Monday, April 2, 2012

Contest of Champions

Hi all. Miss me? I missed you.

I didn't post much in March because, this year, that particular month had it in for me something fierce. I spent the last two weeks of it very sick and the vast majority of it strapped for cash as business was very up and down.

This month, Galactus willing, I am going to try to make up for lost time by redoubling my efforts to give you a break from your every day gaming blogs (i.e., stuff about Dungeons and Dragons*), focusing instead on Sci-Fi, Muppets and of course Superheroes.

In the last four or five weeks I have played or ran sessions of Champions 4th Edition, Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition and Marvel Heroic, which I am still very excited about.

I have also attempted to incorporate both new and old players into my different campaigns with varying degrees of success (and terrifying, abject failure). Going forward and trying to figure out which game best suits my group, there are several factors involved.

1) Unless really, really into the game, my players can be a bit lazy. This means they are not proactive in the game, and I have to do all the work. I don't mind working hard on a good game, heck I love it, but I don't like feeling that it's all on me. In our recent M&M 3E game I felt that way. We haven't played Marvel Heroic for more then a one shot so I can't say how they would take to it as a campaign. It seems they are most proactive in Champions, actually generating plot and subplot ideas themselves, and pursuing exploration of the setting.

Winner: Champions.

2) Some of the players are kinda old school, some are kinda new school and the setting that works best seems to be the Champions one. I think I made M&M 3E/Freedom City too Silver Age-y feeling. Again, unfair to Marvel in this case 'cause we haven't really played it enough to know if the Marvel universe setting and tone might be just the mix we need.

Winner: (By Default) Champions.

3) My players...

Conrad is not really feeling his M&M character. Not sure why. I love it and think the character has the potential to be awesome. His Champions character concept is...well brilliant...but hasn't he gotten to really play him yet. Ray likes his M&M character but the character is really a thinking character. Sometimes he's in the thick of things and sometimes he's more in background.

Ray has no problem with this and neither do I do one of the new players perceives it as contributing to a slow game (more on that in a bit). Ray has not made a Champions guy yet.

Dave loves his M&M guy and I like him a lot too but we both think his Champions character Night Knight is AWEsome! This Capt. America/Daredevil type guy has caused the most powerful villain in the setting to stop, think and then depart on two occasions. His secondary Champions guy is also very fun and very different from his first guy.

Marcus...oh Marcus. I like both of Marcus' guys and I must say his M&M character has a fantastic backstory, arch-enemy and his fights are always interesting. Hid Champions guy took an intriguing turn in the latest session though and I want to see where it goes.

Lee jumped back in with us for the latest Champions session and did really well despite the fact that after coming up with two different characters and everyone encouraging him to play character A he went with character B. That's Lee. His character is pretty cool but his power source is a bit, well, let's just say he's not the only one in the setting with that source by a good margin. I see potential though. Corey is our new guy who I believe I've mentioned before and he throws a wrench into the works a bit. I like the guy, quite a lot actually, but he is a very different kind of player from the rest of the group. Not being as big comic book fan as the rest, some of my favorite approaches and references simply have no meaning to him. Likewise, his tastes in adventure and gaming style differ from what the rest of us seem to enjoy. He creates character whose comics I wouldn't read. That are way too Iron Age/90's/New 52. They are cool, don't get me wrong. They just aren't my cup of java. In each session his been in, he complained that our style seems slow, we sidetrack too much and waste a lot of time. He is not wrong. It is something I have brought up with the guys before (though I have not had to address it in a while) and again recently. However...last Saturday's Champions session we got a lot done. Corey did not attend as he had something else he had to do. Makes me wonder why the dynamic changes so with him there to something he doesn't like. Hmmm.

Winner: Champions (With Conditions).

So Champions takes the gold in this particular analysis.

If I can incorporate Conrad and Ray into the Champions campaign I may have found my all inclusive, ultimate Supers campaign. Unfortunately, it may only be ultimate because it's currently just Dave, Marcus and Lee (and Jeff when he his schedule allows).

What about Corey?

The battle rages on...

Barking Alien

* I hope you didn't actually believe my last post. Surely not. April Fools everyone!


  1. Well, I finally got to do some Runequest and Call of Cthulhu with my group lately, I'm still hoping and praying that I can get another shot at some Champions gaming, which I ran long campaigns of in the 80's and 90's. Did it a little about two years ago, but I need more! Just too many things I want to run...

  2. You're telling me.

    If you do run it let me know, I'd love to have more company here in Supertown.

  3. How would you say they break down mechanics-wise? I've heard that Champions (that's the Hero system, right?) is great for making exactly the type of character you had in mind, but takes hours of arithmetic to make characters and almost as long to play. Unfair?

  4. Hey, after your multi-week break I'm not convinced that THIS post isn't part of an extended April Fool's gag ...

  5. You mention how your players aren't proactive enough. Perhaps you could elaborate further...?

    Because what you're touching on is one of the fundamental issues of superheroic gaming itself. If the villains don't act first, what are the heroes supposed to do?

    (I'm not busting your chops. As I've mentioned before, I've paid my dues GMing the funnybook genre.)

  6. @Blacksteel - No my friend this is the real deal but what it means for Marvel Heroic is anybody's guess. I really want to run a session of that bad boy and soon and yet I can't argue with the success of my Champions game, especially after so many near misses of late.

    @Benjamin - Unfair? Perhaps a bit. There is no denying that the Hero system is more than a bit math heavy when it comes to character creation. It's also hard to argue that there is any other game system that can create exactly the character you want quite like Hero. In play however, I have never found it particularly cumbersome. It seems to work very well and is rather faster than you'd expect one you get use to the way it goes.

  7. Uh-huh, yep, see - it's looking like I was right ...