Long time coming, but here’s finally the main villain of my Marvel Heroic convention scenario, the nefarious Mandarin. Since I was designing the scenario around rampant Hulk, I initially thought about making the principal bad guy someone specifically associated with Hulk, such as the Leader. However, these ponderings seemed to lead the plotting of the scenario to dead ends and the options I was considering didn’t feel particularly suited for a high-action ending scene I was aiming for.
Over the years I’ve run several role-playing campaigns with various systems and settings, from King Arthur Pendragon to Shadowrun and Beyond the Supernatural. While most of these campaigns have been fun enough to run and play, only two of them stand out as especially memorable: a Vampire the Masquerade campaign I ran some ten years ago, set in ancient Rome, and the Smallville campaign I’m currently running. While pondering what exactly has made those campaigns click, I noticed that there’s one significant element they both have in common.
And now some more diegetic role-playing journalism from my Over the Edge series – the next two Al Amarja Today articles written for the campaign. The first piece is what I think a typical example of D’Aubainnist propaganda would look like, written mainly to give the game some local color and a feeling of the world going on around the characters.
When I started to plan my Marvel Heroic convention scenario, I decided to open it with a straightforward villain-bashing action scene where the players would have a chance get acquainted with the Marvel Heroic rules before the real action begins. Initially I considered Hydro-Man (possibly paired with Electro) as well as the Wreckers to serve as the punching bags, but in the end I settled on Sandman, thinking that a supervillain who had gone against Hulk and nearly defeated Fantastic Four single-handedly would be enough of a challenge for quick a warm-up match. However, as is apparent from my session report, my judgment was way off in that respect. In retrospect, the Wreckers would have probably been the best choice, giving each of the characters something to actually chew on while learning the ropes of the system.
Besides my Over the Edge series, I’m currently running an another campaign using the Smallville system. The setting of the campaign is a homegrown one and it emerged from an impromptu one-shot game I ran at Ropecon two years ago. The Leads – player characters – are a group of supervillains who call themselves The Aristocrats and specialize in high-profile robberies, although the spotlight has been more on the character-driven conflicts and tensions within the team, as befits the system.
The player characters wake up in a squalid little apartment. The wallpapers are torn, there are stains on the floor, and the windows are nearly opaque with grime. But what really catches their attention is a large, strange-looking device in one corner of the room, sporting tangled wiring, weirdly-shaped crystal matrices and several electrodes. And a dead guy, wearing a lab coat and lying in a pool of blood in front of the contraption. Next thing the player characters notice is that they are not wearing their own clothes. Or their own bodies. The face looking back from the mirror is that of a total stranger.
And when the characters have taken in all this, they notice the wanted poster with their new faces.
When I told a friend of mine that I’d be running Marvel Heroic at Ropecon, she immediately signed up for the game and picked Rogue for her character. Since even at the time of writing this post we are still waiting for the official Rogue datafile, I then needed to write up Good Ol’ Gal’s stats for the game myself.
After thinking about it for something like ten years, I’m finally running an Over the Edge campaign. In case you’re not familiar with it, Over the Edge is a role-playing game of bizarre conspiracies, surreal ideas, and general weirdness set in modern day (or more accurately, in mid-nineties). Of course, no Over the Edge series would be complete without colorful news items published in the in-game newspaper Al Amarja Today, so here are two little articles that I’ve typed up for my campaign.
I recently attended Ropecon, the largest role-playing event in Finland. There I had my first chance to try out Margaret Weis Productions’ new Marvel RPG, Marvel Heroic, running a short session of the game. I had planned a scenario where the player characters were to stop Hulk rampaging on the US East Coast and the players picked Sub-Mariner, Colossus and Rogue as their heroes.