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RE: [icons-rpg] Dr Zodiac Revisited

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  • Soylent Green
    I also have made changes to The Skeletron Key. Mild spoilers below. When I run the Skeletron Key I skip the initial scene and start the adventure right after
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 2, 2012
      I also have made changes to The Skeletron Key.

      Mild spoilers below.


      When I run the Skeletron Key I skip the initial scene and start the adventure right after the theft  of the Spartan. The heroes are summed by General Coates the testing site and asked help recover the stolen power suit. The reason for this switch is that the adventure kind of requires the Spartan to be stolen and I don’t see the value in playing out a scene where the outcome is pre-determined, especially when this means the player characters have to fail.


      Another twist I add is to have a robotic version of Dr Fox under Skeletron's control at the testing site impersonating the real Dr Fox who Skeletron has had kidnapped. The robotic Dr Fox is responsible for overriding the Spartan's controls during the demonstartion and allowing it to be captured. This gives the players one more avenue to investigate and of course they discover the robotic impostor and defeat him they can then download the information in its robotic brain (or more low tech, follow him back to Skeletron's base).

      CC: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
      To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
      From: jhmcmullen@...
      Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2012 08:11:13 -0400
      Subject: Re: [icons-rpg] Dr Zodiac Revisited


      Good to hear. I haven't bought it yet (submit this invoice, get the money first) but I'm interested to hear it. 

      Someone should start a page of changes to adventures over on the wiki. Right now I can think of three that I'd switch up:

      • this one

      • Jailbreak

      • making Miss Fortune and Destiny related or the same person, and Scorcher related to Inferno (The Mastermind Affair and Sins of the Past)

      (Can you tell I'm on a deadline? My brain is bubbling over with ideas for other things.)


      On 2012-04-01, at 10:02 AM, Soylent Green <gsoylent@...> wrote:

      So I finally got to read through the The Sidereal Schemes of Dr. Zodiac.  While it's a pretty cool adventure overall I was a bit concerned by the lack of meaningful choices if offers players. I appreciate it was specifically designed as simple, introductory for groups new to Icons, but I got myself thinking how would I adapt it for group of Icons veterans. 


      I haven't quite worked out all the details yet, this is how I think I'd approach it.


      Please note, mild spoilers ahead.




      The basic idea is this. As with the original Dr Zodiac is after the 12 Zodiac gems so that he can perform the ritual that will grant him their combined powers and as in the original the gems are split up in different sets and held in different places. Unlike the original, the ritual will work with any number of the Zodiac gems - 12  is simply the best possible outcome for him.


      Over the course of the adventure the heroes will have a fair chance at preventing of Dr Zodiac's from getting hold each remaining set of gems. Each time they fail to stop him, the final confrontation will get tougher, each time they succeed the will be in the final confrontation will be easier.


      The way I would do it is have the first few Zodiac gems thefts occur off scene. This guarantees Dr Zodiac will have at least some powers for the final confrontation. At the start of the adventure the heroes learn a recent series of thefts perpetuated by a villain calling himself Dr Zodiac. By investigating these crimes they should be able to piece out the pattern behind the thefts predict Dr Zodiac's next likely targets.


      Once the targets have been identified, true comicbook form would suggest the heroes split up and each defend one set of gems, but that's not always a popular option in roleplaying games. Alternatively if the thefts so far have followed a particular order, the heroes should be able to predict the order in which the remaining sets of gems are going to be hit and plan accordingly.


      At this stage it is important to is important to try to keep the heroes off-balance in order to prevent the "hide gems in a mystically protected safe placed on the bottom of the Pacific ocean guarded by a school of cyborg sharks" kind of over-thinking even the best of player are prone to. The sort of thing that might help:


      * Time is short. There is no time to make elaborate arrangements, the ritual is tomorrow night!

      * Lack of cooperation. The authorities and owners of gems are unavailable or confident their own security measures.

      * Misinformation. Unknown to the heroes, the gems on display at the museum and which the heroes are currently guarding are decoys, the real in the museum's safe, several stories below.


      The  finale does not need to be that different from the original, except that with any luck Dr Zodiac will not have all 12 gems. Even then he is still a formidable threat.



      I'm concerned about having Dr Zodiac appear in person at these theft. I strongly believe in this simple GMing principle; never put in play an NPC you are not prepared to lose.


      Of course if Dr Zodiac already had the Gemini stone at the start of the adventure, he

      could send teleporting duplicates of himself at each theft, but the ritual isn't really meant to work that way and I don't want to give up on the concept of the zodiac sign avatars.

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