Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Chessmen

The Chessmen were a British secret intelligence operation that operated from 1962 to 1980. Formed originally by Godwin Kaspar, the original Chessmen consisted of highly-trained former espionage and law-enforcement personnel recruited by Kaspar in his guise as the Black
King. Most of the agents were ranked according to their specialty, Knights were recruited for combat, Bishops for intelligence work, Rooks for security and so on. Masters at behind-the-scenes political manipulation, the Chessmen initially intended to clandestinely assist the American and British governments in containing unusual and colorful menaces to the crown during the Silver Age of heroism.

Eventually, however, it was revealed that the Chessmen only appeared to be foiling the threats they were asked to intervene in. In truth, the Chessmen were profiting or even recruiting from criminal and terrorist organizations they pretended to be dismantling. AEGIS (aided by the Second Nightwatchman) exposed Kaspar and eventually brought the entire organization down.  The majority of the Chessmen, including its founder, ended up in US federal prison. Godwin Kaspar was broken by his defeat and died behind bars less than five years after his incarceration, professing his innocence the entire time.

Then, a little over a decade ago, the Black King’s son, Alexander Kaspar, formed a new Chessmen
organization as a private intelligence firm dedicated to providing personal protection and private security options to wealthy clientele. Alexander replaced his father’s peerless personal charisma with his own unique tactical genius, outmaneuvering and anticipating threats to his clients before things become a problem.

In the space of the past few years, Alexander, now referring to himself as the Grandmaster, has taken his organization from nothing to a highly-efficient and well respected private security firm. And in doing so he hopes to rebuild the tarnished reputation of his father and the original Chessmen. Alexander believes his father claims of innocence and resents AEGIS' role in what he sees as a conspiratorial take down of a legitimate intelligentsia rival.

Now the Victory Foundation has hired Alexander and his Chessmen to act as Vanguard's intelligence support network, acting as home base security, information gathering and media support in the wake of Maximilian Mars' departure.


The man known only as Lagarto is believed to control the entirety of the Mexican drug cartels. This near mythical Capo of Capos united the narcos cartels of Mexico and created an alliance of sorts with drug trafficking organizations in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. He is the most feared man in all of South America even though no one has every successfully identified him and lived.

It is said that Largato has developed a unbeatable drug trafficking system that allows the transport of South American cocaine anywhere in the world. It is through this process and his reputation as a cold blooded killer who assures complete loyalty from everyone in his organization that Largato retains his unprecedented power.

It is believed that Largato controls many high ranking members of the governments in nearly all of the South American countries as well as a few rumored politicians in North America as well.

Tyrant Lizard

Originally formed in the late 1970s S.C.A.L.E. was originally the brainchild of science fiction author Carlsbad Skink. Skink returned from a mountain climbing trip to the Himalayas with the foundation for a new religious philosophy that he shared in a book called Reptilian Complexities: the Next Evolution of Man. His new religion, which he called the Scientific Church of Advanced Latterday Evolution, proposed that advanced beings he called the Serpent People were the true source of human evolution and that by adopting their philosophies and teachings humanity could continue to evolve past what Skink referred to as man's recessive mammalian period. Skink claimed that he learned of the existence of the Serpent People by visiting extra terrestrial Preservers that dwell within the Nexus of all Realities while lost in the Himalayas. He opened several self help centers in Washington and California where believers could have their Maha Virus Levels measured and begin the metaphysical process of advanced latterday evolution. After several scandals involving charges of abuse and claims that his church was a cult Skink abandoned the mainland completely in 1981, gathering up his loyal followers on his private cruise ship, the Lemurian, and sailing out into international waters indefinitely.

Skink and his followers reemerged in 1985 as SCALE, with a plot that involved highjacking a American Space Shuttle in an attempt to launch their own satellite into space. Skink wore a mask that covered his face and called himself the Tyrant Lizard, declaring that SCALE now existed to subjugate what he called the unevolved hominid  population. They were stopped by Majestic 20, who believed SCALE to be a front for alien invaders, but continued to escape custody and prosecution for the next decade, attempting wilder and more elaborate world domination plans until eventually fading into obscurity during the middle of the Iron Age of heroism.

In 2001 a new terrorist organization began operations in international waters under the command of a new Tyrant Lizard. Unlike Skink's old cult bent on world domination this new SCALE focused on acts of open waters piracy and the destruction of archaeological sites. Although more technologically advanced and in possession of actual super human agents the new SCALE remains under the radar as a global threat. The modern version of SCALE has never made an attack on American soil...until now.

The identity of the new Tyrant Lizard is unknown, although it is widely believed among intelligence services that it is no longer Carlsbad Skink under the helmet. What the most recent Tyrant Lizard ultimately wants, and what motives the organization has for attacking archaeological sites remains a mystery.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Siesmosaur and Snake Charmer

Siesmosaur was once Clifton Troodon, a ex-con with a criminal career including armed robbery, assault, and murder.

Freed from prison by S.C.A.L.E. in 2003 Clifton agreed to genetic experimentation using Lemurian technology. The results of which gifted Clifton impressive mental and physical abilities but altered his DNA to an unstable degree and greatly impaired is already questionable intellect. Clifton, now known as Siesmosaur, is one of a number of S.C.A.L.E.'s elite superhuman agents.

Nigh invulnerable, freakishly strong and capable of gravitational mental blasts that can shake apart the landscape around him Seismosaur is one of S.C.A.L.E.'s most effective shock troops.

Often Seismosaur is deployed alone, as his antisocial tendencies, fits of easily provoked anger and proclivity toward violence can lead to blind rage and S.C.A.L.E. casualities. In fact, the only superhuman agent regularly deployed with Seismosaur is Snake Charmer.

Snake Charmer was once Dominika Zmeya, a ex-member of the Russian mafia who freely joined S.C.A.L.E. in 1997. Dominika helped develop S.C.A.L.E.'s Lemurian genetic experiments and is notorious for experimenting on herself, and others. Dominika possesses a potent form of mental hypnosis activated by sight. Dominika, known as Snake Charmer, is a member of S.C.A.L.E.'s inner circle, capable of leading SCALE soldiers and superhuman agents on field missions.

Snake Charmer is also a well known seductress and spy. Her kiss is said to be poisonous.

Like most of S.C.A.L.E.'s elite ranks, Seismosaur and Snake Charmer are vegan.


S.C.A.L.E. stands for the Seditious Conspiracy for Advancing the Lemurian Empire. It is a high tech terrorist network bent on world conquest. Inspired by the legendary Serpent Empire of lizard humanoids that some believe ruled the Earth during the Cenozoic Era.

Far out in the Pacific Ocean, the saurian people, the pinnacle of evolution at that time, developed their civilization on the island continent of Lemuria. They founded a mighty Sepent Empire that spread across the globe from Lemuria. This empire was built on the backs of hominid slaves using advanced science and sorcery. For millennia, their civilization waxed and waned, expanded and contracted, with waves of exploration and influence reaching the western shores of the North and South American continents, where serpents still appear as gods and great spirits in ancient art. The Serpent Empire was already old and decadent by the time the first human civilizations arose in the world.

As the Serpent People stretched their influence further and further, claiming new human populations as their slaves, an evolutionary struggle to the death was inevitable. Sapien ruled Atlantis rose on one side of the world as an empire to rival saurian Lemuria on the far side of the globe. So began a series of wars between the two civilizations, human and serpent, culminating the Great Cataclysm that destroyed them both, sinking the continents below the waves, and virtually obliterating all evidence of their existence. Civilization fell into chaos, and humanity was forced to rebuild from nothing, with the survivors of Atlantis becoming the basis of legends. The Serpent Empire never recovered, the remnants of their once-proud civilization confined to the deep depths of the Ocean.

Until evidence of the Lemurian Empire was uncovered and S.C.A.L.E. was formed. Using recovered Lemurian technology and magic S.C.A.L.E. quickly made a name for itself in global super-terrorism. Their weapons and vehicles are made from cutting edge amphibious technology. They routinely force test subjects, willing and otherwise, to endure aggressive genetic experimentation design to create super-villains and recreate the lost saurian species.

Ruled by the mysterious Tyrant Lizard, S.C.A.L.E. focuses on terror acts against hominid ruled population centers, high seas piracy and the plunder of archaeological sites believed to be tied to the lost Lemurian or Atlantian cultures. Based somewhere underneath the Pacific Ocean S.C.A.L.E. strikes quickly and disappears beneath the waves once their missions have concluded.

Planet LeGrasse

Among the multitudes of stellar bodies that drift through the Intraverse there are few more dangerous and foreboding as Planet Lagrasse. Lagrasse is currently in orbit around a minor star along with a pearllike planet and a living satellite that appears to be covered in planet sized a luchador type mask.

Once a haven for interplanetary scientific research Lagrasse suffered a major cataclysm that left it a ruined, seismically active shell of its former glory.

The landscape is a blasted Hell of jagged stone and rusted metal torn by fissures filled with rivers of ammonia and dotted with twisted iron trees covered in closed circuit cameras like cancerous growths.

In an instant the entire population of the planet was obliterated save for the last of the original ruling family, Princess AmanTal. She exists the last lone survivor, locked away deep within the fortress of Lord Acedia, ruler of Lagrasse.

The remains of the planet have been carved into seven wartorn regions, each dominated by a robotic warlord bent on the destruction of the others and obsessed with possessing the Princess. The current lord of Lagrasse is a loathsome and lazy dictator who is a destructively cruel as he is unambitious. Each warlord commands an army of zombie like automatons called Broken Shells.

In rebellion against the Lords of Lagrasse fights the RedKnight, a holographic champion locked in an eternal struggle to free the princess and banish the warlords as well as their armies.

Rules Reference: Conditions

• Asleep: While asleep, a character is defenseless, stunned, and unaware. A hearing Perception check with three or more degrees of success wakes the character and removes all these conditions, as does any sudden movement (such as shaking the sleeping character) or any effect allowing a resistance check.
• Blind: The character cannot see. Everything effectively has full visual concealment from him. He is hindered, visually unaware, and vulnerable, and may be impaired or disabled for activities where vision is a factor.
• Bound: A bound character is defenseless, immobile, and impaired.
• Compelled: A compelled character is directed by an outside force, but struggling against it; the character is limited to free actions and a single standard action per turn, with both types of action being chosen by another, controlling character. As usual, this standard action can be traded for a move action. Controlled supersedes compelled.
• Controlled: A controlled character has no free will; the character’s actions each turn are dictated by another, controlling, character.
• Dazed: A dazed character is limited to free actions and a single standard action per turn, although the character may use that action to perform a move, as usual. Stunned supersedes dazed.
• Deaf: The character cannot hear, giving everything total auditory concealment from him. This may allow for surprise attacks on the unaware character. Interaction with other characters is limited to sign-language and lip-reading.
• Debilitated: The character has one or more abilities lowered below –5.
• Defenseless: A defenseless character has active defense bonuses of 0. Attackers can make attacks on defenseless opponents as routine checks (see Routine Checks). If the attacker chooses to forgo the routine check and make a normal attack check, any hit is treated as a critical hit. Defenseless characters are often prone, providing opponents with an additional bonus to attack checks.
• Disabled: A disabled character is at a –5 circumstance penalty on checks. If the penalty applies to specific checks, they are added to the name of the condition, such as Attack Disabled, Fighting Disabled, Perception Disabled, and so forth. Debilitated, if it applies to the same trait(s), supersedes disabled.
• Dying: A dying character is incapacitated (defenseless, stunned, and unaware) and near death. When the character gains this condition, immediately make a Fortitude check (DC 15). If the check succeeds, nothing happens. With two degrees of success, the character stabilizes, removing this condition. If the check fails, the character remains dying. Three or more total degrees of failure mean the character dies: so three failed Fortitude checks or one or two checks adding up to three degrees. Dying characters make a Fortitude check each round until they either die or stabilize. Another character can stabilize a dying character with a successful Treatment check (DC 15) or use of a Healing effect (see the Powers chapter).
• Entranced: An entranced character is stunned, taking no actions other than paying attention to the entrancing effect. Any obvious threat automatically breaks the trance. An ally can also shake a character free of the condition with an interaction skill check (DC 10 + effect rank).
• Exhausted: Exhausted characters are near collapse. They are impaired and hindered. Characters recover from an exhausted condition after an hour of rest.
• Fatigued: Fatigued characters are hindered. Characters recover from a fatigued condition after an hour of rest.
• Hindered: A hindered character moves at half normal speed (–1 speed rank). Immobile supersedes hindered.
• Immobile: Immobile characters have no movement speed and cannot move from the spot they occupy, although they are still capable of taking actions unless prohibited by another condition.
• Impaired: An impaired character is at a –2 circumstance penalty on checks. If the impairment applies to specific checks, they are added to the name of the condition, such as Attack Impaired, Fighting Impaired, Perception Impaired, and so forth. If it applies to the same trait(s), disabled supersedes impaired.
• Incapacitated: An incapacitated character is defenseless, stunned, and unaware. Incapacitated characters generally also fall prone, unless some force keeps them standing.
• Normal: The character is unharmed and unaffected by other conditions, acting normally.
• Paralyzed: A paralyzed character is defenseless, immobile, and physically stunned, frozen in place and unable to move, but still aware and able to take purely mental actions, involving no physical movement whatsoever.
• Prone: A prone character is lying on the ground, receiving a –5 circumstance penalty on close attack checks. Opponents receive a +5 circumstance bonus to close attack checks but a –5 penalty to ranged attack checks. Prone characters are hindered. Standing up from a prone position is a move action.
• Restrained: A restrained character is hindered and vulnerable. If the restraints are anchored to an immobile object, the character is immobile rather than hindered. If restrained by another character, the restrained character is immobile but may be moved by the restraining character.
• Staggered: A staggered character is dazed and hindered.
• Stunned: Stunned characters cannot take any actions, including free actions.
• Surprised: A surprised character is stunned and vulnerable, caught off-guard and therefore unable to act, and less able to avoid attacks.
• Transformed: Transformed characters have some or all of their traits altered by an outside agency. This may range from a change in the character’s appearance to a complete change in trait ranks, even the removal of some traits and the addition of others! The primary limit on the transformed condition is the character’s power point total cannot increase, although it can effectively decrease for the duration of the transformation, such as when a powerful superhero is turned into an otherwise powerless mouse or frog (obviously based on considerably fewer power points).
• Unaware: The character is completely unaware of his surroundings, unable to make interaction or Perception checks or perform any action based on them. If the condition applies to a specific sense or senses, they are added to the name of the condition, such as visually unaware, tactilely unaware (or numb), and so forth. Subjects have full concealment from all of a character’s unaware senses.
• Vulnerable: Vulnerable characters are limited in their ability to defend themselves, halving their active defenses (round up the final value). Defenseless supersedes vulnerable.
• Weakened: The character has temporarily lost power points in a trait. See the Weaken effect in the Powers chapter for more. Debilitated supersedes weakened.

Session Four: Triple Threat

Last time on Vanguard for Victory it was press junket day for the Vanguard and, of course, everything went weirdly askew. Cross dimensional fighting champions known as the Truel appeared during the press junket and after a few brief fights were welcomed by our heroes. Meron, Kiichugo and Ringo brought with them warning that the cosmic entity known as the Monkey King has escaped his dimensional imprisonment and now threatens the entire multiverse. To make matters worse, the Zenkai, superhuman sensei from the lost first universe have abandoned the Battle Nexus they founded in favor of dimensional subjugation of other worlds. The Truel share that the Zenkai search for reincarnation of the Shakyamuni, the only mortal who has ever defeated the Monkey King and believe that Shota is the Shakyamuni. Ultima Saborosa and Doctor Robot accompanied Shota and Ringo to Emerald City Circuits for testing only to be betrayed by Ringo and transported into the Intraverse, a microscopically small universe that exists inside our own universe. Meanwhile Adela Karensdatter, investigated leads toward the mysterious Chamber by tracking down investigative journalist DQ Grey and retired man in black Somber Quinn. With only a week before Victory Day the team is fractured, confused and literally split from each other between transdimensional barriers.  

Unbeknownst to everyone a new villainous player is about to arrive in Emerald City. Can the Vanguard handle this new danger along with the betrayal of the Truel and with half their team stranded in a universe smaller than individual molecules?

There is only one way to find out.