Our every other Friday Champions 6 is on hiatus for a while and the group has decided to slide our occasional Marvel Super Heroes game into center stage. As you might have guessed, we are playing mutants who are college students.
Three of us went to Salisbury (State) University in Salisbury MD (USA) in the late 80s and early 90s. The GM thought it might be interesting to set the game during our college days even though we are not playing ourselves. Mostly.
There are five players total, though one will be out for a bit for personal issues. I am playing Gretchen Wilkes and am using an image of Mary Jane Watson as my avatar for the game. I half-jokingly told the GM that I am a MJ clone. Whether that becomes part of the game at some point, we shall see.
The GM had us make rolls using the charts, but we were rolling as normal people. Our characters did not begin with our powers. We missed erupting at puberty I guess? The GM took our rolls and some extras and began assembling our powers in secret.
Let me talk about the downside first, because it is brief. When other people can punch mf’ers into space and you can barely get the lid off of a jar (STR Poor) it can be a little frustrating. Some players are new to the system, and if you use random generation, which I like, it can create these odd power combinations. So there has been some FOMO and player frustration over not knowing our full abilities.
But it works. I know it works for me. I was a skeptic and my powers are a strange combination: Air Control, Communicate with Animals, and I can create Hallucinations in people’s minds. (Playing a red haired woman in a Marvel thing, obviously I have some psychic powers.) And the dice have not favored us much in the games. Last night I discovered my Intuition is Remarkable. And yet I rolled under 10 on d100 for two of my three Intuition rolls. Being not favored by the dice gods has made the process more challenging.
COED-X /Mutants ’91 #1
We are all friends and as you do at Salisbury at S(S)U, you go to parties on Friday night. (In real life we played rpgs on Friday night, but this is make believe). Its an Avenger’s party and everyone has masks and capes courtesy of the local costume store. We hear a helicopter closing in and the thump thump thump of a giant robot?! The helicopter crashed into our party house and the giant robot, a Sentinel, starts going on about mutants. We escape the damaged house. Some players discover powers and I discover I have wind powers! I go to try and help the poor mutant in the helicopter. Unfortunately he did not make it.
We fight the Sentinel and its retributive strike before going down is the hit several of us with the broken helicopter. It explodes, killing Cassandra, one of the other characters. We scatter back to our dorms only to find Cassandra there, alive. Serial Immortality I think is the power? Its become a bit of a table gag. both in and out of fiction.
Also, before the party we were approached by Anti-Mutant groups to join. None of us did.
In issue #2, we are just trying to figure out our powers and wtf is happening with our lives. We find an isolated field and start trying things. The training montage proved both frustrating and fun. The GM is trying to balance encouraging us to both express emotions and try things. Its a bit experimental for a few of the players. But we are working through it as a group. Just like the characters would.
We end up hearing sirens I think? Remember this is pre Smart Phones, and none of us are radio nerds. But there is a ruckus at one of the local banks and we don our masks and go find out. The conversation is interesting because we all agree as characters, this is what a hero would do. It is not forced at all and this may be getting back to some recent conversations. There was nothing silly about the decision; our characters just came to the conclusion that we are heroes now. Though secretly the GM and I have discussed that Gretchen might be vulnerable to being radicalized by “evil” mutants. Stay Tuned.
We thwart the robbery though the fight is close. The cops tell us to stand down and want to arrest, but who has time for that shit?
I was not there for that issue, but one of the characters went for a test for a martial arts belt. Got it. Then some of the normies who were friends of another student who got wrecked in the match came after the team. They beat them up, mostly with no visible power use.
This is our current issue from last night. It centered on my character’s one contact, my best friend Susie, having gone missing while out with her Marine Bio colleagues. Near Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant of all places. I tell Susie’s roommate that we will be there as soon as possible. We drive to an isolated one-light town, change into hero garb at a Texaco (which is no longer a Texaco in 2023) and I fly us all to the Western Shore. We begin asking questions and since no one else wants to go into the swamp (of course) we decide to do so. We change back into our super hero garb, which at this point is just a spectrum of tropes, none of which look even as good as low rent cosplay. I talk to some gulls who, for french fries, will take us to find the mud people.
We go to a McDonalds nearby and by the fries. Onlookers ask us who we are and I say “We’re the Avengers, mfer.” There is some back and forth and we tell them we are the Chesapeake Bay Avengers, then get the fries.
The gulls lead us to the swamp where my friend is bound to a tree and looks sick or poisoned. We are set upon by a large mud man and several small mud elementals and a large radioactive snake. The ensuing battle is rough, with the mud elementals dragging the others into the water and snake beating the living crap out of me until I remembered I could fly.
We beat the snake and the mud elementals. The Mud Man admitted to killing two of Susie’s colleagues. We told him that he is not going free and he declared we will not take him alive. What the mud man does not know is I need enough Karma to increase my STR to Typical, so yes we are taking him alive. I cannot afford the Karma loss.
During the battle I lifted off and nearly slammed the snake with an air attack. The GM quipped something about a “Windstorm”. We have all been looking for super hero names and all of us, almost in unison, said something like “Yep, there you go.”
Windstorm I am now.
We have always played MSH with a degree of self awareness and meta knowledge that I think fits the material. Thus far this provided a light hearted approach to the material. Table talk is surprisingly on topic and as players we are engaged. I do see the strength of a Champions style system which emphasizes building your character in a more focused way, instead of the random way you can do it in MSH. So far we are in the early days of this group, which has no specific name, the COED-X / Mutant ’91 is my own creation. I look forward to the heavier content to come as I think these characters can and will respond well to it.
3 responses to “COED-X or Mutants ’91”
Hi. I’m always intersted in these MSH actual plays. I have a few questions / things – did you all use any of the popularity mechanics as part of the intereactions with the police / bystanders etc? ANd has there been much karma use or earning?
We are using popularity mechanics as we begin to become more well known. I think that will become a bigger part of the game as we move along.
I have used my karma a few tines. Other characters have done so sparingly. The GM has not done so yet, to my knowledge but we are about to take on our first boss style creature.
Four sessions and not much Karma, no contrast between high and low among characters? Noted.
On the other hand, not everything has to be a nosebleed, and, as a reader, I’m already roped in and wondering “what next,” so it’s not a bad noted at all.
I’m surprised at how interested I am. “GM makes your powers,” and the whole trope of “staring at my hands in shock at what I can (and can’t) do” are wearying to me to contemplate in principle, but sometimes principles are struck down in the face of actual fun.