Wednesday, February 17, 2010

M.A/C.C Alpha Test #1

So, as I said before someone has been nice enough to me to agree to run an Alpha game of M.A/C.C, letting me see the mechanics from a player point of view and work with them for modification of things as we go along. As much as a way of keeping things updated here, as something to talk about on a semi-regular basis I figure I'll keep an OOC account of the game here from my perspective. Mentioning some of the mechanics in play and how they came up.

First though, we have....The Cast

Archer McCullaine - An Irish cop in the fictional Massachusetts city of Croatoa. Archer just recently became a Detective in the Croatoa PD and is partnered with Detective Sergeant Charles Finley in the Homicide department. Unbeknownst to his partner, though known to his Grandfather who got him into the gig, at night Archer dons a mask and becomes the vigilante 'Bowman' (Hey, I didn't make it, and the player enjoys Kirby puns)

Arthur Leif - An 18 year old boy, and freshman in UMass Croatoa. Arthur's family moved to Croatoa over the summer after Arthur was the victim of some gang violence in their previous home city. The cause of that Gang Violence? Arthur wants to be a hero, and in the process of helping someone managed to royally piss off a gang.

Colin Mayhew - A 23 year old grad student from Essex England, Colin is looking to get through law school and has spent the last 5 years in the U.S.A. His life at present is fairly uninteresting, consisting of TA'ing a couple classes alongside the Grad class he is taking.

Gabriella Ricci - At 18 years old, Gabriella Ricci is the second oldest daughter or Arturo Ricci, a high level enforcer in the Bianchi Mafia syndicate. She is a freshman at UMass Croatoa where she is majored in Pre-Law and Political Sciences. When not in school, or playing Daddy's little princess, she sneaks out to underground fighting rings, and recently has found the thrill of taking on muggers to be a better kick.

The Session

The game started with the focus on Archer at his day job. Called out to the scene of a murder, we got to test out the 'Crime Scene' rules almost immediately. Making his roll and checking the area, Archer checked out the alleyway and the multiple dead bodies, or at least what was left of the dead bodies of the victims. A headless man, a torso-less set of hips and legs, and a woman with a small hole in her head. The headless man and woman were armed, and in good condition for fighting. Archer also found a small, broken, vial with a strange liquid in it that he also turned over as evidence. The last thing found was a note, telling him to meet at a random address in the old industrial section of town.

Cutting to Colin, we found the TA grading papers in the school's library. The tedium becoming nearly unbearable as juniors and seniors in Legal Studies are messing up basic things such as which ammendment is which in the Bill of Rights. One paper though catches his eyes, consisting entirely of question marks aside from a note stashed in the middle. Much like Archer's, it tells Colin to meet someone at a specific address near the industrial section of town. Looking back, Colin noted that the paper the note was in was gone, a tall man in a trench coat and fedora walking off with it. Giving pursuit ended in failure, the man having escaped into the ceiling of all places, leaving behind the coat and fedora which Colin took to bring to the meeting with him.

Cutting to Arthur, we found him heading home after another day of classes. Cutting through a sketchier area of town, brings Arthur across a mugging happening in broad daylight. The mugger doesn't seem to be aware of him, and the victim doesn't give it away allowing Arthur to quickly end the fight before it even begins using a take down. As the mugger drops to the ground, arm broken in several spots, Arthur recognizes that it was a ploy to pull in a good Samaritan and then rob them. As he turns to deal with the other mugger though she drops to the ground, leaving Arthur alone with the two unconscious people, and the gun he pulled off of one of them. Tossing the gun turns out badly for Arthur, and he ends up getting shot. Finding a note along with a first aid kit resting behind him, telling him to meet at yet another address near the industrial section of town later that night.

Finally we cut to Gabriella, doing one of her nightly excursions to an underground fighting arena. A new comer to the pit scoffs at fighting a girl, the crowd finds this amusing. As the fight is about to begin, a little red dress catches Gabriella's eyes. A dress she remembers from her childhood, having vanished when she was six. Their maid had been blamed, and promptly fired, but here was that same dress as if it had only gone missing yesterday. Checking the dress out brings more derision from her opponent, a costly mistake as in a flash of anger she doesn't hold back in the fight this time. Quickly breaking his leg, and then countering his rough punch with a shot to the head that knocks him out cold. In the dress is, you guessed it, a note asking her to meet near the industrial section of town for help with her 'quest'.

All four decide to show up to their invitation, following the directions down into underground tunnels and then finally into a large room with the ceiling painted like the Sistine Chapel. They are confronted by a man in a strange costume, claiming he is known as The Sentinel, and that he is from the future. Here to make sure the four of them become the heroes they are meant to, so that the world can be saved and the future not lost. He's brought back their 'historically relevant' costumes along with some gear they can use. The meeting though, doesn't go over as well as Sentinel had hoped, as with the exception of Archer who is already the vigilante Bowman, none of the other have quite decided they wanted to try something so simultaneously risky and campy.

Still though, after some talking both Arthur and Gabriella are intrigued enough to swipe one copy of their costumes before they leave. Independently getting into them, removing the license plates from their bikes, and going out looking for trouble. It doesn't take long to run into each other, and team up, running a 2 person war against muggers, thieves, and rapists over the course of the night that leaves the police baffled at the variety of low level criminals they were finding gift wrapped for them.

The next morning Archer goes in to work to find that the police are still finding petty criminals tied up and waiting to be arrested and processed, something that greatly amuses his partner Detective Sergeant Finley. The work day however is not all play though, as their killer has struck again. This time Archer finds a strange cylindrical round, about the right size for the woman's head from the previous crime scene. Taking the evidence, he sends it off to the lab hoping for results soon, or any lead that can get him closer to the killer before he strikes again.

The game wrapped up with Colin getting home to find one of the costumes delivered to his closet, a note on it reading that Gabriella and Archer were getting into things quite nicely and Sentinel didn't want him feeling left out. Colin was left debating what to do.

What I learned
The system ran well, with a GM that wasn't all that familiar with it. I liked this because it means that it is intuitive enough in places that a GM should just be able to pick it up and go.

Starting off character points are either a little too high, or perfectly dead on and I'm not sure which right now. NPC rules may need to be tweaked more than the starting character rules. Alternatively, the scale for just how good rolls a starting PC can make casually are needs to be adjusted.

The take down system is continuing to be a fun mechanic for GMs and Players that let the Players feel powerful, and the GM to more freely set up dangerous encounters where the players need to think their way through things.

Crime scene mechanics went off well for a first run through.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the combat rules run quite smoothly, but I feel like stealth rolls should be required to pull off a takedown of a group without spending a drive point. Barring of course the group being so distracted they wouldn't notice.

    As for the starting character points we each seem to have been able to make a character that would fit well into a team comic, or a low powered solo comic. I think that there may be a couple too many attribute points, and skill points are solid. I wonder if starting with 10 attribute points would lead to more compromises in starting characters?

    I feel that Superior Training is too powerful by providing 2 skills that you get a +1 in, perhaps if you toned it down to 1 skill it would be more balanced given how strong +1 ends up being.