Saturday, 18 February 2017

It's raining moon...

Kaptain Kobold has recently come up with a new idea for dice based activation in Clobberin' Time, so this afternoon Liv and I sat down to roll dice and play superheroes.

I wanted to have a go at using a single master villain against a team of heroes. Given the embarrassing defeat of Zol-torr in his last outing, I was hoping he might make a better showing with the new rules. Prior to getting my daughter to join in I had a quick run through, just to get a feel for things. I was bit disturbed when Zol-Torr just about won the scenario before the heroes even got a move, but then the rolls started to even out and it was a narrow win to the newly reconstituted Delta Wave. The dice system was giving a good game. What I wasn't feeling was the in-built sub-plots. Zol-Torr rolled arch-enemy and targeted Speed, but it didn't really add much to the game. I also felt like it slowed things down and I knew Liv would struggle to stay focused if we used the sub-plot rules. So aside from this quick run-through I haven't really played the new sub-plots. More on that later in the post - now, on with the story.

Zol-Torr has built a mega-cannon to destroy the moon. Why? Because he is an intergalactic conqueror and that is the sort of random thing one does when one has taken on such employment. He needs six clear uninterrupted turns at the cannon to calibrate it just right. In that time, Delta Wave need to show up, distract and hopefully stop him.
Zol-Torr readies the Mega-cannon. Delta Wave, consisting of Spectra, Speed, Aquaria and the Green Golem have come to stop him.
Speed rushes forward to try to slow the preparation of the cannon.
Zol-Torr, annoyed at this disruption, turns around and swats him. 
Aquaria and Green Golem head to the attack, while Spectra sits back and shoots laser blasts.
The activation dice are working well - in a single turn Aquaria is knocked back and the Green Golem is knocked out. Zol-Torr returns to his cannon.
The game ends with Delta Wave unable to stop the cannon firing. Luckily they distracted Zol-Torr just long enough for the Silver Shield (in his lab) to programme a moon hologram that confused the mighty conqueror and made him think he was victorious.
 So this game saw Zol-Torr doing what cosmic entities should and not getting smashed in three turns. As the trial game had seen a narrow Delta Wave victory, and this game Zol-Torr didn't get a scratch, it shows that the battles can go either way.

Liv had her blood up, so we had another game - this time we were hunting Baron Death, somewhere in Deathonia. He was hiding, and the team had to find him and take him down before he could hatch his next evil plan. It would give me a good chance to see if a Master Villain could perform when they were a Level 3 character.
The broken castles and skeletons of genetically modified monsters litter the table top as Delta Wave approach.
Spectra and Green Golem investigate the main castle, while Speed searches an outwork.
Aquaria investigates the skull of the long dead Deathosaurus.
Speed finds Baron Death! A quick attack is repulsed.
Realising Speed has located the Baron, Delta Wave rush to help their teammate.
Baron Death mind controls Speed who puts a wound on Aquaria, before the Baron himself activates and blasts her out of the keep. The Green Golem comes around from behind to trap the Baron.
Sensing the danger Baron Death flies away, pursued by Speed and Spectra. Spectra unleashes a powerful blast that leaves Death staggering. Speed looks to capitalise, but before he can, Death unleashes his own attack that knocks the speedster out.
The Green Golem arrives in time to see Spectra fire one more blast and knock the Baron down.
Two relatively quick games, no sub-plots or anything, just straight forward knock each other out with the new dice activation. I have to say it works really well. I now realise that I forgot to remove activation markers when the heroes rolled a six, which might have gone some way to unbalancing the Zol-Torr game. I was so focused on the 'quick' rule I forgot that both sides get to remove an activation marker if they roll a 6 for activation.

So I'm a convert, I think dice activation works better than the card activation. I'm not sure about the sub-plots, especially regarding levels of sub-plots etc. Part of CT is that it is such a simple and intuitive system to use that any chrome should be tacked on rather than integrated. I'd rather just have a list of sub-plots that I could choose from or roll for at the beginning of the game, and add that to my characters as part of their storyline. We'll see how Kaptain Kobold's playtesting goes with them. Quite often when you've written rules yourself they play much smoother than someone who is testing them for the first time.

I also altered the Speedster powers. I gave Speed a 12" move (double the norm) and allowed him a reroll in attack and defence to mimic his lightning fast reflexes. Speedster in the rules gets an extra move or attack. There was no real reason for this other than I find it intuitive to how I see Speed's power working.



  1. Now that looks like seriously good fun.

  2. I tried some very quick test games, and the sub-plots didn't happen enough to justify the rules. To be honest they were an excuse to use your subplot ideas, and make use of doubles on initiative. As you have seen, you can not use them, and the game still works (although I did have an ability - Unlucky - which makes it easier to get sub-plots. Think Spiderman.)

    For now I might stick to the dice-based initiative without sub-plots, and see how that goes. I'm certainly thrilled to see it works for you and, as ever, I love your scenario setups.

    I do like the idea of sub-plots, even if optional, being a part of the game rather than the scenario, though.

  3. Did you use any powers which were originally based on cards? I still need to post my notes on how I think the current ones should change, and would be happy for some input.

    1. No, I didn't, but what I have found myself doing is imagining how the powers of the characters would work and just writing down the stats without reference to the powers now. So Spectra fires devastating power blasts - 3 red dice at 12" - but is not a hand to hand combatant and so her close combat and defence rolls use weak white dice. Aquaria changes all her combat and defence dice to red if she is in contact with water (hence the stream) but away from water she is 1 red and two white dice for both. None of that is probably very helpful to you.
      For mind control I altered it to: the number of 'hits' scored was the number of turns the figure was controlled for and they activated on the black dice (I used black for baddies and white for goodies).
      Outwit could now be add 1 to the activation dice roll, effectively making sure the character wins all ties. The natural double could still be used as a trigger for events, sub-plots etc.
      Blue Ghost was interesting as she can phase - I came up with 1 red die in close combat (the partially unphased hand in the chest), and 3 rerolls in defence (intangible), +2 to unpinning (walks through her opponent) and flight.
      I've been thinking about a campaign system that works with scenario outcomes - captured people that need rescuing in the next issue, unresolved love triangles, barely contained savage instincts. If something like that was created as an add on, doubles could trigger actions based on those things?

    2. I have posted my thoughts on changes to my blog.

      I'm impressed with the effort you put into specific character designs and abilities. The weak attack in hand to hand is one I like. I'm more ambivalent about a weak defence, since that kind of undermines the Hinder ability a little. Phasing is a tricky power. I'll confess I probably wouldn't go down your route with it. The hand in the chest and defence abilities can be covered by existing powers (or ignored, and assumed to be a function of the character's innate level dice in combat). So the only real addition needs to be the intangibility itself, which I'd probably base around the Invisibility power. The danger with specific power design such as yours is that it causes the game to stray away from its broad-brush 'abstract' design.