Fellow role-players, here are Jason’s and my notes for Session 3.1 of the “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, which Rich hosted in Waltham, Mass., on Monday, 27 January 2014:
Hamilton remembers when its streets were rough and newly trod. When its people slept in peace and dreamed of tomorrow. It wakes at night, a jagged ghost dulled to the sounds of gunfire, the smell of smoke, the touch of razor wire. It weeps, and the sky opens with a roar. It’s raining in the city, and the gods are going to war.
Glassworks is set in the city of Hamilton, an urban sprawl on the eastern seaboard of North America. Glassworks is inspired by occult noir, hardboiled crime fiction, pulp adventure and gritty, street-level cop dramas. Its themes explore the allure of immortality, the shadows of the past, the fear of death and the corruption of power.
“The Eighth Legion,” Player Characters for Jason E.R.’s “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, using Icons (previously DarkPages and the Cortex: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game), as of spring 2014:
- “Kyle Martins/The Cloaked Quarrel” [Gene D.]-male human college student and legacy crime fighter with mystical crossbows
- “Tim Gray/DarkStorm” [Bruce K.]-male metahuman, experimented upon by the government, amnesiac weapons designer for Oryx Industries, armored vigilante, and team leader at subway base
- “Rain Tomotowa/Thunderbird” [Sara F.]-female Native American, exiled demigod able to change into a giant eagle, onetime park ranger now working in a pet shop
- “Matthew Shanks/Merlin” [Josh C.]-male incubus sorcerer and occultist with an ancient family legacy; member of Hamilton’s mystical Conclave
- “Samuel Adams Jackson/The Stranger” [Beruk A.]-male human Buffalo Soldier released from Purgatory, time-displaced bounty hunter with dark force manipulation and shadowy steed Gabriel (from Gene’s Mutants & Masterminds: “Drake’s Port” and Josh’s Dresden Files: “Dallas” scenarios)
- “Erwin Schrodinger/ Erwin72” [Brian W.]-male replicant, law enforcer from an alternate timeline with the ability to tap alternate dimensions
- “Empty Spoon” [Rich C.G.]-male metahuman, Tibetan refugee with mystical air control (apologies to Avatar: the Last Airbender/Legend of Korra) and speed, seeking revenge for the destruction of his monastery
- “Adriana Novak/Phantasm” [Brian S.]-female metahuman, former magician’s assistant turned permanently invisible; used the power of illusions to commit crimes but trying to turn over a new leaf
“Hamliton, Delaware, 20 to 27 January 2014:” About a year has passed since the city’s latest superhero group pursued an arson investigation that uncovered kidnappings, corporate intrigues, mob wars, and supernatural conspiracies.
The Cloaked Quarrel welcomes newcomers to the “Eighth Legion’s” headquarters, an abandoned subway station. The Stranger, Erwin72, and Empty Spoon look around as the Cloaked Quarrel explains how the Jade Bow Affair brought his team to Inneman Station in Fairmont.
During the hunt for the cintomanni, or dragon pearl, the young crossbowman and company found dragon hunter King Naga and the indomitable Harrier, deceased members of a previous generation of mystery men and women. They eventually learned that murderous vigilante Red Planet was in love with shaman Kittaguka.
The subway station contains a few trophies, including a machine dispensing Indian Head candies. The dangerous sweets have been replaced by a Devil Doll dagger. The Hamilton Candy Co. was later bought by D.J. Sharif, whose widow Fatima seeks to redevelop the Annex.
Meanwhile, DarkStorm works on improving the base of operations, and Merlin and Thunderbird meet with the Conclave, Hamilton’s mystical organization. Phantasm seeks to go straight after encountering Silverfish.
The Cloaked Quarrel struggles to explain how the police scanner, walkie-talkies, and smartphones work to the time-displaced Stranger, Erwin, and Empty Spoon. They recommend searching for alternate exits rather than having to walk back to the Penn Station intersection.
Gunslinger Stranger tries to comprehend modern lifestyles and prejudices, as replicant Erwin72 sends multiples of himself to search nearby tunnels. Martial artist Empty Spoon bends the winds to lift himself to a hatch. The Cloaked Quarrel recommends waiting to open it until they can verify what’s above.
Erwin and the Quarrel check online and find that the Stevens Inneman Refractory Co. (SIRC), a manufacturer of specialty lenses and mirrors, owns the building above the hatch. The company is best known for the cobalt SIRC Tower downtown, which is the unofficial symbol of the city and after which the Hamilton Blue Sox baseball team is named.
The Inneman building above the subway is supposedly home to a financial operations center, but only one employee is based there. Harvey Thorne is a 30-year veteran, and the Cloaked Quarrel poses as a real estate investor to get an appointment with him next week through secretary Abigail Williams.
The Cloaked Quarrel gets a text message from Conchita Melendez, a blogger who tracks costumed heroes and villains. She had worked with the noirish Black Hat [see DarkPages one-shot] and the brutal and secretive Red Right Hand.
Melendez tells the Cloaked Quarrel of rumors of a new player in town recruiting for three intricate schemes. Although the unknown mastermind is allegedly insane, the schemes are so flawlessly planned that villains are buying into the ideas, she says.
The Cloaked Quarrel asks the Stranger to saddle up for a hunt, since the InterWebs can provide only so much information. Erwin looks forward to taking down criminals for interrogation. Empty Spoon offers to visit Kunzang Tenzin, his shifu (teacher) at the “Wheel of Joy” herbal shop in Germantown, since Chinese New Year is coming.
After some discussion, the Cloaked Quarrel takes the rookies to Krasnaya Strela, a Russian restaurant in the style of a railroad car. Kyle Martins dons his civilian garb as a college student but still manages to talk his way past burly bouncers.
Sam A. Jackson’s cowboy hat is a big hit with the Russian mobsters, and Empty Spoon wears a nice Nehru jacket. Agent Shrodinger wears a dark suit and keeps quiet. Kyle greets crime lord Viktor Ozerov, one of the survivors of the recent mob wars.
Ozerov complains that enforcer Ilya Petrovich, code-named Tarakan, has disappeared. Kyle notes that Petrovich is probably catching up with his dysfunctional but powerful family and was among the super soldiers experimented upon with DarkStorm.
In addition, Ozerov’s replacement for Tarakan, Dmitri Cheznokov (aka the Colonel), has also left. Ozerov extends an offer to DarkStorm or the Stranger to serve in his organization. Although the Italian Mafia is decimated and under new leadership [see “Santanica Pandemonium”], Ozerov says that Latino gang La Basura (Monday Garbage Pickup Zone 1) is on the rise.
Cheznokov was a colonel in the Spetsnaz (Russian special forces) and was recruited by the mysterious new mastermind to lead a team. The would-be heroes are surprised to learn that a massive prison break is planned, apparently for the James T. Vaughn Sr. Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del., a suburb near the Annex neighborhood.
Kyle thanks Ozerov for the information and hastily leaves the restaurant. Melendez says that chat discussions have revealed that the mastermind is also looking for people with naval experience.
Hamilton’s Sharp Harbor has three old ships in its naval museum: the U.S.S. Superior, a frigate from the War of 1812; the U.S.S. Icefish (SS-367) a World War II Balao-class submarine; and the U.S.S. Bullock (AK-165), a WWII Alanosa-class cargo vessel. The last ship also served in the Turkish merchant marine, was renamed the S.S. Edime, and was refurbished by D.J. Sharif.
The Cloaked Quarrel considers staking out the harbor with Erwin, but the sniper decides instead to take all available heroes to the prison. As night falls on Smyrna, the Stranger creates a dark portal to teleport into a guard tower, releasing shadowy creatures on the way.
Erwin72 gives one of his duplicates his firearm and prepares to talk his way into the prison. At super speed, Empty Spoon reconnoiters the perimeter and finds nothing suspicious. The Cloaked Quarrel’s initial research finds that warden Richard Gladstone has a good record.
A helicopter bearing the state seal arrives. From their perch on a nearby hill, the members of the Eighth Legion see a heavily armed team get out. An electromagnetic pulse grenade douses all lights and electronics in the area.
Erwin reveals that he can jump to anywhere he can see. The Stranger summons his steed Gabriel and rides over the 30-foot tall wall. Empty Spoon levitates on a cushion of air, and the Cloaked Quarrel shoots a grapnel line to get to the prison yard.
Empty Spoon creates a vacuum in the helicopter, incapacitating the pilots. The Cloaked Quarrel uses his mystical crossbows to fire a flare bolt, briefly blinding the raiders with night-vision goggles. The Stranger and Erwin help subdue the armed attackers, and the Cloaked Quarrel explains to the guards surrounding them and Gladstone that he’s one of the good guys.
Empty Spoon hears on the helicopter radio that “the Beta Team is a go,” and the warden tells the Quarrel that there is a secret detention facility beneath Hamilton’s Korean War Memorial. The Eighth Legion races south, across town.
One of stone slabs at the base of the memorial has been moved, and the fearless foursome finds guards being tossed around like rag dolls. They descend a staircase under flickering fluorescent lights, and the Cloaked Quarrel momentarily considers sealing themselves in rather than allowing supervillains to escape.
They descend, and the Cloaked Quarrel recognizes sometime nemesis Palmetto, whose cockroach-like costume has been improved. Whiptail, a woman in a lizard-style outfit complete with a tail, knocks out the remaining guards.
Empty Spoon faces off with Whiptail, as the Stranger shoots with old-fashioned firearms. Erwin72, who has retrieved his pistol, shoots at Whiptail. The Cloaked Quarrel fires a blast bolt, knocking Palmetto down several steps.
Enemy reinforcements arrive. Col. Cheznokov fires at the Empty Spoon with a triple-barreled shotgun. Inferna, a woman wreathed in flames, burns Erwin72, and Palmetto sprays a foul-smelling liquid on the Cloaked Quarrel and the Stranger, knocking them down.
Empty Spoon deafens the villains by manipulating the air around them, and Erwin tries to punch Inferna while sending a parallel to look downstairs. The Stranger shoots at Palmetto and the Spetsnaz colonel.
The Cloaked Quarrel shoots sticky bolts, but they miss. Whiptail evades the Empty Spoon’s fists, as Cheznokov blasts Erwin, whose duplicates disappear when he’s unconscious. The Stranger creates a shadowy chain, as Erwin and the Cloaked Quarrel recover.
Empty Spoon continues deafening their foes, and the Cloaked Quarrel’s fire-extinguishing foam arrow has no effect on Inferna. The flame fatale escapes, even as the Stranger subdues the colonel. The Cloaked Quarrel and Empty Spoon knock out Palmetto and Whiptail, and Erwin secures the colonel.
The Eighth Legionnaires leave Palmetto, Whiptail, and Col. Cheznokov for the authorities and check the cells of the secret superhuman prison. Five cells are intact, with labels indicating their residents: Entropy, Kerbala, Kraken, Lady Snow, and Ouroboros.
However, the sixth one, which held “Maxwell’s Demon,” is empty. The Cloaked Quarrel, the Stranger, Erwin72, and Empty Spoon head back to base for backup, since two other incidents are planned beyond the prison breakout….