Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Heroic Age...Of Around 11 - Part I

My computer is very near workable.

Just in time too, as I intend on doing something pretty cool and definitely fun for April's A-to-Z Challenge this year. A little more about that in the next post.

There are still a few kinks to work out but I should have them taken care of relatively soon. Besides, what is life without a few kinks? I have a good number of kinks myself. Hmmm. That did not come out quite as I intended.

Moving on...

A quick though regretfully belated Happy Birthday shout out to two fine gentlemen who are big heroes of mine - Happy Birthday William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy!


Last Sunday I started a new game with the kids at the study center in Brooklyn where I teach. The new game comes with a new lesson focus involving writing and story structure. The key this time is working on those elements that will be important in essay writing, a major part of the upcoming state wide tests.

What game did I decide to use to make my point?

Marvel Heroic! That's right Marvel Zombies, your favorite ol' diehard DC fanboy went over to the dark side once again, this time full force and ran a game featuring the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Spider-man and a couple of X-Men for good measure.

While the roster of heroes we used closely resemble the modern incarnation of the Avengers (complete with Thing, Mr. Fantastic and Spider-man as members), I couldn't help but see them in their 80's outfits in my mind's eye. It's partly that that's when I was a really big Marvel fan (though I love DC too) and partly the way the kid's play Superheroes.

For the first session the story was fairly simple.

The heroes are hanging out at the Baxter Building (home of the Fantastic Four) or the Avengers Mansion (HQ of the mighty Avengers). Spider-man was visiting the FF while Wolverine and Storm were paying a visit to the Avengers at the time.

The full roster was Captain America, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Mister Fantastic, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Storm, The Thing, Thor and Wolverine.

All the male characters were played by males. All the female characters were played by females. The youngest player was in 4th grade. The oldest player is in 6th grade (should be 7th but the boy only moved here from China a year ago).

The plot, sorry, Event, began when the heroes all received a call from Nick Fury of SHIELD. Something terrible was happening just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Something big.

Yes indeedy-do comic book crusaders, the one and only (well, relatively) incredible Hulk was on a rampage once more and SHIELD needed help taking him down. It is important to note that the players received a number of subtle clues that this was not the Hulk's normal wanton destruction but that he seemed even madder and crazier than usual. On the Rampage-O-Meter, with a scale from 1 to 10, Hulk had his HULK SMASH dial cranked up to 12. He only partially recognized heroes he had fought or teamed with before and didn't really use any thinking or tactics (Specialties). It was just "GRRRRAAAA!", lunge, tear-to-shreds.

As Mister Fantastic, Captain America and several other heroes set up a sort of base camp/defensive line near the opening of Mr. F's Transportation Portal (he teleported the teams to New Mexico by tracking Hulk's gamma radiation signature), several other team members went to look for Hulk's exact position, obscured as it was by smoke, flames and screaming civilians.

The players and PCs of Mister Fantastic and Iron Man quickly picked up on the Hulk's abnormal level of know, even for the Hulk.

Iron Man's sensors pinpointed the Hulk and he radioed back to the rest of the group.

The first to attempt to take down the green goliath was the man who's the best there is at what he does and what he does isn't nice...Wolverine! Unfortunately, Wolvie's roll stank and Hulk easily avoided the blow. Next up was the Human Torch, who got into the system pretty quickly and used his Fire Mastery to set up a Complication. Instead of blasting the Hulk with flames, he heated the dirt and sand beneath Hulk's feet, causing Hulk to begin sinking into molten ground.

The Scarlet Witch attempted to follow up that move with a Transmutation Hex. Her idea was to transform the lava like earth into solid granite or marble and trap the Hulk's feet. No dice. That is, she too rolled pretty poorly.

Actually, there were very few good rolls this past Sunday on the part of the kids. I would've slaughtered their team if it hadn't been for one really bad roll on my part toward the end of the session.

More on that after this ad for Hostess Fruit Pies and X-Ray Specs!

Barking Alien


  1. Forgot to give props to the artists for the image above.

    The picture of the team assembled for our little game is largely complied from illustrations by John Byrne, a personal favorite of mine and one of the most iconic artists in the industry.

    Mr. Byrne's work is supplemented with a Spider-Woman by Ben Fuentes, Invisible Woman by Adam Hughes and Spider-man by...not sure. Looks like a refined McFarlane. Anyone know?

  2. The eyes seem small for a McFarlane, but I can see why you think so.

    In the meantime, I'm going to order some sea monkeys.