At the Table: The Breakout is Over . . . Liberation in the Savage Land! (Marvel Heroic Roleplaying)
The bullet points version of this session:
- Doctor Strange sees a vision of an army of Destroyer like constructs marching across the globe, and a vision of a burning sword.
- Doctor Strange pops in on our captured heroes in Magneto’s abandoned fortress, where Sauron and his Savage Land Mutates are holding court.
- Wolverine and Deadpool start with the emotional assaults upon the Mutates, distracting them from Doctor Strange’s surprise Shock and Awe entrance, essentially giving them a glimpse into a horrid Hell dimension and scaring Vertigo, Brainchild, and even Sauron silly.
- Lots of naked fighting, especially by Hawkeye.
- Wolverine ends catches up with the last fleeing Mutate, Amphibius, and sneaks up on him, sinking his claws in real good, and getting a tongue lashing from Iron Man.
- SHIELD One shows up, and gets ready to bombard the innocent, enslaved Vibranium miners and all evidence of what was going on.
- Doctor Strange and Hawkeye head to the mines to free the miners and secure the evidence, while Iron Man, Deadpool, and Wolverine take the fight to . . . Maria?
- On the flight deck, the mastermind of the whole plan turns out to be Loki, using the Vibranium to build an army of Destroyer-lite constructs, and who is currently using Maria Hill to power the rebuilt Destroyer using her soul.
- Doctor Strange creates a dome over the workers to save them, and Hawkeye secures the evidence of the Vibranium mines and what they are being used for.
- The Destroyer melts most of Deadpool, throwing him out of the Helicarrier. He eventually “survives,” but it takes him a while to pull himself back together.
- Loki takes out Iron Man by conjuring a swarm of gremlins to disable his armor.
- Thor brings the Thing with him to back up his Avenger allies. Thor misses Loki due to Loki’s crafty illusion work, and the Destroyer catches Thor’s hammer to prevent it from returning to him.
- Wolverine nearly takes out Maria Hill, on the off chance that killing her would shut down the Destroyer, but is unsure if this would work. He tears open the Destroyer with his claws, and the Thing punches it’s head off.
- Loki attempts to disable Thor with visions of the fall of Asgard, but Thor resists the images, grabs Loki’s arm, and channels lightning through his body and into Loki’s until the God of Mischief is out cold.
I modified the original sequence of events both from the comics and the event as written, in part because I liked the symmetry of having Loki being somewhat responsible for the New Avengers forming as well.
I used the Loki datafile from the Plot Points blog (which has some awesome content . . . you should check it out). The Destroyer was my own creation, and I’ll be posting it here sometime this weekend.
I also wanted to let the players pull in their other unlocked heroes if their current heroes got stressed out. Thus Thor and the Thing got to show up to reinforce the team when Iron Man and Deadpool dropped out of the fight.
I used the “spend a plot point to just do what your power does” rule from the Operations Manual a few times last night. Our Doom Pool was fairly large for a while, and it made sense to keep the story moving by giving the players an option to just spend a power point to accomplish something. For example, Deadpool and Doctor Strange teleporting, and Wolverine cutting Maria Hill out of her crystal prison.
Overall, I think it felt like the event built to something, and that this was a nice conclusion for the event. The players seemed to be happy with Loki being the big bad, and with the Destroyer as his “muscle” to help him in the scene. And there was much desire to off Maria Hill, which made for some nice tension as well.
One thing I did notice. XP built up to be insane. Part of that, I think, was my fault, as I lost track of something very important. I am almost certain I forgot to limit the 10 XP trigger to once per act. I am also thinking that with longer acts in Civil War, those 10 XP triggers won’t be generating nearly as much commensurate to the length of play time.
There was also some concern that some of the heroes are kind of powerful, for example, Doctor Strange. While I think the character is a serious threat, I also think that some of the dominance of that character comes from the fact that most of the villains in the Breakout event are built to go down fairly quickly. It’s an introductory event, and many of the villains seem to be built to be effective with lots of friends or with lots of help from the Doom Pool. With opponents built to be major threats, I don’t think characters like Doctor Strange will be quite as effective.
I also laid the seeds of a few things that I’m planning on building on for our Civil War event, which I’m planning on running in the same continuity as this game. In keeping with the event structure, what happened in this event happened, and will influence Civil War, but the players start over with Civil War datafiles, fresh, with no XP or the like from this event.
I’m really looking forward to our next event. The players have all been great, and Marvel Heroic is working very well for telling these stories.