Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A One-Shot Idea: Graduation Exercise


Had an idea for a one-shot today. You'd want pre-gens, I think, but I have no experience at one-shots for conventions or whatever.

Some masked adventurer from the forties or even thirties--call him Ulysses Prophet--is well known and is good, his backup plans have backup plans, but even with the life-extension stuff he got from the Lemurians or whatever, he's at the end of his time. Thugs aren't catching him yet, but he's had close calls with some of his arch-foes. So he's been training the player characters, and it's time for the final.

Here's the final: the PCs are locked in the insane asylum with Ulysses' greatest enemies and have to escape without causing harm to the staff, and defeat their main enemy, who will be Ulysses. Equipment will still be on the premises (boxed to be shipped out to the police station). Characters with actual powers are in rooms with power nullifiers.

Ulysses is worried that he might go soft on the characters, so he's had one of the doctors hypnotize him and plant suggestions that he hates the characters. There is a safeword to snap him out of the suggestion, and all of the medical staff know it. (Ulysses isn't stupid.)

Aside from all the clever things that players could think of to escape, here's a freebie: The presence of the PCs makes the asylum over-full, so when the kitchen microwave ovens are turned on, the power to the nullifiers flickers, giving the player one turn with one power. (The microwave ovens have to heat a bunch of meals, so this happens roughly every two minutes for about a half-hour near mealtimes.) A character who is a trained normal will probably find some other way to escape.

You knew there'd be a catch, though, and there are two:
  1. As worded, the doctor said that Ulysses has to hear the safeword, which is bad, because one of his early acts as Evil Ulysses was to bomb the secret tunnel that heads out of the asylum left him deaf. He can lipread (of course he can: we're really talking about Evil Batgod) but that won't counteract the hypnosis. Lipreading won't count, telepathy won't count, reading won't count (illusions of sounds sent directly to his brain would count; so would someone managing to heal him and then saying the safeword).
  2. Also as worded, the doctor left Ulysses not just hating the captured heroes, but loving the villains, so Ulysses is releasing the villains one by one, testing them for faithfulness, and sending them against the PCs.
Now, is that choice of wording accidental, or is it because the doctor is working for one of the villains locked up in the asylum, maybe the one that Ulysses wouldn't release because he's just too dangerous? Depends on how much play time you have.

I'd probably use the Mutants & Masterminds Providence Asylum map (though I have another old hospital building kicking around here). I'd box up the equipment and put it in the truck delivery area so that equipment characters have to fight there, first, and for some reason there are traps.