I have a cold and so wasn’t entirely up for the experience at first. My son also seemed a bit reluctant. But my daughter really wanted to give it a go and my wife needed time to do some work, so we headed down to the basement.
My son made up a new character with a couple telekinetic powers and a Rank 1 utility belt. For a long time we were simply calling him “Mr. Silent,” because my son just went blank whenever we asked for the hero’s name. But eventually we settled on “T-K” as a good nickname. My daughter continued to play Alien Z, although now the character sheet was cleaner as I understood the intended mojo of her trained pet monkey power.
I happened to have a Heroclix map of the Justice League headquarters, so I grabbed a couple figures, whipped up a few sentences to describe the villain’s powers, and made up a plot on the fly.
NOTE: I find that it works well to think of these games as episodes in one of the recent animated series like Justice League Unlimited or Superman: The Animated Series. Or even a story in one of the Justice League Adventures comics.
Basically you have to be able to sum up the plot in a couple sentences. A storyline that simple is easy for the kids to follow and can be wrapped up in an hour or so of gaming, which seems to satisfy them at this age. I haven’t worried about continuity or a campaign arc at all at this point.
De-Tour Into Action!
The kid’s heroes were being given a special tour of the Justice League Watchtower by Plastic Man, the only Leaguer present as the rest had been called away to save a distant planet. Of course two villains, a trick boomerang wielding guy named Zoomerang and an ice manipulating Ice Queen, snuck onto the tower, up to no good.
Ice Queen quickly froze Plastic Man and the kids had to save the day. Alien Z jumped out and drew most of the villainous firepower, avoiding the majority with agile dodging and getting in one good surprise attack on Zoomerang. T-K whiffed with a telekinetic attacks and a failed gadget from his utility belt (getting a hero point).
Then Ice Queen made an ice wall, shutting out the heroes while Zoomerang ran into the trophy room. Alien Z charged the wall and bounced off once (using her Rank 1 Armored Costume power) before plowing through with a better roll and Superspeed the next turn. (The villains were using the time to execute their mission–see below.)
Alien Z ran right into a ice slick and took some damage bashing into the wall. T-K then unleashed a great roll, spending a hero point to use his Power 3 Mega-TK-Blast, and expanded cracks made by Alien Z to topple the entire wall on Ice Queen.
T-K knocked the dazed Ice Queen out with a thrown chair while Alien Z saved the frozen Plastic Man from an exploding boomerang but got wrapped up by a snare (in retrospect I should have awarded her a hero point or something for this selfless act). T-K got another lucky roll and clocked Zoomerang in the head with an ice shard just before the villain reached the teleporter.
No So Fast, Do-Gooders!
But the heroes had not yet won. From the trophy room came the giant floating head of the Monster Mind Master (aka M3–I used a figure for MODOK, one of the sillier Marvel villains ever–my son called him “Big Angry Baby Head”).
The villains had been hired to free him from where he had secretly stored a hard energy holographic copy of himself in the very helmet the Justice League had used to drain his powers during their first (completely made up and non-canonical) encounter. He was still a little groggy, so the heroes had to act fast.
T-K used his Utility Belt (power 1) and its “turn one die to a 5 trick” (“Just the Right Gadget!”) to produce an exothermic gas that melted the ice around Plastic Man, who promptly gave the kids the clue to how to defeat M3. Alien Z used her Heat Vision (Effect 2) trick to cut away the snare holding her.
M3 wiped out Plastic Man with a telepathic stunning blast, then fended off T-K’s telekinetic attacks in spite of T-K using his last trick, Effect 2 (“Precision Telekinesis!”). (M3’s stats were simple-Rank 3 Telepathy, Rank 2 Telekinesis, and a bonus that let him roll two dice instead of one for a reflex defense.)
Then Alien Z unleashed the power of her Trained Pet Monkey. Three dice, 2 6’s and a “turn one die to a 5” trick later she had generated the 4 successes I deemed necessary to retrieve the Power Drainer Helmet from the trophy room and put it back on the holographic M3 to suck up his power. All in one roll.
Thus the kids defeated the villains. Plastic Man came to, took credit for the victory, and put the villains in the clink before continuing the tour. Alien Z asked him if he could get her Flash’s autograph and T-K tried to swipe a batarang or something from Batman’s room as a keepsake, both of which I thought were nice touches.
The simpler plot worked well, as did keeping the action confined to one location. As you can tell, Plastic Man was basically there to provide a little comic relief, tell the kids to stay out of the way, soak up damage to demonstrate what the villains could do, and give the kids a vital clue (though my daughter figured that out anyway from the little LEGO props I had placed in the trophy room).
I find that trying to work toward a nice finale scene is the key, leaving them with a good feeling. Oh, and starting in the afternoon was definitely a plus.
All in all, another successful game. I like Supercrew a lot for this sort of thing.
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