Collateral Damage #5: The Glass Crusade

Hot on the trails of their last explosive adventure, our heroes return for more action. Only this time they are targeted by a sinister villain who seems obsessed about Nightcrawler’s origins. 

Obligatory Heroes Introduction.

The Great Gregory: Precognitive magician and con artist. Likes to create trouble as often as he likes to let it fix itself.

Nightcrawler: Acrobatic teleporting mutant and soon to be catholic priest.

The One Man Army (Toma): Snarky, smartass insta-multiplier. Nominally Muslim, mostly just all over the place.

Undine: Secretive Angel-that-Walks-the-Earth under the guise of a water spirit. Prone to provide help without others noticing.

Adventure Prep

We try to play the Marvel RPG every month or so. So far we have had trouble keeping to that schedule but with the arrival of fall, we’ve made an extra effort to respect our schedule.  I hoped to spend some time planning a coherent story arc that went beyond self-contained sessions. As is too often the case, I ended up walking up on the morning of the game with only a vague idea of what I wanted to do:  give Yan’s character (TOMA) some story focus while working from the events of the last session.

So I sat at my desk, still in my PJs. I picked a stack of Index cards, a pen and I started writing.

Within minutes, I had a full act in 6 Scenes. Enough material for several sessions and possibly the first third of a fully fledged Event.

I won’t spoil it here as my players read these posts. However, I started it by going after something one of the characters worked really hard to get… and things would go from there.

It starts with a Cathedral made of glass.

Forever Hold your Pieces

Nightcrawler, his teammates and the top leaders of his church started the Scene in a grand cathedral made of steel and glass panes (much like the Crystal Cathedral). Nightcrawer, under a human disguise, attended his ordainment ceremony. Getting ready to pronounce the last words of this rite, he sensed a throbbing vibration through his heightened senses, a faint “wop-wop-wop” bass vibe growing nearer. To his horror, an armoured gunship ascended from behind a nearby hill. The chopper bore a shield crest identical to those used during the medieval crusades.

Scene Distinctions:

Cathedral of Glass

Crowd of Friends

Crusader Gunship D8

  •  Agile, Armored, Stealthy
  • Gunship Armament: Dual Vulcan Canons D8, Dual Rocket Pods D10
    • SFX: Area Attack

Franky: No, no, NO! Phil, you’re EVIL!

Chatty: You see the gunship’s canons start to rotate rapidly. You know that it will destroy a large swath of the cathedral… and might I remind you that the Cardinal is standing right in front of you, oblivious to it all. What do you do?

Franky: I’ll shout so everyone scatters and I’ll try to protect the Cardinal.

He failed his roll, we discussed the possible ramifications and settled on this:

Chatty: As the front half of the cathedral shatters, the sounds of glass, explosions and screams of pain crash all around you. Worse still, a cannon shells rips through the Cardinal, knocking him unconscious. He lies there dying in a pool of blood, Nightcrawler takes some emotional damage. Someone call Vertigo comics, we have a R rated adventure again.

New Scene Distinction (powered by Doom Pool)

Dying Cardinal D8

Gregory looked at all possible outcomes around him in the next minute and tried to locate both the cathedral’s fire-extinguishing control box (to create a jet of steam to confuse the Gunship’s targeting) and a First Aid kit (i.e. he tried to create 2 Assets). When he failed his roll, we established that no matter what he tried, he’d get hit by the gunship. He therefore settled for getting a flesh wound as a shell grazed his calves while he tried to get to the control box.

TOMA, whose many clones made a lot of the attendance, dove for cover and finished fixing up a little gadget he’d been working on while being bored to death by the ceremony.

Yan: Can I make a resource based on my specialty during a fight?

Chatty: Sure, it works like a power. Just spend a Plot Point.

Yan: Cool, so TOMA has been fudging around with a folding ranged weapon.

Chatty: Like some sort of pocket Rocket-Propelled Grenade? That’s nice!

Yan: Yeah!  I deploy it on my shoulder, my other clones spread around to triangulate the chopper’s position.  I shoot,  aiming  for one of its rocket pods.

Clatter, Clatter. Success, D10 effect.

Chatty: The helicopter explodes in a gazillion pieces!

Cheers

Here’s the thing, I made the the whole helicopter thing on the spot as I was describing the Scene. It just made sense to have one. The originally planned Scene was what followed.

Chatty: As the smoke and the noise clears, you hear a commotion coming from the back of the cathedral.  A large number of people wearing crusader garb burst inside the non-wrecked part of the cathedral. Leading them is a guy wearing chainmail. He wields  a glowing sword in one hand and some sort of gun-like, beeping device in the other. You also notice a guy with a portable TV camera and what looks like a female reporter in the throng of the group.

Crusader (That’s the villain’s actual name): That’s him (pointing his device toward Nightcrawler) he’s a spawn from Hell! Catch him and force him to revel himself!

(I used another encounter from Civil War, but added the press by taking dice from the Doom Pool)

New Scene Distinctions 

Eye of the Press D8

WiFi TV Truck D8

True to his form, Franky delved deep in his character’s belief and motivations (i.e. not reveal his demonic nature) and actually talked down the mob of thugs. He even convinced some to help the dying Cardinal instead of following the zealot’s crazed antics.

From there, things degenerated for the Crusader and his remaining thugs. Realizing that Nightcrawler would not break character and out himself, Crusader honed in on Undine. He struck her down with his sword. While he succeeded with his attempts, Undine’s invulnerability to physical attacks became an automatic liability to the team as the press caught the action on tape. TOMA and Gregory tried their best to distract the press from spotting the “supernatural” origins of the Angel. Gregory tried to make sure he was in the camera’s way when Crusader struck while TOMA multiplied himself, having his clones shout “Oh my god, what is that?”, pointing in different directions all the time.

Crusader was eventually shamed into submission (he was caught on tape striking an unarmed woman) and all his hired thugs surrendered. TOMA mobilized his many selves to help Nightcrawler stabilize the cardinal, who survived his ordeal.

Yan: I’m on a roll today, quite a difference from last time!

Chatty: I’m pretty sure that sword hitting Undine was caught on tape…

Undine: That TV truck needs to die…

TOMA: Huh, trucks aren’t alive…

(Outside Explosion)

Undine (dusting herself): You were saying?

Mopping up…

As we closed the Scene, I indicated that Crusader’s “Gadget” bore a tag identifying it as being a SV Technologies design.

We played a transition scene where characters closed some story loops, cashed in on some XPs and investigated what SV Technologies was.  It turns out they were a neutral research center that designed and manufactured weapons and devices for superhumans.

As TOMA was Googling the company, his device’s screen blanked out.

Text Prompt: Ah, Mr. Chang, we were expecting your visit. Please contact us at your earliest convenience as we would like to discuss a business opportunity with you.

Post-Game Talk

I really liked this session. While I have been playing a lot with the rules of the game for the last few months, I find that the more I play it, the richer my experience becomes. I absolutely love how setting/motivations/story and mechanics intermingle to create such a self-regulated game experience.

At the end of the session, we discussed how PM’s character (Gregory) had a hard time doing his precognitive thing. While this was an unlucky session for him (he failed all rolls of the session), his character also lacks a useful second Powerset (as does TOMA). We discussed how his power could grow from 1-minute precognition centered on himself to something more. He’s been pondering that since and I look forward to see what he has in mind. Yan is doing something similar for TOMA. Such is the joy of spending XPs.

P.S.: I’m aware the actual Glass Cathedral is an Evangelical church. I took some artistic liberties for the sake of colourful destruction.