DM Screen 47 – The League Strikes Back

Here it is, the beginning of the end. This episode is where I wanted to bring the Leaguers back together, tie up a couple of loose ends, and set up the grand finale. I also wanted to give the players some tough decisions and increase the stakes and tension. Here’s how it turned out!

Mordin has just returned from his mission in the world of Tamriel, bringing with him a round yellow gem, a new recruit for the League, and a prisoner in the form of a de-Phyrexianized Azula. Mordin, Archer, Stitch, and Luna—all four of you are onboard the League’s flagship. A meeting has been called for every member of the League, but right now you four have met in the hall outside the meeting room for the first time in months. What’s this reunion scene look like?

Many of the members of the League have adopted weapons, armor, or clothing elements from this universe—have any of the PCs done so? Also, remind Mordin that he has the yellow gem and should probably decide who gets the ring inside.

The meeting room is round, with a few rows of benches descending down to a lower area with a circular, waist-high hologram projector. Every current member of the Extraordinary League is here, expressions displaying a mix of excitement and dread. In the center of the room by the hologram projector stand Doc Brown and Buffy, the latter of whom now sports a lightsaber hanging from her belt. They watch as everyone gets seated before Buffy activates the projector. A glowing image of a nightmarish construct appears, a collection of moon-sized space stations forged together into one gigantic battlestation.

“Welcome, everyone. This whole thing is gonna be kind of good news, bad news, we’re-just-gonna-have-to-work-with-what-we-have news. Okay, first order of business. The Doom Star is complete. Our best intel says that they’re finishing up the final test runs on their key systems. We’ve confirmed that a giant portal leading directly into Phyrexia has appeared near the Doom Star, so once these final tests are done, we’re pretty sure that they’re gonna be taking the Doom Star through the portal, then turning around and using it to destroy this universe.

“I know we’d been kind of holding out hope that this whole gem/ring thing was going to solve our problems for us, but… well, some of you know this, but Dante, who had one of the rings on him, was lost on his mission to Mustafar. His mission succeeded, as far as we can tell, but he and his team didn’t make it off the planet. We’re not sure what happened to them or the ring, and frankly, we don’t have time to do any investigation. This universe’s days are numbered if we don’t act now.

“Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. We received a coded transmission from Imperial space—it looks like someone in the fleet isn’t completely on Doom’s side.” She nods at Doc Brown, who steps forward and presses a series of buttons on the hologram projector, which now displays a second object next to the Doom Star, a space station featuring three giant vertical fins extending from a central spherical body. This station is a tiny fraction of the size of the Doom Star next to it, but based on the overall scale of the image, it is still quite a large structure.

Doc Brown begins. “This is the Star Forge, the shipyard used to construct the Doom Star. According to the information we received, Doom wanted a failsafe in case the Doom Star was compromised before it was completed and had a self-destruct system built in, the only trigger for which exists in the Star Forge. If we can get a team to this trigger, we can destroy the Doom Star once and for all.”

There’s some surprised murmuring from the assembled Leaguers. Zero stands up and says, “Sorry, but this transmission came from Imperial space? How do we know this isn’t some sort of trap?”

Doc Brown glances down at a datapad in his hand. “The plans we received seem genuine. They also came with a rather cryptic message at the bottom: ‘See, Mordin, this is just another reason why magic is better than science.’”

Buffy takes back over. “Both the Doom Star and the Star Forge are protected by a massive fleet of both Imperial and Phyrexian warships. Luckily, we’ve been able to find enough people in this universe who want to see the Empire taken down that we have a respectable fleet of our own. Our current plan is to have our allies stage an attack on the Doom Star itself. The whole time they’ll be working to draw as many enemy ships away from the Star Forge as possible. Once the Forge’s defenses are directed elsewhere, we’ll have one of our own ships sneak aboard with a team whose mission is to get to the Doom Star’s self-destruct trigger and blow the damn thing up.

“Now, that plan isn’t perfect. For one thing, the Star Forge’s defenses are enough to pick apart just about any ship that tries to get onboard, and we don’t want to send in a ship that’s going to be noticed by Imperial ships. We have a light freighter that we think can do the job—it’s designed for stealth, smuggling, and hiding, but it’s quite small. This means that the team we send in is going to be no more than four or five people.”

There’s a slight shift of energy in the room and you all become very aware that everyone is either looking at you or trying very hard not to look at you.

Doc Brown continues. “The Star Forge has a very impressive complement of enemy soldiers, battle droids, and Phyrexians. Fighting your way through there is not going to be easy. Thankfully, we believe we have a solution. I’ve done some calculations and, based on multiversal geometric patterns, I’m 98.653% certain that one room of the Star Forge itself sits on an extraction point. We can’t warp there now as we don’t know its precise coordinates, but I have something that might just do the trick.” He produces a metal device about the size of a paperback book. It looks like it was cobbled together from several different pieces of technology, some from this universe, and some from the weird version of the 1980s that Doc Brown himself is from.

“I call it the Beacon. If activated on an extraction point, it will send out a signal to a different extraction point elsewhere in the multiverse. This signal will provide the dimensional coordinates of the extraction point that it originated from. While our team in this universe make their way to the Doom Star, the rest of the League—all of us—will travel to a nearby plane and wait at an extraction point. The team infiltrating the Star Forge will make their way to the extraction point there, then activate the Beacon. The rest of us will receive the signal and use our DDCs to warp onto the Star Forge. The Star Forge may be heavily guarded, but it can’t stand up to the combined might of the entire Extraordinary League. We fight our way to the console with the self-destruct trigger and reduce the Doom Star to atoms.”

The heroes can ask any questions they wish, after which the League will be dismissed to go make their preparations. Allow the PCs to have any scenes they’d like with any NPCs they want—this will be their last real chance to talk to them before the final confrontation.

The day of the attack comes. You all step into the hangar bay of the League’s capital ship. This place is a hive of frantic activity, with pilots, mechanics, and droids moving in all directions as they prepare to launch the assault. You all find the ship you’re going to be using for this—a small freighter, long and narrow, mostly bronze in color except for the large gray engines on the sides. An orb-shaped droid comes floating out from the ship’s lowered ramp, and you realize that it’s Cambot. He floats over to you. “The stealth systems are in top working conditions, as are your weapons. Also, I’ve inspected the roll, pitch, and yaw myself—all three are just top-notch. You should be good to go. Who’s gonna be flying this thing? Anyone here have experience flying spacecraft while avoiding being shot at by about a million enemies at once?”

The heroes can take positions on the ship (a Davro-class light freighter). They need a pilot, a co-pilot, and two gunners (one for the medium cannon, one for the quad laser cannon—the gunners sit in small chambers directly behind their guns, one on the dorsal and one on the ventral side of the ship).

Not long after the heroes are settled in, their ship lifts off and flies out through the invisible air shield at the far end of the hangar bay, flying out into space along with the vast swarm of allied ships. They receive a signal from the flagship and the other ships begin to rocket away at impossible speeds. The pilot reaches up and pulls down a lever on the control panel, the stars around them stretch into bright lines, and they rocket forward.

And now for a scene at the Star Forge…

Nico, you are in your chambers on the Star Forge, surrounded by spellbooks and magical artifacts, when the red alert klaxon begins to sound. You look out your window at the same vista of space you’ve seen for weeks now: the massive Doom Star, a portal to Phyrexia tens of thousands of miles wide, and a sky full of warships, all drifting slowly through the dark and starry sky. Now, however, that slow drift is brutally interrupted as countless ships begin to blink into view, dropping out of hyperspace and immediately opening fire with a storm of red laserbolts. The Imperial and Phyrexian ships are quick to respond, forming up in battle formations as fighters begin to launch from the Star Forge, the Doom Star, and the many capital ships. The battle you’ve been anticipating for so long has been joined. What do you do?

If Nico leaves her room, she finds that the shadowy metal hallways of the Star Forge are only slightly less chaotic than the battle outside as stormtroopers, Phyrexians, and stormtroopers that have begun to be Phyrexianized, run to battlestations or to their ships in the various hangar bays. If Nico heads to the Dante statue, she finds him still set up in one of the hallways, looking out one of the larger viewports at the battle outside.

I had recently given Miles a new character sheet for Nico, showing the spells she had learned from Doom after the Staff of One was destroyed. One of them was a spell for dispelling magic, and I correctly assumed that Miles would use this spell to unpetrify Dante.

Back over to the main group of Leaguers, you have been monitoring the battle of the Doom Star from afar, waiting for that moment when the Imperial forces have directed their focus just far enough away from the Star Forge that you can slip in relatively unnoticed. The wait seems interminably long, watching the distant flashes of green and red lasers and orange explosions, silently willing the Empire to move its focus just a bit.

Then, just when you feel like the wait has grown unbearable, you see it: one flank of the Star Forge is unprotected. It’s not a large area and requires you flying uncomfortably close to the long tendril of stellar fire that the Star Forge is drawing up into itself, but this may be the only chance you get.

As the heroes race toward this open space, flying along the column of fire as the battle of the Doom Star looms suddenly much larger in their viewport, they see a small cluster of TIE fighters suddenly emerge from the far side of the Star Forge and begin screaming toward them, opening loose a hail of green lasers. Each PC will need to make a check based on their role on the ship (Agility + Piloting for pilot, Agility or Reason for copilot, Agility + Ranged Combat (guns) for gunners) to see how well they maneuver their way past (or through) the TIE fighters while avoiding the column of fire. Green results are worth 1 point, Yellows are worth 2, and Reds are worth three—the group will need to accumulate a total of 5 to get through this undamaged. If they don’t, their ship will be much harder to control as they enter the hangar and the pilot will need to roll to dock without further damage. Failure on this check means they crash into a pair of TIE fighters already in the docking bay, disabling their ship entirely.

As the heroes emerge from their ship into the hangar bay and start moving toward the blast doors leading into the Forge, they see the doors unexpectedly slide open, revealing two figures just on the other side. Both are dressed in knee-length black hooded robes—if the heroes have encountered any Sith or other Dark Side Force users in this universe, the wardrobe choice is fairly unmistakable. These, however, have the lean, skeletal/insectile look of a Phyrexian beneath the robes, and elongated, grinning, skull-like faces protrude from beneath the hoods. Both extend two arms from beneath their robes… and then two more, revealing that each Phyrexian has four arms… and each hand holds a lightsaber. Eight lightsabers total ignite with red light as insectile wings stretch from the Phyrexians’ backs and they fly toward you, swinging their glowing, humming weapons as they do so.

Phyrexian Sith (2)
F: Ex
A: Ex
S: Ex
E: Rm
R: Ty
I: Ty
P: Ex

Health: 90

Lightsaber: Str+14 damage, ignores Body Armor, can attack twice per round
Telekinesis: Ex
Flight: Gd

Nico and Dante can join this fight at a dramatically appropriate moment. Once the fight is over, the heroes have essentially three goals they can work toward: they can try to make their way to the extraction point (the closest to where they are now), to the detention block where Godzilla and the other captured Leaguers are being held, or to the secret chamber with the detonator trigger (the furthest from them).

Extraction Point

If Mordin uses the DDC to scan for extraction points now, he will find that there is indeed one several decks up (in an auxiliary corridor, if the heroes check a map of the interior of the Star Forge). However, once the heroes start moving…

You’re moving through the metal hallways of the Star Forge in the direction of the nearest turbolift. This place is large and shows signs of very recent activity, but you’re not encountering as much resistance as you might expect from a station of this size—it looks like the rebels’ ploy to draw the Empire’s attention away from the Forge has paid off within the Forge itself. You have the occasional skirmish with stormtroopers or Phyrexians, but are able to take care of them and move on with admirable efficiency and effectiveness.

You emerge into yet another hallway and spot a turbolift at the far end. A large window makes up the wall to your left, looking out over the intense battle between rebels, Imperials, and Phyrexians, with the colossal Doom Star hanging out in space and the even larger portal to Phyrexia providing a backdrop for everything. You’re so momentarily taken by the impossible scale of all this that you almost miss the object flying toward you. One of the Empire’s Super Star Destroyers, a ship of titanic size, has apparently been badly damaged by enemy fire and is currently falling toward this system’s star… except the Star Forge is directly in the way, and from the looks of things it’s going to impact the very part of the station you’re standing in now. What do you do?

The heroes can do what they wish to prepare for the impact. When the Super Star Destroyer does hit, the impact is catastrophic and the Star Forge ends up essentially being cut in half. One half of the station still sits on the extraction point—unfortunately, the half with the remote detonator for the Doom Star has been flung a few hundred miles off. Both halves of the Forge are still essentially functional, and the heroes could attempt to grab a spacecraft and head back over to the extraction point to summon the rest of the League, but that would take a fair amount of time that they might not have—it’s up to the players if they want to devote that type of time to this or just go on ahead by themselves.

This was the original plan—I figured that the PCs would likely decide to go for the remote trigger instead of heading back to the extraction point, but I was fully prepared to improvise some more adventure if they instead wanted to prioritize getting their companions. Instead, Luna ended up using the Force to push the Super Star Destroyer out of the way, meaning that instead of the Star Forge getting cut in half, it was instead pushed off of the extraction point altogether, resulting in a similar but different dilemma for them. In the session, the heroes decided not to go for the extraction point (now out in space), so I think the overall tension I was going for still hit.

Detention Block

The detention block for the Star Forge is a series of narrow hallways lit by red light all radiating out from one single security station. A pair of black-garbed Imperials monitor the cells from this station, blaster pistols hanging from their belts. (These should be no challenge for the heroes). The cell doors can be opened to free Squirrel Girl, Amethyst, Godzilla, and Brock Samson.

Failsafe Room

The failsafe room is at the end of a very heavily-guarded hallway. Phyrexianized Stormtroopers and enchanted war droids fill the space between the turbolift doors and the doors into the failsafe room. The League will have to fight their way through in an action montage—they can each choose their approach to getting through these enemies, rolling appropriately. If they managed to rescue the captured Leaguers and bring them along, everyone gets a +2 CS to their check. They take damage according to the result of their check (40 on a White, 20 on a Green, 0 on a Yellow or Red).

You step through the doors and into a very large space. The ceilings are high and the floor itself is layered, with stairs and ramps connecting multiple levels of walkway. One entire wall is dominated by a window showing a dramatic view of the battle of the Doom Star, and from the looks of things, the rebel forces are very much on the back foot. The encroaching tide of Imperial ships has been bolstered by Phyrexian fleets pouring from the massive portal, and any rebel ships that get too close to the Doom Star are inevitably picked off by the turbolasers dotting its surface.

What this room looks like, in fact, is an observation deck. There is no machinery here—not a single panel, computer monitor, or anything that would indicate an interface of some kind.

As you are scanning around in confusion, there’s suddenly a flickering light in the center of the room. A holographic figure appears: six and a half feet tall, wearing a gold-colored tunic and hooded cloak over gray armor. “Greetings, League. I hesitate to call you ‘extraordinary.’ I am the Father of Machines. You may call me Doom.” (…)

“When Nico fell in Phyrexia, I saw a bit of an opportunity. This was our chance to learn what, precisely, your inane plan could possibly be to defeat me, what you were willing to throw your lives away in search of. I offered Nico the position as my apprentice. That she accepted this offer proves to me that, though we share a world of origin, she has no idea of who I am. What purpose would having a successor serve to the all-powerful? Doom is eternal and has no equal.” (…)

“All it took was a bit of misinformation fed to her by my loyal Praetor Lex Luthor. The one possible flaw to exploit in the grand design that is the Doom Star. The truth is, there is no flaw. There is no self-destruct. This ensured that you would overextend yourselves, put yourselves in a place where you were vulnerable… but could also see the glory of the multiverse to come as the Doom Star exits this world and enters Phyrexia, where it belongs.” (…)

“Goodbye, fools. I leave you now in very capable hands.”

With that, the hologram of Doom fades out as there are three more flashes of light from different corners of the room. Appearing in a flash of blue is Lex Luthor. Appearing in a flash of purple is Mumm-Ra. Appearing in a flash of white is Darth Vader. All begin to make their way toward you, assuming their armored Phyrexian forms as they do so, as, through the window on the far side of the room, you see the Doom Star begin to move toward the giant Phyrexian portal.

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