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FTJoshua

End of an Era

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I just needed to vent a little, or rant, or ... talk.

 

This coming Sunday, our 4-man group which has essentially been campaigning together for 15 years, faces a physical/combat challenge that almost certainly is going to result in some, many, or all PC deaths. It's all for a good cause - saving the world, naturally - and everyone, including all PCs and their players, know the risks. We have known for a couple of years that this day may come. We knew the ultimate evil would have to be faced, and that the costs might be dear. But now it's starting to sink in; we may not win. Then again, maybe we will. Only the dice and how well we fight will determine the outcome. There cannot be any GM intervention, no miraculous saves. We either fight and defeat the bad guys, or we fight and die.

 

It's an interesting feeling. We've faced death before, but really, for as brutal a campaign as we run, there have only been a few deaths, and even many those have been legitimately (in-game) reversed. That won't happen this time around.

 

It's empowering in its fearfulness. We have always valued character and story over rules and powers. Our best sessions have been those where not a punch was thrown. I am amazed that, over the course of all these years, we've come to know these PCs so well that we know they are doing exactly what they would do - meaning, they are fully prepared to die to save this pale blue dot. And the kicker: if we win, there won't be crowds of happy normals there to thank us. Quite the opposite; they'll go on hating us mutants no matter what happens next weekend. Yet our PCs will fight to the bitter end believing that their cause is just, that any sacrifices made will not be in vain. That, as one PC put it years ago, "Maybe what counts is that two men faced insurmountable odds to fight for a world that had turned its back on them; maybe in that, we will finally find our place."

 

Yeah, it's just a game ultimately. And if we lose, naturally we'll build a new campaign and keep on keepin' on. I just marvel sometimes what this game has taught us all about ourselves as we've played it. How it's shown where our hearts really are sometimes, how we define right and wrong. How it makes us ask, "What would I do?"

 

I honestly don't know if I, a player, could do what my PCs are about to do. And hopefully I never will. This is a post about a game, nothing else, otherwise I'd post it in the non-gaming forum. I just wanted to say that it's been fun, no matter what happens; that win or lose, this will be a climactic ending to an epic that literally spans half our lives. That whatever the result, somehow, it will be what had to happen. That this cooperative story will, for us, be one of the best ever spun because we lived it, not just read it. So thanks to all the players, writers, and designers who made it all possible. And thanks to the various players, GMs, and PCs who've come and gone over the years, enriching our campaign and giving us something to do with our Sunday afternoons. And finally, if I ever did have to face anything even remotely similar to what our PCs face, there aren't any other people I'd rather face it with than those who will be there Sunday.

 

It'll be great. Thanks for listening. Comments or stories from anyone whose been there always appreciated.

 

"Phase 12..."

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Re: End of an Era

 

I've been there before as a player. A long time ago in brief, an enforcer of Genocide had weapons to take down just about any hero. He'd single-handedly knocked out 2, had battered a couple others, put our heavy power-armored on the ropes (an impressive feat at that!) and all-in-all, the combat was getting ugly. Our powered-armor hero was even getting killed by a technological device. In desperation to save them, my heroine - a mutant - flew up to him and told him if he left everyone alone & didn't hurt anyone else, she'd willingly go with him.

 

Naturally, this would ultimately mean her death. I realized that this was probably the case but that's the sacrifice she'd make for her friends. He agreed & they both started leaving. Interestingly enough, that gesture of hers rallied the team and managed to beat him quickly thereafter. It was an emotional time for the characters and the players.

 

I've thought out in advance what a lot of my characters will do in certain situations, self-sacrificingly, and of course, I'm not going to tell my GM. :)

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Re: End of an Era

 

The cool thing is that these scenarios are very liberating. My original PC, Double Eagle, sort of a cross between Batman and Captain America, was to be retired by the myself and GM. In the ensuing combat with dozens of ninjas (his longest term Hunted), each "hand" more powerful than the previous, we were down to three PCs back to back against the Supreme Ninja (an independent supervillain) and the heads of the five clans of the "hand" when we were called upon to surrender even though we had defeated scores of undelings. My PC told the supreme Ninja to take me to her employers as we don't negotiate with minions. Little did we know that we set off a couple of Psychlims, including an Enraged, which caused the Supreme Ninja to dispatch her erstwhile masters and take one of the other male PCs prisoner.

 

The moral to the story: Even in a swansong scenario, if played straight by both the GM and players, you can still win. Never give up.

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Re: End of an Era

 

It sounds AWESOME !!! . Some campaigns end well , some ... badly , some just fade away . A campaign with so much history , flavour , and colour . Well how could a GM not make it Climatic . I know the characters I play become cherished friends who will dearly missed and fondly remembered . Not just by me , but by everyone who played at one point or another .

 

Our core group of three Players/GMs has gamed together every friday for close to 14yrs in the same Fantasy world . We have retired characters and created new ones . Old characters become NPCs and occassionally get dusted off and played when the campaigns cross their path . Civil War has erupted following the Succession a year ago when the Emperor was assassinated . Our Leige has command us to support the Emperor , but she is a Vassal of one of the rebel Dukes and likely to be crushed if her true alliegence becomes known . We walk a tightrope of secrecy and intrigue where one false step could mean everything we value could fall into Chaos . Life and Death , but not nessecarily our own . Thousands may die , but only if we fail ...

 

Failure is not an option

 

Cheers

 

Qm

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Re: End of an Era

 

FTJoshua ... you have my respect.

 

I've seen a lot of players and gm's who are unwilling to let a character (pc or npc) die when the dice roll that way or it fits the story. I've seen quite a few who get very upset. And I respect those who realize it is a game and when it is time to go...its time to go.

 

Best of luck in your battle...can't wait to hear how it turned out.

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Re: End of an Era

 

Fifteen years. I can't even begin to comprehend a game that's lasted that long. I'm working on year three of my longest-running game ever, and already seeing where it's going to wrap up.

 

Wow.

 

I can only imagine how you feel. Knowing that it's all coming down to this, after so long. It sends chills up my spine that I haven't felt in a gaming story for...well, a long time.

 

I look forward to hearing what happens.

 

J

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Re: End of an Era

 

Comments or stories from anyone whose been there always appreciated.

 

Gah! I can't believe you'd be such a tease!

 

You told us everything about the game except, uh... well, the game itself!

 

Now, with a build up like that, the least you could do is tell us what's going on. What is happening in this endgame? What led up to it? What is the hero roster and who are the adversaries? Details, man, details!

 

Mags

-waiting to hear...

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Re: End of an Era

 

Gah! I can't believe you'd be such a tease!

 

You told us everything about the game except, uh... well, the game itself!

 

Now, with a build up like that, the least you could do is tell us what's going on. What is happening in this endgame? What led up to it? What is the hero roster and who are the adversaries? Details, man, details!

 

 

Right, good point.

 

Condensed version: Darius is a demon who has many other lieutenant demons; he is in the PC game world because he was forced out of his own world. He thrives on suffering, and has always had plans to destroy the world because he is a Bad Guy. He first appeared in the campaign about three or four years ago as a little boy. Two PC's (one was mine) were asked by Darius's archenemy (a Good Guy) to kill this demon...only we didn't know it was in the shape of a little boy at the time. We left without killing him (because we're Good Guys). The GM was fully expecting this to be a one-shot deal, was fully expecting us to kill him. So when we didn't he just started expanding the story and NPCs. Woulda, shoulda, coulda...it's too late now. At the time - because the PC's made one simple, wrong choice - there were two options: kill the kid, then face certain doom at the hands of a horde of ogre-demons (but save the world, in theory); or let the kid live, and we walk out alive. Now seriously, we didn't think this kid posed THAT big a threat. We were just told he was evil! He didn't look evil, I swear. So we decided that maybe we shouldn't necessarily trust this "good guy" we just met, so we decided to stay alive. Now it turns out he was right, and that was our last best chance to kill him. Both these PCs, by the way, are here for this final epic battle.

 

We've run into Darius or his minions from time to time ever since. He has never made any move to kill us before, but he excels at psychological torment. This time, he's apparently decided to enact his master plan and destroy the whole world. The PC's were warned about this for years, but since Daris never physically attacked us (though some of his footsoldiers have) the heroes got lackadaisical and even cocky about it, assuming he was all talk.

 

He's not.

 

The PC's - which number 10 - are inside a cave in Antarctica, where we've discovered a pool of magic that Darius can use to melt the continent's ice and flood the planet, more or less. Darius's minions, which number about 12 right now not counting the lesser powered foot soldiers, are outside this cave and are on their way in. The PC's have defeated a few of these lieutant demons in the past, but never in one-for-one combat. As far as we know, we are entirely outclassed.

 

There is of course a much longer, more detailed back story, but since it goes back so long, it'd be tough to recount here. Ultimately, the PC's somewhat brought this on themselves and they know it. They also know no one in the world is equipped to handle this threat the way they are. They were virtually hand-picked by Darius's enemy (the Good Guy) to fend him off.

 

ROSTER

12 or 13 high powered demons

 

10 Heroes, ranging from as many as 700+ points to as little as 300 or so. One has Aid, so we're keeping him in the background so we can toss unconscious comrades to him when necessary. He's pretty much our only ace. We have a martial artist who has Regeneration, but his Body is 24 and his best PD is 36. Even with his 50% Reduction, a solid enough hit might do him in. Our heaviest hitter rolls with 100 STR physically (he's outside right now taking on ALL the demons...it's a character thing he can't avoid); another rolls about 22d6 energy. One has a 4d6 HKA, but his total points are only in the 250 to 300 range; not chunky enough to sustain a long fight. There are some nice AP KA's and high SPDs and whatnot, a very tough group that is very, very near the top of the mutant food chain; but previous fights with these minions have shown we can't beat them in man-to-man fights.

 

If you have any other questions I'll be happy to answer them!

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Re: End of an Era

 

Wow. A desperate last-ditch defense...if you're looking for some advice, read on, if not then just skip the rest of this post...

 

 

 

 

Do you have...

 

...a plan or a way to use the magic up before he can get to it? (An epic-size banishment spell would be about right - but if you're all mutants you may not have access to the powers you'd need.)

 

...a way to seal it off from him if (when) the demons overwhelm you? (You may wind up bringing the entire cave down on yourselves - and the demons.)

 

...or perhaps a way to destroy the pool? (What causes magic to pool in this area? Can you disrupt it?)

 

...a way you can hide, and then attempt to disrupt the ritual as Darius tries it?

 

Just some thoughts...it's OK to go down fighting, but it's even better if you win when you do it. ;)

 

J

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Re: End of an Era

 

Thank you all for the posts. I just had to share the immensity of the situation with someone outside the game who could understand how we, the players, feel about the upcoming fight. And I guess there was a part of me too that wanted to see if I'd be alone feeling as strongly as I do, and I see that I'm not. Very much thanks, and I'll post back Sunday night or Monday morning with the results!

 

One last caveat I don't think I mentioned yet: Since all the players are also GMs, and we all have our own personal cache of NPCs and Bad Guys that are solely ours, it technically is entirely feasible for one of us to come back later and use some sort of NPC influence to undo any damage done (deaths, for example), because it has been done before. But this time around, the situation is so utterly, entirely legitimate and believable, undoing whatever happens would really cheapen the fight. So we're all going into this knowing it's for keeps. It's really the only way. As a matter of personal taste, for example: for as much as I love the Indiana Jones trilogy, I really don't want to see a fourth installment - not because I don't love the characters and stories, but because, dammit, Indy rode into the sunset! Story over. The best stories are the best because they end so perfectly.

 

Thanks again.

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Re: End of an Era

 

Could we have a little bit of a rundown on the characters and their various abilities and backgrounds ? Those of their opponents too for that matter. I could be facetious and say that saving the world from a big nasty uberevil is something that my team seems to do every third session or so, but while it is something that SEEMS to have happenned a lot in the history of our campaign I think that this could only be a matter of perception on my part. I would certainly be interested in seing the characters from you campaign written up. Oh, and best of luck in the coming battle and the future of your campaign !

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Re: End of an Era

 

Yeah , What happened already . Hmmm... I guess they lost and they're is no body to post the truth about our impending doom .

 

Good bye

 

QM

Well, you'd think the triumphant villains would at least pop by to have a gloat...

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Re: End of an Era

 

In my world I would play heavily on the fact that when you had the chance you did not kill Darius in the form of a little boy. See, that's not a mistake, that's having moral grit in your craw and in the final battle it's the one thing that, when every clever ploy and use of power has failed, might save your sorry @sses and the world you are trying to protect

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Re: End of an Era

 

End of an Era (Seeking Closure)

 

Good day Sir, we hope this message finds you well. I and others are seeking closure with reguards to how your campaign ended in Victory ? or Defeat ?. In other words. Cough it up already you swarmy, cliff hanging, tune in next week little... ah hem.

 

Sincearly yours

 

QM.

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Re: End of an Era

 

Speaking from a lack of world ending events in our game, The Best of luck to you , There is nothing better than a great ending to a awesome run. Just smile and let it all go down in a blaze . Congrats on a great , great era of gaming.

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Re: End of an Era

 

Please forgive me, Heroes. We've been engaged this entire time. We are now entering turn Three of the final battle, and here's the score:

 

We have lost three PC's to legit deaths, and a fourth to unconsciousness and being teleported back to his home world. That leaves us with 6 PCs, all of whom are badly hurt but still swinging.

 

The combat has been taking weeks because there were 10 PC's and 11 Demons total (so far); one fight was 10 PCs vs. 4 demons, which the PC's won after a long fight. Then they went to see where the others were, and it turns out they were outside Darius's lair waiting for us. Phase 12, turn 1...that was a couple of weeks ago.

 

There are at least 4 demons still alive, maybe more. If we can keep our one PC who has Aid alive through this, we might have a chance.

 

The best death goes to Phadrae, a transplant from a fantasy campaign, thrown into the regular campaign world against his will. His entire focus has been getting back to his own world, where he was trying to rescue not only his lost love, but his entire world as well. He and one of my PC's, Felix, a heavy-hitter who is 15 playing-years old, were standing over Felix's best friend, Pathos, another 15-year vet, who was unconscious. A demon was bearing down on them, and Felix needed to get Pathos out of immediate danger in the hopes our medic, Seb, could Aid Pathos. (Seb was also out at the time.) Felix turned to Phadrae - worth about 369 points - and said, "Can you handle this one?!" Phadrae glanced at the demon, then faced Felix, and said, "Yes." Felix grabbed Pathos and superleaped out of danger, trusting Phadrae to take care of himself.

 

Except Phadrae knew - barring a terrible roll by the GM - that this was his last stand. Sure enough, the demon attacked Phadrae instead of Felix, and killed Phadrae instantly by a Killing Blow to the head. It turned out that Phadrae knew he didn't have a chance, but had to help Felix and Pathos survive (since they are two of the four heavy-hitters). He died to give Felix that one extra phase he needed to get to safety. It was truly an honorable, heroic death. I am proud to have witnessed it.

 

And the tragic, weepy part of the story: One phase later, the demon who was the key to getting back to his own world was killed, instantly teleporting Phadrae and his friend, Axis, back to their fantasy dimension. Phadrae missed this event by one phase.

 

Felix also lost his brother, Decemitri, to a demon's attack. It was, ironically, Decemitri's first legitimate "street fight." He had trained his entire life to be a martial artist like Felix, but this was the first application of his skills. He was a new addition to the team, and knew very little about the situation; all he knew was that the others believed in something good, and that he would help them to his last breath. Which he did. Another honorable exit.

 

Finally, Pharaoh, a five-year vet, was also killed. He went down swinging like the others, but was overwhelmed. Still, like Phadrae, he bought the others time they needed to regroup and and make a second attack which is what ultimately turned the tide and dropped four demons. Pharaoh will be remembered.

 

So the odds are still stacked against the PC's at the moment, but there is a slight ray of hope still gleaming. There's at least one more session of hardcore combat, plus probably another of storytelling/wrap-up. I will post the details when they occur.

 

Sorry for the delay; none of us appreciated how long it would take to GM and play more than 20 high-powered Champions characters.

 

Thanks, everyone.

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Re: End of an Era

 

If you die saving lives, you haven't lost. These players have much to be proud of, and I salute them.

 

I was in a similar situation years ago with a powered armor brick named Ranger. The villains had a tactical nuclear weapon with a 60 second timer in the heart of Manhattan (New York City). Just as Ranger reached the bomb, the countdown started. Ranger immediately grabbed the bomb and flew out towards the harbor, intending to get the bomb as far from the city as possible before it detonated. Ranger is a SPD 4 and was flying at 100" (25" X4 Non-Combat), so every Phase he flew was 200 meters, or 800 meters per Turn. So he was only going to get about 4 kilometers (2½ miles) before it detonated. It was a small nuke, but every little bit he got it away from the city would have spared hundreds if not thousands of innocent lives.

 

As the countdown reached the 10 second mark, the GM asked me when I was going to drop the nuke and try to escape. Ranger's defenses were very high (62 PD/58 ED; most of it Resistant and Hardened); he might well have survived a nuclear explosion just a couple hundred meters away from Ground Zero. I just smiled at him as he continued the countdown, and I saw the realization dawn in his eyes as he realized Ranger wasn't going to drop the bomb. Ranger was willing to die to save as many people as possible.

 

Turned out the bomb was a dud. (The GM claims it was damaged during the fight, but I don't know if I really believe that.) But Ranger would have died gloriously if it had detonated.

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Re: End of an Era

 

Wow, amazing story, thanks for the update. Do keep us posted. The heroes are doing their job, so to speak, and it's good to hear the deaths are appropriately dramatic at least. Godspeed!

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