Sunday, December 24, 2017

Extra Extra ...

-- ASTRO CITY;  The Hood County National Guard Armory has been robbed sometime last evening. Details are few, but according to passers-by on Gottfredson Bridge, the Mask known as The Silver Bullet  was involved in a high speed chase with a flatbed tractor trailer carrying multiple crates that may have come from the armory. Eye Witness sightings go on to contend that the hero chased the truck along the edge of the city on Westside Highway until he was hurled into the air by some unknown force that propelled him due West well past Wildenburg Center.

In possibly related news, drivers on the Crosstown Expressway sited massive Mask activity in Dedication Park where members of The Honor Guard were seen, including The Samaritan. There has been no comments from the supergroup.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Meanwhile, In The Sewers Of Astro City ...

Turok hadn't been seen in days. Last Injun Joe had heard, he had descended into
the sewers to hunt and kill what was reported as Velociraptors nesting in the damp filth of this underworld. Perhaps Turok had bitten off more than he could chew ... Injun Joe did not know, but he would too descend into the dark undercity to find his friend.


Noble One was the project enacted by SHIELD War Director Henry Peter Gyrich to contain the escape of prisoners and experimental subjects from the Project PEGASUS disaster. At its core, Noble One was a miracle of Super Science, a battlesuit capable of withstanding attacks from multiple Supers and a vast improvement over project Mandroid. Its mandate was clear; its battle-computer was uploaded with numerous subjects that had escaped, and as far as SHIELD was concerned, these subject would be dealt with under dead or alive terms.

Noble One's tracking system had lead it to the murky depths of Astro City's sewers, and before long, his quarry had been detected; MacDonalad Gargan - also known as the sinister Scorpion.


Injun Joe found tracking his friend difficult in the dampness of the sewer, but he persevered, knowing his ancestral awareness would not fail him; and before long, his quarry had been detected, flailing limply in the hands of a monstrous foe. In the dim lighting he could see Turok, having had horrible wet things done to him, his bow busted and floating in the filth. Injun Joe drew back his enchanted bow and prepared to deliver a massive blow to the monster that had done grievous harm to his friend.

The Scorpion struck first with an energy sting from his prehensile tail, obliterating Noble One's combat rifle. Injun Joe's force arrow struck Gargan in the back of his head and he stumbled forward, dropping his prey into the foetid waters. The loss of his rifle was inconsequential to Noble One as he advanced toward the costumed villain and delivered a system shocking blow from his armored fists sending the Scorpion reeling through the sewer tunnels.

Injun Joe rushed to Turok, who was unconscious from his encounter with Gargan. Utilizing his medicine bag, he summoned healing spirits to ease the pain of his friend and bring him back to the world of the living.

Noble One did not let up on the Scorpion, and with a flurry of massive blows, he'd embedded Gargan into the concrete walls of the sewer tunnel.

Gargan smiled, blood trickling from his lips. With monumental effort, his coiled tail sprung him from the wall, launching him directly into Noble One. Now it was Noble One's turn to reel in the fog of being stunned. Scorpion turned to Injun Joe and Turok and lashed out with his deadly tail, but only found concrete bricks of the adjacent wall.

Joe launched another force arrow while Turok, whether in an act of sheer bravery of desperate stupidity, drew his knife and launched himself at Gargan with a primal shout.


Unseen by the combatants, but clearly drawn to the ruckuss before him, the Blue Knight strode into the battle with eerie calm. There was no hint of fear in his hollow eyes, only cold purpose. He simply shot the Scorpion in the back of his head; the gunshot rang in the voluminous halls of the sewer. Joe stared at, not the death's head within the helmet, but at the three bullet holes in the chest of the armored policeman. There was a dark presence about the Knight... a sense of cold vigilantism ... judge and executioner in one. The Blue Knight turned and simply left as Noble One came back to his sense.


Noble One's Battle-computer brought up his next quarry ... a powerful super villaness known as Gypsy Moth ... he would take no chances against her psychoactive telekinesis. He'd first call in to SHIELD and replace his rifle and then the hunt would begin anew ...

Joe and the wounded Turok would make their way out of the sewers and head for Joe's flat to recover ...

We Interupt Your Regularly Scheduled Broadcast ...

This is Burt Kusiek of KBAC reporting to you live from Binderberk Plaza in the heart of Astro City Central, where nearly at the stroke of midnight on this foggy Sunday evening erupted in what can only be described as super-powered chaos. As our KBAC eye-in-the-sky dirigible detected moments ago, what started as a bizarre chase headed southbound out of Shadow Hills and involved two super-powered beings, a military half-track, and a large black dog, erupted into a full fledged war zone near the currently renovated Archway Bridge.

Silver Justice was also on the scene, having nearly collided with the half-track headed southbound along Museum Row, where right here in the Plaza the chase culminated into ground zero for super-powered strangeness.

A pitched battle between Silver Justice and several unknown Supers against what this reporter can only describe as a werewolf ensued on the streets of Central City. Furthermore, by the Archway Bridge several other Para-humans appeared and began sowing dire intent to the park goers in the area. From the heavy fog laughter echoed amongst the gunfire and I'm nearly certain the notorious Shadow joined the fray, quickly and single-handedly dispatching the wolf creature with dual his dual .45 calibre handguns.

The Silver Shroud wasted no time and made sweet music with his Tommy Gun, putting the murderous Scarecrow to sleep with its deadly lullaby. The brother's Grimm appeared to suffer technical difficulties with their stylized battlesuits and were abruptly apprehended by the Mossberg wielding Silver Sable. Captain Zap, a relative newcomer on the Super Hero Scene, made a debut appearance by soaring in from the cloudy skies and neutralizing Gypsy Moth before she could kill another civilian in cold blood.

Just as the scene seemed to settle from the mayhem, another mystery man mysteriously appeared on the Archway Bridge, and with a real sense of foreboding, unleashed dark power as the like this reporter has never seen. The dead rose from the earth, clawing at the fog enlaced air, as if to pull themselves up from hell itself.

The driver of the half-track, a brawny sort who's military grade vest was emblazoned with a grinning skull, mounted himself in the canopy of his vehicle and opened up hell itself upon the rising dead with a mounted Browning Machine Gun. As bullets pierced the fog and walking dead alike, civilians were funnelled under the bridge by Captain Zap and Silver Sable - who blasted the zombified skeleton as they went.

Soon it was all over and the heroes dispersed, but not before a mysterious  murderer arrived in the gloom and shot Gypsy Moth dead. So stunning was this act, the armored vigilante simply walked away, disappearing into the fog from whence he came.

When I tried to get an interview with Silver Justice, they simply waved me on offering no comment; however Captain Zap had a few words to offer regarding the battlesuited murderer that got away, stating the he would bring the assassin to justice.

This has been Burt Kusiek of KBAC, returning you to your regularly scheduled broadcast.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Who is ... Phantamos?

A mysterious set of murders have been committed here in Astro City that defy attempts to be cleanly solve.  All of the victims have been women. All of the victims have been mutilated in the most gruesomely dramatic ways possible, but no murder weapon has been found.

There have been no footprints or fingerprints recovered and no foreign forensic data found. Nothing appears to have been stolen from the crime scenes and there are no witnesses.

Astro City Police have enlisted Silver Justice to the task of solving the mystery killings with some success. Silver Shroud has received a phone call, supposedly from the killer, identifying himself as Phantamos. The suspect then further went on to challenge the Shadowy Sleuth with a cryptic piece of Louis Carroll poetry. No other leads have been disclosed at this time.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Strange Tale of Artur Zarrko

I first contacted Dr. Null about six months ago by telephone. He was obviously
surprised and a bit paranoid then, but we soon built a rapport of sorts. In the following weeks, I educated him of technical science he'd only dreamed of. It was me, you know, who dubbed him Dr. Null ... a sort of joke on my part as a measure of his scientific acumen. He was in all ways perfect for his part in my plan; a willing megalomaniacal stooge to wear the face of my hidden agenda.

Our first experiments were to ready his brain for the use of electronic telepathy. Under my guidance, these trials ran efficiently and in a mere two months, the good doctor was able to manipulate the technology I had shared with him. It was time for a field test.

Dr. Null was a petty criminal, at best. His first target was the First National Bank. I intended him to test Robotic Vehicles and Drone Control, which, of course he did ... but it was overkill. It was all too easy, even with the appearance of those novice so-called heroes who tried to stop him.

He used the money to acquire more equipment and parts under my advisement. In all this time, we'd never met, only communicating via telephone; so it was easy to take the money from the fool. What did I need of your money? Everything I was planning would take time ... even with the use of my ship and it's resources, I'd need to interact with you primitives on a base level to survive long enough to see phase one come to fruition.

And so it did. The heroes of your city fought valiantly against my Robotic Vehicle and Dr. Null performed excellently; creating the chaos I needed to infiltrate your Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Yes, many of the captives there escaped, but fear not ... they'll be back under new leadership.

I am already scouring Astro City to find them as part of Phase Two of my plan. I am also in negotiation with your organized crime elements; carefully and subtly making myself indispensable to these criminals until finally I have them under my complete control.

How, you may ask, as I am most securely bound in custody by your security force? I'll tell you, as I sincerely pity your dim intelligence. It's all made possible with my Time Cube. I didn't just come to your pathetic excuse for a civilization once from my time ... I did it, or will do it, many, many times - all in careful coordination. I foresaw my capture by that silvered speedster here at the facility, but I have also foreseen through my spectacular Time Scope that I shall be returning to my time in just a few minutes.

I ask you, Captian Cartelli, how are you and your heroes going to stop a man who literally knows your every and next moves?

-- The above transcript was compiled by Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S Security after questioning a man identifying himself as Dr. Artur Zarrko who was found in restricted areas during the attack made by Dr. Null.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Curse of the Werewolf ...

The valiant Silver Shroud found himself in perilous conflict with a pack of werewolves just north in Shadow Hills. He was joined in battle by his acolytes, Silver Justice - including the Silver Bullet and Silver Sable, during the pursuit of the mysterious murderer Phantamos.

Just as all seemed lost an additional ally, The Shadow, broke onto the scene and helped finish the battle. He also shared information on the werewolf pack and their connection to organized crime in Astro City ...

Doctor Null Strikes!

Using a massive robotic vehicle, the notorious Dr. Null attacked Astro City's Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.Various Masked Marvels,  such as the Silver Bullet and The Black Terror, were on hand to defend the city, but thousands of dollars worth of damage in the Chelser and Hartley area had been caused by the Doctor and his Mechanical Menace.

Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Security Director Joe Cartelli said that there was limited damage to the facility, but there was enough chaos to allow for the escape of various test subjects.
"In coordination with Doc Savage and The Fabulous Five, these renegades will soon be captured, but to the other Masked Men of Astro City, he gave a warning that these escapees are to be considered quite dangerous and to be aware of this if confronting them."

Friday, September 1, 2017

Campaign Types

I've been thinking about Campaign Types a lot lately.

I've been running a Street Level Campaign for my group for a while now with more success than I usually have. I've run The Supergroup Campaign type before with varying degrees of success; but I've never run a Cosmic Level Campaign - mostly because, while I like The Silver Surfer - probably the only Cosmic Level character I've read unless you count Superman -  I've never been overly enamored with any of his story arcs.

Through years of playing, I'm lead to believe that simpler is better - but maybe it's just me ...

You see, as for Supes, the trick I've found for successfully running him or Judging him is to roll back the clock on the character when his powers weren't so astronomical. Not exactly an ideal situation, but manageable, and truly opens up his rogue's gallery quite a bit.

So what about you guys, oh Marvel Maniacs? Share some of your experiences with Campaign Types either here or on our Google+ page.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

How Long Are My Gaming Sessions?

I've found that less is more when running a MSH game. Keep your plot very focused and try not to run any more material than you'd find in your average comic book. Fast paced, action oriented gameplay is generally the order of business for the day, but don't be afraid to let sleuths do their sleuthing. If you're running a MSH Module, keep it to one chapter at a time. Always try to end on a cliffhanger for next session, whether that be the next day or next week. Remember, this is a comic book/superheroes game; treat it as such and your players will eat it up and beg for more.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Campaign

I was going to write some big article on how to set up a Marvel game, but the link on the Downloads page called: Marvel RPG Campaign Construction - Polyhedron Articles Collected does a way better job than I could - except for a point or two.

Number One - Don't feel obligated to play just Marvel Universe Characters and don't be limited by any so called canon. If you want Hellboy and Batman running around - Great. One of the great features of The MSH RPG is that with the benchmarks for powers and abilities provided, you can model a character into your game pretty accurately. If you want All-New, All-Original characters, even better.

Number Two - You can even mess with geography. My home campaign, for instance is based in Astro City and Project Pegasus is just outside town. Use the Marvel Deluxe City Campaign Boxed Set (available at Classic Marvel Forever) if you want a New York or big city  - Gotham, Metropolis, Freedom City, etc., type game. It's a great supplement.

Are you having fun yet?


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

For the Love of Pulps

My go to subgenre for superheroes is the Pulp era. Don't get me wrong ... I dig the Silver Age stuff too from both DC and Marvel, but those Pulps hit what I call a Sweet Spot in Superhero gaming.

See, most of the Pulp or Golden era characters haven't developed the power escalation that occurred over time. Even the BIG GUY was no faster than a speeding bullet, only as powerful as a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But he's the top end of the scale. Same thing with characters like The Black Terror ... kind of a Superman with more ambiguous tendencies. Or how about Doctor Solar, who can literally do just about ANYTHING ... No, what I'm talking about are characters like The Shadow, Doc Savage, Phantom Lady, Dick Tracy, and even Tarzan. These are mortal men - and ladies - of adventure who don't overpower a game into boredom.

My Mystery Men group (see the Downloads page) are kind of a 'Pulp Avengers' and hit the upper strata of the Pulp character Sweet Spot, but really it's not so much about the characters, although they do figure into the equation, it's the adventures/scenarios themselves that really define a Pulp Game. There's a series of Marvel Adventures that works really well with the genre called After Midnight, Night Moves, and Night Life. Street Level Heroes against various mob like groups ... it's a natural.  Just gritty it up a little and be sure to check out the vigilante house rules at Classic Marvel Forever.

I'm kinda just freeform blogging here with no real direction, so I'll wind it up ... but there will be more on this later, I assure you.


Still The Best

I've played my share of Superhero RPGs since the mid-eighties and none of them compare to the elegant simplicity of The Marvel Superheroes Role-Playing Game by TSR; may they rest in peace.

As this blog will display, you are hardly limited by Marvel's stable of Superheroes, in fact, nearly any genre of play can be accomplished with this rules set. It's that flexible and completely awesome.

However, there was still room for improvement. Classic Marvel Forever, one of my favorite gaming sites, has an unofficial update to the rules that I found particularly appealing known as The Expert Edition. Also, the various houserules displayed at that site make gun toting heroes like my favorite - The Shadow - more playable without constantly losing Karma.

Go check out the links provided at Classic Marvel Forever ... you'll be glad ya did ...