The Road Wears Ever On (Marvel Heroic Civil War, Session Two–June 17th, 2013)

Last Monday was our second session of the Civil War event I’m running for Marvel Heroic.  We were missing the player who has the Thing and Yellowjacket in his troupe, so our potential team consisted of Captain America, Luke Cage, Daredevil, the Hulk, Moon Knight, Hawkeye, Tigra, Ms. Marvel, Thor, Iron Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man.

If you are interested, the video can be found here:

The quick version?

  • Doctor Strange whipped up a powerful ward to make it harder for anyone to claim Enderstahl, now that it fell outside of Broxton, Oklahoma, and Reed Richards and Hank McCoy rigged up some scientific whosits to help guard it, and Tony provided the power supply.
  • Banner woke up in an abandoned military base, which was being ransacked by Hydra, and he called in the Avengers.  Banner made a makeshift blaster and took a shot at one of the Hydra Dreadnaughts, and then called “Avengers Assemble” as everyone arrived.  Spider-Woman tried to take aside one of the Hydra agents, Ms. Marvel absorbed the blast from the Hydra Bot Transport, and Tony shut down  everybody’s equipment with a big EMP blast.  Also, Hawkeye harassed Captain America about taking out more Hydra agents than Cap did.
  • Banner was happy to make it through the fight contributing as Banner, but then he got frustrated treating Spider-Man’s wounds, and turned into the Hulk.
  • Cap and Iron Man caught wind that Congress might be discussing the SHRA again after years of it being abandoned, and Spider-Man and Daredevil heard rumors about a massive hit being put out on Hammerhead by Kingpin when Hammerhead arrived at the airport this evening.
  • A mob of thugs enhanced with Mutant Growth Hormone charged Hammerhead’s limo, and they beat the crap out of Spider-Man before being subdued by Hulk and Thor.
  • The limo that was suppose to contain Hammerhead went out of control, and Hawkeye fired an adamantium arrow through it to herd it toward Tigra, who jumped on top of it and yanked the driver out of the driver’s seat, ending the threat of the runaway limo, and finding out that “Hammerhead” was actually a Life Model Decoy set to explode.
  • Thor flew the LMD out into space so that it didn’t hurt anyone.
  • Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor, Hulk, Spider-Woman, Tigra, and Spider-Woman visited Wilson Fisk (the Kingpin) at Ryker’s Island to discuss the hit. Fisk denied that he was feuding with Hammerhead or that he had hired the thugs, and mentioned that he had heard about an increase in MGH on the streets. 
  • The thugs confirmed that they were hired by a mysterious cloaked figure that disappeared after he gave them some cash and the address of the lab that the Serpent Society guarded before the Hulk destroyed it.
  • Cap took Hulk out for pizza and ice cream, and owed the rest of the team a beer.
It was a fun session, but it was far from perfect.  I will say that I am glad to be able to pick up on feedback from my player so that I can attempt to zero in on where I could improve my efforts at running this event.
Tone–There has been some concern that I’ve let the tone get a little to wild and out there in this first act.  Originally I wasn’t too worried about this pre-Stamford, as it makes sense that people don’t take “near misses” quite as seriously as they might after the tragedy, but if there is concern, I definitely need to revisit my thought process.
Team Management–We’ve been cycling through everyone in most scenes, which is a plus, but we’ve been  cycling through them only just.  It’s something that moving in the right direction, but isn’t quite there yet.
Doom Pool Management—I’ve been trying to make sure that the Doom Pool doesn’t get to insane sizes, and I also wanted to make sure that Hulk gets a chance to be out without rampaging.  To this end, I spent the Doom Pool, but probably in fairly frivolous ways that didn’t work out as well in the narrative as they should have.  I need to get better at managing but still telling a logical story with those spent dice.
Mechanical Transparency–Last session I used the timer mechanic from Annihilation at the same time I was using the Scene Complication mechanic from Civil War, and I didn’t do a particularly good job of explaining how I was using them or explaining how they interacted with one another.  I need to do a better job of explaining this sort of thing up front, and doing a second pass on my adventure prep to make sure that I couldn’t accomplish the same thing in a simpler manner.
Reviewing the concerns and going over where I think I made some missteps has given me a few ideas, and I’m going to see if the group is alright with implementing them.  If they work, I’m hoping it will help with the tone and opportunities to roleplay, and hopefully, everyone will continue to enjoy the campaign, and it will only get better from here.

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