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Newbie Gamer Advice


ORtrail

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No, not me. ;D My 25 yr old niece called yesterday to ask if I could teach her how to play an RPG. She has played WoW (World of Warcraft not Worlds of Wonder) a few times, but somehow got the idea she would like to try a pen and paper game. Actually, she wants to play a super hero. She has never been into comics or RPGs, but maybe the Avengers movie (or all the rest of the flood of super hero movies) got her interested.

The plan is to get together for a family dinner this coming Saturday, and find some time that evening to roll her up a character and play a quick game. My wife (who used to game back when we were dating and newly married -eons ago) is willing to play also. I might also get a brother-in-law to join us, he has played RPGs in the past. Both have some old super heros buried in a folder somewhere I could pull out.

The super hero genre is familiar, yet I think coming up with a character can be a difficult and complex process -even for veteran gamers. Should I go with a simpler genre? Since she seems to want the power levels of a supers game, I am thinking of just doing an improvised BRP version of Gamma World. Mutations = super powers, and easier character creation. A simple "fetch the artifact from those ruins" scenario? Of course she could surprise me and roll up a super hero with minimal fuss, so a "you're in the local bank when..." scenario would be a great introduction too.

Honestly, my first thought was she met some gamer guy and wanted to know more about RPGs. She says no, but I joked about those scenes from Big Bang Theory where a cute girl walks into the comic/gaming store. The niece lives just over an hour away, so I don't see this as a regular gaming thing with us, though if the wife gets interested again I guess it could be. Actually, part of this might be that she moved up from California this year and is looking to make new friends, so she might be thinking a gaming group would be a good start? I'll know more after this weekend, but in the meantime any thoughts/suggestions on what (or how) to run are welcome.

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Ask her what kind of superhero she wants to plan and generate a character or two for her before the game. This will avoid the awkward situation of the newbie rolling up a "dud" character or having to explain to her why such and such a power is not really worth the point cost. Let her know that normally you get to custom craft your hero from scratch and you just cranked one out so you can get to the playing faster.

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We are supposed to go shopping earlier in the day on Saturday, so she can pick up a set of dice. There are two comic/game stores in town with excellent selections of dice, so it will just be a matter of her finding the right color, etc. Which leads me to believe she wants to understand/experience the "process" of rolling up a character. I will chat with her again later today and see if she has an idea of what she wants. I might take the middleground and have most of the powers, equipment and such done in advance, but let her roll for stats and then modify with Hero points. Part of me thinks she should experience the entire process though, even if it takes and hour or so. Which is why the Gamma World character seems more attractive (roll stats, roll for some mutations, write down a bit of equipment) as it would be a quicker process and yet give much of the flavor of super gaming.

Post Apocalypse super heroes? So tempting... :)

Anyway, I want her to have a fun and positive experience. Our hobby could use more youthful gamers after all.

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filbanto's suggestions are good. Since your niece is role-playing for the first time, she needs to be free to concentrate on being her character, not wrestling with game mechanics. Pre-gens all around might be helpful if you can't locate that old folder -- as long as your other players can also give you an idea of what kind of heroes they want to be. In addition to asking her what type of character she wants to be, try to get a feel for what she has in mind for a superhero game. Although a Gamma World-ish game is certainly doable (Superhero League of Hoboken took that approach), such a game will be different from an Adam West fun fest or a grim Dark Knight Rises saga.

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I also say hold off on teaching her character generation,or even picking up her own dice until later. The first thing is probably to get her used to gaming, and seeing how it works in a general sense. How to roll dice and interpret the outcome, actions, cause & effect, playing in character (just a bit for now to get the concept across).

Greg Stafford noted long ago (in Prince Valiant) that the reason why he came up with PV was because people would often want to try one of his games, but couldn't do so on the fly, due to the time it would take to learn the game and generate a character. PV was simple enough that it didn't take very long to learn how to play or create a character.

I suggest using as simple a set of rules as you can to start. If you got your heart set on BRP (sadly, not a good choice for Superhero gaming "out of the box"), you should probably go with the Quickstart, or, if you got Worlds of Wonder, Superworld. Unfortunately, Superpowers require an added level of complexity over the core rules, and the superhero genre requires some tweaking of the BRP damage system. Work out whatever house rules you need to make thing work before hand, and get a print out that the newbies can refer to. THat way, they don;t get confused later on when they read the rules and try to figure out why it didn't work that way in play.

What you are going to need for an adventure is something fairly basic, yet fun. Basic so that it can teach the fundamentals, like skill rolls, hit points, the resistance table, whatever powers the characters have, yet fun so the players don't loose interest. New players want to play NOW, but usually don't really know enough to do so in more than a rudimentary fashion.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Honestly, if you want an easy to use game system with little or no character generation that a newbie could pick up within a few minutes and can do SuperHeroes then I would strongly suggest HeroQuest.

Forget the fancy rules, just have Super Powers as Affinities, with specific Break-Outs describing special powers and you are good to go. You only need D20s, can write a character on an index card, have a 5 minute character generation and can spend 5 minutes explaining the rules. If you want to be really fancy, you can print out a Results Matrix as well.

The rest you can wing.

Edited by soltakss

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Why don't you do this:

Find out what sort of character she wants to play, and build up 2-3 sample 'power packages' for the character based on the BGB "Powers" stuff.

Then, she still gets to roll up a character, but you save her the tedium and option-paralysis of having to pick powers.

You could also break up her skill points into chunks, instead of having her spend them individually. 60 points to one skill, 40 points to two skills, and 20 points to five skills for occupation skills if you're using the 240-point spread. Add a second 60-point skill if you want to go with 300 points, etc. Hobby skills can be done the same way.

I find that doing it that way, new players don't focus on spreading their skill points out among a bunch of skills, but rather look at the character in terms of "What are the core things my guy's good at".

The rest of chargen for BRP is super easy. Just rolling stats, figuring damage bonus, Hit Points, etc., and then you're off and running.

Please don't contact me with Chaosium questions. I'm no longer associated with the company, and have no idea what the new management is doing.

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First, thanks to everyone for their input, except you soltakiss -why you got me BUYING more RPGs??? :) Seriously though, after talking with her she is fine with me creating 2-3 character concepts for her. Zomben, I like the way you think, and will follow along those lines. Oh, she wants her own dice, so I'll let her pick them out and then ("surprise") pay for them as her "welcome to pen and paper RPGs" gift.

I'm going to use the WoW version of Superworld, with the designer notes from Different Worlds #23, some select bits from the boxed version of Superworld, and some house rules. I thought seriously about using the old Marvel Super Heroes game, an even simpler introduction to RPGs. Or the shiny new DC Adventures based on the new Mutants & Masterminds, but I don't know the system that well and it would not be cool to have the GM stopping and looking up things every 10 minutes or so. It has been about 15 years since I gamed with a complete newbie to RPGs, I am surprised at how geeked I am to help someone learn to play. Especially when it is someone I didn't think would EVER want to try something so nerdy. Not having kids, I guess this is how you parents feel when you sit down for the first time with your children.

Okay, I'm going to very flexible when it comes to the first adventure. I might end up with just the niece playing, but if my wife's health issues don't flare up she will be there, and that leaves her brother as the most iffy. His wife had surgery a few weeks back and is doing fine, but she might have him on a short leash.

I sat down earlier today and roughed out an outline for an adventure. It starts with her character dropping by a bank, and yes, moments after she enters robbers burst through the front doors. If she is solo I will have 3-4 gang members with guns. If there are two characters (I'll have the second hero be on patrol nearby or having followed the robber's van after noticing they looked suspicious) I'll add in two minor super villians. You know that show Criminal Minds? I've always joked, "Criminal Mimes!" when I see it on. Yes, a husband and wife team of evil mimes who can mime things into reality. Mime shooting a gun? The target gets shot (well, roll to attack anyway) and they suffer damage. Try and hit that mime? They mimic being behind a brick wall, etc. Should be fun, I'm used to running talkative villians and this will be quite the change of pace. I can have the gang members talk if needed I suppose. I'll bump up the Criminal Mimes power levels if I end up with three players/heroes.

If there is time left, I'll have a 9 yr old girl give a handmade poster (thank you Google images) to the nieces character. Miss Kitty, the lovable calico cat has gone missing, can she help? By incredible coincidence of comic proportions, the gang van has a number of pet carriers in the back. Seems one of the thugs was nabbing calico cats and selling them for extra drug money. Selling to a rogue scientist of course, with a secret lab across town in the old warehouse district. The scientist was hired by very weathy old widow to recreate her beloved calico who died of old age last year. He needs various bits of DNA from an assortment of calico cats to make this work. Working in a bad neighborhood means the scientist has hired a super powered mercenary named Watchdog and a few of his men to guard the lab. If she is solo, she can take out the two guards while Watchdog needs a few moments to ready himself. If there are two or more heroes I'll have the scientist himself be a minor villain with genetic enhancements (speed, claws, etc.) and maybe throw in a mutated pet of his for good measure (human-dog hybrid, loyal and mean). "Save the cat, save the world." :)

Time permitting, I would like to have her do a bit more investigative work, maybe working with some police contacts for example who can trace the owner of the van who loaned it out for the robbery and is actually the one rounding up the cats for $200 each? The combat should be fun in a supers game, but some more role playing opportunities and NPC interaction should help her see the advantage of pen and paper RPGs over the computer versions (namely freedom to try what you want).

As always, thoughts and suggestion are welcomed.

Edited by ORtrail
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We are not trying to be aggressive to your purse, ORTrail, it is just that if there is a genre that HeroQuest does way better than BRP, that is supers. For a million reasons explained around here.

We strongly believe that the time needed for you to become familiar with the HQ rules would be lower than the time needed for the players to learn BRP rules, and for both GM and players to become really familiar with how the powers work. And character generation in HQ is faster than in BRP.

Proud member of the Evil CompetitionTM

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I like your prospective adventure, simple and straightforward with opportunities to expand into a campaign if your niece enjoys herself. The Criminal Mimes are a hoot; make sure they run the whole mime theme into the ground with their (invisible?) tools, henchmen, costumes, transportation, choice of crime targets, and hideout. The calico cat caper is a good follow-up adventure. Hope things go smoothly and that you and your family have fun. At the end, you'll have already introduced a rogue's gallery of villains -- the Mimes, Watchdog, the Evil Geneticist, their assorted goons, and the rich little old lady (who may not like having her project interrupted). One or more of them could easily become recurring nemeses for your niece's character.

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Yeah, if defense of soltakss, the issue here is that BRP isn't a good fit for superhero RPGing. But, since you are using WoW Superworld with some tweaks it should work. IMO going with the old Marvel RPG or pretty much any dedicated superhero RPG over BRP is a good idea. Not that BRP is bad, just that the laws of physics (and "reality" in general) in a Superhero setting are different from those of BRP.

Have you worked out how your heroine is going to be able to slip out of her street clothes and get into costume so she can fight the mimes without being spotted? If she can't change clothes she might be hampered in dealing with the criminals.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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One of the best Supers campaign I even ran had a situation where a teenage PC hero got into trouble at home because he lost some of his street clothes while fighting super villains in costume. I was hard to explain how he could possibly loose his brand new school clothes. Any plausible excuse would probably have been worse than telling the truth.

It's funny watching a character who could go the distance with the Rhino, a T-Rex, and thwart an alien invasion, squirm at the thought of facing Mom.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Yeah, getting into your costume is an issue for supers nowadays. Portable devices are way more convenient than phone booths, but you cannot get into a cellphone to change your clothes.

The younger generation of superheroes does find portable devices useful ...

But if you're not a gadget hound, you can always find an empty room, closet, hallway or alley and twirl around in a circle ...

Or, you can dive out the window of your high-rise office building and click your bracelets together ...

The avengers funny scene "Loki v.s Tony Stark" - YouTube

Or, clench your teeth and fists and concentrate really, really hard ...

Allow them to make you angry. They won't like you when you're angry ...

First ever hulk-out - series transformation music - YouTube

But if you can move fast enough, it just doesn't matter ...

;)

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Okay, a lot to respond to here. My choice of Superworld is for a number of reasons. I know the game system very well, it will be easy for her to pick up (percentages, the rest is details) and if you stick with 'street level' type supers BRP works just fine (nothing above Spiderman, and excellent for Hawkman, Captain America, and Batman types). I did take a look at the Heroquest: Core Rules PDF preview over on RPGNow -it's even on sale. Interesting enough that I will check to see if I can find a physical copy this weekend. Failing that, I might just get the PDF version. That said, I would rather she learn BRP right now, and then it would be an easy transition to some other BRP genres. Agenda? Me? :)

Have you worked out how your heroine is going to be able to slip out of her street clothes and get into costume so she can fight the mimes without being spotted? If she can't change clothes she might be hampered in dealing with the criminals. It had crossed my mind, she might opt for a Public ID and it wont matter, but even if she does I will have the Criminal Mimes knock out the electrical systems in the bank. How? My first thought was, "The first mime strides confidently through the bank doors, then shuffles his feet as he turns to the nearest wall. As he touches the wall, there is a spark -lightbulbs burst and the building is plunged into shadow. The second mime does a whipping motion, knocking a smartphone from the hand of a customer who was trying to take photos or video. She then puts her finger to her mouth in a shushing motion and points to the floor. You feel a curious urge to quietly drop to the floor -the other customers and bank employees seem to feel the same." A good time to introduce the Resistance table, and she can dive behind a desk to change if need be. My second thought was to have the male mime draw a 'U' shape in the air, grab it, and wave it around the room, knocking out the electrical systems and all phones, etc. The female mime will head over to the vault, draw an door outline upon it, open it, and phase through the vault door. Naturally, I'll act out as much of the mime actions as I can. The limit to what these Criminal Mimes could do will be based on the damage levels I give them. Need to fly? Flap your arms or mime putting on a jetpack. Sonic attack? Mime drawing a bell and hit it with a mime hammer. Entangle attack? Mime a rope and lasso them. Need to throw in a bow and arrow mime attack for good measure. :)

Oh, the family dinner is probably moved to the 10th of November, but I will try to get together with her and the wife to roll up characters (and buy dice, maybe HeroQuest too) this weekend. Speaking of characters, I have some ideas outlined on paper for her character:

Jitterbug:

Very similar to the Marvel Wasp character. She shrinks, shoots an electroblast, flys with little wings, OR this could be a speedster type.

Future Shock

A cyberpunk type of hero. Nantech enhanced, with a Taser Bullet pistol, retractable metal claws, and a cyberpath (telepathy but only with computer networks, smart devices).

Countess

A low level Supergirl type. Super strength, flight, energy blast, invulnerability.

Magna Lupus

A Hulk type in that she changes from human to a humanoid wolf, with a sidekick large wolf, animal control of canines, some heightened senses, natural weapons with bite and claws.

The great thing is, I'll use the ones she doesn't want as villains or rival heroes. I did find that folder with a bunch of old characters, but we'll start fresh anyway, maybe bring the older ones in as mentors and such.

BTW, the smiley face in my earlier post was to show I was not in the least actually upset with soltakiss for his suggestion about HeroQuest. I will readily admit the older I get the less inclined I am to learn new game systems though, unless something really grabs me. Universal systems still do that for me.

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Okay, a lot to respond to here. My choice of Superworld is for a number of reasons. I know the game system very well...

In my humble opinion, this is the best argument, especially for a GM dealing with beginners...

If you know the system very well and like it, it will work. No matter how clumsy the game may be... I once ran an adventure with D&D (one of the very first version of the Basic Set) and my players really enjoyed it!

So, since you want to play with Superworld, no matter what other can say. It is the best choice.

It's very easy to adapt a game system that you know by heart. It is harder to learn a new one in so few days... Even if it is very close from Superworld. Every game has it specific approach, and those little detail which is different enough to end with frantic research through the book, moaning: "Damned! where is this rule? In the other edition, it was page 127... Why don't I find it now? I still read it several time today!"

Thus, Runequest may be a very good advice, because it appears to be a very great game. But later. When you will have More time to read it and to learn it.

___

Second, I wanted to say that there are several very good hints I wanted to emphasize.

Pregenerated characters. Or, if you really don't want pregenerated characters, almost pregenerated ones. That is, characters that you have just to customize, by allowing some points in some skills, for instance, or by choosing between two or several equivalent powers...

In computer roleplaying games, characters are very fast to design. Spending one hour to do one in a pen and paper roleplaying game can be quite boring for a beginner. It is interesting for someone who know the system very well: he can design acharacter he really wants to play. But for someone who see the system for the very first time, there is already so much to learn that it is an impossible task...

___

And finally, my most important hint...

Before beginning your adventure, design a very, very short adventure. Just one encounter, in one place. Nothing more.

New players have to learn a lot of thing: what they can do, how to describe their actions, how many actions they can describe during their turn, what they have to roll to know whether they succeed, and so on... All these things are handled by the computer in World of Warcraft and the likes. They just push a button and the computer immediately answers... So newbies, true newbies often have a lot of problems just to understand dialog between the Game Master and them.

It often happens like that...

Player: So, I open the door, enter the room, search the desk, find the file I was looking for...

GM: No... Wait a minute... You can do all that... Just describe what you try, only one action at a time, and then, you don't say whether you succeed... Dice are made to say whether you succeed.

Player: OK... Sorry... I open the door. What dice do I roll?

GM: The door is not locked. You don't have any dice to roll any dice.

Player: What? You just told me that the success was left up to the dice?

GM: Yes but not always... Some actions are so trivial that they don't require any dice roll?

Player: And who says whether an action is trivial?

...

So, with true beginners, one encounter is often enough to play during one hour...

Once it is finished, you can stop and say: "OK. This very first adventure is over. Did you like it?" And most often the answer will be "Yes, may we go on?"

Brief, prepare something like this...

  • A very short adventure: only one NPC, in an area with very little rooms (may be just one) and several different opportunities of actions (negotiation, combat...). Design it to be a one shot...
  • And design it also to lead to your scenario, if the players want it. But only if they want it.

Likewise, the game will last only one hour (if your players don't like that - after all, it sometimes happen) or two to three hours, if they like it.

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We've exchanged numerous texts, emails, and a phone call. I ended up sending her a list of TEN potential characters with brief notes -and she seemed a bit overwhelmed. I wanted to demonstrate the very wide range of character concepts you can have with supers, but on the plus side she clearly likes Future Shock the best. She was worried that the character might not be poweful enough, but I explained in general terms that you can easily scale attacks so that a punch can be as good as a laser pistol, or a claw, or a legendary sword, and so on.

We have firmed up plans to get together tomorrow afternoon to dice shop and roll up her character (and the wife's too). I told her I'll have Future Shock partially completed and she can roll up her attributes (4D6, best three) and spend the left over Hero points (I usually have Hero points equal all attributes totaled, plus 25, plus any disadvantage points). I'll spend 70-80 points and let her tweak things with the rest. Mental note: explain to her that supers start out rather powerful and progress slowly, though that is somewhat true of most BRP genres. In comparison to games where you level up at least.

I found a large set of paper minatures, supers and modern, that I bought from RPGNow way back in 2003. They don't seem to sell this set anymore, and not much in the way of supers either. I've got 16 pages of miniatures though, with 20 characters on most pages, so one should be close enough to work. Most in B&W, but colored pencils can resolve that. I am inclined to use more props for this, perhaps to keep things less abstract so she can relate to what is going on. Again, basing this on her experience with World of Warcraft.

We should have from about 2 PM till 8 PM or so on Saturday. Minus dinner and shopping tiime, no reason we can't squeeze in at least 3 hours of actual play. I'll prepare a very simple mugging to start with, so she can grok the basics of attack, defense, rolling damage, etc., and then perhaps progress on to the two-part bank robbery adventure I've titled; "Save the Calico, Save the World".

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First, thanks to everyone for their input, except you soltakiss -why you got me BUYING more RPGs??? :)

and

We've exchanged numerous texts, emails, and a phone call. I ended up sending her a list of TEN potential characters with brief notes -and she seemed a bit overwhelmed.

Ten potential BRP SuperHero characters? I'm not surprised she seemed a bit overwhelmed. :)

I've posted a short description of how SuperHero gaming works with HeroQuest at http://www.soltakss.com/superheroquest/SuperHeroQuest.pdf - so it shouldn't cost you anything! :)

Of course, it isn't a fully developed game but should be enough to get you, or anyone else who's interested in a very simple, very quick and very effective Super Hero game.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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ORtrail,

TEN! Uh -oh. Be careful. You can very easily overload a newbie with too much information and too many choices. Better to limit the choices, or ask her what she would like to play and write it up for her.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Ten potential BRP SuperHero characters? I'm not surprised she seemed a bit overwhelmed. :)

Yes, even as I did it, I knew it was too much of a good thing. I just had to give examples of a hero who could create duplicates of themselves, a spiderwoman clone, a Hawkwoman clone, and so on. Her main worry after all that was picking the "wrong" hero.

I've posted a short description of how SuperHero gaming works with HeroQuest at http://www.soltakss.com/superheroquest/SuperHeroQuest.pdf - so it shouldn't cost you anything! :)

Of course, it isn't a fully developed game but should be enough to get you, or anyone else who's interested in a very simple, very quick and very effective Super Hero game.

Thanks, I'll take a look, though the family dinner got bumped up to this coming Wednesday, so I will stay with Superworld for now.

Now, how did things go this evening? Fairly well, though by the time we sat down to work on her character she had decided she wanted to play Countess instead of Future Shock. Ten minutes into that, she pondered Magna Lupus, and then settled on Jitterbug. I had prepared myself for a stop-and-start kind of gaming session, so no worries.

Remember when all those odd dice were confusing and difficult to tell apart? Yeah, me neither, but there is a learning curve. Even after a quick explanation of the dice.

Me: "Okay I need a percentage roll, those two ten-sided dice."

Her: *Picking up the D20 and D12* "These two?"

Me: *Grin* "Uh, no."

She rolled an excellent set of attributes (high of 16, lowest was 12) and bought Size Change (spendy getting down to SIZ 1 but nice bonus versus missle/projection attacks), Wings (flight) and Energy Projection ("Electro-sting" blast). Add in some Armor, Absorbtion, Energy, and Skill increases and we were ready to go. I copied a random Wealth chart from somewhere and she got an "Independently Wealthy" roll.

Okay, Victoria Van Cleef is an heiress of a honey producer fortune, and an entolmologist. Her great uncle was the hero "Stinger" back in the day, and is retired but her mentor after her mutant powers manifested. She intends to avenge the murder of her parents -I'll figure those details out for her a bit later, unless she does it first. Oh, she changed her name to Queen Bee. My wife started on a Inuit Mountie before wandering of to play with our great niece.

Solo adventure it is. I had Virginia Van Cleef meeting the with a Trust Executive at a branch of the First Century Bank. They had discovered yet another trust fund set up by her parents and she was in to sign some papers. As this goes on a scruffy young man walks in with a hooded vest and sunglasses. Sensing trouble, the executive excuses himself and heads out to the lobby. I had fun with the dialogue of course.

"The executive approaches the hooded man, 'Welcome to First Century Bank. We are too big to fail. Can I help you?' The thug pulls out a pistol and smiles. As this happens two mimes, male and female, enter the bank. The male mime draws a "U" shape in the air, grabs it, and waves it around. The bank is plunged into darkness as lightbulbs burst, computer screens go dark, and phones stop working."

She was freaked out by the mimes, declaring them "creepy". She also stayed hidden in the office and asked me, "Am I SUPPOSED to do something about this?" I just smiled and shrugged.

"The female mime makes a whipping motion, knocking the smart phone from the hand of a customer who looked like he was going to shoot video. The man yells out, 'No, they killed my Siri... Siri!!!' The female mime puts a finger to her lips and motions toward the floor." I had her roll versus the mime telepathic suggestion which she easily made. Resistance Table introduced. Niece laughed at the death of the smart phones and stated she was outnumbered and staying in the office.

"Okay, the thug heads over to the tellers with a bag and demands it be filled. The male mime is keeping an eye on the customers and bank employees. The female mime heads back to the vault, mimes a door outline, opens it, and steps through the vault door." I knew the niece has a gaming future when she then said, "Oh, they need to mime to use their powers, I just need to tie them up." She thought for a moment, then decided then since she didn't have any rope, she would activate her Size Change, fly out and attack the male mime while the odds were more in her favor (one versus two, instead of one versus three).

She had cranked up her Hide and Move Quietly skills and easily got in a shot to the mimes back. She did worry that his "magnet trick" might mean he was immune to electromagnetic attacks, but blasted him anyway.

There followed six rounds of combat, with her focusing on taking down the male mime, chasing after the thug as he fled out the doors to the waiting van and driver (but missing her two attacks on him as he fled). She went back inside to battle the female mime who was doing a chest compression mime on her partner. She had healed him back to consciousness but he was quickly blasted back down by Queen Bee. The female mime took two hits and she was done also. Queen Bee headed back out to the van and blasted the two thugs who had waited to see what would happen (and I need her to have a look in the van).

At this point she asked, "Should I kill them?" I replied, "Well, you are a super HERO, and you can hear sirens approaching as the police rush to the scene." At this point she was recognized by some of the bank customers and they praised her for the rescue. The bank executive asked "Who is going to pay for all this damage? Wait, I guess we can add some fee, or get another bailout." The niece looked at me and asked if her character was responsible for paying? "If you want," I replied, "but usually no."

I mimed as much as I could think of during the battle, and the niece would call out what they were doing ("Oh, that's a grenade!" or "Arrow!" etc.) but with her combination of size and speed she was never in much danger -even if she thought she was. I think she took 6 points of damage the whole battle. All in all she seemed to enjoy herself and was excited when I noted that there were some clues in the van as she looked through it.

"There's more to this?" she asked. I was going to have the little girl give her the missing cat poster at this point, but I had left it at home (along with all the paper miniatures I printed out). Oh well, it was a good stopping point and next time she will have another player or two to help her out. For not gaming before she picked up on things quickly, even rolling the right dice by the end of the evening. She did start out with wanting to "blast the mime, then I'll fly over and blast the thug, then I'll..." but my wife advised her, "One thing at a time." :)

We ended up spending five hours on character creation and a quick bank robbery, but she now knows she can play this type of RPG if she wants to. She even has a nice set of red speckled dice.

Edited by ORtrail
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I'm glad your niece enjoyed herself. Always good to leave 'em wanting more, and you've got a couple plot hooks dangling. ;D And it sounds like BRP can handle Avengers type heroes nicely without you resorting to H-Questing.

Her question "should I kill them?" reminds me of my (then pre-teen) kids' reaction to a pirate attack in a Mazes and Minotaurs session. After the children's characters' arrows took out one-third to one-half of their number, the NPC pirates were ready to flee or surrender. My kids insisted on having their characters slaughter the remaining brigands ruthlessly even though I asked "Are you sure?" Different genre (ancient Greek fantasy) but still, they were supposed to be the good guys. To my son and daughter, however, the pirates were the bad guys and had threatened their characters and thus had to die! Scary! Especially since they didn't get a "kill it and take its stuff" play style from me.

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Make no mistake, it was a softball over the plate. The Criminal Mimes were throwing around 2D6 attacks, the thugs had just pistols. No where near Avengers level characters, well, certainly not Thor, Hulk, or Iron Man. Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow would have been right at home. I think the World of Warcraft experience gave her a sense of tactics though, she was reluctant to just attack right away (which was good and I wanted to split up the mimes anyway to give her the most advantage). We talked a bit afterwards comparing the experience to her sitting around with friends on laptops playing WoW. Far less structure with pen-and-paper, but the freedom to act and improvise was exciting.

Note to self: Must have cops lead out the Criminal Mimes in handcuffs, while a detective says, "Don't do the mime, if you can't do the time."

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Chatted with the brother-in-law, he was moderately interested in playing again. He stopped by yesterday after working in town and he has settled on a character with an energy sword and super STR. Black Sword reminds me of Thundarr the Barbarian, dressed in black.

I'm a bit worried about time come Wednesday. With dinner and social graces I expect to have two hours to actually game (7-9 PM). I need to introduce a bit more of the game world, including the government agency that deals with super powered individuals -the DCS (Department of Civil Security), a detective or two to act as contacts/resources. Then they will need to track down the van owner (cell phone on thug or polo shirts in van with pet store name on them) and uncover the catnappings which leads to the secret lab/warehouse and a battle with Watchdog (and his four henchmen guards working 12 on and 12 off so just two on site most of the time) and Professor Samantha Flynn (and I think I'll change her hybrid dog into a winged monkey).

I'm trying to give them lots of options besides just crashing the gate and knocking down the doors. They can nab one of the off-duty guards and get details on the building (none know about the extra DNA that Professor Flynn has though and only that she has some pet creature that stays locked up in a covered cage when they are around). They can use the van to pretend to make a delivery of cats, etc. Again, this is to show the niece especially that with pen-and-paper you have the freedom to try things the videogames don't allow.

I decided the Criminal Mimes were part of the Circus of Crime group that recently disbanded, and they recruited a couple thugs to help them rob a bank (hardly criminal masterminds). One of the thugs was supposed to steal a van for the getaway, but just borrowed it from a friend who works at a pet store, lives out of his van, has substance abuse issues, and has been delivering cats to the secret lab. I'm going to give the Prof four tentacles that burst out of her sides and stretch out to 10 meters or so. The winged monkey should give Queen Bee an aerial foe to contend with.

As always, any ideas, suggestions, are welcome.

Edited by ORtrail
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Sounds fun. You don't have to develop the DCS fully in advance to run your scenario. Introduce your agent contacts (Friday and Gannon, J and K or Scully and Mulder clones?) and develop their relationship with supers from there. Do they respect superheroes? Consider them "pajama-clad weirdos"? Are they merely official backup, or is part of their job to keep tabs on potentially dangerous vigilantes? Perhaps the actions of Queen Bee and Black Sword (Blacksword?) will determine this during play.

Heh, winged monkeys are always good. Make sure the Professor's pet is at least chimpanzee size so it can give the heroes a good tussle (Robert Howard threw winged gorillas at Conan; why have Planet of the Apes when you can have City of the Winged Apes?).

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