Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Marvel Mondays - Civil War - Session 3 Report

Hey, readers!

So, it has been about a week since this week's session has occurred, and due to me being busy and distracted, I have a few session reports backlogged a bit.

However, I will try to relay this one as best as I can remember!

As always with Civil War, you can watch the session yourself here:

(I found My Little Pony versions of both my characters and put them as my pictures. Whoo Bronies!)

Just a quick logistical update before we get into the meat of things: one of our players has respectfully bowed out due to being uncomfortable with the amount of players, which is a totally understandable position. Therefore, Yellowjacket and the Thing will be absent from here on in.

For the record, our current Avengers line-up is the following: Hulk and Daredevil, Iron Man and Thor, Tigra and Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye and Moon Knight, Captain America and Luke Cage, Wolverine and Spider-Woman, Dr. Strange and Spider-Man.

Let's dive in.

Session Summary:

Things begin in the illustrious Avengers Tower where Iron Man has summoned all of the available Avengers to discuss a bill that deals with super-humans that is going before Congress the following day. Iron Man wants the team to be on a unified front with his position so that they can make a good showing. Rather than explain everyone's position in my own words, I'm going to borrow from our GM's summary which can be found on his blog here: http://knighterrantjr.blogspot.com/

"Doctor Strange is neutral on passage of the bill, as long as discussion is measured and intelligent, Spider-Man is all for training new heroes, but doubts official status will make them any more popular, Tigra and Ms. Marvel both agree with Tony's proposed modifications to the bill, Thor seems completely indifferent and doesn't not believe he has a stake in the argument, Moon Knight  (possessed early on in the meeting with his Khonshu personality) does not believe mortal authority should meddle with the affairs of heroes, while Hawkeye thinks that bill isn't needed and is just asking for someone in the government to release private information on heroes to the public.  Wolverine doesn't trust the government to regulate super humans, but wants to make sure mutants don't get the short end of the stick, and Spider-Woman also appears to agree with Tony.  Daredevil seems to be reluctant to speak on legal issues, and Banner is generally in agreement with Tony."

With that shameless plug and borrowing out of the way, let us continue on!

The meeting ends with almost everyone in agreement with Tony's position, which is that superheroes shouldn't have registration necessarily, but should be held accountable, have their own internal affairs branch, and be more akin to a government sanctioned branch of defense than a free-for-all, do-whatever, thing. As an extension of putting these ideas into work, Tony creates an internal affairs branch of the Avengers, putting Ms. Marvel in charge of that to deal with things such as Moon Knight slicing throats.

We'll get to more about Moon Knight in a second.

So, the next day rolls around, the day of the hearing, when a distressing news report comes on the television. Turns out that the Crusader has set up a bomb at the restored Avengers Mansion with a gang of Anti-Mutant purifiers who are looking to make an example. Simultaneously, there's a situation in Washington DC where Master Pandemonium is beating people up... For no, real apparent reason, I guess? So, half the Avengers team go to the Avengers Mansion while the other half goes to Washington to deal with the impending threat.

(Close enough!)

We'll start with the Avengers Mansion debacle. One by one, the players fly into action, Moon Knight taking the helm and starting to lay the smack-down on Crusader with his adamantium sword. Ms. Marvel joins in on that initiative, along with Wolverine, who is rather pissed to see this low-classed Thor villain teaming up with the Purifiers. Iron Man and Bruce Banner work together to disable the bomb while Luke Cage does his best to mop up the cronies. Everything proceeds swimmingly, until Moon Knight ends the conflict rather explosively by severing Crusader's spine.


Needless to say, Moon Knight is swiftly arrested and Ms. Marvel has her first internal affairs operation to deal with. Daredevil knows a good lawyer...

God, imagine She-Hulk and Daredevil on the same team? Lawyer squad? Throw in Foggy Nelson and the sitcom writes itself!

(Yeah, that was the best picture I could find. This needs to be done, now.)


So, meanwhile in Washington DC, the second squad arrives just in time to watch Master Pandemonium... Turn his limbs into demons? This guy is a blast from the West-Coast Avengers past, so Tigra and Hawkeye know what to do, pretty much. Everyone swings into action dealing with the variety of demons that are attacking while Cap tries to shoo the crowd away. Each of the demon attacks are either swiftly avoided or taken down via counterattacks until Daredevil's sneak attack takes the crazy guy down.

With that wrapped up, a few of the heroes from the New York situation arrive in order to be on time for the Congressional hearing, which will be resolved next session!

My Reactions:

Let me begin by saying that this session was an improvement over the last one for me. Maybe that was a one time fluke of mood or something, or things just not being right, but this session made it back to the levels of fun I'm used to experiencing with this group. Good job on that account.

Now, the opening scene with the Avengers meeting together was interesting. My 'weird thing' had me unaware that our characters were actually discussing in-character until someone addressed Iron Man's player as Tony, which turned the light bulb on for me. Therefore, I didn't have too much to contribute, which is a bit of a shame, but my own fault, really. The roleplaying there was quite good, and I enjoyed listening.

I'm aware that our GM's strength does not necessarily lie in these sorts of scenes, and after his recent blog post about this session, (which was linked above) he confessed that he did not like starting with transition scenes because they stumble a bit and take a while to get going. My response to that is that I think that starting with transition scenes is -almost- a given for any session, since most action needs a lead-in of some kind. What would help, perhaps, is some staging. For example, I would have greatly benefited if our GM began by saying, 'The meeting is starting, Tony's staging it in one of the many conference rooms in the tower. What are your characters doing before the meeting starts?' or something to that effect.

Also, I wasn't terribly comfortable with playing two characters at the same time in a scene. As an actor (Not professional, but as a hobby), it is taxing enough for me to wrap my head around one character at a time and play them well, much less two. This is why, as a GM, I hate having more than one important NPC in a scene, especially when dealing with things like councils, business meetings, etc. This hindrance caused me to clam up a bit as well, though, in retrospect, it would have made perfect sense to have Logan drinking beer with Thor, watching TV rather than sitting in on a meeting.

Moving on, the action scenes were a great highlight. What was really nice about the scene with the Crusader was that there was enough elements to make the scene interesting and give everyone something substantial to do, which elongated a scene that could have been wrapped up fairly quickly. There was a bomb, the Crusader, and a mob, so the variance was there to make each element challenging enough in its own right since everyone wasn't ganging up on one thing.

(Life is pandemonium)

Granted, the scene in DC was everyone against one guy, but he had minions for limbs or something which varied it up again nicely. Still, however, I wasn't entirely clear on why Master Pandemonium was wreaking havoc in DC. It's a trope in superhero fiction, games in particular, to have the rampaging monster who is attacking for little reason other than he wants to cause destruction and chaos and having the heroes come in and stop that, but it is a bit of a weak trope, all things considered. Even great shows like Teen Titans fell prey to that more times than was necessary, but at least it was usually considered a B-Plot to a more character focused A-plot. Once the main stuff of Civil War begins, however, I'm betting that things will be just a tad more unified and clear in meaning rather than, 'here's action, go to it.' This is just the 'Road to Civil War' after-all.

All-in-all, still having a great time with this group, and I'm extremely glad that I had a better time this go 'round than last time. I hope you enjoyed this report! If not, here's a funny picture.


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