Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gift Boxes I Made

So, in addition to everything else, I get on a craft kick every now and then.  The benefit to doing craft stuff is that you can usually make it fairly cheap, have fun, and then give it away so it isn't taking up room in your house.

With Halloween coming up, I decided to make some craft boxes in which I could later put candy and give to my office staff. Here's a pic.

They are basically cheap paper mache' boxes from the hobby store painted black, then the lids have Halloween scrapbook paper decoupaged onto the top.  Easy peasy.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Playing 13th Age and other things

Last Friday my original gaming group was supposed to gather for another session of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying but it turned out only two players could make it, and since it was last minute I was only able to bring in one person from Group Two.

With only three, we decided to not bother with the pre-arranged MHR adventure but instead to try out 13th Age, using the pre-written mini-adventure in the back of the rulebook.  Their impression of the game is about the same as mine: it's a fine lightweight version of 4th Edition, with some clever narrative/story elements in PC creation to help get a handle on the background of your character.

At the end, the question was "how does it compare with other similar games?"  I was surprised to hear that while everybody thought the "icon relationships" and "one unique thing" was pretty cool, the lighter rules didn't necessarily impress people.  The players liked having a greater variety of options available when it came to combat, rather than the handle of often "flexible" maneuvers that could be done in 13th Age.  Apparently the hybrid of what I think of as "traditional" RPG mechanics and more novel storytelling games mechanics hit one player funny.  "I think that if you're going to go with a storytelling style game, you might as well go all the way and do dice pools, etc." he said.

A few other things:

  • I got my first repayment from the second Kiva loan I did.  That's cool, and I'm putting the money back into the hobby budget.
  • This week is Group Two, which hasn't had the best track record so far.  I'm wondering if it will work out.
  • I'm also finding gaming weekly to be a challenge, and dedicating that much time to the RPG hobby has had an impact of my miniatures painting.  I'm not obligated to keep that hobby steadily going, but I'm thinking some sort of re-alignment of some kind is in order.
  • I'm still wondering if I could change game systems out of MHR.  The group seems to like it, but it feels stale to me.
  • EOW is coming up soon.  More on that later.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PC vs. PC conflict and the Magic War begins

We're back with Group 1 for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, although since most of Group 1 showed up last weekend, it really just feels like we are picking it up from there...

Scene One
We begin with the various PC's going about their business, attending their regular jobs or lounging about the HQ.  Argent, the NPC hero whose secret identity was publicly revealed in the last session, continues to rail against Randall Parker, the TV personality who aired footage of Argent  transforming in a back alley.
Returning from a pilates class, Union Galactic witnesses an explosion at the hospital where the three victims of the Project: Sunburst nuclear facility meltdown are being treated.  He rushes over and finds the three are now embued with superhuman abilities.  The former head of the facility is now calling himself Helios, and claims to be sent to return humanity to worshiping the Sun.  With him are Radium and Ray, and the three beat down Union Galactic into unconsciousness.
Thankfully, word gets to the rest of the team, who show up and after a tense battle subdue the trio, who are returned to hospitalization, only now under a lot more security.

Scene Two
The team heads back to HQ for some recovery (especially for the now traumatized Union Galactic) only to find that Argent has left the premises.  Samkhara puts the word out through her underworld contacts but it is nothing so complicated as that: Argent has gone to the television studios of Randall Parker to confront (and assault) him.  The Posse rushes over and instead of attacking Argent talks him down and gets him to agree to leave the studio.  Randall Parker threatens to expose even more information about Argent on his program, but Doctor Mind uses his mental control powers to cause Parker to cease televising information about Argent.
Then it gets interesting.  Union Galactic realizes that Dr. Mind has mentally controlled Parker, who isn't a supervillain, alien, or other kind of physical threat.  He confronts Dr. Mind in the studio, accusing him of wrongly robbing someone of their free will.  Words are exchanged, and Union Galactic pulls his gun on Dr. Mind.  The Ferret and Mr. Eternity tell Union Galactic that they won't let him harm Dr. Mind, while Abrasax and Samkhara quietly wait by the sidlines.  Realizing he is outnumbers, Union Galactic relents and leaves the studio, but a wedge has been driven into the team.

Scene Three
Later that night, Abrasax is meditating in his Crystal Vault.  Suddenly, he hears a voice telling directing him to a railroad freight station on the outskirts of town.  He summons the rest of the team, and they quietly make their way to the train depot.  There they see demons, the same kind as they battled a year ago battling members of the Pact, a team of mystically-powered supervillains.  After a quick discussion, the Ultimate Posse decides to support the Pact and the two teams drive off the demons and their leader, Hellknight.
The Pact is suspicious of their former adversaries, but reveal that they have been continually battling the demonic invaders for the past year in secret.  What began as revenge for their theft of a magic crystal from Lady Moloch has accelerated into a secret war between the two groups.  Abrasax asks if Lady Moloch was the person who contacted him, but the Pact claims to know no knowledge of any summons.  A quick telepathic scan from Samkhara does confirm what the Ferret had suspected, however: every member of the Pact gained their powers from a deal made with a powerful demon named Glencannagh.  With the demon Glencannagh on one side and Tyrannon on the side of the extra-dimensional invaders, the Earth is in the middle of a dangerous conflict.

Most PC vs. PC conflict tends to just be a projection of player vs. player antagonism, but in this case it was two guys who just decided that their characters would react in very different ways.  Union Galactic has traditionally been the "comic relief" character, so playing him as a serious figure was also a neat change of pace.
The best part?  With the two-team approach, everyone agreed it made sense that UG would probably shift to the other team in order to avoid Dr. Mind.  I'm thinking we're about to see two superhero teams battle it out in the future!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ultimate Posse Unlimited

Two Fridays ago we tried out the first of the "two parties/one gaming universe" model by having a session for "Group 2."  Unfortunately only two members of Group 2 were able to make it, so five members of Group 1 showed up to round out the anemic team.  Seven is way too many for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, but I hit what will likely be the first of many snags with the 2P/1GU model.  I had posted on Facebook that I had space in Friday's game, and every single person in Group 1 immediately piped up to say they could play.  My son graciously stepped aside, knowing that I would now owe him a favor, but I didn't want to ask any of the other players to do the same.  I may have to go with a first come, first served policy or some kind of "credit" system where if a player has missed a session in his own game he gets first crack at the other team.

Anyways, the two new members of the Ultimate Posse are Ghost Raven, my daughter's somewhat lighter-hearted Batman clone, and Patchwork, a reality-bending mutant whose powers grant his mechanical inventions the capacity to work, even though they shouldn't.  He owns a junkyard and is walking around in "power armor" made from old automobiles, etc. that can still fly, shoot lasers, and lift tons.  Cool PC concept, I have to say.

Scene One

The new heroes are introduced to each other when they get word that a new ultra-tech nuclear reactor facility named "Project: Sunburst" is being attacked by Terror, Inc.  The Posse arrive and make pretty short work of the villains and their henchmen, with a little help from a new hero named Argent (an NPC).  Unfortunately the facility goes into meltdown mode, and even the combined technical expertise of Patchwork and Mr. Eternity has trouble stopping it before several of the plant workers are seriously injured from radiation.  Abrasax's player snarkily says, "we'll see those guys later, with super powers," making me realize how hard it is to be a GM for comic book games.

Scene Two

In what isn't a comic book trope, when the heroes get back home they see a news report that Argent was spotted in an alley changing back into his secret identity, university professor Marc Rosen.  The video was purchased by Randall Parker, TV pundit and host of "Parker's Points," who promptly exposes Rosen and begins a tirade against super-vigilantes, etc.  The team realizes that Rosen could be in a lot of trouble.

Scene Three

They're not wrong, for when they get to Rosen's apartment complex they find the place is being trashed by members of the Vicious Circle, a gang of B- and C-rate supervillains composed of Eye Strike, Bola, Krag, Mandlebrot, Tarantula, and Brawl.  While the six villains could make quick work of Argent, they were completely unable to threaten the Posse, who mowed through them.  Argent was taken back to the base to recover from his injuries.

Game Session Thoughts

This game session was played well, although I'm still struggling to find ways to challenge large groups of PC within the confines of the MHR rules.  I'm hoping that we can see more of the second group develop over time.  I'll post last Friday's adventures soon.

As always, comments welcome.

Over at Strange Vistas