Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Responding To The Trouble Alert

Two consecutive bad game sessions have set a pattern in motion that can not be allowed to continue!

Most assuredly it can not be allowed when we're talking Superheroes. I love Supers, Supers games and I am putting my colorful, buccaneer boot clad foot down. I'm taking this band to a new city...Freedom City!

I have stated the paradox that is my love of certain IP settings and my general dislike for pre-made game settings many times before but there are exceptions to every rule and one of them is Freedom City.

I've used this 'house setting' of Mutants & Masterminds before in both it's 1st and 2nd Edition incarnations and I find it really fun.

More then just an amalgam of DC and Marvel with the file numbers scraped off (though in some ways it is that), Freedom City has exactly what I am looking for in a Superhero game that I want to be different from my Champions game. This world is more 4-Color, more brightly lit and harkens back to the Silver Age of Comics without feeling dated. Ya'know, like DC could have done with the New 52 instead of
what they did.

My ever astute pal Dave, who is one of the four players in the game, made some observations on what I have done for successful games that I didn't do in my last two attempts.

1) I usually give players more info prior to starting the campaign or right at the beginning that tells them the state of things so far. This gets them in the mind set of what's going on. The last two times I kind of rushed the 'opening scene', since I felt we were more pressed for time and were going to have shorter sessions then usual (which was true). I need to slow down a bit and take the time to immerse the players.

2) At the same time, Dave suggests I do go with one of my 'En Media Res' openings, as he feels those are my best and most exciting types game starts as a GM. I agree. At least I like to think that my beginning an adventure half way into a fight and/or story is one of my signature 'moves' and something that keeps my games different from many others'. PCs do not usually meet in a bar or at the Superhero Team Headquarters, though they do sometimes. I would much rather the PCs hit the ground running and punch up the excitement level by saying, "You're not about to face danger, you are in danger. NOW!"

I am really hoping this next one sticks 'cause, quite honestly, it's my last alternate Supers attempt for a while. I have my Champions game and it seems that it is waaay better to create a side Superhero game then try to shoehorn the new guys into Champions. So, should I be unable to make the stars align this Saturday, I think it's about time I ran Traveller again (just in time for Mass Effect 3!).

Wish us luck,

Barking Alien


  1. That's funny about Freedom City because while I love what they set out to do I think it's almost too detailed to drop in a new group and let them run with a blank slate. That aside I do like the history of the city and the many alternate versions of it floating around in other dimensions.

    So if M&M doesn't work you're switching to Traveller ... OK ... you can't get much different, thematically or mechanically so it's definitely a 180 if it goes that way. Good luck with the M&M though as I'd like to see what you can do with it.

  2. Yay! A response!

    I haven't been posting much lately because, quite frankly, I don't have a lot to say until I can get a game to stick. I've been very focused on making sure this particular game actually works.

    While I get that this shows through in some of my recent posts, and therefore there hasn't been much to comment on I suppose, I was really hoping someone out there with an interest in Superhero RPGs would be inspired to share their experiences.

    Thank goodness there's always you Blacksteel. That's quality you can depend on.

    As for Freedom City being too detailed, I can agree to some extent in regards to the city itself but there is still a lot of room to move around character wise. For a setting merges numerous Marvem and DC concepts to create new characters, there are a number of character types and roles purposely left out it would seem. It's like the creators knew that players would want to fill those roles.

    While the Freedom League is your Justice League/Avengers and The Atom Family the Fantastic Four (by way of Power Pack), there really is no X-Men, no Spider Man and no Superman in the setting (the Superman character having died prior to the adventures you'll be generating).

    The new PCs appear to be a sort of Superman/Capt. America/Uncle Sam amalgam, a StarKnight (Green Lantern/ROM The Spaceknight/TechJacket) by way of the Greatest American Hero, a female with bizarre adaption/counter effect powers and a cosmic themed martial artist resembling Iron Fist/Shang Chi meets Kree Captain Marvel by way of Dragonball Z. Yeah.