Up against the Good Guys! Weak Force, Ankylo, the Anomalator, and Scratch, as I named them from Zircher’s illustration.
The game continues to be cursed by the interface. Please watch rather than listen, if you can, because I put in tons of visual material to help the understanding and the discussion.
We lost the last part, too; suffice to say that ARC was disoriented badly enough by Scratch’s Mind Control + Invisibility (see attached sheet) to be shootin’ up the street for no reason, and that Agent One was about out on his feet when he hit Weak Force with a glorious Presence Attack which stopped the fight. The session ended with a very interesting question which you can’t hear, but the three of us might address in the comments.
There is a whole lot of enthusiasm with the system, and I’m sad the moving video didn’t work this time. We were into it as maybe this still shows:
Here’s the Champions combat protocol so you can see what we’re doing.
- A round has 12 segments, somewhat dubiously associated with a second of fictional time.
- You start on segment 12, then go into 1-12, repeat.
- At the end of segment 12, everyone gets a free Recovery, allowing some replenishment of Stun and Endurance. Otherwise a Recovery is a stated full action.
- Your Speed determines which segments you go on, which in this context are called phases. Note that the “unoccupied” segments are still presumed to occur.
- Within a phase, characters’ order of action is determined by Dexterity.
In our combat, ARC, Scratch, and the Anomalator have Speed 5, and the others all have Speed 4. If you list the phases they can act and put them in order of Dexterity, the sequence looks like this. You go left to right, and in a given segment, from top to bottom. Empty segments are ignored although certain actions or effects extend into them.
Interesting tactical bits for me: the same Dexterity for three of my villains, coupled with their tight association and teamwork, means I can do their order in that moment any way I like, e.g., Scratch could swoop down and pull Ankylo away from Agent One just after Weak Force was able to break Agent One’s grab on him. You could imagine their abilities working in a different order, e.g. Scratch could land on someone and slash them after they were knocked prone by one of Ankylo’s concussive blasts. It made the end of each of their phases into a customizable capitalize-on-it for whatever had happened until that point.
See the attached file for the breakdown of Scratch's concept and build.
Also, the Anomalator held his action for phases 3 and 8, permitting him to “let go” of it at the end of the segment just before his next phase, resulting in an effective “double-shot” for phases 5 and 10. He was targeting Agent One, who doesn’t go on those segments, so each time effectively became a double-shot in rapid succession. That’s why Agent One got all gobsmacked from Entangles, Intelligence Drains, and Flashes, none of which were powerful on their own.
Where I’m aiming here is to overcome a deadly feature of the sequencing in this game, which is notoriously lock-step, permitting overly-extensive action on one’s phase but imposing effective “freeze” on you in-between. There are no opportunity attacks or ways to speed yourself up through determination, or anything of that sort. It’s frustratingly non-dynamic, forcing, for example, a speedily-moving character to be mysteriously halted in between phases unless you do a lot of hasty figuring and hand-waving.
This conceptual hiccup is intrinsic to the system, so what you’re seeing me do here is to use every possible textual mitigating small-scale rules tactic to lessen its impact. The number and range of such rules are very small/narrow, but I built in every one of them – even more than showed up in our action in play.
I also used the little-appreciated rule that you can buy an attack with more than one power, e.g., it costs the same (40 points) to get 2d6 Flash + 2d6 Entangle as it would for 4d6 of either, and they go off simultaneously as a single attack containing two “internal” separate attack rolls. I did this a lot. Scratch’s disorienting post-claw attack was a doubled Mind Control + Invisibility, respectively attacking and activating simultaneously. Ankylo’s tail-cannon was a one-hex area blast, armor-piercing, plus 2d6 Endurance destruction. The latter only hit if the person was hit rather than the hex, but he’s got skill levels with it and uses tactics like Brace and Set.
I anticipated that doing stuff like this would be very effective against two characters who were nominally much stronger than any of the Good Guys, and damage roll for damage roll, together could easily take all four of them out, but whose players were accustomed to “wait for my go, it’s my go, tough it out until my next go” which is, frankly, the way the game’s default sequencing works. I may have been a little gleeful about the results, but anyone who plays superhero role-playing with me will discover that I am, often, rooting for the villains.