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July 4th Firework Mayhem Encounter

In the spirit of the July 4th weekend I decided to create a wacky encounter for my players. I like to create encounters around holidays or other occasions that may be going on. It is a lot of fun to create these themed encounter and adventures. Player love them as well as they are topical and usually help to spice up the rhythm of the game. These encounters, especially this one I have created for the July 4th game, really helps to show the flexibility of the Atomic RPG System.

Battle Time Encounter: July 4th Wagon Load of Possessed Fireworks

  • Players: 6 – 8
  • Level: 15
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Skill Checks: Easy 29, Moderate 34, Hard 39

Using the Encounter Calculator here, I plug in my group information above and the difficulty I want. In my case, my group will be fighting 1 Champion, 6 Grunts, and at least 6 minions.

July 4th Battle Time Encounter Setup

This encounter is geared towards my specific role play group. But the details are easily tweaked for any group or situation. My group have become Lords and Lady’s of the area. They are attending a grand celebration in their honor. A famous alchemist has been hired to entertain with a grand display of fireworks.

In this situation my roleplay group has made a powerful enemy. This enemy is a fire elemental demigod, the Burning Prince. They banished him earning their titles but in the process has made deadly enemy. The Burning Prince is always watching, waiting for his time to strike down the hero’s that banished him. His opportunity presents itself with the firework display. Using the intense heat of the display as a focal point of a planar connection, he will try to find his vengeance.  The Burning Prince will take control of the fireworks and send them after the party instead of into the air.

However, this is just a story specific setup that I have for this particular campaign. GM’s could use any of the following reasons for the fireworks to go haywire.

  • The fireworks themselves could simply malfunction and get out of control.
  • Maybe some evil genius has imbued them with evil intent through magic, chemistry, or technology.
  • Maybe an evil roboticist covered the normal fireworks with nanites to take control of them and cause havoc.
  • It could even be a cleverly disguised assassination attempt.

Whatever the reason, the point is to have a fun and interesting encounter. Because that is what it is all about. Now, let’s look at the actual characters.

Firework NPC Enemies

As mentioned above, we will have three types of NPCs to help mix up the battle. Each has a different archetype to spread out the strengths and weaknesses of the group. They are all created as balanced NPC as well due to being inanimate objects… most of the time!

Each of the NPCs are going to move and act like enemy monsters even though they aren’t. They are temporarily imbued with the singular purpose of attacking the PCs. Attacking and fighting these fireworks will effectively break them so they no longer work. This is the idea around “killing” this out of the ordinary NPCs.

Flow of Battle

Setup the PCs in a celebration with lots of citizens and other non combatants around. This should help throw some immediacy of the danger of the fireworks. It should also help to spur the party to quickly do something about the fireworks before innocent people get hurt.

Near the end of the roleplay celebration, present the Wagonload of Fireworks.

You might read something like this.

A wagon overflowing with amazing fireworks rolls into the center of the celebration. With a flourish and a bow, the scrawny pyrotechnician with the long handlebar mustache announces. “Now, without further delay, let the show begin!” With a little sleight of hand and a puff of smoke he lights the fuse. A hushed silence eagerly awaits the show.

Little patience is needed as the wagon quickly erupts in sparks and fountains! Several large balls of fire leap into the air then explode in gorgeous blue and yellow blooms.

Let the players cheer and roleplay the beginning of the show. Those with high perceptions or social (29 in my case) notice several strange things.

High Passive Social: You notice that the crowd has gone from excited to uneasy. Something seems to be wrong with the fireworks. The cheering dies down and the crowd eye the Wagonload of Fireworks nervously.

High Passive Perception: You notice that the pyrotechnician with the handlebar mustache can be seen quickly vacating the area with a look of panic on his face!

Surprise Attack: With this the Wagonload of Fireworks attacks the PCs! Roll one attack from the wagon and resolve it. Then have everyone roll Reaction and begin Battle Time.

Round 1: The Wagonload of Fireworks is the only thing that attacks. It might be fun to add some NPC’s fleeing and running about. Mayhem and chaos ensues as the peasants flee for their lives. The PC’s are left to battle the wagon and save or shepherd the citizens away. They do this by crushing and smashing the Wagonload of Fireworks to bits. Some NPCs may need a heal or to be escorted out.

The PCs may want to leave the Wagonload of Fireworks alone. Just let it “burn out”. This is possible, but make sure they are aware that it will definitely burn down everything in the area. It quite possibly could start massive fires that could spread throughout the city.

Round 2: The Wagonload of Fireworks attacks again, and will each round. But it will also create 3 Bloomers and 4 Angry Sparks to attack different PCs.

Round 3: The last three Bloomers come out and attack along with more Angry Sparks.

Round 4+: No more Bloomers appear but the wagon will rain down 1-3 Angry Sparks per round.

July 4th Encounter Resolution

Once the Wagonload of Fireworks is defeated no more Bloomers or Angry Sparks will appear. The wagon and the firework are a charred mass of detris. Resolve any innocents that may have been hurt. Let the PCs take care of any immediate issues may still be important such as fires that have started. Then if you fit this into a larger plot such as an assassination attempt it will be time to address that. Otherwise, the party can go along their merry way marveling at the odd things that always seem to happen to them.

Happy gaming on July 4th!

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