Monday, February 18, 2013

Heroes of the United Worlds 8

8: The Tests of the Super Heroes and the Centurions Destroyed

3: the Tests of the Super-Heroes

This adventure requires that one of more of the PCs has created 31stC heroes to join the team.  It is also a trek around the cooler spots of 31stC Jupiter

3.1 Recruitment Drive

The 21stC PCs who are in play arrive in the future to find the Centurions are having a recruiting drive. There are any of the new PCs here plus three more NPCs hoping for spots - Quill Queen, Karma Kid and Stinkbug Boy. When they are rejected Karma Kid is distraught, Stinkbug Boy says it was worth a shot and Quill Queen promises to improve her skills and try again. The new Pcs will also have to display what they can do, giving them a chance to show off before they are invited to join and the team meeting starts. It starts, as always with a recitation of the code: Centurions must (in order) save people where they can, protect people from immediate future threats when apparent, protect irreplaceable objects and then protect other property. It is never legitimate to risk lives now to hopefully protect others later.

At the team meeting Emo Girl lays out their current problem – the threats being made by a mysterious blackmailer called C. Tsrif Ytnewt around the Jovian satellites. This figure has a sealed dossier across the system and is threatening several spots on Jumper. The PC heroes plus Demon Boy are being sent to defend his next threatened target.

3.2 Inside Europa

The first target is in Europa, the one place in the solar system with non-human intelligent life – Emo Girl is travelling with them. The Europans look like crosses between dolphins and sea turtles (or more precisely, like Hykrians) and have an underwater society. The PCs life support suts let them survive down her, and their flight bracelets let them move. Ytnewt is threatening to steal some valuable art (giant pearls in sculpted platinum frames) unless his demands are met.

While the PCs are guarding the pearls they see several huge coral reef buildings start to collapse. The radio starts discussing a freak earthquake! Those buildings are priceless examples of early European sculpture and are priceless relics! That do they do? Hopefully the PCs rush over and stop the buildings from collapsing – stolen goods can be recovered, destroyed relics can’t. Still, when they get back the sculptures are gone! Anyone who stayed behind has to face Ytnewt, who is super fact and all but unstoppable (see below) and who will stun them from behind.

3.3 Outside Io

The second target is a science station on Io, a world renowned for its intense volcanic activity.  The cites make extensive use of geothermal energy to power themselves, and the world is a major tourist center. The science station is head by Yel Herms, who has just received the working model of a geo-boring vehicle that can reach a planets core. It is, of course, being threatened by Ytnewt. Can the PCs (and Miss Chrysalis) protect it?

Why they are doing so they see an eruption taking place down below on the planet. There’s a radio call that this is an unexpected eruption and there are tourists in jeopardy. Miss Chrysalis is on the far side of the station and doesn’t see this – do the Pcs move to assist? They ought to!  There are twenty four men in danger from the eruption, and any quick thinking action by the PCs will save them, but, as you would expect, the gen-borer is gone when they get back. Anyone staying behind again has to face the invulnerable, surviving in space, Ytnewt.

3.4 Callisto Crash-landing

The PCs are told they have one last chance to stop Ytnewt from his thefts: he’s threatening to steal the entire squapple crop from Callisto (these are apples engineered to be cubes to save shipping space). Blackbird is with them, his bodies all standing guard. PCs with sensitive noses will detect a faint whiff of sulfur on him, which he’ll describe as a new cologne to catch Ioan girls.

While the PCs are standing guard they see a Venusian clipper foundering in the atmosphere – it’s clearly coming in hot and out of control. Blackbird is scattered throughout the mega- orchard and doesn’t immediately respond. Do the PCs move to help? They ought to! Inside the ship is a Vensuian pilot, armored up, who needs help putting the ship down, cooling it off, or just being rescued. While the Pcs are doing this they see a streak hitting the squapple crop, pulling all the squapples into its wake. Anyone staying behind is brushed aside by Ytnewt’s speed

3.4 The Final Decision

The Pcs return in failure to the clubhouse, where they are quizzed by Demon Boy on how they handled their missions. The GM should give them a few minutes to talk, make excuses or defenses  – and perhaps reveal what they’ve guessed – when the door slams open and Ytnewt appears! Before anyone can act he rips of his lead lines mask and reveals… a 21stC Hero! (Whichever one isn’t a PC today.)

The other Centurions then let the PCs in on the trick: they were testing the PCs to see how well they adhered to the code to make sure they were ready for full membership. The 21stC hero playing Ytnewt had come forward last week and been tested then, Blackbird was all of the tourists in trouble on Io, Miss Chrysalis was the pilot on Callisto, there were no ‘frozen hydrogen’ sculptures and the ‘archaic structures’ were actually scheduled for demolition – everyone had just been playing along with the tests.  Assuming the PCs past (and I hope so) everyone has a cheer and there’s a formal club initiation.

4. The Centurions Destroyed!

In which the Centurions face the thefts of Magno Boy… and are destroyed by cosmic forces!
(Any PCs)

4.1 Magno Boy Strikes

The Centurions are having their group meeting, with any 21stC PCs in attendance, discussing their current case of tracking down the items stolen by Jether Tel – where the team needs to sring into immediate action when Blackbird’s investigations pay off. That’s when an alarm goes off telling them that some unknown threat is performing a theft from the science academy. Knowing they need to be ready to follow Blackbird’s signal Emo-Girl assigns the PCs and Kid Chanticleer to the case.

Media reports them their foe is calling himself Magno Boy and is targeting some experiments in superconductivity. When they arrive they find Magno-Boy is prepared for them, having encased himself in a sphere of metal armor and created a half-dozen skeletal metal monsters that are threatening the scientists.

4.2 Polarity Reversal

As the fight begins each metal monster moves on Magno Boy’s turn, attacking as HT for 1d6 damage; his sphere is SR 15 material and must be breached to reach him. During the fight Kid Chanticleer and any PCs other than those who joined at the start of the last adventure are attacked with an Emotion Control – Anger attack at level 8 (Kid Chanticleer is automatically hit). This anger is directed at their teammates rather than Magno Boy, and any PCs so affected have to turn on their teammates rather than fight the villain, coming up with any excuse for their ire.

As this becomes noticible Magno Boy quips from inside his sphere that the heroes are suffering from a polarity reversal! He snags the superconducting materials he’s looking for and escapes through a side door, his actions obscured by his sphere. (this is a villain must escape’ moment, but the combination of him being obscured, having an escape route and the PCs bickering helps mitigate that).

4.3 Feeling Bipolar

When the Centurions limp back to the base in failure Emo Girl is bound by the club charter to bring any who were affected by the emotion control up on charges for attacking their teammates. Those PCs (and KC) should defend themselves on whatever slight pretext they found to start the attack since none of them are conscious of the emotion control. Emo Girl is forced to expel them from the team for their behavior. (Players can swap out to secondary PCs if their first choice was expelled.)

Just after the expelled heroes have left (and Demon Boy is starting to investigate Magno Boy’s powers) there is word that he is striking again, this time at a facility that works with super-cooling materials. Emo Girl sends out the _new_ PC group plus Demon Boy to deal with the threat. Magno Boy has the same tactics as last time, and this time the heroes (same restrictions as last time, but shift the dice to avoid any players who are on their last PC) are struck by a sense of helplessness and find reasons to not engage. Demon Boy is left sputtering, unable to comprehend Magno Boy’s powers. Again Magno Boy gives them the slip via a similar method as last encounter.

4.4 The End of the Centurions

Again limping home in failure Demon Boy as deputy leader immediately turns himself (and any other Pcs hit by the emotion effect) in for failure to uphold the Centurion charter. They folded under pressure, and no evidence shows otherwise. Emo Girl is bound by the charter to expel them as well. The centurions are collapsing! After this turn of events Emo Girl locks herself in her room, unwilling to come out, perceiving herself as a failure. Miss Chrysalis tries to talk her out but can’t, and ends up doing the same thing out of her own perceived failure. Indeed, all of the PCs are attacked by a sense of deep depression, and have to make a d20 save against Charisma to act at all. 

The communicator board starts beeping – it’s Blackbird, announcing that he’s giving up on the case since he’s a failure.  Whoever answers the call will see the messages light flashing: there are 23 messages from Karma Kid wherein he insists that there must have been an error in his admission, then anger at the group, followed by a single call that borders on the suicidal. If the PCs haven’t figured out what’s going on by now this should give them the final clue.

4.5 Balance Restored

The PCs should have the sense to race to karma Kids side while they still have the chance to act, as the emotional damage his rejection caused is being revisited on them. Once they confront him with this (and perhaps offer him reserve member status). With that issue resolved the Centurions return to normal, ejected members are called back and any scientific/detective types (or hyperspense people) can work with Demon Boy on locating Magno Boy’s final target – the Fusion PowerStation.

When they arrive Magno Boy has already silently taken over the PowerStation, cutting communications and locking everyone in while he magnetically assembles the device to boost his power. The heroes can choose how they want to attack (with the PCs of their choice – let them pick their NPC final member) and likely make short work of Magno Boy now that they’re at peak potential. Depending on how the fight goes Magno Boy can either be quickly captured or have a chance to turn on his half-finished/damaged device and disappear in a cloud of energy, changing this to a civilian rescue situation.  The GM can bring him back either way, but in the latter equation he returns as the fearsome Superconductor Man.