Monday, August 29, 2011

Games In Review, August 29th, 2011

Last Tuesday happened to be the day that I ran my DC Adventures/Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition game, and it went very well.  Essentially the PCs wrapped up a major plot point that has been hanging over the campaign for some time, as well as an important one that has been a cause of "in-character" stress as well.

The big problem?  An alien doomsday device that creates a plague that kills any one species with a specifically tailored virus that will spread across the planet in 3-4 days, but leaves just about every other species (except very closely related ones) alone.  Those rascally Dominators and their banned weapons.

The smaller problem?  Because the the unique circumstances of many of the character's return from death, Amanda Waller was hooked up to a doohickie that would snuff  66%  of the party if she dies.

But before all of that got resolved, the group went to rescue the citizens of Gorilla City from a floating interrogation center.  Gorilla City was involved, so Grodd was also involved, and the players did a very good job of keeping him off balance so that he couldn't mind control the prisoners, and had a hard time targeting the New Guard to boot.

Of special note:  Marathon took Grodd on a "fishing trip" by grabbing him with TK and going for a spin just over the water.  When Fahrenheit and Myrmidon saw the chance to finish off the flying ape, Fahrenheit used his "flame shapes" (Create) ability, and made a flaming staircase that lead to the dangling Grodd, allowing Myrmidon to run up the flaming stairs to wallop Grodd and knock him senseless!

This was the second "team KO" for a big bad guy in the campaign.  I love those.  Very much in genre.

Fahrenheit also got to thin the herd of Grodd's minions with his selective fireball ability, which as it turns out works really well on minions grouped together.  Plus I was nice enough to forget the really bad joke that Fahrenheit's player was afraid would get his actions excised from the blog post this time around.

Also of note:  Beorn almost let one of the apes fall to his death  (gorillas can't swim . . . . no, not just they don't do it well, I mean they can't physically swim), but Necromancer saw the guy take a header off the side of the boat and teleported to save him.

In fact, Necromancer was teleporting to save/heal people a lot.  With all of that teleporting, saving, and healing going on, you almost feel sorry for the way people get creeped out around him, just because he talks to dead people and shoots skull blasts at bad guys.

Paradox played liberator by phasing through the floor, short circuiting the cells, and setting King Solovar free, as well as turning the floor under Grodd intangible and letting the big lug fall, setting him up for Marathon's "fishing line."

The drama on the false tanker seems to be a distraction, and the party finds out that the shell game of finding the device has been a game between Blaze and Trigon  (with Black Adam as Blaze's pawn and Psimon and the Fearsome Five as Trigon's), and they find Waller and Task Force X helpless in a van set up to nullify powers.

There was lots of debate about how to handle the device and "disarm" it, and there was even a lot of talk about self-sacrifice, but Fahrenheit decided the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one, and drew blood on Mongul while he was unconscious.  Mongul's response to the Kobayashi Maru was to keep snoring due to the neural inhibitor the interstellar despot was hooked into.

(Fahrenheit wasn't especially bloodthirsty, but he figured that sacrificing one psychotic alien tyrant for the fate of the Earth was worth it, since there was only one of Mongul's species on the whole planet)

Necromancer being opposed to needless killing teleported Mongul to the bunker for safety, then realized he couldn't get into the thing, got Myrmidon, Myrmidon opened the bunker, grabbed his Black Lantern ring  (just in case), Paradox temporarily turned Mongul intangible so that he couldn't hammer anyone on the team, and the door to the bunker slid shut.

The group got Waller to take out the "failsafe," and all is right with the world.  Except that apparently the heroes that didn't disappear during the altercation with the Sinestro Corps appear to be trapped at the Rock of Eternity, and Black Adam is pissed off at Blaze and has just returned to his home away from home for some revenge on the Old Wizard's prodigal demonic daughter.

Now begins Act II of our campaign . . . let's hope it turns out as well as this act did!  And thank you to all of my players for just generally being awesome and giving me so much material to work with.

How about mechanics you ask?  The best thing, in my opinion, that a game system can do, is get out of the way of the story when it doesn't provide you with a means of supporting the genre you are using.  The minion fight went quickly, but allowed for enough drama that the minions weren't dismissed too easily, and the rules, including the universal measures table, helped come up with outside the box ideas.

The only real disappointment, to me, was that I can't seem to hit a good balance for hero point awards.  Last time I know I gave out too few for the Rogue's battle, but this time, even with scene editing and clues being handed out, it felt like we had a few too many left around the table by the end of the night.  Not a horrible problem to have, though I do find myself often wishing there were perhaps a more in depth guide to Gamermastering M&M 3rd edition.  Hm . . . I wonder when such a product might come out.



  1. Dude, as far as the Hero Point thing, I have no idea what you're talking about. I know I had none at the end of it all.

    Fantastic session, by the way. I really enjoyed myself... =)

  2. Once again, I find myself wishing I was gaming with you! Sounds awesome so far. :D

    You seem to be using a lot of DC NPCs, certainly a lot more than me. How is that working out? How do you keep everyone from being overshadowed?

  3. I think the key is that I'm using a lot of DC characters that are either antagonists or supporting characters, so the characters are kind of built to play to lead characters.

    Regardless of circumstances, when the PCs beat one of Superman or Batman's bad guys, it goes a long way towards reinforcing that they are the heroes of this story.

    Plus, as a GM I really do enjoy getting to play with the "bad guy" toys of the DC Universe. I really think that the villains of DC are in many ways just as legendary and iconic as the heroes, with the added benefit being that they are suppose to make the heroes look better.

    But man do my players not want to mess with Black Adam . . . ;)

  4. I really do enjoy getting to play with the "bad guy" toys of the DC Universe - this!

    I've had such a blast portraying Poison Ivy. I've also had a lot of fun playing Mr. Freeze - any excuse to bust out my Arnie impressions.

    I understand the desire to big up the heroes by giving them a known villain to tangle with. I don't think that ever occurred to either me or my group. We've all been very focused on giving them, the East Coast Justice Society, their own rogues gallery. The other DC characters have appeared sparingly, with us using a lot more heroes than villains.

    Finally - no one should want to mess with Black Adam. (I'd love to see him team up with Joker and Sinestro - can you imagine the in-fighting!)