Monday, August 25, 2008

Playing for Keeps: Up, Up and Away!

Cover: Playing for KeepsMy good friend (and geeky partner-in-crime at Knights of the Dinner Table) Mur Lafferty launched her the print edition of her superhero novel Playing for Keeps today.

Go buy the book.

Initially released as a podcast, Playing For Keeps tells the story of Keepsie, a bartender with third-rate superhero powers that kept her out of Seventh City's equivelent of the Justice League. Other "Third Waves" -- those who have minor or seemingly inconsequential powers -- frequent her bar. These Mystery Men-style also rans suddenly become important though, when villains and heroes battle in the sky, and a certain something falls into Keepsie's posession...

Mur's hoping to get a nice buzz going for the book; ah hell, that's not right ... Mur's hoping to smash the gates of traditional publishing by rocketing to the top of the sales lists. If you like superheroes, if you like Mur's stuff, if you want to stun a few traditional print publishers or if you just want to try out a fun, fast-reading novel, buy the book

One note, cribbed from Mur's FAQ. The book says its sold out, but you can still buy it. Her publisher, Swarm, uses print-on-demand technology, and they'll happily print you as many books as you want to buy.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Infinity Storm #6: White Knight, Green Hero

  • Real World Date: 2/9/2008
  • Game Date: July 10th, 2007
Previously in the pages of Infinity Storm

The teenager hero Lilly was sucked into the nightmarish, otherworldly city of Carcossa after attempting to wake a child from an unnatural coma … a coma he fell into after an accidental telepathic burst from another hero, Dragoon, while at the Freedom City Library. She managed to find the boy and escape back to Freedom City, but not before catching glimpses of a horrible future in which insane cultists trying to open a portal to the Lost City instead awaken the slumbering consciousness of the Hellqueen. The villainess’ awakening causes a magical apocalypse that lays waste the city and kills most of its heroes.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Paladin had encounter with a teenaged-aged ghost girl, who tells him that Lilly is lost in space and time … and that a dark ritual must be stopped. He and the other heroes learn of a grisly murder in Baltimore that may have been the work of cultists associated with – or inspired by – the indie rock band known as The Kings in Yellow. They also receive a threatening phone call from the band’s manager, Alistair Wyrmbury, who warns the heroes – whom he shockingly addresses by their real names – that they can not possibly stop the ritual … and that they should not interfere in powers they do not understand.

Finally, the ramifications of Dr. Stratos' earlier attack on the city and Blackstone Prison continue to be felt -- the villains Magpie, Rant and Rave, and White Knight are still at large, and believed to be somewhere in Freedom City. While the master thief Magpie has undoubtedly gone to ground, it's likely that the other villains will lash out at the society that imprisoned them sooner rather than later.

The heroes are now gathered in Paladin’s secret headquarters in Freedom City’s Greenbank district, discussing their next move.

And now Infinity Storm #6: White Knight, Green Hero.

Our Heroes
  • Paladin, the Techno-Knight
  • Chauncey Meadows, the Man from Mars
  • The Indomitable Gray
  • Flynn, Vengeance Inc.
  • Lilly, the Spirit of Youth
  • Power points earned: 1

Trouble in Orbit

Something has gone wrong on orbit with FreeSpace Inc.’s space platform in low-earth orbit. The experimental private space factory Adam Smith is under attack by drones of unknown design. Thomas Freeman, the entrepreneurial hero known as Atlas, had previously visited Paladin and asked him to submit a proposal for space-worthy combat suits in anticipation of this very scenario.

It arrived far earlier than he’d expected though. With the platforms defensive systems not yet online, and most of his FreeSpace heroes lacking in offensive powers, Freeman calls Paladin and asks for his assistance. The Techno-Knight obliges, issues a stern warning to his new friends – particularly the archer Flynn – not to touch or break anything in the base and flies to the Star Island Spaceport where he meets up with Atlas, the analytical sorcereress Reason and their ride to low-earth orbit, the planetary-distance teleporter FarStar.

As he leaves Earth behind, Paladin can only hope that his fellow heroes can handle anything that might threaten Freedom City in his absence.

Chauncey Meadows, the Man from Mars

As Doctor Stratos unleashed his climatic furious on Freedom City, a minor scandal broke out at Channel 6. Weatherman Chauncey Meadows, caught up in the spectacle of the super-storm threatening the city, accidentally let his disguise slip.

Suddenly, his true form – that of a green Martian – suddenly appeared on TV before thousands upon thousands of viewers. His secret revealed, he decided to quit his day job and become a crime fighter. Little is known about Chauncey; he left the studio immediately after his unexpected revelation, and has not yet agreed to any broadcast interviews. In truth, he is essentially a Martian Buck Rogers, frozen in time a million years ago, and suddenly awakened in the current era. He came to Earth years earlier, seeking to learn what happened to his people years earlier. When he found no trace of them in any of Earth’s archives, he decided to blend in … and become a weatherman.

Hate in South Side

White Knight appears in Southside and begins attacking working class, mixed-race neighborhood, burning everything he can. Chauncey, who was telepathically screening people at airport, hears that the Knight is attacking the neighborhood, and flies there. He goes dense, and cannonballs into White Knight, bruising him. White Knight, sees that he got hit by a green freak and says he’ll burn the impurities to the freak.

He tries to burn the alien but the surge instead strikes the roof of gas station, failing to incinerate anything.

Chauncey moves forward, grapping him and trying to pummel him into the ground, but White Knight laughs off the attack, and ignites the alien hero, scorching him. The alien pummels him with a knee to the groin, knocking the wind from the villain and stunning him.

Meanwhile, at Paladin’s lair, the heroes hear that White Knight is fighting an unknown superhero, STAR Squad was dispatched, fire crews on the way. Chauncey tries to pummel his opponent again, but misses. A stunned White Knight is unable to respond, and the alien tries to hit again, but fails.

White Knight tries to break free, but fails. Lilly flies in, becomes invisible, lands and erects a forcefield around the Martian to protect him.

Dragoon arrives, sees the tenements on fire, and goes to investigate. He hears a man calling for help, saying kids are in the building. He has the man get onto the bike and have him go down to the street. Dragoon runs to the closed bedroom, opens the door, kicking off a backdraft inferno that shoots out, instantly knocking him unconsciousness. As he falls, a telepathic blast goes off from his mutant power, causing all his friends to catch a glimpse of him kicking open the door and setting off the backdraft.

The pugilist Gray, having learned from his fights in the wring, pummels the hatemonger but fails. The White Knight cackles, saying he’ll destroy the illegal alien lovers, and causes a burst of flame that stuns Gray. Fortunately, Chauncey and Lilly are protected from fire. Lilly tries to blast his mind, but he shrugs it off. She then flies down the street toward the burning tenement.

Flynn arrives, sees the explosion and shoots a dazzle arrow at White Knight which overwhelms the villain. White Knight freaks out, and explodes with fiery fury. Lilly transforms into her insubstantial form, runs up through the air into the room where Dragoon is, sees the corridor on fire, and the hero unconscious on the floor.

Flynn fires a stun arrow at the villain. It strikes home, stunning the villain. Flynn runs over to the gas station, searching for a fire extinguisher, then sees lever labeled “fire suppression system.”

Killy uses her TK power to lower Dragoon’s body to the street. Gray kicks the knight in the gonads, bruising him badly and stunned. Flynn triggers fire suppression system.

Lilly phases into room, finds two kids clinging to their dog. She reassures them and throws door open.

Gray continues beating on White Knight, stunning him again. Chauncey releases his pin, and punches the knight, bruising him even more. Lilly then TKs the kid and dog out of the room. Gray finally decks the knight, knocking him unconsciousness.

“You guys breath through that little whole that leads through your neck? I just need to choke that next time…” – Chauncey.

Lilly tries to wake Dragoon telepathically, but he refuses to return to consciousness.

The Cavalry Arrives

Lilly returns to the scene of the fight, taking refuge on the top of the building as the STAR Squad arrives. Gray also retreats, watching.

Stanton shows up, demands to know where Gray is. Dragoon says he only occasionally fights with the group, he doesn’t know where he is. Stanton flies into a rage, says he will arrest him if he sees Dragoon or Flynn with Gray again.

STAR Squad Lt. Joe Anderson confronts Stanton, saying its Freedom City Police Department Jurisdiction, and makes call for District Attorney to settle turf war. Then Stanton goes to leave, tries to open helicopter door held fast by Lilly, who then lets it go and causes him to fly backward, further upsetting him.

Meanwhile, one of the Psi Agents on board reports power spike from Lilly, and takes off, trying to do sweeps of the neighborhood.

STAR Squad carries away White Knight to Lockdown.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Infinity Storm #5: The Lost City

• Real World Date: 12/23/2007
• Game Date: 7/9/2007

Previously the pages of … Infinity Storm

The telepathic teenager Lilly has been drawn into the bizarre otherworldly city of Carcossa after making mental contact with a young boy knocked into a coma by Dragoon, the man out of time. While she desperately searches for a way to return herself and the boy to the real world, her compatriots investigate the mysterious, possibly insane rock band known as the Kings and Yellow.

And now ... Issue #5: The Lost City

Lilly goes to Carcossa. She finds the boy, sees the crazy hospital and the Victorian architecture, gaslit streets, and the all-consuming mists which swirl around Carcossa. Also see great lake, and a palace, that may or may not be on the edge of the city.

She talks to the boy, says she’s trying to get him back. She hears the distance sound of a loud and raucous.

Our Heroes

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


• Power points earned: 1

* * *

Back in the city, Paladin runs scans, determines temperature is dropping fast. Informs Dragoon what’s happening, tells him he doesn’t believe in supernatural, it’s just meta. Suddenly, ghost manfists, says lilly is missing. That he must stop the ritual…

He says he doesn’t believe it was a ghost, instead it’s a meta who can phase.


He gives a communicator to the nurse, who informs him she’s summoning Dr. Tanner.

He then summons Grey and Dragoon.

Dragoon goes to Vito the Squid down at an illegal gambling bar. Negotiates with Squid to take a fall in a fight (pissed off a lot of mafia people winning the other week). Squid tells him the ship their stuff in via road freight into the wharf district, then have porters who carry it over to the college.

* * *

Gray and Dragoon try and figure something else.

Dragoon starts researching on the web.

Dragoon finds out that they’re at American College in Washington D.C., before that at Baltimore, before that Columbia.

In Carcossa
Lilly hears voices calling her to some location. She chooses to follow the voice, sees shifting door way.

July 10, 2007

The next day they call American College to find out who is handling the shipping for the Kings in Yellow.

• Call Wyrmbury associates, and gives number.
• Leaves message saying lost shipping information, will get back to him.

“I know what you’re trying to do, Mr. Bobby Phoenix. And you would do well not to interfere in what you do not understand.”

Dragoon goes to Enterprise and rents a truck, to drive to freedom city. Takes superhero damage clause. Arrives on campus, starts talking with Public Safety. Secretary gets suspicious after giving plans.

Freedom City Designs.

Finds entry. Sally Camstock. Went Missing in Arkham. Finds missing girl in Baltimore Morgue. Seems she’s been murdered, stabbed five times to the chest, breaking her heart. He also finds several code names on the server:

* Morgan
* Ghoster
* Dreamer
* Draconis

He also discovers that the Boston Transport Co. handles all of the bands shipping.

In the other world, Lilly gets lost in Labrintyth. She meets a man, who gives her a bottle. She asks if she opens if, if he will leave. There is no evil. Just knowledge and how you choose to use it. She opens her bottle.

Paladin does a search for “queens” turns up the Hellqueen. Finds that she’s in Providence Asylum in Royal Port. Paladin talks with Grey, brain storming.

Wyrmberry calls, taunts Draggon, saying the girl is lost and won’t find her way back in time and that they can’t prevent the queen’s return. Dragoon fills them in on Wyrmbury, tells him about pentagram yard.

Grey and the Sherlock find the discarded side chamber, and the robot opens the door. They go in, find several chests, filled with yellow robes and black candle. Grey wrecks everything.

Lilly emerges from the Maze and 11 hours later and hears the parade closer.

She tries to contact paladin, gets vision of future self who’s seen the hellqueen, whose killed all of his friends.

Finally, she discovers The Portal of Kerdah the Insane. Kerdah is actually the only sane person in Carcossa, constantly searching for a way back to his own time in medieval Arabia. He provides her and the boy with a portal back to the real world, asking only that she help him return home … if she can.