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[WGP] Are our heroes doomed to failure?

Started by Solamasa, October 05, 2006, 03:22:06 PM

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We finished a great first issue of With Great Power... this week!  I'll leave the Actual Play report to Anna, but I have a couple of troublesome questions.

Question 1:  How is it actually possible for a hero to Redeem a Devastated aspect?

This question is a combination of a theoretical and an Actual Play situation.  In Actual Play, the strife aspect of one of our heroes had been Devastated long before the fifth card was played to the Story Arc.  Consequently, I (as GM) was easily able to drive it down to Undone.  When the fifth card was played to the Story Arc, I got to tell the hero's player the bad news:  there was nothing she could do to Redeem that aspect.  It was inevitable:  either I called an Enrichment scene for my villain, and Transformed it that way, or I waited for a Conflict, and Assessed it at the first opportunity.  Even if the player went on to win the Conflict, it would be too late.

That brought up the pertinent question:  if that aspect had not been in such a dire situation--say, merely Overcome--would the player then be able to Redeem it?  I don't believe so.  She could only Redeem it by winning a Conflict, whereas all I had to do was hold out through three Assessments.  As most of our Conflicts went through five or six Panels, this seems like child's play. 

So my question is:  are strife aspects that have already been Devastated by the time we enter the fifth card of the Story Arc pretty much dead in the water?

Question 2:  How can The Plan actually be Devastated?

This is more troublesome.  In the game that just ended, I didn't have to let the villain lose when I did.  I understand that I should have been playing as hard as I could to beat the heroes, but I let them Devastate the Plan when they did.  Because, again, unless I'm missing something important, it was too easy to protect it, and continuing to do so would have become an exercise in frustration for all of us.

A hero can at most increase the Suffering of the Plan once during a Conflict:  i.e., only when the hero wins.  To thwart the hero, all I must do is Assess the Plan once during that Conflict:  a pretty simple task, especially because the Plan always involves fewer cards.  (I do realize that I can't Assess to reduce Suffering if I then yield the Conflict, but I never once ran into a situation where I couldn't play at least two cards in a Conflict!)

Even when both heroes teamed up to attack the Plan, as happened at the end of our game, I would only have had to Assess twice:  a simple matter with multiple heroes, because multiple heroes meant many more cards for me (in this case, one Devastated hero aspect apiece)!  It mattered little if they both went on to win the Conflict because as long as the Plan is still in action (and strife Aspects haven't been Redeemed), the villain's still going, no matter the stakes.

Please help!  I searched the book for an answer; I wondered, for example, if an aspect can only be Assessed once in a Conflict--a rule that would obviously completely unravel my dilemma--but didn't find anything.  I effectively let the villain fail by fiat, which left a bad taste in my mouth, but in the situations I've described above how could the heroes possibly hope to prevail?

Thank you!
- kit

Kat Miller

Hi Kit,

These are awesome questions.

The question about redeeming aspects-
If the aspect has been devistated but hasn't been transformed it returns to the player unchanged.
In comic book terms sometimes the girl gets captured but at the begining of the next issue her relationship with the Hero is unchanged.
and sometimes she gets captured and sees the hero in a whole new way.

If the aspects are not transformed by the events then you do an exposition box to explain how they return to the hero and thats that.

The second question delves into something bigger, that I have encountered myself.

First the Game allows the Master Plan to be healed. 

In play however as the GM has so much advantage in the beginning I never heal the plan in conflict
only in enrichment.  I like to set a scene showing off why the plan is going along smoothly despite the heores efforts.
Validating the Heroes actions while revealing more of my malicous intent.  Following the way Comic books run villians
this works.  the villian and heroes fight.  Things look bad for the villian, after the fight the villian has his own couple of panels to explain why things are going acording to "plan"

but there is nothing in the Game book to tell you when and how to heal the plan, just that you can.

kat Miller



First, thank you for your response!

Question 1

Quote from: Kat MillerIf the aspect has been devistated but hasn't been transformed it returns to the player unchanged.

That's not what I was referring to.  My concern is instead related to the apparent ease with which the GM can Transform a player's aspect that is already under his or her control when the final card is played to the Story Arc. 

As I mentioned in my first post, when that fifth card was played on the Story Arc--thus, of course, opening up the opportunity to Transform or Redeem hero aspects--one of the players had their strife aspect Devastated:  specifically, it was at Undone (is that the name?  I don't have the book handy.  Anyway, the final Devastated level before Transformation). 

Thus she had no chance whatsoever to Redeem that aspect.  Even if she launched a Conflict in the hopes of Redeeming it, all I had to do was Assess that aspect once.

Okay, I suspect in that situation the player should have worked harder (if she wanted to) to keep her strife aspect in better shape. 

But what about the situation where an aspect is, for example, merely Overcome?  As I opined in my first post, even then it would be nigh-impossible to Redeem.  If a player started a Conflict with a mind to Redeem that aspect, I as GM would only have to survive long enough in the conflict to Assess that aspect three times in a row.

Is this as it should be?  What realistic chance do players have to Redeem aspects that were already Devastated going into the final part of the Story Arc before the GM gets a chance to Transform them?

Question 2

Quote from: Kat MillerIn play however as the GM has so much advantage in the beginning I never heal the plan in conflict only in enrichment.

Your solution would definitely forestall the problem I experienced!  I'll try that next Issue and see how it works out for us.

Thank you again!
- kit


Hey, admittedly, I haven't played yet, but looking over the rules it sounds like your players "deserved" to lose.

If the player allowed his Strife Aspect to be Devastated that early on, that's the price he pays for the extra cards he got.  He gambled with what was important to him and he lost.  If his Aspect was Devastated by losing pages of conflict, then the players should have rapidly had the Story Arc on card #4, giving them a great advantage and allowing them to not only risk their Aspects less frequently, but allowing them to win pages more easily which in turn could be used to hurt The Plan.

Maybe I'm wrong.  That's what it sounds like.
Circumstances: [Lost] [Unprepared]