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Wednesday Night Icons: The day Hari got to wear trousers for the first time in his life [0]
james_nicoll
Let me get back on the write-up horse.



As it turned out I was the only player available but we ran anyway. I was playing Hari We Don't Use Surnames Where I am From [1], a extremely foreign foreign exchange student at Hope Prep, a school for supers in (Anycity America in the original but Toronto in this). It was orientation day and because cliques are apparently encouraged at this place the incoming students were divided up into groups according to some perceived common trait. Hari's was the alien group, which included Prince Lorn (another extradimensional, speedster from Atlantis), Eric Su (a gadgeteer who looked like he'd been living on the streets for a while), Kylene DeLong (a healer with some very useful force fields), and Glimm Grivbazz (strong, clumsy, curious alien). Kylene and Eric got stuck in the group as add-ons; they are from Earth. Well, Kylene's from Texas but Eric seems to have been stuck into the group because he's socially maladroit in a he's the only one who suffers for it sort of way.

Lorn and Hari took an immediate dislike to each other, on the grounds that Lorn thinks being born noble means something whereas Hari is all about merit, where merit means being lucky enough to have the right combination of aptitude and opportunity to be picked for what is likely considered by many an abusive training program from childhood. Glimm and Lorn didn't hit it off because Glimm's attempt at a friendly backslap sent Lorne across the room.

Cynical upperclass person Jade, last name and abilities forgotten, was in charge of the alien kids and filled them in on the rules. Hari pointed out a number of the rules seemed to priviledge those who did not use gadgets over those who did. Jade's response did not indicate egalitarian goals were in any way playing a role in the administration of the school. She did advice the group to pick their clique carefully, as it would define how the rest of school went.

Interesting statistic: 50% of all orientation days involve at least one super-villain attack. This is because security is at its lowest on the day when dozens of new kids are admitted [2].

As part of the program of setting the kids at each other's throats, all the teams were run through a series of obstacle courses. Although Team Alien didn't really do all that well, they did try to work together and it turned out they had applicable abilities and skills; everyone else did even worse so Team Alien came in first. Yay dumb luck and sensible tactics!

During lunch, everyone had to stay with their orientation group but the established cliques put out feelers for people they wanted to recruit. Lorn was all for joining the Legacies and the Legacies were all for recruiting Hari. Hari kind of killed that with an unnecessarily frank comment about people who derive their sense of self-worth from the accomplishments of others, something Hari didn't particularly regret doing.

There was the obligatory food fight. It turns out this can trigger the school's security system (or maybe someone set it off on purpose) so all the students were rushed to classrooms where they would not be burned down where they stood by the roaming security robots. Hari did his best to teleport the more vulnerable kids in Team Alien to safety but try as he might he couldn't seem to get them to a classroom before it sealed (and the rooms are teleport-shielded).

It became apparent this was not bad luck but a trap when three members of the Alchemical Cabal attacked or at least three people dressed like hard-core criminals one would be excused for killing attacked. In fact they were just senior students playing a prank and once this became obvious, Hari started talking loudly about how boiling their blood in their veins - which he cannot do - might be called for and they surrended and admitted it was all just hazing.

Their expectation was that the new kids would take all this as a joke or at least an acceptable part of the process but it soon became clear Hari, who comes from a place where that sort of hazing can't work and who has been subjected to Chinese Opera-levels of discipline since he was a kid, had no intention of not ratting the seniors out. They did their best to bribe or intimidate Hari but as Hari pointed out, life means suffering and he wasn't going to back down just because backing down was more convenient. SOme berating over lack of character may have occurred at this point.

Lorn, of course, jumped at the chance to suck up to seniors by facilitating hazing pranks.

It soon became academic because one of the seniors has electrical control powers and they deliberately set off the top level security system, freeing the kill-bots to roam the halls [3]. The seniors were then teleported away by Mr Electrical Powers. This seemed like a really good idea so Hari teleported Team Alien to a nearby park, then called in to let the school know where they were and why they went there.

After a while it became clear the ride the kids were told to expect had not shown up. Hari took a look with ESP and saw that in an amazing coincidence, an actual team of Alchemical Cabal members was raiding the school, looking for someone named Sheena. As it turned out, Sheena was one of the three seniors who had hazed Team Alien and she wasn't in the school because she had teleported away.

Having ESP with provincial range meant it was easy enough to find the seniors; Hari popped over and let them know what was going on. At first, both groups of kids were going to just sit out the situation and let the teachers deal with it as per the instructions they expected they'd get if they actually asked but when it became obvious the teachers were at best holding their own, the kids decided to head back and do their best to save the day. It helped that the seniors were hopeful that playing the cavalry would make up for the whole "hazing and also releasing roaming kill-bots into the school" thing.

Sheena is a witch and since the electrical guy was all out of mass teleports, she opened a gate into the school. Hari doesn't see any reason to play fair in a fight so he suggested as soon as everyone arrived, they all take a shot at the leader. This proved marvelously effective, and also introduced the kids to the unfortunate fact that all of the Alchemical Cabal guys have orders not to be taken alive; as soon as the leader went down, one of his minions dissolved him with an injection.

Hari used the standard TK trick of picking up one guy to use him as a club on another guy and almost everyone continued the tactic of swarming one agent at a time. This worked until one of the Cabal got the bright idea to use an area-effect flesh-to-stone attack, which took out an impressively large number of good guys. Hari was still standing but badly wounded and since he had no idea if the stone thing wore off or what would happen if one of the stoned kids got broken, he teleported one of the KOed agents - conveniently horizontal - into the volume occupied by two of the remaining cabal. This was very effective but Hari was bothered by the good odds he'd just deliberately killed three people.

I don't recall who took down the last Cabal agents (not Hari) but all of them went down and then dissolved as their suits kept them from being captured. This was great timing because Hari balances effective attacks with not much in the way of defenses and he was one point away from passing out from burns at that point.

The admin showed up; their tech guy was pretty sure he could reverse the petrification effect with considerably less radiation than the last time he did it but happily for everyone, there's a mage on staff and they knew all that was needed was a kiss from a virgin. Hari, having no idea there could be social repercussions, immediately volunteered. No tongue with Lorn or anyway not much.

Hari explained that he thought there was a good chance that he'd killed three Cabal members but it turned out losing meant they were dead anyway (unless the dissolving into smoke thing is a cover for a teleport but someone read their minds during the scuffle and they sure thought they were suicide agents; all of them took poison for which they had been assured there was an antidote before heading off on the mission) so Hari gets a pass on that.

USHER, the government agency charged with showing up late and then taking all the cool supervillain tech to be later misused by a well-intentioned extremist promoted well above their competence level, showed up late and collected all the cool stuff the Cabal guys had with them. Hari spotted one of the teachers hiding a Cabal suit and didn't say anything, paralysed between the respect for teachers that had been beaten into him and the respect for the rules etc. Usually they are the same thing....

The fact that Hari uses the translator magictech someone suggested and cannot read English did come up. He's entirely literate but not in Latin scripts, just Brāhmī. And not in English. I'm sure studying using the magical equivilent of google translate will never come back to haunt him.


Notes from the GM.

Note that Hari does not hate Atlanteans. He views them with amused contempt.

0: Where does one keep one's keys in a dhoti, anyway?

1: Which got a "small population, huh" crack from some NPC. Normal it would be his name, his dad's given name but due to Hari's educational status "of the Cerulian Light" replaces the patronymic. Still technically not a surname as such.

2: The biometric tags that ID people as students and so protect them from the security bots are not handed out until the end of the day. Consider this foreshadowing.

3: I have to wonder how exactly the Minister of Education justifies this.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.
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3: I have to wonder how exactly the Minister of Education justifies this.

Cuts down on the need to have hall monitors. Those kids just never turn out right. See The Brady Bunch as proof.

The day Hari got to wear trousers for the first time in his life

I wonder what will be funnier: the day Hari finds out about Toronto winters or the day he discovers he can slack off without any consequence beyond crushing guilt?

0: Where does one keep one's keys in a dhoti, anyway?

Apparently you can store small things like keys in a roll at the waistline...

1: Which got a "small population, huh" crack from some NPC.

There were actually two "small population, huh" cracks: this one and one from Lorn after Hari commented that he didn't understand why there was this pressing need for super-powered crime fighters (the intended product of Hope Prep*). Lorn sneered that where Hari is from has too few people to have many criminals or any other kind of person, and Hari replied that he had come to terms with Atlantis being populous enough to be overrun by crooks.

* Except for the Juvie Clique, who everyone expects to become super-villains.

Comment from the writer and publisher of the adventure and setting:

"Thanks for writing that up -- I enjoyed reading through the notes that both you and your player generated! It sounds like you guys both had fun, which, in my mind, is the most important thing."

Apparently his intent is to produce four or five adventures for freshman year, besides the orientation one: two for fall, two for spring, and then maybe a summer vacation adventure.

Er, fall session and spring session in the game. In the real world, he's going for a bimonthly publication schedule.

The two fall adventures ("The Substitute" and "Halloween Ball") are already published. The Substitute occurs a few weeks into the year, and the Halloween Ball one is set, well, near Halloween.

I don't often get to read what happens in adventures especically Icon related adventures makes me wonder what would happen if i ran it (unlikely to be otherwise with the group I roleplay with unless I do an online version instead!)

Actually, I think the angst and business of high school stuff would make it well-suited to the blue-booking that comes as a natural part of something like play-by-post.

Combat would still be tedious (at least, I'm finding it so in the one ICONS thing I run online).

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