Wednesday, November 28, 2012

FC2K B1: The Spatula City Massacre

Something was clearly afoot, thought the Knight of Justice, as he followed the unsuspecting ninja through the city. Why would a ninja be headed for ...

As other ninjas swarmed out of the darkness and entered the store his suspicions were confirmed - this was something big...

Our heroes:

  • Knight of Justice (Costumed Adventurer) played by Dave, one of my regular grown up players*
  • Stella the Mystic (Mystic) played by Lady Blacksteel
  • Angel of Justice (Flying Mentalist) played by Apprentice Red
  • U.S. Patriot (Paragon) played by Steve, another one of my regular grown up crew
The game is Mutants and Masterminds Second Edition. The setting is Freedom City. The reason is that I have a ton of stuff for M&M 2E in general and Freedom City in particular. So, rather than taking on another conversion job (see the two D&D 4E campaigns I'm running) I decided to run straight up second edition until I run out of material. 

Another new wrinkle here besides the system is that I'm running it with Hero Lab, using that for character construction and also using the tactical console to run things in play. The earlier experiment was a success so I'm adopting it for the whole campaign.

I've named this branch FC2K "B#" because this is a different group of players and characters that will be on a different track than the Apprentices most of the time, though I hope to work in some crossovers if the opportunity arises. The primarily-Apprentices branch is the A branch. Just trying to keep things organized from the start in the hopes that these turn into decade-long campaigns - hey, you never know!

Anyway, the original plan was to run one of the Dr. Null adventures from Lame Mage, which I really really like. We had some problems with character generation and printers and holiday stuff which meant that when we finally sat down to play I did not actually have the bad guys set up in Hero Lab which is kind of required to use the tac console. During the general cutting up while the DM frantically tried to type in data inspiration struck and I tossed that plan and went with a new, totally off-the-cuff adventure that was in no way influenced by having seen much of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie earlier in the day. 

Plan A - Discarded!

Our 4 heroes were drawn to Spatula City one December evening. The Knight was following a ninja encountered while he was on patrol. Stella was drawn by a magical surge that seemed to be inside the building. Angel was inside the store in his secret identity of someonewhosenameIcannotrecallandamnotevensureIwasgiven to buy his mom a spatula for Christmas. Patriot was flying overhead when he heard a commotion coming from the place (a bit later than the rest).

As a pair of ninjas took up a guard position outside the main entrance, Knight and Stella approached through the parking lot. Not really seeing each other, he threw smoke pellets to blind the ninjas while she threw a confusion spell to keep them busy. The knight then leaped over a parked car, boot-kicking one of them back into the wall (and aided by his night-vision goggles, one of several customizations to the standard equipment made by Dave).

Inside, ninjas began menacing several of the customers while the apparent leader, brandishing a sword and dressed all in red, interrogated the store manager. Nearby a very large (Growth 4) hulking brute that looked somewhat rhino-ish sneered at the pathetic human customers and employees.

The Brute totally did not look like this
As the manager is thrown to the ground amidst words like "disrespect" the Angel of Justice springs into action! He blasts the red menace who whirls on him, drawing steel! A running duel begins as Angel tries to stay up out of reach while using his telekinetic abilities against the surprisingly mobile (to Apprentice Red, anyway) leader of the ninja force and his thirsty steel blade.

The ninja leader totally did not look like this, either

In the sky overhead, U.S. Patriot notices smoke coming from the entrance of a nearby retail establishment and another caped figure rushing into it. He also hears the sound of a fight from inside so he smashes thru a window and flies inside, looking to punch the biggest, baddest thing in the room as it looms over the prone store manager. He delivers a solid punch, stunning the rhino-like creature, but not putting him down for the count as he was hoping to do.

At the store entrance ninjas rush to stop the cape-wearing crusader and the mystic mistress as they force their way inside, dispatching ninjas left and right. The Angel and the Red Ninja bounce all over the store, with the hero occasionally taking out a ninja instead of blasting the leader, who is difficult to hit..

Back at the Customer Service desk, the Rhino-thing hits Patriot hard enough to send him thru the wall of the store. Patriot flies back in, lands another solid one on the brute, and gets knocked back thru the wall by the followup punch. 

Name: U.S. Patriot
Signature Skill: Knocking people through walls 
As the rest of the ninjas fall to the Knight and the Lady, Angel and Patriot decide to change things up a bit, as Angel leads the Red Ninja back to the center of the store and sets him up for the Patriot. The red, white, and blue hero then connects with a blow that would have been plenty hurty to the 12' mutated rhino - but this time the target is the not-quite 6' ninja leader who had been having a pretty good day so far. This punches him up through the ceiling, out onto the parking lot, and into unconsciousness.

Now it was time to gang up on the rhino-guy and they did. Although at least one hero was laid out by the end, they did manage to bring down the big beast thru teamwork and persistence. 

Who were these guys? Why were they berating the manager of the local Spatula City? What was the magical disturbance sensed by Stella the Mystic? What happened to that red ninja guy Patriot punched through the ceiling? All good questions, and the answers will have to wait for the next session! 

DM Notes: Yes, this one was verging on the silly but once we got going it was a lot of fun. A dozen ninjas, a weapon master, and a hulking brute made for a fine fight against 4 new heroes. We mostly used the archetypes from the core book but Dave tweaked his adventurer somewhat ("why would I want to create darkness in a 30' radius that I can't see through?") and Red made up his own character based on an old character he had created previously. For the store I used a map from the "Final Days" miniatures game which finally proved useful after years on the shelf.

I felt like an idiot for not having the villainy already entered in the tool but that's part of the learning curve. I'm happy with the way it turned out regardless. Also: not a bank robbery, which is my traditional way of kicking off a supers campaign and which was specifically mentioned by Red - "please don't make it a a bank robbery" - mission accomplished.

We learned a bit more about the combat system and everyone picked it up fairly quickly. I'm getting more y proficient with the tool so things ran quickly enough once we got started. That color-coded damage chart on the inside of the DM screen is pretty handy. With a high toughness and a very high knockback modifier it was hard for anyone to hurt the Brute even the paragon, but they managed. He wasn't going to go flying nearly as far as the normal-sized ninja leader though. Knocking people through walls is just one of those signature super things and I'm happy to have it popping up already in this game.

I've told the players they can make changes to their characters over the next few sessions as we learn the game. It's probably going to be our backup game now - when we don't have enough available to play D&D then it's going to be an M&M night. I'm pretty happy about that.

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