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.

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What If You Threw A Party And EVERYONE Came?

marvel universeOK. So when I posted about my upcoming Secret War Event on Google+, I wasn’t expecting quite the response I got. I already had two friends who had committed to playing, and my plan was to simply solicit a couple more players to round out my table. Given the poor response I’d had for Hulk Smash Xmas!, I wasn’t expecting much. Imagine my surprise then, when within a day or so, I had nearly a dozen who wanted to play.

So what I have decided to do . . . was open up a second date. Now I will be running the same campaign twice. Thursdays every other week. Mondays the alternating weeks. My take on it is that this is an opportunity for me to practice my GM-ing. They say practice makes perfect. What I get is two chances to get it right, and to speed up the learning curve. And right now, I’m probably looking at running two sessions of six players each.

But I do have some concerns:

  1. Number of Players: Having six players may prove a challenge to manage in play. It might slow down play considerably, especially in Action Scenes.
  2. Player Attrition: While they may commit to play, not all will show. Or not all will show every week. Between Events, this is less important. But in the middle of an Event, I may end up having to run too many Watcher characters at once.
  3. Creating Content: My original idea was to create mini-Events to fill in the spaces between published Events. But it could be problematic doing so weekly over two competing, parallel campaigns.
  4. Laying Down Some Rules: With so many players, it will be important to lay down some table rules to help keep the game run quickly and smoothly.

Sooo, we’ll just have to wait and see how this all goes. Stay tuned.

Mea Culpa

marvel oopsOops! In my previous December 4 Fandom Fave post, I mistakenly stated that the Doom Pool blog had gone defunct. It had been a site that I had actively followed for quite some time, but then had been unable to find. But this Google+ post shows that it is actually alive and well.

(I don’t know whether it was some confusion on my part, bad links, or had actually disappeared and has since then been resurrected. Again, my apologies.)

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You …

wasn't that guy deadYesterday, I announced my intention to run a weekly Marvel Heroic Roleplaying  campaign starting in January 2014. “From Secret to Civil War” takes advantage of the relative wealth of fanmade material. One of the many advantages of MHRP in my opinion is the ease with which players can enter / exit the game. (Which is great for this point in life when you have active adults who’d like to make the greater commitment to play, but who have to manage competing claims on their attention – like jobs, significant others and children, etc.)

Personally, Monday or Thursday nights would be ideal — but will not be a deal-breaker on my end. (My wife is a singer, and those are her rehearsal nights.) What I’m looking for is a small pool of players who can commit to playing a couple weeks at a time – but certainly not every week into perpetuity. (Unless they so wish.) Troupe play will be the order of the day.

I hope to start the campaign with Secret War sometime the first week in January. My guess is that Event will run about three weeks. If you are interested, tweet me @laughingmad.

The King Is Dead, Long Live The King!

MHRBack in April 2013, when Margaret Weis Productions lost their Marvel license, I discontinued posting on my blog. (Like most fans of the game, I went into an extended period of mourning for the game.) Thanks to Google+, I have been able to play the game some since. But now is not the time for me to perform an autopsy about how the game failed commercially. (Time for that later . . .)

This past month, I decided to start work on preparing an ongoing campaign for me to start running in January 2014 via Google+. This has led me to decide to resurrect this blog. (Truth be told, I had barely started writing this blog when the license was pulled.) I have pulled my previous content (about six datafiles), and will be revising and reposting them when complete.

My campaign will be The Road to Civil War; my plan is to start with Nick Fury’s Secret War (as presented by Plot Points), run through some original and fanmade content, and then culminate in Civil War itself. I anticipate having to create or modify content as I go along — which (of course) I will then share with everyone on this blog.