At last! The newest issue of the long awaited adventures of the West Coast newest hero team! When an old friend left for pastures unknown, the team brings in a new, intriguing member. Can you believe that she’s never been to Disneyland? Well, lets fix that!
(This is a recap of my ongoing Marvel RPG game, you can follow the adventures from the beginning here)
Dramatis Personae Redux
The Great Gregory (Absent from the game): Ex-Vegas parlor-trick magician, has focused powers of precognition. Bored with his life and trying “this Hero gig thing”
Nightcrawler: Everyone’s favorite swashbuckling teleporter… Only not a member of the X-Men and very much conflicted about his origins and his faith.
The One Man Army (TOMA): Crass, loud and literally all over the place. He hates being alone so much that he multiplies himself to fill up space… All of the space.
Undine: An angel walking the earth, hiding her divine origins behind a fae front. She passes herself as a water spirit that takes human form. A water controller, very fast, very resistant.
New Character Design
My friend Chantal joined our Marvel crew last summer. She wanted to combine two of her favorite concepts from some of the TV shows she’d been watching passionately. We settled on Undine’s concept, working as a gaming group to make her concept into Marvel mechanics. In hindsight, I found this process to have contributed to the successful integration of Chantal to the other players. I was a bit worried that my friends would be patronizing with her, that they’d hijack the character’s concept and design it for her. My fears were unfounded, they acted the same way with her than with everyone else.
Yan summarizes our approach best: “We’ll give each other suggestions about cool choices and courses of action, but in the end, you get to chose what you want.”
We played a short introductory session during Chantal’s char gen session. I wanted her to get a hang of the new character, the rules and observe the rest of the gang further. It featured a Fae prince trying to steal Undine’s beauty by getting her to watch his Indie movie at the Sundance film festival. The whole thing degenerated with demons jumping out of the movie screen and running all over town, our heroes fighting without spilling too much beer and Undine facing the Fae Prince with a sword made of beer while trading insults about who was the ugliest and meanest.
Fun times. This iteration of the Cortex Plus rules can really do a LOT.
Designing the Adventure
For this session, I wanted to tap into Undine’s lack of “life experiences”. I wanted to set the action in Disneyland. I imagined how funny it would be to get a group of Supers operating out of the LA region to resolve a conflict inside one of the world’s most notorious amusement parks. I also wanted to limit my prep time by using as much material I could from existing Marvel books (especially Civil War).
I set out to plan my adventure as such
- Team visits Disneyland
- Thor’s Hammer crashes on the castle, destroying it, injuring/trapping many tourists
- Dr. Doom teleports with a crapton of doombots and pronounces the Hammer his
- Doom summons Mud-like demons to render crater hard to navigate while he goes for hammer.
- Morgan la Fey monitors events from the past, ready to get involved if heroes fail to thwart Doom’s plans
I made stats for Morgan and the demons and cribbed the Dr. Doom scene directly from the pages of Civil War. I was ready to go.
How Things Turned Out
After a very visual description the Scene had: one huge hammer, a crater full of rubble and broken machinery, people screaming, and the ruins of (insert generic Princess name)’s castle. I then had Dr Doom appear in a flash of badly inked smoke, claiming the hammer as his.
As the heroes squared off, TOMA attempted to get to the hammer before Doom did, which he failed. His clones were thrown all over the scenery by one of Doom’s Sorcerous blasts. Doom got the upper hand and summoned amorphous demons that turned the whole battleground into a huge sludge pit of fiends (which incidentally is the name of my Nickleback cover band).
The heroes fought gooey demons and freed trapped tourists. Undine drained the water from the ground and turned the demons into dust (i.e. she created a complication against the demons that eventually went over D12). As the heroes faced Doom and his doombots, TOMA’s genetic code was hexed by the armored sorcerer, inducing severe defects in his cloning power (a Cloning Defect D10 complication). It soon became clear that defeating Doom in physical conflict would be very hard for the notably under gunned team. That’s when they decided to allow Doom to go for the hammer. As expected, he failed miserably, causing him some emotional stress.
That’s when Morgan la Fey’s voice boomed over the whole park, calling Doom on his unworthiness to take Thor’s mantle.
That’s when Franky got an idea. He decided to piggy back on this situation… He would engage Victor von Doom into a theological debate (I kid you not… Franky started making a dice pool to argue about theology with an insane Genius)
Chatty DM: You’re really going there?
Franky: Sure, why not? It’s not like we’re going to beat him by punching him.
Chantal: Can Undine help?
We all looked at her. She clearly had a plan, you could see a sparkle I’ve since come to recognize in he eyes.
Chatty: You’ll reveal your character’s true form to back his claim?
Chantal: Not at all! Do you mind if I go before you Franky? I can create an asset for what you want to do.
Franky (confused): Sure, go ahead.
Undine: While standing BEHIND Nightcrawler and TOMA, I use all the humidity I absorbed from the crater and create a fine halo of water particle all around Nightcrawler. I then infuse that with a sliver of my angelic Grace to make the halo sparkle.
Chatty: You fiend! Everyone, Chantal gets what Marvel’s all about.
Undine aced her roll, Franky roleplayed a rousing speech…
Nightcrawler: It is a sign of God’s power over this world. He has decided that you are not even fit to pick a hammer that belongs to a false deity. God has judged you unworthy Doom. Accept defeat and leave!
…and managed to bring Doom at the cusp of being stressed out by emotional damage…
Chatty: As Doom prepares to unleash his Wrath he draws from his immense ego to increase his power. However, that move takes a tremendous toll on his already shaken psyche and his doubts take over. He truly believes, for a fatal second, that he is unworthy in the eyes of a being who’s existence he secretly believes in. Emotionally crushed and humiliated, he leaves like he arrived. Vowing vengeance!
Franky was stunned. We all were. We had played out a Superhuman conflict through channels we hadn’t expected to use. We made the game do something we never thought it could do.
Franky: Well, that takes care of my “Faith” Milestone, I will become a priest!
Undine: And I managed to use my powers without revealing myself!
Yan: I didn’t do much this session. But it was fun.
(Don’t worry Yan, I have so much more planned for you in the coming sessions).
Up until now, the Marvel game had been a haphazardly put together mix of one-shots, improv and playtesting for upcoming published material. It was plagued by lack of focus.
That adventure and the ever-growing cohesiveness of the players made me decide to go for a more structured approach to our sessions, to create an actual plot arc.
But I had a month to work on that. No worries!
(Dun dun DUN)
Post Scriptum: I designed the adventure without realizing that having Thor’s hammer destroy the Disneyland castle could be construed as an editorial comment of Disney’s purchase of Marvel. Make it what you will, I still find it funny.