October 17, 2011

Superhero Adventure: Garden of Evil

Garden of Evil

The town of Warren Township, in New Jersey (pop. 14000), is having problems. Specifically, the entire town is under the control of Bloodvine. Bloodvine has finally figured out he can control people as well as plants; though actually, he is using his plants to suborn the minds of the people. The FBI (and now military) is aware of the situation but the last tactical team they sent in with plant killer did not come back; this makes three teams lost. In the mean time Bloodvine has been spreading. The next option is to bomb the town out of existence, but that would not go well in the presses so the FBI is looking for other options. They go to the characters.

Bloodvine is known to have worked with the Bodysnatchers, Wormfood and Alienist, so they would know his weaknesses. In addition, they feel that it is impossible to get near Bloodvine so they need Alienist to mind control Bloodvine. They state it is their only way to take out Bloodvine without resorting to nuking an entire town.

The FBI offers the characters two options: Find Wormfood and ask him for any information on Bloodline’s weaknesses or get to Alienist and convince him to help them. The FBI knows the approximate location of Wormfood (in the subways of the nearest metropolitan city) and the exact location of Alienist (in a Russian prison from which they absolutely refuse to release him). The characters may accept either option or both.

Wormfood is old and dying. He is a pack of sentient worms that inhabit human bodies, but the years and its battles have killed off many of the worms and he can no longer sustain a body. He now rests in the forgotten portions of the subway waiting to die.

However, this is still his former lair and it still has its defenses.
-Ghouls. Near the beginning of the abandoned section is a secret meth lab run by the Ghouls, a biker gang. They will aggressively protect its secret.
-Pit. A pit trap is here. It is more meant to act as a warning signal, but can still do some damage if the characters are particularly inept.
-Collapsing Roof. At this point the roof has been designed to fall on any intruders. Not only will this cause some damage but the tunnel will be blocked and require some work to clear. Normally Wormfood would then work on his escape, but he just doesn’t care anymore.

Once clear of the various obstacles the characters can find Wormfood, who offers no resistance. It should be plain he is not well. He is willing to offer up the information that Bloodvine is susceptible to cold. If the players do exceptionally well on the skill challenge they may also learn that Alienist’s power is not controlling other people’s mind, rather his ability is to leap his consciousness into their bodies and take over control; Alienist has been body-hopping for years. Therefore he is very powerful and almost impossible to control.

As the characters are about to leave Wormfood, either with him in custody or not, Wormfood will attack. Wormfood’s goal here is to die in battle.

If the characters head back to the FBI with their information before going after Alienist, the FBI will state they still need Alienist freed. [They have ulterior motives for wanting this, but the characters won’t be able to find this fact out right now.] If they bring up Alienist’s powers and that he can not be contained, the FBI will provide a Psychic Inhibitor, which they claim will nullify his ability to use his powers. In fact, the Psychic Inhibitor will not work up to their claims (an appropriate Science roll will determine this).

The Russians are well aware of Alienist’s true powers, especially after he killed over 40 people. They managed to trap him and they have since placed him in his own prison, Chernobyl. To the outside world the nuclear reactor that exploded to worldwide infamy in 1986 has been closed off within a concrete sarcophagus. However, it is now a prison designed specifically for Alienist. In fact, the shell that is to be placed over the fallen reactor next year is actually meant to seal Alienist within forever.

The actual complex is a structure hanging from the inside of the sarcophagus on huge chains. There is a series of layers of rooms with Alienist’s cell at the center. The place is manned by robots as no humans are allowed to interact with him, though a few scientists are on staff here to monitor him.

-Layer One. This is the outmost layer from the center. It consists of difficult to open doors and detection devices. In addition, there is ball of electricity that constantly rolls along the perimeter and is extremely dangerous to anything it comes in contact with. Also on this layer are the robots that man the complex. They will activate once Layer Three is breached and kill everyone in the complex, friend or foe.
-Layer Two. Here there are no doors visible that could lead further into the complex. In fact, they do exist but are hidden and will require some good Perception rolls. In addition, there are freeze traps that will do damage and lock an intruder in place. Also this is where the scientists assigned to the complex work (all defenses, except the robots, are deactivated as the scientists enter and exit the complex). The scientist is charge is Leo Pavel.

The scientists are non-combative, though one of them will activate the robots (knowing full well even he will die) if the characters reveal they are here to release Alienist. Leo will do most of the talking. Things he can reveal:
-Alienist does not possess minds but rather replaces the body’s consciousness with his own.
-The Psychic Inhibitor will not work.
-If Alienist gets near another human he will take over the body and then hop from body to body at his whim and eventually he will escape.
-The reason he has not been killed is because they suspect his consciousness will be free to wander and take a new person’s body, so for now they imprison him.
-The scientists are really here to try and figure out some way to kill him permanently.
-They have developed a prototype weapon that might work. It is a virus that attacks psychic abilities, called for now the Pavel Virus. If used on Alienist it will either disable him or kill him 5 turns after he is injected with it (he gets 1 saving throw versus the effect).

-Layer Three. Center and cell of Alienist. There is the standard cell locks but they were not expected to really stop anyone getting this far. The door however is set up as another trap that will slam into anyone crossing the entryway.

Alienist is in a self-induced coma to conserve himself, but he will rouse himself once another human being is close. After that he will dominate whoever he can with the intent of escaping. If the virus is used on him, the characters have a chance of capturing (or killing) him.

Once the characters are back at Warren Township the situation has worsened as Bloodvine ahs continued to spread. If they brought back Alienist he will refuse to cooperate with the rescue of the town, in fact, the only way he can help is if he is set free and if that happens there will be no way to force him to help. However, the FBI is happy to have him in custody. Also, if the characters inform them of the Pavel Virus they will be insistent on getting a sample.

[As a side note, the capture of the Alienist was completely a side issue for the FBI. They wanted him taken away from the Russians for their own purposes. They want to use his abilities to help augment the ROC Suits so they can be operated remotely with a consciousness. However, this information is not likely to be discovered by the characters until later, if at all.]

At this point the FBI and military practically begs the characters to go after Bloodvine themselves. The only caveat is that within ten hours Warren Township will be obliterated by the largest bombing run on American soil in history. What the characters do is up to them, but the adventure assumes they continue on after Bloodvine.

Bloodvine is to be found in the town hall at the center of the vines that have spread throughout the town (Proper Perception and Nature rolls will direct the characters there). Bloodvine has vines attached to everyone in the town. There are two main forces the characters will run into, townsfolk and military (those military units that failed in their attempts to destroy Bloodvine). In addition each encounter can be supplemented with one these special variations:

-Blue Clearing. This area of blue moss that clings to anything it touches causes the characters to move at a reduced speed.
-Red Clearing. The red flowers here “attack” the characters each round with a form of euphoria which causes a -2 to attack rolls (save ends).
-Purple Clearing. This area of purple fronds causes the characters’ vision to become blurred. The characters must make a Perception roll before each attack or they will attack the wrong copy.
-Yellow Clearing. At the end of every turn each character succumbs to the enraging musk here and makes one basic attack against an adjacent person, friend or foe. The exact target is randomly rolled.

The actual battle with Bloodvine should be fairly straightforward. Just remember that he can not dominate someone with powers, so the characters are actually safe from that fear.
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