DM Screen 20 – Danger Zone

As I mentioned back in the two episodes where the heroes went up against Dracula, finding a good way of handling a boss-style fight in this system, where one character goes up against a team, is a bit of an ongoing challenge. In the case of the demon version of Dracula, I gave him a bunch of different attacks that he could use every turn. In the case of the League’s fight against Shang Tsung, I decided a different approach, as you’ll see in his stat block.

Shang Tsung
F: Am
A: Rm
S: Rm
E: Un
R: In
I: In
P: Am

Health: 210        Karma: 130

Multiple Actions: Rolls for Initiative three times and can act on each roll
Flaming Skulls: Produce and throw up to three fireballs of Ex strength each
Soul Steal: In damage to one target, Shang Tsung is healed for the same amount
Teleportation: Ex
Shapeshifting: In, can imitate powers if he has used Soul Steal on the duplicated target first. Forms include:
Rash: Launching Kick (Rm damage and target must check for Slam)
Butterfree: Supersonic (target must make Psyche check or be confused)
Mordekaiser: Mace of Spades (roll three attacks at Ex damage each; if the first two hit, the third attack deals In damage)
Vinnie: Flare Bomb (all enemies in one area must make an Agility check or be blinded)
James Bond: Mini-Rocket Cigarette (Rm damage to one area)
Aero Star: Shooting Star Press (leaps from an elevated position, tucks into a ball, does a backflip, and body slams the target—Ex damage and target has to check for Stun)
Edward Malus: Bear Punch! (Ty damage and the target has to check for KO)

Once Shang Tsung is taken down, the heroes can do what they wish with the equipment in the room: use it to free the other fighters (who awaken staggered and weakened), shut down the emotion control system, and/or broadcast the truth of the Nexus Tournament. Cambot will point out the fact that he technically has footage of the whole ordeal, including the true identity of Troy McClure and what the Tournament was being used for.

While Shang Tsung lies incapacitated on the floor, Dante will feel a powerful urge coming from Frostmourne, telling him to plunge the blade into Shang Tsung’s chest to steal the sorcerer’s soul. If Dante gives in, greenish energy surges in a huge tide from the point of impact. Shang Tsung is reduced almost instantaneously to a lifeless husk, while Dante feels his muscles and nerves ignite with sudden power. Frostmourne receives a permanent upgrade and now deals an extra 10 damage to living targets, and Dante will get a +1 CS to all checks made for the rest of the Nexus City arc. Conversely, if he refuses Frostmourne’s urges, he begins to feel tired and fatigued and Frostmourne feels suddenly much heavier—he gets a -1 CS to all checks made for the rest of the arc, but will get an extra 30 Karma.

This was my first time really cashing in on Dante grabbing Frostmourne. I wanted to provide him with a dilemma: become darker and more evil but gain more power, or remain true to himself and struggle against the blade’s vampiric nature. I figured that, either way, this struggle would end up producing some dramatic, character-changing moments, and it certainly did a few episodes later.

Eventually, the heroes are free to leave. Once they ascend to the top of the interminably long stone staircase back into the boiler room of the Balboa Memorial Arena, Mordin’s omni-tool suddenly begins pinging with an incoming message. When he answers, Sombra’s voice crackles out.

“Mordin, is that you? Where have you been? I’ve been trying to reach you for ten minutes now.” … “Look, we got a big problem. I managed to snag this, like, psychic rabbit for the League, and apparently he’s just started to say that Phyrexia is on its way to Nexus City right now. We have maybe an hour before the invasion starts.”

One way or another, they’ll have to acquire the red gem they came to the plane to get in the first place. They’ll have to find out where it is first, of course. If they can’t think of any other way of getting this information, Sombra can spend a few minutes hacking before she comes back with, “Alright, I got it. It’s being kept in the Wynand Building, 112th floor. Get going—I’ll start hacking into their security systems now.”

The Wynand Building is a gigantic art deco edifice, its base taking up multiple city blocks, and its top nearly reaching into another section of Nexus City above it. Looking up, you can see several lanes of flying vehicles crisscrossing around its roof—it serves as a de facto major intersection for air travel.

Mordin’s Omni-Tool pings him again. “I’ve unlocked one of the freight elevators for you—it’s partway down 220th Street. Look for the one with the green light on next to it.”

The elevator is easily found, its thick brown doors illuminated by the green light above it. The doors swing open as the heroes approach, and once they’re in, the elevator begins poking its way agonizingly slowly toward the top.

Again, Mordin’s Omni-Tool pings. “Shit shit shit. We got a problem. Another problem, I mean. I’m looking at the security cam footage and Team Soul Edge just showed up. Looks like they’re wanting to steal the trophy, too. They’re making their way to the vault right now.”

Of course, in the episode itself, this scene in the elevator ended up with the League attempting to broadcast a warning to Nexus City about the Phyrexian invasion, to mixed—and hilarious—results.

Eventually, Team Soul Edge will have gotten into the vault, gotten the trophy, and head for the roof. The heroes can catch up to them more quickly if they can come up with an idea; otherwise, they’ll be limited to the building’s elevators. Either way, Team Soul Edge’s goal is to get to the roof, where Cervantes’s vehicle—a gigantic pirate ship fitted with hover jets along the sides and bottom—waits to spirit them away.

This was one episode that actually ended up wrapping up more quickly than I thought it would—I wasn’t expecting the good guys to actually meet up with Team Soul Edge this episode. I had originally planned on them having a bigger fight against their Nexus Tournament rivals in maybe the next episode or two, but I decided that I didn’t want two large boss fights in a single episode, so I turned their confrontation into a sort of skill challenge more than a fight. Besides, I knew that there was a BIG boss fight coming next episode, so I was okay with spreading out the straight combat encounters a bit. Speaking of, see you in a couple of weeks for the end of the Nexus City arc!

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