This session was a quick one-shot that took place 40 years in the past, when super heroes first appeared on the scene. It is out of sync with the rest of the story, but could foreshadow future events!
It is the Golden Age of Stantonia, a city which in 40 years will be known as Arkanopolis. Within the past few years, a flood of uber-men, aliens, mutants, and other extraordinary beings has flocked to Stantonia. Where before heroes were virtually unknown, now they are everywhere.
However, just recently, there have been strange happenings in Stantonia. Famous heroes have disappeared, never to be heard from again. Monsters have appeared out of thin air to begin attacking people. And just recently, a massive energy wave washed over the city, creating a frenzy, causing all of the normal human citizens to turn on their super-powered protectors and attack them.
To search for the cause of all this mayhem, the heroic forces brought together all the psychics, mystics, and wizards. Their combined divinations were able to determine that an entity known only as “The Wizard” was manipulating events in Stantonia. However, he was able to do this while remaining in a pocket dimension outside of normal space.
Using the combined power of all the heroes, they were able to open a portal to The Wizard’s dimension, and dozens of brave souls charged through, knowing not what they would encounter on the other side.
Standing in the soft sunlight, four figures find themselves somewhat disoriented. Expecting an exotic, mind-boggling pocket dimension, they were somewhat dismayed to find serene rolling fields under a bright blue sky.
Even more starting was the fact that they were alone. Of the dozens of heroes who entered the portal, only four had made it to the other side. The fate of the others was unknown.
Dr. Mystic, the famous showman and professional magician stands gazing up in mild amusement at the bright blue sky. Atop his head is his bright white turban, at the center of which is a palm-sized gemstone, which slowly shifts colors. With a flourish of his black silk cape, he turns to face his companions.
The Truth, a well known investigator stands nearby. With no special powers other than a keen intellect and street smarts, he still manages to hold his own amongst the heroes of Stantonia. Even though he cannot leap buildings or turn invisible, they have all come to respect his ability to ferret out the truth and find the trail, even when it has long gone cold.
Gleaming in the sun, Ironsides shifts his weight back and forth. A living anachronism, he represents America’s first foray in biological weaponry. Nearly 100 years earlier, following the epic battle between the Ironclads, the Monitor and the Merrimack, the U.S. Government decided to experiment with grafting iron directly onto human soldiers. The technique proved to be dangerous, and infection killed most of the participants. Ironsides survived, however, but fell into a deep coma. For nearly a century he lay dormant until doctors finally found a way to revive him. He awoke to find a different world, but one that could use his talents as a fighter.
Finally, the most exotic of the four, The Cerulean, stands alone. A normal human who found an artifact of immense power, he is now exists as a symbiotic pair. The Cerulean, both his name and his power, is surrounded by a malleable substance that he can shape with the power of his mind.
Disoriented, they all stand around and chat for a while, trying to decide what to do.
Jumping high into the air, Ironsides determines that the surface they are standing on is actually spherical, like the Earth, except much, much smaller. From his apex 30 feet in the air, Ironsides can actually see the curvature on the horizon.
Without too much trouble, the Truth finds a path leading away, and they all decide to follow it.
Soon enough, they encounter a small village. The buildings are shabby and worn, but no one is in site. On the path leading into the village is a wooden sign that simply reads “Mhenlo”
Without hesitation, the Cerulean lashes out at the sign, splintering and destroying it. This, in turn, brings several inhabitants into the street to see the commotion.
The people of the village are of a diminutive stature, none being taller than five feet. They all seem very scared of the newcomers, and of course, none of them speaks English.
To break the tension, Dr. Mystic reaches into his cape and produces three interlocking iron rings. With a flick of the wrist he separates the rings, much too quickly to see how it is done. He attempts to give the rings to the villagers, but they quickly back away as he approaches.
By closely observing the villagers’ behavior, the Truth determines that there are two buildings in particular that hold importance. Making their way towards one of the buildings, the villagers quickly move to block the entrance.
Not wanting to hurt anyone, Dr. Mystic has an idea. He wraps his cape around the Truth, enveloping him in silky blackness. Whispering in an arcane tongue, he uses his actual, but meager, magical abilities and conjures an image of flames around the Truth. Throwing back his cape he reveals the Truth, engulfed in flames. In turn, the Truth runs directly at the villagers guarding the door of the building. Without hesitation, they scatter, fleeing the terrifying fiery man.
Inside the building, encased in a crystal hemisphere is a humanoid figure. J’Brayzz of the Beyond is inside, one of the heroes missing for several weeks. He is an alien from Titan, the moon of Saturn. The heroes smash at the crystal enclosure but cannot get him out. Somewhat frustrated, they leave the building and head to the other one spotted by the Truth.
Arrayed similarly to the first building, the second one contains another crystal pod. Inside is another hero, Mechanicus 9, a sentient robot. Again, the heroes try to free him without any luck.
Leaving the building, the Truth realizes that there is a third building that forms an equilateral triangle with the first two. Sure enough, inside the third building they find Micronimus, a size-manipulating mutant. He too is encased in crystal.
The Truth triangulates the three pods and stands quietly in the center. Soon enough, he senses an external presence and is filled with feelings of fear and malevolence. They wait for a while, but nothing happens.
They continue on the road, which becomes larger and more well-worn. In the distance, they spot a series of stone columns arranged in a circle, much like Stonehenge. In the center, atop a throne, sits a little man, seemingly distracted. When he finally sees the heroes, he immediately accuses them of betraying their own people.
Puzzled by the man’s strange behavior, Dr Mystic explains that they are here to find the Wizard.
With a curious smile, the man replies, “And what will you do when you find him?”
For dramatic effect, Dr Mystic produces Mandragor, his trusty parakeet, and holds him in his hand. In a show of smashing Mandragor, Dr Mystic claps his hands fiercely together and cries out, “We will exterminate him!” (Of course, being a trained parakeet, Mandragor slides up Dr Mystic’s sleeve at just the right moment.)
With a chuckle, the strange man calls Dr Mystic on his trick, saying “It will take more than stuffing a parakeet up your sleeve to impress me.”
Enraged that someone would reveal his secrets, Dr Mystic roars for the man to shut his mouth.
Angered by Dr Mystic’s outburst, the little man stands and proclaims, “If you are searching for the Wizard, then you have found him!” Producing a remote control from inside his robes, he pushes a button and the surrounding rubble begins to assemble itself.
Pieces of scrap metal begin slamming together, forming into the shape of two humanoids, although their skeletons are metal and their flesh is made of crackling electricity.
As the golems assemble themselves, a bright lattice of electricity surrounds the Wizard.
Moving quickly, the Truth whips out his trusty tranquilizer pistol and takes a snap shot at the Wizard. Unfortunately, the electro shield easily deflects the dart.
Pushing another button on his remote, the Wizard sends out a cage of electric bars to surround Ironsides. However, to his dismay, Ironsides simply grits his teeth against the pain and steps through the bars. Electricity crackles across his iron plates, but he emerges unharmed, if a little singed.
Using his meager mental powers, Dr Mystic is able to sense that the golems have a rudimentary sentience. Facing one, he contacts its primitive mind and establishes hypnotic control. Knowing it will be impossible to turn it against its master, he instead deflects it from the fight and instructs it to begin building a tower of junk. Submitting to Dr Mystic’s control, the golem ambles away and dutifully begins stacking scrap.
Turning his focus on the other golem, Dr Mystic is again able to establish control. With a wry smile, he directs the golem to smash the tower being built by its compatriot. Like the first, it dutifully ambles over and pushes over the small pile. This little drama continues as the fight with the Wizard rages on.
The Truth finally manages to find a weak spot and shoot a dart through the Wizard’s electro defenses. In quick succession he manages to score several hits with his tranquilizer gun.
Groggy from the darts, the Wizard attempts to escape, but is caught and brought down by Ironsides.
Hog-tied on the ground, the Wizard explains why there are only 4 heroes. Only true humans could come through, he explains. Aliens, mutants, automatons, and such were barred from entering his dimension. True humans, he says, are the future. Again, he accuses the heroes of betraying their own kind.
From the village, a group of villagers comes, carrying the bodies of the three trapped heroes, no longer encased in crystal. One of the villagers carries a long spear suffused with magical energy.
Miming out the actions, the villager explains how he used the spear to shatter the crystal prisons and free each of the heroes.
Seeing the heroes out in the open, the Wizard exclaims, “Do you know what you have done? You have destroyed us all!” He goes on to explain that the life force of the heroes was what sustained the pocket dimension, and now it was collapsing. As he spoke, the heroes noticed that the sky was darkening, and the ground began to shake.
Just then, The Truth received a faint transmission on his communicator. “crackle hiss back to the portal hiss hiss can’t hold it open much crackle” Realizing that their passage home is in danger, the heroes grab the 3 unconscious bodies and the Wizard and run back to the portal site. All around them, the pocket dimension begins to crumble.
Reaching through the portal is a single grasping hand. Linking their own hands, Ironsides grabs the solitary hand and they are pulled into the portal. As they enter, the pocket dimension collapses and explodes, sending a shockwave into the portal after them. They are buffeted about and lose consciousness.
Awakening back in Stantonia, they find all the other heroes that tried to enter the portal. However, the Wizard is nowhere to be found. He never came through, say the other heroes.
And that’s how we defeated the Wizard and destroyed his pocket dimension! What happened to him? Where did he end up? What sort of trouble does he have planned for Arkanopolis? These are questions surely to be confronted 40 years in the future by the Gossamer City Guardians!