Once again, tons of views have resulted in no comments. It's pretty amazing. Someone on another blog will talk about standardizing the damage of weapons in D&D (everything does 6! It's brilliant! From a dirk to a thirty ton boulder - 6!), AGAIN I might add, and get thirty comments on his genius while I can't get a, "Neat idea, man" or "I like Mutants & Masterminds too". Sigh. Whatever. It's not so much that I want or expect recognition (my page views do that if that was my concern) but moreover, I really wanted this blog to be a place for an exchange of ideas for those of us who don't think D&D is the end-all-be-all of gaming experience. Unfortunately, I get the impression it is for the vast majority, which sometimes bums me out a bit. Oh well. Onward and upward. Or up, up and away-ward!
So why did last Saturday's Freedom City game work where the previous two failed?
Good question and one I have several theories about. Come, peruse my rambling thoughts won't you?
For My Part
There were several key differences in my running of this game as compared to the others but they mostly boil down to knowing my players, knowing my world and having fun with it.
Without Corey in the mix I was left with four pretty serious comic book fans. This meant that my experiences as a comic book fan and the ideas that reading comics for over 30 years would naturally inspire (for me that is) would be understood and appreciated by my group. A homage here, an Easter Egg there, all thrown in to a story that both played on and played against expected cliches, was far more likely, if not guaranteed, to put a smile on everyone's face and get them into the swing of things.
I also knew my world much more accurately this time. Now my first attempt was in my Champions setting, a world first created and developed by my friend William. I do know that world very well, especially the changes I made to it to adapt it to my own campaign style and the players I have. The problem was that the Champions world is a bit too specific in atmosphere and unless I convey it properly, it's hard to get a brand new hero to just pop in out of no where.
The second world was not only too high concept but I never got a chance to fully flesh out said concept. As a result, I don't think everyone really got it and who could blame them.
With Freedom City and it's universe I not only have a well thought out setting that really evokes the kind of comic books I want to focus on but it's also a setting I have run before. It's loose enough to through in my own stuff and, SUPER BONUS!, the Players are not familiar with it so I can alter some of the details of it's 'canon' and no one notices or cares. It is also a setting with a fantastic map and that is always fun.
Lastly, I didn't push to make it awesomely epic right from the start. Rather, as I do tend to like the epic opener approach, I tried only to make it fun. It would likely get epic on its own once the PCs got the hang of the setting, the NPCs and their characters' personalities and powers.
For Their Part
That is, "How did the Players contribute to a better session".
For one thing, they made great characters. They're a pretty diverse group and they are also somewhat traditional comic book heroes at first glance. You've got the Superman/Paragon/Flying Powerhouse guy, the Armor/Techie/Space guy, the Martial Arts Master guy and a Mutant Power/Mimic gal who serves as the wild card.
Each comes with a nice twist in bother powers and perspective:
Our Superman is a city dwelling, blue collar, regular joe. He has a Psychic/Sonic power that causes enemies and allies to hear music the can demoralize or heal respectively.
Our Iron Man from Space is the least experienced and honestly has no idea what he's doing. He not only became a hero by accident but the super suit has no instructions.
Our Martial Arts Master was trained under special conditions by an alien. He is our Asian Mysticism character AND our Cosmic character all in one.
Our wild card is a female character with really unsual powers. Looking at the specifics of the PC, the closest pre-existing characters she resembles are Nemesis Kid, one time enemy of the Legion of Superheroes and Shane Gooseman from Galaxy Rangers. She's got great pathos, wondering if she is really cut out to be a hero.
Although created separately with no real knowledge of each others' ideas, these characters fit together. You can see them being on the same team. Furthermore, their backgrounds overlap somewhat, making it fairly easy to come up with an opponent or plot that will grab them all.
Anthem has an enemy in SHADOW, a Hydra or Cobra like group that deals in sorcery as well as science and tech. Onyx Dragon has an enemy in the cult, Way of the Void. The Way employs shadow soceror types, giving me a perfect excuse to team them up with SHADOW. Onyx Dragon knows about aliens and StarKnight protects our sector of space from alien invasion. Aliens or alien tech could be responsible for the 'flash' that gave Ad Hoc her powers.
Lastly but most assuredly, the guys really came to game last Saturday. Much less horsing around, fewer random nerdy side tangents and a real desire to make this particular game successful could be felt at the table that day.
Can't wait for the next issue to drop...