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Sentinels of the Multiverse AAR no 1: “Machine Slaughterhouse On Mars”

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on February 19, 2013

An After-Action-Report of a 2-player game of “SENTINELS of the MULTIVERSE” by Greater Than Games LLC

Note, live from the HFC Test Lab: we only chose 1 character each because the rulebook mentions the “In a two-player-game, each player takes 2 characters”-rule as an “Advanced Rule”. We wanted to check out if the game could be won by 2 characters. This is an AAR of our third attempt to do so.

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The sentient beings of the Multiverse were shocked when they heard about the brutal defeat of first Haka and Ra, followed by the defeat of their comrades Tempest and Bunker, who were sent out when the first duo of super heroes had been defeated.

Their mission: to once and for all destroy what was known as one of the biggest threats in the Multiverse – a former robot factory built on Earth: Aldred Industries XK 9000-Alpha, which eventually had become a sentient and thinking being due to corrupted upgrades of its inhibitor core.

Omnitron, the "Self-Aware Robotics Factory"

Omnitron, the “Self-Aware Robotics Factory”

This self-aware robot factory is now known as Omnitron and even has begun to duplicate itself!

It had been discovered that the so-called “Core 1” sent out drones, which started to build a duplicate of the factory on the planet Mars – and sadly this was done in such a way that it completely went under the radar of the ever-watchful super heroes of the Multiverse. Instead of having the chance to interrupt what was going on during the early stages of the factory building process, our heroes were informed about it when it was already too late to do anything about it – and now, Omnitron is controlling a good part of the planet Mars and we do not know what the machine brain is going to do next!

Quickly, two of our heroes – Maori warrior Haka and Egypt sun god Ra – decided to deal with the new threat on their own and made their way to Mars in order to destroy the new Omnitron presence, but as we know, they were defeated…

The idea to launch a quick counter attack by sending Alien warrior Tempest from outer Space and The Indestructible Super Soldier Bunker to Wagner Mars Base turned out to be a bad one, as these warriors were also defeated in what seemed little more than a swift strike by the sentient machine.

Not willing to accept this defeat, Psychic time-traveler Visionary and angelic Templar Fanatic made their way to Mars as well…  and, at first, all appeared to go well when they arrived there…

The Fanatic, the angelic templar, is one of the "damage dealers" in SotM

The Fanatic, the angelic templar, is one of the “damage dealers” in SotM

Omnitron appeared to be in a sort of maintenance mode, when the heroes started their attack… the factory stayed rather inactive at first (at least compared to what was reported by the other heroes about their arrival before).

So, after the self-aware factory realized through its sensors that sentient beings were present again, it only used its disintegration ray cannons to fire on Fanatic and then sent out an assault drone to finish her – instead of spamming her with drones and components, as it had done with the other hero teams.

Finishing Fanatic off wasn’t so easy, though, since Fanatic was perfectly aware of the various ways Omnitron was usually dealing with enemies. So she was able to suck up these attacks, then she flew high into the air to make a powerful dive attack on the drone, destroying it with the first blow and – using the gap in Omnitron’s defenses – to actually attack the machine complex itself. That was something the other hero teams had been unable to do, because they had been welcomed by many drones and heavy initial attacks at their arrival, and had never been able to get close to the core.

After landing on solid, red ground again, Fanatic used her Exorcism power and was able to hit Omnitron again, this time with a hard melee attack, followed by radiant damage. Visionary, seeing Fanatic already bringing the fight to the enemy instead of waiting for other opportunities, tried to calm herself down and used the fact that Omnitron was in combat with Fanatic to prepare for a demoralizing psychic attack against the machine brain. The idea was to actually get into the self-conscious parts of the machine to disrupt it – just like Visionary would do with any sentient and conscious opponent. She couldn’t be sure, though, that this would work out as she hoped it would, since it was still unclear whether Omnitron was actually feeling and thinking or not… what appeared to be a sentient self-conscious machine complex could still just be a sort of simulation of consciousness, a corrupted program running in the many computers of the factory.

The Visionary is a support / control character in SotM

The Visionary is a support / control character in SotM

But no matter the outcome – this attack needed some preparation time and while doing that, The Visionary used her power to enlighten herself in order to find the best ways to deal with her enemy. In addition, the problems of the harsh environment on planet Mars quickly became obvious as the biosphere caught fire due to some atmospheric disturbances. Both heroes got wounded by the fire storms, Fanatic was hit while flying high again to evade possible counter attacks by Omnitron, and The Visionary was caught unawares while being in her combat meditation – which was fatal since her preparation for the demoralizing attack now failed and the attack couldn’t be launched as intended.

During the next minutes, the entire factory went into a different operation mode. While still trying to hide from the biosphere fire, our heroes were attacked again by Omnitron with disintegration rays which scored a hit against Fanatic. Then the machine factory prepared itself to use Interpolation Beams, high energy attacks that were meant to hit hard whenever one was preparing for the next battle move and so disrupting any coordinated attacks. A new assault drone was sent out, this time attacking The Visionary, apparently because Omnitron considered her an easier – surface based – target for the mobile drones, which are unable to fly. The melee attack by the drone did some damage to Visionary while she was still trying to prepare herself after her interrupted meditation.

Fanatic, hoping her comrade would be able to deal with the drone, continued to attack the main complex of the thinking factory and managed to land a few strikes again. Visionary evaded the drone and used her precognition ability to try to see what Omnitron was planning to do next… knowledge is power… and a very sinister plan was revealed to her! By communicating this to Fanatic, they were able to avoid some of the nastiest surprises Omnitron had in mind for them – a devastating bomb explosion.

One of Omnitron's specialties: spawning drones... lots of them...

One of Omnitron’s specialties: spawning drones… lots of them…

So far the battle had been no cakewalk, but it seemed that this time, Omnitron would be facing two heroes who, due to their specific powers, were able to counter what the machine was throwing against its attackers and what had proofed to be so fatal for the other heroes before. Exhausted by the use of her precognition abilities, Visionary wasn’t able to use her Enlighten Power to further prepare herself, but tried to calm down instead and relax for the next round of battle – when she got hit by the Interpolation Beam! Realizing she would have severe difficulties in this battle because she needed some time for psychic preparation to do anything at all, she still wanted to try as best as she could in her supportive role. Just a few minutes of silence, a few minutes without being attacked would be enough to show the machine what she was able to do…

…for example to stop the fire in the biosphere! While Visionary was doing that and both heroes managed to get into the factory facility, some pipes in the wall burst and oxygen was quickly becoming thin, but Fanatic was able to close the leak to prevent any contamination by the toxic fluids stored in the factory room. Searching their way to the central chamber where they would be able to attack the core of the machine, Visionary and Fanatic were surprised by an attack of dangerous disintegration rays again, dangerous not so much because of the damage the guns were able to deal out – the rays were actually not that strong – but more because of the fact that the whole complex was covered by a net of such cannons and you would never know when you were in danger of getting hit by such a thing again – every step within the factory could provoke such an attack, which was nerve-wrecking.

Omnitron in its "Rampaging Robot" mode

Omnitron in its “Rampaging Robot” mode

At a certain point something was wrong, it felt different to the situation before and as our heroes soon realized, the whole factory got busy and into an aggressive mode that The Visionary called ‘the Rampaging Robot mode’… and indeed that was quite a fitting description of what was going to happen next…

Omnitron’s sensors detected that the enemies were getting closer to vital parts of ‘his body’. This time, though, it wouldn’t be satisfied by attacking with just some laser cannons, so suddenly the whole factory complex was bathed in light – lightning bolts were all over the place, shooting down on the heroes from unknown spots in the walls. At first, it was not clear what this was about, because the lightning bolts didn’t have any effect on the heroes…until Visionary told Fanatic that she ‘had foreseen’ this attack when she had connected with the machine brain earlier by using her precognition abilities. She had even forced this attack, in exchange for pushing back the devastating bomb attack, because the lightning bolts did only destroy equipment. Since neither her nor Fanatic had used any equipment so far, this attack didn’t do any harm to them and so had been the lesser evil.

Time for some relaxation and a bit more confidence, because now they knew which jokers Omnitron ‘had upon his sleeves’, as Fanatic called it… followed by ‘gosh, darn it, it’s a damn machine! There are no sleeves…’ and both had to laugh. ‘But this is not the only tactics I saw, Omnitron can adapt to different attacks and now that we are within the facility, he will use this adaptive technology’, Visionary said.

A little testing proved that the factory was now running an adaptive plating subroutine to prepare its buildings for further attacks. The adaptive plating was able to analyze the energy type of an attack and to use this knowledge for countering its effects, so that a second attack with the same energy type would be without effect. The fact that Omnitron’s computer could run these routines and analysis in milliseconds meant that the heroes had to switch their attack types all the time to achieve one blow through… which was making things not easier.

While still considering this new tactic of their enemy, Fanatic was suddenly attacked by another assault drone coming round the corner and they knew they had to stop the machine before they would be finally overrun by the many drones it could send out. To fight a thinking factory, which was able to produce new weapons and technologies during battle, was something hard to adjust to – even for heroes.

One of Visionary's strengths is control of the Villain deck

One of Visionary’s strengths is control of the Villain deck

This new attack on Visionary caused a furor of Fanatic and with the battle cry „You have been judged and found sorely wanting. PERISH!“ she raised her arms and suddenly the place became lit by fire beams thundering down from the heaven and striking the whole complex at once. It was such a devastating attack that our heroes had to run into cover to make sure they wouldn’t get hurt themselves. This time Omnitron had to deal with an attack that actually seemed to hurt it, lights were flickering, loud high-pitched noises filled the air and the various beam cannons went out-of-order because of the energy overload.

Feeling that this was a point of weakness on their enemy’s side, Fanatic didn’t stop to catch some breath, but used her Exorcism power to press the attack. In the meantime, The Visionary evoked a psychic decoy, a mind-made copy of herself that was sent out through the hallways of the factory to hopefully fool anything that was out there waiting to attack them. Now that they appeared to have some control over the course of the battle, they needed to act quickly and hit hard, but Visionary also used that time to ‘concentrate… prepare… calm down… focus…’…since in these moments of concentration she could connect to her greatest inner powers.

The factory was now in a Maintainance Level Mode again, trying to repair important parts of its mechanical organism. It began to send out some robotic weaponry that obviously had been part of an older culture located on Mars. Visionary remembered books that described how such robots were part of the environment defenses of Mars itself in earlier times. They didn’t initially belong to Omnitron’s devices, so the thinking computer had found some ways to utilize them for his own defense – which was not good… as if the drones wouldn’t mean enough trouble already!

It soon became clear to our heroes that their enemy was far from being defeated by one attack, no matter how strong. In no time, drones and the energy cannons were fully operational again… this time, the drones were human-shaped automatons that joined the former spider-like assault drones in their attack. Both heroes were expecting to be attacked by the mass of drones now, but the mechanical slaves didn’t move towards Fanatic and Visionary. The heroes realized that they were busy attacking The Visionary’s psychic decoy that was still standing in the hallway – the plan had worked as intended, giving the heroes time to prepare! The battle was looking good so far – this would be a different fight than what Omnitron had encountered before…but they had no time to lose since the decoy was already fading away… they had to hurry!

A bright light exploded from the spot were Fanatic was standing and it was like a sun burst into a nova and all drones were damaged at once by this power, while both heroes got some strength back – it was as if the energy that was damaging the drones had some healing power as well. When the light was gone, Fanatic turned against the structures of the factory without losing time and attacked again with her Exorcism power, which damaged another part of the structure severely. Omnitron was under constant attack now, this should have some effect!

Using the time window when the drones seemed to be out-of-order to concentrate, Visionary built an ether sphere around Fanatic, which would be able to absorb damage and to change the energy type used in an attack. Since Fanatic was on a crusade, attacking relentlessly with all she had, she would certainly be the prime target for any of Omnitron’s counter attacks, so Visionary tried to support her while preparing herself with her meditation…“enlighten me what to do, enlighten me where to hit… I am her supporter, I have to help her.“

An hostile environment doesn't make things easier...

An hostile environment doesn’t make things easier…

However, her concentration broke when they felt the effects of new firestorms in the biosphere. Whether this was some natural effect or actually caused by Omnitron they couldn’t tell, but it made the battle a hell of a lot harder for them.

Due to this sudden change of the situation, Visionary got confused and instinctively used the psychic ether shield that she was building up for Fanatic to cover herself, so she got away with some minor damage, while Fanatic was hit hard, being unprepared to this environmental change while attacking the factory structures.

Omnitron was obviously not affected by this biosphere eruption and got his drones back working, ordering them to attack again, while the disintegration rays covered their assault. Fanatic was in a melee with the drones, Visionary was the target of the energy cannons and both were wounded multiple times. After this initial assault, the humanoid drones turned around and started an concentrated assault on The Visionary, wounding her again. In all the mess, our heroes suddently discovered that an electro-pulse explosive was thrown from somewhere into the battlefield. Both knew: if that thing was going to explode in the hallway, they would be toast! Something had to be done and quickly…!

This relic will save Fanatics life!

This relic will save Fanatics life!

The Visionary realized that Fanatic was now clad in a white breast-plate with a blood-red cross on it. She had never seen this before, but hadn’t the time to further think about it… seeing that Fanatic used her power to deal with this explosive device as she was closer to it…. The Visionary decided to reach out with her psychic power to attack what was supposed to be the drones’ cerebral core, destroying one drone, damaging the others, thus relieving the pressure on her friend and giving her the time to deal with the bomb.

Turning back to Fanatic, she again concentrated hard to ‘enlighten…enlighten…’ and to support her friend, who was exhausted by all the attacks. They were in the middle of a hard fight, the environment was an enemy, too, and she was exhausted herself but still… She focused again with all what was left of her psychic strength and finally managed to extinguish the firestorms in the biosphere. She fell on her knees, and for a few seconds , the world became dark before her eyes…

Therefore, she couldn’t see that the heavy fightings in the hallways had again damaged the walls and a new oxygen leak had appeared, but Fanatic was fast enough and managed to close it in one swift move, so no harm was done – except for the time loss… there was simply no time to deal with such distracting things, they had to attack Omnitron before it could regenerate again! It seemed as if the self-aware factory was using the whole planet in an attempt to defeat them!

One of Omnitron's most devastating devices

One of Omnitron’s most devastating devices

There was no interruption or pause in the factory’s attacks. The energy beams were pulsing through the hallway and again Fanatic was hurt by them, while still trying to disarm the explosive which was laying there like a poisonous snake ready to bite. She couldn’t see her friend anywhere nearby, so it seemed as if she was the only one able to deal with the pulse explosive…when suddenly a loud and all-pervasive high sound erupted in the hallway, followed by an explosion that shattered the structure around them. The electro-pulse eruption was filling the hallways of the factory with pure pain and since Fanatic was much closer to the explosive, she got hit first, the heat wave smashing her into the wall and everything turned into pain and darkness… then silence.

When she regained consciousness, she knew her ‘Aegis of Resurrection’ had saved her life, but after looking over where The Visionary had been standing before the explosion, she could only see a leg under a pile of wreckage. Afraid that her trusted friend was dead, she cautiously moved closer, but then she saw a colorful light emerging from the rubble, a ghostly cloud that was moving to one of the damaged (but still active) drones, destroying it immediately when it came into contact with it. So at least The Visionary was still alive and still using the powerful abilities of her trained mind.

Before Fanatic could help her out of the rubble, she suddenly heard a rushing noise… turning around again, she saw drones after drones marching towards them. She was still alive, and not incapacitated as her friend, but nevertheless unable to move much and certainly not able to withstand any large attack anymore, but she wanted to fight as good as she could… but with the first strike of the humanoid drone in front of her, all went dark again…

Somehow both heroes survived and could be rescued, so we now have this report of what was going on. Aside from the fact that again strong heroes were defeated by the self-aware factory we now know as Omnitron, the really terrifying part is that Visionary was able to analyze the self-defense parameters of Omnitron while laying still under the rubble, her mind free… and she reported that all the heavy attacks they did on the structures only brought Omnitron down to 26% damage. In other words: his fighting capacity was still at 74%  – despite all attacks he had to deal with, which brings the question up, how can he be defeated? Can he?

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