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Author Topic: [With Great Power] Dr. Mermaid and the Kung-fu Zombie  (Read 2343 times)
Kat Miller

Posts: 141

« on: October 07, 2005, 05:24:42 AM »

I’ve been avoiding writing up an actual play post.  Partially I’m afraid of “selling” this game here or at least giving the impression of selling, and partially I’ve been running a couple of scenarios at each con and I didn’t want to spoil the game for those who wanted to play.  Recently I’ve become convinced of the value of the Actual Play threads so my first posts is about a “With Great Power…” game I ran at Gen Con.

I ran 2 hour demos as well as the four hour scenario and there was this one demo game that I wish had gone on.  There was this guy Mitch I know who always playes offbeat characters and I was a little bit worried when he sat down to play the Demo game since he’d be making his own character.  When only one other player showed up I was very worried.  I’m sorry But I can’t remember the other guys name, but I do remember his character concept.

I ran this game from the ground up.  So We started with a Superheroic theme.  When making new characters as Gm it’ll be my responsibility to create a villain right there, I found that starting with a theme helps the players come up with a struggle.  The Theme should always be a question, the struggle plays with  two different answers to the question and the Villains Obsession is a clear one sided answer.

Our Theme was : “What is it to be Human?”  The Struggle that came out of that was Normal Life vs Supernatural Life

With that as the struggle to begin with The one player came up with a concept for a mermaid Doctor based on a Manga concept that if you eat the flesh of a mermaid you will be granted eternal life, becoming a mermaid yourself.  Our Mermaid Doctor had the power to heal all the diseases of the world if he’d let himself be used by the medical/science community but he was unwilling to be a martyr. 
The Doctors Aspects as I remember them were something like:
Mermaid - Power
Female Doctor - Romance
I have a right to a normal Life - Conviction
Must save a life if I can - Duty

After he was describing his concept I’m thinking…”Wow” there is so much I can do with this.  I look at Mitch and he says “I’m thinking Kung-Fu Zombie”

Ok, I need to apologize to Mitch at this point because I immediately squirmed in my chair.  “Kung–Fu Zombie???” This is gonna suck.  I didn’t say it, but I thought it, and I’m sure a look like a was sucking a lemon crossed my face for a second at least before I sighed and said “ok”

Mitch’s Kung-Fu-Zombie had been wearing a mysterious ring his grandfather gave him when he had been killed, he woke up in the morgue and fled.  He still needed to eat flesh so he skulked around a graveyard at night catching stray animals that people will release in city graveyards, to fulfill his need for flesh so that he could fight Crime during the day.
Just remembering from the top of my head Kung-Fu Zombie’s aspects were
Kung Fu-Zombie- Power
Zombie Making Ring – Power
I am not a monster – Conviction
Joe the Graveyard maintenance guy – Friend

Did I Mention my fear this was going to suck? I had a villain all picked out whose obsession was that “Super powered beings are no longer human the way man is no longer ape”

Then we had the first scene framing.  I was going to run a villain scene but Mitch had an idea already and wanted to start with his scene. 

He described how he and Joe were in an auto accident that would place him in Dr.Mermaid’s Hospital.  Both of the players liked this idea so we went with it, then Mitch started painting the scene.   First panel is all black.  Second panel is black with an asterisk in the center.  Third panel, black with a question mark.  Then Mitch holds the thought balloon up over his head. “Where am I.”  Describes KFZ Reaching up and feeling the bag, then feeling the zipper on the bag.  Thought balloon- “Not again” KFZ unzips himself.

We had decided that an intern would be down in the morgue.  Mitch’s Enrichment scene primed his zombie power.  The card flip would be over the intern’s reaction.  If Mitch won the card flip then the intern would be concerned over how KFZ got accidentally tagged as dead and try and help him back up to the hospital if I won then she’d flip out calling him monster and sound an alarm.

As I recall a complication happened so I believe we tied.  She was startled, did not sound an alarm but then the very same Dr. that had worked on KFZ when he had originally died came into he room.

The second flip to clear the tie was whether the Dr. recognized KFZ.  I won, so all the cards went to Mitch and I replaced the two I ‘d lost with new ones from the core villain deck.  The Dr. recognized KFZ and began flipping out and calling for security.

At this point we would have switched for Dr. Mermaids scene but there was only a half hour left of the demo and the Dr. Mermaid player didn’t want to have a scene, he wanted to see how the combat system worked, and since we had Mitch in a really good situation for a fight we continued with KFZ and the Morgue Dr.

Mitch’s stakes for winning the Page were to find Joe and get away.  Mine were to subdue and capture KFZ.
 Mitch used his Kung fu (bundled into Kungfu-zombie aspect) I had security officers.

Because I was only dealing with KFZ My card had was rather small and I had gotten rid of two high cards. . .which Mitch had.  I recall quickly being placed into a yielding position, but I don’t remember if it was due to time constraints or lack of cards.

I do remember feeling disappointed that the demo was over when the guys left the table.  That Kung fu Zombie rocked.

More over I learned several things. 

1) With Great Power works fine for just two people.  Dr. mermaid was there but since we didn’t really get to him during the demo it was really just KFZ an me.
2) The Player Empowerment angle of WGP means that even if the GM doesn’t understand the player’s character concept the player can still have all the coolness he envisioned when he came up with the character

3) Allow lots of flexibility when Gming during the beginning of the game.  Had Dr. Mermaid and the Kung-fu Zombie adventures continued, then I would have scrapped my initial villain and made the Morgue Dr. the central villain of the game.

kat Miller
Michael S. Miller

Posts: 846

« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2005, 11:16:43 AM »

"Oh no, not again." made me laugh out loud. Good writeup

3) Allow lots of flexibility when Gming during the beginning of the game.  Had Dr. Mermaid and the Kung-fu Zombie adventures continued, then I would have scrapped my initial villain and made the Morgue Dr. the central villain of the game.

I hadn't really considered it, but I think this sort of villain-swapping could work pretty well in WGP. Since the Plan is mostly complete before it chooses a villain to carry it out, not much would be changed by changing the villain. You could keep the Plan largely intact. I suppose an alternate method of running the game could be to start with a Splash page focusing on one of the players, then give a regular Enrichment to the rest of the players, and then, based on the way the players have Primed their Aspects, create the Plan and finally choose the Villain. Then run the villian's first Enrichment. If I were to play this variant, I think I'd rule that every player's first enrichment scene MUST Prime their Strife Aspect, since that will be vital for the Plan, and thus, the villain.

Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
Incarnadine Press--The Redder, the Better!
Emily Care

Posts: 1126

« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2005, 12:17:41 PM »

Too bad you didn't get to finish this one, Kat.  The fact that the Kung-Fu Zombie turned out to be great in play is fabulous.   Has WGP gotten much other 2 player play?


Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games

Posts: 105

« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2005, 01:21:43 AM »

That sounds like a really, really cool game: I love doing superhero-style gaming, but I often find the list of powers & origins quite limiting, not to mention that the power level itself is usually quite toned down. Just from reading this, it looks like you've addressed both those issues quite successfully and I'm dying to see what the full game looks like... is there anywhere I can see the rules? I'll do swapsies with you if you like and send you one of my 'works-in-progress'! :-)

Caveman-like grunting: "James like games".
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