Here you can see why I have no future in the fine arts! Also, I will teach you how to cheat at this game! Plus random Steve Ditko art!
(I’m using bold text for the GM (a/k/a the Watcher).) Okay, so let’s cut to a new scene. Spider-Man, you’re on top of the Fisk Building. Since you stopped to threaten the Kingpin a second ago, I’m going to say that the Vulture’s had a few minutes to take to the air. I’m plunking down Asset: Far Away, and I figure the Vulture flies fairly fast but not supersonic, so it’s rated with a d8. (I’m allowed to do this to set up the scene; later it might cost me from the doom pool.) The Vulture looks over his shoulder at you and snarls, “You’ll never catch the Vulture, wall-crawler!” What now?
(I’m using regular text for Spider-Man’s player.) Well, I guess I could try to web him up. But I’m running low on plot points. You know what? Screw it. I’m activating the limit on my Web-Slinging power set. I’m out of webs!
Yeah, I mean, I really wanted to ruin the Kingpin’s upholstery back there. You should see the place. Webs everywhere. I guess I shouldn’t have been so wasteful. Anyway, I’m shutting down those powers, and you have to pay me with a plot point. Thanks. Spider-Man thinks to himself (makes thought-bubble gesture) “Without my web-fluid, he may be right!”
Okay, so you’ve shut that group of powers down, but what about for your action?
There’s probably heavy industrial stuff on this rooftop, right? Like A/C units, satellite dish, water tower, that kind of thing? I’m gonna rip up a big chunk of roofing machinery and chuck it at the Vulture. That’s my Solo d8 + Superhuman Strength d10 + Wisecracker d8.
Man, don’t spam the Wisecracker trait. You gotta give me something.
Fine. “Hate to wreck property, but I gotta keep the HVAC unions in over-time!” I notice you don’t force the Black Widow act out her Dangerous Liaisons trait. Anyway, that’s a . . . roll of 8 on the d10, and 6 and 3 on the pair of d8’s. I’m going to keep the 8 and 6 as my total, for 14. That leaves me with a d8 for my effect die. What have you got?
There’s nobody to oppose you, so you’re rolling against the doom pool which stands at 3d6 + 1d8. Rolling that, I get 6, 6, 4, 2. My reaction is 6 + 6 = 12. You beat me, and rip up the AC unit. Now what?
Let’s use my d8 effect die to create an Asset: Torn-Up AC Unit d8. What’s the Vulture doing?
Um, getting away but I’m honestly not sure. The rules don’t say precisely how to increment assets like Far Away or Raging Wildfire. Let’s try this: the Vulture’s gonna roll against the doom pool too. If he wins, and his effect die is greater than d8 (so, a d10 or d12), then his Far Away asset takes on that value. If he wins but his effect die is a d8 or smaller, the asset’s value bumps up by one.
Sounds okay. That’s like the stress system, isn’t it?
Yeah, I guess so. There’s a lot of self-similar stuff in this game, which is kind of confusing, but also, once you learn one trick, you can apply it elsewhere. I still don’t know how I feel about that. Anyway: Vulture’s got Solo d10 + Cowardly d8 + Feathery Flight d8. He’s also trying to coax a little more performance out of his flying harness, so that’s probably +1d8 for his Tech Expert specialty. Dang, this game uses a lot of d8’s–let’s pretend this Tens dice is a d8 and I’ll re-roll a 90 or 00. I roll 7, 5, 5, 1, for a total of 12 with a d8 for my effect die.
Here, I’m rolling the doom pool: 3d6 + 1d8 . . . 8, 6, 3, 3. The reaction is 14, beating your 12, so you lose. Maybe the Vulture has gotten a little overconfident and still hoping to stay within gloating range?
Sure. So my Asset: Far Away stays at d8. And I rolled a 1, that’s an opportunity. Do you want to buy it for one plot point? It will let you bump up any push or stunt on your next action.
Nah–I have something else in mind. Okay, so I’m going to throw the AC Unit one-handed at the Vulture and break those smelly wings. “Vulture, if you’re flying south for the winter, you’ll need air-conditioning!” Solo d8 + Wisecracker d8 + Superhuman Strength d10 + Asset: Torn-Up AC Unit d8. Hmm, you do need to buy more dice! I hate this stupid Tens dice thing you do. Anyway, that’s an 8 on the d10, and 5, 4, 2 on the 3d8. I’m gonna make my total 13, and use 1d8 for my effect die. And maybe something else… but let’s see how you roll.
Vulture’s reaction is Solo d10 + Feathery Flight d8 + Acrobatic Expert d8 + Asset: Far Away d8. I can’t think of a distinction that applies. So that’s 8, 5, 5, and 2. My reaction is 13, equal but not greater than yours, so you hit the Vulture. You’re going for d8 physical stress with your effect die?
Yes, but I’m also spending that plot point, which lets me use a second, unused die on my roll for an effect as well. So in addition to d8 physical stress with my first (free) effect die, I’m going to damage his Feathery Flight trait with my second effect die, a d8. Try getting away now!
Hmm! Let me mark off the stress. The Vulture’s Feathery Flight is rated at d8, so you’ve demolished that power completely! The Vulture groans in pain and plummets from the sky! Okay, for his action he’s going to try to recover. I’m going to take that d8 out of the doom pool and use it to reestablish my flying trait.
Wait, I thought you can only try to heal yourself during a transition scene? In an action scene someone else can try to heal you, but if you’re doing it all on your own you need to wait until things quiet down. Unless you’ve got healing powers like Wolverine.
Huh! Let me see, I thought I could do that. (Checks rule book.) Looks like you’re right. Okay, well, let’s just say he’s falling toward a building helplessly–thinking maybe he had a spare power pack somewhere and realized he forgot it at home. What do you do now?
I’m going to eliminate the distance asset. That’s Swingline d8 + Solo d8 + Acrobatic Master d10–eh, you know, I’m going to split that d10 down to 2d8. And can I fold in the Vulture’s d8 stress because he’s still hoping to get away? Yes? Okay, that’s me rolling 5d8 . . . 8, 8, 4, 3, 1. Do you want to buy that 1 off me? My total is 16, with a d8 for my effect die.
Sure. Here’s a plot point, and I add 1d6 to the doom pool, which is now 4d6 + 1d8. And for his reaction, the Vulture rolls Solo d10 + Acrobatics Expert d8 + Asset: Far Away d8. I’m going to include my Cowardly distinction at a d4, because that lets me step up the lowest die in the doom pool, making it 3d6 + 2d8.
Come on, man, how are you cowardly?
The Vulture’s screaming out, “My wings, my wings!” He’s unsure whether to be more scared of Spider-Man or hitting the rooftop, and so isn’t able to prepare well against either. Hmm, that’s 4, 4, 4, 4. My reaction is 8, you beat me. In fact, you beat me by more than 5, so your d8 effect die steps up to d10. What were you hoping to do, again?
Eliminate your Asset: Far Away d8. I’m closing in on my web-line. Thwip! Thwip!
Okay. And–hey, wait a minute! Weren’t you out of web-fluid? You didn’t reactivate your Web-Slinging power. I think your dice pool was wrong!
I, um, forgot. Yeah, forgot. Say, you know what’s interesting about the Vulture? He’s like Spider-Man’s evil grand-dad or something. They’re both gadget-guys, they’re both acrobats, but Peter Parker is a nice kid and the Vulture’s this mean old ex-con.
Oh man, don’t get me started. There’s this whole anxiety about fathers in the Silver Age Spidey stories. Jameson exploiting his astronaut son, Robbie worried about his kid’s politics, Harry freaking out on drugs and becoming the Goblin. Captain Stacy. It’s frequent and really sustained. What’s kind of cool about the Vulture is that he’s got that same thing going on with his super villain career, but in reverse: passing the costume on to the younger Blackie Drago who has no respect for his elders. A hero with no father and a villain with no heir. Vulture and Spider-Man really deserve each other.
Gee, how about that! So, um, what’s he doing on his round?
Trying not to splatter on the roof, I suppose. He’s rolling Solo d10 + Acrobatics Expert d8 + Spry Geezer d8. And I’m going to spend 2d6 out of the doom pool to add to my roll. That’s 6, 6, 4, 4, 1, total of 12. Want to buy that 1 off of me?
Sure. Here’s a plot point, now I can push harder or stunt better on Spider-Man’s next turn. The doom pool is now 1d6 + 2d8, right? And also maybe the Vulture’s d8 stress. Let’s roll: 5, 4, 3, 2. Reaction of 9. So I guess you don’t get splattered.
Okay, so let’s say you’re clambering onto the rooftop where the Vulture landed. He’s all banged up and looks like he’s seen better days. What now?