Faux Ex Machina

So I have another back-burner idea that needs dragging into the light. This one is for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.

Thus far, my plot summary looks like this:

Ultron infiltrates Latveria by compromising the monarch’s Doom-bots.

Preferred Heroes

  • F4 (Mr Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Thing, Human Torch)
  • Movie Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow)


  • Break-In at the Arsenal—Doom raids a SHIELD Arsenal.
  • Diplomacy and Duplicity—Which is the real Doom? Ultron’s hand revealed.
  • Landfall in Latveria—Doom’s police state is a formidable nut to crack.
  • Storming the Castle—The direct approach.
  • Ultron Emergent/Doom’s Gambit—As Ultron’s new body steps off the assembly line, Doom makes a play for his mind-control technology.
  • Ret-Con to the Future—The heroes are sent ten years into the future. (alternate cliffhanger ending)
  • One Nation Under Doom—Ultron has successfully fooled the world into thinking that he is Doom. He has enslaved or replaced world leaders, consolidating his grip on the world before implementing his apocalypse. The Avengers have been similarly compromised and relocated to Latveria.
  • Time Keeps on Slippin’—The heroes race against time to steal info/tech necessary to defeat Ultron before they snap back to the past.
  • Rebound—Realizing that Utron’s consciousness is not housed in his powerful new frame, the heroes attack him at his source.
  • Long live Doom!—The villain is restored to his throne.

It reads like the plot of a multi-issue story arc of The Avengers. That pleases me to no end, but I want to cut it down to run in one or two sessions.

At this point, I figure it all comes down to our villains motivations. The trouble is, how do I stitch it all together?


Ultron is a threat to all humanity. It sees humans as imperfect beings, now made irrelevant by its existence. Its plan will ultimately culminate in war against humanity. Latveria’s military and police forces are entirely roboticized, making it uniquely well suited as a base from which to launch the attack.

Ultron has been monitoring Doom for a long time and is temporarily convinced of the merits of playing a longer game. By usurping Doom, Ultron can advance those of Dooms’ plots that suit it—wielding political and technological influence like a scalpel to create conditions more suitable to his usual approach.

  • Using a combination of robotic impostors and its encephalo-ray, Ultron plans to guide the nations of the world into economic and political ruin, sowing distrust and sundering ties over the course of several years.
  • Meanwhile, the nation of Latveria will secretly prepare for war. Ultron will impoverish the nation in this pursuit, neglecting its citizens and spoiling its carefully cultivated veneer of natural splendor in pursuit of the resources that lay beneath it.
  • Doom has accumulated a vast library of previously uncatalogued technologies that have never been revealed to the world. Ultron now has access to these and Dooms’ personal armory. The mechanical menace needs a new body and there may be a few ideas worth plundering for the new design!


Hell hath no wrath such as this. The Latverian Monarch has been unseated and upset by a mere machine! Retribution must follow swiftly and with a finality that the Avengers has so frequently failed to bring to Ultron.

The first obstacle is pride. Doom doesn’t ask for help because that would imply that he is reliant upon others. Instead, he gathers the resources that he needs to wrest back his nation. If that includes pitting former adversaries against the threat, all the sweeter.

  • Doom’s technology is influenced by his mystical studies. This, he believes, represents a vulnerability to Ultron’s control of the Latverian tech. With sufficient access, Doom can isolate Ultron’s consciousness and regain control. this requires access to his computers in Castle Doom.
  • Doom needs firepower, or muscle, or both… None may enter Latveria without his permission so, without Doom, the heroes may risk legal repercussions if they attempt to fight Ultron on Latverian soil without him.
  • Doom is particularly interested in acquiring Ultron’s encephalo-ray and the technology behind its recently developed hive-hind. To that end, he would delay satisfaction by capturing, rather than killing Ultron. At least. he wouldn’t kill the monster right away if he can contain it.

~ by Hunter Rose on January 11, 2013.

2 Responses to “Faux Ex Machina”

  1. I know it’s been a while, but I’m catching up on my Marvel Heroic reading . . . 😉

    Reading through this, I couldn’t help but think that after a certain point in the event, being able to unlock Doom as a player datafile would be awfully tempting.

    Who wouldn’t want to unleash their inner Doom against the current “greater evil?”

    • I fee really strongly about making him a playable character in this event because it allows a player to become the driving force behind the story instead of an NPC.

      Honestly, I may not even charge them XP to do it. At the point that Doom accompanies the team, I’ld just ask if anyone wants to play him.

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