You may remember that, in my last real blog post, I talked about an RPG I had found: Matt Forbeck's Brave New World. Since that time, I've gotten quite involved in this game. It is a flat-out blast to play. Every session is over-the-top, crazy fun when it comes to the super-hero-ing bits, but offers great opportunities for role-playing when the combat isn't going on. It's the best of both kick-in-the-door and hardcore role-play, and I love it.
On top of that, the system itself - a d6-based one - is extremely simple and easy to learn. This has made it a great hit with some of the players that were most reluctant to try Dungeons & Dragons: not having to memorize the Player's Handbook was a definite plus for them.
The one critique I have for the game is its limited options. There are very few "power packages" (read: classes) available to choose from, and many of them, while endearing and entertaining, are entirely useless. Take the Translator, for example. His superpower is to be able to speak any language or crack any code. Fun to role-play, maybe, but entirely useless for the most part - at least when compared to the Strength bonuses and impenetrable armor of the Goliath.
Not a big deal, though, especially when the game practically screams "HOMEBREW ME!". In fact, that's exactly what I've been doing: homebrewing power packages for players who can't find what they're looking for. That solves the limitations problem quite nicely.
I've gotten to play quite a lot of BNW since my last post. The group is fairly small: me (acting as the Guide) and two of my friends (the heroes). We shall call friend number one "Bob" and friend number two "Fred".
Bob chose one of the homebrew power packages that I talked about above. This one is called the Enhancer. Enhancers choose one melee weapon and crank that dial to eleven. His chosen weapon was the katana (of course... everyone chooses the freaking katana...). But he built his character with a twist.
Jack Sunday, a.k.a. "The Gunslinger", is a man who constantly dresses in old-West-style outfits, chaps, spurs, and all. He even carries two pearl-handled revolvers with him to complete the look, and is good enough with them to justify his alias. But the entire thing is a ruse. When someone gets close, he whips out the katana and takes them to pieces.
Bob was quite proud of that little bit. I'm pretty fond of it, too.
Fred, on the other hand, went with an official power package: the Charger, a hero with the power to shoot lightning from his fists. His hero, Eli Cecil Tron (Eli C. Tron, get it?), a.k.a. "Judgment", lacks the raw melee power of Jack Sunday, but makes up for it in versatility and skill with ranged weapons. Jack Sunday can dish out the damage like nobody's business, but in the few sessions of Brave New World that we've played so far, Judgment has had to save his bacon at least three times per session.
The campaign opened with the two heroes at an amusement park when some Delta Prime enforcers (an organization dedicated to hunting down unregistered superheroes, which the players were) were attacked and apparently killed by some unknown force. Since the heroes were the only deltas on-scene when the rest of the Primers arrived, they were the primary suspects, and found themselves the targets of a Primer manhunt.
Things went further south when the amusement park came under attack from an army of vampires (in BNW, vampires are a strange type of delta). These vampires killed the majority of the police forces in the park, and gravely wounded the two Primers who were after the heroes. Jack Sunday and Judgment chose that the best course of action was to duck into a storage shed and let the Primers get munched, but that plan didn't last long: the final Delta Primer, "The Medic", was in the shed, and asked them to save the two Primers so that they could form an alliance and fight through the vampires together.
The alliance didn't last long, but before things came to a showdown, a couple noteworthy things happened. The two most memorable involved Jack Sunday: first, he plummeted a hundred feet from a roller coaster, only barely managing to break his fall by using his katana as a makeshift brace, and immediately afterward he got into an Old-West-style High Noon shootout with a vampire chick.
After discovering the existence of some unknown third party in the amusement park, the heroes made a point of tracking this guy down, as he was likely the one who had killed the Primers. Before they could, though, they had to deal with the Delta Prime members that they had temporarily allied with. Jack Sunday managed to drop one, but the second Primer had a shotgun at point-blank range, and Sunday was only saved from a dirt nap by Judgment's timely intervention.
As Delta Prime had called in reinforcements to deal with the vampires, the heroes were able to hijack a chopper and start to escape. On the way, though, they caught sight of the third party, a Bargainer calling himself the Laughing Man. Jack Sunday managed to deal some damage to him, but the Laughing Man was more powerful than he expected; the fight ended with the following events:
1. Jack Sunday jumping off a fifty-foot building, grabbing onto the leg of the flying Laughing Man
2. The Laughing Man blasting Jack Sunday in the face with a plasma attack, then teleporting away, leaving him to fall to his death
3. Judgment succeeding on an epic Piloting (helicopter) roll to fly the chopper in at precisely the right height and angle to let Sunday land in the cabin
4. The Laughing Man teleporting back in to put an end to Sunday
5. Sunday jumping from the chopper (still fifty feet up) for an aerial slash at the Laughing Man
6. Sunday taking a plasma blast to the face and falling to the ground, ending up a single wound from death
7. Judgment jury-rigging the chopper controls to keep it moving forward, jumping out, and watching the explosion as it collided with the Laughing Man
8. Judgment dragging the comatose Sunday to safety
All in all, it was a very successful session. Everyone had a blast.
Him who mountain crush him no
Him who sun him stop him no
Him who hammer him break him no
Him who fire him fear him no
Him who raise him head above him heart
- Translation of troll pictograms
Terry Pratchett, Thud!