A Fine Place to Die

by Bob Greenwade

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Arms Against the Dragon

While a good deal has been written on many of the more prominent villain groups in the Champions Universe -- Bullet's Raiders, the Conquerers, the Crusher Gang, Eurostar, PSI, Terror Incorporated, the Ultimates, and VOICE, to name only those that come right to mind -- surprisingly little has been done with Los Asesinos, the supervillain group in the Champions rulebook. They are, however, no less a significant and viable villain group than any of those others; just like them, they can be used over and over.

This is a short Champions adventure featuring Los Asesinos against a typical group of four-color superheroes, numbering 4-7 and having 100 base points, up to 150 points in Disadvantages, and about 75-100 experience points. The power levels may be adjusted upward or downward (with notes given at the end of this adventure) to accomodate groups that are more powerful or less powerful.

If all goes according to plan, this adventure should be playable in a single sitting (though you may need to be not too fussy about how long that sitting is).

This adventure includes a few surprises and secrets to which players should not be privy. If you are a player and have a character who might be involved in this adventure, stop reading now. If you continue reading, your GM will come over to wherever you are and torture you mercilessly for several days. And I'll help!

It should be noted that this adventure includes a very nasty deathtrap. If the GM thinks that there's too much of a chance that this deathtrap will cause some PCs to be killed for his tastes (that is, it's too much for the normal violence level of the campaign), he should either adjust the trap to be a little less deadly, provide the PCs with some temporary extra defenses, or not run the adventure.

It should also be noted that, in the text of this adventure, it's assumed that both The Maine and El Muerto Obscuro are members of Los Asesinos, though the group's write-up in the Champions rulebook says only one or the other should be included. If you've been going by the latter assumption, you may either omit whichever of the two is less appropriate to your group, or assume that the other has joined since the last time Los Asesinos made an appearance. It's also assumed that Ultraviolet Sparrowhawk (from Enemies For Hire) is not with the group, though in case you've added her as a member, references are made to her tactics in battle. If the group is large and/or very experienced, it's recommended that all three of these characters be used.

Before the Adventure

Some amount of foreshadowing can be very helpful for this adventure. Introduce the characters to Heatray, a new superhero in a nearby city of medium population -- something just outside the suburban area, if the PCs are based in a large metropolitan area -- that previously had no superheroes. (In the author's campaign, which is centered in the metropolitan area around Portland, Oregon, Heatray was placed in Salem.) He can help the PCs on a couple of occasions when adventures carry them to that town's area, or he could carry one or two of his own adventures into the PCs' territory. He may even be invited to join the group, but will do no more than seriously consider the offer; he likes and respects the PCs, but his real priority is serving and protecting his home town. (Fuller details on Heatray, including his history and Secret ID, can be found at the end of the adventure.)

Whether the PCs encounter Los Asesinos before this adventure or not depends on the decision of the GM. If Mob Rule (the adventure in the Champions rulebook that introduces Los Asesinos) or some other adventure with them has already been run, then obviously the PCs and Los Asesinos have met before. The GM may also decide, upon reading this adventure, to run Mob Rule (and/or an adventure of his own invention featuring this villain team) and then use this adventure as a follow-up -- or vice versa.

Finally, the nameless Incan scepter which is featured in this adventure may also make an appearance before it appears in this context. DEMON, the Devil's Advocates, Edward and Anais Vandeleur, VOICE, or even Doctor Destroyer (taking a rare interest in something of a magical nature) might attempt to steal it from its tour, or some other adventure might carry the PCs to Peru to let them get involved in some complications involving the scepter. This is, as always, entirely up to the GM.

The Set-Up

Los Asesinos have been hired by one character's Hunter (or the Hunter of more than one character) to kill that character (or those characters). The Hunter has already tried on their own more than once to bring the character's life to an end, and failed every time so far (these attempts should, of course, be a part of previous adventures). The Hunter may be Doctor Destroyer, Genocide, VIPER, or nearly any other ruthless and unscrupulous group or individual. (In fact, it'd be most appropriate if the Hunter is Genocide, since Heatray is himself Hunted by Genocide.) In some cases, more than one character -- or even the whole group -- may be a part of the contract. Naturally, if Los Asesinos have tried and failed to kill the PCs before (such as in Mob Rule), they'll be working for a discount.

In an attempt to lure the PCs into a trap, Stalker has devised a devious plan. He will stage a crime in which Heatray -- a known friend of the PCs -- is killed, motivating the PCs to go after them. To give added impetus, the crime will be the theft of something that the PCs will want to retrieve.

As it happens, a train of Incan artifacts, on loan by the Peruvian government, is making a railway tour of the United States, and Heatray's town is a two-day stop. (This can be either before or after the PCs' hometown; if after, then the GM may have the PCs foil a robbery attempt, as suggested above.) As it happens, one of the artifacts, a wooden scepter, is believed to have magical properties, though both the truth of this rumor and the nature of such powers is not publicly known.

The actual truth of the matter (which a character with an appropriate KS might know) is that the scepter is indeed magical, with three mystic properties. First, anyone who weilds it can use it to seriously injure anyone. Second, anyone who already has leadership skills (usually represented by the Oratory Skill, though the Mind Control Power may also count) has those Skills immensely enhanced. Third, anyone who already has mental powers whose basis is in magic is able to give those Powers a tremendous boost in power. Peripherally, it also gives speaking ability to anyone who doesn't already have it.

The statistical write-up for the scepter is as follows:

Smashing Blow: HA +6d6, Armor Piercing, Penetrating, OAF (18) [4]
Boost of Courage: +30 PRE, Costs END, Requires Oratory Skill Roll, OAF (10) [3]
Mind Bending: 8d6 Mind Control, Requires Oratory Skill Roll, OAF (16) [4]
Mental Boost: 5d6 Aid, all Mental Powers, Lose 5 points per 5 minutes, Powers Must be Based on Magic (-1), OAF (29) [9]
Speaking Ability: Oratory +2, Only for Characters Who Have Mind Control But Don't Already Have Oratory Skill (-1), OAF (2)
Total Real Cost: 75 points.
This is clearly an extremely powerful artifact, but it's let out where the public can see it because few people are sure whether the scepter on the tour is the same scepter of legend, and those who do know for sure don't really believe that it has these powers. Besides, the average person probably couldn't use it anyway.

The problem is that Stalker isn't an average person -- far from it. He actually fits all of the above categories, and can use the scepter's powers to their fullest -- meaning that, in his hands, the scepter is an extremely dangerous artifact!

Getting the Characters Involved

The PCs will normally be called in after Heatray's murder. As mentioned before, he's publicly known as a friend of the PCs, and their interest in the case will be natural. If they have a good relationship with the police, then they will be notified by their own local police, and asked to come to Heatray's city to make a statement, or at the very least answer a few questions about the man. Depending on their reputation for such things, they may even be asked to assist with the investigation of the robbery and murder.

If their relationship with the police is less than that, then they'll probably hear about Heatray's death in the news, and they may decide to go to the scene of the crime and help tie up the loose ends -- like the stolen scepter.

This may also be used as an adventure that gathers the PCs together. They may all be friends of Heatray in either his hero or civilian identity, and all show up (for one reason or another) to investigate the hero's death and/or help tie up loose ends, then decide to team up to bring their friend's killers to justice. How well they organize from this point, and in what form, is entirely up to the PCs themselves (and the players). If this option is taken, of course, then the target PC must be a type who would normally be hard to track down (a ninja or similarly stealth-oriented character is ideal); in this case, it's logical for Los Asesinos to get to him through Heatray.

It's also possible that a PC's DNPC was present during the crime, and may have been injured or even killed. (Be careful about killing DNPCs, however; don't do it without discussing it with the involved player first, and certainly not in the opening adventure.)

The Scene of the Crime

The entire crime centered around a single railway car. The cars connected to it at the front and rear were damaged only slightly.

There had been eight security guards on duty watching the train. All eight are dead at the scene. While some were attacked initially by different members of Los Asesinos, each of them was shot twice by the Tombstone Kid, and further hacked to certain death by El Muerte Obscuro (if Ultraviolet Sparrowhawk is with the group, some of them may be rent by her claws instead of hacked by El Muerte Obscuro).

In the car itself, a small hole has been torn into the floor from below by an unknown force (as seen on the tape, this was Spider Monkey's telekinesis). A larger hole in the ceiling was ripped by a creature with extremely powerful claws (Ocelote or Ultraviolet Sparrowhawk -- see below to determine which), and the main door was similarly ripped apart from the inside. Some slight ashes, including some singed fur (or feathers), can be found around the main door. The display case that held the scepter and several other items (including a headdress and a few shaman's fetishes) has been broken open. The scepter is the only thing missing.

Heatray's body is beaten and sliced beyond all hope of recovery (barring extremely powerful magic or similar powers, though this depends on the campaign). His skull is split open, his heart has been pierced, his lungs were punctured by cracked ribs as well as bullets, and his intestines were torn to virtual shreds. Interestingly, though his face is still mostly intact, no attempt was made to remove his mask until the medical examiner arrived.

The Security Tape

If the PCs have any kind of official status, they will be permitted (if not asked) to view the security tape, which caught the entire crime in action. It's in black-and-white, and is divided into quarters, each of which shows one of four views: the left side of the car from the front, including the top; the right side of the car, from the rear, including the underside; the interior of the car, from the front; and the interior of the car, from the back. The train is parked outdoors, in a medium-security railyard built especially for tours like this one (such as the King Tut exhibit in the late 1970s -- no such railyards were built in the real world for the King Tut exhibit, but they were in the Champions Universe because of the threat of attack from supervillains and certain agencies, most significantly DEMON). Before the crime actually starts, security guards (eight seperate individuals can be identified on the tape) can be seen wandering about the perimeter, occasionally checking inside the car.

As far as the cameras are concerned, the crime begins at forty-three minutes and twenty seconds past midnight (though some evidence might show it starting a few minutes earlier than that, at the GM's discretion). Spider Monkey is seen crawling along the bottom of the car, and Ocelote jumps to the top from the car in front (past the security camera). Simultaneously, the two villains rip their way into the car and enter it, Spider Monkey using her telekinesis and Ocelote using his claws. (If Ultraviolet Sparrowhawk is with the group, use her in Ocelote's place, and have him enter later.)

Once inside, Ocelote (or UV Sparrowhawk) tears open the main door (on the right side of the car); El Muerte Obscuro and the Tombstone Kid enter by this route. While Ocelote and the Tombstone Kid stand guard, Spider Monkey and El Muerte Obscuro closely examine the case that holds the scepter for about a minute. Then El Muerte Obscuro pulls his sword and shatters the glass with the hilt, and Spider Monkey uses her telekinesis to pull the scepter to herself, taking it with her tail.

That's when Heatray shows up. His first fire-blast arrives from off-camera and hits Ocelote (or UV Sparrowhawk) squarely, knocking the man-beast back into El Muerte Obscuro. Ocelote is only mildly singed, however, and El Muerto Obscuro suffers little other than being knocked down. The Tombstone Kid lets a couple of shots out, but clearly misses, as Heatray swoops in, through the open door, and right into Spider Monkey in a Move Through. Between this and the Knockback, Spider Monkey is knocked momentarily unconscious.

Then, from outside the cameras' view, a missile comes charging in and hits Heatray squarely in the back, momentarily dazing him. (If the PCs want to make a careful examination of the tape, they can tell that this is a shell from The Maine's big gun.) Spider Monkey can be seen concentrating, and Heatray falls completely unconscious. Then The Maine, Montaña, and Mosquito (and Ocelote, if he's been held in reserve) enter the train car through the main door. Each takes a turn beating on the hero's fallen form -- first the Tombstone Kid shoots him in the chest, then Spider Monkey breaks open his skull with the scepter, then the Maine and Montaña each break several ribs and arm bones with massive blows against the upper parts of his chest, El Muerte Obscuro pierces his heart with his sword, and Ocelote (along with UV Sparrowhawk, if she's present) disembowels him. Finally Stalker makes his entrance, takes the scepter from Spider Monkey, laughs evilly, and leads the team away from the scene, callously ignoring the fallen hero.

All is still after that for three and a half minutes, at which point the police arrive and find the situation as it is. There is nothing of interest on the tape after that (it's all of the police doing their jobs, following proper procedure at every point).

Tests and Deductions

Several things may occur to characters viewing the tape, especially if they've encountered Los Asesinos before. For one thing, these villains are killers, not mere thieves. If they just wanted the scepter, they'd probably hire someone else to do it for them.

Also, on the tape, they seem to be taking their time, making sure the security cameras capture everything. For that matter, Ocelote (or UV Sparrowhawk) and Spider Monkey each go right past a camera, but do nothing to disable it. This theft could have been carried out without anyone ever knowing who was behind it, or at least not without a lot of lab work. For that matter, the job could've been finished, and the thieves gone, before Heatray ever got there. It shouldn't have taken the whole team to carry off the job, either; Spider Monkey and El Muerte Obscuro alone could've handled it just fine. What's more, much of the action -- especially the brutality Heatray's murder, and most especially Stalker's appearance and gloating -- appears to be staged specifically for the cameras' sake (any character can make a PER Roll to notice this, with Acting as a complementary Roll).

It should quickly become clear to the PCs, if they get to see the security tape, that Los Asesinos wanted not only to steal the scepter, but also to kill Heatray, to make sure that people knew exactly who had committed both crimes, and to make sure that those who saw it were outraged. (Probably at the top of the list of people they're trying to attract is the PCs; if the players don't come up with this on their own, a Deduction Roll at -3, +1 for every publicized encounter they've had with Heatray, can tell them this.)

Fur can be found at the scene belonging to Spider Monkey and Ocelote, and bits of Montaña's body mark his trail as well. If Ultraviolet Sparrowhawk was present, some of her feathers -- some singed, some not -- are there too. Simple identification can be done visually, though the PCs may want to have formal lab tests for confirmation.

One of the most vital clues can be found by a close examination of either the scene or the videotape. On the tape, Stalker can be seen (with a PER Roll at -4) dropping a small, light-colored piece of paper. (If the PER Roll is made at -8, a PC may notice that Stalker dropped it on purpose; otherwise it will look like an accident, which was his intent.) The paper fell to the floor under the display case that had held the scepter, about five inches from the left corner and only a half-inch from the edge. It can be found there in any intent search of the car's interior, with no PER Roll needed.

The paper, which is a yellow NCR copy, is a receipt for eight round-trip tickets (nine, if Ultraviolet Sparrowhawk is involved in this) between Guayaquil, Equador and whatever international airport is nearest to Heatray's city. (If two or more about the same distance, pick the one closest to the PCs' city.) It was purchased in Peru, and so is written in Spanish, but even someone who speaks only English should be able to figure out what its content is. The return flight is scheduled to leave ten minutes after the receipt is discovered and its content identified.

The receipt is actually a blind of sorts for the villains' escape. Stalker had The Maine and El Muerte Obscuro, in their civilian guises, go to the airline's office earlier in the day with the tickets and a bunch of cash, and trade in the tickets for a charter train to Lima, Peru. That train left only an hour after the murder of Heatray. Since it will take some time to trace the trade-in of tickets (if it ever happens), the train will probably have left the United States by the time the PCs learn of it (depending on how long that is and how far Heatray's city is from Mexico). UNTIL may be able to catch up with it, but they will not only not find Los Asesinos there, but they'll find no hint that any member of the group other than Montaña had ever been aboard.

(In fact, none other than him has; the rest of the group went to Lima via seperately-purchased airline tickets. For that matter, only The Maine and El Muerto Obscuro took the trip as passengers; Stalker and the Tombstone Kid were shipped in coffins as corpses, Spider Monkey went in the pet compartment, and Mosquito stowed away in The Maine's carry-on baggage. If Ultraviolet Sparrowhawk is with the group, she went in the pet compartment with Spider Monkey.)

In essence, Los Asesinos will escape -- for now. But it's pretty clear that they're headed toward Lima, the nearest major city to their San Muerte home.

Off to Lima!

Because the Peruvian police lack the power to handle this and the American police lack the jurisdiction, UNTIL will probably get into the matter at this point, if they haven't gotten involved already. It's very likely, unless the PCs have a bad reputation among the law enforcement community, that UNTIL will ask the PCs to follow Los Asesinos to Peru and assist in this case; despite the presence of Terror Incorporated as well as Los Asesinos in that area, they don't really have the resources right there in Lima to handle a full-scale battle against either group.

(Of course, UNTIL will show a particular interest in and bank of knowledge about Mosquito. If the characters don't already know the reason for this, and aren't working directly for UNTIL, they won't share the information -- it's classified. In case you need the reason, it's in his writeup in the Champions sourcebook.) If the characters have their own means of transportation, they will be expected to use that. Otherwise, UNTIL will provide a command-level military-style charter flight. Either way, UNTIL will help clear the way for passport and visa considerations, or may (if necessary) even provide for such documents themselves.

To give the players a feel of being in Lima, read up on the city enough so you can give a general feel of the area. Describe to the players the Peruvian scenery as they're approaching Lima International Airport. If you can, describe the airport itself. Also, check any sources of up-to-date weather information (The Weather Channel is a good one, if you have cable) to give them the actual weather conditions in Lima as they arrive. This will give them the sense of really being there.

As of the PCs' arrival in Lima, Los Asesinos are believed to have already arrived, and to still be somewhere in the area. Both UNTIL and the Peruvian Navy have been keeping a close eye on the boundary around the waters of San Muerte, the tiny island nation run by Professor Muerte where Los Asesinos, like the Professor's group Terror Incorporated, make their usual headquarters. While Los Asesinos' exodus was duly noted a week ago, there have been neither comings from nor goings to the island since then.

In a secure meeting room at the airport, the characters meet with Capt. Nicole Wainwright, an Englishwoman of African descent who is one of UNTIL's top experts on Los Asesinos. Her permanent post is right there in Lima, though she's travelled all over the world in pursuit of these killers. She complains that Los Asesinos, one of the most dangerous bands of assassins in the world, don't have their own task force within UNTIL simply because they've never been on UNTIL's Ten Most Wanted list (a list which she thinks they should be on), but shrugs off her own grievance to deal with the situation at hand.

Even if the PCs haven't come to this conclusion, Wainwright is almost totally convinced that Stalker is attempting to kill one or more of them. Heatwave was too easy of a target for the entire group to have to handle as a whole, and the scepter has little value all by itself (she doesn't know about the rumors of its magical properties). She's seen the videotape of the robbery/murder, and she's picked out all of the nuances that tell her (and may have told the PCs as well) that, as real as Heatwave's death was, this whole event was staged for the PCs' benefit. If the GM has run Mob Rule and Los Asesinos' current client is VIPER, then she'll suspect as much; otherwise she has no idea who their client, or their specific target, could be for this case. She may suspect Genocide, since Heatray was a known mutant, but she won't have anything solid to go on.

She also knows all of Los Asesinos' physical weaknesses, and will tell the PCs anything about them that will help them defeat the villains. For example, if a PC has fire powers, she'll tell that character about Stalker's sensitivity to fire; she'll direct the group's magician toward Ocelote; she'll tell the group's brick, or any telekinetics, about Montaña's need to stay in contact with the earth; and so forth. She also knows enough about Los Asesinos' psychological crocks to give the PCs appropriate advice, such as telling the most obnoxious hero how to properly taunt Mosquito. (The GM should study the villains' weaknesses and prepare a list of bits of advice for Wainwright to give.)

While Wainwright and the PCs are discussing some of the finer points of tactics, an UNTIL agent enters with a fax. A stakeout set up by the Lima police, working on an unrelated drug smuggling case, have seen Spider Monkey leaving and re-entering a warehouse near the waterfront. Wainwright asks the agent to get her some blueprints, and then passes on her information to the PCs. She thinks that this is just another part of the trap, but she also thinks that shortly after dawn would be the most appropriate time to make an offensive move (since Stalker and Ocelote are both nocturnal, and Stalker can't leave the building in the daytime in any event). Her advice is to turn the trap against Los Asesinos, but how to do that is beyond her (that is, the players will have to come up with some ideas on their own).

The Warehouse Assault

The warehouse in question belongs to Azúcar de Castillo [Castillo's Sugar], a small sugar trader based in Lima. If the PCs want to do a lot of Bureaucratic wrangling, they may be able to find out that Azúcar de Castillo has never actually had anyone named Castillo associated with it; it's actually owned by a holding company that's a subsidiary of another company, which is owned by Professor Muerte (or, optionally, the outfit that's hired Los Asesinos for this hit).

The warehouse fills up one full city block; in this part of Lima, that's 500 feet (77") per side. It's five stories high, and in relatively good repair for a thirty-year-old structure in the waterfront district of Peru's capital city.

On each floor above the ground, the warehouse has a records office (serving that floor's inventory only, though it can access the full inventory via computer network) in the northeast corner, along with a unisex rest room and a passenger elevator; the freight elevator is centered on the west wall. The ground floor has all that, plus a couple of extra offices for the warehouse's administrative staff. The open areas have support posts every 3" in a square grid.

It's through the window that the top-floor records office has on the east side that Spider Monkey was seen leaving and returning. (This trip was supposedly to get some supplies, but was really to telegraph to the PCs where Los Asesinos were hiding once they'd arrived in Lima.) It was assumed initially that the fifth floor was where Los Asesinos were hiding, but when it was realized that this would keep Montaña seperated from the earth, that theory was changed to the basement.

The PCs may have as many UNTIL agents with them as they want (within reason, of course -- keep in mind that Lima's UNTIL station doesn't have that many agents on hand, and not many will be transferable from other stations on short notice, Guayaquil being the only exception of note -- and even then not much of one). If you have Hero System Almanac #2, use the UNTIL Agent statistics from that book. Capt. Wainwright will also want to come along (even if the team already has an UNTIL liaison); she's an Investigator Agent with the Psi-Shield/Mini-Camcorder option, but is able to commandeer a Jet-Cycle for this particular mission. If you don't have that book, equip the UNTIL Agents like VIPER Agents from the Champions rulebook, and leave Capt. Wainwright at her office.

The trap here is a deceptively simple one. Hidden below the foundation and in hidden compartments of the main-floor supports are a series of bombs fueled by a rare and highly volatile combination of gases. These bombs are set on a fifteen-second timer which begins when the stairwell door is opened. When they go off, each corner of the building and each internal support becomes the center of a 3d6 Penetrating Killing Explosion. The bombs also release poisonous fumes as a byproduct; each explosion also includes a 4d6 NND and 2d6 BODY Drain NND (in both cases, the defense is Life Support vs gases). The blast also brings the building down; anyone in the basement takes 16d6 damage from the steel, concrete, and other materials falling on top of them. (Anyone on higher floors when the bombs go off take 3d6 less per floor from this, but also fall 3" per floor.)

Los Asesinos are actually in a building cross-corner (to the northeast) from the Azúcar de Castillo warehouse. (Spider Monkey travelled from one building to the other by sneaking through the city's storm drain system.) Stalker is watching the assault carefully from a second-floor window, while the other Asesinos are on the ground floor. If there are few or no UNTIL agents left outside the blast, Stalker will send his minions in to clean up whatever's left. Otherwise he will wait and watch to see if the targeted hero comes out alive. If he does, then he'll have The Maine, Montaña, Spider Monkey, El Muerto Obscuro, and the Tombstone Kid all Brace, Set, and Coordinate their ranged attacks (The Maine using his big gun, Spider Monkey her Ego Attack, and El Muerto Obscuro his throwing stars; the nature of Montaña's and The Tombstone Kid's attacks are pretty obvious) against the target before the whole team (sans Stalker, who can't go out into the sunlight) moves in. (If Ultraviolet Sparrowhawk is with the group, she sets off her Flash attack against the chosen victim before the others open with their attacks.) The villains will only retreat when their assigned target is verifiably dead, or when they are clearly on the verge of defeat (four of them are down).

If a deus ex machina is needed at this point to get the PCs out of potentially deadly trouble, then use either a magical hero or a group with a competent magical hero. Among published characters, Solitaire (of the Champions), Doctor Wraithe (of the Protectors), the Duke (of the Redeemed), or Vincent Dimitrios are all good possibilities. (You might also bring in an entire group and not just its magic-based member, though this might cause the PCs to become unnecessarily overshadowed. If the PCs are clearly overpowered by Los Asesinos, then you might consider bringing in just enough help to do the job; for example, you could send Solitaire and Seeker of the Champions, along with their UNTIL liaison, Martin Luther DeVane, if you have the statistics for him in Hero System Almanac 2. Also, as noted in the description of Los Asesinos' escape attempt, the villains are also operating at reduced power for that scene, so the PCs may need no more than one or two "guest stars.") Whoever it is, they arrive just in time to stop untimely deaths, and can help the PCs heal up any injuries.

There are other possibilities for complications at this point that could help pull the heroes' fat out of the fire. Don't forget the villains' Hunteds! To give perhaps the ideal example, El Muerte Obscuro is Hunted by Green Dragon and by Dr. Lirby Koo. Green Dragon could find out about Los Asesinos' activities (starting with the murder of Heatray), contact Dr. Koo, and use funds from his occasional benefactor to hire other martial artist villains who work as mercenaries and assassins (such as Cheshire Cat, Contrast, Dragon Master, Extreme Prejudice, Iron Dragon, Powerhouse, Ronin [the one from Enemies For Hire], or Roundhouse, depending on exactly what books and other resources the GM has). With these allies, Green Dragon attacks Los Asesinos in an attempt at getting to El Muerte Obscuro; while the others keep the other Asesinos busy, Green Dragon focuses on El Muerte Obscuro. When Los Asesinos are driven off and escape, Green Dragon and his allies also retreat.

But What About...

By now, most PC groups -- especially those with harsh, vigilante attitudes -- will want to follow Los Asesinos and hunt them down with a vengeance. Let them. After all, that's the idea here.

Others may want to go home after barely surviving (or losing personnel to) the blast, possibly leaving the situation in the hands of any newly-arrived (and probably more experienced and powerful) hero. Heroes falling in the latter category should be reminded that not only have the villains attempted to kill (or succeeded in killing) one or more of the heroes, and has probably caused much meyhem and other loss of life, but Stalker has the Incan scepter. If the scepter's powers have not been revealed by now, they should be. In fact, it's the scepter's powers that are the main motivation of whatever newcomer has arrived (in addition to a desire to destroy Montaña -- after all, this whole element of the plot is his Hunter showing up). It's much too dangerous an item to leave in the hands of Stalker. The PCs' help is badly needed. UNTIL (and any guest-starring heroes) will bring whatever pressure and cajoling they can to convince the PCs to stick with the case until its conclusion.

After the assault, whether the assassination attempt against the PC was successful or not, Los Asesinos will attempt to return to San Muerte. If a heroic rescuer has shown up, the power of the opposition is just too great for them at present; if not, they have to regroup and come up with a new plan anyway. Because of Stalker's vampiric weaknesses and the lack of any safe means of transport to San Muerto other than across the surface of the water, they won't be able to go while the sun is still in the sky; they'll have to wait for nightfall. That will give UNTIL, the PCs, and their ally du jour (if any) time to come up with a plan of action. (Give the players as much time as they want to work out any combat strategies to use against Los Asesinos, though limit things like extensive investigations and alterations to gadget VPPs to what can be done in a day.)

Any attempts at finding out where Los Asesinos have holed up should meet up with dead ends. If the PCs are really persistent and resourceful, they should be able to get as far as learning that the villains are somewhere in the waterfront area. UNTIL will already be watching this area, but if the PCs get this information and share it with UNTIL the patrols will be both stepped up and made more covert.

If Green Dragon and his ad hoc band of martial artist mercenary/assassins appeared on the scene, then part of the day's activities may include tracking them down. How successful this and any attempts at capturing them might be should depend on which NPCs were involved, what exactly the PCs do, and the GM's desires for the story. Most likely, UNTIL and the PCs will get some leads, but won't have time to follow them up until after the chase and fight described below. Whether the leads are able to bear any fruit is, as always, the decision of the GM; this may even lead to another storyline altogether.

Water Chase at Nightfall

As soon as the sky is completely dark, Los Asesinos will start to move out. They will leave Montaña behind, because of his dependence on staying in contact with the earth; he will be brought across the waters seperately by a special means at a later time (or, if he has the Tunnelling power mentioned later, he'll be left to make his own way to the island). For now, the other seven members are taking a small, innocent-looking yacht (borrowed from their Terror, Incorporated friends, though it has a Peruvian registry) to San Muerte, with The Maine (not wearing his armor) at the helm.

The yacht itself has been slightly reinforced and modified from that of a normal yacht (based on the statistics for a small yacht in An Eye For An Eye): STR 45, BODY 18, Size 5"×2.5" [12.5 tons, -7" knockback, -4 DCV], DEF 10, DEX 14, SPD 3, Move 25" (2× NCM -- 56 mph). Because it's designed to be a covert transport, it has no weapons, though it does have a shortwave radio, underwater sonar, aerial radar, public-address system with loudspeakers, and spotlight in addition to the legally-required running lights.

An UNTIL patrol will notice the boat taking off, and may notice some of the more disctinctive individuals (such as Ocelote and the Tombstone Kid) aboard. If they're ready for this and hurry, the PCs should catch up to Los Asesinos just as they're leaving the harbor.

If UNTIL patrols in the waterfront area have been increased because the PCs got the information that Los Asesinos were hiding out down there, then Ocelote, Spider Monkey, and the Tombstone Kid will be noticed before the boat even starts. In this case, the PCs can arrive just as the boat is leaving the pier. This may mean that the Peruvian Coast Guard, Lima police, or other agencies may be willing to provide some assistance, though these agencies will not go beyond the harbor.

There are some special options available for a GM with a copy of Hero System Almanac 2. If three or more PCs do not fly, UNTIL will offer to have those characters carried over the action on a Grav-Sled, with an agent to pilot it if necessary; they can then either attack from the Grav-Sled, or jump from it to the yacht. If the PCs balk at this for tactical or other valid reasons, or if only one or two don't fly, each will be offered a Jet-Cycle for the mission. Certain characters may also request the use of a Harrows Flying Submersible, if they can demonstrate that they have the skills necessary to operate it. (Obviously, if the GM doesn't have access to these vehicles' stats, then he can't use these options.)

In addition to Jet-Cycles, Harrows Flying Submersibles, and a couple of Grav-Sleds (or in place of these vehicles if the GM doesn't have them), UNTIL has several speedboats that it can use. (PCs may also request to be on speedboats if they can't provide their own short-distance transportation, and will be stuck with them if the GM doesn't have stats for the other vehicles.) The stats for the speedboats, like those for the Terror Incorporated yacht, are slightly enhanced from those of a normal speedboat (also taken from An Eye For An Eye): STR 35, BODY 15, Size 3.5"×1.5" [3.2 tons, -5" knockback, -3 DCV], DEF 8, DEX 20, SPD 4, Move 15" (4× NCM -- 90 mph).

If authorities other than UNTIL are involved, the GM will have to determine the statistics of their vehicles.

Despite the fact that Los Asesinos' yacht is unarmed, it's far from defenseless. For one thing, Mosquito can fly, and attack PCs and agents in their vehicles if he can catch up with them. Ultraviolet Sparrowhawk, if she's with the group, can do likewise. El Muerte Obscuro has his throwing stars. Spider Monkey has her mental powers, especially her Ego Attack (though her Telekinesis is also good for things like upsetting Grav-Sleds and Jet- Cycles). The Tombstone Kid's normal attack is his guns. Finally, Ocelote and Stalker might leap or teleport (respectively) to an UNTIL or PC vehicle to attack its pilot and/or occupants. Stalker will, of course, use the scepter as a club; he knows all about its mystic powers, and can do 10d6 (Armor Piercing, Penetrating) with it.

Tactically, Los Asesinos will attack first the pilots of any Grav-Sleds, to eliminate as many agents in a single shot as possible. Second, if the PC who they were hired to kill is still alive and in the attack force, they will do whatever they can to see to that character's death. They will attack any agents who successfully injure or incapacitate their comrades third, and other PCs (and any guest-starring superheroes) fourth. Anyone left will be picked off as needed; their real priority at this point will be reaching San Muerte.

On the other hand, the PCs should remember their briefing at the airport. If Capt. Wainwright was present at the warehouse raid, she will be again now, equipped as before, to remind them of Los Asesinos' physical and psychological weaknesses, though she'll leave specific tactics to the PC team leader (a courtesy which the UNTIL commander may or may not also extend, depending on how hard you want to make the PCs' lives).

The GM should remember that it's dark outside. UNTIL or the harbor patrol may have helicopters running around with spotlights to help this situation, or the chase may have begun with too little notice. Without such lights, all sight PER Rolls (other than those helped by Infrared and/or Ultraviolet Vision) are at -4. Even with them, it's hard to keep everything covered, so there may be pockets of darkness that Los Asesinos can take into account.

It's also possible, if the fight isn't too far from shore and some of the heroes (or UNTIL agents) happen to stray over dry land or very shallow water, that Montaña could be watching the fight and hit some of them with his EB/Entangle attack. This would be very much a surprise attack (probably worth +2 OCV for Montaña) the first time he does it. It should only be done if one of Los Asesinos is hurt (enough to set off Montaña's Enraged, or at least his Psychological Limitations that make him protective of them) or if the PCs are having a victory that's just too darn easy.

One other complication that can take place if the victory seems too easy would be to have Los Asesinos' clients have some of their own agents around to act as backup. This could be a way to identify who was after them, and give the adventure a better sense of closure than it would have if the client's identity were simply left a mystery. The PCs might even pursue the client in a counterstrike, if doing so would be practical.

San Muertan waters (according to the decree of its ruler, Professor Muerte, who is rather hard to argue with) begin five miles out from the coastline. Once they reach San Muertan waters, Running the yacht at top speed, it will take 4.5 minutes (22.5 Turns) for Los Asesinos to make it. If UNTIL and the PCs can slow them down, then obviously it will take longer. (Note that, because the yacht is tough and because he's not especially bright, The Maine will not be shy about trying to destroy any UNTIL speedboats and Harrows Flying Submersibles in his path by ramming them.)

After three Turns, if the yacht is slowed or if there's otherwise any doubt that Los Asesinos will make it, Stalker will take the yacht's controls himself and have The Maine go below to put on his armor. The Maine will obey, and will come out blazing away (inasmuch as he can, given the unpredictability of his armor) at UNTIL and the PCs after about another Turn regardless of the situation. Meanwhile, Stalker will use the yacht's loudspeakers and the scepter's enhancement of his Mind Control Power (8d6 in addition to his own 15d6 will total 23d6, plus whatever he can get from the scepter's Aid during the Turn he waits for The Maine to return) to force the PCs to attack each other.

If the PCs can destroy, sink, or otherwise disable the yacht before it gets within a half-mile of San Muertan waters, Stalker will immediately surrender and order the other villains to do likewise (except that The Maine, if he's suited up, will try to walk to San Muerte underwater).


If the PCs can stop Los Asesinos before they cross the San Muertan border, then the villains will be captured. As a ploy to escape, Stalker will tell the PCs that there's a second series of bombs like the one they used to try to kill them, except that this array is set up in a tenement in a crowded low-rent district of Lima and set to go off at midnight. The only way to disarm the bomb is by a unique radio signal which can only be sent by equipment which is currently on San Muerte. He will not identify the tenement, and there are hundreds like it in Lima, making it all but impossible to find it in time, especially considering how well-hidden it is, wherever it is. The only obvious way to keep the bomb from going off -- which would kill hundreds of people, the majority of them children -- is to let Los Asesinos go. (Of course, Stalker's probably lying. However, whether or not this is indeed a bluff is up to the GM. If the PCs don't call it, of course, the question is moot -- unless, of course, Stalker decides to not honor his word and let the bomb go anyway.)

If some of Los Asesinos are captured and others are not, then the members left free will contact some allies or mercenaries (depending on who it actually is) and attempt to spring their teammates. Only if Montaña and/or Spider Monkey are the only ones left free will this not happen, but in this case the client may make a jailbreak attempt (it may even be part of the contract).

If Los Asesinos reach San Muertan waters, they will be home free; agents of Terror Incorporated arrive in speedboats of their own, and with more than enough firepower to back up their word (twelve speedboats plus two per PC, with each speedboat carrying six armed agents), and order the villains' pursuers to leave the area. If you have Classic Enemies and the players insist on fighting out the dispute, go ahead and let them -- but make sure that the Terror Incorporated forces overwhelm their side enough to force them to retreat. (As a rare courtesy, the TI agents will allow the PCs to recover any casualties; at present, they're interested only in safeguarding Los Asesinos' escape and securing San Muertan waters, not in capturing, killing, or otherwise harassing superheroes.) In any event, UNTIL, the PCs, and the world's magic-using heroes will have to devise some other way of getting the Incan scepter away from Stalker.


John James Jonas, Jr. -- known as J4 to his friends -- grew up just an average kid in the remote residential areas of his hometown. Though he's African-American, he's never had to face racism to any great extent (just enough to be aware that it exists in the world and must be fought). He was always good at math, so he learned accounting at the local community college, finished his degree at the State University (of whatever state his city is in), and went to work for a local accounting firm. On the whole, he has a nice, quiet life, not quite boring but nothing to make the newspapers either. He does charitable work in his personal time, building houses for Habitat for Humanity on the weekends, and sings in the choir of his local church (an Assembly of God).

What he's never told anyone except his parents and his pastor is that, since his adolescence, he's been able to control heat and fire. He can project bursts of flame from his hands, surround himself with a heat shield, and push himself through the air on waves of fiery heat. Since getting his own apartment, he's taken it upon himself to become his home town's protector from superpowered crime, under the name of Heatray.

Heatray is an easygoing man, but determined to stand for justice. He strongly believes that every private citizen has a duty to do whatever he or she can to help his or her fellow human being, and in fact is becoming well-known for saying so. He cooperates with the police, officially sanctioned superheroes, and other legal authorities whenever possible (a practice which has brought him some grief from some big-city African-Americans). He always stops to see to the safety and well-being of non-super civilians and policemen before he chases after any supervillains. He figures that his duty (as a private citizen) is to public safety first, and to law enforcement second. Because of this, he makes no attempt to mask his identity from the police; a couple of officers on the force, and their mutual supervisor, do know Heatray's true name, but they also respect his desire for privacy. The local police consider his name to be available on a need-to-know basis.

He is a mutant with heightened reflexes and resiliance, along with fire-based energy powers. He's not as powerful as some energy controllers (such as Quantum or Firewing), but he's spent a lot of time practicing with his powers and studying both the tactics of established heroes and what's known about those supervillains who are at about his own level of power. He's no world savior, but he is respectable as a hero for a medium-sized city such as the one he's working in.

John "J4" Jonas stands 6'1" tall, and weighs a trimly fit 175 lbs. He's an unusually dark- skinned black man with close-cropped black hair, a well-trimmed moustache, and a goatee but no beard. His mask, which is red with an orange flame pattern along the lower edge, wraps around his head and covers his entire face from the level of his nose up to his hairline. His costume is a red bodysuit with no gloves, but solid red trunks and boots; his cuffs are have the same flame pattern as his mask.

For his beginning statistics (which he'll probably be at when the heroes first meet him), start with Starburst's character sheet. Change his Flash to a 3d6 Damage Shield which is Linked to his Force Field (you'll also have to take the 2 points from his +1 Level w/EB to pay for this), and his Telescopic Vision to +2 Levels with his Multipower. Also change his Sciences to Background Skills more appropriate to an accountant; include Tactics and KS: Supervillains in this. His Disadvantages should be changed as follows: Vulnerability to Darkness attacks, to one against water-based attacks; Publicity Seeker to Heavy Sense of Responsibility; Scientific Curiosity to Code Against Killing; Underconfident with Naïve; Susceptibility to darkness fields to a Susceptibility to sub-zero temperatures; Reputation and Hunted by Pulsar to Hunted by Genocide; Rival with DNPC: normal mother (with useful skills as a DMV clerk) on 8-.

Remember that he will probably gain experience from adventures that don't involve the PCs as well as from those that do. As he does, he will first work up two more levels with his Multipower; then increase his Damage Shield to 5d6. After that, give him an extra pip each of BODY and DEX, buy off Naïve, raise INT to 13, and add a Flash to his Multipower. Somewhere in here he'll probably also get at least one Contact (the PCs), and probably more than that (mostly police and other superheroes). If he's still alive at this point, turn two of his levels with his Multipower into Combat Levels and then Overall Levels, raise his EGO to 14 and his SPD to 6, increase the size of his Multipower to 60 points and its slots accordingly, and give him the Oratory Skill and KS: Supervillains. (By then you should be more than ready to kill him off.)

Experience for Los Asesinos

The published Champions adventure Road Kill (by Larry Johnson) included notes on how each character would be likely to grow from experience awarded while in play. This was a very good idea that has since been neglected. Here are some suggestions for how Los Asesinos might spend their experience points. They may, of course, be implemented either before or after this adventure.

Also, as noted above with Heatray (or in the case of just about any other NPC, for that matter), remember that Los Asesinos will have adventures that don't involve the PCs, and may earn experience from those. If in doubt, give them three to four times as much experience from each adventure as you do the PCs (unless you have a "linked" campaign universe).

Stalker -- He would do well to buy up some leadership-oriented Skills such as Oratory and Tactics. Buying off his Tourist Vampire Hunted and his Unluck are also possibilities, as is raising his STR to 50, his DEX to 26, and his SPD to 7. You could also consult some other vampire characters from Champions publications (such as Baron Jean De'Lear from The Mutant File or Lady Twilight from Underworld Enemies) for additional vampire powers for him to develop. For that matter, he might even save up enough points to actually, legitimately own the scepter. (If this happens, though he will not be a person to trivle with.)

The Maine -- He would certainly buy up the Activation Rolls on his powers, using either experience points or Mystery Powers points. Better yet, change the Limitation to Requires Systems Operation Skill Roll, and (of course) give him the Systems Operation Skill. A couple of 5-point Skill Levels with the suit would be likely as well, along with some Transport Familiarities (especially with boats, so he can function as written in this adventure) and Combat Driving/Piloting. He could also discover some kind of high-speed water movement ability in the suit. Some increase in Characteristics is possible too, but probably no more than 3-5 character points each (unless one of his Mystery Powers does this for him).

Montaña -- Some Tunnelling would be very helpful, as well as logical to the concept; he'd probably work his way up to 5" of Tunnelling with no hole left behind, and lots of Non-Combat Multiple (if the GM wants to allow such a thing -- the rulebook doesn't give any NCM for Tunnelling). As a magical creature, he probably should have had full Life Support to begin with, and the GM may want to add this now. His Dependence could eventually come down as far as 2d6/phase, and the END Cost of his EB and Entangle could go to normal. Otherwise his points should go into DEX and SPD (up to 21 DEX and 4 SPD), and Skill Levels with Combat.

Mosquito -- Additional DEX would be useful for him (up to 21), as would another pip of SPD. He could also use a two or three Skill Levels with his NND, or perhaps even with All Combat. Eavesdropping Skills such as Bugging, Concealment, and Enhanced Hearing could be useful as well.

El Muerte Obscuro -- Consult Ninja Hero or (preferably) The Ultimate Martial Artist for more ninjutsu maneuvers, and let him learn Autofire with his throwing stars. He could also gain another +2 DC with his martial arts, and grow to 30 DEX and 7 SPD. His Skill Level with Ninja Weapons could (with no further expenditure) become one with Ninjutsu, and he could learn up to three more of them. If you need more than this, consult The Ultimate Martial Artist for some ninja "tricks" he could learn.

Ocelote -- He could buy up some Superleap, calm his Berserk, and some overall Enhanced Perception. After a while, he could also regain his human intelligence (both the Physical Limitation and the Characteristic) and ability to speak. Of course, a couple of Skill Levels with hand-to-hand combat would be helpful too.

Spider Monkey -- If you have The Ultimate Mentalist (and even if you don't), she could start coming up with more mental powers, most notably Mental Illusions and some Telekinesis "tricks" such as Flight. She might also pick up a machete (1½d6 HKA [2½d6 w/STR], OAF) such as that shown held in her tail in her Champions rulebook illustration.

Tombstone Kid -- For 2 points per Level, he could combine his Levels with his Pistol with those with Dirty Infighting into Levels with All Combat. These could be added, alternating points spent with +2 to +4 Damage Classes with Dirty Infighting, and perhaps one or two more Dirty Infighting maneuvers. He could also learn Disguise, though he'd have to also buy down his Distinctive Features so that they were Concealable with Effort at the same time.

Power Level Adjustments

As noted in the introduction to this adventure, the power levels of some PC groups may be more or less than what's written here would suggest.

For more powerful groups, of course, you can just give Los Asesinos experience to reflect their activities since they began killing. If a PC -- especially the one being marked for death -- has a solo villain for a Hunter, that villain might join Los Asesinos for the duration of this assassination attempt.

Certain Hunters might also send attachés to work with Los Asesinos; several good candidates can be found in various Dark Champions supplements. Some have their own connection to some segment or other of organized crime (Card Shark, cartels, La Cosa Nostra, triads, or yakuza), while others have connections to various terrorist organizations, and still others will work for whoever pays the price. Hardly a Dark Champions supplement -- including Dark Champions itself -- doesn't have at least a couple of characters who wouldn't be appropriate for this. (Death's Messenger from Murderer's Row is especially appropriate for this adventure, depending on who the Hunter is.) However, note that the main client, whoever it is, will probably not do this, being interested in maintaining a distance from the attempt, or at least being tired of soiling their own hands with the problem; these are intended as attachés for secondary Hunters. (On the other hand, the main Hunter could send an attaché to act primarily as an observer, and to assist where needed -- especially in terms of sharing with Los Asesinos all they know about the PCs' weaknesses! Doesn't that sound like fun?)

You could also reduce the PCs' resources. For one thing, you might limit the UNTIL forces available, even to the point of eliminating everyone except Capt. Wainwright and perhaps a token squad of agents. The PCs might also have troubles with Peruvian customs, and have to turn some of their weapons and equipment over to the government for the duration of their stay.

For less powerful groups, drop some members of Los Asesinos, especially those whose powers act on PC Vulnerabilities. As demonstrated in the text of the adventure, you can also beef up the heroes' side of things with more UNTIL forces and NPC heroes. If you do this, though, give the players some UNTIL agents to control (say, four per player) so they don't just sit around idle while the agents have their Phases, and so they can feel like they're actually contributing to the PCs' victory. (You can excuse this by "assigning" four agents to assist each PC.)

Dark Champions Conversions

Almost any adventure with Los Asesinos is fitting for a superpowered Dark Champions campaign. This is less true of "normal" street-level campaigns; most of the group are monsters, and many have supernatural powers which would not exist in a conventional street-level game. Here are some notes on converting the statistics and abilities of the NPCs involved in this adventure into street-level terms. In all cases, if there are leftover points that need to be spent, use the notes above as a guide on where to spend them.

As an overall option, you might consider lowering all NPCs' DEXes by 5 and their SPDs by 1, to better fit with most Dark Champions characters.

Heatray -- For a high-tech Dark Champions campaign, change all his powers to an OIF battle-harness. The leftover points can be used in the same way as his experience points (as detailed in his description, above). In a regular street-level game, lower those of his statistics which are above normal human level, and give him a blowtorch, a bulletproof flak jacket and helmet, infrared goggles, and a few other gadgets, along with any Skill Levels needed to balance his point levels.

Stalker -- He obviously can't be a vampire, but he can be a normal man who thinks he's a vampire or who has an obsession with vampirism. His Vampire Powers (including his extra STR, his Transform, his Infrared Vision, and his Life Support) would be eliminated, of course, though some of them may be purchased through a Focus. Similarly, his Characteristics (especially STR and SPD) should be brought down to normal human levels. By the same token, most of his vampire-related Disadvantages would be eliminated as well, though he might keep the Susceptibilities (as a psychosomatic reaction).

The Maine -- How much would have to be changed depends on the technology level of the campaign. For the most part, he's fine as is, except that (as mentioned before) his Activation Rolls should be either raised or changed to Requires Skill Roll.

Montaña -- Montaña cannot be converted to a street-level Dark Champions campaign at all. He may, however, be replaced with a large, powerful normal human (say, STR 25) with such a psychological affinity for the earth that he is always dirty -- so dirty that he does in fact look like a walking mountain. However, this is less of a conversion of the character than the creation of a fresh character with a similar concept. None of the statistics would be even similar.

Mosquito -- A Dark Champions version of this character could be a midget who built his powers as gadgets. Eliminate his Mind Link and all but one level of his Shrinking, and buy his NND, Flight, and Microscopic Vision through Foci (you'll also have to remove the first two from the Elemental Control). Reduce his CON to normal levels, and use any leftover points to give him inventor skills.

El Muerte Obscuro -- Except for the need to adjust DEX and SPD (as mentioned above), this character is probably fine for Dark Champions as is.

Ocelote -- Instead of a man-beast, he can be a man who dresses in a cat costume. His HKA and senses should be bought through an OIF, and his Characteristics reduced to normal human levels (or maybe a little higher, in the case of DEX). Optionally, use any leftover points to give him skill at kung fu.

Spider Monkey -- An intelligent monkey with ego powers is not appropriate for Dark Champions. The character may be converted into a regular spider monkey who is Stalker's well-trained pet, or a woman with a strange genetic disorder (and no tail). Remove her ego powers and any inappropriate Disadvantages; if desired, give her a machete to carry in combat.

Tombstone Kid -- His background story actually needs more help for a Dark Champions than his character sheet. Only his guns need to be adjusted so that instead of being merely 0 END, they have 6 charges each (or maybe 8), probably with extra "clips," and the second gun doesn't need to be Linked to the first. As for his story, a more recently-burned criminal (who is still very much alive) with a Wild West motif is more appropriate to street-level games than a zombie.

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This adventure is © 1996-2000 by Bob Greenwade. E-mail me if you have any comments or questions.