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Wednesday Night Icons: Hari Visits an Island
As the light go up on the characters, most of them, the ones with powers, are on an island. The bad news is it's an island in a pocket dimension. The worse news is the pocket dimension is occupied by the surviving supervillains bottled up by Dynamo Rose decades ago, a group of blackguards subjected to years of harsh Darwinian selection.

What happened was the Robot got out of the prison dimension, after which it used the duplicator to make 15 more copies of itself. The Robot (whose formal name I never got) was designed to eliminate all superhumans or as it turned out, everyone who deviated from its definition of human. It also had the ability to copy any power it saw used and it never, ever lost those powers. Happily for the kids, they were being used as bait so rather than just kill them, the Robots sent to the prison dimension.

Turns out to Robots who have been bottled up since 197something, modern pacemakers look cyborgy enough to justify elimination.

Hari, being a teleporter, tried to interdimensional teleport his way out. Abject failure.

Back in the real world, Sari and Neil (occult obsessed son of a martial artist kidnapped by a dead pharoah - long story) were being ignored by the Robots on account of being real humans. They checked out the lab belonging to the former evil genius science teacher who is totally and I mean totally reformed now, where they armed themselves with a sonic cannon of extreme power and a three page recharge speed.

The powered kids on the islands discover that they are on a small world. There are lots of islands but only a few of them have things like fresh water (the ocean is mildly toxic). The supervillains control the water. They are also quite keen on robbing all newcomers of useful stuff and indeed three figures can be seen approaching from the Island of Evil Supergeniuses.

Hari uses ESP to look for a sea monster -there's always a sea monster- and then tries to attract it with his ability to create light. Later on it is pointed out Lorn, one of many, many sons of that great man-whore Poseidon, has the ability to talk to fish as just one of his natural abilities. Lorn headed off to Summon Bigger Fish.

Sari and Neil notice a naked and not entirely anatomically correct woman step out of a room into the corridor. She sees them and does a Attack of the Body-Snatchers howl. A Robot steps out behind her and Sari uses the opportunity to use the cannon on both of them. The woman explodes into goo, which is then drawn into the Robot. Turns out the Robots have a shape-shifting anglerfish lure dealie going on....

Back on the island, the powered kids use divide and conquer on the three incoming villains. First to go down is the other side's speedster, telekinetically grabbed by Rumspringa and then battered into insensibility by Glimm. The next is a natural weapons guy whose real name we never got; he got nicknamed Whipfinger and while he was experienced and agile, the TK into the forest + Fist combo took him down and Rumspringa's ability to suck the life out of people finished him off.

Rumspringa claims to be an angel but the more Hari learns about Christian mythology, the less he believes her.

Sari managed to make herself a target but she failed to evade the teleport to dungeon dimension thing. She appears on the island.

Speaking of divine beings, Paul Satansson offered to help and was nearly taken up on it until he explained using his infernal powers makes him more like his dad. Hari does not frown on filial piety but apparently everyone else does so the Hellfire stayed in the bottle for now.

The last guy and only one famous enough that any of the kids remembered who he was was a guy called Black Hole, some manner of gravity controller. Once he saw his buddies were out, he tried to run for help. The Very Big Fish put in an appearance at this jucture, which is when Black Hole revealed he could become insubstantial. The nice thing about wizardy as an ability is that it is flexible; Hari just tweeked his TK enough to bottle Black Hole up long enough for Sari to use the sonic cannon on him.

The island the supervillains are on has 12 more villains, several of whom are duplicates of the three the kids already trounced. It wasn't actually all that hard to take down 3 bad guys but 13 may be too ambitious. Paul suggests that he open a door to Hell, where the kids could flee until Rumspringa could appeal to her divine masters to haul everyone out of Hell to safety. It is agreed that will be Plan B.

Instead Hari uses his wizardry to create an even smaller pocket dimension and Serena helps to make it look just like the real world. Someone mentions what bags of holding do when they are placed in another bag of holding but Hari does not get the reference.

The bad guys fall for the trick and flee into the pocket-pocket dimension [1], which Hari then seals behind them. He was going to tuck it into his pants pocket because that would be hilarious but the eldrich reality-unraveling energy the pocket-pocket dimension was giving off convinced him not to do this. As he TKed the pocket-pocket dimension away, holes opened in the fabric of the pocket dimension, gaps through which the school could be seen.

Rumspringa was the first to try flying through. Luckily for her, what happens below at about 1:26

only leaves her smoking. Sari then tries her luck and technically she is lucky: she's just burned into unconsciousness when she arrives on the other side, not dead.

Hari works out how to shield the other kids using his wizardry. Problem is, it will leave him out cold. He accepts this. Luckily, Rumspringa decides to work out to run her life drain in reverse so Hari and Sari do not have to sit out Finale A or B.

In the real world, the Robots are congregating [2]. One of them detects psychic powers and manifests its goo in a loop around its neck. Sari nukes the Robot with the cannon. Glimm then rips it open with his brute strength. Turns out they are filled goo.

Hari then uses Create Light and ESP to look inside the Robots, then uses a technique he developed in Home Economics to whip the goo into a nice meringue-like foam. Various other students work out their own methods of doing this. Mechanicide follows.

A hilarious disgression occurs when Rumspringa, worried that the kids are committing murder, establishes the Robot goo has no soul. That would have been just fine if she stopped there but she then revealed that in fact a surprising number of people at the school have no souls, including all of the duplicates. She personally has no problem with this, since she herself has no soul, but this is not a revelation the duplicated wanted to hear.

While Rumspringa is happy to think of the unsouled as beings it is OK to kill, Hari points out that whereas normal people who die can expect to experience the bardo before heading off to their next life, the unsouled only get this one life and so in a sense it may be a much worse transgression to off them, an opinion he offers while frothing up Robotic brain goo like a demented chef.

Glimm is determined to deal with the duplicator once and for all. He calls his dad in.

Sari accompanies Dynamo Rose's twin daughters (or rather, the real one and the duplicate) Lorilei and Elizabeth Thompson when they go home (I think one of them wanted company). Once they all get to the twins, one of the twins announces that while she is not sure if she is the one with the soul or not, she's pretty sure she can make sure she has possession of their one soul by ha ha ha killing the other one she's totally not mad. Neither twin has powers (they do have names but I forgot them) but they do have their mother's gadgets and Killer Twin is armed with Science, Science From the Stars!

She's also in a room with knife-nut Sari, who uses a combination of psychology and stabbing to resolve the situation.

Interesting bit of trivia: apparently people with souls go nuts more often than people without souls.

Everyone turns up at the twins, since that is where Lorn sent the Duplicator on the logic that that is where his dad told him to send it. Glimm's dad confiscates the device and stores it safely in the truck of his official car, where nothing could ever happen to it.

As the session ends, the sky fills with an alien armada. Every time the duplicator was used in the last few sessions, a star in another dimension was consumed. The people from that dimension would like to discuss this with Earth....

1: Except, maybe, the three villains who were out cold. Hmmm.

2: At some point Hari said that since the 16 Robots had curb-stomped the students, the adults would have to intervene. Ha bloody ha.

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

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Elizabeth and Lorelei were their names.

I'd like to point out that many of the details that make it into these write-ups were created by the players; I just say "yes." F'r instance, the giant fish, and the pocket in pocket universe thing. I just say yes, and maybe charge a Determination Point for them.

Presumably I should start the next session with something totally different and say, "Oh, the adults took care of the alien armada."

"I just say "yes." F'r instance, the giant fish, and the pocket in pocket universe thing. I just say yes, and maybe charge a Determination Point for them."

That's how role playing is supposed to work! :)

Oh, sure. But I didn't want anyone thinking I was claiming credit, because I have been a mad plotter (though not quite a railroader[1]) in the past. I show up with half the adventure and a bunch of ideas, and they do the rest.

In fact, I think that's one of the things I've learned over the last couple o' decades: Say yes. I was never terrible about that, I hope, because of the improv background (no blocking, no wimping), but I was much more into the "no, this is the way the world works, so you can't do that." [2]

But this universe is deliberately modeled after some of the whackiness of comics--I'm not exploring any particular mode, like noir--so I do a lot more of "Of course that exists" in the games. I hope the players feel they're affecting things more, because they are.

My worry is that we'll go too far in the other direction, where it's "We play until we're tired, and then the GM decrees that one of our things worked, and the session is over." That's playing tennis with the net down, and it can be just as much not-fun.

[1] Okay, I'm sure there were moments very early on when I was so stuck on a way to do things that it was effectively railroading. Early on. I swear. (And I hope the players will tell me otherwise if necessary.)

[2] The other three villains showed up somewhere in or near Hope Prep when the pocket universe unraveled. Presumably they got away free because folks were busy.

And the whole Neil/Egyptian god thing you covered here.

Edited at 2012-03-01 02:48 pm (UTC)

Rumspringa claims to be an angel but the more Hari learns about Christian mythology, the less he believes her.

Is there a competing origin story? And what do the other people at school think?

Under the circumstances I expect the school administration is happy to just write down whatever half-baked stories the students tell them and try not to think too hard about plausibility.

Also, I think this is an indication that Hari is still only learning the _sanitized_ versions of Christian mythology, much like the bowdlerized versions of children's fairy tales. There's a REASON the first thing an angel says is "Fear not!"...

--Dave, and the eyes, and the wheels, and the EYES O GODZ

Rumspringa is supposedly an angel enjoying the temptations of the mortal world before setting in on her angelic career, as apparently angels do. What Hari knows is angels and demons are similar sorts of beings and he can see that the powers she manifests include life drain and that Rumspringa dresses in a manner she assures him is provocative (1), and she seems to dating Paul Satansson. Hari is open to the idea she's actually infernal in origin, maybe a succubus.

1: Actually, more akin to what a really repressed Mennonite girl might wear but what does Hari know about what counts as provocative in the Pockets Universe? He was raised by monks in a pocket dimension.

Edited at 2012-03-02 07:34 pm (UTC)

Sure. To Hari, all people are essentially naked, because of that ESP. But it would be rude of him to start groping people in an esper fashion. I'm sure he's been socialized not to do that. Looking? Looking is allowed (Unless they hang the glyph of privacy; then Hari's people are honour-bound not to look.)

Actually, I rather like the idea of the glyph of privacy. It has exactly the same force as a No Trespassing sign: Sure, you can ignore it if you want, but do you want the consequences? (It's all over that temple where they talk to the medusa...)

And Rumspringa has wings, which very few of the demons you've seen have. (Paul can make his appear or disappear at will. Usually he makes them disappear, because for him, they're just decorative. He has teleport, just like his mom. Has to be invited first, though, just like his dad. Fortunately, that's not a real limitation: any thought counter to the strictest Christian theology counts as an invitation for him, so the number of places he can't go is quite limited. Heaven: he can't get to Heaven.)

Mind, the library says there are other demons who can control their appearance, because they are under the control of the Prince of Lies.

Rumspringa had better have a Plan regarding the thing with Paul; that sounds like the kind of relationship that everyone's family finds objectionable.

Then again, they're teenagers. That might be the point.

Milhouse: How could this have happened? We started out like Romeo and Juliet, but instead it ended in tragedy.

Hmmm. What of someone started a competing origin story?

Not in the gossip column, because the school shut that down(I don't think James mentioned that) but someone, somewhere...

Hey, good idea! It would get the other kids talking, and annoy the continuity freaks.

Origin stories kept Hawkman fans bickering for years.

-->"then uses a technique he developed in Home Economics to whip the goo into a nice meringue-like foam."

Robot PIE! MMM mmm good!

--Dave, with mechanical cherry topping

PS: "[...]who uses a combination of psychology and stabbing to resolve the situation." It's astonishing how many people are surprised at how effective this can be...

Edited at 2012-03-02 12:11 pm (UTC)

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