Why does the Freedom League refuse to help?

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Postby AaronUnicorn » Wed Jul 23, 2003 1:37 pm

My solution was to make the heroes a "branch" of the Freedom League. They're supposed to be able to do the job of the Freedom League in the Midwest. If they call on the League for help all of the time, then they can expect to lose their membership.

"We wanted you guys to help US"

Now, I have no problem with them contacting the League for information, and occasionally Daedalus provides the team with "plot devices" (like an undersea explorer, or space ship). But once they start routinely asking for assistance in a mission, they can expect their membership to vanish.

There's also the issue that the local paper has already expressed doubts about the "junior" Freedom League, especially since all of my PCs are either very young, or are social misfits (mutants, elongating Walrus men, po' white trash, sentient robots, that sort of thing), so the team feels the need to prove themselves worthy of the name "Freedom League," even if it is followed with "Central."
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Postby MagusRogue » Wed Jul 23, 2003 1:51 pm

honestly, i just tell them "guys, this is a superhero's game, not a 'cry to your mommy when the bad guy steals your candy game.'" if they insist, amend even your 1 xp per adventure rule, since all they did was dial 911 when things got hot.
Aaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnd...... this rant has finished.
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Postby SmokestackJones » Wed Jul 23, 2003 2:06 pm

Witchblade wrote:Well, there's always the ubiquitous "mission in space." Seriously though, I like the idea that if the heroes keep depending on others to do their jobs, they're going to suffer bad press. The Freedom League shows up when called, but then dismisses the heroes out of hand. ("Stand back, junior, and watch a real hero in action!") Like you said, they get to go home and watch the big boys handle it on the news.

It may even get to the point where Captain Thunder sits them down for a talk and basically tells them to stop looking for trouble. This would be done in the maner of a friedly police officer talking to elementary schoolers, of course. Really make them feel like he's being totally condescending. ("We know that you kids are just trying to help, and we appreciate that, but you should leave the crime fighting to the experts.")

The local papers would address the story as, "Junior Heroes Call Out Freedom League." Other heroes begin treating the PCs as lessers. Police begin to decline their help. ("If we get in over our heads, we can call the Freedom League ourselves, thanks.") The Freedom League stops taking their calls and asks them to quit calling. (Johnny Rocket answers the phone, "'Lo? Oh, it's you! What's the matter this time, a cat stuck in a tree?")

Now here's an idea...

Give them something relatively minor, but that they're still likely to call in the Freedom League for. They make the call, but no one answers. The villain taunts them, saying, "Calling in the big guns? Oh, they're already taken care of!" The villain's allies have already incapacitated or captured the Freedom League. The PCs not only have to handle this themselves, but they will also have to rescue the League! In fact, every superhero group in town has already been taken out. The PCs are the only ones left! If they can't find a way to defeat the bad guys, Freedom City is left to the mercy of the villains! The PCs can flee, of course, but in doing so, they ruin their career as super-heroes.


Hey Witchblade,

Ya beat me to it! But...

Brilliant! :green: This could be a whole story arc of how the PC's learn to "be heroes."

-SJ
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Postby Soulstorm » Wed Jul 23, 2003 2:10 pm

I'm the bad player.

So, in my defense, I'm not trying to get the other hero teams to come save our asses as much as trying to use their skills and backgrounds to shore up weaknesses in our own team.

So, for example, when we find out that we might have to deal with some zombies, and none of us knows anything about magic, I might say, hey, isn't Siren a voodoo goddess? I bet she knows a thing or two about zombies. Let's ask her.

Or when we are trying to track down a couple of possibly mind-controlled members of Next-Gen who we believe are doing naughty things and we can't contact Next-Gen directly, I think, hey, two of the members of Next Gen are associated with previous members of the League. Maybe the League knows how to contact them.

Maybe it isn't in genre. But should you ignore the fact that there are other superteams in town, and they probably have information or special abilities that you don't? Shouldn't you be trying to build relationships with the other superteams in town? Shouldn't you be sharing information with them so that you both can do a better job?
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Postby SmokestackJones » Wed Jul 23, 2003 2:17 pm

Hey there,

I gotta say that the group I played with (Clem's group) were a bit guilty of this too., but it was more of a misunderstanding. The Main Super Group disappeared and we had to fight the bad guys. Unfortunately, it took us about a session and a half to realize that the plot was not "Find the Main Super Team and Rescue Them." Oops. :oops:

-SJ
Last edited by SmokestackJones on Wed Jul 23, 2003 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby AaronUnicorn » Wed Jul 23, 2003 2:17 pm

Now this is the kind of help I do understand looking for. I personally have no problems with the PCs contacting other hero teams to get information they have no way of accessing.

But there is the point of doing it too much.

Where that ballancing act is depends on the GM and the setting.

Also, as that player, be prepared for the GM to say "They're not available." It does make sense to look for information, but you also need to be prepared for the GM saying "get it yourself."

Take a look at the comics. When the Fantastic Four or Spider-Man have to deal with a magical foe, they often think "We'll ask Dr. Strange for information." But more often than not, Strange is unavailable. And if that happens, it's the GMs way of saying "You don't need their help."

If it's happening every adventure, then the GM is probably going to get tired of it. So try to make do without their help. And if you do it more sparingly, the GM is less likely to resist it when you DO ask them.
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Postby Tesuji » Wed Jul 23, 2003 3:14 pm

Arcady, the GM? says
"Ok, one player is always trying to go for backup. At the first sign of trouble he's calling the hotlines for every team in the city. "

soulstorm, the player says
"So, in my defense, I'm not trying to get the other hero teams to come save our asses as much as trying to use their skills and backgrounds to shore up weaknesses in our own team.
So, for example, when we find out that we might have to deal with some zombies, and none of us knows anything about magic, I might say, hey, isn't Siren a voodoo goddess? I bet she knows a thing or two about zombies. Let's ask her. "

and continues...
"Maybe it isn't in genre. But should you ignore the fact that there are other superteams in town, and they probably have information or special abilities that you don't? Shouldn't you be trying to build relationships with the other superteams in town? Shouldn't you be sharing information with them so that you both can do a better job?"

Sounds like the two of you need to sit down and figure out what really is happening. You seem to be describing two different events.

In the supers games i run, interactions with other supers plays a huge role in the game. This does not however equate to calling in supers for backup every time trouble rears its ugly head. As odten as not necessary or valuable clues are in other heroes hands and by forging relationshipd you tend to advance your own interests.

But the two differing descriptions as to what the player is doing in character leave this one in the realm of "once you two sit down and work thru where between these two descriptions the truth of whats going on lies, drop us a line and we can continue this."
The points don't make balance right, balance in play proves the points right.
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Postby Strand0 » Wed Jul 23, 2003 5:47 pm

Tesuji, I think Arcady's original topic is a good topic, which supplied a lot of good feed back. And some funny stuff too.

Sure the FF and Avenger and the JLA call each other for info, once a year. But, the X-men don't call the other teams.
:idea: Also, the FF and Avengers have made a point of sharing their Villain Files, so don't need to call... they just type a name into the Computer Search engine. 8)
Soulstorm: Maybe it isn't in genre. But should you ignore the fact that there are other superteams in town, and they probably have information or special abilities that you don't? Shouldn't you be trying to build relationships with the other superteams in town? Shouldn't you be sharing information with them so that you both can do a better job?
It isn't Genre. Superhero teams are not about doing a better job. They are about doing the job that no one else can.

Calling someone else (for information/help) is done with great humility, or even shame. Asking Dr. Strange in done with a certain amount of fear.

:o By the way, Soulstorm, how often does your PC call other heroes? 50% of the games, more, less?
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Postby mbaucco » Thu Jul 24, 2003 6:22 am

I was in a very amusing campaign where the GM handled people asking for backup by making the heroes fell like small potatoes. For example, while we were fighting some superpowered street gangs, the Freedom League was dealing with an intergalactic plague, or a transdimensional monster, etc, etc.. They were always very polite, but we always got the impression that they were too busy dealing with "real" threats to help us.

My favorite was when they mentioned that they were in discussions with the Intergalactic Council and one of the other players said, "Did we miss a memo? There's an Intergalactic Council???" After a few encounters like this, the players asked for information sometimes, but never help. I thought the GM handled this in a very witty way, and none of the players felt like he was refusing them help.

-Matt Baucco
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Postby jeff » Fri Jul 25, 2003 8:02 am

Inazuma wrote:
Neo wrote:Like the man says "With Great Power comes Great Responsibility".


Like the man says, "Nothing motivates a role-player like the possible denial of experience points." :D


Amen brother.
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Postby horned god » Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:52 pm

This happened in my first game where the players were playing the East Coast Avengers, and the first five minutes of the game they started thinking how can they ask for help from other heros.

How about this for a solution: You can interact with other heros and even chit chat and perhaps share some information, but asking for real help ie asking for reed to solve their problem, for Dr. Strange to probe the memory of someone, etc. something that will really help other than information and involves access their powers.

Make the hero's pay a hero point. If this is not a problem and does not make them blink twice, then make each one of the players spend a hero point, that will make them think 'is this help truly needed'. I like this idea a lot now that I think about it.

Help is one thing, buy that help as a player is another and the economics of gaming comes into play. I do not think players would causally ask for help but more like real comics only ask when it is the only or last resort.
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Postby Novac » Fri Jul 25, 2003 2:05 pm

mbaucco wrote:I was in a very amusing campaign where the GM handled people asking for backup by making the heroes fell like small potatoes. For example, while we were fighting some superpowered street gangs, the Freedom League was dealing with an intergalactic plague, or a transdimensional monster, etc, etc.. They were always very polite, but we always got the impression that they were too busy dealing with "real" threats to help us.

My favorite was when they mentioned that they were in discussions with the Intergalactic Council and one of the other players said, "Did we miss a memo? There's an Intergalactic Council???" After a few encounters like this, the players asked for information sometimes, but never help. I thought the GM handled this in a very witty way, and none of the players felt like he was refusing them help.

-Matt Baucco


LOL, your GM rocks.
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Postby SmokestackJones » Sat Jul 26, 2003 4:21 pm

Hey there,

Okay, I've read through some of these and I have to say this: it is perfectly acceptable to go to another super/team for advice, especially if they are Experts on the subject or Have Dealt With This Kind Thing Before. It's just common sense. If I have a leak in my plumbing and I want to do it myself, you bet I'm gonna ask for advice from someone at Home Depot or whatever. What the real issue here is, is leg-work.

Team A is dealing with an alien from Q Sector. Team B travels in that quadrant of space regularly. Makes sense (and in genre) to ask Team B about that area, use their database, etc. (if I'm walking down an street in N.Y. at night and a Skrull jumps me, damn right I'm gonna hightail it over to Reed Richards for advice). What they won't do is help you fight it or drive it off for whatever reason the GM can think of (busy, etc.).

A good example to look at is the Sherlock Holmes stories. Now Holmes is sort of an Intellectual Superhero, given his IQ and wide range of knowledge and people consult him all the time ("It is my business to know things", as he's said before). But, he does not know everything. So, what are his resources? He has a few (Scotland Yard, The Baker Street Irregulars, Mycroft, even Watson), but who does most of the legwork? Holmes. He consults, gets info then solves the case himself.

So let your players talk to other teams, pump them for info, advice, loan them stuff, whatever. But make it clear that it is they who must act on the info. After all, it's their problem and, frankly, their comic title. :green:

-SJ
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