DM Screen 40 – Out of Nowhere

So this is the start of the final arc of this Extraordinary League campaign. I had an idea for the concept of this first episode quite early on in my planning process for the campaign as a whole. Nothing drives home the danger of an enemy force like having them knock down the door of what had been, up until now, your secret and secure headquarters. I felt like I had knocked the players off balance with the end of the Phyrexia arc—this episode was a way to ensure that they stayed that way, at least for a little while.

Stitch, you’re wandering the emptier-than-usual halls of Grayskull when you come upon an interesting sight: the raptor Lace is emerging from the kitchen cradling two enormous hams in her arms. She looks around conspiratorially before darting off down a hall, her toe claws clicking off the stone floor.

Stitch can follow Lace as she makes her way through the empty castle, down multiple staircases, through the basement and dungeons, and eventually into one of the larger caverns beneath the castle and approaches a waterfall on the far side, from which Godzilla emerges… and he’s been shrunk down to human-sized by Nico’s spell.

For those of you not aware, Marvel comics published a Godzilla comic a few decades ago which included a storyline in which Godzilla was reduced to six feet tall and would walk around New York City in a trenchcoat and fedora as a disguise. It was delightful. When Kit heard about this story, she immediately asked if there was any way that she could play Trenchcoat Godzilla in League. By this point I’d already had plans for Godzilla in the game, but I kept this request in the back of my head as we went forward. When the last Phyrexian arc ended the way it did (with Nico using magic to teleport her friends and Godzilla back to Grayskull), I figured that gave me just enough room to justify a sudden size change for Godzilla. Never let it be said I don’t try to make my wife happy!

Lace lays down the two hams she smuggled out from the kitchens in front of Godzilla, then takes several steps back, her head low and submissive. Godzilla stomps over to where this tribute lies, regards it briefly, then picks up one of the hams and begins tearing into it with his teeth. Stitch has the opportunity to interact with the diminutive King of Monsters should he wish.

Mordin, we find you seated at the stone table in the League’s meeting room. You’re used to this room being crowded with people when you sit down to plan, but right now it’s just you, Lara Croft, and Geralt. On the table are the four gems you’ve gathered so far: the emerald from Westeros, the ruby from Nexus City, the sapphire from the Mushroom Kingdom, and the diamond from Phyrexia, all spread out around the thick tome you found back in Jurassic Park that sent you on this quest in the first place.

Geralt looks exhausted as he rubs one yellow eye with the heel of his hand. “I’m sorry, I don’t have anything new yet from this thrice-damned book. As hard as it was putting together where the first four gems are, this last one is even harder to figure out. And I still have no idea how the hell to use these gems or what the hell they’re supposed to do. Apparently one of these ‘planeswalkers’ would be able to read this book no problem—I can’t believe we’ve recruited as many people as we have without coming across one of them yet.”

Lara nods and looks across the table at Mordin. “I wish we had more people free to put toward translating this tome, but so much of the League has gone off to oppose the Phyrexians’ doomsday plan.

“According to Godzilla, the Father of Machines—this ‘Doom’ character—has taken his White Praetor with him to another plane where they are leading some sort of project to construct a device capable of simply destroying planes. This would be a massive coup for Phyrexia—this will allow them to force other worlds into surrendering under threat of annihilation, and any planes that they feel are more trouble than they’re worth will simply be wiped from the face of the multiverse. As you can imagine, Buffy and Elijah felt like this demanded the attention of as much of the League as possible.

“What do you think, Mordin? What do you think you and your team would be best suited to doing at this point?”

Part of this scene was designed to remind the players and audience of where the League stood with their overall mission, to remind them of planeswalkers (as they would become very important starting in the next episode), and also to establish that the majority of the League had traveled to another universe. This latter part would help to make the evacuation of Grayskull a bit cleaner and easier once the Phyrexian invasion started.

Establish where Luna is and what she’s doing. Wherever she is, she suddenly sees a very small brown figure come darting around the corner and bound over to her like an arrow from a bow—this, of course, is the psychic rabbit called Fiver. “Luna! Luna! Thank the Prince that I’ve found you. Something terrible is about to happen! Phyrexia is on its way here right now, they’re going to start arriving at any moment!”

Presumably Luna will start moving to the meeting room to tell Mordin. If this is the case: All of you in Grayskull suddenly feel an unpleasant feeling in the pit of your stomach as you become aware of the growing sound of approaching machinery and the scent of gasoline in the air. Just then, the castle is struck with a series of incredible impacts—you’re reminded of Skeletor’s invasion of Grayskull not long ago, but these are much, much stronger impacts that shake the ground, send cracks shooting through the walls, and threaten to throw you off your feet.

Luna and Mordin (with Lara, Geralt, and Fiver)

In the meeting room, Lara and Geralt look at each other in wide-eyed realization that Phyrexia is here. They reach for their weapons just as the door to the meeting room, and the wall around it, explode into dust. Stepping through the cloud of dust are four creatures that are unmistakably Phyrexian. They appear to be metallic creatures about the same size and shape as a crocodile, but with a more upright posture, almost like an ape. Their heads are large and feature large mouths that glow from within like a furnace.

Furnace Scamp (4)
F: Ty
A: Ty
S: Gd
E: Gd
R: Fb
I: Pr
P: Pr

Health: 32

Self-Destruct: When Furnace Scamp successfully lands an attack on a target, it can choose to explode, dealing an additional 30 damage to that target.

When these Phyrexians are dealt with, Lara and Geralt look to Mordin and Luna. Lara says, “We need to get out of here. We should retreat to the plane that the other Leaguers are on, let them know what’s happened and come up with a plan. Geralt and I each have a DDC—Mordin, you have one of your own. What’s your plan here? How do you want to do this?”

I wasn’t sure where Dante and Archer would have ended up by this point, so I wrote a couple of possibilities for them:

Dante and Archer (possibly with Roland)

If Dante and Archer are in a position where they can see the area around Grayskull (such as the roof or the wall), they see: A countless number of Phyrexian soldiers, creatures, and war machines have appeared in the rocky wasteland around Grayskull, and countless more are appearing through sickly, greasy spots in the air. The land and air around the castle is thick with them, and they begin to turn their magical and technological weapons against the ancient fortress. The castle stands up to their assault admirably, but it’s clear that the Phyrexians have an overwhelming power advantage. As you watch, one gigantic Phyrexian takes a running leap and flings itself onto the wall of Grayskull, turning its head toward you and baring its fangs.

If Dante and Archer are inside Grayskull: A nearby wall suddenly bursts apart into rubble and dust, scattering across the floor. Emerging through the hole is a towering giant made of gray steel shot through with veins of molten metal. Its spike-covered arms are considerably larger than its legs, and its eyeless head is covered in spikes and features a large fang-filled mouth.

Chancellor of the Forge
F: Rm
A: Ex
S: Am
E: Am
R: Ex
I: Rm
P: Rm

Health: 150

One round into this battle, a flash of magical light will suddenly flash as Skeletor teleports into the room. “What have you pea-brains done to Eternia now?!” he demands. He will help them if they don’t actively antagonize him and may be convinced to retreat from Eternia with them. (Given how much of a shine the players had taken to Skeletor, I wanted to be sure that we got him off of Eternia so they could make use of him in this final plot arc. Meganbob also established earlier in this episode that Bowsette had become Skeletor’s roommate in Snake Mountain (because of course), so I also had Bowsette show up alongside Skeletor at this point.)

Stitch (with Godzilla)

Stitch, you, Lace, Wexter, and Godzilla come running up the stone steps as the cavern threatens to crash down on top of your head. You’re racing through the lower dungeon levels of the castle when there’s a sudden impact from above that sends several huge chunks of wall collapsing onto the stairs directly ahead. You hear the sudden sound of armored footsteps from behind you and whirl around to see four Phyrexian Porcelain Legionnaires approaching. You’ve faced these things before: they are human-sized and shaped, looking like suits of porcelain-colored armor with faceless masks affixed to a humanoid webwork beneath. They have their curved black swords drawn and ready.

Porcelain Legionnaire (4)
F: Ex
A: Ty
S: Ex
E: Ty
R: Pr
I: Pr
P: Pr

Health: 52

First Strike: The Legionnaire gets a free counterattack whenever a creature closes to melee range with it

After the first round, a bolt of crackling eldritch energy comes from one of the destroyed walls nearby, shattering one Legionnaire to pieces. Striding from the shadows of her destroyed cell is Demona, the League member who betrayed the group in a failed attempt to gain the power of Grayskull.

I knew this might be the last time we saw Castle Grayskull, so I wanted to make sure every plot thread was addressed. One big one was that Demona had been established as a prisoner in the League’s dungeons, and also that Nico had used magic to give Demona a conscience.

Demona will join Stitch and friends as they fight the Phyrexians. Once they are down, she turns to Stitch and says, “You and your friends have no reason to trust me, I know that, but I’ve had a lot of time to think over what I did and…” Her voice suddenly breaks and she has to forcefully blink back tears. “I just want to do some good. With all of you, if you’ll have me. If not, I can… try to hold them off to help you escape.”

Everyone

Presumably at some point the Leaguers will meet up and plot to get the hell off of Eternia—play out different groups meeting up if necessary, but otherwise everyone should meet up relatively soon.

Before the heroes can head for the arrivals room (the extraction point within Castle Grayskull), there’s a sudden crackling explosion from nearby as a purple blast of magical energy streaks at a diagonal angle down through the ceiling and part of the wall nearby. Through the resulting smoking hole leading outside, the heroes can see the Black Praetor Mumm-Ra floating there, muscular gray arms crossed over his chest. He grins broadly and says, “Little League, little League, let me come in!” before flying out of sight.

(I was kind of hoping that the heroes would have taken Skeletor with them so he could make a comment about how Mumm-Ra didn’t look so tough, but alas, that was not to be.)

There’s a sudden whirl of glowing magical energy as Flemeth appears nearby. She fixes all of you with her yellow eyes. “You need to go, now. The Phyrexians may have won the day, but I intend to make sure that they bleed for it. You need to make sure that they lose the war.”

Play out any final dialogue that the League want to have with Flemeth, but she is adamant about guarding their flank as they escape. Should they leave and allow her to make one final stand against Phyreixa, read the following:

We now see Flemeth, in full-on draconic form, burst out of Grayskull and take to the air. Jets of fire leap from between her jaws and reduce Phyrexians to scorch marks on the ground while her tail and claws go to work on closer enemies. Her fury is intense but sadly short-lived as Mumm-Ra comes rocketing through the air in her direction. “You seem very eager to throw yourself into the arms of death!”

Flemeth’s giant draconic head turns toward him. Her mouth doesn’t move, but her voice finds Mumm-Ra nevertheless. “Regardless of what happens here today, lich, the Extraordinary League will tear down all you and your master have built, and all you will reap is ashes.”

Mumm-Ra throws back his head and laughs. “You are a fool. Your ‘League’ has lost any tiny advantage they might have had.” He produces the blue crystalline amulet that Team Ohana used to find the gemstone on Phyrexia. “We have learned that they seek crystals of some kind that they intend to use against us. We used this amulet to find their base here, we have discovered the plane where the final gem is, and we can find your heroes regardless of where they run to.” He grins hideously at her. “Unless you would like to try to take this amulet from me?”

Flemeth shakes her draconic head. “If what the League has told me is true, that would be a foolhardy endeavor indeed. And you are right, ‘tis a fine amulet indeed with a fine enchantment upon it. I wonder, pray tell, what you would do if it were to become… disenchanted?”

It takes Mumm-Ra a fraction of a moment to realize what Flemeth is doing, which is more than enough time for her to finish the spell she had been casting surreptitiously. There’s a flicker of magical light around the crystalline amulet as the enchantment is dispelled.

Flemeth grins, showing her draconic fangs. “Fret not, revenant. ‘Tis still a fine piece of jewelry. It could really turn around your wardrobe.”

Mumm-Ra tosses the necklace away and turns toward her, rage and magic burning in his eyes. “Very clever, sorceress. But it won’t be enough. We still know where the final gemstone is, and either way, your League shall be crushed as an insect beneath our heel.”

Flemeth snarls and starts flying toward Mumm-Ra as violet lines of magical energy suddenly erupt around him and he begins to assume his Praetor form. Flemeth knows she is flying toward her own demise, but can’t help but smile, knowing that, as long as the League still lives, Phyrexia should beware.

After

The white crackling field of the DDC collapses around you and you’re able to get your first look at this new world you’ve arrived in. Although you’re guessing it’s probably not the best sampling of this plane, because you appear to have arrived in a cave. The ceiling is relatively low, the floor is uneven, and the distance between the walls vary greatly as the cave stretches on. Lights mounted on eye-level tripods have been set up every 20 feet or so, casting this area in yellow pools of radiance. You seem to have appeared toward one end of the cave as there’s a dead end a short distance behind you but the rest of the cave stretches out ahead.

(…)

As you’re rounding a corner, you suddenly see a figure standing there. He definitely looks humanoid although he’s quite tall—at least six and a half feet and very athletic-looking. He has dark brown skin, a shaved head, and is wearing what appears to be a red basketball jersey. He’s carrying a basketball in one hand and has it cocked back behind his head, almost as though he were preparing to throw it like a weapon.

When he sees you, he visibly relaxes, taking the ball in both hands and occasionally drippling it absent-mindedly. “Glad to see some friendly faces,” he says. “I was worried it was more of those rat-things.”

This, of course, is Michael Jordan, member of the Extraordinary League. (I’m not sorry.)

When the heroes decide to leave the cave: You step out of the shadowy depths of the cave and into the unpleasantly hot and dry air outside. The landscape is unpleasantly bright, and brown sand dunes stretch endlessly in every direction. The sky is blue and, looking up, you see that it appears to be lit by two suns.

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