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6th Edition Island of Dr Destroyer Reboot


Christopher R Taylor
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On 11/11/2020 at 12:57 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

It will be a while but the next adventure planned for rebooting is Escape From Stronghold (the second one released by Hero).  As this was less an adventure than just a setting, I'll be expanding it considerably into more than it was even in the 4th edition Classic Enemies rewrite.

 

If you haven't yet, you might want to look at the 5E Stronghold source book. The layouts of the 4E and 5E superprisons are very different, and you may prefer one or the other for the kind of adventure you want to write. The 5E version is also laid out in great detail.

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Unless you're wedded to the 4E version, it almost certainly would. Over fifty pages of the book are directly devoted to describing the prison, i.e. transport to and from, layout, security technology, personnel, procedures and schedules, and prison culture; also fourteen pages of maps. That doesn't include full write-ups for sample inmates, and suggested prison plots and scenarios; plus a fairly detailed discussion of how American law has adapted to superhumans.

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15 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Unless you're wedded to the 4E version, it almost certainly would. Over fifty pages of the book are directly devoted to describing the prison, i.e. transport to and from, layout, security technology, personnel, procedures and schedules, and prison culture; also fourteen pages of maps. That doesn't include full write-ups for sample inmates, and suggested prison plots and scenarios; plus a fairly detailed discussion of how American law has adapted to superhumans.

Golly. Is there any room for an adventure in it?

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3 hours ago, steriaca said:

Golly. Is there any room for an adventure in it?

 

If you mean in the book itself, it didn't include a full adventure, and at 119 pages it was a pretty solid tome already. If you mean, does it have adventure potential? Yeah, scads of it. Stronghold gives you lots of tools to work with.

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My only gripe with 5th Ed Stronghold is the Deus Ex Machina "power dampener" they use to hold prisoners. Honestly,  each super's powers are unique and realistically they'd need to study them all individually and come up with ways to neutralize them separately. Earlier versions of Stronghold were much better in this regard.

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1 hour ago, Dr. MID-Nite said:

My only gripe with 5th Ed Stronghold is the Deus Ex Machina "power dampener" they use to hold prisoners. Honestly,  each super's powers are unique and realistically they'd need to study them all individually and come up with ways to neutralize them separately. Earlier versions of Stronghold were much better in this regard.

 

You can look at the issue from the viewpoint of the meta-reason for the dampeners, and also at the in-setting rationale for them. I believe the reason Steve Long took this approach is that it moves Stronghold away from the very adventure-limiting premise of all prisoners being kept in their individually tailored cells all the time. In the new Stronghold they're able to move around, mingle, and interact. This allows for all the classic dramatic prison dynamics to come into play, such as the formation of gangs, smuggling, violence between inmates, abusive guards, etc. (Incidentally, long-term isolation in a constrained space would undoubtedly have civil liberties groups protesting "inhumane treatment.")

 

Setting-wise, the explanation for how the power negator works cites two effects. It suppresses the neurological commands through which supers access and control their powers, and for that effect the source of the powers isn't usually relevant. However, even if the supers could bypass that and access their powers, the negator also alters the conditions of reality allowing them to function at all. This is a case where the CU's premise for the existence of super powers is helpful. Powers, super-tech, etc. are possible because the presence of "ambient magic" makes the laws of physics "looser" than they would be normally. If that loosening effect can be countered the powers would fail.

 

The CU features a type of energy called "cosmic power" or "cosmic energy," which certain supers, artifacts, and most "space gods" utilize for a vast range of effects (like the Silver Surfer, Galactus, and their ilk). While this is in no way official, for my modified CU campaigns I ruled that cosmic power is the underlying force of universes governed by the laws of science rather than magic, and antithetical to magic. The Stronghold power negators project a crude type of cosmic energy which suppresses the influence of magic. That would also fit with the stated feature of Stronghold that magic powers are more difficult for the negators to counter -- the magic would be more directly in play.

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In my campaign I kept the Stronghold power negation field as-is for the most part - but added a top-secret "field emitter" that disrupts the negation field at very close range  (Basically, I added a -0 Limitation to the Suppress - "No effect in special magnetic field.")  It's hard-wired into the robots and guards weapons so they still operate in the dampening field.  (Otherwise, as written the power negation would render their weapons inoperative as well.) The PCs did some hacking to get info on the tech, and their gadgeteer built them all field emitters so they could safely go to Stronghold without losing their powers.  They were very proud of figuring that out.

 

I had no problem with this, because a year or so after that I had a villain group (Secession Squad) intentionally get captured by the heroes -- but their mentalist telepathically read the PC gadgeteer's mind to get the details on the field emitter.  They then communicated the details to their (uncaptured) tech guy, who built field emitters disguised as mini MP3 players that were then brought in as contraband by guards to sell to prisoners.  When the heroes learned that they had an unintentional hand in the next Stronghold riot and mass break-out... well, let's just say my reputation as an Evil GM was secure.

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We have dampeners in our games as well, but they're different from the "official" ones.

 

Stronghold suffered from the same problem that vehicle rules did:  We needed them before they came out.  :lol:

 

By the time Stronghold was published, we had a super prison.  We had "dampeners," too.  Ours were a good bit simpler, though: they were a constant Drain: END.  They maxed out at leaving you with 4 END (just sort of handwaved) so that you could function: get up; walk around-- etc.  People with _really_ high REC could get a bit sneaky, here and there, but we were actually pretty happy with that result, too: we didn't want something that worked flawlessly; that was just too hard to swallow.

 

Drain END worked really well because, as those of you who played older editions likely remember, Reduced Endurance was _way_ expensive!   :shock:

 

We only ever had one character manage to overcome them, though (to this day, she wears them-- they were a boots / gauntlet combo-- as part of her costume, partly as a reminder, and partly as a psyche-out to anyone who knows what they are), so they must work reasonably well.

 

I am in nigh-complete agreement with whoever it was that said he preferred the original "tailored to your powers" version of the prison rather than the one-size fits all modern prison, and particularly with the "the new design allows them to mix and mingle and cause trouble, etc." thing in the new one.   Make all the civi rights noise you want, there is a certain amount of "the entire staff puts their lives in very real danger" that is just unacceptable and unworkable.

 

My issue with the portable dampeners is that they work: the dampen powers _mechanically_.  That is to say that they dampen Flight produced by my ability to manipulate the gravity around me _and_ the Flight produced by my surgically-implanted rocket-pack and mechanical wings.   There are those occasions where we just accept "Mechanic trumps SFX."  There are also those points where it's a bit too much to swallow.  That's why we ended up going with Drain: END with ours.

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I might as well also mention that the 4E adventure collection, Champions Presents #2, includes "Murder in Stronghold," a mystery adventure that shouldn't be hard to adapt to the new Stronghold.

 

That is worth weaving into the book, depending on how big it ends up.  I don't want to put out a huge tome.  Ideally, someone puts out Stronghold and I just do the "escape" part but I don't think that's a realistic goal.  And I don't want to refer people to a 5th edition book.

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On 12/4/2020 at 2:50 PM, Dr. MID-Nite said:

My only gripe with 5th Ed Stronghold is the Deus Ex Machina "power dampener" they use to hold prisoners. Honestly,  each super's powers are unique and realistically they'd need to study them all individually and come up with ways to neutralize them separately. Earlier versions of Stronghold were much better in this regard.

Toss them in hot sleep and let the warden sort them out.

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On 12/5/2020 at 12:15 AM, Duke Bushido said:

 

We had "dampeners," too.  Ours were a good bit simpler, though: they were a constant Drain: END.  They maxed out at leaving you with 4 END (just sort of handwaved) so that you could function: get up; walk around-- etc.

 

I actually really love that idea.  It feels like less of a handwave & still lets you have the prisoners mixing.  You can also still have the "ultramax" wards for the super prisoners that for whatever reason resist the power dampers.

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I ran a version of the old Island of Dr. Destroyer ages ago as a one-off at my FLAGS.  I posted a game report.  Here it is:

 

Quote

Today I ran my Island of Dr. Destroyer one off. I had four players. One picked Defender, another Witchcraft. The other two picked characters I had generated myself - The Archer (Green Arrow rip-off, right down the the Boxing Glove Arrows) and Mind Maiden (Mystic armed with a TK/Telepathy multipower that for some reason also contained Desolid). No one chose any of the Incredibles.

 

The players are heading to the island in a PRIMUS Air Raft. The Archer is the only one with piloting skills. He tried to bring the Air Raft to the island by flying low and avoid the island ground-based radar (and by extension the ground-based Quad-Lasers and Cruise Missiles). He's doing fine, then majorly biffs a roll once the team gets within sight of the island. I rule that he bobbed the Air Raft up too high, so the island defenses picked up the Air Raft on radar. And followed up with a cruise missile. :eek:

 

One 15D6 AOE EB later, Defender and The Archer are at negative STUN and underwater, Witchcraft is under water and at negative 3 BODY and Mind Maiden is Desolid.

 

(I did this mostly to set the mood, and let the team know that The Destroyer isn't one to be trifled with.)

 

Mind Maiden used her TK to pick up her three team mates and then her 0 END flight to head for the nearest possible medical facility - The Island! On the way, The Archer recovered from unconsciousness and did Paramedic on Witchcraft (who by now was at negative 5 BODY). Mind Maiden slipped the team over the barrier cliffs right between two radar stations and the team hid in the jungle.

 

The Archer used his Stealth to move through the jungle and hunt for medical supplies. He found a huge, portable medi-kit on the wall in the Doctor's hanger bay that was jam-packed with drugs the FDA does NOT approve of. A quick skulk back through the jungle, and thanks to the illegal, untested drugs Witchcraft is soon at positive BODY (but not MUCH).

 

The team figures if they can just disable the ground radar and defenses then the Navy and the Air Force can deal with the island. So they head off toward the mountains to assault the island's nuclear reactor containment/cooling tower (if you know the adventure, it's where the ICBM used to be).

 

They enter the reactor's control room, where they find the Doctor and his supervillain henchmen - Armadillo, Pulsar and Green Dragon.

 

Armadillo, Pulsar and Green Dragon attack while The Good Doctor hands back and looks majestic. The Archer blinds Armadillo right off the bat with a Flash Attack, Defender starts trading EBs with Pulsar, and Mind Maiden & Witchcraft gang-tackle Green Dragon with Ego Attacks.

 

Green Dragon doesn't have a chance against Mind Maiden & Witchcraft, and drops first. The Archer hits Pulsar with a Nitro Arrow and knocks him back. Defender follows up with an EB and manages to roll six 6s out of a 10D6 attack, then snake eyes for Knock Back! :eek: The aggregate STUN, plus the Knock Back right INTO a re-enforced concrete wall, puts Pulsar out of the fight.

 

Defender and The Archer next do a combined ED/Shock Arrow attack on the still-blinded Armadillo. He goes down, and Dr. destroyer decided it's time to step in himself. He does his "Gods/Thunderbolts" speech, then drops a 15D6 AOE EB on the team. The EB goes off with the whole team caught in the AOE. Defender and The Archer go down - No BODY taken but WELL into negative STUN. Things are looking grim. :fear:

 

However, all this happens on phase 8, and Mind Maiden & Witchcraft haven't moved this phase yet. Mind Maiden aborts to Desolid while Witchcraft dives for cover. and for Witchcraft the only direction that will take her away from the AOE EB is to dive right toward the nuclear reactor's containment room.

 

By the time Mind Maiden and Witchcraft can move again Dr. Destroyer is just toying with the team. Mind Maiden drops her Desolid and attempts to use her TK to pull her wounded comrades to safety. In her heart, however, she knows things are hopeless. The Doctor aims another AOE EB at the three of them.

 

Witchcraft pulls herself to her full height, squares her shoulders and, with her mind's eye full of 50 other superheroes who will never be forgotten, does what she knows she must do - She prepares herself to die like a hero. Summoning all her strength for one mighty blast of Witchfire, she hurls the bolt right through the window of the containment room, and into the nuclear reactor's coolant pump!

 

The AOE EB and the blast of Witchfire occur at the same time. Mind Maiden drops, Defender and The Archer are tossed around like rag dolls, and Witchcraft is bathed in nuclear waste. She begins taking NND damage every segment. Before she can move again, she joins her team in unconsciousness.

 

Hours later Defender, The Archer and Mind Maiden awake in the sick bay of a US Navy Cruiser. Once the reactor was taken out of commission the Navy was able to get Marines on the island. The Marines found the heroes and pulled them out of the reactor building. Witchcraft was taken by helicopter to an ICU on the mainland, but is expected to make a full recovery.

 

The team's mission was successful, but costly. And once again, the Destroyer has escaped!

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 10/6/2020 at 6:29 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

This bundle includes the pdf of the full module, plus the Hero Designer files for all characters and vehicles included in the module.

I ordered the PoD bundle a few days ago, but it only includes PDF and physical copies, no Hero Designer files. Were they removed from the final product or is this a DriveThru snafu? 

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On 3/4/2021 at 6:21 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

I'll talk to Jason, he did the POD stuff

Further to this, after a delay due to annoying computer niggles, I found the files! So, I can confirm that the PoD version with PDF also includes a Zip file for Hero Designer. The problem was due to how I was downloading things on a mobile device which only showed the PDF itself. My error, not Hero's or DriveThru's. 

 

The actual paperback arrived a couple of days ago: not bad physical quality although the inside covers are spattered with ink which has marked the first and last pages. Compared to the digital cover the printed example seems very dull, no life to the colours at all. Not that it matters especially, since it's bought to use rather than look at. We're finishing up the characters this weekend and I'll be running session one on Tuesday evening… Fingers crossed! Everyone's looking forward to it. 

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Unfortunately, the quality of POD stuff has really dropped in recent years, with muddy colors and problems.  Whoever is doing it (as I understand it most of the POD work is done at one operation in China) is doing shoddy work.  I used to use a local print shop for my earliest copies of the Fantasy Codex and they did brilliant work, but it cost more than the print on demand services online and they ship stuff out :/

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I ordered Champions Powers at the same time: the books arrived together and both were printed by Lightning Source here in the UK, but Powers was altogether cleaner with a bright cover. Given the ink spatter on Destroyer I think that in this case I was just unlucky and got a sloppy example of their work. Looking forward to running it next week, regardless! 

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