Wild Talents: The Heroes of New Arcadia Episode 1

What happens to a world whose heroes disappear overnight? One year ago, every major superhero and supervillain disappeared in an event now called Ragnarok. Since then, thousands of normal humans have acquired means to empower themselves. Spell books float around on the Internet. Technology stolen from abandoned bases and secret headquarters has been reverse engineered for countless knock offs. In a city on the West Coast called New Arcadia, a group of ragtag civilians with new superpowers has arisen to take the place of the missing superheroes.

In the first episode, these amateur heroes meet at the site of a terrorist attack on a federal courthouse. They must rescue hostages and defeat heavily armed killers. Can they pass this trial by fire?But that isn’t all! This episode combines the first two sessions of the campaign. After their first skirmish, some of the heroes take their first step into becoming a super team. Can they overcome their personal problems or will bickering and infighting doom their efforts?

Read more about the Heroes of New Arcadia here.

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  1. An hour and 15 in, this game seems like to could go real, real bad if infighting gets out of hand.

  2. Author

    Honestly the first session of this campaign is the worst session. No one knew the rules well, there were too many players and there wasn’t agreement on the concept or universe between the players. Caleb and Cody were a bit too harsh I think.

    Every single session since that first game has been much better.

  3. I could make excuses, but I won’t. I was a dick, and I apologize whole-heartedly. I don’t know what came over me.

    Ross is right though; every game since has been much better. It has been a great campaign so far. I look forward to playing every week.

  4. Caleb has the best character and is generally very funny so w/e

  5. Another great AP guys! I do admit that things got a bit too chaotic to follow at times, and there seemed to be some unexpected anger or animosity towards the end of the first session. I heard Cody mention something about making Bill upset, which I must have missed entirely because I had no idea what was happening. There was definitely palpable tension near the end though, and I’m glad to hear that you guys sorted it out.

  6. This may have been answered elsewhere, but are all the PCs rolled up as 250 point supers?

    I didn’t get the vibe that Caleb and Cody were jerks. Just felt like everyone in the first session didn’t know what the campaign was going to be about, or what ‘street level’ meant (IE Cody’s desire for RP being cut off by “pew pew going to teleport his face!”)

    Also, Norm is awesome.

  7. I’d be madder at Cody and Caleb if they weren’t right. The scope of Dan and Jason’s powers seems way higher than I’d expect from the kind of game they seemed to be taking part in. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is it’s funny when the players fight.

    My favorite part so far is Aaron trying to fake that he’s turned off his suit. “Of course you didn’t put points into ‘Lie’, your Aaron.”

  8. Session 2 is much improved and I think it’s a fair split.

    But damn, Ross. Running two concurrent games. That’s some love.

  9. Author

    Yes, characters were all 250 points.

  10. also this game has reinforced my opinion that ORE is goddamn hard to adjust to (still owns though)

  11. So happy this is finally here! An auspicious start.

  12. ya, I had the same thoughts. as much as Aarantics drive me infuckingsane it’s somehow only more depressing when Cody starts to give him reasonablevoice shit over it. I didn’t really feel like Caleb was going too far with the STREET LEVEL thing, just felt like joking and was also clearly, y’know, tha truth, but I’m a confirmed Caleb fangirlboy so maybe this is a battered wife thing. they’ll never get me in a shelter.

    but yeah, seems like a fun campaign. I’m always impressed with how much control Ross keeps in clusterfuck twelve-character combats, considering how combat-light the games usually are, and taking on a, like, multi-party sandbox venture sounds as fantastic as it will be painful.

    so…cool! (also still dying for Eclipse Phase campaign!)

  13. For your information, it’s spelled Aaronantics(TM).

  14. All in all, a good AP, props to everyone, especially Ross, who manages to run that clusterfuck of a combat outside the courthouse (Y’know, with every PC involved in it) pretty smoothly.

    Like everyone has pointed out, there seems to have been some strife in first session, but, I mean, it was the first game of a new campaign, and everyone was just trying to figure out what they wanted out of this, and also what directions Ross wanted to take the story in. Also, there were, what 7 PCs? I mean, trying to get a complete unity out of that many human beings takes work. The New World had plenty of moments of conflict in it, and there were never that many people at once, I don’t think. And, the issues seem mostly worked out by session 2.

    Also, thumbs up to Andrew for the ZOE reference.

  15. Yeah that first session was very chaotic but it got better later on as we became accustomed to the new system and setting as well as to each other’s characters. By session 2, Bill and I changed up our characters significantly to fit the “street” level. It tweaked my character quite a few times throughout, changing some of the mechanics on how my illusions functioned, what type of dice I benefited from most, inventing new magic items to help me out, and ultimately spending several days redesigning what specific flaws and extras to use when perfecting my familiars as well as summoning them. Wild Talents is great but the possibilities are staggering, especially depending on how complicated your character’s powers are.

  16. My complaint with ORE is that there’s a lot of messy overlap. You get a lot of situations where the incongruity of sense and speed result in a weird domino effect that can fuck up someone’s turn completely. Like Cody smashing his face into the force field.

  17. Author

    Caleb built very odd and specific powers in terms of game mechanics. However, I’ve encountered similar issues in Mutants and Masterminds. I think it’s intrinsic to superhero rpgs where you let players can make up super powers.

  18. I love that overlap in ORE combat; it gives the fights a more haphazard, dangerous, and realistic feel even if it does harm my character’s effectiveness. Hell, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve shot at a bad guy just to have Tom punch his brains out with 6 x 10. I spend most of my time atomizing the walls behind dead supervillians. It makes the characters decidedly less super, but it is more fun narrative-wise.

  19. Oh, the combat in ORE is always really fun to play, but its inherent clusterfuckian aspects seem kind of off in Wild Talents. In stuff like GODLIKE and Nemesis it’s perfect, because confrontations in those games are always hectic, dirty, and scary.

    (I am in no way insinuating that Wild Talents is bad. I’ll take ORE over any wait-your-turn system.)

    ((nemesis is p good ross))

  20. Love that we’re finally on the supers campaign. I’ve been wanting to hear this one for quite a while now.
    Ross, are you going to post each groups session as one post, or will the posts have one session of group A and one of group B?

  21. Author

    depends on individual session lengths and listener feedback. I assume listeners want longer episodes but I never want to go over 6 hours on any given episode.

  22. I haven’t finished the AP yet so maybe it gets resolved later, but I thought I’d chime in to say that I totally disagree with your interpretation of the ‘On Sight’ extra as it pertains to the teleporter guy. The extra specifically states “It works even if you’re looking at the subject through an intermediary such as a camera, mirror, or power that allows remote viewing.”
    Also at 3d his range (without any extras or flaws effecting range) would be 40 yds not 20.

    …and that’s why you’re a horrible monster Ross Payton.

  23. Well this listener wants as much Actual Play goodness as you can give us. If that helps.

  24. we thirst we thirst

  25. Going to pile on a little bit here…I think Cody & Caleb’s frustration was well placed. Having listened to all the New World episodes, it’s pretty clear that Bill and Dan are powergamers, and that each of them gets a lot of pleasure from designing a character as optimally as possible (I’m not going to single out Jason here because in the New World, his character seemed like one of the most underpowered). This is not inherently a bad thing, but when the character is clearly unbalanced, it can take away from the other players’ fun, which it obviously did in this episode.

    While that kind of thing can be partially ameliorated in a balanced system like D&D, when it’s a Wild Talents superhero setting in which the players are given a lot of latitude when building characters, the powergaming perfectionist can be a pain. I’m reminded of RPPR Episode 57 (Read The Fine Print), in which Tom and Ross talk about house ruling or speaking with players privately to avoid such imbalances.

    Finally, in Bill’s defense, I doubt all the players sat around and discussed all their characters’ powers and stats before playing the game. When Bill set out to make a 250-point character, chances are he just wanted to design the best character he could, and he had no idea that his hero wouldn’t be considered “street level.”

    That said, it’s good to know that in episodes going forward, the player interaction gets better.

  26. Author

    I understand being frustrated. That entire first session was frustrating for a number of reasons. Fortunately, we resolved the issues by the second session more or less.

    Also – Dan did not play in this campaign. At all.

  27. I feel like I bitched too much without saying that this game was one of the most entertaining you’ve done and I can’t wait for more.

  28. It’s sounds to me like the main cause of the frustration (ie STREET LEVEL!)of some of the players was due to a lack of familiarity with the rules. The reason that the variable effect magic guys felt so over powering was because they were misunderstanding the rules for that extra (which are kinda opaque to begin with). Per the rules you’ve gotta spend a round rolling to activate the power and only during the declaration phase do the variable dice ‘become’ dice of another miracle. Letting them just change the effects of the power each and every round really throws that extra out of balance.

    Still, this was a very entertaining session with great Aaron moments and funny lines from everybody at the table.
    Can’t wait for session 2!

  29. Ooops! The above should read “…only during the /resolution/ phase…” not declaration in the fifth line. I try to clear something up and I end up making it more confusing! My apologies.

  30. @Dan
    Small rant incoming, but don’t judge me until the end, especially Bill and Dan, I love you guys!

    When I first started listening to APs I too thought Dan (Sir Not Appearing in this Film) and Bill were really munchkin-y with their character designs. Dan’s never-ending curse buildups and constant concealment combined with teleporting and high social skills made him seem really min/maxed. Bill’s first dragonborn PC was all about creating elemental weakness and exploiting it, and there was even the one game where he announced he had taken a feat (I’m not familiar with it) that allowed him to substitute Arcana for Perception rolls. That struck me as being very powergamer in utility. Don’t design a character with balance, just find ways to dump the low-ends on top of the skills you excel with. It seemed even worse near the end with his new Sir Reginald PC, who was constantly next to invisible. In his defense, Bill admitted he was using that power/skill incorrectly.

    Now that I’ve made it seem like I’m attacking Bill and Dan, let me explain why I’m NOT. I don’t know either of them personally, and don’t claim to have insight into their real-life characteristics. I see it more as that Bill and Dan know the game systems they like inside and out. They know a ton about the mechanics and as such, would have to take that knowledge into account during character creation. I think it’s all a matter of wanting to make a character who is effective, but knowing the system well enough to end up with someone TOO effective, without intention. If they were really as big of powergamers as one might think, they wouldn’t restrain themselves when it’s becoming obvious what has happened. Look at this AP. Bill made an interesting character who was likely created with the intent of being able to handle a large variety of situations (again, just my observation) and wanted him to be able to survive, taking subtle powers to avoid being confronted if he did not want to be noticed. When it became clear that others were taking issue with his (And Jason’s) “God” powers, they stopped. Bill even went as far as to refuse to use his powers in a situation where he realized it was overpowered.

    In short, Bill, Dan, Jason, and the rest of the guys are just trying to have fun. As a listener who does not know them personally, it does not appear, to me, to be an issue of someone trying to break the game or make an Uber character. They’re just trying to make unique, interesting PCs and use the tools at their disposal during character creation to build optimal (read as: useful, not min/maxed) characters.

    I see Dan and Bill catching a lot of flak at times for being “rules lawyers” or “powergamers”, and I wanted to put in my two cents as someone who sees where the listeners are coming from, but understands where the players are coming from as well. It is not my intent to badmouth anyone, and I respect all of you for entertaining us. Thanks.

  31. Quit Hating, Remember Rule 62! God Damn, didn’t Ross say that Dan (The Warlock of the New World Campaign) was not in this game, Jason and Bill were min/maxing. Remember Rule 83! We are trying to enjoy a scared thing, this divine frist release of the Wild Talents Campaign! although… Rule 13 dictates we continue to rant on power gaming… Sigh… nothing on the internet is truly sacred… *Cry in a corner*

    PS: Aaron Fails Epicly!

  32. Technically I didn’t minmax. I used Cosmic Power but we didn’t treat it properly. Besides it is pretty overpowered but it was the easiest way to accommodate a Dr. Strange type upon character creation. As I said my character changes quite a bit and isn’t by any means minmaxed. I become the utility character, healer, and sort of jack of all trades…at least in mind, command, and

  33. …and Charm skills. Sorry I hit post on accident.

  34. I mean, I think Dan called it right. it wasn’t deliberate fuckyouguysery, it was a function of different levels of thoughtfulness about the rules/intent in chargen. RPGs drive players to to think out potent possibilities and combinations. it’s encouraged, and it’s fun. players who are better at doing that, though, tend to massively overshadow those who aren’t, and that gets lame for the whole crewmmunity. there was nothing overwhelmingly nah even in this episode, and I’m sure the themes come clearer as time moves on.

    shit’s fine, basically.

  35. I expected a fist fight or at least some shouting, given the prior comments. Honestly, this isn’t bad at all. Maybe it helps that I agree with Caleb and Cody. Other than all that nonsense, I enjoyed the game.

    I know this game is already on Part 17, but I wish Bill would play a melee grunt for once. Warlocks and spellcasters are not a true test of a gamer. Get into the Horrible Rape Radius once in a while.

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