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Wednesday Night Icons: Field Trip to Twisted Earth
james_nicoll
When we left Hari, Rumspringa, Glimm and Sari teamwork on the part of Hari and Glimm had left them all marooned on Twisted Earth. The good news is the group (and a teacher named Bailey we'd rescued) had found the laboratory belonging to the Twisted Earth version of Bailey, to be referred to as Evil Bailey or EB [1]. The bad news was, EB was still in it, torturing a man whose name we never got.



Since the GM noticed that both Glimm and Sari were underpowered compared to Rumspringa and Hari, they each got a between sessions power-up. In Sari's case, she got smarter (although we still are not exactly intellectual powerhouses), got a Will upgrade, got more acrobatic, got even better at stabbing people, and a nifty ranged stabby. I sort of expected stealth but she's pretty good at moving unnoticed just on raw stats.

I forget what Glimm got.

Where our B is a tech guy, EB is a biology guy. The room is filled with venomous animals in fragile glass cages; one of the things was a slug as seen in the basement of Hope Prep the last session. It has a power-damper on it but seems happy enough where it was.

Rumspringa frees the guy on the table. He does not stick around to help but flees. Disappointing.

Hari quietly thinks of himself as the master adept of the group, seeing Glimm and Rumspringa as impressive in their way but basically brute force and Sari, while also impressive (and now a lot more impressive), is basically just a cute girl with knives, while he is the greatest student of the Cerulean Light on Earth (and also the only student of the Cerulean Light on Earth); he takes the initiative and reaches out with the Light to immobilize and subdue EB. A pity that he has as much effect as a firefly slamming into a truck but his style was impeccable.

Glimm in contrast shows absolutely no subtlety and settles for just ringing EB like a cheap bell. Sari at least shows some artistry; aware that she doesn't have the raw power to drive through EB's defenses, she jams his suit joints with thrown shurikens, slowly immobilizing EB. Glimm exploits this and begins peeling EB like a grape, starting at the rip Sari created.

Hari spends some time examining the armour with his highly developed senses, then strikes at just the right angle to have absolutely no effect on the latches holding the armour shut.

Rumspringa, whose player was gone that week, is swallowed up by something underground and spends the entire session out of sight, doing stuff we never saw. This was apparently the work of the evil Serena or "Serevil", because she then buries Glimm, pretty much the only one of the group who could get through EB's force field, in dirt.

Seeing two targets, Hari demonstrates his exceptional aim by ricocheting a superball off Serevil's head and into EB's head (he couldn't hope to touch EB but a stun was possible). Apparently the Light works a little differently in Twisted Earth because Hari misses both targets. This leaves a small but very hard superball with roughly the same kinetic energy as a high powered rifle round ricocheting around the room. This could have had catastrophic results had it taken down Sari or Glimm - well, Sari, since Glimm wouldn't even notice it - but happily the fragile glass cages soak up a lot of the energy.

GB was worried that EB's suit might release gas if EB was attacked, because that was what GB would do if he was still building powered suits, which he ha ha ha totally isn't anymore. Sure enough, EB tries for a quick end to the fight with a cloud of paralyzing gas, which Hari keeps contained in a bubble around EB on the off-chance he wasn't immune to his own gas, which of course he is.

The room becomes increasingly zoologically diverse as time went by.

In a rather cunning move, Sari gets into the slug cage, conveniently accessible thanks to Hari, and frees the slug from its collar; the slug seems happy to stay where it but now Sari has the power-negating collar. She sneaks behind Serevil, who seems to overlooked Sari in her eagerness to beat on Glimm [2], and claps it onto Serevil, completely negating Serevil's mental powers. This would be more useful if Serevil had mental powers like the slug but she doesn't. The collar also has electro-prods that are activated when the collar closes; turns out Earth Powers don't include non-conductivity.

GB spends the session trying to rebuild the key that will take the group home. The conditions are apparently somewhat trying.

Hari finally begins to get the hang of things and tosses Serevil into the gas cloud, which is it for Serevil since she left her suit helmet behind. Glimm tosses EB into the slug, which proceeds to fry his brain. Not only does this take EB out of action, it gives GB more parts to use to rebuild the key.

Unlike certain other groups I have run characters in, this one is well equipped with characters who can notice subtle sounds, like a small army of armored kids charging towards the lab. Hari wins the perception toss and uses his TK to close and lock all the doors at once. Happily GB gets his hands clear before the door he was reaching through amputates his hand. This means the group is safely barricaded in the lab, safe from all avenues of attack save for the two giant tunnels Serevil created when she used the dirt to attack Glimm and Rumspringa.

Four armoured students fly up out of the floor. They're all "Fifty points for House Omega!" and "Don't forget to kill them so the points can't be taken back for an escape!" and "*swat* *swat* *swat* *swat* *crunch* *crunch* *crunch* *crunch*" as Glimm uses the lab table to bat them out of the air like mosquitoes. Happily, what Hari is going to assume was unconsciousness was so swift they hardly had time to shriek in agonizing pain.

Hari then showed what was probably a total lack of fair play by TKing the bubble of gas under the lab door and into the hall. That took care of one kid, who apparently has a history of not properly securing his armor. Hari then uses the fact that he can TK anything he can see and he can see anything he cares to regardless of barriers if it's with many kilometers to bash one guy against the other until armour cracks. Then he kept doing it until nobody was moving, either due to gas exposure or trauma.

GB opens a gate to our universe. The group all piles through into the gym, where the Big Game is still going on. It turns out sending a small group of armoured kids into a room filled with two teams of frenzied superpowered jocks isn't as cunning a plan as it appears; the Twisted Earth invaders have been curb-stomped and sent off to detention.

Hari made sure to take the dreamy clone Bailey with him but since the clone was aging Hari tossed him into the universe his people use to store food; it has no time dimension so the clone will stay exactly the same forever. Hari is pretty sure people don't experience any weird other dimensional analog of duration when they are sent to the larder, although he's never tried it himself.

Jade shows up to chide the group for breaking the rules, something Hari admits to because it would be wrong not and he has not internalized the fact that people can have secrets involving things that can be seen here. It turns out there's a hell of a line up at admin thanks to all the kids who are going to get detention. it also turns out "it was my evil twin from a parallel dimension!" is on par with "my dog ate my homework" as an excuse at Hope. I don't know how it works when it's the evil twins who are in trouble (I think Calvin and Hobbes may have covered this. Since the admin won't get to the group for hours, Jade decides to take the group of for coffee.

While Glimm and Hari have never had coffee, Sari not only has but has Opinions about it. Jade suggests Starbucks but Sari insists on Pete's, another Seattle chain that has just opened up in Toronto. Never anger the Stabby Girl if you can avoid it so the group goes to Pete's. Hari is very alarmed as soon as he sees all the hipsters sipping their coffees; a disturbing number of them have goatees, the mark of Twisted Earth evil twins! Jade prevents him from what would probably turned out to be both a public service and common assault.

For various reasons, all four of the group will be getting tutored by Serena. Each character has some area of ignorance or simple lack of ability that leaves them in need of remedial work; Hari for one would like to learn how all the marvelous gadgets he sees around him work and also being able to read English without a device would be handy.

Glimm demonstrated a commendable enthusiasm for the idea of spending hours with Serena.

During the conversation that follows, Jade demonstrates that she has no censor between her brain and her mouth, while Hari reveals that he probably knows if Serena has tats and/or piercings because ESPing the whole school is second nature to him and he does it all the time (as he points out, he might be a virgin but he is exceptionally well informed about sex [3] since there is no privacy in Kumarinadu). In fact, the other students have already given him an affectionate nickname because of this: "Big Brother". Jade has a bright idea; what the school needs is an anonymous gossip column and she and Hari are just the people to create it.

As he drinks his coffee, Hari gets increasingly animated. When he goes to teleport back to school, he finds himself in Hawaii. He is able to return to Canada (and being unaware of local laws, has no idea just how large a fine he just qualified for) and even to Toronto but not especially near the school. Being aware that previous adepts have blown entire cities off the map [4] he opts to walk back to school.

It turns out the test EB gave is being discarded, wonderful news for Hari and Glimm since they both failed it. In fact every student but one failed the test, since it turns out it was an evil test about evil science, which none of the students have any business passing. Hari and Jade's column may have its first entry; the rumour is that the one student who passed it was Rumspringa....


We got some experience which I was going to spend on Defensive TK, basically like a force field. This would be very handy but it happens to be something Rumpsringa has and Hari and Rumspringa already have oddly similar power sets (not identical, though, and the differences matter [5]). Instead I am considering the Attack option; instead of just being able to move things around, Hari will be able to telekinetically crush, rip, twist, tear and otherwise directly manipulate targets without needing tools. I think of it as finer manipulation than Hari currently has and it's something Rumspringa does not have.

The GM points out I forgot to mention some details: Stuff I forgot:
ames misses the parts where Good Dr. Bailey, in his quest for supplies, thinks about heading to the teacher's room beetween science labs, but first checks for traps (because in the Old Days, he would have put traps there) and finds several; that the Hari sees the chairs of the lab are all booby-trapped with blades and electricity, which the teacher can activate (but non-lethal, probably, because there are Ords who might have survived to take the class). Oh, and although there was a coral snake lying across Sari's foot at one point (as a snake who has lost its heat lamp will search out the nearest source of warmth), she was quite effective at beheading it, getting it and a nearby tarantula with a single blow.




1: Our Bailey, or good Bailey (GB) started off as a villain but now thanks to therapy and various implants he is good, despite showing a disturbing ability to figure out what bad people would do in his situation. Presumably their Bailey was good and forced to become evil. In retrospect, we should have rescued EB but we didn't think of it.

2: Who has a crush on Serena. Our Serena has fewer tats and piercings or at least with ours nobody can see them in her school uniform.

3: Hari is aware that TK and full sensory ESP have a certain level of Power Perversion Potential but most of that doesn't count as real sex.

4: Which was part of his plan for dealing with an evil twin on Twisted Earth. First he would have tried to convince his twin that violence and exploitation can only harm the person carrying out the violence and exploitation, then he'd had wizarded up power neutralization and amplification to use on his twin, the idea being to unexpectedly resonate the other guy out of the realm where he could channel the power without evaporating. Evil Hari will learn better in his next life.

5: The similarities have had one interesting side-effect so far, which is that people have thought both had abilities only of them actually has.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

During the coffee buzz, Hari got very vocal about how wonderful pockets are. I think his clothes may end up looking like they were drawn by Leifeld...

Edited at 2011-11-10 06:14 am (UTC)

Pouches! More pouches, and a pistol the size and shape of a lunchbox...

I'm pretty sure that should be Peet's, not "Pete's". Peets is actually an SF Bay Area chain (it was founded in Berkeley) and predates Starbucks (according to the Wikipedia article, Starbuck's actually bought coffee beans from Peet's when it was starting out!).

==Hari made sure to take the dreamy clone Bailey with him but since the clone was aging Hari tossed him into the universe his people use to store food; it has no time dimension so the clone will stay exactly the same forever. Hari is pretty sure people don't experience any weird other dimensional analog of duration when they are sent to the larder, although he's never tried it himself.

Hari's probably also pretty sure nobody from the home pocket dimension is going to mistakenly withdraw d.c.Bailey from the larderverse and try to cook and eat him, under the impression that he is some sort of people-flavored tofu lookalike product...

--Dave, because that would be Wrong

Say, how it is Administration hasn't noticed they have two copies of the kids waiting for detention? More evidence Adults are Useless in the world outside Kumarinadu.

I suspect they have, and that is why your group was dealt with so leniently.

And they have a Cunning Plan to return or rehabilitate-and-return those kids. (Like a catch-and-release program.) But parents will be coming to get (some of) them, and hilarious hijinks will ensue. I'm not sure we'll play it out, though.

That would be a one-line mention in an episode that takes place entirely off-campus. "School closed today for clean-up after the fight with the Pryde Academy parents, so you get to go to x." Yes, the episode entitled "Field Trip" where you go accidentally trash the AGO and the ROM.

Are Evil Parents evilily clueless, too?

And if evil, wouldn't abandoning their children like cookoo's eggs to the society of an alternate dimension be just their style?

Which is why I figure only some of them come to rescue their kids.

On the other hand, you can make the argument that Pryde Academy (which has a known high death rate for students) makes them sign a waiver or something--"If your child dies instead of becoming a supervillain, you agree to hold Pryde Academy blameless, because it only means your mewling spawn was not strong enough intellectually, spiritually, or physically. And if you signed this, we have our doubts about you, too."

If you send your kid to Pryde Academy, maybe you don't want them back....

When this happens, is there a lineup or what? So when the kid, the kid's clone, the kid's antimatter universe duplicate, and the kid's time travel echo are all in detention together, which one(s) go home with Mom?

I can only imagine there's some cherry-picking going on. "Hm, I like the one in the silk jacket. I've been trying to get Bobby to dress better for years."

Though there is some amusement value to them becoming students at Hope Prep, and you can only tell which is which because some versions have inhibitor collars until they've been treated like Dr. Bailey.

Okay, you're 15 or 16 and you suddenly discover a pretty much identical twin. Sure, he or she has some habits like attempting genocide that are unpleasant, but think of the other things you could get away with if you worked together.... The Parent Trap this isn't.

...


There are far -FAR- to many *Squick* time-lines originating from this to not cause a cthuloid version of Dr Who to rise up from the depths in his Tardismonicon and reset the enter paniverse.

Agreed. I won't be doing it.

Well, I might do it for one character.

It also turns out "it was my evil twin from a parallel dimension!" is on par with "my dog ate my homework" as an excuse at Hope.

Everyone has that happen! If you can't deal with little things like that you're never going to make it as a superhero.

5: The similarities have had one interesting side-effect so far, which is that people have thought both had abilities only of them actually has.

Specifically, I seem to recall one of the reasons nobody retrieved Rumspringa from their hole in the ground is because people expected Rumspringa to teleport out; teleportation is Hari's thing, not the angel's.

Edited at 2011-11-10 04:06 pm (UTC)

Excellent. That's my excuse, rather than PC Aura.

Shape Light is also on my to-buy list. TK + Create/shape light + ESP = the next best thing to bilocation.

As long as you don't stray into Illusions territory. In that case, you'll have to pay the stunt Determination or for that power instead.