Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Ultimate Posse(?)

I ran another session of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (R.I.P.) Friday night for my gaming group. All six players made the game, and here's the way it went.

Scene One
The group meets a cowboy who was abducted by aliens in the 1800's and kept in suspended animation until he was rescued by the Wonders in the final battle against the alien invaders. The cowboy, calling himself "Union Galactic," hopes to honor their memory by fighting villains using powers gained from various alien implants. Since Positive Crisis has left the team, the new hero is welcomed aboard.
Ed. note: Positive Crisis' player had never really taken a shine to the character, so he comes in with a new one, straight out of "Cowboys and Aliens."

Scene Two

The heroes hear a broadcasted distress call from a transport ship being attacked by a mysterious Crustacean-like monster. The heroes fly to the ship and battle the strange figure, finally subduing it for questioning. Before they can do that, however, the new armored hero Lancelot appears and blasts the creature from the deck of the ship. Lancelot turns out to be an arrogant jerk who takes credit for saving the ship and leaves.
Unfortunately Lancelot's attack has perforated the ship's hull and the heroes must scramble to repair the ship and save the crew.

Scene Three

The heroes interrupt Lancelot's press conference to accuse him of recklessly endangering the ship. Lancelot's corporate patron, the CEO of Genesis Technologies, threatens the heroes with a lawsuit charging them with slander.
As the heroes storm off, an elderly man approaches the Ferret, warning him that strange things are afoot at Genesis Technologies.
On their way back home, the team discusses their lack of a name. After some brainstorming, they decide to go with "The Ultimate Posse," although it will likely be shortened to The Ultimates.
At least I hope so.

Scene Four

Before the Ultimates can get home, they encounter a panicked mob on an elevated subway platform.  Two female metahumans appear to be attacking the crowd.  Later they would be discovered to be Hexidecimal and Killjoy of the Pact.  In short order, a third member of the Pact, Hysteria would also be revealed.  Unfamiliar with the three young women's powers, the Ultimates struggle at first, but begin to get the upper hand.  At that point a fourth Pact member, Winter Wraith, can be seen boarding a departing subway train.  Mr. Eternity stops the train and the Ferret and Abrasax the Guardian Gargoyle defeat the Winter Wraith.
Inside the train they discover the Pact's intended victim: Dr. Jonas Throckmorton III, whom they were trying to kidnap.
Hexidecimal, Hysteria, and Winter Wraith were all part of the "25 Villains of Christmas," if you want to go see their stats.  Killjoy is a speedster/gunslinger.

Scene Five

Dr. Throckmorton, however, is terrified beyond words and not particularly communicative.  Samkhara can see in his mind that he has had a terrifying experience traveling abroad to an archaeological site and may have been at some point transformed into a hideous monster.  But unfortunately they can not get much more out of him, and end up terrifying him even more than before.  Even poor Mrs. Robot is seen as a hideous monster in the eyes of Throckmorton.
Eventually they manage to get out of Throckmorton that he works at Central State University, and the Ferret realizes that back when he was a solo hero he stopped an attempted burglary by the super-thief Ion at the Natural History Museum at CSU.  The Ultimates conclude that someone must be after what Throckmorton discovered on the expeditition, and make plans to head over the following day.
I ran this as a straight-up "persuasion" encounter ala the MHR rules, but Samkhara, Abrasax, the Ferret, and even Mrs. Robot as an NPC rolled so many ones in their attempt to calm Throckmorton down that we almost got to a 2d12 Doom Pool, which would have make the next encounter VERY different (bonus points if you can identify Throckmorton from the 25 Villains of Christmas!)

Scene Six

In their civilian identities Dr. Mind, Samkhara, the Ferret and Union Galactic enter the museum and Dr. Mind convinces the curator of his scientific credentials which allow him to gain access to the vault where the items, stones inscribed with mysterious runes, are kept.  Dr. Mind and the others get the items transferred to a lab where they can be closely examined.  There they open a window to allow Abrasax to covertly enter the museum (Mr. Eternity, both inhuman in appearance and lacking any covert tendencies, stands guard outside.)
Abrasax is able to identify the powers of the runestones: used correctly, they can curse humans into becoming Formorian giants.  In the wrong hands, they could create a superpowered army!
Speaking of the wrong hands, the Pact re-appears at the museum, this time accompanied by Lady Moloch, a collector of magical items and all-around megalomaniac.  The Ultimates battle the Pact outside the museum, and this time easily manage to defeat the Pact and their patroness.  Only the Winter Wraith manages to escape.
The authorities show up, but the runestones are found to be gone.  Surely, the Ultimates suggest, the Winter Wraith managed to sneak in during the confusion and steal them.
Later, Abrasax the Guardian Gargoyle places the runestones and the magical weapons of Lady Moloch in his Crystal Vault, thus continuing his quest of destroying evil magic wherever it may be.
This time around the Ultimates quickly worked around the Pact's strengths and weaknesses, allowing some of the members to focus on Lady Moloch, the real threat.  I hadn't intended for her to get captured, but they were so quick to stress her out that I felt they deserved the win.
Another great session with some fantastic roleplaying and creativity.  The group is really getting into this game now.  I've decided one good thing to do is to sort of build each adventure around one or two particular heroes (in today's case, the Guardian Gargoyle and his milestones relating to his quest to find dangerous magical items).  This helps build a good theme for each session, and makes the sessions seem to fit the group.

Comments always welcome.


  1. Sounds like you and your players are doing a solid job of it. I do like the way the milestones in Marvel guide behavior in-play, and setting things up to emphasize them is a good idea.

    It's a struggle sometimes when you have an idea that villain X is a major threat and then he/she barely makes speedbump status. I've learned to go with the flow most of the time but it still bugs me at times. I'll be watching for your next update.