So you’re a superhero, ready to defend the world from dangers untold. Across the globe, valiant heroes with amazing powers do the same and together you keep evil and crime at bay. There’s just one problem: the world is going to end in about six months. Eight, if you’re lucky.
I’ve had this idea for a Mutants & Masterminds campaign for a long time and I’m starting to think I’ll never actually use it. Still, on the off chance I get a last-minute request to run M&M, it’s better to have it ready to go! If you’re looking for a campaign to run, though, feel free to steal it. It’s set up for the Earth Prime universe but can easily be ported over to whatever you’re running…
A group of heroes who all have ties to UNISON, the United Nations’ superhuman taskforce, are called together by a lead UNISON commander to address a threat to all of Earth. They tried approaching national groups, starting with the Japanese group called the Seven Ronin and the Australian government’s hero Blue Ensign, but they refused an international coalition through the United Nations. They’re hoping that a superpowered team can do the recruiting with more success.
Unfortunately little is known about the threat except that there is a large force of starships heading from distant points in the galaxy and targeting Earth. The psychic who gave them this information (the half-Lor girl Zihin Kiz of Turkey) dropped into a coma soon after delivering her warning so she is no longer helpful in gaining more information.
The basic idea here is to use as much of Earth Prime and other settings that I really like, providing a sandbox experience where players can go where they like, try what they like, and meet whom they want. If you have the Earth Prime Atlas that’s most of what you need, but I’ve sutured some other setting products I really into a single universe.
The Cosmic Handbook is also a valuable resource for reasons that are hopefully obvious. If you don’t have all of these it shouldn’t matter in the least (except that you’ll need a new main villain, more on that later) and if you want to suture in your own preferences then that’s not a problem either. The reason for this cast of thousands is to provide plenty of NPCs in plenty of parts of the Earth (and beyond?) for players to take this storyline in their own direction.
The story behind the brief intro above is the the Regent (from Rise of the Regent) of an interstellar empire in the Andromeda Galaxy has mobilized a fleet that is quickly bearing down on Earth. He’s got a personal grudge (something the PCs can potentially uncover) but regardless of the reason this is a worldwide problem that must be addressed. The problem is that (even if they believe the vision) no one wants to give up their autonomy in the face of this threat: they don’t trust other groups making decisions for them and they also don’t want to be off fighting invaders in New York while their home city of Paris is decimated.
The power level for this campaign should be high, I was planning it at PL 11. Over the course of preparing the planet for invasion and recruiting allies, the player characters will increase their own notoriety while forging new alliances and enmities as well as having old decisions come back to haunt them. Like the first Avengers movie, the actual alien invasion is just the final climactic battle. The real meat of the campaign is a lot of scraping, politicking, and crisis-solving.
To keep all of this stuff straight, the whole thing is broken down into a few different plot threads. Future posts in this series will outline each thread but here are the big views…
- Recruiting Allies: Powerful as they are, the PCs will need help to repel a full-scale invasion. Ideally, they’d have every superhero on Earth working together and maybe some superpowered people with questionable pasts as well but all of that takes effort.
- Stopping Heralds: In the vein of Galactus, Darkseid, Apocalypse, and (as seen in the upcoming Infinity Wars movie) Thanos the invading leader has a number of champions fighting for him. The strongest ones are arriving with the fleet but there are spies and traitors to worry about ahead of time too.
- Interstellar Aid: Like my grandma always said, the best way to fight aliens is with more aliens. There are many different interstellar groups in the Earth Prime and Watchguard universes, and all of them might potentially understand the greater risk of an invasion on Earth.
- Finding Out the Truth: Information is power. The more the PCs can find out about the invaders before they arrive the more prepared they will be for survival.
Since the PCs are the main heroes the best way to get all of this stuff accomplished is to do it themselves. In true comic book fashion, though, you can have little side stories and crossover specials going on to keep everything moving. Players need to decide, then, what tasks they will tackle themselves, what tasks they will leave to prominent NPCs, and what is too unimportant or too much of a longshot to waste their time on. This is a ticking-clock situation so pressure will be on the players from start to finish.
I’m going to post next about each of the threads above, fleshing them out and giving you a plan if you want to run this yourself. If you have suggestions, questions, or criticisms, just let me know!