Hey, all.BACKGROUND on me
: This was originally a post on G+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MichaelMiller1000/posts/N7zSkdXyREx
Ron invited me over here for further in-depth discussion. I haven't spent much time over here since Ron remodeled, so I don't know anything about posting frequency, forum expectations, etc. I'll try to remember my Forge-etiquette. I doubt I'll be able to reply during the workday, as the forum doesn't load well on my phone. But I'll check in after work.BACKGROUND on the Actual Play
: The event was at Dreamation 2015, a gaming convention in Morristown, NJ. There were four players at the table: Jon "Buddha" Davis, Paul Czege, Adam Gastonguay, and Daniele Popelsky. I had personally played with Buddha, Paul, and Adam many times, and Daniele never before, I think.
The current state of With Great Power
is this: It is based heavily on Epidiah Ravichol's Swords Without Master
and I have no trouble calling it a "hack" of SWoM. I am very interested in the creative space that SWoM explores, a very different kind of thing than most games. THE POST ITSELF:
So a great thing happened in my 2nd With Great Power game at Dreamation and I want to pull it apart a little. I'm not sure how much was due to the group, how much due to the system, how much due to me having "hit my stride" in the convention. But it was a neat series of fiction building on fiction that I want to nurture and encourage.
I'm just going to stick to the most high points of this particular chain of fiction-building-on-fiction, although there was a lot of really great stuff in this game.
During character creation, +Jonathan Davis created his hero "Hellfire" who had made a deal with the devil and now was a constantly-burning skeleton in an asbestos suit. He had a group of followers called "The Hellfire Club" that would support him. They hung out in a shut-down steel mill. Hellfire slept in the crucible.
The villain, Groupthink, infected others with her thoughts through touch.
The introductory heroic scene was a nuclear power plant taken by terrorists. I pulled this pretty randomly off a little oracle-like list that I made up as a replacement for the Thunder of Swords Without Master. The heroes capture the terrorists, but the reactor is damaged in the process. The heroes avert a meltdown.
Later, there is a personal scene featuring Daniele's hero, the Red Avenger—a hero who had lost control when she had first gained her powers and was fighting off being labeled a villain. Someone says that this scene should be about her love life. Daniele casts Buddha as the blind date, but +Paul Czege suggests that a dating coach would be better. Buddha steps up with the dating coach setting Red Avenger up with a blind date with ... Dr. Cold, a supervillain that Buddha made up on the spot. During the small talk of the scene, we established he was on parole with an anklet.
Later, during a scheming scene, we learn that Groupthink is taking over the police. So, when it is time for a scene where the villain unleashes her might, I look at the heroes and see that Hellfire is only one with any sort of location established, so I target him with the police. Then I think "What are police going to do against a burning superhero?" And then I remember Dr. Cold and his parole. So I arm the SWAT team with cold guns, and have Dr. Cold there with his anklet as a consultant. The phase ends with Hellfire surrendering so the other heroes can escape.
Leading to finale, Groupthink visits Hellfire in prison. She is holding all those who have some measure of resistance to her touch in a camp. There is not enough power (due to earlier power plant fight) to keep the camp warm, so she will let them freeze unless Hellfire agrees to be the new power source. As he allows himself to be locked into the reactor core, Groupthink says, "Now the one being I could never touch has been taken care of."
What I am particularly pleased with is how the earlier creative contributions from the table were worked in and built on in later scenes. The nuclear power plant thing was a generic sort of problem to give the heroes something to show off about. It retroactively became part of the villain's plan. Dr. Cold was a throwaway joke supervillain name in a personal scene. He and his cold-based technology retroactively became part of the villain's plan. The interaction of Groupthink's touch-based powers and Hellfire's fire-based powers wasn't planned, but it became central to the main plot. This is what I want the game to nurture and promote.
It's always easier to tear apart things that went wrong. I welcome any thoughts on this thing that went really, really right.