We come now to the final chapter in our Super Mission Force campaign, True Believers! And hold onto your hats, because it’s a doozy!
The Scenario: Having thwarted Magneto’s plan thus far, the X-Men track the last Breeder Bomb to the Savage Land, where Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants await!
Friendly-looking fellow, isn’t he? A primitive saurian attacks!
But they’re not alone. Everyone’s favorite Greek pterodactyl, Sauron (not to be confused with the Lord of the Rings guy) isn’t thrilled with this violation of his territory. Although he wants everyone out, he agrees to temporarily aid Magneto against the hated X-Men. To this end, has enslaved an army of primitive saurians to do his bidding!
But the X-Men are not without allies in the Savage Land. Answering the call is Ka-Zar and his wife, Shanna the She Devil, accompanied as always by Ka-Zar’s adoptive Dad (really, look it up), the saber-tooth tiger Zabu!
The SR-71 Blackbird’s VTOL engines whine as the pilot, Cyclops, sets the plane down in a clearing. Magneto watches from atop a sacrificial temple, nearby. Powerful energies surround him as he clenches and unclenches his hands. “X-Men!” he bellows, “Welcome…to DIE!!!”
Setup: I used a 4′ x 4′ area, filled with jungle and swamp scenery. There are two large temple-like structures on the villain’s side of the board. One is a sacrificial altar, the other a temple. In the center is the Breeder Bomb (it’s inactive, see below). The X-Men and the Brotherhood deploy in opposite corners of the table. Ka-Zar and family deploy on opposite corner from Sauron and his army of saurian henchmen. The 20 henchmen are all veterans, so they deploy in four groups of five and must be within 4″ of the temple in their deployment zone.
Objectives: Magneto’s goal is to destroy the meddling X-Men once and for all. The X-Men must defeat Magneto in order to ensure his plan fails. In other words, it’s a straight-up fight to the end!
The Breeder Bomb: Since he’s been trying to convince Sauron to help him, Magneto hasn’t had time to arm his Breeder Bomb yet. There’s no need to disarm it. For this scenario it simply functions as a big, menacing obstacle. (This is because with this many models on the board, there would be virtually no chance to disarm the bomb if we used the same rules as in past scenarios.)
Sauron’s Henchmen: Sauron’s henchmen are veterans, thus they deploy in smaller groups and are a little better than normal scrubs. As long as Sauron is alive and well (i.e. not KO’ed), they are endless. Whenever a henchmen group is wiped out, it may reform at the end of the turn. This newly-reformed group must deploy within 2″ of one of the temples. This represents the saurian horde pouring out from underground tunnels, heeding the psychic summons of their reptilian overlord!
Difficult Ground: All the swamps and jungle terrain is considered difficult ground, and restricts movement by half as per the SMF rules. Ka-Zar and Shanna have no penalty when moving over difficult ground, as they are quite used to the terrain of the Savage Land.
Injured Heroes: As a result of their fight with the Soviet Super Soldiers last scenario, three of the X-Men were wounded. Nightcrawler was wounded most severely and is not available for this scenario. Storm is -1D to attacks and -3″ to her movement, while Rogue is -2″ to her Movement for this fight.
With so many miniatures, going back and forth will be tedious, so I won’t necessarily cover the actions in the order in which they happened, rather I’ll lump them together where I can.
The villains gain initiative.
The henchmen groups all move forward towards the middle of the board. The Blob and Colossus both lumber forward their slow 5″ move (Bricks are SLOW).
Zabu, Ka-Zar and Shanna all move up into the swamp area and end their movement in hiding. Toad, the sneaky git, moves into hiding as well. Kitty Pryde phases and moves unhindered through the difficult swampland in front of her. Cyclops uses his Enhance power to shout some strategic tips to his teammates. He scores enough goals to give his teammate, Storm, 2 re-rolls she can use later in the game to help attack or defend as needed. (Hopefully, that will help to offset the injuries she sustained in Arganistan.)
The Scarlet Witch uses her Fortune power to giver herself some extra defense capability (it’s looking like she might have a face full of tiger pretty soon). Storm flies shakily towards the center of the board and focuses on Magneto, realizing that the faster they drop him the quicker they can all go home. She Power Blasts him from pretty far away and uses her re-rolls, but fails to inflict any damage.
Sauron takes off from atop the temple and charges Storm. The two circle each other in a dazzling aerial display, but no damage is inflicted.
He’s the best he is at what he does…
SNIKT!!! Wolverine uses a Brawler maneuver called Speed Burst to really move and charges henchmen group 1. When all is said and done, Wolverine scores enough goals to completely wipe out the group of five saurians (because that’s what Wolverine does).
Quicksilver tries to take out the X-Men’s leader, Cyclops. As a Speedster, he has more than enough movement (40″!) to run across the table, but it’s a risky maneuver that leaves him far in enemy territory. Quicksilver has never been much of a reasoned and cautious fellow, and he’s counting on his speed to get him out of a tough spot. Unfortunately, even after using a Machine Gun Punch (a Speedster maneuver), he only inflicts 1 damage on Cyclops, and is now locked in combat with him.
Nearby, Rogue decides that that Speed power is pretty cool and she wantses it, my precious…so she successfully uses Mimic and copies it. Unfortunately for Quicksilver, he’s the only guy near enough to attack. So Rogue attacks Quicksilver with his own Machine Gun Punch, but he manages to duck and weave at supersonic speeds and avoids damage! Of course, now he has one more person to fight next turn…
Finally, Magneto acts (he’s been pontificating the whole time). From atop the Sacrificial Altar, he Power Blasts Storm. Although he risks hitting Sauron instead, he misses them both.
End of Round 1
The X-Men seize initiative. Rogue attacks Quicksilver and clobbers him for 4 damage, knocking him off his feet and back into the trees, generally ruining his day. Quicksilver gets up and charges Rogue, using a Move-by Attack, a Speedster maneuver that lets him attack a model and if successful, continue his move and another model, etc….until he either fails an attack or runs out of movement. With 38″ of movement (he lost 2″ for having to stand up), he successfully attacks Rogue for 1 damage, then moves onto Cyclops, attacking him for 1 damage, and finally runs around the swamp, attacking Kitty Pryde for 1 damage! Not too shabby! Quicksilver could conceivably reach Colossus too, but he would probably not do any damage to the big Russian and would then be locked in combat with him. Quicksilver’s a hothead but he’s not stupid, so he opts to use the last of his movement to run back the way he came, putting some distance between him and the X-Men.
Cyclops resents being punched in the face, so he moves after Quicksilver and fires an optic blast at his dust cloud. As is usual for Cyclops in this campaign, he misses. Rogue puts her new Speed powers to good use and does a Move-by attack on the fleeing Quicksilver, whom she smacks for 3 net damage. Since he only had 2 Body left, he makes a KO check and fails. Quicksilver goes down for the count and Rogue moves on into henchmen group 4, dropping 3 of its members. She has no movement left so she’s stuck in combat with the remaining 2 saurians. They attack Rogue, but fail to wound her.
Sauron rips into Storm, causing 6 damage, which drops her to zero health in one shot. She fails her KO check and is out of the fight! (Cue triumphant pterodactyl scream.) Scarlet Witch spots Shanna with a successful Perception check and attempts to Power Blast the She-Devil, but Shanna is too agile.
Ka-Zar charges out of the swamp and attacks Scarlet Witch, whose Fortune power serves her well. She only takes 1 damage after all the dice are tallied. Toad sees his opportunity and rushes to Scarlet Witch’s aid, but Ka-Zar easily avoids Toad’s attack. Zabu bounds into the fray, attacking Toad with no effect.
Shanna charges Blob. She inflicts 1 damage which is soaked up by Blob’s armor. Thus, she learns the hard way that “Nothing moves the Blob!” Blob activates his Density Increase power and pounds her for 4 damage, knocking her back 16″. She manages to keep her footing, but she’s a lot less cheerful than she was a minute ago.
Wolverine moves rapidly into combat with henchmen group 3, and does a repeat performance of last round, wiping them all out in one fell swoop. This gets Magneto’s attention. He quickly finishes his soliloquy about the futility of resistance, flies off the Sacrificial Altar he’s been perched atop and Power Blasts Wolverine, but only inflicts 1 damage. Henchmen group 2 moves up to support Magneto (as if he needs it).
Kitty and Colossus both move towards the action, but can’t really do anything.
At the end of the round, henchmen group 1 respawns near the sacrificial altar (near Magneto) and group 2 reforms near the temple.
End of Round 2
The X-Men keep initiative. Rogue leaves combat with the two remaining henchmen in group 4 to charge Magneto, who is hovering nearby. The saurians get a free shot on her as she leaves, but they fail to injure her. She serves Magneto a knuckle sandwich that dishes out 3 net goals of damage, enough to knock him back 12″ and drop him to half his health! Magneto has the sudden thought that it might be a good idea to activate his Force Field, so he does. He’s also a guy who holds a grudge, so he Power Blasts Rogue for enough damage to drop her to 1 remaining health.
Wolverine regenerates his lost damage and charges henchmen group 3. He drops 3 of them, leaving 2 alive (for now). They attack Wolverine, but do no damage. Henchmen group 2 charges Wolverine from where they respawned (near the Temple). They also fail to wound Wolverine.
Sauron has a close target in the nearby Kitty Pryde, but notices that the Blob just knocked Shanna the She-Devil into next week and that she’s vulnerable. He dive-bombs her from across the board and hands her a heapin’ helpin’ of pterodactyl justice. Shanna is KO’ed and isn’t getting up anytime soon. (Cue triumphant pterodactyl scream.)
Blob charges into combat to assist Toad, making it 2 against 1 for Zabu. Blob knocks the Smilodon back 8″ and inflicts 2 body worth of damage. The giant cat springs right back into action and charges Blob, tearing into him for 5 damage, dropping him from 8 body to 3. Ouch! Scarlet Witch leaves combat with Ka-Zar (thinking perhaps she may get her ass handed to her soon). Ka-Zar gets a free whack at her but misses. She promptly Jinxes Ka-Zar, which will make it difficult for him to do anything henceforth.
Toad moves to intercept Ka-Zar. The two fight but neither does any damage (Ka-Zar would have hurt Toad if not for the Jinx). Henchmen group 1, Colossus and Kitty Pryde all move towards the central combat. Cyclops moves and fires at what remains of henchmen group 4, taking them out of action (hey! he hit something!).
Henchmen group 4 reforms at the temple.
End of Round 3 (Side View)
The X-Men keep initiative. Cyclops takes a long-rage shot at Magneto, who is hovering above the battlefield. He (naturally) misses.
How do you say “Good Night” in Transian?
Scarlet Witch turns her attention from Ka-Zar to Power Blast Rogue, scoring a ridiculous nine goals! Rogue fails to make even one resistance goal and fails her KO check, so she is out of the fight for good!
Blob activates his Density Increase power and trades blows with Zabu, but neither do any damage. It’s a good thing Blob activated his power first, because Colossus charges him and knocks him down to zero health! Blob makes his KO check and remains conscious. He’s also immune to knockback (Nothing moves the Blob!) thanks to the Density Increase, so he doesn’t go anywhere. Henchman group 1 charges into combat with Zabu, inflicting a net 3 goals of damage on the big cat.
He’s just one human! Get him!
Henchmen group 4 charges into combat with Wolverine, but does no damage; Wolverine counters and wipes out 4 of them. That leaves Wolverine in combat with a two Henchman groups: one with 1 member and 1 with 2 members left. Wolverine’s active Rage power is giving him more dice to roll, but he is bogged down in endless waves of saurians as he keeps getting charged every round! To illustrate this point, Henchman group 3 charges into combat with Wolverine too, but Wolverine shrugs off their spears in a fury of bloodlust!
Toad and Ka-Zar attack each other but both miss. Sauron takes to the air and charges Cyclops, but he also misses. Kitty Pryde charges Sauron, hitting him for 2 damage.
End of Round 4
The X-Men keep initiative. Kitty Pryde activates her Density Decrease power which makes her immune to body-damaging attacks, so she won’t have to worry about getting eviscerated by Sauron on his turn. She then performs a Ghostly Attack, doing 1 damage to Sauron. Cyclops attacks Sauron with his bare hands (he’s giving up on his own optic blasts), but his punch is as effective as his shooting (he misses). Sauron attacks Cyclops, dropping him to 1 body.
Magneto uses his Mentalist ability, Mind Meld, to give everyone on his team +2 re-rolls until next turn on all attacks. He takes a point of Psyche damage in doing so, but that’s of no concern to him.
Colossus throws a Haymaker into Blob’s fat face, doing no knockback (Nothing moves the Blob!) but dropping him on the spot in a spectacular KO. Scarlet Witch runs away from Colossus, then tries and fails to Jinx him. Meanwhile, Toad and Ka-Zar continue to fight each other this round without anyone actually landing a punch. Zabu and Henchmen group 1 do the same.
Wolverine makes a strategic decision…rather than wipe out one of the weaker henchmen groups he’s fighting and having it respawn at the end of the round, he attacks the largest one (henchmen group 3) hoping to do some damage, but not allow a full group to respawn. But Wolverine is berserk, and he overdoes it a bit. He wipes out henchmen group 3 anyway, ensuring the endless tide of saurians continues. The other two groups do no damage to him.
Henchmen group 3 respawns at the temple…
End of Round 5
The X-Men keep initiative. Colossus grabs something large (a rock, tree, whatever…) and hurls it at Magneto, but Magneto’s Force Field easily deflects it.
Meddlesome Dullards!! I AM MAGNETO!!!!
Magneto is fed up. He Power Blasts Colossus, but makes it a Radial Attack in the hopes of catching Ka-Zar and Zabu in the blast and ending this combat with finality. Of course, henchmen group 1 and Toad are in the blast radius too, but Magneto has proven often that he cares nothing for lesser beings, and little indeed for Toad. Colossus takes 4 damage, dropping him to half his Body. Zabu takes a whopping 6 damage, enough to drop him to zero. He fails his KO check and goes to sleep. Ka-Zar, despite the Jinx, manages to come out of it unscathed. The villains fared poorly; Toad takes 3 damage, while henchmen group 1 is totally wiped out. Oops.
Toad attacks Ka-Zar and misses. Ka-Zar finally scores a hit resulting in 1 damage to Toad.
Wolverine knows that as long as he’s stuck here in combat with the endless saurians, he’s effectively being kept out of where he’s needed most. So he leaves combat with the henchmen groups (no damage from the free henchmen hits) and charges Scarlet Witch, who just got a little too close…when he reaches her he guts her like a mackerel for 7 goals of damage, enough to take her from 6 down to zero. She fails her KO roll and drops. Both henchmen groups formerly in combat with Wolverine charge him again; they fail to damage him and he automatically wipes them out because of his Scrapper counterattack ability (something I’ve neglected for the ENTIRE campaign).
Sauron attacks Cyclops but misses completely. Kitty Pryde and Cyclops both attack Sauron and manage to put him down for good. With Sauron gone, the saurian henchmen groups will not respawn any more. Henchmen group 3 is now all alone, and moves towards the two X-Men that just put down their master, but they are far away indeed.
End of Round 6
The X-Men keep initiative again. Cyclops fires at Magneto, and actually manages to inflict 1 damage on Magneto despite his Force Field! Magneto responds in kind, Power Blasting Cyclops for an obscene amount of damage. Cyclops fails his KO check (it’s a bad game for KO checks) and it’s lights out!
At this point in the game, I’m wondering how the X-Men are really going to win. Magneto is flying above the battlefield and has no reason to land. He can just stay up there and blast away. Kitty and Wolverine can’t attack him from the ground. Both the flyers (Rogue and Storm) are out of the fight, as is Cyclops, limiting ranged attacks to whatever Colossus can throw.
A quick look at the table and an idea began to take shape. Wolverine and Colossus are pretty close to one another, certainly close enough for Colossus to walk over and grab Wolverine.
“Petey, Fastball Special!”
Super Mission Force doesn’t currently have official rules for the Fastball Special, but it’s certainly thematically appropriate and a classic maneuver perfected by these very two heroes! I decided that if Colossus can hit with a normal ranged attack, then he tosses Wolverine into Magneto. Wolverine then makes an attack. Should he count as charging? I decided HELL YES!
The odds were against them, as Colossus only has 4D to make the throw and Magneto has a Force Field up. They’d only get one shot at this…
Colossus managed to hit with one net goal. Wolverine inflicted 4 net damage. Magneto, like almost everyone else this game, failed his KO roll.
An awesome end to the campaign! Victory for the X-Men!!!
Well, the X-Men did it! They beat Magneto and the Brotherhood! They stopped the Breeder Bombs! They hit ’em with the Hein!
I’d like to extend special thanks to Joerg Bender from Things from the Basement, LLC. for all his help with the temple MDF kits. I was staring at a stack of pink insulation board, thinking I was going to have to construct the temple for this scenario, when I logged onto The Miniatures Page and saw these kits advertised. They’re from Joerg’s Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago terrain. It couldn’t have been better timing. I immediately purchased the set. I was worried that painting them would obscure the detail, but Joerg assured me it wouldn’t and shared his painting technique. He even offered to replace the pieces if the paint job obscured the detail. As you can see, it didn’t. So thanks, Joerg!
Also, thanks to Scott Pyle and company for creating Super Mission Force and making the playdoc version available to gamers early!
This scenario was by far the most fun scenario to play in the campaign. The classic match-up between the X-Men and Magneto didn’t disappoint. I made a lot of changes from the original as it was written for the RPG. In the original, Magneto and the Brotherhood were robots, the Breeder Bomb was active, and Magneto had some generic mutants helping him out. I decided to add Sauron and the saurian henchmen instead of the generic mutants. Once I decided to use Sauron, I couldn’t resist using Ka-Zar, Shanna and Zabu. (More on them in the next post!)
I think that throughout the five scenarios of the campaign I managed to learn the rules pretty well, although I was using an early version of the playdoc Scott Pyle graciously provided (version 1.30 to be exact). I know the test rules have been updated and modified since then, and I eagerly wait the final product. In the meantime I think I used a lot of the powers and maneuvers and got a pretty good handle on combat.
Of course I’m sure I made mistakes and overlooked some stuff, just as I consciously changed and ignored some things. There’s a lot more to the game than what you read here: I pretty much ignored backgrounds and character development, because I was using established comic characters that I adapted to the system. Perhaps when the finished rules come out I’ll create my own supers team to experience more of what Super Mission Force has to offer.
Here are my SMF builds for the villains and team-ups in this scenario:
Magneto (Powerhouse) Major: Power Blasts, Mentalism, Minor: Flight, Force Field, Iron Will, Telekinesis
Quicksilver (Speedster) Major: Speed, Minor: Armor, Clever
Scarlet Witch (Blaster) Major: Power Blasts, Minor: Fortune, Jinx
Blob (Brick) Major: Super Strength, Minor: Armor, Density Increase
Toad (Brawler) Major: Scrapper, Minor: Leaping, Super Agility
Sauron (Wild Card) Minor: Flight, Melee Specialist, Stun, Parasite
Saurian Henchmen (Veterans) Minor: Power Blasts, Melee Specialist
(Note that these archetypes represent the early versions of these characters, before Scarlet Witch became one of the most powerful mutants on earth, before Toad was a badass and before Sauron could breathe fire.)
Ka-Zar the Savage (Wild Card) Minor: Fast, Melee Specialist, Rapport (Shanna), Super Agility
Shanna the She-Devil (Wild Card) Minor: Fast, Melee Specialist, Rapport (Ka-Zar), Super Agility
Zabu (Big Cat) Minor: Enhanced Senses, Melee Specialist, Leaping, Super Agility.
Yes, Ka-Zar and Shanna are essentially the same character. (Shouldn’t they be?) For Zabu, I didn’t follow any rules. I just gave him what I thought an intelligent Smilodon should have. I also gave him a base movement of 12 and a body of 8, in case anyone cares.
And that’s about it for now! I think I’ll take a break from SMF (and supers gaming in general) until I get my hands on the finished rules. I may adapt more TSR Marvel Super Heroes adventures when that happens, so stay tuned! In the meantime I have something big (pun soon to be understood) planned for May.
See you soon!