Masks-616 #17 - "Meddling Kids"

The HHL

Golem - A-Lister. Transformed, experimental drug to solve a degenerative disease, turned him into a walking powerhouse. (Reed Richards as the Thing)

(Kid Kool’s person)
(Roy’s Mentor)

The Magus, or, in this incarnation, “The Silver Sorcerer” … “Because I’m a silver fox.” Support role. “I mean, Gandalf sits around and smokes a lot – how do I specialize in that.” Also occasionally performs with his band, Electric Wizard. (Christopher Lee, but not terrifying)

Powertronic … A-Lister in presentation, but not taken that seriously by the team.

Sigrun the Valkyrie - (flying brick Bull) … (Wonder Woman from Justice League: War) … very popular with paparazzi.

Black Bird (flying brick Protege/Beacon)

(Notes on folk from Whither the HHL? and HHL Rumors [Background] [Prep], though these are from the Last Game’s Universe)

We’re Goin’ to a Party!

Once he regained consciousness, Roddy was pretty chuffed for not missing his invite to Powertronic’s shindig.

Powertronic’s invite: “Come hang out … tour … might be a thing going on there that day … taste of your destiny …”

Masks-616 #11 - "When Comes ... the Tomb Patrol!"

Roddy gets simultaneous messages from Powertronic and Joe.
“How many people are coming on Saturday?”
“Six.”
The group. Plus Gothwitch. To whom he wants to show off.
R - Hey, Joe! Powertronic says to come over. There will be canapes. See ya Saturday!

So intermingled threads of conversation.

J - What are you talking about I am talking about Arizella at lunch??!!
R - CANAPES!!!

Encouraging everyone to spruce up … in uniform!
K - Why do we have to wear a uniform?
J - (deadpan) In case we have to jump into action.

Costume Time!

Friday night … showing off our “official” costumes.

Kiln - Had heard from Alex the need to put together super-uniform, identifiable attire. Haven’t gotten to that unit in Home Ec yet. Normal outfit, swapping out the red PA bootleg t-shirt of “K-CHOW!”, the motto of the car-themed speedster.

Alex - Dark hoody.

Mette - Jillian has been influencing her - combo of karate gi, with a lycra yoga outfit beneath.

Joe - Form-fitting athletic / biking shorts in the PA orange/gray-brown colors, with TOMB up one leg and PATROL down the other.

Roddy - Classic superhero body suit, plus a domino face mask. TOMB and PATROL along the sides.
image

To a Deluxe Hero HQ in the Sky!

Image of slow motion walk through the lobby …

Powertronic is definitely hanging there, chatting with the security guard, sees us, goes over to Roddy, big smiles … “Phoenix Academy … in the house! Right on time! Sync, introduce me to everybody …”

Smooth and slick and mirror shades and finger guns …

Joey stumbles over his own name.

P - Hey, Pilates! What’s your name? Excellent, well-met, Mette!

P - serious hesitation with Kiln. “Love it – you’re kilning me with that shirt.”

P - What happened to 6? I remember 6! [Gothwitch]
R - 6 had a thing.

Alex assesses the sitch. ==> 10!
(No, you can’t End This Quickly)
Seems kind of weird. Weird vibe.

  1. What can I use to hack in? – Lots of hardlines. Security desk. Elevators. Set up to be touchless. (Will target elevator)
  2. What is in the greatest danger? – Lots of folk in the lobby are only disguised as visitors. Expecting shit to go down. Makes out a squad of AEGIS covert response team in the lobby.
    Unleash Powers ==> 9!
    Roddy is distracting Powertronic with incessant chatter (Team). “So, is Blackbird going to be here?” (Rumors of them dating, then not.) “Might be, might be. She’s usually very busy. Very complicated woman. Talented. Professional.” … [interview mode]" … changing it to a 10!
  3. Extending sense … there is somebody in custody in the building … and not sure they will keep them if there’s a concerted break-out attempt.

When doors open … “… and she’s surprisingly good at kickball.”

Gives the quick subject-changing tour.

  • P - Food first? Or tour of all the cool stuff?
  • R - Tour of the cool stuff!
  • J - (finger raised, mouth open)
  • K, M - (gazing longingly at the buffet table) (“But the chicken tendies …”)

It’s kind of Open House day. Guest room floor, “Skid Row” ha ha ha. One room with en suite bathroom. Cafeteria, dining hall … this floor, the gyms, plural! Gotta love plural! Basketball / handball / convertable floor. Workout gym – stuff from floors, ceiling, weight room, cardio area, rooftop track, 11 laps to the mile … oh, and this!

The tribunal / board room. Not a horse shoe, comes to a point, because no head chair. Huge windows with fantastic view. Wanna sit in a big chair?

Roddy is already making a bee line. Mette is checking out the mechanics. Joe finds chairs that will fit him?
P - Don’t worry, it’ll adjust … Golem sits in here, Mighty Boulder, St George used to.
J - (sit gingerly)

And then things go terribly, terribly wrong …

Kiln - (people coming up hallway, hushed tones, definitely not a casual tour during a party; two women, low, heated, tense conversation, 120 steps / minute; one a corporate executive voice, one a warrior that calls people to arms – Black Bird and Sigrun)
Unleash Powers to make out what they’re saying … ==> 3!
In their day, Kiln’s knighthood object of devotion was … Brava, their sword brother, went through training, were out in the field together until he was lost.
And when they glance down the hallway, Black Bird is so projecting the sense of Brava … attitude, the gestures – it’s a huge shock, and drives home how far from home they are. --> Hopeless.

They’re enmeshed enough in conversation, don’t realize they’re there. “Status,” Sigrun snaps off – displays pop up at seated chairs, windows polarize …

Alex - slapping passive devices under chairs, more break-ins.
Roddy - (HUD comes up … only for a second. Shot of a holding cell. ) (Gothwitch (Tiffani) … “She had a thing” … looking terrified) (Expression on his face … about to do something … precipitous …
A - (Seeing this, too)

S - (sees us. “Display OFF.” On Powertronic. “What is going on?”
BB - (moving to one of the chairs.

Joe - (didn’t see anything on the screen except a brief blip … satellite view of the city, maybe? But Roddy’s face … “Rod-um-Sync?”

Mette, 21st C Studies ==> 7! (+1 to act on forward)

  1. What does the future know about this moment?
    This is … the moment where … the Preeminent Superhero Organization of Halcyon City is … canceled.
  2. What here is in the greatest danger?
    Roddy, the person who caused this calamitous fall from power, dies.

Roddy - “Oh, shit, Tiffani!” (Is that Tiffani? In a cell? That’s an HHL cell … glances at 3 adults.) “Why the hell is Tiffani in one of your cells?”

And then things get worse …

Sigrun looking lightning bolts at Powertronic.
P - (glances at us, back at S, double-takes to Roddy … “Who?”

BB - (absolutely knows who “Tiffani” is.
S - (not listening to Roddy.
BB - (typing even faster on the table interface, annoyed and tense.
A - (She’s going through the motions for a full building lockdown and pulling up the intercom.
A - (ping support@aegis.gov, the local folk: shit is happening.
R - (knows where the holding cells are, because he is a True Fan) (Goes there … Unleash Powers ==> 13!

  • As soon as he’s up and out of the chair, slides UNDER the table, running … BB gets up, backward elbow-check, Roddy skids under on one knee then keeps running, anticipates all her moves and dodges on off chance she does them. “That didn’t work on Red Hunter, it won’t work on me!”

A - (Was going to keep the doors from closing)
BB - (Two more steps, then turns back to table)

Mette, Joe, Kiln … Alex is being ignored

S - (Becoming aware of us hedgehogs
J - (Defend Roddy, smash the keyboard right in front of BB ==> 11
Keep them safe. My guilt is cleared.
S - (Now aware of us hedgehogs.
P - (Jump. Shrieks like a girl.
M - (Was getting up when Roddy was first in danger … runs to follow him, while kicking her chair over at S. Unleash Powers ==> 1!

Enough is Enough

Sigrun - ENOUGH! (over two panels. eyes glow red, just like the lettering)


(She has influence over us – Mette: Condition: Afraid!
You children are interfering with the greater works of your better. You will sit down and be silent, like the infants you are, or consequences will become blazingly clear.
(Everyone! +Mundane, -Danger)

  • Alex (sure, whatever)
  • Joe (impressing Mette) ==> 7! - +Danger, -Mundane – Getting bigger, too.
  • Kiln (nope! ==> 7! shakes head … +Freak, -Mundane, as that magical glow kicks in …

Powertronic - Backs away from Sigrun, out of LoS.

  • Roddy - (bounding parkour down the stairwell, counting floors as he goes …

End of Session

  • Sync - Closer to the team (everyone has my back, esp. Joe!) --> +Savior, -Freak (can’t -Mundane)
  • Roddy - Closer (Roddy, hero!) --> +Soldier, -Savior
  • Joe - Closer (Roddy, hero!) --> -Danger, +Freak (can’t drop Mundane)
  • Mette - Closer (Roddy, hero!) --> -Mundane, +Freak
  • Kiln - Closer (Roddy, there for him) --> +Modern, -Danger

Roddy gets an advance, too. Permareject Influence from Powertronic!

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Just making a note here, I finally took my floating advancement. Went with “Never Give Up, Never Surrender” from the Legacy playbook. Also leveled again so need to figure out something else to take :upside_down_face:

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Okay! Time for my suggestions on who the HHL actually captured, along with suggestions on why this means they’re “canceled”. To twist the knife on any of these, Powertronic can be the hero who made the capture.

A Major Tiff: They actually captured Gothwitch herself, in her mundane persona, after she’d just finished defeating some awful monster summoned by an evil witch who left the scene. She “fits the description”, as they say, so the HHL just assumed she was the summoner and took her and the defeated monster for processing. She doesn’t want to admit that she’s the sparkly magical girl who witnesses saw on the scene.

Plot twists: the evil summoner is still out there. The thing was summoned accidentally by Silver Sorcerer. The summoner was the Sorcerer’s apprentice, and the HHL is trying to cover the incident up.

Who are they prepping for? Hellbinder is looking for his student, and the HHL remembers what he can be like…

Why are they canceled? They threw a high school girl in a super secure facility without asking any questions.

Jailhouse Rock: The HHL actually captured Gnega, who had fled the museum awhile back. Scary rock monster, right? Wrong. Gnega got spooked, yeah, but he’s basically friendly. He’s refusing to communicate with his captors and they’re not listening anyway, but if he meets with Kiln he’ll share the important news he has…

Plot twists: Gnega found a relic of Kiln’s people. Gnega found a second hibernation pod, with an occupant. Stone beings like Gnega and Tahi were members of Kiln’s people, transformed into stone via ritual to become guardians.

Who are they prepping for? The HHL has no idea how rare creatures like Gnega actually are - after all, a second one was just located in Costa Rica, and their intel says AEGIS fired a particle beam down there. Sounds pretty serious.

Why are they canceled? With beings like Tahi being recognized as students, Gnega is no longer a monster, but a person - in fact, one of the last of his kind. When did the HHL start judging people on the basis of their appearance anyway?

Grodd Dammit: They captured a sentient gorilla from Africa! They might have gone to Africa, or the gorilla might have come here. Are they a mutant, do they have their own science, or do they somehow have mastery of the temple builders’ stone tech? Either way, the gorilla is here for a reason…

Plot twists: the gorilla knows the individual whose body Joey is wearing. The gorilla has a personal interest in Joey for some other reason (but what?) The gorilla knows something about Mette’s backstory.

Who are they prepping for? one talking gorilla at PA is fine. But the HHL doesn’t know about Joe’s body transfer - the story Mighty Joe Young told isn’t the story this gorilla told, so something’s going on.

Why are they canceled? The HHL grabbed an ambassador - albeit a non-human one - off the street on general suspicion. Plus, they came with information that could help a PA student with a very serious personal situation.

Future Tense: They are holding someone on the word of the Silver Sorcerer, some unassuming civil servant or scientist. However, this is a person Mette remembers as being crucial in the future - perhaps the Traitor! All the Silver Sorcerer has is a divination to go on, but he prevailed on the rest of the HHL. The group is furiously looking for evidence of their significance that might not be found in the present.

Plot twists: the captive is a teacher at PA. The captive is a family member of the PCs, or of an NPC student. This is the incident that turns that person to darkness - their future role is a stable time loop that begins here.

Who are they prepping for? Literally anything is possible. Mundane authorities, shock troopers materializing from the future, nobody knows.

Why are they cancelled? The HHL grabbed someone who didn’t do anything wrong - precrime prevention - and this is pretty far beyond their mandate as far as the public is concerned.

@doyce and anyone else, what do you folks think?

2 Likes

I see what you did there.

I like all of your options.

I was a little surprised that it seemed to turn out that Gothwitch being the one captured wasn’t actually that she was the one captured. So any of the above other than the first needs to accommodate Gothwitch being locked up. Some thoughts (some of which were raised last night):

A. So “A Major Tiff” addresses this directly.
B. In theory, “Future Tense” could be GW as well.
C. GW was an inconvenient witness to the arrest/abduction.
D. GW was bait (friend, relative, innocent passerby), but now has to be kept under wraps for some period of time.
E. It’s not actually GW, but someone in her guise (or her twin, or someone who looks gothy and the image was interpreted incorrectly because Roddy was already thinking about her). Surprise!

All that said, this is not the HHL’s first rodeo. Unless they’ve been abducting/arresting people for a long time (which is clear they have, since they both have holding cells and those cells are known about) and all of those pick-ups have been completely correct, it’s hard to believe a single error here could lead to them being “cancelled.”

So what’s changed?

A. A major backer / protector is no longer covering for them. A change in government/policy, someone (in the govt, a villain, in a foreign govt, in the media) suddenly deciding the HHL is too powerful and needs to be neutralized, etc.
B. There is something about this instance that is far more egregious than it seems above. E.g., for some reason the HHL is carrying this arrest further than usual, not passing them on immediately to AEGIS but holding onto them and not letting anyone know. Who in the HHL is behind that (Sigrun seems obvious, but not the only answer), and why?
C. It’s a straw that breaks the camel’s back, one dubious arrest/captivity too many for the public (e.g., the George Floyd killing triggering the protest movements this year).
D. GW has an ally that will make this a stink that won’t go away. Hellbinder, a wealthy relative, a friend in the media, etc.

As to the the options themselves, I think any of them could work.

  1. A Major Tiff - I’m a fan of the idea, but the specifics don’t feel big enough to cancel the HHL (kid picked up because they were at the scene of a crime). So … maybe there’s a reason to think she’s a/the threat. Sigrun recognizes something about her power that reminds her of something really bad, etc. That drives them (as suggested in one of the above lists) to more extreme measure than he usual catch-and-release-to-AEGIS.

  2. Jailhouse Rock - This ties into the magitech and historical themes related to Kiln, primarily, but also ties to Joey and Mette (though Alex and Sync both have skin in this game).

  3. Grodd Dammit - A next step in Joey’s story, though others have links into it. This adds some complexity beyond “we sail off to Africa to see what’s going on there,” which is a good thing.

  4. Future Tense - Again, this could still be Gothwitch-focused (I keep coming back to her because it’s a nice tie-in for Roddy). Regardless, Mette’s story gets some focus here (I’m beginning to get curious as to how her tale toward the future is gelling).

Again, any of the above (or weird combinations) could be fun. I look forward to see what happens next.

3 Likes

I have ideas for all of these too, but my suggestions only needed to do two things: pushing hard on PC plots, and figuring out what’s dramatic in the moment. “Why is Gothwitch here?” can be answered, but we’re probably much more interested in “Now that she is here, what do we do about it?”

Lots of minor dumb-shit things can get someone “cancelled” in the social-media sense, and it doesn’t always mean anything in the larger scheme of things. But it’s also the case that sometimes a thing sparks a response and nobody knows why, as you point out with George Floyd. And any of your suggestions there are also interesting as causes.

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An additional option for why this in particular gets the HHL cancelled, is that it really blows up on social media. We have a star in our class, Jillian, who has a lot of social media influence. I could see a scenario where at least part of our class rallies around Tiffani, leading to movement that cancels the HHL.

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Even if she wasn’t particularly sympathetic to Tiffani, “us against the adults” is a motivator, but Jillian’s connection to Mette is also pretty good, and Mette can be involved in most of these hooks, yeah.

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@doyce some further plot twist ideas for Gothwitch herself, inspired by Dave collecting her background here:

  • The Silver Sorcerer and the Crisis Sorceress roles have a relationship
    • The Magus created the Crisis Sorceress
    • They’re allies (or meant to be)
    • They’re rivals (or used to be).
  • The grief-eater she defeated wasn’t the only one, and the HHL caught her fighting another one this time
    • She’s not supposed to talk about it
    • Its existence embarrasses or threatens the HHL, or a member of it
  • Blackbird…
    • …has fought beside, or with, Amethyst Fairy
    • …knows Gothwitch personally
    • …was involved in the grief-eater incident, and Gothwitch knows a secret about her as a result
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Adding to Bill’s list:

  • Blackbird…
    • Literally cannot tell Amethyst Fairy and Gothwitch are the same person due to the Crisis Sorceress magic and so thought she was just a suspicious teen at the scene of event and might know more that she’s admitting (which she probably is).
    • Along that same reasoning, perhaps Gothwitch transformed back to her normal self and the Crisis Sorceress magic is doing a number on everyone’s memories, so the HHL are super confused why they locked up a teenager and were calling an all-hands to figure things out when the Tomb Patrol decided to get involved without knowing the whole story.
  • Tiffany’s parents…
    • Just found out she’s locked up by the HHL and their connections are the reason the HHL get knocked down a peg.
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