The Defenders, Vol. 2, Issue 18 - Robo-A-Go-Go!

Facing the White King at last!
After preparations, the band is flung into the main hangar area, in the upper gantries. Across the huge chamber, also on the gantries, stand what for all purposes is a team of villains to our heroes: the White King, Trevor Fitzroy, Lady Deathstrike, Feral, and Pretty Boy. Among the group is also the baseline engineer Bolivar Trask, who is just as much an enemy in the group's eyes as the Extranormals.

Behold, Master Mold!
Below them, on the floor of the hangar are some of the Sentinels like the group had faced before, a few of a model much larger, but similar in build, and one enormous Sentinel, seated on a throne it seemed to be built into, and that was apparently making more of the two smaller types!

The band caught the others by surprise with their sudden appearance, and Bennet was the first to act, taking the opportunity to discharge a bolt of electricity, frying the White King where he stood. Fitzroy and Trask both fell within seconds to other attacks and battle was fully commenced. Pretty Boy fell a moment later.

Within a few more moments, giants had rushed into the rooml; backup promised from Uxas to aid in taking down the general defenses of Sentinel Tower. These warriors engaged the Sentinels while the band engaged further with the enemy Extranormals. A few more seconds and Connar lay dead to the ferocious assault of Feral, but not before slamming the beastial Shifter through the gantry she had been on.

"But she's a heroine!" Feh!

The fight was now on the hangar floor, except for Jean and Bennet, who used their psionics to do what they could from above. Kitty dropped through the floor and was lost for the rest of the time. Kurt engaged in melee with Lady Deathstrike and, when she was vanquished, went forth to deal with the giant Sentinel, knowing that this is where he would find Dr. Pym's component.

On the brink of destruction, the giant Sentinel stands, ripping itself from its throne, and blasts a hole in the floor. Kurt, seeing that it has now created a hole in its body, teleports in when he sees a piercing light. Jean, at this time, having pushed herself to her limits, slips out of control and the Phoenix rises. Bennet, seeing this for the first time, and having a little knowledge of it, decides to preserve his own life (since he's standing adjacent to Jean when this happens), and teleports to Queen Aurala's War Room, in Aundair.

Kurt uncouples the component and the mobile creation forge totters forward, crashing down through the hole it had created in the floor, taking the fallen, as well as some living giants, and a large portion of the floor, with it. The Tiefling takes stock of his surroundings, having saved himself from the fall, notices that Jean is still alive, though barely - the Phoenix force having guttered out just a moment before - and starts hopping across Scion's Sound with her, healing her after getting into Thrane.


The Defenders, Vol. 2, Issue 17 - A Gentleman's Agreement

Our heroes are ushered into a vast throne room, lit on both sides of the great hall by troughs of magma, casting light on shields and banners strung high on the walls and covering almost all of the surface of both sides. Astute viewers recognize some of these as company, house, and personal heraldry of all those defeated on the field by the lord of this fortress, the man known as Uxas the Conqueror!

Seeing this historical figure in the flesh, some are perhaps surprised to find that he is literally a giant, though it makes sense, if his homeland is noted. He sits proudly on his throne, bedecked in glistening black armor of what looks like polished obsidian. He is not introduced, he needs none. He politely lets the heroes take in their surroundings for a moment before speaking.

"It is awe-inspiring, is it not? This keep was gifted to me by my brother, when it sank into the mountain and he took his leave of Xen'drik." Uxas goes on to explain that he named his keep after a nickname the younger lived races gave him. As he speaks, Jean begins to see his words played out as if projected with illusion, though no other can see this until a few minutes later, when Kitty is also struck by the images. The visions do not shake the heroes, and they get down to business as soon as possible.

In case anyone didn't know who Uxas is.
Kurt leads off with the negotiations and is asked to pose his questions before Uxas decides to answer, and if an answer is given, then a small favor must be performed for the warlord, which will lead to no harm of those it is asked of. The group are desperate for any lead, and Kurt agrees to the terms, then begins to ask about the Destiny Arms and what they represent. Uxas explains that the Destiny Arms were what humans might call a knightly order, though they numbered only 8, and they represented the literal appendages of the eight-armed titan, Gharzum Bang, who founded the order 50,000 years ago. He then goes on to explain that there are only four of their order still alive that he knows of, having lost the titan and four others over the millennia.

Uxas presses upon the group the importance of the Destiny Arms' role, to keep a certain 'status quo' (Yes, giants know Latin. They are, after all, from an ancient culture.) to prevent the world from a future that could not be contained. He goes on to use the analogy of the four remaining Arms as being the four legs of a table, and infers that they being stability to the whole of Eberron.

The group's questions answered, he then states his terms: The band of heroes gathered before him will stand aside when he makes his push on Khorvaire in a new campaign to conquer the continent. The heroes are torn when they hear these terms, but since they are in the lair of the beast, so to speak, they acquiesce. Then, to sweeten the pot on their side, the band begin to tell Uxas of the Sentinels. He agrees that they pose a severe threat to his advance into Khorvaire and agrees to get them into Sentinel Tower as a show of good faith, so that they might cut the head off of the Sentinel program.

Uxas lets them visit his quartermaster and trade or buy anything they may need that he has. He also buys the armor Irons had made for himself at an exorbitant amount, since the S-shield on it intrigues him.

Next Issue: Mecha Robo Attack!

You may have noticed there's no Cast listing for this session and the last. There won't be another until I get to Issue 20, as I hadn't made note that kind of thing, and my guessing game was proving futile. I began taking note last session (the aforementioned #20), so things will be back on track there.
Sorry for any confusion. If it helps, no cast changes really occur between now and Issue 21. Foreshadowing!

*Last minute edit before I post! That amazing Darkseid art is by Nebezial.

Edit: Count on the sessions was off.

The Defenders, Vol. 2, Issue 16 - Into The Unknown Continent!

A casual visitor to Stormreach...
Upon approach to the city of Stormreach, aboard the airship graciously loaned by Queen Aurala of Aundair, Connar hears screams far off in the distance (thanks to a natch on the listen check) and alerts the others to something happening within the city. Spyglasses are used on deck and Connar's supreme vision together can make out an enormous green creature ripping a section of the city to shreds.

Connar takes flight and moves to engage the beast, taking a blow from the thing that would have killed most normal men. Battle ensues, and the group try to contend with the beast and a small man at its feet that is assumed to be controlling it, when he is witnessed casting a spell on the thing. The gigantic creature brings more destruction down on the city before it and the small man beat a hasty retreat under the pressure of attack.

The rest of the group who were unable to engage due to no flight capabilities of their own finally make shore, and the band sets to working disaster relief and trying to figure out what/who that thing was, but find very little that convince them to follow up on the attack.
...and his pet.

Thereafter, they split up to see if they can find someone who would be willing or able to help them acquire the knowledge they came to Xen'drik seeking. During this time, Kitty is approached by a miserable-looking, hunched man who says that he could lead her to his master, who would be able to answer her questions and only would ask a small favor, in return. Kitty tells him that she would need to consult with her party about the matter, despite the man's persistence, and he finally agrees to meet her in the taproom of the inn they are staying at in the morning, after breakfast.

The next day, the group had barely settled in to their meals when the man approaches their table and begins to repeat the offer he had made to Kitty. This man's master could give them the answer to many of their questions, and more, but the information would come at a cost; the price to be named by his master. He demands their answer immediately, and urges them not to pass the opportunity. The band of heroes debates only shortly before deciding to agree to go with this mysterious stranger to meet his even more mysterious 'master'.

Trustworthy chap.
The man leads them outside the city on foot to a large soar sled that would be able to accommodate about twenty people, shaped like a semicircle with a railing on the leading, curved edge that was set with Khyber dragonshards. At each of these shards, a dark elf was bound with chains made of some dark material. When the stranger activated the sled, the drow writhed in agony. Some of the group guessed that the drow powered the vessel with their lifeforce, but made no question to their host about how. Connar, knowing not much more other than how much he dislikes people being enslaved or confined, was visibly shaken and angered by the mechanism, but also held his tongue, taking care not to jeopardize his newfound friends' mission.

The sled flew deep into the jungles, slowly approaching a volcano that loomed in the distance when they started their trip. As they approached it, the jungle canopy became thicker and thicker, completely obscuring the sky until it was pitch black, then the heroes realized at some point, they had traveled underground to a massive cave. As far as they could see within the confines, giants were encamped or doing drills. Great pyres and runnels of lava gave the whole place a sinister glow and finally, a massive keep, looking as if it had sunk or slid into place, comes into view and the mysterious man turns to them and says, "Welcome to Apokalips."


The Defenders, Vol. 2, Issue 15 - 'Round, 'Round, Get Around. They Get Around!

Battle is joined, and Yellowjacket drops quickly to the full assault of the PCs. Bullseye enters the fray against the group with devastating attacks, but is taken down shortly thereafter, having been overwhelmed when not fighting the single target he and Foster expected. Scarlet Witch appears during the battle, apparently having insinuated herself into the minds of the group, since they feel like she's been there all along, after having magically (accidentally?) transported herself into the lab - she observes and hangs about with the band, but is nowhere to be found later, seemingly without notice of the group.

Dr. Pym thanks the heroes for their aid and welcomes them, explaining that he fears he was targeted for his work. He then explains that he and his wife were entertaining a guest when the assassins struck, then goes about disposing the bodies of his wife, their friend, and Bullseye down a waterfall that the doctor explains leads to a fast-moving underground river. Bill Foster is tied and held in the wash room, unconscious, while the group and Dr. Pym decide what to do with him.

The doctor suggests they all get rest and they discuss what to do over breakfast. Here, Dr. Pym begins to explain his great work. He tells the PCs that the component was actually ordered by him, as the power core housing for a self-replicating construct that he had designed. This construct, the first named Ultra-1, would replicate as needed to serve the needs and wants of Extranormals only. The race of constructs would act in any capacity the Extranormals needed, serving as a replacement for what might otherwise lead to subjugated Baselines. With the Ultras, the Extranormal "race" would be free to pursue their own goals with no interaction or involvement with Baselines - all of those small concerns would be handled by the Ultras.

The heroes seem interested, yet hesitant to subscribe to the doctor's Utopian dream. Noting the awkwardness felt in the room, this is when Pym indicates that they should just kill his former lab assistant and drop his body in the crevice, as well, (nothing like a little levity to lighten the conversation!) as any involvement with proper authorities could compromise his and the group's separate works. The group agree and Yellowjacket is put down and flushed like the rest were.

A little bit more back and forth about the construct and the stolen component leads all to the same conclusion: the Sentinels are likely designed based off of a similar (or the exact) technology that Ultra-1 was designed with. The group decide the Sentinels need to be put down, and quickly, and head to France Aundair.

Here, they meet with Queen Aurala, with another small information exchange taking place. The band then present their idea to storm Sentinel Tower, on the southern coast of Karrnath. Unable to agree on how to assault they tower, they switch gears and focus on a piece of the Draconic Prophecy found in Dr. Pym's lab, which mentions the great weapons of the giants, named the Destiny Arms, and how as long as the Destiny Arms still exist, the world cannot be restored.

The band decide that they need to know about giants, and agree to go to Xen'drik to do research, since they also feel like the threat of Uxas is a growing thing, it then begins to seem like getting intelligence on him is included in their trip. Queen Aurala grants them the use of an airship to make passage, and they set off.

Their first stop is in Zolanberg, so that they may consult with Dr. Pym. He admits to knowing very little about the Draconic Prophecy, and claims to have found that snippet that was in his notes in his travels, though he cannot recall where he first saw it. He basically reiterates what the snippet says, and then wishes them well again on their quest as they depart for Sharn, there for a layover and resupply before heading to the mysterious southern continent.

Next Issue: The Welcoming Party

Cast of Characters
Jean Grey, Elan Psion (Kineticist) 8|Wilder 8  - Angela
Bennet du Paris [Exodus], Human Psion (Nomad) 8|Spellthief 5/Cerebrex 3 -Taylor
Kurt Wagner [Nightcrawler], Lesser Tiefling Rogue 3/Fighter 7|Totemist 2/Wizard 3/Telflammar Shadowlord 7 - David 
Kitty Pryde [Shadowcat], Human Wizard 7|Ninja 7 - Sam
Connar Kent [Superboy], Kryptonian† 6|Fighter 6 - Paul
Dr. Isaiah Crane [Scarecrow], Sorceror 6|Cleric 6 - Jon
Johnathan Blaze (Phantom Traveler) [Ghost Rider], Flaming Bone Creature 2/Warlock 4|Fighter 5/Lasher 1 - G2
Scarlet Witch, Human Wizard 5/Cleric 5 - Brady (retired)