Saturday, 27 April 2019

Heroes Unlimited; Phenomenal Paragons: Gaunter versus Haunter


In the utility tunnels beneath the Woodward Campus of Ennor University a figure pushed a wheeled trolley. The lettering on his boiler suit identified him as George Stewart, the head custodian of the campus. He whistled a merry tune as he went, light and shadow playing across his eternally youthful features. The lights above him flickered and he stopped. A whole swath of his awareness had gone dark, snuffed out like a candle. He probed around the blackened area. The archives. All the security systems around the archives had apparently turned themselves off. He released the trolley and took off at a run for the tunnel wall, vanishing through it without resistance.
Asa Butterfield as
George Stewart; The Haunter

Joanna van Kampen as
Gillian Gaunt; The Gaunter
I have no idea how long it has been since I ran something using the Megaverse system. Potentially 30 years. I know I played in a short lived Rifts game in the late noughties but I don't recall anything past character gen beyond having a good time. So for me this is something of a first. 
The set up is simple. The Gaunter wants her stuff back and will stop at nothing to get it. The Haunter wants to minimise property damage and drive off the 'invader'. Ironically, had they a chance to talk before hand there would be no conflict. George would probably just let her take her things. Super heroes; the purest form of soap opera.


For Gillian Gaunt disabling the security at the university's archive was child's play. She floated above the building in the chill pre-dawn air, held aloft by the forcefield generators on her gloved forearms. She still wore the prison uniform from her escape only a few hours before. She descended towards the nearest skylight a knife shaped blade of force appearing in her hand. She hurled the blade down (roll 10,+2 flying, +1 force construct, +2 thrown knives = 15) shattering the plexiglas skylight (2d6+29 damage =36 damage versus 35 S.D.C.) and clearing the route down into the archives.

Beneath the sky light there's an area with a few tables and chairs surrounded by lots and lots of shelves loaded with boxes. The Gaunter is already armoured and armed with a single force knife. She has the reference numbers for the boxes of her things but doesn't know where in the archives they are. As she looks around for a shelf number or something a ghostly form steps through a nearby shelf, looking in all the world like someone hiding under a bed sheet with two holes cut out to see through.

Gillian's situational awareness is slightly better than George's. Or rather she's slightly more on edge. She lets loose a bolt of force from her free hand as the Haunter materialises. George just evades and the bolt smashes into the end or some shelving, knocking boxes flying. Seeing that his foe isn't above property damage he closes with her, his sword Angelwing in hand. Gillian blasts him again. His 'cloak' billows around him as he is stung by the impact. A third force-bolt follows but this he parries; dissipating it against his blade. He strikes at her with the sword but she parries him with the forceknife she's already carrying. He tries again, avoiding her dagger. But the blade is deflected by her forcefield armour. Depleting the armour a small amount. A third sword strike follows but she's expecting it and parries again,

George gets 5 actions a round while Gillian gets only 3, using 1 of her 4 to maintain her armour. A round is 15 seconds. So in theory George should go once every 3 seconds while Gillisn should go once every 5, and on average that should work out. But in practice not so much. Whoever  gets initiative goes first. They act while their opponent reacts. At least until someone is out of actions. Gillain wins initiative by 2 points, then rolls a 9 to strike with her force-bolt. But George rolls a 9 for his dodge which means he wins, as defence always wins over attack. This costs him his first action this round. He uses his second action to close the distance to his foe, but that means he can't use it to dodge. He covers the distance but Gillian's next action is to fire another bolt, which hits on a 19 and does 13 damage. George tries to roll with the blow but fails with a 9. Since 19 beats the 13 of his armour rating he takes the full blast. It's barely over 10% of his SDC but 9 more hits like that and he's in trouble. Gillian's third action is another blast but George sees it coming and parries it with a 25 to Gillian's 19. A parry does not cost an action. This means that he can start to counter attack while is opponent is out of actions. He strikes with a 9 but Gillian parries with a 16. George strikes again with a 15. Gillian parries with a 9. Angelwing hits her for 11 damage, but since her armour has a rating of 19 it takes the damage. There is another sword strike for 14, but she parries with a 22.

There follows a quick flurry of blows, sword versus knife. While George has the reach Gillian has the strength and is apparently more skilled defending with her knife than he is with his sword.

George wins initiative (18 versus 12) but can't get through her defences. Twice he strikes high enough to penetrate her armour (23 and 21) but she matches him with her parry roll each time (23 and 22). Likewise Gillian just can't get around his defences. She has a +5 to parry compared to his +3. He has +4 to strike compared to her +0.

Only 30 seconds have passed but George is feeling like this is going on too long. But while his foe has resources in the form of her forcefields he has comparable resources of his own. He draws on his psychic powers, using telekinesis to amplify the force of his strike. This is further amplified by the ley line node that sits on the university grounds. This is painful for him as his ectoplasmic form struggles to channel the forces through it. But is successful. Twice he strikes out and Gillian's armour cracks under the force of his first blow. His second pierces through which really hurts his opponent. But this begins to deplete his reserves of psychic energy and he returns to regular sword blows. Gillian, rattled by the two powerful strikes is ineffectual in both defending herself and attacking back. George's next blow slips through a crack in her armour and it hurts. She deflects his next strike but the following one slips past her to further deplete her armour.

Again George wins initiative (19 versus 10). Telekinetic Punch uses 6 Inner Strength Points (ISP). Technically it's supposed to be used with a punch or kick but I can't think of any reason that it can't be used with a sword. The down side is George has to save versus Psi, with a target number of 14, or take 1d6 damage himself. He strikes with a 17 versus Gillian's parry of 11. The attack does (4d6x2)+3d6 for a total of 20. The x2 multiplier comes from being within a mile of a ley line node; the ring of standing stones where George died. Unfortunately his save is only 8 and he takes 1d6x2 damage, of 6 points. Gillian attempts to counter attack but rolls a 5. This is enough to hit since any attack roll of 5+ is a hit if it isn't defended against. George parries with a 21. George's next hit, also amplified with telekinetic energy hits with a 23. This bypasses Gillian's armour and reduces her SDC by two thirds. But it's only SDC; it's just a scratch. Gillian still gets a strike against George which is deflected; 7 strike versus 8 parry. George's next strike is a 19 versus a parry of 16. This is on the nose for Gillian's armour rating but since the defender wins it's her armour that loses SDC. Again Gillian's counter-strike is parried and the same is true for George's strike too. It's his last action for the round that does 7 more SDC damage to Gillian's armour.

Gillian lets off another force-bolt at the same time a box launches itself of shelf at her. Both combatants are struck for minimal discomfort but Gillian's bolt sneaks through a gap on Georgoe's armour. She takes the opportunity to lash out with her knife. She draws blood, well ectoplasm. George dodges her next knife swing and turns insubstantial. There's nothing Gillian can do to her phantom foe as boxes begin launching themselves off the shelves at her.

Gillian wins the initiative with a 17 versus a 10. Both go for an attack. The force-bolt hits with a 17 and does 7 damage to George's SDC. His telekinetically thrown box hits her armour with a 16 and does 2d4x2 to damage to her armour, which turns out to be 4 points. Then she hits him with an 18 to his parry of 11. When that knife hits it hits hard; 2d6+29 damage. George takes 33 points of damage and is suddenly at 0 SDC So he ghosts out but continues to use his telekinesis to hurl boxes at her in an attempt to drive her off. Each use of TK costs him 8 ISP but it's worth it as long as he leaves himself enough to use his regeneration later.

Boxes continue to fly at her as Gillian dances around, dodging as many as she can. This is three; two strike her armour but only because she recognises the codes scrawled on their sides. It's her stuff. They strike her armour, cracking it further, but her only concern is getting what belongs to her.

George wins initiative again but Gillian dodges every attack she can. The last two boxes strike her for a combined damage of 48 SDC.

Gillian wraps a forcefield bubble around her prizes and launches herself up and out through the shattered skylight and into the dawn sky, towing them behind her. George does nothing but hurl one last box after her.

It takes two actions for Gillian to gather the boxes up in a forcefield bubble. She takes another 14 points of damage to her armour from two boxes and then she's gone. George spends the next of his actions with regeneration.

Things went about as well as I expected. I wanted The Gaunter to find her things and leave with them and she did. (Once boxes started flying I gave each a 1 in 10 chance of being one of the two boxes she was looking for and rolled a 1 twice in a row) On paper they were about evenly matched. The level difference made barely a jot. But in play Gillian's super strength from the forcefield really pushed things in her favour. She struggled to land a hit with her knife but when she did she hit like a mule. Another blow like that and The Haunter would have been dead...err. Deader. The proximity to the ley line nexus was supposed to balance that put but Gillian's armour was barely down to half when the fight ended.

I made a few mistakes, like Telekinesis having a duration. I applied the -8 ISP for each action when it's only applied when the power is first activated. In George's case it last 6 minutes; 24 freaking combat rounds! The above combat only lasted 6 rounds; 1 minute 30 seconds. Oh well at least George will have the oomph to clean the mess up while he heals. He will heal although it could take him another 6 rounds and up to 36 ISP, which is less than I had him spend on TK.

Okay so next week it's back to characters again and this time I'm plunging into the murky world of Public Domain and legacy characters with... 73...

Mystically Bestowed Abilities!

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