Dr Null Adventure Paths
Hmm, so many Dr Null adventures. But, you ask, how can I use them all to maximize the pain and suffering I inflict on my players?
Here are some notes for connecting the different Lame Mage releases to form a complete Dr Null adventure path. I originally posted this over on Atomic Think Tank but I’m exhuming it here for easy reference, because a criminal mastermind is a terrible thing to waste.
Start off with Dr Null: Battle on the Bay Bridge (free download). It introduces Dr Null and gives the heroes a good taste of “big scale” action. If you want you can insert a few unrelated adventures after the battle on the bridge, or you can go straight to Day of Dr Null.
Run Day of Dr Null and Death of Dr Null back-to-back. If you want to draw out the battle for the city during the Attack of the Atomic Supermen and really get into a desperate fight, keep the Cyclotron out of view until later in the battle — once the heroes see it, they may be tempted to ignore the street fighting and go after Dr Null.
Death of Dr Null covers how to transition from the city-wide battle to hunting Dr Null in his lair. If your heroes are overwhelmed by the Atomic Supermen, having the heroes wake up as captives of the mad doctor is highly recommended (as described in “The Prisoner” adventure variant). The action builds as the heroes (invading or freshly escaped) investigate the base, figure out Dr Null’s new plan, and then head for the dam. You’ll probably want to skip the Aliens Ex Machina option to keep the focus on Dr Null.
In the big finale at the dam, it is quite likely that Dr Null will get vaporized. Does that mean that his reign of terror is finally over and the world can sleep in peace? Not likely. Give the heroes a couple of sessions of unrelated adventures, or just summarize that things have been fairly nice and quiet now that Dr Null is gone, then spring Evil Genius #1: World Domination on them.
High Noon describes how these doomsday devices were automatically triggered by Dr Null’s death, letting him destroy the world from beyond the grave. For more suspense, make it look like Dr Null is actually alive: his broadcasts promise retribution, but they are really just recordings. Even if the heroes saw him destroyed at the dam, they are likely to guess that he escaped somehow and is now back looking for revenge.
Run High Noon first. Just when the heroes have beaten it and saved countless cities from destruction, launch right into Ice Age, which ups the stakes even higher and puts the whole world in jeopardy. When the heroes find Dr Null’s island and burst into his control room under the volcano… they find nothing but automated systems ticking away. A quick examination of the computer screens clearly shows that the systems have been on automatic for years. If you want a little more action, have an Atomic Super Dr Null in the control room (as described in Ice Age), then reveal that the systems are all automated after he is revealed to be an impostor. Dr Null really did die at the dam after all, and now that his remaining doomsday machines have been destroyed his threat is finally over…
Again you can insert a few unrelated sessions (or just summarize passing time) and then run Like Father, Like Son (Trial of Dr Null). You can also jump straight to Like Father, Like Son any time earlier in the path if Dr Null is captured, since the scenario includes options for running it whether Dr Null is captured, on the loose, or presumed dead.
Another adventure path option is to use Evil Genius #1: World Domination adventures as Dr Null plots to play out the Clone Wars option described in Like Father, Like Son.
Run Dr Null: Battle on the Bay Bridge, Day of Dr Null, and Death of Dr Null as described above, then go straight to Like Father, Like Son (Trial of Dr Null) and use the The Wrong Dr Null trial option. After the action with Melvin Thackery is finished but before the verdict, draw the heroes away with The Cornfields, except it is really one of the Dr Null clones creating the mutant plant-giants. Just as things are picking up, unleash High Noon, courtesy of a second Dr Null clone.
The heroes should have their hands full, but still think they are just dealing with one mad if overactive scientist. As a mob of plant-giants start marching into a city, they are unexpectedly met by a trio of Iron Juggernauts and swarms of Tankbots (from Death of Dr Null), under the control of a third Dr Null clone riding around in a control pod that replaces one of the Juggernaut’s head. Each Dr Null thinks its the only Dr Null so each is determined to destroy the “impostors” and foil their plans, no matter what the cost. Mutant plants and giant robots battle through the city, with the heroes caught in the middle trying to minimize the damage. If the heroes capture Dr Null he proves to be more of a raving madman than Dr Null ever was before.
As the heroes realize they are dealing with multiple Dr Nulls and are struggling to hold back the tide, you can opt to throw in The Brain-Taker (but again with a Dr Null clone instead), have hordes of self-replicating Bugbots overrun a city, or go straight to Ice Age. At any given time the heroes will probably be dealing with multiple world-threatening perils at once: plant-giants striding across the countryside, while crystal cloud energy beams burn trenches across the heartlands, and mobs of brain-drained citizens riot through downtown, all while the temperature keeps dropping.
Got your own recipe for a Dr Null campaign? See ways to improve these paths? Speak up. Sometimes it takes more than one GM to really torture the players.