DM Screen 36 – Tangled Up in Green

I’ve mentioned previously that, when I was first outlining some of the major beats I wanted to include in the overarching League storyline, one thing that interested me was giving the players an opportunity to convert one of the main villains by going into their psyche and removing the Phyrexian brainwashing. At the time, I didn’t know how they would do so… but then I played Persona 5, a game where going on covert missions into a character’s subconscious to change their behavior is at the core of the story. I knew then that I had my solution.

One other interesting opportunity that Persona 5 offered me was the chance to use the titular personas of the Extraordinary League. For those not familiar with Persona 5, each of the characters are able to summon their “inner self” in the form of a figure from mythology while they are in the Metaverse. I was excited by the idea of exploring what each of the PCs’ personas would manifest as, so prior to this episode, I had a private conversation with each of the players in which we hashed out what mythical figure we thought suited the inner self of our cast. I wasn’t positive that every PC was going to get the chance to manifest their persona in this episode (and, in fact, not all of them did), but this was the first time that it became a possibility.

The heroes have kidnapped an Exarch and gotten some information about Godzilla, but now they’re faced with a swarm of Phyrexians that are searching for them. The heroes are free to go or do whatever they’d like to. They find opposition in both the real world and the Metaverse, as the Phyrexian’s frenzy has leaked down into their shadows. The League will have to move quickly if they want to get out without being spotted or stopped, and may have to contend with some enemy forces if they drag their feet (use enemy stats from last session if need be).

In any event, Godzilla is located in the Vicious Tangle, so that’s likely where the PCs will be heading next. The Vicious Tangle actually has a very similar look in both the physical world and the Metaverse: in both realms, it’s a thick growth of rambling underbrush, soaring trees, and deep shadows. However, the physical version is made entirely of metal, with trees and plants made of copper, wires hanging down like vines from flattened metal leaves.

Whether approaching via the physical world or the Metaverse, the heroes’ flying car will be attacked. In the physical world, magically-enhanced arrows, spiderwebs, and even high-leaping creatures will come at them—checks can be made to avoid them (Luna at the very least will have to assist to keep the car in the air), but the pressure will be on to try to force them to the ground.

Should the League end up crashing in the forest, they’ll find themselves on a dark forest floor, with twisted and spined trees rising up around them. Phyrexians (or Phyrexian shadows) begin to creep from the darkness around or crawl from the branches above, tightening around the heroes like a noose.

As always, I had to come up with alternative groups of enemies, depending on whether the heroes ended up fighting in the physical world or the Metaverse.

Physical Group

Chancellor of the Tangle (a huge quadrupedal figure in a shape that vaguely suggests a tortoise, covered in overlapping copper plates. It has the barest suggestion of a head toward the front of its body, and four spined legs like those of a spider arch from its back.)
F: Rm
A: Ex
S: Am
E: Am
R: Ex
I: In
P: Rm

Health: 150

Wall-Crawling: In
Spider Legs: Can make up to four attacks a turn at Ex damage each

Blightwidow (2) (a spider the size of a large dog, with a metallic black carapace shot through with glowing green veins and covered in spines and serrations)
F: Gd
A: Ex
S: Gd
E: Ex
R: Fb
I: Pr
P: Fb

Health: 60

Wall-Crawling: Ex
Web: Rm strength
Infect: Targets damaged must make an Endurance check or lose 1 rank from one physical attribute for every 10 damage taken

Glistener Elf (4) (this creature looks like a lean human, but its skin has a slightly metallic sheen to it, and its hair is long strands of copper. It’s dressed in tight-fitting bands of metal, its ears are long and pointed, and it carries a scimitar that gleams with an oily sheen.)
F: Ty
A: Gd
S: Pr
E: Ty
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 26

Infect: Targets damaged must make an Endurance check or lose 1 rank from one physical attribute for every 10 damage taken

Metaverse Group

Queen Mab (2) (a feminine figure completely covered in a form-fitting green and blue striped jumpsuit, including a mask. She wears white scale armor on her torso, has a giant mane of purple hair, and is carrying a thick-bladed sword)
F: Gd
A: Gd
S: Gd
E: Gd
R: Ex
I: Ex
P: In

Health: 40

Mazionga: Rm lightning damage to one area, stuns on a Red result
Agidyne: Am fire damage to one enemy, sets them on fire on a Red result
Concentrate: Mab’s next magical attack deals x2.5 damage

Kumbhanda (4) (from the neck down, this creature is a skeleton fashioned of black metal wearing a long red cape, one of its hands replaced by a giant pincer. From the neck up, it appears to be a white-skinned, red-maned horse wearing a wide-brimmed hat)
F: Ex
A: Ex
S: Rm
E: Ex
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 90

Ganesha (6) (a burly gray-skinned humanoid elephant dressed in beautiful gold jewelry and carrying a curved sword)
F: Gd
A: Gd
S: In
E: Gd
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ty

Health: 70

If this encounter happens in the Metaverse, the shadows will keep receiving reinforcements. Eventually, have the heroes make a Psyche check. Those who succeed well enough hear a voice in their heads—one that sounds intensely familiar, but is somehow impossible to place. Each of them hears different words spoken in different attitudes, but the message is all the same: “The power to defeat your enemies here is within your grasp, all you need do is realize it, reach out, and take it.”

Stitch: “You were made to be the king of destruction—now claim your crown!”

Dante: “The world itself is your weapon. Use it against those that would seek to chain you.”

Nico: “I have always been closer than you think. When you reach for power, you reach for me.”

Mordin: “Seek knowledge fearlessly. Don’t be afraid of the shadows cast by its light.”

Luna: “Preserve what is good in the world and show no mercy to that which seeks to corrupt.”

The heroes then realize that they’re each wearing a mask—strangely, they get the feeling that they’ve always been wearing this mask and are only now realizing it. Those that decide to remove the mask—a painful process, as it feels like the mask is bonded to the front of their face—hear the voice in their head proclaim triumphantly, “I am thou, thou art I!” and a manifestation of their persona appears before them.

I designed a persona for each of the characters based on the mythological figures they gave me. I gave each persona an elemental attack and some sort of status, buff, or debuff power.

Mordin (Prometheus):

Agi (Reason to cast): Rm fire damage to one target. If the attack roll is Yellow or better, you may either increase damage by +20, or target up to two additional targets.

Sukunda (Reason to cast): One target enemy gets -1 CS to their attack rolls for three rounds. On a Yellow or Red result on your casting check, you target all enemies instead.

Dante (Fenrir):

Bufu (Strength to cast): Rm ice damage to one target. If the attack roll is Yellow or better, you may either increase damage by +20, or target up to two additional targets.

Tarunda (Strength to cast): One target enemy has their attack damage reduced by 10 for three rounds. On a Yellow or Red result on your casting check, you target all enemies instead.

Luna (Unicorn):

Dia (Psyche to cast): Rm holy damage to one target. If the attack roll is Yellow or better, you may either increase damage by +20, or target up to two additional targets.

Rakukaja (Psyche to cast): One target ally takes 10 less damage from incoming attacks for three rounds. On a Yellow or Red result on your casting check, you target all allies instead.

Nico (Hecate):

Psi (Psyche to cast): Rm psychic damage to one target. If the attack roll is Yellow or better, you may either increase damage by +20, or target up to two additional targets.

Tarukaja (Psyche to cast): One target ally has their damage boosted by +10 for three rounds. On a Yellow or Red result on your casting check, you target all allies instead.

Stitch (Elvis):

Zio (Agility to cast): Rm electric damage to one target. If the attack roll is Yellow or better, you may either increase damage by +20, or target up to two additional targets.

Sukukaja (Agility to cast): One target ally gets +1 CS to their attack rolls for three rounds. On a Yellow or Red result on your casting check, you target all allies instead.

At the center of the Tangle is Godzilla’s lair. In the Metaverse, this appears as a titanic circus tent, large enough to cover a small city. The red and white stripes on the outside are faded and the fabric is tattered, and sad tired music can be heard from within. The shadows here look like faceless ringleaders, wearing tight-fitting suits and top hats, carrying whips in their hands or on their belts.

Godzilla himself is at the center of the lair, in the actual ring. He appears in the Metaverse much as he does in the real world, with the exception that he’s been dressed in an absurd frilly collar and skirt, looking like a circus bear, and is chained to the floor by a thick collar around his neck. A Phyrexian parasite clings to the side of his head, looking like a combination of a spider and a leech.

Circus Tent Shadows

Rangda (2) (from the waist up, a red-skinned woman with a demonic face, a huge mane of black hair, and fingernails that stretch into claws more than three feet long. She apparently has no body from the waist down, just a trail of ribbons and orbs hanging from her belt.)
F: Gd
A: Gd
S: Ex
E: Gd
R: Gd
I: Gd
P: Rm

Health: 50

Repel Physical: Any physical damage that would be dealt to Rangda is reflected back
Eigaon: Am darkness damage to one target

Skadi (2)(a floating woman apparently made entirely out of impenetrable shadow, her only features are her dark eyes and mouth, and two spikes of white hair jutting from her head. She wears a long gold and green cape that trails on the floor beneath her)
F: Ty
A: Ty
S: Gd
E: Ex
R: Ex
I: Ex
P: Mn

Health: 42

Bufudyne: Am cold damage to one target, freezes on a Red result
Evil Smile: All targets in one area must make a Psyche check or be frightened
Ghastly Wail: All frightened enemies must make an Endurance check at -4 CS or be reduced to 0 Health

Norn (2) (what appears to be a giant black clock face surrounded by a trio of winged women carved from brass)
F: Ex
A: Ex
S: Gd
E: Gd
R: Ex
I: Gd
P: Rm

Health: 60

Garudyne: Am wind damage to one target, or Mn damage if that target is on fire
Ziodyne: Am electrical damage to one target, stuns on a Red result
Diarahan: One ally is completely healed

The above enemy stats I included just in case the heroes screwed up their attempts to sneak through Godzilla’s lair. They didn’t, although this episode DOES end just after Mordin gets launched out of Godzilla’s mouth and Nico accidentally puts him to sleep, so mistakes were certainly made.

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