Before continuing with my first session recap, I wanted to point out and detail some elements of this initial adventure that may not be clear to the readers out there.
In some cases, it's just a matter of clarifying what I wrote and in others, it's more about those very special intangibles that happen when people role play.
Let's start there shall we?
A number of the players making up the group for this particular campaign are excellent role players. They are all, so far as I can tell (two of them are brand new to the group), good gamers, but a good portion of them really get into their characters heads and act accordingly.
As such, some of their actions may seem strange, as noted by a commenter on a previous post, to not only those reading this blog, but also to their companions. In truth though, the other players and their PCs get to benefit from in-character and out-of-character player dialog, so they quickly learn each others personality quirks.
You gentle reader, well, you had to be there.
Yet you weren't, so, I'll try to explain...
"If everyone was trying to take the plane down, why was MB (Master Builder) trying to help it? Because Vanish was on board? How did he know?"
The cloaked jet plane belongs to an at first unknown enemy, later identified as Terror Incorporated. Basically, this is a Supervillainy outsourcing operation working for the true villain who remains a mystery.
Master Builder was a superhero in England prior to coming to the USA, but he botched up a mission badly and was all but disowned by his family. He was banished with the stipulation that he not return until he understood what it truly meant to be a hero.
It is largely this reason that motivates him to try and save the people in the Terror Inc. plane. He wants to capture them and take them to prison. He had no intention of killing them, and likewise doesn't want them to crash into the ground and die.
I've noted before that this is a common mentality when playing Supers often missed by those more accustomed to the murderhobo play style of games like D&D.
"And if IMPACT threw MB, isn't he then going to plummet to his death?"
Yes. It's just that, he has a plan.
I should point out, Dave the player doesn't have a plan. IMPACT does.
Dave is playing IMPACT as a 14 years old boy who has incredible superhuman powers. This kid transforms into a hulking pro-wrestler who can run at 255 mph and lift 100 tons. He is protected by a force field that sends attacks rebounding back at the assailant.
IMPACT believes himself to be indestructible. Dave knows his character is not. Dave still plays IMPACT using IMPACT's mind set, not Dave's.
So when IMPACT throws MB, IMPACT isn't worried about falling to the Earth like a fleshy meteor. He's a Superhero! He has Superpowers! He can lift a Space Shuttle! He'll figure something out.
Incidentally, this is not something new to me. I've always felt that the Old School D&D default play-style lends itself to overly cautious players and PCs. Superheroes, Star Wars and other more romanticized, cinematic genres and settings seem to encourage bolder actions on the part of the PCs, such as leaping out a random window to avoid an overwhelming number of enemies, or running full bore at an oncoming AT-AT.
(Yes. Those two things have happened in my campaigns.)
More on topic, some players play themselves, and others play an invented character. Let me point out, neither is better, or worse than the other if they are done well.
A player who is playing themselves isn't literally playing themselves as their in-game character, but rather all the characters they play have the player's gaming personality.
For example, one of my players, Jeff, has played a number of different characters in a number of different campaigns I've run. While they have all had different goals, powers and origins, they have all been very much Jeff. He is the guy in the group who researches the setting in-game, and learns all it's secrets. He is going to bravely and boldly meet the challenge of bigger and badder opponents to help his selected dependent group (innocent civilians, his family or species, his crew). He is going to be the badass peacemaker. That's Jeff.
Dave is going to create a character, and while they may have similarities, they each have very different personalities and ways of thinking. Dave actually played IMPACT a few years back in a Mutants & Masterminds game I ran, and that IMPACT was quite different from this one. In the original incarnation, IMPACT's secret identity was only 12. He was much more of a fan boy of the other heroes and of being part of the superhero community. He was a bit more careful with his powers, as he didn't really know the extent of them. The current version is less impressed by his peers, a bit more sure of, and even full of, himself and is portrayed as having been around fighting crime for at least a year or so.
Dave isn't really playing Dave when he plays IMPACT. He is playing IMPACT.
I hope I clarified Vanish's ability to keep up with the Gravity Module Shuttle and pursuing Terror Inc. jet plane (*See the comments in this post --- Adam). There are a number of minor and not so minor abilities that the PCs have that I didn't go into. My goal was to introduce the characters to you so you know who I am talking about when I recap the adventure, not to give you a full on Marvel Universe Handbook or DC Who's Who entry.
If you have any specific questions about any of the characters please let me know. I love questions! Ask as many as you like.
If it becomes necessary to go into greater detail to tell a recap story I certainly will do so.
I like to keep some aspects of my campaign universes vague and mysterious, giving the PCs the opportunity to learn the hidden truths and uncover the dark secrets that can have major impacts on the games story and setting. The key of course is having players who are interested enough to investigate these secrets, otherwise they simply lie dormant.
As noted above, Jeff is that kind of fellow and to keep him interested, and keep both he and I on our toes, I often give him clues or perception rolls that seem to have no bearing on the current plot. This sometimes manifests as my telling him his PC just sees something interesting, and at other times, I will give his character a cryptic vision that Jeff must figure out the meaning of before he even begins to have his character check into it.
For an example of this, in my first recap post I note that Jeff's character Equilibrium uses his Cosmic Awareness ability to search for threats to the passenger shuttle he is on. While a possible threat is revealed, it also gives him a vision of "a small, but intensely bright, blue camp fire burning somewhere in the distance. Moths of many different shapes and sizes fly toward the fire as if in slow motion."
This, like the enemy jet aircraft that he eventually detected "swooping in like a great carrion bird" is conveyed via metaphor. Jeff still doesn't know what the blue camp fire and the moths represent, but it has him intrigued and really, that's all that matters.
Questions, comments, ideas? Let me know. As a matter of fact, I'd love to do a monthly feature for this campaign like the 'Letters Pages' from old comics. I'll compile all the questions or notes you guys make and answer them once a month.