie made a mental note to do something about suit up time), during which time the noise from outside died down. “I hope that’s not a literal assessment” Charlie thought grimly as he rocketed out of the skylight over his workshop, glass tinkling muscially below (Charlie made another mental note that maybe he should spend some time creating a different way out of his lab).

The scene below looked like it was the set of an disaster movie. Cars were flung everywhere, water was shooting up from destroyed fire hydrants and windows were shattered all along the block.

Taking a quick glance around, the HUD* (Heads Up Display) in his armor identified the infrared signatures of almost a dozen uniformed police officers, apparently having taken cover behind a pile up of several thrown vehicles, protecting the few civilian bystanders caught in the sudden violence. The HUD confirmed that for all of the obvious violence, injuries appeared to be light. “Thank God for that”, Charlie thought.

With the Repulsor tech ramping up to full power (another mental note, the Armor needs to be at full power much more quickly), Charlie paused for a moment. Chanelling more power to the sensor array, Charlie scanned the immediate area for the perpetrator. After only a few seconds, a radar blip appeared on the HUD, moving at speed away from the battle scene.

With the high pitched whine of repulsor tech, Charlie shot off in the direction of the perpetrator, cruising above the rooftops, searching for his target below. Unfortunately, he kept loosing the signal as his query ducked around corners, putting more buildings between the two. Charlie frowned as he suddenly lost the radar image altogether, making another note to expand the sensor array and work on filtering out buildings from the display.

Just as Charlie was making a sharp turn around a corner toward the last observed location of his target, he flew straight into an airborn SUV, courtesy of said superhuman villian. Caught completely unaware, Charlie was violently thrown back into the building behind him. Amid the crunching sounds of the masonry wall and the groaning of the Paladin armor denting under the fury of the tremendous blow, Charlie made another note to provide some sort of collision avoidance software into the sensor array. Seeing the now crushed vehicle falling away from him toward the street fifteen stories below, Charlie accelerated downward, repulsors whining angrily, a golden light lancing out from his gauntleted palms.

In the blink of an eye a golden wire framework stitched itself together around the falling vehicle. A second later, as astonished bystanders below evacuated the impact site, the final golden filament snapped into place, irridescent planes of pure golden light filled all of the spaces between the wires, creating a cushion around all of the falling debris just as it crashed into the waiting pavement. The golden fields of force blossomed outwards like automotive airbags, protecting the sidewalk below from the terrible impact.

Charlie quickly scanned the area, but nothing out of the ordinary showed up on his HUD. Unfortunately, his quary had gotten away from him and the police.

“Well, at least the forcefield design worked well”, Charlie thought.

Then the repulsors whined back to full power, carrying the new hero back into the air and back to the drawing board.