DM Screen 48 – Doomed

The two sessions I was most nervous about writing and running were the first and the last. Epilogues had been talked about after this episode, but this was the final chapter in the storyline I had begun to envision four and a half years earlier. I’m quite pleased with the way it turned out, but boy was I an anxious wreck leading up to us recording this. So here we go!

The three Phyrexian Praetors approach you, each in their armored forms, mystical power radiating off of them in shimmering light.

Lex Luthor, Creator of Truth
F: Rm
A: Ex
S: In
E: ShZ
R: Un
I: Mn
P: Mn

Health: 590         Karma: 250

Knowledge Absorption: At the start of Luthor’s turn, all opponents must make a Psyche check. On a White result, they cannot use any of their powers. On a Green result, they must choose one power and lose access to all others. On a Yellow result, they lose access to half their powers. On a Red result, they retain their powers. Luthor gains access to any powers stolen from heroes in this way.

Mumm-Ra, the Eternal
F: Am
A: Rm
S: Am
E: ShZ
R: Am
I: Am
P: ShX

Health: 630         Karma: 250

Death Aura: Any enemy in the same area as Mumm-Ra must make an Endurance check or die. At the beginning of Mumm-Ra’s turn, he may revive a nearby corpse as a zombie under his control.
Energy Generation: Mn
Flight: Un
Magic Detection: Un
Growth: Un
Shape-Shifting: Mn
Body Transformation: Mn
Illusions: Mn

Darth Vader, Grand Inquisitor
F: Mn
A: In
S: Mn
E: ShZ
R: Ex
I: Am
P: ShX

Health: 690         Karma: 220

Irresistible Order: All of Darth Vader’s allies get +2 CS to their actions. All of Darth Vader’s enemies get -2 CS to their actions.
Lightsaber: Str+14 damage, ignores Body Armor
Body Armor: Gd
Affect Mind: Mn, can be used to alter perceptions or induce a suggestion
Fear: Target must make opposed Psyche check or suffer -4 CS to all actions
Force Grip: Am damage, ignores Body Armor
Force Strike: Rm damage, up to 4 targets within the same area
Telekinesis: ShX
Telepathy: Un
Force Whirlwind: All targets in one area suffer Rm damage every round and suffer a -1 CS to all actions
Rage: +1 CS to Strength and Fighting, -1 CS to any defensive actions

Okay, to pull back the curtain a bit: after the destruction of Nico’s Staff of One toward the end of the Phyrexia arc, I talked with Miles off-mic about what he wanted to have happen and he expressed an interest in having Nico learn magic from Doom. I came up with a few spells that she would pick up, but Miles came up with the idea that Nico would be secretly researching a spell that would essentially cut off the Praetors from their Phyrexian power. That’s why I felt comfortable throwing three full-powered Praetors at the PCs for this fight: not only was it epic as hell, but I knew that Nico had the ability to pull the plug on their overwhelming power should the need arise. Hence why I also included their depowered stats below:

Lex Luthor
F: In
A: Rm
S: Ex
E: Ex
R: Am
I: In
P: In

Health: 110         Karma: 130

Frostmourne: Str+15 damage, wielder gains Health equal to damage dealt
Ring of Fire: In fire control
Venom Symbiote: Ex Regeneration, In Elongation, Rm Imitation, Rm Wall Crawling, Am webbing, and +1 melee attack per turn
Vulnerability: Takes +1 CS damage from fire and sonic attacks

F: In
A: Ex
S: In
E: Am
R: Am
I: Am
P: Mn

Health: 150         Karma: 175

Energy Generation: In
Flight: Am
Magic Detection: Am
Growth: Am
Shape-Shifting: Am
Body Transformation: Am
Illusions: Am

Darth Vader
F: In
A: Rm
S: Rm
E: In
R: Ex
I: Ex
P: In

Health: 140         Karma: 80

Lightsaber: Str+14 damage, ignores Body Armor
Body Armor: Gd
Affect Mind: Ex, can be used to alter perceptions or induce a suggestion
Fear: Target must make opposed Psyche check or suffer -1 CS to all actions
Force Grip: Ex damage, ignores Body Armor
Force Strike: Gd damage, up to 4 targets within the same area
Telekinesis: In
Telepathy: Rm
Force Whirlwind: All targets in one area suffer Gd damage every round and suffer a -1 CS to all actions
Rage: +1 CS to Strength and Fighting, -1 CS to any defensive actions

With the Praetors defeated, the League don’t have much time before the Doom Star enters Phyrexia and, presumably, destroys the universe they’re in right now. They may decide to combine their five rings, in which case they summon Captain Multiverse.

This was a comfortable assumption for me to make seeing as Mordin had brought up the possibility of combining the rings last episode (back when Dante was still missing his fire ring).

Captain Multiverse flies out into space, making a beeline toward the giant Phyrexian portal. His approach is noticed, however, and a sizeable portion of the Imperial fleet moves to intercept, with green lasers lancing out. Captain Multiverse turns toward them and smirks. (“Lucky for me, I’m their powers combined and magnified. …ALL their powers.” A holographic Omni-tool appears around his right hand, which is also suddenly holding a magic wand, and an electric guitar appears in his left hand. A giant sword appears strapped across his back, and several lightsabers hang from his belt.) He streaks forward.

From your viewpoint on the Star Forge, all you see is a streak of light followed by a cascading series of explosions tearing through the Imperial fleet. The TIE fighters are the first to go, but it isn’t long before the cruisers and even the Star Destroyers are consumed in the destruction. Captain Multiverse flies from the fire and zigzags around the Doom Star, slipping into the Phyrexian portal.

He emerges in orbit above the world of Phyrexia. He looks down at the monstrous, misshapen planet, covered in unchecked industry and mechanization, rivers choked with runoff and skies blackened by smog. “Yikes, the pollution here is REALLY bad,” he says to himself. “Fortunately, dealing with this happens to be my specialty!”

He flies like a bullet fired from a gun. He enters the atmosphere of Phyrexia in an aura of fire, his flight causing the black smoke clouds to part around him in shockwaves. The endless Phyrexian cityscape rushes up to him but he only redoubles his speed, impacting the ground with unthinkable force and continuing on through solid earth.

For a while, nothing seems to happen. A group of Phyrexians draw near to investigate the strangely small hole punched into the ground by the object that fell from space. Just then, a wave of glittering golden light spills over the edges of the hole and spreads out in all directions. Where it passes over the ground, green grass sprouts up. It passes over the Phyrexians and seems to momentarily consume them in brilliance. When it falls away, they look down at themselves… and see that they have been restored to their old forms, the shapes they were in before the strange creatures plucked them from their home plane and dragged them to this nightmarish place. Gone from them is any trace of the Phyrexian infection, and for the first time since their abduction, their minds are their own once again.

The wave of light continues expanding outward. Trees spring up in its wake, birds singing in their branches. Pollution is wiped from rivers, lakes, and oceans, and the clear waters teem with colorful fish. Many of the buildings, like the Phyrexians themselves, are restored to whatever they had been initially before Phyrexia assimilated them, but those buildings constructed entirely in Phyrexia simply vanish altogether.

This wave extends upward as well, clearing the greasy smog from the sky. And for the first time in countless millennia, warm, natural sunlight gently touches down on the surface of the world formerly known as Phyrexia.

And we’re back on the observation deck of the Star Forge as you and your allies watch through the portal as this realm is transformed. What do you do?

Let the party interact with each other a bit. Then, at a dramatically appropriate moment:

There’s a sudden swirl of green light and energy from one corner of the room you’re in. It only lasts a moment, and when it disappears, it reveals Doctor Doom. The previous times you’ve glimpsed him, he’s been a tall figure wearing a golden tunic and cloak over full-body armor. He’s still a tall armored figure, but the tunic and cloak have been changed to a much more drab green color. He glares out at all of you from behind a glowering metal mask. “What have you done?!

“I had finally done it! The power over the multiverse itself was nearly in my grasp! But you—all of you—have crept in and ruined everything! My beautiful empire, my monument, lies in ruins because of you!

“You shall learn, to your utter despair, what it means to court the wrath of Doom!”

Doom extends his right hand, palm up, and another swirl of magical light travels up his arm and spirals around his fingers. A large book appears, open, in his hand, and you all immediately recognize it as the Tome of Eternal Darkness. Doom’s eyes flick down to one of the incantations on the page.

“Tier – Aretak – Redgormor – Pargon – Pargon – Pargon – Pargon – Pargon – Cthulhu!”

Crackling, coruscating energy tears out from Doom and the Tome in vicious waves. They wash over you with a sensation similar to being turned inside-out. You feel as though you’re being flung an immense distance until, mercifully, you drop to the ground.

Looking around, you quickly realize you are no longer in the Star Forge and, likely, no longer in the universe you were in moments earlier. The ground beneath you is rough and rocky and stretches about a half-mile in every direction before dropping off sharply. You see a number of chunks of rock floating out in the air nearby and realize you must be lying on one such floating piece of earth yourselves. The sky beyond is a confusing, swirling mass of chaos, with matter and energy being pulled one way and the other along unknowable currents.

As you pull yourselves up, movement separate from the omni-present chaos catches your eye. You see a dark shape, only somewhat humanoid, growing slowly closer to where you stand. Specific details escape you at this distance, but the bloated body, thin limbs, batlike wings, and long facial tentacles leave no doubt in the minds of those who went to the Mushroom Kingdom—this is, unmistakably, Cthulhu. A sudden flash of light from one of the innumerable chaotic storms nearby briefly illuminates the giant’s face, and you see a glint of metal above the tentacles. Cthulhu is wearing the mask of Doom. Somehow, Doom has managed to merge himself with this Great Old One… and is coming toward you with murderous intent.

You watch as this abomination grows inexorably closer, steeling yourselves for your own destruction… when there’s an abrupt chime from Mordin’s belt. Mordin, you glance down and see that your DDC has identified an extraction point… and you’re standing on it.

Presuming Mordin decides to activate the Beacon at this point:

The Beacon is set up to automatically detect your multiversal coordinates and then broadcast them out, so all you have to do is hit the button. The screen goes blank for a few seconds before displaying the message, “SENT.”

For a long moment, you stand on your chunk of rock. The looming shape of Doom-Cthulhu draws closer, taking up more and more of your view, its eyes burning with green fire from behind the metal mask. Then, you hear a popping, crackling noise as a white electric bubble snaps into place nearby, then collapses back down, revealing five members of the Extraordinary League. Then there’s another crackle, and another, and another, as dozens and dozens of DDC bubbles open up.

Doc Emmet Brown, Egon Spengler, and Lucca Ashtear begin digging out various inventions and cobbling together new ones. Razputin Aquato, Princess Zelda, Demona, Skeletor, and Elphaba begin pulling in mystical energy to weave spells both to protect and to harm. Elemental energies of all types swirl around Wartortle, Pikachu, Mermista, Vivian, Elijah Snow, Titania, and Daenerys Targaryen. Kasumi, Ranma Saotome, Finn Balor, Elastigirl, Bowsette, Miss Piggy, Squirrel Girl, and Brock Samson all strike martial arts poses. Zero, Michonne, Arya Stark, Beatrix Kiddo, Geralt, Helena, Adam Jensen, Yoshimitsu, and Morgana all draw their blades, while James Bond, Max Rockatansky, Samus Aran, Jack Bauer, Austin Powers, Rosa Diaz, Blasto, Lara Croft, Roland Deschain, Tuvok, and Sombra load and aim their firearms. Sir Didymus rides toward the battle, while Dex-Starr flies above him next to Toothless, who carries the Cheat on his back. Optimus Prime looms over the rest of the League, with Gimli, Veemon, Rorschach, and Amethyst standing on his shoulders. Toward the back, the Emergency Medical Hologram has set up an area where injured members can be looked after, with Cambot, Janet, Fiver, and Wexter standing by to assist him. Godzilla roars. Ash Ketchum begins yelling commands. Esme Squalor looks around for something to hide behind. Michael Jordan dribbles his basketball.

Buffy Summers walks down toward the six of you, looking around first at the strange world you’re in, then at the massive figure drawing close. “I feel like someone should say something cool right about now. What do you think?”

At this point, I let the players know what my thought for this final battle was. Doomthulhu was too strong for even the Extraordinary League to realistically hope to defeat in a straight-up fight, but they could distract him for a while. I told the players that some of their teammates could come up with a solution for this if they just wanted to indulge in one final bout of fun spectacle as they fought a massive elder god, but that, if they had a different idea for overcoming this challenge, I was absolutely ready to play ball with them.

The players had a brainstorming session with each other at this point where they tossed some ideas around. The one that stuck was Meganbob’s idea that she wanted to give Doom a chance to realize his mistake and see if he could be redeemed. Other than that, the players were good with my idea to have a big, fun fight scene, so we largely rolled with what I had planned, although we also got a conversation between Luna and Doom. I was really grateful that Bob suggested this idea as it led to a final scene that was more about character than dice rolls.

On each player’s turn, they can grab up to four additional Leaguers and execute a team-up maneuver of some kind to make this happen (only the PC rolls for this, but they get a +1 CS for each additional character helping them out).

Doom-Cthulhu doesn’t really have any stats or Health per se—he’s more a force of nature than an actual character—but he will act at the end of every round. During the round as the PCs and the rest of the League perform their actions, keep track of their results, giving 1 point for Greens, 2 for Yellows, and 3 for Reds. On Doom-Cthulhu’s turn, he will let loose an attack of some kind, like a claw swipe, a magical onslaught, a psionic wave, etc. It will automatically hit and KO a number of League members equal to 18 – X, where X is the number of points the heroes accumulated over the round. Doom-Cthulhu will prioritize targeting characters that were used in team attacks on him this round, so it’s likely that the PCs will have to change up their teammates from round to round as more and more of them get KO’d.

After three rounds, Zelda’s plan will come to fruition.

Doc Brown has gathered and connected together every DDC available. DDCs working together like this increase their field of effect exponentially with every additional unit. One DDC can transport a small group of people; two can transport a full-sized Godzilla, provided they have a strong enough power source. Doc Brown currently has over a dozen all daisy-chained together in one huge circle, with Zelda standing in the center. She produces the heart-shaped Majora’s Mask, nods over at Helena standing nearby, and then puts it on. Helena draws the sword she received from Grayskull and plunges it into one of the DDCs. The Power of Grayskull itself flows out from the sword and through the chained DDCs, all of which glow with intense light and snap open, sending a pillar of light thousands of miles into the air. Zelda, wearing the mask, raises her hands to the sky as a gigantic crackling electric bubble springs open above her… and, pulled from across the multiverse, the Doom Star appears in the sky. Even though it’s still miles away, it still dominates the sky with its massive presence… and with the giant, grinning face that has appeared on its surface.

With that, Buffy will order the League to evacuate back to Eternia. Those members of the League still conscious gather up their unconscious teammates and hurry over to the giant network of DDCs. They grab the devices and, in groups of five or six at a time, begin warping out of this strange non-universe.

The PCs arrive in Castle Grayskull. The structure sustained heavy damage from the Phyrexian invasion, but much of it still stands and can be rebuilt. Looking out across the colorful, lush world of Eternia, the heroes can see that the Phyrexians’ assimilation of the universe was cut short when Captain Multiverse purified the Phyrexian infection from existence. The ugly scars of invasion still mar the landscape in places, but the invaders themselves are gone, transformed back into what they were before, and Eternia, like the multiverse itself, can finally begin to heal.

And that’s it for the final installment of the DM Screen! There’s a bit more League in the feed after this, but it’s all relatively low stakes wrap-up stuff, not necessarily something necessitating extensively annotated notes.

I want to thank those of you who have reached out to me with stories of your own League campaigns. I’ve played RPGs for decades now, but this is the first time that a game I’ve run has reached out beyond the people in the game to affect and inspire others. Your love and feedback has been overwhelming. Thank you for sticking with us and I wish you all the best in your gaming endeavors with your own ohana!

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