Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dark Salvation - a What if? Event for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

This is the Event I have been running for a while now.  Thanks to +Kel McKay+Chris Sisson+Mikael Andersson, and +Derek Smyk for playing in it and giving such great feedback and fodder for the imagination.  I'll be posting bits of it over time; the Event is still ongoing.

This post is an overview of the thing.  In the future, you should be able to click on the "Dark Salvation" tag and see all the posts related to it.

Dark Salvation related posts can be found through the Dark Salvation label.  They are also itemized in a list at the bottom of this post.

Dark Salvation - a What if? Event for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

"In every life there are moments when possibilities crystallize - after which nothing can ever be the same again!  This life, for example...
"A lost child in a very strange place makes a choice, to feed itself.  But what if that choice had had very different consequences?  What if forces were conspiring already, to make use of the raw materials this lost child, and his angry father, might provide?  Who can say?  Who can know what might have happened?  I can..."
"for I am the Watcher!"

Dark Salvation is an Event that focuses on the consequences of several things that were going on in the mid 1980's in Marvel comics, specifically:

  • Warlock's visit to Asgard in New Mutant's Special Edition #1
  • the interaction of Magus and Limbo described around New Mutants #50
  • the invasion of Midgard by Surtur and the Fire Demons shown in Thor 351-353.

the basics of the plot could probably be moved to another time period, but the premise would probably not make as much sense outside the context of the three events mentioned above.  Its an Event for people eager to delve into the more obscure and dark corners Marvel Universe, and at the same time to go all-out cosmic and Kirby-esque making connections between diverse dimensions, dimensional beings, space empires, evil masterminds, and whatever else might strike the players and Watcher's fancies.

The premise is that the Techno Organic Virus that is part of Warlock (and his father Magus's) biology has somehow mutated into the Techno-Demonic Virus (TDV).  This virus can infect dimensional beings of all varieties, but primarily demons, devils and all the other nasties that lurk in the dark corners of the Marvel Universe.   This is it...

Techno-Demonic Infection
Distinctions: Replace a Distinction on the creature with "One with the Pandemonicon".
Power Set:  Techno-Demonic Form
Stretching D8, Growth D6, Extruded Weaponry D8, Techno-Demonic Conversion D8
  • SFX: Recharge. Use an Effect Die from an Action or Reaction involving electrical or similar energy sources, or attacks causing physical stress against living creatures, to heal physical stress as long as the Techno-Demonic Conversion power is in the pool. Either step-back or completely remove the physical stress depending on the relative size of the effect die and the stress die.
  • SFX: Infection.  Any dimensional creature stressed out physically by use of Techno-Demonic Conversion steps up the lowest die in the Doom Pool. This creature loses all physical stress and gains the Techno-Demonic Infection power-set.
  • Limit: No Normal Recovery.  The infected cannot recover physical stress normally.
  • Limit: Exhausted. Shutdown any Techno-Organic Form power to gain 1 doom die/plot point. Recover with a transition scene or by activating an opportunity.

Dimensional creatures infected with the TDV take on traits very similar to Warlock's Technarch species.  They can shapeshift, stretch, grow, and shrink and have a similar, "Sienkiewiczian" quality.  However, this is NOT the same virus; it has mutated, altered, or otherwise shifted in a fashion that makes all those infected with it part of some greater, mysterious force called the "Pandemonicon" (note the Distinction).  Learning what the Pandemonicon is, and how to stop it, are the goals of playing the Event.

The Event was originally played with the following as player characters:
  • Warlock
  • Beta-Ray Bill 
  • Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic) 
  • Doctor Stephen Strange
It could probably be played with other characters except for Warlock, who is a necessity.  However you will need at least one character to fill each of the roles of Richards and Strange.  That is, you need a scientific and a mystical expert.  You also need at least one character, preferably two, who can transport the group from dimension to dimension.

The basic plot-line is that, after being introduced to the problem of the TDV, the heroes have to figure out how to stop it.  To do this, they will wander across the Marvel Universe and it's many dimensions in three phases.
  1. Investigate, determine, and discover the origin of the infection, both scientific and mystical.
  2. Invent, locate, and/or identify some counter-measure(s) to the infection, both technical and occult.
  3. Implement this/these counter-measure(s).
There is no pre-determined plot beyond that, and there is no "secret" that the Watcher knows that the players are trying to find out about.  The causes of the infection and the means to eliminate it are completely in the hands of the players, through the use of the TDV Objective Tracker, which will be described in another post very soon.  There are no pre-set scenes, or particular events that are expected to happen.  Rather, the Event is presented as a Toolkit for travel among the Dimensions and across the cosmos directed almost entirely by the players.  

Knowledge of the Marvel Universe
While one or two players out of four with very little knowledge of the Marvel Universe would be just fine, this Event is really intended for players and Watcher who have a fairly deep knowledge of the cosmology and various dimensions of the Marvel Universe and its inhabitants.  Both the players and the Watcher will be asked to come up with all kinds of creative stuff, so the more they know, the richer the library of detail they have to draw upon and the more they will be excited about the details others are bringing in.

Dark Salvation related posts