Thursday, December 8, 2011

Romance and C-List Themed Villains

Sorry it has been so long, real life has been a swirling mass of chaos.

Here is some art for G33k GRRRL from the quickstart, she will be fully statted in the core book. Art is moving along, as are the core rules. Folks have been running games using the rules at cons and game store, and my regular game has been going strong for over 40 Issues, and several Annuals!

Romance- I have been fortunate enough in my regular game to have players who want to embrace all the aspects of comics, including romance. Several issues ago, one of the characters, who had been developing a relationship with an NPC, found herself trying to stop a gigantic airship (think Helicarrier sized) from crashing to the ground. This NPC was the one responsible (he was pissed, his BFF had just been killed- yes, there was death in my game, it was dramatic and appropriate). The contested scene was dramatic, she was giving it everything she had to not let it crash, but several 12s rolled by the falling airship made it nearly impossible for her to stop the ship from crashing, likely killing everyone aboard.

Knowing she was out of options, she looked at her complications, ROMANTIC was one of them. She wanted to activate her complication.

From a game-mechanics standpoint, she had already lost the fourth and final contested roll, but she was looking for something, anything.

From a narrative standpoint, it played out something like this:

The PC, straining beyond all belief, a tiny speck, trying to stop this battleship-sized airship from crashing (Amanda Conner would have done the scene justice), pushing with everything she had

"I love you NPC (names not given to protect the innocent), please! You loved your BFF, I know, and he died, but the people aboard this ship, they love people too, please don't let them die!"

one could practically see the tears streaming down her face.

And with that, she activated her Complication, and the NPC stopped crashing the ship.

It felt like a comic book moment.

Onto C-List Villains

Amongst my group of gamer friends we try and celebrate birthdays with a one-shot game.

It started several years back when I thought it'd be fun to run a game for a friend who is kind of a curmudgeon about birthdays.

He wanted a Star Wars game, but one in which Luke did turn to the Dark Side, and the PCs were all Sith-in-Training.

Since then, it has become the thing we do. Your birthday is coming up, you can request a game, specific or broad, and one of the GMs amongst us will try and pull it together.

So, I offered to run a DCLost game for a friend.
DCLost- yes, using all the characters who were not in the newest DCnU.

She wanted to play Power Girl.

So, the first scene was Power Girl waking up in a stark white apartment, no record of there even having been a Karen Starr (read Mr. Terrific for a bit more details).

Other PCs were Blue Devil, Steph and Cass, and Halo.

The villains included Killer Moth, the Pied Piper and others who didn't make the cut.

The plot was sort of related to the loss of the DCnU characters.

Power Girl was given a +2 bonus to rip off Killer Moth's arm when he was sassing her.

Anyway, how to make Pied Piper cool. This is a villain who has proven to be a good enemy for the Flash, and the Flash is pretty powerful in DCU canon.

Most writeups I've seen for Villains like this, they don't really have a chance.

So, my solution was to, as my friend Jeremy would say, game the game. Pied Piper goes up against the Flash. Flash can't seem to do much to him, until the end of the comic (wait, isn't that the plot of every comic book?).

The Pied Piper was not about staying power, he was about being really effective.

I gave the Pied Piper a very small number of Traits, at very high levels, Situational Bonuses when linking them or attacking multiples, power-up and diminishing signatures, and voila. He was playing silly tunes, and the heroes had very little they could do... until the battle was coming to a dramatic conclusion.

Themed singular power villains might best be handled this way. No need to muck about figuring out how dextrous they are. The Pied Piper is about playing his pipes and making people do his bidding, or otherwise making life difficult for them.

And the same held true for the Condiment King, but he was pretty quickly defeated.

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