Last week on Thursday, my son Christopher and I played a bit of impromptu Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. Christopher took the training wheels off the Protector, his Revolutionary War era hero, and investigated the murders of outspoken local Patriots, most recently one John Owens, a newspaper publisher who was found butchered in his home.
During that session, we established that there is an Oracle of Apollo d6 in the basement of Niko’s, a small Greek tavern near the waterfront. The Oracle warned the Protector:
“Caps of blood on heads of three, you seek killers from across the sea. If you look high, they are not nigh. Seek your foe where few dare go.”
The Protector faced down a trio of British soldiers, and seemed to have successfully convinced one of them to act as an informant. Thomas Williams, this soldier, agreed to keep his eyes and ears open around the customs house since the Protector suspected customs official Nigel Robinson of being involved in the killings.
The Protector then moved through the night-darkened streets to the burrough police station, hoping to get into the morgue to examine Owens’s body. Thus ended the first session.
Session two brought my friend Terry and his oldest daughter Natalie to the house to join the heroic fun. Terry played the Patriot, a sort of brash Captain America-like figure with flame control powers, and Natalie played Liberty Belle, high-society spy with sound-controlling handbells. The Patriot and Liberty Belle had been sent to Manhattan by Benjamin Franklin to investigate the killings. They had decided to stake out the same police station that the Protector was wanting to enter.
“The Patriot and Liberty Belle lurk in the shadows on a rooftop across the alley from the police station. They both seen a man armed with a sword and shield, wearing Roman-style armor, leap the rear courtyard wall and approach the building.”
“That could be the killer,” said the Patriot, who then leaped into action, landing in the courtyard to confront this mysterious figure.
In classic comic book tradition, the first meeting between heroes resulted in a fight. The Protector charged the Patriot, who reacted by bracing with his shield for the impact. The two heroes’ shield collided, and the Patriot was sent flying. He responded by sending a blast of flame at the Protector, striking him and forming a fiery cage around him. Unfortunately, the Protector’s armor of Aeneas was forged by Vulcan himself and thus impervious to fire. Then, Liberty Belle struck, hitting the Protector with a powerful sonic blast, almost rendering him unconscious (as he was still slightly bruised from his altercation with the British soldiers).
The Protector decided discretion was the better part of valor, and he fled. He was, however, unable to give Liberty Belle the slip, and she tracked him back to Niko’s. In the tavern, Niko’s wife tended to the Protector’s injuries. The Patriot nursed his grudge against the stranger who “out-shielded” him. In the morning, the Protector, in civilian clothes, left the tavern, and the other two heroes trailed him to his place of business on the waterfront. Thus, the Patriot and Liberty Belle discovered that the Protector was really Rowan Pearson of United Pearson Shipping.
The Patriot noticed the Amager at dock. His old friend Captain Paco Escobar was in port (thanks to the creation of a Business resource). The Patriot found Escobar in a pub frequented by those with anti-Crown sentiments. Over pints, the Patriot learned that Pearson was a known Patriot, albeit one with very strong anti-smuggling opinions. After this meeting, Liberty Belle, relying on her covert training, gained access to Pearson’s office, and she and her partner confronted Pearson. Words were exchanged, and the explanations gradually built a picture showing that the three heroes were working toward the same goal.
This heroic trio decided that, yes, examining Owens’s body could prove useful and that Liberty Belle’s talents as a spy were the key to getting down into the basement morgue. At the police station, Liberty Belle approached the desk sergeant and engaged him in conversation. In short order, her combination of brains and beauty had convinced the policeman to escort the three heroes down to the morgue.
Owens’s body was a gruesome sight. The heroes determined that his injuries had been inflicted by claws and fangs, but the bite patterns had much more in common with human jaws than with any known predator. Disturbed and puzzled by this discovery, the heroes retired to Niko’s to talk and plan their next course of action.
Unfortunately, that course of action was thrust upon them, for a message had been left for the Protector at Niko’s. Written in blood, it read:
“If you want to see your soldier alive again, come to Breakpoint Rock at sundown.”
Breakpoint Rock stood on a craggy bit of coast. The road that traveled there skirted woodland and went past the burned out husk of what had been a roadhouse. The heroes arrived early. Liberty Belle hid herself in the treeline. The Patriot hung out of side on the crag not too far from Breakpoint Rock. The Protector strode boldly into view. A man in a heavy cloak stood near Thomas Williams, who was trussed up on the edge of the crag. At the cloaked figure’s signal, five more attackers burst from hiding, and the cloaked figure kicked Williams off the rock toward the crushing surf below.
The Protector charged into the middle of the gang of villains, which he quickly discovered were clawed and fanged Redcap Fairies. The Protector found his assault overwhelmed by the gang, which slashed and tore at his flesh. Blood flowed. Liberty Belle announced her presence with a wide-beamed sonic blast, staggering several of the Redcaps. Half of the villains rushed Liberty Belle, and they would’ve torn her apart had she not defended herself with a disorienting tone that upset their equilibrium. The Patriot launched himself from the crag, catching Williams in midair and then breaking the shock of hitting the rocks below with his shield.
A moment later, the Patriot joined the fray above, smashing through Redcaps by using his flame powers to rocket himself like a missile. The Protector flung himself back-to-back with the Patriot, and together they handily overcame half of the Redcaps in hand-to-hand combat. Nearer to the burned-out roadhouse, Liberty Belle found herself outnumbered three to one. She unleashed a wave of destructive harmonics that turned part of the roadhouse into a roaring blast of shrapnel. The Redcaps fell like a house of cards in a windstorm.
And so the heroes defeated the murderers, and, in the aftermath, discovered that the Redcaps had been sent to Manhattan by a mysterious figure they knew only as Doctor Prospero.