DM Screen 29 – Koopa D'état

As I mentioned back in my notes for episode 10 (where the League fights Dracula), I do like the occasional big, dynamic boss fight, and figured that a fight against an infamous video game boss like Bowser would be a good place to put an interesting, multi-stage battle.

The scene opens on the rooftop of Mushroom Castle. Vivian and Nico have emerged from the smoking, flaming interior of the castle’s highest tower, where they destroyed the antenna that Bowser used to direct his robotic forces. Flying in from the nearby battle are Dante (mounted consensually on Yoshi), Stitch (riding the raptor Lace, who is sporting a very stylish yellow cape), a pair of Luna Lovegoods both mounted on broomsticks, and Peach, atop her own flying Yoshi.

Man, what a weird show this is.

Give a moment to allow the characters to congratulate each other/give each other shit, before…

Just then, an earth-shaking roar breaks out from the castle’s tallest tower. Silhouetted by flames, standing in the now-empty window frame that, just moments earlier, held a stained-glass tribute to his glory, is the King of the Koopas, the massive dinosaur-turtle Bowser. His eyes gleam with a manic fury as he looks down at all of you. “You fools think I need machines to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom? Ha! I have all I need right here—and it’s more than enough to crush every last extra life out of you!” He then leaps from the window down to the roof with a teeth-rattling impact as he brandishes his claws and fangs. Roll initiative.

The following stat blocks were intended to be used sequentially—when Phase One Bowser ran out of Health, he would jump into the Koopa Clown Car to begin Phase Two. Then, when that Health is depleted, Kamek would show up and transform him into Giga Bowser for Phase Three.

Bowser (Phase One)
F: Rm
A: Gd
S: In
E: Mn
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Gd

Health: 155         Karma: 20

Body Armor: Gd
Claw: In damage; on a Yellow result, Bowser can make an additional bite attack on the target at -2 CS to hit for Ex damage
Bowser Bomb: Ex damage to one area and all targets must save vs. Slam
Fire Breath: Am to one target or Rm to one area
Poison Cloud: Target must make Endurance check or be poisoned

Bowser (Phase Two, in Koopa Clown Car)
F: Rm
A: Gd
S: In
E: Mn
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Gd

Health: 155         Karma: 20

Body Armor: Gd
Flight: Ex
Claw: In damage; on a Yellow result, Bowser can make an additional bite attack on the target at -2 CS to hit for Ex damage
Bowser Bomb: Ex damage to one area and all targets must save vs. Slam
Fire Breath: Am to one target or Rm to one area
Poison Cloud: Target must make Endurance check or be poisoned
Kaiser Cannon: Fires for a random effect (1d4):
                1: One target takes Mn energy damage
                2: Up to 4 targets are hit with missiles for In damage each
                3: One target is hit and trapped by a net
                4: Nothing; Bowser spends the turn hitting and yelling at the cannon

Giga Bowser (Phase Three)
F: In
A: Gd
S: Mn
E: Un
R: Pr
I: Pr
P: Ex

Health: 225         Karma: 28

Body Armor: Ex
Fire Breath: Mn to one target or In to one area

Kamek (Phase Three)
F: Ty
A: Gd
S: Rm
E: Rm
R: Ex
I: Ex
P: In

Health: 76            Karma: 80

Force Field: Mn
Flying Broomstick: Ex flight
Teleportation: Rm
Animate Objects: Ex
Fire Generation: In
Illusory Duplication: Ex
Summon Koopas: Gd
Divination: Gd
Telekinesis: Ex

During the actual session, Meganbob/Luna had the idea of grabbing Kamek’s wand, so I allowed her access to all of Kamek’s powers. However, I purposefully made it a short-term thing, as the wand would break permanently the first time she rolled a White result while using it.

Once Bowser has been dealt with, a ragged cry goes up from the assembled freedom fighters as they gather together in the rubble-strewn courtyard of Mushroom Castle. Triumphant chants begin to break out: people cheering for “Peach!” and “Yoshi!”, but also for “League!”

The PCs should be given some time to do what they’d like: speak to Peach, give direction as to what to do with Bowser and his Koopas, or just bask in fame.

Peach and her allies waste little time before they begin trying to restore both the Castle and the town just outside its gates. There’s a montage of mushroom people and Yoshis helping to clear rubble, repair buildings, and otherwise try to return this area to its original state before the Koopa occupation. The PCs can each have a brief little snippet during this montage showing how your character is participating, or not, in this cleanup.

One scene will need to happen when the heroes (or, at the very least, Vivian) are in the courtyard of the castle.

Peach is nearby, helping a team of mushroom people repair the exterior wall, when the mushroom person called Toad comes running up to her. “Your Highness! We’ve finally gotten into Bowser’s dungeon! We’ve… we’ve found the plumber!”

Peach’s hand goes to her mouth as a hopeful look comes into her eyes. “You’ve… found him? Where is he?”

“Right here,” Toad says, gesturing to a pair of other mushroom people who guide a third figure from the shadows of one of the castle doorways and into the light. The figure looks painfully haggard and malnourished, even his thick black mustache drooping lifelessly. His blue overalls hang off his thin body, as does his… green shirt, and his green cap with an “L” sits askew on his head.

A flurry of conflicting emotions flashes over Peach’s face upon seeing him. The green-clad prisoner looks up at her, a tired sadness in his eyes. “Thank you, Princess. But our Mario is in another castle.”

Yes, I had to. No, I don’t regret it.

If questioned, Luigi will tell them that, when Bowser’s army was first invading Mushroom Kingdom, Mario had gone in alone to fight them off. From what he’s been able to gather, Mario was captured and brought back to Bowser’s Castle. Luigi, who had been off in another part of the world at the time, was slow to hear the news and attempted to attack after Bowser had already taken the mushroom throne. Luigi was no match for Bowser, his Koopas, and his robots. Fortunately, the Extraordinary League was.

At some point, the League might consider interrogating Bowser (assuming he was taken captive). Bowser will prove stubborn and the heroes will need some sort of check to get him to cooperate. If they do, he can tell them that the person responsible for creating his war machines was a strange bald human that appeared in his castle one day out of nowhere. This guy seemed to be just as surprised to be there as Bowser and his Koopas were to see him. Eventually, he managed to convince Bowser that, if Bowser gave him the necessary resources, he could produce a robotic army capable of conquering Mushroom Kingdom once and for all.

Oh, and this guy called himself Robotnik.

The next scene takes place in the restored throne room of Mushroom Castle. While not up to its usual opulent standards, the mess and detritus of the Koopas has been cleared away and business is beginning to return to normal. The League has assembled on the red carpeted floor directly in front of the mushroom throne, with mushroom people and Yoshis standing as an eager audience. Princess Peach, now back to her usual regalia, stands on the dais facing the League.

“You strangers from another world have given much to us: your physical strength, your mystical power, your strategic minds. But most of all you gave to us your courage and your goodness of heart. Our kingdom was in need, and you helped to deliver us from our darkest hour. You have the gratitude of the Mushroom Kingdom, and it pleases me greatly to present to you your requested reward.”

She holds forth a perfectly round sapphire. Those of you who went on the missions to Westeros and to Nexus City immediately recognize this as the blue sibling to those other two.

The heroes can have whatever dialogue they would like with Peach, but at some point Stitch will realize that he no longer has the DDC. After a bit, he has a flashback where he remembers, during the battle of Mushroom Castle, when a swarm of bee-like robots hit him in the air. He had thought they were only trying to knock him off balance, but now he thinks they might have been after his Dimensional Displacement Capacitor.

Up to this point in the campaign, the world-centric arcs had always ended shortly after the heroes acquired the gemstone. I wanted this arc to have a slightly different shape to it—the League got what they came for, but now they need to find their way back to Grayskull. And, of course, giving Robotnik the DDC allows me to do some fun things in the last couple sessions of the Mushroom Kingdom story.

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