Planet Zod. Part 1. The Savage World of Ordinary Heroes

Crime SceneHere we present a fictionalization of the playthrough from our latest Savage Worlds RPG homebrew campaign, Planet Zod. This roleplaying universe is a lot like our own, or at least it was until six months ago. That’s when General Zod showed up and conquered Earth. He mostly just sits on his throne in the Washington Capitol and grumbles, but every couple of months, he’ll do something awful — burn a town to the ground, order the residents of one neighborhood to murder the residents of another neighborhood, demolish the Golden Gate Bridge while people are driving over it — and every time, it gets worse. Will our psychopathic overlord eventually move on and harass some other planet, or is Earth doomed?

For now, downtown Metropolis detectives Irving Stone and John Bottom are too busy dealing with a local crime wave to worry too much about the human race’s main problem. Church of Zod thugs are throwing their weight around. A lot of ordinary citizens have turned over to the dark side. Front-line cops like them are still the thin blue line between order and chaos.

The call came in from dispatch: “Shooting at S.T.A.R. Labs. Man down, possible homicide. Please respond.”

Detective Irving Stone took the call. He and his partner, John Bottom, sped through traffic to get to the scene. S.T.A.R. Labs? Defense contractor, Stone recalled. He’d long wondered how an outfit like that could get a license to operate right in the middle of downtown. No one outside the lab knew for sure, but there were rumors of “near meltdowns” — and worse. But Uncle Sam needed his technological edge — and S.T.A.R. did the job.

The pair were the first on the scene. Stone was glad to get out of the car. Bottom reeked worse than usual today. When was the last time his wiry, screwed-up partner had a shower? He’d learned to get used to it because Bottom did have some surprising talents as a Detective. But goddamnit, couldn’t the guy wear deoderant?

“No perimeter set up yet,” Bottom said.

“The boys must be too busy beating down these Church of Zod douchebags,” Stone replied. “Bunch of bank robberies around 22nd street. Arsons, too.”

A panic-faced man burst from the front door as the detectives closed in. Bottom just saw the flash of movement. Gun! He drew his weapon and aimed…

Savage Worlds Gameplay for Planet Zod Campaign
Ali. I make a Notice roll once we pull up to the lab. A 2 and a 1. Darnit!
GM. You don’t see anything — at least until a guy comes running out of the building flashing a gun!
Ali. I point my gun and take a sh…
Dave. Hold it! I want to do a Notice roll too! OK, I got a 5. What’s this guy look like?
GM. It’s building security. He looks glad to see you — at least until he sees that Detective Bottom has pulled a gun on him…

“Hold it there, partner,” Stone warned his partner. “It’s just security. Don’t go all twitchy on me again.” The guard was relieved to see them, at least after Stone’s partner put his piece away. They were led into the crime scene.

The perp had already made it out of the building, but the only way Security Officer Sanchez was going to leave this place was on a stretcher. Another guard had just given up on CPR as the cops came by. Sanchez’ blood-drenched shirt had a hole in it pretty well right in the center of his chest. Stone knelt down. He smelled powder burns. This had probably happened at point-blank range.

By now, cops from the 12 Precinct were starting to arrive, setting up a perimeter and looking for the perp. They probably wouldn’t find him right away. Too much of a head start. But they’d catch him.

Bottom poked Stone in the arm and pointed at the security cameras all around. This place had top-notch security like they’d never seen. At least they had that.

“I want to see the security tapes,” Stone said to the ranking Security officer. By this time, they were joined by Emil Hamilton, the Director of the facility. They all went together to the security office.

“Lex Luthor,” Hamilton said with disdain as they watched the crime play out from three different camera records. “Damn him.”

“You know the killer?” Stone asked.

“A lot of  people in this facility know him,” Hamilton said. “He’s what you’d call… disgruntled. He’s been that way for years. I just can’t believe it led to a… workplace incident.”

“Why was he working here if he was no good?” Stone asked.

“He wasn’t always trouble,” Hamilton said. “The first ten years he worked here, he was on his way up. The trouble started about three years back. We kept him on because he was brilliant and we hoped he’d come around. But we fired him three months ago. The people in his section just couldn’t work with him anymore.”

A staffer came in and shared the news: the only known sample of Krypto-821 on Earth was missing. It seemed Luthor had snatched it right before he’d tried to run out of there.

“What the hell is Krypto-821?” Bottom blurted out. His breath stank.

Hamilton frowned. “Luthor liked to call it Kryptonite. It was his obsession, or at least what led to it. He’s not a mineral expert. He’s an astrophysicist. His team went out to some farming town around here — Smallville, I think the name was. They found our little green rock. It’s not particularly useful. Luthor was very excited about it, but there’s no real commercially viable application for it. The rock is inert.”

“Maybe he found a buyer?” Stone asked. “You say it’s rare, anyway.”

Hamilton seemed skeptical. “I can’t claim to understand the criminal mind. I suppose it’s possible. Unlikely, but possible.”

“We’re wasting time,” Bottom said. “Where does this perp live?”

Continued in Planet Zod. Part 2. Two Cops Saving the World

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