Monday, October 5, 2015

All the Threats

Something that I like to think about representing in play is how to stat up and run unconventional threats, or how to make a set piece in a battle that would not commonly show up in a comic.

For example, threats like fires or other environmental factors. Things that could be feasibly dealt with, just could work differently (or not) with the mechanics in the game, and how satisfying which takes on it would be.

In particular, one thing I thought that G. Willow Wilson did with the latest adjective-less X-Men series before it ended with the launch of Secret Wars was putting the X-Men up against something that they really couldn't just pummel with their fists. It was also a great way to get inside each character's head and get to the root of each character, but it was mainly the fact that the threat she put them up against was the very earth itself.

The heroes charge in, like they do, and start trying to pummel stuff, especially the strength-type heroes, but it only leads to bad stuff going down (and probably some bad rolls getting made). She puts the heroes in tough spots (like a good EIC) and busts them down - what are their fears? What do you do when your powers don't really help you all that much? I mean, you're trying to fight the planet, basically.

So yeah, one take away is to remember to put them in tough spots, including ones where their powers just don't really work - it's a pretty common trope, but it's a great one when done well because it allows for some time to really get to know the characters and who they are beyond their powers.

As far as actually representing these threats mechanically in Worlds in Peril, I've always statted them up just like regular threats and villains - a Condition Threshold, some moves to make sure the scenes with them are interesting. I've had scenes where the heroes went in to fight a fire (that ended up being sentient, but that's another story) and just had them use Take Down and the other basic moves as needed and it worked really well, but I've got a few custom moves rattling around in my head that could see the light of day soon. I'm always hesitant to give them something that just can't be messed or dealt with by force because I've always had at least one or two player characters that were focused on bashing stuff, but now I kind of want to put my player characters in front of something they can't beat - at least, not until I get a couple scenes where I can get into their heads and as the players what their characters are feeling right now, how it relates to their Bonds, and who they are underneath. I mean, even in Willow's stories she knows that there needs to be way to resolve things (and she lobes a number of intriguing ideas out there before settling on perhaps the most unsettling one).

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