Friday, May 25, 2012

May Game Day

It has been almost a week since the May Game Day, and I'm just now getting around to writing about the game I ran.  Man my ability to remember things is terrible.  :)

I ran the Breakout! mini-event for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game this time around.  I've totally fallen in love with the Cortex Plus system that they use in this game.  It is a quick, easy, simple, narrative system that uses all the die types from d4s to d12s.  It has a mechanic similar to aspects in fate, so you get the nice interactive back and forth feel that you can get with those.  The Plot Points economy works great, better than any other "points" system I've encountered previously.  The initiative system is innovative and really cool, basically the active player gets to pick who goes next.  And the whole thing just really does a great job of capturing the feel of superheroes and comic books.

So in this mini-event that comes with the basic game book the super villain prison facility called The Raft has been hit by a massive electrical attack and suffered a massive power failure, which has resulted in all seventy or so inmates getting loose and trying to escape.  The heroes all happened to be in the area or nearby for one reason or another and react to the breakout.

Black Widow was working as a shield super agent on the Raft itself.  Captain America was flying past the Raft in a military helicopter on his way to a security conference in D.C., and the electrical attack knocks his chopper out of the air.  Wolverine and Storm were on the nearby docks and saw the helicopter go into the drink, and went to help; continuing onto the Raft with Cap after saving  the two soldiers from the helicopter.  Spiderman was having dinner with Mary Jane, and unsurprisingly had to cut it short and run off to check out the craziness.  Tony Stark was giving a keynote speech at a Stark Industries fundraiser when the lights all went out, so he suited up and went to investigate.

All of these various heroes converged on the Raft's landing pad seconds before another massive explosion knocked a huge hole in the landing pad and two villains came flying out.  Graviton and Count Nefaria faced off against the collected heroes in a battle to try and clear the way for their escape.  Both villains were pretty powerful, but the collective might of the heroes put them down pretty easily.  Two escapees stopped!

Next the group split up with Wolverine, Storm and Iron Man heading straight down the hole that the escaping villains created, while Black Widow, Spiderman, and Captain America made their way down some back access passages deeper into the facility.  The team with Black Widow stumbled across Carnage, who proceeded to tear into the three heroes, putting up a pretty crazy fight.  Iron Man's group encountered a mob of various minor villains, and managed to make pretty short work of them, in large part thanks to area attacks from Storm and Iron Man.  This team then managed to find the Carnage battle near its end and help the other heroes finish off the insane symbiote.

As a side note, the style and flow of this game really handles the dreaded split party well.  You can cut between multiple scenes with various characters really easily using the initiative systems; and everything just seems to flow nicely.

As that battle finished a slew of S.H.I.E.L.D. reinforcements arrived and order was restored to the Raft.  The heroes gathered themselves and started to try and figure out what happened and what to do next.  By spending some of their leftover Plot Points they were able to create various resources that let them figure out that the one who caused the breakout was Electro, that he had done the whole thing to release Karl Lykos, aka Sauron, and that the S.H.I.E.L.D. outpost down near the Savage Land, Sauron's home, had gone silent which is not something that those outposts are supposed to do.  So the group hopped onto the helicarrier and headed down to Antarctica and the Savage Land, joined now by Beast who had been on the helicarrier liaising with S.H.I.E.L.D.

Soon after landing they encountered a savage T-Rex!  The fight was brutal, and involved Captain America pulling out all the stops and suplexing the enormous beast(Video of the insanity is up on YouTube here), but the heroes made it through; only to face a pack of swift and cunning raptors.  Many of the heroes took some damage; but they all made it through the dino-attack mostly intact.

The group then proceeded to the S.H.I.E.L.D. outpost and were greeted with raised guns and an order to leave S.H.I.E.L.D. property.  Another Black Widow was there in charge of the base and she did not want any heroes around, citing higher orders from S.H.I.E.L.D. than even Director Maria Hill.  B.W. Natasha did not like the sound of this and got her to agree to go off to the side and talk about the situation.  After some discussion Natasha found that the other Black Widow was under some sort of brainwashing mind control and using her experience with old Soviet mind control techniques to help her snap out of it.

Shortly after the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents had been told to stand down the heroes discovered that there was an illegal, slave labor operation running near the base, with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents driving mutates to mine Antarctic Vibranium.  Before they can react the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier decloaks above them and wipes out the whole operation with a massive barrage.  The heroes are enraged and demand to know what the hell is going on, but Director Hill stonewalls and leaves them waiting for a X-Jet to come pick them up and filled with questions and doubt about S.H.I.E.L.D.

Overall I thought the game went really well.  I had fun running it and everyone else seemed to have fun playing it.  It did slow down a decent amount in combat because of the massive number of players (7 in total by the end) but it still handled things well even with that many people.  Everyone like the system and did a great job getting into character, there were quite a few great catch phrases and one liners.  The only disappointment I have with the system is that the stuff outside of combat is not quite as robust as the fighting mechanics; but I think with more practice I can figure that out and make it work better.  I might check some of the other Cortex Plus games for help in that area as well.

I'll be running it again in June, a short one fight scenario this time, and then once the Civil War Event book comes out I'll start running that.