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/qst/ - Quests

File: The Spider.jpg (32 KB, 505x716)
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Based on the webseries The Power of Stardust located at https://tapas.io/series/The-Power-of-Stardust with text lore located at https://tapas.io/OttoGruenwald/series.

They call you Richard Wentworth, the people in fine suits and fine dresses that float through the gallery like actors in a movie projection. They smile, and joke, and talk about how well the war is going.

Half a world away gods and things like gods wage a war straight out of mythology. Caged stars wrestle with ancient titans. The walls between worlds shake. Reality bleeds and cries out in the tongues of angels.

But here, now, in Mainline city, there is smooth jazz and the aroma of rich wine. There are white gloves, and silk dresses, and bowties, and the propaganda on the radio chirps only about victory.

People try to stay calm and happy and think only of a bright future where all the young men and supermen come home off the boats and all the things that keep them up at night will be tucked safely behind glass in museums for their children to marvel at and never, ever fear.

People don't want to think about what evil could be happening right under their noses, right where the women and children are kept safe, right in the homefront.

But all you think about is evil.

They call you Richard Wentworth, but your name is The Spider.
The radio repeats the same story its told all day about how the Black Terror Squadron overcame a battalion of Japanese Oni to claim another island. The people make the same smiles. It's good news. It makes everyone happy. You should be happy to.

You force yourself to smile and say hi to someone that might be named Dick, or was it Tom?

You feel so silly without your mask, and claws, and teeth. You feel practically naked.

>Make an effort to mingle. Nina would want you to try.

>To hell with this. Go to the lair.

Also, while we're playing feel free to ask any questions you have about the setting/lore/story.
>Make an effort to mingle. Nina would want you to try.
>Make an effort to mingle. Nina would want you to try.

Can't post much since I'm at work but seems interesting. Reminds me a little of the grimnoire trilogy.

You remind yourself that Nina would want you to try being human.

Nina. She calls you Richard. She doesn't ever call you The Spider. Only Richard.

She is the only one that knows who you are and still calls you Richard. The only one.

She is precious to you. And that fact frightens you. She walks through your life like an angel through hell. She sees through your masks no matter how many you wear.

After what happened to Dr. Brownlee, you told her to leave. She did not. You had no power over her. So she stays with you and the papers print gossip columns about Wentworth's mistress under whatever headlines come from Europe.

Silly girl thinks you're Galahad when you're Dracula. You brought an angel down into this hell that is your life and you aren't sure you can ever forgive yourself for that.

You know you won't ever forgive yourself if what happened to Brownlee happens to her.

You can solve the most complicated crimes with that genius mind of yours, but you have absolutely no idea what to do with Nina. You can't give her what she deserves. You can't give her a family. Are you supposed to let her grow old alongside you? Are you supposed to let her age into a spinster? Are you supposed to die and leave her no children to care for her, just the burden of your rumors and legacy and the giant crypt that is your house?

You try your best to make her happy because you know you're no good for her. So you put on a happy mask and wade into the crowd. It's what Nina would want, and you always try to give her what she wants.

>Choose a conversation to enter

>A smug industrialist is talking about making a killing off manufacturing helmets for superhuman soldiers

>An old woman rambles on about how Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophists supposedly predicted the coming of the superhuman

>A man with too much to drink complains about meat rationing
>A man with too much to drink complains about meat rationing
Seems the most innocuous to enter.
You walk into a cloud of nonsense about meat rationing. You pretend to be interested.

"Bacon...I'll you they mark that up wayyyy too much." A man relatively young for this kind of crowd slurs. He's what his peers call "new money' behind his back. "I mean why? Why? Just ham, cook it a little, how come I got to pay more for it after its been in a skillet for awhile? You know I heard those supersoldiers, they just eat trucks of meat. Whole herds of critters just down their mighty jowls! Got to keep up the protein to punt all those tanks and kriegmen."

"I bet they can eat all the bacon you want!" You say. "You know they probably cook it themselves. No need for cooks, atnleast with the ones with the laser beam eyes!"

You laugh. They laugh.

You met a supersoldier with "heat vision" once. He was one of the Black Terrors. The army let him go after an Oni ate his right arm.

Most people don't know the goggles they wear are part of their eyes. They don't even really have eyes anymore, just pits where energy is gathered for the goggles to focus. They're basically blind but have a kind of extra sense that's supposed to be tactically better than sight.

It is better. But only for war. Outside a fight what good is a replacement for sight that will won't ever let you enjoy the colors of a sunset or a painting ever again?

No one's sure what to do about those Black Terrors after the war. There's going to be far too many superhumans like them empowerd for war and crippled for peace. They aren't even the worst. The Hydromen Navy has it worse. By far.

The man goes into another rant, this time about beef, and you try and be more than a shape hovering at the edge of the group but you just meld into the wall like a shadow. You're good at not being observed. It's your nature.

He talks about hamburgers and you think of your claws gripping the side of a brick building.

He talks about the catering and you think of your browning autos flashing in the dark. The faces of dead men. Your inhuman laughter. The smell of gunsmoke.

He says something. You don't pay attention. In your mind you are holding a gangster off the side of a building. He prays to god. He hear every word.

A tiny wire starts vibrating inside your wrist watch.

You excuse yourself and silently apologize to Nina.
Good thing you took the liberty of placing your own security around the museum. With The Sphinx on a spree you figured the exhibit of artifacts from the recently discovered civilization of Thule would be too much of a prize for him. And despite Fitzpatrick's assurance that the new security detail of retired supersoldiers would be enough to deter The Sphinx you knew better. Supersoldiers bring power, but not security. The superhuman eyeball can see for miles, but it cannot see what is skillfully concealed.

Someone is tugging at your web, and even if you aren't in time to stop them from entering the museum you certainly will be in time to stop them from leaving.

You glide over the skyline of Mainline City. You feel the cold on the metal of your fangs and claws. It is a good pain.

You grip the side of a building and feel the brick give way against your claws. Back in the 30's you used a car. But this way is faster. And you haven't found a driver to replace Ronald. You don't want to find a driver to replace Ronald. Ronald was the first before Brownlee, before Ram, before even Nina. He can't be replaced.

The old lancia gathers dust in your mansion, one more artifact for your ever growing mausoleum. And Ronald is dust, finally at rest, finally free of the ghosts that haunted the both of you from the Great Air War.

And the man who killed Ronald you flayed like an animal with your claws.

>Announce your presence to the guards on duty.

>Ignore the guards. They will only get in the way
>Announce your presence to the guards on duty.
I'd rather not have them taking potshots at us if possible.
I would like to have more than one responder per prompt if at all possible. Is this course of action good with everyone?
We'll be here a long time if you're waiting for more responses. If they were available to vote, they'd vote.
>I'd rather not have them taking potshots at us if possible
Good thinking.

>>Announce your presence to the guards on duty.
>Can't post much since I'm at work
Me too.
I'm digging it so far though.

I recommend sticking to your instincts, but sometimes a lull in players happens for whatever reason.
Wait "long enough", then go with the votes you got. "Long enough" being entirely subjective.
You approach the museum in as non threatening a manner as possible. The M3 emblem of the Mainline Metropolitan Museum hangs over the gated entrance. It's a cute emblem sort of like what Nina would draw in her notebooks. Next to it are streaming banners depicting the aquatic people of Thule, blue skinned humanoids adapted to water as humans are adapted to the surface. They're a rather attractive race. You've heard people say their red pupilless eyes make them look like rats, but you don't see anything particularly ugly about it, maybe because you've seen true ugliness in human eyes too many times to hold them in high esteem.

Regardless, the Thule certainly look kinder than your well maintained persona.

Clawed hands. Wild hair. Masked eyes. Fangs. They say the Marvel family and other superhumans wear bright primary colored costumes like acrobats and strongmen so as to seem unthreatening to basics despite their fearsome powers.

That's not you.

That's not you at all.

A guard in police uniform shines his flashlight on you and drops it, hands filled with his firearm.

"Oh god!" He screams. "Don't move! Don't move!"

The lenses in your mask dim the light so that you aren't blinded. God bless Brownlee.

"Captain Fitzpatrick should have told you about me." You say fluently, the metal fangs in your mouth being no hinderance to your speech. Brownlee was a metallurgist. His wondermetals allows for you to have a mask that dims bright lights, claws that slice steel, and fangs that allow for proper articulation.

You were so lost before you met Brownlee. You actually used fangs from a Halloween store. A gangster laughed at you when you tried to talk with them.

"You're...The Spider?" The guard asks.

No. You're Bob Phantom.

"I am The Spider. Master of Men."

"Holy god...you know, I've seen a lot of stuff out on the front. Kriegmen, tengu, oni, but I've never seen something like you!"

Oh please keep talking. We want the trespasser to hear you.

"Silence." You say. "There is a man inside."

"There's a man inside?"


The guard lowers his flashlight. You can see that he's a young man. You think he might be a Liberator, one of the many supersoldiers created through the Lamesis process. He has that idealized physique, broad shoulders and chest. He's not a Black Terror whatever he is. You can smell the chemical inside them that lets them hoist battleships over their heads. It smells like burnt rubber to your enhanced nostrils.

>Tell the guard to follow you, but follow you carefully.

>Tell the guard to stay out of your way
>Tell the guard to stay out of your way
Don't want any openings with the guards if he flees.
"Okay, okay..." The guard says lowering his voice to almost the right level. "There's a guy inside the museum?"

"Yes. Stay here. Do you have radio contact with the other guards?"


"Tell them to stay put. And not to shoot me."

"Hey hold on! We're not exactly basics! We saw action in the Pacific, I'm sure we can handle a thief."

"Listen." You place a hand on the guard's shoulder and arrest his eyes with your own. "The underworld has been buzzing with talk of The Sphinx. The man inside works for him."

"Yeah we know. We've heard about the other Thule heists. We've prepared for this."

"No you haven't. This isn't some soldier and this isn't a battlefield. The man inside is likely a professional. He will evade you all at the slightest hint that he's been discovered and this will all be for nothing!"

Time is wasting. But the guard doesn't seem satisfied with your explanation.

"How come you know he's inside the building anyway?"

"I have my ways. I am The Spider."

"But look buddy, I haven't seen anything all night. And I can see for miles on a cloudy day with these eyes."

"I have my own security around the museum. Now please." You try to walk away, but the guard steps in front of you.

"Your own security? What do you mean by that? Fitzpatrick didn't say anything about you having your own security."

>Answer the guard's questions until he's satisfied

>Cut and run. Time is wasting.

>Knock the guard out. Fitzpatrick will understand.
>Cut and run. Time is wasting
Jesus the world's chattiest guard.
>Roll 1D20+5
Rolled 15 + 5 (1d20 + 5)

Well here's hoping it's a good roll. Might be the only one.
>>Cut and run. Time is wasting.
Yeah, this.
If he tries to stop us, then we start up the chin music.
You've never gotten along with the authorities.

You are currently tolerated in Mainline so long as you limit your bloodletting to the truly depraved, the ones that no one would waste tears on. But a few years ago you were officially shoot on sight.

Fitzpatrick is your closest ally, and even he's shot at you more than a few times.

Fitzpatrick really only has himself to blame if this goes south. You told him to leave The Sphinx to you. You told him not to get in your way. He should have known better than to bring out all these superguards.

You guess what happened to Brownlee lowered his faith in your abilities.

You can't blame him. It lowered your faith to.

You draw from your belt a was of flash paper. A throw, a flash, and the guard's superhuman eyes are left staring over his shoulder as you bolt into the museum.

He doesn't even have time to mutter a "hey wait" before you contort your way through the gate. It's probably for the best he doesn't see you. People tend to faint when they see you bend yourself like you do, and you'd hate to knock out another of Fitzpatrick's men. You lost count back in 38'. You think you're in the thirties, but some you must have knocked out more than once.

The darkness is no obstacle to your senses. What faint light from the street lights outside the windows is magnified by the lenses of your mask. Your nose smells the dust of ancient artifacts and the butter and salt of a popcorn machine. You hear...and you hear...and you hear...straining to find a heartbeat in the darkness.

Good for Fitzpatrick though. Him hiring superhuman guards helps you tell which heartbeats belong to the guards. They have heartbeats like industrial machines. You've heard stories that on the battlefield the stress causes their hearts to beat so loud they can be heard even over gunfire.

The person you're looking for isn't going to be a superhuman like the guards. The Sphinx would use a superhuman powered for stealth, not combat. They might not even have a heartbeat at all

But they'll have to make a sound. Some kind of sound. Nothing is truly silent.

You sit down on the floor. You breathe in. You go inside yourself like Ram taught you.

You listen for the patterned sound of the museum as a whole, and then you listen for the irregularity within that sound.

One note is all you need. A brush, a scrape, a slip. Just one.

>Roll 3D20
Rolled 2, 5, 12 = 19 (3d20)

You focus. You breathe in. You focus. You breathe out.

Something is...snapping. Like metal against cotton. Muffled. A mechanical man? You figured as much. Since word got out about what The Sphinx is and what he does he's either had to con men into working for him or build them.

You'd think a mechanical man would make a little more noise though. It's inner workings are remarkably silent, but if anyone would be able to construct.a near silent mechanical man it would be The Sphinx. He was making them back in the 20's and the years have only improved his craft.

Is it not moving? It doesn't sound like its moving. It sounds like its just standing still. Is its brainheart workings stalled? It's about time something lucky happened in your life.




That sound...

It's not snapping.

It's ticking.

Bomb. Goddamn bomb. Move now!

>Roll 1D20
Rolled 11 (1d20)

Rolled 11 (1d20)

You tear through the museum giving no attention to the many wonders from the world of Thule that are about to turn into dust. The bones of a giant creature larger than a bomber plane, dresses spun from phosphorescent water flowers, living garden statues of alien coral and alien plants kept in tanks of Thule water, beautiful cloaks fitted with serrated barbs used in a form of Thule martial arts...

Aeons of alien culture and history are about to vanish from eternity unless you stop the bomb.

A bomb. Of course. Blow it all up to make sure no one knows what was stolen. You probably made too much noise with the guard. Damn it all.

The previous Thule thefts were never like this. There was never a bomb. In the middle of all this tension your razor sharp mind logs this observation away as important.

Whatever is being stolen is clearly of great importance. But you aren't going to find out what that importance is unless you find and stop that bomb.

You find the ticking coming from a mass of wires and plastics. You immediately go to work with your eyes as you take out your toolkit from your belt. You know what to look for. This isn't your first bomb.

Charge. Switch. Initiator. This isn't a fake bomb, this isn't a distraction. This is real.

You have two options. You could try and disarm the bomb and take it apart later at the Lair. You can probe it for clues. Bombs don't just grow on trees.

Or you could use this vial of..webbing you have with you. It's not one of your usual gadgets. Brownlee didn't make it. It's from Crime Web, a woman agent named Spider Woman (yes really) created it. It's a useful chemical, fire retardant, strongly adhesive, and if properly applied around the bomb can muffle the explosion.

But it'll ruin any clues inside the bomb, and if you apply it the wrong way you'll just give the bomb shrapnel to riddle you with.

>Attempt to disarm the bomb

>Attempt to smother the bomb
>>Attempt to disarm the bomb
Fortune favors the bold.
>Attempt to disarm the bomb
Well this way you won't have to worry about accidentally putting a shell of shrapnel around the bomb.

You just have to worry about...everything else.

You claws retract up your gloved hand to allow you the full use of your dexterity. Judging by the construction of the bomb case, you're going to need it.

It only looks crudely assembled at a first glance. Closer examination reveals that the tangle of wires functions as a trap. You need to disable only a few to cut the fuse from the charge. But the wires you need are wrapped around trapped wires that'll prematurely blow the charge resulting in an explosion...a smaller explosion, but still an explosion that will total the museum. And the trapped wires are loosely set. A little force is all it would take to jar them loose.

It had to be a metal man that set this up. You can't imagine someone having the guts to actually set something this precarious up. Thank god you found this and not one of the guards. Knowing The Sphinx he probably counted on one of the guards finding it.

You just have to get the edge of your kit knife on the real wires and saw through without disturbing the trapped wires. That's all you have to do. It's simple. In fact it reminds you of fishing out bullets from wounds back in the trenches. Don't touch anything except what you have to touch.

Don't knick the arteries.
Don't knick the arteries.
Fix the edge against the bullet.
Get leverage.

>Roll 1d20+2
Rolled 7 + 2 (1d20 + 2)

Pop goes the weasel
It's when you're through the plastic and working on the copper underneath that he lets you hear him.

He's pointing a revolver at your back. You heard the click of the cylinder slide a bullet into the chamber.

"I heard the bomb but not you. Is that your superpower? No one can hear you unless you want them to?"

You make the slightest, most delicate motion with your fingertips. Maybe he won't notice, and maybe the knife is sharp enough that...

"Do not move."

"You want it to go off while you're standing there?

"Do not move."

You catch a glimpse of your enemy on one of the retracted claws of your gauntlet. He's covered head to toe in black material. His eyes are even covered. It's like he's a living shadow.

"So you're a fanatic, is that it? Don't care if you live or die?"

"Do not move."

"Don't care about blowing up The Sphinx's prize along with us?"

"Already gone. Worked in teams."

There's more than one of these guys? You suppose its possible. A guy this stealthy could march an entire parade of himself through the museum in broad daylight and no one would know the difference. It's not just that he makes no noise. He doesn't have a smell. How does he not have a smell? You suppose with super powers anything is possible. They got people like The Silver Streak who move faster than light itself now.

But it is odd...

>Roll 1D20+3
Rolled 15 + 3 (1d20 + 3)

It was only a hunch. Then you realized the gun didn't have a smell either.

It's an illusion. Light without substance like what The King of Mirrors used before you killed him and left your mark on his forehead like all the rest.

If this illusion works in any way like his, then your enemy has visual contact with it to puppet it. Obviously they're from a safe distance, so they must be puppeteering the illusion from outside the museum. A window...but which one? There are windows on the walls and on the ceiling.

The sound of the revolver...they threw something, or shot something near you to make that sound. They knew better than to shoot you. A gunshot won't stop you, but distracting you long enough for a bomb to go off in your face might.

They have to be watching from above. Where else would they be able to watch both the illusion and your hands to see if you're pressing on the wire? They must have some kind of telescopic sight to see so clearly from so far away. Rouge supersoldier?

The illusion talks. There must be a speaker nearby, likely concealed in its own illusion. Maybe it was attached to whatever was thrown to cause the revolver sound? Maybe it wasn't a gunshot but a thrown projectile? If they have the power to see you from such a great distance they likely have the power to pull off that kind of toss.

You check the bomb. You have a few seconds. Anyone without the ice in your veins would disarm the bomb right this instant. But you are The Spider, and you wish to trap your enemy. The illusion will drop the moment you cut the wire. Your enemy will run.

Come into the parlor said the spider to the fly.

Isn't this always how it is? Your enemies know something you don't, and use that to construct convuluted webs to ensnare you. But it never works. Mystery or deathtrap, femme fatale or madman, it never works. You always escape. You always figure things out.

And then you learn something your enemies don't know. And then you use that to put your own web around them.

And then you leave your mark on their heads.

"So how much is the Sphinx paying you?"

"Do not move."

You focus your senses away from the bomb this time and reach out to track the source of the voice.

There's a scuff mark on the marble floor.

A ping. A scrape. Your mind filled in what was needed to make it sound exactly like a gun cylinder. You were after all focused intently on the bomb.

It's theatricality. Stage magician tricks. You use them against your foes all the time. Having them used against you...is stimulating, albeit frustrating.

You can't see the projectile that made the scuff, but it's likely still there, only cloaked in an illusion. It had to be thrown with a good deal of force to make it from a safe distance. It's probably embedded in the marble.

You've already deduced that he's above you watching from the rooftop windows. The question is where exactly.

You look into the reflection on your claws again..

>Roll 1D20+4
Rolled 4 + 4 (1d20 + 4)

They would't be sloppy enough to leave a crack in the window. They would cover that with an illusion.

But broken glass on the ground?

A scuff on the ground. A pile of broken glass. You begin to lay down the threads of your web in your mind. You are beginning to get a good idea of where your enemy is above you.

You withdraw one of your spider orbs from your belt. The spider orbs were the last thing Brownlee made for you before they got him. With your superhuman physique and senses and the kinetic alloy the orbs are constructed out of you can hurl them with enough force to gently knock out of a goon for interrogation or splatter their bodies with the force of a bullet.

And you can also ricochet them at near impossible angels. They travel up and down any threads you can think of. Their the perfect weapons for a spider like yourself.

With one hand, you cut the wire.

With the other hand, you grasp and throw the orb behind you.

>Roll 1D20
Rolled 9 (1d20)

These rolls have not been going our way.
Into a corner.
Off the wall.
Up to the roof

The trick is in the spin you put on the orb. It allows it to bounce against what it hits instead of sink it...until it hits exactly what you want to to with full force. It's all possible thanks to Brownlee's metal. Depending on how you spin it, it will absorb into itself a certain amount of kinetic energy before it releases it.

This allows your spider orbs to take even superhumanly fast enemies off guard. They don't expect it to suddenly rocket forward with extra force and speed after a couple of bounces.

But whoever your enemy is, they stand above even your superhuman opponents, because the loud CRACK you hear above you and then through the concealed speaker on the ground tells you that they just swatted your orb.

On the bright side, the bomb is now dead and quiet.

But they're on the run.

>Try and chase after them. You might not have the chance to get the advantage on an enemy this skilled.

>Stay here. Make sure the area is secured. Let them go for now.
>Stay here. Make sure the area is secured. Let them go for now.
Have to make sure there aren't any other bombs.
You let him go. For now.
No doubt you will meet again. And you already know how it's all going to end anyway...with your mark on his head, just like all the rest.

You focus one more time and listen for sounds of any more nasty surprises.

After a minute you stand up. The guards have started to move again, which is annoying. but the museum is safe.

The illusionary man continues to aim his gun straight ahead even when you move. You touch it with your hand and it ripples apart like water. It's a fragile wad of light, just like what the King of Mirrors used. You've heard they have illusions out on the frontlines used by superheros like Mirror Man that can move around without a projector. You've even heard they have illusions that are alive...living light. That's what The Ray is supposed to be.

But this is just a light puppet, an without a projector focused on it it'll fade in a few hours.

You walk over to the scuff mark on the floor and feel around until you discover something sharp. Out of the illusion you pull a metal star with a tiny speaker stuck to the side.

You've seen reports from out of the Pacific theater on weapons like this.

Japanese assassins called ninja use them.

Japan is involved now. Great. What does The Sphinx want with Imperial Japan? You know the war is going pretty badly against Japan and her allies, there's not much even their gods can do but stall against powerhouses like Captain Marvel. Japan is desperate, no doubt about it.

But are they really desperate enough to cut a deal with The Sphinx?

The Sphinx has made it very clear the only authority he respects is his own. But then again, any harbor in a storm.

At the very least you won't have to worry about the museum blowing up along with any leads. A check of the inventory will tell what was stolen.

The guard from before stumbles into the room, flashlight dancing.

Buster Keaton couldn't have asked for better timing.

"Hey...you still here Spider?" He asks shining the light in your face.

"I told you to stay put."

"Well yeah but...you just kind of took off. I didn't know if you ran off or got captured by the intruder or what."

"I told you to stay put."

The guard sighs. "Captain Fitzpatrick did say you weren't exactly The Blue Beetle...anyway...did you find anything yet?"

You press a stud on your belt. Miles away in your Lair a light goes off to summon Ram. You need him to take the remains of the bomb to the Lair while you check your alarm, look for clues, find out what's stolen...and maybe punch a guard.

"He got away. He left a bomb."

"He left a WHAT?"

"It's disarmed." You hold up the bomb for him to see.

"That's a bomb?"

No its a toybox.

"I'm going to look for clues. Keep out of my way and take inventory. Find out what was stolen."


Oh dear god.

"Of the Thule exhibit."

"Hey, I don't work here. I just guard the place."

"Then find someone that does. Find out what was stolen."
"I uh...I'm first going to have to call this in." The guard says. "I mean this is a breakthrough and a bomb threat and a crime and all that."

"Well you take your time doing all that." You say walking away. "I have a plot to unravel."

"I uh...I think I need to see the bomb." The guard says. "It's evidence isn't it? I can't report a crime without evidence and there's been a crime. So I think I need it. Please."

>Give the guard the bomb

>Keep it
>Keep it
This seems entirely too coincidental.
>Keep it

>This seems entirely too coincidental.
I agree.
It could just be the numbskull guard or it could be a trick.
Either way, we don't let him have it. Maybe tell him it could explode if mishandled.
If he's a ninja in disguise,all the better.
>"I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. I do not, however, trust a coincidence."


"So you're just going to keep it?"


The guard gives you a quizzical look. "...Man. You really aren't like The Blue Beetle at all."

"Fitzpatrick will understand."

"You know the Captain really gets a lot of hell because of you. There's a lot of guys higher up than him that think you belong in prison with the guys you bring in."


"Captain Fitzpatrick is the closest thing you have to a friend and you ought not to be giving him such a hard time."

"I don't have friends."

"Well whatever Mr. Spider. I'll just call in the bomb threat that we don't have any evidence for while you go off and...do whatever."

"And check the inventory."

"That to, yeah yeah."

You give the guard a hard look. Your enemy said there was more than one of him...

"What's with the look grimjaws?"

You give the guard a little shove.


"Needed to see if you were real."

"Need to see if I was real? What the hell does that mean?"

>Say something further to the guard

>Take your leave
>Take your leave
If was just extra hired muscle how does he know so much? Unless I'm misreading something.
Fitzpatrick told the guards about you. He's the reason they're guarding the museum in the first place. You asked him not to do it, but since Brownlee he's...not trusted you as much as he used to.

He still trusts you more than when he first met you, so that's good.
He told them how he gets hell back at the precinct? Just seems like a lot of information to dump on random guards.
You're Mainline City's open dirty little secret. You've been doing your thing for years. Fitzpatrick is noted in the media for being both your shield and your controller. Officially, you're a wanted criminal. But everyone knows you have an arrangement with Fitzpatrick off the record, and that Fitzpatrick is being encouraged not to tolerate you anymore.
Fair enough.
"Hey!" The guard calls after you. "You know you just shoved me? That's like, assault on an officer...I think..."

You feel the wire in your watch thump a coded message that tells you that Ram is nearby. By working a knob you send back confirmation. Your communication watch isn't as advance as some of the two way radios other mystery men use, but its virtually silent. It's yet another thing atop a mountain of things you owe Brownlee.

You contact Ram in an alley some ways from the museum. He stands like an ancient statue next to your parked lancia waiting your command in silence. The street lights glitter on his jeweled turban and his bracer of knives.

Ram was your second ally after Ronald. You stumbled across him in India shortly after you became The Spider.

He was the first man to know The Spider as an ally.

The Great War in the Air, the 1st Great World War changed you physically and mentally and you floated like driftwood around the world from port to port for a few years.

You tried to drown the monster born inside you with alcohol and opium and stranger things. Your diet brought you under the darkest shadows of oriental ports where you found a darkness you thought you left behind in the trenches. Face to face with evil, you responded as was your nature and consumed it totally. Your inner beast fed on slavers and smugglers and triad lords and amid the bloodshed you named the beast the spider. It ceased being something you repressed and became something you reveled in until one day you woke up to find that the spider had consumed First Lieutenant Wentworth and took his face.

You tell yourself that it was less that the spider killed Wentworth and more that it consumed his corpse. Opium and vodka...you think Wentworth wanted to die, but the powerful body of the spider wouldn't let him.

Ram found you by following the bodies.

Ram was born to the untouchable caste of the Hindus and knew the evil of the world as well as you did. He was the son of an undertaker and learned from his father how to listen to the whispers of the dead. He followed the whispers to you, and sensing a great potential within you, offered to be your servant. He saw within you The Master of All Men, a force that could shape the destiny of the world. He would serve nothing less.

Ram was the one that pushed you to seek greater prey, to return to the states to thin the rising herd of supercriminals and supergangsters. If not for him you'd probably still be out prowling some far east opium den for slavers like the fevered nightmare of a hasher.

"Forgive me old friend." You say handing Ram the bomb. "I'm afraid I have to waste your talents once more. I just need this placed in the Lair until I can look at it."

Ram nods as his massive hands cradle the bomb case. "It is a privilege to serve any way I can master. Though if master is concerned about wasting my talents, perhaps master should have called another to assist him?"

"You're talking about Nina, aren't you
Ram nods.

"We've been over this..." You sigh and sloop against the brick wall of the alleyway. "I'm not involving her in this life anymore."

"You cannot keep her away. She accepts you. She accepts the darkness. She accepts the risk."

"She doesn't know the darkness. She doesn't know the risk."

"She does master. And what is more, she accepts your humanity."

"What do you think I should do?" You scowl. "Make her Mrs. The Spider? Show her how to fight? How to kill?"

"She can help in little ways like this." Ram lifts the bomb. "Moving things. Running errands. Her presence alone is beneficial to you."

"In what way?"

"She reminds you that you are human."

"...Look, we have business to get to." You terminate the subject. "This was a bomb. The Sphinx is changing his strategy. He tried to blow the place up. And what's more..." You produce the ninja star from your belt. "Japanese assassins. They used some kind of manipulated light technology."

"Like the Mirror Lord?"

"Yes. Wads of light. Hirohito is working with The Sphinx. And I still don't know how Thule artifacts figure into this. Contact Crime Web. Get me a ready line to The Web. I've had enough headaches from Fitzpatrick's men, I want The Web to make sure the government and superheroes know enough to no trample all over my investigation."

"It shall be done my master."

I'm going to retrieve the traps." You say turning away and sinking a claw into the side of alleyway. "And Ram? Don't let her into the Lair anymore."

"Yes my master."

"I mean it." With a tug of superhuman muscles, you vault up the wall and into the night sky.

>What do you do after retrieving your traps?

>Check with Brownlee Jr. You should get your gear checked out now that you know you're going up against something as deadly as ninja...and you try to talk with him as much as possible since well, you know...

>Check in with Fitzpatrick at the usual meeting place, for all the good it will do.

>Go to the Lair. Check the bomb for clues and contact The Web and Crime Web

>Shake down your informants. They didn't say anything about Japan or ninjas in their information. Why?
>>Shake down your informants. They didn't say anything about Japan or ninjas in their information. Why?
I'd like to check in with Brownlee Jr., but we still some more info.
The roof. Backalleys. Sewers. You placed your radiation webs where no one but an intruder would go.

It was the rooftop gate that was triggered. You perform a check of the premises knowing you won't find anything and do the same for all your other gates.

The radiation gates are fairly new technology, which is probably why the ninja didn't have a counter to them. Like the vial of web gunk you try and never use they're from Crime Web, not Brownlee.

Poor Jr. He wants to be as useful to you as his old man, but most of your latest tools and equipment come from Crime Web, not him. It's hard to keep ahead of an organization filled with superhumans and supergeniuses. His dad was the smartest man you ever met and you doubt even he would have been able to keep up.

The radiation gates are two semifluid mirrors, though Jr. uses another, much more elaborate string of words to describe them. They stick to almost any surface, and when exposed to vibrations alternate between a visible state where they look like slabs of ice and a cloaked state where it bends light around it to blend into an environment.

This makes them less useful in locations such as the subway where the constant vibrations can overload its chemical makeup and cause it constantly flash between states. But given the speed at which Crime Web works with scientific breakthroughs fresh from the front the problem will probably be solved before the year is out.

Once set up, the mirrors emit a cone of particle radiation, and if that radiation isn't met by an opposite mirror, produces a radio signal that activates your watch.

The radiation webs are invisible snares useful not only for security, but for making sure no one leaves a room after you enter it. Keen as your senses are, when you're fighting a room full of enemies you can easily lose track of each individual goon. That's where the radiation webs come in. The opportunistic goon that makes a break for it might get past you.

He won't get past the radiation webs.

When you finish revealing your mirrors with a tiny vibration emitter designed for the job and carefully lock each one in their own case and double check for any possible clues around the mirrors the sun is starting to peak over the horizon.

That's a good thing though.

That means Jack the Snitch is still awake.

>Approach Jack in a...mostly friendly manner.

>Approach Jack in anger. He didn't mention a ninja. If this is another spy ring that's going to attract superheros and the government you're going to kick his ass.
>Approach Jack in a...mostly friendly manner.
Odds are he wasn't aware either. Nina would want us to be patient.
>>Approach Jack in anger. He didn't mention a ninja. If this is another spy ring that's going to attract superheros and the government you're going to kick his ass.
Not entirely sure how justifed our anger is, but it's useful to put an informant off guard.
Next vote decides!
Over six hours, nothing.
Then we both post opposing votes within a minute.
This thread is magic.
Honestly I've just had an exhausting day and noticed there were no votes when I was checking threads I'm following. Feel free to go with >>2959137 just to keep things moving.
You cling to the side of the dirty tenement Jack Flash calls home, known to you as Jack the Snitch. This is where lowlives breed like maggots in a thick soil of drug abuse and poverty. Occasionally they seek to rise above their station as flies. That is when they become yours.

You can hear Jack drunkenly argue with a woman from your perch outside his window.

"Baby you know you're the only girl for me..."

"Jacky I SAW you looking at that girl! Don't you start lying to me!"

"Baby Jack Flash is nothing but on the level with you...you my main girl..."

"Main girl? I'm your ONLY girl!"

Jack Flash was a drug dealer who ruined his life and profited by ruining others. But he never spilled blood, so you never took him. That's your rule. That's the one rule you obey. Blood for blood. You kill for nothing less, and since Fitzpatrick convinced you to stem the bloodshed under threat of a crackdown from on high you sometimes let even killers go without your mark.

Jack Flash has long been out of the drug game. But he still runs in the same social circles. He still has ears. That makes him useful to you.

"You care more about that little readhead slut than me! Admit it Jacky!"

"Well she never yells at me like you did Suzie!"

"Yell at you? I ought to kill you!"

You've had enough of this stupidity.

You scratch at the window and make a horrible sound that makes Jack and his woman jump like rabbits.

Jack looks like he always does when you see him, drunk and afraid. The woman looks like she would scream if she wasn't so afraid.

You avert your eyes from her. You can't stand seeing a woman in fear.

The woman clings to Jack and trembles, nearly fainting. "Oh god it's you..." Jack mutters.

"It is I." You say. "The Spider, master of men."

"L...Look babe...Jack Flash has to talk to The Spider O...Okay..." Jack unwinds his woman from his arm.

"You. Woman. Leave." You point to the apartment door with a claw.

"Cindy go home." Jack says.

The girl walks backwards to the door, never taking her eyes off you.

When she's out of the door you wait for her to walk down the stairs, out the door, and down the street into the night and back to whatever hell her private life could be.

She was young. Too young to be involved with trash like Jack. But maybe she deserves him. Time and experience has taught you that women have an evil all their own less brutal than men but just as dark.

But the fear on her face...so raw.

You will have to talk to Jack about her. But first business.

"Uh...Spider...you just going to stand there?" Jack asks you when he finally builds up the courage to speak. "W...What do you want from me man?"

You motion for Jack to lift up the window.

"...Huh?" He says blinking dumbly.

You motion again, and Jack finally gets it.

He fumbles with a latch, then slowly lifts the window.

"...O...Okay...it's opened..."

You grab Jack by the shirt and hoist him out the window. His screams echo in the night.
His screams ring in your ears. You love how it hurts.

You hope his neighbors hear. You hope everyone in this diseased maggot pile hears.

Jack screams an incomprehensible stream of gibberish as you dangle him face to the concrete far below. You wait for him to run out of breath and get quiet before you talk.

"I ran into a unseen variable tonight."


You pick your words carefully. Jack is your door into the underworld, and the door swings both ways. He swears on his mother's grave that he'll never share what you share with him, but he's a drunk, and a loser, and a snitch. You know that whatever you tell him might leak.

"Concentrate here Jack. Something strange happened to me tonight."

"Concentrate? You bastard, you're dangling me upside down off a freaking building!"

"Concentrate. You know the metropolitan museum was robbed tonight. You listen to the radio."

"Yeah...yeah part of those Thule heists The Sphinx is directing. Radio said there was a bomb and you stole it."

Stole. Well the reporters aren't technically wrong...

"Is that what this is about Spider? The bomb? I didn't know about no bomb! I don't know any of the details about these heists, not where not when not who. I told you that like a million times!"

>Anything in particular you want to say to Jack?

>ease up on Jack.

>put the fear of god into him. It's been a hard night. Time to vent your frustrations.
>Anything in particular you want to say to Jack?

Just caught up to this thread and I really like it. Hope it gets more attention.
Thanks for the praise anon. I'm glad I'm getting an audience, even if its a small audience.

What do you want to say to Jack anyway? I probably should have clarified. You choose whether to ease up or scare him and if you want to say anything in particular to him you can.
>>ease up on Jack.
Just a little.

>>Anything in particular you want to say to Jack?
Ask him why he never told us about the news players to the scene, the foreign ones.
>Ease up on Jack

Whoops I misread it like a dummy. My bad. So I'll go with this instead.
Same anon as >>2960338
But I'll support this guy >>2960100

"You sure there's nothing you left out Jack? There were unseen variables."

"Man I don't even know that that means!"

It's a way to say you were taken by surprise without saying you were taken by surprise. The Spider cannot say anything that sounds weak, ever, especially not to a low life like Jack Flash.

"What the hell even is a variable?"

Ah. Jack never did finish high school.

You hoist Jack onto your shoulder and deposit him on the roof. He scrambles to his knees and paws at his torn shirt. "Man...you ripped my shirt..."

You point a claw down at him. "You told me The Sphinx was behind these Thule heists and that the metropolitan was next. Can you remember anything interesting inbetween those details or did the alcohol wash it all out of your head?

"...My shirt..." Jack grumbles. "You didn't have to go throwing me out the window, ripping my shirt..."

"Get your sympathy from the welfare office. There were foreign players involved. Real professionals. And you didn't mention anything about them."

Jack cocks an eyebrow. "Foreign players? What? Like what are you talking about here exactly?"

"Answer the question Jack."

"Woah woah woah. Is this some spy ring shit? You mean to tell me The Sphinx is mixed up with the goddamn Axis?"

"You remember hearing anything that could possibly make a connection to the Axis? Maybe something that didn't sound like much before but does now that you have context?"

"Well geeze, let me just open up my brain and dig around a bit. Not like its hard remembering something after you've been scared to death and stuck on a cold roof next to the angel of death himself."

"Don't be cute with me Jack. I'm in no mood tonight."

"What? You get your ass kicked or..."

You snap your claws inches from his face. Jack recoils like a trapped animal.

"Woah! Woah! Geeze Spider cool it!"

"You will treat me with respect Jack. I am not your friend. I am not your parole officer. I am The Spider."

"Okay okay I'm sorry! Cool it alright...so...the Axis...that doesn't sound at all like a Sphinx move aligning with them."

"No it does not. There is mystery to this action."

"Well if he is working with the Krauts and Nips no one in my circle knows about it. But you know how The Sphinx operates. He always has two operations at once. He's always working an angle of falsehood and an angle of truth, that's what everyone says. The angle of falsehood is him pretending to be something he's not and conning people into working for him. He takes over an identity or builds one from the ground up and suckers people with it like that time he pretended to be one of those mediums and and conned people into believing brainwashed ghosts were their lost loved ones until the Duke of Darkness kicked his ass or that time he pretended to be a superhero and tried to infiltrate The Statesmen only for The Blue Beetle to kick his ass."

"Yes. He deludes himself into thinking he's actually a person by changing his identity."
"But that's not the part of his operation I'm involved with Spider. I mean that my friends are involved with! I mean that I hear that some people I know may or may not be..."

"I know."

"O...Of course...but you know I am straight Spider. Like you know me. I haven't touched a drug, haven't sold a drug in years!"

Unless one counts alcohol...

"Yes. I know. And I know you never will. Because the moment you ever do I start spreading rumors that you're my special, special friend Jack. And you know what the mob does to my friends, don't you Jack?"

You can hear him gulp.

"A...Anyway Spider, the group I run with, they aren't apart of that side of The Sphinx's operations. He thinks we're too stupid to try and con, so he actually gives us the truth when he recruits us as muscle and foot soldiers. And you know, life's not exactly easy in these slums, so you kind of appreciate getting to be in on the operations with The Sphinx. You're muscle for The Sphinx, you're in on his secret, his riddle that tons of rich and important folks aren't. It's why some soldier for The Sphinx without any pay. It's pay enough for them to be apart of a giant conspiracy."

"True, except you're only ever superficially in on the riddle. He only reveals to his footsoldiers that there's a con, not what the con is."

"Hey for some guys that's more than enough...but hey, level with me here Spider. The Sphinx is really working with The Axis? Because if so he's going to lose a lotttt of men from the footsoldier side of his operations. Guys are willing to go gangster for an easy buck, but traitor? Whew."

"The...variable I encountered was definitely from the footsoldier side of operations. But you here nothing from your end, and I doubt the Sphinx would try and put together an army as potentially volatile as one with Axis soldiers and American criminals. So I must wonder if the variable didn't come from the other end of The Sphinx's operations."

Jack's eyes widen. "Hold on. The Sphinx is...conning the Axis? Wait. Does that make him a goodguy now?"

"Of course not. But it does provide a hypothesis that warrants investigation. A desperate Axis enters into an alignment with The Sphinx. This somehow involves the theft of Thule artifacts around the country. Something goes wrong. They solve his riddle. And now they, for whatever reason, want the artifacts he's after."

"Well damn. They say you're the vampire Sherlock Holmes and they ain't kiddin'. Did you just wrap up the case Spider?"

"This case is not even close to being wrapped up. I have a hypothesis, not a theory."

"There's a difference."

"Oh yes.For instance, why would The Sphinx align himself with the Axis anyways? What would he be trying to get out of them?The Sphinx only associates with those he can use, what use would he have for the gradual losers of a world war? And how does it involve the artifacts of Thule?"

"I dunno. Beats me."

"I wasn't asking you."
"Okay. Okay. You do the "talking to yourself" thing Spider. Jack Flash don't judge."

"And stop calling yourself that."

"Hey, you're the boss. Call me whatever you want."

"No. I said for you to stop calling yourself Jack Flash."

"You just want me to call myself just Jack? Sure. Fine."

"Call yourself Jack Steiner. That's the name you were born with. That's your name."

"How come you can call yourself The Spider but I got to call myself Jack Steiner?"

"Because you're still human."

Jack shivers. "Oh...Okay..."

>Roll 1D20 Chance die. High numbers are lucky!
Rolled 6 (1d20)

Nat one
Rolled 20 (1d20)

Quick roll before work
Ah damn. Sucks to see a crit go to waste.

>No additional info from Jack...for now

"Look...is there anything else you want to ask me or do to me or whatever Spider, because it's kind of cold up here and my shirt's torn...not that I'm complaining about it or anything!"

"Keep an ear to the ground Jack. And spread the rumor that The Sphinx is working with the Axis. That should shake things up. It should get some men out of his footsoldiers if nothing else. And think back over what you've heard these past few months. See if you remember anything useful."

"Okay. You want to pick my brain again Spider, just knock. Or pull me out of a window. Whatever you want."

You hear someone scurrying mouse like up through the apartments and to the roof. The movements aren't that of an assassin, or even a man. Too light of step.

"You would told to leave." You say as she climbs up the ladder.

"You didn't tell me to leave Spider." Jack says unaware his girlfriend is climbing to the roof with only the senses of a basic.

He sees her, and he reacts as if he's looking at you. "Suzie! What the hell are you doing here?"

The girl stands halfway on the ladder, only part of her head visible. Her long, black hair and nervous, brown eyes filled with tears.

For a moment she doesn't know whether to go up or down, then lets her heart decide and starts to pull herself up.

"Help her up." You order Jack.

He nods, but only gets there in time to give her a shoulder to lean on. "Suzie! What the hell are you doing!" He whispers to her.

"I...I wasn't going to leave you. I mean I did leave you but then I heard the scream..."

This is bad. She's loyal to him. She's not just another one of his whores.

"You...You really are The Spider...oh my god..."

"Jack and I have an arrangement."

"Oh...Oh god...Why is your face like that? Are those your teeth? Are those your eyes? Why are they like that?"


"Why don't you leave Jack alone Mr. Spider? He's not a bad sort anymore! He's clean! Honest he is!"

"Woman. If you can see beyond the immediate present and into what could be your future, you will leave this man. Leave his world. Leave all this darkness. This is a world that destroys futures and families. This is a world where the only things that grow old are the tenements."

"Why...why you got some nerve Mr. Spider, to talk about darkness and bad people...you, you kill people! You kill them and then you put your mark on their foreheads because you like killing!"

"I know darkness like a mother knows her children. I watch it grow old and lose all innocence."

"Hey Spider, leave Suzie alone! She's just a girl you creep!" Jack raises his voice for the first time tonight, and that's a mistake.

Lowlifes do not raise their voice to The Spider.

You grab his shoulder and lift him off the ground.

Suzie shrieks. "Let go of him! Let go of him! Don't your hurt him!"

>Anything you want to say?

>Be nice
>Be mean
Well shit thought it was bo3.

>Say nothing, just leave.
This good with everyone? Also, what's bo3?
>>Be nice
>>Say nothing, just leave.
He wasn't being a lowlife just then.
Best of 3
You place him down on his two feet.
You could have dropped him. You would have dropped him if she wasn't here.


"Well thanks." Jack says bitterly.

You give him a stare that makes it clear you were not apologizing to him.

"Don't have a child with her."


"Have you slept with her?"

"Why the hell is that something of your concern?"

"Have you?"

"Well..Well yeah..."

You look at Suzie. "You want to have a child with this man?"

"Well...maybe..I...I guess so..."

"What are you, my dad?" Jack asks. "You grill me about The Sphinx and now you're talking about my sex life? What the hell?"

"I care about you breeding. I am an old creature Jack. I was born in the choked and blasted no man's lands of the previous world war. I am old. I have seen the innocent sons of wicked men grow into things I place my mark upon. You can't even be a man. You cannot hope to be a father."

"God...haven't even had a kid yet and you're coming down on me..."

"Do not have a child."

"The hell? Is that an order? Are you seriously ordering me to not have a kid?"


"I..I...I just don't understand you." Suzie says. "How can you say these things to us? How can you hold us accountable for things we ain't even have done yet?"

"Woman." You say turning to Suzie. "Do not have a child with this man. If you trust this man with your children you are just as culpable as he is in their future."

"How do you know we won't get married and...and have a great family, and have kids that we'll love?"

"Because you and he live shadows instead of real lives. You work shadow jobs and live in shadow houses and have no future. You will make a shadow family, not the family of your dreams. I have seen this happen. I have grown weary culling the mistakes of broken homes."

"What are you going to do if we do have a kid?" Suzie asks. "Are...are you going to hurt us?"

The fear in her eyes crush you completely.

"No. I ask you to leave this man for the sake of your dreams and the dreams of your children to come."

"Mr. Spider...do you have a family?"


"Will you have a family?"


"Why not?"

"Because I to live a shadow life."

"You don't...dream of things being better for you? You don't dream of you and someone else making a better day tomorrow and doing it again and again and again until you grow old?"


You do. In your most painful, private dreams you do.


"Because you ain't a...a person?"


"..C...Can you go now Mr. Spider? I want to be alone with Jack..." She clings to him and you know nothing good will come from this union.

Another child. Born to another shadow family.

In so many ways you are absolutely powerless to fight against the darkness of the world.

Without saying another word you leave.

Jack having a son turns your stomach almost as much as the thought of you having a son. But what can you do? You are a master of violence. But what violence can build a family?
>Roll 1D20 Chance die

>Go to Jr.'s lab. It's time to touch base and get your gear checked out.

>Go to The Lair. You need to review the case and contact Crime Web.

>Go see Fitzpatrick. You need to talk to him, see if you can't repair his trust in you.
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>Go to Jr.'s lab. It's time to touch base and get your gear checked out.
Need our gear to be ready for Ninjas.
Rolled 8 (1d20)


Maybe try to make a spider orb that can unfold into a net or trap once it bounces toward a living target.
Well. You're having one hell of a night, though its almost morning.


The sun begins to rise as you bound through the rooftops to Jr's hidden laboratory. He used to work out of the backroom of his dad's repair shop, but obviously that wasn't safe enough so you constructed for him a bunker underneath an abandoned warehouse that's owned by your Wentworth identity through several layers of false names and false companies.

What happened to his father will not happen to him.

You stop on the ledge of a humble diner. Something is wrong.
Your keen senses tell you that something is very wrong.
You're being watched.
You're being followed.

The ninja. Or ninjas. Why wouldn't they try and finish you off if given the chance? From what few files Crime Web has on them, they're specialists in the arts of infiltration, sabotage, and assassination with traditions that go back hundreds of years. Because of that history they have a sense of pride in their work unusual for mercenaries.

You stopping their bomb was bound to hurt their pride more than a little. And in the underworld nothing is more motivating than hurt pride.

The early morning breakfast crowd walks in and out of the diner. This is no place to fight someone like a ninja. And the streets are only going to get more crowded as dawn breaks.

What's a good place in a major metropolitan city to fight someone that could easily drop an illusion over an innocent bystander? Nowhere. But some places are better than others.

>Head for the industrial district. The automated machinery and smoke will dampen your senses, but also conceal you.

>Head for the financial district. Large skyscrapers will make it harder for the coward to hide.

>Head for the docks. You can hold your breathe for a long time, and illusions aren't so convincing underwater.
Ninjas may know smoke too well and the financial district has too many civilians.
>>Head for the docks. You can hold your breathe for a long time, and illusions aren't so convincing underwater.
Maybe the water will even the playing field. I doubt they'll suspect our skills to include the aquatic.
>Head for the docks. You can hold your breathe for a long time, and illusions aren't so convincing underwater
>Head for the docks. You can hold your breathe for a long time, and illusions aren't so convincing underwater.
Great to see more feeback! I don't think I'll update today though, rather busy. Check back tomorrow!
You signal Ram through your watch to make his way to Jr.'s lab. You aren't about to lead the ninja there now that you know he's following you. Jack might already by compromised. He might even be dead. That's of no concern of yours. He made his life.

But you aren't going to take chances with Jr.

Never again. No more chances with the ones you love.

You begin to lead the ninja to the docks. All the fishers are out checking their lines and nets, and the docks are relatively empty compared to the city proper. You can also hold your breath a remarkably long time and softlight particle illusions like what you encountered at the museum don't look so convincing underwater where they refract.

You don't like your chances. Surveillance and undetectability have always been your greatest weapons, but your encounter at the museum showed that the ninja can use those very weapons against you. You had a harder time detecting him than he did you.

You have to wonder...given how hard it was to find the ninja back at the museum even when you focused, now that you detect him following you in the middle of the city can you really say that you've found him?

It's likely he's letting you detect him. Throwing the gauntlet as it were. You've heard stories of Japanese superhumans challenging American superhumans to duels. Black Terrors and Liberators have been called out by Onis and Tengus and all manner of superhumans the empire has plucked from its recently colonized mystic shadow. Japan runs on ancient honor, or rather the perception of ancient honor, You doubt their average subject would approve the extent at which the government exploits its mystic colony. The exploitation does not end at the conscription of kami soldiers, not by a long shot.

But agents of the empire are known to make challenges

It's very likely you are being challenged and that he is letting you observe him.

And when you lose track of the ninja as you stand on a wooden warf overlooking an ocean stained orange and red by the sunrise you know that you are indeed being challenged.

Your claws slide over your fingers.

"You...or all of you. How many of you there are it makes no difference." You speak to the silent air.

You hear only the rocking of the waves beneath you in reply.

"You will die here far from home. You will die at the hands of The Spider, Master of Men."

For a moment you wonder if you were tricked. Where you meant to be distracted? Was this whole ploy just to waste your time? Was this just an intimidation tactic to let you know he can follow you but you cannot follow him?

But no.

This is indeed a showdown.

"Tsuchigumo." A voice behind you spits.

You turn, careful not to attack whatever you might see.

A black form like what you saw at the museum stands in front of you. An illusion? A man? A man cloaked in an illusion?

His body ripples like black ocean waves.

He has no face, no sound, no scent.
You strain your senses to the utmost in preparation for nasty surprises.

You fill your hands with your customized browning autos.

Heavily customized browning autos. Brownlee made them. They're perfectly silent weapons that use a cylinder of kinetically responsive air to muffle and another to either increase the force of the projectile to the point that it can shred plate metal or dampen it so that it only knocks the wind out of goons. The cylinders need a great deal of mechanical force to cycle the air, force applied each time your superhuman fingers pull the trigger.

Basics simply do not have the strength to fire your handguns...a fact you've used to torment goons by dropping your guns only for them to embarrass themselves when they try to shoot you with them.

Your handguns are technically not full autos but semi autos capable of burst fire, a fact Brownlee was wont to point out as it understanding that fact was crucial for you to wield them at their full potential. One pull of the trigger shoots a bullet at the maximum amount of kinetic energy, and holding down the trigger shoots progressively weaker bullets. The faster you shoot the weaker the overall force brought against the target.

Similar handguns are used by superhumans the world over, but Brownlee was one of the first to manufacture them, and he added another special feature to your pair, lights powerful enough to blind basics but not powerful enough to blind you.

They can also be adjusted to act as flashlights, which is of limited to use to you who can see as well in the dark as a cat, but proved invaluable in calming a young girl who had been kidnapped.

The light helped calm him, and you were careful to hide your face.

Your handguns aren't as versatile as your orbs, but they have superior stopping power making them your go to weapon as they are now leveled against your shadowy foe.

"Tscuhigumo?" You give a mirthless laugh. "I don't think I've ever been called that before."

>Roll 1D20
Rolled 9 (1d20)

inb4 critfail
You feel a movement of the wind and turn expecting an attack from behind.

There was an attack from behind. An invisible blade slices the air where you stood.

There was also another attack from below.

Something sharp and insivible crashes through the planks of the wharf and rips a long gash up your leg.

Invisible weapons wielded by invisible, silent assassins. You can see why the ninja have developed such a fearsome reputation in the Pacific.

You recover and stand waiting the next attack. Patience will keep you alive Wasted movement will . You stare at the unmoving black figure. Is he real? Is he an illusion? Is he here only to watch while the two invisible ones attack you? You've heard the ninja masters pass their secrets down from master to student. Are you supposed to be some kind of test for the other two?

You are, of course, assuming there are only two.

You shut your eyes. You go inside. First blood to them. But now you know to expect attacks from all directions.

>Prepare to react and attack
>Dive into the water
>Dive into the water

The water should at least make them visible to us, but it would also restrict our movement.
You sling some of your own blood with your claws across the warf.

It strikes nothing, and droplets stain the wood and water. But they do pass through the strange black humanoid, which shows you that he is once again an illusion.

You hope the ninjas aren't intangible as well as invisible. The stories out of the Pacific attribute all kind of insanity to ninjas. You can believe intangibility. You can believe anything.

But you go with the assumption that they're not on the wharf. If they're intangible you have about as much chance against them as you would against Captain Marvel.

So they're on the water. Or in the water.

You feel another movement of air inches from your skin and twist. A red flash shows something covered in your blood leaving a wound in your side.

It's not moving like a sword or a spear. I'ts moving like something on a string.

A chain weapon. Of course. You're not the only one in the world that uses weapons designed to

You feel somewhat hopeful even as another chained blade nearly takes out your eye. Maybe you aren't fighting a group. Maybe you're only fighting one man with two weapons.

You swipe with your claw and grasp at air. If you could only catch the chain...

You notice the blood covered blade that nicked your side slide into the ocean and leave your blood behind to mix with the water.

And you were hoping the surroundings would favor you...

More swipes, this time low and near your legs. He's trying to cut your hamstrings, but only succeeds in making you bleed further. Red hoops flash around your legs for a moment, then unwind into two lines that vanish into the water.

Is he below the water or on the water?

You unleash a volley from your handgun at the ocean and kick up a spray of water.

Part of it breaks around a humanoid shape standing on the water.

You dive at it, claws ready.

>Roll 1D20+2
Rolled 10 + 2 (1d20 + 2)

Someone please come and save me from these mediocre rolls.
Rolled 2 + 2 (1d10 + 2)

Rolled 6 + 2 (1d20 + 2)

Ignore that
Rolled 13 + 2 (1d20 + 2)

Rolling twice >:(
You strike something, and this time you're covered in blood not your own.

The salt water...well, it entering your wounds isn't the worst thing you've felt in your life. You have after all, been set on fire before. Several times.

You keep swiping. The invisibility is distorted by the water. There's something rippling, and you draw ribbons of red out from it.

Then he expands the illusion and covers you in a bubbling foam of light and you lose him.

The agitated waters become still in a few seconds. The dawn's light illuminates a sandy sea bed. Only the drifting blood shows that anything out of the ordinary happened here, that and a few broken planks from the wharf floating on the surface.

Did he run? Ninjas are known to do that. A burst of smoke, a loud noise, a blinding flash, and then gone. For all their supposed honor they certainly don't mind running. That's probably because they're smart. There are far more Liberators and Black Terrors than there will ever be ninja. A Ninja could kill fifty supersoldiers each and still not even things up for Hirohito. It's probably why the Japanese are steadily losing islands.

If he's smart he would run. The fight is turning in your favor. It's easier to read invisible attacks that push water rather than air. And you can stay down here a long time.

A flashing wave of distorted light particles tells you that he hasn't escaped. He's probably hoping to trick you with a flood of visual information like he did with a lack of visual information.

But his hope are futile. You don't pay any attention to the blinding light. You only go by what you feel, and you certainly feel where the chains are coming from.

>Roll 1D20+3
Look at that first roll again.
Rolled 12 + 3 (1d20 + 3)

The blades strike and spark against one of your claws while you reach out with the other to grasp the chains behind it.

He doesn't draw blood from you this time.

It's an interesting weapon. It's not just a blade on a chain, it's like...the strings used by the fighting kites of the mideast. It has blades running up and down the chains. If you had grasped it with your bare hand, you might have sliced your own fingers off.

You pull, and you feel the chain go slack.

Of course it would be designed to break away. They fight men that can hoist battleships above their heads. They would no enough to let their chain weapons be turned against them.

He's attacking from around you or above you. You cut loose with your handguns to see if he's around you.

The water bubbles and breaks against the violence of your barrage. But you see nothing...not break in the bubbles, no flash of red.

He's above you.

Is it a platform he stands on or is it some kind of ninja power that lets him walk on water? either way you just need to find an abnormality in the ripples of the surface to find him...

>Roll 1D20+3
>that garbled sentence
>They would know enough to not let their chain weapons be turned against them
Sorry about that. I apologize.
Rolled 8 + 3 (1d20 + 3)

You search out an abnormality in the waves above.

You look.
You find.
You shoot.

A red cloud blooms above the surface and then splashes down. It trickles below the surface in strands like red, dust filled cobwebs.

You hope the ninja likes feeling the hydrostatic shock of being hit by an artillery shell.

There's no plop of a body into water though. Whoever he is, he's still standing.

What a remarkable foe! You nearly shake with anticipation as you think about putting your mark on him.

And you smile.

You are after all, in your soul, a predator. You cannot help but have a hunter's perverse and bloody love for its prey.

The waves above suddenly shine like illuminated glass. It's a good tactic. You can no longer make out the individual waves of the water above you. It all looks still like a pane of frigid ice. But it wasn't a tactic your foe thought of until after he was shot.

He's getting sloppy. He's not getting fearful. Something of his caliber cannot get fearful. But perhaps he is becoming...nervous? Apprehensive?

As the blood showed, he is only mortal even if superhuman.

You fire a few more shots but fail to produce anymore blood. Did he leap back somewhere else on the water? No. That would have made waves that would have traveled down to where you stand.

He jumped to the beach or to a wharf.

You take a moment to plant your feed in the slush of the seabed only to feel the approach of another chain.

>Roll 1D20
Rolled 3 (1d20)

You move to dodge, but trip yourself up in the silt and fall on the chain's blade.

It's not the first time you've had something stuck in you that pierces you clean through.

It got a lung. You can feel yourself start to drown on your own blood. But it's only one. You can function without it for now. You have before.

The chain pulls tight.

It's barbed.

You can feel the barbs.

Oh this has been a pain filled morning.'

You start to ascend like a fish on a line.

You don't want to be hoisted onto his sword. You remember how back at the museum he sliced your orb. He's got more than enough cutting power to slice you clean in half.

You got to break free...

>Try to cut the chain.
>Try to cut the hook out of you (ouch!)
>>Try to cut the chain
They're designed to break. We can get the barbed hook later.
>Roll 1D20+3 to cut the chain.
Rolled 1 + 3 (1d20 + 3)

We're due for a good roll
Rolled 17 + 3 (1d20 + 3)

Hey QM, would you be ok with having a 1d100 system instead of 1d20? I feel like it works much better.
Yeah we can switch to 1d100.

Well. You were right about getting cut in two.
And thirds. And fourths. And fifths.

At least the guy is merciful enough to crush your head so you don't have to slowly die as a head attached to a bit of torso.

>Deaths: 1

Let's try that again.

>Roll 1D100+30
Rolled 100 + 30 (1d100 + 30)

I'mma gonna roll a 1 again.
Dice Gods prefer the 100.
Well you're a polarized guy aren't you? Went from 1 to 100.

You retract your claws. You need to feel along the chain for the break. You don't dare risk not cutting where its vulnerable.

You find it.

Sparks fly as you scratch again and again. The surface looms closer and still the sparks fly. Then, with groan, the chain breaks.

The force of the ninja's pull drives you up and out of the water, but you aren't pulled by the chain anymore. You fly up and above your enemy and see him more clearly than ever before.

He is one horror of a sight. Blotches of flowing red blood and salt water and sea silt all on an invisible frame. He is like an impressionist's painter's nightmare come to life. He doesn't look like a human. He doesn't look like anything.

You unload your handguns at him.

But the mess of color does not move.

Did you miss? How could you have missed?

Then as you land on the dock you realize.

An illusion. He made what you expected to see. Basic misdirection through suggestion...damn you for a fool for falling for it twice in the same day!

You catch a patch of red on the dock out of the corner of your eye and follow it. You whirl, and see your mangled foe leaning against the side of a warehouse. There's no invisibility or illusions here. You think he's out of whatever it is he uses to make illusions.

He also looks about out of time.

He is clad head to toe in black fabric, just like the illusion, but there's no ripple to him. A giant chest wound, possibly fatal, pours blood onto the dock.

His chains whirl blood and water and you would be able to follow them even without it all his cast is so weak and unfocused. You catch them in once claw and with a tug rip them out of his hands.

He falls to one knee and stares at you as you train your handgun on him.

A flash. Not an illusion but a flashbang. One last desperate trick to draw one last weapon.

But you see through the blinding white light. Your first death and your second birth came in the sensory hell that was trench warfare. Many of your foes assumed your keen senses meant that you could be harmed by bright light and loud sounds.

It is a mistake that has cost many their lives against you and a rumor you actively feed the underworld. But the truth is that you can tune out stimuli from your senses. the flashbang blinds you only for the fraction of a second it takes you to dismiss it, then you see the ninja draw a ray gun and fire.

Ray weapons are notorious for being counter superhuman weapons. The average Black Terror or Liberator can juggle machinegun fire. But light can circle the world 8 times in one second. That's a speed only the godlike beings like Captain Marvel can match.

But you don't have to be faster than the ray gun, only faster than the man pulling the trigger.

And you are.

With one hand you bring your claw up to block the ray. The metal of the claw burns yellow and hot against the invisible beam.

With the other hand you hurl an orb.
Your orb ricochets off a wooden pillar of a wharf, skips on the water like a stone, and then activates its stored energy to fly up at an angle directed at the ninja's hand.

It smashes against the ninja's hand with a wet thump turning bone into mush. The ray gun slides across the dock and lands at your feet.

This is good. This is very good. You have his gun, and you can no doubt learn a lot from it.

And you also have him, for as long as he'll last.

The ninja stares at you with a calm, inhuman acceptance. He dips his head slightly in a bow.

>Ask him something (if so, what?)
>Try and save his life. He's clearly some sort of superhuman, maybe one of the yokai or kami. He could survive his wounds if given treatment
>Don't dishonor him with an interrogation. Kill and mark him.
>>Ask him something
>>While trying to slow his death, staunch the bleeding, etc.
Their beliefs in their perceptions of honor hold no sway over you. On the other hand, he's not likely to answer questions directly.
I want to know how many more ninja there are in the city and what they've been told about the Sphinx's plan.
Maybe goad him with something like, "I'm surprised your Sphinx master only sent one of you, were the others running errands? How many ninja does it take to fetch coffee? I bet he hasn't even told you anything worth asking."
Or something.

Then, once he's answered, if he's still alive, kill him, and mark him.
You hold out your gauntleted hand palm first. The brand of the spider burns like a red star against the black metal. Your brand.

"Talk." You say. "Unless you want to leave the world in silence."

Blood trickles out of the Ninja's mouth as he tries to speak. "Not good english..."

Of course. He wasn't brought over to hold conversations after all.


"Tengoku? I do not know this word. What is tengoku?"

"Tengoku no Thule...kokuzoku..."


The ninja stiffens and crushes something in his undamaged hand that sends plumes of fire throughout his body.

You rush in. You must leave your mark as he dies. It's important for you that you mark them as they die.

It is important that they die by your hand. Personally, directly, brutally. It is a darkness within you that calls you do to do so.

You press your hand against his forehead and hear that wonderful, wonderful hiss of burning flesh. You smile an animal's smile and the light of the fire shines on your metal fangs.

Oh, you do not do it enough these days...

You let the ninja fall to the dock and beat out the flames that got on your coat.

The bloodlust leaves you and you realize that the body and all its evidence is burning. Whatever he used to light himself on fire is producing enough heat to quickly consume the body. Parts of it are already gone.

Damn you for a bloodthirsty fool, you could have thrown the body into the water but you weren't thinking. You'll have to do it now and hope you save enough for the autopsy.

>Roll 1D20
Rolled 9 (1d20)

You throw the flaming body and yourself into the water.

Fire. Steam. Salt water flowing once again into fresh wounds. It's agony, but its agony diminished by several of your nerve endings being dead.

When they start to grow back during the day though, oh boy, you are not looking forward to that. You're going to be on so much morphine.

Try as you might, you can't prevent the body from crumbling apart in your hands. How did it burn away so fast? It gets smaller, and smaller, and you're worried soon you'll be holding nothing but a pile of soggy ashes. The fire is out but still the body shrinks! You stare at it, not understanding what is happening.

And when it finally stops you're left with no answers and more questions.

You're holding the blackened and charred remains of some kind of four footed creature with a tangle of tails longer than its body streaming behind and it breaking into a mess of hair in the water.

You hoist it up on the doc and look at it.

You've seen so many bodies in your life, but they've always been human bodies, or atleast humanoid bodies.

This is the first time you've killed an animal, or what looks like an animal.

Through the smoking skin you see your mark right between its shut eyes.

What the hell did you just kill? It was clear from the start you were fighting more than a basic. But you expected a superhuman or an oni or a tengu. You didn't expect...whatever this is.

You let your tired body fall to the dock next to your charred prey and stare up at the sky.

The morning sun shines down upon you.

Oh what a night. Oh what a night and a day.

You use your signal watch to send a silent message to Ram to follow the signal and pick you up. A bomb casing. A beam gun. An animal body. You have so much to go over back at the Lair.

And you're so very tired. Getting a lung punctured will do that to you, but as you cough up black blood and discarded tissue you know your body is already repairing itself. Broken lung is being pushed out by new.

You wish your regenerative tissue was of some use to medical science. But the tests are conclusive. Your flesh reacts badly when grafted onto another human being. It fills with cancers.

It seems you are fated to leave only a legacy of violence without healing.

>Roll 1D20 to stay awake
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>Roll 1D20 to stay awake
Fell asleep. Heh
As you hear Ram drive the truck disguised as a Forever Frost ice truck...and then look to make sure its Ram and the truck, because you can never be sure in this strange life you live, you notice what was disguised under adrenaline and pain.

You've been poisoned.

Of course the ninja would use poison. Stories out of the Pacific say they're rather fond of it. Poison that kills. Poison that slows. Poison that clouds the mind.

It was on the blades, or in an aerosol you didn't' catch, or maybe in the water. It doesn't really matter now how it got in you. The acute burning in your veins tell you that its in you now.

Not the first time you've been poisoned. You were born in a cloud of experimental gas designed to be mustard gas but worse. It won't kill you.

But oh. Oh. You do not feel well. The color in your vision drains and drips. The world looks like you feel.

"Ram is here master." Ram says helping you stand with his massive hands.

You hate feeling this way. You hate feeling weak.

"Ram I killed a man that is now a burnt animal."

Ram kneels over the corpse. "I shall try to listen to whatever spirit still remains master."

"You wouldn't happen to know what it is Ram?"

"I believe it is a kitsune master. A type of kami."

"Never heard of it."

"They aren't like the oni or the tengu. They are secretive. Shapeshifters. Tricksters."

"And how." You sway on your feet and vomit up a stream of tissue and blood.

"Bad wounds master?"

"I'm healing. I'll be fine. But there's poison in me. I'll need to draw a blood sample. And analyze the bomb casing. And this beam weapon he pulled on me. And Jack. I think the kitsune might have gotten to Jack."

"There is also a communication from The Web, master."

"Oh of course there is. What does the illustrious hermit want?"

"He is sending one of his spiders to assist us. The government is also sending a superhero representative."

"Oh great." The government rep doesn't trouble you so much as the spider. There used to be a time when you were the one and only spider. Then there was The Web, and his Crime Web, and the resources he provided were too good to turn down. And so you became his spider, the first spider of many.

The Web has in hand with Fitzpatrick kept the law from sending a superhero to take you down. But that protection comes with costs. When The Web asks to meddle in your cases you let him. You don't dare say no.

"Ram, which spider is he sending?"

"Black Spider sir. The young one that controls insects and spiders with his mind."

Oh great.


The smartass.

"Any word on the superhero?" You ask crawling into the back of the truck.

"The Flag."

"The speedster? Well, he shouldn't be too hard to work with. Certainly can't be any worse than the boy.

The inside of the truck is like a mobile Lair. It is filled with investigative and medical equipment as well as extra gear and weaponry. Ram follows you inside and places the kitsune corpse in a freezer unit.
It is, to an extent, an actual ice truck.

You wait a moment for your vision to clear and then with a blurring hand attack a wire of morphine to one arm and with another wire take a sample of your poisoned blood.

"The empire does not like sending kitsune to fight." Ram says as the truck begins to move. "And yet here they have sent one, to America, to risk everything on stealing a Thule artifact for The Sphinx."

"Maybe one." You say. "Maybe more. He...it..whatever, mentioned more. But that might have been a faint. You say the empire doesn't like to use kitsune?"

"They are servants of the goddess Inari. They are sacred in ways other kami are not."

"Since when has that mattered to them? They weaponized their own religion and mythology Ram. The sun has hung red and wounded over Tokyo ever since they forced Amaterasu to fight Pele in the Pacific. She's supposed to be Hirohito's mother and they mobilized her like a glorified doomsday weapon."

"Perhaps I mispoke. The empire obviously doesn't care about the kitsune or Inari. But their rank and file do. Deeply. So they try not to use the kitsune."

"Or atleast not where the rank and file can see them."


"So maybe its not so strange we find a kitsune ninja behind enemy lines."

"They want to pretend to show respect to the children of Inari. So they don't send them to the frontlines where the soldiers can see. They send them to die alone in alien soil." Ram closes his eyes and gently strokes the burnt fur of the kitsune. "That is a heartless tactic."

"Naturally. It's why I was able to think of if when you couldn't old friend."

>Head home. Get some rest.
>Head to the lair and do some investigation on all your evidence
>Check on Jack
>Check on Fitzpatrick
>Check on Jr.
>Head home. Get some rest.
We should heal up after all that. Also are we still doing the 1d100 thing?
Aw crap, yes we are. Sorry I forgot about that and switched back to 1D20. It'll be 1D100 from here on out.
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Thread is about gone, so we'll end it here until the next one.

What do you think of the game so far? Any thoughts or criticisms? Are you ready for a nightmare drug flash back to WW1?

Check out the webcomic and stories set in the same world as the game here:

I'll post when the next thread is up on the general and on my twitter here: https://twitter.com/CapeworldComics

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