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.

About the Blog

Infinity Storm is a blog for the Mutants & Masterminds campaign of the same name. The campaign is set in Freedom City in the current era. The blog features campaign news and announcements, background material, adventure write-ups and play-by-post. Posts and comments are limited to members of our gaming group.

The Constant Sentinel is Infinity Storm's in-character companion blog. The Griffin's Crier is the official Web site for our gaming group, the Blackrazors.

Saga Organization

Infinity Storm is organized into volumes, each comprised of 4-6 adventures, and with the entire campaign expected to run three volumes:

* Infinity Storm Vol. 1: Heatwave

It also features stand alone titles for each of the campaign's heroes, which include play-by-post actions done between or perhaps even during regular campaign adventures.

* Paladin, the Techno-Knight
* Gray

Contacting Us

Questions about this blog or the campaign can be sent to Ken Newquist at