Collateral Damage #3: The Avengers Initiative Part 2: Hydra does Dallas

See part 1 of this game report to see what happened to our heroes in the previous Scene.

Scene 4: Texas Scranble

Henry Peter Gyrich (Commander of the Superhuman Armed Forces): Your debriefing will have to wait, a Hydra Terror Carrier has teleported in the Texan airspace and is heading for the President’s Ranch and Summer residence. You are ordered to go and lend support to the Avengers and other Initiative teams that can make it on time.

Nightcrawler: My American geography isn’t all that great but aren’t we in Connecticut right now?

Henry: Don’t you worry your little Mutant head with that son. Uncle Henry has a magic tunnel to slide you kids to the fun.

The characters were all given Avenger-Issue Jet Pack and Pulse Rifles. That means the players got a new Power set to remain relevant in the upcoming aerial battle…

Toma: I KEEP MINE!

…And told to gather at the Camp’s portal to the Negative Zone.

(Quick data dump: The Zone is a parallel dimension where once side of the Civil War-era heroes built a Super Guantanamo Prison, oh this negative universe also triggers depressive thoughts, very bad stuff).

As they crossed the Negative zone between the portals that linked Camp Hammond to Texas, the heroes were battered by the sense of hopelessness and sorrow that pervades this world-between-worlds.  While the other heroes resisted the zone’s dark whisperings, Nightcrawler found his deep religious beliefs shaken, feeling that God had abandoned him.

(I.e. he took a “Has God abandoned me?” complication)

As they exited the gateway, they scrambled to the site of a vicious airborne conflict between several dozen superheroes, a great number of  fighter jets and a Hydra flying aircraft carrier.

Gauntlet: Concentrate on taking out the fighter jets, us big boys and gals will  handle the carrier!

Toma: The first thing I do is ignore his orders and aim my Enhanced Pulse Rifle at the mothership (clatter clatter) Yikes! Three ones!

Chatty: Yeah, your blasts get absorbed by the Carrier’s impenetrable Force Shield. Not great.

A squadron of fighter jets then targeted Toma, trying to shoot him out of the sky (I was trying to take out his Jet Pack).

After some discussion to frame Toma’s succesfull defense and counterattack, the story went totally R rated.  Toma multplied himself hundreds of times to serve as an ablative shield to stop the jets’ Blasters. The explosion of gore, blood and occasional blasts of Toma’s pulse rifle brought down 3 planes in mere seconds.

Seeing no nearby jets, Nightcrawler grabbed Gregory and teleported through the Carrier’s shields. They popped on one of the Carrier Decks and took out the (very surprised) guards stationed there.  Gregory then sets off a precognition chain to try to establish if he could  turn off the ship’s Stabilizers from the Carrier Deck, turns out he couldn’t.

Fighting the ship’s automated defenses, Nightcrawler made a teleporting beeline to the ship’s engine room, smashing all consoles, buttons and levers he could find once there.

That did the job beautifully, the ship crashed into the great Texan wilderness.

Gauntlet: Don’t tell me those untrained clowns did it? Damn it!

Once back at the training camp, our heroes were summoned to see Henry Gyrich.

Henry: Pack your things from the surface barracks kids, you’re moving underground. Welcome to the Shadow Initiative.

Post Gaming notes

And thus was our best Marvel Heroes game played so far. As I gain experience with actually running the the system (as opposed to designing rules and scenes for it), I come to truly appreciate its strength and flexibility. My players spent a lot of that session playing it like a Super-Heroic version of the Leverage TV show, and it worked perfectly, telling me it can simulate grittier, darker stories than those the game is currently based on.

My players have professed a desire to keep playing the campaign. I take this as a strong indicator of the entertainment value of the game (coupled with my ability to run it).

As for the Scenes themselves, I found them very playable. I had to go off script because of my players actions but it was easy to build upon  the structure I had created . I think I wrote both scenes in a way that allowed a beginning GM to run a straight, enjoyable short session. I also let plenty of space for more experienced GMs to use the material as a springboard to play it by ear and even expand on or  break them in several sub-scenes. All in all, I can’t wait for Marvel RPG fans to get their hands on the 50 States Initiative Supplement.

Thanks for reading. As always, if you have questions or comments, I’ll make sure to answer them!