DM Screen 26 – Shell Shock

As is no doubt a familiar refrain by now, I had originally intended for this episode to be a bit longer—I was fully anticipating the heroes actually getting to look around Grimgrim Prison for a bit. Of course, the fight ended up taking longer than I thought it would and we had some difficulties during the recording that meant we had to cut our play session short, so we didn’t get to everything I had planned for. Nonetheless, I think that this served as an interesting introduction to both the world of the Mushroom Kingdom and to Vivian.

If you recall, the last session ended with a detachment of Koopa Troops arriving, so we start with a bunch of stat blocks:

Goomba (4)
F: Pr
A: Pr
S: Pr
E: Pr
R: Pr
I: Pr
P: Pr

Health: 16

Body Slam: Ty damage

Koopa Paratroopa (2)
F: Ty
A: Ty
S: Ty
E: Gd
R: Pr
I: Ty
P: Pr

Health: 28

Body Armor: Ty
Flight: Ty

Lakitu (1)
F: Pr
A: Ty
S: Ty
E: Ty
R: Ty
I: Gd
P: Ty

Health: 22

Flight: Gd
Throw Spiny: Creates a Spiny in Lakitu’s area on the ground.

Spiny (dependent on Lakitu)
F: Pr
A: Pr
S: Gd
E: Ex
R: Pr
I: Ty
P: Pr

Health: 38

Body Armor: Ty, enemies in melee take 10 damage at the end of their turn
Thorn Shot: Ex damage

Hammer Bros (2)
F: Ex
A: Ty
S: Gd
E: Rm
R: Pr
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 66

Body Armor: Gd
Hammer: Str+10 damage
Hammer Time: Either deal normal Hammer damage to all targets in one area, or deal Am damage to one target

You’ll notice that, with the exception of the Hammer Bros, these guys are largely designed to be weak and disposable, dealing little damage and easily dispatched with a single good attack. This was intentional—when you see how weak the Koopas are in comparison to the technology they’ve been using, you can understand how the rest of Mushroom Kingdom would have underestimated the Koopas when they first attacked. This also shows how critical their war machines were to their invasion plans.

Now that the enemy Koopa Troops are out of the way, the heroes are free to proceed to Yoshi’s Island in whatever way they wish. Vivian managed to grab a map of the facility: it’s an impressive edifice with high, strong walls, sentry robots, and plenty of places for guards to post up and attack with a significant advantage. However, it looks like the builders overlooked a pipe at the base of the island, underwater—this pipe leads directly within the prison walls. This is the most obvious point of attack that the League can make, but there’s room for other plans instead.

Some further details about the prison: if you look at the building from above, it’s in the shape of an “X” and is divided into four cell blocks, one in each arm of the “X.” This building is then enclosed within a high, square-shaped wall, giving each cell block its own separate exterior yard where the imprisoned Yoshis are put to work. Each cell block only opens onto one yard to prevent Yoshis from separate cell blocks from coordinating an escape. The exterior walls are almost buildings in and of themselves, complete with inner hallways and barracks where the guards are stationed. Additionally, there is a large cannon of some kind mounted on each of the four corners of the walls, and any of them can see into any of the four prison yards (although only two of the four cannons have perfect visibility into any given yard). Each prison yard also has a Chain Chomp posted to keep the Yoshis from getting too close to the walls.

Vivian can find on her map where the single generator which powers all of the cannons is located (in the part of the facility located underground). In addition, there is a hangar bay located in a cliff face on the island just above the water. Finally, the guards maintain four separate armories, one at each of the corners of the surrounding wall.

I knew that the heroes were going to be trying for a breakout at the prison, so I wanted to come up with several juicy details that they could grab onto and exploit.

When the heroes decide to make their way to the prison, Vivian knows that the journey will be cut down significantly if they travel via a series of Warp Pipes. It’s a short walk to the first one, sticking horizontally out of a rocky cliff face. All of the Leaguers can fit easily into the pipe; there’s a sound like a digitized version of water going down the drain as each of them steps in.

There’s a sensation of almost unbelievable speed as you find yourself rocketed through the close green darkness, flung around hairpin turns and changing directions without losing an ounce of speed. Eventually, a circle of light appears up ahead and you fly toward it with a speed that will doubtless prove fatal, but just as you reach it, your velocity is suddenly reduced to roughly walking speed and you are gently deposited out the other end.

The pipe has taken you to what appears to be a snow-covered landscape with white mountain peaks looming in the distance. Vivian quickly finds her way to another Warp Pipe a short distance away and the next leg of your journey commences. This continues for some time as you are led on a weird tour of this world, through deserts, forests, and lava-filled underground chambers. The whole way, you are struck by how unrelentingly vital this whole place feels—as though every stone, cloud, or bush you pass by has some degree of life about it.

Eventually, you come out of the final pipe and are greeted by the smell and sounds of the ocean. The pipe you’ve emerged from sticks directly up from the white sands of a beach. Out across the waves is a small island, its surface dominated by high, foreboding metal stone walls that send a very clear message: stay out. Vivian, you know this is what has become of Yoshi’s Island.

I had given the PCs an opportunity to get into the base undetected: the underwater pipe. However, all of the party except for Nico decided to go with the disguise route instead, performing a much more up-front infiltration, so the rest of this session was entirely improvised. Which was fine with me—nothing makes for tense and comedic drama like watching Dante and Stitch go undercover.

Incidentally, I had drawn up some stats for underwater Mario creatures just in case I saw the opportunity for a fight to break out between the shoreline and the island. I didn’t end up using these, but I present them here in all their cutting room glory:

Blooper (white squid with two large eyes, about the size of a human child)
F: Ty
A: Gd
S: Ex
E: Ty
R: Pr
I: Pr
P: Pr

Health: 42

Ink Blast: Ex damage and target must make Endurance check or be blinded

Zeostar (cat-sized starfish with eyes)
F: Pr
A: Ty
S: Pr
E: Pr
R: Pr
I: Pr
P: Pr

Health: 18

Recovery: One target creature is completely healed
Viro Plasm: Target must make Endurance check or be poisoned (losing 10% of max Health on their turn)

Cheep Cheep (round red and white fish with a mohawk-like yellow dorsal fin)
F: Ty
A: Ty
S: Ty
E: Ty
R: Pr
I: Pr
P: Pr

Health: 24

Ram: +1 CS to hit, Gd damage

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