Mook to Mastermind

Episode 0: I Feel Like a Number
But damnit, I'm a man!

Our first few days of gaming brought us to the compound of the infamous Dr. Stitch, a terrifyingly upbeat supervillain who runs his operation like an evil kindergarten teacher, complete with star charts and trips to the Time-Out Pit. It’s not great work, but it beats unemployment (though only barely). The good Doctor had called a meeting of the Caring Corps, colloquially referred to as ’Stich’s Bitches’ by even the unpaid interns (who at least have a future with this operation), which represent the bottom rung of the mook ladder here.

Enter three hapless mooks, #087, #347, and #865, sub-regular Joes who, whether through a lack of talent, rash decision-making, or sheer laziness, have found themselves in the unenviable position of catering to the mad Doctor’s ridiculous whims. Dr. Stitch revealed that a group called the Silver Dragons, who were opposed to Dr. Stitch’s proprietary company, StitchCo, had sent a threatening letter. This letter heavily implied that the Dragons planned to shut down each of the StitchCo factories in Cityopolis by force, that very night. Thus, Dr. Stitch decided to have a “sitdown” (of the high-caliber variety) with these fellows to show them the error of their ways. After this briefing, the few hundred mooks in attendance were dismissed to the Magic Make-Believe Store (armory) to scramble, mob-style, for a few lousy pieces of low-quality weaponry.

After the mooks armed themselves, they were divided up into several groups, loaded into the backs of waiting “Welcome Wagons”, and left to drive off into the sunset (or in this case, late afternoon traffic) to their respective defense points. En route, someone revealed a handle of Cousin Jeb’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Baby-Making Whiskey that they somehow (don’t ask) smuggled into the van. With the no-nonsense #003 as their commanding officer, brooding in the passenger seat like an overstressed parent scant inches from meltdown, what awaits this crew of flunkies when they arrive at their destination in the Hollows, an industrial park in the cushy side of town? With #003’s patience for their half-drunken hijinks wearing ever thinner, will they all even make it there in one piece? Stay tuned to find out!

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Episode 1: Like a Monkey Ready to Be Shot Into Space
It is the beginning of a fantastic story!

In this episode, the mooks filed out of the truck and were taken to the StitchCo building. There, they saw all manner of unspeakable human rights violations, as the illegal aliens being forced to work in the factory wing worked themselves to exhaustion (sometimes death) trying to meet Dr. Stitch’s unrealistic production quotas. They met with the impotent branch manager Ben Benderson and his Armano knock-off business suit. Finally, they were taken to a waiting room were they were left to kill time, reflect on their respective wasted lives, and left to wonder where it all went wrong. Improvised fooseball was played, Awesome Punchie Martial Arts Heroes (with Fisty Joe) was watched, and for one character, the esoteric ability of literacy was revealed.

Stay tuned for the next episode, where it all goes to hell!

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Episode 2: Where It All Goes to Hell (part 1)
PBP game + initiative point system combat = gigantic mess

Bored with all that useless “character development” going on in the waiting room, the crew decided it was time to get into their first battle! Giddy with excitement, and either too oblivious to be aware of their phenomenal frailty or too bloodthirsty to care, a crew of 15 mooks plus #003 made its way to the production wing to fortify the area against the coming Silver Dragon assault. Arguments over the placement of barrels, crates, and other cover ensued; shoddily-rigged traps went off and nearly crushed VIP’s (okay, Ben Benderson isn’t REALLY a VIP); and surprisingly well-concealed couch forts were constructed and hastily abandoned (because we just kinda forgot about it, right Boozlebub?).

A silenced pistol shot rang out, and Ben Benderson was suddenly lying in a spreading pool of his own blood. A spy (who’d been planted in the group) and a ninja (who dropped from the ceiling somehow) revealed themselves, and the battle was on! What has followed between Dr. Stitch’s crew and the two Silver Dragon infiltrators has been, by far, the most jaw-dropping Feng Shui combat I’ve ever borne witness to. The source of my amazement has come not from impressive stunts or high-powered pyrotechnics. Rather, it’s been the PCs’ ridiculous luck and sheer grit that have allowed them to cling to dear life in what was supposed to have been a completely one-sided washout. Props to #865 for a ridiculous boxcars ricochet shot, #087 for a particularly nasty aimed shot, and #347 for having absolutely horrible dice luck and still managing to hold on this long.

It’s official: I’ll never look at Feng Shui mooks the same way again after this game. The fight will continue in a few days, after people have had time to tend to their jobs and social lives (I know, it’s like we don’t have our priorities straight at ALL).

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Episode 3: Where It All Goes to Hell (part 2)
Giant vat of bubbling liquid + savage beatdown = even bigger mess

A new mook has joined the horde! After the ruthless female ninja Serpent Gaze was splashed by boiling medicinal liquid thanks to a nice trick shot by #087, #098 broke away from the pack and smashed into her with a twin baton assault that sent her through the shoddily-maintained railing and to her bubbly demise. There was no time for the team to rest on its laurels, though—a blast went off elsewhere in the building, causing the whole area to shake and the lights to go off. When the emergency lights came on, the diabolical Jim Bund was nowhere to be seen. The alarm was raised!

Instead of immediate pursuit on foot, #003 recommended a more ludicrous strategy. He led the team to a secret development area, where they came face-to-face with the future of mobile mook technology: the Stitchcycles. These delightful little contraptions pack a lot of speed into a small (though pathetically flimsy) frame, and the onboard mounted machine gun isn’t just for looks. The team divvied itself into pairs of one driver and one gunner per cycle, and they jetted off through the building and up the stairwell to the office wing as fast as their newfound conveyances could take them.

When they arrived at the top of the stairwell, into the main lobby of the office wing, they were greeted with absolute devistation. A rather large chunk of the area was flat-out gone, having been blown to hell by some kind of explosive device. Bodies were strewn everywhere, as pretty much every office worker who was here had been blown into assorted chunks of bloody meat, crushed by chunks of fallen ceiling, or riddled with bullet holes. The fact that the area was littered with firearms suggested that the employees tried to fight back against the intruders. What kind of office workers would do such a thing? Where have the intruders gotten off to? And will the newly-invented sport of Knifeball take the world by storm as creator #098 predicts it will? Stay tuned to find out!

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Episode 4: Like 'The Office', But With More Shooting
I would shoot Toby twice!

Long time no see, Portal. After a kickass vacation, it’s back to the slave pits (well, StitchCo, which isn’t much better), where the epic battle between the mooks and the Silver Dragons continues! Motorcycles and flying cars indoors? You betcha! The battle has moved to the office wing, where the mooks continue to desperately cling to life, heroically beating the crap out of Jim Bund and encountering two new assailants: the esoteric Dr. Sisyphus and the quirky but ruthless Radical Ted.

As they watched their comrades fall one by one, the mooks realized that the number of warm bodies between them and oblivion has dwindled to nearly zero! What’s worse, when Radical Ted’s flying car entered the picture, this battle was taken on the road! With loveable lunatic #098 having been tazed in the back seat and left at the mercy of Bund, who decided it was time for some payback after the untimely death of the latest in a long, long string of love interests, will the others be able to help him in time, or will they decide that they don’t get paid enough for this? Stay tuned!

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Episode 5: Going the Distance
Driving and striving and hugging the turns

The vehicles burst through what was left of the office windows, and the chase was taken to the streets! Hundreds of machine gun bullets were fired, until #098 craved the taste of blood and slingshotted himself from the motorcycle into the back seat of the Silver Dragons’ Escape Bug. #087 decided to join in the fun, launching himself onto the roof of the car. When the action made it to the highway, and #098 was tazed by an irate Jim Bund, things got nasty.

Just when the Bug was on the verge of escaping, some brilliant maneuvers by #963 in the Stitchcycle XL cut off Ted’s escape, forcing him onto an exit ramp that led to Clybourne Park (a.k.a. Makeout Point). After enduring punishing barrage after punishing barrage of machine gun fire, the Bug finally called it quits, spinning out and crashing into a safety railing, which knocked Bund unconscious and sent #087 screaming into a ravine (don’t worry, he survived). A tense standoff ensued.

Just when trigger fingers started to get itchy, a trio of unmarked black vans arrived on the scene. Were they friends or foes? The mooks breathed a sigh of relief when three dozen StitchCo minions poured out, led by new arrival #042. His no-nonsense brand of leadership, coupled with #347’s extensive vocabulary and volatile personality, got business taken care of in short order. Now it’s back to the Compound, where everyone awaits medical treatment and the dreaded Debriefing Room. Will everyone pull through? Stay tuned to find out!

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Episode 6: The Doctors Is In!
God? I don't wanna have anything with him.

In this episode, the PCs were introduced to the horrors of the StitchCo infirmary, run by the famous Chief Medical Officer #002. Her special brand of brutal, cut-rate improvisational medicine keeps the company going, and she certainly had her hands full after the recent wave of Silver Dragon attacks. With #087 and #098 laid up after their injuries, the team scrambled to make sure those two didn’t fall through the cracks. Along the way, #963 got a crash course in improvisational medicine, whether he was ready for it or not.

The others staved off monotony in assorted ways. #042 threw his bureaucratic weight around, #347 started to harbor the desire to be a group leader, and #865 misinterpreted the misadventures of Billy in Family Circus. In the night leading up to the dreaded Debriefing, the group, unusually enough had a vivid shared dream. Of course, it probably doesn’t mean anything, because such things NEVER have significance in stories. Will the meaning of this cryptic message be made clear over time? More importantly, will the group survive their meeting with Dr. Stitch? Stay tuned to find out!

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Episode 7: Mooks on Film
Two minutes later, got your picture

In this episode, the group faced the dreaded Debriefing Room. Dr. Stitch is all about experiential learning, but it’s the whole “mistakes” part of learning from one’s mistakes that he has a problem with. The group witnessed a highlight reel, good and bad, of their actions up to this point, complete with cheesy special effects and artistic cuts. They sweated bullets as the Doctor dissected every little mistake they made, no matter how trivial, and they got a taste of his Brain Shredder ability, which twisted their fears into physical, psychological, and spiritual pain. Fortunately, they survived the process, and the Doctor dismissed them to give himself time for continued deliberation—all but one of them, that is.

Much to their shock, #003 was ordered to stay behind to continue their little chat.

Some time later, the members of the group got a special delivery from HR. Surprisingly, they were being promoted to Henchman class employees! Completely flabbergasted by all the exciting benefits and opportunities available to them with their new titles (especially #042), perhaps they should have combed the fine print a little more thoroughly. Such benefits always come with a price; stay tuned to find out what it is!

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Episode 8: And Now For Something Completely Different
Mister, I'll... make a man... out of you!

CONGRATULATIONS! You have been accepted into the Henchman Training Program. Please report to the main lobby at 0800 tomorrow for dorm reassignment. Attached is an information packet that details all the exciting benefits and opportunities available to Henchman Class employees. We hope you are as excited about this opportunity as we are! Sincerely, #001, Head of Human Resources Department

It sounded like a dream come true. However, when our hapless mooks prepared to get on the bus that took them to Advanced Combat Training (ACT) camp, they ran into their fearless leader #003, whom they hadn’t seen since the big battle. He looked absolutely haggard, like he hadn’t been sleeping or eating very well, and he was accompanied by about a dozen Pit Pals!, who watched his every move nervously. His body was covered with a number of scratches, bite marks, bruises, swollen areas, and stab wounds. His clothes were absolutely caked with blood, and our hapless mooks were pretty sure most of it wasn’t his. He had some simple words of advice about ACT:

“They’re gonna try to break you in ACT. Don’t let ‘em. Stick together, and remember that you’re Henchmen for a reason. Now get going, and give those guys HELL!”

And “hell” was an all-too-appropriate description of ACT, which was run by #005, the illustrious leader of Bravo Squad, who went by the name Hawk. Over the course of the first few weeks, Hawk put them all through a series of brutal training sessions, some designed to enhance teamwork, others to pick on individuals’ weaknesses, and still others to break them, pure and simple. They were forced to march, run, swim, and jump over all sorts of hazardous terrain, carrying or dragging all manner of heavy or dangerous things, with all sorts of additional “hazards” cheerfully provided by their trainer. In short, they were given hell.

As time went on, and the number of henchmen in training started to dwindle due to injuries, desertion, or spectacularly messy deaths, the mooks decided that they were going to give a little hell back. How? Stay tuned to find out!

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