GM’s Blog – Union Dues (like) Game – Session 1
Hi all. We had the first actual session of the supers game tonight and it went very well. Everyone was happy with the breadth of their powers and the way using them worked and we didn’t run into any hiccups with balance.
A brief synopsis of the characters:
- Jed & Harvey are an everyday Joe and his symbiotic super-strong, super-terrifying alien shadow with super-perception.
- Blue Sun is a sanctimonious alien telepathic energy manipulator who can summon objects, weapons and devices from blue energy.
- Black Amaranth is a magician who sold his soul to dark forces and can now use magic to conjure hellstuff and to alter one material into another. He regularly dies and must fight his way back out of Hell, but he has a network of earthly and otherworldly contacts like you wouldn’t believe. For some reason he plays badly in the American Bible Belt.
- Warp is a space-manipulating ex-criminal with mild kleptomania who dresses in a pure white gangster outfit. He can shrink or extend space, teleport, open spatial warps and draw previously stashed objects from hammerspace.
- Name TBA is a hyper-athletic blue alien from another dimension who can exude knockout gas from his skin and whose every effort matches peak human physical performance without effort.
- Name TBA is the result of a Mafia experiment in invisibility who gained the powers of sound and light manipulation when they tried to turn him into a hidden assassin. He saw the worst things that people do when they think nobody is watching and turned from evil to good.
Tonight’s session was based on the Issue of Media-backed villains. I didn’t have long to prepare and I wanted it to have a nice episodic feel so I wrote a very basic outline along these lines:
In media res beginning; the group is summoned to a bank robbery hostage situation. The police are standing off to let the Union deal with the empowered perp, as per standard protocols.
The perp is named Sellout. He’s popular with certain sectors of the media because he frames himself as a modern Robin Hood who steals from the 1% to give to the 99%. Sellout has a Strength-based super-competency and is somewhat resistant to normal weapons (armour 4).
The Union tells the group that the situation needs to be handled delicately because of Sellout’s popularity with the Occupy movement and the media. Going in heavy handed will be a PR disaster.
I began the game by asking each person how they arrived on the scene. Warp the spatial manipulator appeared from behind a bus as it drove off. Jed and Harvey just rode the bus and got off. Black Amaranth the damned magician clawed his way out of Hell. Blue Sun the telepathic shape-changing energy manipulator flew down from out of the sun. Unfortunately the other two players were missing this week.
I got each person to describe himself and then we proceeded from there. The blinds were down in the bank and the cameras were off so the cops didn’t have a view of the bank. They did have a phone on which they could call Sellout to negotiate.
The press were eager to get a word from the group and Blue Sun the confident and respected member of the team addressed them with a homily about how inequality sucks but that’s no excuse for crime. This was the player’s first ever Fate roll and he got -4! He failed to impart the meaning he was looking for and I seized the opportunity for a compel. Blue Sun’s public perception is that he’s a sanctimonious thought Nazi so I built on the failure to suggest that because of it an Occupy flashmob would form to support Sellout and get in the way of heroes and police.
Some time passed in game as the group reconnoitered. Jed sent Harvey to get a look inside the bank (finding Sellout surrounded by a human shield of five hostages and the rest of the customers sitting on the floor in the bank). Meanwhile Blue Sun sent his psychic snake thing to inhabit the mind of a hostage so he could keep an eye on what was happening and, if necessary, invoke his powers through him.
Black Amaranth summoned Achem, the Demon of Thursday, to spy inside the bank and discovered similar information.
During the reconnaissance the Occupy mob started to gather outside and Blue Sun suggested the police brought in riot control officers to do something about that. They agreed and the relevant summons was issued.
The group began initial negotiations with Sellout, who demanded the classic getaway helicopter. He clearly stated to the group that he wasn’t planning to harm any of the hostages but that it was far more likely that any injuries would result from the Union’s actions.
They formulated a plan of action that involved the whole team:
1) Jed would send Harvey into the bank to take care of the henchmen.
2) Blue Sun would encapsulate each hostage in an energy shield to walk them out of the bank.
3) Warp would teleport Sellout and his hostages out of the bank and then he and Black Amaranth would arrest him.
After they finished formulating this the Occupy protesters finished grouping up and started to advance before the riot police had a chance to get there. Warp solved this by stretching the space between the protesters and the bank, making what would be a few seconds’ walk instead take a few minutes. This gave the police time to arrive and form a cordon.
The Occupy protesters rushed the police cordon when Warp let his spatial warp elapse and several police officers were injured in the press. Black Amaranth solved this by summoning chains of stygian iron to bind the wrists and ankles of the most violent offenders, freeing the group to proceed with its plan to capture Sellout.
It went without a hitch with a cylinder of space from inside the bank being swapped with a cylinder of space outside, a soft portal being held open by Warp. With his henchmen knocked out by Harvey in a series of blows Sellout had no choice but to try and flee. He bunched his legs and jumped, crashing through the ceiling above and bursting out of the bank roof a few yards away (thanks to the weird space distortion!).
Black Amaranth used his magic to grow giant demonic bat wings (the exact form of his wings being a compel on ‘sold my soul to the devil for power’ that led to some right-wing backlash against the hero) and flew off after Sellout as he jumped up and away from roof to roof.
I resolved the chase as a Contest. After the first couple of rolls a tie result caused something unexpected to happen, so i described that the chains summoned by Amaranth to try and bind Sellout also got entangled in the struts of a press helicopter flying nearby, causing it to veer out of control and head towards a nearby building.
Amaranth warned the others about the chopper in trouble and kept after Sellout. Warp stretched space so the crash happened much more slowly and Jed took the opportunity for Harvey to grab its shadow and hold it steady in mid-air. Blue Sun meanwhile summoned a large crane with a padded clamp and used it to support and lower the helicopter safely to the ground.
Meanwhile another tied result on the contest led to Sellout crashing through the roof of a church (Amaranth’s players idea!) and Amaranth following close behind. Endowed with demonic wings as he was this led to the priest charging him with a flask of holy water to send him back to Hell!
His wings smoked and charred a bit and suffered some holes from the attack, but Amaranth was unhurt. As he and the priest stood off Sellout recorded the whole scene on his Google Glass while standing between them and acting as the priest’s defender. Amaranth got knocked back into the font, burning his wings clean off but for charred stumps.
Blue Sun finally stepped in and used his powers subtly to convince the priest that Amaranth was really an okay guy! Turning a united front against Sellout they captured him easily.
Sellout requested a quiet word with Blue Sun before being handed over to the police but at that moment Warp teleported everyone back to the bank for the final handover.
Curious as to what Sellout wanted Blue Sun established a mental link. Sellout explained that he’d recorded the confrontation between Amaranth and the priest on his Google Glass and that he’d refrain from making it public if the group let him ‘get away in the confusion’. No use deleting the content from his Glass because he’d uploaded the video to his Dropbox he said.
Unfortunately for him Amaranth has super-contacts and was easily able to find a hacker to properly clear out the Dropbox account after Blue Sun extracted the username and password with telepathy. Off Sellout went to jail!
At this point we briefly paused to invent their boss at the Union.
And that’s how we ended up with an Irish Nick Fury named Maverick Stronghammer who’s addicted to Twitter. His powers include invisibility and the summoning of energy hammers. He has a secret just-16 lovechild with a second-rate superhero.
We finished with Maverick debriefing the team before sending them off for some R&R. What will they face next week?
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