Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Past Due Post: Blue Beetle and His Amazing Friends, Part II (or Where the Hell is Blue Beetle and How I Learned to Love the Bomb)

Due to an overabundance of balls in the air this past semester, this particular ball got dropped.

Back in March, I had the privelege of running a Marvel Super-Heroes game for the March 2012 instance of ENWorld's Boston Gameday, after spending the morning playing in an exciting (and hilarious) one-shot scenario of Night's Black Agents, written and run by Kevin "PirateCat" Kulp.

Unfortunately, this happened almost three months ago--so my recollection might be incomplete (or mildly inaccurate)--but here goes:

The session opened in media res: our crew was in the middle of car chase after a nuclear bomb thief through the streets of a run down European country.  The crew comprised of an American wheelman named Mace Hunter, an Irish demolition expert, a Korean hacker, a Columbian thief/temptress, a British analyst/acquisitions specialist, and French surgeon turned "wetworks" operative (played by moi). 
After the high-speed chase that climaxed with the Columbian riding the top of the fleeing target's car.  Between the Columbian's reality-defying acrobatics, Mace Hunter's crackshot driving skills, and the hacker's expert manipulation of the city's traffic light systems, we managed stop the mark's vehicle short in spectacular fashion.
Cutting to the crews safehouse, our interrogation of the Eastern European criminal had hit a wall--it was clear he had information, but wasn't likely to crack; it was at this point I decided to crank my role-playing amp up to 11.  In an absurdly heavy French accent inspired by the comedic stylings of Sasha Baron Cohen in "Talledega Nights," I proceeded to point out the mook's physical imperfections in a casual manner and then relayed that I was willing to do him a solid.  As I opened my doctor's bag and unrolled my surgical tools, I calmly explained I was going to fix those imperfections pro bono--but unfortunately I was all out of anesthetic.  Without a beat, the mook spilled everything, revealing the bomb was likely headed for Columbia.
After our British friend made arrangements for travel documentation and supplies, the demolitionist persuaded a former comrade in arms to fly us to South America.
We arrived only to find out that, in simplest terms, a convention of the local drug cartels was taking place--with a top-notch gala capping that evening's activities.  Making use of our various covers and other skills, we managed to worm our way into the event.  Prior to the event, our recon revealed that there were two major cartels participating in the meetings that were in direct competition for more personal reasons: the head of one of the cartels had acquired an ancient totemic bat statue having ties to the other head's family history, and the former cartel refused to part with it--regardless of price.  When Hunter met with the former cartel in his cover as a cocaine plant manager, he noticed a peculiarity: all the cartel members in attendance blinked in unison.  Later, when he relayed the details of the meeting to the crew, the crack-pot Irishman went on about some occult nonsense he'd picked up over the years regarding the statue and the strange behavior of the cartel, but the crew paid little heed to his caution.
After locating the Eastern European's boss, we formed a plan to have Mace seduce the weapon dealer's main squeeze to gain entry to his room and steal the bomb, while hacker handled surveillance of the room.
During the party, the Brit, Frenchman, Irishman, Columbian, and the Hacker mingled and surveilled the cartels, while Mace Hunter worked the main squeeze.  After getting into the dealer's room, a scuffle ensued with the guard he had posted.  The Columbian and the Hacker slipped out from the ballroom and hit the stairs running. 
Once they got down the hall from the room, a stand-off occured, which Mace and the Columbian then took care of.  Once inside the room, they cracked the safe--inside of which was the bomb with it's timer counting down!  The hacker set to work trying to disable the timer... At this point I'll mention that Night's Black Agents has a character feature granting each player one auto-success with their specialty during a session--and the Hacker used his with electronics to stop the clock with just one second left.
Meanwhile, in the ballroom, the statue covetting cartel boss used some strange charm ability on the Irishman, raising all kinds of occult flags.  Shortly afterwards, a firefight began between the rival cartels and the creepy drug lord fled to the roof--with the Frenchman, Brit, and Irishman in hot pursuit.  During pursuit, they radioed their crewmates to head to the roof to stop their target.
On the roof, the trio spotted the kingpin headed towards his helicopter.  The demolishionist  quickly used his auto-success with explosives to destroy the helicopter at range.  The cartel head emerged as a strange bat-man hybrid--the twist of Night's Black Agents is that its theme is Super-Spies vs. Vampires!  After the man-bat snatched up the Brit, I responded by using my auto-success with thrown weapons to fling a broken flagpole into the beast's chest, dropping it to the roof. 
Crazy times!  Thanks again to PirateCat, Kitesh, Bruce, NerfWright, SarahDarkmagic, and SaladShooter for an action-packed game.

In the afternoon, I ran my super-heroic game--with it's plot pulled from the DC Comics Elseworlds imprint book, Son of Superman.  I was scheduled to have four players for the game: Bruce, NerfWright and SaladShooter from the morning game, and my friend PistolPete.  Unfortunately, PistolPete had misread the start time and couldn't make it for the game--in spite of this, the rest continued the ball of fun that began rolling that morning and jumped right into my one-shot using the SAGA rules iteration of Marvel Super-Heroes.
I wish I could relay most of the details of that adventure, but unfortunately a combination of the time that's passed, my lack of sleep that previous night, and rousing time we had in the morning game have blurred the details of that afternoon session.
What I can still manage to tell you is that the four of us managed to have a blast with the simple free-wheeling nature of the SAGA super-hero rules. Once we got through the initial scuffle with some low-tier villains, they had a basic grasp of the system which carried us through to the end battle.  All in all, it was a nice cap to a fun-filled day.