The New Centurions, Issue #6: Earthblood

Last Monday night ((I love the Christmas break. We get to game on weekday nights)) was the latest session of the New Centurions campaign. We had wrapped up the previous storyline, about a missing pay-off to a mob boss, the session before, so this session, we were getting back to the ongoing problem of mysterious sinkholes appearing in the streets of Manhattan.

The first part of the session was spent thinking about how to deal with the fact that the mob boss now knew where our secret base was, and seemed to think we owed him something. This was mainly just brainstorming how to increase security, and decide if we were going to go visit the mob boss at his house to show him how intrusive that was, or just wait to see if he pushed it any farther.

We decided to wait, because of not wanting to go to war right this second.

So, then we turned our attention to the sinkhole problem. We had discovered a few sessions ago that there was a strange, black, oily substance flowing under the city streets in some areas. A sample sent to an occultist contact told us that it was essentially dimensional blood: a fluid that was produced by the friction between our world and one in another dimension. A similar sample sent to a geologist told us that it seemed to be a molecule containing a great deal of energy, sort of like a hydrocarbon, but that the elements that made it up didn’t exist on the periodic table.

The geologist, who specialized in eastern seaboard seismology, was also able to help us narrow down where the next sinkhole was likely to manifest. We went to investigate, and found that, deep below the streets, the ground was pulverized to loose soil and gravel, below which was this earthblood we had found elsewhere. Queen Celeste drained off some of the mystic potential of the stuff to forestall the forthcoming sinkhole, and the rest of us went topside to help evacuate everyone ((S.P.E.C.-T.E.R. had to put his position with the police department on the line to get authorization for this one.)).

We checked in with the geologist again, who was baffled as to what could have alleviated the build-up of seismic forces without disastrous release ((We figured telling her we had done it by magic would have been a little cruel.)), and she pointed us to the next build-up, which was happening sort-of NOW. This was in a more prosperous part of the city, and it was a much tougher sell to get people to evacuate. At least, it was tough right up to the moment when the giant bug the size of a bus jumped up out of the sinkhole and released a squad of monsters.

Clint used the basic idea of D&D’s mind flayers for the villains, mapping them onto the Marvel Comics idea of Skrulls – alien, inimical beings from another dimension that were bent on humanity’s destruction/enslavement. The bulk of the creatures – five of them, as I recall – were minion grunts, fighting with knives, while one wizard-type stood back blasting at everyone’s brain from behind his forcefield.

We dispatched the grunts, freed the mentally enslaved bug-bus ((Thanks to Falkata making mental contact with it while locked inside.)), and restrained the brainblaster. Except the brainblaster didn’t give up, and mind-controlled Paladin’s brain, forcing him to attack S.P.E.C.-T.E.R. ((Who, as an android, was both immune to and unaware of these mental shenanigans.)) Before Paladin could attack, though, Queen Celeste zapped the brainblaster with her magic, killing him outright, and freeing Paladin from its mental control.

This prompted a bit of a heated exchange between S.P.E.C.-T.E.R. and the others, as S.P.E.C.-T.E.R. was unaware of the mental attacks, and was quite upset about a prisoner in his custody (as he saw it) being executed.

And then the bug-bus agreed to take us to the other dimension to battle the evil monsters to stop the attacks on our reality and incidentally free its people. Which is where we left things.

All in all, a fun game. The investigation section worked significantly better than previously with the solid goal in sight, and there was a real sense of progress and achievement in stopping this squad of invaders and knowing where to go next. I’m looking forward to the next session.

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