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Author Topic: I got to (finally) play Capes!  (Read 6430 times)
JohnUghrin
Member

Posts: 19


« on: November 29, 2007, 08:33:51 PM »

Well, last Saturday, I had a houseguest-gamer who usually isn't around, and half of my regular group didn't show. (Holiday weekend here in the States.)

It was universally loved. I ran the Capes Light scenario. (Messed up a few rules, in retrospect, but still went smoothly.) We got through three scenes in the four hours, getting faster each time.

I opened with Achmed the Teleporting Terrorist. The other players took a Shapeshifter/Charmer (Odo), a mimic/spunky kid (Chimera), and hunter/Simple Soul (Kull). Achmed made some demands about the prisoners in Quantanamo, the heroes went about trying to foil him. We had some fun and awkwardness by teleporting hostages way up into the air and dropping them. We went for several pages with people only claiming the losing sides of goals. Eventually, a pair of lucky rolls put the heroes firmly in control of "Kill Hostages". Then they spent the next page concentrating on the "Capture Achmed" goal someone had put out. Along the way they had a very clever maneuver of putting out a "hostage reaches the ground" event....they were airborne for quite a lot of narration.

Scene two opened in the Mayor's office with the event "Someone takes the fall" hitting the table. Followed immediately by a "Scarf the buffet" goal. One hero brought in a lawyer/hotshot, and I dumped the debt-ridden Achmed for a new CEO/Inhuman character. After some back and forth, the mayor decided to pin the blame on the corporation (in spite of the thinly veiled threats of corporate retaliation.) Sadly for the mimic, he failed to "Scarf the Buffet", as it was scarfed by others first.

Scene three took place as the character's left the mayor's office. Kull's player dropped him, picking up a newly minted magician. I decided to spend some story tokens and took on Kull, a UFO that I whipped up as a powered character, and a Mystery NPC. "Destroy the city" came out as goal for the UFO. Chimera's player switched to play another villain (a Godling neurotic) who was mad that the buffet had been scarfed an he didn't get any scraps (he had been a homeless bum until a few minutes before.) This brought out a "Restrain/Capture the Godling" goal. The first few pages were marked by an extraordinary number of "1"'s being rolled, making for little progress on any goals. Beams of light from the UFO shattered windows and "beamed up" the CEO, heroes exchanged blasts of various energy (bounced around by summoned mirrors.) Whenever the UFO took a big hit, the godling weakened a little bit (thanks to the mystery). Eventually, Odo really cut loose on the UFO, sailing upwards as a large bird and then transforming into a large titanium wedge to hit the UFO. The godling was finally restrained mystically, and the mystery resolved to reveal the corporate logo on a UFO part.

Then we had to go home...::sigh::  I know it doesn't sound like much, but that first scene took a really long time to play out. The players were really tenative for the first few pages. Two of my players commented on how different/difficult it was to be able to do/narrate almost anything. One of them (Kull's player), who usually plays a fighter in some other game system. Said that once he got the hang of it, he really felt like he was playing the characters and the story at the same time. He also noted that it was unusual because in traditional rpgs (he now realized) characters play like computer programs. You know what your going to do, and exactly what each action will accomplish and what's possible to do with it (within the limits of probability.) He greatly enjoyed the unpredictability of the Capes system, but that it left you the ability to focus on what you really wanted to push in each scene. Odo's player said that he found it much easier to actually play a role in Capes than in that other system. Chimera's player really liked how it was competitive and cooperative all at once and really enjoyed the game.

My regular players both said that they'd happily play this each week, instead of that other system. Now, if only we can convice the missing two.

The UFO:
Powers:
5 Beams of Light*
4 Fast as Thought*
3 Alien Materials*
2 Dizzy Feelings*
1 Lost Time*
Styles
4 Hit Everything At Once*
3 Manipulate Gravity*
2 Accelerate Away
1 Absorb Energy Harmlessly
Attitudes
3 Cold
2 Alien
1 Mute
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Eric Sedlacek
Member

Posts: 135

TheCzech


« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2007, 09:47:42 AM »

Good AP post.

I'm glad to see someone new enjoying the game.  I especially like the sentence "He really felt like he was playing the characters and the story at the same time."  People often say that Capes has no GM.  I tend to think it is the opposite: there are no players and everyone is a GM.  But your friend probably has it the most correct of all: Everyone is both a player and a GM.

Messing up some rules early on is part of the process.  There is a learning curve.  Scenes can be long, and you will find that in time, you will learn to insinctively make scenes last as long as they need to.  It sounds like you all did a great job.

I'm curious about one thing, was "Destroy the City" a gloatable conflict or would it have been an acceptable result if that side had won?
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JohnUghrin
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2007, 11:34:41 AM »

Good AP post.

Thanks.

I'm glad to see someone new enjoying the game.  I especially like the sentence "He really felt like he was playing the characters and the story at the same time."  People often say that Capes has no GM.  I tend to think it is the opposite: there are no players and everyone is a GM.  But your friend probably has it the most correct of all: Everyone is both a player and a GM.

That was something I noticed as a perennial GM. On the one hand, I wasn't in charge of reality, on the other hand I didn't have to be in charge of reality.

Messing up some rules early on is part of the process.  There is a learning curve.  Scenes can be long, and you will find that in time, you will learn to insinctively make scenes last as long as they need to.  It sounds like you all did a great job.

I thought the rules were pretty flexible, given the abuse they took, and so rather than flip through the book whenever the "Am I allowed to ...?" came up, I just tried to figure how it might or might not be a problem. It worked out alright, except we had some chain reaction reactions that took a long time to narrate our way through. Nonetheless, having fun is the measure of success for a game, and we all did that.

I'm curious about one thing, was "Destroy the City" a gloatable conflict or would it have been an acceptable result if that side had won?

We only went with "You can't destroy the world." and "You can't kill heroes." as our Comics Code. Gloating never came up, but I did discuss it. I neglected to mention that the last scene went several pages as players tried to maneuver themselves into acquiring story tokens (and roll higher than "1"). Which was nifty, goals/sides were going unclaimed for tactical reasons, but then desperately defended to prevent resolution by the other side.
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Tony Irwin
Member

Posts: 333


WWW
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2007, 04:51:04 AM »

That sounds like you had fantastic fun. I love that your group didn't find the gaming elements made them disconnect and in fact it sounds like it pushed them towards some really intense roleplaying.

How would you define the mood/tone of the stuff that happened? My first Capes game moved from larger than life exploits - to being pretty silly/crazy in tone, but was still an intense game.
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JohnUghrin
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2007, 03:56:07 PM »

That sounds like you had fantastic fun. I love that your group didn't find the gaming elements made them disconnect and in fact it sounds like it pushed them towards some really intense roleplaying.

It did. It was interesting how the debt mechanic had an influence in pushing people to use non-powered emotional states as their narrative vehicles. Especially in the third scene. All the ones being rolled choked off the investment opportunity of splitting dice. (I don't recall now if that forced someone to create a third side to a goal or if that was another scene.)

How would you define the mood/tone of the stuff that happened? My first Capes game moved from larger than life exploits - to being pretty silly/crazy in tone, but was still an intense game.

hmmm...I'd say about like Spiderman comics when I was a kid. For whatever reason, I didn't notice the silliness getting out of hand or even trending upwards. If anything, things got more serious as the game progressed and players had more invested in the story (both for the mechanical reasons of Inspirations as well as just plain emotional investment.)

Thinking about that just sparked a realization that Chimera's player was very skilled at spending Inspirations wisely, but not so skilled at investing his debt...important tactical note for next time.
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