Masks: Birth of Heroes

Fyrefly's Journal 3
The day the Giant Robots Attacked

So. We’re back at the Manor the next day, and Chance is no where to be found…which sucks cause I really need to apologize to him, for being such a bitch. And we’re watching the news reports of the insanity going on downtown…as Giant robots are attacking the city! And Sovereign can’t even handle them!

SO I tell everyone, Let’s go down, and work on crowd control, and helping evacuate homes and buildings, left the big threat to the big guns. Everyone agrees, so Frog and Bash (Kamil Koury) had out, while I hang back to help out Frank Patten with whatever, so h won’t be travelling alone…I try and do some comforting cuse he’s still whining about his computer brain, cause he’s the only person in the world that ever went through some sort of change in this world. And he flips out on me again! Well Screw him! I try to be a friend, and a shoulder to lean on, and he gives me nothing but crap for it!

So i leap and swing down to catch up with the others…and Hard Drive (That is what I’ve decided to call him from now on, cause using your real name is insane). Is this giant, bone monster destroying the streets and cars.

Anyway, I get there, and Bash is fighting off those punks from like, our first team outing….when we screwed everything up. And this jerks Attacking Bash with some sort of pressure type thing. No one hurts my friends. So I swing down there, and tell him to run off before I seriously hurt him. Which he smartly does.

Then, down the Alleyway, we see Frog dealing with some other gang members and the MeDICKS! and of course they are trying to take him in…for doing the right thing and stopping looters. Luckily he’s smart and does his illusion thing to slip away.

Then…this is where things get fuzzy for a bit…Handyman threw the pressure guy out on the streets…as we snuck into the building they came out of to escape the MeDicks….And Handyman is just…constantly assaulting this guy…it’s brutal..and horrible…and someone has to stop him. So I do. And we fight…and it’s crazy…I think I knocked out a few MeDicks in the process…we just keep attacking and countering, until I throw a few surprises at him…and It sucks…cause his movements are way too familiar. And I’m praying it’s not true.

And then Frog appears out of nowhere to knock him out after I do all the work.

So…now we’re surrounded by MeDICKS, with a knocked out Handyman..who may or may not be NightWolf, and Frank reappears again! being all crazy, and drawing all of the fire, just as one of the giant Robts sets its sight on us. Bash rushing off to fight It, Frank, trying to draw it’s fire. and Here I am waking Handyman up, and getting him to agree to help take the robot down, without killing anyone….which I refuse to believe he does anyway. He tells me to get my friends clear, and I agree. and start shouting at them all to get out of there. And they all ignore me!

And I have to stand there, watching my best Friend get tossed through a couple buildings, because she thought she could handle it, when Sovereign can’t?

Some friends…

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Kamil's Diary 04
Mission 03

Dear Diary,
I can’t remember the last time I’ve been in so much pain. This was not a good night. This was not a good night at all.

Giant robots attacked Continuum City tonight — giant robots with eyes that can melt buildings that even the Sovereign was having a hard time taking down. We decided to go see if we could help evacuate civilians — which should have been a relatively easy, safe job, right? Except we ran into Rose and his friends again. (PS, I need to figure out a clever name for the guy that can create pressure with his hands. Something clever and demeaning. Maybe I’ll just call him Tin Can, because that’s how I felt when he was trying to crush me. And one of these days, assuming the Handyman didn’t kill him, I’m going to return the favor.) Where was I? Oh, yeah. Hard Drive (Frank’s new name) got himself arrested somehow by the CCPD. And the MeDICS showed up to arrest all of us, including Rose and Tin Can and the Handyman.

And then Fyrefly picked a fight with the Handyman for some reason. (She does know he kills people, right?) And then Hard Drive broke out of jail and came back to rescue us from the MeDICS in a squad car — which would have been awesome if he didn’t have a death wish to die either by MeDIC fire or by giant robot eyebeams. I don’t know what the hell he was doing out there. I thought that if I could get Frog, who had been dazed by the MeDICs, to somewhere safe, Fyrefly and Hard Drive would be able to get away on their own. Wrong. So wrong. Hard Drive decided to pick a fight with the giant killer robot (that I would have been more than happy to leave to TS and THM), and for some reason, Fyrefly decided to leave his fate in the hands of a psychopath (THM) rather than try to save him! (Okay, so, technically, I picked a fight with the robot first. But the difference is, it knocked over the building we were trying to escape into, and I was angry. And I wasn’t just going to stand there and let it try to murder me!)

Okay, so I admit, running away might have been the smart thing to do, but we couldn’t just leave Hard Drive there to die! Neither TS nor THM seemed interested in rescuing him, and he sure as hell wasn’t rescuing himself, so somebody had to do something. So I distracted the robot. Kind of like a mosquito distracts a human. It threw me through like three buildings. But it stopped firing it’s death ray at Hard Drive, and that was the point. I’m saying I did good, so there.

And Hard Drive still wouldn’t stop, Diary. He decided to jump onto it’s chest while TS was pulling at one of its arms and THM was trying to blow it up. What. the. hell. If he wants so badly to die, why is he even at the Manor?

I can’t even think straight right now. I’m going to go take some tylenol and a long, hot shower.

Biggest idiot ever. EVER.

Just thought of a better name for Tin Can: Mariana. That’s the deepest part of the ocean, right? Pressure, ocean, something. It’s a girl’s name, and he deserves it, and I don’t know why I’m explaining my thought process to a diary.

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Fyrefly's Journal entry 2...and more
Slumber party fiasco

After the rescue of the Gentleman things were relatively quiet. He gave us a bit of freedom to patrol, and train together, without him constantly looking over our shoulders, He even left Bash (Kamil Koury) and Frog to themselves in the Manor.

Bash was freaking out, and Frog was only aggravating the situation, so I kept suggesting to her we leave, and just go for a walk in the park. and Frank Patten decided to come along with us. Now, it normally would not have been a problem, sure I was just looking to chat with my friend away from the mask, but then Frank totally blew up in our face, before storming off to sulk!

So, we decide we better go look for him…and find him sitting on a park bench near the duck pond, as Captain Ivy Libra is talking to him! The Queen bitch of Continuum….I guess she’s trying to do good. But she’s going about it in a crappy way. So things are bad. Then Frog just teleports in front of the pair and all of her stormtroopers our out of everywhere!

Great. This day is going so well for relaxation.

The MeDICKs all leave eventually, and then after more Frank sulking, we head back to the manor, for a sleep over to calm things down….oh and I may have chewed out Frog a bit for his stunt. But he’s been a jerk to Bash this entire time! So screw him.

So we decide to watch a movie and eat popcorn. Chance is being a jerk to me, like always. But anyway, we’re sitting there, watching Beauty & the Beast…but apparently the Gentleman only owns the french black and white version, and the subtitles are so wrong, that is super annoying. But then there’s a crash upstairs in The Gentleman’s office.

We all go up, and see Frog broke into Gentleman’s files….his manual journals on pretty much everyone, cause he’s super paranoid.. One file about The Handyman / NightWolf / David McGowen catches my eye…linking him to NightWolf. And that’s just ridiculous. Right? There’s no way the NightWolf could really be that guy. I mean the name alone….Whatever…that’s ridiculous. Then…I read the file on me. And It has all of my information. and the Gentleman has the nerve to say I throw myself into danger, because I don’t have any powers?! That I pose a risk to everyone else! Where the hell does he get off!

Soo….this is where things get really…crappy…..I’m angry at Gentleman…but he’s not here….so I take my frustration out on Chance….when he didn’t do anything to me…this time. and I pretty much ruin the sleep over. Cause Chance stormed out…cause of me. and I feel super pissed off, upset, and sad, and maybe a bit scared.

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Kamil's Diary 03
Intermission

Dear Diary,
It’s been three days since the Gentleman packed up his things and left. Of course, he didn’t give us an explanation or anything — he just put some money on the counter and left me alone with Frog. What are we supposed to do? What am I supposed to do? This is the first time he’s ever gone anywhere and left me alone…and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with myself. I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to kill Frog, but he is seriously asking for it. He keeps making these illusions of the Gentleman puttering around the Manor. I’m not sure what kind of mind games he thinks he’s playing, but it’s starting to really piss me off.

Everyone else has been around a lot more, which would be nice if we were doing something. Chance just plays his games, Frank is conducting some sort of experiment, and Fyrefly… Well, I think Fyrefly is trying. She suggested we get out of the Manor for a while, just the two of us. For some reason, Frank interpreted that as an invitation to tag along, then immediately freak out on us at the park about how hard it is being him. Really, Frank? You have computer brain. I could behead someone if I flicked them on the forehead. It’s not really the same thing. Anyway, while he was out sulking, Ivy Libra showed up to chat with him about what happened at HP. Frog decided to pop up behind them, triggering every MeDIC in a five block radius to train their guns on him. We were lucky they didn’t want a fight and let Frank and Frog go.

So we went back to the Manor. I invited everyone to stay over — my first slumber party. That’s what normal teenagers do, right? They put on Beauty and the Beast, and just as Jean Marais finds intruders in his rose garden, there’s an enormous crash from upstairs. Because for some reason, Frog has decided that it’s helpful to break into the Gentleman’s locked cabinet to read his files! He thinks it will help us figure out where the Gentleman went. And I realized, for the first time, that Frog is really just a kid. It was kind of a weird epiphany. With that said, he has never seen the Gentleman well and truly pissed. I admit that I push buttons, but even I don’t like to push him that far anymore… Anyway, so I’m just going to let him take the hit when the Gentleman comes back — I told him to stop, and short of physically throwing him out, what was I supposed to do?

And then things went from bad to worse. The movie was just starting to get to my favorite part when Fyrefly picks a fight with Chance. Things were said. Punches were thrown…and, surprisingly, not by me this time. Does it still count as a slumber party if all but one person goes home?

Note to self: the next time we all get together, we have to talk about costumes and superhero names for Frank and Chance. Fyrefly is right — we can’t just sit around and wait for the Gentleman to come back. We should be out there doing something… We should be out there doing what he trained us to do. But not with IL looking for us and waiting for us to slip up so she can arrest us…and whatever it is she does with them after that.

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Fyrefly's Journal

Entry date [redacted]

So after the previous debacle of trying to round up a locale gang. In which my ‘team mates’ blindly walked into and then proceeded to assault one of the thugs in question. then Bash almost brought the building down upon us. The Gentleman was less than impressed with her team work.

So yet again we’re at his manor, practicing, or training for whatever he might have planned for us. Why we can’t just go out and patrol and actually stop some crime is beyond me, Some of us are clearly ready to do some good….where as others are clearly just in it for stardom.

So we’re there, and I’m spparring with Bash, who clearly needs to learn how to better control her emotions…as it’s almost laughably easy to tag her. And then Frank comes down from Gentleman’s office, saying he’s nowhere to be found. Not only that, apparently his files were out of place, the one in particular detailing the Sevitri Invasion. Which Mom and Dad told me about after their whole space trip. Nasty Aliens wanting to infect humans to take over or something. Gross.

So then we start bickering about what to do..where to go, and how to get there. Chance, being the usual primadonna jerk he is want’s to take his limo. Oh, and apparently refuses to take any sort of order from me, because I lack powers.. Right. Cause Shape Shifting is soooo Impressive.

So in the end, we agree to have Bash lead again. Cause Frank is too weird. and Chance is a prima dona. And of course we all go our seperate ways to where we think The Gentleman headed. Two of us being smart, and sticking to the rooftops….one of us using a limo…and one using the city bus….God, really?

Anyway, we get to Haliwell Pharmaceuticals, because GEntleman’s notes has rumors and evidence of them trying to use the Sevitri’s methods, t jump start super powers in people. So we,‘ve got some evidence of wrong doing, so even if Gentleman’s not there, at least we are actually, fighting Crime, and not just committing one.

We arrive, and then we decide on how to infiltrate, Myself going in the back, while Chance, plans on walking through the front door looking like someone else. My part of the plan would have worked perfectly. But No, Chance had to just go and reveal himself, even after I made sure that no unwanted attention would be drawn by some crappy collapsing drain pipe. Still. I suppose his so called ‘star power’ provided enough of a distracting for me to slip unnoticed.

So I’m exploring, and there’s someone lurking in the shadows, just beyond some crates I can’t quite get a bead on…but I don’t have enough time to find out who or what it is, as some heavy boot steps are getting closer to me. Then I have to sit there, hiding in a crate as I hear Chance go on and on about this and that, chatting with his ‘fans’. God he’s annoying.

Meanwhile, I’m pinned down by these guards, and having to wait for Bash and Frank to arrive for some back up. So I decide, what the hell, I can take these punks. But apparently someone tampered with my utility belt, Probably Frog….as one of my smoke pellets explodes in my hand, causing me to fall out of the crate coughing. as the guards whip around leveling their guns at me.

Thank God, Bash came to the rescue, and was able to restrain her strength some what, as she plowed into some of them, giving me the opportunity to effortlessly disarm and knock out 2 of the four. Who needs powers again?

Soon enough Frank, Bash and I are taking out Guards, then who should appear? The August, the guy responsible for Mom dying, and making Dad go all distant. And he has the nerve to tell us to go home, and we can’t handle this?

I flat out let him know that, unlike others, we don’t give up and walk away after we make mistakes. We’re not going to give up when things get ‘difficult’ or we feel bad. Coward. He used to mean something. But he makes one mistake and just walks away. Doesn’t even try to apologize, or make things right? Who is he to tell us what to do? So what if Bash gets angry, sometimes, at least she has friends that can help calm her down.

Grrr. getting back to it. Chance meets back up with us, and we get into a sub -basement Frank found out about, and find our ever so lovable teacher, shocked to find us alongside August.

Apparently he’s upset at our recklessness. But more importantly, impressed with our teamwork and Initiative. Take that August!

We get back to the manor, and now we’re greeted with Sovereign, Chance’s mom, who said what we…I, always thought, that She never expected him to do anything Heroic. And despite the fact that he is…and annoying, arrogant jerk face. He helped the team today. If he ever makes a comment about Mom again…I’m gonna throw my baton right at his malleable face.

So Bash and I are cool again, despite last missions…fiasco. Frank…is still super weird. Frog is gonna pay for messing with my stuff, and Chance is still a jerk. And Shape shifting isn’t that great.

Oh….And I guess I have to keep meeting up with the August a secret from Dad. Sort of like all of my ‘after school activities.’

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Kamil's Diary 02
Mission 02

Dear Diary,
Maybe this team thing will actually work. Maybe.

So the Gentleman didn’t show up for his usual briefing and inspiring speech routine. Frank found a folder about some failed Sevitri invasion from years ago and Haliwell’s Pharmaceuticals. Apparently HP is using their mind-control tech — which probably isn’t good. Anyway, they obviously had something to do with the Gentleman’s disappearance. Chance (who actually deigned to honor us with his presence) tried to tell us it was a test…but anyone who knew anything about the Gentleman would know that it wasn’t. I didn’t really see the need for a group leader…or the group…but they insisted. I’m half-sure they were hoping for another disaster, but it actually worked out okay this time. Sort of.

Anyway, we get to HP’s warehouse, and we have to get in. Fyrefly found a way to go in the back, and we were hoping Chance could use his shape-shifting to get in the front. Half the plan worked. Somehow, the guard saw through Chance’s disguise, so Chance just decided to be himself. And while he was preening, posing, and signing autographs, I grabbed Frank and hopped up onto the roof. (It was actually really amazing to watch Chance work. He makes talking to people look so natural and easy… How does he do that?)

It wasn’t really a good plan. I had to use Frank to soften the landing. I suppose I should apologize, but after the crap he pulled last time, I feel like he deserved a little payback. We got inside in one piece, and Chance got us the location of the security office. Fyrefly was pinned down in some crates, and before I could think of a way to help her out, Frank accidentally knocked over a light on his way to the security office.

The guards were distracted by Frank, then by Fyrefly when a smoke pellet backfired on her. Bash to the rescue. Again. We might have been in trouble, but the August showed up. The August. Apparently, he was answering a distress call the Gentleman sent out.

That just made me more anxious. And the pissing match between Fyrefly and the August didn’t really help. TA thought we should go home, or, in the very least, wait around for him to rescue the Gentleman, but Fyrefly made her point with a few verbal blows that even I thought were a little cheap. In the end, he said we could “help” — like we hadn’t been doing all the work up until now.

Frank and Chance arrived — finally. Frank learned about a secret security office beneath the warehouse floor, so that’s where we went. And then there was more fighting. I kind of lost it for a second, but Fyrefly talked some sense into me. I guess my temper isn’t as under control as I thought it was. At least I didn’t take out the entire building this time…

So, in the end, we rescued the Gentleman. He even said we did a good job, but I think he may have given me more credit than I deserved. Sure, things worked out this time, but it definitely wasn’t thanks to my leadership skills. You know, I thought the whole being leader thing would be easy, but it’s not. It’s actually really hard…and not just because no one wants to listen to me. But it’s hard to coordinate and come up with plans and all that. And not lose my temper.

After all that, I have to say that I don’t think I should keep being team leader. Like hell am I telling them that, though…

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Mission 02
Operation: Rescue the Gentleman

This week, we had +Richard Rogers, +Joe Zantek, +Andrea G, and +Matt Holland — respectively, Chance the Prince, Fyrefly the Unmarked, Bash the Bull, and Frank the Inhuman.

They were berated for what went down last week, with the whole building coming down and not calling in the Gentleman quickly enough — but the Gentleman also admitted that he sent them into a situation that was perhaps more dangerous than he had expected. All that said, things had returned to normal relatively quickly. In the city as a whole, the incident registered as barely a blip on anyone’s radar. No one really paid much attention to the strangely dressed teens who’d been on the scene, not when Sovereign was there — the media especially, in its crusade against Sovereign, didn’t pay enough attention to anyone else.

It was a bit later that the team was meeting up for their after school practice at the Gentleman’s Manor, and after some initial antics — Chance showing up in his limo driven by Chauncey and walking through some back alleys, Frank completing his homework in his head, Bash and Fyrefly sparring with Fyrefly taunting Bash to get the better of her — they began to realize how long they’d been waiting for the Gentleman to come downstairs. And the Gentleman, he was NEVER late. Not ever. So this…was weird.

Frank went upstairs to check around the Gentleman’s office, and didn’t find him. The Gentleman kept his files in pristine conditions, of course, so it was noteworthy that one particular file was open on his desk — a file regarding the Sevitri invasion a while back. The Sevitri were an alien race, coming to infect humanity, but they never even made it planetside. The Exemplars stopped them first. So they weren’t actually even that big of a deal on Earth. But the Gentleman had the file for them opened up on his desk…which was odd. Frank used his computer like brain to comb through the Internet and analyze it at incredible speeds, ultimately hacking into secure corporate networks. He tripped a few security warnings, so they knew someone had tapped in, but he was able to find out that a company, Haliwell Pharmaceuticals, was working on gene therapies based on the Sevitri infection mechanics. In particular, they seemed to be working up ways of creating metahuman abilities using the Sevitri medicines.

Frank came back down to his teammates with the information, and of course got ribbed a bit before they started to actually listen. Bash pored over the file and considered everything she remembered the Gentleman teaching her over her life, and figured out that the Gentleman had been in a hurry — he’d felt the need to act in haste, which was a bit out of the ordinary for him. Based on that, and the fact that Frank had found three locations for Haliwell, one of which was a warehouse much closer than the others, they figured that the Gentleman had gone to the closest location. (BECAUSE COMIC BOOKS!)

There was much hemming and hawing over how to get there — take Chance’s limo? Rooftops? Back alleys? The bus system? — before the team members sort of all broke up to get to the warehouse in their separate ways. (They are truly not quite a cohesive team yet, which is wonderful to watch.) Frank was the last to arrive, having taken the city’s bus transit system, and leading to one of my favorite exchanges of the game, as he showed up a bit late for his teammates’ tastes (perhaps embellished a bit in my memory):

Fyrefly: “Hey Frank. Glad you could show up. We’ve been waiting her a while.”
Frank: “Sorry, I gave the bus green lights the whole way, I thought that would make it faster.”
Fyrefly: “Did you forget that buses have multiple stops?”
Bash: “And indirect routes?”
Chance: “And they smell bad?”

But here they were! Ready and raring to go! Commence Operation Get-Into-Warehouse! So, Chance morphed himself to look like a security guard, and Frank even printed out a fake security pass (made out of Frank’s bone — he printed it out of the palm of his hand) for Chance to use. Chance tried it out, followed the plan perfectly, and, of course, it all fell apart when the guy at the gate took a closer look at Chance’s fake pass and found it to be made of a strange material. He then snapped it like a chicken bone, and looked even more confused.

Chance, thinking quickly, morphed back into himself, and told the gate guard that it was he, Chance, son of the Sovereign, here for superhero business, to save someone in the warehouse! The guard immediately started calling over friends and coworkers to see Chance, and gave Chance stuff to sign.

Meanwhile, with Chance distracting the guards and workers at the warehouse, Fyrefly vaulted the fence and tried to climb up in through a drain pipe. She nearly alerted everyone when a shitty piece of it fell, but she caught it, climbed back down, and then slipped in through the warehouse door that one of the warehouse workers had left open in his rush to see Chance. Once Fyrefly was inside, she started working her way through, looking for anything suspicious. She caught a few glimpses of someone who seemed to be watching her, too, but when she tried to catch a good look, she heard clomping boots coming toward her. She hid inside a container, and watched as heavily armed and armored soldier types came walking in, raising their guns, looking around. She called for a bit of help.

Chance continued to glad-hand the workers and guards while Bash picked up Frank and leapt onto the top of the warehouse. She misjudged the leap a bit, and had to come down on top of Frank so she wouldn’t slam the warehouse roof with her boots and create an enormous noise. Frank really appreciated being used as a cushion, of course. The two slipped into the warehouse from a roof access, and they noticed the same guards that Fyrefly was watching. Frank set out on a girder stretching over the entire warehouse, using bone claws grown out of his hands to climb a bit more easily. He stealthily crept to the other side of the warehouse, where the security room was, but accidentally severed a light hanging from the girder just as he dismounted. The guards were immediately alerted, but before they could aim and pour fire onto Frank, Bash flung herself across the warehouse and slammed into the soldiers. Only a moment later, Fyrefly came out of her hiding spot and began skillfully disarming and knocking down the corporate goons. Frank rushed into the security room and started hacking away, discovering that there were actually floors below the main warehouse. Chance, hearing the sounds of commotion in the warehouse, organized the workers and guards to keep them away for their own safety (and of course, continuing to popularize himself among them).

Frank came down to Firefly and Bash as they finished up 4 soldiers, and were confronted by 2 more — who were promptly knocked around by a brownish blur, the same brown that Fyrefly had spotted earlier. It stopped in front of them, then, and became the full form of the August, former leader of the Exemplars who had gone into seclusion after the team’s tragic death. He looked like shit.

The August began to question them and berate them for being there, causing a ruckus — he pointedly looked at a support girder that Bash had damaged with her soldier-fighting tactics — but they stood up to him, telling him that they were doing fine and they had every right to be here to find the Gentleman. Eventually, as Chance came in and joined them, he capitulated. The full group found a secret elevator in the back of the warehouse, and after dealing with the two soldiers who were in the elevator, they went down into the lower levels.

Sure enough, they found some facility. Due to time constraints, I sort of blitzed through this part. It was a clean, sterile facility, and shortly into it, they found a cell with an energy door, behind which sat the Gentleman. After they shut down the door and got him out, he was surprised to see the team of teens there — he had called for the August, not them. But while he did think they had acted perhaps recklessly, he was also impressed…and grateful. They fled before the clomping boots of more soldiers reached them, and left the Haliwell Pharmaceuticals warehouse behind them.

The August left the group, while the rest went back to the Manor, where the Gentleman received an explanation from the team for how they found him — and actually praised them, especially Bash, who was again acting as team leader. Sovereign came in, then, exclaiming that she was sorry that she hadn’t received his summons earlier, as she was busy dealing with an incident in space. She was surprised to hear that the young team, including her own son Chance, had been so helpful. The rest of the team had bonding moments in which they praised Bash as a good leader — and anti-bonding moments, in which they continued to treat Frank like a weird freak. (And Chance continued to insinuate that Fyrefly was little more than a human who shouldn’t really be there, while also trying to make her feel better by talking about how great of superheroes her parents were in the Exemplars.) The Gentleman needed to rest and think before he would explain to them what he’d been doing at the warehouse, and in the mean time, the team should celebrate — job well done.

Thoughts:
It went great! It was a lot of fun, especially with the banter — there were many moments throughout that really felt like they were straight out of comic books, where I could imagine the panels and the speech bubbles and the empty-panel-beats, and it was great.

I tried to do a better job of working in the Paragons this time, and I think I met with a decent amount of success, but I need to do a bit of thinking about how exactly they should appear — maybe a peripheral move where you can choose to go to the Paragons somehow would be a good way to make sure that you can involve the Paragon you’re most interested in.

I changed the way XPs worked at the start of the session, which was really interesting, I think, but perhaps unintuitive. Basically, I made it so that you get XPs for Labeling people according to how you see them — according to the Image you have written on your sheet for them — and you get XPs for acting on the Labels that people give you, as well as for when people act on the Label you gave them. But there’s still this feeling that people aren’t being Labeled that much, perhaps because it still feels like a weird move to trigger — I have to prompt it, and that always feels awkward. I have this dream that once the move is well-internalized, and clearly the path to getting XP, people will be Labeling left and right, but I’m not 100% sure.

I think I’m going to try another variation in the upcoming session that allows for a bit more nuance. As it’s stood right now, the Label move is triggered when you Label someone else. I’m thinking I’ll make it so that it is triggered when you Label someone else forcefully and intentionally — you’re really trying to Label them, not just saying something that happens to change their self-image — but also, the move is triggered when you feel that you are being Labeled. That way, it’s no longer purely on the Labeler to call it out. You would have the capacity to say, “I think I feel you’re Labeling me,” and then adjust stats/set the XP condition as appropriate. I think that could help to make Labeling crop up lots more.

There was also some funniness with “Do the impossible.” I’ve been having lots of conversations about this with great, excellent, helpful, smart people like +Michael Miller and +Rich Flynn, and with those conversations plus actually seeing it in play, I think it needs a wording change. I’m thinking of making it “Push yourself,” with the idea being that you’re trying harder than is normal for you.

I think I’m also going to make the move different in structure. It was originally just a straight clone of “Act Under Fire,” but now, I think I’m going to make it more explicit, and introduce a crazy new mechanic:

When you push yourself, say what you’re doing and how it’s difficult, and roll + Freak. On a 10+, choose 3. On a 7-9, choose 1.
- You maintain focus and precision, and don’t cause collateral effect or damage.
- You don’t draw attention and/or fire upon yourself.
- You don’t mark 1 Stress.
- You get a superb result, better than you would have expected.
- You mark 1 Potential.
Potential, then, will act as a separate advancement track, with results providing Potential also attached to Cut Loose and Protect Someone. Potential represents the potential of your own powers, specifically; it’s not about smarts or wisdom or tactics or training, but about you getting personally stronger. Mark 5 Potential, and you’ll get a power move. The plan, then, is to create a list of possible power moves focused not on the power, but on the action. So no “Super-Strength” move, but instead, a “Demolish” move, and an “Entrap Someone” move, and a “Transport” move, or something. That way, you can take these moves that are especially great at particular things, to show your powers growing stronger.

Could be that this whole system is wildly unnecessary, but it could be that it’s a cool add-on that adds to the flavor of you coming into your own and developing your abilities. Plus, I really like the idea of splitting it off from regular XPs — those represent you growing up and coming into your own as a person, not as a holder of powers.

Finally, I think I’m going to add Stress effects. As things stand, I’ve just been using Stress as a stand-in for any kind of Harm, because it can cover lots of things beyond straight up physical injuries. Also, I’ve pretty much kept it so that everything hits for 1 Stress, including Masks, and Masks themselves only have 3 Stress. Stress clears when you’ve had time to get your head back on straight, shake off the damage. But as things have stood, people have taken Stress, but it’s never really even come close to taking them out — which only happens when you need to mark Stress, but you can’t. I think that’s a combination of Stress only coming out in 1-point hits, and of it not coming out often enough. What’s more, since that’s the prime effect of Stress, then it hasn’t really mattered when you take 1 Stress.

Instead, now, I think I’m going to include a Stress move, so that when you take 1 Stress, you have to act in a specific way, immediately. You might have to back off, or vent your stress on someone helpless or friendly, or a couple other things. But this way, taking Stress will now itself lead to an interesting snowball of fiction, instead of just falling flat.

High hopes for how this is all going to work out in the future! Loving these playtests!

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Kamil's Diary 01
Mission 01

Dear Diary,
It’s like I’ve been trying to tell the Gentleman all along: this team thing is stupid. None of them know what they’re doing or the first thing about being a superhero (except maybe Fyrefly, but she definitely wasn’t any help.)

Let’s sum up. Not only did I have to fight to be team leader, even though I was the obvious choice, but once I became team leader, no one would listen to me! The mission the Gentleman gave us should have been simple: all we were supposed to do was deal with some local thugs with some low-end powers.

Frank messed it up, of course. For some reason, he walked right into one of the thugs. The guy had this really tacky rose tattoo — that’s how I recognized him. Anyway, the guy decided to pound Frank into the pavement to teach him a lesson, and I was just about to jump in to save him when Frank decided to grow this bone armor on his arms. And when the guy started backing up, he would have tripped over Frog…but I had had enough of their messing around.

Of course, that only made things worse. For some reason, Frog decided to pick the guy up and…I don’t know what he was trying to do. Of course, it backfired, and I had to jump in to save him. Frank tried to help, but he wound up stabbing me instead of Rose Guy. And then, when RG ran away to get his friends, the moron decided to make things worse by charging in after him!

Obviously, he needed to be rescued. Things got a little out of hand, though. Frank was practically DOA, and I used a little too much muscle when I jumped in to help. I almost took out the whole building. Well, I did take out the building…until the Sovereign showed up to help! It was so cool!

And then the Gentleman showed up and blamed me for the whole thing. How is it my fault Frank decided to go rogue? Yeah, I could have hit his stupid panic button earlier, but RG was no big deal… I sort of expected his friends to be push-overs too. And, yes, technically I was the one who knocked out the foundations. But none of that would have happened if that stupid idiot hadn’t screwed up so bad! But, no, it’s all my fault for some reason.

When everything blows up in our faces, all I’m going to say is I told him so.

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Mission 01
The Ganger with the Rose Tattoo

Quick refresher: we’ve got Frank Patten, the Inhuman, a nano-augmented cyborg who is dealing with the trauma of the incident that killed his parents by trying his hand at superheroing; Bash, the Bull, a girl who got her super strength and toughness when her country was utterly destroyed, and who’s been living with the Gentleman and training ever since; Psycho Frog, the Delinquent, a fame-hungry younger kid who uses his illusion and teleportation powers for all manner of antics, and is often as much trouble as he is help; and Chance, the Prince, child of Sovereign and shapeshifter extraordinaire, not with us because he was probably doing some major press function.

Our Paragons are: Sovereign, the premiere hero if the city and former horrible supervillain (that no one knows about); The August, former premiere hero of the city and leader of the Exemplars until his mistake cost his teammates their lives; The Gentleman, former B-level hero who gave it all up due to the trauma of failing and watching a country getting blown up, and who now takes it upon himself to teach the next generation; and Captain Ivy Libra, leader of a privatized anti-metahuman task force called the MeDICs, and true believer in the necessity for government oversight of metahumans.

First, we introduced our new Mask — Fyrefly, the Unmarked. Fyrefly, real name Mai McGowan, is a girl who’d been receiving athletic training for most of her life, which she realized might’ve been preparation for entering into the family business…once she found out about the family business. Turns out her parents were heroes in the Exemplars, the premiere super team that was massacred when the August, its leader, put another hero in charge of a mission that he thought was going to be routine nonsense. Instead, it involved the release of a Doomsday style creature, and the team was killed, including Fyrefly’s mom. Her dad wasn’t there for the incident, but he hasn’t been himself since, and has taken up vigilante style activities, while Fyrefly herself has been covertly putting on the mask and costume to go out and try her hand at the very thing that claimed her mother’s life. Fyrefly is sensible and realistic, aware of her limits, and thinks before she leaps. Which would be great if anybody else did.

The team of young heroes convened at the Manor, the Gentleman’s school in the abandoned police precinct building. Two of them, Psycho Frog and Bash, were already there, as those two don’t go to school. Frog was cleaning the floors with a mop, courtesy of the Gentleman’s punishment system, and Bash was glaring at him. Just as Fyrefly and Frank were getting there, Frog was using his powers to dump his bucket of dirty, soapy water over Bash’s head, and then teleport back into place, innocently mopping the floor (with an empty bucket). Bash shrieked at the water, and then threw her chair at Frog, who went sprawling. The Gentleman came in and yelled at the teens for being, well, teens, and reprimanded Frog with a full week’s worth of floor duty.

The Gentleman took the group to an old office in the building, and using a blackboard, told them all about a gang he’d been monitoring in the area, personally. He said they showed some small metahuman abilities, but nothing too significant, so the team should be able to take them down. He’d tracked a few burglaries and robberies back to them, and he knew where the gang was to be located. Frank tapped into the Internet and tried to track down any information himself, and found very little in the news; when he brought this up to the Gentleman, the older hero told Frank that the Internet would never match up to good old hard work, being out on the streets with your own two feet. Frank’s skepticism was audible.

The Gentleman gave the team an emergency ring, to be pressed if they encountered more resistance than expected, really at the first instant things started going wrong. He said that their leader should wear it, and left them to decide among themselves who that would be. There was a fair amount of back and forth — “I will not follow Frog.” “Awww.” “Well, I don’t want to be the leader, and I totally won’t follow Frog either.” “Awwww.” — until Bash took the ring. As they continued to debate what to do, Frog left on his own, pretty much requiring the rest to go after him.

As the four worked their way toward tenement building that the Gentleman had pointed them to, they continued to wonder what their plan should be. They hadn’t actually seen the gang do anything wrong, and didn’t have any evidence of any break-ins, so they felt weird about just going in and beating the crap out of the gang members — “That’s what supervillains do.” So they decided to try to stake the place out and find some evidence, first. Fyrefly climbed a fire escape to get up to the roof of a nearby building, where she found Frog already waiting and watching, bored out of his skull. Bash and Frank were moving in closer to the building’s entrance, while Frank was looking through the crime reports for the area, trying to find some useful pattern that could give him some insight into their activities. So entranced was he by his work, he didn’t notice when he walked straight into somebody coming out of the tenement building, and they went down in a heap.

After getting yelled at a bunch by the fellow he bumped into, Frank identified the man as one of the people from the photos of the gang that the Gentleman had shown them. The guy had a noticeable rose tattoo on his shoulder. He began to threaten Frank, seeing the younger man as an easy mark, and demanding whatever money Frank had on him. Frank’s response was to grow a knife made of bone out of his palm, and then, when that didn’t quite get the rose-man to totally back off, growing an entire massive suit of bone armor over himself (supplemented by still more illusory armor from Frog).

The rose-man started to back off, when Frog teleported behind him and set up a classic “You push him and he’ll trip over me” maneuver, one of Frog’s favorites. Of course, that was when Bash came out from around the corner, yelling, “What the hell are you guys doing?” The plural “guys” alerted the rose-man, and he spun and noticed Frog there, at which point he started to back away from all of them, saying he wanted no trouble. Frog then teleported behind rose-man, now in full Frog gear (so that his illusions made him look like a freaky multi-colored man-sized frog) and put his arm around the rose-man, only to have the rose-man grow thorns out of his fist and send that fist right at Frog’s face. Frog teleported rose-man 10 or 12 feet above the ground then, hoping to drop him onto the street below, but the thorny fist connected with Frog before he could let go, and the disconcerted Frog’s next teleport sent both of them skidding across the asphalt, Frog with cuts and tears on his face from the thorns.

Before the rose-man could lay into Frog again, Bash threw herself in the way, taking the blow for Frog. The rose-man’s thorns couldn’t pierce Bash’s skin, so he stepped off and grew an enormous thorn from his foot, preparing to kick Bash right in her side. Before he could do that, Frank charged forward, wielding twin bone knives just like he’d seen in the videos, just like the Gentleman had shown him in practice exercises. Frank then discovered that practice and real-life are pretty different when the rose-man dodged each slash of the knives, until he spun out of the way and Frank accidentally stabbed Bash with enough force to pierce her skin.

The rose-man took the confusion as an opportunity to run back into the building, screaming for his fellows. Fyrefly, up on the roof top, shook her head in disbelief at her teammates’ actions and seeming incompetence. Bash growled at Frank, and for a moment he backed off, dropping his knives, but then he resolved to prove himself competent and capable of fighting. Without further thought, Frank dashed after the rose-man, into the building. After they picked themselves up, Bash and Frog went in after Frank, while Fyrefly flipped over to the roof of the building and came in from the top.

Frank found himself chasing rose-man into the tenement building’s basement, and there found the rest of the people from the photos, gathered around a bunch of crates. One of them stepped forward at Frank’s appearance, and after informing Frank that he had made a bad mistake, he began to rub his hands together. Pressure waves built up around Frank, and even as Frank tried to overload their phones, the pressure built up until he couldn’t concentrate and his bone armor shattered, followed by the electronics and nanotechnology that kept him together getting ripped apart.

His teammates assembled at the top of the stairs, they moved into action to save Frank. Fyrefly tossed flashbangs down into the basement, while Frog took advantage of the gang’s surprise and confusion to teleport among them and use illusions to make it look like there were tons of him, while smacking them all around a bit. He left them afraid and confused, thinking they were under attack by a hoard. Bash then dropped down the stairs and slammed the ground, producing a shockwave to knock all the gang members off their feet. It worked! Except it also knocked down Frog, and sent cracks running up the sides of the basement, in the foundations of the building, making it all start creaking ominously. Fyrefly scrambled to drag Frank out of the basement, but not before she triggered pyrotechnics in her mask and gloves and put on a show, terrifying the gang into leaving. Of course, the fireworks were a little too hot, and she had to tear off her mask before it burned her, letting the pressure-wave-guy catch a glimpse of her face before he left the basement.

Bash leaped to the weakest corner of the basement. She triggered the emergency ring to call the Gentleman, and then she positioned herself to hold the building up. Despite the enormous strain, she was able to do it, preventing any major collapse while she was there. Fyrefly got Frank out of the building while Frog teleported all the crates out of the basement. And then, Sovereign showed up outside in a massive beam of golden light. She extended golden energy tendrils, wrapping them around the building and holding it up with the force of her will. Bash got out of there once the weight was off her shoulders, and the four young Masks watched in rapt wonder as Sovereign held the building up for as long as it took to get everyone out, only letting it slump to the side once everyone was safe.

Before the media members who were already there could notice the four oddly dressed teens on the edges of the crowd, the Gentleman appeared behind them, and insisted they all head back to the Manor. Reluctantly, the team agreed, and went home to lick their wounds.

Thoughts: IT WAS GREAT! I had a really good time! I feel like I’m solidifying in my head, at least, that these Masks games should open up with a big action sequence of some kind, some kind of super-level altercation. I’m not 100% sold on it, but I think it’s good to introduce the Masks in action, and to see them interact on the job. And any job will give them plenty of fodder to angst over shortly afterward, which is why it’s a good start. So I was pretty happy with how this one worked out.

There are definitely some moves that need some work — I think I’m going to tweak the move that lets you Label someone to make it about whether or not your new Label hurts them or helps them (and that’s a totally subjective judgment, so if you call me a Danger, I could like that, and then it “helps” me, even though objectively you might’ve just made me a bit scarier).

I also need to take a good hard look at one corner of the game — Radical. Radical, as a Label, is supposed to cover acting for a cause, trying to fix the world instead of just protect it. At its highest levels, Radical is Magneto’s Label. Its move is designed to let you call people to your cause, get them to help you out — a bit like a targeted manipulate move. Except no one is using it, partially because I don’t think the trigger occurs as naturally. I need to take a good look at it to see if it even makes sense to keep.

All that said, though, it was a good fun session, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from these teens! Especially when Chance shows back up and says, “Wow, you guys did so bad my mom had to bail you out? Jeez.”

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