If you are intended to leap out of a vehicle before it hits the concreted dam or before it hits the machinery, then you should make both an Acrobatics check and a Piloting check. If you aren't intending to leap out, then you only need to make a Piloting check. Crashing the car into the concrete creates more permanent damage to the structure, but failing to successfully leap out is going to be more painful. Hitting the mechanism is less dangerous to you should you fail to leap out successfully. You could probably even survive a direct crash.
Von Junzt, Zellgato, and Gristlethorn make it out of the compound and into the camp. There are people milling about everywhere but none of them know you're at the center of all this.
Around the outside of the compound you can see some white service vehicles that the Gaians use. Stealing one would require an Engineering check to disable the lock. Doing so without being seen would require some kind of Bluff or Stealth.
Gristlethorn and Zellgato:
Gristlethorn isn't finding any telepathic presence of Genius Meadows. You're among the crowd now that is gathered around the compound. Shooting a few flares up attracted attention. Are you following Von Junzt? If he makes a Stealth check, you'll need to make Perception to follow him.
Brother Andrew and three guards with electric cattle prods come barging through the crowd. Brother Andrew's face has a large bandage holding the flap of skin closed that had revealed the scales previously.
Brother Andrew's cattle prod of Gaia: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 231d8 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
A crowd is forming around IX.
"Don't make us kill you," spits Brother Andrew.
Things are looking chaotic in the Control Room. The soldiers in the room are surprised to find Mr. Portly gone and superheroes appearing in their place. The girl with the greasy hair walks past the soldiers unnoticed and shuts off the gas-throwing devices L.C. Preston thought were flamethrowers. All the work Mr. Portly went to manufacture synthetic Kryptonite was wasted.
On the Flight Deck, Mr. Portly realizing you don't have the super-baby and that you seem peeved with him, looks at Charles, Theo, and Verve, and says, "Well, f@&+."
The teleporting boy pops out and back in again, this time transporting Joe Wesker, supernatural detective, who immediately blows some powder at the soldiers in the control room.
In regards to how the guy acted being trusted, he seemed super thrilled to be holding your hand. Flex Luthor says, "Some guy named Greer punched that Portly guy. That's what our spy said. We've had a spy in their control booth all day. Easily Ignorable Girl. You might have noticed her but probably not. She said Greer punched Portly before Portly had them all arrested."
A man in a trenchcoat and a bowler hat takes the comic from Flex Luthor and hands it to Nissa. "We all woke up this morning thinking about this story. I remembered reading it when I was young and have no idea why I did not recognize my friend before today. I am here for answers."
Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:
With a pop, Nissa finds herself outside in an alley behind Boston Theoretical surrounded by several superheroes including Flex Luthor. He holds up a comic and says, "We got your message." The comic book appears to be a very, very old Superman comic. The cover has 'The Actual Origin Story Never Before Told!!' in very large letters. On the cover you can see Nissa, Verve, a dragon that looks a bit like Charles but is much smaller, and Theo are playing chicken with a chariot/car while being chased by savage road warriors from World 12.
Nissa disappears suddenly after taking the hand of the young man in the t-shirt. The man in the t-shirt reappears on the Flight Deck, this time with a superhero (only?) Verve recognizes.
Which of the heroes Verve knows would be most likely to come if some mysterious message in a comic suggested she was in trouble?
Mr. Portly is a bit non-plussed to be standing on the Flight Deck surrounded by the people he meant to threaten.
Great. Everybody drank their potions.
Mr. Portly grins as he speaks through the comm system to the Flight Deck, "Welcome back, Heroes. Please place the super-infant in the basket by the door. You will notice that I have installed security devices to disperse Kryptonite gas into the chamber, if ... Umm, where is the super baby?"
Well Mr. Portly is figuring this out, the girl in the 'Trust Us' t-shirt presses a button on her phone. No one seems to be paying any attention to her. In a flash, you see a young man appear in the room. He's also wearing a 'trust us' t-shirt. He puts his hand on Portly and disappears. They both reappear in front of you on the Flight Deck. The young man reaches out his hands to any of you willing to grab on. Mr. Portly stands before you surrounded by Kryptonite gas throwers that, according to the comics at least, should be harmful to humans.
The Marshall has the same polite expression she has had on her face since you got here. Istari doesn't speak English. Silinammus is done with the Celestial talk for today. Enyo and Adon are waving to the very tiny space they think Nissa is occupying; they are wrong.
Verve uses her telekinetic pulse to fire the projectile through the 'head cannon' into not-Valerie.
Nissa enters the blue light deep within the android head and finds herself surrounded with light. With perfect timing, she releases the payload. A burst of crystals drops from the Bombshell and explode; the tiny fragments rocket towards one particular dot of light in the swimming sea.
The clarity from the drink helps apparently. As Nissa soars across the expanse, she recognizes more of it than she should. She has a sense of where World 7 and World 3 are at least, but she's moving away from them. The drink of three cups made her head swim.
Nissa follows the trail of crystals to the single dot of light that is her target, and when she reaches it ...
The sphere of light that bursts from Not-Valerie's head seems more precise and controlled than before. It also doesn't take chunks of the environment with it, just your stuff. In a split second you find yourself on the Flight Deck of Boston Theoretical.
The screen displaying the control room is on; in the control room, you can see several soldiers, Mr. Portly with a lollipop and a black eye, techie Ron, and a teenage girl holding a comic book and wearing a t-shirt that says "trust us". You do not see Dr. Moore, Colonel Greer, or L.C. Preston.
The second you arrive, wall hatches around the flight deck flop open and what appear to be the nozzles of flamethrowers poke out. They hiss immediately and a bit of green mist begins to seep from the nozzle.
Adon tells Theo his name is Adonysius. He seems awkward about the idea of Theo talking to his dad, but he doesn't say no to the idea.
The head is online and Nissa is shrunk down; as soon as Verve launches the ship, a flash of light should take you all to another dimension.
Gilladhand begins to speak, "Friends. Today, we have all been blessed by the Celestials who, in their wisdom, have brought to us these noble travelers ..."
Verve, up to you whether you let him finish preaching before you launch the ship.
Everybody grab IX:
Initiate 3 is now in pain and takes a moment to pull himself together.
The initiate whose nose IX busted seems fairly focused. He also is no longer hesitant to hurt IX. He grabs up a piece of wood and swings while the other two Gaians try again to restrain you.
Gaian Initiate 1:: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
None of them are successful.
There's a larger circle forming in the dark around the combatants.
Damaging the concrete of the dam and releasing water is highly unlikely. Damaging some of the mechanism enough so that it requires repair before the generator can work is more possible. You'll do as much or more damage to the vehicle though, so you'd only have one shot.
Gristlethorn, Zellgato, and Von Junzt:
Von Junzt is still addressing the two guards, sending even more Gaians to restrain IX, when Gristlethorn and Zellgato come charging through. Gristlethorn tries to knock the guards out of the way, but he just jostles them instead. The guards try to grab the escapees.
Guard AoO on Gristlethorn: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
The guard grabbing at Zellgato touches him but does not get a grip.
Zellgato and Gristlethorn's comms buzz. See above message from Archeron.
People inside are shouting to the guards at the gate to grab the three of you.
The other TAROTs step back, but the roof is wide and there is lots of room. It's much larger than the 'flight deck' back home and the surface is coated with a similar material to one of the devices Moore got L.C. Preston to make for your first trip.
The Greeks are emotional in their farewells. The elves nod their goodbyes silently. The Marshall says that she is confident she will see you again.
The Marshall and varied TAROT crews seem fascinated and horrified by the android head. They have yet to see anyone or anything like this in the Tarotverse.
When Nissa slips down inside, she's able to see the inner workings of the head. Without being an engineer, she can't be sure what all the integrated components do, but she recognizes the problem when she sees it. Something came loose at the point where L.C. Preston integrated ordinary electronics to the alien biomechanical synthetics. They were not made to attach together and she did so using the tiniest of sutures. You don't need an Engineering check to fit it back together. You can tuck it back in and make a quick loop with the suture to secure it but it will probably only last this trip.
Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:
TAROT stored your things for you in a room near the roof. The roof is where they suggest you can open a gate fairly safely. It's high up and there isn't much to damage and it is made for this.
As for checking whether the head works, I was going to suggest an Engineering check, but on one has Engineering. Nissa could get small enough to fly around inside and see if anything looks amiss with a Perception check.
Before you head up to the roof, the Marshall unrolls a scroll with an ink drawing of a Celestial. The man wears long robes and has an infinity symbol above his head. On a table in front of him is a cup, a sword, a wooden staff, and a large coin. "If you are ever lost in the shuffle and need an ally, meditate on The Magician. If he cannot point you in the right direction, perhaps he will bring you back to World 1 where we can. This dimension seems attuned to him, for magic exists more widely here than anywhere else in the Tarotverse."
** spoiler omitted **
Everybody grab IX:
IX breaks partially free for a minute. He's still wearing restraints, but he breaks the nose of one of them. The pain seems clarifying. He screams in anger and fear and perhaps at the realization he's been holding down at seeing that his religious leader has hidden scales. The others are still somewhat sedated by this.
You've moved from 'pinned' (-4 to rolls) to 'grappled' (-2 to rolls). These guys are a bit dopey from the extra heavy duty the little worm inside them is doing trying to calm their fears. They're going to have a hard chance holding onto you, but there are lots of people with guns around.
Gaian Initiate 1: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Gaian initiate 4, "You brogge bai nose! You brogge bai pucking nose!"
One of them manages to lay hands on you, but they only have a loose grip. Still -2 for dealing with the restraints, not -4 for a 'pinned' condition.
Enyo and Silinammus both step forth. Enyo pours some wine into her drinking cup and whispers something in Greek before pouring the wine into Silinammus's chalice. Silinammus then offers the wine to Nissa.
"We don't often get to do this," Silinammus says. "You will find it a more effective draught. As for a location, the roof is coated with black omnisium. It will not be pulled into the breech no matter how poor you are at controlling it."
It probably only sounds a little insulting because she's speaking her fifth language.
"But," asks the Marshall, "If you don't have a wand how are you going to open a gate?"
Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:
Is this a hand mirror that fits in a little purse, or a big rectangular mirror? (I’m picturing something big because of the box.)
The mirrors are a little larger than a hand mirror.
The box was so that the creators of the mirror set can't listen in. These mirrors connect to each other, but everyone seems to suspect that World 2 will be spying on any communication through them.
Charles Wilde wrote:
"Right, so..." Charles begins, struggling to keep up with everything. "Seems like there's a lot we don't know, but... with the fire protection, we can at least go back to our own world. Then we figure out what to do about Portly, try to follow him back to his superiors..."
The fanged and fur-covered human says, "Whatever you do when you go back, do not let any government agency have control over the timeline."
He jabs his finger in the air when he says this and jabs too close to the imp who hisses.
"Perhaps," says the masked man. "It is true that our stories became darker and darker the more FATE tampered with our timeline. Our monsters became more monstrous and our heroes' virtues became more unquestionable. Everything FATE did worked towards those ends--to make everything that is not us more and more frightening until the only safe space was in the loving embrace of the Corporation."
One of the other humans says, "But, there was also the constant uncertainty when they kept messing with these same moments in history again and again. You never knew what was true because the stories kept changing. Even when they were fixed there was the--what did you call it?--the Mandela Effect? When you don't know what's real and what's fake you can't plan or strategize or anything really."
With IX subdued, Brother Andrew becomes more concerned with the fact that his human face is torn revealing scales beneath. At least some of those fastening restraints on IX seem bothered by Brother Andrew's scaly face, but they also seem doped. When Ryder enters the room Brother Andrew orders Ryder to take IX to "the nursery" and keep him there for now. "We're going to need someone to blame for this disturbance. Someone to punish. Humans imagine monsters when they see difference. Take him." With that, IX is hauled to his feet.
Restrained, he's pushed through the door into the street towards the holding center Gristlethorn and Zellgato just escaped from. Partly thanks to Von Junzt shouting and pointing every guard he met in this direction, IX is surrounded, some of those guards didn't buy it though and are chasing the escapees.
If IX wants to try to break free, you could try an Acrobatics check or an attack roll. Either one is with a -4 to the roll because of the restraints. If he succeeds, he'll be fleeing while in restraints within an enemy encampment.
It's dark and smokey. There are figures blocking the gate. There are people chasing you, but they might have been distracted by the flare. Gristlethorn, make a bull rush attempt to plow through the people blocking the gate and hope that Von Junzt isn't still one of them. Make a Perception check if you want to avoid plowing into Von Junzt.
Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:
Nissa turns to Enyo. “I’d love it if you could come, and I know you want to. But… if we do end up in a fire trap, there’s only four doses.”
Enyo smiles and says, "I've got a few thousand days off coming up; maybe I'll pay you all a visit soon."
Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:
Before the World 12 group weighs in, the nervous young man says, "Alien blood? For rituals?"
People look disgusted and he quickly says something along the lines of "...the type of rituals I would never do."
The uplifted bear offers, "I wouldn't be worried about magic rituals. It doesn't sound like that kind of world. Our FATE co-opted a number of superheroes by appearing repeatedly throughout their lives and grooming them. Perhaps it is simply that. But, we don't really know why these sub-dimensions exist, except, when FATE when back in time and tried to change some of our founding myths, they failed. The stories would reset. So much of our timeline they could change, but certain stories always came back. Perhaps your Mr. Portly wanted to erase Superman. Did he know the story would reset the protagonist?"
"The Celestials, in their Wisdom," says Galladhand, "Have ensured that certain bits of history cannot be tampered with. Somewhere is a world in which Superman is or was real. The Smallville you saw is how the Celestials' protect that world from temporal interference. World 12 has proven this."
"Or," says the bear again, "These subdimensions are fragments of lost timelines, left behind after temporal manipulation. Maybe Superman was real, but FATE or some other similar organization, destroyed that timeline, and all that remains is this tiny surviving bit of it."
"Which somehow leaks out into the imagination of writers on other worlds?" asks Silinammus who normally stays out of discussions of religion.
"Is there a way that we can contact you to turn over Portly, his superiors, and Moore to you?"
There's a bit of a pause and people look around. Finally one of them shrugs and says, "World 2 it is then."
The others nod and someone brings a pair of matching mirrors in wooden boxes. The Marshall says, "World 2 has a great many magical devices used for watching and listening to its people. No doubt someone is listening to this conversation right now."
She shows you how what is reflected into one mirror is revealed on the other and then returns them to their boxes. She hands Verve one of the boxes.
"I wouldn't have any private discussions around these. Take one and we will monitor the other."
The Olympian wrote:
The Olympian gets up from his couch and takes the offered vials. "Thanks", the godling says to the Witchworld inhabitant. Looking at the imp on Spencer's shoulder, Theo asks, "Any adverse effects we should know about? Anything soul-effecting?"
The young man appreciates the thoughtful question. "There shouldn't be. I've rendered the infernal aspect inert."
Gilladhand happily volunteers the information that World 12 seemed most aligned with the Celestial known as The Hanged Man, who represents surrender, sacrifice, and suspension in time.
The World 12 TAROT members consider the rest of what Nissa is saying, although they are clearly confused by some of it. One of them explains, "Look, a man like you're describing is dangerous, but he doesn't sound like the type that gets put in charge of anything on his own. Find out who is running him, and, if they're anything like our FATE, the thing they are afraid of most is our finding out their names. When you start playing around with time travel, your ancestors need bodyguards."
The masked man concurs and then addresses one of Nissa's other questions, "We've had freedom fighters with super powers, but the last three iterations of the timeline, FATE had managed to co-opt most of them. None of these supers had any power over time travel. Of course, when you're travelling interdimensionally, you're outside your own timeline ... it's possible to punch back into your timeline before you left. We've had to do that far too many times."
You hear a cough and see that a nervous looking young man stands at the doorway. He has shaggy hair and wears a loose green outfit. On his shoulder sits an imp. The imp carries a leather pouch.
The Marshall greets the man and brings him into the room. "This is Spencer Teuling, Cauldron for the TAROT from Witchworld. Gilladhand told me what you needed in terms of protection from fire and I asked Spencer if he could provide us with something."
He takes the pouch from the imp and opens it. There are four glass vials full of red liquid, "I had to split one dose into four. They'll only have a minute, but they could withstand the fires of Hell for that time. Clothes would still burn, of course. It's better if you don't ask what's in it."
The four other TAROT members from World 12 let the masked man speak. "None of them remember what it was like before the beginning of the temporal interference. I was outside of the timeline when it happened and unaffected. By 2100, 90% of the biodiversity on our Earth had been lost. We were killing our planet. Wars through the 22nd century had destroyed the nation states as we knew them. Our superpowers had crumbled and been replaced with regional authorities. By 2200, we were starting to pull it together again. That's when we discovered time travel."
The situations he is describing do not match up with your world's history. Superheroes prevented much of this from happening on your world.
"The government sent a group of people back to change one thing, and then change another. Of course, it was top secret and no one knew what was happening at the time. No one knew after it happened either, because once you change the past, you erase anyone's recollection of the past that was. I wasn't there at the time. I knew what I had to do though. I started finding people who could help stop FATE and I started hiding them outside of the timeline until it was time to strike."
This wasn't the question you asked. You asked what caused the destruction.
"Things got worse. Those who controlled the timeline tried to ensure that all the power flowed into their bloodlines, their families. It started small ... they just protected themselves as they 'fixed' the past. Soon, they were building a world in their image. They became a secret society behind a much more public group called the Corporation, members of their bloodlines who ran the world for them. We played cat and mouse games with them throughout history, trying to stop them, trying to set things back the way they were... They eliminated our ancestors when they found out our identities, but we kept out of the continuity."
The one that looks like an experiment gone wrong finishes, "One day, we came back from the past, and there was hardly anything left. The North American Regional Authority was gone. Most of the cities were gone or had never even been there ... It's not completely barren. We have some cities, but they are controlled by the Corporation. Most people live in camps in the wastelands. Some terraforming collectives are trying to get things going again. If FATE still exists, we have no way of tracking them anymore. I don't even know if time travel still exists in our world. They may have broken it along with everything else. The Corporation survives, so I guess they got what they wanted in the end."
This does not fit with the lies Portly told you about an alien attack.
"Greed. Lies. Lust for power. Fear," says another of the humans from World 12. "These are the things that killed our world."
Brother Andrew restrains: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Gaian restrains: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Gaian restrains: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Gaian restrains: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
Chris is unconscious. You've injured him pretty badly twice now. However, I think by now you're well-restrained and more people are piling on as your team abandons you. Not sure what's going to happen next, but I think you're a prisoner of the Gaians. The good news is, you'll probably get a deeper look at the inside of their facilities.
Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:
Most of the TAROT from World 12 look upset at the talk about erasing people from existence; the subject is clearly painful and personal for them.
The TAROT team from World 12 discuss it for a bit, but then come to the conclusion Portly isn't one of theirs. The FATE they know has only just discovered transdimensional travel after having spent decades (and centuries) playing with time travel.
"This world does sound very much like ours," says the masked man, "but, then again, we've found TAROT on multiple worlds too, and they usually have only the loosest of connections to each other at best. Still, it is ominous."
"Perhaps they are a temporal cousin of ours," suggests the awakened bear. "An alternate timeline that continued to exist after the tampering of FATE."
"Perhaps," says Gilladhand dryly, "that would conveniently fit your theory of the Tarotverse."
The bear explains, "The elves believe that 22 Celestials came from a dimension more spirtually advanced than ours and created the Tarotverse for some mysterious and as-yet-undisclosed reason. We believe that the Tarotverse are simply worlds that are similar to ours sometimes but that diverged at some point in history."
"And, yet, at no point in your Earth's history were there any elves," replies Gilladhand, "And, therefore, Worlds 1, 2, and 3 cannot be 'cousins' of your world. If they were created by the Celestia-"
The Marshall raises her hand to stop the debate. "Mr. Portly does not fit the description of any transdimensional fugitives that TAROT is aware of, including members of FATE."
Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:
They stop grumbling and pay full attention to Nissa.
Nissa, the Subatomic Bombshell wrote:
She lets that word sink in, then says, “You’re the experts on those villains, right? I’m really sorry about what happened to your world, but if you could save another world from becoming a barren wasteland, you would… wouldn’t you?”
One of the five wears a mask, glasses, a baseball cap, and a necklace that seems designed to confuse facial detection software. He slowly says, "Never let a government agency 'fix' the timeline." He jabs a finger in the air to emphasize each word.
"What can we do to help?" asks the one that looks like a lab experiment.
Okay, I think I can take Nissa's plan as the plan and we will bring you into a conference with the teams.
When you re-enter the building Gilladhand is waiting for you. He hopes that you found wisdom while standing in the shadows of the Celestials or something like that. He brings you upstairs into a large oval room. The walls are lined with couches, over which hang paintings of landscapes. You recognize most of them, including the Grand Canyon and the Amazon. Others are more fantastic. Some include buildings of odd design.
Enyo and Adon are sprawled on a couch, over which hangs a painting of Mount Olympus. Istari and Silinammus are sitting several couches down under paintings of a forest. The Marshall is standing near them.
The World 12 TAROT is easily summoned, as they live in Tarokh. Charles caught a glimpse of one of them, when there were three in the car. Now you see five of them. Three of them are human. One is an uplifted bear. As for the fifth, you are not sure it has a classification, but it is furry and fanged. You were warned before they came that gene tampering is common on their world.
They enter the room with a chip on their shoulders as if one of you has filed an official complaint or perhaps they are still mad about losing the race. They walk in pissed, but you were warned that about that as well. "They're not nice people," Adon had warned you. No one else seems to take notice of their growling and grumbling.
The man acquiesces, keeping his mouth shut.
Von Junzt, Zellgato, and Gristlethorn manage to bluff their way past a couple of confused Gaians, but by the time they see the gates of the compound leading out into the camp, they can hear someone shouting "Stop them!" from behind. You're only about 30 feet from the gates. There are a couple of Gaians standing near in front of it, looking out at the compound.
The thing inside of you is no longer happy. You are clearly attempting to leave. It thinks that perhaps you should bathe in the light of Gaia instead. It's really just over there. C'mon, wouldn't you love a dip in the pool, a little swimming in the light of Gaia? A DC 10 Will save or head to the shed where you were wed with your new little friend.
A couple of other guards enter through the door IX melted. They see Brother Andrew's face and look startled for a second. When he commands them to help him restrain IX, they try to help him, but they look confused and dopey as they do.
Brother Andrew restrain IX: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19