47.1 - .50 Excalibur

William Eddison is enjoying a rare hamburger. His strict training regimen doesn’t leave much room for indulgences like this. He hasn’t actually eaten any of it yet. Just the smell is intoxicating. He’s waited so long–

His phone goes off with an incoming SMS. “Get to 510 12th Ave, JHHL @ Tasha Starr show about to be attacked, yr their only chance”.

What the hell? He texts back confusion. “U WOT”

The reply is immediate. “I’m w/ AEGIS. Let’s face it tho you need some fun right now, Sword & Bored.”

That much is fair.

The hamburger will have to wait.

That much is highly unfair.

William rises and looks around. How’s he going to get there? A bike messenger is parked next door, at the Coffee Closet. He flags her down, waving cash. “Hey, can I borrow yer bike?”

“No way, you weirdo!” she scowls.

He stops, schemes, and reorients, all in the space of a few seconds. “Hire you for a delivery?”

This is the weirdest delivery of Aisha’s life. “Take this sword, ride to this address, drop it off, and text me.” But the money’s good, espresso is expensive, and she’s feeling the buzz of a fresh drink hitting her veins.

Her bike is fresh and alive under her, like a wild animal. Downtown is downhill, so she can spend most of her time coasting and dodging traffic. What could be so important?

She finds out as her bike skids to a stop outside the television studio where the Tasha Starr show is aired from. There’s an explosion at the top of the building, and a shower of glass falls from an upper floor toward the street. “Not again,” mutters one pedestrian.

Aisha doesn’t care - the job is almost done. She finds she can’t actually lift the blade from where the intense young man had slung it, but it slides off easily enough when she tips the bike. It’s now on the sidewalk. Is that good enough? It better be. And she grabs her phone as she bikes away from the scene.

William is running through his warm-up exercises, stretching, shadowboxing, unlimbering his muscles. The other fast-food patrons are watching him with a mixture of confusion, admiration, and annoyance.

His phone buzzes, and he checks the incoming message. It’s just a picture of Excalibur, taken in front of the studio, but that’s all he needs. He blinks out of existence, leaving behind an uneaten burger and wistful regret.

He materializes, the hilt of the blade in his hands, just in time to see people running and screaming. He spots glass, looks up, sees smoke coming from inside the building. His phone rings again - not a text this time, but an actual call. It’s from the same mystery number.

“Who are–” he demands, only to be cut off by a modulated, insistent voice. “Put me on speaker. That’s Carbine. Terrorist. She’s attacking the JHHL. Get in there and deal with her.”

William slips his phone into his shirt pocket. “Why me?” he asks of the air.

“She’s got counters for everyone else,” the voice on the phone says.

Armiger tries the studio door, finds it locked, and changes that with a quick slice of his magical sword.

Time for my TV debut, I guess.

I had enough fun doing an actual-play style thing with Summer, that I’m doing another one for Armiger (mostly to keep Mike happy, but also to play around with what it means for the Menagerie to be gone a couple weeks, and to reference another post I made). I’ll be replying to this thread as the action progresses. As usual, if anyone has any feedback, comments, or requests, please let me know!


author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6600829

Very excited to see what comes of this. If I find time, I might try to do my own AP-sort of thing, if you don’t mind me cribbing off what you’ve already done Bill.

I assume Carbine is one of the characters from the Deck of Villains? Have not picked that up, mostly because I’ve only seen the option for a physical deck (no PDF I’ve seen anywhere) and I’ve already got enough RPG books kicking around my house.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6601005

Mike said:

Very excited to see what comes of this. If I find time, I might try to do my own AP-sort of thing, if you don’t mind me cribbing off what you’ve already done Bill.

I assume Carbine is one of the characters from the Deck of Villains? Have not picked that up, mostly because I’ve only seen the option for a physical deck (no PDF I’ve seen anywhere) and I’ve already got enough RPG books kicking around my house.

You should absolutely do your own, yeah. I’d love to see it. Carbine is indeed from the DoV. I sent you the link with the new Unbound playbooks recently - there’s a Deck of Villainy PDF in there now. Doyce tends to use those pregen villains so if you want to avoid spoilers, don’t scroll around too much (I’d already done so by the time this game started, so it’s too late for me).

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6601011

The television studio is on the ground floor, but the attack seems to be coming from upstairs. William glances around the lobby. The security team is blocking off the doors to the studio and readying weapons, or shouting into walkie-talkies.

“She’s upstairs,” the voice of AEGIS announces, unnecessarily. A moment later, this is followed up by something a little more helpful. “Causing fire, to bait emergency services.”

“Right. Let’s end this quick,” Armiger announces. The building is fifteen stories. Choosing between the elevator and stairs is easy.

Armiger wants to Assess the Situation. He has Superior +0, and rolls a 6. Time to mark potential. The GM decides to have fun and steer him wrong: “the building is very tall, you should be able to get there quick in the elevator.”

The young man is halfway up the building when the car lurches to a stop, and the lights flicker out. “Bad move bro, fire protocol is to stop elevators and return 'em to the lobby. Can you walk?”

He’s already spent enough time in here. He’s also seen a few movies. “Hey, if I cut the cable, I can ride it up, yeah?” he asks his phone.

“Duuuuude. No.”

Too bad. William sees the small hatch that leads to the top of the elevator, pushes it open with his blade, and leaps up, grabbing hold of the edge with both hands. He’s easily fit enough to lift himself up and out without even breathing hard.

“Alright, now–”

He glances up to see an open elevator door at the top of the shaft. There’s a face there, and a hand. In the hand is a grenade, which begins to drop down the shaft. He’s definitely seen enough movies to know where this is going.

There’s only a few seconds to act. He spots what he’d started to look for - the attachment point where the cable connects to the elevator. He doesn’t know how sturdy it will be, or whether he could stand safely on it, and he doesn’t have the time to find out. He moves on instinct. Excalibur swings, hard and fast, severing the metal cable without resistance. And he lets go of the sword, letting it get tangled up in the cable.

Armiger wants to use his power to escape the grenade, hopefully by riding the elevator cable up. He Unleashes His Powers and gets a 7. The GM will let him do a more precarious (and cinematic) trick, and Armiger will mark the Afraid condition to keep it from being unstable - he wants to get right into the fight!

The car goes into free fall, with him on it. Above him is a grenade, falling at the same rate. The sword whips past it, darting up toward the top of the shaft. In moments, the car will fall, or a safety system will engage, and he’ll be crushed in the sudden collapse, or blown up as the grenade detonates.

Hold it together - hold it together - now!

He teleports to Excalibur, hand on hilt, and feels a sudden upward momentum carried through the sword. Below him, there’s a deafening roar and a wave of unbearable heat. The blast throws him at the wall, but his sword is out and pointed forward and stabs through the metal. He’s only a few feet below the still-open door where the attack came from. He can see a retreating figure’s back.

He hauls himself up to the top floor, using Excalibur as a sort of climber’s pick to cover the distance, summons his sword to his hand, and gives chase.

Bloody hell that was scary.

Next part coming soon.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6601485

Good stuff. Gave me a (post-holiday) idea, too.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6602480

William feels his feet pounding against the expensive carpet of the television studio. He’s in hot pursuit. Ahead, he can hear similar footfalls, hear the whooshing rhythmic breathing of someone accustomed to exertion. This feels like a trap, somehow–

“She’ll lure you in,” says his anonymous AEGIS friend, via speakerphone. “Don’t fall for it.”

“Where am I supposed to go, then?” William asks.

“Tactics. You’re a commando, you got a mission, you’ve just set a distraction. What’s your next move?”

William slows down. Skinner and Lucius were military men. They’ve been teaching him the basics, and he’s listened to them talk about their pasts before. “Military is its own nation, its own people,” Lucius once said.

Armiger wants to Pierce the Mask, using his insight into the military mind. He rolls his +Mundane of +1, and gets a 12! He can ask three questions. He chooses the following: What are you really planning? What do you intend to do? And how could I get your character to corner themself?

She’s some kind of military or paramilitary pro. AEGIS-trained? Meant for anti-super work? “She’s got counters for everyone else,” the voice said. The JHHL is downstairs - this floor isn’t the goal. He can already smell the smoke and feel the heat from whatever fire has been started on this floor. She won’t stay up here for long. But there’s only so many routes down. What’s she waiting for?

She’s waiting to nail me, before she moves on.

Armiger drops his sword on the ground. He keeps running. His eyes go low, scanning the ground level of the hallway ahead of him. Where are you, where are you?

He sees it, and feels his foot hit the tripwire, and teleports away a moment before the explosion engulfs the hallway.

Back at where he left his weapon, he mutters into the phone. “Oi, smartarse. How many stairwells in this building?”

“I dunno.”

“Can’t you, y’know, pull up schematics or any of that shit?”

“Oh. Yah. Just a second.”

William rolls his eyes. He retreats, back toward the elevator. Is there a stairwell nearby? Yes there is. Is it the one she’ll use? Doesn’t look like it. He doesn’t hear any footfalls nearby, doesn’t hear any coming from inside the stairwell - and there’d be echoes aplenty if so. He drops Excalibur fifteen stories, and teleports instantly to meet it.

By the time he’s back out in the lobby, his voice comes back. “Yah, other corner of the building from you. Okay, left, then–”

He’s running, following voiced directions. He encounters a door, locked with a card-key and other protections, but Excalibur slices right through it. Finally! A long hallway, the stairwell at the end of it, next to some employee bathrooms. But the door is opening. He won’t reach it, even if he sprints.

There’s a push-cart on wheels only a few feet away. William throws his sword onto it, then kicks the cart with as much force as he can muster. It rolls, and as it comes to a stop only feet away from the stairwell, he teleports again. Right into the camouflage-painted face of the lady commando, who raises her weapon immediately.

Armiger wants to Directly Engage. He’s Afraid, so he rolls at -2, and his Danger is +0. He still manages to get a 7. He can pick one option from the list, so he chooses “resist or avoid their blows”. The GM marks Angry on Carbine’s sheet - she’s pissed off that this untrained teen got the drop on her!

Carbine was clearly not expecting a muscular young man to appear out of thin air in front of her, sword in hand. William grins, confident for just a moment. His sword slices her assault rifle cleanly in half, just as he’d planned.

She rolls out of the way and fast-draws a backup pistol, coming up in a stable two-handed stance for shooting. William feels himself raise his blade to parry, instinctively allowing the magic of the sword to guide the motion. He hears ricochets as metal meets metal.

Carbine makes a condition move, “Vent through unthinking violence”, which leads directly to one of her villain moves, “Put a shot exactly where it will do the most damage”. Armiger must Take a Powerful Blow to avoid being seriously hurt. He rolls +1 for his one condition, and gets a 10. He chooses “lose control of your powers in a terrible way”, to explore a consequence of the Excalibur legacy.

The security officers on this floor are converging on the commotion. William watches in horror as two of them are struck by stray rounds. And he realizes with a sickening crash in his stomach what happened. “The land and the king are one”. As protector of this place, his destiny mingles with that of the building and its occupants. The shots were true. Someone had to fall. It simply would not be him this day. The magic of Excalibur helped, but could not ignore fate completely.

Damn it all to blazes.

Much more of this and Armiger may have to mark Guilty, whether or not the guards are actually dead or not.

More to come soon.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6602495

Enjoying the story, and some very cool aspects of the Excalibur power being explored.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6605656

Three members of the JHHL are inside the studio, being interviewed in front of an admiring audience. Stingray has been spending the time charming Tasha and wowing the audience, despite his feature-concealing armor. Kid Kelvin cracks wise on command, and the masked Kinetica stays quiet and hence intriguing. Scraaseetotabobah either didn’t understand or didn’t care about the interview and stayed home. NInjess is nowhere to be seen, but that could mean anything. And Superchica is off doing something or other.

When the initial explosion rocks the building, the three heroes leap from their chairs. Stingray sends out a signal for high-tech backup. Kinetica scans the room for any sign of an enemy. When a secondary blast goes off just overhead, sending ripples through the roof, Kid Kelvin does the trick he’s done a dozen times before, and summons ice to support and reinforce the roof.

Naturally, this is the worst move he could have made.

The GM makes a move for Carbine: Neutralize an enemy’s powers with tricks and traps

Glass containers, carefully positioned on the ceiling earlier, shatter and release the sodium trapped inside. Under the sudden pressure, the metal reacts explosively with the frozen water. Chunks of ice and fiberglass rain down on the audience. People scream, rise from their seats, and surge toward the exits.

Nobody is actually killed, but killing people isn’t the goal. The goal is to make the supers reluctant to use their powers any more, and that has been thoroughly achieved.

In the moment where William is distracted by the injured security guards, Carbine tugs a flash-bang grenade off her tactical webbing and tosses it. There’s a blinding flash and a deafening sound. In the critical seconds it takes for the swordsman to recover, his opponent is gone.

Chaos has taken control of the building. There’s a fire upstairs, the elevator shaft is still smoking from the grenade and the car it ruined, and now there’s faint screams coming from the main studio.

A new voice comes onto the phone in William’s pocket. It’s Skinner. “Eddison. You there?”

“Yessir!” he says. Everything is confusing. He isn’t ashamed to admit when he’s out of his depth, but he’ll do it with some pride. “Sir, everything’s a mess, sir. What should I be doing right now?”

“There’s people panicking, probably. Anyone else around in charge?”

“No, nobody, sir…”

“Right. Then your job is to be king. Lead them.”


Armiger is using Words of the Past to ask a member of his legacy - his current mentor, a seasoned military man - about tackling Carbine. He’ll listen to the advice, so he gets +1 ongoing to all rolls involving that advice, which will apply any time he needs to interact with the crowd or rescue personnel.

People are scared right now. They need guidance. The building security team is intended to deal with obsessed fans, drunks, and other nuisances, not a determined paramilitary assault. Many of those personnel are now down, bleeding out from bullet shrapnel. Emergency services are just now arriving - William can hear the sirens out front.

He sprints to the main lobby, takes a look around. Firemen are starting to enter. The call directed them upstairs, but –

“You! You lot!” It’s the loudest William has ever shouted, at least in awhile. “Evacuate the studio. The fire upstairs isn’t as urgent.”

Armiger wants to redirect fire and EMS to the immediate problem: the people in the studio. This could be a Provoke, but that seems geared toward a hostile interaction. The GM instead has him roll a Defend. His Savior of +2 plus +1 ongoing gives him a 10. This is enough to keep the audience safe and choose one; he clears Afraid.

Whatever he just said, or however he said it, seems to have worked. Huh. There’s something else important, though. “There’s several people with gunshot wounds over there,” he adds, pointing behind him. He watches as one firefighter relays the word through a radio to the incoming paramedics.

Right. Now, where did she go?

The goal of this operation has got to be inside the studio. William doesn’t have to wait for the firefighters to take charge of the exits. He does a trick he’s practiced before: drive Excalibur through a wall, then teleport from one end of the blade to the other. Who needs doors?

Armiger wants to get into the studio quickly. He describes a teleportation trick and Unleashes His Powers to pull it off. He rolls his Freak of +0 and gets an 11. While teleporting by itself would have succeeded, the full hit means he avoids being suddenly trampled by the crowd inside, or scaring anyone.

People are pouring toward the exit doors in waves. They’re being funneled out of the building by the rescue workers. On stage, William can see the three JHHL supers, standing guard over Tasha Starr, and yelling instructions to the crowd. “Keep calm!” “Move toward the doors!” “Don’t press!” They’re still not sure just what’s going on, and neither is William.

That changes when a shadow detaches itself from the exposed infrastructure where the roof had once been. It’s Carbine! She’s got some kind of hand-held grenade launcher, and fires it at the stage before anyone has time to realize what happened. Things could have been worse - what goes off isn’t an explosive, but a chemical grenade that releases a powerful knockout gas.

Tasha Starr and the other supers wobble and fall to their knees, but Stingray - protected by his suit and helmet - is unaffected. No matter. A second grenade comes only a second and a half after the first. When it goes off, every light and electronic device within twenty feet shorts out. The high-tech hero falls to his knees, then collapses onto the stage.

William can’t get close while the gas is still in the air, but Carbine is better prepared. The soldier has dropped to the floor. She’s wearing a gas mask, and runs forward toward the stage. William tries his best to cut her off before she reaches it.

Armiger is Directly Engaging. His Danger is +0, but he cleared Afraid, and so rolls an 8. The GM rules that he can stop Carbine from getting to the stage if he chooses “take something from them” (such as her gas mask), which he does. He marks the Guilty condition in trade.

The young swordfighter closes and aims a slice at Carbine’s head, managing to cut off the filters of her gas mask. She snarls and wrenches the now-useless mask off her head in a single swift motion. Her free hand unlimbers a sub-machine gun from a holster on her back, and she opens fire. Once again, William parries with Excalibur, mindful of the civilians still in the hall, and feeling sick at the thought of anyone else getting hurt for his sake. Despite the burst fire, the magic of his weapon is such that not a single round touches him.

Carbine’s eyes flicker toward the crowd. William can see a look of regret on her face as she plucks another grenade from her tactical web, and tosses it at the retreating civilians. She needs a distraction, apparently at any cost.

The GM marks Guilty on Carbine’s sheet, so she makes a condition move: “Turn to the unthinkable”. She makes another villain move: “Throw an explosive device in a crowded space”.

William is down to desperation. He watches the grenade arc high. All he’s got is a sword.

And courage. And strong arms.

He throws Excalibur toward a spinning spheroid no bigger than a baseball, hurtling through a darkened room at defenseless people.

Once again, Armiger must Defend the civilians. With his Savior of +2, he rolls a 10 and averts calamity. With this result, he also clears Guilty.

Two halves of a now-harmless grenade fall to the floor, and Excalibur magically returns to William’s hand.

Right. Enough is enough.

We’ll conclude next time, and find out just what Carbine’s plan really is!

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6606409

The gas cloud still hangs over the stage. The host and guests there are on the ground, either passed out or nearly so. Carbine has some kind of grappling gun in hand. She sprints down the walkway between seats, and aims and fires it at Kid Kelvin. The grappling line hooks into his clothes. She activates the mechanism, and the young super is bodily dragged toward her, out of the gas.

Before William can get into melee range with her again, she’s got a pistol to his head. “Hold it.” Her voice is cold, and ready to crack. “One move and he gets it.”

The young squire doesn’t need any more encouragement. He already remembers the grenade throw, and is mindful of the crowd that’s still evacuating the building. Whatever gets this dangerous woman away from innocents is okay with him.

That’s what a king has to do.

Kid Kelvin is still groggy from the gas. William briefly considers telling him something - “fight back”, “I’ll save you”, anything. But the ice manipulator probably wouldn’t hear him clearly. If only he were awake…


Carbine puts her victim into an arm lock and retreats to one of the side doors. William ignores her, and runs for the stage.

Stingray is still conscious, but can’t move. William drags him several feet away, and props him up. “Nobody can see my face,” he whispers.

What an odd thing to say. Well, okay. “I gotcha, mate. Nobody’ll see. Can you move?”

“Get me outta this thing. Forefingers on neck. Up… up… up… There.” William finds the emergency release switches, and the helmet comes free. Before anything else, he pulls off his own hoodie and drapes it over Stingray’s head. The rest of the armor has a similar quick-release mechanism, and soon Stingray is able to stand. He’s still weak - the EMP shocked him badly - but he can talk.

“The Menagerie disappeared. We got invited to come talk about it…”

William doesn’t care about any of that right now. “Listen, mate. You guys are a team, yeah? You have some kinda… Communicators? Comms? Right? Anything that would survive that shock she gave you?”

Stingray thinks a moment. “Yeah. Yeah. They’re EMP-resistant, on a high band channel. They should be okay…”

William nods. “Kid Kelvin’s out for the count. But you could track 'im with that thing, right?”

Stingray pauses. His wits are slowly coming back to him. “If whoever attacked us didn’t think to take his gear away, yeah. I don’t have any of my equipment–”

William cuts him off again. “We’re in a TV station, mate. If they don’t have what you need, then it’s probably too late.” He looks Stingray dead in the eye. “Can you do it?”

The JHHL super breaks into a grin. “I’ll do what I can.”

While Stingray moves toward the broadcast booth, William talks to his phone. “Call the TV studio’s broadcast booth. Stingray’ll be in there, giving me directions. Can you, y’know, conference him in?”

“I sure can,” comes the voice of AEGIS. “I think. Put you on hold, then push this–” It goes worryingly quiet.

William starts moving, toward the side door Carbine used.

The voice comes back. “–wondering why, oh there we go. Fuck this phone system. Hey, Edgelord, she’s probably heading for the basement. She can get to a subway tunnel or something. Get to an elevator.”

He reaches the elevator shaft and hops down onto the roof of the damaged car, the one that took the grenade blast earlier. There’s a gap near his feet. The elevator door to the basement level is already open. He slides down through the gap and starts running through the corridors he finds there.

“Tell me room numbers,” comes Stingray’s voice. “105… 106… 107…” calls out William.

“Turn left. Run run run, turn right.”

William does as he’s instructed.

He hears voices down the hall, and stops running immediately when he recognizes one of them as Carbine. The other is weak and faint.

“… Your father. Where is he? Where is King Winter?” Carbine is demanding, over and over. “Tell me where he is. Where is he being kept? Is he at this location?”

“… Go to hell, bitch.”

There’s a smacking sound. William creeps forward, and peeks around a corner.

Carbine is squatting in front of Kid Kelvin. Next to her is an open door, beyond which is a subway tunnel, just like the voice speculated. She’s got her pistol out, but isn’t holding it in her hand. Instead, she’s looking at laminated cards. Student ID, learner’s permit. “No,” she says after a moment. “This address is fake. Who helped you set this up? Who’s protecting your father? Where is he? Tell me!”

She raises her hand again, probably to strike him. William rushes forward, sword out.

Armiger is Directly Engaging once again. His Danger is still +0, and he rolls a 7. He chooses “resist or avoid their blows”, and is unhurt. Carbine marks Hopeless, her last condition, and the GM makes an appropriate villain move: “give up without a fight”, interpreting “give up” as “abandon the mission” rather than “surrender”.

Carbine snarls in frustration upon seeing William charging. A practiced motion pulls another grenade from her web, and she tosses it at her feet. The room fills with smoke, leaving William choking and coughing, and rubbing at his watering eyes. He can hear Kid Kelvin likewise struggling to breathe the heavy black smoke, but cannot hear Carbine. She must have gone through the door - but then where? He doesn’t have a way to track her.

Nor, he realizes, does he have a reason.

Once Kid Kelvin has been dragged free, he comes around pretty quickly. “Hey, where’d she go?” he mumbles.

“She’s gone,” William says. He wishes he could have stopped her, could have done something else that would cause her to give up. Would anything have worked? Or would he have had to try using lethal force? He’s grateful he didn’t give chase.

Kid Kelvin touches his ear. That must be the JHHL comms, because he can hear Stingray’s side of the conversation through his phone. “KK! Dude! You okay man?”

“I’m okay. Armiger of the Irregulators is here.”

“Yeah. That guy’s fucking kick-ass. He just owned–” Stingray realizes too late he’s on a conference call with one or more unknowns, including William himself. It’s too late to recover his dignity, but he rallies anyway. “Get on your feet and get back up here. Bring Armiger along.”

“You got it, dude.” Kelvin tries to stand, can’t quite manage, and doesn’t accept William’s offered hand. He pulls it off on the second try, and the two young men start making their way back to the studio.

Tasha Starr has recovered consciousness. She immediately took charge of the situation in her studio, and tried to capitalize on a few key opportunities. Stingray was too cagey to let himself be photographed, and he’s still wearing that peculiar gray knight-themed hoodie. So she settles for Plan B, which is some surreptitious camera work aimed at Kinetica for the late-night fans. Plan C materializes when a young black man in a white undershirt escorts Kid Kelvin out of one of the side doors.

Ratings are always better after a supervillain attack. Iconoclast certainly wasn’t the first, though this one was far more professional (and dangerous). Tasha brushes her suit clean of dust, summons her makeup man with a quick gesture, and considers her next options. Maybe this kid with the sword is part of the JHHL too - or the Irregulators, that other team, even better. Maybe they’ll consent to an appearance? Maybe they have a rogues’ gallery that will attack the show? Perfect.

“Can we get a statement, young man?” she asks, with the camera and boom mike zooming in on Armiger.

“Uh, first, did anyone get badly hurt? Or killed?” he asks earnestly. Well, that’s heroic. Good.

Tasha has already been appraised of the situation by EMS personnel. “Everyone survived, thanks to your quick thinking,” she gushes. “Thank you so much!”

“Alright.” William starts to move on, but Tasha’s hand rests for a moment on his bare and muscular bicep. “Er, just a moment. Is there anything you’d like to say to our audience at home?”

William thinks. He’s not in this for the attention, and he’s honestly not sure what Skinner would say about drawing attention to the Knighthood. But there’s one thing he can get away with.

“I wanna say thank you to my personal trainer, sparring partner, and best friend, without whom I’d be useless. I owe everything to you, and I want everyone to know it.”

He smiles, and waves, letting Kid Kelvin and Stingray take the spotlight again. Right now, he just wants to go home, have JC make him some coffee, and recline into the ridiculously comfortable Has Beans couch. He wants to talk to her about his moves, his weaknesses, and his experience in the fight, and hear her advice. He wants to debrief with Skinner, and see what the severe but effective soldier has to say.

Mostly, though, he wants a burger.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6608578

So that’s Armiger’s story for the moment. Why did Carbine want King Winter, though? Perhaps it has something to do with the incident Rossum talked about. Does someone else have a grudge? Will Streak and Tempest be attacked soon? Who knows. And is King Winter really Kid Kelvin’s father? The world may never know.

I re-edited some of the earlier posts to do something I should have done earlier: have the villain make condition-based moves immediately on taking a condition. Those moves still flow into the original villain-specific moves, so it all worked out.

Armiger came out of this looking like a professional superhero, with only 1 potential from a missed roll and no extant conditions. No telling what JC will make of his on-camera praise, of course.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6608581

Very fun. I want to do one of these, when time and cone tivity and rules access permit. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::tropical_drink:

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6608690

I really liked this, Bill. Your stuff is always so well thought out and I like all the layers–it’s never just one thing, it’s many things all working in concert which imply other things at work in the background. Makes me wish I had more time to work on my solo session (sadly, this weekend has not given me as much free time as I’d hoped). Luckily, I’ve still got time to wrap things up (had to remind myself we were off this week).

I would like to see how Skinner reacts to this particular encounter (mostly just because I want to see more of Skinner [but that’s true of almost everyone]).

I do have one question, which probably should have been asked back during William’s initiation ceremony but since it was so prominently used in this story it is fresh in my mind… is Armiger’s teleport something any of the Knights could learn given time and training, or is a personal expression of the powers of Excalibur–which implies that Lucius and Skinner (and AF Jaysee) have their own unique abilities we haven’t seen. Both are interesting in their own ways, so I could see it either way.

author: Mike
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6608751

Mike said:

is Armiger’s teleport something any of the Knights could learn given time and training, or is a personal expression of the powers of Excalibur–which implies that Lucius and Skinner (and AF Jaysee) have their own unique abilities we haven’t seen.

I’ll sum up some stuff I sent to Doyce in PM, and try to distill it down. The short answer is: anyone could do it, it’s a matter of mindset rather than training, and every Knight has their own unique abilities on top of a standard toolkit. It’s like super-speed, or the Force. Knowing (or believing) something’s possible, and being willing to try it, goes a long way toward mastering it.

The Knights sum up their power in the phrase “the land and the king are one”. Your understanding of that phrase governs how much of Excalibur’s power you can tap. And it’s the power of Excalibur to transfer strength back and forth between the land and the king.

Armiger understands that the sword isn’t just a tool, but a partner. He needs to be able to keep up with it, not just make it subordinate to him, which is why he’s constantly training and honing himself. Any aspirant learns how to summon their sword to them, but Armiger learned sooner than even most Knights how to summon himself to the sword. It’s also one of the few tricks he does know well, so he spams the shit out of it.

Some typical Legacy powers:

  • sense conditions in “the land” nearby - for example, to track someone without seeing them.
  • change things in the area - for example, having a ceiling-mounted light fall on Carbine’s head in the studio.
  • transfer “healthiness” - channeling healing energy into the world, like Lucius and GG did, or healing yourself by damaging the world around you. The sword did this for Armiger when he parried bullets the first time. Avoiding having to do this is why people like Skinner wear Kevlar.
  • bind, dominate, or conjure spiritual beings or other forces.

People like Skinner and Lucius, with a military background, would tend to develop powers that solve problems they have (or think they have): barriers against bullets or explosions, for example. As a Knight, JC would probably develop in a more mystic, magical direction, because that’s what her dad’s been filling her head with.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6609290

Jaycee glances up and catches her breath at the individual who just entered Has Beans. The first time she saw him, he was incredibly rude to William. The second time, he was still pretty brusque. Since then, he’s shown up from time to time, and he and William head off somewhere.

His name is Skinner, and Pa doesn’t talk about him much. He’s some kind of special forces, like Pa was. He’s pretty good. Mostly, Jaycee just doesn’t like being supplanted as Armiger’s trainer. It’s irrational, but still, damn it all! Fine. If he wants to be a cold asshole, two can play that game.

“He’s out back–” she says, jerking a thumb at the rear door like she doesn’t care. Incredibly, Skinner out-dismisses her with a muttered, “I know.”

She squeezes a coffee cup hard enough to leave a crack in it.

William is waiting in the alley out back. Skinner steps out, glances around - he always does that, William notes. Some kind of habitual scan of the area? Maybe he should start doing it.

“I’m busy today, so this’ll be short,” Skinner says. “I read your report. First time writing one, and it shows. Not too bad though.”

The senior Knight pulls a slip of paper from his vest and unfolds it for reading. “You wanted feedback. Fine. Pay attention.”

“First, get body armor. Lucius can help if you’re not sure how. The hoodie’s cute. Wear some Second Chance under it. Related to that, the sword is powerful, but you’ll want other tools too. You saw how your enemy fought, combined arms and preparation. You must do the same.”

“Second, letting your quarry escape was an error. She might have planted a bomb. She might have had other objectives. You didn’t know. When you get assignments from the Knighthood, mission parameters will always be clear.”

William bristles, tenses, and wants to speak out against this. Wasn’t it enough to protect the innocent? But he stays silent. Skinner goes on.

“Third, you don’t know a lot of uses for the sword. You’re off the usual aspirant training track, and it’s my responsibility to see that this doesn’t repeat as squire. But the tactics you did use were imaginative and effective.” He doesn’t smile, but William feels a thrill of victory anyway.

“Fourth, you ran off on pretty thin reasons. You’re on a superhero team, so whatever your team leader has worked out for comms should be secure. Hopefully. If someone cold-calls you, distrust it. We can’t afford to lose Squires to stupidity.”

This much makes sense, and William can’t argue it. He nods, once.

“Fifth, you’re still thinking about it as a sword. You’ve figured out a few things that even some Knights have trouble with. That’s good. That shows promise. But you need a lesson in the power you’re really wielding.”

Skinner tucks the note back into his vest, and holds out his hands. Twin longswords, mirror images of Excalibur, flicker to life in his hands. William’s eyes bug out.

“Okay, kid, defend yourself.”

The duel is short and humiliating. The senior Knight has more experience, more training, and twice as many weapons. He leaves William on the ground, panting, shirt ruined with cuts in a dozen places, and re-enters Has Beans.

Jaycee heard the ringing of steel and guessed what was going on. She watches Skinner walk past her, toward the front door. But this time he pauses, and looks over his shoulder, not quite meeting her eyes. “If you ever get fired here, tell your dad to give me your number. The Knights need good trainers.”

He’s out the door before Jaycee can even form a coherent thought, much less respond out loud. What just happened?

Her view of Skinner reverts to negative when William stumbles into the building. With a frustrated groan, she goes for the first aid kit.

Once William is patched up, she sits down next to him, partly to keep him from getting up before his cuts heal, partly to find comfort in his closeness.

“I gotta get better,” is all he says, after awhile.

“Bill Eddison. You’re good already,” she retorts.

“That guy… Wow. That guy is fantastic.” William lets out a sigh. “I have so much to learn. I feel like a kid.”

That forces a smile out of Jaycee. “Sounds like I’ll be training you for awhile longer, huh?”

The young man brightens up, despite his pain and fatigue. “Really? That’s ace, Jaycee.”

She squirms a little uncomfortably, not sure how to broach another topic on her mind. “William? Did you, um, did you mean all that, what you said on television, about your trainer and your best friend and all that? Did you, well, who were you talkin’ about, really?”

“You, silly,” he replies with some surprise. “Who else has been there for me through thick an’ thin? Who else’s got my back whenever I needed something? I swear, you ought to have a sword of yer own too for all the fightin’ and leadin’ you do for me.”

The girl shakes her head quickly at the thought. “No sword for me. That’s too much weight.” She sees his face, remembers the criticism of his fellows in the order, and sighs. “Weight on my shoulders, I mean. Responsibility. You carry it all so easily. I’d never manage.”

“Not as easy as all that,” he confesses to her. “The studio fight was a real eye-opener in a few ways. I had some romantic notions. God, I’m embarrassed now, I said stupid things to you, like winnin’ love and honor on a battlefield. If that woman was anything like what’s really out there, I’m gonna have to turn into a cold wight like Skinner to stay alive.”

Jaycee feels her eyes growing damp. “Don’t you say that nonsense, Bill Eddison. There’s love and honor aplenty to be won --” – right here – “-- so don’t give up on that dream! Promise me. Promise me!”

William grins. “Okay. I promise. I’m gonna take Skinner’s advice on a few things, but my promise to you, sweet lady, is to never give up hope in my dreams.”

Jaycee smiles happily, and hugs him, probably a little longer than she ought. Well, a lot longer. Lost dignity aside, she might cause some of the bandages to come off and need to reapply them. Is that so bad? There’s worse ways to spend her afternoon than seeing William Eddison shirtless.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6611968