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The Annual Hallwoeen Game: War of the Worlds!


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So I'm in the middle of planning out my annual Halloween game - and this year instead of zombies running a-muck or Samhain making All Hallows Eve last forever and the like, this year I thought I'd dig up an old favorite: the Orson Wells broadcast of War of the Worlds!

 

The game, as it stands now, is thusly: October 30th, 1938 and the Mercury Playhouse delivers it's panic-inducing adaption of the HG Wells work. Meanwhile, some 61 light-years away, an alien warship picks up the transmission - or at least bits and pieces of it (what with the signal degradation and all). The commander assumes that it's a real broadcast and that this little primitive planet has been savagely attacked by another force.

 

So he dispatches HIS tripod war machines (with heat rays) to Earth. They strike a couple of likely military targets on Mars (giving the astronomers on earth the chance to observe several explosions of incandescent gas on mars) before dropping their landing pods on Earth.

 

The crash site is surround by military, Scientists, and well armed rednecks. Then, after there's been an appropreat amount of time to investigate, talk to the locals, etc, etc - there's a scraping grinding sound as the hatch on top slides open and an alien sticks it's head out. When it brings out the translator (which snaps open in a vaguely threatening manner) one of the rednecks panics and blows the aliens head off.

 

Well, there goes the neighborhood!

 

The aliens take the attack in the worst possible way imaginable, atomizing the redneck (and the surrounding crowd) with it's heat ray and sets the tripod War Machines (I'm thinking three of them) in motion, heading for downtown of Campaign City.

 

The Military does what it can to try and stop the aliens - with the expected largely ineffectual results. The aliens arent looking to scrap with the humans - it's a rescue mission to liberate the planet from the other invading force, after all - but they will defend themselves. And they're a pretty rowdy lot - not too discriminating on their attacks.

 

So what I'm looking for is some brainstorming - "oh no, the evil genius Doctor Sinistero shows up and takes control of one of the war machines" or "that school full of orphans is now on fire from a near miss of the heat ray" and that sort of thing. What would you guys do to punch up the game so it's more than just "Round 3, you punch the war machine", "round 6, you punch the war machine", "Round 8, you punch. . . ."

 

As far as the end of the game goes, I dont think I'll do the "Aliens catch a cold and keel over" Deus ex Machina ending. While it may have worked in the original, it's not very satisfying for an ending. I might go with a beat it up until it falls over ending, perhaps with a mix of two meter exhaust port somewhere in there. That or perhaps finding some kind of self destruct or shut down command back at the crash site - I haven't thought the game that far through yet.

 

Anyway, thoughts?

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Re: The Annual Hallwoeen Game: War of the Worlds!

 

The original HG Wells story had the aliens communicate by loud wails. To have the PCs involved, have a science/mage/linguist guy translate the wailing...

 

Alien One: I'm under attack by those pathetic ground vehicles again. Why are they fighting us?

Alien Two: They must be mind controlled by thier Martian masters. We must get past them and destroy the Martians so we can free them!

 

Once you can tell what they're saying, you can have the PCs figure out how to talk back, and negotiate a cease fire, then convince the aliens that it's all a misunderstanding... Drama!

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Re: The Annual Hallwoeen Game: War of the Worlds!

 

Introduce a super villain who can speak to the aliens who convince the aliens the Martians are shapeshifters disguised as humans. He tells them the Martians are using their powers to oppress the world, while the human resistance is fighting against them.

 

In short he convinces them that all super heroes are martian shapeshifters (because how come only some humans have powers? Must be a different species) while the super villain and his select group (maybe nothing but henchmen, maybe the masters of evil) are fighting the martians using stolen techonology to imitate powers (not true but makes sense to aliens).

 

Now the super villain has an alien armada on his side who are destroying all the super heroes. And worse of all, the aliens are doing it for the right reasons. How do you convince them that the super villain is lying?

 

And when the heroes do succeed they get to enjoy the sound of a villain being obliterated by a heat ray. Only to come back next week but still.

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Re: The Annual Hallwoeen Game: War of the Worlds!

 

Some odds thoughts:

 

The aliens believe the broadcast and believe that the actors playing the parts of the President, the generals etc. etc. are the legitimate authority figures. After communication is established they refuse to negotiate with the "impostors." Of course, once the news broke that aliens had invaded the actors all took flight taking advantage of their wealth and multiple aliases to hide themselves.

 

The people riot and surround the broadcast station playing the original transmission that brought the darned aliens in the first place. (yay! torches and pitchforks!)

 

The President tucked away in NORAD after viewing the ineffectiveness of conventional weapons orders an all out nuclear strike on Campaign City.

 

After asking for aid from the World Community, the UN forces provided "revolt" and decide that "regime change" is necessary.

 

Fringe religious groups view the aliens as the fulfillment of some prophesy or other Apocalyptic event and form human shields to protect the tripods.

 

The aliens are a hive mind, communal intelligence, and the red neck whacked the "sane and reasonably intelligent one" leaving the aliens to revert to a primal animalistic state.

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Re: The Annual Hallwoeen Game: War of the Worlds!

 

The original HG Wells story had the aliens communicate by loud wails. To have the PCs involved, have a science/mage/linguist guy translate the wailing...

 

Alien One: I'm under attack by those pathetic ground vehicles again. Why are they fighting us?

Alien Two: They must be mind controlled by thier Martian masters. We must get past them and destroy the Martians so we can free them!

 

Once you can tell what they're saying, you can have the PCs figure out how to talk back, and negotiate a cease fire, then convince the aliens that it's all a misunderstanding... Drama!

 

Yeah, I like that - the totally alien language translated well after the fighting has begun. Of course, par for the course, the military is probably going to be the hardest ones to convince to stop shooting. There's no way they'll allow "hostile" aliens into a population center.

 

The heroes might have to do some "crowd control" on the earthlings to get things back under control.

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Re: The Annual Hallwoeen Game: War of the Worlds!

 

Here is, assuming I exported the file correctly, the first draft of the tripods. Take a peek and tell me what you think:

 

[b]Martian War Machine - [/b]

[b][u]VAL[/u]   [u]CHA[/u]   [u]Cost[/u]   [u]Total[/u]   [u]Roll[/u]      [u]Notes[/u][/b]
100    STR     90   100      29-       HTH Damage 20d6  END [10]
12    DEX     6   12      11-       OCV 4 DCV 4
15    CON     10   15      12-
50    BODY    80   50      19-
10    INT     0   10      11-       PER Roll 11-
10    EGO     0   10      11-       ECV: 3
40    PRE     30   40      17-       PRE Attack: 8d6
10    COM     0   10      11-
25    PD      5   25             25 PD (25 rPD)
25    ED      22   25             25 ED (25 rED)
4    SPD     18   4                 Phases:  3, 6, 9, 12
23    REC     0   23
100    END     35   100
108    STUN    0   108
26    RUN      0   26"                END [5]
2    SWIM     0   2"                END [1]
20    LEAP     0   20"                20" forward, 10" upward

[b]CHA Cost: 296[/b]

[b][u]Cost[/u]   [u]POWERS[/u][/b]
168     [b][i]Martian Weaponry[/i][/b]: Variable Power Pool, 112 base + 56 control cost,  (168 Active Points) - END=
0     1) [b][i]Heat Ray[/i][/b]: Killing Attack - Ranged 5d6, Area Of Effect (One Hex; +1/2) (112 Active Points) Real Cost: 112 - END=11
0     2) [b][i]Black Smoke[/i][/b]: Energy Blast 11d6, No Normal Defense (Sealed Systems; +1) (110 Active Points) Real Cost: 110 - END=11
0     3) [b][i]Red Weed[/i][/b]: Entangle 11d6, 11 DEF (110 Active Points); Cannot Form Barriers (-1/4) Real Cost: 88 - END=11
30     [b][i]Your weapons are useless![/i][/b]: Energy Damage Reduction, Resistant, 50% - END=0
30     [b][i]Your weapons are useless![/i][/b]: Physical Damage Reduction, Resistant, 50% - END=0
37     [b][i]Bullets won't stop it![/i][/b]: Damage Resistance (25 PD/25 ED), Hardened (x2; +1/2) (37 Active Points) - END=0
45     [b][i]Tripod Legs[/i][/b]: Running +20" (26" total), x4 Noncombat - END=4
12     [b][i]Communication Link[/i][/b]: High Range Radio Perception (Radio Group) - END=0
10     Knockback Resistance -5" - END=0
46     [b][i]Sealed Systems[/i][/b]: Life Support  (Eating: Character does not eat; Immunity All terrestrial diseases and biowarfare agents; Immunity: All terrestrial poisons and chemical warfare agents; Safe Environment: Zero Gravity; Safe in High Pressure; Safe in High Radiation; Safe in Intense Cold; Safe in Intense Heat; Safe in Low Pressure/Vacuum; Self-Contained Breathing; Sleeping: Character does not sleep) - END=0
60     [b][i]Giant Mecha[/i][/b]: Takes no Stun (60 Active Points) - END=6
15     [b][i]Giant Mecha[/i][/b]: Does not bleed (15 Active Points) - END=1

[b]POWERS Cost: 453[/b]


[b][u]Cost[/u]   [u]SKILLS[/u][/b]
40      +5 with All Combat

[b]SKILLS Cost: 40[/b]


[b][u]Cost[/u]   [u]TALENTS[/u][/b]
3      Absolute Range Sense
3      Absolute Time Sense
3      Bump Of Direction

[b]TALENTS Cost: 9[/b]
[b][u]Value[/u]  [u]DISADVANTAGES[/u][/b]
25     Distinctive Features:  Giant Alien War Machine (Not Concealable; Extreme Reaction; Detectable By Commonly-Used Senses)
10     Physical Limitation:  Huge Size (Frequently, Slightly Impairing)
15     Physical Limitation:  Limited Manupuation (Frequently, Greatly Impairing)

[b]DISADVANTAGES Points: 50[/b]

Base Pts: 200
Exp Required: 548
Total Exp Available: 549
Exp Unspent: 1
Total Character Cost: 798



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Re: The Annual Hallwoeen Game: War of the Worlds!

 

Woah! That's a monster of a machine. I don't think a group of players can beat it. And 11d6 Energy blast NND seems like over kill. Sealed systems includes life support right?

 

How many of these behemoths are there in the game? Is this the only one, a prototype/last resort for the aliens? Because if there are more earth is in trouble.

 

If you want to make the super heroes feel powerful change it so that the damage reduction applies only to mundane weaponry, not to innate powers. Dramatic license etc.

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Re: The Annual Hallwoeen Game: War of the Worlds!

 

Woah! That's a monster of a machine. I don't think a group of players can beat it. And 11d6 Energy blast NND seems like over kill. Sealed systems includes life support right?

 

*Slaps forehead*

 

Thats what I get for building the monster at 1 in the morning. :) The NND was suppose to have a couple of adders on it - area effect, lingering and that sort of thing (being a cloud of gas and all). I just forgot to include all that stuff and dial the damage back accordingly. I meant to go with 5D of NND.

 

And yeah, the sealed systems is total life support (save for the immortality).

 

As for the problem of not inflicting damage, we tend to be a higher damage sort of crowd, so I don't foresee any problems of getting at least SOME body through once in a while.

 

How many of these behemoths are there in the game? Is this the only one' date=' a prototype/last resort for the aliens? Because if there are more earth is in trouble.[/quote']

 

I was thinking of having a couple that would separate so the heroes would only engage one at a time. While they're off dealing with one (and being generally magnificent) the military would deal with the other. And I'm hoping that they'll come up with some kind of clever plan to deal with it, you know some kind of "Attack pattern delta" where they tangle up the legs or something. A plan that's something other than "I punch it until it falls over!"

 

If you want to make the super heroes feel powerful change it so that the damage reduction applies only to mundane weaponry, not to innate powers. Dramatic license etc.

 

Yeah, I'm going to have to see if I can work in some kind of exhaust port or something if they start having too much trouble. (That or secretly dial the numbers back behind the scenes. :) )

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Re: The Annual Hallwoeen Game: War of the Worlds!

 

Well, I unleashed the game upon the players tonight. Everything went well, it was a tough fight but they won in the end. I wound up ditching the 50% damage reduction and dropping the PD/ED by 5 on the fly, allowing them to nickle and dime the tripods down (there were two of them). In the end, it was a couple of impressive move through and move by attacks that won the day, along with a persistent penetrating attack that landed one body a turn.

 

Plus some good strategy on their parts - leading the tripods out into the river to avoid collateral damage and that sort of thing. It was a tough but rewarding fight. All in all, I was pleased with the end results.

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Re: The Annual Hallwoeen Game: War of the Worlds!

 

That sounds like a fun scenario. Bit of a shallow victory in the end wasn't it' date=' when they beat the aliens who wanted to help?[/quote']

 

Yeah, but since the game was set up to be a huge misunderstanding that out of their control (the earth military shot first and really didn't show any signs of stopping, and the aliens weren't really listening) from the get-go, and the fact that it suppose to be just a light bit of Halloween fun, I wasn't going in to wag the finger of grief at them. It could come back to bite them if I were a dick GM, but since I was holding the gun to their heads (as it were) I wont drop the hammer on them later.

 

Besides, they never actually saw an alien IN the tripods - they could have been remote controled from the landing pod (where they DID see aliens). It could have been the Saturday Morning GI Joe Robot tank syndrome. :)

 

***edit***

Plus they were the only ones on the battlefield that were actually trying to talk and/or come up with some alternitive to fighting. One player pulled herself out of the fight and went to recover that radar dish device that opened and started the whole mess off, hoping it was some kind of Babel Fish. I had no idea WHAT it actually was beyond being a MacGuffin, so I rolled with it. In the end, they did manage be the key to talking to the aliens in the pod.

 

How many PCs were there?

 

Three, a tank-ish SuperGirl analog, a fire Blaster and a Magical Girl drain/suppress support type.

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