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Ghost Town: An Emerald City Adventure

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  • Ghost Town: An Emerald City Adventure

    This will be a recounting of my group working their way through the Ghost Town adventure from the Deluxe Hero's Handbook. This is not a PbP game.

    My players are all beginners, two never even having RPed before. They chose characters from my Build Party thread. Their origins remain largely the same, except for The Chain, who becomes a Stormer.

    Bloodhawk, a local vigilante
    The Chain, a public hero
    Glory, a public hero
    Sir Rhys Gwynne, extra-dimensional lawgiver

    The simple robbery of an artifact from an Emerald City museum leads the heroes to one of the city’s hidden secrets—a frontier colony hidden in darkness behind a mystical veil. There they find lost heroes, an awakened evil, and a threat that sends shockwaves across Emerald City to shake the heavens!
    Last edited by badpenny; 23rd June 2014, 05:27 AM.
    Penny's Build Party - Playable builds - M&M 2.5 featuring Damage Roll combat

  • #2
    Chapter One: The Mystery of the Midnight Museum

    It’s three in the morning in Emerald City, and there’s been a break-in at the city’s Native American Cultural Center. Tonight was also the first night of Sound and Fury, Emerald City’s annual music festival, and the E.C.P.D. is focused on maintaining order at the rowdy opening concert. At the end of the week, the festival will close with a concert by local hip-hop superstars the Longbowz at the Native American Cultural Center, a popular museum on the edge of the Emerald City University campus dedicated to both the local Hekawi tribe and all the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. Fearing a delayed or drawn-out investigation by the police might lead to the cancellation of the concert, the Center’s biggest annual fundraiser, the heroes are welcomed inside when they arrive by Professor John Salinas, head of the Center.

    Salinas greets The Chain and Glory, as they're public heroes. He doesn't know Bloodhawk or Sir Rhys, but not only introduces himself to them, once he realizes that Glory and The Chain don't know them either, completes the introductions.

    Glory opened with, "Can you tell us what's missing, Professor?" Bloodhawk remained motionless. The Chain nodded and wondered if whatever was stolen from the museum, er, Cultural Center, would have a street price. Sir Rhys, who wasn't currently wearing his armor, but only his doublet and breeches, stood with a distant look and felt for the presence of magic.

    "Yes, it's--was--over here." Professor Salinas guides them over to a now empty display. "The Fire of the Sun and Moon, one of our most popular installations." A sign above the display read, Emerald's Lost Colony?

    Salinas pointed at the picture and explained that the two foot tall statue, which was carved of whalebone joined and inlaid with gold--and mined from the nearby Atlas Mountains--formed a small arch. Birdlike humanoids representing the Hekawi brother-gods Nimuatu, the kestrel, and Maquami, the owl, hold a golden orb aloft in their wings as they keep watch over day and night, respectively. The statue dated to before the greater area had been explored and hinted at a settlement that had vanished and left no traces.

    Bloodhawk had wandered over to another part of the display. "Interesting legend," he said as he read the history of the artifact.

    The Chain examined a picture of the missing statue. "Someone might want that gold."

    "You have security cameras--can we see the footage?" Glory asked. Professor Salinas nodded and guided Glory and The Chain back to the Security room, leaving Sir Rhys and Bloodhawk by the display.

    Sir Rhys studied Bloodhawk. "Thou art tainted, yet you serve the law?"

    Bloodhawk crossed his arms. "Demon tried to kill me, but I chased him off. Guess some of his stink got on me."

    "You make light." Sir Rhys grinned. "We shall work well together." He waved a hand in front of the display, just as Glory and The Chain returned to the room.

    "The tape doesn't show anything except the statue disappearing in the blink of an eye," she reported.

    "There are magicks at work," Sir Rhys said as he spotted sigils scrawled in soot on the wall underneath the camera. "These would render the thieves obscured to your technology."

    Sir Rhys makes a successful DC 20 Expertise: Magic check to see the sigils
    "Any indication how they got in?" Glory asked.

    Salinas shook his head. "We have a night watchman, but there's no trace of him. I fear he might be involved."

    "What makes you say that, Doc?" The Chain said.

    "Discipline problems in the past...gambling. I fear he might have been bribed to allow the thieves to enter so easily."

    "I smell blood," Bloodhawk said.

    With his Perception +9 he automatically makes the DC 10 Perception check
    "Canst thou locate it, friend?" Sir Rhys asked.

    "Mhmhmm." Bloodhawk began to sniff the air and as he was pulled toward the scent of blood, Glory saw a small drop of blood on a baseboard. "Here," he said and Glory pointed at what she found.

    He uses his Detect power (both Accurate and Tracking) to locate the smell
    The Chain looked up at at air vent near a skylight. "That ain't good."

    Sir Rhys whistled softly and Aeronwen, his ghost mare poked her head through the wall. Glory and The Chain looked at each other. Bloodhawk, as always, was impassive. "I thought I seen things," The Chain said.

    "Come, Aeronwen, let us see if the poor soul has been waylaid." He seized her reins and mounted. Aeronwen rose up toward the skylight where Sir Rhys then pulled away the air duct cover. "Yes, it is he." He pulled the man out of the duct and laid him across the rear of the horse and then decended.

    The Chain removed the dead guard and as he laid him down on the floor, had to step back. "The guy...the poor guy's half eaten."

    Glory approached and with her clinical eye noticed blue-black feathers clutched in the guard's hand.

    "Here, milady," Sir Rhys said, handing Glory a ziptop bag. Off Glory's confused look, he replied, "Most convenient for gathering evidence." Glory smiled and bagged the feathers. "They dost appear to be related to the Hekawi tribe's rituals, after a fashion."

    Salinas reached for the bag. "May I?" He studied them for a moment. "Avians of the Sky Clan," he offered.

    "Cryptids," Bloodhawk said.

    "Several times a fringe group of Hekawi mystics have asked us to lend out the Fire of the Sun and Moon for use in a ritual, and each time we, and the Hekawi elders, have refused. The Sons of the Sky," Salinas said, putting it all together. "They meet for their ritual on Angel Island during each new moon."

    "That be tonight," Sir Rhys said.

    "Well, I guess I know where we're going next," The Chain said. Then his shoulders slumped. "Aw, I hate boats."
    Penny's Build Party - Playable builds - M&M 2.5 featuring Damage Roll combat

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    • #3
      First Chapter Commentary

      Overall, a good way to start with an investigation for my new players. My noobs are playing The Chain and Glory, and The Chain's player earns an HP for his hilarious performance at the table. My two experienced players are back from my old long-term Great Lakes Guardians campaign from 2010-2012.

      Sir Rhys' player decided on the Elizabethan style of speech, which made the other players think Thor rather than Shakespeare. If it helps him to get into character, I'm all for it (and he's pretty quick with it, so that makes it entertaining).

      Chapter Two should be up by the weekend. Our noobs first taste of combat! Should be fun.
      Penny's Build Party - Playable builds - M&M 2.5 featuring Damage Roll combat

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      • #4
        Re: Ghost Town: An Emerald City Adventure

        *subscribed*

        I'm interested to see what you do with the adventure; I've never been able to read it even because it does something that I am leery of: has a setting and then essentially abandons it (for the adventure) for a road show. Maybe because it doesn't have a huge amount of space in the adventure, I missed that it was grounded in Emerald City events.
        Some M&M stuff at my blog, [URL="http://jhmcmullen.blogspot.ca"][i]Iconic Energy[/i][/URL], but mostly [i]ICONS[/i]

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        • #5
          Chapter Two: Opening the Veil
          Angel Island is a small island not far from Emerald City in the middle of the Albian River. Since the 1930s, the island has been a bird sanctuary in the care of the National Audubon Society, whose namesake had longed (but ultimately failed) to visit the island almost a century earlier and see its world-famous variety and incredible multitudes of birds. Even now the island remains wild and uninhabited, with even park rangers only arriving each day via ferries from the mainland.

          Sir Rhys smiled and clapped The Chain on the shoulder. "Friend, if thou aren't equally wary of flight, Aeronwen shall take us all to the island."

          Bloodhawk stood looking at Aeronwen. "You're going to get four of us on your horse."

          The Chain crossed his arms. "I ain't sitting in no one's lap." Glory rolled her eyes.

          "'Tis magic, friends. Thou regardst a ghost mare! She is most able!" He patted her gently. "Come, let us hence and to Angel Island we will go!"

          As the flying horse approaches the island they spot the Faloshenka--a 40-foot crab trawler--tied up at the ferry dock. A pulsating glow and the sound of drums and chanting on the wind can be heard in the distance. Sir Rhys's mystical sense steers them toward the ritual site being used by the Sons of the Sky, a clearing deep in the heart of the island.

          The heroes see the Fire of the Sun and Moon at the center of the clearing, lit by a trio of bonfires and surrounded by both the Hekawi and Cryptid members of the Sons of the Sky. Two drummers and eight Hekawi mystics wear wooden masks carved to give them bird-like beaks, along with cloaks made of multi-colored feathers.

          Sir Rhys spotted several Avian Warriors aloft. "We must disrupt that ritual," he said and flew toward the ground where the others could dismount. "I shall attend to those more in my element."

          Glory was out of her element out here in the wilderness. She slipped off the ghost mare some thirty feet up, and despite Sir Rhys's protestations, she landed and tumbled expertly out of the fall. Several Hekawi Mystics were already running toward her, but she dropped two of them in their tracks with precise blasts of Fireworks from each hand.

          The Avian Warriors shrieked and moved in for the kill, swooping down on Aeronwen. One threw a Sulfur Bomb at the heroes, another swooped past Sir Rhys and threw Flash Powder in his face, and the third swung his Obsidian Hatchet at The Chain.

          Sir Rhys blocked the flash powder with his shield, while the overwhelming stench of the Sulfur bomb brought him close to retching. Aeronwen jinked and moved away, sparing both The Chain and Bloodhawk any of its effects. Bloodhawk's reflexes were quick and he grabbed Sir Rhys before he tumbled off his mount.

          Sir Rhys is Dazed and Bruised (-1 Toughness). When you fail a resistance check while on a Platform, you fall. The climbing rules (see Athletics) allows you to catch someone from falling if they're within arm's reach and I felt it applied here.
          As Bloodhawk stared down at Glory, he commented, "I'm useless up here!" As Sir Rhys coughed, he tried to signal his compatriot that he intended to remedy that post haste.

          The Chain kept his eyes on the Avian who'd taken a swing at him and willed his chain into his hand from where he wore it wrapped around his waist. Right when the birdman came within range, he snapped out his hand and struck the Avian from the sky. He smiled with a satisfied smirk as the birdman plummeted down into the water.

          Below, Glory found herself alone against six Mystics who targeted her with their Blasts. She was finding the rhythm of combat, but the sandy soil made it hard. She was an urban animal and out of her element: one Mystic connected sending a powerful jolt of energy coursing through her body! Glory was tough, but still had to grit her teeth as she fought off the spiritual attack!

          Glory resists the effect, but faces a Secondary Effect next round
          Bloodhawk pushed himself off of Aeronwen and swooped down to the soft soil below. He landed in the middle of two of the Mystics and struck out with superhuman speed and ferocity, sending one sprawling! His fist landed on the second one's jaw, but the man shrugged it off with a grim resolve. Bloodhawk could smell the magic coursing through the man's blood!

          Sir Rhys steered Aeronwen toward the Avians and summoned Magebreaker, his mystic sword, into his hand!

          All through the battle, the two drummers continued their work. Magical energies reverberated throughout the area and built toward a crescendo as the orb at the heart of the statue glowed bright!

          Glory measured the distance between the Mystics and shot three of them down in rapid, measured--near simultaneous--fashion. The latter of the trio had been about to target Bloodhawk. He nodded his appreciation. And she knew how good she was, too. Which made her all the more attractive.

          For dropping their brethren, the two remaining Avian warriors swooped down on the Chain and attacked him simultaneously. One blew flash powder in his face, which The Chain merely waved away like it was nothing more than an offensive odor, while the second approached on speeding wing with a hideous shriek and a murderous-looking hatchet. The Chain whipped his alien weapon in an arc and not only deflected the obsidian blade but knocked the winged Cryptid from the sky. "Gonna mess with me?" he snorted.

          The two remaining Hekawi mystics targeted the two heroes on the ground. The first missed Glory who expertly rolled out of the way. The second hit Bloodhawk who grunted as the magical energies washed over him.

          The attack misses Glory, and she successfully resists the Secondary Effect. Bloodhawk takes a Bruise
          Bloodhawk calmly walked up to the mystic who shot him and punched him in the face. A gout of blood erupted from the man's ruined nose and flowed into Bloodhawk. Glory was a little taken aback by the blood doing tricks in the air, but otherwise approved. She was practical, if nothing else.

          He uses Blood for Blood, which links a Healing effect to his unarmed attack, and erases the Bruise
          Sir Rhys flew at the remaining Avian and struck the man from the sky with his mystic sword. "Ah, it doth feel good to swing her!"

          The Chain shook his head. "Dames."

          Just as Glory blasted the final Hekawi, the drummers abruptly stopped and the statue began to grow! As the arch beneath the wings of the bird-gods grew, space and time tore beneath it, forming a gate that swallowed the light and sound from the area, starting with the calls of the nighthawks from the surrounding trees.

          As the gateway grew past 30 feet tall, the now-enormous statue suddenly vanished, drawn into the tear. But the gateway remained, and the drummers of the Sons of the Sky immediately moved toward it. Bloodhawk was fast enough to intercept the last one before he disappeared into the gate.

          Caught up in the fervor of the ritual, the drummer screeched, "You don’t understand! We go through the veil to save them! To save them!"

          Sir Rhys and The Chain landed by the gate. The Chain just shook his head; he liked things he understood.

          Sir Rhys looked on with appreciation. "'Tis most beautiful!" He had to shout to be heard over the roar as the gate continued to absorb more sound and light. "We must go thither!" he pointed with Magebreaker.

          "This finally got interesting!" Bloodhawk said. Only Glory was close enough to hear. She nodded and began to walk toward the gate.

          Sir Rhys urged Aeronwen forward and the rest followed him through.

          Next up, Chapter 3: Wolf Season!
          Last edited by badpenny; 11th September 2014, 02:39 PM.
          Penny's Build Party - Playable builds - M&M 2.5 featuring Damage Roll combat

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          • #6
            Chapter 2 Commentary

            Minions: Having an all Minion combat was good for my new players. They like making Routine checks and knowing they won't roll low and miss. The adventure talks about a time frame of six rounds for the gate to open, but I don't see how combat could go on that long--unless they didn't take into consideration Takedown Attack. Glory, having rolled the highest Init, could take out a bunch of them at a go and really thinned them out. More experienced players might benefit from a more dynamic combat, e.g. adding an additional non-minion combatant.

            Knockback: At first, I was going to use the simpler and more frequently occurring optional rule from the GM's Guide. This happens on a second degree failure or worse, and really sends 'em flying with Distance = Damage - Toughness. Against the Minions (who can't Crit and don't generate gigantic Damage effects), it wouldn't be an issue, but once things got real, a player could be removed from combat altogether, e.g. Damage 10+5 (crit) - 10 Toughness = Distance 5 (or 900 feet). With a 60 foot double move, you may as well go out for pizza.

            The second option is to use Paragon'a house rule, and while it's not complicated, per se, and only occurs as an option for a Critical Hit, and tends to generate shorter distances, I asked my players if they even wanted the rule and the general response was, "Meh." Basically, it didn't appeal as part of their descriptors. It was an interesting chat and very cool to listen to the noobs get into it.

            The Platform Flaw (Flight): Since Bloodhawk was seated behind Sir Rhys when he failed his Toughness check, Bloodhawk's player wanted to prevent Sir Rhys falling. I agreed since it would have presented an interesting dilemma: namely the whole Flight effect is turned off and when you have Affects Others, everyone else falls. too. Now, I would have probably allowed for one round of falling to allow for Sir Rhys to reactivate his Flight effect (Aeronwen swooping around to catch her riders), but I felt the mechanics to catch the falling players would be more trouble than it was worth. Here's where you get into trouble with personified effects. But it is something to work out for another time. I happened to remember the Athletics rule for catching someone who fails a Climbing check and let that apply.
            Penny's Build Party - Playable builds - M&M 2.5 featuring Damage Roll combat

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