Saturday, September 10, 2011

Villains & Vigilantes - Attack on the Poseidon Line

***This review of an RPG adventure is for GMs’ eyes only***

An adventure that starts as a working vacation on a cruise ship. Have to agree, yeah, that’s a first for superhero role-playing. Things sort of started like that in For the Greater Good, but even Jack Herman admitted the whole reason that got published was thanks to its envelope-pushing villains.

Anyway, things get started with a Greek shipping magnate (is there any other kind?) appealing for help when his cruise lines keep getting raided by modern pirates. Seems Manta-Man hasn't been discouraging this kind of thing too effectively. What to do but send a bunch of superheroes undercover on the next cruise and hope they can do something about it next time.

Gotta say, that’s not quite investigating the disappearance of a supermodel after a bungee, but it’s one of the more unique hooks I’ve heard for this kind of thing. The chance to role-play against the rich and famous of your campaign world, or the handy list of thinly-veiled parodies of the rich and famous if you haven’t bothered to establish any, is a nice touch too. In my opinion, the best adventures always give you something more than just a new group of villains to pound.

Not the villains in this module are just another bunch of thugs with a couple of garish powers thrown in. I could definitely see involving most of the villains in further scenarios after wrapping this adventure, particularly the likes of Delphi with her mysterious awareness and Ajax with his power to melt and come back in a new body to menace our heroes anew. My favorite little tidbit about the villains was finding out they get more use out of Midas’s golden touch than just some interesting statuary. Nobody ever thinks of doing more with a power like that than just changing something into another substance, and then maybe throwing it at a character they don’t like because now it’s heavier.

I suppose this review’s shorter than other ones I’ve done for V&V material, but that’s mainly because so much space and effort’s devoted to laying out the floor plan of the cruise ship, plus the mansion that conceals a villain base, that the actual adventure sometimes seems a little brief. The floor plans are amazingly intricate, though, and could easily survive this adventure to see use in others. Plus, with all the role-playing possibilities between the PC’s while patrolling the ship and the celebrities and their varying degrees of sanity, though, a good GM can make rubbing shoulders with celebrities last as long as it’s entertaining.

If I have to complain about anything, it’s that it’s kind of trite that this happens around Greece, so the villains all have a Greek mythology motif.

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