Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Big Clock

Off to Gen Con today. Still not quite done with my d20 Modern AMONG US adaptation. Did finish up the Marvel SAGA game I am going to run, "Gold for Innocent Blood," which includes the following intros, for the comic-book readers out there:

Warren Worthington III, the hero known as Archangel, is donating a valuable painting to the San Jose Museum of Art, The Volga Barge Haulers by the Russian artist Ilya Repin. Many glitterati are attending the gala, including Bobby Drake, Warren's sidekick in everything from the X-Men to the New Defenders to the Champions; Natasha Romanova, known as the Black Widow; Laynia Petrovna, the hero known as Darkstar; and the god Hercules, always looking for a cup of ale and some fun.

Archangel is concerned, because he has heard of a rash of superhuman-fueled thefts of artwork across the country. But so far, everything at the party is going as planned.

But all is not well, because Ghost Rider, patrolling nearby, spots the villains Sidewinder, Princess Python, Avalanche, Blizzard, and Whirlwind closing in on the museum. He follows to see what their plans are.

The five villains burst in, shouting "Nobody move!" and "Hand over the pretty picture!" and other threatening announcements, along with the appropriately threatening gestures.

When the costumed villains make themselves known, the attendees scatter, leaving the heroes to do their work.


Hawkeye finally got permission to reopen the West Coast Avengers branch and put out another call to arms. He looks around the room and decides it's a start; Tigra has always been a strong member, but it's a little thinner off the bench with part-timer Living Lightning, Firebird, and his old time-lost pal Two-Gun Kid. Scarlet Witch is going to be one of the big guns, but is late to the meeting. Hawkeye still hopes she's coming.

Suddenly Wanda bursts in, looking upset. "It is my brother, Pietro," she cries. "I fear he is in trouble!"

The others listen attentively. They learn from Wanda that her brother, the hotheaded mutant speedster known as Quicksilver, has seemed more agitated than usual lately, and has been missing for stretches at a time. She covertly secreted a tracking device in Quicksilver's costume to see where he was going. She found he was criss-crossing the United States and sometimes the globe. But now the tracking device has sputtered, and gone out!

Hawkeye smells a first mission, and rallies the newly-reformed team to find the Scarlet Witch's missing brother. Wanda uses her hex power to enhance the tracking device's power, and the group sets out in hot pursuit.

The West Coasters find themselves in Venice Beach, closing in on a row of used book stores, tattoo parlors, and grungy coffee shops, with apartments above almost all of the storefronts.

When they burst into the right one, they find it is a big, open studio space with a skylight, largely bare, except for three figures looming over a third hanging from a rope swinging from a steel hook in the ceiling. Absorbing Man, his skin gleaming steel, and his love Titania, along with the Scorpion, have worked over a battered, bleeding, and unconscious Quicksilver.

Absorbing Man turns, grinning, his teeth flashing chrome. "He was a smart-mouth, but in the end I can always get them to talk. They all break to Crusher Creel. And with you guys, we don't even want to talk."

Later we learn that Quicksilver has been stealing artwork, and fesses up with the following:

"Perhaps you know that during World War Two, the Nazis looted artwork all across Europe. Many great pieces were stolen from Jewish families, and others. In the years since the art world has turned a blind eye to this travesty and rarely follow up on the lines of ownership for paintings being displayed all around the world. There are those that are working to restore these pieces to their rightful owners, through normal channels. But as you all well know I do not have a vast reservoir of patience. Thus I am taking these paintings myself and working to repatriate them to their owners. Obviously there are those who deal in the shadow world of art that do not want to see this happen. Unfortunately these cretins were able to extract from me the location where I have been storing these pieces until the can be returned. Whether you stand for me, or against me, you must go with me to Avalon, California, and guard these treasures from my foes!"

Lots more fightin' ensues, and ends with a moral dilemma; do the heroes let Quicksilver off scot free or not? Players get to vote, and I'll post the results here.

Until then, give me a shout at

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