Tuesday, May 25, 2010

M.A/C.C - Alpha Test #7 (The Finale)

We ended the M.A/C.C alpha test last night, it was a fun little game and had an entertaining end. True to Alpha Test form, the last session pointed out a couple of things that need to be fixed within the rules, which is also a good thing. The GM also finally got to play a story through to the end, and to quite possibly one of the best player responses ever "We want more, can you do a sequel?".

For now, lets get into the game.

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.

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.

Demo -  A giant of a man, standing at 6'10 and easily being over 300lbs of muscle. Demo is from a world that is drastically different from our own, one in which he has been constantly fighting a losing battle against a tyrannical over lord. Recently betrayed by the woman he loved, Demo is hoping to change the world back to the way it was.

The Session
The session began where the last session ended, the PCs having been ripped through the various flashing colors of light find themselves deposited on the ground outside. Above the sky is red, the moon is black, and the city looks like a burned out warzone. In front of them a wedge formation of 7 women dressed in armor similar to Sentinel's riding atop velociraptors. "Heroes, kill them!" the leader says, and the PCs leap into action.

For Vesper, the 'leap into action' is literal as she flips over the lead velociraptor's head and kicks the woman off the animal. Twisting in the air to catch herself on the creatures back. Black Knight moves to the left, cutting one of the dinosaurs with the Knife of Ra, a surprised look on his face as the lightest scratch causes the dinosaur to burst into red flame, and the rider on it to burst into white. Bowman for his part launches a shock arrow into the mouth of one of the dinosaurs, stunning the creature and making it throw its rider off.

Attention is pulled to the sky as a large shadow begins to grow over the group, a dragon swooping down. From the back of the dragon a large man wielding a morning star and long sword leaps off, killing two of the dinosaurs near instantly. The group, with the addition of the man, make quick work of the remaining riders. The knife continuing to light the raptors on fire red, and the riders on fire white. When the white fire burns out, the women's eyes are no longer glowing red.

Collecting the women, the group flees. The man opening a sewer grate and leading them into cover. A quick conversation is had there. Vesper and Black Knight want to know what is going on and where are they, the man wants to know how they're still alive. Going through individually how each one of them died, Bowman by sacrificing himself to save someone, Vesper gone missing, Black Knight went on a mission and never returned. Eventually they settle on it being some time in the future, and the man's name is Demo. Part of the resistance. He has somewhere safe to bring them where they can get their questions answered.

Having no where better to go, the group follows along and ends up in a small holding room. The three women they saved earlier from the raptors are also along, and some efforts are made to both reassure them, and figure out what information they could about what was going on and when it is. They are not waiting long when another, secret, door opens in the far wall revealing Denise (as Interrobang), another Bowman, and Blue from Infinity. A quick round of near hostilities is calmed down with Demo's explaining that the PCs are from the past and have the knife of ra, and that the Bowman here is the person who the real Bowman sacrificed himself to save. Denise offers to answer questions inside the base, and so they head in.

In the base, Vesper sees another her, one that looks surprisingly similar to her, if only a bit older, considering that she is supposed to have been missing for roughly ten years. They go into Denise's office, and the story is told. What they think was roughly ten years ago (making the group nearly 20 years in the future) a war between the gods ended, and Darkseid crashed to the earth, instantly possessing someone and beginning a take over of the world. Some people were immune to his mind control, but most were not. He took over the world in a flash. Interrobang's powers are related to the fabric of reality in a similar way to Darkseid's power. She gave up nearly 80% of it in order to spare who she could, ending up with roughly 50 people. The last ten years those 50 have been trying to survive and make things right. The PCs have the Knife of Ra though, something that can supposedly kill Darkseid, or send him away when combined with a special tablet. Only, the knife is only good in its native time. The tablet is long since missing. Bowman remembers having seen the tablet in the museum before the mob war had begun and mentions it. Denise says they need to get the group back to their own time, so they can try and fix things. Vesper, the new one, bursts into the room and says they've been betrayed.

Denise opens a secret door in her office, and they all make a break for it. Boarding a Gondola which is shoved out into the water at a nearly alarming rate by the incredibly strong Interrobang. Bowman (I'll call the fake one Daniel for now on), begins to get sea sick. Black Knight simply watches on and wonders where they're going. Vesper (Gabby) can't take her eyes off of the other Vesper. Again noting how similar they are, it doesn't take long for her to figure out who is under the mask. The 'new' Vesper tries to ignore the staring from Gabby, but eventually caves and asks what is going on. Gabby says she wants to know what happened, Vesper asserts that she actually doesn't, and there is more silence. Between the bouts of passive aggression going on between the two women, everyone else is caught up on what is going on. Vesper is actually Mara, who after witnessing Gabby's death took up the mantle and has been helping out. The news doesn't seem to please Gabby, but she goes with it. Going so far as switching her name to Etoile to end confusion on the who responds to Vesper issue.

The group continues on, moving to the head quarters for Time Corp. The stuff they need is on the third floor, and the PCs want to enter through the top. An agent for the resistance has the floor plan, the whole set up looks remarkably similar to Savanna's labs back from their time. Just different enough to trap someone. Darkseid is either very lazy, or this is a trap. Odds are, it is both. They don't have a choice though, and so they go in. Using Interrobang's super strength to open a hole in the ceiling and go through, they start to make their way.

The trap is sprung quickly, Sentinels are placed around in key areas needing to be taken out. Cloaked enemies attempt to ambush them. At one point a sniper takes fire, killing Daniel (the other bowman) instantly before his location can be pointed out and Bowman can return fire to avenge the one who had taken up his mantle. They continue along, working their way through the building to where the room they want is. Interrobang starts having problems with her powers, they keep going and coming back. Arthur gives her his armor to protect herself. Not listening to protests of his death being the more important one to guard against as they continue forward. Through out it all Gabby and Vesper keep trying to protect the other, to the point that in several instances when Vesper tries to shield Gabby, she rolls with it to shield Vesper with her own body. Neither sister wanting the other to come to harm.

Eventually, they make it to the portal room. An obvious trap if there ever was one, even if the portal is real. Arthur sees through the trap almost instantly, and the small group of heroes ambushes the large number of opponents waiting for them. Demo swinging wide and powerfully with his morning star clearing wide swaths of opponents. Bowman runs out of arrows fairly quickly, and ends up having to fight with just the bow itself. Gabby and Vesper end up fighting back to back, disarming enemies and using their weapons against them. Interrobang is holding onto her powers for the time being, defending herself  while using the computer to try and get the portal working.

Denise gets the portal working and wants the PCs to go through. Gabby wants Mara to come with her, but Denise says it'd be impossible as the presence of Mara twice in the same time line would instantly kill one. Demo on the other hand should be able to go through, being as he shouldn't be born yet. A sniper ends the discussion, killing Mara and Denise instantly. Gabby responds in a rage, snagging the sniper with the grappling gun and ripping them out of the ceiling towards them. Demo recognizes the person as the one who betrayed his team earlier, and swings for the fences killing the person instantly.

Everything goes multi-colored, flashing red, purple, green, blue in different orders and intensities. When the light faded, they were back home. The city looking like it had been a war zone, but the sky the normal color, the war a lot more recent. Their costumes were torn up, Bowman no longer with his mask on, and a crowd of people around them. The crowd made way for them, but there were questions. Where had they been for the three days when they were needed? Why had they vanished after that first night? Black Knight and Bowman made apologies before, being wiped, they made their way to their respective homes. Black Knight taking Demo with him.

Bowman returned home to almost being shot by his grandfather. A quick explanation about going to the future stopping most questions before they begun. It's pointed out to him that Finley was looking for him, and that he should call him. The phone call doesn't go well, the line about the future being met with disbelief instead. Finley wants to know where he's been for three days, and wants him down in the station now. Bowman gets changed and heads in.

Black Knight heads home with Demo, only to realize when he gets there that his home is burned to the ground (Vesper never told him). Going to call Vesper ont he ear-buds, he opens the line to hear from Vesper's her demanding answers from someone. The person sobbing that they don't know, being called a liar and the sound of them being hit. The name Bianchi comes up, along with just enough other information for Black Knight to make a guess as to  where she is.

Vesper, for her part didn't go home (obviously) but went for answers. She wants to know who won the gang war since it stopped, who is in charge, and where the tablet is. She goes with what she knows, hitting up a Bianchi establishment. The questioning gets her upstairs, where Erik is awaiting her with a gun. He's in charge, but he won't say more than the good guys win. He goes to pull the trigger, when Black Knight (the player used the barter system) comes in through the window and stops the shot. His staff triggering a defense mechanism in the desk, which sets off the shock charge in the staff destroying it. Though it also does knock out Erik. The two tie him up, Demo having vanished, and when he comes to ask him questions. He runs the Bianchi, the Bianchi run the city, but the Lupan still own some things. The Shinpai are gone. The tablet should be back in the museum.

They leave him like that, Vesper leaving a cutting disk so he can get himself free eventually. At the museum they see the tablet behind glass. Black Knight is about to mention doing something to ask how to get it. Vesper doesn't have time for that, grabbing something near by she smashes the glass and takes the tablet. Telling the security guard on her way out that "Mr. Bianchi wants his stuff back". Vesper and Black Knight go to meet Denise, who is waiting for them. Denise, as Interrobang tells them how to use the knife and tablet to keep Darkseid from showing up, and they do that quickly. Vesper leaving shortly after to give Arthur and Denise time to talk and work out their issues.

Vesper borrows some clothes from Denise (yes, turning back to ask), and on her way home throws out the Vesper costume save for the wig, and the items in the utility pouches. With any luck someone will find it and there will be deniability as to who robbed the museum after all. not that that is important. She is just done with that for now. Back home she is confronted by a grief stricken mother, a quick line about having been trapped in a basement in fear for her life works. She is certainly dirty and bruised enough for it to be the case. Her father is glad to see her, but also nervous. Mara jumps into her arms to greet her, and the world seems right again for her, somehow. An apology to Mara and a promise to do better this time elicits confusion from the girl, who just takes it as meaning more ice cream. She also finds Arthur's parents, telling them Arthur is safe and with his girlfriend. She calls Denise's home to put them in touch.

Demo, for his part, has simply gone to look in on the people who will be his parents. Spending the night watching his dad, and the new house where they live. Arthur arranges for Demo to live with Denise and her grand mother, it shouldn't be too strange considering Denise's mom had been interrobang before her.

Back with Bowman, he finds out that Finley is the new commissioner. A man named Luther is the mayor, appointed by the governor due to the emergency status. The state police and a number of cadets have been moved in to help out with Croatoa's problems. Finley had wanted to promote Archer, but he can't now with the video going around showing that Archer is Bowman. Bowman suggests being officially deputized as Bowman, able to officially work while keeping the hero status. Finley says he'll run it by the mayor. Bowman also gets the same treatment for Demo so he'll have a partner.

That is where we ended the game. A sequel potentially coming after the next test run.

I enjoyed the end to the campaign. It was a fun, if short, campaign that worked out well. The system I think handled itself well throughout, but the credit for the last couple of good sessions truly does go to the GM.

That being said, the session pointed out to me a way in which a character could generate near infinite dice for defense purposes, or at the very least triple what they had to use in a situation. Something that needs to be addressed, as well as a point of matter on using one of the other core systems.

We start my beta run of M.A/C.C next monday, where among other things I'm hoping to test out the powers stuff to see how PCs match up against the gods that inhabit the world.


Happy Gaming.

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