The game was set in April 2008 Boston, Mass. The Superhero team, part of Project Utopia, has as its public superhero base, a building located on the grounds of M.I.T. Novas are generally well regarded by the public at large so far, with the most powerful of them having performed many high profile heroics and good deeds for the common man and seemingly ushering in a golden age. But of course, there are always those that prefer personal power and threaten the peace and stability that has begun. Plus, behind many of the powers of the Novas, there lies a growing taint, which grows as each Nova becomes more powerful and begins manifesting as hideous aberrations…
Opening scene: Bad Weather
Our story opens on a mountainside in Vermont. The Sugarbush ski resort is experiencing blizzard conditions. What was, up until an hour ago, a cloudless sunny day in late winter with perfect skiing and snowboarding conditions, has without warning turned into a nightmare. The weather service did not predict this, and indeed the sprawling cloud cover and driving snow appeared on the radar as if by magic, and has begun to spread out over the region.
Hundreds of people are currently trapped on ski lifts, on the trails, and the lucky ones are in the process of being buried inside the ski lodges, as snowfall accumulates at the rate of four feet per hour. Project Utopia, suspecting probable Nova involvement in the unfolding disaster, has dispatched its closest team to offer aid and attempt to find and stop the renegade Nova.
As they arrive, the following is known:
- There are people stuck on now inoperable ski lifts in three areas of the park. No one has been able to get out to rescue them yet, and their fate is unknown. The winds make it likely that those trapped could have been or soon will be blown out of their seats, or die of exposure from the extreme cold.
- Contact with the lodge has been sporadic. Land lines have snapped, and cell phone access is disrupted with the intensity of the storm. At last report, about 150 people were in the lodge, which is currently heated by firewood and backup generators, but the doors are now blocked by four feet of snow (plus drifts) and it is accumulating rapidly.
- There are at least 100 people unaccounted for on the slopes or on the lifts.
- Driving snow adds +3 difficulty to any normal perception tasks
- Snowy and icy conditions add +3 difficulty to any movement tasks and normal movement is quartered while the blizzard is underway.
- Avalanche risk is high currently, particularly on the non-ski slopes.
- As the PCs are gathering themselves and making plans/arguing, there is a tremor from the mountain, which is a low level earthquake.
- Those with IR vision can see a very concerning hot spot developing at the top of Mt. Ellen, the highest of the peaks
- There aren’t any known Novas in this area.
- There are a few Novas with weather manipulation, but it is a fairly rare power and they are fairly well known and have prominent positions in their respective governments, typically. The Weatherman from Buffalo, New York is the closest and is well paid to keep the weather in check. Most US based weather manipulators can be accounted for, if investigative resources and time are spent looking into this.
Rescue from the slopes
Individual skiers can be rescued in a variety of ways. Make sure to account for terrain and visibility. There are 50 skiers out there on the various slopes.
Getting the ski lifts working again is challenging, but can be done. Direct rescue needs a good plan and creative use of powers.
Getting to the lodge is the easiest task, but the least time sensitive. It will allow for more reconnoitering and information though. The lodge people will confirm the numbers still out there, and point out that this bad weather was not predicted and is unprecedented here.
The quakes will start striking once every 15-20 minutes, growing in intensity each time, up the Richter scale. The 5th (an hour and a half into the rescue) will cause an avalanche, mostly obliterating the ski trails and lodge at the bottom of Castlerock peak.
Each quake will foreshadow this happening.The IR heat signature will likewise increase from the top of Mt. Ellen, and despite the blizzard, at the hour mark, there will be a weird feeling of heat coming off of it. Viewing the mountain with IR, a tremendous line of heat will be seen to be pushing down from the peak into the earth.
Assuming the PCs make it to the top of Mt. Ellen to deal with the issues there, they will come across Blizzard, a Nova who has recently erupted and is currently working to cool down the earth. She is a full on Aberrant, having been driven mad by her eruption and tremendous power. She feels that she needs to stop Global Warming herself and intends to do that by sending a storm powerful enough to start a new ice age. She is coated entirely in an ice shell and is concentrating on growing her storm.
Next to her, curled up into a ball is Volcano, her brother, who has heat powers. He is nearly catatonic from his recent eruption and subsequent argument with his sister. His power has taken a life of its own from his subconscious need to stop his sister, and he is currently using it to change the mountain into a volcano, by heat pushing down into the earth’s mantle. He will succeed 2 hours after the heroes arrive, if not stopped.
Both can possibly be reasoned with or talked down, but they feel very off to the PCs. Their powers are extreme and unusually strong for a recent eruption. They have effective Taint of 10 each. Talking them down or beating them into unconsciousness stops the storm and volcano immediately.
If questioned afterwards, they claim that they were kidnapped and the powers injected into them, and then they found themselves up on the mountain “needing” to do what they did. If defeated, they both have a clue on them. Blizzard has the word “Remember: Terragen” written on her arm in self-scars.
Scene 2: Patriot’s Day
Back in Boston
The team has come home from the slopes and can start investigating and using their skills and backgrounds to do so. Where did Blizzard and Volcano come from? What is the meaning of the scars on Blizzard’s arm? They claim to have been kidnapped and forced to erupt… what could do that? Are there more of these in the offing?
Project Utopia seems oddly unconcerned by this, other than platitudes. They want the twins put into their care, and advise the team to think nothing more of it. They did good, there is good publicity for the Team and the Project, and they were obviously just shaken by their eruption and are filling in blanks. Not to worry, Utopia will set them right!
If no investigation is forthcoming from the team on its own, they are approached a day later by Sentinel, a low ranking super-smart Aberrant who is embedded in Project Utopia and is looking into problems that are being covered up by them. He will surreptitiously question the group about the slope incident and will drop the fact that the twins apparently didn’t arrive in the holding facility arranged for them, though Project Utopia itself denies this.
Things to learn
Project Utopia has occasionally made problems “disappear”
Blizzard and Volcano are two such problems.
The team was sent awfully fast to the slopes, seemingly heading out as the first snow fell, but before the problem could have been known. (ESP power, or something more sinister)
There are embedded “Aberrant” in the project trying to uncover its mysteries.
Terragen is a group of Nova supremacists bent on ruling themselves and putting themselves above the rest of the world.
Neither of these recent Novas should have been able to do what they did within minutes of erupting.
They can track down the location of the “injections” with clever roleplaying and use of powers. It leads to an abandoned warehouse in Quincy. The only remains there are the white walls described by blizzard. Extreme diligence can turn up a hypo spray full of an odd substance that apparently stimulates the M-R node and could force an eruption. It is a pure strain of the substance used to create Patriot.
Terragen is rumored to be plotting something big, though the specifics aren’t known.
Across the world, there have been reports of a few other supernovas going off, barely stopped by Project Utopia and Team Tomorrow at nearly the same time. The unifying theme among them is they all occurred at very high places (mountaintops, skyscrapers, and one on a plane at max altitude.)
There is a launch of a satellite from MIT this weekend.
Three days after the rescue on the slopes, Boston throws a parade for the group in honor of their heroism there (assuming they stopped the blizzard/volcano and there was minimal death)
A regular human anarchist throws a bomb at their float. His brother died on the slopes (prior to the heroes arriving) and he blames Novas for causing the mess they cleaned up. There is the potential for a riot/problems on the route because of this.
Scene 3: Worldwide Eruption
Doctor Evolution of Terragen has discovered a way to create Nova eruptions in everyone, or so he thinks, and he wants to share the power with everyone (while also increasing his own M-R node to its maximum potential).
Em-Eye-Tee and her compatriots have been invited to witness the launch of a private satellite from M.I.T. (invited as the scientifically curious, as well as protectors, and as a publicity stunt for Utopia and MIT).
A fellow professor, and reclusive Nova Doctor Solan is in attendance as well. Before the launch of the new repulsarlift satellite, he attempts to tinker with it in a desperate manner. If stopped, he gets a crazed look in his eye, shouts “For Terragen!” and opens up a warp, bringing in his four compatriots: Brickhouse; Lady Quanta; The Magnet; and the Vampire. They attempt to keep the heroes and the crowd at bay while Solan (aka Evolution) places his serum into the craft and launches it. It will take him about 7 turns to do so, and another 10 for the rocket to reach high enough to distribute and aerosol the solution, raining it down on everyone below.
If he succeeds, everyone touched will have their Nova powers increased, erupt if they can, or die. Destroying it on the ground might cause similar problems to the assembled in range, but will be contained.