It is 1777, a turning point in the American Revolution. Despite help from the superhuman soldiers of the Legion of Liberty, George Washington’s surprise crossing of the Delaware and subsequent has failed and the general has been ignominiously captured. General Charles Lee, unpopular with the rank-and-file troops of the Continental Army, has taken over command from Washington, further reducing the morale of the patriot forces. Troops are deserting left and right, and some decisive action must be taken to show them they can win this war. The Continental Congress sends John Adams to roust a squad of eight superhuman Legionnaires and give them new orders: rescue General Washington, who is being held captive on a prison ship off the shore of British-occupied New York City. As the sails of the prison ship have been removed, it is merely a hulk, anchored and swaying gently on the waves.
Adams secretly loads the Legionnaires onto a smuggling ship to New York City, sending them to a trusted contact, Hercules Mulligan, one of Washington’s infamous Culper Ring of spies and informants. As a front, Mulligan runs a tailoring shop that serves half the British officers in New York, providing him with easy access to all sorts of gossip—and uniforms.
As the smuggling ship sails into New York Harbor, Salem witch Sara Wilde, a talented flier and shapeshifter, transforms into a seagull to survey the prison ship and assess its layout and guard complement. Hobomok, a Wampanoag psychic, establishes a telepathic connection between the soaring shapeshifter and Martin Saulnier, the charismatic acting leader of the rescue team. As a seagull perched on the ship’s rail, Sara reports eight Royal Marines guarding the deck of the ship. As a mouse scurrying below decks, Sara reports another dozen Marines guarding the corridor to Washington’s cell. The rebel general is the only prisoner on the hulk.
Upon reaching the safety of Hercules Mulligan’s tailoring shop, the landing team debates tactics; they were each chosen for a reason—their powers are uniquely suited to the mission. Henry Cannon, a former dock rat, can control fire (a deadly weapon against a wooden ship), and will secure a dory to make the crossing to the hulk. George Dalton (aka the Boy with the Healing Hands) and Philomon Smith (the Plymouth Rock Boy) both can turn into water form, and they plan to travel through the ocean itself to board the prison ship. The feisty moonshine runner Jack Morgan can breathe underwater and plans to swim to the hulk. Meanwhile, Martin Saulnier and the others will execute a brilliant ruse. With Hercules Mulligan supplying the team with British uniforms and equipment, Martha Hall (the Mistress of Wind and Weather), Henry Cannon, and Hobomok dress as Marines, and Martin Saulnier dresses as a Colonel of Marines. Martin forges a set of transfer orders, hoping to bluff the Marines aboard ship into releasing the imprisoned General Washington to him directly, where they will simply march Washington off the prison hulk with the full cooperation of the enemy. Hobomok makes every effort to maintain the psychic link between Saulnier and Sara Wilde, but the situation is starting to get chaotic.
Initially, the plan goes well. Henry stays on the dory while Martin leads the “Marines” aboard the hulk, giving a command performance as a confident Colonel of Marines. The guard sergeant on the hulk check bows to Martin’s authority and sends a couple of privates to retrieve Washington from below decks. While they wait, a large launch draws up to the prison ship, and Henry recognizes the tall and imposing Native American woman in the stern from a previous battle. Kahwihta is a member of the Order of the Seventh Circle, a mysterious and powerful elite unit of superhumans fighting savagely for British supremacy. Martin Saulnier growls in frustration; his beautiful, masterful ruse, nearly successful, has all been for nothing. But Saulnier, nothing if not briskly cunning and resourceful, comes up with a new audacious ruse on the spot—to assume command of the British prison guards, and make them fight Kahwihta!
Because of the increasingly chaotic communications with Saulnier via Hobomok’s psychic link, Sara has been scurrying around below decks as a mouse, trying to figure out an alternate plan if Saulnier’s ruse doesn’t work. When, suddenly, all the guards rush up the ladder in response to an urgent call to arms, Sara slips under the door to Washington’s cell and shifts back to human form to explain the rescue plan. But from the shouting and stomping sounds coming from above deck, it seems as though the plan has gone to pot. In a mounting panic, Sara shifts Washington into a mouse so he can slip under the door and head for an open cannon port, then back again when she receives confusing impressions from the minds of Hobomok and Saulnier. What’s she supposed to do again? Unfortunately, she has made so many shifts in such a short time, though she does manage to get Washington out of the cell, she ends up stuck in the cell herself, shape shifting powers completely offline! Damn and drat! Switching tactics, Sara sticks her arm out the viewing hole of the door, shatters the door lock with a witch bolt, and joins General Washington at the open cannon port. Although Sara can fly without any trappings, she believes she can’t fly without her magic besom, so she loads Washington onto her hazel wood broom and zooms out the cannon port toward New York City. Free at last!
Meanwhile, the superhero battle has begun above decks with a burst of fire. Henry Cannon blasts the launch with a burst of roiling flame, scorching most of the crew and slowing them down, as Philomon Smith and George Dalton splash aboard the boat to immediately shift new states, stone and wood, respectively. Drawing up in fully confident glory, “Colonel” Seulnier commands the British Marines to make a line the rail and open musket fire. Convinced he is, in fact, their bold and fearless leader in this sudden violent conflict, they obey and start firing on their allies, other British troops lead by the fearsome Kahwihta.
While Saulnier’s troops repel boarders piling over the rail from the launch, Hobomok casts a psychic bolt at Kahwihta. The Native woman is injured, but immediately splits into three copies of herself, each physically manifested and powered. One Kahwihta strikes Philomon (Plymouth Rock Boy) squarely in the head with an axe, knocking him unconscious; Philomon’s stone head is very, very hard, but Kahwihta’s stroke was phenomenally powerful. George attempts to blast the boarders away with a cannonball of sea water, but some boarders struggle through to start a melee with Saulnier’s now-loyal troops. Saulnier leads the charge into the melee, while George quickly applies his healing powers to Philomon, bringing the stone man back to his feet.
Enraged that one of the Kahwihtas managed to knock him unconscious, Philomon rises and throws a mighty punch at the nearest copy. The blow completely crushes her to the deck. Henry Cannon, rising from the sea, blasts the other two Kahwihtas to smithereens with an explosion of flame and then ducks back under the water to avoid the shrapnel. With panache and cries of encouragement, Saulnier leads his stolen troops to victory against the boarders, momentarily shaken when one loyal (but suborned) marine takes a killing blow meant for the “Colonel”. How sad, really, that in the end the British marines have killed one another, but the Legionnaires are on a critical mission, and in the end, Needs Must!
After the battle, Saulnier tells his troops that British superhuman allies removed Washington from the hulk during the battle. Because of their courage and loyalty, he says, Washington is still a British asset (no, he actually isn’t). Feeling humbled by their sacrifice, Saulnier commends the surviving Marines on their performance, and loads his party of disguised Legionnaires back onto the dory. When the Legionnaires return to Mulligan’s tailoring shop, where Washington suggests they will receive medals for their bravery, the Legionnaires emphatically request that Mulligan somehow see to the welfare of the suborned British Marines (who will be executed once their role in the rescue is made clear to their command). Washington is only distractedly sympathetic, but Hercules Mulligan promises to send the infamous Agent 355 to resolve the situation.
Washington rescued, the Legionnaires’ next mission is to return the favor to the British and kidnap Prince William, who is serving as a Midshipman on a ship currently moored in New York Harbor, right back where the wreckage of Kahwihta’s launch is sinking, in flames, into the sea.
It is April 30th, Walpurgis Night. With graduation only days away, and with it, the Convergence, the ETU seniors, our heroes are on high alert, keeping weapons handy and a close eye on social media. They've been hearing about the Convergence all over the place – from ghosts, from scary cultists, and from the loner graduate student who has been spying on the Sweet Heart Foundation, Jackson Greene, but they don't really know what the Convergence is, or what will happen when it arrives. Nervous, they spend the night awake, holed up in Ryo’s dorm room, expecting the worst to happen at any moment. When dawn arrives, they realize that all their preparation has been for nothing. Nothing happened! Nothing at all!
Frustrated, they emerge from Ryo's room, only to find that something has indeed happened, something incredibly chaotic, but they hadn't heard a thing! Every door in the dorm corridor is open, with clothing, electronics, and overturned furniture strewn everywhere. Matt notices that according to X's marked on a calendar in a neighboring room, it is May 3rd; the seniors seem to have lost two days, and graduation (and possibly the dreaded Convergence) are already past. At the sound of sirens outside, the group splits up. Mariana, Ryo, and CP head outside, and Troy, Matt, and Marco head for the dorm security office to check for security tapes. Their understanding of what has happened grows steadily clearer, as they step over the dead bodies of students and dodge the demons and zombies roaming the campus. Mariana, Ryo, and CP see one student in the quad get swarmed, killed, and eaten by small demons, and they fear everyone is dead until Mariana spots someone she knows hiding behind a dumpster. It's Jackson Greene.
Bruised and bleeding from the nose, Jackson tells them that during the graduation ceremony, a dark cloud exploded from the stadium, killing everyone inside. Then out of the cloud, legions of demons and zombies emerged to slaughter anyone who escaped. Jackson asks the seniors if they have a safe hiding place, preferably with mystical defenses. The group piles into Mariana’s SUV and makes a run for their sanctuary space in the bookstore, but their movement attracts a growing trail of tooth-gnashing demons, and the heroes make it to the sanctuary just in time to slam the door on the horde.
Once inside, CP begins the warding ritual, while the others immediately face a group of large demons. The beasts are armored in rusty steel-plate, their arms bristling with steel scythes embedded in their bleeding flesh. One demon strikes at Ryo, who wields his flashing sword with all his skill and all his might but is unable to land a blow. A scythe rips into Ryo's chest, badly wounding him. Wielding his bat with all his strength, Marco hits another demon, but it shrugs off the blow easily. Mariana kills a third demon with a blast from her Zippo Lighter from Hell, and Matt takes down a fourth with a shotgun blast. Beast number five steps over its smoldering fellow and slashes at Mariana, and number six rips Troy almost in half, killing him instantly. As the fight continues, a seventh demon appears, even larger than the others, sending Mariana into a panic. The gargantuan demon walks right through CP’s wards and leads the scythe demons into the final slaughter of the entire group of seniors. Dead. They are all dead.
With a jerk, the students wake up in their own beds. Yes, it was all a dream. It is May 1st. Walpurgis Night has passed, but graduation and the Convergence lie ahead. On waking, each senior is convinced that they have foreseen what will happen if the Convergence proceeds as foretold.
At the Greatschool of Peterborough, three heroes-in-training study combat, magic, and psionics – the fierce but compassionate Tannain warrior Argelia “Flu” Fluharty, the wealthy and arrogant psionics practitioner Miss Virginia Hill, and the ethereally-floaty-yet-heavily-armored Champion of Iset Fran Stern. When fellow Greatschool student Brianna Kling approaches them, one of her (four) arms is in a sling and her head is bandaged; some violent wretch called Sir Dave Bearington (first name pronounced Dah-vey) tricked her into letting him into the Greatschool’s artifact vault, then smashed her unconscious and tied her up! Bearing was searching for artifacts of the ancient world known as the Disks of Chaos, which are each about five inches in diameter with a hole in the center. Very thin and somewhat fragile, each disk is silvery-iridescent on one side, while the other is usually printed with some sort of information. Brianna is out of her mind with worry, because when the set of disks is complete, a Tinker Mage can use them to invoke terrifying powers, but she’s worried she’ll get kicked out of school if the administration hears about her embarrassing failure in the artifact vault. The best course of action, she has decided, is for her friends to neutralize Bearington – quietly.
Determined to help, the heroes visit Professor Geraldine Foster, a Tinker Mage and former adventurer. As they have rather rudely buttonholed her outside the lecture hall, Professor Foster takes some convincing to divulge what she knows, but eventually reveals that 5 Disks of Chaos were found 50 years ago in the ruins of Jaffrey. The disks are monumental, dangerous artifacts the students shouldn’t touch! However, if they insist on finding out more about them, the disks might be stored at the Shrine of Iset or at the Lord Protector’s Keep. The heroes head for the shrine, accompanied by Flu’s jaunty and perpetually hungry croco-dog-companion, McTavish. Fran, a Champion of Iset, easily leads them into the shrine, where one of the Lorewardens by the name of Lewis Hawkins tells them that the disks are not kept in the Shrine; after hearing about Bearington’s assault on the Greatschool vault, Hawkins agrees to put on extra guards.
Flu, McTavish, Virginia, and Fran proceed over the Contoocook Creek bridge to the fortified old city, over which looms the Lord Protector’s Keep, the ruling seat of Peterborough. The heroes convince a guard sergeant to let them help stand watch over the treasure vault, joining two of the Protector’s Guard. The night passes uneventfully. However, on returning to the Greatschool, they hear there was a break-in attempt at the Shrine of Iset. Back at the Shrine, Lorewarden Hawkins confirms that the Isetian warriors on guard killed two of the intruders, but Bearington escaped. Certain there will be another attack, the young adventurers take cover by the vault, where two Isetian warriors stand guard.
An hour after midnight, the Isetian guards startle, then collapse to the ground, unconscious. Bearington and three black-clad members of the Rogue’s Guild approach the vault; one of the rogues takes out his lock picking kit. The heroes leap out from cover to surround the interlopers, only to face Bearington, who is holding aloft the Chaos Disk marked Nimal House. Suddenly, a crowd of raucous, toga-clad partygoers appear in the hallway, distracting Virginia and Fran. Two of the rogues approach to kill the distracted heroes, but Flu steps in the way and strikes such a mighty axe blow, that she cleaves the skull of one rogue in two; with a mighty crack, the rogue’s upper and lower jaws fly off in opposite directions, sending teeth flying in a spray of blood. Virginia gathers her psionic powers and blinds the second rogue. The crocotta, McTavish, rips the second rogue’s leg off and settles in happily for a snack, but Bearington and his third man make it into the vault, where the latter swiftly picks the lock and runs inside. Fran and Virginia lurch into the vault after him, and with one mighty blow, Fran thrusts her longsword through the villain’s neck. As blood drips from the six inches of steel protruding through the rogue’s throat, Bearington rushes past them, carrying a wooden casket.
The heroes pursue Bearington from the Shrine of Iset into the dark streets of Peterborough. Flu takes an alternate route, hoping to surround Bearington, only to encounter a fire juggler telling jokes to a small crowd. Determined to hold her pace, Flu plows through, knocking juggler and audience aside, firing arrows at Bearington as she runs. Fran, calling down the blessing of Iset, dashes through the ruins of the juggler’s performance, but gets a night soil bucket to the head, which slows her down (because, yuck, tastes like … you know what). Virginia attempts to dodge the flying night soil, but also gets a mouthful. Giving it their all, Fran and Flu manage to outflank Bearington, who is quickly surrounded by the heroes. With a smug smile, Bearington pulls a new Disk from the casket (labelled Back Draf) and conjures a roiling burst of black and orange flame; Fran and Flu just barely dodge as Virginia closes in on Bearington from behind. Fran and Flu attack Bearington with longsword and axe, respectively, and strike two astounding blows that crush Bearington into the ground, where he lies unmoving. After squabbling about where to bring the Disks, including Bearington’s original Disk, Nimal House, they return the casket to the Lord Protector, but bring Nimal House to the Greatschool, ensuring good grades this semester.
Those of you who backed the Kickstarter for Savage Worlds Adventure Edition received a bundle of Jumpstarts today. In that bundle you'll find a Children of the Apocalypse Jumpstart that shows some of the changes we plan for Children of the Apocalypse Second Edition. In addition to updating Children of the Apocalypse for Adventure Edition, Second Edition will also add new content, rules for trading, and new Tinker Mage inventions.
The same bundle also contains a Jumpstart for Happy Monster's next setting book, Legion of Liberty: Superheroes of 1776. This setting adds superpowers to the American Revolution, with colonial Patriots facing off against superhuman British enemies. Legion of Liberty will be Kickstarting in March (just weeks away), and will include new powers, new Edges and Hindrances, and a complete Plot Point campaign where the players' actions will determine the course of the war... and of history.
If you didn't back the Kickstarter for Adventure Edition, never fear - both Jumpstarts are now available FREE on DriveThruRPG. Links to both are below:
Legion of Liberty: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/264808/Legion-of-Liberty-Jumpstart
Children of the Apocalypse: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/264807/Children-of-the-Apocalypse-Jumpstart
If you DID back the Kickstarter, check out all the other amazing Jumpstarts in the first bundle as well. There are some amazing settings out there!
The Happy Monsters are packing up the Bag of Holding for Arisia! Every year, we bring new ideas, cooler props, and more action-packed adventures for our players. This year, we’ve made character tokens and Chase cards for the new Savage Worlds Adventure Edition Chase rules. Will Philomon Smith successfully transform into the Plymouth Rock Boy and burst through that runaway peddler's cart in Revolutionary War era Manhattan? Will Varinia the Yellow Reaper dragon explode through a flock of seagulls over Napoleonic Malta without getting one stuck in her teeth? Will Peter Burnes dodge bumper-to-bumper Tinker Mage traffic in post-apocalyptic Peterborough without getting turned into a robot newt? Join us at Arisia 2019 to find out!