We start genning character’s and quite quickly the game takes a swing towards the Anime side of supers. No problem, I’m cool with that.
The players end up genning the following characters, both PL6 but with +30 PP. I want the power level low but I don't want the players hurting for PP when building their characters.
Makashima Shigoru (aka Aang)
A rich kid sent to state school to in order to give him a grounding in the “real world” (and the fact that he was kicked out of his last school may have helped in his parent’s decision). Bit of slacker, not the sort of kid you’d want to get into a fight with. The last time someone tried, they got their ass handed to them with Shigoru not needing to even throw a punch. He has the ability to generate blasts of concussive energy that can be used to attack and defend (via a force field). He can also use it to leap incredibly distances. Visually, his powers resemble Air Bending so the character gains the nickname Aang.
Virgil (aka Naruto)
A weapons master, he’s been taught from an early age a unqiue form of sword fighting. Ancestral gifts allow him to summon a sword from the spirit world in order to fight, and combined with his superhuman speed, he’s a formidable fighter. His signature move is to use Rapid Attack to strike at multiple opponents, moving so fast as to appear to teleport between opponents each time he strikes. This “bamfing” earns him the nickname “Naruto”. As an aside, due to 5 levels of improved init and 2 levels of Super Speed, we’ve basically told the player to not roll initiative and just tell me that he goes first.
The third player fails to show, having forgotten the game was on so we start without him.
We decide that as far as the world goes, there have been reports of outbreaks of “weirdness” all over the world for the last couple of years and that there have been rumours that clusters of people have begun to report manifesting strange abilities. The characters have had their powers for about a year but although they know each other (being in the same class) they are unaware their the other has powers as well.
Session: Fun on a bus
Okay, since I couldn’t stall the game any longer it was time to start. Picking a date at random, the story starts on 27th June 2012 (which by coincidence happens to also be a Wednesday). It’s early morning and Virgil and Shigoru are waiting for the school bus. I don’t know if Japanese schools have school buses, but they do know. I did at least alter the map to reflect that the Japanese drive on the correct side of the road. The board the old bus and take their seats. There are only 6 other kids on the bus at this point as they live on the outskirts of Random Japan City (name TBD) up in the hilly area where the hicks and the rich rub shoulders.
The usual bus-hijinks ensure, laughing, joking, throwing screwed up pieces of homework (which Shigoru easily dodges and returns with “deadly” accuracy). After about ten minutes, the school bus pulls to a halt, the road ahead is blocked by a car. The bus driver blasts his horn in annoyance. At the back of the bus, Virgil and Shigoru notice several armed men in typical “terrorist” gear begin moving towards the bus from the treeline. Before anyone can act (earning Mr +32 Initiative a hero point), the men storm the bus.
As the kids (not the characters though) start to panic, the gun men bundle the driver off the bus an announce a hijacking. Virgil and Shigoru notice that each of the men is wearing a suicide bomber vest, not good news. There are 6 gunmen on the bus. One by the front exit, on by the back, one driving and three more spaced up and down the central aisle. Two of them have large duffel bags. One by one, the kids are moved to the centre of the bus and a smaller bomb vest is pulled out of the bag and placed on the hapless hostage. The vests have a different design, smaller blocks of explosive and no visible detonator. The PCs later learn that the explosives on these vests are shaped charges which will direct the smaller blast inwards towards the wearers body. If they detonate, the wearer will be instantly killed but the surrounding area will take little or no damage.
Eventually its Virgil and Shigoru’s turn. A gun men approaches the back of the bus where they are sitting, yelling at them to get up.
At this point, the plot get’s thrown out of the window.
- Superheroes are reckless, head strong and prone to leaping without thinking of the consequences.
- Teenagers are reckless, head strong and prone to leaping without thinking of the consequences.
- Together they are a bad combination, reaching critical mass.
Shigoru tries to surreptitiously use his Concussive Blast to blow open the rear door of the moving bus and knock the guarding gunmen out the back. He manages to blow the door open but can’t muster enough force to knock him back. The gunmen becomes suspicious, and strikes him across the face with the butt of the rifle. Shigoru rolls with the blow, making it seem like it actually hurt.
At this point, Virgil decides to act, summoning his sword and rushing to attack both the guarding gun men and the approaching one. We enter combat rounds, no one beats his init mod, let alone his potential total roll.
Virgil strikes at the two men, knocking the guard out of the bus and stunning the other with the speed and ferocity of his attack. Taking advantage of the distraction, Shigoru freeruns over several seats to strike at another gun men, using his concussive blast and point blank range and pretending to punch the guy. Three of the gun men open fire at this, figuring that 6 hostages is enough. They miss, the kids scream in panic and cower down in their seats.
The two powered-teens begin fighting in earnest, Virgil striking at random and Shigoru moving to the front of the bus.
One of the gun men gets a lucky shot against Virgil, striking him in the arm which prompts an angry response. The swordmaster strikes back, opting to stop using the flat of his blade. Injured by the attack, the gun men falls back. At the same time Shigoru was pummling the guard by the front door with successive concussive blasts in an attempt to force out the front door. He relied on his “concussion field” to protect him from the gunfire of any of the gun men.
The gunmen that Virgil attacked springs up and grabs one of the hostages putting a gun to his head, threatening to kill the kid if Virgil moves. Virgil doesn’t listen and strikes at him again with the sword. He injures the gunmen but not enough to save the kid from certain death.
At that moment, the driver slams on the brakes. Virgil and Shigoru are the only left standing as the bus screeches to a halt. The man about to execute his hostage is also knocked off his feet, the shot going wide.
Virgil notices out of the corner of his eye, the driver stand up and take an electronic device out of his pocket. It has twelve buttons and twelve corresponding LEDS; 6 of which are shining red. It doesn’t take a genius (which is good because Virgil certainly isn’t one) to realise that this is a radio detonator, and the 6 LEDS are probably indicating which of the 12 bomb vests are armed and ready to detonate; namely the 6 on the hostages. Virgil runs forward and easily disarms the man of the detonator, practically grabbing it out of the man’s hand.
One of the gunmen, having been forgotten by the two teens, switches to automatic fire. The two meddling kids are standing next to each other, prefect strafe targets. He opens fire, Virgil is able to duck out of the way but Shigoro isn’t so lucky, taking a burst across the chest. Somehow, despite the injuries, he manages to remain conscious long enough to launch himself at the gunmen by the door, sending them both crashing through it and onto the road. Disarmed of his gun, the man springs up into a scissor kick since everyone in Japan knows martial arts (although with a only +1 damage save mod, not very well).
Back in the bus, Virgil slams his sword in the side of the driver’s head, knocking him out. The gun man that shot his friend is sent flying down the aisle by another strike, sailing through the door and onto the road.
Shigoru may be badly injured, but his skill is such that the gunman he is fighting is unable to land a single blow while the boy is battering him into unconsciousness.
Thinking that they are finally safe, they breath a sigh of relief. Then there is a screech of tires as a van pulls up behind the bus. Reinforcements ... for the bad guys.
Cursing their luck, they reboard the bus. Shigoru slides into the driver’s seat and starts the bus, driving it off. He makes a wise crack about Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves as the chase begins.
At this point I asked if there were any car chase rules in M&M, Shigoru’s player said yes and opened up the Mastermind’s Manual. Unfourtunatly, it was of the “sub combat system” variety and I’d need more time to read it than I had in order to use it. We decided to import the Skill Challenge system from DnD4E, setting the parameters at 8 successes before 4 failures.
Virgil told Shigoru that the mountain road they were on, snaked back to the main road in a few miles. From there they could get to the highway and into the city. Shigoru showed why he was behind the wheel, driving the bus like a sports car and managing to get it to perform like one. As the bad guy van closed, Virgil pulled a shuriken from hiding space and managed to burst one of the vans tires. Although slowed down, they were still coming as the shot out of the woods onto a winding mountain road with sheer cliffs on both sides. Throwing the bus around the corners, Shigoru managed to keep the bus far enough in front to prevent the bad guys from getting a clear shot. Virgil managed to get through to the police long enough to convince them that this wasn’t a prank call before they dropped out of network range. He picked up one of the discarded rifles and exchanged fire with the gunmen. Tired of running, Shirgoru hit the brakes, ran down the bus and leapt into the path of the van, brining up his forcefield.
Had he taken immovable, he would have made a better roadblock. The van smashed into the field, knocking him off his feet and propelling him into the bus. He was sandwiched between the two vehicles, and although protected by the forcefield, the force of the smash caused injuries to the kids on board. Nothing serious however (I‘m not that evil) except for one of the badly injured gunmen how was killed by the impact. With the van disabled, Shigoru crawled back onto the bus and Virgil drove off; reaching the highway within minutes and being greeted by a the emergency services.
Finally safe, Shigoru allowed himself to pass out as police and paramedics boarded the bus.
The moral of the story? Don’t hijack a school bus full of Japanese kids. If you’re lucky, only two of them will be anime characters.