Monday, June 18, 2012

Long Live the Legion (Campaign)

So after writing about it a scant few months ago, my Legion campaign has come to fruition. Soon after that post, in fact, the ideas for the game began rolling down on my like an avalanche, so I started preparing my group for its onset.

I'm running this one a little differently than I usually do, in a couple of ways - trying to evoke the feel of the Legion comics as much as possible. Firstly, I'm eschewing the episodic format that I have pretty rigidly used with my past superhero games. In this campaign, it's going to be more like my D&D games - with the illusion of continually passing time that doesn't allow adventures to always map exactly to one session. There will be running subplots and matters that the team can choose to address or not - but there will be consequences either way.

Secondly, I'm going to try to be a bit more of a hard-ass when it comes to character death. Legionnaires die, fairly frequently. My players have been told their characters are not safe. Of course, each of them has two (the better to have a large Legion) so there's room for death. This is actually part of a larger theme for the game, though - this universe is a darker one than I usually run. Cynical. Harsh. The team is, collectively, the ray of light that keeps things from sinking too far into grim and gritty. That isn't to say that the characters can't be grim - but each of them, deep in their hearts, should have some little spark of hope that resists all attempts to extinguish it.

Lastly, I am encouraging the players to focus on their characters' hobbies, personal relationships, secrets, and the like. I want more of a roleplaying focus and less of a combat one than my usual games. I've usually tried to strike a balance between the two, but for superhero games, the combat often takes the most time. To the end of encouraging Legion-style melodrama, I'm encouraging the players to pass notes - at the table, or via email after the game.

Saturday, though, we were just getting started. I actually had preparation for both the Legion opener and for my Golden Age game, and let people vote as to which to play - the overwhelming choice was (unexpectedly) the Legion! So we finished up a few character details for those that hadn't finished generating them, and printed up sheets, and got underway :

August 1st, 4001. The 17 year old Princess Orinna of Atlantis makes her public debut on dry land, landing in an Atlantean transport in Metropolis's Centennial Park. The press and a variety of dignitaries are there in force, as well as thousands of onlookers. Suddenly, the dull ceremony is interrupted as the vidscreens in the area go dark - a dark-haired man declares that the galaxy will change today, and directs his 'Liberators' to attack! Even as he speaks, they materialize - twenty-four heavily armed and armored men and women, launching attacks on the Princess's retinue. They've even brought sonic devices to hamper the Atlantean bodyguards with their enhanced hearing.

The Science Police try to leap into action, but their combat robot personnel unexpectedly shut down, and the terrorists seem to be insulated against the common armaments of the S.P. - fortunately, there are others in the crowd, inspired to action by this attack. As the Princess sheds her demure public persona with her dress to reveal her warrior training and protective Atlantean armor, those individuals spring into action - saving bystanders, aiding fallen Science Police officers, and engaging the terrorists directly. The terrorists fight hard, but these heroes seem to slowly gain the upper hand - and finally, a gambit from a young illusion-caster of Orando tips the scales.

Kid Galahad : "Princess, activate the Infinity Gate!"
(he conjures 51 duplicates of the Princess, all with slight variations in costume - the terrorists are utterly baffled, setting them up for the next part)

Princess Orinna (catching on) : "All together, now!"
(she uses her hydrokinesis, sweeping through the remaining terrorists with 25 tons of water from the nearby pond, tripping and hindering most)

(Lady Pyrrha uses her powers as a native of Tharr to freeze the rushing water, trapping all but four of the remaining terrorists - who are then easily dealt with.)

In the aftermath, the slightly irate Princess speaks with the United Planets officials, ultimately soliciting their support for a vote of the U.P. Council on the creation of a new team of the Legion of Super-Heroes - to be shining examples of heroism in these dark times. The gathered heroes then head to Science Police Headquarters - they're able to glean some useful information from the terrorists, but two hours after they've arrived, the terrorists and their gear all vanish. The group's scientifically-inclined members make a shocking discovery - the Liberators are using the long-lost Zeta Beam technology!

With nothing further to be learned from the terrorists, the group heads to the Martian Embassy - to state their case before a holographic gathering of the United Planets Council as to why a new Legion should be formed. After the vote, Council Chair Zern Thall gives the Princess a case containing two dozen Legion Flight Rings, along with the access codes to the old Legion HQ in Metropolis.

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