For a while now, I've been part of an ongoing X-Men RPG at GUGS. The main campaign is on hiatus over the summer holidays, but Doc (our GM) decided to run a side campaign those of us who were still around. As well as letting us continue to enjoy playing as superheroes, it would allow us to test out the new Marvel Heroic Roleplaying system from Margaret Weis Productions, before we switched to it for the main campaign.
What follows is an in-character account of the first four sessions of play, as experienced by my character, Jenny Darkholme. Before we start, I should mention that Jenny is based off of the open source character known as Jenny Everywhere and, as such, I should probably post the following disclaimer:
The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, in order that others may use this property as they wish. All rights reversed.
With that out of the way, I'll introduce you to the characters, and then leave the rest to Jenny. :)
Alex Murphy (played by Blair) – Formerly the school’s resident drug dealer, Murphy is now attempting to establish himself as team leader in the fight against the forces of evil. He has the ability to manipulate air.
Blaine Burton (played by Elliot) – Teenage single dad with the ability to manipulate inanimate objects; his sympathies are currently leaning towards the Brotherhood’s ideology, in light of recent events.
Chad Hudson (played by Heather) – Earth manipulating jerkass jock.
Jenny Darkholme (played by me) – Orphan with a strong sense of responsibility and potentially destined to be one of the guardians of the multiverse. She has the ability to teleport, and to manipulate energy.
TE Lawrence (played by Anna) – An undercover android created by SHIELD and sent to track down the source of MGH being sold on the Midtown High School campus.
Note: As of episode two, Lawrence's memory banks have been erased except for his cover identity and a single directive: ‘Save as many as you can.’
Things had been going well. I was getting on great with my foster mother, even got used to calling her mom. I'd settled in okay at school, and my grades weren't half bad. Wasn't much, but it was better than what had come before. It couldn't last though.
It was the first day back at school after summer vacation, and shaping up as you'd expect. School bullies picking on the new kid and me stepping in to help and getting a trip to the principal's office for my troubles, because I just can't help sticking my nose in. What made things different this year though, was that there was a TV crew on campus, and during assembly me and five others were called up to the stage to be the 'lucky' new stars of the latest dumbass reality show. 'Way things worked out though, I almost wish that had been what we were really getting into.
Suppose some introductions are in order before we get started, huh?
I'm Jenny Darkholme, a senior at Midtown High School in, duh, Midtown Manhattan. I grew up at the Marcum Youth Institute, and stayed there for a lot longer than most, until Mrs Darkholme took me in a few years ago. Oh yeah, and I'm a mutant. It's sorta cool, except for the whole 'everybody hates you' deal. I found out I could shoot energy blasts when I was about thirteen and I'd kept quiet about it, practicing in secret...'til my first day as a senior.
My fellow 'star students' included: Alex Murphy, a nice enough guy, as long as you ignore him being the campus drug dealer; Blaine Burton, a single dad, and that's a long complicated story we won't get into right now; Chad Hudson, your typical Jock McDouche; Darren, who’s pretty bright for a jock and also much less of a jerk than you'd expect; and then there's T.E. Lawrence, a British exchange student with some seriously underdeveloped social skills.
So there we were, up on stage in front of this camera crew. Except it turns out they're not really a camera crew but a bunch of anti-mutant terrorists calling themselves the Purifiers, who somehow worked out that the six of us were mutants, and had marked us for a very public execution.
In the dust up that followed, a couple of us discovered some new powers. I learnt that I could teleport, and Chad learned that he was some kind of earth manipulator. He wasn't happy to find out that he's a 'freak' just like the rest of us. Well, serves him right.
What happened next is a long story, but I'll try to give you the short version. Basically, we're now fugitives from the law. The attack on the school was put down to a 'gang war' between the Purifiers and the X-Men, whose leader, Cyclops, showed up and saved our bacon.
In the aftermath, I discovered my foster mother is actually a shapeshifter called Mystique. Cyclops says she was probably just grooming me for recruitment into some 'mutant supremacist' terror organisation called the Brotherhood, but she claims she really does care about me. I'm not sure what to believe anymore, all I know is that I trusted her and she's been lying to me all this time.
We had to put all our differences aside though, because Blaine's daughter, Beth, had been kidnapped by the Purifiers and taken to the Raft, where the rest of the X-Men and the Brotherhood were being held. I don't think the rest of the Raft personnel knew about the secret lab in their lower levels, or about the experiments they were performing down there in an attempt to 'cure the mutant disease'. What I do know is, that the cure actually works, and the results ain't pretty. Just ask the X-Men and the Brotherhood, who we found had been stripped of their powers, and some of them were in a bad way because of it. That wasn't nearly as horrifying, though, as running into an older version of myself who broke open the Raft with some scary reality-bending powers - setting a whole bunch of supervillains loose on the city. Then she showed up again after we'd all barely got out alive, and injected Cyclops with the 'cure' before disappearing into thin air again.
After that, the Brotherhood went off by themselves, but Mystique stayed behind with us, and we met Doctor Strange, self-proclaimed 'Sorceror Supreme' - sounds to me like someone's on an ego-trip. Anyway, Strange asked us to 'step inside his cloak' to be transported to his Sanctum Sanctorum, where we could hide out safely. I had doubts, but I went along with it.
Something weird happened along the way though. Instead of going straight to the Sanctum...I'm just gonna call it the Sanctum because it's easier. Anyway, I found myself in this blank, misty space, filled from one end to the other - as far as my eyes could see - by different versions of me of varying age and build, and some guys as well, all dressed up like some kind of pulp ace pilot or something. They said that I wasn't supposed to be there, that it was 'too soon', but that if I could find my way back there, they would answer my questions about who they were, and who my evil older self was.
When I returned to the Sanctum, Doctor Strange seemed to have some idea about what was going on, but he wouldn't be able to answer my questions for an hour, as he had to tend to the X-Men's injuries and other matters. So the six of us passed our time in the Sanctum learning a valuable lesson: don't touch Doctor Strange's stuff, because it's, well...strange. There was this chair that kept following Chad around, a TV with a creepy clown on every channel (I think I might have set It loose, whatever It is), some weird book that only Blaine could read (it freaking burned me), and Chad kept 'upsetting' the Sanctum by swearing.
Anyway, once all that 'hilarity' was over with, Doctor Strange took me aside and told me that there is more than one of everything, and that each universe has a guardian who 'must protect the balance between the universes adjacent to theirs, and the universes adjacent to those'...and so on and so forth. It's always the same girl in each universe, but they're all different in their own ways. Big responsibility, and apparently I'm one of these 'chosen' guardians. Yay me. Story of my life, I'm always keeping the balance somehow.
We were just getting ready to leave. Mystique...mom introduced me to her other foster daughter, Anna Marie AKA Rogue. She seemed nice enough, and we chatted briefly before she and Mystique left for Scotland with the X-Men in their jet, hoping to find a way of reversing the 'cure'. Mom left me a communicator in case I wanted to contact her.
But before we could make our way to the safe house that we'd been told to go to, the Avengers showed up. Except, they weren't really the Avengers, and they had a bunch of supervillains with them. I don't know what they were, but their faces were green and they weren't human. Doctor Strange held them off while we made a retreat through the back door, and as we were making tracks we heard news that a plane had crashed not far from where we were; it was the X-Men's jet.
I teleported to the scene, and checked the wreckage. There was no sign of survivors, or any casualties for that matter. I did find the black box though, thinking if I could just figure out a way to access it, I might be able to find out what happened. All I could tell from the wreckage was that it looked like someone set a bomb off from inside the jet.
I got back to the others, and they'd found us some wheels. Blaine made a huge speech about how we need to take the fight to 'them'. I kinda agree, but I'm not exactly sure that 'they' are who we think they are. Those guards at the Raft bled silver slugs, and those phony Avengers definitely weren't human. What the heck is going on here?
To be continued...
New Runaways #5 will be online next Monday @ 6:00pm. Stay tuned!