Sunday, October 8, 2017

Savage MCU: The One-Shot!

About a month and a half ago, a fellow named Todd reached out to me on Reddit (where I'm fairly active in the /r/savageworlds community), asking if I'd finished Falcon yet (working on it guys, he's a weird one) and some questions about the strength Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. After answering and explaining some of my reasoning, I found out that this magnificent man was planning on running a one shot set in the MCU!

He and I worked together a little bit on putting together Four-Color Hero versions of the Defenders and some of the non-powered Avengers (the results of which are mostly here, with a few more fun tidbits and alterations present in these spreadsheets), and the game was finally run yesterday! He's messaged me with a few pictures and some tales from the table, so I wanted to promote the cool work being done!

Oh, and minor spoilers for some of the films up through Civil War, and major spoilers for the Defenders (which you should totally watch if you haven't yet).

The minis, ripped from HeroClix models. That custom Redwing is so badass to me.
First, the original message:
Game went really well! The lineup was all four Defenders plus Falcon. The difference in mindset and lethality was kind of hilarious. Overall the Defenders are pretty low key and usually just beat people up. The Avengers, on the other hand, straight up murder people. Considering this difference, it's funny that the Defenders is usually a darker more grim setting.
The group had some really good roleplay. They didn't get nearly as far as I anticipated, but they saved the kids and most of the hostages, so it was all fun.
The game took place right after the events of the Defenders and just before Civil War.
The premise was that Madame Gao and Elektra survived the collapse of the Midland Financial building. They were using the remnants of the various factions of the Hand to excavate the dragon bones.
For security and transport they were forced to contract with Brock Rumlow and his group of rogue HYDRA agents. HYDRA posed as Department of Damage Control workers and cordoned off the area around Midland Circle.
To quickly make more of the Substance, the Hand was kidnapping vagrants, kids, and even office employees and had them in cages below the rubble to drain them.
The Avengers were alerted when Anna (stupid super fine writer chick) texted Falcon that there were reports of enhanced individuals at the collapse of the building that might be a possible lead to find the Winter Soldier.
All in all the heroes did a great job. We even had the obligatory hero-on-hero fight scene when Falcon had Redwing trying to surveil Danny through the tunnels and Iron Fist smashed the drone with the iron fist. A lot of mooks defeated, but the big bads managed to escape.
Thanks so much for all your help!
This whole setup is fantastic in my eyes—it's a great feat of world-building and with some minor tweaks would actually fit pretty well into the existing MCU, and we finally get a legitimate reason for the Avengers crossing over with the Defenders. His comment on the weird lethality gap between the Defenders and Avengers actually was quite funny to me, because if you actually think about it the Avengers are mostly comprised of soldiers and they totally murder the shit out of people all the time.

A point that was clarified later on: Todd ruled that hero vs hero damage was temporary (since that appears to be the case on screen, anyways), so Danny only destroyed a modular circuit board on Redwing that Falcon had a replacement for. Luckily Luke stopped the fight before any real damage was done.

The competition, composed of both Hand and Foot ninjas (but shh... don't tell the ninja turtles!). Madame Gao and Elektra are both very cool together.
The game was run with the Adventure Deck (a $15 purchase that adds a fun twist of narrative control in the players' hands), and much of the setup was really dripping with setting flavor, with the Bennies being S.H.I.E.L.D. logos, and the character cards feeling very appropriate for an MCU one-shot. The players were all familiar with the MCU (except for one poor soul who hadn't seen Defenders yet) but apparently played their characters very well, with the portrayal of Iron Fist's Clueless Hindrance being on point—which I assume was what led to the Iron Fist/Falcon debacle to begin with. It sounded very cinematic!

So much flavor!
I was also sent a good picture of the actual game itself, as well. One of the scenes happened to be the party descending into the crumbling dragon-bone caverns during the harvesting, where the villains briefly monologue-taunted before ascending a winch-operated elevator, though Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Jessica pursued through various acrobatic/jumping means while Luke and Falcon stayed below to deal with the remaining ninjas.

The team approaching HYDRA and the Hand in wait. If you look at the center, Crossbones is actually present as well! Also, an Avengers Action Card deck! More flavor!
The elevator ascended into the building across the street from the demolished skyscraper from the end of Defenders, which HYDRA and the Hand had seized to get back to the dragon chamber below. They also took the office workers hostage, like good comic book villains! As HYDRA goons attempted to load their dragon-blood victims into trucks to take them away, Daredevil and his posse engaged the Hand to free the hostages (most of which survived, though the Hand was able to execute a few before they were dispatched).

As Gao and Elektra reached the truck to escape, Luke and Falcon catch up with the group just in time to stop the climactic escape of the villain van! Luke lifted the rear of the truck and Jessica ripped off the door, and then shit started going down!

Unrelated urban combat setup sent a few weeks before the game. Honestly, I just thought it looked cool.
Elektra managed to wound Jessica and stun Luke (the Black Sky is quite the threat) as the rest of the team surrounded the van. Danny engaged in a one-on-one duel with Crossbones as the rest of the team held off other Hand and HYDRA goons, which became quite the cinematic climactic battle. Crossbones was going wild wailing on Danny but couldn't quite meet his Parry, becoming a brawler vs acrobatic kung fu battle, until the dice finally ruled that Crossbones was going to destroy Danny with 6 or 7 wounds. Just as all hoped seemed lost, though, Danny's player pulled out the Adventure Card that allowed the redirecting of one attack to the nearest character—in this case, Danny pulled Crossbones' super-punch into one of his own agents, and then followed up by targeting his gauntlets to disable them.

As Luke ripped the steering wheel out of the truck to make sure that escape wouldn't be an option, Gao pulled out a sling-ring (more world-building!) to quickly evacuate herself, Elektra, and Crossbones, along with a couple of very frightened Extras. All in all, nearly all of the hostages were rescued (two were executed by the Hand and one was accidentally flung through a glass wall by Madame Gao), and as the cops began to arrive, the Defenders vanished into the night, leaving only Falcon to take the credit. The one shot was so successful that he's already been getting sequel requests, and I do hope he's able to come up with more stuff to this effect again.

This was awesome for me to watch unfold from across the country and hearing about how well the session went afterwards was a very elating few minutes in a very hectic and busy week for me. I do want to take some of the credit since a lot of my posts on here helped inspire some of the stats of various character builds and villains, but the bulk of the creative work falls on Todd for putting together such an awesome concept and executing it in such a cool manner. The extra work of minis and maps to round out the experience makes it so much better!

To all you readers, I hope that Todd's awesome work helps inspire you to run similar scenarios: most of the work I put into this, aside from allowing people to compare their own characters (supers or otherwise) to these big-screen heroes is allowing people to access this huge library of MCU-themed resources so that they can use them and focus their game prep on more creative scenario stuff. For stuff like this, re-balancing power levels between various characters may be a good idea, but due to the flexibility and low power-curve of Savage Worlds, almost every character here can be run alongside each other and still feel like you're part of the bigger world of the MCU—more experienced gamers that can handle the much longer list of Edges that characters like Captain America possesses could absolutely run him alongside, or even against heroes like the Defenders or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters (once I finally make some progress with them).

I love seeing work being inspired and successful due to this weird, obsessive hobby of mine, and I hope you guys do, too. If any of the rest of you end up doing stuff like this, I'd love to see pictures and hear stories from your tables of the time when Falcon teamed up with the Defenders, or some wacky adventure that the Guardians of the Galaxy stumbled into across the universe, or even the universe-crossing event of S.H.I.E.L.D. teaming up with Batman to defeat a full five-person team of League of Legends champions that the Avengers simply didn't have time to deal with.

Oh and yes, I am still working on my MCU overhaul. Some characters are getting powered up a bit (Cap's combat prowess and experience) with others being powered down a little (Iron Man's gadgets aren't double-dipping on the Contingent and Device modifiers anymore), but accuracy has always been my goal and I think that I'm starting to get pretty close; stick around for the fun!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Danny Rand—Iron Fist

The final Defender arrives! I just finished Iron Fist and I wanted to pump this entry out before school picks back up for me again—won't have time to work as much when that happens.

I've also made minor adjustments to Daredevil, given that he's not nearly as talented a fighter as Iron Fist (DD's skillset is more focused around being intimidating, lawyering, and noticing everything).

Name: Daniel Rand
Race: Human
Experience: 65 (Heroic)
Power Level: Street Fighter with Super Karma (Rising Stars; 30 PP)
Agility d10; Smarts d6; Spirit d10; Strength d6; Vigor d8
Pace 6; Parry 10; Charisma –2; Toughness 6
Hindrances: Clueless, Heroic, Loyal, Outsider, Phobia (m, airplane turbulence), Vow (M—sworn enemy of the Hand)
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Powers), Filthy Rich, Combat Sense, Dodge, Level Headed, Nerves of Steel, Martial Artist, Acrobat, Counterattack, Improved Frenzy, Improved First Strike, Block.
Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d12+1, Investigation d4, Knowledge (Kun'Lun) d4, Notice d8, Stealth d8.
Inventory: Clothes, iPod.
  • Animal Control (1): Level 1. Limitation (–1, can only be used to pacify animals). (Zen animal empathy.)
  • Armor +8 (3): Heavy Armor. Requires Activation, Limitation (–2, right hand only), Limitation (–2, Benny and Spirit roll to activate; failure disables this for the day. GM may impose penalties for un-zen circumstances), Limitation (–1, Spirit roll to maintain every round). (The Iron Fist is indestructible.)
  • Attack, Melee (6): Damage Str+3d6, AP 4, Heavy Weapon, One Arm. Contingent on successful armor. (The Iron Fist.)
  • Healing (5): Cure. Contingent on successful armor, Limitation (–1, Cure incurs 2 points of Fatigue, failure Incapacitates). (Channeling the chi from the iron fist to repair the body.)
  • Super Attribute (4): Agility +1, Spirit +1. (Exceptional training and zen demeanor.)
  • Super Edge (8): Combat Sense, Dodge, Level Headed, Nerves of Steel. (Exceptional training and zen demeanor.)
  • Super Skill (3): Fighting +2, Notice +1. (Exceptional training and zen demeanor.)

Danny Rand was born to the billionaire founders of Rand Enterprises. Raised in a sheltered upbringing in New York with his friends Joy and Ward Meachum, Danny was a good-hearted kid, even through Ward's bullying. Unfortunately, on a family trip to China, Danny's plane went down in the Himalayas, killing both of his parents. Danny was found by a group of mysterious monks, who took him back to the mystical city of Kun'Lun.

The monks there trained him, particularly Lei Kung, the Thunderer, in the mystical martial arts. Danny was also taught to keep his emotions in check, though he seemed to have trouble pushing emotions from his heart in times of stress, and his penchant for trouble-making with his best friend Davos resulted in many stories. However, having learned the art of zen combat, Danny was chosen to partake in the Trial of Shou-Lao the Undying, an enormous dragon beast. Danny subdued the beast and plunged his fists into its molten heart—a tattoo of Shou-Lao burned itself onto his chest, and Danny became the Iron Fist, sworn enemy of the Hand.

15 years after his plane went down, the gates of Kun'Lun opened once again, allowing Danny to escape into the world and make his way back to New York. His antics in entering the Rand Enterprises headquarters, however, complicated matters, with Ward branding him as an insane person trying to steal the Rand name and submitting Danny to an asylum. Eventually, though, things were ironed out and Danny was reinstated within the company, and immediately started driving profits down with idealistic and unwise business decisions, much to the chagrin of Ward and Joy.

In this time, Danny met Colleen Wing, a martial artist in Chinatown, and Claire Temple, one of her students, and began to work with them to uncover a heroin manufacturer by the docks. This turned out to be run by Madame Gao and the Hand, who were using it to gain an economic foothold in the city. Danny also found out that Harold Meachum, his father's best friend, was still alive, albeit through poor life decisions and a deal with the Hand. Danny did his best to apprehend the Hand and save as many as he could, but when Colleen was poisoned by a fight with the Hand (and Danny discovered the healing capabilities of the Iron Fist), they ended up in an installation with an imprisoned Gao, only to find out that Colleen was a member of a different faction of the Hand all along.

Escaping with Davos, who only recently found him in New York, they retreated for Danny to recharge his chi and destroy this rogue faction of the Hand with the assistance of Colleen, but not before Ward and Joy were put into serious danger at the hand of Bakuto, this Hand faction's leader. After dealing with this threat, Danny discovered that Harold Meachum might have engineered the plane accident to kill his parents, and worked with Ward and Joy (newly on his side in light of the revelation) to defeat Harold (with the killing blow attributed to Ward's gun).

Danny offered to bring Colleen back to Kun'Lun, but at the gates, they discovered that an attack had occured and the gates were shut. They will likely pick up here in the Defenders later this year.

Power Stunts:
  • Deflection (4): –6 to hit with ranged attacks. Contingent on a successful armor. Danny uses the Iron Fist to deflect a bullet against Harold in the series' climax.
  • Explode (5): Damage 4d8, Large Burst Template. Contingent on a successful armor. Danny uses the Iron Fist to slam into the ground, causing massive amounts of damage to the rooms and security officers around him.
  • Parry +4 (4): During Danny's tournament against the Hand, he goes full zen and effortlessly blocks hits from his opponent.

So, it was a quick and dirty Savaging, and boy I don't think I've ever seen anyone with a Persuasion that low (d4–4 with his Outsider modifiers). The Iron Fist, however, is quite powerful, and will only grow moreso as he gains Experience, and his status as a Rising Star allows him to gain even more uses of his chi as time goes on. Personally, I'm thorouhgly interested to see what he ends up with in the future.

Leave your questions, comments, and complaints about the show's weak writing and choreography below. Don't be too harsh, though; it was mediocre, not total garbage.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Jessica Jones—Private Eye

In the essence of continuing to put out content on this blog, as opposed to letting it die, I'll go ahead and put out a mainstay super heroine, who should be one of the heroes present in the upcoming Defenders show on Netflix.

Name: Jessica Jones
Race: Human
Experience: 60 (Heroic)
Power Level: Street Fighter with Super Karma (35 PP)
Agility d8; Smarts d8; Spirit d8; Strength d12+4; Vigor d8
Pace 8; Parry 6; Charisma 0; Toughness 9
Hindrances: Habit (M—Alcohol), Heroic, Mean, Night Terrors, Poverty, Short Temper
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Powers), Attractive, The Best There Is (super strength), Luck, Fleet-Footed, Investigator, Elan, Counterattack, Nerves of Steel, Dodge.
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Investigation d8, Persuasion d6, Notice d8, Shooting d4, Stealth d6, Streetwise d10, Taunt d4, Throwing d4.
Inventory: Camera, Cell Phone, Hip Flask.
  • Attack, Melee (4): Damage Str+d6, Heavy Weapon, Lethal, Multiple Attacks.
  • Leaping (4): Level 5. Leaps 32" vertically and 64" horizontally. Limitation (–1, leaping is an action above Level 1. Level 2 requires a Spirit roll, Level 3 requires a Spirit roll at –2, Level 4 requires a Spirit roll at –4, Level 5 at –6).
  • Regeneration (5): Level 2, rolls to heal every hour. Recovery.
  • Resistance (1): Complete immunity to Kilgrave's control.
  • Super Attribute (16): Strength +7, Vigor +1.
  • Super Edge (2): Fleet-Footed.
  • Toughness +3 (3): Enhanced physiology.
Jessica Jones was in an accident at a young age, which killed her brother and parents. While recovering in a hospital, Jessica was joined by her friend Trish Walker and her mother, who adopted her because it would be good for the public image. While living with Trish, though, Jessica discovered that she had developed superhuman powers in her crash.

Years later, after Jessica quit a lousy day job, she started to become more and more comfortable with her powers, and was almost convinced by Trish to actually put her talents towards the super hero business. Unfortunately, tragedy befell her when she was found by Kilgrave, who mind controlled her and forced her to effectively be his "girlfriend," where he raped her and used her abilities to make her his personal muscle. Jessica was finally able to break free after Kilgrave forced her to murder an innocent woman. Kilgrave appeared to have been killed in a bus crash moments later. Jessica developed a drinking problem and started suffering from PTSD due to the abuse she suffered.

Shortly afterwards, Jessica became a private investigator under her own company: Alias Investigations. Jessica cooperated with lawyer Jeri Hogarth taking odd jobs that no one else was able to deliver on, and her exceptional talent kept the bills paid and the lights on. On another job, Jessica found and befriended (and later became more than friends with) a bartender named Luke Cage. Shortly afterward, however, she began to uncover evidence that Kilgrave had actually survived the crash, and was currently out for vengeance. 

Jessica took it upon herself to stop Kilgrave, saving cop Will Simpson, who attempted to help her capture Kilgrave. Unfortunately, their leads went south, and Jessica was forced to stay with Kilgrave at her old house for a few days. Simpson was severely wounded in an attempt to save Jessica, but Jessica was able to knock out and escape with Kilgrave, trapping him in a hermetically sealed room.

Through a variety of means, Jessica was able to lure Kilgrave's parents to her in an attempt to reason with him: they had performed horrible experiments on him, granting him his powers, and unfortunately, he killed his mother and kidnapped his father, escaping from the room but revealing that Jessica was no longer subject to his control. In attempting to track Kilgrave down again, Kilgrave killed the girl that led Jessica to him and escaped as she bled out.

Jessica was then lured into an unrelated trap by Simpson, who was amped up on some kind of enhancement drug. She, along with Trish (also on Simpson's pills) managed to beat him into submission, though Trish was hospitalized through what effectively amounts to an overdose. Soon after, Jessica bore witness to an explosion at Luke's Bar, and Luke begins helping her track Kilgrave back down. Upon finding him, however, it's revealed that Kilgrave still had control over Luke, forcing him to fight and try to kill Jessica. Jessica incapacitated him via shotgun to the head and brought him to Claire Temple for treatment while she went to finish dealing with Kilgrave, ultimately snapping his neck.

Jessica still suffers from PTSD, but her status as a powered person is now more or less public knowledge, and her business appears to be booming. Only time will tell if she's still able to do her job or if she's drowning her sorrows in booze.

JJ's leaping has its limitation on it because she only truly leaps once, when she was bringing Kilgrave away from the house he acquired. This makes it something more of a last-ditch ability than something that's incorporated into her usual transportation.

Anyways, I've finally started making some waves in this little pond again; it's been too long. Leave questions, comments, and suggestions below.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Patch Notes—Luke Cage

This is our second set of patch notes, and while it's a bit late (and it's certainly been a while since we've gotten to posting anything here). While there's not all too much being patched in here, I did Luke quite some time ago and I figured it was worth drawing attention to his changes.


Luke Cage
Advance Changes:
  • Experience increased from 35 to 55.
    • Luke has clearly had much more experience during his time in Seagate then we were led to believe in Jessica Jones. Most of the following changes are made in light of the new show.
  • Driving lowered from d6 to d4.
  • Fighting increased from d6 to d8.
  • Shooting d4 added.
  • Streetwise lowered from d8 to d6.
  • Swimming d8 added.
  • Taunt d4 added.
  • Poverty, Vengeful (minor) and Wanted (major) Hindrances added.
  • Brawler, Counterattack, Level Headed, and Sweep added.
  • Hard to Kill removed.
    • This has instead been moved to one of Luke's Powers.
Power Changes:
  • Ageless added.
  • Armor reduced from +14 to +12.
    • Heavy Armor added. Limitation (–1, Heavy Armor ignored by blunt damage) added.
    • Limitation (–2, Armor +6 vs blunt weapons) removed from armor.
      • Luke's unbreakable skin has been shown to be vulnerable to blunt damage, and even more resistant to "small-arms" fire, never even being Shaken by it. Having his Heavy Armor bypassed by blunt damage seemed to be an appropriate compromise.
  • Regeneration increased from Level 1 to Level 2.
    • Recovery removed.
    • Limitation (–1, regeneration is negated if shrapnel is stuck inside).
  • Resistance (Cold) removed.
    • Luke was wearing a jacket as the winter months approached; clearly he isn't resistant to low temperatures.
  • Super Strength decreased from +7 to +6. Heavy Weapon added.
  • Super Edge: Hard to Kill added.
  • Toughness +1 added.
Luke Cage Season 1 Advances:
  • 60 Experience: Sweep.
  • 65 Experience: Tracking d4.
  • 70 Experience: Nerves of Steel.
This makes Luke far more durable and puts him better in line with what we see over the course of his show. I'm hoping to at least keep up with main characters right now as I work to update the other heroes to a new standard. Jessica Jones should be coming soon!