Civil War: Allies

***Spoiler Warning***

My group and I are playing through the Civil War event book for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, from Margaret Weis Productions. While the course of play may not follow the event book – or the comic books – precisely, there’s going to be a certain amount of stuff that does conform to the adventures and comic series.

In short, if you don’t want to know what happens in Civil War, don’t read these posts. Or the comic books.

***You Have Been Warned***

After a four-month hiatus1, we finally got back to our Civil War campaign this past Friday night. Because there had been such a gap in play, I made sure to reread my blog posts about the game, the Civil War event book, and the MHRPG core book. In doing so, I found a couple of little things that I had missed in the rules and decided to implement.

One of these is the rule that, if a character fails in a reaction roll but has a larger effect die than that of the action roll, the action roll effect die is stepped back one. This didn’t have a huge effect on play, but did add another level of strategy to the dice mechanic.

The other rule, though, I think is going to cause significant change in the way things have been going. That is the rule that you cannot use a plot point in the action that earns you that plot point. You can use other plot points, but not the ones you just earned by taking a d4 on a distinction or by having the GM buy off the opportunities you roll. This seems like a little thing, but it changes the flow of the plot point economy, and invalidates some of the tricks my players have used to pump up their totals and effect dice.

Now, I didn’t set out to nerf things for my players, but I’m not that sorry to see it happen. I’ve been finding it difficult to confront them with challenges that they can’t just walk over, and a large part of that has been how good they are at managing the plot point economy. That said, I’m feeling a little guilty2 about taking away that bit of mechanical mastery they’ve acquired.

Anyway, I introduced these rules in this past session, and the gang3 had a chance to come to grips with them.

But on to the actual play.

We picked things up with a recap of the previous session, and then I had Spider-Man call the gang and ask for help. They had previously tried to recruit Spidey to their cause, but had been unable to do so. Still, the Doctor had given him a little token that he could use to contact the Guardians should he need them, and that’s what he used now. The Doctor was unavailable, being on a shamanic inner journey assisted by some very special mushrooms he grew himself4, so the other Guardians were drawn to the Doctor’s room to find him catatonic and a hologram of Spider-Man’s head shouting to see if there was anyone around listening.

Spider-Man was concerned that, as Captain America knew who he was, and he was living in Avengers Tower5, with two people that he wanted to keep safe6, he was going to be the first hero outed, with his loved ones arrested and imprisoned, unless he caved in, registered, and unmasked. He wanted some assistance in getting the two civilians somewhere safe7, while he distracted his guards.

The Guardians agreed to help out. Mega Joule, Jumpstart, and Cyber headed over in the GX-1 in stealth mode, while Volcanic prepared an underground escape route nearby. Spidey burst out of the tower while the GX-1 hovered invisibly over the landing pad, which was full of Cape Killers. The Cape Killer took off after Spidey, as did a number of Thunderbolt agents, including Venom.

Our heroes took the GX-1 up to the window that Spider-Man had departed from and found M.J. and Aunt May inside, surrounded by another unit of Cape Killers, Lady Deathstrike8, Taskmaster, Jester9, and Bullseye. The good guys had the element of surprise on their side, thanks to the GX-1’s stealth technology, and stormed in with some decisive opening moves. The way things fell out in the action sequence, however, the heroes wound up sucking up some nasty hits while they got M.J. and Aunt May out of harm’s way.

But they managed to rescue them, and with Volcanic’s escape route10, they got away clean. Spider-Man, unfortunately, was captured and outed.

The action scene ran a little slower than usual, partly because we were rusty, and partly because the new rules took some getting used to, and partly because the battle was harder with the new rules. So, with the game at a good pausing point, I ran a couple of follow-up scenes to lay some pipe and reward the characters.

First, Luke Cage contacted Mega Joule, whom he had made a connection with way back during the Stamford cleanup, and signed on with the Guardians, along with Danny Rand. Then, Iron Man tapped into the Guardians’ base communications net, and told them where they could pick up a shipment of Stark-tech to help the fight.

Everyone was in a pretty good mood about how things had turned out. Except for the bit about Spider-Man in custody.

But they plan to do something about that.

  1. Summer is always difficult for scheduling games and this year was worse than most. []
  2. Not guilty enough to relent, though. []
  3. Well, most of the gang. Erik wasn’t able to join us. []
  4. If this doesn’t work for you Erik, we can retcon it. []
  5. “Spider-Man is living in Avengers Tower? Isn’t that place overrun with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents now that Stark has gone anti-SHRA?” “What, you think that S.H.I.E.L.D. will let him live anywhere else until he registers?” []
  6. M.J. and Aunt May, of course. []
  7. Like Volcano Island, f’rinstance. []
  8. Who’s healing factor really pissed the players off. “Man, that’s no fair!” “Can’t you do the same thing, Mega Joule?” “Well, yeah, but…” []
  9. Man, Jester just could not catch a break in this battle. Every roll he made, he screwed up, doing more damage to himself and his team than to the good guys. []
  10. He’s set up an asset of Foolproof Escape Plan d12+. []
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3 Responses to Civil War: Allies

  1. Craig Payne says:

    Sounds like a fun session.

    On the earning plot point side of things, I think Cam Banks has highlighted that you can at least use negative distinctions straight away, as they are earned when you add the d4 to your dice pool (or at least you can use them after you’ve rolled, for extra dice etc.), but the Opportunities don’t earn plot points until AFTER the total and effect dice are assigned, so they can’t be used. It’s something that tripped me up for the first lot of games too.

  2. Blue says:

    Just so you know, you didn’t tag this post. I’m re-reading your campaign getting ready with Cam working on the new kickstarted Cortex.

  3. Rick Neal says:

    Thanks! I’ve added the tags. Looking forward to the new Kickstarter.

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