Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor (Day) of Love

I know I promised to begin my series of articles covering my personal take on D&D but I got sidetracked. Yes, yes I still haven't finished my Smurfs RPG either. Sigh.

I am waaay behind schedule. For largely enjoyable reasons I have been extremely busy of late. Real time intrudes upon fun time once more, although these days it brings in own kind of fun as well. In addition, I've been getting the chance to game so often that writing about gaming and sending to the blogosphere has taken a backseat.

Too many good ideas can be just as much of a pain as too few I'm sure, though I rarely have too few so I'll just have to take your word for it. *WinK*. More often then not it's like there's an avalanche of cool concepts in my mind, I'm a terrible skier and there's not a Saint Bernard to be found.

If this Labor Day weekend was any indication of what being buried under awesome game ideas is like, hold your shovels, as it rocks on toast! I got to run two very different games and play another and all were amazing.

On Sunday I ran a game for the Learning Center I mentioned in some of my previous posts. Our original 'campaign' ended and I decided to run a sort of generic Sci-Fi/Star Trek thing based on a super-duper-simplified Starships & Spacemen. I tried to be inspired by
E.T. Smith's awesome RECESS game, while at the same time modifying it for use with a younger player unfamiliar with old school game or Star Trek. Not only did it go over really, really well (this time) but the kids (mostly 5-7th graders) were great at it. They had more team work, more effective decision making approaches and more knowledge of the setting then I expected. I was very impressed. We explored two planets, battled an alien monster on one, fought an enemy starship in orbit and then prevented a volcano from wiping out all the animal life on another world. So fun!

Sunday night was the Legend of the Five Rings game run by
Erin Palette on Skype. Very cool. I have really good camaraderie with one of the other players and our adventures and misadventures remind me a lot of the Booster Gold and Blue Beetle team of the ol' early 90's Justice League comic (and the later 'I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League' mini-series).

Finally, the Labor Day session of my Champions game was...I don't have the words. Me. I don't have words. It was that good. I tried explaining part of what happened to Erin Palette and I think I mostly just confused her.

It was an 8-hour session, three players and myself and we covered a lot of ground. This was our 9th or 10th session/issue and it dealt with subplots (both major and minor) from
earlier sessions including (but not strictly limited to):

The whole team finally unites (sorta), as Jeff/Syphon Zero decides to ally with the other heroes in hopes of capturing the villainous Dr. Helix who he's been after since issue 4 I think.

Marcus/The Power comes up with a pretty clever plan to call out either Dr. Helix, his lackeys or an another major villain who may be working with Helix. While preparations for the sting operation are underway...

The PCs all find themselves in an alternate timeline due to deal Syphon Zero made with a time travelling weapons collector back in issue 5. Actions by the time traveller (one of my ol' NPCs 'The Weaponaire', not really a hero or villain) create an alternate history in which a more controlling and militant approach to handling superheroes creates a Wildstorm-y Authority/Stormwatch feeling version of the campaign world. Only Night Knight knows the original timelines history (a high Presence score but otherwise it's a mystery why he remembers and not others), although Syphon Zero and a few NPCs remember fading bits and pieces.

With the help of an NPC scientist specializing in temporal and dimensional travel, Night Knight is able to uncover what caused the timeline to change but in the process reveals the truth behind one of the settings major mystery/conspiracy situations. The revelation is big but higger is the question, 'what happened after the event that, once altered, created a divergent timeline'?

Meanwhile... (ah, Meanwhile. Don't you just love a good Meanwhile...) the heroes are attacked by Dr. Helix who has under his control Integral (aka Integra), Primal and a psionic powerhouse called Ego. In the correct/original timeline Integra and Primal have been freed of Helix's influence and are allies of Syphon Zero. Here and now, Integra's first move is to try and kill Syphon.

The Power and a few NPCs (Pulse and Overload specifically) try to engage Primal while Omni (Super Psionic NPC and leader of the primary Superhero team) faces off against Ego. Brutal and wild battle. Lots of TK, teleporting and psychic wrestling.

Finally, Omni gets super-pissed when the actions of the villains endanger lives to the point where the heroes need to take capital action against them (Power, Syphon and Silver Sun* kill Primal and Ego using Integra's Intrinsic Field Energy attack using a plan brillantly choreographed by The Power). Just before Ego dies, Omni does the forced mind meld type move with his telepathy that he would never, EVER do in the main timeline. By doing so he discovers Dr. Helix's whereabouts. He telepathically broadcasts it to the team (including the PC heroes).

That's when Night Knight finds the Weaponaire and convinces him to fix the timeline. It takes some fancy wordplay but Night Knight is successful and within moments of Weaponaire's departure into the timestream things return to the previous pre-mishap status quo (at least it seems that way).

Night Knight remembers everything and tell Omni to read his mind to verify. Omni is in shock because of the revelation of the conspiracy I mentioned above as well as his own actions in the alternate timeline.

That is just the tip of the iceberg as far as consequences from this one guys and gals! Crazy stuff went down and even crazier stuff is coming. I can hardly wait.

OK, off to work. Next up, back on target for D&D and Smurfs...


Barking Alien

*In some scenes my pal Dave switched to another PC alt he is using from time to time called Silver Sun.


  1. I do indeed love the meanwhile. I use it often. Meanwhile ... back on Paradise Island.

    It's all good.

    Happy Gaming :-)

  2. I used to be more of a "Suddenly..." guy, but I've tried to work in more "Meanwhile..." the last few years.

    Your weekend sounds a little like mine - I played D&D Friday night (rare for me), ran a long D&D two-parter Saturday and Sunday, then ran a supers game on Monday - I was pretty happy with my weekend and it sounds like you were too - excellent!

  3. @Happy Whisk - Right on Whisk! A Meanwhile like that is well worth the wait.

    @Blacksteel - I meant to comment on your blog. I see that you played the Marvel Super Heroes game. Not a big fan myself but I do like some of the houserules you added.

    I need to drop you a message on Facebook. Expect something soon.

  4. Cool, I'll be waiting.

    I played a lot of Marvel but never ran an extended campaign so it was a little weird for me but we all had fun. I can see some potential now as the ideas have really started to flow.

    I'm not discriminatory - I have all 3 editions of DC Heroes as well. Lots and lots of retro lurking in the closet...