The Menace of Ultron Part 1: A Super System 3 AAR

Well, I finally got my table finished for good and invited a couple of pals over for some gaming. I figured since I had so much fun with it last time, why not play some Super System 3? So before they came over I came up with a scenario, grabbed some Heroclix and set the table.

I decided to use more powerful characters this time around, so I chose the X-Men and The Avengers as hero teams. They needed an appropriate menace, so I hunted around until I came up with someone so badass they would just HAVE to team up to take him down: Ultron. I didn’t paint any of these miniatures: you can thank underpaid Chinese laborers for that.

For the X-Men, I chose a pretty powerful foursome: Storm, Colossus, Cyclops and everyone’s favorite psycho, Wolverine.

The Avengers’ roster is nothing to sneer at: Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and the enigmatic Vision.

The bad guys: Madame Hydra and a squad of Hydra Goons…

…who just activated Ultron and a small squad of Dreadnoughts.

I originally set up a 48″ x 48″ surface, but I realized that with this many miniatures on the table, all ranged attacks would likely be at medium range or so. When given the choice of using the full 4′ x 6′ table, my friends wanted to go for it. So we threw some more terrain down and the result is shown above.

We got most of the stats for the heroes and villains from this site. My friend Matt chose the X-Men;, his brother Chris picked the Avengers. That left yours truly as the bad guys. HAIL HYDRA!!!!

Each side chose their team leader, which determines how many dice you’ll roll for initiative.  Chris and I made the obvious choices: Captain America and Ultron. Matt, bless his heart, chose the more thematically-appropriate leader for his team and picked Cyclops, even though Wolverine would have given him a better dice pool for initiative.

The Scenario

It goes without saying that if you live in Manhattan, you get used to a lot. Seems like every other week there’s a super-powered threat to the city that the Fantastic Four or the Avengers has to deal with. But it’s still a tribute to the average New Yorker that a 6 block area was evacuated so soon after the emergency broadcast went out. Then again, the nature of the emergency certainly lent some urgency to the mass exodus: Ultron.

The SR-71 Blackbird activated it’s VTOL engines about 90 feet over the apartment block. Moments later, aided by Storm’s winds, four of the mutants known to the world as the Uncanny X-Men touched down and quickly assumed a practiced formation.  Wolverine sniffed the air. “They’re this way,” he said, tugging his cowl in place and moving swiftly southward.

“Take point, Logan,” said the team’s leader, Cyclops; not that Wolverine ever waited for an order. “Ororo, go topside and look around. Colossus, you’re with me.”

“Understood,” said Storm, as a sudden gust of wind bore her aloft. The giant Russian said nothing, but a crackle of energy as he transformed into his osmium-steel form was acknowledgment enough. He fell into place a half-step behind Cyclops as they trailed after Wolverine.

 

Two blocks to the east, the whine of the Quinjet’s engines faded as the now-empty aircraft shot out over the water, leaving behind four of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers.

“Our limo is only a phone call away,” said the metallic voice of Iron Man. He turned his attention from the Quinjet’s remote controls inside his helmet display. “The X-Men have touched down about two blocks from here to the west. I’m reading the hostiles are a couple of blocks south. And Cap, they know we’re here.”

“Avengers, Assemble!” said Captain America, unslinging his star-spangled shield from his back. “Hawkeye, Iron Man: gain some altitude and see what you can find out. Vision, back me up. These idiots have no idea what they’ve done by activating Ultron. We need to put him away fast, people. Let’s move!”

“Way ahead of you, Cap,” said Hawkeye, leaping atop a nearby abandoned truck, as Iron Man’s boot jets propelled him skyward. “Less chatter would be nice.”

Captain America ignored him. “Vision, if you get a chance, don’t hesitate. Take it.”

The android’s face was unreadable. “Acknowledged, Captain.” They moved southward together.

 

“Head northeast and engage the Avengers,” said Madame Hydra, loosening her plasma pistol in its holster. “Fire at will. I want them destroyed.”

“Hail Hydra!” chorused seven of her best soldiers, snapping to attention. A moment later they were off, following her command. She had no illusions about their chances of success, but they were expendable. The most important thing was that they occupy the heroes long enough so that she could get away with Ultron. Activating him had been no easy feat, but the payoff would be well worth it. With the robot in Hydra’s ranks, there was nothing the nefarious organization could not accomplish!

Her cruel smile vanished as she saw the robot was moving away on his own, taking her three Dreadnoughts with him. “Where are you going?” she demanded. “Stop! I am in command here!”

Ultron turned and regarded her for a moment. “May I suggest you allow me free reign? I would be much more useful to you.”

“Why would I do that?” she sneered. “You are mine to control!”

“Because I am smarter, more powerful, and infinitely better suited to the task of command than you are. I have the brain engrams of Dr. Henry Pym, making me, at best estimate,approximately 6.2 times more intelligent than you. If that were not enough, my cybernetic mind can perform 360 million complex calculations per second. And I, unlike you, have fought- and defeated- the Avengers before and am intimately acquainted with their tactics and strategy, particularly with regard to fighting me.”

Madame Hydra glanced around for support, but found only the cold, robotic eyes of the three Dreadnought robots. She suddenly felt very alone. Ultron awaited her answer.

“Very well, act as you see fit,” she said. “But remember that I am in command here, robot, and you will obey me, should I give the order.” She followed after her soldiers.

Not for long, you stupid cow, thought Ultron. He turned wordlessly and strode north, through the park. His internal processors quickly wrote and executed an algorithmic program whose sole purpose was to find a way to override Hydra’s programming.  In the meantime, he would eliminate the X-Men and allow Madame Hydra and her poltroons to occupy the Avengers until he could get there. Then he would destroy them all, including those who would dare to call themselves his master.

Turn 1

We rolled for initiative. Not surprisingly, Captain America scored the most goals, followed by Ultron and finally, Cyclops; making the order Avengers-Hydra-X-men.

Not a whole lot happened the first turn other than movement. The Avengers and X-Men began to move south. The Hydra goons and Madame Hydra circled the park to the east and moved to engage the Avengers. Ultron and the three Dreadnoughts went north towards the X-Men.

Matt wanted Wolverine to go over a parked car rather than around it. We decided Wolverine could probably easily do that, so a quick Agility check was made and passed, and we decided he bounded over the car with no penalty to movement. Likewise Chris wanted Hawkeye to gain some higher ground, so he had him leap atop the cab of a stationary fuel truck. Another quick Agility check was made and Hawkeye gained his perch.

Storm and Ultron both took to the skies on their turn. Ultron spotted Storm a long way off and took a shot at her at long range. He missed. That was pretty much turn 1 in a nutshell.

Turn 2

The initiative order was the same.

From atop the fuel truck, Hawkeye could just about spy the top of a Dreadnought’s head through the trees in the park. It was all he needed. He took his shot and hit, but the Dreadnought shrugged off the damage easily.

The Hydra goons continued to move forward as a group. They didn’t get far.

Storm fired back at Ultron. Despite the long range, she hit him squarely with a bolt of lightning from the heavens, but failed to damage the robot.

Iron Man flew around a building and targeted the group of Hydra henchmen with his ranged attack, scoring seven goals. The goons failed to resist even one. The last thing the Hydra soldiers saw was a bright flash as Iron Man’s Uni-Beam knocked them senseless. Scratch one group of Henchmen!

Ultron continued to move north, but veered to the east, over the park wall. He couldn’t resist taking a shot at the hated Iron Man. He missed.

Wolverine moved south into an alley between two buildings, making a quick Agility check and hopping over a concrete parking barrier, on a beeline towards the Dreadnoughts.

Vision activated his Density Decrease power and started levitating. He took a long range shot at Ultron with his solar gem and hit, but failed to do any damage.

One Dreadnought continued towards the alley to the north, straight towards Wolverine. He took a shot at Storm flying above, but missed.

Colossus moved south, making a quick Agility check and hopping a jersey barrier with no penalty to movement.

Captain America decided to throw his shield at Ultron, with predictable results. It ricocheted harmlessly off the robot’s adamantium body.

After just watching her whole squad of “expendable” soldiers get expended, Madame Hydra moved towards cover, taking a few shots at Captain America. But Cap had his shield back by then, and her shots were blocked with ease.

Cyclops fired off an optic blast at  an approaching Dreadnought but his shot went wide. The Dreadnought took a shot at Wolverine, but missed. The last Dreadnought responded to an unspoken robotic command from Ultron to join him on the flank. Of course, the wall was in the way, but that’s no problem for a robot with energy blasters. There are no rules for attacking obstacles in SS3, so we just ruled that the wall had a Resistance of 4. It failed to resist the Dreadnought’s blast, so down it went.

It was at this point that we had to break due to circumstances beyond our control. We decided we’d pick it up in a few nights and left the table as is.

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