We were given the choice of which characters we wished to play and I decided to stick with Cable, while the others players went with Spider-Man and Speedball. We persuaded the Pro-registration heroes that the most important thing was to contain the escaping prisoners, everything else could wait.
Spider-Man threw up webs to corral the rampaging super criminals while I had Cable teleport around, trying to scatter their ranks, with little success. Speedball dived right into the action, taking down criminals left and right.
We were distracted by a broadcast from Baron Strucker, who revealed that he had used the Civil War to unite AIM and HYDRA under his leadership. He was also responsible for sabotaging the gamma bomb used on Rikers Island.
Increasing the stakes Strucker opened a portal in the Negative Zone prison that led to a SHIELD heli-carrier over New York. Speedball followed the escaping prisoners while Spider-Man and Cable held the line.
I wasn’t having much success during these early scenes but I was gaining a lot of Plot Points. Thinking tactically I activated one of Cable’s limits, shutting down his Telekinetic Control. Not only did this net me another Plot Point I had a plan.
Once we’d dealt with the criminals in the Negative Zone we followed Speedball through the portal where he was desperately trying to protect SHIELD agents from the prisoners. Beneath us gamma irradiated survivors from Rikers Island were rampaging through New York.
Using Cable’s Latent Power SFX I spent a plot point to shift Telekinetic Control to the Burned-Out Mutant Telepath Powerset, stepping it up. I could now use it in combination with Cybernetic Senses as Cable took control of the heli-carrier.
Not only did it allow him to prevent the heli-carrier from crashing into the city below after the escaping prisoners damaged one of the engines but he was able to use its scanners to find out where Strucker was transmitting from. All the while Cable taunted Strucker, saying he’d given the heroes a reason to unite and a means for Cable to end the war. Now they knew where he was and they were coming for him.
This was enough to give Strucker emotional trauma, ending his transmission. Maria Hill did point a gun at Cable’s head but he pointed out it wasn’t wise to shoot the man who was keeping the heli-carrier airborne.
While Spider-Man and Speedball stayed in New York to deal with the gamma irradiated survivors Cable headed to the source of the transmission, The White House!
The Watcher kindly let me decide where Strucker was actually hiding and had said it mostly as a joke (my second vote was the Savage Lands) but it actually made sense and led to a great new location.The Watcher also pointed out that our campaign had begun in Washington so it made sense to finish there.
He was accompanied by Captain America and a few other heroes on board a long range SHIELD jet (based on the quinjet designs). I attempted to use a heart to heart with Captain America to remove some emotional stress without much luck. Still, it was a chance for Cable to talk about his guilt about being used by Strucker to detonate a gamma bomb. Captain America assured him that he was just a leader in a war, making hard decisions and that his regret was all the more reason to make sure there was a better tomorrow.
In Washington the combined HYDRA and AIM forces were fighting the authorities. While Captain America and the other heroes dealt with them Cable was given the mission of rescuing the President, who was being held hostage.
Teleporting into the Oval Office Cable used the element of surprise to attack Strucker and the AIM guards. I went all out, spending plot points to draw in as many powers and assets as I could, purchasing extra effect die so I could take down the mob of HYDRA agents.
In the first exchange Strucker was taken down (handicapped as he was by emotional trauma) and took down all but one HYDRA agent. The agent was able to call in another group of HYDRA agents but Cable protected the President by acting as a human shield, using his durability to shrug off their gunfire.
Going hand to hand Cable took the remaining HYDRA agents down, pinning the last one to the wall using a flag pole. With the American flag waving Cable saluted the President as Captain America and the other heroes arrived.
The President was obviously grateful and Cable used the opportunity to point out that it was unregistered heroes, including those who had recently been imprisoned, that had saved him and the rest of America.
Back in New York Speedball and Spider-Man had dealt with the criminals, although Spider-Man had been knocked out after he threw himself in front of a pumpkin bomb thrown by his old enemy The Green Goblin.
This sequence gave us a good lesson in how to handle Turn Order. We’d been cutting back and fore between New York and Washington and Spider-Man was up next. Spider-Man declined, saying he wanted to see what Green Goblin would do first.
Now it can be a good idea to have the villain go first, especially if you want to prevent them going last and potentially choosing themselves as the first person to act in the next turn.
Here it allowed Green Goblin the chance to inflict physical trauma on Spider-Man. Potentially Spider-Man could have taken him out in his turn so declining to act could have been disastrous. Luckily Speedball was on hand to finish the Green Goblin.
With the threat averted and the Registration Act ended thanks to our efforts the Watcher allowed us to put together a brief montage to act as an epilogue. For my part I had Cable witnessing Captain America and Iron Man shaking hands as they agreed to police the superhuman community together.
In the Baxter building Sue Storm brought a meal to her husband, his actions forgiven, as Reed tele-conferenced with other Marvel geniuses about the creation of the ‘Foundation’, They would work together to build a better tomorrow, giving others the gift of their technology and their wisdom.
Elsewhere Speedball oversaw the construction of the first Trust building. The Trust would be a huge organisation, drawing upon heroes and super teams from all over the world. X-Men, Avengers, Defenders, the Fantastic Four and others could all work alongside each other and share information.
Most importantly the Trust would train new heroes, with founding members acting as sponsors to new recruits. Members would only have to reveal their identity to their sponsor, allowing oversight but also insuring secrecy.
It was a great end to a massive campaign. We’d made it through the darkness and the tools to create a better future. We’d created a campaign setting that was recognisable but was distinctly based on our actions.
Overall the campaign was fun and I relished the chance to play multiple roles. My only regret is Sue getting trauma from the Hulk robot prevented me from choosing her in the final act.
Plot wise the flaws are those already inherent in the Civil War. I think the comic storyline is great and loved how it changed the status quo in Marvel universe (eventually leading to another status quo change in ‘Dark Reign’) but when you play through the events there are things that jar.
The fact that SHIELD and the government are so quick to crack down on the heroes the moment the Registration Act comes into affect (attacking Patriot at the stroke of midnight) feels wrong. There would be a lot less crime if they’d gone after supervillains with the same level of aggression.
Many of the superhero characters also feel out of character. In particular setting a trap for the anti-registration at the Stark factory is the tactic of a villain and I made sure that Sue said so.
The easiest way to remedy this is tie the out of character behaviour directly into the Secret Invasion. It would be a good plot twist if, amidst the conflict, if the PCs found out that skrulls had infiltrated their ranks. Convincing anyone of the truth would be much harder when the heroes are at each others throats.
What this campaign does demonstrate is how they can act as starting points for your own campaign. Players are likely to take events in entirely new directions, making your own version of the Marvel Universe that you can return to and expand.