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Monday, August 19, 2013

Savage Supers

Ultimate Agenda - from Daring Entertainment

Every month I run a Savage Worlds game at Red Castle Games, and I've been running requested settings.  This month I ran a Superhero setting, using Savage Worlds core rules, the Super Powers Companion, and a one-shot adventure from Daring Entertainment called Ultimate Agenda in their Hellbrood setting.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures.  I used flat paper miniatures (borrowed from a friend, Brian) from Steve Jackson Games - an old product; I'm not sure if you can buy them anymore.  Enough preamble, on with the game report!

Warning: spoilers ahead.  If you haven't played this scenario, you will learn some things about it.

This genre was requested from several players and there was enough interest that a few players made characters.  I chose to use the Hellbrood setting due to some personal interaction with the folks over at Daring, and I thought I'd give it a shot.  These game sessions are not only for my players to learn Savage Worlds, but when I can learn a setting to see what its all about, then that's great and a win-win.

Hellbrood is a setting with not only superheroes but also alien races: Atlanteans (from under Earth's seas), Martians (from Mars), Lunarians (from the Moon), and the Necroleans - a race dedicated to eradicating all other life forms in the Universe.  The Necroleans use a biotechnology to enslave other races, forcing them to become mindless servants.  Zombies, really.  Really?  Zombies in a superhero game?  Yeah, it went there.  I wasn't too keen on the mixing of the two, but it worked out okay.  I am not sure I'd want to run a full-on campaign in this setting, but a few one-offs would be fine.  That's just me being honest.  I just am not too impressed when a setting is called 'new' because it mixes two or more genres.  And I am guilty of it, too; I think it's cool to dimension portal Orcs into a modern setting, give 'em guns and let them rip society a new one.  I am not a huge fan of zombies in gaming in general. You might think that's the cat's meow, and if it is, this setting would be awesome for you! Aaaaanyway, back to the setting features.  They tweak the humans to give them more power points instead of a free edge (really, you're getting the PowerPoints edge) and other races get other racial bits.  We all played humans, so I really didn't delve into the other races too deeply, but on a cursory reading, they looked pretty well thought out.  One new item they add is the Power Stunts.  Spend a special Heroic benny and you can gain powerpoints to either increase an existing power or temporarily gain a completely different power.  It lasts until the end of the round or 2 rounds with a raise.  I won't give away the mechanic due to copyright issues, but essentially a Spirit roll is involved.  And Fastball is detailed out - a really strong hero can throw another hero to give the thrown hero an attack bonus.  It also adds a reputation derived stat.  One more item: GM Bennies.  These are unlimited to the GM, but when one is used, it is given to the player it most affects. I liked this because I typically use my GM bennies pretty freely to save my baddies' bacon, but this made me stop and think a little before I soaked the roll.  I can also declare it a Heroic Benny and use the Power Stunt for a bad guy, then a hero gets that Heroic Benny.

I think that is enough on the setting and my opinion on it. Let's get on with it.

With the pre-gens from the scenario and custom made characters, we were ready and set to go.  We started with the preamble of the Hellbrood setting a little, and the past 2-3 months of activity about where the heroes are now.

The party finds themselves on patrol in the Alphabet district in New York City late in the night.  A few mundane encounters while on Patrol:
  • They run across and thwart a mugging: one would be two gangbangers are attempting to steal food two women found scavenging.  The heroes intercede and get the women home safely.
  • Several Hellbrood (zombies, essentially) have gained entrance to a home and are attacking a father and his little girl.  Turns out the little girl opened the door to try to get her kitty back inside.
At this point I decide to push the game into the main plot and skip the next encounter.  The main plot starts with the murder of a man, who had been missing for a few days.  He'd left because he and his wife had been arguing.  After questioning everyone in the building, the characters find out that something fast and green killed the man and ran off into a nearby alley.  Searching the scene reveals very little except for some metallic flakes in the wounds on the dead body.

They search around and follow some tracks.  Rounding a corner, they see a huge lizard attacking another man in the street.  The man drops and the lizard spies the characters and runs.  Before they can reach him, he slips down a manhole into the sewers.  The heroes follows the lizard into the sewers and gives chase.

As the chase goes deeper into the sewers, the lizard jumps and sticks to the ceiling.  In the distance there are figures in the darkness, a half dozen or so humanoids shuffling along the sewer tunnel.  The figures turn around: they are faceless with red glowing eyes.  There are two humans with faces, but with a silvery surface on their skin. The silvery skinned humans are both carrying an unconscious person and continue on their path.  The red glowing eyes of the others grow brighter and they raise their hands, which start to glow blue immediately.  Bolts of energy shoot at the characters from the robots hands.  The lizard creature joins the heroes in a fight with the robots.  After the robots are defeated, the silvery humans are left to deal with.  The Lizardman speaks and introduces himself as Dr. Varanus.  He speaks slowly, as if it is difficult, and informs the heroes of the growing concern he has of a hidden laboratory he's located in the sewers.

The heroes follow Varanus to this underground laboratory.  Here's where the meat of the plot is, and I won't give it away, but suffice it to say, this is a really big fight.  So big, that NPC superheroes show up and each player ends up running their own character and another NPC superhero.  This took quite a long time to play out, even in Savage Worlds.

The night ended a little later than planned and on a pretty high note.  The group definitely had a good time.  I always enjoy running games and, sure, I made a few mistakes here and there but the end result was a good time and a good game.

Next month is Low Life from Andy Hopp!