Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Game Night: DC Adventures . . . A Savage Beating

Our DC Adventures game wrapped up a fairly major long running plot point last night.  The group had been tracking down clues about the Immortal Prophet, someone that was consolidating the various DCU secret societies and cults, and finding Lazarus Pits that have been modified by the "Kobra Method" of causing anyone raised by the pit to worship . . . someone.

The opening scene had the group called to the penitentiary where Kobra was being held, with Kobra volunteering information about his organization, since he can feel his twin brother and can feel that his followers have brought him back to life to take over as "Kobra."

The group got their information, essentially to head to Markovia ASAP, and then a prison riot breaks out among the Kobra converts in the prison.  The group got a chance to rescue some prison guards and generate some hero points, which immediately made one of players paranoid, since he figured if I had scenes to generate hero points, they would need them later.

Especially amusing was Beorn running to one side of the prison, realizing the guards were safe, bounding off the wall, and diving into another hallway to tackle more prisoners.  Especially since Myrmidon just saw his giant bear team mate run one direction, then the other, from the hallway he was guarding.

The group heads to Markovia, fights "other" Kobra and his Bestowed, the cult sorcerers, and oddly, the cult sorcerers were more of a challenge.  Slight side note . . . I like the DCA line, but some characters really seem to fall through the cracks.  Kobra is a bit disappointing as a fairly ineffectual PL 10 character in charge of one of the most feared terrorist organizations in the DCU.  Partially my fault because I should have tweaked him a bit before using him.

The information they gather in Markovia shows them that all of the Immortal Prophet's organizations are geared towards digging up old Nazi research and raiding the Fourth Reich.  The team heads back to Washington, talks to Steve Trevor, and actually decides to use their contacts to get hits on cell phones that might be referring to Ra's al Ghul.

Interesting side note here:  Ra's was essentially the Red Herring, since he could be considered the "Immortal Prophet" and the plot has to do with Lazarus Pits.  However, instead of taking the bait and following the trail to Zandia and . . . doing what I had planned there, the group used their resources to track down Ra's.

As a GM, you might get frustrated when your PCs cut out a part of your adventure.  When they have a good idea, you shouldn't.  Your world just became a little more "real," because your PCs figured out the short cut.  Revel in their ingenuity, and roll with it.

As it stands, Zandia would point to the Corto Maltese, which is where Ra's was.  But instead of Ra's being the ultimate villain, the party runs into Vandal Savage cementing his hold on the League of Shadows as one of his last cult/organization to control.

Vandal didn't have much use for the Fourth Reich as minions, but did want to capture Captain Nazi and use some ancient rituals to infuse an amulet sacred to Ares with Captain Nazi's power, thus boosting Vandal to a PL 16 powerhouse.  See, Vandal isn't quite Aryan enough to be a valid Captain Nazi, and Vandal had an insider imp aiding him with stealing artifacts from the Aereopagus.

Poor Myrmidon.  Skreej, the helpful Imp of War, was actually a double agent working for Vandal.  Vandal then proceeds to explain that he was keeping the world save by gambling with it . . . he was the one moving the Reckoning Device around the globe, keeping various villains chasing it.  He convinced Black Adam to stash the second tier heroes "just in case."  Savage was the one that convinced Cheetah to form her own Legion of Doom and pointed her towards a grandiose goal that would keep the Justice League New Guard busy.

Thankfully I handed out a lot of hero points.  Vandal beat several team members pretty severely, and would have done more damage without those hero points.  The nice thing is, once again, my players didn't disappoint me.  It's fine for the bad guys to get beat into submission sometimes, but as the wise Steve Kenson has said on his blog, linear wins are very much a tradition in comic books.

Before I go any further . . . Beorn, in giant bear form, ran up a wall to reach Vandal when Vandal got slammed into the wall.  How cool is it for a giant dire bear to run up a wall to slap a Nazi powered immortal cave man?

Paradox went tiny and sneaky, and then intangible, and grabbed the amulet.  The power of Captain Nazi began to fade from Savage, and pretty soon he was out cold.  Then Marathon flew him up into the stratosphere, warned him never to try anything like his plan ever again, and dropped him in the ocean from way up there.

Fuzzy comic book morality here . . . while it's true you have your anti-heroes that don't care, normally killing a bad guy would leave a bad taste in a "standard" super hero team's mouth.  So far, the group has two kills.  However, I think there really are comic book based mitigating factors involved.

Myrmidon killed Circe, who is part god.  For some reason, gods in comic books seem to be a little beyond the standard "no killing rules."  Plus it fit the character.  Marathon killed Vandal Savage, but he killed a man that he knows, pretty much for a fact, will come back to life not too long after his broken body hits the ocean.  It's weird, but knowing a bad guy doesn't really die the same way other people die, creates a different paradigm.  Marathon knows he's not dead dead, and he fought down the urge to put him somewhere that would continually kill him in a torturous manner.

Philosophizing aside, it was a fun session and it was nice to tie up a lot of the campaign loose ends.  Onto the next phase of the campaign!

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