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Average Rating: 5
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By the same author as Grand Line 3.5


21st Sep 2018, 1:23 AM

Ah, GM mind games to throw you off. I clearly remember the first one that threw me for a loop. I was playing Zulu, a drug-fuelled close combat psychopath in Cyberpunk 2020. He routinely engaged armored combat vehicles with a spear and won. The only defense I have against him not being a clone of Bushmaster from Luke Cage is that I had never heard of that character before I made him.

So coming home one night after a long day of badassery, the party knows there is a rival gang of heavily armed vigilantes waiting in their hideout. Just as he's getting ready to try out his latest batch of psychosis-inducing combat drugs, he gets a phone call. It's his girlfriend with the 'I'm pregnant' call.

Now Zulu by all rights is one of the worst and most irredeemable characters I have ever played. His one positive quality is his loyalty to tribe and family. With 2 words, the GM changed my whole objective and mindset for the fight from 'berserker bloodbath' to 'survive and get home in one piece'.

To continue the mind break, when I finally to get back I'm met by my girlfriend's father and informed that the child isn't mine and I was pushed out of the nomad pack for all the heat I was bringing down on everyone around me.

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21st Sep 2018, 3:39 AM

Mind games, you say? I have a story for you!

Edit: Warning, this is a LONG story.

Davrel, as Magus in the DC universe, responded to a heist gone wrong in Gotham while Batman was away. Now, Magus is not well known. The crooks had some hostages, chief among them being some eight year old kid. They said they'd only negotiate with a member of the Justice League, because, well, it's Gotham. They said they were afraid the cops would just drag them into a back alley and put bullets in their heads if they surrendered, and the Justice League might smack them around, but the League doesn't kill people.

Magus enters, and they say all the hostages can go if he just agrees to take their place. Magus has so many ways to disarm chumps with guns, it ain't even funny, just sad. Yes, he agrees. They let most of the hostages go, and a guy puts handcuffs on him. Magus knows who these guys are, beause they're small time crooks in The FBI database, and apparently, they're stupid enough to plan their heists in a starbucks-type place where anyone walking by can hear them and call in a tip to the cops. Holy shit, how retarded can one group of criminals possibly be? Magus is practically bored, he's got this so covered.

So after the handcuffs are on him, the crook in charge lets the little girl go. She starts to run out, but stops to hug Magus. "Thanks, mister." Aww, that's cute, she's a good kid. Then he feels two sharp pinches in his butt. She steps back, and as he's wobbling, he sees the real trap. She had some kind of drug injectors surgically hidden in her wrists. "I got him, daddy!"

And that is how Davrel, powerful, badass, special forces sorcerer veteran capable of stopping tank rounds the way Neo stops bullets, was captured. Oh, but the fun doesn't stop there.

Magus wakes up, strapped to a metal frame. His arms are bound redundantly securely behind his back. His feet are locked in big heavy blocks, his legs securely fastened to the frame. Even his head and neck are securely restrained. He's in a forcefield protected capsule, in a room with magic glyphs all over the walls preventing him from using magic.

And then, three people walk in. Grodd, Faust, and Tala. You may not recognize these names, so let me describe the badness here. Grodd is a 1500 lb hyperintelligent gorilla. Felix Faust is a master of sorcery and the dark arts. Tala is an actual, literal sexy demon who likes to ally herself with powerful men.

Grodd smiled. "Hello there. I don't believe we've met. My name is Grodd. You are Magus, aren't you?" "You are correct. If you'd be so kind as to unlock these restraints, I could bow and offer you a proper handshake."

Grodd cracked a smile at the offer. "You won't escape that easily. I had you checked and searched. Your clothes are being held in a separate room. When Tala told me you were a mystic, I put her and Faust to work ensuring you wouldn't be able to use your magic. We've ensured there's no way for you to get loose." Magus said, "You mean… you're…" "That's right. Say it." "You're competent!" Grodd paused. "What?"

"I bet you even read the reports your people submit." "Of course I do… Are… are you crying?" "The justice league never reads my reports." Grodd paused. "What exactly do you do in the justice league?" "I'm a strategic and logistics expert, I'm a hazardous materials disposal expert, and one of very few healers in the league. Oh, but that doesn't mean I can't hold my own in a fight." "According to my sources, you squared off against Darkseid." "And I lasted almost two minutes."

"I see." "I was wielding a sword that cuts evil like butter. I stabbed him through the back, and it didn't even slow him down." "Where is this sword now?" "I would need to be wearing my gloves while I recite the scripture it's bound to." "What is the scripture?" "I can't tell you that, it would be irresponsible. You could really hurt yourself with that, and I somehow doubt you're trained in it's use."

Grodd said, "I can rip it from your mind." "You probably could, yes. But that would be a waste, considering it's one weapon, and cannot harm most members of the Justice League." Grodd leaned up to the forcefield and gazed closely at him. "You're not even phased by this, are you?" "It's a fantastic containment cell. Almost perfectly matched to me, personally. How long was I out?" "Two days." "Two- TWO DAYS!? I'm still not intimidated, but hot damn, I am impressed. Those engravings on the wall were done manually. Your people must have worked without sleep for that."

"True." "And these restraints, designed specifically for someone flexible and agile like me. Spacecraft grade titanium?" "Yes." "And I can assume you varied the thicknesses and angles so it's not vulnerable to sonic resonance attacks." "Of course." "Very impressive, and almost flawless."

"Almost?" "Oh, sure, you forgot one fatal flaw." "And that is?" "Forcefields use electrical power sources." Magus spit into the forcefield, and the spit fizzled away. "Oh." "The capsule is waterproof." "I see. Hmm. You've reduced me from a moderately powerful mage to on par with a normal human. I'm almost as weak as Faust now." Faust said, "Excuse me?" "Physically. Seriously. See this body? I'm built like a damned Olympic runner. I may not be stacked with muscle like Grodd is, but when it comes to stamina, there's no contest. Run some laps, do a few crunches. A hard body encourages a sharp mind."

Grodd gave an amused chuckle. "You know I could snap you in half, right?" "Of course, and in an enclosed cage match, my odds would be pretty bad. But in open terrain, I'd be a challenge to get your hands on." "You think you're clever, don't you?" "I'm still here, so perhaps not so clever as you've been led to believe. I mean, I wasn't recruited for my witty repartee. I was recruited because I'm a powerful healer, and healers are in short supply."

"Well, we'll soon have what we need from you." "I'm not in the habit of revealing justice league secrets. And that might actually mean something if I knew any." "You expect me to believe you don't know anything?" "You do know I've only been a member for three months, right? I'm so low on the totem pole that nobody even reads my reports." "What a pity, but I think you know things I don't." "Oh, on a great many subjects, yes. On that we can agree."

"Do you think you can outsmart me?" "'Tis never a matter of if, only a matter of when." Magus chuckled. "This forcefield no doubt blocks telepathy. To do otherwise would be a design flaw. You'll need to turn it off to get to me. Unless you have a larger forcefield around this cell, which I would recommend next time, you'll get maybe one or two shots at this. Be sure you don't waste them."

Grodd scowled at him. "Are you threatening me?" "One of us is in control here. Are you certain it's you?" Grodd slammed a fist into the forcefield, and Magus grinned. "Careful now. You wouldn't want to damage my cage." "You're going to die here." "No, I'm not. I'm going to steal your your girl, and your thunder." Tala put her arms around Grodd's arm. "You think you stand a chance with me? You're delusional."

Magus frowned. "Oh. Nevermind." Tala's eyes widened as she glared at him. "Is there something wrong with me!?" "I'm not really attracted to lesser demons." Her face turned red with rage. "Lesser- I am the queen of evil! My power is without equal!" "See, you say that, but I can feel your power from here. I don't see your touch warping the flesh and minds of all before you into your otherworldly servants. I don't see a throne of living flesh, I don't see an army of damned souls at your command. You're a succubus at best, and a cult leader with some parlour tricks at worst."

Faust hesitantly asked, "Don't you lead-" "Be silent!" Magus grinned. "Cult leader it is. Heh. I bet you don't even have a profane deity whose name drives mortal men mad. Better grab something spicier, 'cause that weak sauce ain't cuttin' it." The wind in the room kicked up, and her voice echoed. "Mortal fool! You toy with powers beyond your comprehension!" Magus yawned. "Ho hum. The kids I used to teach could do that. Let me guess. Next you flood the room with a black mist and I see a bunch of eyes watching me from a void."

Grodd placed a hand on her shoulder. "He's goading you. Let's leave him here to rot. For now." She nodded, and they left. The door slammed behind them, with Faust standing watch.

*Cheetah is tasked with guarding him. Magus talks to her like a normal person. Lets it slip that he thinks she's sexy, and he proceeds to promise her things after he gets loose. When she tells him she won't free him, he just grins and say, "I don't want your help it would spoil my fun."

They get to talking, and it's revealed that Davrel's favorite movie is Die Hard. She's kinda weirded out by the fact he's excited to be in this situation. Finally, two weeks after he woke up, a big thing is going down. All Grodd needs is a bit of information from Magus. Grodd enters the cell.

*Direct quoting resumes*

Grodd said, "It's time. I'm going to rip all the information from your mind, then I'll tear your throat out." Magus didn't move or respond.

"What's wrong? No quips? No taunts? So be it." Grodd entered the forcefield and reached out to take hold of Magus's head. His hands went right through him. "He's gone! How did he escape!?" The forcefield dropped, and as he exited, Magus dropped from the ceiling. He landed on his feet behind Tala, grabbed her hair, and pushed her head forward as he placed his hand to her throat. He drew it across, cutting to the bone with some unseen blade.

Magus rushed out the door and locked it from outside. Grodd said, "Grundy! Smash this door open!" The walls around them glitched and fizzled away, revealing the truth. The walls were torn to shreds, and an illusion had hidden the fact. Once they were out, written on the wall across from the door in blood were the words "die hard".

Grodd pulled a radio from his belt. "There's a Justice League member loose in the base! Seal all the exits! Form squads and search the base. Nobody goes alone!" Over the PA, Magus said, "I have a radio, too. Tala's dead. Didn't I tell you, Grodd? First your girl, then your thunder. Hah, I knew it. Just like every other woman. Tala hides her valuables in her panty drawer. You know, there's a joke to be made here regarding hidden treasures."

Over the radio, Sinestro said, "I'm closest! He's mine!" Several seconds later, Magus said, "That's two down. Now that I'm warmed up, let me introduce myself properly. Magus, serial number HMCS1273186. Special operations hunter, first class. Only person to ever escape Ultima Carcerem, architect of the closed casket massacre. See you soon, Atomic Skull. And since being too stressed is bad for your health, enjoy a little song from me to you."

Over the PA, tic tic tic by Doris Day began playing. Over the radio, Grodd said, "Form up on Atomic Skull!" The song reached the end, and everyone around Atomic Skull heard him yell. They turned to see a hole in the floor where he was a moment ago. In the room below, they saw Skull's flame go out, and then the room below went dark just before the floor returned to normal. Magus's voice returned over the PA. "Next up, I'll be coming for Copperhead! And just for you, it's Cold Hearted Snake!"

Copperhead was led to a more secure location, but Magus burst out of a vent and tapped the back of Copperhead's neck. Copperhead crumpled to the ground. Magus crouched and grabbed him as the others shot at him. With Copperhead under his arm, Magus ducked around a corner with the others in close pursuit. When they rounded the corner, Magus, and Copperhead, were both gone.

Magus's voice came over the PA system again. "Time for a song for the ladies. Cheetah, your dance card's ready to be punched. It's a great song, Cat Scratch Fever!" As the music played, she strained her senses, looking all around her as she made her way to the group. She and Star Sapphire were together. Cheetah was in front, and Star Sapphire yelped. Cheetah turned to her. "What is it?" "He's here." "How can you tell?" "Someone just slapped my ass."

Cheetah's eyes opened wide. "He did what?" From an air vent beside them, they heard him say, "You're supposed to turn around so I can snatch her when you're not looking." Star Sapphire fired a blast into the vent as they turned to it, readied. Cheetah felt arms wrap around her waist as she was yanked back through a doorway. Star Sapphire turned to react as the door shut. She ripped right through, but they were gone.

*End scene*

And so it had begun. Three straight hours of everyone being trapped like rats, warned ahead of time, and a relavant song, sometimes mocking, sometimes fucking terrifying, would be played for everyone before the target was snatched right out from under their noses.

It was a terrifying mix of Die Hard, something out of the Aliens franchise, and pop goes the weasel.

The actual inspiration for this was someone describing... Something, dunno what, as 'the most intense Jack in the box ever'.

Davrel's only midtier in terms of raw power, but it's experience, equipment, and his skills that make him well rounded. Plus, with the way his magic works, he can go to to toe with a high tier opponent in short bursts, but magic costs calories. Burn too many, and, well, autophagy starts, and once your own body starts absorbing it's organs for fuel, you're dead. Due to his low body fat percentage, this is actually a huge danger.

Tala's a demon, no telling how death works for her, but he needed her to be anywhere that's not helping them track and murder him. Same with Sinestro. You can't defend against sneak attacks, and the way to beat a lantern is to render them unable to use their ring. Chop the hand off, and you're golden. Screw up, and, well, the entire base is going to learn that you're a lantern, and you're double screwed.

The entire running fight is Davrel being totally fucked, convincing everyone else that they're the ones who are fucked, and then gradually unfucking himself.

Mind games upon mind games, with as little actual flaunting of his magic as he can actually get away with.

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21st Sep 2018, 1:34 PM

Maaaaan, I'm completely torn between wanting to play with you, and wanting to stay the heck away.

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21st Sep 2018, 6:34 PM

Casting from stamina turns into casting from hit points. Davrel rose to the level of facing Darkseid, thought still not on an even footing. He stabbed Darkseid through the back with a holy avenger, then sniped his eyes out, when Darkseid's cried out, he fired a blast into the open mouth. He separated Darkseid's arms from his body via portals, then shoved his hand to the sword wound, and then nearly committed suicide by overexertion, blasting Darkseid's internal organs directly, over and over, until he managed to render Darkseid unconscious. This was not D&D combat rounds, or comic book/movie combat. It's just a continuous, fast paced beatdown, burning through all his power as fast as possible, because he's damn well aware that if Darkseid lands a single hit, he's dead.

Davrel did his very best to kill Darkseid. It didn't take, and Davrel's body had begun to eat his musculature. See, it goes fat->muscle->nonvital organs->vital organs. Since he has little to no body fat, it went almost directly to musculature. The Rosham got to him less than a minute after he faced Darkseid, and pumped gallon after gallon of high calorie protein shake into his stomach. He still almost died.

Single regular opponent? Doable. Entire secret society of super villains in one bigass brawl? Nope. He's completely FUBARed. The songs pulled double duty, both allowing Davrel to leverage psychological power over the enemy, and eat a power bar between ambushes.

Edit: Oh, there is one more point that you should know about Davrel's Die Hard adventure. He could have called the league at any time, but chose not to, both as a personal challenge/for bragging rights, and because if the league comes in as backup, then the bad guys are likely to scatter.

Also, I based his superhero look on this guy.
This guy right here.

HUD in the shades, coat with pockets of holding, white silk gloves, and because I like minmaxing, he can take his hat off and fling it like a discus of death, razor sharp.

So he's a special forces veteran who dresses like a fuckmothering vampire, his shades function like Samus Aran's visor, he can decapitate you with his hat like Oddjob, and he has pockets like The Mask. He also wears taps on the toes of his shoes and uses them for various sound-based tricks. Brownie points if you can tell me about another character who does anything like this.

And if I changed the colors and some details around, you'd never have any idea where I cribbed any of these ideas.

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Generic Greg

21st Sep 2018, 11:59 PM

Davrels kind of an extreme variant of a blood mage and a Glass cannon, isn't he?

God I love playing Glass Cannons.

Kill instantly or be killed instantly.

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22nd Sep 2018, 3:29 PM

He has very powerful defensive measures, but when you're up against the likes of Superman, bizarro, or Darkseid, "pretty good" ain't gonna cut it. He basically invented the barrier spell, and is the ultimate barrier master in the world, up to and including being able to wear barriers as a skintight, invisible bodysuit plus air filter.

It gives the illusion of super strength and invulnerability, but still nowhere near on par with the really heavy hitters.

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21st Sep 2018, 9:36 AM

I’ve never been particularly good at mind games, I’m too much of a brute force player to bother with subtly most of the time. Funnily enough my poor social awareness and erratic bouts of paranoia make a surprisingly good defense against mind games. Like the Call of Cthulhu game I was in where I derailed the plot through glorious violence. The first plot point was that one of the players was getting cryptic and threatening messages written on his door at night. My solution was to stake the place out in a nearby tree with a high caliber rifle. Ended up dusting the first arc’s big bad halfway through the first session. I then proceeded to run over a pack of cultists, interrogate the last one alive Jack Bauer style, and then executed him after he gave me everything he knew. This was the first session. Now you could say that playing Call of Cthulhu like a hack and slash is doing it wrong, but our naked force purging of an insidious cult proved to be so effective that the entire party actually came out of that campaign better off than when they went into it

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22nd Sep 2018, 4:30 PM

I always enjoy a good bout of cutting the gordian knot.

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22nd Sep 2018, 11:44 AM

Maybe he just *wanted* them to think he stopped playing mind games.

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22nd Sep 2018, 4:27 PM

I tend to have two levels of subtlety in real life. Subtle as a sledgehammer or so subtle I fly over everyones head.

I wonder if I could weaponize this for a game?

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23rd Sep 2018, 1:13 AM

Try making a character that does both.

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