In Which the SuperVilain Debuts

 

Our latest adventure began in Boston. While getting ready for the new day, Wildfire’s father showed her an early morning paper mentioning a murder on MIT campus. The murder was a respected professor, Dr. Bill Harris; the means are as of yet unknown. Sensing trouble she puts in a call to her compatriots and asks them to help investigate. Deciding that discression is best, she loads up some baked goods and head to the crime scene in her civilian attire. She arrived first and notices a handful of cops guarding the area. Thinking quickly she makes her way there loaded with cinnamon rolls soon attempting to bribe the cops. Here I used the ‘simpler age’ angle and basically let her walk right past if she surrendered the baked goods to the cops.

Shortly after Sentry arrived; his knowledge of every cab service in the country leading him there quickly. Noticing that the cops were distracted he quickly slipped inside the murdered man’s office and came face with some young woman. This is where we realized none of the heroes know each other out of costume. Declining to introduce herself, they both set out to investigate the room. Clues involved no marks on the body, shattered glass, a wine glass with lipstick, and blue prints not belonging to the dead man. The blueprints hosted a name: Dr. Lowell Easton. Both heroes set out to find this man and talk to him.

Meanwhile Sgt. Freedom and Liberty Belle finally arrived and searched the room using their status as government sponsored heroes to gain clearance. They also found the blueprints, which had been left out on the desk by our previous duo, and this means everyone eventually ended up in Eason’s lab.

Dr. Easton was created to be a sympathetic victim character. He’s a brilliant man but mostly deaf and suffering from kyphosis (a condition of the spine which causes a hunched back). He does great work in sound based research and physics. They interview him in their own ways: Wildfire eavesdrops while handing out doughnuts, Sgt. Freedom threatens the doctor and refuses to surrender the blueprints, Sentry uses standard questioning, and Liberty Belle just pokes random equipment. Easton gets angry at Liberty for messing with delicate equipment and also Freedom for threatening him and basically stealing his property. As such he refuses to talk to them. Sentry however manages to befriend the doctor and gains entry to his office. Wildfire heads to the student union and learns a bunch of gossip.

Everything points to Easton’s girlfriend (Elaine) who used to be Harris’ girlfriend. The heroes, individually as Wildfire is still incognito, all race to Elaine’s house. Finally Wildfire assumes her identity while the men search the house. Inside they note that she seems to have left in a hurry, and possibly not of her own free will. They find her date book which lists a lecture by Easton at the Boston Public Library. Lacking further clues they head there to tell him his girlfriend is missing. At this point Liberty begins talk about punching him, because he’s rude. It becomes a focal point for her.

The heroes tell him they feel Elaine was working with Harris to steal his blueprints, and that the killer may have her and may be coming for him. I believe they feel the killer killed Harris to get the blueprints and then kidnapped Elaine to threaten Easton. Easton is upset but asks for proof since he is a scientist. Having nothing tangible he asks if he may continue with his lecture. He then heads outside to get more equipment, with Sentry following along to help and Wildfire attempting to follow unnoticed (she was once again back in disguise, however she could not do so without Sentry noticing so he now knows her identity). Freedom searches the equipment Easton had brought and finds a piece that seems large and has no wires connected to anything else. Freedom and Liberty determine its hollow and rip it open revealing Elaine’s unconscious form. Freedom runs off to warn Sentry.

Outside Easton activates a device that sends out sound waves designed to nauseate and subdue people, being immune to it himself due to deafness. He then pulls out a sonic cannon and shoots Sentry, rendering him staggered. Inside, having woken up, Elaine asks to leave but Liberty Belle (acting on out of character knowledge) instead knocks the woman out and ties her up before running off to help the gang. Outside the fight seems fairly even: Easton being somewhat agile and possessing powerful technology, but the group has numbers on their side. Wildfire soon blasts the debilitating device allowing Freedom and Sentry to close in and grapple the doctor. Soon enough the scientist is subdued. He then breaks down, mention how Elaine stole his files and gave them to Harris and how he caught them together and decided in the heat of the moment to kill Harris.

Wildfire and Sentry stay with Easton while Freedom and Liberty run back inside to check on Elaine who has disappeared. It seems one of the library patrons didn’t approve of some masked freak knocking out a kidnapping victim and tying her up. Freedom then threatened to arrest the man but I had the police make him back off.

In the end the crime was solved and the murdered apprehended, but the true villain is on the loose.

My thoughts: Six adventures in and I marked the occasion by having a super villain show up. Dr. Easton is clearly inspired by Quasimodo, a character I rather like, but have felt would make an interesting evil scientist. I like that two of my players actually cared about him, one still feeling sad for him in the end. That makes me happy, it means I managed to make a somewhat sympathetic character. Plus I pulled off a murder mystery fairly well, the players investigated well and there was little fighting. Bravo!

Liberty Belle annoyed me though, contributing little to the first half, due to being asleep, and in the second focusing only on attacking Easton long before he was shown to be a villain, simply because he got annoyed at her in the lab. Using out of character knowledge is also annoying and I really did let Elaine escape simply because attacking her then made no sense. Maybe she is simply trying to portray a 15 year old girl in the 40’s, but her approach is not the path I’d take.

Though it was baffling for Wildfire to remain hidden from her teammates so long, and yet work right beside them, I did like that she used her civilian identity to gain proper information. It was well played and surprising.

Sgt. Freedom keeps trying to discuss ways with me for his character, a version of Captain America, to not be affiliated with the government even though that’s his concept. At the same time he also tries to throw his government weight around. The situation confuses me a bit at times.

Final note, this adventure was written specifically to deal with the Aviator who works at MIT. His player didn’t show so I had to work around that.

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