We had our first real (in the sense of using the rules and rolling dice) session playtesting my Kapow! Superhero RPG, and I’d say it went pretty well. We had one short combat, where the gang–who have decided to call themselves The Beacon City Brawlers–took out a dozen thugs armed with pistols and shotguns who were robbing a diamond exchange with startling ease. Startling to them, that is…one thing I was hoping to get out of the combat was to teach them how much more powerful they were than normals. We generally play in much, much lower power settings, so I think they found it gratifying when they realized that bullets really couldn’t hurt them.
The combat out of the way, we moved to the meat of the session, with them investigating a bank robbery by a group of masked, super-strong and fast women the press had dubbed “Barbie-zons”. The players got to invoke various of their shticks, with Jungle Gal scouting the bank with her heightened senses, The Wraith using his contacts to acquire the surveillance tapes, Redline using the Crime Lab in the base to analyze the tapes with facial analysis software, and even Namaste getting into using her knowledge of yoga and anatomy to analyze the way that they moved.
One thing that I realized in GMing is that even though I made up all the rules, and even wrote them down, I don’t have them all at the tip of my fingers, and the rules aren’t quite light enough for there to be only one thing to remember (e.g. roll vs. target). I’ll need to review them a bit before I run again. They did seem to work pretty much as I had hoped, to direct and resolve actions without getting in the way. There’s definitely a tendency for the players to ask for permission to try things that’s a legacy of other games we’ve played over the years, such as questions about whether they can move and attack, or does the move take their entire action, but I can definitely see them warming to the possibilities of simply being able to say “I phase through the top of the van that’s speeding away and into the seat next to the driver” without needing to make a skill check or negotiate it with the GM. Which reminds me, I did want to nail down the rule for over-awing somebody (along the lines of a Champions “Presence Attack”) before next session.
The session was it it was over before we knew it, and in fact we were fifteen minutes past our usual stopping time when somebody noticed and we had to wrap things up. People seemed pretty absorbed, and into their characters, and you can see the personalities starting to emerge. I’m really looking forward to the next session.