DM Screen 23 – Grayskullduggery

My initial idea for this mini-arc was “Die Hard in Grayskull,” with the heroes vastly outnumbered and outgunned, having to make their way in the shadows of the castle, striking with surprise when they could.

Of course, I realized that PCs often have a tendency to overestimate their own abilities and charge into a battle straight ahead, even if the odds are terribly against them. Which, for the record, would have been fine: if the League had just straight up wanted to fight Demona and Skeletor instead of sneaking around, I would have rolled with it as best as I was able. That having been said, I really felt like the idea of them having to take the indirect route was the most fun and interesting way to go on this story, so I stacked the deck a bit: I emphasized the overwhelming numbers of Skeletor’s forces, as well as giving them an idea as to just how powerful Demona was with the Sword of Power.

Fortunately for me, the players understood the circumstances they were in well enough that they decided to retreat and come up with a smarter way of opposing the invaders.

Demona normally wears a torn white shirt hanging off one shoulder and a white loincloth. Now, those items of clothing have been transformed from cloth to fur, and she’s now sporting an X-shaped leather harness across her torso and a golden bracer on each wrist. Her muscles are larger and more pronounced, and an almost overwhelming aura of power radiates off of her.

She looks down at Stitch, still lying on his back and blinking in surprise after charging full-speed into her and doing no appreciable damage. Demona grins, displaying her fangs prominently. “You may wish to run now,” she says. “Or maybe not. I’m really feeling like cutting loose right this second.”

If the heroes don’t run, roll initiative.

He-Mona
F: Am
A: In
S: Un
E: ShY
R: Gd
I: Ex
P: Un

Health: 490         Karma: 130

Body Armor: In
Power Sword: Str+16 damage
                Retribution of Grayskull: Any enemy hitting her in melee takes Ex electrical damage
                Wrath of Grayskull: All enemies in area take In electrical damage
Speed: Rm
Gliding: Ex
Prehensile Tail: Can wield weapons and make one extra attack per round at -2 CS to hit
Claws: Str + 10 damage
Immortality
Spells: Mn
                Mind Control: Mn
                Eldritch Bolt: Mn
                Teleportation: Mn
                Force Field: ShX

Limitations: Turn into human form when in sunlight (All physical stats drop to Ty)

Note the limitation at the bottom of Demona’s stat block: I held that little bit of Gargoyles lore in my back pocket as a potential weakness that the heroes could have exploited. In my head, Demona transforming into a human when exposed to sunlight would have temporarily removed the Power of Grayskull from her, forcing her to power up again, which could have given the heroes a much-needed opportunity to grab the sword or knock her out. This didn’t end up being used, but I thought it was an interesting hook nonetheless.

In case the battle doesn’t go well for the heroes, read below:

The scene shifts to the exterior of Castle Grayskull. The armies of Skeletor, now much reduced, have had their every attempt to gain entrance rebuffed by the combined defensive efforts of Amethyst, Max Rockatansky, Finn Balor, Sir Didymus, and James “Dalton” Bond. The five Leaguers stand atop the outer wall, weary but ready for whatever attempt the army tries next.

Unfortunately, they’re not paying attention to Demona when she comes up from behind them.

The fight is over quickly—Demona not only has the advantage of surprise, but her overwhelming magical and physical power as well. After a fearsome but tragic few seconds, Demona stands atop the outer wall of Grayskull and declares, “The castle has been taken! Grayskull is ours!”

The assembled monster army raises their fists and let loose a collective roar of triumph. Skeletor strides forward to the front of the host, looking up at Demona from across the chasm directly in front of the castle. “Well-done, Demona! I wasn’t sure if you would actually deliver. Now, throw down the sword as we agreed and we’ll split the Power of Grayskull.”

“I do believe I’ll be altering the terms of our deal, Skeletor,” Demona says, casually leaning over the parapet. “The Power is all mine, and it will remain all mine.”

“WHAT?!” Skeletor exclaims. “Listen here, you scaly witch, you turn on me and I’ll turn you into a suitcase! Now GIVE ME THE POWER!”

A smirk appearing on her face, Demona points her finger at Skeletor. A blinding bolt of white energy leaps from her hand. Skeletor is enveloped in a burst of light for just an instant—in the next instant, he is completely gone, Havoc Staff and all.

“Guess he couldn’t handle ‘the Power,’” says Demona. With that, she raises her hand above her head. Magical energy pulses out and the great jawbridge of Grayskull responds, lowering down and bridging the chasm in front of the castle.

“Now listen here!” she declares. “You all serve me now! And I say to you all: whoever is able to find the secret chamber of the Sorceress in this castle will be showered in the riches of a thousand plundered worlds! Go! And do not stop until ALL the Power of Grayskull is mine!” With that, the army surges forward.

Figure out with the players what they’ve done and where they’ve gone to, and encourage them to roleplay out their discussion as they plan: they can try to rescue their captured companions, try to harry the invaders, defeat the enemies who have entered the infirmary and are messing with the unconscious Lace, try to seek out the Sorceress’s chamber before Demona does, or any number of other options.

Skeletor’s minions wandering around include:

1) Tri-Klops
F: Rm
A: Ex
S: Rm
E: Ex
R: Rm
I: Ex
P: Gd

Health: 100         Karma: 60

Sword: Str+10 damage
Rotating Visor: Allows Tri-Klops to change between Distavision (In telescopic vision), Nightvision, or Gammavision (In penetrating vision)
Eyebeams: In damage

2) Clawful
F: Ex
A: Gd
S: Ex
E: In
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 90            Karma: 18

Body Armor: Gd
Large Claw: Str+20 damage and can make an instant Grapple check at +2 CS

3) Jitsu
F: In
A: Rm
S: Gd
E: Ex
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 100         Karma: 18

Body Armor: Ty
Double Attack: Make one Katana and one Giant Fist Chop attack
Katana: Str+10 damage
Giant Fist Chop: Str+5 damage and target must check for Stun

4) Webstor
F: Ex
A: Rm
S: Ex
E: Ex
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 90            Karma: 18

Grappling Hook: Str+5 damage, Rm strength

5) Kobra Khan
F: Ex
A: Rm
S: Ex
E: Ex
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 90            Karma: 18

Elongation: Ty
Sleep Gas: Target must make Endurance check or be (Y) dazed, (G) stunned, or (W) incapacitated. Target gets -2 CS if they are grappled first

6) Whiplash
F: Ex
A: Gd
S: Rm
E: Rm
R: Ty
I: Gd
P: Ty

Health: 90            Karma: 22

Tail Lash: In damage

7) Spikor
F: Gd
A: Gd
S: Ex
E: Ex
R: Pr
I: Pr
P: Pr

Health: 60            Karma: 12

Body Armor: Gd
Trident: Str+10 damage—with a Yellow result, the target is caught on the trident and Spikor can automatically pull them into his spikes
Spikes: When Spikor is attacked in melee, he can make a Fighting check as a reaction to deal Gd damage to the attacker, ignoring the attacker’s Body Armor

8) Stinkor
F: Gd
A: Gd
S: Gd
E: Gd
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 40            Karma: 18

Odor: When Stinkor enters battle, every opponent must make an Endurance check or be (Y) dazed, (G) stunned, or (W) incapacitated

9) Two-Bad
F: Gd
A: Gd
S: In
E: In
R: Pr
I: Pr
P: Pr

Health: 100         Karma: 12

Two Heads: Two-Bad gets to roll twice to resist any mind-affecting effects and take the better result

10) Blade
F: Rm
A: Ex
S: Ex
E: Ex
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 90            Karma: 18

Swords: Str+10 damage, can attack with both at no penalty

11) Blast-Attak
F: Ty
A: Ty
S: Ex
E: Ex
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 52            Karma: 18

Self-Destruct: Deals Am damage to all in one area and is blown to pieces; afterward, can make an Endurance check every round and reform on a Red result

12) Ninjor
F: In
A: Rm
S: Ex
E: Ex
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 110         Karma: 18

Stealth: Rm
Ninja Weapons (Katana, Nunchaku, Longbow): Str+10 damage

13) Scare Glow
F: Gd
A: Gd
S: Ex
E: Ex
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 60            Karma: 18

Scythe of Doom: Str+10 damage
Eerie Glow: Enemies entering battle with Scare Glow must make a Psyche check or take -2 CS to all checks as long as Scare Glow is within sight

14) Saurod
F: Gd
A: Gd
S: Gd
E: Gd
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 40            Karma: 18

Claws: Str+10 damage
Spark Breath: In damage

15) Twistoid
F: Gd
A: Ex
S: Gd
E: Gd
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 50            Karma: 18

Battle Hook: Str+10 damage
Speed: Rm
Unpredictable Movements: Opponents are at -2 CS to hit Twistoid

16) Fang Man
F: Gd
A: Ex
S: Ex
E: Ex
R: Pr
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 70            Karma: 16

Reptilian Communication/Control: Rm

17) Strongarm
F: Ex
A: Gd
S: Rm
E: In
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 100         Karma: 18

Body Armor: Gd
Right Arm: Ty elongation, In Strength

18) Icer
F: Gd
A: Gd
S: Ex
E: In
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 80            Karma: 18

Body Armor: Ty, takes double damage from fire and heat
Ice Generation: In damage, or can flash-freeze an enemy at In rank
Water Form: Can transform into a mobile puddle of water

19) Gygor
F: Ex
A: Ex
S: Rm
E: Rm
R: Pr
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 100         Karma: 16

Axe: Str+10 damage

The He-Man wiki is a wonderful resource, you guys. This is one of the best random encounter tables I’ve ever had the pleasure of rolling on.

Eventually, the heroes will run into Skeletor, who teleported away when Demona seemingly destroyed him. He anticipated her turning on her, but has his own plans to turn the tables on her and on his traitorous soldiers. He’s willing to band together with the League for the time being—the enemy of my enemy, etc.

Skeletor
F: In
A: Ex
S: Rm
E: Rm
R: Am
I: Rm
P: Am

Health: 120         Karma: 130

Havoc Staff: Str+10 damage
Energy Projection: Am
Teleportation: Am
Darkness Generation: In (can use as a stunning attack vs. End or create deep darkness in 3 areas)
Telepathy: Rm
Image Generation: In
Telekinesis: Rm
Force Field: Am
Just One Hit Point: Skeletor must make an Endurance check if he takes any amount of damage or be stunned for one round

If the heroes don’t come up with a way to find the Sorceress’s hidden chambers, at some point, Nico will notice that the mysterious amulet she discovered in the Tome of Eternal Darkness appears to be pulsing and pulling her in a particular direction. Eventually, the heroes will find themselves in one of many seemingly featureless halls, but as Nico follows the pull of the amulet, a door forms itself out of the stone wall, the same way that it did when the heroes found the chamber with the Power Sword. (If necessary, the heroes can run into a group of villains at this point to keep things interesting.)

Once the door is opened, a burst of magical energy rushes out, causing everyone’s hair to stand on end and skin to raise in goosebumps. Skeletor will comment (or someone will realize) that anyone with magical talent nearby will almost certainly realize that the door to the Sorceress’s chambers have been opened, and it is likely only a (very short) matter of time before Demona finds them.

The room within is not particularly large, but its high ceiling and shadowed corners give the room an otherworldly feel. The most notable feature here is a steep stone staircase that ascends to a large throne in the shape of an elaborate, monstrous skull. Lying at the foot of the stairs is the body of an ageless woman garbed in clothing made of blue and white feathers, complete with large orange wings beneath her arms and a headpiece designed to look like the head of a hawk or falcon. Her body shows signs of damage from magical attack and she is definitely dead, although it is difficult to determine exactly how long she has been dead. In her hand, she clutches a sword: it looks identical to the Power Sword that Demona claimed not long ago, except that this one has an oval-shaped, blue jewel in the hilt.

If a hero goes to claim the sword, they notice that the Sorceress, probably in her last moments, carved the word “HONOR” into the palm of her hand.

When the sword is claimed, Demona suddenly teleports into the doorway of the room. “Not only did you escape from me, you’ve found the chambers of the Sorceress before me. You’ve proven to be quite resourceful. This is the best and only offer you’ll get on the matter: bow down and swear your allegiance to me, and I shall allow you to serve me as I rule over Eternia. Defy me and die. There is no alternative—I already hold the Power of Grayskull, and soon I claim the power of the Sorceress as well.”

At this point, the tiny T-Rex will squeakily roar and charge Demona; she kicks it aside cruelly and it flies into the wall with a crunch.

Oooh, a cliffhanger! Of course, if you listened to this episode, you remember that the tiny T-Rex doesn’t stay down—or nameless—for long.

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