Category Archives: After Action Reports

Tug of War: A Fantastic Worlds Star Trek AAR

Captain’s Log Supplemental: We have escaped the Klingon prison and regrouped in the jungles of Hubbard’s World. Mr. Scott has beamed down a security team to assist us. We managed to retrieve our tricorders and have set off in pursuit of the source of the strange energy that seems to be the cause of the unchecked, sentient plant life here on the the planet. Being above ground again should feel good, but the oppressive humidity hasn’t gone anywhere and once more, it’s difficult to breathe. None of us, except perhaps Mr. Sulu, will be sad to leave this place.

The air shimmered as three humanoid forms began to take shape. A moment later, Lt. Hikaru Sulu and two Starfleet security officers stood in the clearing. They glanced around for a moment before Sulu approached the Captain.

“Security team reporting, sir,” Sulu said.

Kirk grinned. “Nice to see you, Mr. Sulu.”

“Nice to be seen, Captain.”

“Glad you could join us. Although I was expecting Mr. Chekov.”

“I pulled rank on him, sir,” said Sulu. “Sentient plants. I wasn’t about to miss that. Hope you don’t mind, sir.”

“Not at all. Your knowledge of botany could come in handy. It’s a…rather unique…place.”

McCoy grinned at Sulu. “Glad to have you along. At least now we won’t have to hear about how the Russians invented plants.”

“Now that we are all present,” said Spock, “I recommend we proceed with haste to the site of the tricorder readings. The Klingons are certainly not waiting.”

“Agreed,” said Kirk. “Fan out, everyone, and watch for threats. Spock, take point. We’ll follow you.”

A few minutes later, they followed Spock into another underground cavern. They could hear the echoes of raised voices arguing in Klingon. Kirk motioned for the team to take up positions silently and crept forward, accompanied by Spock and McCoy. In the midst of the cavern was a strange machine pulsing with visible energy. The Klingons kept a healthy distance from it, but it was clear it was the focus of their attention.

“That machine is the source of the energy, Captain,” said Spock. “It is almost certainly extraterrestrial in origin; nothing like it has been observed on this world.”

“Jim, look!” McCoy pointed. Guarded closely by a pair of brutish Klingons was a bedraggled and exhausted-looking Dr. Hubbard. A Klingon with the unmistakable aura of authority barked an order and Hubbard began working feverishly with his tricorder. Whatever he attempted must have failed, as a moment later, the Klingon captain swore loudly. He whirled on Hubbard and the scientist quailed.

“Looks like they’re trying to beam that doohickey out of here,” said McCoy. “Hubbard is probably being forced to help.”

“Agreed, Captain,” said Spock. “However, removing the doohickey would ensure the catastrophic destruction of this planet’s ecosystem. It is therefore imperative that the Klingons not succeed at their endeavor.”

Whatever reply Kirk was about to make was cut off as the ground began to tremble violently. “All right,” Kirk said when it subsided, “it seems time is against us. Rescue the doctor if possible, but make sure the Klingons don’t get what they’re after. Let’s go.”

Scenario: It’s the final showdown with the Klingons over the alien technology responsible for the plant life on Hubbard’s World. The Klingons are trying to beam the machine off-world, but they need Dr. Hubbard’s help to do that. The Enterprise crew is trying to stop them and rescue Dr. Hubbard. Meanwhile, the strange alien machine is protecting itself…it doesn’t want to go anywhere!

Victory Conditions: The Klingons win if they succeed at beaming the machine off-world, or if both Kirk and Spock are KO’ed at the same time. The Enterprise crew wins if they manage to KO both the Klingon Captain and the Klingon Lieutenant before the machine is beamed off-world. Should this occur, the remaining Klingons surrender.

Forces: The Klingons have a Klingon Captain (Grade 3), a Klingon Lieutenant (Grade 2), and four Klingon Warriors (Grade 1). The Captain also has two more Klingon Warriors in reserve, not deployed at the start of the game. Starfleet has Captain Kirk (Grade 3), Mr. Spock (Grade 2), Dr. McCoy (Grade 2), Mr Sulu (Grade 1), and two Security Officers (Grade 1). The two teams deploy on opposite table corners, with the alien machine smack in the middle.

Special Rules:

Countdown: There are no encounter markers in this scenario; rather an event deck randomly determines what occurs at the beginning of each round. Three of the cards in the deck represent a Klingon transporter lock; once the third such card is in play, the machine is beamed off-planet at the start of the next round and the Klingons win. If Dr. Hubbard is rescued before the Klingons achieve the third transporter lock, Starfleet wins.

Dr. Hubbard: Dr. Hubbard is crucial to this scenario. The Klingons are holding Dr. Hubbard hostage and forcing him to work for them, as their transporter technology isn’t as good as Starfleet’s. As long as there is a Klingon model within 2″ of Dr. Hubbard, he is captive. If that ever changes, Dr. Hubbard makes a run for it. He can’t sprint of fight, but he will move towards the nearest Starfleet model at his full move. He is recaptured if a Klingon moves within 2″ again. He is automatically rescued if a Starfleet model moves within 2″ of him and there are no Klingons within 2″.

Dr. Hubbard is scared, but he’s still a Starfleet officer and he doesn’t want the Klingons to succeed. Two of the cards in the deck represent intentional miscalculations designed to give the Enterprise crew more time to stop the Klingons. If one of these cards is drawn, shuffle a transporter lock card back into the event deck.

Dr. Hubbard cannot be the target of an attack, nor is he affected by any events in the Event Deck.

The Alien Machine: The machine cannot be attacked or destroyed. The Klingons want it too badly, and Strafleet would never risk damaging the planet.

Turn 1: The Klingons get the first turn. Before they act, an event is drawn from the deck: Dr. Hubbard manages to get a transporter lock on the alien machine! Not off to a good start for Starfleet! The rest of the turn is taken up by movement. The Klingons move towards the machine, maintaining cover for the most part, while the Enterprise crew splits up, attempting to flank the Klingons. One Klingon soldier tries to shoot Ensign S’lyr, the Vulcan security officer, but he misses.

Turn 2: The Klingons retain initiative. The event deck draw is a cave-in! The Klingon player nominates an enemy model-in this case, he decides to stick with the Vulcan security officer, Ensign S’lyr. She fails her Dodge test and is buried under a ton of cascading rock! Oh, the humanity (Vulcanity?)!

Now, sadly, as I write this, I have discovered that my iPhone’s voice memos, which I use to record these little game sessions for later transcription, just decided to NOT FUCKING WORK. So, apologies to all. I am winging the rest of this, because my FUCKING iPhone FUCKED ME. So, no turn-by-turn anymore. I’ll just give the general results as I recall them. Above: Kirk kills a Klingon soldier. I forget the context.

At some point, the Klingon Captain made use of his “Meet My Minions” ability, which allows him to instantly “summon” two low-grade henchmen to his person. These Klingons were the models not deployed at the start of the game.

Captain Kirk promptly shot one of them after shooting the Klingon above. He spent Hero Points to do it. The Klingon Captain shoots Kirk, and uses his own Hero Points to activate his Deadly Accuracy ability. This increases the strength of his disruptor enough to cause 2 wounds instead of one. Ouch!

Spock shot the Klingon Captain and managed to KO him. I forget how. I think Kirk might have shot him first. But I forget.

Meanwhile, the Klingon Lieutenant snuck around the rock, trying to flank Sulu. Some Klingon shot and killed the Andorian security officer, Ensign Vendax.

Not sure of the Turn here (FUCK YOU, iPhone!), but the Klingon Lieutenant charged Sulu and put him down hard. I made the Klingons beasts in melee, as they should be. Sulu’s no slouch, but he got charged from behind.

It looks bad for Starfleet, but the event deck draw is an energy burst from the machine that knocks down anyone who fails a Dodge test. Everyone above who is on their ass, except for Sulu and the Klingon Captain, who are both Ko’ed, got knocked over by the burst.

This gave Starfleet some breathing room. McCoy shot the Klingon Captain, who had revived but wasn’t able to stand up in time. He KO’ed him again. Kirk shot the Klingon Lieutenant, KO’ing him, too. With their leadership decimated, the remaining Klingons surrendered!

Victory for Starfleet!

R.I.P. to the fallen Starfleet security officers of the Hubbard’s World campaign. L-R: Ensign Gatwick, Ensign Heathrow, Ensign Stansted, Ensign S’lyr, Ensign Vendax.

Cue the bagpipes, Mr. Scott.

Analysis: This short campaign was a lot of fun. I’m happy with the changes I made to the Fantastic Worlds rules, as they only served to speed play by eliminating some of the bookkeeping. If I had opted to track wound locations and effects, the games would have undoubtedly been longer, but I’m not sure anything would have been gained by it.

To be honest, Starfleet was on a losing streak and I didn’t think they would pull it off. I do know there was an event in the deck that could have made things more interesting: the machine would have animated some of the Deathspitter plants, which would have been another obstacle for both players to deal with. The luck of the draw was with the players, however, and that particular card never appeared.

Starfleet tried to get close enough to the Klingon guarding Dr. Hubbard in the hopes of shooting him and freeing the doctor, but he was deployed too far away.

On a personal note, I am really annoyed with Apple, as my voice memos recorded, but can’t be played back. A quick visit to the Apple forums shows that I’m not the only person to experience this, and Apple doesn’t seem to have a solution beyond “upgrade to the latest iPhone.” Bullshit. From now on I’ll use a digital recorder, circa 1999. At least it will do what it’s supposed to.

I want to do another FW Star Trek campaign soon, perhaps using the TNG crew. I have an idea already…

Captured! A Fantastic Worlds Star Trek AAR

Captain’s Log Supplemental: Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy and I have been captured by Klingons and taken to an unknown location. It appears we are in a subterranean cave the Klingons have modified for use as a base of operations. At least we are out of the oppressive heat and humidity of the jungle. They’ve taken our phasers, tricorders and communicators and left us here. Every once in a while, one of them comes by to laugh at us, but for the most part we are left alone. Their arrogance can benefit us. They think we’re helpless. Attempting escape is our first duty. We won’t discover the fate of the science team or the Klingons’ plans by sitting here.

“Klingons sure like their caves dark,” said McCoy. “I can’t see my hand in front of my face.”

“As your hands are presently bound behind your back,” said Spock, “you would be unable to see your hand in any event.”

“The Klingons must want this…strange energy source…very badly,” said Kirk. “Otherwise why risk breaking the Organian Treaty?”

“Klingons aren’t the sharpest tools in the galactic shed, Jim,” McCoy scoffed. “They probably haven’t thought this through very well.”

“Neither are they fools, Doctor,” said Spock. “The energy source seems to have a profound effect on vegetable life, causing exponential growth.”

“That much is obvious, Spock,” McCoy snapped. “You think they’re doing this out of some desire to take up gardening?”

“On the contrary, Doctor, I believe the Klingons are considering harnessing this energy for military purposes. Consider the effect on populated worlds should it be introduced. Plant life would grow unchecked, soon taking over the entire planet.”

“Mother Nature run amok!” Kirk exclaimed. “That has to be it, Spock!”

“It is the most logical of my several working theories, Captain.”

“Well,” said Kirk, “one thing’s for sure. We can’t do much sitting here in this cave. We need to get to the source of that energy and find out what happened to the science team.. We must stop the Klingons!”

“How can we find the source?” McCoy said. “They took our tricorders. They took everything.”

“The tricorders should contain all the data we collected prior to our capture,” Spock said. “If we can recover them, we should be able to find the source.”

“Getting our communicators back would be nice, too,” said Kirk. “We could contact the ship, have Scotty beam down some reinforcements. But first we need to get out of these bonds.”

“How do you suggest we do that, Jim?” asked McCoy. “I’m a doctor, not an escape artist.”

Spock casually dropped his restraints on the floor. “If you will permit me, Doctor, I believe I can soon have you both free.”

McCoy stared at the Vulcan in shock. “Are you telling us you’ve been free this whole time?”

“No, Doctor,” said Spock. “I slipped my bonds 38 seconds ago. I merely thought it prudent to formulate a logical plan of action before we proceed.”

Kirk cut off what was certain to be a loud oath from McCoy. “Gentlemen, I suggest we act quickly, and silently. Our main priority is to locate our gear. We won’t get far without weapons.”

Scenario: The Enterprise crew has been captured by the Klingons and are being held in a cave below ground. They must escape and continue their search for the mysterious energy, and for Dr. Hubbard.

Victory Conditions: In order to win, the Enterprise crew must find their equipment and escape the board via one of two board edges chosen by the Klingon player as escape routes. The Klingons must prevent at least one of the Enterprise crew from escaping in order to win.

Forces: The Enterprise player has Captain Kirk (Grade 3), Mr. Spock (Grade 2) and Dr. McCoy (Grade 2). They begin play in the center of the board. The Klingon player begins with 4 Klingon guards (Grade 1). He also has a Klingon Lieutenant (Grade 2), who is not deployed at the start of the game. The guards are placed at least 10″ away from the Enterprise crew, and at least 6″ away from each other. They begin on guard duty (see below).

Special Rules:

Guard Duty: The rules for guard duty are in effect for this scenario. I won’t reproduce them here: just understand that the Klingons act like guards (which they are) until the alarm is raised. Once the alarm is raised, they act normally, and the Klingon Lieutenant is deployed immediately.

Darkness: The cave is dark and the Klingons didn’t bring much light. This limits visibility to 8″.

Stealth Takedown: If an Enterprise crewman can engage a Klingon guard in melee and defeat him in one round, then he does so silently and does not alert any other guards. He can then take the Klingon’s weapon. If he fails, the alarm is raised automatically. In addition, if melee occurs within spotting distance of a guard, the guard gets +1 to his roll to spot the attacker.

Initial setup.

The Enterprise crew must exit the board by either the right edge or the bottom edge in order to escape.

Turn 1: The Enterprise crew gets initiative. Kirk activates an encounter marker but it turns out to be nothing. McCoy triggers a restless guard, who activates out of sequence but fails to spot the doctor sneaking around in the darkness. Spock activates an encounter marker and startles a cave-dwelling critter, which makes a noise loud enough to alert the guard nearby. Unfortunately for him, the guard fails his brains test and doesn’t bother investigating the sound, so he doesn’t see Mr. Spock at all, despite being only 6″ away from him. The remaining Klingons all move around, but fail to spot any of the Enterprise crew.

Kancho!

Turn 2: Spock activates first and stealthily moves towards the closest Klingon guard. He applies the Vulcan nerve pinch and the Klingon goes down silently. Spock helps himself to the Klingon’s disruptor. (Game mechanics: Spock and the Klingon both have “Dirty Tricks”; Spock wins and gets an extra d10, which represents his nerve pinch. He handily defeats the Klingon in melee.)

I see nothing.

Despite being within spotting distance and despite Spock engaging in melee, one of the Klingons fails to spot Spock and turns away. Nothing to see here. McCoy activates another encounter marker, but it’s nothing. The remaining Klingons move. (It’s around now that we realized we’ve been playing guard duty rules wrong; that until the alarm is raised only ONE guard is supposed to move each turn. The others can change facing, but that’s about it. We decide to play it correctly from this point on.) Kirk activates and moves closer to the action, but doesn’t really do anything substantive.

Some folks wouldn’t think to use a giant penis as a weapon. Kirk isn’t one of those folks.

Turn 3: The Klingons gain initiative. One of them moves towards Kirk, but he fails to see the Captain. Kirk activates an encounter marker: “I got a rock.” He finds a heavy, interestingly-shaped rock that he can use as a weapon (functions as a club).

Kirk wastes no time, immediately taking a Heroic Action and charging the closest Klingon from behind. He brains the Klingon into unconsciousness and takes the Klingon’s disruptor. (He also inexplicably holds onto the rock.) That’s two guards down, and the remaining Klingons are none the wiser. Spock and McCoy both move off towards other encounters. The remaining Klingons change facing.

Turn 4: The Klingons activate and one returns to his original position. Kirk activates an encounter: reinforcements! Two Klingon guards enter via a table edge that is not an escape route. They’re loud and obnoxious, which makes it harder for the Klingons to spot any of the Enterprise crew this turn. The downside is they’re here to stay!

Turns out those GW artillery dice are still useful.

Spock triggers another restless guard, who moves in a random direction. He walks right between Spock and McCoy, but doesn’t see either one of them. (These guards are bad at guarding.) McCoy ignores the guard and activates an encounter marker. It’s the crew’s gear: communicators, phasers and tricorders! Now that the Enterprise crew has secured their gear, they can move off the board! McCoy and Spock are relatively close to the right edge, but Kirk is still pretty far away…The other Klingons change facing, etc. No one spots any of the Enterprise crew.

Turn 5: The Klingons activate and one immediately spots Mr. Spock. He sounds the alarm and fires at Spock, hitting the Vulcan and inflicting 1 wound!

Behold! I walked through this wall!

The Klingon lieutenant is deployed immediately, from a board edge that is not an escape route. Spock returns fire on the Klingon guard, killing him. The lieutenant charges into combat with Spock. Klingons fight better in melee than with guns, but not this time. Spock wins, inflicting one wound on the Klingon lieutenant!

McCoy adds injury to injury, firing into the melee with his newly-recovered phaser. He hits the Klingon lieutenant and puts him down for good!

The closest Klingon to Kirk charges him from behind, but it doesn’t go well for him. Kirk swings his big, manly rock with abandon, clubbing the Klingon to the ground.

Kirk sprints towards the right side of the board, spending two Hero Points to gets some extra movement.

Turn 6: The Enterprise crew makes a run for it. They can all reach the edge of the board, but can’t exit until next turn. The Klingons pursue, but fail to catch them.

Turn 7: The Enterprise crew gets initiative and escapes! Victory for Starfleet!

Once he realized they were not being pursued, Kirk slowed to a halt. “Now we can contact Scotty. We could use some reinforcements. We have to find Dr. Hubbard and stop whatever it is the Klingons are doing here.”

McCoy stared at the rock in Kirk’s hand. “You know, that thing looks like just about the biggest-“

“That’s enough, Bones,” said Kirk.

“I concur, Doctor,” said Spock. “It certainly bears a remarkable resemblance to a-“

“Yes, yes, Spock,” snapped Kirk, impatiently.

“Look, Jim,” said McCoy, “I’m a doctor. I’ve seen a million of ’em in my day. That one’s definitely noteworthy.”

“Whatever! It served its purpose!” yelled Kirk.

“Right,” said McCoy. “Can’t argue with that. But Jim… why are you still holding it?”

Spock raised an eyebrow.

Kirk tossed the rock aside and flipped open his communicator. “Kirk to Enterprise…come in, Scotty.”

Analysis: We played this scenario a couple of times. This was the most fun. (The first time we played, the Enterprise crew found their gear on the first encounter marker and it quickly degenerated into a firefight with no stealth at all. Boring.) It played very quickly, only about 25 minutes or so.

When creating the encounter markers for this scenario, I just had to include the infamous phallic rock from the classic episode “What are Little Girls Made Of?” Watching that scene really makes you wonder if the props department was deliberately fucking with the network, or if maybe Gene Roddenberry was. How could anyone see that and just see a rock? It had to be deliberate.

This was my first time playing a scenario with the guard duty rules in the 2nd edition. I was struck by just how difficult it is for guards to spot the heroes, even when they’re standing right in front of their faces. At least, it turned out that way the second time.

Coming soon, the final chapter, as Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise face off against the Klingon Captain and his men for control of the strange energy of Hubbard’s World! Watch for “Tug of War!”

Hubbard’s World: Race to the Source: A Fantastic Worlds Star Trek AAR

Captain’s Log Supplemental: We have determined the science team entered the jungle to investigate an unknown energy source; one that seems responsible for the sentient, animate plant life we have discovered here on Hubbard’s World. This planet is fraught with danger; we have already lost Ensign Gatwick, and we discovered the body of Ensign Jorgensen, a botanist assigned to Dr. Hubbard’s science team. Further, a Klingon spy managed to escape the camp before we could stop him. What he was doing here is unknown, however it’s a good bet the communications array fell victim to Klingon sabotage, and that the Klingons now know everything we do. We are going into the jungle to find the source of the strange energy and to discover the fate of our missing scientists.

The humidity was oppressive and brutal. Even Spock was showing signs of exertion. All around them, the flora of Hubbard’s World seemed an impenetrable, dark curtain; eerily silent, with none of the insect or animal sounds common to jungles on planets everywhere. Still, Captain James T. Kirk felt as though they were being watched.

Dr. McCoy wiped his forehead with his sleeve. “Are we there yet?”

Spock consulted his tricorder. “I assume you are speaking rhetorically, Doctor. Scans indicate we are still some distance from the source of the energy readings.”

“Your Vulcan physiology may be used to this kind of heat, Spock,” said McCoy, irritably, “but we humans aren’t meant to live like this, breathing soup.”

“Although my planet’s temperatures average several degrees higher than the current temperature here on Hubbard’s World,” Spock replied,”Vulcan is an arid, desert planet with far less atmospheric carbon dioxide. We would all breathe more comfortably there.”

McCoy smirked. “So, you’re saying it’s not the heat, it’s–“

“Finish that sentence at your own risk, Bones,” said Kirk. “What else is that tricorder telling you, Spock?”

“It is presently informing me that we are not alone, Captain.”

At that moment, a disruptor blast incinerated a nearby tree. The three men quickly took cover.

Kirk scowled and drew his phaser. “Klingons!”

Scenario: The crew of the Enterprise, in search of the missing science team, is making their way through the inhospitable jungle to the source of the strange energy readings that seems to be affecting the plant life on Hubbard’s World. The Klingons are doing the same.

Victory Conditions: The teams are searching for clues to find the source of the energy. This is represented by a series of 3 encounter markers. The first team to discover the path to the energy source by finding the last clue may nominate a point within 6″ of the model that discovered it. The first team to move all their models off the board from this point wins.

Special Rules

Dense Foliage: The jungle is dense and difficult to move through. Speeed is halved, and models must pass a Brawn test every round to avoid becoming entangled.

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity: The jungle is oppressive; all models have a penalty of -1 to their Brawn and Melee scores for the scenario. (In addition, any miniature who utters the name of this rule aloud is immediately attacked by his own teammates.)

Ambush!: Because the Klingon player won the last scenario and the spy escaped, the Klingons have been forewarned and have had time to set up ambushes in the jungle. The Klingon player may replace up to 2 encounter cards with ambush cards. When activated by a Starfleet model, place a Klingon model 6″ behind the model that activated the encounter. This model attacks immediately and counts as Gettin’ the Drop on the Starfleet model. The model will activate normally on the next turn. If this encounter is activated by a Klingon model, it counts as no effect. Shuffle the card back into the deck.

Forces: The Enterprise crew is down a man, as Ensign Gatwick fell victim to the dangerous plant-beings of Hubbard’s World last scenario. As a result, only Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Ensign Heathrow are available for this scenario. The Klingons consist of Korgal, a Klingon lieutenant, and four Klingon warriors, plus any that are activated by ambush encounters.

Turn 1: The Enterprise crew gets initiative. Spock activates first and moves to within 3″ of an an encounter marker. Being Observant, he can activate it from there. The card drawn is “What are you doing here?” A friendly Grade 1 model is lost in the jungle, and immediately joins the team. Ensign Stansted, a security officer, somehow got separated from the team. He’s back now! Korgal, the Klingon lieutenant activates, moving towards a nearby encounter marker, but not close enough to activate it.

Dr. McCoy heads off towards another marker. Like Spock, he’s Observant, and soon discovers a clue! Tricorder readings indicate that the energy signature is strongest in this direction. (This is the first of three clues needed to discover the path to the source.)

The rest of the turn (out of sequence) has the remaining Klingons moving into the jungle towards encounter markers, getting closer to the Enterprise crew. Kirk uses his Voice of Command twice, first to allow Ensign Heathrow to move (he promptly gets entangled in the jungle), then to make Ensign Stansted move. Finally, Kirk moves. No one can activate any more encounter markers, and no one else gets entangled.

Turn 2: The Enterprise crew retains initiative. McCoy moves and activates an encounter: it’s an ambush! A Klingon soldier appears behind McCoy and immediately fires, but McCoy manages to dodge aside. Ensign Heathrow fires at the Klingon lieutenant, inflicting one wound!

One of the Klingons meets one of the more dangerous plants on Hubbard’s World: a Deathspitter, so named for its ability to spit death. It immediately does so, dissolving the screaming Klingon into a puddle of goo with its caustic digestive juices.

Kirk uses Voice of Command to command Ensign Stansted to act; he triggers another ambush, this time with fatal consequences. The dirty Klingon shoots him right in the back, and Ensign Stansted’s brief tenure with the landing party comes to an end! Another Klingon finds the second clue: More tricorder readings indicate the energy is this way!

Kirk activates and shoots the Klingon that took a backshot at McCoy, vaporizing him instantly. Spock moves, but doesn’t do much else. Finally, two Klingons team up to take down the Deathspitter, as neither one wants to end up like their friend.

Turn 3: The Klingons gain initiative. Korgal moves towards cover and fires at Ensign Heathrow, killing him! Sadly, that accounts for all the Starfleet security officers in the landing party. Spock stumbles into some quicksand and begins to sink. He’ll have to pass a Brawn test to get out on his own, because the only person close enough to assist him is a Klingon soldier! He shoots Spock instead, causing one wound! McCoy and a Klingon soldier exchange fire, but neither one hits the other.

Captain Kirk sprints towards Korgal, trusting in good old-fashioned brawling to get the job done. He takes a Heroic Action to charge the lieutenant, but it doesn’t go well for him. Kirk falls victim to the Klingon’s Dirty Tricks, which gives Korgal an extra die to roll in Melee. Kirk is bested this round and takes a wound!

Turn 4: The Klingons get initiative, and Korgal must act first. He’s locked in melee with Kirk, so it’s 23rd century fisticuffs right out of the gate. Kirk rolls two 10’s, which not only beats the Klingon’s roll, it increases the strength of the attack by 4! The Klingon lieutenant falls below the double hand chop of Captain Kirk! Then, Kirk acts, firing at the Klingon who is facing down McCoy. He rolls yet another natural 10, increasing the attack strength and vaporizing the Klingon soldier! (That’s why he’s the Captain.)

Spock passes his Brawn test easily and extricates himself from the quicksand, but the Klingon fires at him again, causing another wound. Spock is KO’ed! McCoy finds nothing of interest when he finally gets close to an encounter marker.

Another Klingon blunders into another Deathspitter, with similar results as last time. The Klingon’s Wilhelm scream quickly turns into more of a gurgle as his whole body is reduced to essential salts and amino acids. The final Klingon sprints towards the center of the board, where one of the last two encounter markers is located. Could it be the last clue?

Turn 5: Spock fails his Will test to recover, so he’s still out cold. The Klingons get initiative. The one who moved last takes cover and shoots at Captain Kirk, causing a wound. Kirk only has 1 wound left! Kirk returns fire and kills the Klingon. The sole remaining Klingon fires at the Deathspitter, rolling exceedingly well. Well enough to kill it, in fact. Then he continues his movement towards the encounter marker in the bottom corner of the board. Dr. McCoy moves towards Kirk to administer medical aid, but doesn’t get close enough.

Turn 6: Spock once again fails to pass his Will test and remains unconscious. The Klingon gets initiative again, after a truly abysmal roll by Starfleet. He moves closer to the encounter marker in the corner, betting all his chips on it being the last clue. Captain Kirk activates the encounter marker in the center. It turns out to be nothing, which means the Klingon is going to discover the last clue and likely win the scenario, unless he is stopped! McCoy moves closer to Kirk, but that’s about all he can do…

Turn 7: Spock remains unconscious! The Enterprise crew (what’s left of it, anyway) gains initiative. Kirk uses Voice of Command to order McCoy to fire on the Klingon. Despite rolling a natural 10, McCoy misses! (The Klingon rolled a 10 on his Dodge, which resulted in a tie.) The Klingon can’t reach the encounter marker, so he fires at Kirk. He hits! Kirk goes down!

Turn 7: Spock fails his Will test AGAIN. Kirk fails his Quick Recovery test. Both remain unconscious. On the last turn, it’s just Dr. McCoy and the last Klingon. McCoy takes his (thematically appropriate) action to revive Kirk, but the Klingon has more than enough time to discover the final clue and make his escape.

Victory to the Klingons!

The hiss of a hypospray preceded Kirk’s return to consciousness by several seconds. His eyes fluttered open. Instantly alert, he tried to stand, only to be firmly pushed prone.

“Easy, Jim,” McCoy said. “You’re not there yet.”

“Bones!” Kirk sat up anyway, ignoring his doctor. “The Klingons-“

“Got away,” McCoy said. “With Spock.”

“We have to go after him!”

“How convenient for you,” said a sneering voice. “for here he is.” Korgal and several Klingons surrounded the pair, disruptors drawn. Two of them held Spock between them. The Vulcan was bound and unconscious.

“Take them,” ordered Korgal.

Analysis: This was a dramatic game! The final clue was the last encounter marker activated, so the encounter deck was fully exhausted. It didn’t go very well for Starfleet; despite having better quality forces, they were just outnumbered. The Klingon ambushes really gave them an advantage, both with the free attacks and additional forces.

Although we were pretty good about making the recovery rolls for Spock, we forgot all about Korgal. As a Grade 2 model, he was entitled to recovery rolls too. Also, I’m pretty sure we forgot to roll for entanglements due to Dense Foliage most of the time.

The next scenario was supposed to be the last of the campaign, but in true Fantastic Worlds/.45 Adventure fashion, we need to play a “Captured” scenario first, as all the heroes have been taken prisoner.

Check back soon for “Captured!” (I couldn’t think of another title.)

Hubbard’s World: Outpost Laertes: A Fantastic Worlds Star Trek AAR

Captain’s Log: Stardate 1315.9: We have received word that Federation Outpost Laertes, a science station on the newly-discovered Hubbard’s World in the Klingon neutral zone, has gone silent. We arrived in the system to discover a Klingon battle cruiser in orbit around the planet. Our repeated hails to the outpost remain unanswered. Of course, the Klingons deny any knowledge of the outpost’s fate and would like us to leave. Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy and I, accompanied by Ensigns Gatwick and Heathrow from Starfleet security, are beaming down to the planet’s surface to investigate. Chief Engineer Scott has been given command of Enterprise in my absence.

Outpost Laertes looked abandoned. Vines and creepers already encroached on the small clearing where the science team’s supplies still lay neatly stacked in crates and barrels. The jungle seemed poised to quickly reclaim the ground where the Federation outpost stood. A standard Starfleet communications array, clearly damaged and inoperative, sat atop the basic, prefab building that served as both laboratory and living quarters to the missing scientists.

Spock regarded his tricorder. “Fascinating.”

Kirk and McCoy traded glances, but the Vulcan didn’t elaborate. “Well, don’t keep us in suspense, Spock,” said the Captain. “What is it?”

“Life sign readings are overwhelmingly vegetable in origin. I estimate some 97.56%”

McCoy’s uneasy gaze took in the vast jungle around them. “You don’t say. That’s fascinating, all right.”

“There is no trace of the science team,” continued Spock, coolly ignoring the doctor, “at least not in the immediate area.”

“Jim! Look!”

Kirk whirled and focused his attention where McCoy indicated. Four bipedal, plantlike creatures began to shamble out of the surrounding jungle. They looked like walking flowers, but much more menacing. They began to converge on the clearing.

“It’s like the jungle is coming alive,” said McCoy.

“Incorrect, Doctor,” said Spock. “These beings were certainly alive prior to our arrival, and did not spontaneously animate, as you suggest.”

McCoy flushed angrily. Before he could respond, Kirk stepped forward. “I am Captain James T. Kirk of the United Federation of Planets. We come in peace and mean you no harm.” In response, one of the plant-things ejected a stream of liquid in Kirk’s direction. He quickly stepped aside as it splashed on one of the supply crates nearby. Immediately, it began to smoke and hiss as the outer casing began to dissolve.

“Well, that’s darn rude,” said McCoy.

“Rude perhaps, though likely unintentionally so,” said Spock. “There is no indication that attempts at verbal communication should be effective, or that these beings possess any sense of hearing, at least not in the way we understand.” The plant things crept closer. “Phasers on stun, Captain?”

“When was the last time you stunned a houseplant, Spock?” asked McCoy. The Vulcan raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

“Let’s not do anything we regret,” said Kirk, adjusting his phaser. “Low heat setting should be enough to show them we can defend ourselves if need be.”

Scenario: The Enterprise crew beams down to the site of the science outpost to find it deserted. They must search for clues to discover what happened to the science team. While they do so, they are attacked by some of the plant creatures of Hubbard’s World. Meanwhile, a Klingon spy is hiding near the camp, hoping to learn everything he can before he makes his escape, both about the Federation technology that now lies abandoned and about the landing party from the Enterprise.

Victory Conditions: The Enterprise crew must find three clues in order to discover what happened to the science team and in order to discover the strange energy readings. For every clue the Enterprise team discovers, the Klingon spy automatically gets one piece of information that is of value to his superiors. Once all clues have been found, the first team to move all the surviving models off the nearest board edge wins the scenario. (Only the Klingon spy needs to leave the board for the Klingon player to end the scenario.)

The Enterprise crew beams down to the science outpost.

Turn 1: The Enterprise crew gains initiative. McCoy activates first, and heads immediately towards the building. He activates the encounter marker there and discovers a clue: the remains of a Federation science officer, Ensign Jorgensen, one of the botanists assigned to the science team. He’s been partially dissolved. McCoy passes his Will check, and as a result he doesn’t have to spend next turn throwing up. One of the plant creepers spits its corrosive liquid at Ensign Gatwick, but misses him by a country mile.

Spock activates and heads into the jungle. He passes his Brawn check and is not entangled by the dense foliage. He activates an encounter marker (no effect). Another plant creeper spits at Spock, but the Vulcan ducks aside. Kirk uses his ability, Voice of Command, to make Ensign Gatwick act next. Gatwick fires at a shambling plant creature, but fails to hit.

A plant creeper creeps closer. Kirk shows Gatwick how it’s done. He steps forward and blasts one of the shambling plant creatures that spit at his first officer, killing it. Ensign Heathrow takes aim at an approaching plant creature, but he misses.

Turn two starts off with one of the plant creepers spitting its caustic juices all over Ensign Gatwick, who lets out a Wilhelm scream and dies horribly. Oh, the humanity!

Kirk uses his Voice of Command ability again, this time to allow Ensign Heathrow to go first. He spends a Hero Point, takes a deep breath, and vaporizes the nearest plant creeper to his position.

The plant creeper nearest to Dr. McCoy attacks, but the doctor has no intention of ending up like poor Jorgensen. The plant misses, McCoy returns fire and kills it. Kirk fires at the plant creeper that killed Ensign Gatwick and kills it, too. Spock heads deeper into the jungle and activates another encounter marker. Another clue! Tricorder readings indicate a strange energy coming from farther off in the jungle. All the vegetation on the planet seems imbued with this strange energy. Did the science team go investigate?

Turn 3: No plant creepers remain, so the Enterprise crew has the run of the board. Ensign Heathrow heads off into the jungle, but fails his Brawn test and gets entangled in the thick vegetation before going too far.

Dr, McCoy stumbles directly into a slumbering plant beast! This one’s huge, and it’s not happy!

The Plant Beast wastes no time. It swats Dr. McCoy hard, knocking him back and inflicting one wound!

McCoy is down, but not out. Spock activates next, moving back into the clearing and firing his phaser. He hits the Plant Beast squarely, inflicting a wound. The Plant Beast barely feels it! Kirk fires at the Plant Beast, wounding it; then immediately spends 2 Hero Points to take a Heroic Action, charging forward and firing again for another wound! Now the Plant Beast takes notice!

Turn 4: The Plant Beast gets initiative and charges Kirk, but Kirk spends another Hero Point and manages to evade the Beast’s grasping tendrils. Spock fires again but misses; McCoy tries to administer aid to himself but is too stunned and fails his roll. Kirk fires at point-blank range and finally kills the huge Plant Beast. Ensign Heathrow manages to extricate himself from the clinging foliage, but blunders into a spore cloud and is knocked unconscious for 2 turns!

Turn 5: Once again, with no opposition, the Enterprise crew has board control. McCoy moves into the jungle to revive Ensign Heathrow. He is successful! Spock and Kirk likewise enter the jungle, heading for encounter markers. Spock finds nothing, but Kirk discovers a final clue: the signs of several humanoids passing into the jungle is a clear indication that the science team went in search of the strange energy readings. The vegetation seems to have grown back abnormally fast. If not for their tricorders, the crew may have missed the science team’s tracks altogether!

At that very moment, the Klingon spy makes his move! Armed with the information on the Enterprise crew and their plans to seek the energy source themselves, he quickly attempts to race back to his superiors!

Turn 6: The Klingon spy gains initiative and flees into the jungle. He passes his Brawn test and is not entangled, but is slowed by the dense foliage. Spock activates and attempts to flank him. He fires at the Klingon, but misses. Kirk once again uses his Voice of Command to order Ensign Heathrow to pursue. The Ensign gives chase and fires, but he misses! Kirk all-out sprints into the clearing, trying to get as close to the Klingon as he can. He spends two Hero Points to take another Heroic Action, and fires, but he misses his mark! (Looks like they all need to go back to Starfleet marksman school!) McCoy chases after Ensign Heathrow, but gets entangled in the brush.

Turn 7: The bad luck continues for Starfleet this turn. In a last-ditch effort, Kirk commands Ensign Heathrow to take the shot! Sadly, the Ensign misses again, which allows the Klingon to slip away into the jungle!

Victory to the Klingons!

Analysis: The rules changes I made worked well and sped things up considerably. Not having to roll for wound location and keep track of deteriorating abilities made each shot count.

My first thought was that the scenario favors the Klingon player, since the Klingons only need to move one model off the board to win. Additionally, until the spy is revealed, Starfleet takes all the lumps from the plant creatures. But, considering the Starfleet player can just shoot the spy and win by default, this balances things out a bit. Turns out in my game Starfleet got the yips when it counted most and missed the Klingon with every shot!

I built the characters using a variety of archetypes from both Fantastic Worlds and .45 Adventure 2nd Edition, which was the core rules engine I used for the game mechanics. The Special Abilities listed are taken with my rules changes in mind, so nothing that would require wound location or stat changes. I also changed “Ray Gun” to “Phaser” and “Blade” to “Melee”, purely for thematic reasons.

Captain Kirk (Grade 3): DR 5 Brains 4 Will 4 Brawn 3 Guts 10 Phaser 4 Melee 6 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Brawler +2d10, Pugilist +1, Leadership, Tactics +1d10, Nerves of Steel +2, Voice of Command, Quick Recovery, Heroic Action

Mr. Spock (Grade 2): DR 5 Brains 6 Will 5 Brawn 5 Guts 7 Phaser 3 Melee 3 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Genius +2, Observant, Immune to Fear, Incredible Will +1, Nerve Pinch (Dirty Tricks), Undying Loyalty, Well-Prepared

Dr. McCoy (Grade 2): DR 4 Brains 5 Will 5 Brawn 3 Guts 8 Phaser 3 Melee 3 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Genius +1, Leadership, Medical Knowledge, Nerves of Steel +2, Observant, Undying Loyalty

Starfleet Security (Grade 1): DR 4 Brains 2 Will 2 Brawn 3 Guts 6 Phaser 3 Melee 2 Dodge 2 Speed 5 Sharpshooter +1d10, Tactics +1d10, Devotion, Nerves of Steel +1

Klingon Spy (Grade 1) DR 4 Brains 2 Will 3 Brawn 4 Guts 4 Phaser 2 Melee 3 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Brawler +1d10, Ferocious, Fencing +1d10, Bruiser +1

Up next: Race to the Source!

MH-2 Time Trap Conclusion: Truth and Consequence!

PROLOGUE

Later, at the Baxter Building, the Avengers confer with the Fantastic Four in front of the time machine built by the Latverian tyrant, Victor Von Doom!

“Time is pretty resilient, Avengers,” says Mr. Fantastic. “It has a way of sorting things out on its own. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.”

“Really?” asks Wasp. “I’d always assumed if you go back in time and change something, it screws up the present and eventually, the future.”

“A solid theory,” says Mr. Fantastic. “But only one of many, I’m afraid. There are, at present, four leading theories in the area of temporal manipulation…take, for example, the theory of—”

“They don’t have all day, Reed,” says Invisible Woman. “Kang is still out there, somewhere in time, plotting his next scheme.”

“I don’t mean to contradict you, Sue, but this time machine means the Avengers technically DO have all day,” says Mr. Fantastic. “As many days as they need, in fact.” Invisible Woman gives her husband an icy stare. Mr. Fantastic sighs. “But, I suppose you’re right. We should get things rolling, dear.”

“You believe you can send us directly to Kang?” asks Captain America.

“Yes, of course,” says Mr. Fantastic. “Just hop onto the time machine’s transport platform.”

“But what if you’re wrong? asks Vision.

“Look, buddy,” says Mr. Fantastic, “do I come to your lab and tell you how to do your job?”

“My…job?” Vision seems taken aback. “Uh…no. No, you don’t. But I was merely—”

Whatever else he was going to say is cut short by Thing’s guffaw.“Reed’s just busting your chops, pal.”

Mr. Fantastic smiles. “Don’t worry, Vision. If I’m wrong, as you fear, I will know almost immediately and we will come to get you, wherever or whenever you may be. However, I think it far more likely that Kang is expecting you. He must know by now that his ambush failed, and he’s clever enough to know you’ll be coming for him as a result.”

“Great,” says Captain Marvel. “So much for the element of surprise.” She joins Captain America, Wasp and Vision on the platform, while Starfox hobbles to his feet, moving slowly.

“I wish we could go with you,” says the Human Torch, “but Reed says no, we shouldn’t mess with the time streams any more than necessary. It’s too bad.”

“Mmm. That is too bad,” says Captain Marvel, smiling flirtatiously.

“Let’s just go get this over with,” says Starfox, walking stiffly onto the platform. “I owe Kang some payback.”

“Just remember what I said, Starfox,” says the Human Torch. “When you get back to your own time, you want to apply some Icy-Hot directly to the…um..area.”

“Icy-Hot?” asks Starfox. “Isn’t that some kind of ointment?” The machine begins to hum.

“Yup,” says Thing, hiding a smile. “Best thing for ya. And don’t skimp on it. Just layer it on, good and plenty. You’ll thank us for it later.” The Human Torch coughs into his fist rather than laughing out loud.

A bright flash of light, and the Avengers are hurtled forward in time. They materialize in the other-where laboratory of Kang, the Conqueror!

Scenario

Kang is cornered in his lair, but he has had time to prepare for the Avengers’ arrival. His goal is to either defeat the Avengers once and for all or else escape to plague them another day. To this end, he has enlisted the aid of the mindless Dragon Man construct and an old Avengers foe, the Grey Gargoyle, as well as a group of elite henchmen bodyguards and sentry robots.

The heroes must defeat Kang; the other villains are just there to make it more difficult. The Avengers lose if they are defeated (Kang escapes).

Setup

I used a 2′ x 2′ board representing Kang’s laboratory. High-tech, futuristic equipment, including Kang’s time ship, is scattered around the lab. There are 3 docking stations that hold Kang’s sentry robots, and a large teleportation pad set in front of Kang’s Time Ship.

Kang deploys on one end of the board, close to a large computer. He is surrounded closely by a group of elite henchmen. The combat robots deploy in their respective docking stations. The heroes deploy on the opposite side from Kang. Dragon Man and Grey Gargoyle do not deploy at the start of the game (see below).

Special Rules

Pontification: Kang loves to talk. If he gives up all his actions and spends an entire round doing nothing else but telling the heroes how inferior they are, he gains the Fortune power in addition to all his regular powers for the remainder of the scenario.

Calling in Reinforcements: If in base contact with his Time Ship, Kang can use a Special Action to bring in either Dragon Man or Grey Gargoyle on the teleportation pad. He can only bring one villain in per round. These villains will fight for Kang, and will activate later in the same round.

Blaster Turret: Kang has upgraded his lab’s defenses with another blaster turret, much like the one used by the Super-Skrull last scenario (Range 15″, 5D blast, TN5, Body 4). Unlike the Super-Skrull, however, Kang has had time to calibrate the gun so that it fires only at the Avengers. At the start of the round, it fires at the closest Avenger that attacked Kang in the previous round. (It will fire into melee if Kang is fighting an Avenger in melee combat.) If no Avenger attacked Kang in the previous round, the blaster turret will fire at the closest Avenger to Kang. This blaster turret is not equipped with a force field.

Grey Gargoyle’s Petrification Power: Grey Gargoyle has a variation of the standard Entangle power. Like a standard Entangle, it’s a 5D attack, but Grey Gargoyle must be in melee to use it (i.e. it has no range). The upside of this (for Grey Gargoyle) is it’s tougher to break out once you’re turned to stone(TN5). Also, anyone turned to stone resists Body-damaging attacks with their base 4D pool, no matter what their usual defense is.

NOTE: There are a lot of miniatures on the board. Rather than relate the action step-by-step, I’ll give a general overview of what happened each round. These actions are not necessarily sequential.

ROUND 1

The blaster turret fires at Wasp, who happens to be the closest Avenger to Kang. It clips her for 1 damage before the game even really gets started. Ow!

Kang wins initiative for the first round. He makes a Chance roll for his Gadgets power, which gives him re-rolls equal to his successes. He gains 2. The he uses his Enhance power as a free action, and gains another 2 re-rolls which he gives to himself. (The rules don’t specifically say you can’t target yourself with Enhance, but if Scott Pyle is reading this, maybe he could give some clarification in the comments below… Kang is an expert on tactics, so I figured why the hell not?) Kang is going to do both of these things at the start of every round, so I’ll just keep a running tally of Kang’s re-rolls at the beginning of every round.

Enter the Dragon (Man)!

Kang immediately moves to his Time Ship and uses a special action to bring in Dragon Man on the teleport pad. (Yes, that’s a teleport pad, not a coffee can lid!)

Wasp activates her Shrinking power and flies out towards the turret. She blasts it, but does no damage.

Combat robot #1, the one closest to the Avengers,  fires at Captain Marvel and hits her for 3 damage. Then it moves quickly into base contact, trying to lock her up in melee for next round. Captain Marvel activates her Density Decrease power and flies away. Since she’s intangible, all the robot can do is ineffectively grab at her ghostly form as she flies out of melee. She flies over to help out the Wasp and blasts the turret for 2 damage, taking half its Body. Not enough to destroy it, though.

Dragon Man charges at Captain America and winds up with a haymaker. He rolls terribly, but not badly enough that Cap can reflect damage back. Cap attacks Dragon Man, scoring 3 Body worth of damage, dropping the big guy from 10 Body to 7.

Combat robot #3, the one closest to the turret, fires at Wasp but misses. Much like robot #1, it follows this attack up with a Move action which brings it into base contact with Wasp, locking her in melee for next round.

Starfox charges the henchmen group screening Kang, knocking 2 of them out of the fight. The henchmen try to fight back but deal no damage to Starfox. Combat robot #2 fires at Starfox, dealing 3 Body worth of damage! Starfox drops from 7 Body to 4. Again, like the other robots (it’s almost as if they were all programmed by the same person), robot #2 closes the distance with Starfox. It doesn’t quite make it into base contact, but since it has Reach of 2″, it just needs to get close.

Scarlet Witch uses Jinx on Dragon Man, successful despite his construct nature making it more difficult for her. She then runs away from both Dragon Man and robot #3, gaining some distance.

Finally, Vision activates his Density Increase power and charges Dragon Man, shouldering the big construct aside with a Haymaker that deals a net 5 Body worth of damage! He knocks Dragon Man back 8″ and onto his backside!

End of Round 1

ROUND 2

The turret fires at Starfox, as he’s the closest Avenger to Kang. He gets clipped for 1 more damage.

Kang burns through 2 re-rolls in his pool in order to keep Initiative. He gains 1 re-roll from Enhance and banks it for himself, bringing his total re-roll pool to 3. He uses a Special Action to bring in Grey Gargoyle via the Time Ship’s teleportation pad.

Vision charges Combat robot #1. He recharges his Haymaker, but does no damage to the robot. Combat robot #1 attacks back, rolling all 6’s! He scores the maximum number of possible goals, and Vision is walloped for 5 Body damage, dropping him from 9 to 4! Good thing Vision is Density Increased or he would have gone flying!

Combat robot #2 attacks Starfox, but misses.

“Hear me, Kang,” cries Starfox. “Your doom is at hand! I will exact revenge for my ruined testes!” Grey Gargoyle bursts out laughing as the Avengers collectively roll their eyes. Kang smiles. “Then take your vengeance if you can, you arrogant popinjay.”

Starfox attacks the henchmen group and wipes them out, then he moves into base contact with Kang. Unfortunately, by leaving combat with robot #2, he leaves himself wide open to a free attack. The robot cracks him for 1 Body worth of damage, but he manages to get into melee with Kang.

Scarlet Witch blasts robot #2, inflicting 2 damage. Captain Marvel destroys the turret with a well-placed power blast.

Combat robot #3 attacks Wasp, but Wasp manages to deftly slip through it’s grasping tentacles. She gambles on her evasiveness again and leaves combat, trying to get out of melee where she can do the most good with her power blasts. This proves to be a disaster, as the robot’s free attack hits her for 4 Body, taking her all the way down to 1!

Dragon Man charges Captain America, unhindered by Scarlet Witch’s Jinx; however once he gets into combat it’s a different story. He misses badly and Captain America deals 1 damage on his return attack. He knocks Dragon Man back 1″ so he can maneuver around the big guy towards Kang and the Grey Gargoyle. Dragon Man is down to 1 Body!

Grey Gargoyle charges Captain America, and manages to turn Captain America to stone!

After leaving combat with robot #3 (and barely escaping with her life), Wasp takes a parting shot at Dragon Man and manages to KO him (it?)!

End of Round 2

The first 2 rounds have been real slugfests! Wasp down to 1 Body! Dragon Man and Kang’s henchmen wiped out! Starfox down to 2 Body, Vision down to 4, Captain Marvel at 3!! One combat robot damaged, and Captain America turned to stone by the touch of the Grey Gargoyle!!!

ROUND 3

Without Captain America’s initiative bonus, Kang easily manages to hang onto initiative.

Kang’s re-roll pool is 3, and he gives 1 re-roll to the Grey Gargoyle. Kang attacks Starfox, but does no damage. He attempts a Power Attack at the hated Kang, but a sudden sharp pain in his groin distracts him and he whiffs badly.

Grey Gargoyle decides to stick around and punish the calcified Captain America. He does a Power Attack of his own, dealing 2 damage. Then he walks away towards Vision and Scarlet Witch. Scarlet Witch successfully Jinxes Grey Gargoyle and backs away from him, while Vision pounds combat robot #1 for 2 damage, knocking it back 8″. Combat robot #1 takes advantage of the distance and blasts back at Vision but does no damage. Then, predictably, it moves back into melee with Vision.

Combat robot #2 blasts Wasp and KO’s her, then moves into base contact with Starfox. Combat robot #3 fires at Scarlet Witch and would have fried her pretty good if not for her Fortune power. She escapes damage.

Captain America manages to free himself from Grey Gargoyle’s petrification. He hurls his shield at Grey Gargoyle, but misses. Finally, Captain Marvel blasts Grey Gargoyle, but misses. She puts some space between her and the robots.

ROUND 4

In order to keep initiative, Kang burns all 4 of his re-rolls. His Gadgets power gives him 1 re-roll back. Despite having Starfox in his face, Kang decides to Pontificate.

“You are all fools if you think you can ever truly defeat me,” says Kang. “It was all to easy to manipulate you into pulling loose the errant threads of your own existence!  Not one of you is a match for my superior intellect! I have had countless centuries of study. You will fall before me and Earth will look to me as their overlord! It is only a matter of time! Yes, time— of which I AM MASTER!! MU-HUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

This fiery little speech gives Kang the Fortune power for the rest of the game.

Starfox desperately tries to shut Kang up, but can’t even get through his force field. Combat robot #2 attacks Starfox but misses.

Captain America tries to inspire his team, but he gains no goals in his Enhance power. Undaunted, he charges Grey Gargoyle with an Acrobatic Attack that deals 2 damage. Grey Gargoyle tries to turn Captain America back to stone, but Scarlet Witch’s jinx ensures he doesn’t even come close. She blasts combat robot #3 for 5 damage, taking it all the way down to 1 Body. Then she moves into base contact with robot #1 to assist Vision. The robot attacks Vision but does no damage, while Vision clobbers it for 3 Body. He elects to do no knockback, instead keeping the robot in melee with him.

Captain Marvel takes a shot at Combat robot #3 and blasts it to slag.

End of Round 4

ROUND 5

Kang wins initiative. He gains 5 re-rolls, bringing him to his maximum of 6. He gives 2 of them to Combat robot #2, bringing its total to 3. Then he attacks Starfox and KO’s him handily, being sure to crouch down and punch the Eternal in the crotch once more for good measure.

Captain Marvel turns invisible and blasts Kang, ripping through his force field. Kang burns a re-roll to resist, taking only 2 damage, dropping him from 6 to 4. Combat robot #2 manages to spot her despite her invisibility and fires, but misses. It rolls towards her on its Move action.

Captain America belts Grey Gargoyle for 2 more damage, keeping him close in melee. Grey Gargoyle tries to petrify Cap again, but fails.

Vision destroys Combat robot #1 in melee. Scarlet Witch tries to jinx Kang, but fails.

ROUND 6

Kang keeps initiative and gains enough re-rolls to max his pool at 6. He fires at Scarlet Witch but misses. She blasts back, and burns through 2 re-rolls resisting damage.

Captain Marvel fires at Combat robot #2 but doesn’t damage it. She also fails to keep her Invisibility active. She moves to set up a crossfire with Scarlet Witch for next turn.

Grey Gargoyle turns Cap to stone, and despite his best efforts, Captain America is stuck that way, failing his breakout attempt.

Vision drops his Density Increase power and recharges his Haymaker. He charges into combat with Kang and decks him hard, but Kang burns through 4 re-rolls and manages to take 2 damage, dropping him to 2 Body. Vision wants to keep Kang close, so he doesn’t do knockback.

End of Round 6

ROUND 7

Even though they’re operating without Captain America’s initiative bonus, the Avengers seize initiative for the first time, and Kang’s re-rolls don’t help him. He gains 3 re-rolls from his Gadgets power.

Vision fails to recharge his Haymaker, but he activates his Density Increase power before attacking Kang. He breaks through Kang’s force field and does 1 damage, dropping Kang to his last Body point! Kang burns all his re-rolls, including his newly acquired Fortune power, and is on the ropes!

Scarlet Witch fires at combat robot #2 but misses. Combat robot #2 fires at Vision and misses, so he moves into melee to assist Kang next round.

Captain America fails to free himself from Grey Gargoyle’s power.

Captain Marvel recharges her Invisibility and activates it. Then she fires at Kang, dropping him to zero Body. Kang fails his KO check and collapses! Victory to the Avengers!

End of Game

EPILOGUE

I suppose I could have continued to play out the scenario until all the bad guys were accounted for, but why? Grey Gargoyle is no genius, but he’s smart enough to know when he’s beaten. I figure he’d probably surrender.

My thoughts on the scenario, in no particular order:

I got to use my old TSR Marvel Super Heroes miniature for Kang! He scales very well with the Heroclix, which is good because I hate the two Heroclix versions of Kang that I own. I was very happy to get to use some classic lead in this game!

It was a tight space for so many miniatures. I probably should have used a 3′ x 3′ area rather than the 2′ x 2′ board. That being said, the action started pretty much immediately.

While I made use of a lot of Archetype combat maneuvers, I completely forgot about Kang’s abilities, as I was focused on remembering his re-roll pool. Kang is wily, but no match for most of the Avengers in a stand-up fight. He always has tricks up his sleeve, and he stacks the deck in his favor. I think using Kang’s re-roll pool to its best ability is what kept him healthy for so long.

Dragon Man was a huge disappointment. I thought he’d be good to tie up the Avengers for a while, but he performed so badly in this scenario he was little more than a distraction.

Not very surprising, the henchmen did nothing, except exactly what they were supposed to: protect Kang. By surrounding him so closely, they made it impossible for Kang to get charged early. Starfox had to waste precious time dealing with them before he could get to Kang. The robots performed very well, and blasting first and moving into combat second proved to be a good strategy to delay the heroes.

Why did I use Grey Gargoyle? Because he was in the original Time Trap module, in his own (very stupid) chapter. I had already repainted the miniature, so I threw him in as support for Kang in the final chapter. He seemed to work out well, as he took Captain America out of the fight for two of the rounds!

The overall campaign was a blast, despite having a rather lame cast of heroes and villains. I had as much fun with Starfox as I could. This was the first campaign I ran with the finalized Super Mission Force rules (The Breeder Bombs used the incomplete playdocs through various versions) and I think it went very smoothly.

Here are my Super Mission Force builds for the bad guys in this scenario:

Kang (Super) Major: Enhance, Minor: Clever, Force Field, Gadgets, Power Blasts

Like I said above, focusing on getting as many re-rolls as possible is my key to playing Kang. I considered giving him Armor and Savant in place of Force Field and Clever, but I like the above version better.

Dragon Man (Super) Major: Super Strength Minor: Construct, Flight, Power Blasts, Tough

Grey Gargoyle (Wild Card) Minor: Armor, Entangle, Super Strength, Resistance

Grey Gargoyle’s version of the Entangle power is described under Special Rules, above.

Combat Robots: Minor: Power Blasts, Melee Specialist (Reach 2″)

Henchmen: Armor, Power Blasts

That’s it for now. I plan on converting more Marvel Super Heroes modules to Super Mission Force, and I’ll likely have another campaign going before too long. It’s too much fun to pass up!

MH-2 Time Trap Part 3: A Murder of…Skrulls?!

PROLOGUE

The smoke clears, and the Avengers stand reunited in their mansion before Immortus, Lord of Limbo!

“Both your groups achieved success,” says Immortus. “This is good, but there is still another task ahead, and it is by far the most important.”

“Hold on a second,” interrupts Captain Marvel. “I think we’re entitled to some answers, friend. A child was almost seriously hurt or killed, and we still don’t know the whole story.”

“And yet because of your quick actions, the child was unhurt. He grew up to be a postal clerk, if that is of importance to you,” says Immortus. “More importantly, Rankin was prevented from his path, which would have led to the formation of the solar flare.”

“We have only your word on that,” says Scarlet Witch.

Immortus scowls. “I will try not to take that as the insult you so obviously intend. I seek only to prevent disaster.”

“Sorry to hurt your feelings, but Drax did not know about the satellites you claim he was on his way to destroy, either,” says Wasp. She looks at Captain America. “And Vision says there’s no record they ever existed.”

Cap glances at Vision. The android nods. “Well, that’s sure strange, Immortus,” says Captain America. “Any explanation?”

Immortus sighs with impatience. “Again, because of your quick actions, the aliens likely never even got a chance to tell Drax about the satellites. Rest assured, that is a good thing. As for your computer’s deficiencies, I am sure I am not the person to ask. Now, enough of this nonsense! There is an important task that will require all of you, and it must be done presently! I have used my mastery of the time streams to heal all your injuries for those who have sustained harm. Hardly the actions of one with ill intent.”

Starfox folds his arms. “All right. We’re listening.”

“You must go back in time again, but not far; only yesterday,” Immortus says.

“Yesterday…” says Starfox, “…when all our troubles seemed so far away…” He smiles, looking around at the others.  “You all see what I did there, right? Right?”

“Why yesterday?” asks Vision, ignoring Starfox. He subtly increases his density, rooting himself to the spot lest he lunge at Starfox and punch him in the dick.

“Because that is when Reed Richards launched a solar probe into space from the top of a building here in Manhattan.”

“That’s quite simply impossible,” says Vision. “Our computers would have detected such a launch, and Dr. Richards would have certainly informed us of his plans.”

“The launch was secret,” snaps Immortus. “Do you doubt Reed Richards could launch something into space undetected?”

“No,” says Captain America. “Only that he would.”

“Well, you can ask him about it yourself when you see him. If the launch is allowed to happen, the probe becomes the very catalyst that sets in motion the flare. You must convince him to abort the launch. Richards miscalculated a key equation, and has inadvertently doomed the solar system.”

“Mr. Fantastic doesn’t make mistakes like that,” says Scarlet Witch.

“Does he not?” Immortus scoffs. ” Have you forgotten how the Fantastic Four came to be, Ms. Maximoff? How Reed Richards became “Mr. Fantastic” in the first place? Now prepare yourselves!”

“Well, this should be interesting,” says Wasp, as the temporal energies gather around the team.

Captain America raises an eyebrow. “In what way?”

Wasp grins. “I can’t wait to see the look on his face when you tell Reed Richards he needs to check his math.”

The Scenario

Surprise! Kang is lying. While the heroes were off dealing with Mimic and Drax, Kang made arrangements for them to be ambushed in the past by two powerful enemies: Blastaar, the Living Bomb-burst, and the Super-Skrull! He’s not sending them back to yesterday, he’s sending them back years, shortly after the Super-Skrull first got his powers. Kang doesn’t care whether the Avengers beat the Super-Skrull or not; it really doesn’t matter. If the Super-Skrull wins, the Avengers are wiped out before they become a team. If the Avengers win, the Super-Skrull reports back to the Skrull emperor that Earth is better defended than the Skrulls thought. They never attack Earth and the Fantastic Four is the only super-team that is really needed, so the Avengers never become a permanent team. Either way, when Kang’s future rolls around, he’s ensured himself an easy time conquering Earth.

The Avengers need to defeat the Super-Skrull, his Skrull soldiers, and Blastaar. Anything else is complete failure!

Setup

I used two 2′ x 2′ boards, representing the tops of two skyscrapers in Midtown Manhattan. At their closest point, the rooftops are 8″ away from each other. Both rooftops contain scatter terrain, such as ventilation ducts, elevator motors, water tanks, AC units, etc. One of the rooftops contains a strange-looking spacecraft.

The Avengers deploy on the roof without the spacecraft. Blastaar and two groups of elite Skrull henchmen deploy on the same roof, surrounding the Avengers. The Super-Skrull and the last group of elite Skrull henchmen deploy on the opposite roof, close to the spacecraft.

Special Rules

Moving Between Buildings: With the exception of Scarlet Witch, all the heroes have no problem moving between the two buildings. Starfox, Vision, Wasp and Captain Marvel can all fly, and Captain America’s Super-Agility makes an 8″ leap child’s play. Unfortunately for the Scarlet Witch, if she wants to move from building to building she’ll have to hitch a ride with Starfox, Vision or a non-shrunken Wasp. Captain Marvel can only fly while intangible, so she can’t carry a passenger, and Captain America’s Super-Agility doesn’t allow him to carry passengers, either. On the villains’ side, Blastaar and Super-Skrull can also easily fly (or stretch) between buildings, but the Skrull henchmen groups are stuck on whatever building they deployed on at the start of the game.

Attacking Between Buildings: Both buildings are roughly the same height, so models can make ranged attacks at one another from building to building. The Super-Skrull can also attack between buildings in melee if he uses his Metamorph power to stretch and increase his reach.

The Spacecraft: The spacecraft functions as a constant source of cosmic energy. It has a directional antenna that constantly beams cosmic energy to the Super-Skrull, making him stronger than normal. In game terms, this gives the Super Skrull the Regeneration power in addition to his already considerable power list. Destroying the spacecraft should be a high priority for the heroes; unfortunately it’s not easy. The spacecraft is enveloped by a standard force field (4D) and is made of steel (or the Skrull equivalent), which is TN5 and Body 4. It’s also surrounded by an elite group of Skrull henchmen, and is protected by a blaster turret (see below).

If the spacecraft is successfully destroyed, the Super-Skrull immediately loses the Regeneration power and takes a 6D attack as the beam is disrupted. He resists this normally, but his Force Field cannot protect him against this attack.

The Blaster Turret: The Skrulls have set up a sentry gun to protect the spacecraft. At the start of each round, it opens fire on the closest model that is not a Skrull. Note that this could be Blastaar! The Skrulls haven’t had time to configure it to ignore Blastaar yet. It can be targeted and destroyed (TN5 Body 4).

The mists of time part, and the Avengers find themselves on the roof of a tall building in Manhattan, just as Immortus said they would. On an adjacent rooftop they spy the Fantastic Four, gathered around a strange-looking device.

“Good. They’re here, and so is the ship,” says Wasp. “Let’s go tell the FF they have to stop their science project for now.”

The Avengers walk towards the rooftop where the Fantastic Four are tinkering with the device. The Thing catches sight of them immediately and says something to the rest of the team, who turn to watch the Avengers approach.

“That ship…” says Starfox, trailing off. “It almost looks like—”

“Something’s wrong here,” says Captain America, as diabolical grins spread across the faces of the Fantastic Four.

Suddenly, the familiar forms of the FF waver and fade, only to be replaced by…

“Skrulls!” says Vision. “It’s a trap!”

All around the Avengers, Skrull soldiers suddenly appear, until that moment hidden by the Invisibility powers of their leader, The Super-Skrull! A harsh, booming laugh comes from behind the group. They whirl, only to see Blastaar of Baluur, the Living Bomb-blast!

“Immortus set us up!” exclaims Captain Marvel. “It’s an ambush!”

“Avengers, Assemble!” cries Captain America, unslinging his shield from his back. “Formation Alpha 2-3, on me! Let’s end this quickly, team!”

The start of the game. Board 1 on the left, Board 2 on the right.

Board 1 Deployment

Board 2 Deployment

ROUND 1

Before initiative is rolled, the blaster turret opens fire on the closest non-Skrull model: Wasp! This surprise attack hits her for 3 damage, half her Body! Ouch!

Also at the start of the round, the Super-Skrull has to pick what Metamorph form he will use for the round. I picked form #1, which gives him +6″ to Move, Melee Specialist, and +10″ reach. This pretty accurately represents his elasticity and he will stay this way throughout the whole game; I see no reason to change it.

The Avengers gain initiative. Captain America wastes no time. He activates his Enhance power and says some inspiring words. He manages to give Scarlet Witch one re-roll she can bank until she needs it. Then he takes the fight straight to Blastaar by charging the warlord of Baluur! He leaps atop the water tower with an Acrobatic Attack (a Brawler special maneuver); when all is said and done, Blastaar takes 4 Body worth of damage and gets knocked off the tower! He manages to keep his footing, but he just lost 2/3 of his health! Blastaar only has 2 Body left!

In response, Blastaar does what he does best, he blasts Captain America with concussive kinetic energy, scoring 6 net goals worth of damage, dropping Cap’s Body from 7 to 1!! Blastaar uses the Blast Back maneuver (a Blaster maneuver), and knocks Captain America off the water tower and onto his star-spangled ass. Cap fails his knockdown check and is back to where he started the round. How embarrassing!

Captain Marvel activates her Density Decrease and Invisibility powers, then Power Blasts Skrull group #2, taking 3 of their number out of the action. Then she uses her Flight and Speed to head over to Board #1, close to that Skull spacecraft and the Blaster Turret.

Skrull group #3 moves up and concentrates their fire on Vision. He rolls poorly to resist and takes 5 Body worth of damage, dropping from 9 to 4!

Wasp activates her Shrinking power and flies towards Skrull group #3, Power Blasting them and taking out 3 of their soldiers in a mirror image of Captain Marvel’s attack! Both henchmen groups on board 2 are down to 2 members each! Wasp continues the rest of her movement, putting her closer to Blastaar.

Skrull group #2 opens fire on Captain America, managing to inflict 1 more Body worth of damage, dropping Cap to zero health and forcing him to make a KO check. He passes! Cap is still in the fight, but he has lost all his Body in the first round of the game!

Vision charges into combat with Blastaar and delivers a Haymaker. He only scores 1 damage, but that knocks Blastaar back 3″ and he fails to remain on his feet.

Meanwhile, over on Board #1, the Super Skrull makes good use of the Fantastic Four’s powers. He activates his Damage Field and Invisibility powers, then moves to the edge of the building. With his 10″ reach, he can just barely hit Starfox by stretching across the gap between buildings. Using a combination of the Human Torch’s flame, Mr. Fantastic’s elasticity (and the Melee Specialist ability from Metamorph form #1), the Thing’s strength and Sue Storm’s invisibility, the Super Skrull is rolling and re-rolling a shit-ton of dice on this one attack. He does 4 Body worth of damage on the unsuspecting Starfox, enough to knock him back 12″ into the water tower. Starfox fails his knockdown check and wonders what the hell just happened.

Starfox uses 2″ of his movement to stand up and look around, but he doesn’t see the invisible Super-Skrull. Instead he charges Skrull group #2 and vents his frustration on them, wiping out the remaining two members.

Skrull group #1 fail to spot Captain Marvel, so they move towards the edge of their roof. No one is within range of their attacks, however; so they just sneer at the Avengers on the other rooftop.

Scarlet Witch moves forward and Power Blasts Skrull group #3, taking out the remaining 2 Skrulls.

Board 1: End of Round 1.

Board 2: End of Round 1

 

HOLY SHIT! That brings Round 1 to a close: one of the bloodiest Rounds in Super Mission Force History, at least in my experience. In the span of about 10 minutes, the results are staggering: Captain America, at zero Body! Wasp at half Body! Vision and Starfox, both at less than half their starting Body! Skrull groups #2 and #3 wiped out! Blastaar at 1 Body! In the immortal words of Charlton Heston: “It’s a madhouse! A maaaaaadhouuuusse!!!!”

ROUND 2

Both Captain Marvel and Super-Skrull maintain their Invisibility.

The Blaster Turret can’t see Captain Marvel, so it fires at the next closest non-Skrull: Scarlet Witch. After an impressive shot, Scarlet Witch manages to only take 1 damage (she had Cap’s re-roll and her Fortune power to thank for that).

Captain America stands up and moves into position where his Enhance power can do the most good. Unfortunately, he only manages to impart one re-roll to the group. He gives it to Vision. Then, because he’s close enough, he throws his shield at the prone Blastaar, but he misses!

The invisible Super-Skrull charges at Starfox, who, at the last moment, makes his Perception roll and notices something is attacking him. Nonetheless, the Super-Skrull clobbers Starfox right in the dick, dropping the Eternal to zero Body and knocking him back 9″. Starfox manages to stay both conscious and upright, but (as anyone who has ever been punched in the dick can attest) his mood immediately suffers.

Vision activates his Density Increase power and charges Blastaar. He makes use of Captain America’s gifted re-roll and pummels the Living Bomb-burst into next week. Blastaar fails his KO check and is out of action!

On Board 1, Skrull group #1 makes their Perception check and notices Captain Marvel. They concentrate their fire on her, and she loses 2 Body, dropping her from 6 to 4.

Starfox tries to get some payback. He charges Super-Skrull, using the Wild Card maneuver Power Attack, which gives him a couple of re-rolls. Despite rolling 6 dice with 2 re-rolls, Starfox fails to damage the Super-Skrull. Not really surprising; his recent experience is probably quite distracting.

Captain Marvel decides to attack the Skrull spacecraft, and Power Blasts it hard enough to penetrate the Force Field and do 3 Body worth of damage to it. It starts to spark and smoke, and on the other rooftop, the Super-Skrull feels a shudder in the cosmic force beam supplying him with power…

Wasp flies over to the edge of rooftop #2 and fires across the way at Skrull group #1. She only manages to pick off 1 Skrull, but that’s ok. Scarlet Witch moves up alongside her and shows Wasp how it’s done. She Power Blasts Skrull group #1 and wipes out the remaining four Skrulls.

Board 1: End of Round 2

Board 2: End of Round 2

ROUND 3

Captain Marvel fails to sustain her Invisibility, but Super-Skrull keeps his invisibility active.

The Blaster Turret shoots at Captain Marvel, clipping her for 1 damage.

Captain Marvel fires at the spacecraft again. This time she blows it to smithereens. The disruption of the cosmic energy beam causes 1 damage to the Super-Skrull and removes his ability to Regenerate, which is something he hasn’t needed to do yet as he hasn’t taken any damage.

Super-Skrull has had just about enough of Starfox, so he belts him hard, knocking him back another 9″. Starfox is KOed!

Captain America spots Super-Skrull,  recharges his Acrobatic Attack and charges! He drops Super-Skrull down to 1 Body with his heroic charge, but falls to Super-Skrull’s Damage Field, which does 3 goals of damage to Cap. Cap is KOed!

If Super-Skrull somehow survives this round, the Blaster Turret will fire again. With this in mind, over on Board #1, Wasp attacks the turret and blasts it to bits.

Scarlet Witch tries to locate the invisible Super-Skrull so she can attack him, but she can’t find him. All she does is move closer to where she thinks he is.

Finally, Vision activates his Density Decrease power, effectively becoming a ghost. He perceives the Super-Skrull and flies directly through him, doing a Ghostly Attack. Super-Skrul takes 1 damage from the attack and fails his KO roll. Super-Skrull is KOed!

Victory to the Avengers!

 

Board #1: End of Game

Board #2: End of Game

EPILOGUE

Wow. That was a fast game, indeed. Three total rounds saw three henchmen groups, two heroes and two villains wiped out, three more heroes reduced to half or less health, and one more hero wounded. No one escaped pain! All in the span of about 25 minutes real time!

I changed this scenario in several ways. First, I spread the battle out over two separate rooftops. Second, I felt the Super-Skrull needed a little help, so I increased the number of Skrull soldiers and added Blastaar to his team. I also added the blaster turret as additional security. Other than these additions, the battle was pretty similar to the original publication.

Since Kang isn’t bringing the heroes back this time around, he has no intention of healing their injuries. That means I have to roll on the Fate of the Fallen table for anyone KOed during this scenario: namely Starfox and Captain America. Starfox sustained a rather serious groin injury (who saw that coming?). As such, he is -3″ to his Move and -1D to all his attacks for the next battle. (Groin pain lingers, my friends…)

Despite being blasted by Blastaar and some Skrulls and being burned by Super-Skrull’s flames, Captain America manages to come through with only minor scrapes. He’ll be ready to go next scenario with no ill-effects. That’s because Captain America is Captain America, and not Starfox.

It’s also noteworthy that I rolled very high for most of the game, including all the Recharge rolls I was required to make. That’s why the Super-Skrull and Captain Marvel were invisible for most of the game. That’s not usually how it goes.

Here are my Super Mission Force builds for the Skrull force:

Super-Skrull (Powerhouse): Major: Metamorph, Super-Strength Minor: Damage Field, Flight, Force Field, Invisibility, Power Blasts, Regeneration (only when cosmic beam is active)

Blastaar (Super): Major: Power Blasts Minor: Armor, Flight, Resistance, Super-Strength

Elite Skrull Henchmen: Minor: Armor, Power Blasts

The battle in Midtown Manhattan was bound to draw attention, and it caught the notice of the world’s first super-team, the Fantastic Four! They arrive in their patented Fantasti-car, and after several minutes of introductions and explanations, the Avengers from the future and the Fantastic Four from the past come to an understanding.

“So that’s basically it, Dr. Richards,” says Captain America. It will be several years before they will be on a first name basis, at least by Mr. Fantastic’s timeline. “It seems we were duped, and I blame myself.”

“You can’t think that way, Captain America,” says Reed Richards. “Immortus is generally trustworthy; therefore I suspect it is Kang, his earlier incarnation, that is to blame.”

“Kang!” exclaims Scarlet Witch. “That would explain a lot.”

“Indeed it would,” says Vision. “But, how do we repair the damage to the timeline that we have already caused?”

“Don’t worry”, says Thing. “I’m sure Big Brain has already figured that out.” He unceremoniously drops the unconscious Super-Skrull into the Fantasti-car, while Invisible Girl claps the villain in power-dampening restraints. Similar restraints have already been applied to Blastaar, who glares at the Human Torch while the Torch, only feet away, makes faces at him.

“That’s essentially correct, Ben,” says Mr. Fantastic. “I think I have a plan to set things right.” Thing gives Captain America an “I told you so” look, then walks over to Starfox, who is moaning and clutching a cryo-pack between his legs. “Got ya right in the cubes, huh pal?” says Thing. Starfox nods weakly. “Ya just gotta walk it off. Just walk it off, buddy. S’all ya can do.”

Up next: the final showdown between the Avengers and Kang, the Conqueror!

 

 

 

 

MH-2 Time Trap Part 2: Drax the Destroyer!

PROLOGUE

As Captain America, Captain Marvel and Scarlet Witch vanish into the swirling mists of time, Immortus turns towards the remainder of the team. “You three must act no less swiftly if we are to save the galaxy from solar destruction. You will be sent to Earth’s moon, several decades in the past. There you will find Drax the Destroyer, in parley with an alien race that secretly works for the Eternal, Thanos.”

“But Drax hates Thanos, and has sworn to kill him,” says Thanos’s brother, Starfox.

“Just so,” says Immortus irritably, “but since I just told you they work for Thanos secretly, Drax does not know they work for Thanos. If he is not stopped, the aliens will convince Drax to destroy two Earth-made satellites in orbit around Mercury. These satellites study solar flare activity and without the data they provide, Earth will be unable to prevent the flare from destroying the galaxy.”

“So we must battle Drax,” Starfox says. “This isn’t going to be fun.”

“You need not battle Drax, only somehow prevent him from leaving with the aliens,” says Immortus.

“Perhaps we can ask him nicely to stay,” says Wasp. She glances around. “Just kidding.”

“Janet, your beauty truly inspires the most melancholy of poets,” says Starfox. “Sadly, I have never known Drax to be influenced by beauty.” He smiles. “Unlike myself.”

Vision stares at Immortus. The android’s face is inscrutable, revealing little of his true thoughts, although they very likely involve punching Starfox in the dick. “I am linked with the Avengers Mainframe,” he says. “We have no record of any satellites of Earthly origin placed around Mercury during the time you mention.”

“The inaccuracy of your computers is the least of our problems,” snaps Immortus. “Now, prepare yourselves, for we have no more time for discourse!” With that, billowing clouds of smoke envelop the Avengers, hurling them through space and time!

The Scenario:

It’s pretty straightforward: the Avengers must delay Drax the Destroyer long enough so that he doesn’t leave the Moon in the company of the aliens. They can accomplish this one of two ways: beat Drax and the aliens in a straight-up fight, or convince Drax that the aliens work for Thanos, his hated enemy. If they succeed in convincing Drax, he fights alongside the Avengers for the rest of the game.

Setup:

I used a 4′ x 4′ board depicting a strange area of Earth’s moon. There are rocky outcroppings and alien flora liberally scattered around the board, providing cover and blocking line-of-sight. Drax and two groups of alien henchmen set up on one side of the board. The Avengers deploy on the opposite side.

SPECIAL RULES

You were expecting this guy, perhaps?

 

Nope! This is Drax.

Convincing Drax: Drax is no deep thinker, but he’s not a dummy, either. Something about this whole thing seems fishy to him.  Any hero can spend an entire round trying to convince Drax to join their side.  It requires 3 Goals on a Chance roll to persuade Drax that the aliens really work for Thanos, and he’s fighting on the wrong side. At this time in history, the only member of the Avengers Drax knows is Starfox, who he recognizes as Thanos’s brother. Drax knows Starfox and Thanos hate each other, so Starfox only needs 2 Goals on his Chance roll to persuade Drax.

The Aliens: The alien henchmen groups are endless. Once a group is wiped out, a new group will deploy from the same table edge as they did at the start of the game. This occurs at the end of the round the group is wiped out. With their jetpacks, the alien henchmen groups can get to the action fairly quickly. The aliens try to avoid physical combat, instead using their maneuverability to get into good positions from which they can shoot at the heroes. If two groups can set up a crossfire and attack the same hero in a round, they will; if not, they attack separate targets.

The BFR: In the likely scenario that the Avengers convince Drax to switch sides, the aliens deploy their last resort: a Big F(ighting) Robot. The robot fights alongside endless henchmen groups against both the Avengers and Drax while the bulk of the alien force withdraws from the Moon. The scenario ends once either the robot or the heroes (and Drax) are defeated.

ROUND 1

As team leader in Captain America’s absence, Wasp quickly sizes up the situation. Two groups of the aliens, armed with energy rifles and wearing what looks like jet packs. That makes them fast and dangerous. And then there’s Drax. He’s the toughest guy on the Moon, and he knows it. “Starfox, you and I will take care of the aliens,” she says. “Vision, you tie Drax up long enough so he will listen to reason.”

“Understood,” says Vision. It doesn’t sound like he’s looking forward to what’s coming. “Please hurry.”

Initiative goes to the villains. Henchmen Group #1 flies out and takes cover behind a weird alien plant, then concentrates fire on the Vision, who is barely within range. They miss. Wasp activates her Shrinking power, then flanks the group and fires off her power blasts, managing to take out one of the aliens. Henchmen Group #2 activates and flies toward the center of the board. They take aim at Wasp, trying to eliminate one Avenger at a time; but they miss, too.

>drops mike<

Starfox charges into Henchmen Group #2, and scores enough net goals to completely wipe out all 6 aliens! (I did not see that one coming.)

Drax flies out to meet Vision, but since he’s too far away to charge, he blasts Vision with his ranged attack instead. Vision shrugs it off, taking no damage, and activates his Density Increase power. He knows he’s shortly going to go toe-to-toe with Drax, so it seems like a good idea. Not wanting to provoke someone who calls himself “The Destroyer” any further, Vision fires his power blasts at Henchmen Group #1, managing to inflict  1 more casualty on the group, dropping their number to 4.

At the end of the round, Henchmen Group #2 re-spawns at the table edge. These guys are endless!

End of Round 1

ROUND 2

The villains keep initiative, and Drax wastes no time charging into combat. He belts Vision with a Haymaker that ends up doing 2 Body worth of damage. Good thing Vision activated his Density Increase power, or he would have been knocked back 8″! Vision tries to grapple Drax, hoping to bind him up and make him listen to reason. He fails; and Drax rebuffs his embrace.

Henchmen Group #1 fires again at Wasp, but she nimbly dodges out of the way.

Dude, you had one job….

Starfox uses his entire turn to make an impassioned plea to Drax, trying to convince him that the Avengers are on his side. Even though he only needs 2 goals, he blows it. Drax silently vows to punch him in the dick as soon as he’s done with Vision.

Wasp blasts Henchmen Group #1, wiping them all out before flying off towards the center of the board, where she guesses Henchmen Group #2 will soon be. She’s right. They unload their guns on her, but miss.

End of Round 2

At the end of the round, Henchmen Group #1 re-spawns at the table edge.

ROUND 3

The villains keep initiative.

Henchmen Group #1 flies out takes up position around the Wasp, setting up a crossfire with Henchmen Group #2 (already in position). They open fire and manage to clip her for 1 Body worth of damage.

Starfox tries his best to persuade Drax again, using his entire round’s actions to do so. He fails.

“Hey…er… why don’t we all just…uh…relax, Drax?” says Starfox. Drax thinks it must be pure torture to have to hang out with an idiot like Starfox. He looks at Vision with pity before punching him with another Haymaker for another 2 Body worth of damage. Vision responds in kind with his own Haymaker, but Drax just takes the hit and smiles, unhurt.

Henchmen Group #2 opens fire on Wasp, managing to hit her for another 1 Body worth of damage. Wasp is taking heavy fire, so she blasts back, taking out 3 of the aliens before high-tailing it away to seek cover!

End of Round 3

ROUND 4

The heroes gain initiative!

Starfox tries again to convince Drax that the aliens are working for Thanos, this time with success! Drax suddenly remembers were he knows Starfox from and realizes he’s been duped. Man, is he pissed!

Henchmen Group #1 chases after Wasp, firing on her and inflicting another 1 damage, dropping her to half her overall Body!  Wasp fires back and blasts 3 of them before taking off. Henchmen Group #2 (only 3 strong), gives chase and fires at her again, but they miss.

“You DARE dupe Drax?!”

Drax activates, charging into combat with Henchmen Group #2. No surprise, he wipes the group out completely.

Vision targets what remains of Henchmen Group #1 with his solar gem, blasting them into unconsciousness.

End of Round 4

At the end of the round, both Henchmen Groups re-spawn at the table edge. Now that Drax is fighting on the side of the Avengers, the aliens deploy their secret weapon: the Big F(ighting) Robot!

ROUND 5

The BFR!

The villains take back the initiative. The BFR rumbles to life, eyes glowing with menace!

It charges into combat with the closest hero, who happens to be Vision, and decks him for a net 5 goals! Vision drops to zero Health with that one shot. Because of Density Increase, he doesn’t get knocked into next week, but he definitely needs a KO check. He passes, and manages to stay conscious!

Vision punches back, but in his weakened state he inflicts no damage. Henchmen Group #2 fires into the melee, heedless of the BFR. They’re hoping to hit Vision, who is clearly on the ropes, but they miss.

Starfox charges Henchmen Group #2, taking out 4 of them and dropping their number to 2. They’re effectively locked in melee with Starfox.

Henchmen Group #1 also fires into the melee, but they also miss Vision. Hey, they tried.

Drax charges the BFR, and busts it in the mouth (?) for 4 damage, knocking it back and down. Wasp flies over and blasts it for another 2 damage!

ROUND 6

Not many pictures here.

The villains keep initiative. The BFR struggles to its feet and charges Drax, walloping him for 2 damage and knocking The Destroyer back 8″. Drax manages to keep his footing.

Vision activates his Density Decease power, turning into a ghostly form (and protecting himself from any physical attacks). He blasts the BFR for another 2 damage. Sparks start to fly!

Henchmen Group #1 opens fire on Wasp, and riddles her with energy blasts, dropping her to 1 Body!

Being a pro, Wasp focuses on the main threat, the BFR, rather than sweet retaliation. It pays off! She blasts the BFR, doing 2 damage, dropping it to zero! It fails its KO check and is destroyed!

Victory to the Avengers!

Starfox turns, expecting to see more of the aliens coming. Instead, he sees their backs as they flee.

“It seems they are withdrawing,” says Vision, wearily. “I can’t say I’m sorry to see them go.”

“I will pursue them to the ends of the universe!” vows Drax. “I am no one’s pawn! Thanos will rue the day he dared—”

“Yes, yes… you’re welcome, Drax,” says Wasp. “But before you go, now that you know the aliens work for Thanos, promise us you won’t destroy those satellites.”

Drax looks confused, then suspicious. “What satellites?”

The Avengers exchange glances. “The ones the aliens asked you to destroy,” says Wasp.

“I don’t know who you are or what the hell you’re talking about,” says Drax. “Now get out of my way. I need to chase down Thanos’s minions and kill them. Then I need to kill Thanos.” With that, Drax flies off, just as the Avengers feel themselves once again drawn through time, summoned before Immortus!

EPILOGUE

Well, that was a quick game. It took about half an hour, not counting the time I took taking pictures and recording the action.

You may naturally ask: why did Kang want Drax delayed? Well, according to the original module, delaying Drax  “allows one of Thanos’s (unnamed) schemes to proceed, which would result in the destruction of the Avengers.” Not much detail there, but I guess Kang has his reasons.

I changed the scenario, but not much. I just added the big robot, because once the Avengers convince Drax to work with them, the scenario is essentially over. Drax helps the Avengers beat on the aliens, which is really no challenge at all in SMF. I didn’t expect it to take Starfox so long to convince Drax, but the dice weren’t his friend. Despite this, Starfox is the only Avenger who didn’t get hurt at all!

This scenario allowed me to use my Pulp Figures “Radon Zombies of the Ionosphere” miniatures for the aliens. I painted them up years ago and I’ve never had a chance to game with them until now. I love these guys!

Here are my Super Mission Force builds for Drax and the aliens:

Drax the Destroyer: (Super) Major: Super Strength;  Minor: Armor, Flight, Power Blasts, Resistance

Alien Henchmen: Minor: Flight, Power Blasts

Big F(ighting) Robot: (Powerhouse) Major: Scrapper, Super Strength; Minor: Armor, Construct, Resistance, Tough

Up next: “Skrulls….Why did it have to be Skrulls?”

MH-2 Time Trap Part 1: The Menace of the Mimic!

PROLOGUE

They are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers! Captain America, Captain Marvel, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Starfox and Wasp! Their quiet afternoon at Avengers Mansion is shattered, as suddenly, without warning, a visitor appears in their midst, trailing a mysterious, billowing smoke! They recognize him immediately as Immortus, Lord of Limbo!

“Avengers,” says Immortus. “We have no time to exchange pleasantries. In several days, a solar flare will destroy this galaxy. You must act quickly to prevent this, or Earth is doomed. The only way to do this is to allow me to use my mastery of time to send you back to various points in history, where you must prevent certain events from occurring. The flare develops as a result of these events, so you must alter the course of time and ensure they do not take place.”

“Wait a minute, Immortus,” Captain America says. “How do we know that this is the best course of action? Messing around with the timeline seems drastic. Perhaps we can consult with Dr. Richards and come up with a better plan?” Several of the Avengers nod in agreement.

“I am Master of Time, Captain, and I assure you we have little of it left. You must act now. There are two events that require immediate attention. The first involves a young man named Calvin Rankin. The other event concerns Drax the Destroyer. Both must be stopped!”

“Drax!” exclaims Wasp. “That’s never good news.”

“I assure you that Rankin is every bit as formidable. Nonetheless, we have little time to debate.”

Captain America nods reluctantly. “All right, then. Captain Marvel, Wanda…you’re with me. We’ll deal with Rankin. Starfox, Wasp, Vision…you handle Drax. And be careful.”

“How fortunate you are, Captain, to enjoy the assistance of these two beautiful women,” says Starfox, “but Janet’s beauty is so sublime that I consider myself equally fortunate.”

“Keep your mind on the mission, Starfox,” says Cap. I’d love to punch him in the dick, he thinks to himself.

Immortus turns towards Captain America’s group. “Very well, then. You will be sent back to the year 1969. Calvin Rankin is in Central Park. You must find him and convince him to put this on.” Immortus holds up a strange-looking headset.

“Why?” asks the Scarlet Witch.

Immortus sighs in irritation. “Have I not impressed upon you the need for haste? Because Rankin will eventually come in contact with an alien device that will increase his intellect a thousand fold, allowing him to develop dangerous technologies that will directly lead to the formation of the solar flare. This headset will ensure his mind will not be altered in this fashion. It will not otherwise harm him.”

“What if he won’t put it on?” asks Captain Marvel.

“Then you must put it on him,” Immortus says, as though talking to a child. He hands the headset to Captain America. “Now, enough talk. Prepare yourselves!”

The mysterious smoke billows forth from Immortus’s hands, surrounding the small team. They are transported through time!

The Scenario:

The prologue pretty much sums it up. The Avengers must find Calvin Rankin in the park and make sure he puts on the headset. What Immortus didn’t tell them is that Calvin Rankin is a powerful mutant with the ability to absorb and mimic the powers of anyone he comes across, and that he’s not going down without a fight. To add challenge, there are innocent civilians in harm’s way and the fight quickly draws the attention and intervention of law enforcement.

Setup:

I used a 4′ x 4′ area set up like a park, with trees and natural terrain scattered around. There is a lot of open space. A statue is in the middle of the board. The Avengers deploy on one side of the board. The Mimic is deployed at the statue. There are six civilians deployed randomly around the board. The police do not deploy at the start of the game (see below).

SPECIAL RULES

The Mimic: At the start of the game, The Mimic has a Move, Body and Psyche of 6 and has only one power: Mimic. The Mimic’s power is a stronger version of the Mimic super power in Super Mission Force. Once per round, the Mimic can attempt to copy the powers of EVERY hero within 15″ of him. The mechanism is the same: a 5D Psyche-based opposed roll, every goal allows the Mimic to mimic one minor power of his choice, while major powers require two goals. Obviously, the Mimic can’t copy powers that are not technically powers, such as Captain America’s shield, and cannot copy both the major and minor versions of the same power. (This is stronger then the normal Mimic power, which only targets one individual at a time, and has a range of only 5″.) Once copied, the mimicked powers are usable for the remainder of the scenario.

The Cops: It’s 1969, and those damn dirty hippies are protesting everywhere. The NYPD has a strong presence in Central Park, and they are not about to take any shit from a bunch of barefoot longhairs. There are 3 Henchmen groups of police officers that may eventually be drawn to the combat. The first group enters at the end of Round 2; the next at the end of Round 4, and the last at the end of Round 6. The groups enter via the board edge that is closest to the majority of the action.

“We’re here to help!”: Unfortunately for the Avengers, with the exception of Captain America, the cops have no idea who they are. (1969 is well before the formation of the team.) This means they’re just as likely to open fire on the heroes, especially if they feel there is a threat to public safety (and there is). The Avengers CANNOT harm the police officers in any way. They’re the good guys, remember? Instead, they must either work around the cops, or convince them that they’re the good guys. Any hero can spend an entire round trying to convince the cops to join their side. This is tough to do, as the cops are used to seeing outlandishly dressed youths rebelling against authorit-aah pretty regularly. It requires a 3 Goals on a Chance roll to persuade the police to stop shooting at the Avengers.

Cap has it easier. Some of these cops are veterans and fought in the Big One, and all of them know Captain America (who was technically still active at this time, although Steve Rogers is still in a block of ice somewhere…) It only takes Cap 2 goals to convince the cops that the Avengers are not the bad guys. Once the cops recognize this, they assist in any way they can.

Civilians: There are 6 civilians milling around the park at the start of the game. They move randomly at the start of each turn and follow the standard rules for civilians in Super Mission Force. If things go poorly, the Mimic will not hesitate to threaten innocent bystanders.

The Headset: The Mimic will not willingly put on the headset provided by Immortus (Kang). In order to slip it on his head while he is still conscious, a hero must win an opposed grapple check in close combat with the Mimic. Of course, it can be easily placed on his head if the Mimic is KO’ed. Captain America has the headset at the start of the game. Big surprise: the headset doesn’t do what Immortus says it does. Rather, it strips the Mimic of his powers entirely, thus ensuring he never joins the X-Men. As a result, more mutants, including some future Avengers, are subverted to future lives of crime rather than heroism. MU-HU-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

ROUND 1

Calvin Rankin sits on a stone bench, eyes glazed, riding a reefer buzz. The new Hendrix is on the transistor radio of the girl across the way: “Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire.” Hendrix reaches the chorus right around the time Calvin hears his name being called by a cat dressed like Captain America.

“Calvin Rankin,” Cap calls. “It’s important that we speak to you, son. Please come here.”

For a minute, Calvin considers it. After all, whoever this cat is, he has a couple of fab foxes with him. The he remembers the reefer. These three are probably from the draft board. Complete squares, man…

The civilians move randomly. The Mimic gains initiative for the round.

First, he moves just enough to catch all three heroes within 15″. Then he tries to mimic the powers of all 3 heroes. He gets enough goals to absorb Power Blasts (Major), Fortune and Jinx from Scarlet Witch; and Density Decrease, Flight and Invisibility from Captain Marvel. The only “power” he could absorb from Captain America is Super Agility, but he fails to do that. He promptly turns invisible. Then he decides to try out another of his new powers: Jinx. He successfully uses it on Scarlet Witch (who fails to detect him), which will make things tough for her on her next turn.

Captain Marvel fails to spot the Mimic, so all she can do is activate her Density Decrease power and fly out to the general vicinity of where she thinks he is. Scarlet Witch, possibly because she was jinxed, spots the Mimic and moves towards him. She trips and face-plants ( a result of the jinx), taking one Body worth of damage. She then successfully jinxes the Mimic right back, giving him a taste of his own bad luck. Captain America fails to spot the Mimic, so he moves to a position between his teammates and uses his Enhance power, granting Scarlet Witch two re-rolls to her dice pool and Captain Marvel one re-roll to hers.

End of Round 1

ROUND 2

The civilians move randomly; about half move away while the other half move towards the action. Gotta love scatter dice and random movement.

The Mimic keeps initiative. He fails to absorb any powers from Captain Marvel and Captain America. He becomes visible, as invisibility only lasts from turn to turn unless successfully recharged. He tries to recharge it, but fails (due to the higher difficulty as a result of being jinxed). He attempts to activate his Density Decrease power, but fails to do that, too. He Power Blasts Captain America, but Cap easily dodges. Mimic decides he needs to put some space between himself and the heroes and flies away. Unfortunately, because of the jinx on him, he twists his ankle taking off and takes 2 Body worth of damage. Ouch.

Scarlet Witch sees the Mimic getting closer to civilians and decides to blast him. She succeeds, inflicting another 2 Body worth of damage on the Mimic. Captain Marvel maintains her Density Decrease power and flies straight through the statue, coming into base contact with a nearby civilian. This means she is protecting him, and any attacks against the civilian will target Captain Marvel instead. She takes her attack action to blast the Mimic again, but fails to damage him. Finally, Captain America charges forward, trying to get close enough to at least throw his shield. Unfortunately, he’s just out of range.

Here comes The Fuzz!

At the end of the round, the first group of police arrive at the closest table edge, drawn by the sounds of combat! Not a good round for the Mimic, as he’s lost 2/3 of his health!

End of Round 2

 

ROUND 3

The civilians move randomly, and one of them moves off the board to safety. The initiative goes to the Avengers, followed by the Mimic and finally, the cops.

Scarlet Witch wastes no time firing at the Mimic again, but fails to hit. The Mimic absorbs Speed, a major power, from Captain Marvel. He fails again to recharge his Invisibility power, so he instead activates Density Decrease and fires his Power Blasts at Captain America, wounding him for 1 Body worth of damage. He then uses his newfound Speed power to beat a hasty retreat, flying far across the board and into base contact with a civilian! What nefarious plans could he have?

The cops activate, and, seeing how Scarlet Witch is the closest target and is obviously a dirty hippie in a slinky costume, they open fire on her, inflicting 1 Body worth of damage, despite both her Fortune power and the re-rolls Cap gave her through Enhance. Captain America forgoes all his actions to try to convince the police that the Avengers are not the enemy…

“You, sir, are NO Captain America!”

…but totally screws the pooch. The cops ain’t buyin’ it.

Captain Marvel tries to blast Mimic before he can harm the civilian, but misses. She decides to stay and protect the civilian she’s currently with.

ROUND 4

The civilians move randomly. The initiative goes to the Mimic, then the cops, and lastly, the Avengers.

The Mimic fails again to recharge his Invisibilty and fails to maintain his Density Decrease power. Ignoring the civilian, he uses Speed to position himself behind the Scarlet Witch. He fires his Power Blasts at her, but misses.

Ignoring Captain America, the cops open fire on the Scarlet Witch again, but due to her Fortune power, they miss. Captain Marvel chases after the Mimic, blasting him for 1 more damage. The Mimic is reeling, with only 1 Body left!

Captain America once again tries to convince the cops that the Avengers are no threat, but the cops still aren’t buying it. (He’s really rolling like crap.)

At the end of the round, another group of cops enters from the opposite side of the board.

ROUND 5

The civilians move randomly. Another moves off the board. (“Feets, don’t fail me now!”)

The initiative order is The Avengers, the cops, then the Mimic.

Captain Marvel presses her attack, but fails to hit the Mimic with her blasts. The cops closest to Scarlet Witch fire upon her again. Her Fortune power didn’t recharge, but lucky for her she dives on the ground fast enough to avoid being riddled with bullets. The newly-arrived group of police fire upon the Mimic but miss.

End of Round 5.

The Mimic finally succeeds in recharging his Invisibility power. He turns invisible and blasts the Scarlet Witch, who fails to spot him. He does enough damage to KO her handily, and she fails her check to stay up. Captain America tries one more time to convince the police to help, and this time he finally succeeds (perhaps watching the Scarlet Witch get blasted into next week drove the point home). From now on, all the cops will target the Mimic, if possible.

ROUND 6

The remaining civilians move randomly as usual. The Avengers will act first, then the Mimic and finally, the police.

Captain America manages to spot the Mimic, despite his invisibility. He charges forward and hurls his shield at the Mimic, but misses.

“He’s got a kid!”

The Mimic loses his Invisibility and fails to recharge it. He’s getting desperate now, and decides he will take a hostage. He flies across the board into base contact with a civilian and grabs him, intending to use him as a bargaining chip, or, failing that, as a human shield! All attacks targeting the Mimic may hit the civilian instead!

End of Round 6

For the rest of the round, the cops closest to the Mimic surround him with guns drawn, but hesitate to open fire because of the hostage. The other cops move closer to the hostage situation, as does Captain Marvel. Finally, at the end of the turn, more cops arrive: two motorcycle cops and a heavy machine gun. They’re done playing!

ROUND 7

Whatever civilians are left move randomly, except for the kid being used as a human shield by the Mimic.

The cops act first, followed by the Avengers and the Mimic.

All the cops move to surround the Mimic. They don’t do anything else.

An eerie stillness descends on Central Park, broken only by the terrified gasps of the child hostage. The Mimic, wounded and under the influence of something, is like a cornered animal, snarling alternately at the Avengers and the police. Only the years of training stays the trigger-fingers of the NYPD; that and the commanding presence of the Sentinel of Liberty, Captain America.

Captain Marvel silently calculates her chances of blasting the Mimic without harming the child. She glances at Captain America. A subtle shake of his head tells her all she needs to know. “Stand down, Monica.” She hears it as clearly as if he shouts it aloud.

 

The Moment of Truth…

Captain America charges into hand-to-hand combat with the Mimic. The Mimic attempts to fend off Cap by placing the child in harm’s way, but Captain America is a seasoned combatant. He scores six total goals. The Mimic resists with only five! He takes one damage, enough to force a KO check. He fails!

Victory to the Avengers!

Captain Marvel soothes the child while Captain America checks Calvin Rankin’s vital signs and, finding them steady, removes the headset from his belt. “I don’t like playing around with people’s minds, Monica,” he says softly, as the child is led away by police.

“I know, Cap. But the alternative…I’ll go check on Wanda.”

Cap nods. He places the headset on Rankin’s head.

EPILOGUE

First up, apologies for the yellowish tinge the pictures have. I’m not sure what the problem is, but I find it annoying. I’m no photographer.

I changed this scenario a bit. As originally written, all the Avengers are present, and the Mimic has to fight the whole team. If things start to go badly, a bunch of his football player friends show up to help beat up the Avengers. (Uh-huh.)

In Super Mission Force, 6 against 1 is a recipe for disaster, so I made the Mimic more powerful and split the team up. I think it worked out ok. I don’t have any high school football player miniatures, but I have plenty of cops. So I used them instead.

The dramatic scene at the end really wasn’t planned. It just kind of happened that way. Part of the fun of playing these adventures is trying to remain true to what I think the heroes would do in the comics, so having Cap take the shot seemed natural, as he was best equipped to take out the Mimic in hand to hand without harming the innocent hostage. Besides, he was carrying the headset…

Up next: Drax the Destroyer!

MH-2 Time Trap: a Super Mission Force Campaign

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an After Action Report, and Forgotten Heroes has given me a hankerin’ for some supers gaming. I’ve decided to convert another old TSR Marvel Super Heroes RPG module to Super Mission Force. This time around: MH-2: Time Trap, featuring the Mighty Avengers!

The antagonist of this adventure is none other than Kang the Conqueror, who is generally aggravated that—despite being a master of time travel—he keeps losing to the Avengers every time he tries to take over the world. The Avengers annoy Kang, so Kang comes up with a surprisingly good plan to deal with them: make sure they never exist. Disguising himself as Immortus (his future, somewhat good-aligned incarnation), Kang invents a story about how a huge solar flare will destroy Earth in a few days unless the Avengers can stop it. In order to do so, they must travel back in time to stop several key events from happening, thus ensuring the solar flare is never triggered.

In reality, Kang is sending the heroes back in time to undo their own existence. He figures that if the Avengers never form as a super team, he will have a much easier time conquering Earth. The Avengers must discover Kang’s plot and turn the tables on him lest they be trapped in time forever and lest Earth fall prey to Kang’s tyranny.

The Avengers team roster for this adventure consists of (L-R) Wasp, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Captain America, Starfox and Captain Marvel (and a cola machine). Not exactly the powerhouse team from the movies, but a solid slice of 1980’s, Bronze Age comic history, when Scarlet Witch was nowhere near as powerful as she is now and someone thought it would be cool to put Starfox in the Avengers.

Starfox = huge douche. Just my opinion.

As with any TSR Marvel adventure, adapting it to a miniatures game like Super Mission Force will require some tinkering. The general trend in TSR Marvel adventures is one encounter/battle per chapter. Often the villains battled are lame, and the super team can deal with them without too much trouble. This works better in a roleplaying game than on the miniatures table. For example, in my last Super Mission Force campaign, based on the adventure The Breeder Bombs, there was a chapter where the X-Men fought the Soviet Super Soldiers. As originally written, the X-Men travel to the USSR and fight the Crimson Dynamo and a bunch of Soviet Super Troopers (basically armored henchmen). To draw a clear picture, that’s Cyclops, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Wolverine vs. the Crimson Dynamo and a bunch of scrubs. That may be fun in a roleplaying game, but in SMF, the Russians are going to get their asses kicked pretty damn quick. Henchmen are rarely much of a problem for most heroes, and a team as powerful as the X-Men would wade through henchmen groups in no time. So I changed the opposition to the entire Soviet Super Soldiers team, and it was much more of a challenge. I will have to do similar altering of the original module for this campaign as well.

Here are my Super Mission Force builds for the Avengers:

Captain America (Powerhouse) Major: Scrapper, Enhance Minor: Clever, Melee Specialist, Shield, Super-Agility

Captain Marvel (Super) Major: Speed Minor: Density Decrease, Invisibility, Flight, Power Blasts

NOTE: In order for Captain Marvel to use her Speed or Flight powers, she MUST use and/or maintain Density Decrease first.

Vision (Super) Major: Super Strength Minor: Construct, Density Increase/Decrease, Power Blasts, Flight

Scarlet Witch (Blaster) Major: Power Blasts Minor: Fortune, Jinx

Starfox (Wild Card) Minor: Flight, Stun, Super Strength, Tough

Wasp (Blaster) Major: Power Blasts, Minor: Flight, Shrinking

Looking the team over as a whole, it’s pretty powerful by SMF standards, with one Powerhouse and two Supers. As usual, I ignored the SMF rules on team composition, opting instead to be true to the established characters. I think it’s pretty tough to imagine these heroes without the powers listed, even if that makes them more powerful than a typical SMF team would be. They’re the Avengers, dude! Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Up next, Scenario One:  The Menace of The Mimic!