|Display a Printer Friendly Version|
The Blood of A Hero
Author: Ralph Dula
System: Marvel Super Heros
Category: Super Hero
Nick Fury feigned unconsciousness, knowing he had no chance of breaking free of his undead captors. They had broken into his apartment, changing from giant bats to humans with the kind of bridgework Bela Lugosi had made famous.
Graphic: AIM Base
Nick Fury feigned unconsciousness, knowing he had no chance of breaking free of his undead captors. They had broken into his apartment, changing from giant bats to humans with the kind of bridgework Bela Lugosi had made famous. On instinct he had drawn his gun and fired, even though he knew the bullets would do nothing to his attackers. As they laughed at his ineffectual attack he ripped a leg off a wooden table and grabbed a knife from his silverware and dove into them. He managed to destroy two of them before he was overwhelmed, the superhuman strength backing his opponents’ blows quickly knocking him unconscious.
He awoke to find himself being carried down a set of concealed stairs in a warehouse. He let the cigar in his mouth drop to the floor at the head of the steps; if the people he had been waiting for at his apartment came looking for him the cigar might point them in the right direction. Expecting to find himself in a dank subterranean chamber or abandoned subway tunnel, Nick had to choke back an exclamation of surprise as he saw he had been brought into an Advanced Idea Mechanics base. What in the Sam Hill do AIM and vampires have in common, thought Nick. More important, will somebody bail me out of here before I find out the hard way?
The Blood of a Hero is designed for any hero who plays poker, as the Floating Super Hero Poker Game (see below) is the reason your player heroes are together. The male members of the Fantastic Four, Warbird, Wolverine, Wonder Man, Doctor Strange, and the Beast have all participated in the game in the past, but any hero who plays poker and is friends with one of the aforementioned heroes can come to the game.
What’s Going On
During World War II Sergeant Nick Fury and his team of Howling Commandos encountered Dracula, King of the Vampires. An unlikely alliance was formed between the American soldiers and the vampire to destroy a Nazi prison camp where Dracula’s human servants were imprisoned. Their mission completed Fury and his men returned to base, while Dracula continued his undead existence, his meeting with the sergeant relegated to a near-forgotten memory over the years (This incident was chronicled in Marvel Comics Presents #’s 77-79).
That memory flared to life two weeks ago, when Dracula was in New York City. Attacking and feeding on a young man, Dracula was astonished to discover he carried photos of Nick Fury, who appeared to have not aged a day since World War II. When his victim returned from the dead as a vampire Dracula interrogated him, demanding to know who he was and why Fury was still youthful. The new vampire identified himself as Arthur Wiencke, and explained he was a member of AIM, a terrorist group that Nick Fury had opposed many times. Arthur went on to explain it was his job to monitor Fury whenever the head of SHIELD was near the AIM base he was stationed at, and he told Dracula of the Infinity Formula that flowed through Fury’s veins, keeping him eternally young.
The idea that some mysterious elixir kept Fury youthful intrigued Dracula, who theorized that by feeding on Fury’s blood he might gain some of his power. He commanded Wiencke to capture Fury and bring him to his lair in England. Then the King of the Vampires left Wiencke, to further his evil plans elsewhere. Wiencke went to the AIM base he had been stationed at, using his new powers to slay those he hated and transforming his friends into vampires.
It took the undead only a few days to uncover Fury’s high-rise apartment, and mere minutes ago they kidnaped Fury and took him back to their base. Little did they know Nick was expecting company.
Enter Your Heroes
Read the following to your players:
It’s a cold December evening as you and your friends head for Nick Fury’s apartment. Tonight is a special night, for tonight the Floating Super Hero Poker Game begins anew! For years super heroes have gathered at random places to relax, play a few hands of poker, and just sit and talk like normal people who are not called upon to save the world every week. Then Onslaught came and most of the regular participants of the poker game were sent to a parallel universe, with those left behind too busy to keep the tradition alive.
But now things have settled down enough for the game to begin again. And for the first time ever the game’s being hosted by Nick Fury. You were all surprised when Nick invited you all, if only because everyone thought he lived on the Helicarrier! The question you all share is what Nick’s apartment will be like, as the ex-Army, ex-CIA agent of SHIELD never shows much of the non-business side of his personality.
After being let in by an unbelieving doorman the heroes must take an elevator to Fury’s 30th floor apartment. No answers come to the heroes’ knocking, which should clue them in that something is wrong. Attempts to speak with Nick’s neighbors prove fruitless, as none of them are home. The only course of action is for the heroes to break into Nick’s apartment. Once they have chosen their method of entry (breaking down the door, teleporting in, etc.) read the following:
Your worst fears are confirmed as you enter Nick’s apartment. The place looks like a tornado went through it, and the floor-to-ceiling window on the apartment’s west side is shattered, allowing bitterly cold air to flow into the room. Most disturbing are the two skeletons clothed in AIM uniforms, one of which hangs on the wall, pinned by a table leg. Of Nick there is no sign.
The apartment consists of a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. While all four rooms have been trashed, fighting occurred only in the living room. The reason the other rooms are vandalized is that the AIM vampires wished to kill Nick, since he has been a great foe of AIM for many years, but Wiencke specifically ordered Fury was not to be killed. Angry they had the great Fury helpless but could do nothing to him, they vented their frustrations on Nick’s possessions.
There are many clues in the living room for the heroes to find. Have the heroes make Willpower totals (Observation and Criminology helps) and compare their totals to the chart corresponding to what they are examining.
Willpower total Result
Easy (4) An AIM laser pistol (damage bonus +3) is found in the rubble. (One of the vampires brought the gun out of habit, rather than any need for it.)
Average (8) The heroes notice that the glass from the broken windows sits on the apartment floor, indicating that someone broke through the window from outside, a neat trick given how far from the ground the window is.
Challenging (12) There are several small stains of a greenish liquid in the apartment, still moist to the touch. Those with the Occult skill recognize it as the ichor that pumps through vampires’ veins in lieu of blood.
Willpower Total Result
Easy (4) The wooden shaft that pins the body on the wall pierces its heart, which is the only organ present in the skeleton.
Average (8) Upon each body is an electronic passcard for something called Reiston Warehouse.
Challenging (12) Stuck in the clothing of both bodies are several bullets, all of which are flattened as if they struck some super-hard object.
Daunting (16) The bones of the body on the floor have several scratch marks on them. A silver breadknife lays next to the body, covered with a green ichor.
Desperate (20) By chance the hero making this total looks into a small mirror in the living room, and notices the two skeletons cast no reflection; even the remains of destroyed vampires cast no reflection.
The heroes should be able to deduce that Nick has been abducted by undead of the blood sucking persuasion. At this point they may wish to find Reiston Warehouse, contact SHIELD to inform them of Fury’s kidnaping, or prepare themselves against their forthcoming fight with the undead. It is possible that your heroes may decide to unstake the vampire on the wall, so that they might interrogate it. Given the enormous powers a vampire possesses they should realize the danger such an act entails. If they still proceed with such a plan the vampire will turn to mist during the first exchange, fleeing to Reiston Warehouse. It reports in to Wiencke, catching him just before he leaves, and he slays his minion for its incompetence.
Heroes may be fearful of informing SHIELD about Fury’s kidnaping, thinking the spy organization might try to rescue their commander themselves. However, once informed of the situation, SHIELD is more than happy to let the heroes rescue Fury. While greatly concerned about their leader, the men and women of SHIELD realize that the heroes are better able to deal with the vampires and save Fury. SHIELD can inform the heroes of the weaknesses of vampires
(IE all Hindrances listed in the vampire profile), though they will be unable to provide items the heroes can use against the vampires; SHIELD’s arsenal is designed to be used against high-tech foes, not supernatural ones. If asked about Reiston Warehouse SHIELD will only be able to supply its address, being unaware of its true nature.
Heroes may decide to contact individuals from both the everyday world and the superhero community for help. Holy water and religious icons can be gotten from any church, and wooden stakes are easily made. A check with the police turns up no increase in missing person reports, or any findings of bloodless bodies. Narrator-controlled heroes should not be available to be used as cannon fodder, though they could be contacted for aid and advice. Doctor Strange could be particularly helpful to the heroes, as he could locate the vampire lair with a spell if your heroes did not find the passcards to Reiston Warehouse, and inform them of vampire weaknesses if they did not go to SHIELD. If the Narrator feels the heroes are not powerful enough to stand against the vampires (or haven’t figured out how to properly arm themselves) Strange may use his magic to create silver weapons for the heroes to use (“Wow, silver brass knuckles,” exclaimed the Thing) or turn weapons they carry into silver. Under no circumstances will he accompany the heroes, being “in the middle of mystical experimentation that, if left unattended, will explode with enough force to penetrate the wards of my sanctum and threaten innocents.”
A quick check of the phone book reveals that Reiston Warehouse is a storage company, located in one of the worst parts of Hell’s Kitchen. Surveillance of the squat, one-story building reveals nothing about the warehouse, with no one entering or leaving while the heroes watch. However, with an average Willpower total the heroes will notice that the street people living in the neighborhood make a point of not getting close to the warehouse, even crossing the street so they do not have to walk past it. Questioning the vagrants about this requires a challenging Willpower total, without which they flee in terror from your heroes. Success means the homeless will speak with the inquiring hero, though the unfortunate insists any conversations must be held well away from the warehouse. The heroes are told that in the two years since Reiston Warehouse opened its workers have made it a point of being violent toward anyone who lingers near the building, and they are believed to be responsible for the disappearances of several homeless in the neighborhood. They have been rather lax in their harassment recently, however, with no one from the warehouse having been seen on the streets the last few days.
Access to Reiston Warehouse can be gained from either the loading doors on the north end of the building or the regular doors on the south and west sides, the passcards found at Fury’s apartment proving instant access. Inside is a vast area full of crates, with an office and bathroom on the south side of the building. No one is present, and a search of the office’s contents turns up nothing out of the ordinary, only files devoted to the logging of the various mundane items held at the warehouse and the usual bookkeeping (tax records, water bills, etc.). Checking any of the crates reveals that the logs are a lie, as box after box of “hairdryers” and “microwaves” are revealed to contain high-tech equipment that, with an average Intellect total, a hero can identify as used in the construction of power armor. (Narrator Note: The AIM agents in charge of the warehouse cover keep the falsified log in case someone investigates them, but have become lax in recent times; the crates of high-tech equipment should be concealed beneath crates of everyday items like microwaves and refrigerators. Heroes may also notice a lack of surveillance devices; such devices were scavenged for parts for an experiment months ago, and were never replaced.)
With a challenging Willpower total a hero will discover one of Nick Fury’s cigars, bearing his teeth marks on the end, sitting by a stack of crates in the center of the building. With an easy Willpower total a hero can notice the faint outline of a trapdoor next to the cigar, its edges outlined by light from below. Opening the trapdoor reveals a spiral staircase leading down to a four-way intersection of a hallway. No sounds come from below, nor is there any sign of activity. The only thing left for the heroes to do is go down the stairs to find their friend Nick.
The AIM Base
The purpose of this facility was to build armored battlesuits for AIM, to compete with the likes of SHIELD’s Mandroid armor or Iron Man. The eighteen scientists stationed here worked feverently at their task, though with little success. They had just had a break-through when their comrade-turned-vampire attacked the base, and now your heroes will get to encounter their success up close and personal. Read the following to the players:
As you reach the bottom of the stairs a foul odor assails your senses. It’s the smell of death, with an intensity normally found only on a battlefield. Looking down the brightly-lit hallways you seen burns on the walls from energy weapons and marks as though someone had punched the walls with great strength. Nowhere do you see the source of the odor.
All of the passcard locks on the base’s doors have been disabled, allowing access to all the rooms in the complex. This has been done by the vampires so the heroes can stumble into their traps more easily.
1. Recreation Room: This room has seen recent use, the vampires spending almost as much time in it now as they did during their breathing days. Though containing a TV, VCR, and library of novels, the heroes will no doubt be drawn to the pool table and its six wooden pool cues, which can be used to stake vampires.
2. Kitchen: This is a fancy kitchen, more appropriate for a wealthy bachelor than a group of terrorists; a larder in the back half of the kitchen contains a month’s worth of food. With an easy Willpower total a hero notices that several days worth of dust covers everything in the kitchen, with tracks in the dust leading to the refrigerator. Inside the refrigerator are beakers, vials, jugs, and any other container the vampires could find, all containing the blood of those AIM agents not turned into undead. Wiencke realized that if he and his minions started preying on the locals someone might notice, so he had his slaves save the blood of their fellow AIM agents to consume later.
If any of the heroes check they find two sets of silverware, the knives and forks of which provide a damage bonus of +1.
3. Barracks: Read the following to the players:
There are seventeen beds here, each with a footlocker at its base. Four sit unmade and filthy, an odd thing given the washer and dryer that sit in the corner.
This is where the vampires sleep during the day. Since all were born and raised in NYC there is no need for them to have a pound of native soil lining where they sleep, as explained in the vampire description at the end of the adventure. The footlockers contain personal items of the AIM agents that were stationed here, none of which are of any interest or use to the heroes.
4. Armor Lab 1: Read the following to the players:
The thick blast door slowly opens, revealing a laboratory showcasing the diabolic genius of the Advanced Idea Mechanics. Around the room sit a half-dozen battlesuits, all in various stages of development, none completed. On work tables sit powerpacks, armored gauntlets, and other pieces of high-technology, all waiting to be fitted to a battlesuit. In the far corner of the lab sit three computer terminals.
Examination of the battlesuits by anyone with the Electronics, Mechanic, or Weapons System skill will reveal that the suits are high quality, nearly equal to SHIELD’s Mandroid armor and certainly the best armor AIM has ever produced. Accessing the computer terminals is a challenging Intellect act without the necessary passwords. Contained within the computer are detailed schematics of all the suits of armor in the room, along with daily logs of the work done in the lab. The log ends eleven days ago, which is odd since the last entry indicates the next day would be spent in intensive testing of the suits’ weapon systems.
As the heroes ponder the logs one of the AIM vampires enters the room in mist form, solidifying in the battlesuit closest to being finished. Have the heroes check for surprise as the armored vampire attacks them from behind.
Armored AIM Vampire: Strength 11X, Agility 13X, Intellect 4C, Willpower 1X Health 10 Skills: Mechanic, Weapons Systems Powers: Animal Form 10 (Bat), Body Armor +10, Body Transformation 10 (Gas), Immortality, Invulnerability (Non-Vampiric Mind Control), Invulnerability (non-silver/wood weapons with damage bonuses less than +6), Life Drain 8, Life Support 20, Mind Control 15 (Limit: Must have used Life Drain on victim), Regeneration 10 Equipment: Battlesuit- Body Armor +3 (total defense 24), Laser (Energy Blast 9), Life Support 5, Protected Senses 12. Hindrance: Exposed Components (see below)
Hindrances: Addicted to blood, Fatal Vulnerability to holy water, sunlight and running water. Phobic of religious symbols, garlic, and entering a dwelling without permission. Paralyzed and Powerless when wooden stake is driven through heart. Calling: Investigator.
The battlesuit’s tough metal composition prevents the vampire from being staked, the wooden shafts shattering upon it. The vampire is caught up in its newfound powers, and its strategy is nothing more than to beat the heroes unconscious, at which point it plans to turn them into vampires. While its use of the suit in its initial attack gave it the element of surprise, it has also given the vampire a fatal vulnerability. As mentioned earlier all of the battlesuits are still under construction, and the one the vampire wears is no exception. The armor’s circuitry is exposed in several places, and if it were to get wet (say in the base’s showers, for example) it would explode one exchange later, destroying itself and the vampire, along with hitting everyone in a five-meter radius with an intensity 10 attack.
5. Bathroom: Read the following to the players as they reach the bathroom door:
The odor of death that permeates the complex is strongest here, nearly hitting you like a physical force. Whatever is generating the odor is behind this door.
Once the heroes decide to open the door read the following:
The sight behind the door chills your very souls. The decaying bodies of a dozen AIM agents have been stuffed into this bathroom, their pale faces locked in expressions of utter terror.
Heroes may brave the stench of decaying flesh and attempt to examine the bodies. An easy Intellect total a hero will be able to determine the bodies have been drained of blood, the drainage point being holes in each victim’s wrists, and an average total will allow a hero to determine the men have been here at least a week and a half; Medicine skill helps for these Intellect checks. A challenging Intellect total will reveal the AIM agents all died of massive blunt trauma, perhaps killed by someone with superhuman strength; if this total is made another challenging Intellect total will remind heroes that anyone a vampire dispatches by blood drinking becomes a vampire, so the undead must slay their victims in other ways if they do not wish their return as an undead monster.
The bodies are of those Wiencke did not deem worthy of becoming vampires. The corpses were dumped here until they could be disposed of at a later date.
6. Showers: The door to this room is wedged shut, requiring a Strength total of 11 or better to open. Past the door is the base’s showering facility, which was turned into a blood-draining chamber by Wiencke after he took over the base. It was here he kept those not to be turned into vampires, draining them of blood with a device of his own creation so he might feed himself and his future undead slaves. His blood-draining device is still here, a pump-like device with a spiked tube at one end used to draw blood; the spike is easily recognized as creating the wounds found on the arms of the bodies in the bathroom. The blood is drained out and released through a tube at the other end, to be collected in some sort of object.
7. Elevator: This massive hydraulic lift allowed easy transport of supplies from the warehouse, the ceiling above it lifting up when the elevator was called to the surface. It is currently inoperable, a pile of crates both pinning the ceiling doors shut and preventing heroes from noticing the elevator while in the warehouse. Wiencke placed the crates there before he attacked the base, to seal off an avenue of escape for his victims, and has not bothered to remove them.
8. Armor Lab 2: This lab is divided into two sections, with the door to the eastern half of the lab sealed shut (Material Strength 14). The doors to the western half of the lab are open, however, and when the players enter read the following:
The room you have entered appears to be completely empty. On the eastern wall is a one-way mirror, leaving you to wonder if anyone is watching you through it. Suddenly the door to the room seal shut, and you hear motors spring to life, pumping the air out of the room!
Normally this room is used to test the life support abilities of the battlesuits developed on-site, with the oxygen in the room being pumped out and devices built into the walls simulating the pressure of the deeps seas or the cold of space. The first exchange the heroes are in the room they suffer a Cold Control attack at intensity 6, increasing by 1 each exchange until it reaches a value of 10. By the beginning of the second exchange all air will have been sucked out of the chamber, causing everyone without Life Support or private oxygen supply to lose 5 Health a round, just as if they had a Fatal Vulnerability.
There are a number of ways the heroes can get themselves out of this situation. The most obvious way would be to blast a way through a door (Material Strength 14) or wall (Material Strength 16). If a hero possess the Computer Link power he can shut down the environmental simulation with a challenging power total. Finally, the heroes could attempt to shatter the observation window, which has a Material Strength of 9. If the oxygen has already been removed from the testing area this results in a mini-vortex, as air rushes in to fill the testing chamber, dragging the vampire who activated the simulation into the room with the heroes. The heroes will have one exchange to attack the vampire before it gets its bearings and defends itself.
AIM Vampire: Strength 11X, Agility 13X, Intellect 4C, Willpower 1X, Health 10 Skills: Computers, Mechanics Powers: Animal Form 10 (Bat), Body Armor +10, Body Transformation 10 (Gas), Immortality, Invulnerability (Non-Vampiric Mind Control), Invulnerability (non-silver weapons with damage bonuses less than +6), Life Drain 8, Life Support 20, Mind Control 15 (Limit: Must have used Life Drain on victim), Regeneration 10 Hindrances: Addicted to blood, Fatal Vulnerability to holy water, sunlight and running water. Phobic of religious symbols, garlic, and entering a dwelling without permission. Paralyzed and Powerless when wooden stake is driven through heart. Calling: Investigator.
Exploring the section of the lab that controls the simulation chamber reveals several computers, all hooked into the scanning equipment that monitors the western portion of the lab. The computers also contain logs dating back two years, detailing the testing of the battlesuits constructed within this complex. Except for the last few months all the entries cover the failure of each suit of armor, the authors of the logs worrying they might be executed for their failures in several entries. The last entry is dated eleven days ago, which is when Wiencke took over the facility. Note that if the heroes did not deal with the vampire while in the western section of the lab it will be here, waiting in mist form to ambush them.
9. Generator: The small nuclear reactor that fuels this base is located here, along with the base’s air recycling center.
10. Armory: As the heroes approach this room read the following:
You hear a scream of terror, followed by the sound of someone running. Rounding the corner ahead of you is a figure garbed in the standard head-to-toe AIM uniform. He stops at the sight of you, muttering “Thank God,” his voice muffled by his helmet. “You’ve got to help me,” he wails, but before he can say more a mist appears around him, which quickly coalesces into a human form. The solidified vampire grabs the man and hurls him back down the hallway he came from, then turns back to mist and flows after his victim.
No doubt the heroes will pursue the vampire and his prey, rounding the corner as the door to the armory slams shut. It’s unlocked, and once the heroes follow the men in read the following:
This room served as the base’s armory, judging by the dozens of laser rifles and pistols that sit on racks along the walls; the AIM practice of overarming its members seems to be going strong. In a corner of the room lays the person you saw attacked by the vampire in the hallway, lying quite still.
Well, not quite. The individual the heroes saw being attacked in the hallway is, in fact, a vampire. The figure laying in the corner is not that vampire, but rather the body of one of the AIM scientist killed during Wiencke’s takeover of the facility, clad in the same head-to-toe uniform as the vampire. With a challenging Willpower total a hero will notice the hole in the arm of the body on the floor, which matches the holes in the corpses found in the bathroom. Alternately, an easy Enchanted Senses-Smell total will allow a hero to recognize the scent of decaying flesh that comes from the body. If the heroes do not realize the body is not the same person they saw in the hall they may make a challenging Willpower total to realize they have walked into a trap; success allows them to notice the compact explosives wired all over the armory, their timers counting down the final seconds until detonation . . .
What happens next depends on when (if) the heroes realize they have walked into a trap. If they determined the body in the corner was the not the person they saw in the hall and immediately left the room they suffer only an intensity 8 Energy Blast from the explosion, the armory’s thick walls protecting them from the brunt of the blast. If the heroes failed to notice the body was a corpse, but did see the bombs, they have one exchange to act in before they detonate. An average Agility total allows a hero to jump out of the armory, suffering damage as described above. Attempts to deactivate the bombs, use of Lightning Speed to gather them up, or any other attempt to tamper with them results in instant detonation, thanks to anti-tampering failsafes. Those in the room when the bombs detonate suffer an Energy Blast with an intensity of 17, as both the bombs and the power packs of the weapons in the room detonate. Heroes who do not identify the body as a corpse nor notice the bombs also suffer an Energy Blast of intensity 17, though they will have no idea of the cause.
After the explosion the two vampires will exit the armory’s air vents in mist form, solidifying into the two individuals the heroes saw in the hall. After laughing at the heroes for falling for their trap they attack.
Two AIM Vampires: Strength 11X, Agility 13X, Intellect 4C, Willpower 1X, Health 10 Skills: Demolitions, Mechanics Powers: Animal Form 10 (Bat), Body Armor +10, Body Transformation 10 (Gas), Immortality, Invulnerability (Non-Vampiric Mind Control), Invulnerability (non-silver/wood weapons with damage bonuses less than +6), Life Drain 8, Life Support 20, Mind Control 15 (Limit: Must have used Life Drain on victim), Regeneration 10 Hindrances: Addicted to blood, Fatal Vulnerability to holy water, sunlight and running water. Phobic of religious symbols, garlic, and entering a dwelling without permission. Paralyzed and Powerless when wooden stake is driven through heart. Calling: Investigator.
11. Commander’s Quarters: The personal quarters of the base’s commanders were claimed by Wiencke after he took control of the base, though he has done nothing to change them. Norman Rockwell paintings line the walls of the room, and a bookcase on the south wall contains newspapers, magazines, and videotapes, all concerning Silver Sable; the base commander had a crush on the leader of the Wild Pack. A computer sits next to the bookcase, though it contains nothing concerning AIM activities, all such information on the computer in the commander’s office. Instead the computer contains various games and many files on Silver Sable and her appearances and activities. On the bed sits several half-filled containers of blood, which Wiencke gorged himself on while his minions captured Fury.
12. Communications Room: Filled with all sorts of communication gear, which the AIM base normally uses to keep in contact with the rest of AIM. After Wiencke took over the base he broadcast a message saying the base’s reactor had unleashed radiation into the complex, and he was sealing the complex off. As yet AIM has not sent a team to investigate.
13. Office: This room is spartan to say the least, containing two chair and a desk, the latter having a computer upon it. Taped to the computer’s monitor is a note, which reads “If you are reading this you no doubt came to rescue Fury. Unfortunately for you I’ve already left with him, to deliver to my master Dracula. You have no way of finding me, so don’t even bother to try. Besides, I’ve left a few of my minions here, with orders to leave here a few hours after I depart. Can you really come after me and leave a quartet of vampires behind to terrorize the city? I think not. As a gift to you I have disabled the password function of this computer, allowing you full access to its files. Use the knowledge within it about AIM as you wish, knowing that someday you will bow to Dracula, King of the Vampires.”
The computer’s password function is disabled, just as the note said. On its hard drive are dossiers on all the lab’s personnel, a complete description of every experiment done in the lab, and a listing of all the places the base purchased supplies for its experiments; SHIELD would love this list, as it would prove several major corporations deal with AIM regularly, despite it being a terrorist group. You can also have the computer contain files on current and future AIM operations, if you wish to guide the heroes to future adventures involving AIM in your series.
The desk’s drawers contain nothing of interest, holding requestion forms for uniforms, uniforms, and other trivial things. However, sitting under the desk are two airline tickets. They are for a trip to London, departing from La Guardia Airport, with a departure time only a few hours away. Smart heroes will undoubtedly rush to the airport to follow the only clue they have.
Terror at La Guardia
Arriving at La Guardia the heroes find chaos is the word of the day. In the parking lot stand hundreds of people, some would-be passengers on flights out of the airport, others gawkers that have been attracted by the dozens of police officers that surround the building. The heroes are instantly mobbed by the bystandards, some asking if they have come to deal with “that maniac in the terminal” and other asking if they could sign an autograph or two. Eventually the heroes are led to Detective Larry Holden, who is currently in charge by default of being the highest ranking police officer currently present. His greets the heroes and explains the situation to them. Read or paraphrase the following:
It’s good to see some you super-types show up, because we need your help. From what we’ve been able to gather from witnesses some sort of superhuman psychopath is holed up in the terminal. Our perp was accompanied by another man, a fellow wearing an eyepatch, who kept setting off the airport’s metal detectors. The perp became very agitated when his companion was denied passage onto his flight, and his response to security telling him to settle down was to grab two of the airport guards and throwing them through a pale glass window. The rest of security moved in then, only to get thrown around like rag dolls by the guy, who also shrugged off the bullets they shot into him. Chaos ensued, with passengers and airport workers scrambling to get out of there.
As far as we can tell the men are still in the terminal. We’ve been holding the perimeter, waiting for Code: BLUE, but last we heard they were dealing with a break-out at Riker’s Island. We’d appreciate any help, especially since we haven’t been able to conduct an evacuation of the planes on the runway. We would’ve let them take off to get out of harm’s way, but the air traffic controllers bolted with everyone else.”
The perp and his companion are, of course, Wiencke and Fury. Fury is literally punch drunk, having been beaten into a stupor by Wiencke to insure his cooperation. The metal detector went off because it picked up the piece of shrapnel in Nick’s head that he hass carried since World War II, the one responsible for the loss of sight in his left eye. Wiencke, already upset because he left their airplane tickets at the base (a mistake he planned to rectify by using Life Drain and Mind Control on airport personnel to get aboard his flight), lost control when security got in his face. He is currently pondering his options, an unconscious Nick Fury next to him. Wiencke knows he needs to escape, but fears Fury could be killed by stray fire from the police, which would result in the full fury of Dracula coming down upon him.
The heroes may decide to sneak into the terminal and attack Wiencke, or they may attempt a frontal assault. Each approach has its own advantages and problems, as described below.
The Stealth Option
Heroes may decide to sneak in through air ducts, ride the baggage carousel, or the more boring (but effective) way of turning invisible to stealthily enter the terminal. Wiencke is currently too enraged to keep watch for such subtle methods of infiltration, but each method of entry poses its own hazards. Passage through the cramped air ducts require a challenging Agility total for heroes unable to reduce their size or alter their shape, with failure resulting in the hero becoming stuck and unable to break free without outside help. Gaining access to the baggage area (from which the baggage carousels can be reached) requires a challenging Agility total to pick the lock, with failure to do so or the forcing of the door resulting in an alarm going off. This results in Wiencke taking the action described in the Frontal Assault section below. And while Wiencke has no method of detecting invisible heroes, several sharpshooters have infrared scopes on their rifles, the equivalent of Enhanced Senses 5. If the invisible hero(es) fail to make a power intensity total of 9 or better than one of the snipers sees him and takes a shot at him; treat this as an intensity 9 Energy Blast (Kinetic).
Once the heroes enter the terminal they find a scene of absolute chaos. Dozens of pieces of luggage litter the ground, dropped by passengers in their frenzied flight to escape from Wiencke. The metal detector that detected Fury’s shrapnel has felt Wiencke’s rage, and now resembles a bent car fender. The bodies of several security guards lay around the terminal, already growing cold, their ineffectual weapons still in hand. Nick Fury lays unconscious on the floor, with Wiencke (dressed in an ill-fitting business suit) standing above him, blaming Fury for his current predicament. Wiencke’s back is to the heroes, and he must make a surprise check to be able to act as the heroes attack.
Arthur Wiencke: Strength 11D, Agility 13D, Intellect 5C, Willpower 3X, Edge 1 Health 17, Skills: Brawling, Mechanics, Weapons Systems, Thievery Powers: Animal Form 10 (Bat), Body Armor +10, Body Transformation 10 (Gas), Immortality, Invulnerability (Non-Vampiric Mind Control), Invulnerability (non-silver/wood weapons with damage bonuses less than +6), Life Drain 8, Life Support 20, Mind Control 15 (Limit: Must have used Life Drain on victim), Regeneration 10 Hindrances: Addicted to blood, Fatal Vulnerability to holy water, sunlight and running water. Frenzied, Phobic of religious symbols, garlic, and entering a dwelling without permission. Paralyzed and Powerless when wooden stake is driven through heart. Unlucky Calling: Investigator.
Wiencke will fight to the death, never fleeing unless he is able to take Fury with him. If the battle were to spread to outside it is possible he would threaten bystandards to get the heroes to allow him to leave with Fury.
The direct assault method of rescuing Fury solves the problem of being stealthy for the heroes, but pushes Wiencke into a dangerous choice. Once the heroes enter the terminal, be it by burrowing, crashing through a wall, or whatnot read the following:
The terminal looks like a hurricane went through it, with bodies and luggage everywhere. But what’s got your attention is the unconscious form of Nick Fury, currently being held by a crazed-looking fellow sporting two-inch fangs. He looks at you and snarls “You must be here to rescue Fury. I’m afraid my orders are very clear, and they don’t include letting you have your friend here. My master Dracula instructed me to retrieve Fury, so he might feast upon the Infinity Formula that flows through his veins. He hopes the formula might grant him great power. Now that I think about it my master did not bid me not to feast on Fury, and I’m sure he’d want me to if it would grant me the power to defeat you.”
With that the vampire opens his mouth wide and lunges for Fury’s throat!
The heroes have one exchange to take Wiencke down, using the stats provided under The Stealth Option. If the heroes fail to do so read the following:
The vampire sinks its fangs into Fury’s throat, but almost immediately it rears its head back and lets loose an anguished howl of pain. He hurls Fury away, who lands at the other end of the terminal, the groan he emits letting you know he’s alive. As you watch the vampire undergoes a horrifying change, the skin on his body multiplying over and over. In seconds the human shape of the vampire has turned into a blob of undead flesh, ten feet across. With a sickening gurgle it oozes toward you, decaying all that it touches.
The Infinity Formula has had an unexpected reaction with the vampire’s undead physiology. Wiencke has mutated into an unthinking beast with powers beyond a regular vampire.
Mutated Wiencke: Strength 14D, Agility 2X, Intellect 1X, Willpower 3X Health 17 Skills: Brawling Powers: Body Armor +10 (total defense 24), Corrosion 10, Invulnerability to non-silver/wood weapons with less than +6 damage bonus and Mind Control, Life Detection 20, Life Support 20, Psi-Screen +6, Radar Sense 9 (Stunt-Back Attack), Regeneration 10 Hindrances: Addicted to blood, Bruiser, Fatal Vulnerability to holy water, sunlight and running water. Frenzied, Phobic of religious symbols, garlic, and entering a dwelling without permission. Unlucky. Calling: Bruiser.
Note that the mutated vampire has no Life Drain or mouth to get blood to feed itself, meaning it will wither and die in three days if not defeated by your heroes. It also no longer has a heart to stake, it body now just a mass of undead flesh. It is attracted by large congregations of living things, and it will do its best to go after those surrounding the airport, sensing the blood that flows through their veins and knowing it needs it to survive. Once reduced to zero Health the vampire disintegrates, much to the confusion of the NYPD.
Nick Fury will live, though he will be spending several weeks in the hospital. Minutes after the battle ends SHIELD agents arrive on the scene, spiriting away their commander and the heroes, the latter undergoing several hours of debriefing before being allowed to go on their way.
A month later Fury plays host to the Super Hero Poker Game, this time at his private quarters aboard the Helicarrier. During the course of the game the conversation turns to the heroes’ rescue of Fury, and the howling commando thanks them in his gruff way. He also informs the heroes that the cover story for the battle at La Guardia is that the vampire was a bio-engineered creation of AIM that escaped its masters and eventually self-destructed.
Finally, as he shows a winning hand, Fury mentions SHIELD is planning a mission to England, to uncover Dracula and put a stake through his undead chest. Perhaps the heroes would be interest in volunteering . . .
Vampires in the Marvel Universe
Created by an evil spell found in the tome of dark knowledge known as the Darkhold, vampires have existed in the Marvel Universe for thousands of years. These undead have many powers and vulnerabilities, some of which need explanation beyond the capsule stats given to them in A Guide to Marvel Earth and the article on magic in Dragon Magazine Annual 1999. All of this expanded material comes from the entry on vampires found on pages 34 and 35 of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, volume 2 #20.
-All vampires have Animal Control 10, with the Stunt Animal Summoning and the Limit Bats, Wolves, and Rats only. Note that not all vampires realize they possess this power, and go through their entire lives without using it (such as the vampires in this adventure).
-Anyone killed by a vampire’s Life Drain ability returns as a vampire three days after they die. Beheading, cremation, or staking of their body prevents them from returning.
-Beheading will kill a vampire. This requires a called shot and damage being inflicted in a single attack greater than the vampire’s current Health.
-The power to change into a wolf is not an ability automatically gained when one becomes a vampire, requiring much practice to master, with some vampires never developing the ability. The ability to turn into a bat is an ability instantly mastered when one becomes a vampire, however.
-While within 20 feet of a garlic clove vampires are unable to use their Animal Form or Body Transformation Powers.
-Note that vampires’ are just as vulnerable to wooden weapons as they are to silver ones (ignore Invulnerability when wooden weapons are used on vampires).
-Vampires automatically go into a comatose state during daylight hours. A vampire may force himself to stay awake, but if he does the difficulty level of all actions he performs is one level higher during daylight hours.
-Vampires cannot travel more than 100 miles from their place of birth without taking a pound of soil from their birthplace with them, to line their sleeping area with. Failure to do so results in a loss of 5 Health points per day of sleeping without the soil.
-Vampires cast no reflection in mirrors, and their images cannot be electronically recorded. In situations where this would be a benefit to the vampire treat it as the Invisiblity power at Intensity 10, with the Limit Invisible to Machines/Mirrors only.
-Vampires have a Fatal Vulnerability to holy water.