The Defenders, Vol. 2, Issue 6 - This Captain Ain't Makin' It Happen

The Ultra-Humanite's sub-humanites having escaped through unusual portals after their raid on the Cannith Guildhouse, our heroes set to the task of helping out those unfortunate baselines who had been caught in the building when it was attacked and who were injured in the fall. Bennet, instead, helps himself to some minor magic items in the confusion, then joins some of his companions in asking those who are coherent what it was that was taken from the guildhouse. Upon the description of the item, a few can describe it as a focusing lens, and one woman reveals that it was commissioned by the druidic Gatekeepers, for their observatory.

Having helped in whatever way they feel they can, and wanting to capitalize on their knowledge that Q'barra is a likely destination, the group makes to leave, only to be met outside by a cadre of Aundairian troops led by the Agent, who tells the team that Queen Aurala would like an audience with them, which they agree to, hoping the Queen may have more information that may aid their quest to find Xavier.

The Agent directs his troops to aid in the relief of the guildhouse disaster, and then escorts the PCs to Fairhold, the seat of Aundair's throne. There, the band are led to what appears to be a small dining area and are seated on one side of the table, across from Queen Aurala and two men, who are introduced as First Warlord and Royal Minister of Magic Adal ir'Wynarn and Darro ir'Lain, Second Warlord and commander of the Knights Arcane. The Agent goes to the Queen's side of the table, but remains standing.

Then Bennet gets directly to business, pointing out that they wouldn't have been summoned if they were not viewed as a threat. Aurala corrects him, stating that the crown simply wants to know their intentions in Aundair, and asks if they will be moving on soon, as they have directly killed some Aundairian citizens (Extranormal villains, so not a huge concern, but still...), have created civil unrest (panic by their presence), and the destruction of property (Chalice Center's tower was a public joint venture, but most property belonged to Dragonmarked Houses, so couldn't be a concern of Aundair) and perhaps sparked an incident with Valenar through their attack on the White King. The conversation continues for some time, with the heroes realizing that Aundair is, except for the might of Arcanix, vastly under-prepared for any true Extranormal threat on a logistics scale, and have, perhaps, only one or two Extranormals to call upon in times of need, themselves.

The group shares their purpose and all they know of recent happenings with Aurala and her cabinet after an agreement of full disclosure and aid from the crown. The Queen and her staff take this all in and offer only what little they can, telling the party that Agent is a replacement for Captain Aundair, a hero popular in the war, who was meant to have been at the Conclave in Metrol, but never reported in afterwards. It is also explained to the group that Ultra-Humanite is a suspected officer of Uxas, and it has become a concern since some of the most powerful Extranormals are now MIA, that Uxas will make a push for conquering as much of the continent as he can.

Unable to match the sheer quantity of information the heroes had given, Aurala generously gives 1,000 gold pieces to each member for whatever purpose they see fit for preparing for the next stage of their mission, grants them travel aboard an airship, one-way, to their next destination, and - with the blessing of Adal - access to one spell of up to the eighth tier of spells, cast by an Arcanix mage.

The PCs graciously accept and immediately begin asking about spells available, deciding that Discern Location is their best bet, focusing on the Toyman. They take the evening to go about getting prepared and on the morning have their spell cast, which confirms the Q'barran deduction made by Henry earlier. They set course for central Q'barra, a trip that goes uneventful for the first two days. On the third a flotilla(?, squadron maybe?) of Karnnathi airships are spotted in the distance, flying toward their home country, and then an airship with the standard of the White King can be seen above their destination, which seems to be some kind of overgrown, ancient ruins.

A debate springs up about what to do, with Bennet pushing to have their ship fire upon the other airship, and Henry pressing to pull alongside for boarding. Listening to majority voice, the captain pulls broadside and Kurt grabs Henry and teleports to the White King's ship, where we left off.

Cast of Characters
Jean Grey, Elan Psion (Kineticist) 5|Wilder 5  - Angela
Bennet du Paris [Exodus], Human Psion (Nomad) 5|Spellthief 5 -Taylor
Henry [Beast], Artificer 5|Anthropomorphic Ape 2/Monk 3 - Paul
Kurt Wagner [Nightcrawler], Rogue 3/Fighter 2|Totemist 2/Wizard 3 - David
Kitty Pryde [Shadowcat], Wizard 4|Ninja 4 - Sam
Dr. Isaiah Crane (Scarecrow), Sorceror 4|Cleric 4 - Jon
Johnathan Blaze (Phantom Traveler) [Ghost Rider], Flaming Bone Creature 2/Warlock 2|Fighter 4 - G2

Bonus Feature: House Rules
Creating a campaign that couples the dynamism and sheer power of super heroes with codified (primarily medieval) fantasy roleplaying rules means that some things have to be changed to create more dynamic and powerful characters and scenes.

Here's a short list of house rules we've adopted for the game.
  1. The Rule of 30 - Any player may elect to roll a d30 to replace any one die roll, or any die in a pool.
  2. The Extranormal Check - As mentioned in a previous post, this works like a Bardic Knowledge check, with the exception that feats and abilities that add to certain knowledges (i.e., Collector of Stories) work normally. The higher you roll, the more you know about a given superpowered being. Seven sessions in as I write this, and I still don't have this structured how I would like. It might never become a priority.
  3. The Extranormal Subtype - Each character derived from a hero or villain from the comics gets this subtype. This grants the character the ability to gestalt their classes and also grants max hit points at first level. In addition, every character with the Extranormal subtype also has an additional supernatural ability that is unique to that particular character.
  4. Flaws - Each PC may take a single flaw and gain an extra feat from it, as detailed in Unearthed Arcana.
  5. Altered Gestalt - For base saving throw bonuses, instead of taking the favored progression for either class to determine bonus, increase the save whenever it increases on either class track. This increases saves by a few points, thus making the Extranormal character just that much more durable.
  6. Massive Damage Threshold (MDT) - Characters have a massive damage threshold equal to their Constitution score plus 2*level. Any time the character takes damage in excess of this value, they must make a Fortitude save with a DC = 15+1 per 10 points over the MDT in damage suffered.
  7. Magic Psionics - Magic and Psionics are treated the same in this game, and further grant effects that would not otherwise be featured in a D&D game. For instance, a 3rd level Wizard can qualify for a prestige class whose prerequisite asks for a 3rd level manifester, and may benefit from the progression as normal, as if the class said caster. However, a prestige class that asks for certain spells or powers, or similar impossible requirements cannot be substituted this way.
  8. Power-Boosting Prestige - Prestige classes that would normally add caster levels or manifester levels to the class that you have on the other gestalt path still add those levels, but only as effective caster or manifester levels (meaning that the character would be more likely to overcome spell resistance, has greater range, etc.), and does not gain any other benefit such as additional spell slots, learned spells or powers, or additional power points. This boost to caster level can only go up to +10, no matter the number of additional levels that would grant the ability.

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