Friday, December 16, 2011

Games in Review: Out of Order One Shot Fill In Justice League Mayhem! 12-15-11

Our GM for our Pathfinder Shackled City campaign had a family obligation for the night, but many of us can't quite bring ourselves not to hang out at the coolest game store ever, the beloved Armored Gopher Games.  No one managed to plan out a game to fill in our GM vacancy, and those of us planning on showing up figured we would just be screwing around most of the night.

But then, for some reason, on the relatively short drive from my work to the game store, I had an idea.  I still had my Mutants and Masterminds/DC Adventures books in my car.  Could I be crazy enough to plan out a one shot in ten minutes and be able to run a fun game?  Why not find out.

It was a simple, oft repeated story.  The PCs would be established DC heroes, in this case, a character with stats in the DC Adventures Hero's Handbook  (because I could pass that book around while running the game out of the M&M Hero's Handbook, and run the bad guys out of Heroes and Villains Volume One).  There is an alien invasion, and the PCs have just recently formed the Justice League to turn back the invaders.  In this case, the alternate reality of the session would see whomever the player's picked as the founding members of the Justice League.

The very simple plot would be that there would be a starting round of challenges for the PCs to build up hero points, with a raging city wide fire, a tidal wave, crumbling bridges and buildings, and people in immediate danger.  After saving the city, the heroes would face the lead ship in the invasion, which just happened to be Brainiac's ship.

Now here I'll point out that I was assuming someone would take, say, Superman, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, someone like that.  With this assumption in mind, our alternate fledgling Justice League was going to raid Brainiac's ship, and have Brainiac unleash a Kryptonian artifact on them in the form of a cryo-frozen Doomsday.

Now, let's talk about what the actual composition of the Justice League was in this case.  Green Lantern, Aquaman, Robin, Flash, and Batman.  Hm.  Realizing that they might be outgunned, the group recruited another regular from the store to play someone else to be the cavalry.  He picked Plastic Man.

Now that we know our line up, a note about how these heroes were portrayed.  Green Lantern was Ryan Reynolds, Aquaman was the Brave and the Bold version, except with the Peter David hook, Batman was Batman from Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin, but worse, and Robin was a terrified abuse victim.

Starting out with the various challenges saving the city . . . Green Lantern turned aside the tidal wave with a giant Hot Wheels track to shunt the water away, and then absorbed the rest of the water with his second construct's toga  (a construct of his character in my Tuesday night game, Ares' son Myrmidon). Flash used his super speed and quickness to rescue trapped people.  Aquaman summoned squids to catch trapped people and shore up bridges.

While this was going on, Batman was letting Robin drive.  Robin crashed into a building with the Batvan  (don't ask), contributing a failure to the attempt to save the city.  Batman also failed to jury rig a fire fighting device, but didn't fail badly enough to contribute another failure.  The next time around, Robin contributed another failure by backing the Batvan into another building.  Batman spent his next turn shoving Robin out of the van.  Then Robin attempted to throw a sleep pellet into the van to knock Batman out because he shoved him out of the van.

The rest of the team managed to erase the mistakes of the Caped Crusaders from Hell, and Green Lantern flew them all up to Braniac's ship.  Batman power stunted his equipment to make a "Bat Scanner" to use his technology roll to point out a weak spot in the shield, granting the heroes a +5 bonus on their attempts to break down the shield.

In the ship, they bantered with Brainiac  (including Green Lantern making a construct of Brainiac to taunt Brainiac), and Brainiac unleashed cryo-stored Doomsday.  At this point the Plastic Man cavalry arrived by slinging himself into the ship.  Flash used a hero point to go before Doomsday was thawed out, using quickness to try and figure out the code to reset the cryo-chamber using his technology roll.

Flash didn't manage to do it, but Green Lantern threw a construct over the chamber, and Robin stood on it to brace it with his staff.  Yup.  That was his tactic.  After the chamber already opened, Flash figured out the code, and a plan was born.

Doomsday shattered the construct, and swings at his nearest target, Robin.  Robin dodges.  Robin throws his tracers in Doomsday's eyes, keeping him busy.  Plastic Man stretched out behind Doomsday's legs, and Green Lantern slammed into Doomsday with a Superman construct, knocking him over, while Flash used his quickness to input the code he figured out to re-freeze Doomsday.

I actually really loved how the players defeated Doomsday.  Green Lantern was the only heavy hitter in the group, but the plan was text book "how do we beat someone that we can't fight toe to toe."  Robin even contributed because Doomsday couldn't hit him  (granted, if he had, Robin would have been a red smear, but hey, no risk, no reward).

Batman's chance to shine kind of left him behind, because by the time Batman hacked the lock, with Robin's help, Plastic Man slid under the door and opened it from the other side.  Then he needed Robin and Flash to help him to give him a +5 in order to disarm Brainiac's "flood the corridor with deadly radiation" trap.  But, hey, in the end, Batman still got to shine, right?

In the final room, in the battle with Brainiac, Flash spent several rounds unplugging conduits and replugging them in randomly.  Brainiac was plugged into his invasion fleet, and with multiple successes with Flash's quickness for juggling cables, I gave Brainiac a -2, and then a -5 on his checks due to being disoriented by the crossed conduits.

Green Lantern countered a pulse of energy that was a power stunted area attack by Brainiac.  Robin tried to blind Brainiac, to no avail, and then Batman saw another chance to shine.  Batman's player decided that he was going to train all of the invasion force's missiles on Brainiac's main ship, thus ending the invasion even if the heroes couldn't defeat Brainiac.  Unfortunately, Batman seemed to be stuck rolling 2s and 5s for his Technology checks, and he gained two degrees of failure.  I ruled that the missiles on the other ships armed, but were trained on the major cities that the ships were hovering above.

Plastic Man launched himself at Brainiac, turned himself into a sheet, and blinded Brainiac.  Then Aquaman charged Brainiac, and Brainiac rolled a 1 on his Toughness check, and with the -5  from Flash's conduit shuffling, this got Brainiac four degrees of failure, dropping Brainiac.

Then the crowning moment of awesome happened.  Batman failed another technology check.  No stopping the count down.  Hero points flew for re-rolls.  Aiding another happened from everyone that Technology as a skill.  And in the end, after surviving Doomsday, and defeating Brainiac, Batman managed to set off the missiles that destroyed all of the major cities on Earth.

Green Lantern apprehended both Brainiac and Batman for sentencing.  It was great.  One of my players even asked if we could visit this alternate Earth in my regular DC Adventures game on Tuesday.

Armored Gopher Games has the best gamers in the world.  Thank you to my fellow Gophers, and to Gopher Dave, his lovely wife and family, for hosting such an awesome community.  These are the kinds of experiences that gaming memories are made of.


  1. By Neptune's Beard! I say, old chum, that was quite the outrageous odyssey! I believe I shall call this adventure: 'The day that the Justice League almost saved the world from Batman & Robin'.

  2. (Robin to Batman): "You said you were going to stop hitting me! You said that last time was the LAST TIME!"

    Incredifun. It's going on the list with Ghostbusters under "Greatest One-Shots Ever".

  3. That was one of the best gaming write-ups I've ever read. Nice! Wish I'd been there, but glad you guys had a lot of fun all the same. My favorites are Nuclear Genocide Batman and Bad Touch Robin.