Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Heroes at last

The UTOPIA Project ended tonight.

As war between the program factions tore Utopia City apart and metahuman awakenings began to spike, the PCs made their way toward the hospital, killing an SEAgent on the way, where the sextuplets here being kept. They reached the hospital and bluffed their way to the children. After some deliberation, they decided it would be better to free the children rather than take the place of their minds and whisked them out of the hospital. The children were informed of their situation, and four of them, upon understanding, fled UTOPIA. The other two began to rampage, and it took the PCs a while to talk them down and convince them to leave. A short time later, The Hidden urged the to keep awakened ones in UTOPIA, as at the rate they were awakening, the Resistance could not intercept them all, and the results of a real-world unchecked superhuman outbreak could be catastrophic. To stall for time, the PCs tracked down several rogues and convinced them that there were prisoners at UDO headquaters who needed freeing. Searching the building and finding only the isolation/reprogramming rooms, True Thomas encountered Hanson and restrained him until they could regroup. Hanson, upon being interrogated, warned them that unless the rogues could be captured and reconditioned, UTOPIA was on the brink of necessitating a total wipe, far gone beyond even the time of the SEA's dissolution. As they deliberated, the four still-loyal UDOperatives returned to report that they had killed the final SEAgent and recaptured the rogues the PCs had brought with them. Hanson, however, having seen what the city had been put through in the past week, had decided that the old methods were, in fact, the more effective (a sentiment with which certain party members did not disagree), and brought UDOperatives to the isolation room. There he made the mistake of ordering them to bring the PCs in with them, at which point the PCs bull-rushed three of the four UDOperatives into the room, knocked out Hanson and the last operative, and freed the rogues before they could be reconditioned. They returned outside to an obliterated and, for the first time in days, quiet, city. They rounded up all rogues remaining in the system and, with the help of the Hidden, began orchestrating an orderly departure from the system. As they began, Sok noticed the UDO headquarters beginning to turn to black. UTOPIA was being wiped after all. They finished the evacuation as quickly as they could, The Hidden being the last to leave at the same time as UDO HQ vanished and the rest of the world began to darken. Knowing there was no longer any hope of escaping, the PCs sought out--and found--a burger restaurant that had not been entirely wrecked. Duke Ballistic rolled well on his cooking check, and as the programmed world fell apart, they were able to enjoy four tasty hamburgers.

"Your last moments are delicious."

The ending is a bittersweet one at worst. Yes, all of the PCs are dead without hope of revival, but they refrained from taking over several metahumans to escape into the real world and, through means direct and indirect, destroyed the old SEA. Utopia City will be recreated under the supervision of a new, slightly edited SEA, but dozens of metahumans have been freed, increasing the odds that UTOPIA will eventually fall.

The End.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oh, and I forgot

The M&M session was preceded by a D&D session.

The rescue process continued. Unfortunately, a guard poked his head into the building, saw us, and raised the alarm before being killed. Furthermore, the building apparently had shoddy construction, as Garcin's telekinetic slams sent him flying through the roof, further advertising our presence. Everyone summoned the shuttlecraft, packed aboard (except for the saboteur, who was tunneling to the other detainment buildings), and started making runs back to the Calisa.

At this point, we decided that there was no point in being subtle anymore, as what looked like the city's whole army was descending upon our breakout attempt, so we called in the rest of the fleet and began shelling the city. In the meantime the PCs had been located a half-mile beneath a large tower, so Meteledes ordered the Calisa to fly over the tower and focus all of its weaponry straight down until we had cracked the prison wide open. Koslov reappeared on the scene, having somehow escaped, and joined in the attack with a brutality never previously displayed.

Seismic rumblings began across the map. Seconds later, the tower broke open to make way for the ascent of a demon ship. Like the one we discovered in the first session, but fully operational. The Calisa was impaled and destroyed, and demon hearts swarmed into the wreckage. The engineers rushed for the smaller escape vessels while the marines covered their retreat, and Meteledes held off the demon hearts from an engineer who was retrieving the fragments of the intelligent scrying orb/weather eye, ordering what remained of the Calisa and any intelligence therein to self-destruct as soon as all personnel were clear of the blast radius

Current status:

The PCs: Split between imprisonment and a massive air battle.
The fleet as a whole: Declaring war via heavy artillery.
The Calisa: Wrecked.
The city: Bombarded and releasing demon ships.

Situation: Dire.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Matrix Exploded

The UTOPIA Project is nearing its conclusion. Here is a recap of everything I have been too lazy to previously describe:

  • Aizen was replaced by Duke Ballistic, a basic powerhouse.
  • The PCs were taken off active duty during a damage control period, and other programs filled in for them.
  • While dealing with one Count Maledict, the UDO replacements were ambushed by unknown metahumans, and the PCs were called in as backup. After a long and vicious fight, Maledict was subdued, but one of the metahumans, an invisible one, escaped. The PCs were restored to active duty.
  • A few days later, the PCs are split up to deal with a city-wide wave of crises organized by the SEA. Equinox was ambushed and captured. The others tracked him to the SEA hideout, where they managed to steal a copy of the UTOPIA-Scan program they had been using to monitor the city and rescue Equinox (with the help of the invisible mutant, for reasons unknown to them).
  • Equinox, however, had had everything revealed to him by the SEAgents, and their arguments had swayed him back to their side. He split with the party.
  • The PCs returned to headquarters, where they shared the revelations of Equinox with their superior. Knowing that awareness of UTOPIA contradicted the whole reason the UDO had been created in the first place, he escorted the PCs to a chamber where they could have their memories reprogrammed. The PCs, understandably, ran like hell, and within minutes they had gone from government-run peacekeepers to wanted criminals. Proteus was sniped in the head during their escape but just barely survived.
  • They escaped through the sewers and took refuge in Equinox's old house, where they ran into The Hidden again (the invisible one), who sensed that he might be able to recruit the PCs in the fight against UTOPIA. When they agreed, he promised to look into ways to get them out. The PCs went back to the sewers to hide until they heard back from him.
  • In the days to come, the conflicts between the SEA and the UDO, fueled by the PCs flight and Equinox's defection, broke into an all-out war, ravaging Utopia City. At one point, the PCs got pulled into the center of a battle between a radiation-controlling SEAgent and a UDOperative with a literal Hyperspace Arsenal. They thoroughly crushed the Operative, at which point the Agent thanked them and took off. The PCs dragged Arsenal back into the sewers, where they shared the true nature of UTOPIA with him. Aware that, knowing this now, he could not return to base without suffering a wipe, Arsenal begrudgingly stayed with the PCs as they returned to Equinox's house to eat.
  • Inside, The Hidden met them again, having discovered a way to bring the PCs into the real world. The method, however, required them to completely wipe out the minds of several metahumans, making The Hidden reluctant to even bring it up. Before they could resolve the moral pros and cons, the lot were discovered by a squad of SEAgents, led by none other than Equinox.
  • The resulting battle leveled over two dozen residential blocks. Arsenal, forced to decide where his loyalties lay anew, sided with the PCs and was fried for his troubles. Sok and True Thomas were knocked out (although they escaped death) by an SEAgent's electric cannon, but ultimately every single Agent was killed, Equinox included. The session ended with The hidden remarking on the effect this would have on the continuing street war between the SEA and UDO and the PCs, obviously UDO no more, gave themselves a new team name: The Balance of Power.

Campaign catch-up

I missed updating for the last couple of sessions, so now I'll attempt to recap what happened since we teleported away from the doomed elven town.
  • Given the choice between extracting an orb from the dwarves and pursuing another, we chose to pursue another.
  • We ran into a long-wandering ambassador (new PC) from the dragon-ruled continent, to which we were flying.
  • Upon arrival, a "cleansing" appeared to be going on. Interrogation of the not-Nazis-I-swear led us to a Temple of Doom, which we investigated.
  • Inside, we passed many, many deactivated traps until we reached a room with a large, ominous book on a pedestal. After debating what to do with it, we decided that the rest of us would vacate the temple and then Gerrard would attempt to take the book.
  • Gerrard, not having learned from touching the explosive crystal way back when, snatched the book immediately and ran (using his blinking tunic) back through the wall through which we had entered. Everybody else sensed that something terribly bad had happened. Koslov and Garcin (Aleistair's replacement) decided to throw up a wall of force separating them from the rest of the party and knock a hole in the stone wall to find out what was beyond. Cue clouds of acidic, disintegrating, soul-trapping dust that annihilated them instantly. The rest of us, knowing the wall of force would not last long, began desperately strategizing and casting spells to help us survive. I had one idea involving my most recently-acquired binder powers, but just before the wall ran out, I was visited by Sethos, who offered the tools for all of us to escape in exchange for my soul. Not seeing much other choice (and not planning to die soon anyway), I agreed, promptly receiving several scrolls of Time Stop and a cube of force.
  • Back to normal time. I used my last Miracle for the day to compress the fog into a 2-ft sphere, around which I summoned a Sphere of Annihilation (a rare and powerful artifact, and exactly what it says on the tin. Do Not Touch). Those of us still alive managed to use Sethos' toys (I didn't tell them where I got them) to get past the rest of the traps (all of which had been activated my moving the book) on the way out. We then sent in trap-disabling specialists to clear out the temple and revived Garcin, Koslov, and Gerrard. The first two immediately attempted to slaughter the latter again, but they were restrained. Gerrard, having proved himself dangerously unstable yet again, was carted off to the loony bin and out of the campaign. (His replacement character is Not-The-Doctor-I-Swear, who flies around in Not-The-TARDIS-I-Swear)
  • Further exploration orb-wise took us to the regent of the nation: a bratty young man with an overinflated ego. At one point, some of us accepted his invitation to join him in hunting dire eagles (illusions created for his benefit, actually). During the "hunt," an assassination attempt was made on him (foiled by the party, albeit with some reluctance). Kosliv, Ulgrath (an illusionist PC in the employ of the Athertons), and I investigated this further (not all of the party was with us), eventually leading to us becoming trapped and powerless in a mind-screwy interrogation room. Ulgrath disappeared through a mysterious door, and Koslov was drenched in modified demon blood, providing the final clue to him that we were within an Abaci Macabre.
  • Cue to outside the palace, where the others have gotten wind of trouble on the inside. It was also discovered that the Calisa had been seized. Everyone switched over to playing various Atherton marines (I got Meteledes, who has progressed from merely dying and getting hurt a lot to actually being a masochist) for the retaking of the ship. Given the marines' sneaking and dispatching capabilities as a team, this part was a success. Regaining access to the scrying orb, we found where the rest of the crew and specialists (read: PCs) were being held.
  • Currently, we are halfway through rescuing the crew (and absolutely massacring their captors in the process), after which we will come after the PCs.
When we finally confront Sethos, I have figured out how Hakh'net will sort through his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and pick a side. The DM really wants to know, but I think he can find out with the rest of the group. And I know you might be reading this now, so I won't say it here, either! :P

Friday, May 15, 2009

Never underestimate the power of dramatic timing.

Final math class was today, and our tutor let us replace it with a game of softball (note to self: next time, do not wear a turtleneck!). During the time were were waiting for the opposing class to arrive and warming up, I found myself practice-pitching to Gerrard. After a few swings of varying quality , I realized the conclusion to the 1812 overture was playing, and we were almost at the big finish, so I held off the pitch.

Daa daa DAAA da daa, daaaa, da da da da daaa, d*pitch*a da

WHAM! Right on the first great downbeat, Gerrard connects and the ball goes flying over the horizon. I'm not one for sports, but that was a Crowning Moment of Awesome.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Why, in MY day...

No run-through the night before opening? Not even a cue-through??

Incidentally, we'll be using real eyes for the Gloucester scene. Oh, yes!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

These eclipses do portend these divisions.

King Lear goes up in 3...well, 2 days, now. Monsma is a great Lear. Rehearsals are going well, we have most of our costumes ready, and the swords have arrived. Good thing, too: Edmund snapped his sword-dowel while running the fight with Edgar. That and the whole two-days-until-opening part. I have a burgundy (surprise, surprise) hooded cloak which I am enjoying way too much. I don't actually wear the hood up, but still.

Two and a half weeks left in the year. 3 music classes, 5 Greek classes, 5 math classes, 4 lab classes, and 5 seminars.

The airship campaign is nearing its conclusion. At this stage, it could go one of several ways, possibly including certain PCs betraying the party and fleeing the world before it asplode.