This one ended up being one of my favorite episodes from the Mushroom Kingdom arc. It had just the right amount of chaos via character spotlight moments, and I thought that the action scenes turned out really well. Also, looking back on how Luna interacted with Boom Boom in this episode, you can really see where her interactions with Bowser (and later, Skeletor) came from.
Because of the way the last episode ended, with Nico going off in one direction and the other characters going off in another, I had to start this episode with the party split…
The four of you going in the front gate: you are led by the guards through the prison yard. The yard is filled with creatures which you assume are Yoshis: they’re the same basic size and shape of Lace, but with rounder edges and much brighter colors. They are all hard at work—some of them are working to assemble or repair weapons, others are working an area of the prison set aside as farmland, others are using tools to crack open large boulders apparently containing some sort of gemstone within. The Yoshis aren’t chained or otherwise physically impeded, but they are monitored by patrolling soldiers of the various races of the Koopa Troop—mushroom-like Goombas, turtle-like Koopas, even a few creatures that look like man-sized cannonballs with large eyes and wide mouths filled with sharp teeth, tethered by chains to various spots along the walls or in the ground. All of this takes place in the shadow of the looming metal walls and the large, high-tech cannons mounted on each of the corners.
You are led to an area within the outer walls and into a mess hall. While this area is probably a busy place when lunchtime rolls around for the guards, at the moment the only people here other than yourselves is a small contingent of guards flanking one of the room’s several long tables. Seated at the table is a very large, muscular Koopa with a spiked shell and two prominent fangs jutting down over his lower lip. He gestures for you to be seated at the table with him.
“Welcome to Grimgrim Prison,” he says. “I’m Warden Boom Boom. We’ve prepared an extravagant meal for your arrival.” At this, several Koopas come forward bearing plates covered by upside-down cooking pots in an obvious attempt to replicate the “classy” look of a silver dome-shaped plate cover. The plates are placed before you on the table and the pots dramatically removed, revealing a meal composed of what are clearly the guards’ military rations desperately arranged to look high-class, with a sprinkle of basil on top of the hard tack.
“Now then,” the Warden continues, “my guards tell me that you’ve arrived on some sort of… diplomatic mission?”
During this conversation, the Warden will remain friendly and helpful only so long as he has no reason to suspect any duplicity on his guests’ part. He will tell them that his prison has no need to chain their prisoners as they are sufficiently cowed by the presence of the wall and the cannons on top. If a fight breaks out, cut to Nico before rolling initiative. (Thankfully, the League managed to keep things civil here, so they were given more or less free reign over the prison.)
Switching over… Nico is in a hallway within the outer walls of the complex. Through narrow barred windows, she can see into the inner yard where the Yoshis are being put to work. Off in the distance, she sees her friends being led into a door in the far wall by a contingent of Koopa Troops—they don’t look like they’ve been chained or otherwise restrained, so things must be going alright so far. At the moment, Nico’s more immediate concern is the sound of approaching guards, alerted by the extremely loud fireworks fist that she summoned to knock down a wall.
Have Nico make an Intuition (+Perception) check. On a Green result, she notices that, as she’s still soaking wet, she’s leaving behind large, visible footprints on the floor. If she doesn’t notice and/or deal with this situation, she’ll be caught by the Koopas sooner rather than later.
This will be a lot of improvising—the heroes can attempt to hit the generator beneath the prison to shut down the guns, or they may try to sabotage the guns directly. They may try to go for the armory or to instigate a riot amongst the Yoshis. There are any number of ways of freeing the prisoners and taking down the prison—when things look to be going their way, the Egg Dragoon mecha will arrive to attempt to take them out.
That’s actually all I had in terms of story beats for this one—I wanted to intentionally leave this one open-ended so that the players could take this in whatever direction they wanted to. Which ended up being a lot of chaotic nonsense, naturally. Anyway, I used the enemy stats for Goombas, Paratroopas, Lakitus, Spinies, and Hammer Bros for this fight, in addition to the following:
Body Armor: Gd
Flight: Gd (turns arms into wings)
Arm Flail: Hits twice (Rm damage each time) and target is set on fire, but Boom Boom is left dizzy next turn
Spinning Shell: Retracts his head and limbs into his shell and begins to ricochet between enemies. He makes a Fighting check—if he hits, he deals Str damage and can make another attack against another enemy. He can repeat this as long as he keeps hitting and doesn’t repeat targets.
Body Armor: Ty; Sh0 and takes +1 CS damage from electricity
Ferocious Bark: Target must make Psyche check or take -1 CS to any action they attempt to perform near the Chain Chomp
Chained: Can’t move beyond 30 feet from the base of their chain
Carni-Kiss: The Chomp makes a normal attack that deals double damage on a hit, but is then stunned for one round after
Bullet Shot: Ex damage
Gunk Ball: Target must make Agility check or be unable to use magic until gunk is removed
Self-Destruct: Rm damage, destroys self
Egg Dragoon (boss of prison—a robot or mech several stories tall, most of which is a garish magenta color. Its overall design is somewhat reminiscent of a dragon, down to the clawed rear feet, armored tail, and large batlike wings featuring an energy membrane floating just above the robot’s shoulders. There are a pair of glowing green orbs set into this machine’s abdomen. Its right arm is a multi-barreled gatling gun, while its left arm is a huge drill. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to have a head per se, just a flat metal surface where the neck would usually start.)
Health: 180 Karma: 14
Body Armor: Ex, Sh0 at orbs (requires a bullseye to hit with a ranged attack, or a character can attempt to jump or climb to them to hit in melee)
Drill Attack: Am damage, ignores Body Armor
Autocannon: Shoots off five energy blasts, each of which deals Ex damage—can be divided between targets as the Dragoon wishes
And, given that the heroes might end up raiding the armory, I went ahead and came up with a random table for what would come out of the power blocks.
1: Poison Mushroom: if the user is currently benefiting from another Mario item, this will negate it; otherwise, the user takes -1 CS to all checks for the remainder of the encounter
2-5: Super Mushroom: user doubles in size and gets +1 CS to Strength and Endurance until the end of the encounter; they must make an Endurance check when damaged or revert back to normal prematurely.
6-7: Fire Flower: user gains In fire projection
8-9: Super Leaf: user gains a racoon tail which gives them Ex gliding, Ex flight (after a running start), and a spin attack which deals Str damage to all enemies in the user’s area
10: Super Star: user gains Rm speed, immunity to damage, and ShX Strength for one turn