At The Table: The Breakout Rolls On (Marvel Heroic Roleplaying)

Last Thursday my Google+ gaming group played another session of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, using the Breakout Event as our jumping off point  (I’ve tweaked a few things here and there to taste, and to react to the players).


A squadron of SHIELD jets attempted to intercept the quinjet on it’s way to the Savage Land.  They weren’t going to fire unless fired upon, but they were attempting to cause emotional stress to force the heroes to comply.

Doctor Strange created an detection dampening mystic cloud to help Iron Man lose the jets.  Iron Man used his flying ability to give a complication of “outmaneuvered” to one of the mob dice of the jets, and created a second effect dice as an asset for Banner “Faith in Tony’s Flying.”

The whole team resisted the emotional stress from the fighters, which means Hulk didn’t make a sudden appearance.  Deadpool teleported out, and came back with a giant rocket launcher, which the rest of the group was glad when it missed.  Wolverine got on the com and intimidated a few of the pilots for emotional stress, and Banner got to use his distinction and Tech Master specialty to activate some of the quinjet’s countermeasures to complicate out more dice.

The group got away from the jets, Tony did a barrel roll to know off Deadpool  (hey, he can teleport), and they landed at the abandoned SHIELD base Electro told them about.

I was especially happy that we could run a chase that felt like fun, that the players could come up with some good ideas to take out those fighter jet mob dice, and I really liked the “Faith in Tony’s Flying” asset to keep Banner from turning green.

Deadpool teleports back on board the quinjet, and then is the first one off because he has to pee and needs to find a bathroom.  I spent the Doom Pool die to have the T-Rex lurking nearby to go first, and it chomped Wade pretty hard.  Deadpool wriggles away, runs back to the jet, and throw Banner at the T-Rex, and rolls against him to cause emotional stress.

Banner, understandably, takes emotional stress and turns into Hulk.  Hulk then grabs Deadpool and slaps the T-Rex hard with Mister Wilson, causing physical stress and retaining a second effect die to give physical stress to Deadpool, which made perfect sense to me.

Wolverine runs up the T-Rex’s back, sinks his claws in, and then Doctor Strange casts a spell on the T-Rex to increase it’s mating drive and instill in it a desire to find a nice female Tyrannosaur and settle down, complicating out his final large scale threat die.

Now, the Doom Pool started out with 2d6 at the beginning of this act.  I had spent Doom Pool dice in both scenes to keep it down to keep the Rampaging Hulk from coming out  (if Banner takes emotional trauma or the Doom Pool reacheds 2d12 with Hulk around, he goes completely berserk and takes on everyone around him).  Oddly, this was one of those nights that the 1s seemed to be flowing rather freely, sometimes multiple times in a single action.

Oh, and it kept growing despite Deadpool’s “Breaking the 4th Wall” SFX, which converts his d6 dice going into the Doom Pool into d4s.

In the SHIELD base, the group found a bit of armor that turned out to be a remnant of the Asgardian doomsday machine the Destroyer.  Then they ran into a SHIELD team that orders them to stand down, consisting of the Yelena Belova Black Widow  (Natasha’s replacement, who also ended up working for SHIELD), USAgent, and a mob of SHIELD Mandroids  (which I modified from the Plot Points sight stats for them).

So the fight happened, the Mandroids get taken out by Hulk, some physical stress got passed around on both sides . . . and the Doom Pool hit 2d12.  I tried not to do it.  I even spent some Doom Pool dice to let Black Widow counter attack and to help USAgent, but when multiple people roll 2 or 3 ones on their actions . . . man it’s hard not to take that Doom Pool up.

Out comes the Rampaging Hulk.  Rampaging Hulk did an area attack drop the whole SHIELD base on the whole group of people, no matter what side they were on.  Black Widow and USAgent were down, Deadpool was at a d12 physical stress, and Wolverine went to a whopping d8 physical trauma after all was said and done.

Doctor Strange started trying to sooth the Hulk’s Doom Pool dice to complicate them out.  Deadpool decided that if he sang the Hulk a lull-a-bye that it would have the same soothing effect as Strange’s spell, and I let it work.  Heck, even though it’s gear based, in a desperate situation, I let Deadpool have his Weapon trait to consider his mouth dangerous  (yeah, I know, way out there call, but the Deadpool was working hard to come up with something).

The good news?  Deadpool complicated a dice out of Hulk’s Doom Pool total.  The bad news?  He rolled enough 1s to add another d12 and a d6 to the Doom Pool in doing so.

Iron Man was starting to lead Hulk away into the jungle when the group decided that they wanted to try and call Captain America, since Cap’s player had spent the XP to be able to resolve a scene by calling in a Helicarrier.  I allowed them to do so as long as they could get ahold of Cap, and Iron Man shouldn’t have a problem with his communication gear getting a hold of Cap.

Cap calls in his favor, and Dum Dum Dugan’s Helicarrier happens to be in the area as well as Director Hill’s, and he sends in a squad to heavily sedate the Hulk, aided by Hawkeye with some high tech arrows  (since the Hulk’s player was planning on swapping out to Hawkeye until the Doom Pool was low enough to allow for a more tractable Hulk).

All in all, it was a very fun night, but I did end up asking Cam Banks about the Rampaging Hulk situation, to whit Cam came up with a very good idea that I think I’ll implement the next time Hulk shows up.  Instead of automatically dumping all of the 1s into the Doom Pool from both the Hulk and the rest of the group, allow the players to spend a plot point and pay it to Hulk to activate his 1s like they would a Watcher character.  Sounds like a great plan.

Still loving the game, and the event, and looking forward to the next session.


  • Jared,I just wanted to say thank you to you and your group for the very entertaining YouTube videos. Like you, I had originally picked up, then put aside Marvel Heroic Roleplaying as a system I wasn’t likely to play. Recently I picked it back up and gave it another read through and was intrigued by the narrative comic book focus the system was going for. This led me to the Margret Weis forums and ultimately to your excellent Wednesday Milestones and your great blog site. Seeing the links to actual play, I went ahead and began watching to get a sense of how Marvel Heroic played and I must say I think the system is delivering what it set out to accomplish.In fact, I was impressed enough to go ahead and pick up the event supplements from DriveThru RPG just to have the extra material for when I look to have my group give it a try. In addition, seeing how well Marvel Heroic ran over Google Hangouts has me thinking about trying to get my own group to look into using it as we typically can only get together to game once a month.As a GM myself, I think you do an outstanding job of keeping the game moving, enabling player participation, making the situations challenging as well as entertaining, and gracefully dealing with the technical aspects of running an online game. I think your love of comics and gaming really comes through when you are running and that your players really appreciate it as well as benefit from it.Finally, I just wanted to say that I think you have a great group of players. All of them seem to really get the narrative approach to the game, get into their characters, and their good-natured humor about the table makes me think of my own gaming group. The humor in session 5 had me laughing out loud and made my wife come over to find out what was so funny. As a fan of Dr. Strange, she loved Bill’s creative solution to the T-Rex scene. I hope that you and your group will continue to share your actual play experiences and I look forward to the next installment. Thank you all again and good gaming.Sincerely,Mark


  • Mark,Thank you so much for your kind words. When I started this blog, I was getting frustrated at a lot of the message boards I went to, because there was a lot of theorizing about games, and a lot of complaining based on those theories, but often, not a lot of talk about actually gaming.I know I sometimes still fall victim to the odd vent here and there, but I really did want to talk about gaming, why I enjoyed it, and what made it fun for me.Reading your reply is absolutely great. I hope you continue to enjoy the sessions, and I'm glad you've been enjoying the blog thus far.


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