Yesterday, I told you about my two AD&D TPK’s. Today, I want to discuss superheroes. Specifically, HERO Games’ Champions system. The TPK happened one night at college. We had gathered a small group of players, most I’d never gamed with before, so this was their first (and last) time they played in one of my games. I shudder to think that to this day they think I am a killer GM.
Anyway, the group decided that I needed to run a Champions game. So, with no idea what to do beyond the profoundly simple bank robbery, and wanting something a bit more complex, since I was hoping to form a long-term campaign, I had dug through my stack of modules and found “Day of the Destroyer”.
“Day of the Destroyer” was written for a group of characters, each 250-350 points. In other words, a typical group of supers. I opted to go with a group of five 250 point characters, because I figured the players would rest at various times and approach these with all due fear, since Doctor Destroyer is a villain that typically kills groups of superheroes. It is said that you cannot defeat Destroyer in combat, only upset his plans. A properly run Doctor Destroyer is a force of nature and not someone who can be defeated in battle.
The group consisted of a Grifter-type character (gun-toting martial artist with an attitude), an air elemental type, a brick, a speedster, and a mentalist. These last three from the newer players. The first two came from two players whom I had gamed with in the past and they were familiar with my style.
“Day of the Destroyer” was written as a sequel to a previous adventure called “The Island of Doctor Destroyer” that had shipped with the 3rd Edition GM screen. It was a small, around 30 page, adventure and featured a mind control satellite as the central plot device.
“Day” featured a huge death-ray satellite that would kill 9-out-of-10 people on the planet, unless our valiant heroes can stop it, of course. Well, they didn’t.
Here’s how it went down. In the opening encounter of the module, Dr. Destroyer makes a TV appearance announcing his plans to kill 9/10th the planets population in 72 hours to the world. Shocked and horrified, the PC’s leap into action and search his old headquarters on the Island (from the previous adventure, as I described above).
More investigation followed, with the group talking with various heroes, villains, and others to try to track down Destroyer. Meanwhile, various villains are having a field day terrorizing everyone in sight and generally being pests.
Enter our fearless heroes to save the day. Included with the module is a new group of super-villains called Villains International. They work directly for Destroyer and, basically, do what he wants. The team is hardcore and practically unstoppable, if not approached correctly.
A brief rundown of their membership:
Golden Marauder: An anti-American magnetic villain who leads the group. 450 points.
Mountain: An Ugandan brick who was a terror on the battlefield. 344 points.
The Shape: A being of pure energy. 394 points.
Tsunami: A water elemental type that could control water and cause a lot of problems for people. 350 points.
Rakshasa: A savage, yet urbane and refined killer. Had mental illusions and was a harsh foe. 449 points.
I included their point totals to give you an idea of where I went wrong. A group of 250 point characters should never have been in this module in the first place. Were I to run it again, I would not let anyone with less than 350 points take part.
Nevertheless, the group engaged Villains International and was resoundingly defeated. I forget the particulars of the fight, though I remember Rakshasa killing and eating at least one member of the team. Unlike the situations I described yesterday, this was a true TPK. No one survived.
I didn’t feel that bad about this group being slaughtered, since they weren’t a part of my regular gaming group. I know that’s harsh, but, that’s the way it was. Had this been my regular Champions game, I wouldn’t have run “Day of the Destroyer” and I wouldn’t have been so unprepared to need to run that particular module.
So, there they are. My TPK’s. I hope you enjoyed reading about them. Please, leave a comment if you’ve suffered, or perpetuated, a TPK. I’m always in the mood to read a few comments about it.