‘League of Extraordinary Cartoon Characters’ Campaign – System: Fate Accelerated by Evil Hat Productions
When a dangerous artifact is stolen by a shadowy creature, a mismatched group of heroes is summoned to re-form the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and defend mankind! (Featuring your favourite cartoon characters from the 80′s and 90′s.)
Something dangerous is stolen, a call for help is sent and strangers unite as a new League.
Once character creation was complete, the adventure began in the distant, parallel universe named Eternia. He-Man and She-Ra were in Castle Greyskull when the Sorceress of Castle Greyskull burst into the room with a dire message. She had experienced a vision of dark doings in a distant land, and knew that He-Man and She-Ra were needed to battle the evil that had arisen. Motioning to the Magical Doorway, she instructed the warriors to step through and help those on the other side. Taking up their swords or Power and Protection, and changing into their warrior forms, He-Man and She-Ra stepped through.
A short time later, a strange group of individuals found themselves summoned to a secret location, somewhere in New York City. The year was 1998. Assembling in a large meeting room was Tintin (with Snowy, of course), Casper and Michelangelo (wearing a large coat and fedora). Soon after their arrival, He-Man and She-Ra entered, followed by a red-haired, mustachioed man with a pipe. Introducing himself as Deputy Director Quimby of the FBI, he explained why the group of strangers had been assembled.
“A potentially dangerous item has been stolen from the Museum of Natural History,” he explained. “The FBI’s files on this object are locked with black-level security. Even I cannot open them. But the fact that the files are locked means that this object is very dangerous. I need you to discover what the stolen item is, and recover it before it falls into the wrong hands.”
After thorough questioning by the assembled group, Quimby presented a video tape of the surveillance footage from the time of the robbery. The tape showed that the thief had been smuggled into the museum inside an ancient sarcophagus, only to emerge at midnight to steal the item from another part of the Museum. The footage showed a security guard being alerted to a bright light coming from the sarcophagus, only to collapse screaming as the lid swung open. A bright flash of energy knocked out the cameras, leaving only static on all the rest of the tapes.
The group agreed to work together to solve this problem. As Director Quimby explained, they would be working under a codename used to refer to groups of uniquely talented individuals – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. She-Ra raised an objection at the male-centric codename, and Quimby did his best to explain that it was just a label, but She-Ra was not so easily put off. She resolved to return to the issue once the mystery of the robbery was solved.
Meanwhile, He-Man was examining his new companions. A GM Compel made him instantly dislike Michelangelo, who he perceived to be a Mutant like those who worked for Skeletor. This instant distrust became a strong dislike, as everything Michelangelo said seemed to confirm He-Man’s thoughts about the Mutant’s weakness and untrustworthiness. Nonetheless, these were the only ones who had answered Quimby’s call for help, and the group set off to the Museum to solve the mystery of the robbery.
As they left the meeting room, they saw photographs, posters and paintings labelled with dates, but no names. These pictures were the record of former groups of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The group noticed a familiar face in one of the photographs – Casper had previously been a member of another incarnation of the League.
The ‘mission briefing’ scene is sometimes difficult to pull off in any RPG. In this case, we have a mismatched group of heroes from disparate fictional properties who have never met before. In a major info dump, Quimby had to explain the facts of the case as he knew it, and try to convince the characters to work together. It was difficult to convince the players that the object was actually dangerous, especially since a major part of the mystery is discovering what the object is, and HOW it is dangerous. I hoped the ‘Black Level Security’ fact would be enough to earn adequate buy-in from the players, but I think they were more suspicious of me as GM. I got the feeling that they felt like Quimby was holding back information, when in fact it was me (as GM) who was holding it back.
Since this was our second short campaign together as a group, I felt like I had a better handle on Fate Accelerated and I resolved to force more Fate points be spent by the players. In this scene I compelled He-Man to instantly dislike Michelangelo, which immediately led to some nice roleplaying between them. It also payed off in the long run in a scene where they begrudgingly had to work together (in a way). It was an off-the-cuff moment that seeded a relationship that could be either redeemed or exploited later.
What will the League find at the crime scene? Would He-Man ever trust Michelangelo? Exactly what could the stolen item be? Find out next time in League Gameplay Session 1 – Part 2.