Heroes Unlimited: School Prayering Mantis Vs. Merkill
Soar into the world of spandex, capes, and USA being number one in this patriotic play session of Palladium’s Heroes Unlimited. Zack’s mutant hero, School Prayering Mantis, joins the Sentinels of Liberty and Justice, a team of super heroes sponsored by the US government. The Sentinels are summoned to the White House and given a mission to save the whole world from the deadliest threat it has ever faced: the super-villain the Globalist and his Antifa foot soldiers.
Zack: The original Heroes Unlimited is a mess. It’s a proto-Rifts in a lot of ways because good old Kevin Siembieda combined his TMNT RPG game, his fantasy Palladium game, elements of Robotech, and a super hero system.
Zack: But nothing is streamlined into one system, it’s all sort of sitting there separately.
Steve: Right, so you can make a mutant super hero or a TMNT-style mutant animal and they use two different systems. But I think it works.
Zack: To quote Spike Jonze in Three Kings using night vision goggles during the day, “Yeah, they sorta work.”
Zack: I was able to make a character at least.
Steve: Let’s hear it.
Zack: Well you told me to go with a patriotic theme, so I created School Prayering Mantis.
Zack: I couldn’t find any rules for creating a bug man exactly since they left bugs off the animal mutants charts even though there was a fly man in the TMNT cartoon.
Steve: The RPG predates the cartoon pretty sure.
Zack: Right, so my guy is a mutant in the X-men sense and not the mutagen basted turtles sense. He was born with super powers and grew up in rural Wisconsin. Andy Albright went to a Christian private school and believes he can control his mutant powers because he has been saved by Christ. The mascot at his school was a praying mantis, so he adopted that as his guise.
Steve: What are his powers?
Zack: Two minor, one major. Winged flight, Extraordinary Physical Strength (25), and Invisibility.
Zack: As the praying mantis is known to have invisibility.
Zack: He wears an armored mantis-eyed helmet and he is armed, because it’s listed in the weapons available, with a giant ass flamberge sword which inflicts 3D6 damage under normal circumstances, but because of his super strength he has a +10 bonus so it does 13-28 damage.
Zack: For comparison, the twin jade-handled Colt .45s he carries do only 4-24 damage.
Steve: Anything else I should know?
Zack: Uh, according to the rules he can lift 5,000 pounds and carry 2,500 pounds.
Zack: So lift an SUV and carry a Honda Civic.
Steve: Alright, so you just graduated high school and you’re thinking about going to college. You’ve been keeping your vigilante life a secret.
Zack: Founding Fathers Christian College has given me a full scholarship to play basketball.
Steve: Hard to dunk on the guy with insect wings.
Zack: Steve this is a 96% white school. We still respect the Christian fundamentals of basketball and there is no sinful dunking allowed.
Steve: Right so you are getting all packed up to go to college when a car pulls into your driveway.
Steve: You hear your mom and dad talking to someone at the door and then these three guys walk into your bedroom.
Zack: Please leave the door open. Even with my guy friends my parents insist on an open-doors policy. Their house, their rules.
Steve: The first guy that walks in is a gray-haired guy in a suit. He looks sort of familiar. “Andy Albright? I’m Robert Fitzgibbons, I work for the government.”
Zack: I’m conflicted. On the one hand I have been raised to believe the government is bad, but on the other hand it recently got extremely good when a strong Christian president was elected.
Steve: The other two guys are very familiar. They’re hugely muscular and dressed in red, white, and blue spandex. It’s Patriot, leader of the Sentinels of Liberty and Justice, and Constitution, the guy who can grow really huge.
Zack: As huge as the Founding Fathers that dwell in our hearts.
Zack: “It is an honor to meet you all.”
Steve: Patriot steps forward and in a super deep manly voice says, “The honor is ours. We’ve been watching your work. You nabbed those bank robbers.”
Zack: Yes, with my sword. I nabbed them in half.
Steve: We will have to talk some about your methods, but we would like to have you on our super team. Are you ready to defend America?
Zack: I was born ready to defend America.
Steve: We would like to have you as a Sentinel.
Zack: Who is our first target? Elizabeth Warren?
Steve: Constitution seems a bit worried by you asking that. “She is, uh, a sitting senator, Andy. She’s not a criminal.”
Zack: “Call me Mantis, please.”
Steve: Patriot says, “We don’t have a mission for you yet, Mantis. We want you to settle in.”
Zack: Gonna settle in then.
Steve: You say goodbye to your parents and ride with Patriot and Constitution to the airport where you get to fly in the Sentinel Jet. You arrive at Sentinel HQ in Washington where you are shown the training facility and given a private room.
Zack: Are there any other super heroes here?
Steve: All of the other Sentinels are on duty right now. Mostly in Afghanistan and Syria.
Steve: Also for some reason Minuteman, the hothead of the Sentinels, keeps meeting with the Russian ambassador and flying to Russia to have dinner. Also he got a Russian businessman to invest in his patriotic t-shirt business. One hundred million dollars.
Steve: The same Russian guy who finances a right wing biker gang that is fighting in Ukraine.
Zack: That sounds totally normal. Stop trying to make everything into a conspiracy, Steve.
Steve: Patriot and Constitution sit you down in the cafeteria and they want to have a talk with you about using a giant sword and two pistols.
Steve: Patriot is like, “Being a pyscho with guns is sort of like Minuteman’s thing. Maybe you could use a lasso or something to catch our enemies?”
Zack: When David fought Goliath did he arrest him or smite him?
Steve: Constitution says, “My man you are jacked like crazy. You are like 350 pounds of pure muscle. You are not David.”
Zack: Maybe not literally, not one-on-one, but I am a single man against an entire godless apparatus that is being used to strangle freedom and righteousness from the earth.
Zack: So if I have to chop a few people in half or gun down some guys with my 45s, well, that is just David flinging a stone in a different way.
Steve: Patriot says, “You know we can’t bring prayer back to public schools.”
Zack: Right, of course, which is the point of school choice. So that public schools cease to exist and we can all choose to go to faith-based geometry classes and pray our way to the radius of a circle.
Steve: Patriot says, “I am not certain that prayer belongs in geometry.”
Zack: And you just told me a flamberge doesn’t belong in the head of a bad guy. What are you going to tell me next? That octagons evolved from hexagons?
Steve: Constitution says, “Maybe it’s better if you focus on your combat training.”
Zack: All I need are some sides of beef and pumpkins with faces drawn on them.
Steve: Patriot says, “We have some left over Hitler head dummies if you’d like to shoot some Nazis.”
Zack: It’s called freedom of speech, Patriot, and it’s enshrined in the Constitution, Constitution.
Steve: Better use the holochamber.
Zack: I want to go in the holochamber and practice my swording and shooting skills on various enemies of freedom such as the Ayatollahs, communists, Al Qaeda post-1989 and pre-whenever America decided they’re good again and started helping them in Yemen and Syria. Oh and Mexican illegals.
Zack: They want to destroy freedom. Freedom equals the Constitution so by the transitive property, the immigrants are coming to burn the US Constitution.
Zack: They can do it over my dead body.
Steve: Alright, you lay waste to thousands of holographic enemies with your pistols and your flamberge. You demonstrate your ruthless devotion the American dream.
Steve: After training for a few days, you receive a message from Patriot that you are to prepare for real combat.
Zack: Finally. Blowing up mosques full of Mexican illegals is so unsatisfying when their corpses fade out into pixels after a second.
Zack: I’ll put on my mantis helmet and red, white, and blue spandex costume.
Steve: You, Constitution, and Patriot fly to the White House in the Sentinel Jet. The secret service guards show you into the Oval Office where the president is waiting for you.
Zack: I kneel in fealty to the mighty president.
Steve: Rise, rise. Please. I’ve heard a lot of good things about you, Mantis. You are the sort of guy who gets things done. The whole sword thing. Very impressive. I watched the tape. Very, very good. The best. I need the best. Because the problems of this world are huge.
Zack: What can I do for you? Anything. I will kill them. Do you want me to kill the Saudis for sponsoring terrorism.
Steve: No, no, I just helped them open a counter-terrorism HQ with a beautiful orb. A very nice orb. The best.
Steve: This job means facing the true evil in this world. Patriot, Constitution, Mantis, I need you to do nothing short of eliminating the Globalist.
Steve: That’s the name of a super villain. He wants us all to live together in harmony in some insane utopia where it’s not okay to call anybody a g-word. Even when you’re asking for your goop cook for something to put on your well done steak you get in all sorts of trouble because of these guys.
Zack: This sounds worse than the guy that claimed I should stop using the word “wigger” for some reason. I still haven’t figured out how that word might be bad.
Steve: The Globalist has an army of terrorist soldiers. They’re called the Antifa. They want to make it politically incorrect to call muslims subhumans. They maced somebody in one of my hats at a Milo protest.
Zack: They sound like the real fascists.
Steve: Exactly! Take the Sentinel Jet and go bomb the heck out of them.
Zack: Aren’t we allied with Germany?
Steve: Right, technically, for now, which is why I am sending you guys instead of launching a bunch of cruise missiles. Go to the Globalist’s secret lair in Berlin and bring him to justice.
Steve: The president dismisses you.
Zack: What info does the Sentinel computer have on the Globalist?
Steve: They might be American but they relocated to Germany recently.
Steve: Their base is somewhere underground in Berlin.
Zack: Any known associates?
Steve: Other than thousands of Antifa footsoldiers, Globalist is rumored to have a super-powered associate last spotted in Cuxhaven.
Zack: The Globalist cucks are at it again. Anything else on this associate?
Steve: No name but it is rumored to be a female and they hang out in the port of Cuxhaven.
Zack: Going to take this info to Patriot and Constitution and suggest we fly to Cuxhaven.
Steve: Patriot says, “Right, Andy, I think you had better let us handle things from here. Constitution and I will investigate Cuxhaven and you head back to base.”
Zack: Why did you train me to kill all those Antifa nazis if you aren’t even going to let me chop some in half with my flamberge?
Steve: Constitution agrees, “You’re too young and not disciplined enough. We’ll drop you off at the HQ.”
Steve: No, they do that, flying back to the HQ and dropping you off.
Zack: How long will it take for me to fly to Cuxhaven using my giant insect wings?
Steve: Like a full day.
Zack: I’m a high schooler. I don’t really have money for a plane ticket to Germany. I’ll fly there.
Steve: You’re over the Atlantic when you get a phone call.
Zack: Sprint has much better coverage than I expected. “Yello?”
Steve: “Mantis, it’s the president. Sentinel HQ has lost all contact with Patriot and Constitution in Germany. I’m going to put you in touch with one of my top men. He’s a friend of mine. His codename is Face. You can have him at the Port Hotel.”
Zack: “Of course, Mr. President. Glad to help. Hail MAGA!”
Steve: “Hail MAGA.”
Zack: Sounds like this mysterious ally of the Globalist might have gotten to my Sentinel buds before they could take her down. Now it’s up to me and Face.
Steve: You reach Cuxhaven. It is a grim port city in Northern Germany. There seems to be quite a bit of damage to some buildings in the port area, including some smoking rubble, and lots of police and even tanks on the streets.
Zack: Is there fighting going on now?
Steve: No, it seems to be the aftermath of a fight.
Zack: Going to the Port Hotel to meet up with Face.
Steve: The Port Hotel is pretty nice. People there seem on edge when you walk in wearing a mantis helmet and cape. One man walks up and talks to you in terse German.
Zack: “NO HABLA EUROPEAN. I’m looking for Face.” Try to pantomime face to him.
Steve: He doesn’t know anything. After shouting for a minute or so he walks away shaking his head. A hideously ugly and fat old mn walks up to you. “I am Face you are looking for.”
Zack: Ah! Don’t sneak up on me like that with your face and everything. You can call me Mantis. What’s the plan?
Steve: Face looks around and says, “Trust no one. The Germans are liars. Your friends have been taken to the Sea Reichstag. They are being held there and tortured by Merkill.”
Zack: I’ll tear her apart!
Steve: Face says, “Good, comrade. I give you scubatank and special spetsnaz underwater tracking device to find Sea Reichstag.”
Zack: How about about a mini-sub or something?
Steve: Nyet! No mini-sub. You swim down with the fishes and find Merkill. Destroy her!
Zack: And rescue my friends?
Steve: Yes, also this if possible.
Zack: I don’t really know how to use scuba equipment but I’m sure it’s not hard to figure out.
Steve: Right dude for sure. When you go on a scuba diving trip the first thing the dive master says is “no training necessary just go for it.”
Zack: Diving down using the tracking device. I have my pistols in a waterproof bag.
Steve: The tracking device leads you from the port to the depth and the glow of an undersea building. It looks sort of like the capitol building in DC. But underwater.
Zack: Is there a way in?
Steve: There are hatches and also it is raised up off the sea floor on columns so there might be a moon pool.
Zack: Swimming to the moon pool. Turning invisible as I enter.
Steve: You slip inside and see a stout blue-skinned woman wearing a fish-scale pantsuit. She is standing next to a handsom and much younger man.
Zack: Do I recognize either of them?
Steve: Yes! The woman seems to be the alter-ego of Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, in her companion is familiar as well. But you don’t know his name.
Zack: I guess I never will because I am sneaking up behind him and flamberging him in half.
Steve: Give me a stealth roll. What’s your Prowl skill?
Zack: 62% plus being invisible.
Steve: Gonna say that adds 25% to prowl so 87%.
Steve: Roll it.
Zack: Creeping up on them…
Steve: You trip over a cable running across the floor that makes a lamp swing and spills a bunch of thumbtacks which stick to your foot painfully. You take 1 hp damage as you stagger around.
Steve: Worse, Merkill and her friend seem to see you.
Steve: “The ruse is up! Show yourself, servant of the dying yankee whale!”
Zack: “I’m only showing myself so you can see the demon sent to grim reap your souls!”
Zack: And I’m attacking with the flamberge.
Steve: You roar with patriotic fury and swing your sword at Merkill. Roll a D20 for initiative.
Steve: You strike before they can act. Roll to hit.
Zack: 16 again.
Steve: You hit Merkill and she is going to try to parry with her metal gauntlets.
Steve: She fails. Roll damage.
Zack: 21 damage.
Steve: Alright, you swing your mighty flamberge down on Merkill. She brings up her guantlets to try to catch your blade, but you adjust your swing at the last moment and lop off her left arm. She has an armor-rating to her blue skin but it isn’t enough and your blade slashes through her flesh and severs her left arm.
Zack: So much for the tolerant left!
Steve: Merkill is seriously injured and reels back with a scream of pain, grabbing at her severed arm. Her companion steps in and shouts, “MACRON SMASH!” He swings one of his huge fists at you.
Zack: Can I dodge?
Steve: You can try but you are at a disadvantage because you attacked someone else and over-extended yourself with that two-handed swing.
Zack: Nah, forget it, I’m not wasting my next attack on a dodge. I’ll take it.
Steve: He punches you right in the chest for 10 damage. He hits you with the force of an hammer smashing into an anvil. Macron’s hands are notoriously powerful.
Zack: Still doing pretty good, but I felt that.
Steve: The blow sends you flying, but you land on your feet. Your move.
Zack: I’m going to charge back at Macron and swing my sword again.
Steve: Give me a to-hit.
Zack: Natural 20.
Steve: You swing your sword and strike Macron in the forehead. Roll double damage.
Zack: 18 x 2 so 36.
Steve: You chop Macron down like a log you’re splitting. All the way to the groin. Blood and guts go everywhere. Merkill is screaming.
Zack: You’ve got one chance to live, Merkill! Where are Patriot and Constitution?
Steve: “What? What are you speaking of? What is this, you maniac?”
Zack: Picking her up like a ragdoll and swinging her by her ankles.
Steve: “Please! I don’t know what you are speaking of you insane yankee fascist!”
Zack: What happened to Constitution? Where is Patriot?
Steve: “The heroes? They are gone! We tried to capture them but the Russians! The Russians took them!”
Zack: You’re lying!
Steve: No! They rampaged in our city and the military captured them after a deadly battle. Then Russia came and took them from us. The Russians attacked us. I know it was them.
Zack: I want to smash her into a wall, but I will put her gently down on the ground.
Zack: Where did the Russians take my friend? Where can I find the Globalist?
Steve: “I will summon the undersea creatures. They will take you to the secret base of the Globalist. But you must trust me.”
Zack: I don’t, but I see no alternative.
Steve: She blows into a conch and after a few minutes an enormous octopus climbs in through the moonpool. She stares into its giant eyes and they seem to communicate.
Steve: “This is Perry. He will take you to the underground base by way of the sea tunnel. You must ride on his back. Go now!”
Zack: Sure, yeah. Talk to you later, Merkill. Sorry about the arm.
Zack: Climbing onto Perry’s back.
Steve: He jumps back into the water and sets off at incredible speed towards a tunnel running inland from the sea. Where it goes… you’ll find out next time!
Zack: I feel terrible for chopping up Macron and hacking off Merkel’s arm. But I think I’m beginning to suspect who the Globalist might be.
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