Sunday, February 12, 2006

Mutants & Masterminds session #3

Brian had finished his baffling conversation with the Confetti Ninja
and began working on dismantling and investigating the robot that he had run over repeatedly with his van. His goal was to determine perhaps who had sent this robot. That information was not found but he did find a power core of unknown content. The other task Brian set to was to take the best images from my security cameras of the Confetti Ninja, map them to a CGI model, place that model in front of a 7-11 image and post it to the Internet to some super-person discussion group. "Have you seen this ninja?" He took it out of context because he wanted a good image that separated it from the lab a little bit.

During the course of this, a limo pulled up to the gate. The passenger spoke with Aimee (the lab's computer) introducing himself as Luther Lexington.

Now, here I have to digress a little. One of the other players characters is called Cosmic Kid. (Brian hasn't met him yet). Cosmic Kid is just like Superman but without the super strength (he couldn't afford the points). He also comes with all of Superman's back story and baggage, all not-so-subtly changed to avoid copyright infringement. One of his buddies growing up in Tinyville was Luther Lexington. Ugh.

Anyway. I asked the GM what I knew of this Luther Lexington and all he said was that he was the son of corporate magnate Leonidas Lexington. The name Leonidas seemed familiar but I couldn't place it. It was late and Brian was working on the robot so Aimee passed on the message that Luther should make an appointment for a time during what would be considered business hours. Luther made a stink that he had an offer that would expire when he left. Aimee told him to have a good evening.

I could tell that the GM was stumped. He seems fairly used to laying out very clear plotlines and having his players follow them. My insistence on playing the character and ignoring the path he set out for me confused him. He pulled a bunch of pages out of his plot document and moved on to dealing with the other players.

During that, I listened in on what they were doing. There had been some sort of break in and fight at Lexington Corporation and they had obtained a data disk of some sort. They went to Freedom Hall (superhero central) to see if they could get the information off of it. They screwed it up but before the disk destroyed itself they got a screen that said "Project Θερμοπύλαι". I don't know Greek but as they worked their way through I heard them saying "Thermo-something."

I started laughing. Laughing hard. It was Project Thermopylae. The Battle of Thermopylae was the famous battle in 480 BC where 300 Spartans, lead by King Leonidas, held off an army of a million Persians. The Gates of Fire. So, it shouldn't be surprising that Leonidas Lexington is working on a Project Thermopylae.(I couldn't place the name because the GM pronounced it with a short-i sound in the middle and, since I didn't know proper Greek pronunciation, I had always pronounced it with a long-i.)

What bothered me about this was that the GM kept dropping hints until they figured it out. If he wanted them to know, why did he make it such a puzzle? Wouldn't it have made more sense to keep them in the dark, challenge them to figure it out for themselves or have them go to Brian to find out?

Back to Brian. Still overnight, The Confetti Ninja teleported into the lab again whereupon the defense systems immediately started shooting at him. He bounced around, asking Brian to "quit it."


The GM seemed a little taken aback by the question and had the Ninja
respond "Because you're the nearest thing to a friend I have in the world."

"Really. That's ironic because you are the nearest thing to an arch-enemy I have in the world."

Brian let him dance a little while longer before stopping the shooting The Ninja presented him with a dark rock with green crystals in it. He was told it was unbihexium. As a player, I knew immediately that this was really a stand-in for kryptonite. I also guessed that it was this unbihexium that was in the robot's power core and that it probably had to do with Luther Lexington's visit and Project Thermopylae. The Ninja also threw down a pressure suit and said that Brian should put it on in the morning.

Brian ignored him.

When morning came, the Ninja teleported in again and was immediately fired upon. After jumping around a bit, he grabbed Brian and the suit and teleported to the downtown area. (I knew he wouldn't teleport into the vacuum of space without his having the suit on). There was a fight going on. A red Hulk-like being had thrown a truck through a restaurant windows and the other player characters were fighting him. Using player knowledge that Cosmic Kid was being mentally affected, I had Brian put on the suit, believing that perhaps the Red Hulk was emitting some sort of confusing gas that the suit would protect against. After that, what is a Super-Genius going to do against a rampaging monster? I asked the GM what might be available such as power lines, convenient vehicles and so on that could be used. He gave me nothing. Brian had to resort to pulling his blaster and shooting.Brian noticed a green crystalline spike in the Red Hulk's back. The assumption was that this was unnatural and it was this crystal that was driving the action either through pain or through remote control. In either case, when the Red Hulk was stunned and Cosmic Kid was compelled by the GM to go for the crystal, I thought it was a bad thing. The GM granted Judgement (the other player character, a teleporting energy caster) a Hero Point and said that he goes for the crystal. The GM awarded me a Hero Point saying that I shoot the crystal.

Harrumph. The awarding of Hero Points is compensation for the GM taking control of your character and forcing you to do something your character wouldn't normally do so that he can advance the plot in the direction he wants it to go. I really dislike this. Especially since the previous monkey wrenches I have thrown into the plot, not meeting with Luther Lexington for example, have been met with confusion on the GM's part. Judgement was going to try to stop Cosmic Kid from grabbing the crystal. I also though it was a bad idea and was going to shoot Cosmic Kid. What the GM makes happen is that Cosmic Kid and Judgement both touch the crystal and I shoot the crystal. Suddenly, we are teleported above Europa in orbit around Jupiter.

The crystal races off to the surface. Judgement can't teleport back to Earth (another plot device). Cosmic Kid flies us down to the surface. Noone can talk to one another in the vacuum so the two of them begin using their Freedom League secret-decoder PDAs. Brian hacks them so he can listen in. The crystal has grown into a Fortress of Solitude (tm). Cosmic Kid flies the group off to that. They are attacked by Omega Drones.

Omega Drones are robot minions of a supervillan called Omega. Really
powerful stuff. Anyway, at the Fortress there is air so Brian can take off his helmet. Introductions all around. Cosmic Kid gets the "This is Your Life" message from Marlon Brando. Brian and Judgement are encased in ice while Cosmic Kid races back to Earth. When Brian and Judgement are released, Omega is there. Judgement teleports Brian and himself back to Earth where it is only a few moments after they left. Brian finished the fight by blasting the Red Hulk.

Plot Hole #1: Why didn't the Red Hulk teleport with the rest of the group grabbing the crystal? He had the crystal imbedded in his back. Plot Hole #2: Why couldn't Judgement teleport and then was suddenly able to teleport? Plot Hole #3: How did Deadpool (I'll start using that name because Brian finally learned it) know that Brian was going on an interplanetary trip?

I really dislike Deadpool. I believe that the GM would really rather be playing Deadpool as a character and grants him super powers so that he can always win. Those super powers include secret information about where the plot is going and the ability to ignore the need to roll dice to judge the success or failure of any action so as to advance said linear plot. In fanfic this kind of character is referred to as a Mary Sue.

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