“Glassworks” Session 4: Disco roach motel

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Jason E.R.‘s latest superhero session, which Brian W. hosted at his home in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 9 July 2012:

>>Player Character roster for Jason E.R.‘s “Glassworks” Bronze Age/noir superhero scenario, using the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game (based on Margaret Weis Productions Ltd.’s Cortex system, originally using DarkPages), as of spring 2012:

  • Kyle Martins/The Cloaked Quarrel” [Gene D.]-male human college student and legacy crime fighter with mystical crossbows
  • Eli Wasserman/the Amazing Mr. Fantastic” [Brian W.]-male metahuman with shadow manipulation, semi-retired superhero and private investigator
  • Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American metahuman park ranger, able to change into an eagle
  • Matthew Shanks/Merlin” [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy
  • Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-male metahuman super soldier, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, and armored vigilante
  • Summer Winters/Santanica Pandemonium” [Rich C.G.]-female human nurse and mother/demon with flame powers, newly aware of her dual nature
  • Ezra Goldman/Daedalus” [Beruk A./absent]-male metahuman with the ability to temporarily imbue machines with personalities
Kyle and Eli
The Cloaked Quarrel and the Amazing Mr. Fantastic in a fight (image from “Archer and Armstrong”)

As an impromptu band of metahumans and crime fighters reviews its cases in Eli’s office, the semi-retired vigilante gets a distress signal from his Seventh Legion communications device. Fanboy Kyle recognizes the “VII” symbol and 1960s technology.

The “Amazing Mr. Fantastic” recognizes the signal as coming from John Getz, a.k.a. “Red Planet.” The group goes to the Indian Beach neighborhood of Hamilton, Del., and finds Getz’s apartment trashed.

Merlin identifies members of the Coven, a New York-based rival to Hamilton’s mystical Conclave, who lie sprawled amid the wreckage. DarkStorm is impressed that Red Planet, a “brick” or “tank” of the Seventh Legion, didn’t go down without a fight.

Eli attends to Getz, who is mortally wounded and gives him a burned-out cintomanni (also called a dragon pearl or philosopher’s stone). Red Planet notes that it was a trophy from King Naga, who disappeared years ago. The costumed villain’s breastplate was part of the jade warrior’s panoply that various parties are seeking.

The rocky brawler says with his last breath that “He was always her white knight.” The mournful Amazing Mr. Fantastic notes that Richard, the White Magus, was once known as the “White Knight.” His partner Eva Ball, who was recently entangled in the Devil Doll arsons, was known as “Damsel.”

Santanica Pandemonium keeps an eye out for Erechtho, Shard, or other members of the Coven. Thunderbird and the Cloaked Quarrel search Getz’s apartment for clues and find an old subway map with an extra line. Apparently, a Metro line to the Annex was built in the late 1960s but was never used — the project’s funds were diverted to the Annex’s infrastructure. The team leaves before the police arrive.

Back at Wasserman’s office, Daedalus keeps watch on prisoner Rasayana, who with Erechtho attacked the estate of industrialist James Orex. Merlin hides the cintomanni in his extradimensional library.

Thunderbird observes that the stations on the train map correspond with the arson sites leading toward Glassworks. The assembled heroes agree to go to the crystal factory at Inneman Station.

DarkStorm makes sure to park his vehicles a safe distance away, and the Cloaked Quarrel shoots a nylon line to lower himself into the disused tunnels. Santanica Pandemonium unfurls her demonic wings and creates a whirlwind to lower the others.

Flashlights in hand, the investigators don’t go far before they meet four cockroach-themed malefactors! Palmetto, whom the Cloaked Quarrel had humiliated in their first encounter, praises “the glory of the mother.”

Death’s Head engages Santanica Pandemonium, who erupts into an infernal blaze. Discoid readies his disc shooter, as Palmetto dodges crossbow bolts. Hisser and Thunderbird trade sonic attacks.

The Amazing Mr. Fantastic misses Discoid, and Thunderbird slams Palmetto into a wall. Death’s Head and Santanica Pandemonium grapple. Merlin conjures up an illusion of a giant can of insecticide, but it’s too dark for his foes to see.

DarkStorm uses his staff to parry shots from Discoid, while Merlin casts Chain Lightning. A muscular man wearing a mask watches the conflict from the sidelines. Santanica Pandemonium later identifies him as Ilya Petrovich, or “Tarakan,” the bodyguard of Russian mob boss Ozerov.

Cloaked Quarrel misses Hisser, who responds by inflicting horror on the young hunter. DarkStorm drives off Hisser, and Santanica Pandemonium tackles Death’s Head. Thunderbird disrupts Hisser’s sonic scream with a thunderclap.

Palmetto blasts his stink guns at Cloaked Quarrel, who narrowly dodges. Discoid and DarkStorm maneuver, while the Amazing Mr. Fantastic blinds Palmetto with darkforce manipulation.

Death’s Head pummels Santanica Pandemonium, but superior Thunderbird saves her winged ally by knocking him out. Discoid’s weapons find their mark, wounding DarkStorm, and the do-gooders stumble about in the dark.

Santanica Pandemonium ends the battle by blasting the area with flame. Three of the four roaches scuttle away, but Petrovich apparently broke Death’s Head’s neck rather than allow him to talk. DarkStorm and Santanica Pandemonium take his mask as a trophy and for further analysis.

The subway spelunkers continue on toward Inneman Station. Music from the ’60s emanates from speakers, and inside a wall, they find the skeleton of King Naga. According to the Amazing Mr. Fantastic, he had fought Harrier back in the 1950s before reforming.

Merlin takes the jade breastplate, and the Cloaked Quarrel tracks wires from a speaker northwest to a strange vending machine in Stevens Station. It dispenses Indian-brand candy, which was manufactured at the factory where the group recently encountered Devil Dolls and a mystic dragon cage.

Santanica Pandemonium knocks the dispenser over, exposing elaborate machinery and more wires spreading through the tunnels. The women who were turned into masked, wrapped pyromaniacs must have each placed a quarter in this machine, even though it’s in an unused station. More mysteries.

Back on the surface, the super friends continue their many inquiries. DarkStorm finds out that Mora Burch, the wife of a missing scientist found turned into glass, was originally entomologist Mora Petrovich, tying her to both the Russian mafia and Oryx Industries. She must be the “mother” Palmetto referred to.

Santanica Pandemonium interrogates Rasayana, whose real name is Keith Lucido. The goon says that Erechtho merely hired him and gave him alchemical armor (with some invisibility). Eli then turns Lucido over to the police.

Thunderbird and Merlin consult seer Kittaguka. The old woman tells them that Dream Hunter and the Coven have the helmet of the jade warrior. The Cloaked Quarrel has his bow, Santanica retrieved daggers, and King Naga had the breastplate.

DarkStorm and the Cloaked Quarrel go to meet the Red Right Hand at the Forcements. The violent vigilante tells the armored wonder and crossbow-wielding kid that “everybody’s looking for a warehouse in the South Market — the Russians, the Italians, the Coven, and the Conclave.”

The Amazing Mr. Fantastic recalls that D.J. Sharrif hired him to find missing chemist Boyd Burch and believes that he may be tied to dragons. Burch had gone to Ozerov for protection against the Galati crime family because of his gambling debts. He and the roaches apparently sought the dragon pearls for glassified Mora.

Kittaguka tells Thunderbird that King Naga, like her ancestors, was a dragonslayer. Merlin says the package that everyone is looking in the South Market could be the last cintomanni, the helmet, or even a dragon.

Merlin goes to the White Magus to share what he has learned so far and to ask about the Devil Dolls and Red Planet. The Cloaked Quarrel wonders why so many people are seeking the pearls and the related jade warrior’s panoply.

After dropping off Lasido, Eli finds Faisal Marzug in his office. On behalf of Ms. Sharrif — who wants to rename Hamilton’s Annex sector as “Fatima” — Marzug gives Eli a check for $25,000 and says that his services are no longer needed.

Late one night, Santanica Pandemonium receives a shadowy visitor. The “independent interest” offers to lead Summer to her son Timmy (and presumably, ex-husband Bobby Galati) in return for the inactive dragon pearl.

DarkStorm learns about Todd Klucas and that the Hamilton Candy Co., which produced the Indian Head brand, was bought by D.J. Sharrif. This connects back to the strange machinery and the mystic dragon cage….

While I’m sorry that we were unable to meet for Brian’s Dungeon Crawl Classics demonstration this past Monday, I look forward to the penultimate “Glassworks” game next week!

In the meantime, it was good to see The Amazing Spider-Man with some of you, and I look forward to The Dark Knight Rises and the FATE 3e “Vortextelecom space opera this Sunday. Please remember to vote in the poll about upcoming face-to-face games at the Yahoo/eGroups Web club when you get a chance.