Warning! The following may contain spoilers for Chapter 3 of the Emerald City Knights Heroes Journey. Those intending to play in the adventure should avoid reading it if they want to avoid any foreknowledge of the adventure’s contents.
This past Sunday, I ran Chapter 3 of the Emerald City Knights adventure series for my gaming group using the Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition rules.
We started off with a summary of events thus far (it having been a couple of months since we played last) then launched right into an alert from AEGIS about a prison break! The heroes went to confront the situation and immediately found themselves outnumbered by the escaping super-villains and their allies. Although they managed to hold their own for a while, Nightblade was able to create a cover of darkness sufficient for the villains to escape (and earn the players a hero point).
Max Mars convenes a hasty press conference to reassure the public that the Knights are handling the situation. The Big Brain seizes the opportunity to make a statement of his own, proclaiming Emerald City belongs to the Guild now, kidnapping Mars through a teleportal, and launching drones to destroy Emerald Tower!
The quick action of Tesla’s bots gets the drones clear of the Tower before they explode. Then the Knights are confronted with Guild agents hitting targets across the city: the Diamond District, the Pacific Museum, and the docks. They split into teams to tackle the first two, sending a stealth-modified Teslabot to track Dreadnaught and Death Magnetic as they steal cargo containers from the docks.
Action Man, Bodybag, and Tesla go to the Diamond District, where Lord Quake, Mongoose, and Octaman are looting and holding off the ECPD. Tesla’s sleep gas and stunners make short work of Octaman, then assist Action Man against the feral Mongoose. Bodybag gets trapped by Lord Quake’s earth controlling powers, but rebounds with the help of his teammates to take the stoneskin shaman down.
Stratos and Arcane confront Epiphany Jones and Captain Oblivion at the museum under the cover of Arcane’s psychic invisibility, unaware they are also being stalked by the unseen Nightblade. A battle in the dark leads to Nightblade’s escape and pursuit of Captain Oblivion (nicknamed “Captain Oblivious” by Arcane) and Epiphany: Stratos pins them down with a downdraft and Arcane’s psychic powers incapacitate them, while also allowing him to learn the location of the Guild’s secret base. Telsa’s stealth bot confirms it and shows them the way in.
The Knights stage a daring raid on the Guild, sneaking into the base and catching them off guard before the Big Brain can make use of the viridian stones his agents have stolen. The heroes take out Dreadnaught and Death Magnetic right away and it comes down to a battle between them and the Big Brain on both the physical and psychic planes, including the Brain mind controlling Stratos. Tesla jury-rigs a psionic dampening field to short-circuit the Big Brain’s powers and Arcane and Bodybag are able to take him down (after Bodybag has “hidden” the viridian stones… by swallowing them!)
In the aftermath, the Guild is crippled by the loss of its leader, although many super-villains are still at large from the breakout. Max Mars comes clean to the Knights about his own involvement in the alliance called the Chamber: he became involved intending to subvert the Chamber from within, but then couldn’t seem to find his way out, until the Silver Storm changed the status quo in Emerald City and gave him his chance. Action Man and the Knights make an announcement to the world: They know how things have been in Emerald City before, but the reign of the Chamber is over. There are new heroes in town, and things are going to change…
Behind the Scenes
This was the chapter where the Knights really came together as a team: working together more effectively, making better use of their abilities, and scoring their first big victory, to say nothing of claiming their place as Emerald City’s protectors rather than just going along with the flow of events.
Again, I made some slight changes to the series canon: I use “the Guild” rather than “F.O.E.” (the Fraternal Order of Evil) just because I like the name and the homage to the Guild of Calamitous Intent from Venture Brothers. I also let the heroes capture the Big Brain (he’s supposed to escape in the adventure) since it seemed to make for a more satisfying ending and doesn’t really disrupt the later adventures.
It was fun running some of the big scenes in this adventure, which pits the heroes against some pretty overwhelming odds. It’s an area where the potential to take out some foes in one shot in M&M really comes in handy: both in the prison-break scene and in the final confrontation in the Guild base. The heroes planned their surprise attack well, and so I let Dreadnought and Death Magnetic’s fairly poor resistance checks stand, rather than using a complication to keep them in the scene (and in the fight). Having it all come down to the heroes vs. the Big Brain (and a lot of Guild minions) worked well.