Sunday, June 10, 2007

SuperSystem: Berlin 1945

Had our first crack at SuperSystem a couple of weeks ago. It was Chronoglide's show, so forgive me if I get some of the details wrong. I hardly ever give him my full attention when he's talking, as it is rarely worth the effort.

Anyhow, our superhero gaming scenario takes place in Berlin at the end of the war. A hasty conference is called between Harry Truman, Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill. The Soviet assault on the Nazi capital has stalled. It seems the Germans have some kind of Super-Soldier at their disposal. The Soviets, sick of seeing their T-34s being hurled back at them, call upon their allies for help. All three powers reveal that they too have developed superheroes in their top-secret labs, and they agree to send them in deal with the new Nazi Menace, so that the troops can then finish the job...

(Click on pics for a larger version)
Wakey and Sickly in a pre-game bickering session. This week's point of conflict: The Biscuit Allocation.

Chronoglide, up to his usual tricks, tries to find loopholes in the rules and other ways to win, even though he's supposed to be the GM. He's notorious for this kind of thing. His usual ploy is not letting us read the rule book, and then halfway through the game suddenly springing special rules and abilities on us that he previously neglected to mention. The swine!

The table layout: Ruined Berlin. At our end the three Allied heroes: Lieutenant (that's Leff-tenant) Freedom, The Aviator, and Supreme Soviet. At the other end is Wehrmacht! and his gang of power-armoured Cringing Nazi Minions.

Lieutenant Freedom, the British hero, can fly (albeit slowly) and is super-strong and tough. The American hero is The Aviator. He is basically a gadgeteer, his powers come from technological gizmos such as his super-fast jet-pack and natty little gun. Without them he is basically a normal guy. Finally we have Supreme Soviet, who is agile and strong, and has X-Ray vision.

Wehrmacht!, atop his tall tower, is a swaggering Nazi Superman. Chronoglide seemingly packed him with every power in the book. He is super-everything, and has special powers stuffed into his boots and coming out of his ears. I've forgotten most of them. In addition to that, he has two squads of little Nazi power-armoured cringing minions at his beck and call. They must be stopped!

The game begins: Supreme Soviet, ignoring the advice of his companions, insisted upon charging ahead of the rest of them to lay into the Jerries first. (The upside-down plastic cup is Chrono's rather neat way of depicting a hero in flight.)

He soon regretted this foolhardy bravado, finding himself swamped with Nazi minions, who managed to wound him slighty before he swept them away with a wave of his hand, like something out of the Matrix.

But then Wehrmacht! plunged down out of the sky. Supreme Soviet clocked him one, and discovered to his horror that a weird eldritch aura of chilly death surrounded his foe. Hitting this Nazi geezer actually hurts the hitter! A typical shabby Nazi (and Chronoglide) trick! With an evil laugh Wehrmacht! swiftly punched Supreme Soviet across the gaming table, into next week, and out of the game. Oh dear. This doesn't look good for the allies.

Meanwhile, the second squad of Cringing Minions were advancing toward Lieutenant Freedom. They didn't last long. Sure ain't much fun being a minion.

But his Yankee pal was now in trouble. Wehrmacht! had selected him as his next victim. The Aviator's gadgets now seemed hopelessly out of their league. His efforts at hurting the Nazi foeman were in vain. Wehrmacht! gave himself a few seconds to enjoy the moment, chuckling and gloating at his unfortunate victim.

A few seconds too many! Out of nowhere, like a Gloster Meteor, Lieutenant Freedom suddenly appeared and gave the Nazi such a wallop that it sent him careering across the Berlin skyline.

Laughing off the eldritch aura of chilly death, Lt. Freedom followed up his first attack with a series of haymakers, interspersed with annoying little finger-pokes to the eyes and throat. Wehrmacht! reeled, unable to respond to this pummeling.

Seeing Wehrmacht! taking such a battering, The Aviator decided it was safe to join in, and made a series of ineffective diving swoops at him. Well, they did help in as much as they distracted the fellow, and made things generally difficult for him. But they didn't actually hurt him at all. After several minutes of punishment from Lt. Freedom, Wehrmacht! was on his last legs. Then, as he was about to deliver the final blow, The Aviator swept down again, and for the first time in the game actually landed a telling blow. Nighty-night, no more Wehrmacht! Typical bloody Yank. Enter the fight late and grab all the glory! (Just kidding, just kidding!) But hark! What's that sound in the air above us?

Yes, those cowardly higher-ups, having no confidence in their own heroes, and fearing they may become too powerful even were they to win, had authorised the detonation of one of America's atom bombs over Berlin. So it was goodnight Irene to all of our heroes and villains, and everyone else in the general area besides...

Aha! The Zenith ending! Excellent. I must say I appreciated that dramatic finishing touch, even though it meant the end of my character. For I was a big fan of Zenith when it was first published in 2000AD all those years ago. Should've seen it coming really. Actually, I think I did see it coming, and mentioned it at the time.

Cast of Characters
Lieutenant Freedom - Plynkes
The Aviator - Wakey
Supreme Soviet - Sickly
Wehrmacht!, the Cringing Nazi Minions, and God of the Game - Chronoglide

A taste of Zenith (albeit not in English, I couldn't find an English version of that page on the web) for those who may never have seen it.

So ended a most enjoyable super-session. I found SuperSystem to be to my liking, though don't tell Chronoglide I said so. For one thing it has Action Points! Everybody loves Action Points, as long as there aren't too many figures on the table to slow down the implementation of them, that is. And I also liked the way the cringing minions act pretty much like a single, weak character, so they don't require too much attention to keep track of them. And it is very satisfying to take out five of the beggars with a single attack, too!

After this introductory scenario next we're going to follow Zenith's example and jump to the present day, with an all-new superhero team, some of which the players will create themselves. Can't wait. Should be fun.


W.B.Kurgan said...

Very entertaining as usual Plynkes!

I like the new format too - though it took me a while to register that I hadn't gone to the wrong site.

I enjoyed Sickly's corner too. ;o)

Guido said...

Thanks, W.B.

That Sickly is a little scamp, ain't he? He's always trying to get me to type in rude words on TMP, too. Sits there like a little cartoon devil on my shoulder.

Mike said...

Genius stuff

I've gotta play this soon

is it ok if I link to you from my blog?


Guido said...

Of course it's okay, Mike! Help yourself.

Very polite of you to ask. I hadn't even considered getting people's permission before linking to them. Have I made an online Faux Pas, do you think?