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Introduction: “You’re Either With Us or Against Us”
We live in a world defined by the terrible events of 9/11. Across the World, anti-Terror legislation required all those possessing super-human powers register with the authorities and either join the fight against super-villains or be branded a traitor to Freedom.
Super Powered individuals who managed to cope with the News of the World "outings" of Mutants, or the official Government-lead McCarthy-ism of the post 9/11 War on Terror, were forced to join MI-13, the UK's third Intelligence agency, dealing exclusively with Super-Powered threats to the UK. Nevertheless, all agents are under constant surveillance, must meet a case-worker monthly for 're-evaluation interviews' and must account for their movements should they leave the UK.
Those who were deemed to be a risk to the Western way of life, or who refused registration and the enforced conscription in the War on Terror were either interred in Super-Max prisons or went underground as ‘Enemies of the State’.
In the UK, Belmarsh Prison has been used to detain a number of super-villains indefinitely without charge or trial under the provisions of Part 4 of the Anti-Mutant, Crime and Security Act 2001, leading it to be called the “British version of New York’s The Raft”.
We played Marvel Heroic Roleplay last night, with myself as GM with three players. Simon, Beth & Dave played as The Thing, Shadow Cat & Spiderman respectively, rushing to contain a breakout at HMP Belmarsh, the UK's supermax prison for mutant villains. Shadow Cat flew to the prison, Thing rode to SE London on a scooter and spidey hitched a ride under a convenient helicopter that was on route to the prison after London suffered a blackout and all of the electricity was diverted into the prison and it's generators overloaded. The ensuing power overload shut down the security at the prison and the heroes had to stop the escape of the many dangerous prisoners there.
As Shadow Cat flew to the prison, she saw a mysterious figure flying away from its grounds at high speed. Zooming after the fleeing mutant, she was unable to catch up, but did see that the figure was carrying another person - someone who bore an uncanny resemblance to john Lennon. The thing meanwhile, having arrived at the prison, clambered over the high outer walls and entered the prison grounds to see Count Nefaria clambering from a gaping hole in the roof of the facility, with a horde of mutants clambering from the underground cells behind him. Spidey, still clinging to the underneath of a helicopter dropped down into the hole in an attempt to reach the backup generator and get the security system back on line.
Topside, Shadow Cat and The Thing double-teamed in an attempt to take down Count Nefaria. Shadow Cat flew after the fleeing villain to block his escape, while The Thing wrapped him up in a steel girder and tethered him to the ground. Eventually the count was subdue and captured. The horde of villains coming up from the cells however soon leapt into the fray as well. Beneath ground, Spider Man was clambering through the pitch black prison wing trying to reach the emergency generators. He approached the generator room to find his old nemesis Carnage was already there.
Back on the surface, The Thing tried to block the gaping hole by collapsing a section of wall. He demolished one of the admin blocks, and managed to pile rubble and reinforced concrete around the hole creating a hindrance for the escaping villains. The horde of villains, still tring to escape, clambered across the debris and all piled onto The Thing to try and bring him down. Meanwhile Shadow Cat, turning insubstantial, headed towards Block D, where the UK's greatest hero, Captain Britain, was being held after he voluntarily committed himself. He believed he had killed his love, Meggan, and Shadow Cat was going to try and convince him to rejoin the superhero community.
The Thing, covered in super villains, headed for the gaping hole in the ground and leapt down into the darkness, taking the thugs clinging to him, with him. Four floors down, the thugs were stunned into submission, and lay in an untidy heap on the floor around him. the Thing headed after Shadow Cat to see if he could help her with Captain Britain. Spidey was involved in a fight over the generator room, with him and Carnage throwing each other round and Spidey being generally quite snarky throughout. Shadow Cat, meanwhile had found Captain Britain, an empty shell of a super hero, sitting alone and pathetic in his cell, the door wide open.
The Thing and Shadow Cat again double-teamed to try and shake the Captain from his depression and get him into the fight. Together, they made the captain realise that his memory of killing his beloved was a fake, and he decided to regain his old identity and life as a crime fighter. In the generator room, spidey was making easy work of Carnage and the generators hummed back into life restarting the security system and effectively ending the breakout. Thanks to the three heroes, crisis was averted and the biggest prison breakout of super villains stopped. The only link they can find to the escaping john Lennon, is a rumour of a secret government internment facility linked to a company called Helix Corporation in the outer Hebrides.
There were long delays between player turns due to the way one person builds a dice pool, spends PP on it then rolls and allocates the dice, followed by the reacting player doing the same.
One thing I liked about MHR was the turn sequence. The GM sets the scene and then always chooses a player to go first. That player then chooses who goes next, including PCs and NPCs with the last person to act in a round choosing who goes first in the next round. A very simple system for determining initiative that creates quite a tactical element in play.
I did find putting together these A5 villain datacards made play a bit easier, as I could put them down in front of me, add complications directly to them and determine their order in a scene quite easily.
Overall, a bit of a fiddle to run, but it did give the feel of a comic. Would I run it again? Yes. And I think it would go smoother the second time round. It also probably helped that we only had 3 players as it was quite crunchy.
- Location: Forest Hill, South London
- Thanks: 12 given/17 received
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