Sunday, February 12, 2017

In Reprints

We won't be producing original material for a bit. Gotta wait for some Scrap Pile members to find their way back to Beta City.

We'll be back, though, bigger and weirder than ever!

For now, I guess we're in reprints, so check out the classic Scrap Pile adventure, "Oh, What a Night."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

We Got the Beet

Part Two of the Anniversary Special

They went down the elevator in two groups. They found a whole bunch of antrons, and an entirely robotic version which they nicknamed Max (after Maximilian, even though it didn't look much like him). Sideshow was also there, working at a console by the hibernation couches, only two of which were occupied. Violence ensued. Max turned out to be able to duplicate powers. Sideshow was taken out early. At some point, the capsules opened and The Angry Beet emerged to help the Scrap Pile.

Ruby popped in, flanked by dude in red and gold armor with a red visor (Crimson Wrath) and a dude made entirely of red crystal (Blood Diamond). She announced that the Hand of Covenant was here to claim the Smoking Mirror hive brain. More fighting. Disco was knocked out and replaced by Theta. Torpedo was knocked out and replaced by Psyclone. Ghost Lad continued to try stunts that horrified even the villains.

Eventually they noticed that Sideshow had awakened and was doing something to the machines. Cackling triumphantly, he announced that the Smoking Mirror had finally consumed enough minds and was ready to merge with him. He turned into a big scary alien dude called Bedlam and the world went blooey.

They found themselves in a void resembling subspace with Bedlam and a bunch of floating tentacled space brains. Bedlam could warp space and the brains could stun them with trippy Daliesque visions. And he summoned Deathwing. It all worked out for the best, though.

We'll deal with the aftermath next session.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Assault on IT

We played this session on October 2nd, which happens to be one day before the anniversary of our first session, so this issue was part one of the guest-star-filled anniversary special.

Besides doing everything I could to make it a blockbuster from the story side, I told everyone that any character they've played in this campaign or any of Tom's sessions was fair game and, just for this one, they could play two characters at once if they want. Also, any time one of their characters was damaged, they had the option to swap out for a surprise guest-star who pops in for vague comic-booky reasons to help out. It's turning out to be a two-parter because we couldn't get through everything I had planned, so the same rules will be in effect next time.

We started off with Doctor Zodiac on a rampage downtown, blasting things randomly and demanding that The Scrap Pile come out and face him. Eventually, they did, and he exploded, revealing that he was only a hollow Doctor-Zodiac-shaped bomb. After that, they were attacked from all sides by psybots. Whenever one of the androids zapped them with a mind blast, they had visions of webs spreading across the world from the antron hive, a black sphere floating in lava, or jaguar people manipulating or eating humans.

Deathbird showed up as the fight was ending, but she wasn't here to fight. Her team had been similarly ambushed and she was here to team up. (See? Guest stars!)

After some deliberation, they scooped up the robot parts and (with Deathbird) went back to their hideout. Magi and Torpedo built a super-hero android, Psyclone. They called in The B Team and found that Pork Chop's girlfriend, Bad Service, had been kidnapped by the psybots and taken to the Smoking Mirror. They sent Grave Bear and Psyclone to guard Morgana in case something similar was in the works for her. Then, abandoning their original plan to wait and see how their Angry Beet arrangements worked out, they went to rescue Bad Service and stop Interlocking Technologies.

The plan was for Ghost Lad to do some scouting first, but that fell apart right away. Land Shark followed Ghost Lad, while Pork Chop climbed up a fire escape into a back window. Magi, Torpedo, Disco, and Comet held back a bit.

Pork Chop found himself in a laboratory manned by Prince, Lemmy, and Muhammad Ali. Flavia (Doctor Gold) was also there. The three dead celebrities had been re-animated using hydraulic pumps and shoddy-locking electronic devices.

Ghost Lad found Blue Shift, Scarab, Scorpion, and Jellyfish guarding the restricted-access elevator to the hive. He attempted a gruesome plan to merge them into the floor by making it intangible, but failed, after which Scorpion was somehow able to determine and mark his location.

Pork Chop, tearing through zombies, found that he also had a super-human foe in Doctor Gold, as, cursing him for his meddling ("I will flay you and make a coat for Wesley Willis out of your skin!"), she raised her arms and morphed into a shiny Nebulon-like form. Magi leaped to the window to join him. When Prince's head was knocked off and landed at Disco's feet, someone quipped, "De-elevator brought him down."

The battle with the North Coast Guardians (minus Sideshow) was joined from various angles. Pork Chop and Magi took out the zombies and Doctor Gold, even after she changed into a giant acid-spitting worm thing. Scarab turned out to have darkness powers in addition to his agility. Nobody knew what Scorpion's powers were because Ghost Lad took her out with one shot early in the fight. Jellyfish turned out to be very difficult to hurt in her amorphous form, and covered with deadly poison spines.

There were lots of cool heroics and stunts and fights in multiple locations that nearly melted the Game Master's brain. Torpedo, thanks to an Atlantean prince retcon, was immune to this one particular type of jellyfish poison. Magi conjured a fire rune that was able to do psychic as well as physical damage. Land Shark endangered everyone by using the concrete floor as a weapon, but he did manage to slow the elusive Jellyfish down a bit. Deathbird was wounded and slipped away while no one was looking. Hey, she's still a villain.

Finally, the Scrap Pile triumphed. Pork Chop got them past the electronic lock and they prepared to move on to the sub-basement, where they expected to find Angry Beet, Bad Service, a bunch of antrons, and maybe more.

To be continued in the pages of The B Team -- on sale in two weeks!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Let's Go Crazy

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life. It means forever, and that's a mighty long time! But I'm here to tell you there's something else...

Back to the main Scrap Pile (minus Magi, who was off doing something else), the team had a chat with that hacker they borrowed from the Lizard Moll. The Angry Beet, by the way, had passed his first interview and was scheduled to go in for processing in a couple of days.

First off, the hacker reported that there was a whole section referred to as the "Bionet" which wasn't connected to anything outside the building and so out of her reach. She did have information on the people who worked there and much of the process. Subjects were given dimethyltryptamine and placed in special sensory deprivation tanks referred to as "hibernation couches." These were then plugged in to the Bionet, which somehow completed the process. From the description, it sounded like they were talking about the weird sub-basement Ghost Lad had found on his scouting mission.

They decided that they needed some more information, so they found the lab manager, Flavia Golden, and sent Disco out to "take one for the team." According to her credit card statements, Dr. Golden spent a lot of money at Evil Gnome Games, so Disco bleached his hair and started hanging out. Eventually, he did run into her and, after somewhat awkwardly convincing her that he was interested in both women and role-playing games, scored a date.

This led  to drinks and eventually back to her place, where Disco was able to distract Flavia by telling her he was really into "sciency stuff" and would love to hear more about her work. So she took him down to her basement, where, beyond a second locked door, a chamber of nightmares awaited.

First, there was a hideous walking corpse with vinyl-like skin which Flavia introduced as Wesley Willis. Wesley was supported by a framework of hydraulic pumps which hissed and spurted fluids as he moved. The rest of the room was filled with gurneys, tanks, and an assortment of medical and other electronic equipment. Two of the gurneys had bodies covered with sheets on them.

Flavia took Disco to the closest of these and asked him if he was into rock & roll. Without waiting for an answer, she pulled back the sheet, revealing that she had the corpse formerly known as Prince, dressed in full purple regalia, in her basement. She said she was just waiting for something called "Kilmer fluid" to soak in and toughen up his skin like Wesley's, before she started working on him.

Doing his best to disguise his horror, Disco got Flavia to come back upstairs and have a few more drinks. Finally, he got her talking about her job. The Bionet was actually a cybernetic hive mind generated by the antrons. By manipulating this network, they had been able to bring the whole hive under control. The conversion process simply plugged subjects into the hive, not so much controlling them as imprinting its priorities on them.

Having gathered the information he came for, Disco risked a lightshow to make Flavia sleepy. It worked and, while she muttered something about him being sparkly, she didn't seem to notice anything amiss. Disco left a fake phone number and made his escape.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The B Team

Ghost Lad had agreed to scout out the North Coast Guardians' HQ for the Scrap Pile, partly because he was still hoping for an opportunity to meet Disco. Although he knew he could get in without being seen or even having to open a door, he still wanted some backup, so he contacted The Comet, a young crime-fighter who had recently taken up the mantle of the original Comet, one of the first known super-heroes.

He also brought in some less wholesome allies, hoping that perhaps they would have useful connections. Grave Bear had once been an up-and-coming stand-up comic who went to a lot of the same parties as Ghost Lad, but he was now a humorless undead man-beast. The two now shared a strange "ghost link" which sometimes enabled them to communicate telepathically. Pork Chop, on the other hand, was a former associate of The Angry Beet who was now trying to clean up his act.

The four of them decided to get some fake IDs so that Ghost Lad could have plenty of nearby support while he scouted the area. To this end, Pork Chop and Grave Bear went over to the Lightfoot Island docks to talk to Zombie Lizard Moll. While they were doing that, however, Ghost Lad and Comet decided to go have a quick look-around anyway.

The Interlocking Technologies lab that supported the North Coast Guardians was across town, in one wing of what used to be a hospital. Ghost Lad got them in and found a lab coat for Comet easily enough, but it wasn't long before a member of the fairly small staff noticed an unfamiliar face and referred him to "HR" in Beta City proper.

Ghost Lad, meanwhile, found a mysterious locked elevator at the end of the hallway. Upon attempting to phase in, he was repulsed by a force field. Not to be dissuaded, he gave it another go and pushed through. Down the elevator shaft, Ghost Lad found a large underground chamber with a smaller central dome surrounded by hibernation capsules. Creepy human-sized ant-cyborgs were crawling all over everything.
Ghost Lad took pictures of the facility but, to do so, he had to briefly become visible. One of the antrons saw him and fired off a shot with some kind of bee gun. Alarms went off. Upstairs, Comet was attacked by Jellyfish, Blue Shift, and several decimators and psybots.

Back on Lightfoot Island, Grave Bear and Pork Chop caught up with Firetemple (one of the Lizard Moll's super-powered enforcers) and made their case to the Lizard Moll. She was no fan of the North Coast Guardians and agreed to have some badges customized for the B Team. This wouldn't take long, because much of the work had already been done for some reason. Grave Bear sent out a ghost-brain message to Ghost Lad and discovered that he and Comet were under attack at the lab.

Comet and Ghost Lad were holding their own, although Comet's defensive "blast field" was being gradually weakened by the decimator's null ray. Pork Chop and Grave Bear rushed to the rescue in their freshly-rented car and everybody slugged it out. Then a whole mob of fresh "Ultra" agents stormed in from nowhere and the group decided it was time to run away.

They decided that, before they took what they had to the Scrap Pile, they needed a hacker to get into I.T.'s computers and find out more about what they had seen. Another trip to the Lizard Moll's den seemed in order.

This time, the Lizard Moll wanted something in exchange for her help. Her ex and mob rival, Joe Cassanelli (AKA NecroDon) had set up a warehouse in her territory. She wanted our heroes to burn it down.

They said okey-dokey to this, and, after a bit of ghostly scouting, they proceeded to trash the place. It was defended by some goons with guns and a large, undead Liberace. There was also a crazy-looking mad scientist guy with a shrink ray. Giant-sized Grave Bear punted Liberace into the harbor, and Comet took out Downsizer after Grave Bear took a few shrinks.

The Lizard Moll was satisfied with their work and hooked them up with one of her hackers.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Day of the Dastards

While going over their options (and talking to their publicist, Winnie Amanda), the team heard the news that the Angry Beet was being considered for I.T.'s controversial early release program and would be transported to the North Coast Guardians' HQ for an interview the next day. The Scrap Pilers needed proof before going to the authorities, and Magi suggested that they might save a step by stopping the plot and then offering that proof as their justification. There was also some discussion over the wisdom of letting Gamma go after she very nearly killed Torpedo.

They decided that best way to proceed would be to inoculate the Angry Beet against the brainwashing procedure and use him to get more information, then send someone stealthy in to deal with the Smoking Mirror. They contacted their friend Morgana for the first part (Magi had technology that would work, but only if Beet were allowed to wear obvious electronic headgear during the procedure) and Ghost Lad for the second part. Morgana, however needed to be in close proximity to work the spell, and Beet wasn't being allowed visitors.

They needed to abduct the Angry Beet mid-transport, but didn't want to be seen being all criminal, so they created villainous alter-egos and ambushed the transport as The Dastards. As the team screeched onto the scene in their Chevy Malibu of Evil, the trunk opened to disgorge Asteroids (Magi), who crashed into the pavement in front of the van in a fireball, bringing it to a screeching halt. Blacklight (Disco) gave everyone the finger and dazzled the driver of the lead police car. The police car veered off the road. Protesters and random bystanders scattered, except for one guy who didn't seem care that he was about to be run over.

Despite his villainous cover, Bad Fish (Land Shark) tackled the bystander to get him out of the way. The civilian, however, turned out to be a psybot, a plastic-faced robot with mind blast powers reminiscent of the roboto guards from the Styxverse. Its eyes flashed as it zapped Bad Fish. Land Pirate (Torpedo) and several more psybots from the crowd joined the fray. Land Pirate occupied three of the cops by pretending to wrestle with one of them while his compatriots tried to get a clear shot.

While the rest of the team slugged it out, Asteroids was using a dimension travel stunt to get into the transport, drop a teleport beacon for himself, and bring the Angry Beet to the Styxverse, where Morgana was waiting to perform the ritual that would mystically shield his mind from the Smoking Mirror. Once that was completed, Asteroids returned Beet to the transport and signaled the others that it was time to go. They took their parting shots and the Chevy Malibu of Evil screeched away, while Blacklight again offered his sneering middle-finger salute to the assorted onlookers.

Next session, we'll be going in with Ghost Lad and whatever group of infiltrators he comes up with, so everybody gets to try out an alternate character for real, instead of just a different costume.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

One Microscopic Cog

(We started with a cut scene from the opening of "The Man Comes Around" just to give me an excuse to wave Stars, Specters, and Super-Powers in front of people again.)

Looking into their new rivals in the North Coast Guardians, the team found out from Carl Caravel that Interlocking Technologies was owned by Concord Holdings, which also owned a number other companies (Aspera Charter Schools, Covenant Transport, Advanced Idea Mechanics, and a think tank called the Friedman Foundation).

They also found out that the North Coast Guardians were formed under the auspices of a radical new rehabilitation program called The Smoking Mirror Project. Supervillains were offered early release contingent on their participation in some sort of new therapy program. Sideshow, Scarab, and Blue Shift were known participants in this program. Another villain, Gamma (who the Scrap Pile fought in space once) had run away after apparently having an adverse reaction to the treatment.

The team split up. Disco wanted to check out a Covenant Transport warehouse just outside Beta City. Torpedo, Magi, and Land Shark went to the wilderness on the south side of Lightfoot Island, where Caravel believed Gamma was heading.

After some flirting in the office in his civilian identity, Disco went back outside to see a smallish object flying away in the distance. He suited up (spinning like Wonder Woman to change into his costume) and flew after it.

Magi and Land Shark cooked up a search method which involved a lot of tunneling and leaping and fire. Torpedo swam out to search the lake. While Magi and Land Shark dealt with an avalanche, Torpedo spotted an air-filled underwater cave with lots of cheap camping gear and fast food wrappers scattered about. After letting Land Shark and Magi know what he was doing, he hid nearby and watched the entrance.

Eventually, a pair of somewhat shoddy-looking cyborgs flew into the area, checked some sort of scanning instrument they were carrying, and plunged into the water. They were followed shortly by Disco, who first took a moment to change into his aquatic costume (a silver speed-o with suspenders). The cyborgs looked around the cave, took some readings, and were preparing to leave when Torpedo and Disco attacked. The cybogs went down fairly quickly, although one of them did manage to temporarily nullify Disco's powers first.

They were able to determine that the cyborgs were cobbled together from a combination of Dimension Q technology and tech scavenged from Karza's soldiers. They had successfully identified Gamma's energy signature and had been about to follow her trail when the Scrap Pile stopped them. They did, however, have a legitimate Hero Corps operating license. Despite this, Magi sabotaged their jets so the Scrap Pile could get to Gamma first.

Swimming, flying, and Scrap-Boating off to the west, the group found an island with some dilapidated houses, shops, and a faux-castle Mexican restaurant. Gamma was in an old motel near the castle. Both Magi and Torpedo went down in the fight. Torpedo was so badly wounded that he had to be hospitalized. Magi had been driving the boat, so his unconsciousness led to a crash. Disco tried the diplomatic approach. Gamma agreed to talk over lunch at the castle as long as Disco gave his word that they wouldn't try to take her in.

Gamma revealed that Smoking Mirror was actually a cyber-brain scavenged from the Karza War. IT had adapted it to ESPer technology so they could use it to brainwash people. Something about Gamma's powers had protected her from its effects, giving her the chance to flee. She believed that Sideshow, who was formerly known as The Clown, was also immune and was trying to get ahold of the brain for his own nefarious purposes.

Gamma revealed that Sideshow had once mentioned a contact called "Warmaster" and that neither Scorpio nor Jellyfish were known criminals. Jellyfish's powers had come from exposure to alien technology during the Karza War.

Magi took the opportunity to point out that they never should have made a deal with Qth-raq, and a few other old arguments resurfaced, but everyone had a nice dinner in the intensive care unit with the carry-out Disco brought from the Castillo Grande.