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Mission To Mars
System: Marvel Super Heros
Category: Super Hero
Requirements: For any size
The heroes travel to Mars to find a lost colony. The colony was guarded by its own super-soldiers. What happened to them?
Mission To Mars
This is an adventure designed with
first edition Marvel Super Heroes in mind. It could, however, be
adapted to fit just about any super hero game, possibly even any
science fiction game as well.
I didn't include stats for the villains because every hero group will have differing numbers of characters, powers, power levels, etc...
I did describe the villains and thier powers where it was important. The GM may assign power rankings as he sees fit.
The setting is many, many years in Earth's future. Basically, the
UN governs the planet and does so with the assistance of groups of government-sanctioned
super-beings. Of course, not all super-beings are cotrolled by the UN, that's where we get
most of our villians, rougues, etc...
The PC's are sanctioned UN operatives. They are not the best nor the brightest UN operatives and
it has been made quite clear to them that their next mission had better succeed if they want
to keep thier sanctioned status.
The PC's are called in to be briefed by thier UN liason (handler). This can be the "grizzled veteran"
type or a tech-type specializing in super-beings, whatever you feel is appropriate. The meeting,
strangely enough, takes place after business hours in a disused section of the UN Dept of Special Operatives. (UDSO)
Along with the liason is a good looking woman in her 40's. She has a very worried look on her face but is
well-dressed and obviously a civilian. She nods to the PC's and tries to smile as they enter.
The liason begins the briefing.
"You are, of course, familiar, with the UN mission to the planet Mars two years ago. I also
probably don't need to tell you that the mission, a mission to colonize Mars, was apparently a failure.
The UN even sent a team of super-powered operatives along with the colonists, to ensure
thier safety. You may remember being passed over for such a mission."
"What is not public knowledge, however, is that the infrequent status reports coming from Mars
are fakes! Frauds! The UN creates them and releases them to the media. The truth of the
matter is, the Mars colony has been silent for over a year. Silent. No communication with Earth of any
kind. Obviously, the UN plans to investigate but the investigation has been held up in beuaracratic
red tape for several months. The original mission took over a year just to approve!"
The liason gestures to the woman with him.
"This is Constance Power, the wido-- er, wife of Major Power, the leader of the UN Super-powered team
that accompanied the mission. Mrs. Power also has a daughter, Emily, whom you may know as
NOTE: The players have heard of Molocule Girl. She can control her density, just like her
father, Major Power.
Emily is in a coma. She has been struck by a terrible wasting disease. She needs a DNA
transfusion or she will die. I know what you're thinking, it's a common enough operation and her
mother can donate the DNA. Unfortuneately, Mrs. Power does not possess any super-powers of her own.
Only Major Power himself can donate the DNA for the procedure. He is
currently on Mars. Getting him back to Earth has just taken on a whole new urgency. If Emily
does not get that transfusion in five days, she will almost certainly die."
"Your group has volunteered to travel to the Mars colony and bring back the Major. The UN
is still deadlocked in talks over an eventual rescue mission for the whole colony, so your
mission will be strictly unofficial. Mrs. Power has provided the money for a spacecraft.
This mission is strictly confidential. If you screw this up, the UN can and will disavow any
knowledge of your existance. If you screw up and survive, you know how the UN feels about "loose ends".
You leave in three hours. Pack your gear."
Mrs. Power will thank the players at length and then leave. After she leaves, the liason will
inform the PC's that bringing back a DNA sample does not nescessarily mean bringing back a live Major
Power. He will then produce three manila folders. "These are the personnel files
on Major Power and his team, F-16 and Chain-Link. F-16 is a man is gleaming silver power armor. He can fly and shoot ion blasts from his hands." His suit is sleek and chrome and has an American flag emblazoned on the chest. He was a US Air Force pilot before being selected to pilot the F-16 battle suit. Chainlink is a big, burly man in his late 20's. He can manipulate large amounts of metal, specifically, metal chains. He uses them to launch devaststing attacks, as well as incapacitate foes. Photo's in his dossier show him wearing black military fatigues. He is a slender man with dark skin and eyes and a permanant sneer.
The liason gives the PC's the files to keep. He reminds them that nobody knows what happened to the Mars colony and a year can be
a very long time.
The PC's make it to Mars with out incident. A good idea is to have the PC's go in to a "stasis sleep"
for the trip. So they wake up on Mars. This cuts out all of the boring travel details, too.
The PC's should check the ship's "sensors" and discover that the terraforming of Mars was successful.
The air is breathable and there is vegatation similar to Earth's. There is a large concentration of
power sources and energy emissions, probably a city, about two miles to the east. There is also
a single life form, moving at over 80 miles per hour, directly towards the spacecraft!
If the PC's exit the ships, they will see a frightening creature flying towards them. It is man-sized and humanoid and apparently made of dull metal. Metal spikes cover several spots on it's body. Black lightning flickers between the points of the spikes. Have the characters make Intuition rolls. A Green result means the PC thinks that this creature looks familiar. A Yellow result means that the creature is probably a super-being that the PC has met before or at least seen. A Red result means that the PC sees a faint image of the American flag on the metal creature's chest. The creature is none other than F-16, from Major Powers' crew!
F-16 is not here to talk. He says "Intruders. Destroy." And attacks the biggest character in the group. He tackles, slashes with his spikes and shoots black energy beams at the PC's. An observant PC (another Int roll?) will remember that F-16 used to shoot red energy blasts.
If wounded, or pounded too badly, F-16 will retreat back to the city that is on the horizon.
If F-16 defeats the PC's, he will leave them lying around thier craft. He will, in any case, do his best to damage or destroy the UN ship the heroes came in. This should be fairly easy for him to do.
The PC's have little choice but to check out the city. It takes about 40 minutes to walk there, of course the heroes may have other means of locomotion.
The city itself looks very...used. There is evidence of extensive mining and refinery. Very few buildings rise above three stories and all of the buildings are in disreair. A few shoddy-looking people walk down the street. They avoid eye contact and run if approached. If held against thier will and questioned, they will only say "The masters! The masters! NO!"
What little activity there is in the city seems to flow to and from a mine shaft sunk in to the center of the city itself! Workers are lowered on ropes down the shaft. In the short time they are there, the PC's see several injured and feeble workers. The workers are being herded and "encouraged" by a strange being. The taskmaster is covered from head to toe in a layer of black metal chains. They seem to form a sort of armored suit for the overseer. The chains often move and slide over his body as he punishes the workers. Before the PC's can do or say anything, a worker slips and falls off a scaffolding supporting a winch. He is falling straight towards the mouth of the mining shaft!
The PC's should probably try to rescue the worker(or lose some Karma). The overseer, (you guessed it, Chain-link from Powers' crew) sees the characters and lashes out at them with his chains. He can attack up to three PC's at once but will always direct one attack at a worker, either wounding them or putting them in danger, requiring rescue by a hero. Chain-link is very tough. Just when things get really bad, F-16 shows up!
Viva La Resistance
Let the players sweat things out for a bit, but no more than a round. Then, suddenly, there is an explosion down below in the mine shaft. A huge cloud of dust and smoke is thrown up. A grubby man, another worker, motions to the PC's to folow him away from the mine and down a deserted alley. If any of the PC's are unconcious, he will help drag them to the alley. Once in the alley, the man will open a concealed door in the right-hand building and lead the PC's inside. It is pitch black inside the building. Unless the characters can see in the dark, they must wait in the darkness. Confusion can be heard outside for some time. Eventually, it dies down and the sounds of the workers mining begins again. A light comes on in the small room. The man who rescued the heroes is holding a lantern. With him are six other ragged looking men and women. "Welcome", says the man, "to the Resistance".
Warlord of Mars
The man who led the PC's to safety introduces himself as Captain Steen, the NASA officer in charge of getting the colonists to Mars. He introduces the other six men and women as members of "the Resistance". The Resistance to what? He asks the PC's to sit down and he'll explain.
"When we first landed here, everything went as planned. The planet was already terra-formed, we had pre-fab shelters with us and all the equipment we'd need for years. The UN Super-squad was very helpful and provided us with a lot of great publicity photo's to send back to Earth. But after a few months, things began to change. Every time one of the UN super team used thier powers, something went wrong, people got hurt. And then the three of them started digging up ground all over town, like they were looking for something. They were. They found it, eventually. A black, slighty radioactive rock they called "catorlite". It glows green! They actually ate some of the stuff! That's when the real problems began. Thier appearance changed overnight, to what you saw today. They rounded up town citizens and made them build a mine around their Catorlite source, using UN equipment! We tried to stop them. Anyone they didn't kill outright was stripped of all weapons and enslaved. My crew and security team dissapeared entirely. Since then, everyone digs at that awful mine shaft. I imagine the three of them still need to eat a little of it. I'm not sure what happens to the rest. It's all taken to City Hall. That's where Major Power is. No one's seen him in months, the evil bastard."
"Well, anyway, I escaped captivity and started the resistance. Of course, it's just the six of us and we have no weapons or equipment of ant kind. That was all taken to the City Hall too."
Capt Steen will be interested in what the heroes are doing on Mars. He is hoping to be rescued but wants even more to exact revenge on Major Power, who he believes killed the majority of his crew. The Resistance knows paths through the city maintenance tunnels that lead directly to the basement of City Hall. He will gladly lead the heroes there.
The maintenance tunnels are almost brand new. They are dimly lit but still dry and easy to navigate. The tunnels are wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side. The tunnels are a giant maze of branching corridors with the occasional ladder leading up or down.
At an intersection, F-16 and Chain-link emerge from the shadows to attack the heroes. First, of course, they thank the PC's for delivering the leader of the Resistance to them.
This is the "final battle" with F-16 and Chain-link and the heroes should win, at least driving the bad guys off down the tunnels.
Shoots and Ladders
After a little more walking, Capt Steen indicates the ladder that goes up in to the basement of City Hall.
The basement is dry and in good repair, just like the tunnels. The climate controls, power and phone hook-ups and generator are all located here. The PC's could cause a lot of trouble here if they want to.
There are two ways out of the basement. An elevator is built in to one wall while a staircase runs up the opposite wall up to a plain wooden door.
The elevator is large enough to fit eight normal-sized humans. It has buttons for the first, second, and fourth floor.
The stairwell is connected to each floor by a plain wooden door. One wooden door is markd "Floor 2", one is marked "Floor 4". There is an extra flight of stairs between these two floors.
Third Floor, Hardware, Megalomaniacs
From the subtle clues above, the PC's should take an interest in the missing third floor. If they don't, the other floors are empty of people and almost everything else. This building used to serve the function of City Hall but has long been uninhabited.
Entering the Third Floor
The PC's may choose to break through the wall on the stairwell, where the Third Floor should be. Or they might go to the Second Floor for a look around. There is a hidden entrance to the Third Floor from the Second Floor. If the PC's open the only Janitor's closet on the floor, they will find a staircase leading up to the Third Floor. Busting through the wall in the stairwell or even the elevator shaft will also get them there.
The Third Floor is a dark place. It is lit only by emergency lighting. (unless the PC's cut the power, then it's almost pitch-black) The PC's enter in to a sort of reception chamber. The only exits are the door leading to the janitors' closet on the Second Floor and a pair of double doors. There is no furniture in the room. The heroes, however, are not alone. Immediately upon entering the room, they come under blaster fire. A dozen creatures are firing rifles at them from across the room. The creatures are the size and shape of men but it appears that thier bodies have been merged with large amounts of black rock! The rock gives off a sickly green glow, illuminating what little flesh the men still have. If Steen is still with the heroes, he will let out a wail of outrage, "My men! What did he do to my crew?!"
It's also pretty evident what happened to all of the wepaons and armor that Major Power confiscated. These guards should be push-overs for the heroes. Steen will fight like a madman, even unarmed, but will arm himself as soon as the opportunity presents itself. If a guard is reduced to 0 health, or is a victim of a Slam result, he will disintegrate, leaving a few scraps of a UN uniform.
Major Power is waiting behind the double doors, in true super-villain fashion. The doors are unlocked and swing open at a touch. The room they reveal is a nightmare. At least half of the room is taken up by wierd alien machinery. Towers of strangely twisting metal wind to the cieling, black and green lightning arcing between them. On the far wall, a giant metal frame has been erected. It is twenty feet square and the hollow center of the frame is taken up by an intense green glow. On another wall of the room is a giant mechanical furnace burinig with green and black fire. The entire room is lit by a sickly green glow. In the center of the room is the man who used to be Major Power. More than half of his body has fused with the black Catorlite. Black lightning flickers around his mouth and eyes.
"It's too late to stop me, you know. We've got all the catorlite we need now. All the catorlite we need...to travel to Earth!"
Power gestures towards the portal on the far wall. Black lighning arcs from his hand and strikes the large metal frame. The green glow seems to swirl and coalesce in to a scene of a city street. A city on Earth!
"But before you all die, I want you to know who killed you. I want you to know that your deaths have served a greater purpose. The purpose of Vorak!"
"I was exploring when I found him. He had lain dormant for so long. Lain so near the catorlite he needs to live, to grow strong. Guided by his voice, I found him buried in the ground. He sensed my power, knew how powerful we would be together. I used my phasing power to become one with Vorak. We fed on the catorlite and grew strong! It was simple enough to bring my team in to the fold. Thier bodies were strong like mine. Those guards you saw were weak. Joining with Vorak can kill the weak. As the Earth shall soon find out. Soon, I will step through that portal and begin the testing of the Earth. Vorak does not need living subjects. The weak will die and stay dead, the strong will rise and be one with Vorak. So shall it be with all of you.But first..."
Power reaches in to his own chest, using his molecular phasing power. His hand comes out holding a clearly alien object. It's core is a black stone heart, glowing green. Complex metal machinery frames the heart, piercing it in several places. The green glow it gives off is almost blinding. All of the heroes will hear a horrible deep voice in thier head say "Vorak".
"Meet you new master!!!"
With that, Major Power will replace Vorak in his chest and begin shooting black lightning bolts at the heroes. Even before his transformation, Major Power was no push-over. The heroes should be in for the fight of thier lives. He can fire lightning, control his own density and is super-strong. Merging with the catorlite has also made him super-tough.
The heroes may need to resort to other tactics than fighting to beat Major Power. If any of the PC's mention his daughter Emily, and the trouble she is in, have the character make a Reason roll to convince Major Power. The player will need a Red result. If a Red result is rolled, Major Power will reach in to his own heart, and pull out Vorak. He will then cast it into the furnace. The separation and destruction of Vorak will kill him. He will, with his dying breath, beg the PC's to take his body through the portal, back to Earth.
This is an espescailly good idea if the PC's ship was wrecked by F-16.
However they do it, the PC's return to Earth and (if successful) are warmly recieved by Mrs.Power and thier liason. Major Power is given a hero's burial and a (posthumous) medal.
Emily Power gets the DNA transfusion and recovers. Molocule Girl owes the PC's one.
The heroes themselves are given official "Alpha-Team" status as a UN super-team. Thier liason warns them that thier next mission won't be so easy!
Like the adventure? Hate it? E-MAIL ME!