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 goods 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!
—DoctorBoson

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