Debrief: Secret War #1

ImageOn Monday (January 6), we had our first session for the Secret War Event. There were six players present on Google+ for it. The heroes involved were Captain America, Daredevil, Emma Frost, Iron Fist, Spider-Man and Wolverine. And we were only able to run through one action scene, Present: Ambush!

How did it go? Mixed results, I felt.

Where I struggled as a Watcher was in framing the Scene. When we got to the action and conflict in the scene, trading narrative blows, I thought I did pretty well. The Event is pretty tight and linear in structure, and its plot depends on developing some sequential reveals. To some degree, this seems to run counter to the design of MHRP; the game is unusual in that it encourages near-total transparency. There is no GM screen. (But it can work. I have played the Event previously as a player, and that Watcher handled this well.)

The Scene starts with the players going through their normal routine and then being ambushed by B-List villains for reasons unknown. Players are to announce what they up to when things happen. What made it difficult to frame was that the heroes could be doing anything. (While it gave us a hilarious scene where Spider-Man is attacked at home doing his laundry and has to fight Hobgoblin in the ruins of his apartment as Peter Parker, framing the action in general was awkward.) My sense is that the Watcher needs to more narrowly frame their actions for the players, with their cooperation.

But there are other issues: how do you get them to the hospital? what details of the secret plot do you reveal to them? As I said, I was pretty happy with the action and conflict itself. It moved pretty quickly, and I was able to manage the six players fairly smoothly.

Now my task as Watcher is to recover plot continuity and re-frame elements of the Event to move it forward.