A Mutants and Masterminds 3e game in a homebrew amalgam setting combining pieces of Freedom City, Paragons, and other settings.

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Agent Johnson's Tale-- Part Two
Its a nice school. Real top notch, if you ignore the fact that we’re educating Hitlers alongside the Galahads. Still, these supers tend to be a closed bunch. They don’t give away each other’s secret id’s or rat each other out.

Sure they turn the bad one’s over to the police or the SOC when they can, but a lot of times they just have their fights in the alleys or on rooftops or in third world countries without extradition and they stop the bad guys but don’t catch them. Hell, before the SOC separated from the CIA, we had a half dozen reports of Century meeting with Benjamin Bale without any violence. They had dinner together at least two of those occasions.

The point is that they police their own.

So when I got to the school and started having a look around, I was already sure that the Challengers were launching their own investigation. The reports on these kids suggest that they’re like pit bulls. Once they sink their teeth into something, well, it gets dragged kicking and screaming into the light.

It didn’t take much, really, to put them to work for me. Hey, I only want to make sure that a murder gets solved. If I can pin a name to the crime I might be able to sleep better.

* * *

Destructor’s “daughter” was pretty easy to get moving. One of the side effects of Bale's is an ego the size of a dump truck. I just sort of implied that I was faced with a scientific problem that I couldn’t solve, that normal science couldn’t solve. Worked like a charm.

I made several references that this was an ongoing SOC investigation to cover my ass, but I never actually told her not to talk to anyone outright. She would talk, and the Challengers would be on the case. Outside chance that the Young Allies might put themselves on the case, but the Challengers MO suggests they won’t leave it alone.

That’s why I didn’t let Jerry come out here. He likes to micromanage. He’d be all over these kids with the whole “stay out of the SOC’s way while we solve this crime” shtick. Don’t get me wrong, Jerry’s a good agent, but he doesn’t do well when the players operate at this level. In the culture.

And god damn, but I’m gonna burn in hell, she’s what..? Sixteen? Sixteen didn’t look like that at my high school…
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my report on wards
Byeli Kurjack
Magical Wards and Their Applications

Magical wards have many practical applications, from security systems to impenetrable walls. Wards encompass a vast variety of magical phenomenon. A place can gain a ward over time through emotion or events that happened in the place. These wards are common place and are around everyday areas such an old family house, a church, graveyard, or prison. Someone is sensitive to magic can usually sense them when they step through them, some wards are so strong that you don’t need any magical awareness sense them. Other wards are created by rituals or spells, in my experience these are most common done by the application of a magic circle. Magic circles used to create wards are usually used in application to keep a being in place so one can speak to them or gain a service from them without danger of personal injury or global destruction.
I am studying wards to further my magical repertoire and ability to help my team mates in the field; I’m studying three different circles at the time of this report. The first is a detection ward for security reasons, the second is a defensive ward, and third a aura that increases the healing rate of beings in it.
The security ward is a ritual that im creating that can be used to detect a being entering the area that the ward surrounds. The ritual is designed to detect general traffic in and out of the ward, but it can be tuned towards certain individuals or travel methods. The one I’m working on specifically is geared towards detecting beings using magical means of teleportation. I used a rather creative way of marking the area of the ward, Play-Doh charged with some magic energy stuffed into the corners of the room. I think that with enough Doh and magic energy I could ward a huge area.
The second ward im designing is a spell. It will be a relatively quick spell that will increase the defensive capabilities of the beings inside the circle. Unfortunately it is a stationary circle and if the being on the inside breaches the circle it will disperse dropping the boosted defenses. The other drawback is I need to draw or form a circle on the ground to affect with this spell, but that relies on me having chalk or salt or sand, something on hand to draw the circle, which is not always possible.
The third and final ward I have been researching is a healing ward. It increases the natural healing rate of the beings inside the immediate area around me. I have to concentrate on keeping the ward up so while it is active I can’t do anything else, but the benefits are worth it if the ward can keep my team alive.
In conclusion wards and circles can be used to protect, repel, and heal beings and objects, among many other applications. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages in the application of combat. I will be researching more types as my studies go on.

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Epic!
Freudian Slip
Freudian Slip


“And this one? Kevin?” the shrink's voice rose an octave as he tried to get me to pay attention. “What does this one look like?”

I stared at the ink blot for a moment before turning away to look at the grandfather clock set up pretentiously by his wall of degrees and certificates. Dr. Kessler, specialist, psychologist and most importantly, friend. What a load of bullsh*t.

“Like someone spilled something?” I shrugged my shoulders with a grunt.

“Kevin, you know that's not what I mean. Come on, this will be the last one, I just need you to try and participate,” the bespectacled, bearded, sweater-vest wearing anthropomorphic PBS special bounced the card stock Rorschach test in his well-manicured hand.

I sighed deeply, and very consciously turned and stared at the card. I didn't like looking at them. I didn't like the way they made me feel. The arterial sprays of black ink making me feel... something. There was something there, just under the surface, brief glimpses, images of strange creatures being slaughtered by the thousands, flickering into my sight like someone had spliced frames from a horror film into my regularly scheduled life. Their bleating, warbling (and sounds that I don't even have the words to describe) just barely unheard, like the dying reverberations of an echo.

I twitched.

Doctor Kessler scribbled something on his note pad and then raised a single brow as he rested his chin against the palm of his free hand, his elbow propped up on the arm of his leather seat.

“What is it, Kevin? You can rap with me, dude.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. What an unbelievable jerk off. “I saw a skateboard. With, like, a turtle on it.”

“I see...” he offered, nodding and writing something down with his miniature, green golf pencil.

“Is that good?” I asked and looked around the room, anything to avoid staring this guy in the eyes.

“Well, it's not bad... there's no right answer to this test,” he explained.

“So what's the point?”

“The point is that your parents are worried about you, they've noticed a change in behavior lately that's got them alarmed. They thought maybe if you had someone outside of the family to talk to, that you'd be more able to open up about some of the things going on in your life right now,” Kessler intoned, with affected empathy.

I recoiled for a moment hissing out my displeasure as I sank a bit further into the identical chair across from the psychoanalyst. “I'm not really interested in talking to anyone.”

“Well, Kevin, you can expect a level of transparency in all of our dealings...and everything you discuss with me falls under my client-psychologist privilege. I won't share a word with anyone, not even your parents, unless you want me to,” he smiled and set the Rorschach card against the arm of his chair. He took a sip out of a glass of water that he had set onto a coaster, on the small, ornately crafted wooden table by his side. It sported a Celtic knot design that traveled up along to pattern the hand-made side table. Spires. Spires of twisting black bursting up from me, stretching high into a strange, and exotic lavender sky.

I blinked again. “I – uh – I've been having these strange dreams...” I blurted.

“Go on, please.”

“Well it's like this... this place, it's not earth, it's like an alien planet and there are these animals on it. They're strange, I don't know the names for them, but they're being just... slaughtered and devoured by this thing, it's this mass of like... tentacles and... it just... engulfs everything on this planet... you know?” I asked, searching his eyes for some understanding.

“And how does that make you feel?”

“Hungry,” I rumbled below my breath.

“Pardon?”

“Angry,” I said a bit louder.

The alarm on his desk rang with a gong chime and he reached over and swiped a finger over the touch screen to quiet it.

“What I'm hearing, Kevin, is that you feel as if you're in a strange place and this tentacle-thing is that place destroying and isolating you from your old life. It's not uncommon for young men and women to feel cut off from the rest of society, especially during this time when hormones are raging and... well... tell you what, why don't we continue this conversation next week. You're starting classes at your new school then, aren't you?” Kessler asked.

“Yes,” I answered and stood up from the chair. We shook hands and I could feel the imprint sweeping through my body as his genetic information surged through each and every cell.

“Good luck with that, if you need anything you have my number if you need to get in contact. Remember, these feelings are normal and you're not alone. Okay?” the psychologist smiled and led me out of his office.

“Okay,” I said quietly and walked out of the office and down to the building's lobby where my mom was waiting.

We left the office complex together, my mother and me.

Perfectly normal, perfectly sane, me.

-D
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Left behind...
just like that. Lynne's gone. She went with the Bad Seeds, and even when Thundersnap ordered the destruction of a whole town, she didn't even seem to flinch, or to question it.

What did we (I) do wrong? Why would she rather be with them than with us? I don't understand it at all. Maybe I should have been more pushy? Less? I don't know.

All I know is, I didn't think it could hurt so much. All the stuff leading up to it has been painful, and I thought, maybe, if she decided to leave us, if she chose them over us, maybe all of that would have made me prepared for it. Maybe it wouldn't hurt so much. But it does,like a wound. Is this grief? Does it ever go away?

And Rodney's unreachable, now, so wrapped up in... whatever is going on with him, he doesn't seem to be "here" anymore. It feels like we have lost him, too.

At least Forthyajar left us for a reason, and I am happy for her, that she and her people are reunited. I miss her, though.

It's just me and Lonnie and Wanda, now.

I wonder who I will be rooming with. I hope Wanda will be able to come back to the regular dorms. I just hope they don't put me with Lynne's old roommate, she seemed awful.

Maybe that would be better, though. I wouldn't get attached.

If not Wanda, I wish I could be Lonnie's roommate.


Edit:

And my parents thought I rebooted. The backup was activated. So is there an unprogrammed "me" out there somewhere? How, and why?

(it upset them quiete a bit, thinking something bad had happened to me. A good reason to avoid reboot.)
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Tags: Lonnie , Lynne , Nakitomi , Recap
What Lies Beneath
What Lies Beneath

A Montgomery Moment

Rodney stared at the bare patch of plaster on the wall in his dormitory. Sometimes, it was good not to look at anything too exciting while you were thinking. He didn’t want to invite the chance that he might get distracted and have to start all over again. The young mutant was diving deep into the depths of his mind to try and figure out an answer to all of these problems that had seemingly cropped up overnight!

No matter how hard he tried to sort them and act on one issue after the next they all mixed together. Rodney thought that his ideas were sort of like sides on a plate that didn’t have any reason to ever blend and yet, by the middle of his meal he always had a pile of amalgamated muck in the middle. Yes, he was sure that was his mind entirely... a pile of peas and mashed potatoes and chicken when it gets all stringy from cutting into it too much. Also, he was getting hungry.

There was the problem with Peaches. Yes. That seemed like it should get top billing. Rodney stared at that blank spot and tried to focus on it and not the fact that she had cut mental communication with him. She was heading down the same road that got her mixed up with Magpie and that got the both of them sent to Super - Juvie. Prison had been hard for Rodney - it was the first time that he had been alone, without Peaches’ soothing presence in his mind. It used to scare him, and yet, now, it seemed like they spent more time cut off from each other than linked. He was getting used to it and he hated that. Last time he said nothing, he did nothing, he had believed that Peaches’ happiness was the only thing he should have cared about. They were arrested for that mistake, and like a child touching a hot stovetop for the first time he had learned a valuable life lesson. But there he sat, in his dorm room, having watched history unfold itself despite his best efforts and a little Norn-magic to help. Rodney’s efforts had depressingly little effect despite him giving it everything he had. He had given everything to his deception and it lasted all of five minutes once the magic that Loki-girl had put on him had worn off. The Bad Seeds wanted his sister and she wanted to be a part of them. He had even gotten the impression that she was interested in Perseus. Perseus. Please, he wasn’t even in her same league! How could this have happened on his watch?! Rodney dwelled for only a moment on the truth that he was the one that probably solidified her membership into the organization. He had trusted her, thought that she was the only person that would have never lied to him, would have gone to the edges of the earth and beyond to make sure that she was safe and happy - and this is the thanks that he gets? When he asks her to trust him, just like he had trusted her, and leave the Seeds alone, what does he get? Nothing! Rodney balled his fingers into a tight fist. He took a long slow breath and relaxed them one by one. There was no sense in letting anger control him, even if they had promised to always be there for each other. First was family, then friends and then everyone else. That’s how it was supposed to be. Now it was all flubbed up.

Perseus, the snake. Rodney’s lip tightened into dark scowl as he recognized the young man for who he truly was, a deceiver, leading Peaches astray just like Magpie did. A peddler of half truths and false comforts, buying his sister like she was a... she was a... Rodney shut the thought out of his mind and locked it up, somewhere deep and dark to be let free at another time. He and Perseus were going to have words very soon. Oh yes.

Lonnie. Rodney owed his roommate an apology. He had tried to tell Rodney that his sister was lying, and Rodney didn’t believe him. Honestly, he didn’t want to believe him, it hurt too much to think that his sister had been leading him on just like everyone else he’d ever cared about. No, Lonnie had been the only honest one and he repaid that with skepticism.

Wanda had rose with Rodney to Peaches’ defense. He hadn’t given the girl much thought... there just wasn’t enough room for too many at once, but he spared one now. She was probably taking this whole thing hard. Maybe he’d go talk to her, she didn’t seem to like the fact that he took matters into his own hands when his mind got flipped with Peaches’. For that matter neither did Tomiko. Was personal choice more important than keeping Peaches’ safe? Rodney paused, giving that some extra special attention. If a man leaps off a bridge should he not try and catch him? It was his choice that threw him from the bridge, a concerted effort to take one’s own life was a choice wasn’t it? Should he respect his decision and wish him well on all future endeavors? It was his decision after all. No, that seemed off somehow. Standing by, watching while someone destroys their own life would be just as wrong! No. He wasn’t wrong for trying to stop this. The whole crazy school was in the wrong for condoning a damn group of soon-to-be-psychopaths, robbers and murderers.

Murder. Namely, Rodney’s own at the hand of Aces. Pithia, the oracle and apparent girlfriend had warned him about his own death. She told him Aces was going to kill him when there was snow on the ground. That didn’t give him much time to make sure that everything was going to work out fine. Rodney had died before. It was a grain thresher, he’d gotten too close. It all happened so fast that it didn’t even hurt. Peaches said she had freaked out... but then she put him back together, brought him back good as new just like they did when they healed each other. So death wasn’t especially terrifying for Rodney. He had to trust that no matter what was going on between them, that Peaches would bring him back if she were able. He had been good about keeping that particular ability a secret. If that got out, Aces might not be willing to just leave his corpse somewhere convenient.

Of course there was always the chance that Pithia was wrong. That this was all a grand manipulation perpetrated by the Olympians. Rodney knew that the Olympians and the Bad Seeds had business dealings. He remembered the day of the commando attack on the halloween dance. Pithia had done her best to make sure Rodney was far away from the conflict when it had began. They were the same commandos that had been after John Smith on account of the fact that he had no soul. The same commandos that Rodney’s gut instinct told him were in league with the Seeds. So what was the connection between the Olympians and the Seeds and when he found it what did that mean for him.

When Rodney started at the school, he had only wanted to make a few friends and be left alone, so that he could start a quiet life somewhere away from the capes and the lasers and the flying karate chops. He had experienced a superhero ass kicking first hand and he wasn’t really looking forward to getting any more of them. He and Peaches would have completed their education, put their crimes behind them and gone to live a quiet life. Simple. That’s how he liked it. He didn’t like being put in a position like this. Fated to die, sister just aching to get tossed in the slammer for her snake of a boyfriend Perseus, a girlfriend that may or may not betray him at any moment, working long hours monster hunting in the sewers and a class load that keeps getting heavier and heavier because of all the screw ups his ‘combat team’ had managed to pull off in record time!

Rodney tossed himself back into the bed, slumping onto the comfortable mattress with a sigh. His head hurt. Maybe he was an idiot, like John Smith always said. It was just... so hard to concentrate on anything with his head always being a jumble of everything he’d ever seen, read or heard. Rodney had a hard time forgetting anything.

Solutions. Oh, there were a few rattling around in his head. Nothing too promising, but the starts of some ideas that might work. He tried to keep things simple. Just how he liked it. He could ask Peaches to stop. Really ask, like a brother. He could beg her to stop and appeal to the part of her that had put family before all else. Or maybe he could say or do something to Perseus or the other seeds that would make them reject Peaches’ membership. Maybe he could make Peaches more of a liability than anything else... it would cut into his studying and probably his work, but he could just locate Peaches anywhere she went and offer to lead the young-heroes on campus right after the Seeds. When their plans keep ending in a superfight every time they took Peaches with them, it wouldn’t take them long to figure things out. And then there was the other thing. He could simply refuse to touch her. Without physical contact, the Montgomery twins powers had an expiration date. Peaches had gotten better as a thief, but without her powers she certainly didn’t have the chops to stand side by side with the Seeds. Those sounded pretty good... and that was just from a few minutes of thinking. Rodney smirked. Imagine what he could do if he actually put a few hours of effort into it.

The torn Montgomery rolled over onto his side and eyed the neon blue Triceratops that he kept on his bed. It was the only toy that he had kept from his home, it was a gift to him from his mother. She had bought it before he was born and before she died. It stared back at him with dark beaded eyes.

He wasn’t an idiot and he wasn’t a good guy. If it came to it, a hero would have a problem with burning the whole school to the ground to save his kin. They had made that mistake over at juvie, too. But that was before he crushed that asshole’s throat with the side of his lunch tray. That was before Justifier, his old roommate, took the blame for that action to protect Rodney’s chances at getting sent to the school with his sister. No. Rodney didn’t like bullies and he didn’t like labels. Everyone was in the same boat, just trying to survive. The boy didn’t have any problems with you if you didn’t make problems for him. He was only too happy to not get into other people’s business if they just left his family and him out of theirs. That was it, the big secret. Rodney was a survivor. Nothing more, nothing less. Making friends was a big part of surviving life... so too was knowing to keep a few cards up your sleeve for when you really needed them.

No, he wouldn’t ever be a hero. He was just a stupid kid with a troubled sister, a death sentence and a stuffed triceratops.

-D
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Epic!
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