Sentinels of Justice: “Ranger Danger”

Hi all,

Finally, the play report for the first session of our Sentinels of Justice game.

This felt like a successful play experience. I made some mistakes along the way, but not too many, methinks. I’m interested in feedback on how I handled Detective Work, the Special Effects of Silver Specter’s powers, and anything else that folks might want to comment on.



6 responses to “Sentinels of Justice: “Ranger Danger””

  1. I just started watching these videos and they’re a lot of fun! On the subject of your use of Detective Work, my thought is “it’s fine” whichever angle you come at it. One angle: You’re at the start of the game trying to stage a brand new situation (lower case) and figure out how the interested parties will be oriented towards or within it — when doing this, it makes sense to pull on any game mechanic available that could meaningfully play into the situation, and if a character’s Detective Work is one of those things then I request the roll with an untroubled conscience.
    The other angle I see has to do with prompts or suggestions about “what you could do” in general — this is a dial that different people set differently, but I’m pretty comfortable with the idea that in the first few sessions of a new game it’s useful to point out possible skill uses, as part of the general process of the whole group figuring out what the option space for this game at this table looks like. Doubly so when the special effects associated with the option are especially out there — for example, Sam’s character in my current game has a Detective Work skill that he describes as consulting a kind of I Ching-esque boardgame to gain insights and make connections, and it takes both of us discussing what this looks like and what can be expected of it to nail down how THIS Detective Work works in THIS game.

    • Thanks for the response, Rod. Both of the angles you present resonate with me. In this particular instance, pulling on the Detective Work mechanic to figure out the staging for the situation just made sense, both in terms of Silver Specter’s Situations and in terms of the practicality of play.

      The second angle – the instructional one – definitely applies to this game, in part because Lauren (Silver Specter’s player) has never played Champions, but also because those who have played it a long time ago and with somewhat different assumptions about various aspects of play. A challenge for me is that these lessons of play might need some repetition because circumstances have thus far meant that there are quite a few weeks between sessions. I’m hoping that we can get to more regular play, so that the lessons stick.

      I appreciate your example of Sam’s character’s I Chingesque version of Detective Work! I just started watching the Irendi videos last week, and I’m enjoying them immensely. I’ll comment on them over on that thread sometime soon.

  2. My thought on the possible Presence attack, of no instructional value, merely a fellow player’s reflections on their own practices:

    – In this case, the requirement was almost there, or arguably there, insofar as Major Shocker was hitting in front of the attacker for some kind of effect that wasn’t damaging them but which certainly interfered with what they were doing. My habit is to recognize it as a potential distraction, which the Presence rules include, but not in terms of an emotional impact. E.g., a lucky roll as you described might have screwed up his ability to avoid the steqming sparking crater.

    – All that said, I generally consider Presence Attacks to be the player’s responsibility either to state outright or to role-play in such a fashion that a behavioral impact is unmistakable. The GM certainly stays alert to any necessary application of that kind, but isn’t on task for suggesting them.

    – And with yet another “all that said,” this was the first session for everyone, so given a learning curve and necessary mutual support, there’s no real misplay possible. It’s all reflections and playing some more later.

    • Thanks for sharing about your practice, Ron. It makes me think of something else that I could have done to make Major Shocker’s “warning shot” meaningful. In addition to the Presence Attack, I could have imposed a Dexterity Check on Silver Ranger. Success would have meant that he jumped over the steaming crater, whereas a failure might have forced him to (if not crash) at least veer away and lose some of his forward movement (which might have made a difference for range modifiers). This would have been appropriate given the Special Effects of his Motorcycle (which has its movement purchased as “Flight”).

      Also, thanks for your note about “first sessions,” “learning curves,” “mutual support,” and the unlikeliness of misplay in that context. Both Champions Now as a text and the activity on this site have both served to make me incredibly forgiving about less-than-perfect sessions and the various missed opportunities that happen during play. Self-reflection is an opportunity to enjoy thinking about play, to consider ways to improve, and (when done publicly) to expand my options in play by learning how others do things.

    • As long as we’re chatting up “could haves,” and acknowledging that the conversation is reflective and armchair-ish…

      My thinking is that the blast requires the Dexterity roll that you mentioned, especially since it hit where it was aimed. Then, secondarily or rather pre-cursorily if that’s a word, the Presence Attack tests for whether the guy was able to keep his head in order to get that roll – so if the “distraction” level was achieved (which as you say would have required a lucky result), then the Dexterity check is negated and he crashes at the new crater.

      Let me write that out a little bit more sensibly.

      1. Zap! Accurate strike in the path of the motorcycle
      2. Presence Attack: if successful to a certain degree, the guy is distracted and cannot …
      3. Dexterity check to jump the crater

      I.e., if he is hit well enough by the Presence attack, he can’t react in time to try the jump; if he resists the Presence attach, but fails the Dexterity check, he kept his head but bobbled the jump itself.

      There’s more, if you can stand it. It may be useful throughout play to allow Hazards to bloom freely due to the use of powers. The zap in front of the motorcycle might create one, and you would have to instantly assign it its properties. In a way this is merely a formal version of special effects anyway, as in assigning those properties you are essentially saying whether this Hazard is effective at all vs. this person at this time. You might end up saying that a Dexterity check negates the Hazard, for example, arriving at the same place you did anyway (in this conversation). The benefit is that you have a ready-and-waiting damage roll when or if the Hazard takes effect.

    • I really like the zap-Presence Attack-Dex Roll sequence that you arrived at, Ron, and the Hazard as a consequence of Power use is something that I’m trying to practice. Something akin to that happens in session three of Sentinels of Justice, and I remember Vanguard 1 causing a Martian sandstorm when you GMed for me awhile back. 🙂

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