Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Big Game Wednesday - Unluck and Luck

Last week concluded with Digger going on his first adventure. That was a fun campaign, though it was hampered by the fact that Gary had us start out with such small power levels. The rules recommended a basic starting point level of 100 + 150 (100 starting points plus 150 pts. in disadvantages). But Gary limited us to 100 + 100. Even after the 15 pts experience I got from the Matrix event, Digger was still very limited.

Still, we had some fun adventures. We had formed a group called the Champions (whether that's appropriate or unimaginative, I can no longer judge) based out of San Francisco. A couple of guys played some recurring NPC's during the first few adventures, sort of test-driving to see if they liked the game enough to go through chargen and play for real. So for instance, Chuck played Wasp (not Janet Van Dyne--she was basically Shrinker from the basic rules, although she was pretty much a power-clone of the Marvel Comics Wasp, so deja vu all over again) a few times, though by the time we answered a distress call from a beautiful princess/sorceress asking us to come to the Savage Lands, he had made his own character named Crystar and Wasp faded out of our group.

The Savage Lands thing was fun. There was an evil sorcerer in a tower who was oppressing the people. We basically had to do a Super Seven Samurai-type deal, where we led an army of natives to battle the evil sorcerer's army using some mass combat rules Gary had kludged up. That was when I realized the utility of area-effect attacks. Crystar had several in his repertoire and owned that battlefield, while Digger was just plunking one enemy at a time here and there.

But after we defeated his army, we had to face the sorcerer in his tower, where Digger emerged as the hero of the day. We were well on the way to a TPK (although not really, since Champions combat is rarely actually lethal), with only Digger left standing. So Digger ran away, just tunnelled straight down about three floors. Then he used his Clinging to run back up the outside wall to the sorcerer's lair at the top of the tower and hit him by surprise. After a few rounds of these types of hit-and-run tactics, the bad guy went down and the day was saved.

For some reason, Digger decided to keep the wizard's spellbook with the vague idea that he might save up some experience to maybe try to develop magical powers or something, though he never really got around to it.

But on their return to San Francisco, some bad things started happening, including the return of Wasp as a vengeful villain, intent on taking revenge on Digger for spurning her love (which was news to him). Other things happened as well, targeted specifically on Digger, until it became apparent something was going on.

For a while, I had thought it was just Gary getting creative with my Unluck disadvantage. Unluck in Champions was basically a roll you would make at the GM's discretion if things seemed to be going your way. A bad result on the roll would result in a bad turn of events (which got worse the worse you rolled). I figured Gary was just using the Unluck disad as an excuse to pile extra complications on my character.

But instead, I eventually learned that Digger was in fact cursed by a demon inhabiting the wizard's spellbook. It was weeks, months, before this came out, but finally I had to bite the bullet and destroy the thing, at which point the curse was lifted and Gary gave me a cool opportunity: I could use XP to buy up to three dice of Luck and/or buy off my Unluck.

And yes, this meant that for a while I had both Unluck and Luck simultaneously. If things were going well, I rolled to make them worse, and if things were going disastrously, I could roll for a lucky break. And yes, I did actually end up making both kinds of rolls in a single combat encounter, a dust-up with Foxbat being the one I remember specifically.

As players, we really enjoyed the campaign. Gary did a bunch of things right. He had a good variety of adventures, where one week we would stop a bank robbery, the next week we would fight international nuclear terrorists, and then battle sorcerous monsters the week after that. And he would have character subplots revolving around Hunteds and things that played out over several weeks. We never got bored with that campaign.

By the time the end of the school year rolled around, Gary decided to have a big season-finale adventure, involving us in a race against time to stop a bad guy from detonating a nuke in San Francisco.

A race that we lost. Oops.

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