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Hey everyone, I'm making the difficult decision to end my play by post career here on the boards. My energy levels and mental acuity haven't rebounded to where I need to be to communicate effectively as a GM or to keep up a post rate that encourages engagement. As a result, something that was long a source of joy has become a source of frustration and woe.

I appreciate you trying out this game with me. I think I really like the system. It is lightweight but still has some crunch, and characters seem to have interesting abilities that give players some narrative power. Sorry that I couldn't keep it coherent and thank you for sticking it out through all of the stalls and confusion.

I'll give everyone a couple of days to see this message, and then I'll set the campaign to inactive.

Hey everyone, I'm making the difficult decision to end my play by post career here on the boards. My energy levels and mental acuity haven't rebounded to where I need to be to communicate effectively as a GM or to keep up a post rate that encourages engagement. As a result, something that was long a source of joy has become a source of frustration and woe.

I appreciate your time and energy, and I'm sorry that I haven't been able to make this the awesome spacey campaign I had hoped it would be.

I'll give everyone a couple of days to see this message, and then I'll set the campaign to inactive.

I'll put together a more detailed map of the airfield for exploration, but feel free to head to any of the places mentioned above.

The tablet just has a normal USB-C charger/data port. Sandra has a laptop, tablet, plug in charger, car charger, small solar charger.

Sandra pulls her phone from her back pocket and looks at it. "Only 2 bars out here in the sticks, let's see." She pulls up her go to for checking connectivity, GNN (Global News Network). "Looks like we have signal. HOLY S$^T! J-A, look at this."

Breaking News: Movie Star Involved in Shocking Crime

GNN News

In a stunning turn of events, renowned movie star Just Angelyna, known for her captivating performances on the silver screen, has become the center of a major investigation. Angelyna is alleged to be involved in a domestic terrorism incident that targeted a high-profile medical research lab.

A group of unidentified individuals, allegedly including Just Angelyna, reportedly invaded the Category 5 research facility, stole unspecified materials, and led authorities on a high speed chase that included a chaotic and deadly confrontation with local law enforcement. Preliminary reports suggest that the assailants made off with valuable assets and proprietary genetic research data.

Tragically, a local sheriff and deputy were killed during a violent confrontation. Authorities have not released the names of the deceased officers pending notification of their families. The incident has sent shockwaves through the small rural community, leaving residents grappling with the aftermath of the violent encounter.

Alongside Angelyna, authorities have identified Terrence Garrett, a member of the janitorial and maintenance staff at the facility. These other unidentified individuals are considered persons of interest. Authorities are working tirelessly to ascertain the identities of these accomplices and apprehend them swiftly.

The motive behind the alleged actions remains unclear. Investigators are exploring all possible angles, including whether the theft is connected to an underground criminal organization, corporate espionage, or other nefarious activities.

The news of Angelyna's involvement has sparked widespread public outcry. Fans and colleagues alike express disbelief at the notion that the beloved movie star could be linked to such a shocking crime. Social media platforms are flooded with discussions and speculations about the true motives behind the crimes.

As the investigation unfolds, authorities are urging anyone with information related to the incident to come forward. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry and fans await further developments in what is shaping up to be one of the most sensational scandals in recent memory.

Sorry, you have told me that before. It is the best example I can think of of an action movie where the protagonist seems to actually start at 1st level and then level up.

I mean, maybe Karate Kid or something, but that's a different kind of movie.

I'll try to use different examples.

Auroch Will: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25Wow. He just will not fail that.

I think it was Rex who had the tablet. I'd be ok with someone having it (Ernie probably makes the most sense).

Just Angelyna, I like impersonator because it would make it easier for you to slip in and out of recognizability. Makes me think of when Hanibal is disguised as the Godzilla knockoff in the A-Team. Also gives you some social infiltration abilities.

Fast hands and free running feel on brand for what we have seen so far.

I've made some mistakes in tone that are throwing things off, and maybe we can chalk that up to Early Installment Weirdness.

I do have a plan here, at least, the bad guys have a plan. I have a situation set up to try to push the PCs into being fugitives. I'm improvising some things, but the overall "what's going on" is solid.

Some of the things you have suggested are baked in to what is coming.

As for Garrett, he was me riffing on three movie protagonists who rescue apes from research lab situations. He was just a janitor who got in over his head. I'll own him not coming off as sympathetic, another misstep.

Using The Terminator as a template, the scene on the road was the scene in the night club. The scene at the film location was the scene in the police station where you think you are safe but the threat shows up. This is the motel scene where Sarah learns some things about being a badass (that's the level up).

For the moment, you are safe, have a chance to regroup, gather information.

Also, I think someone had a broken tablet from the MiB? That could have some info on it.

Should be Rock and Rigel's turn. Roy, you can retcon your action if you like since Tess destroyed that robot before you could attack it.

Typically I post defenses for adversaries so that you can roll saves and know what is going on. I'll work on that going forward.

You have regeneration 10, so you recover 1 per round even without rest.

When you fail by two degrees and are Dazed, that Dazed specifically lasts just until the end of your next turn.

To remove Staggered (or Incapacitated, which is worse), and the penalties to saves vs damage, you have to rest for a minute for each thing.

Living targets remove one damage condition per minute of rest, starting from their worst condition and working back. So a damaged character recovers from being incapacitated, then staggered, dazed, and finally removes a –1 Toughness check penalty per minute until fully recovered.

So you would need a minute to recover from Staggered, then a minute per -1 to checks.

Roy, the attack doesn't matter at this point, but you could spend a Hero Point to reroll the Toughness save. When you do that, you get at least an 11. If you roll a 3, for example, it becomes a 13. So you wouldn't be in such trouble. Totally up to you, of course.

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Nempura is being very generous, but clearly needs to step away. Words like drastically and dread don't make me want to go on there.

Let's all ride off into the sunset. I appreciate all of you going on this quirky version of the beginning of the adventure path with me.

I don't have any other plans at the moment for campaigns here on the boards, but I'd be happy to have any of you along for a future adventure.

Robot save vs being slammed into the ceiling: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (9) + 14 = 23

DC for that is 25, so the robot fails. Because it is a Minion, it suffers whatever the worst case is for it. In this case, failing a toughness save at the worst degree of failure means it is destroyed.

"I never thought I'd be using them. Just call me Sandra Solo."

There is one tense moment when she stops for a nerve wracking amount of time and you hear voices muffled by your enclosure. And then, after far too much bumping and jostling (you are now acquainted in ways you have been with likely not too many people) the truck bumps to a stop.

The chunk of pickup bed lifts away and cooler air rushes in. The sky is streaked with a fiery sunset as you climb out.

You see an ancient, well, not really ancient, but very old, World War 2 era air base. The hangars, administrative buildings, and protective bunkers are all buried, appearing like vegetation dotted hills. There are a few remaining buildings that were once half cylinders of corrugated iron. Those are holed and near collapse. The tarmac is broken and scattered with vegetation.

There is a modern water truck and a modern on location kitchen trailer.

"Here we go, Shaw Airfield, what now?"

I'll add some photo references to the slides.

This might be a smidge early, but I'm going to go ahead:

We will level to 2nd during this little rest/retreat/regroup.

I have no idea what it even means for leveling. I did back in October, I think. I'm going to look through your classes/archetypes on Monday and check it out.

What I'm hoping for is that this spot in the narrative drives some fun and useful character choices.

Could also be useful to discuss directions so that we can work together well.

A couple of notes about power descriptors and rules things that I want to make sure everyone is picking up on.

I have thoughts about power interactions between the Black Star Shadow Bands and our light based heroes, but I don't want to ruin anyone's fun and tell you what to do, so I'll keep them to myself unless you ask. I know we have varying levels of comfort with the system.

And on that note, for Roy, I'll note that in melee with a robot is exactly what we built the Force sword for. If you use it, you have to hit their Parry (so basically AC 16), but they roll their Parry to resist the damage instead of Toughness. Parry is +6, Toughness is +14.

Auroch bellows and raises his dark bladed axe, "Let me put out your light before our Shadows but out all of the light in the galaxy!"

Axe Attack: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21 Hits. Damage 13, so Toughness save DC 28!

I changed the border colors of the robot walker tokens so we can tell them apart.

The walker engaged with Tess and Roy switches from blasters to robotic claws, snapping at Roy...

Robot claw attack: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24

That hits with a damage effect of 12, for a Toughness DC 27.

Another robot walker moves behind Rigel, spraying his shields with blaster fire.

Blaster attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11 Miss

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Rigel's blue blast connects with the shadow shield projected by Auroch's bands, rattling the bull headed creature.

He rolled a 17 vs a Toughness DC of 25, failing by 8, which is 2 degrees of failure. He is now dazed (free and 1 standard action only) and has an additional -1 penalty to saves vs damage, for a total of -2.

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Blue Lantern Ring:"Scanning... The Bands appear to provide a suitable atmosphere to support the organism within the force field that they project."

Auroch Toughness save: 1d20 + 15 - 1 ⇒ (3) + 15 - 1 = 17

No worries at all. I hope my tone didn't come off as cranky. I am trying to overexplain everything rules related, and sometimes that sounds like too much.

It's a Team check? Maybe that isn't the right term. Everyone rolls and half of you have to succeed.

Which you did!

She moves to the bed of the pickup. "Give me a hand here. We need to pull this liner up."

If you do, the black plastic bed liner lifts out. The metal of the bed has a strange seem, which also lifts out, revealing a hidden compartment that stretches part of the way under the bed and partly under the cab.

"It isn't going to be comfortable, but it is pretty hard to find. I bought it at a police auction. Has a hell of an engine..."

I think if we only have one and a half votes to continue we should probably shut it down. This is a good enough ending and better than having things fall apart.

I don't think I need to intervene in the RP right now, but I do have some business to add.

Higgins, I don't know if you still plan to ride into the sunset, but this would be a good time. Love to have you around.

Everyone, we will level up to 4th. Also, you will each get 1000 gp.

"The air field? Why would you want to...? Oh, are they looking for you? The advance team is all finished up there, but it is buttoned up. I could take you over there in my truck."[b]

She leans in closer, [b]"It isn't exactly an ordinary truck. We just have to get over there."

That would be another Team check. Could be stealth, could be Deception, or maybe something else.

Tess's attack also misses the walker.

Everyone: I added a link at the top of the page in the short campaign description. It will take you to a matrix where you can line up the damage DC of an attack with your roll vs damage (usually Toughness).

Roy: You rolled a 17 with a DC of 25, so you failed by two degrees (fail by 5 is one degree). That means you have a -1 to future saves vs damage. You are also Dazed for 1 round, which means you are limited to free actions 1 standard (or move) action. You could use a Hero Point to reroll your Toughness save. You don't really need to, probably.

Roy, your rolled 3 attack rolls but your flavor tells me you are only attacking one robot. If you are multiattacking 1 target, you only roll once. If you are attacking multiple targets, you would roll for each and take a -1 penalty for each target. I'm going to interpret that you are attacking just the one, and therefore just use the first roll. You could also reroll that with a Hero Point.

A woman with short blue hair, fawn colored skin, and grey-blue eyes moves closer, holding out a hand..."I'm the location manager. What does that have to do with anything? I don't know anything about this FBI s!%+..."

"I'm afraid you misunderstand. I meant that I would keep an eye on this fellow while you lot get some dinner and some rest. Then we will meet in the morning. Gods know that as soon as word gets to the Peacocks one of them will be here crowing about the arrest, and I'd need to be here to deal with that anyway."

Tess, that is a cool idea. In this case, the robot is a character (a minion, but still). It has a mind, of sorts, it isn't just a system. So I'm going to rule that you would need to do more than just punch some buttons. I'm all for you stunting one of your powers for a Mind Control: Limited to machines. But just rolling computers isn't going to be enough.

Auroch Will: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23

Auroch's mind remains unreachable to Rock...

I just want to check and make sure. I think that no one has any sort of technology sense/awareness, but if I'm wrong remind me.

My question is: if we either yada yada this situation and move on to the future, or if you successfully hide and the MiB leave, would your characters have a reason to stay together from here?

I was imagining you needing a scene or two where you have a come together sort of moment, realizing you are in this together for the long haul.

The sheriff turns to all of you. "If we are going to have a prisoner, someone will have to stay here for the night. And as you all look to be tired and dirty, how about get you some dinner and reconvene in the morning for a report."

Baths and food can be obtained at the Creekside Inn and Tavern. Food of high quality can be found at the Rampant Reefclaw. Food can also be found at Kelstrop Meats. Baths can also be had at the Henrick's, a barber shop run by a gnome barber, dentist, and general healer.

I tried to explain everything, but if you have any questions of course ask. That is part of why we are here.

Round 2

Heroes are up.

Auroch atack: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14 Rigel has a parry of 6, so that attack is parried.

Auroch's black energy bladed axe slams into...whatever flavor of defense Rigel wants to write.

The robotic walker swivels a blaster toward you, blasting bolts walking across the space to attempt to hit all three of you.

Walker Blaster vs Roy: 1d20 + 10 - 3 ⇒ (18) + 10 - 3 = 25

Walker Blaster vs Rigel: 1d20 + 10 - 3 ⇒ (17) + 10 - 3 = 24

Walker Blaster vs Hologram: 1d20 + 10 - 3 ⇒ (5) + 10 - 3 = 12 These are plasma bolts, so they wouldn't hit your insubstantial anyway.

Hits to Roy and Rigel. DC 25 Toughness save for each of you.

"I fear nothing. Your puny ring is meaningless compared to my Shadow Bands. I'll enjoy bringing your glowing head to Black Star."

At that, the bull man flies forward, his axe arcing toward the Blue Lantern.

Roy fires, bolts from his blaster pistol stitching across the villain's torso, a dark energy field absorbs the damage.

Auroch Toughness DC 30: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (13) + 15 = 28 Fails by 1 degree, so -1 to future saves vs damage.

Explanation: Roy's blaster is a balanced +10 to hit and 10 damage. This attack has multi-attack. Auroch has Impervious Toughness 10, so he can't be affected at all by attacks witih damage 5 or less. That doesn't apply here. Auroch has Dodge 8 (equivalent to an AC of 18). So Roy's attack succeeds, then succeeds by two more ranks. 5 for each rank. That means the multi-attack raises the damage DC by 5. So the damage DC is 15+10+5. He failed by 1 degree, so he suffers a -1 to future saves vs damage.

Auroch's attacks and defenses are based on his Shadow Bands. This is something Rigel could try to counter with his light based effects. I'm not sure if Rigel is experienced enough to know that sort of thing, but I thought it was worth pointing it out.

Need to post Auroch's attack.

Also, if we do want to recruit a 4th, I've found in the past that sometimes it is best to bring in an already known player. So if you have anyone to recommend, feel free to throw that out here.

Everything above said, I am ready to be extraordinarily open to ideas that move things along. I have so many ideas for this campaign. This is really just the pilot episode. A little early installment weirdness to get us going is fine with me.

Let me know if you think we should recruit a 4th as well.

I'm guessing we don't want to play out a conversation with the Sheriff note for not, but if I'm wrong please let me know. The interaction with your prisoner we can play out.

Word of your approach spreads through the town faster than you are moving, and by the time you make your way to the jail the Sheriff is on the porch awaiting you. You hitch your mounts to a rail, pull their bits so they can drink at the rain filled trough.

Sheriff Freson puffs on a fat cigar, adding to the cacophony of scents and the general miasma. "Welcome back, looks like you have been through it. Bring this fellow in and I'll have some food sent over from Creekside while you tell me what you've been up to."

Your prisoner balks, "Sheriff, as I'm sure you know, I'm a well known and upstanding member of the community. If you seek to imprison me, I'm sure that you will regret it."

Freson replies, "With the current atmospheric conditions, I'm not entirely sure if the sun has set or not, but it is too late to be conducting legal business, so if my deputies say you should spend the night in a cell, that is where you will spend the night. I'll get you some dinner if you don't complain too much, and if you do, I'll give you a lousy blanket and a firm beating to encourage you to go to sleep..."

Yes. It is gone.

Auroch Will: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25

Rock finds the villain's mind impenetrable for now...

Attacking with the Blaster at based would be 1d20+10. You can shift that with your accurate attack, all out attack, power attack, defensive attack.

You don't roll the damage, it is just damage 10, which means that if you hit they would make a Toughness save vs DC 25 (Toughness save is DC 15+damage rank).

Since that attack has Multiattack, if your attack roll succeeds by 5 or more, their Toughness save would have a higher DC.

This makes me realize I haven't discussed some basic business.

For initiative, I will roll, and we will use what I think is usually called cloud initiative so as not to have to post in exact order. Since you all rolled above me, you can go whenever.

For maps, in Mutants and Masterminds, I don't worry too much about being exact. Character movements and sizes can be so large or small as to make Pathfinder size maps useless. Roy's movement is 2 miles as a move action.

For particulars:
Robots and Auroch are medium size. Auroch is 8 feet tall. He has a rank of growth but isn't large enough to be large.

He and that robot are right at the door.

True. My original plan was to have the deputy steer you back into town and have a chance to gather some resources. I should have adapted some of those ideas to populate the set, but that only just occurred to me.

Some thoughts about you options for leaving:

The RV branding/styling is probably a vinyl wrap, right? So that could be removed and you pull a bugs bunny on the MiB.

There is a ring of hills, but it isn't impenetrable. And there are small and large vehicles capable of driving off road. And there is plenty of portable food and bottled water in craft services. The desert is pretty hard packed and flat in lots of places. Pretty driveable.

There are several civilian cars and production related vehicles. I'm also not opposed to having a PA show up with Angelyna's car, but it is pretty easy to spot.

For reference it is the Black Rock Desert in Northwest Nevada. Burning Man is there.

There were four SUVs. 8 agents total.

As for making a stand here, at your current strength and with the fact your characters aren't particularly combat focused, that seems like a terrible idea to me. They seem to have all of the advantages.

I'm thinking lately that with all of the personal challenges I've run into, I kind of wish I had started us off as an already formed team with a backstory. I like the idea of running the origin story, but it is not as straight forward as just giving you a "problem of the week." Sort of situation.

Personally, I feel like your characters might be feeling very exposed and vulnerable, and Ernie might be the most well suited to getting them holed up somewhere. But maybe they don't really know how much trouble they are in.

It is hard to balance the PCs acting like normal people and acting like action heroes. My thinking was that you would be mostly in flight mode based on what I've observed so far.

In short: Ernie is already inclined to avoid authority.
Rosa is out of her depth.
Angelyna doesn't totally understand what is going on, but it doesn't fit into her schema.

Roy, Rigel, Tess in the hangar.

Tess Initiative: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (18) + 0 = 18
Roy Initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Rigel Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
Rock Initiative: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Auroch Initiative: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 1 = 11

Auroch: "The Council is NOTHING! Their power will mean nothing once we have darkened their sun. And then, we will darken the entire galaxy! The Blackguard will Reign in Darkness."

Insight DC 19:
This seems to be a lie, and while this Auroch fellow is a known villain and part of a villainous organization, this is all a little over the top.

You all won initiative, so go in any order.

The trip back to town passes without incident. The ferry takes you across and you arrive back in town as twilight takes over the sky. The smell of town strikes you, woodsmoke and manure after the freshness and damp pine and cedar smells of the forest and river land.

Dr. Solomane, the dwarf you rescued, breathes deeply and tugs at his beard. He takes in the town and then all of you. "Thank you, thank you. I would never have seen this place again, certain, without your intervention. Should you ever need a tonic or curative, know that Dr. Solomane owes you a debt. I believe I shall make my way to the Rampant Reefclaw and attempt to open a line of credit."

I suspect you will take your captive to the jail, but I don't want to make any assumptions.

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Reminder that there is a map and some reference images in the slides link at the top of the page. I just added some tokens.

The door from the hangar into the factory slides open, revealing an industrial tripod robot walker. Floating above and behind it is a minotaur-like alien warrior clutching an axe made from pure darkness.

This is Auroch, a high ranking leader within the Blackguard.

The Blackguard are pretty much a Sinestro Corps expy. They are led by a villain known as Blackstar, and wear Shadow Bands that give them powers similar to a Lantern.

The bull man bellows and says, "Well, what have we here. A couple of troublemakers. This is a private installation. We don't take visitors..."

You certainly could have. I was just trying to push forward to some action.

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