Talked through our Session 0 (world build character build) in previous post. Had our first game. Storn took great notes throughout. Long post summarizing game play and notes on rules questions, some analysis at the end.
Timeline of Champs Now, M-Hero, The Victors. (Notes by Storn during play, edits from Neil afterwards)
We spent time refining the timeline so that the players had a sense of place when we started rolling dice.
14 months ago, the Hack attacked.
Some visual notes:
Eric = Mike Reilly. Mechanix. Use blades as feet. Techno morphing. Helmet, face plate, no eye holes, cameras.
Rick = Paul Knight. Rally. Goggles. Navy Blue and White. Big smile, the “face” of the team
Joe = Dean Johathan Maclaine. Blackout. Black tendrils of energy is his sfx for teke.
Storn = Darius Driver. Flanker.
After 6 months from theHack Attack Event;
Start exploring powers. Darius jumpstarts his “career” after saving Carlos. Paul starts to get tested from family money and that rubs up against Dean Mclain. Knight family starts to help fund M-Hero
Dean Maclaine runs M-Hero but is also a member of Victors but must keep that really secret. Has to balance political and social issue of M-Hero with superheroics.
First supervillain deal: Master Control sent drone/robots to attack the Victors during ½ time show at UofM/Ohio State football game. Very public in the Big House.
Now: Rumors of an powered individual in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti. Fires set. A car was blown into a ditch to stop it. Only comes out in the evening.
Summer break (now, 1st session).
A guy on fire, metal mask, no eyeholes. appears near hospital. SAFETI (Securing America’s Freedom (from) Extra-Ordinary Terrorist Insurgents) is on the scene and seemed to have pre knowledge that this fire guy would show. They are not fans of ours. . Fire guy calls himself Burning Man. Seems frantic, looking for something. Sez; “Target” over and over. We try to reason with Fire Guy, but he doesn’t respond. After several warnings, Blackout telekinetically grabs him.
SAFETI’s helo moves into counter BlackOut’s restraint of Burning Man who tries to flambeau Rally. Blackout warps towards the Huron river while carrying Burning Man and dumps him in the Huron River. In the meantime, Flanker has moved across the river, trying to find FireGuy’s “target”. He spots a shadowy figure along the river side, trying to move away from all them.
The helo is hovering over the site barking out how “the Victors are interfering with a government operation”... Which pretty much all of us are ignoring.
The shadowy figure is a girl and she has lightning powers, she seems a bit uncontrolled, scared of the SAFETI guys and takes a shot at the helo. Putting us in a hard place. She misses the helo. When confronted by Rally, she bolts, using static energy to quickly leap. Rally cheekily asks for her number. This seems to distract her and she smashes into a tree. Flanker runs up to her to see if she is okay. “Who are you?” he exclaims… She replies; “I’m Zap Girl!”.
Blackout chastizes Burning Man as they are hip deep in the river. Burning man is temporarily doused, pulls his helmet off, while the water in the river starts to get very hot and he seems to be in total panic about the SAFETI helo. Mechanix tries to ward off the helo by throwing a rock in the general vicinity. (PRE attack). Zap Girl and Flanker boogie out of there, trying to get to get her away from SAFETI. She seems to be very concerned that they are on her tail and the idea that she is Burning Man’s target.
Blackout continues to deal with Burning Man, who keeps muttering “got to get to the target” (more PRE attack use to try to calm him, but what works is getting him to think they will help him get his target), seems to slow him down a bit, but he is still very intense. The Helo swings around and starts to track Mechanix and Rally. SAFETI Helo asks them to stop or force will be authorized… Patriot Powers Act etc. etc.
Rally and Mechanix don’t want to fight SAFETI, who is just looking for an excuse to take out the Victors. Blackout (an expert in the law) starts to coach Rally on what to say in response over the radio. Mechanix starts to record the whole scene. “We are lawfully licensed officials of Ann Arbor and University of Michigan.’ (Moar PRE attacks, using them a lot this session).
Zap Girl is 18, comes across as a freshman. Her costume is the real deal. Money is behind her. She basically wants to join up after Flanker talks about the Victors agenda. Which is keeping paranormals rights from being trampled.
Meanwhile, SAFETI tries to corral “Agent 451” as they call him. He doesn’t seem want to comply. Blackout is hidden and watching the interaction. Blackout starts recording with his cell phone. Agent 451 starts to run away and is desperately seeking the target, Zap Girl, who is long gone. Agent 451 really starts to get angry/frustrated with the SAFETI agents trying to pick him up in their car. He is starting to burn brighter and hotter, becoming a clear threat. Blackout makes his move and takes Agent 451 up into the air with TK. Agent 451 blows up. Big fireball in the sky. The SAFETI helo is damaged and starts to spin out of control. The Victors move to help.
A few miles away, Flanker apologizes to Zap Girl and asks if she is ready for her first “try out”... “Go back to the helicopter?” she asks incredulously. “Its what heroes do” Flanker sez apologetically and they turn to run.
Despite the other Victors on hand, Rally and Mechanix are bit too far away. Blackout chooses to catch Agent 451. The helo crashes. Mechanix manages to get to it keep it from rolling more. The pilots are badly hurt. The chase car agents jump out and pull guns. They accuse the Victors of attacking the helicopter. Rally counters with “you know full well that we didn’t launch that attack and you have hurt people in the helicopter.”
Agent 451 finally breaks out from Blackout’s teke. But Agent 451 is pretty high up in the air. At the same time, the 2 agents dither and one decides to take a shot at Rally. The bullet impacts Rally. Then Agent 451 hits the ground (much to many chuckles by the players). Blackout continues to pull out the helo crew. Flanker arrives in time to disarm the SAFETI agent who fired.
Blackout continues to try and desculates the situation. But Flanker has seemed to make an enemy. The agent he disarmed is fuming… but the other agents are calling for medical help. One of the helo crew is very badly hurt.
Agent 451 staggering up and injured then spots Zap Girl and growls “Target!”. Blackout decides to try and take him down and winds up with a Teke enhanced kick; (15 body, 50 Stun, Agent 451 does have a vulnerability to physical attack, knockback sends him flying away, another 15 dice: Agent 451 is taken out!)... Agent 451 is then arrested by Blackout.
M Hero Project supposedly is working on paranormal retention…. Flanker takes Zap Girl away, back to the M Hero Project. The other follow, bringing Burning Man/Agent 451 with them.
Meta discussion about super powered prisoners. What will be the M Hero Project political fall out after taking Agent 451.
Joe: The system felt like Hero. Didn’t feel that different from other editions.
Neil: As GM, I really struggled with the Speed Chart. It has been so long since we used it that keeping track of phases and segments was difficult. Also, the combat was very theater of the mind. We had overhead 3D google map projected of the fight zone near the U-M hospital, but did no measuring, even though there was a lot of ranging up and down the river bank and roads.
As GM, I fell back on a tack of moving in and out of combat time… which normally feels natural and easy (moments of intense action followed by pauses shifts, etc.) but this really messed up END tracking… recoveries, etc. That is something I’ll really have to focus on and test.
Really enjoyed the consistent use of Presence Attacks by the PCs in moments of trying to persuade/push/redirect the scenario. We’ve always used it, but something about the scenario, and maybe the stripped down ruleset made it very appealing… each player using it uniquely in a way that defined their personality. Rally as the charmer/face/wise acre (this will clearly become more of his character). Blackout as the stern, commanding, using psychology to push. Mechanix as the aggressive, threatening, “Back off or else!” Flanker as the persuasive. “It’s what heroes do!” moment. In a stripped down Champs, I like that PRE becomes the “social combat” stat, pure and simple, and we like to readily use it as a group.
Villain: Burning Man/Agent 451 (took the players a while to get that one, heh) I made mistakes with his build, because I hadn’t thought through how to build KAs… used to the old rules. I made a couple attacks too weak, and put extra time on his big blow-up attack, but this really, really is a big disadvantage with the Speed Chart. I also missed the difference between ED and PD. Had to figure out a way to make him tough vs. energy type attacks, but not as tough vs. physical. Gave him higher defenses (30) but x1/2 vulnerability to physical… which was too much, as he got creamed pretty easily when they decided to attack. I can balance villains and PCs in my sleep in normal Hero, but just don’t have the feel for it in Champs Now, yet.
Overall, this wasn’t a straight up fight, so it didn’t really test the mechanics and END tracking and all that fully. It was fun, but more in a general “fun characters, fun session” than really testing the rules.
Movement is undefined, so we felt we had to fall back on 3rd Ed. Is there classic non-combat movement or not? Is END cost for movement based on active points of power or number of inches moved in a phase?
Teleportation… 15” for 30… is that a one time buy. Do you buy more Teleport in 15” chunks only? Is there non-combat movement for teleport?
Multipower… just really need to clarify when you can change a slot. Only at the beginning of a phase? Can you abort to it?
KAs… tough to judge when used to old system. Is a 6th Ed Assault Rife (2d6 autofire) strictly translated to 6d6 Piercing autofire? Such attacks seem to do more stun than body… what’s the intent?
Martial Arts: So much value for 10 pts. Just getting +6d6 0END to STR attack is insanely good. Let alone block, dodge, etc. We didn’t test “And Out” but does it provide for ½ move, attack, and out… or attack and out, if you didn’t half move first?
TK seems really efficient as well. Same price as STR, but you get range up to line-of-site, indirect for no extra cost. That’s really, really good.
Blast with Reactive just feels… awkward as Missile Reflection. The “I have to declare I’m using it at point of being attacked, roll to block it, but still take damage, calculate how much I take, what if I’m stunned or unconscious… THEN blast?” feels weird. Not really sure what is wrong with classic 3rd Edition Missile Deflection/Reflection, especially if you take out all the SFX, thrown/arrows/bullets part. I get that it is better vs. bigger attacks for no more points, but it is a very intuitive buy/build/use process.
KB roll: We did one house rule… KB is body rolled vs. resisted STR roll. For every 1 you make STR roll buy, you subtract from KB. Simple, easy, but will likely mean more KB is done in general, except against really strong characters. Burning Man failed his roll and went flying into a giant tree and took a ton more damage. Makes KB more damaging, assuming there is something to hit (it was a hellacious damage roll).