MASKS #6 - A HISTORY DIVIDED CANNOT STAND! [Recap]

1505885454

Edited 1505885560
Recap! (Harry recaps the previous issue.) If This Be Reality! Discussing the computer stuff.  The AI notes, well, there was a data compromise. Not just the one a few days ago, but a three weeks back. Check that out? The earlier compromise was in the inventory system, back during the Race Day thing. Was something taken? Link and Ghost Girl wander off and do some power / scaring testing. Link comes back in -- and Pneuma reminds him that Agent Waters is still in the lobby ... Link goes after him, over Jason's objections. Pneuma explains that Waters is Link's ... parole officer? counselor? mentor? Waters is here with paperwork for the team, trying to rush it through before AEGIS objects. ("Please don't tell him I said that.") He's "mostly harmless." Jason introduces self to Waters. He apologizes for not reaching out sooner. "Our data was incomplete -- couldn't call, none of our numbers for you work." Here with paperwork to officially create, legally, the team. (Chatters.) Jason stares. Everyone else is kind of staring, too. But ... he has fascinating tie -- a Magic Eye tie? Jason is mesmerized ... Link tells Waters to button up. Jason snaps out of it. Jason demurs over legal paperwork. Waters says, much more firmly, "This is so we don't shoot you." Just a couple of blanks  So ... what is the team name? Icons? New Icons? ("No!" say Jason. And GG.) [Retcon in  forum conversation .] Jason: "The name that was tossed around was ... the Menagerie?" Waters is ... pointedly avoiding comment. Okay, the other question is, who's the team leader?  Pneuma and Waters are pointedly not linking at Link Adam looks at Jason. Jason looks around -- a glance at Link, Harry ... Adam? ... Charlotte? ... he goes and consolidates the pizza. Jason is elected. Jason offers to give Waters his mobile number. Waters gives his (very plain) business card, manually updates the extension and adds in the mobile number. Waters leaves. Call the main office if we need advice. Link: He's dangerous. He brought down my dad. Nobody else could do it. He adds: The tie is designed to draw in super-intelligent people. So, Jason, don't call yourself stupid any more. He's a good guy. Trust him. Jason: I won't actively mistrust him. (Jason: We need to register the domain name. And all variations.) GG: "He's so cute when he's flustered." GG tries to get Link to text that to Ghost Girl. Link hands her his phone. LInk has a lot of texts and tweets pending. "Jason, we need a social media director!" @PowerPony is offline? Vyortovia. Is there a question about reality, or information ... look at the data in the airlock? Review it? GG -- what about my friends? Some of them might know something about it? Supposedly came into existence around 1820. Nominally involved in the Franco-Prussian War. It's an "island nation," but nobody seems to quite know where. GG should know about it, but doesn't. Will go ask her friends. Adam can ask the Universal Concordance folk/thing. But only if told to. The experience kind of crawls into his head, and involves a diagnostic on the planet. Body goes rigid, floats in the air, eyes emit beams, his mouth opens. Three voices chant, "Vyortovia became part of this world July 4, 2015." Which is the day that Byron Quill, et al., were sucked into that dimensional breach at the White House. So did they come out when the others went in? Has reality been changed, or people's memories, or just records? GG: no, nobody in the graveyard heard of Vyortovia. Vyortovia is known for being very technologically advanced ... and esoteric traditions. Magic -- Jason only knows of it from a ritual standpoint. GG: Continues to track down information on Vyortovia. Terry Tucker, prof of International Agriculture and Rural Development. A more recent person, should know more ... but doesn't. GG - Goes on to old stomping grounds. More activity than normal. Not her friends. Stony crack. And yellowish low flash. Armored figure. "THERE YOU ARE." It's been destroying headstones. GG pokes Pneuma's face on Leo's phone. (The threat approaches GG, she floats back.) Tells Pneuma about the threat. Is instructed how to show the image on-camera. "Shall I sound the alarm, then?" "I'M SO GLAD YOU'RE BRINGING YOUR CONTAMINATED FRIENDS ..." He's ticked off that the living have had contact with the dead, a taint that will attract the unclean. Into Battle! Harry is gone in a flash. (Regretting all that pizza.) Link isn't there. Seems to have lift a bit ago. Jason runs for the hover-disks, Adam in tow. Link has headed for Otto, and is going after where PowerPony was. They find the cell phone on the street -- locked. "OH, GOOD, ANOTHER ONE." It's a figure in a straitjacket with fleshy/leather tendrils about him. The armored figure creates a ward around the graveyard ... Mercury shows up. GG is affronted by the attacker's rudeness. He has no jurisdiction, so he should just go away. "WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WITH JURISDICTION. ESP. WHEN IT COMES TO THE TAINTED LIVING." Charges Mercury . The lighting about him is playing about the ground. GG tries a mind blast to defend Mercury. She is successful, but takes a powerful blow from that electricity, and fades slightly. Mercury returns the favor, to defend her by wailing on the creature. Link demands to know where PowerPony is. (Threatening banter.)  Leathery straps reach out for Link. Otto t-bones into him. KAPOW! Immobilizes him under the car. "WHERE IS SHE?!" Link demands. "We took her to where she will not be poisoned by that Ghost Girl any more." Jason and Concord are swooshing in ... there's a lone, dark figure on the street, entering the cemetary. The figure turn, looks at us, says a word, raises a finger to its temple ... End of Session! Jason -- Takes a Doomtrack (no Alycia work). Grew closer to the Team (Adam) ---> Labels? +Superior -Danger Link -- Grew away from the Team. Jason dissed Waters (and Rossum). Mercury -- Grew closer to the Team (Ghost Girl). --> Labels? +savior -mundane Ghost Girl -- Grew closer to the Team (Harry). --> Labels? +savior -mundane Concord -- Grew into image of self. +Superior, -Savior See you next time, Authentic Adherents!
1505885869
This was a good session. There's finally a little bit of intra-party tension, everyone got some time, and we've got some people to take out our frustrations on. :)
Indeed. At the same time, we actually acted (kinda-sorta) like a team, which was nice.  It's interesting, in retrospect, the selection of leader (which I, like Jason, hadn't really considered). Adam is too young, Harry is too flighty, Charlotte is too detached* ... which leaves Leo and Jason, both of whom are damaged goods in different ways, and have profound weaknesses in a leadership role. That said, I could see any of the above actually rising to leadership, given the right circumstances and support.  That said, Jason is going to be a hot mess as "leader" in the upcoming battle. You have been warned.
1505893144
*** Dave H. said: That said, I could see any of the above actually rising to leadership, given the right circumstances and support.  I think of everyone as dragging their own respective superhero sub-genre behind them: Leo represents the tokusatsu/"Ranger"/Brave Robots anime-ish show, where burning justice and metal fists win the day Jason is the Science Adventure Hero, where weird science and lost civilizations are beat through courage, wits, and gimmicks Harry is classic comic-book DC legacy, both representing classic supers and being his own man Adam feels like the lighter-and-softer animated fare like Miraculous, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, or Avatar Charlotte feels like social urban fantasy hero, where the camera will spend as much time on two friends in a cafe as it will on defeating weird magics Though not a hard and fast rule, I as a player want to follow the lead of whoever's genre seems dominant at any given moment. In-character, Leo briefly felt bad that literally nobody thought he'd be a good leader, but he's fine with not having that responsibility right now (yaay Insecure), and he'll happily follow any of the other PCs - or lead, if they look to him.
1505911912

Edited 1505911935
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
I agree with all the statements above (including hot mess and yaay insecure), though I do want to note that Team Leader and "whoever is leading us at this moment as we enter this particular conflict" are not assumed to be synonymous, and should be evaluated each time. Sometimes Harry's in the lead. Sometimes GG. Et Cetera. Jason's name on the paper means... that you guys have a solid excuse to shove him in front of the microphones when the reporters show up. :)  (And that yes, he's marginally more likely, over time, to get that 'leading the fight' job.) But it's variable. Batman hands out the mission jobs, but he's only "A-02" on the JL roster.
Yes, but as we've not actually had a discussion (IC) of what "team leader" means, Jason's going to be entering this conflict thinking, "What would Dad do?" Or "What would Rusty do?" (as Rusty is the one who assumed tactical command when battles occurred)
1505921024
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
Oh yes, we should totally call Jason the leader, if only for the afforementioned Hot Mess potential. :)
1505921369
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
> Waters and Pneuma are pointedly NOT looking at Link. I may not have communicated what this meant very well, but the body language there was definitely "they think you should do it, but don't want to put pressure on you to do it, so they are NOT looking at you, REALLY HARD.
1505921514
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
> He's ticked off that the living have had contact with the dead, a taint that will attract the unclean. Very glad this was captured in total.
1505921867
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
Bill G. said: This was a good session. There's finally a little bit of intra-party tension, everyone got some time , and we've got some people to take out our frustrations on. :) I'm glad to see this, especially since I felt like I didn't get enough spotlight on Link or Harry in this one (until near the end), but I almost always wrap up wishing SOMEone could have gotten more time; the only question being "who was it this time?"
Doyce T. said: I'm glad to see this, especially since I felt like I didn't get enough spotlight on Link or Harry in this one (until near the end), but I almost always wrap up wishing SOMEone could have gotten more time; the only question being "who was it this time?" Yeah, at one point I was going to try to figure out how to get Harry involved in our research project (checking out the computer systems that his family has access to?), but events got away from us. From my own perspective, when I end the session with a longer list of to-do-next-times than when I started (and most of them are different), it's a good session.
1505923105

Edited 1505923170
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
... yet another Amber RPG parallel. :) I did like the classic comic book development of "OMG! There's this crazy new revelation we need to investigate! ... just as soon as we deal with these probably-unrelated monsters/bad guys/abductions that absolutely should take higher priority. Probably." To be followed at some point by "I know I should be helping with the higher priority threat, but dammit I'm going to ignore that for this other thing."
Yeah. We have an increasing number of flaming chainsaws in the air (esp. from Jason's standpoint -- and he keeps doomtracking when he gets too diverted). There will definitely be a follow-up discussion with Leo about his disappearance.
1505925659
Doyce T. said: > Waters and Pneuma are pointedly NOT looking at Link. I may not have communicated what this meant very well, but the body language there was definitely "they think you should do it, but don't want to put pressure on you to do it, so they are NOT looking at you, REALLY HARD. In the moment, he read it as "I'm not good enough", which is good for my purposes as a player. :). Phil-Coulson-as-played-by-Lt.-Columbo was pitch perfect though.
1505925889
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
*** Dave H. said: Yeah. We have an increasing number of flaming chainsaws in the air (esp. from Jason's standpoint -- and he keeps doomtracking when he gets too diverted). I tried to give you a breadcrumb to grab with that "inventory system manipulation" thing, but yeah... sometimes there just isn't enough bandwidth in Jason's life. :)
1505926449
*** Dave H. said: There will definitely be a follow-up discussion with Leo about his disappearance. Oh yes please, have Jason play leader and try to call him out. That's going to be amazing. :)
1505926982

Edited 1505927080
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
What's interesting about all this is Jason's never really seen anyone be a leader, in the way the team requires. Dad was just... Dad, for him and Amir. Scientist at times; the guy with the answers, but not a leader any more than a parent is. (Try parenting the Menagerie, I dare yah...) Rusty was a commander in a fight, but again... more of a parent for most of the non-combat examples Jason could call to mind. Listen to my grown-up wisdom, boys... In both cases "I'll do what dad would do" might feel like a mismatch more often than not. I mean, no one's really been in that situation, really - maybe Adam's been on a summer baseball league and seen coaching, but... that's kind of it. Certainly Link's dad is no example. :) Depending on how much Charlotte actually went though in the Civil War, she might have some relevant experience with action-under-fire. Harry's seen heroics, but leadership? Ehh... he's gotten training up to his eyeballs, but very little if any in-the-field sidekicking.
1505927173
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
Bill G. said: *** Dave H. said: There will definitely be a follow-up discussion with Leo about his disappearance. Oh yes please, have Jason play leader and try to call him out. That's going to be amazing. :) As the GM, I am rubbing my hands together. As conflict-adverse me, I'm cringing so hard .
1505929327

Edited 1505937274
Jason has found a search answer that Alycia Chin is in town ... and was either involved in Lectric's attack on the Derby, or perhaps (as well?) in a plan to break him out. Low-level EM pulses have been detected around Freescott Prison ... maybe from the missing EMPulser that's been stolen from the Quill labs, which could make such low-level codes (that Lectric could detect), or could on 12 black out the city
Bill G. said: Oh yes please, have Jason play leader and try to call him out. That's going to be amazing. :) Absotively! And part of that will depend on how things go in the battle. Doyce:  (Try parenting the Menagerie, I dare yah...) Good observations all. (And part of Jason's just waiting to say, "I told  you so!" when is leadership turns into a dumpster fire.)
1505929586
Would folks find it useful if I started a shared Trello board to track the arcs and countdown clocks and other shenanigans we are dealing with, and where we are on those? 
  Bill G. said: Would folks find it useful if I started a shared Trello board to track the arcs and countdown clocks and other shenanigans we are dealing with, and where we are on those?  That might be very helpful, thanks!
1505932780
Doyce T. said: As conflict-adverse me, I'm cringing so hard . It'll end well. Link's not the type to run away. Plus, his time with Pneuma has taught him a lesson that I wish every 17-year-old boy could learn: how to be honest about your feelings.
1505937284
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
*** Dave H. said: Jason has found a search answer that Alycia Chin is in town ... and was either involved in Lectric's attack on the Derby, or perhaps (as well?) in a plan to break him out. Low-level EM pulses have been detected around Freescott Prison ... maybe from the missing EMPulser that's been stolen from the Quill labs, which could make such low-level codes (that Lectric could detect), or could on 12 black out the city You're right, Jason did kind of know about that. Turns out that Alycia managed to put in a perfect normal-looking requisition and shipped the bloody thing to a post office box across town. No one's 100% sure how, despite a couple very heated team meetings.
"Jeez, guys, do I need to put everything  in one of Dad's warehouse vaults?!" So was there (still) a further intrusion into the inventory system to cover up that it had happened?
1505939755

Edited 1505939779
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
Nah, it just wasn't tracked as WEIRD until a bit later. And she didn't hack the system. ... it looks like the warehouse hired her about a month and a half ago. Alice Chan. Good employee. Clean background check. 18 months of community college in Des Moines. She covered for the main inventory guy when his wife went into labor and... well, the rest is history. Security camera footage.
It's a good thing Jason has so much hair, as he continues to pull it out on a regular basis.
Transferred from  Trello "Dread Queen and Vyortovia" . Questions Jason wants to figure out: What does it mean that "Vyortovia became part of this world July 4, 2015." From where? How? Is that where Dad went? Are they trying to get back, figure this out, bring in backup, take over our world? How did they fool everyone into thinking they have a 300-plus year existence? Manipulating the data (online? but, printed books?). Manipulating reality? Mass hypnotism / mind control)? (Factor in the ghosts.) Where is their "island"? Why does nobody notice that nobody knows where it is? (Leans toward mind control.Except ... why are we not affected any more?) Doyce commented: RE: #4 - could be any or all of these. Could even be "reality self-correcting a paradox" type of thing, which you've seen happen. Well... "seen"... It's one of the reasons supers and Halcyon City in general draws so much ire from the entity known as Doctor Infinity - nigh-infinite sources of time- and reality-distortions - safer to just wipe them out of existence.
Transferred from  Trello "The Quill AI" , regarding Jason needing to vet then release the data stuck in the sandbox/airlock, and concerns over whether that might corrupt the AI with the same "Vyortovia has been around for 300 years" info. DOYCE: It's worth noting that any stuff regarding Vyortovian activities since 2015-07-04 IS probably 'real data', since they showed up then and have actually been doing things here. DAVE: Ah. Good point. Still, if part of what they did / how they did it was infecting computer data systems with false data / history, then Jason doesn't want to introduce that into the QAI. (Set a checkpoint, a current state of records related to Vyortovia and related topics. Store in parallel, offline. Import the data. Pull back in the checkpoint and compare. Any new info in there from prior to 7/4/2015?) DOYCE: Nope. Would seem to indicate that whatever was done was sort of a one-off 'fill in vague background' thing. Doesn't leave most of the public background data suspect, though.
1505946987
*** Dave H. said: It's a good thing Jason has so much hair, as he continues to pull it out on a regular basis. Jason in six sessions:
1505949433
Mike
Pro
Bill G. said: I think of everyone as dragging their own respective superhero sub-genre behind them: Adam feels like the lighter-and-softer animated fare like Miraculous, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, or Avatar I don't know how accurate that is... No, wait... that's super appropriate actually.  Carry on.
1505949798
Shows like "Steven Universe" can do episodes like "Cheeseburger Backpack" and still have some freakin' fantastic and serious storytelling. I'm glad that this game allows for potential like that, and that you brought in a character that can do it all. :)
Bill said: Adam feels like the lighter-and-softer animated fare like Miraculous, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, or Avatar Yeah, that doesn't necessarily make me feel more comfortable ...
Quill Foundation Hover Disk.
1506172740
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
 note to Jason: buy Kirbycraft with your next Advance. :-)
I had a different thought, but, yeah, that might make sense. But only if it comes with Kirby Krackles.
1506204150
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
I'm open to other ideas. :)
Oh, I'd pondered getting a new corgi -- "C'mon, Lucky!" from the Beacon playbook. Maybe having it provided as an anonymous gift (duh-duh-DUUUUHH!). That then tied in with an idea that Linc had about some sort of robotic creation to try and bypass the nanobot control problem (which I'm still pondering, too). But having a hoverdisc as a "Kirby-craft" (from Outsider) has some conveniences on a team with a living car and a teleporter (or two) and a speedster.
1506208901
Gonna leave this here as a reference:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kSsEXLZI8LBKQF... The proposed robots don't have to form the basis for a new move, but they could. Mostly they served three goals: Give Dave another H-B show to play with (Herculoids) Be the first step in a practical fix for Jason's situation Give the team as a whole some new tools for situations like firefighting & rescue, where we might want the PCs focused on a bad guy If they were built such that they aided Jason specifically, I'm all for that.