Thanks for your help, guys.
I ran this yesterday and it went really well; better than expected, actually.
I kept things pretty simple and prepared a lot of stuff that I wound up not needing, but it definitely helps to have it ready.
So, the hero team was:
Birthday Boy: A superhero from a long line of superheroes tasked with making sure children’s birthday parties do not end in disaster.
Party Dude: The team member responsible for bringing the party vibe. A normal man called Michael Angelo, who received his powers from the mystical ‘Party Rock’, transforming him into a party animal (figuratively). With his duplication powers, he can literally create his own party as well as hype up others with his mega-megaphone. Even though he’s not a beastie boy, he will always fight for your right to party.
Disco-Tech: The one in the team who provides the music and tech. A professor who turned themselves into the ultimate disco-powered cyborg, they can light up their foes and the dance floor with both their suit and their inventions. They’re just as comfortable in a night club as a fight club.
The Ent-Ertainer. A fey creature who loves a party and thrives off other people’s joy. Hence why she took to performing magic tricks and acrobatic feats. But when it comes to defending a good time, she can sway like a weeping willow and stand strong like a mighty oak. Spoil her fun and your ass is grass.
The super villain was The Party Pooper (Disruptor/Inhibitor) who makes it his miserable life’s work to ruin birthday parties. His sheer presence is a downer for everyone as his traumatic memories from a disappointing childhood manifest as both underlings as well as disheartening thoughts that invade the heroe’s minds as if they were their own.
His two (d10) lieutenants are Boss DJ and Mister Magic, a fearsome DJ and annoying stage magician as their names suggest. They are accompanied by six (d6) clowns (who come with an impossibly small clown car that actually contains a portal to a universe of evil clowns).
As I’d not really run any homebrew stuff I was a bit apprehensive about how difficult to make it and so I didn’t bother with any of the bonuses to lieutenants and minions or extra villain abilities, etc., especially since Party Pooper was going to be messing people up with hinders quite a bit. I created a couple of straightforward challenges but only used one at first, since I figured the heroes could consider it a victory if they at least saved everyone without needing to stop the Party Pooper himself.
Birthday Boy received an ‘invitation’ from The Party Pooper, for The Worst Birthday Party ever at a local Party & Play Centre. He checked his calendar and realised it was [his real life name]'s birthday; a child whose birthday he’d saved last year. He gathered the team and they rushed to the building, finding their way to the main area where the doors locked behind them. Inside was a ball pit, a dance floor area and a bouncy castle (I printed off little location things and tokens to give a sense of space and location as we’re more typically Pathfinder/D&D people).
The first challenge up was ‘Four Candles’ (yes, a Two Ronnies reference) as four ‘candles’ (sticks of candy striped dynamite) were flung across the hall. These needed dealing with before the scene reached the red zone. Fortunately, this proved enough as the heroes contended with the Party Pooper making them relive childhood memories of receiving pink socks as a present, or weird balloon animals or Jaden not liking them really. Birthday Boy actually completely fumbled the last candle and I included an extra step to find it again. Party Dude managed to create a massive bundle of duplicates to stifle it.
As Disco-Tech had handily taken out 5/6 minions with one group attack (I rolled five 1s!), I figured I would spawn more in. This provoked Birthday Boy into booting the clown car into the stratosphere with an overcome action that succeeded beyond expectations. For rounds afterwards, evil clowns were travelling through the portal into the cold expanse of outer space.
Once the candles were taken care of, I figured it was worth introducing the second challenge. Since Party Pooper had barely been attacked, a better ending was probably needed and it felt there was more time to do that than go after him. Cue, the party hearing the muffled cries of a boy calling for help. The heroes would need to find the child and release them.
Birthday Boy absolutely tore the place apart, discovering a coffin-size birthday cake, decorated with the words “Happy Birthday, Just Happy Birthday” (the classic ‘instructions taken too literally’ error) buried beneath the dance floor. However, a minor twist meant they created a hazardous area which would make freeing the boy a bit harder. Still, they managed it and, with everyone on their last legs but all the clowns and the DJ down, made one last push to take down Party Pooper.
Disco-Tech burned all their bonuses to make a whopping big attack on the villain and then I decided to fudge it a bit by allowing Birthday Boy’s red ability that boosts hero damage to also work for minions (i.e. hero targets). This was partly because Party Dude had been rolling really terribly when trying to create minions and they’d been sacrificing themselves to ‘keep the party going’ so I wanted them to have a big contribution. This allowed the team to take down Party Pooper once and for all on the very last red zone space. With only two turns remaining, Disco-Tech finally harmed Mister Magic, only to see him throw down a smoke bomb (magic!) and escape… to exact revenge another day?
It was a great session and I love that it came down to the wire as well.