Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Last Archived Adventure of the Elongated Man

Continued from here

The Animated JLU campaign has ended and, thus, so have my online adventures as Elongated Man. Completing my partial archive of saved posts, I present the following:

"I'm ready when you are, boys," the disguised Elongated Man said in his false-gruff voice. "Oh, and this 'ere is the buyer I was representin'," he said, pointing to the false-villainess Roulette. "You can pat me down for weapons if you want, but I think it would be a bit tactless if you tried that on 'er."

Sue was three blocks from the bar, holding her husband's communicator. She had ((let's say, for expediency)) asked Cindy if she would keep an open channel on her communicator so Sue could listen to what was going on. Sue un-muted the communicator to see if Cindy had remembered to do so and given Sue a chance to listen to her husband at work.

The two mugs seemed satisfied with patting down just the disguised Elongated Man. Luckily, they didn't pat the pocket that had Beast Boy in it too hard.

"So, think you can casually stroll us to your contacts now?" the disguised Elongated Man asked the two mugs.

Sue hugged the wall of the building she was standing by and pulled her jacket up around her tighter as the dark sky overhead began to drop rain on her. She sought out a nearby door frame to stand in and hoped that, hanging around so idly, she would not be mistaken for a woman of ill repute.

Elongated Man and "Roulette" were led to the weapon sellers (with Beast Boy and Gypsy in tow). Then...

Elongated Man had listened for clues as to where they were on the ride there -- not that he was worried about four superheroes being able to save themselves, but just for practice.

"The boss lady here don't wanna talk price until she sees the merchandise," the disguised Elongated Man said. "Show us the weapon and we'll talk about the money."

Sue let out a held breath as she heard noise coming from Cindy's communicator. She heard her husband's voice and was glad to know everyone was still okay.

The disguised Elongated Man and Black Canary were led to a large chamber. Lights turned on across the chamber as they entered it. A voice, electronically masked, crackled to life.

"You drive a hard bargain," the voice said, "but I've decided to be nice and let you see my little toy before we get down to business."

Elongated Man's jaw dropped (though only a normal amount). "I never thought the super-weapon would be...THAT," he said.

"Arr, two Routlettes?" the disguised Elongated Man asked with not-entirely pretend surprise. "Then that one must be an imposter!" he said, pointing to the one that had just entered the chamber, in the slim chance that anyone would be fooled by it.

Sue was listening with the communicator pressed to her ear, hoping that her husband's outlandish stratagem would not get anyone killed.

Elongated Man ducked and weaved about the room as he tried to evade Mr. Mohawk, stretching around concrete pillars that helped support the chamber's high ceiling. Provided he was not pummeled unconscious first, he would stretch himself taut and then let Mr. Mohawk charge into him -- then snap back like a rubber band stretched too far and send Mr. Mohawk flying into Mandragora's henchmen.

At least, that was the plan...

Seeing Beast Boy down, Elongated Man tried to draw fire from him. He stretched out his arms and tried to clothesline as many non-superpowered opponents as possible, particularly the armed guards by Mandragora who had been holding back until now.

As far as Elongated Man could tell, this guy charging him was just some fat guy in a suit like any number of hired muscles. Elongated Man swelled his fist to the size and shape of a big hammer and tried to knock Steve out with it.

"What's your deal?" Elongated Man asked Steve. "Couldn't decide on a costume to wear? Do you even have a supervillain name?"

"Hey, I could use a little help here!" Elongated Man said as his face was stretched out by punches. When punching back didn't seem to do much good, Elongated Man stretched himself thin and attempted to wrap himself tight around Steve's head, hoping that Steve would suffocate and pass out or, better yet, punch himself out trying to punch Elongated Man off.

"Whew..." Elongated Man said, taking a much-needed breather. Even his elastic skin was badly bruised, mainly from the beating he had taken earlier from the speedster with the mohawk. "Let's not go back and brag about this one. Aside from Roulette...I don't even know any of these guys! Do you know this fat guy?" he asked Black Canary about Steve.

After a short rest, Elongated Man took stock of their haul. "Gypsy, nice work catching the Riddler!" he said once he learned of this. "Wow, he must have gave you a lot of trouble. He's about the only big league name we've caught here. So, Riddler, want to save us some time and squeal on your partners so you can cut a better deal with the police? Why not tell us what you stole Luthor's super-weapon for?"

Elongated Man stretched a hand over to Beast Boy to help him up on his feet. "C'mon, BB!" Ralph shouted over encouragingly. "I thought you Doom Patrollers were made of tougher stuff!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Top Not-Ten D&D Monsters List

This blog post made me think it's high time I did my own list of top 10 D&D monsters. I've seen this sort of list and tried to put together a list before, but can't do it. There's just too many to choose from and not enough stand out for me. I usually get about this far:

Bugbears. My first favorite monster. Ever since the bugbear with the kabob skewer in Keep on the Borderlands I've thought, "Man, these guys are so sneaky!" Later, some revisionist history made kobolds the default sneaky race, but bugbears were really there first.

Kenku. I thought this race was cool from the minute I saw it in the Fiend Folio. It was years before I discovered this was from Asian folklore. I just saw spell-like abilities, the novelty of a mute race, and the incredibly cool hawk-headed illustration. But a lot of Fiend Folio monsters had that great artist going for them too.

Kuo-toa. The original underdogs of the Underdark. Stuck between trolls and the drow in the classic D series modules, these weird fish-men are just waiting to get their butts whooped by any PCs coming upon them.

Ogres. Ogres are usually the top dog of the low-level dungeon, but what I really like them for is their versatility. Ogres vary so widely in appearance that the only thing really uniting them is size and strength (and maybe low intelligence). And even size may vary, as verbeeg and formorian giants are really just much bigger ogres.

Dwarves. I'm going to cheat and count Player Character races, as they are also listed in the monster books. You can't read Tolkein and not love Gimli, Thorin, and the others.

Gnomes. Dwarves with magic, more like the original mythological dwarf, is how I play them. I play them as tough guys instead of comical types and, because their Alignment was variable in the Monster Manual instead of one set Alignment, I have made them more likely to be bad guys than dwarves, etc.

As anyone perusing this site has noticed, I don't get a lot of feedback here, but I'm going to invite my players to post comments and add what monsters stand out in their minds from the campaigns I've run in the past.

[Mar. 9, 2009 addenda]

Kobolds. Not really a favorite of mine, but I've always wanted to do something really different with kobolds and just never got around to it. I realized a long time ago that everyone was doing "Tucker's kobolds" and reverted to making them weak and ineffectually to be different, but what I've always wanted to do with them and haven't was make them insanely hi-tech. I have an idea for a high-level dungeon I've never written that is a trap-laden kobold lair, but the kobolds are wearing forcefield-augmented body armor. The little guy spraying the PCs with napalm may only have 4 hp, but you have to get through 100 hp of forcefield to hurt him.

Flinds/Gnolls. I guess I've always wanted to like gnolls, but what I really like are flinds, their cooler cousins from the Fiend Folio. I've only used flinds in small numbers as leaders of gnolls, which I guess I always felt was important for the flinds, that they have a built-in inferior race to push around.

H--- Hounds/Barghests. I did really enjoy using that one, over and over again, in the South Province campaign. Because it could track a single PC, it would always come upon him when he was alone and give him a horribly rough time. I hate the name of the monster, though. I used to call them fire dogs and left the name of the creature unsaid in the South Province campaign, but I later learned that these monsters are actually based on fairies called barghests, though the name barghest was stolen for something different in the old MMII. I had redone the stats for the barghest to reflect their original nature and posted them here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Silver Age Villains Statted for MSH Game

Previously, I had shared about my aborted Silver Age Marvel Super Heroes campaign here. I had, from memory, talked about a character concept I had for the Quickster, but a while ago I was going through some of my old notes and found that I had it backwards. The Quickster wouldn't have moved super-fast -- he made others move super-slow. I had five supervillains statted out for the Silver Age campaign, three of which I didn't even have scheduled for the campaign.

Cosmic Man
F Gd A Ex S Am E Mn R Ex I Gd P Gd H 133 K 34 Res Gd Pop -2
Body armor: Excellent
Hyper-running: Good
Flight: Excellent
Force bolts: Incredible

F Gd A Ty S Ty E Ex R Ty I Ty P Gd H 36 K 20 Res Pr Pop 0
Fire generation: Remarkable
Fire control: Typical

Killing Machine
F Gd A Ty S Ex E In R Gd I Ex P Fb H 65 K 25 Res Fb Pop -3
Body armor: Remarkable
.45 machine guns (in forearms): 60 dmg, Remarkable penetration (armor-piercing house rule)
Mini-rocket platforms (shoulder-mounted): 40 dmg, Excellent penetration (1/2-dmg on misses without cover)
Mini-flame thrower (finger-mounted): 20 dmg

F Gd A Gd S Ty E Gd R ty I Ex P Gd H 30 K 30 Res Gd Pop 0
Inertia-dampening field: Amazing. Subtracts 230 MPH to movement rates around him, divided between targets.

F Gd A Gd S Ty E Ex R Gd I Ex P Ex H 38 K 40 Res Gd Pop 0
Invisibility (psionic): Remarkable
Talents: Bows, Guns, Move silently.

Addenda from 2/25/2009:

I found two more sets of stats for the campaign. I don't think I wound up using these first guys. The "Peacelover" scenario was supposed to give the heroes the moral choice of fighting the protesters or fighting the Man. Had the chosen to stick it to the Man, they would have fought -

Elite Anti-Riot Squad Officers (EARSO)
F Gd A Ty S Gr* E Ex R Ty I Pr P Pr H 44 K 14
Body armor: Typical.
Flight: Poor speed jetpacks.
Pepper, soapwater sprays: Typical stunning-irritants.
Rubber bullets: Non-lethal Typical damage.

*Great was a rank I had inserted between Good and Excellent and represented 15 pts., or the ability to lift/press 600 lbs.

The most prominent supporting cast NPC superhero I planned on using was actually not a Marvel character at all. Since most Marvel heroes were based in New York, I decided a few DC heroes I really liked (at that time) would be based in the Midwest. I had just recently discovered scanned pages of old Johnny Quick adventures online and so he was my first pick.

Johnny Quick
Real Name: Justin Matthewson Occupation: Professional superhero Origin: Altered human Place of residence: Detroit, Mich. Age: 26 First appeared: 1964
F Gr A Rm S Gr E Ey** R Gr I Gd P Gd H 85 K 35.
Hyper-running: Astonishing land speed.***

**Extraordinary was an inserted rank between Excellent and Remarkable, equal to 25 pts.
***Astonishing was a rank between Amazing and Monstrous, equal to 60 pts., or 500 MPH.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Journey into College, Vol. 2, No. 9

[From the Aurora Borealis, Oct. 16, 1992. This was the start of the last and the largest storyline JoC ever had. Colors by Megan.]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Journey into College, Vol. 2, No. 8

[From the Oct. 2, 1992 Aurora Borealis; colors by Megan. At this point, in my last year at Aurora University, I feel I really peaked artistically and am proudest of this and the following strips. Also note that this is the first time they doubled my space on the page!]

Monday, February 9, 2009

Journey into College -- the Correct Order!

Vol. 1, No. 1
Vol. 1, No. 2
Vol. 1, No. 3 (missing -- still needs to be found and scanned!)
Vol. 2, No. 1
Vol. 2, No. 2
Vol. 2, No. 3
Vol. 2, No. 4
Vol. 2, No. 5
Vol. 2, No. 6
Vol. 2, No. 7

Journey into College, Vol. 2, No. 6

[From the Aurora Borealis, April 24, 1992. Colors by Megan. "Randall College" refers to Aurora University, which is at the south end of Randall Road. Although I'm not happy with the art anymore, I really like the comedic timing and the subject matter (which eventually became my career!) of this strip.]

Friday, February 6, 2009

Journey into College, Vol. 2, No. 2

[From the Aurora Borealis, Jan. 31, 1992. Colors by Megan!]

Monday, February 2, 2009

First AU Cartoon

[This was the first cartoon I did for the Aurora Borealis -- and they still let me do more! This one was dated Oct. 4, 1991. I can't wait to share my later "Journey into College" strips, where I'm much more proud of the artwork. Megan did the coloring again. She also cut off the caption from the bottom. It read, "Joe used to look like you when his department was in the school of Liberal Arts. Look at him now that his department is in the school of Business and Professional Studies."

[The "woman" really stands out now, moreso than I had intended her to. Megan informs me she looks like a man in drag. Yikes! She also thinks the black man resembles Barack Obama. That's me -- politically ahead of my time!]