Back in the Digital Saddle Again (Marvel Heroic Roleplaying One Shot, May 28th, 2013)
I finally pulled the trigger and started up another Marvel Heroic Event, this time running Civil War online via Google Hangouts. Based on previous experience, I asked about eight people in the hopes that I would end up with five or six that would accept. So I ended up with eight.
I’m really happy, as I like all of the people that I’m gaming with in this event, but my comfort zone is usually getting into the red line around six people, and I wanted to make sure that not only the hardware could handle a Hangout of this size on my end, but that I, as the Watcher, could juggle that many people.
So I rounded up some people and asked them if they would be interested in playing through a short couple of scenes based on the Avengers Assemble comic from last summer, with the Avengers taking on the newly reformed Zodiac and Thanos.
I didn’t get eight, but I did get seven, which I thought would probably be a good start for seeing how well both the Hangout and my Watcher juggling talents could handle the upcoming event.
Overall, the night went really well. We seemed to be cycling through people relatively well, and what everyone was doing was pretty clearly explained and laid out. Our Avengers for the night were Thor, Thing, Wonder Man, Hulk, Moon Knight, and Wolverine (we were having some technical issues that weren’t on my end, so we had a player in the Hangout that wasn’t playing due to his sketchy connection).
I made up Zodiac as the largest, most insane mob ever. I knew it would be a pain to stat out twelve cosmically powered villains and run them, so I made a 12d10 mob to take on the Avengers that, well, assembled.
Zodiac (As They Appeared in the Event)
d10 Superhuman Traits
SFX Power Surge. Step up or double Cosmically Charged power trait. If the action fails, spend the largest die from the Doom Pool.
SFX Area Attack. Add a d6 and keep an additional effect die for each target beyond your first.
Limit Burned Out. Remove a die from Team Affiliation to add a die to the Doom Pool.
Menace Expert d8; Covert Expert d8; Crime Expert d8; Combat Expert d8
It worked relatively well. It was very hard for Zodiac to get less than a 19 for their result, just by nature of probability. So every round I had a 19 or a 20 for my result. It was a little hard for some of the lower powered Avengers to overcome that.
We had some fun “attacks,” like Wonder Man’s attempt to wow Zodiac with his star power, and some fun defenses, like Hulk’s “growl and beat the ground in front of them to make them change direction” defense.
Eventually Zodiac was down (I shut down two of the Zodiac members during the fight). The group took a slight breather, and Thing’s player left for the night before Thanos showed up.
Ah, Thanos. I can say that the original comic of Avengers Assemble, with the Guardians of the Galaxy arriving around this time, has some credence, because I spent a d12 from the Doom Pool to have Thanos go first, and with a wave of his hand, he took out Wolverine and Hulk. Moon Knight used one of his SFX to leave the scene, which left Thor going toe to toe with Thanos.
I used the “timer” mechanic from Annihilation, and had Maria Hill set the Helicarrier to self destruct, at which point Thor was actually trying to keep Thanos busy until the whole place went up in flames, which seemed to work.
If I were running this as an event, I’m not sure if I would have gone with the huge mob. If only because of the statistical realities of rolling 12d10, the total is always going to be pretty high. 6d10 would be less of a “sure thing,” but doesn’t quite feel as right as going for the whole 12 dice. Still, it worked better than I thought it would.
Overall, people were cycling through pretty quickly, area attack didn’t stop everything cold, and the Hangout was stable, so I was heartened that my regular event might work out alright.