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!

 

 

 

 

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6 Responses to “MH-2 Time Trap Part 3: A Murder of…Skrulls?!”

  1. I’m really enjoying reading these campaign games. I’ve just discovered SMF and your posts are prompting me to do something similar in the near future. Thanks for the inspiration, keep them coming.

    • Welcome, Kieron! Thanks for the kind words. I really can’t say enough good things about SMF; it’s terrific on its own and easily adaptable if you find something that doesn’t quite fit. If you’re looking to do something very similar to what I’m doing, you may notice a link in my sidebar to “Classic Marvel Forever”. Follow it, and you can get PDF versions of all the original TSR Marvel Super Heroes adventure modules. They’re FREEEEEEEE! Some of them are pretty bad, and most require a bit of creative thinking to adapt to a miniatures game, but they’re a lot of fun, and for grognards like me, they bring back a lot of nostalgia!
      You should also check out Carrion Crow’s blog, which, if he is to be believed (and the Crow never lies) will soon feature some Supers AARs. And then there’s Forgotten Heroes, which is Carrion Crow’s baby and a blast to take part in…if you haven’t seen that, check it out and save your space for next year.
      Hope to see you again soon!

  2. Jeremy Winstanley says:

    Absolutely brilliant, Keith. Thematically, it felt just like an issue of any Marvel comic of the era (prior to all the complications they introduced in the late 90’s), was a pretty brutal battle and Starfox got what he deserved. Perfection.

    • That’s high praise, Jeremy, and I thank you for it. Glad you liked reading the AAR. I surprised myself at how unforgiving the first round of combat was! It’s too bad there’s an ocean between us; I think you, me and Roger would play some pretty great games together otherwise!

  3. “Just walk it off” Haha, brilliant, great AAR with one heck of a battle and best of all the FF made an appearance! (of and Starfox got punched in the dick!).

    Great stuff, Cheers Roger.

    • Thanks, Roger. I couldn’t resist having the Thing say that. After all, if there’s one character in the Marvel Universe who is least likely to sympathize with a douchebag like Starfox, It’s Benjamin J. Grimm.

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