Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Giant Size Scrap Pile #2

In the midst of a heated battle with the villainous Time Lincoln, Land Shark and Magi were joined by a new hero called Ghost Lad. After wrapping up the fight and turning the evildoer in, The heroes got word that a silent alarm had been tripped at the newly-renovated Beta City Museum of... I don't remember. Doesn't matter. History or something.

Checking it out, they found the museum being burgled by a dude in a ski mask. When confronted, he announced that their defeat was written in the stars, then summoned four zodiac avatars and vanished in a flash of light. Fighting Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn with an incredibly small amount of property damage (for the Scrap Pile), the team watched their foes turn to smoke and disperse.

They found that the burglar had made off with an ancient Babylonian breastplate that had four gems attached to it, and space for eight more. The display, it turned out, was new, just opening to the public, and the missing items were loaned to the museum by a Dr. Karl Caravel, a local collector of antiquities. The display was set to open tomorrow. Caravel was hosting a fundraiser event on his yacht, the Silver Eel, the next night.

The team decided to attend the party incognito. Ghost Lad had connections who were able to get last-minute invitations for all of them. Ghost Lad scouted the area while Magi and Land Shark grilled Caravel for information. Well, Magi grilled him. Land Shark mostly just made cryptic remarks about watchful sharks until Caravel finally said, "You're that clever shark, aren't you?"

Ghost Lad found the burglar, along with Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius, breaking into the safe. He overheard the burglar saying, "Damn that Caravel! Where is the moonstone?" He did his best to hold them up with intangibility stunts while Land Shark headed below to help. Magi stayed to keep an eye on Caravel.

Once Land Shark arrived, the burglar teleported to up to Caravel, where he was able to wrest the moonstone ring Caravel was wearing away. In the struggle (aided by Magi), Caravel pulled off the burglar's mask and exclaimed, "Zodius!" just before the villain sucker punched him. Zodius laughed villainously as the zodiac avatars below disappeared. He bragged about the stars again, summoned a giant tidal wave, and teleported away with one of Caravel's guests.

Stopping a tidal wave was a bit much for this group. The adventure offered another option, but I wanted to see what they'd do with this one anyway. They did manage to come up with a determination-point-draining blend of earthworks, boat-phasing, and fire that saved the boat and only flooded the shoreline instead of trashing the whole city, so it was worth it.

Caravel revealed that the man who had been causing trouble for the heroes all night was Dr. Lemuel Zodius, a former astronomer with the city observatory run by the university. (Under some pressure from Magi, he also admitted to having hired Zodius to research the gems and tell him how to use them. Apparently Zodius had decided he'd rather keep them for himself.) Zodius had been dismissed from his position due to psychological issues, a nervous breakdown or some such. The man he abducted is Dr. Gordon Lyton, the director of the observatory, who was responsible for his dismissal. Before they vanished, Caravel heard Zodius tell Dr. Lyton, "Now it begins anew where it ended!"

The observatory was out on an island in Lake Mohawk. Once there, they sneaked (sort of) past some more zodiac avatars (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) and saw Zodius completing a ritual to fuse all the gems onto the breastplate and give himself all their powers. Big fight, punch blast grab, etc., and Doctor Zodiac finally went down. The zodiac gems were inert and seemingly drained. The observatory was trashed. The team turned Doctor Zodiac over to the police and resolved to keep an eye on Caravel in the future.

This adventure came from The Sidereal Schemes of Dr. Zodiac, by Steve Kenson. Well, most of it did.

I picked it because it's easy to run and the zodiac gems conveniently tie in to another storyline that's been creeping along in the background. Luckily, my players never read the write-ups, so I don't have to worry about them seeing this note.

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