Necessary Evil: Marvel 1999

October 5, 2017 Session
30 Rock

After Delta Force 2 watches Doctor Doom make his televised announcement to the world, Venom becomes agitated. Just before the broadcast, he caught a glimpse of a talk show and saw a woman that looked exactly like Mary Jane Watson. As an avid follower of electronic media, Machinesmith reveals all that he knows about the show:

The talk show is called “Live with Re-Gis and Mary Jane” and it’s on at the same time every weekday morning. It’s hosted by General Re-Gis, the Kree’s head of public relations, and a human actress named Mary Jane Watson. It’s basically a propaganda show where they interview guests who talk about how great the Kree occupation has been for humanity. The show used to be just “Live with General Re-Gis” until they added Mary Jane about six months ago.

Mary_Jane.jpgThe team tunes into the talk show the next day and watches as Re-Gis and Mary Jane interview J. Jonah Jameson, who explains that Doctor Doom is the worst of the “super-powered freaks.” At the end of the show, the hosts announce that J. Jonah will be on again tomorrow, when the show broadcasts live from Rockefeller Plaza. They also will be making a very special announcement, guaranteed to re-assure anyone frightened by Doctor Doom.

The team thinks this is probably a trap, but Venom is determined to go to Rockefeller Plaza and kidnap Mary Jane to make her his bride. The Blob and Lorelei are all in favor of young love and agree to help Venom. Machinesmith thinks it “sounds like a suicide mission,” so he’s also in.

The next morning, the team lands the Blackbird on the Port Authority roof and sneaks over to Rockefeller Center. Rather amazingly, they manage to go unnoticed and mingle with the small audience as the broadcast begins. The special announcement turns out to be that the Kree have recruited a team of superheroes, called the “New Defenders,” to oppose Doctor Doom. The New Defenders, explain the hosts, are the descendants of famous Nazi-punching heroes from World War II, who the Kree have tracked down and empowered with their technology.

J. Jonah Jameson approves, because those heroes from World War II (who were, ironically, known as “The Invaders” back then) were the last good super-freaks. The hosts introduce three of the New Defenders: Union Jack, Spitfire, and Miss America. Machinesmith has seen enough and decides to throw the famous statue of Titan Prometheus at the New Defenders. Unfortunately, the statue proves a bit too heavy for his tractor beam and the battle begins without a good surprise attack.

Mary_Jane_Skrull.jpgMachinesmith does manage to drop the statue on Spitfire, pinning her in the skating rink temporarily, while Blob and Lorelei fight Union Jack and Miss America. Venom takes advantage of the confusion to grab Mary Jane and web her up. However, she suddenly grows claws and cuts herself free! It is soon revealed that this Mary Jane is actually a shape-shifting alien Skrull, a mortal enemy of the Kree.

After Lorelei makes Union Jack cry like a baby, the battle goes well for Delta Force. They defeat the New Defenders and help the Skrull assassin complete her mission to murder General Re-Gis. She announces to the cameras that “Live with Re-Gis and Mary Jane” is cancelled. The Blob makes a very convincing and patriotic speech encouraging the TV audience to resist the Kree. Along with Skrull Mary Jane, Delta Force 2 retreats to the Blackbird and makes their escape.

I don’t remember if you took any hostages with you. We’ll figure that out at the start of next session.

For this session, everyone receives 6 XP: 3 for defeating the New Invaders, 2 for helping Mary Jane Skrull complete her mission and escape, 2 for doing it all on camera without embarrassing the cause.

Current unspent XP and levels available:
* The Blob: 6 XP, 1 level
* Lorelei: 6 XP, 0 levels
* Venom: 7 XP, 1 level
* Machinesmith: 6 XP, 1 level

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September 7, 2017 Session
Spring Break

Once again down a player, we had a session using the substitute villains of Delta Force 3. Ben played Ironclad, Kurt played Electro, and Jason played Hydro-Man.

Delta Force 3 has relocated to the east coast of Florida, where their leader Mystique has them hiding out in a run down beach side motel. While loitering in their motel room, awaiting instructions and watching reruns of Dinosaurs, Doctor Doom interrupts the broadcast. He tells the world (or at least those who still have electricity and television) that he’s still alive and has organized the various Delta Forces to resist the Kree. He reveals the Kree’s purpose on earth and calls upon all of humanity to join him in resisting them.

As Delta Force 3 reacts to this announcement (about which they weren’t informed in advance), Mystique arrives with a new mission from Doom. Delta Force 3 has been assigned to steal a space shuttle from Kennedy Space Center. Ironclad has to lead the mission, since he knows how to fly a shuttle, but Mystique says the whole team doesn’t need to bother going. She has already scouted the area and it seems to be lightly defended, if at all. Ultimately, Electro and Hydro-Man decide to accompany Ironclad, just for fun.

The villains make their way to the space center in their stolen maroon 1989 Plymouth Voyager minivan and enter the giant hanger without any trouble. However, as they approach the shuttle itself, a squad of chitauri teleports in to challenge them. Also, Doctor Minerva and Captain At-Las fly out from behind the shuttle. Lightly defended, indeed!

Ironclad crashes the van into the chitauri warleader while Electro and Hydro-Man take care of the chitauri minions. At-Las uses magnetic rays from his uni-beam to take advantage of Ironclad’s weakness, but Ironclad disarms him and the two engage in a wrestling match. Meanwhile, Electro and Hydro-Man trade energy (and water) blasts with Doctor Minerva. The battle is difficult, but Delta Force 3 ultimately prevails and flies off in the space shuttle (which is, of course, much simpler to launch and land in this superhuman universe).

The substitute villains each earned 6 XP, not that it’s going to matter.

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August 16, 2017 Session
Sinister Secrets, Part 3

After Delta Force 2 defeats the Mauraders (again), the woman’s voice warns them once again to leave or be destroyed. Of course, the team refuses to leave. Machinesmith opens the door to the final chamber of Mister Sinister’s secret lair.

Inside, they discover that the Kree have beaten them there. The group is led by Doctor Minerva, who is the woman who’s been warning them off. It also includes Captain At-Las, Korath the Pursuer, and a few soldiers. Another cloning tube is in the center of the chamber, with a shadowy figure inside.

Compared to the last two battles, this one is surprisingly easy. Lorelei dominates one of the Kree soldiers and stumbles across a personality weakness in At-Las that allows her commands to effectively remove him from the combat. During the fight, however, she also smashes the cloning chamber, freeing Mister Sinister. He reads Blob’s deepest thoughts and learns what’s happening here, but doesn’t have a chance to do anything else.

Doctor Minerva activates At-Las’ self-destruct device, but Machinesmith is able to possess it long enough to learn its range and alert everyone to get out of the way, along with the captive Korath. He also learns that the device actually teleports Minerva and At-Las to safety before detonating. Mister Sinister also escapes, turning astral before his base is destroyed.

For this session, everyone receives 18 XP: 2 for defeating all the Chitauri I could come up with plus a cloaked Kree, 1 for learning an important secret about the Chitauri, 2 for defeating the Mauraders a third time, 1 more for doing it in style by messing with the cloning tubes, 2 for defeating the Kree leaders, 1 for embarrassing Captain At-Las in the process, 4 for completing the mission and retrieving Mister Sinister’s genetic data, -1 for setting Mister Sinister free, and and a 5 point bonus for the multiple sessions and multiple combats involved.

Each PC also gets one more combat effectiveness level, raising your maximum to 15.

Current unspent XP and levels available:
* The Blob: 24 XP, 1 level
* Lorelei: 26 XP, 2 levels
* Venom: 20 XP, 1 level
* Machinesmith: 12 XP, 1 level

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August 2, 2017 Session
Sinister Secrets, Part 2

Delta Force 2 descends into the bowels of Mister Sinister’s secret lair. The elevator opens into a chamber containing six curious fluid-filled cylinders. Humanoid figures can be seen inside. A woman’s voice comes from speakers overhead, warning the Delta Force to leave at once, because “we are in control of this facility.”

The team refuses to leave, so the cloning tubes begin opening and the party once again finds themselves facing a group of Marauders: Arclight, Harpoon, Prism, Riptide, Sabretooth, and Scrambler. There is a pitched battle, but Machinesmith in his new Ultron-based body, turns the tide by possessing the computer system controlling the cloning tubes. He prevents several tubes from opening, trapping Scrambler, Prism, and Harpoon. Harpoon ultimately breaks free, and Prism is able to make flash attacks from inside his, but Machinesmith “purges” Scrambler and Prism, eliminating them. The rest of the team manages to handle the rest of the Marauders.

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July 19, 2017 Session
Sinister Secrets, Part 1

Only Andy and Kurt made this session, but because this will be a multi-part adventure, we proceeded with all four characters anyway.

After turning the Nasty Woman and Chelsea over to Doctor Doom, Delta Force 2 has some down time. Machinesmith begins experimenting with the deactivated Ultron, incorporating some of their new base’s alien technology. He comes up with a prototype new body for himself, but it’s not quite ready yet.

In other words, I didn’t quite have time to spend his XP for him before the session.

Lorelei enchants herself a magical returning dagger. Venom does creepy Venom stuff. The Blob discovers a very good pizza place in nearby Salem Center. Soon enough, Doctor Doom contacts the team holographicly via the Danger Room systems. He has several important things to relay:

1. The Nasty Woman is not the real Hillary Clinton. She is, in fact, a mutant clone created by the mysterious supervillain Mister Sinister and put in place long before the Kree invaded. This explains why she tends to change into a snake-woman under stress.

2. By hacking the Kree Omni-Wave Intranet, Doom has learned the real reason the aliens are here. It’s not to save humanity from their own violent tendency, as they have claimed. Nor is it, strictly speaking, to exploit our natural resources for their own gain. It is because the Kree, as a species, have been evolutionarily stagnant for millennia. They believe the human race’s highly volatile DNA will lead them to a breakthrough that will fix this problem. This explains why they’ve been transporting mutants and other superhumans off-planet: to dissect them! Doom believes they will soon move on to ordinary humans, as well.

3. The information the Kree got from the Nasty Woman that they were so excited about was not U.S. national defense secrets she got as the (fake) First Lady. Instead, it was information about her secret master, Mister Sinister, and his mastery of genetic technology. With item 2, above, in mind, it’s clear why the Kree were so interested in Nasty Woman as an informant.

Visit this link for confirmation that the Kree’s evolutionary stagnation is actually Marvel canon, plus some other interest facts Doom would probably have told you.

So, Doom has an immediate assignment for Delta Force 2. The Nasty Woman has revealed to him, just as she did to the Kree, the location of Mister Sinister’s secret base. If the team can get there before the aliens do and destroy it, they’ll really ruin the Kree High Command’s day.

Agreeing to the mission, the group jumps on the Blackbird and flies to the Sinister base: an aging stately mansion in rural MIssouri. As they investigate the grounds, four full squads of Chitauri gate in via strange pylons on the lawn. A pitched battle ensues in which the Delta Force eventually defeats the Chitauri, along with an invisible Kree Lieutenant who used his cloaking device to attack from surprise. However, most of the team, especially the Blob, receives serious injuries from the Chitauri lasonic disintegration weapons.

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June 21, 2017 Session
First Family

Ben was not present, so Machinesmith was very ably played by visiting substitute Dustin.

Doctor Doom takes the PCs to a crater in Westchester County, beneath which is hidden the former headquarters of the X-Men. Doom turns this facility over to the PCs to use as a new base. Also present at the base are old ally Psylocke and Doom’s first team, Delta Force One: Juggernaut, Pyro, and Ghost. While Doom works with Ultron’s head to hack the Kree omni-wave internet, Delta Force One trains the PCs in the Danger Room (everyone receives the Teamwork skill for free) and the Ghost gives them some communication devices.

After the training period is over, Doom summons Delta Force Two (the PCs). He has discovered that former First Lady Hillary Clinton is still alive, in Kree custody as an informant under the code name Nasty Woman. The Kree are very excited about the intelligence she has been giving them, so Doom wants the PCs to take her away from them. Adding insult ot injury, she’s being held in Doom’s former castle, Doomstadt, in Latveria. Also in custody is the former First Daughter, Chelsea.

The PCs take the X-Men Blackbird stealth jet to Latveria and infiltrate Doomstadt through the sewers. They face some opposition from Chitauri and Kree artillery. It also turns out this facility is being run by their old nemesis, Colonel Yon-Rogg. He gets flung off a bridge and over a cliff to an uncertain fate. The PCs ultimately rescue Chelsea and Hillary, although she turns into some kind of snake-woman during the battle.

For this session, everyone receives 6 XP: 1 for interacting effectively with Delta Force One, 2 for retrieving the Nasty Woman for Dr. Doom, 1 for also rescuing Chelsea, 1 for defeating Colonel Yon-Rogg a second time, 1 for flinging him off the bridge to a dramatically uncertain fate.

As always, if you plan to spend XP before next session, try to let me know your plans in advance, so we don’t have to spend too much table time revising character sheets. Current unspent XP and levels available:
* The Blob: 6 XP, 0 levels
* Machinesmith: 26 XP, 2 levels
* Venom: 6 XP, 0 levels
* Lorelei: 8 XP, 1 level

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June 7, 2017 Session
Monsters, Magma, and the Mole Man

Erg leads the Delta Force deep beneath the Morlocks’ Alley into some tunnels from whence “monsters” have emerged. Here, they find what must be the Mole Man’s hidden geothermal energy facility, given all the lava flowing through the caves. Before they can install Doctor Doom’s energy transmission device, however, they must face the Mole Man’s monstrous underground allies.

The first monster is Rommbu, a huge creature with a hide like a rhino. He pummels on The Blob to little effect. In spite of Rommbu’s great size, Lorelei manages to fling him into the lava. Because of the heat, combined with Machinesmith’s plasma pistol, Rommbu soon succumbs and sinks beneath the surface. Charged up by a beating from Venom, Erg actually manages to help a little before knocking himself unconscious with the effort.

Then another, more terrifying monster, known as Magmar, emerges from the lava itself. Lorelei and Venom head deeper into the caves to avoid engaging the beast, who burns the Blob rather badly. Machinesmith, seeming unconcerned for his own safety stands his ground and blasts away at the fire monster, but things seem like might end badly.

Meanwhile, Lorelei and Venom encounter the Mole Man himself. Lorelei fails to beguile him into compliance and resorts to squeezing him unconscious instead. Venom picks up the Mole Man’s staff and heads back to try and save the Blob and Machinesmith. He points the weapon at Magmar and pushes a button at random. This results in a short fiery burst from the tip of the staff, unlikely to be effective on the fire monster even if it were to reach him.

However, seeing the staff waved at him, Magmar stands down and retreats into the lava. It seems Venom has discovered the method Mole Man uses to command his monsters. So, while he and Machinesmith install Doom’s device, Lorelei turns the Mole Man into a statue.

The Delta Force returns to the surface, stopping to visit the Morlocks so Healer can deal with the Blob’s burns. They discover their Hoboken warehouse in rubble, but Doom soon turns up to explain things and transport them to a new (perhaps better?) safe house.

For this session, everyone receives 20 XP: 2 for defeating the first Maurader group and capturing Vertigo, 1 for getting Caliban to help find the Morlocks, 3 for saving the all the Morlocks from the second Maurader group and capturing another Vertigo, 1 for securing Callisto’s assistance in locating the Mole Man’s lair, 2 for defeating the Mole Man’s monsters, 1 for Venom’s amusing “accidental success” in doing so, 4 for completing the mission and installing the energy beaming device, and a 5 point bonus for the multiple sessions and multiple combats involved.

Each PC (including the Blob) also gets two more combat effectiveness levels, raising your maximum to 14.

You will also be receiving some bonus stuff at the start of next session, so although you might want to think about what to do with XP and levels in advance, I plan on finalizing any revisions at the table during next session.

Current unspent XP and levels available:
* The Blob: 20 XP, 3 levels
* Machinesmith, and Venom: 20 XP, 2 levels
* Lorelei: 23 XP, 2 levels

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May 24, 2017 Session
Jailbreak Revisited

Down a player, we played out a side scenario using the superhumans rescued from Riker’s Island. Andy played Electro and Hydro-Man, Kurt played Black Cat and The Toad, and Jason played Ironclad and Typhoid Mary.

While the Delta Force PCs are exploring the sewers, their erstwhile allies cause a bit of trouble at the Hoboken warehouse. Specifically, thanks to a combination of Lorelei’s emotional manipulation and his own unpleasant personality, Ironclad bullies Nitro into a massive detonation that completely destroys the safe house. Although there’s no sign of Nitro in the aftermath, the other superhumans manage to survive the explosion through some combination of luck, quick reflexes, or sheer toughness. And the terrified civilian Mary Alice Walker transforms back into Typhoid Mary.

Doctor Doom shows up soon after. Although he’s upset at the destruction, he recognizes an opportunity. The Kree forces at Riker’s Island Superhuman Detention Facility are sure to investigate, leaving the prison relatively undefended again. Doom has learned of a new, recently captured prisoner that he wants to recruit: the mutant shapeshifter Mystique. So he offers the miscreants a choice: complete this mission for him or he can leave them in the rubble to wait for the Kree. Eager to prove themselves useful, the substitute Delta Force agrees.

In a scene nearly identical to the start of the first session, Doom drops his new minions from the sky high above Riker’s Island. The Kree have learned a little from their previouse mistake, though, and installed some artillery. Again, through a combination of luck, quick reflexes, and sheer toughness, the substitute PCs manage to avoid the Nega-Bomb missiles and Uni-Beam cannon blasts and reach the ground unharmed.

After the PCs destroy the artillery, the main control room door opens crack and a grenade rolls out. This grenade doesn’t explode. Instead, it opens a dimensional portal that summons a squad of Chitauri. After defeating the Chitauri, the PCs ignore the control room and break into the prison tunnels, where they rescue Mystique, along with several other superhumans (see the Riker’s Island entry for a list).

Doctor Doom arrives to retrieve the group and the newly freed prisoners. He forgives the substitute PCs for destroying his warehouse and offers the let them become his Delta Force Number 3, under Mystique’s leadership. He implies that the main PCs are actually Delta Force Number 2, leaving open the question of who, exactly, makes up Delta Force Number 1.

Black Cat declines, saying she has unfinished business with Venom, but the rest eagerly accept. Doctor Doom transports them to a new safe house in an undisclosed location, instructing Typhoid Mary to realign the men’s emotions a bit to avoid another incident.

The substitute characters each earned 8 XP not that it’s likely to matter.

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April 20, 2017 Session
More Morlocks and More Mauraders

Erg leads the Delta Force deeper into the sewers, along with the prisoner Vertigo (who Masque transformed into a hideous porcupine creature last session, remember?). At the entrance to the Morlocks’ home, they encounter Morlock leader Callisto wielding a knife to hold off an angry-looking hairy man in tighty whities. As the Delta Force approaches, the hairy man turns his attention away from Callisto and leaps toward them, in the process transforming into the savage Marauder, Sabretooth!

It turns out there are some other Marauders lurking in the chamber outside the Morlocks’ front door: Scrambler, Prism, and, curiously, a pre-transformation copy or clone of Vertigo! The Delta Force, with no help from Erg, helps Callisto battle the attacking Marauders. In the process, Machinesmith is temporarily shut down by Scrambler and Lorelei is temporarily blinded by Prism. The Blob discovers that the area near the door is surround by a power-negating field that makes him skinny when he enters it. It also explains why Callisto was able to hold off Sabretooth and the other Marauders all by herself.

In spite of these curiosities, the Delta Force and Callisto ultimately defeat the Marauders. The grateful Callisto introduces them to a couple of other Morlocks: Healer, who patches up their injuries, and Leech, who was responsible for the useful power-negating field. Callisto explains that the Marauders attacked the Morlocks previously, before the Kree Invasion. Some of the Marauders were killed back then, so she has no idea how they are alive again or why there are two Vertigos. She does know they were working for someone called “Sinister” during their previous attack.

Putting the Mystery of the Marauders aside for now, the Delta Force asks if Callisto knows anything about the Mole Man’s hidden lair. She says suspects she knows where it might lie: there’s a passage deep in the Morlocks’ domain where they have encountered “monsters.” She agrees that she or another Morlock will lead the Delta Force to that place.

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April 6, 2017 Session
Morlocks and Mauraders

Doctor Doom assigns the Delta Force to find the Mole Man’s hidden geothermal energy facility, buried deep beneath New York City, and install an energy beaming device. Doom’s sources don’t know exactly where the Mole Man’s facility is located, but the Blob has an idea who might: the Morlocks, outcast mutants who live in tunnels below the City’s sewer and subway systems. After hearing the Blob’s description of the Morlock’s domain, Venom surmises that their home might actually be part of an old, abandoned civil defense system he’s heard about.

After Machinesmith equips his android body with a headlamp, Venom leads the Delta Force into the sewers in the general direction of where he thinks the civil defense tunnels might be. It isn’t long before the party encounters some Morlocks, specifically Caliban, Erg, Masque, and Sunder. There are some brief negotiations, which are interrupted by the arrival of four other mutants. The newcomers identify themselves as the Marauders, proclaim that the only good mutants are dead mutants (except Marauders, of course), and attack both the Delta Force and the Morlocks.

Click here to cue appropriate theme music

During the battle that follows:

  • Riptide badly injures the Blob before Venom tears Riptide to bits
  • Vertigo makes several Delta Force members dizzy before she is knocked unconscious and transformed into a hideous porcupine-woman by Masque
  • Arclight accomplishes nothing before the Blob squeezes her unconscious so she can later be murdered by the Morlocks
  • Erg suggests that the Blob hit him, but not too hard; the Blob declines
  • Harpoon runs away from Caliban, gets suplexed by Sunder, then recovers and knocks out Caliban
  • Lorelei falls face-down into the sewage before getting back up and turning Harpoon into a statue
  • Lorelei gives the Blob something that looks like an energy drink, but stops all the bleeding

After the Mauraders are defeated, Caliban agrees to help the Delta Force. He assigns Erg to escort the PCs and the captured, transformed Vertigo to the Alley, the Morlock’s main home. From there, the Morlock leader, Callisto might be able to direct them to their goal, the Mole Man’s base.

XP and other rewards will wait until this mission is complete, so stay tuned…

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