Civil War, Civil Liberties, Grand Juries, and the Photogenic Hulk (Marvel Heroic, July 15th, 2013)
As per usual, since my Civil War game is being run online, it’s posted here on YouTube for anyone that wishes to see the spectacle for themselves firsthand:
The premise for the evening was pretty simple: three “action scenes” that didn’t (by default) have any violence built into them. Just using the system to adjudicate a largely roleplaying scene. Our scenes were the Congressional Hearing on the SHRA, Luke Cage’s Grand Jury Hearing, and the reporters that would show up after the Grand Jury Hearing, one way or the other.
- In the Congressional hearing, Doctor Doom began the testimony, discussing the dangers of super heroes while showing footage of Nick Fury’s unsanctioned super hero invasion of Latveria just over a year ago.
- Daredevil whipped out an essay on New York law regarding citizen arrests that was prepared “by a friend,” and was delivered with impressive flourish.
- Hawkeye managed to call out the representative from OK about Doom’s Doombots running wild there without any intervention except from the Avengers, and then he proceeded to trash talk Doom personally.
- Tony attempted to take over Doom’s presentation with his own, and then printed out copies of his own proposal for the senators using their own equipment.
- Ms. Marvel detailed the Avengers internal affairs initiative.
- Wolverine was called out for his past actions as a “black ops” specialist, causing him to have regrets about his past and how they affected others.
- The group wowed the congressmen, Doom left, and Hawkeye broke his holoprojector with an EMP arrow on the way out (but he didn’t shoot it–that would look bad).
- The Avengers present at the Crusader/Purifier attempted bombing showed up for the Grand Jury hearing on whether to charge Luke Cage with murder.
- The prosecutor opened up his statements by declaring that the Avengers were dangerous and incompetent.
- Moon Knight, who was also testifying, was overwhelmed by his Khonshu personality, and agreed that the group was indeed incompetent, citing that only one of the Purifiers had been killed when they all deserved to have vengeance met out against them. Then, the Mooncopter fired a grappling hook through the courtroom window and Moon Knight managed to escape police custody.
- In light of Moon Knight’s scathing appraisal of the Avengers, Luke Cage is not charged, and the courtroom is filled with reporters.
- Banner turns to Hulk due to the stress of the reporters questions, and swears that he is not “incomptent.”
- Ms. Marvel ducks away from the reporters so that she can chase after Moon Knight and fulfill her duty as the Avengers internal affairs leader.
- Tony attempts to shut down the reporters questions by buying some of their news agencies and then having them fired.
- Wolverine scares off many of the reporters by popping his claws and trashing their equipment, but is overwhelmed with the past and his reputation catching up with him, and leaves, emotionally traumatized.
- The remaining reporters flee from Hulk.
After all of that, the last business of the night was to let the players know that the very next morning, the Stamford incident had occurred. The next session Ms. Marvel will be leading a team to hunt down Moon Knight, and the other heroes will be helping to find survivors and to get medical aid to the wounded at Stamford.
I had a blast with this session. I’d like to say that I had anything to do with it, but mainly, I just got out of the way of the players and let them do what they were going to do. Great players can make even the most mediocre of GMs look much better, and I can’t claim a lot of credit for this one.
I will say that because of how the stress tracks and complication work, as long as you have people willing to describe their actions, “social combat” feels so much more satisfying in this system to me than it does in other game systems. You aren’t shifting to a whole different sub-section of the rules that work differently than the rest of the game, and the dice pool building mechanic, if you are following it for the rest of the game, already encourages you not just to say “I socially attacked him with an 11 and a d10 effect,” but rather to explain how you got all of that accomplished and what aspects of your character helped you reach that point.
At any rate, I’ve opened up the player’s troupes to a bunch of new heroes, so I’ll be interested to see who else shows up for this event, as we’re moving out from the Avengers and into the greater Marvel universe of characters.
I really enjoy watching your guys' sessions play out. It has helped me learn how to run my own MHR sessions quite a bit. If I have one complaint it would be that occasionally someone is breathing right in to their mic and it's a little loud/distracting.Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing these sessions!