Our next game picked up with a protest outside the Baxter building. J Jonah Jameson was using recent events to get the public behind his anti-hero agenda. Of course Sue was none to pleased about their presence and told Reed maybe they should leave the country (foreshadowing the Thing’s trip to France in the comics). Reed insisted that they stay and register.
In this version of events Johnny Storm hadn’t been hospitalised and was planning to go outside to ‘keep an eye’ on the crowd. Not trusting her hot tempered brother Sue accompanied him, him in civilian clothes and her using her invisible powers.
On the way out they bumped into Willie Lumpkin, the Fantastic Four’s mailman, with a huge bag of post. This would become important later but for the moment it was nice to roleplay the encounter with a fun bit character.
Robbie Baldwin, aka Speedball, had taken Sue up on the offer to stay at the Baxter building and after speaking to Franklin and Valerie also decided to respond to the protest outside.
Wolverine was in the local area and decided to investigate the protest, in case things got ugly. He found that Cyclops was already there, blending in with the crowd and the two mutants exchanged views on the anti-hero push.
Peter Parker was at his apartment with Mary Jane when he saw a televised report on the protest and decided to swing by to take Jameson down a notch.
With everyone having a reason to be there we engaged in a scene much like the senate hearing in the previous game. We each took it in turns to address the crowd, trying to pacify them while dealing with outbursts of anger and accusations.
I really enjoy these sequences as they are very different from fights while retaining the same core mechanics. You have to think a little differently when assembling your dice pool.
Although it was repeating a tactic from the previous game I’m quite proud of the moment Sue made the entire Baxter building vanish, to make the crowd realise what it would be like if the Fantastic Four was no longer there to watch over them.
Having successfully dispersed the crowd and with Spiderman having humiliated Jameson the heroes returned to the safety of the Baxter Building. We’d just let down our guard and agreed to go with Reed to a meeting with Henry Gyrich when we experienced an attack from an unexpected source.
The Thing had opened on of the parcels brought by Willie Lumpkin, only to try and hide its contents. I knew it was something bad but Sue wouldn’t let anyone shield her from something important.
The parcel contained a burnt Fantastic Four t-shirt, sent by a mother who’d lost a child at Stamford. This was an attack to cause emotional stress and the dice failed me, Sue taking d8 damage.
“How could you let me see that, Ben?” Sue asked, leaving the room in tears, a distressed Robbie in tow.
I’d have had Sue get upset anyway from the parcels contents but it was great that the system allowed for it to be demonstrated in this way. It was good, dramatic scene that helped reinforce the emotional side of the conflict.
The next scene was at the meeting with Henry Gyrich, with Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and Reed in attendance in addition to ourselves. This was another social combat scene, with we anti-registration heroes matching wits with the others.
I decided that Sue had realised that it was useless to fight her husband and her friends. Instead she pointed out that if the government were aggressive in their registration legislation the hero community would do what they always do when they come under attack, they’d fight back.
It would be much easier if pro-registration heroes set an example and reached out to them. Speedball agreed with this, volunteering to unmask and register. A friendly face and kind words would persuade more heroes to register than it would to threaten them.
Tony and Steve agreed, suggesting the name ‘The Trust’. Of course Sue really wanted to get on the inside of the process, planning to help any heroes who they approached that resisted to escape. Who better to help make people disappear?
That night, as the registration act came into force, the heroes gathered for the first time. This was our chance to make contacts before everything went to hell, which Sue used to let people such as Luke Cage now that they had a friend they could turn to.
Wolverine tried to help Sue recover some emotional stress, but Wolverine being Wolverine he didn’t succeed. We did joke about him making it worse but we decided that would be cruel.
Instead Wolverine and Sue worked together to setup Captain America as a potential leader of the anti-registration side (in this reality the meeting on the SHIELD carrier never occurred).
After the Watcher had made his scheduled appearance at the party, to freak people out and confirm this was a historic moment we skipped to shortly afterwards. SHIELD agents (we refused to call them Cape Killers) were chasing after Patriot.
This was tricky as we had to minimise our visibility, since we were still supposed to be pro-registration. Sue remained invisible and also shielded Speedball, allowing him to rescue Patriot.
Wolverine and Spiderman dealt with the pursuing SHIELD agents and their backup, who arrived in the form of She Hulk, Black Widow and Yellow Jacket. We worked together to create a complication that allowed us to escape from the heroes without being noticed.
Things should get more intense now that the Civil War has actually begun. We’ll also get to experience it from both sides since we’re acting as double agents. Just how long can we keep up the ruse?