We started a “With Great Power” game a few weeks ago. We had intended to give “Spark RPG” a try, but we had one too few players than I felt (based on gut only) Spark would work well for on a first try. But with one GM and two players, I know WGP is a great game! (I think it gets cumbersome with more than three players.) What follows are an actual play summary with one gaming story and a few observations about the game.
I always like to create the world as we’re creating characters to give the players a focus. There can be a bit of blank-sheet-itis in WGP and figuring out where you’re character fits in can really help with that. We decided to go with a world that’s had secret supers created through military experimentation with alien tech since Roswell (our “white event”). Over the years many of these secrets and supers have leaked out of the program and they are starting to come to the public’s attention. We decided to set all of this in Colorado Springs since we know the area and there are lots of military bases to use as a backdrop. I also think the Dirty Secrets rule of setting the story in your own, familiar locale also works great for supers that spend so much time in their everyday identities as part of the fiction.
Our first PC is the first super created at Roswell. He has an alien, flying, armored suit that is invisible when not in use and his bio-neural connection to it has made him ageless. This makes things awkward for him since his former commander – now a retired general – is dating his daughter since they both appear to be the same age (the general’s aging slowed down from exposure to the alien tech, but not as much as the super’s). There’s a group of crypto-zoologists that track his movements and call him “Rockies Draconis” because they think he’s a real dragon!
Our second PC is a fake-psychiatrist-real-psychic who escaped from the program and is struggling to use his powers for good. He’s a repeat offender that’s in love with his arresting officer, but he’s also the secret she doesn’t know about her own success. He can affect large groups of people with his psychic powers and he’s been using this ability to make sure she’s in the right place at the right time to make arrests or save the day. And when his low-life DJ friend gets in trouble, he usually takes the fall so he can spend more time with her. Oh – he’s also a (fake) shrink to the supers. He used his powers to get the VA to send him sensitive cases.
There’s a villainous, cyborg super-hacker that’s decided to reveal all the secret supers to the public. He managed to take control of the alien dragon-armor remotely and used it to cause a major crisis at Cheyenne Mountain and The Broadmoor.
I won’t speak for everyone, but I know I had a great time! Player one is a die-hard Story Gamer like me, but for player two this was his first experience. He took to it like a duck to water and I didn’t really worry about doing a lot of explaining of concepts since it didn’t feel necessary (and I was prepped to play a different game anyhow).
Here’s the one gaming story from this session I’m going to tell (I think it’s a great one!). About halfway through the session at the end of a scene, player two’s character was hit by the “psychic feedback” I had set as stakes. I went to the bathroom while they figured out what they wanted to do for the next scene and when I came back I asked player two, “Have you recovered from the searing brain pain?” He responded, “It’s a very different type of game than I’m used to, but I’m enjoying it.” This had player one and me in stitches.
It’s been a while since I ran/played WGP. I realized afterwards that I missed some things – like swapping back issues – but otherwise I think I ran it pretty well. One thing I noticed is that there isn’t nearly as much collaborative creation at the start of the game as there is today in most games of this ilk. The reason I noticed this is because I was very fidgety and anxious while the players were working on their characters and I had nothing to work on as the GM. It’s still one of my favorite games, but it would definitely benefit from more collaboration up front.
We’re playing again tomorrow and I felt that if I created an Obsidian Portal site for the game I might jinx it! (Again.) So I’m putting this here as a summary of the major events and a bit of AP for those interested. #WithGreatPower #StoryGames