Podcasts/Episode 100

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The Letters Page: Episode 100

Original Source

  • [theletterspage.libsyn.com/episode-100-starter-kit-stories Libsyn Audio]

Primary Topic

The Freedom Five

Intro

Let's hear YOUR stories!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:45:09

We're excited to get into our first official Sentinel Comics RPG timeline story! And it's one that many of YOU have played!

After talking a bit about life and the SCRPG Kickstarter (currently happening!), we get into an actual overview a bit after the 4 minute mark!

Important Note: this episode is FULL of spoilers for the SCRPG Starter Kit. If you don't want spoilers, walk away now. Save yourself!

We go through each issue of the starter kit adventure, explaining it from our point of view that way we have a frame of reference when we get to your questions.

Which we do at around 44 minutes into the episode!

Now we're at the most delightful part of the episode to us. Getting to hear what happened in your games is a real treat!

Also! This episode is the last one edited by Zach, our delightful and capable interim editor! If, after this episode, you miss Zach's calming presence like we do, fear not! You can find Zach in several places:

Thanks so much, Zach - we couldn't have done it without your help!

Some final things to share here:

And keep being such great heroes, everyone!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • So, apparently a lot of RPG creators are fed up with players coming up to them to tell them about their characters or adventures. Not these guys - they love hearing about your hero/villain/environment/story ideas. Even with running the same adventure over and over at conventions (say, the Freedom Five #801 adventure as the first part of the RPG Starter Kit) they like relaying the interesting, unexpected things that players did to one another. This stuff is just great, which is why this episode is a thing - they’re going to talk about what happened in listeners’ home games when they ran the Starter Kit.
  • That being said, they first want to give us some basic common ground. Therefore, they are going to describe the 6 adventures from the Starter Kit in detail and give a summary of how they envisioned the story going. Then we’ll get into the submitted content for how things differed from that plan. That means spoilers abound. If you don’t want to know what happens in these adventures because you plan on playing in a game eventually, just go ahead and skip this episode.

Freedom Five #801 - “Itsy Bitsy Spider Bots”

  • The Freedom Five and their (former) intern Unity are in Megalopolis following the defeat of OblivAeon. The prompt from the GM is basically “You’re helping clean up from the destruction caused by OblivAeon. What do you do?” The idea is for the players to think of what their hero can be doing to help put things back together. As they go about that, likely split up into groups or off on their own depending on what they said they were doing, some or all of them eventually spot these little mailbox-sized spider bots (which seem to be cobbled together from technology of various sources - Omnitron, Tachyon, Baron Blade, RevoCorp, etc. to the point where it’s not obvious what the source is) which then attack. These are not meant to be difficult for the heroes to defeat [this is largely just a means for new players to get accustomed to how the dice mechanics of the game work].
  • The heroes reconvene and learn that they’re coming from Legacy Park, and there are a lot of them there, including a real big one that consumes stuff and then lays “eggs” that hatch into new bots. A lot of them are also attacking the giant Akash'Flora tree, burrowing into it. We’ve been told before that the tree gets tied into the city infrastructure, powers things, etc. That has not happened yet (these adventures are setting that situation up) and therefore the tree is just sort of there and is more of a hindrance than anything - that being said, thousands of spider bots trying to do something to it is probably a bad thing.
  • The heroes are meant to discover that the “queen” bot is broadcasting a signal to the others. They should fight it, get the transmitter, and disable it - this in turn shuts down the smaller bots all at once and gives the heroes the hint that the signal is actually originating elsewhere.
  • A method to direct the heroes to the tree in the first place that is present in the scenario is the Argent Adept - reporting on the issue over the hero band radio and then being overrun. [We get Christopher’s delivery of some AA lines starting at around 10:11 which is over the top, but also not really how either of them think he sounds. It’s just more entertaining/memorable for gameplay. Adam also gives a different interpretation at around 10:55.] The idea is that you help him out and that he can then help you. Not all players engage with this subplot, though, which can lead to more shenanigans as what he can tell you is the connective tissue to the next issue (in that while he’s unconscious prior to getting help from the heroes he’s telepathically contacted by Visionary about some Void nonsense she’s dealing with outside Rook City - since he’s in rough shape, he sends the FF in his stead to help her out).

Freedom Five #802 - “Void if Broken”

  • The heroes go to Ravenwood, and more specifically to the childhood home of the Dreamer/Muse (i.e. this reality’s version of Visionary). There’s some residual psychic stuff going on from the Dreamer event due to the fact that the Void has broken through into reality [as mentioned in episode 98, the OblivAeon event also made reality weak here and the Void is trying to establish a new Nexus]. The heroes wind up fighting some Void demons that are manifesting around the house and once they’re dealt with Visionary says that she needs somebody to go into the Void to deal with it since she has to stay on the outside to maintain the defenses she’s set up.
  • The heroes go into the Void which is a dangerous nonsense realm like the Realm of Discord (but in its own unique ways). This is also the first scene in the Starter Kit to feature an Environment (the first issue started out with Minions and then introduced a Lieutenant). Eventually, the heroes fight some void copies of themselves and whatnot and make their way to the VoidHeart, a crystalline object that is what’s trying to form the new Nexus of the Void there in Ravenwood, which is a bad idea all around. The heroes should “fight” this thing and, probably break off a sliver of this thing that they probably take with them (it’s a glowing MacGuffin that they can’t actually destroy).
  • Once back out in normal reality, Visionary lets you know that there’s three more things that need to be addressed (corresponding to the next three issues which you can complete in any order). These are: a problem on Insula Primalis that involves empest, something in Russia involving Proletariat and Fanatic, and the Tomb of Anubis involving something new but strangely familiar. These three issues are meant to have all come out in the same month, so the ordering isn’t as clear-cut as it was with the two FF issues so far.

Prime Wardens #67 - “Jungle Beatdown”

  • The cover features Tempest fighting some kind of cyborg Allosaurus, which turns out to be the first scene of the adventure. The heroes arrive and, theoretically, help defeat the dinosaur. All’s well and good until…
  • Arataki, the new Haka, rushes out of the jungle to attack Tempest (while yelling something about “Citizen Storm”). What do the heroes do? Fighting her is an option, but she’s Haka and they can’t make a lot of headway (plus as the fight goes on she gets more into it). The idea is that you can kind of talk her down (she’s familiar with the Freedom Five, but stays somewhat distrustful of Tempest, who is a major villain in her home reality). So, either you’ve got her talking instead of fighting or she and Tempest are still going at it when tree spirits attack.
  • Whoever has the VoidHeart Sliver feels pulled towards the center of the island (if the heroes don’t have it, then you just fight the tree spirits and then go right to the resolution of the adventure). If you follow that pull, you eventually come to a clearing in the jungle. Upon entering the clearing, the tree spirits stop attacking the heroes as the Sliver is pulling to the very center where it “wants” to be planted. There is no compulsion here, and the hero holding it can easily refrain from planting it, but if you want to leave with it, you’ve still got to fight the tree spirits to leave. If you do plant it, the spirits turn into trees where they stand and the heroes see a bright flash out in the jungle - investigating this will bring them to a really big glowing tree surrounded by wispy spirits that thank the heroes for helping. Planting the Sliver has caused the new Nexus of the Void to manifest here on Insula Primalis (now Nexus Primalis) and they will help heal Akash'Flora in Megalopolis and help Argent Adept (which gets Tempest’s and Haka’s attention if they’re present, although Haka new an “Argent Artist” in her reality). Haka will go meet him/help him out, but Tempest has his own thing to handle (getting G.L.O.B.A.L. up and running).

Justice Comics #740 - “Rage Unending”

  • We arrive at an old nuclear plant that’s just overrun by hundreds of mindless Proletariat clones - something has obviously seriously messed him up. They’re all trying to get farther inside the place, but they’re not really going to fight you. They’re more in the way than anything. You can try to find ways to merge some back together to clear some room. Fighting them just winds up making more of them, which is counter-productive. Eventually, if you get inside you can find a map that aids your exploration. There are a few things of interest to come across.
  • First is Fanatic, who’s here just going to town on these guys with her fancy black sword that La Comodora gave to her. She is venting her rage at how OblivAeon went down (notably the death of Ra) and the sword is feeding into that behavior, which is a really healthy way to process grief. As stated, fighting these Proletariats just winds up making more Proletariats, so this isn’t helpful to anybody. The expectation here is to help snap her out of this berserker rage thing she has going on.
  • Another is this amorphous mass of semi-merged Proletariat clones. This is super gross and upsetting, so the idea is that the heroes try to find a way to separate or fully merge these clones to make this less weird. At the center of this nonsense is an OblivAeon Shard, and one that has been experimented on in some way (presumably to do something with the power plant rather than specifically to draw in and mess with Proletariat like this). The most efficient way to solve the problems here is to destroy the Shard (this one has been weakened by whatever’s been done to it and it is not particularly difficult for the heroes to destroy and that’s just generally a good plan of action around these things). Once it’s destroyed, it’s much easier to help put Proleatariat back together. Eventually he gets down to few enough copies that he can talk at which point he thanks the heroes, but tells them that now the plant is going to blow up. Another scene to shut down the reactor and we’re good to go.
  • Fanatic agrees to return to Megalopolis to help with whatever’s going on there.

Tome of the Bizarre #86 - “Where the Undead Lie”

  • Ok, so the heroes need to get to the Tomb of Anubis, but there’s a handy portal to it in the old Cleopatra Casino in Las Vegas. Once through the portal, they have to fight their way past mummies and skeletons and avoid the various traps that you’d expect in the Tomb. Strangely enough, the mummies and skeletons seem to have metal components when they’re defeated, which isn’t normal. The layout of this place is also all wonky. Backtracking doesn’t seem to work right as which rooms are where seems to shift constantly. Eventually, the heroes should find their way to the Hall of Mysteries - a big room lined with big statues of Egyptian gods. Surprise! Some of them are really robots like the skeletons and mummies and they attack the heroes (along with various other hazards in the room).
  • Once that fight’s over, the statue of Anubis falls over, revealing a pit trap with a guy in it. It’s Martin Adams, Dr. Blake Washington Jr.’s old assistant. He’s found the Rod of Anubis and is now the new avatar of that god. Despite his new power, this dumb laser grid over the pit entrance is keeping him stuck here. The heroes Overcome that problem, and free him (and get his story - he investigated the death of his old mentor and rather than finding the Staff of Ra, he found the Rod of Anubis). If you revisit the Ra episode you could get a refresher on why Martin might have been attuned to the power of Anubis in the first place. Additionally, he’s a seeker after knowledge and that colors his approach to being this avatar (as opposed to Ra who was more about Power). If the heroes mention anything about Argent Adept and the big tree, that sounds right up his alley and will be heading there to help.
  • One last thing - if the heroes talk to Marty about the robots and whatnot he’ll clue them in that this place is definitely not the real Tomb. The stone is all artificially weathered and the hieroglyphs have horrible grammar, etc. When the heroes leave, it turns out that they’re in a warehouse in Rook City. A Major Twist in the Red zone that can occur here is for the heroes to run into Miss Information - this is all an elaborate fake that she’s put together to trap the heroes (although the technology involved is better than she’s usually working with, which implies she’s not working alone here). If you have a Red Zone Major Twist she feels secure enough to show up to taunt the heroes. You can’t do anything to her (she’s just projecting an image of her for one and then activates a trap before they can act), but it’s a fun detail for the scene.

Freedom Five #803 - “The Robot Master - Revealed!”

  • The heroes return to Megalopolis, where all of the heroes who they’ve recruited over the previous issues have convened and are defending Akash'Flora from a new onslaught of robots. Second verse, same as the first, break open a robot and track down the controlling transmission. Now that there’s no “Queen” intermediary, they have a chance to follow this signal back to the source. Additionally, the heroes should have a handle on who’s behind things. We have a big, carnivorous dinosaur with cybernetic implants, we have a nuclear reactor that’s been rigged with a compromised OblivAeon Shard, and we have a bunch of robots and other tech in the “Tomb” - all signs point to that king of all ill-conceived plans, Baron Blade, but he’s dead isn’t he? We all saw him die just a few weeks ago. We had a funeral. Legacy gave a heartfelt eulogy. Anyway, if they don’t figure it out now, it’ll be clear soon enough once they follow the signal, which is coming from an underwater base off the coast. The player character heroes ask the rest of them to stay behind to deal with the flood of bots while they go deal with the source.
  • You can try sneaking in or frontal assault. The former gives you the benefit of at least starting your assault on the base in a room-by-room sweep without active opposition, but either option works. The place is occupied by what look like Blade Battalion members, but many of them have cybernetic enhancements. The heroes also come across tech that they’ve seen in prior issues (spider bots, tech similar to what was in the power plant, prototype skeleton and mummy bots, a contained tree spirit from Insula Primalis, etc.). The heroes can call back to stuff they’ve learned in previous issues to automatically succeed at certain Overcome checks or have advantages over some minions.
  • Eventually, the heroes encounter Baron Blade himself. He’s got a new power suit and you fight. He monologues a bit about what he’s trying to do - harvesting the energy in the tree for his own purposes, but eventually the heroes win. Huzzah! You might just cause him to retreat and escape, but it’s also possible that the heroes actually capture him. His rantings do some good, though, as it gives the heroes the idea for integrating the tree into the infrastructure of the city.
  • The Starter Kit ends with some shorthand storytelling to set up where people are as the RPG proper gets going. Legacy starts musing on giving up adventuring himself, instead passing the Legacy mantle on to his daughter officially and “retiring” to be more of a mentor to new heroes as Heritage (although the “Stolen Legacy” one-shot adventure goes into this in a bit more detail). Unity is off to do her thing with the Paradigms, Tempest is getting G.L.O.B.A.L. up and running, and the new iteration of the Prime Wardens form (AA, Haka, Visionary, Fanatic, and Anubis), and the remaining Freedom Five members (plus Felicia as Legacy) rebrand as the Sentinels of Freedom.

How Listeners’ Versions of the Game Went

  • Since everybody is writing about the same set of stories, they aren’t putting them in any particular order like they usually do - just in the order received.
  • First Letter: FF #801, Legacy and Absolute Zero are busy dealing with spider-bots and don’t notice other bots that cause problems on the monorail, which derails. Tachyon gets bystanders out of the way, Bunker gets in position to catch the monorail while Unity makes a bot to help him with that and Wraith gets it in position. After the passengers are taken care of, Bunker loads the monorail into the Riot Cannon and fires it into the Spider Mothership.
  • Second Letter: [They talk about Christopher doing Wager Master at an organized play event - he’d walk around the room and narrate stuff that Wager Master was doing at the various tables, he starts doing the voice here at around 47:03.]
  • As part of the initial adventure, Legacy put a major beatdown on the Spider Mothership, accidentally driving it down into the ground in the rubble that was burying Argent Adept. Whoops.
  • There’s also a bit about how some players don’t feel comfortable playing as the established characters/worry about portraying them “wrong”. Don’t worry about that - think about major comic book superheroes - they’ve all been written by different writers over decades of publication. Differences in character “voice” or personality crop up naturally just through that process. It’s fine if your vision of how cheesy Legacy’s spoken dialog should be is different from somebody else’s. That being said, the Starter Kit and preview One-Shot adventures are meant to be played with the specific pre-gen characters because they’re trying to get the players introduced to the setting/system without having to worry about the character creation process. Later adventures (like the Diamond Book of Monsters/xxtz’Hulissh book that was funded in the Kickstarter) make no such assumption - use one of the existing characters or make your own.
  • Third Letter: AZ made an ice slide to direct the cocooned civilians to safety without freeing them first. Unity made a “VCR, Knife, and Fork bot” out of stuff around the Dreamer’s old house that she took into the Void with the team - it winds up having a heroic sacrifice getting the heroes out of the way before the dark heroes tear it to pieces. The best part was in the power plant, to get the elevator to the lower level Legacy flew above the elevator and (rolling a 12) punches the elevator down the clogged-by-Proletariats elevator shaft. This 1) caused many more duplicates to form, 2) squashed them horribly which, 3) caused a “geyser” of liquefied Proletariat to shoot up through the elevator and even through the roof of the plant. Super gross and “heroic” there, guys, nice job. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the players on-task for the whole “you’re supposed to be heroes” thing.
  • Fourth Letter: Ran the first issue for some randos at a board game bar. When the heroes found AA, Wraith tried to revive him with some gadgets but rolled really poorly. Rather than punish AA for it, he instead had AA successfully revived, but in an agitated state where he saw enemies everywhere and attacked Wraith. The players also weren’t familiar with the setting and something in the brief descriptions given, AZ’s player played him as very flamboyant. Good job running a game for 5 strangers who didn’t know the setting, though! It can be hard for those of us with setting knowledge to not tell people that they’re playing an established character “wrong”, so good on you for resisting that impulse and letting AZ’s player have fun with it. That’s the way it should be.
  • Fifth Letter: Somebody found the SAM Launcher in the Prime Wardens issue and used it as a one-off bazooka against the Allosaurus. Another player tamed a Triceratops and kept it around as a personal mount that they used to bowl over a lot of spider bots in the finale issue. One player single-handedly talked down Fanatic during the Justice Comics issue. One hero destroyed their Void copy each time it showed up (three times total) before it got a chance to do anything. They want details - which hero did which things?
  • Sixth Letter: The players got to the final encounter with Baron Blade and the GM is prepared for this to be a kind of long, drawn-out thing. Legacy gets in one good hit. Then AZ’s player tries using “Banter” on him. AZ rolls the maximum value on his Mid die. Blade tries to come up with a clever response and rolls a 2. The other players then latch onto this idea and keep it going (“You accomplished so much more when you were on our side.” etc.). Every time the difference between the Hero roll and Blade’s roll was 6 until it was Legacy’s turn again in which case Legacy out-rolled him by 7 (and Legacy’s line was something like “Your no longer worth my time”). Utterly dejected and realizing that even Legacy doesn’t want to fight him anymore, he surrenders.
  • Seventh Letter: An initial encounter leaves Bunker somewhat damaged. When they hear from AA they decide to make a beeline to him so he can help - which was a mistake. They take damage even getting to him and then find that he’s unconscious and can’t help during the fight (there was much hooting and hollering when the GM showed AA’s new look - this is Princess Cool’s letter, by the way). Bunker and AZ were both down by the end of the adventure. Legacy’s player (who is also the GM) was vocal about not believing that it could be Baron Blade since he died a hero and everything.
  • In the next issue, they wound up wrecking parts of the house. They do ok within the Void until they got to the VoidHeart at which point the wheels came off the bus. Legacy gets turned into a statue for a while, AZ got set on fire, Wraith’s mind never really leaves the Void and she winds up having hallucinations for a few more issues.
  • In Russia, they wind up fighting Fanatic for a bit before talking her down. In Insula Primalis they have more difficulty convincing Legacy that it’s obviously Baron Blade messing with stuff here. They wind up in rough shape because they thought that the cyborg dinosaur was a robot and that they needed to find a transmitter like with the spider bots. In the Tomb they do ok other than not picking up the clues that it wasn’t the real Tomb.
  • In the finale, they had Bunker throw a shark at a squid during the approach to the underwater base, which then crashed into it. Once they reached the villain, there was a scene where Legacy (the GM) was talking to Baron Blade (also the GM) about Trust and being a Hero etc. before the fight started.
  • Eighth Letter: The author had the adventures of Legacy the Inept, who just could not roll above a 3 for anything, but that’s sad so instead of that, we’ll talk about their friend who played Unity. The only power they had Unity ever use was the one where she built bots. Need to figure something out about these spider bot? Build an Analyzer Bot. Need to hack that alien ship? Hacker Bot. Best example:
    • GM: Ok, so you need to calm Fanatic down.
    • Unity: I build a Diplomacy Bot.
    • Legacy: You know, you could just talk to her.
    • Unity: Can’t talk. Busy designing Diplomacy Bot out of decommissioned Soviet nuclear reactor.
  • Other examples of bots: Building a fire-fighting bot out of a frozen yogurt machine, reconfiguring that bot into a frozen yogurt serving bot to give the human firefighters a treat after the fire was out, made a bot that did nothing but display distorted Taylor Swift songs to jolt Argent Adept to consciousness due to exposure to terrible music, and built a Flaming Toaster of Death Turret out of some discarded parts behind a small appliance shop.
  • This prompts Adam to briefly talk about a time a Unity player made a Fan Bot to blow away a smoke screen, but then it exploded and sent the fan blades flying into nearby civilians.
  • Ninth Letter: Questions about the system! Are the Twists provided for each scene supposed to be sufficient for that scene or just options and the GM is expected to make others as well (some scenes seem to have far too many Twists and others not enough without repeating some)? In general, the GM has 3 sources to pull Twists from: 1) the scene or villain descriptions, 2) your own brain (make up your own! There are some ideas for what kind of thing is appropriate in the Starter Kit rules, but there will be even more options in the core rules), and 3) the most common one, from the Players Themselves (e.g. their Heroes’ Principles). The players will often be way harsher on themselves than you would be.
  • How do you rein in players who go overboard in their narrative descriptions (like, their color for the scene starts being something that would be more impactful than it should be for what they’re doing)? Like, if Legacy describes his punching a Void duplicate of himself into a nearby pool of lava - that description sounds like it should do way more damage than the roll would actually indicate do you allow it, or walk it back, or what? There are a few things to keep in mind. First, the descriptions should be in-line with what the die result indicated. However, there are also “risky actions” that are a mechanic in the rules that would allow a player to get an extra effect on their action. For that example, then, if Legacy punches a minion into some lava roll the minion’s save to see if it survives or not - if it fails, then the lava destroys it. If it passes then, as a minion, it’s still reduced a die size, so it can flail around in the lava for a bit before getting a claw on the edge of the pool and pulling itself out - damaged and mad. You don’t have to take away from what the player described, just play into that with your description of the result of your roll as well.
  • For scenes like “wandering in the Void” or “navigating through the ‘Tomb’” how do you keep things moving/letting the players have interesting encounters without running out the scene tracker? How do you deal with mechanically-inclined players/characters who want to map inherently unmappable places? For the map thing, Christopher suggests (in the Tomb example) having index cards with room names on them that you can put down on the table. If they try to move back to a previous room and the place has shifted, swap out the cards. Maybe try to give general impressions of where things are relative to one another rather than drawing things on a grid. If a scene is one where there is a clock that’s important - that needs to be communicated to the players. They’ll spend all the time available wandering around if you don’t make it clear that they can’t afford to dilly-dally. Only use the scene tracker if the scene requires it - if you want to let them explore whatever situation they’re in, don’t use it yet. In fact, putting the scene tracker out in play mid-scene often creates the sense of drama as something has happened to make it urgent.
  • Tenth Letter: Legacy had Unity make a cannonball for him to use in the first issue. She kept adding to it over the course of the Starter Kit as it slowly gained sentience and became the group’s “mascot” - it would shout “Cannonball!” every time it was used in battle. They might be encouraging one of their players to make it a full-fledged character once the main book is out. Another feature of their game was Wraith using her wealth to conjure up private jets that Unity would then use for parts. They also kind of ignored Tempest being carried off by Utahraptors in favor of trying to hatch some of the dinosaur eggs they found. Unity wanted a dinosaur pet and whipped up an incubator. The GM tried to get them back on track, but the players were rolling really well and that’s how they wound up with Terry the baby T. Rex - he fought bravely with the heroes for the rest of that issue, but had to be left on the island at the end (one mascot is enough for a team), although the Spirits on the island said they’d raise him good and that they could come visit him whenever they want.
  • Eleventh Letter: This one starts with some thank yous regarding the game in general and the specific game they played on the Discord. One thing in particular that’s worth noting is that one Discord member (Briar) created the Omni-Bot, which makes doing the die-rolling and turn-passing stuff via Discord much easier.
  • It’s fun to see how different players take the same character in different directions. One had Unity make some clever hero stand-in bots (although they never rolled above a 3 except for saves) and another never had Unity make bots at all, focusing instead on augmenting the other heroes. Almost every Unity will try to “save” one of the spider bots in the first scene, though. Wraith also gets played differently. She often gets played in such a way as to play up her stealthy nature, but one time the player had her as a front-line combatant. Adam brings up that in many of his games, Wraith’s player starts with her in civilian garb, going around fundraising for the clean-up process and whatnot. The second scene is fun - lots of players figure out immediately that the Mothership is creating the spider bots, but also seem surprised when it actively makes more minions in the scene. Saving AA seems to always be a low-priority, though.
  • Then there’s the Twists, which really make this system shine. Many systems kind of set up an adversarial GM vs. Players mentality, but with the Twists it becomes a more collaborative “how to make this situation more interesting” puzzle. They also mention how it’s useful to have little markers of some sort to show if you’ve acted or not in the round - the GM kit you can get has some dry-erase cards that could be used for this sort of thing.
  • Twelfth Letter: Some highlights from Insula Primalis - Legacy managed to redirect a charging Triceratops so that it charged into the cyborg Allosaurus. Tachyon was perpetually the first hero into the scene (because Speed), but this also meant she was frequently very quickly in the Red Zone. Wraith’s players had wildly different interpretations of the character - one being more Adam West, carrying things like Spider Repellent (and Bigger Robot Spider Repellent) in her utility belt. The other has been slowly turning her into Wraith Beyond with some really high-tech gear (which says something about how Montgomery Industries spends its R&D money). The best highlight, however, was out of character - during the first scene of play while the players passed their actions around and AZ’s player was making good use of cold puns, Bunker’s player commented that it’s just like a comic. Good job evoking that in the design.
  • Thirteenth Letter: This GM started out with an online game with a framing story about being an editor coming to this new hot-shot creative team to do the first big post-OblivAeon story for the Freedom Five, which is an appreciated extra meta-layer. In the first issue, Unity made a spider bot a pet, named “Sparkles” which became a metal source in later issues. This also came with a Minor Twist that didn’t get resolved for 5 more issues. Tachyon got a hold of the VoidHeart Splinter and he had it start whispering to her about how it could be the source of all sorts of sciency stuff. Eventually she started using it as a tool (for example, to destroy the OblivAeon shard in Russia - creating a new thing, the VoidAeon Shard). As Fanatic was about to End of Days the power plant (as the scene tracker ran out), Wraith succeeded on an Overcome to rig together a display with a montage of Fanatic and Ra together - this succeeded with a Major Twist, which was that Fanatic had to do something with the power she’d summoned and blasted it straight up into the sky, illuminating the landscape all around with a two-page spread showing her and Ra’s first kiss. This let the Russian government know that the heroes were around and almost led to a nuclear meltdown, prompting a law that no foreign heroes could enter Russia. There was also an interesting case in the Tomb where Unity tried an Overcome to short out some part of the PA system after discovering that it was a fake and Miss Info was behind it. She rolled a Major Twist and chose to fail instead - which allowed Miss Info to further taunt her about “Oh, if only I knew intimate details about the Freedom Five and could have built in some shock resistance into the equipment. Oh, wait.”
  • Question: players wanted to roll an Overcome to try to convince Miss Information to come back onto the heroes’ side. Can you go into some details on the limits of what an Overcome check can accomplish? The players can Overcome any obstacle that the GM presents/rules is something that is overcome-able. There’s nothing the heroes can do to make Miss Info not evil. If the players present a situation that they could try to Overcome, you can say that it’s not possible.
  • They heavily modified the Insula Primalis issue - the VoidAeon Shard was now responsible for a bunch of the stuff going on. They included robotic duplicates of some of the Citizens of the Sun (as part of an old abandoned Baron Blade scheme). The heroes were too nervous about the VoidAeon Shard to destroy/use it - so as yet there’s no new Nexus in their campaign. The final issue finally resolved the Twist involving Sparkles - Baron Blade regained control and tried to have it teleport Legacy into a deathtrap. But because Sparkles had learned the Power of Friendship, he allowed it to use its Collection to instead send him to the beach outside Megalopolis, allowing Legacy to lead the final defense of the tree. This overtaxed Sparkles and it burnt itself out in the process. R.I.P. Sparkles. He also had the Baron Blade encounter start off with the heroes finding him calmly eating a steak dinner (and ignoring them as Legacy was not a PC in this group). Once somebody attacked him, it played through a death scene before the real Baron Blade burst through the floor in his new power armor (the other one was a Blade Bot). He was also real interested in that VoidAeon Shard. Fortunately for the world, it was lost at the bottom of the sea when the base exploded. Certainly never to be seen again.
  • Fourteenth Letter: With only three ticks left on the scene tracker in the final scene with other heroes dealing with other stuff, he swooped in as Legacy to fight Baron Blade alone. After a few rounds taking out the armor components, Legacy had a choice. Either capture Baron Blade and let his forces cause irreparable damage to the Tree, allow the Baron to escape (with the VoidHeart Splinter) to help prevent that disaster, or take an extremely risky action to do both. He went with the risky action, but the GM allowed him to use Principle of the Hero in the attempt - he only rolled slightly less than what would have accomplished this without a Twist. He gambled on what Twist would come and used his Collection to knock his result up to a 12. The Twist is that one last blow from Baron Blade was calculated to take advantage of what Legacy would have to do to accomplish this - Blade rolled a 6, if he’s knocked out he won’t succeed at either goal, and was already in the Red Zone. Check current health and he had 7 remaining. The city is saved, Blade is knocked into the harvesting machine which reverses flow and pumps all the energy back into Akash'Flora. The scene ends with Legacy standing triumphantly, but with the self destruct sequence activating - then the Prime Wardens arrive in the nick of time to get the heroes and Baron Blade out of there.