Sunday, March 25, 2012

Avengers : Ultimate Gambit : Marvel Super Heroes FASERIP

Avengers : Ultimate Gambit
The Marvel Super Heroes RPG (Faserip)

My fourth game for Indigo Entertainment would turn out to be the first two-part game that I would run.  Excited by the upcoming movie, as well as eager to get even more new players into the hobby, discussions at the end of the last game circled the idea of having a super hero based game which used the old Marvel Super Heroes FASERIP system.  The game system, for all its faults, was pretty fun to use and the familiarity of the characters allowed new players to quickly get into the role and play the game.  While I greatly minimized the system to just having the players roll when a FEAT was necessary, with me handling all modifications and column shifts, it allowed the group to very quickly embrace the concept of being a player in a role-playing game.  It didn't take long for people to start referring to their characters as themselves (By saying "I will try to.." rather than "My character will...").
Hello Loki...

Tofie, who had played Dungeons and Dragons before, joined the game as the Invincible Iron Man.  Jigs took the role of Hawkeye, whom his father James wanted to play (James sadly had to head off to another appointment).  JP indulged in portraying the conflicted soul that is Dr. Bruce Banner aka The Hulk.  And as the game progressed, Mark decided to dive in and enjoy the role of the son of Odin himself, Thor.    The game session opened with a quick foreshadowing sequence where the players are told Thor had given up on his godhood, on how Loki tried to claim the hammer but failed, and three shadows in the form of women come to threaten Loki.  Loki then escapes, vanishing into a flutter of raven feathers.

Then, I begin revealing to each player (save for Mark) that they are suffering from some kind of memory loss.  The game has Tony Stark awaken in his hotel room, slightly inebriated from a night of long drinking.  While Tony Stark struggled to make sense why he was in an unfamiliar hotel room, Hawkeye finds himself tied up and being prepped for torture.  Dr. Banner found himself in a similar bit of trouble, floating naked in a tank that was chemically keeping him sedated.

Tony finds an infamous babe sitting atop the suitcase that contains his Iron Man suit and it doesn't take long for him to realize who she is:  Loki.  Asking for his help, Loki bargains with Iron Man and tells him she can bring him to his two friends whose lives may be threatened, but in return they must help her find Thor.  When asked why, she refuses to say more.  Pepper Potts arrives with a cadre of Shield agents and fumes when she finds Tony with this beautiful almost naked woman.  Tofie masterfully portrays the Tony Stark we all love to hate and fumbles on explaining why he was naked in a hotel room with a woman.  He is surprised to learn, however, that he's been missing for TWO weeks.  And rushes after Pepper into an elevator with the Iron Man suitcase in tow.  She admits her concern on why he's in Kaizen Gammora (yes, I took the concept from The Authority and Image Comics) and fears they may have drugged him or coerced him to steal his password to the Iron Man suit.  Tony bends down to activate the suit and notices a greatly injured Wasp in her shrunken form hiding by holding on to Pepper Potts' heel.  He hears the familiar sound of a repulsor blast charging up and realizes "Pepper" is actually a battle droid in disguise.  Stealing Wasp away, he activates his Iron Man suit in time, then blasts out of the elevator to gather his bearings.

Hulk SMASH!!!!
Banner realizes these people have kidnapped him and tries to gather his anger and unleash the Hulk to escape.  Unfortunately what the Hulk gains in mass and strength, he loses in intellect (a character that JP wonderfully portrays!)  He breaks free from his containment and discovers the location's defenses are three women robots who are dressed as geishas.  While the robot's talons are too weak to harm him, he finds them immensely irritating and begins to destroy them without effort.  But just as he was about to destroy the last one, the Black Widow appears and tries to calm him down.  She tells him the geishas aren't robots but power suits, and tears one open to reveal a stunted human child.  Kaizen Gammora has been breeding clones to serve as biological computers that run the power suits.  She tells him she needs the Hulk to provide a distraction and vanishes into the facility's ventilation shaft.

Hawkeye breaks out from his captivity by first spitting into the torturer's eye with precision to blind him temporarily, then fracturing his ankle to slide the handcuff around it off.  Partly mobile, he then slams the chair onto the man, and finally knocks him out with a well aimed punch.  The Black Widow emerges from a ventilation shaft and helps him get to his feet, informing him of their kidnapping and that they are in Kaizen Gammora.  She tells him to bring her Avengers communicator to the nearby Communications Tower and use it to send out a distress beacon, while she will go and see if she can find where they have taken Tony Stark.  He sneaks out of the prison, which happens to be a very large steam room, and escapes the building by going down to the first level basement where a kitchen seems to be filled with active cooks.  Nearly mistaking one chef for an assailant, he makes his way street side and after accidentally threatening a cafe owner, tries to reach the Communications Tower in haste.
The game sequence wasn't this badass, but was awesome on its own way!

Elsewhere, Thor's whereabouts are revealed to be with the woman named Jane whom he befriended when he was first on Earth.  The two attempt to live a normal life with cooking and doing the groceries as part of their routine.  Thor ignores all calls to his Avengers Card, understanding that since he had lost all of his Asgardian powers, he would only be a detriment to the team.  But while in the grocery, he encounters the three shadowy figures and learns they are the Kindly Ones.  The three have come to ask Thor to embrace his heritage and make a "Choice," one which they claim needs to be done.  When asked what the Choice relates to, the three explain it has to do with the fate of the World Tree and that of Midgard.  He reaches out to the fates and accepts the responsibility.

Iron Man discovers a massive purple barrier surrounding the entire country of Kaizen Gammora, and learns the barrier blocks all attempts at communication outside the island.  He picks up the presence of two distress beacons and identifies them as belonging to the Black Widow and Hawkeye.  Seeing that the Widow signal is non-mobile he heads there to investigate.

Hulk begins destroying more of the building, vaguely comprehending the Black Widow's request.  He faces off with another robot, one capable of redirecting his intense strength (and looked like Bruce Lee to boot!) and changes tactics to defeat it.  Rather than punching and slamming, the Hulk grabs the robot and throws him into space.  He never reaches it, however, for the robot slams into the purple wall and is disintegrated upon impact with the energy source.  Later, a massive pair of doors begin to open and emit smoke, and the Hulk is lured closer by curiosity.  From the mist, a woman emerges and in Hulk's eyes, he sees the image of the woman he loves.  As he reaches out, however, to touch her, the city suffers from a ten-second long black out.  When the power returns, the Hulk is unconscious.  The woman was also an agent of Kaizen Gammora and had used the power of the city itself to knock the green giant unconscious.
Kaizen Gammora, for this game.

Hawkeye reaches the tower and plans his entry to connect the communications card to the grid.  But just before he could do so, someone seemingly recognizes him and calls out his name.  A mystery that will have to be resolved at a later session.

Iron Man locks onto the Black Widow's card, uses the tower itself to boost the signal and emit a message out to the Avengers Mansion.  As the message ends, Iron Man turns to face the coming flight of enemy soldiers.

And finally, Thor finds himself before the World Tree and sees the visions of a coming Armageddon.  He sees the massive swath of destruction that is looming and the deaths of his closest allies.  At the center of it all, he sees Loki.  Uncertain what to do, Thor requests to have Jane at his side as he makes his choice.  The Kindly Ones relent.  Thor holds Jane's hand and tells her he has to do what he must to stop this.   More so upon learning all are to come to pass within the hour.  When asked what the Choice he is being asked to make is, the Kindly Ones explain:  Loki must die for all this to be prevented from coming to pass.  Will you slay your own brother?


One of the biggest changes I made in the game was to be very generous in throwing out Karma for simply portraying the heroes the way they were approached in comics, movies and the like.  Given that for most of the players, familiarity with the Avengers characters was limited to the recent Thor and Iron Man movies, if no the Marvel vs Capcom game, so I didn't expect or demand much in the terms of accuracy.  I was throwing out around 20 Karma for each display the players did which made us all enjoy the game more.
Perhaps a scene in the game to come?

Another huge change I did was to ignore comparing Feat Intensities all together.  Since the players weren't that accustomed to using Karma to boost their rolls, I required practically Green results for most of the events that transpired and only Yellow and Red results when things were very dramatically appropriate.  Interestingly, there were many times the dice precisely hit the needed rolls ("You need a 66..." "I rolled a... sixty... six!"  Or "This is hard, so you need a 89" "I rolled a... eight... nine.. is that eighty nine or ninty eight?") which added so much more fun to the game too.  Funny how dice can be like that, eh?

Some great resources I used online for this game include these websites which provided the stats for some characters I needed.

I'm already excited for next week as the game may have three more players joining the fun!  Excelsior!

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