Wednesday, March 17, 2010

M.A/C.C - Alpha Test #2 (session 3)

One of my friends is doing me a huge favor and running an alpha test of M.A/C.C for me so I can experience some of the stuff inside of it as a player. I'm using these reviews to both go over the session, as well as what I got out of it in relation to M.A/C.C itself.

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 session began with the PCs showing up for the meeting with Sentinel. Sentinel was happy to see that they had all tried out being a hero, and claimed he would love to keep helping them with it, especially as he couldn't return to his home time as his time machine had apparently broken. The PCs talked about what had happened a little before deciding to continue to do it, though Gabriella and Arthur at the very least still do not trust Sentinel.

While at the meeting, Archer received a call from his partner Detective Finley stating that the mid town Bank, a huge bank that had been around for over a hundred years and resting place for many of the country's rich and powerful people's money, was being robbed. Almost none of the Police who had been called to show were showing, and so the police department was calling in people who were off duty. The PCs in short order decided to go and help, Archer showing up as a cop first while Gabriella and Arthur would show as Vesper and Black Knight.

At the bank, Vesper and BK snuck over the rooftops and to the Bank's roof, before entering through an unlocked maintenance hatch up there. Moving through, they found a hole dug into the sewers, and dropped the four goons guarding it. The goons were wearing blue digital camo, different from the other goons in Black out front. Two groups potentially? Moving to look for hostages, the two vigilantes ended up in one of the vault rooms, and got into a fight with the sixteen goons robbing it. Through use of the Take Down mechanic and regular combat they managed to win the fight and see that all but 5 of the lock boxes in the vault were being robbed. The five not being robbed each belonged to a mob boss, the mayor, or the police commissioner in the city.

Outside, Archer met up with Finley and discussed the sorry state of all the cops not showing up due to corruption. Archer cursed the lack of communications gear with Vesper and BK, but tried to keep suspicions down. When he and Finley moved to take position and watch the bank as the sound of helicopters approached, he snuck into costume and entered the bank to help out. Showing up in time to drop two of the goons dressed all in black that were about to attack Black Knight.

From there, Bowman and Black Knight moved to the lobby, Vesper staying behind to find out what was in two of the mobster lock boxes. When her search was finished she moved up to rejoin her companions, to find them backing away from a group of heavily armed and armored people holding weapons that fired red 'knock out' lasers. Bowman and Black Knight feeling outclassed were trying more social ways through, Vesper didn't much like this but played a long, at least until the odds were a bit more in their favor when she dropped a smoke bomb and started the attack.

The leader of this new group (called Infinity, oops :D ) ran, with Black Knight in pursuit. Bowman and Vesper finishing off the goons and giving chase just moments before the goons caught fire and lit the office on fire. The leader received covering fire from his crew and evaded Black Knight. Vesper wanting to catch him, broke through a window and grapnel lined her way to the roof. Arriving in time to see the leader climbing a rope ladder into his escape helicopter. Using the barter system, Vesper managed to grapnel the helicopter and continued to give pursuit, ending up launched into a water tower when her line was cut by the people in the helicopter.

After the big bank scene was the wrap up. Archer found out what had been stolen in the bank after allaying his partner's suspicions. Black Knight helped Vesper get home, where she was brought to the hospital and then grounded for "being out partying" and getting herself hurt. After getting Vesper home, Black Knight went to the police department to share information with Detective Finley, someone he seems to have singled out as an honest cop. With that, the session ended.

What I Learned
The system ran very smoothly, with just 2 sessions involving heavier combat the GM seems to have a fairly good grasp of how it works. It will need further testing with different GMs to find if this is a quality of the GM in question, the system, or both however.

Combat ran smoothly as well, and the new damage rules I think are preferable in helping to keep players alive while still keeping lethality ever present in people's minds.

Take downs still worked well, and as intended. Giving players a chance to use tactics to take down much bigger groups in a stream lined manner. Black Knight's player has specifically commented that he likes that a character can be amazing at getting the drop on people, but not as good in an actual one on one fight.

The barter system also worked well.

The skew on numbers may need to be looked at, there seems to be some constant confusion that low skill numbers can represent high competency. May be related to a feeling that when you know rolling 10 dice is possible, only rolling 3-4 feels weaker. Not sure if this is just something that needs to be gotten used to, or something that should be fixed. Leaning towards gotten used to considering desired ability level differences between PCs and "normal" people.

1 comment:

  1. I concur that it just needs to be gotten used to. The other option is to increase the die pools, and then you get into issues like Exalted 1st Edition with stupid numbers of dice to make people feel cool, but slow combat down to an utter crawl. I'd include something in the player section specifically making people understand exactly how awesome each skill rank really is. When you actually describe it it makes one really appreciate a certain die pool more.