First session of “Kapow!”

Now that my computer can handle it, and I’ve got the bandwidth and so forth, I can game online! So I was able to take advantage of the standing invitation to get in on the Wednesday “Kapow!” super hero game. Thanks to Keith Jacobson for running a fun game in a system I’ve never played in before!

I made a tough-guy experiment survivor who can fly, and has super strength, and invulnerability. First time he opened his mouth in play, I found out apparently he has a Russian accent, and that was just hilarious. He likes punching things in the face, maybe too much. He is Sky Warrior; his business card has his moniker, a phone number, and notes “face punching” as a service he offers.

He adventured with Warlock, the kung fu wizard; Spitfire Jane, the pistol-packing flier; and Equinox, master of elements. (Towards the end they were joined by Parallel, student of time and alternate realities.)

I think the simplest way to do this is to unpack the plot as explained in the past and as projected forward based on this adventure. Then I’ll do an action summary.

The Story

Eight months ago, a Maine coon cat named “the General” was hit by a car. Instead of euthanizing the cat, Dr. Steven Whittaker used the nanites he was researching at the university, injecting the cat (who had a full recovery.) The nanites left no traces in the repaired flesh; they dissipate, and do not self-replicate. The General became a mascot for the research lab.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Steven Whittaker went on vacation unexpectedly, to Key West (Florida.) He has not answered email or cell phone calls, and has not been seen since.

Two weeks ago, Extortion Inc. threatened the city with a Poisoning Plague. For a demonstration, they poisoned six concert goers, creating a scene of mayhem the heroes mopped up. Then Extortion Inc. revealed they had poisoned the water supply already, and they demanded a ransom; the heroes found an antidote and shut them down.

Three days ago, LARPers equipped with magical weapons that made them as powerful as high-level fantasy characters attacked the university. They were assisted by Randy Ratofski, whose online handle was Blood Lord; the heroes defeated the LARPers and captured Randy, who promised to cooperate in stopping Extortion Inc. During the attack, the aggressors released a virus to wipe all the computer data; only a time stop prevented the plan from full effectiveness.

When Randy (who wrote the code to attack the university computers) had a chance to review the code, he noticed there were sections of code he did not write. They targeted the lab’s IP address, specifically aiming for the research files on the nanites. The virus he wrote was intended to target the records of four previous students and wipe them from the system–those four students were the masterminds of Extortion Inc! (Now the heroes know who they are.)

Also during the attack, someone broke into the lab and took all extant samples of the healing nanites. The lab theft drew the attention of a newspaper reporter, Davelle, who wrote up a small piece in the paper about the theft.

Sky Warrior reads everything Davelle (a reporter) writes. He read the piece on the university theft (not knowing what was stolen) and decided he would investigate. To get others involved who could help with talking to people (because he creeps them out) he went to the local Sentinels office to make contact with the heroes.

As they came to see what he wanted, they were informed by Ocasta, Randy’s expensive lawyer, that he was quitting Randy’s case. And also that there was going to be an assassination attempt on Randy.

The Session

Sky Warrior was at the Sentinels office, and the heroes showed up and invited him to come along to protect Randy. He did, and they clashed with four LARPers (who summoned a dragon.) After pounding the dragon and separating all four LARP villains from their enchanted weapons (so they returned to teenage state) they took Randy to a safe place. All the painful damage done to the teens was healed by the heroes, so hopefully there are no hard feelings.

The heroes agreed to take a crack at wearing street clothes and investigating the lab, talking to Laura Ellsworth, a grad student filling in for Dr. Whittaker. After hearing their story, Sky Warrior insisted they take the cat, as it was the sort of loose end a villain would return for. Ellsworth did not want to let the cat go, but a nearby student sweeping floors for extra credit tipped her hand that she might be exceptional (Parallel) and volunteered to be the cat’s guardian. Sky Warrior gave everyone his card, confident that he had advanced the investigation into the plots of super villains, and strode off into the midday lunch hour.

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6 Responses to First session of “Kapow!”

  1. arborhawk says:

    Small clarification, Spitfire Jane is a flyer.

  2. Olddreamer says:

    So what was it like role playing online? I, like you, have been waiting on bandwidth.

    Very curious how that went.

  3. fictivite says:

    I think there are three main considerations. Does everyone have enough technology? Is everybody okay with making the best of the format, constraints and all? Are you playing a system that lends itself to faster play?

    When you have trouble seeing or hearing, or when there is a problem with the connection and you can’t stay on (or others drop in and out) that’s really harder. I highly recommend a webcam, and really, a HD webcam if possible. You can play without, but it’s more difficult to “connect.”

    If everybody is cool with the constraints it rolls along smoother, and people can be generous about not cutting each other off and making room for everyone to participate.

    I would not want to play something rules heavy or complex online; the online element adds complexity. Simpler systems are going to work better. Anything you’d have to hand around at the table is going to be harder to do online. I know you can have battle mats and miniatures and get really complex with that online, but I don’t want to put that level of prep and tech mastery into a game. Kapow! is good because it’s light, same with Blades in the Dark. I would like to run Lasers and Feelings online. I would NOT want to run Fictive Hack, as it would be tough to match the casual fun of sharing Awesome Points around. I think it’s good to avoid anything that’s going to require lots of rule references. I look forward to running Axes and Anvils, it is a GREAT fit for online play.

    I hope that helps! Of course, these are only my opinions and observations.

  4. Olddreamer says:

    Thanks for the response! I’ve just upgraded my bandwidth, and have been poking about the web looking at various interfaces to play across the web. Interesting insight on the types of games to play as well. Thanks man!

  5. fictivite says:

    I have only used Hangouts, because they are adjacent to my G+ people. I socialize about games on G+ and see lots of online games there, so it’s the most seamless entry point for me. Tech works fine there, in hangouts and/or Rolld20.

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