Recording episodes back to back before a move, we we’re light on news, but I talk about a new expansion that has come out for Marvel Champions. Plus, I finish off my Top 10 Marvel heroes. Thank you for checking out the podcast, I hope …
Yes, I am limiting myself again, I wanted to do my Top 10 Marvel heroes, I considered for a moment Superheroes, but I will come back and do DC at some point. I also considered adding in villains, but again, that’s another list, and why would I blend them all together when I can get a bunch of lists out of them. Look for some talk about this on 10 Minute Marvel as I’ll probably start doing deeper dives into some of these characters.
10 – Deadpool
Deadpool is basically the only straight up comedy act on the list. Yes, he is hyper violent as well at times but he lives in a completely absurd world of his own in a lot of ways. I was resistant to him for a while just because he had such a following and didn’t play a major part directly in the comics. But the stuff I’ve read of his generally is a good amount of fun and he works as a character who is comedy and doesn’t spend his time bumping up against the main characters but is just off in his own little world doing his thing. And then when he does interact with other characters, it’s good entertainment.
9 – Ant-Man
Now, do I prefer Pym or Lang as Ant-Man, probably Lang, but both are good. I think that they both provide an interesting feel for Ant-Man, but this will be more about Lang since he’s in the MCU as Ant-Man. I like the idea of a criminal turned super hero, because you get that blend of things that shouldn’t be done and still trying to be better than he was before. Also Paul Rudd just does a solid job in that role with comedy but also creating a character who has a bit of a heart. Lang and Ant-Man are a good blend of comedy and heart, which I think you’ll see further on the list.
8 – Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch could probably be a villain as well, but I think that she works well in either direction. As a hero she’s a terrifying power that you’re worried about won’t be able to control herself. On the flip side as a villain, she’s even more scary. I like a character who has just an insane level of power but you don’t know if they’ll be able to control it, and while some heroes, like the Hulk, can smash anything, Scarlet Witch is so much beyond that, if she makes a mistake, or loses control that can just alter the world, alter the past or present and completely change reality as you know it. Add in the fact that she’s not all that stable mentally, it creates an even crazier power set for her and more interesting stories as you wait for her to break.
7 – Magik
Now, admittedly she isn’t a character that I’ve read a ton of stuff focused directly on her, but I like her character in the X-Men comics that I’ve read. Her powers are interesting and she just has an edgier look to her than a lot of the other heroes. In fact, she’s sometimes a little bit shaky as to how actually good she is. But with that, she also has a complex backstory and a brother, Colossus who is also part of the X-Men. So that adds in an interesting dynamic to her character. Her power set with sorcery and teleportation are very interesting as well as she kind of has a larger breath to her powers than a lot of other characters.
6 – Doctor Strange
So with Strange, I actually was interested in him before the Doctor Strange film came out, that movie definitely made me more interested and brought about more comics because there hadn’t been many or any for a little bit. But his power set is just so interesting to me. I like the magic that he can do and just the breath of what it can cover. But I also like that so much of who he is, is tied into who he was and how he’s had his “come to Jesus” moment where he realized that his pride and his goals weren’t fulfilling his life and when it was all taken away from him he didn’t know who he was. There’s another character who is always trying to prove himself against his past, but he’ll show up later and it is interesting to see how they deal with their hubris in different ways.
5 – Rogue
Now, Rogue might be a surprising character, and some of it might be that she fairly often ties closely to another character higher on my list. But I also find her power and character interesting. She can absorb other peoples powers and basically neutralize them, but it comes at a cost. She absorbs and that means that she steals from them and she can’t control it, it doesn’t matter if she wants to or not, she will steal their powers and drain their life force. So how can she have a normal relationship with a human being and that’s a very common struggle with her. I think you’ll find that I like the characters who have those human struggles, both with previous ones I’ve mentioned and ones coming up. It just makes them feel more like they could be real people and real heroes.
4 – Thor
Now, let me preface this by saying, I’m 100% Norwegian, so I like Thor some for that reason. But that’s not just it. For Thor, I like the fact that you can get some more epic and mythological battles going on. It isn’t just Thor versus some supervillain, it can be Thor facing off against gods and comsic beings, and I like that you get a wider scope with him. Now, clearly he isn’t the only hero who has that, but I like him better than most. Now, the fact that he’s also displaced kind of from his world and having to deal with humans is interesting as well. I like a fish out of water, and I like a character who has flaws when dealing with that, and Thor definitely has flaws. He’s a good blend of big action, big moments and still be caring that works well.
3 – Iron Man
Now, I can thank the MCU for making me like Iron Man so much, and as much as I like Iron Man, so much of what I like about Iron Man is Tony Stark. He is a deeply flawed character who desperately wants to do the right thing and always ends up doing the right thing poorly. If he knew he was doing the wrong thing and did it anyways, or if he was doing the right thing and it always worked out, that’d be boring, but he fails so often. And not only does he fail at the big super hero things, Iron Man/Tony Stark fails at the small normal life things as well, relationships, drinking, drugs, and he’s just not a great member of society. But every time that he fails in his life, in saving the world, whatever it might be, he gets back up and tries again.
2 – Spider-Man
Now, I will say, I’m done for good with Uncle Ben dying, but I really like Spider-Man as a character. Apparently I like the characters that provide a bit of humor. Spider-Man does it in a really fun loving way, and I just like how wholesome and earnest his character is. I also really like him because of the 90’s cartoon and because of the cast of villains that he has. Spider-Man has some of the best villains to go up against, and they have done a solid job with them in the movies, and they always do a great job in the comics with them. I think that Spider-Man/Peter Parker works as well because he’s so relatable for kids and people in general reading comics. Issues with school and friendship and balancing of his life abound, and while Iron Man has relatable flaws as well, Spider-Mans are just a bit simpler and feel more like everyday life.
1 – Gambit
Now this mainly comes from watching the TV show in the 90’s and then carried into reading the comics in the mid 2000’s and early 2010’s. Gambit is just a fun character for me. I like him as a bit of a loner who doesn’t play well with others. But he has a good heart, he just doesn’t want other people to know it. There’s definitely a bit of a vibe that is similar to that of Wolverine, stand-off-ish and not a team player, but while a lot of people love Wolverine, I like it when Gambit does it better. He has an awkward kind of charm to him where things end up in his favor, after normally not starting out that way at all, and it just works for a comic book character.
So who are your favorite Marvel heroes? Do you have any overlap with me? There are so many characters that it’s just hard to pick 10 and really think about what makes some stand out over others.
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We were back at it again last night with the third session of Tower of the Gods. Previously, our “heroes” Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain had gone through the test of the Tower with Steve as their fourth, unfortunately, Steve didn’t make it. Upon exiting the Tower with their new found powers, they were given a choice of schools to enroll in and get work from, they picked Strawgoh, the school of Dark Arts and Assassinations.
Upon coming there, they were informed as part of a test, that there were spies in their midst that they could get extra credit if they could figure out who they were by the end of the two years there. So, Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain immediately set out to figure that out. They determined that Dorin was a suspect and Barrai used his new found friendship with Domon, another Tiefling, to send Domon to accuse Dorin, which, they aren’t sure was successful.
In their barracks they had gotten matched up with Dorin, a Gnome Rogue who fancied himself to be the leader of their barracks no matter what Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain told him. During the time that our three main characters were talking to the other students, Dorin had gone through their stuff, but they didn’t find that out until after an introductory meal where Bokken considered breaking into a teachers office to see if there was more information on the students and who might be the spy. In the end, he didn’t break in, but had Castillia, an elf whom they trust and trusts them, start spying on Narius, a rich halfling.
They returned to their barracks to find out that there things had been gone through, but Dorin not being the brightest, hadn’t trashed his own things so they quickly caught on and accused him. Thrain, as a revenge when through Dorin’s stuff, including a couple of daggers and books that were written in a language that none of them understood, possibly because none of them speak gnomish. Needless to say, Dorin was pissed off, and Barrai decided to try and restrain him when he went to bed, but that didn’t work that well, so Bokken, instead took up just watching him sleep, since Bokken, as a warforged sleeps with his eyes open, however, Bokken wasn’t a great watch and Dorin snuck out.
Dorin went to one of the teachers and the next morning the Thrain, Barrai, and Bokken were confronted about how they had been treating Dorin. They gave a half hearted apology and Dorin said he wanted to transfer to another group. Tormin, the teacher, agreed, and the group was happy enough and really wanted to get Narius into their barracks to keep a closer eye on him, so Tormin presented them with a challenge. They could pick who they wanted if they, minus Dorin, could take on another barracks and beat them, otherwise, he would decide. They went to an arena and the teachers, keeping an eye on things, and other students watching the spectacle watched as Thrain, Barrai, and Bokken took on Castillia, Narius, Adris – a human, and Cordon – a dragonborn.
Barrai gets to act first and gives Bokken some inspiration and then starts to mess with Castillia, who, swiftly puts a stop to that with a wicked arrow shot dropping Barrai. He gets floated off by the teachers. Thrain then returns the favor to Castillia and the sides are down to two, Thrain and Bokken, against three. The fighting slows down after the first volley as Cordon, with her dislike for Thrain, immediately moves in to target him. They trade attacks with Cordon even using her lightning dragons breath on Thrain, but his stead volley of eldritch blasts eventually knock her down to the ground. Bokken, meanwhile, has gone and faced off against Adris, the fighter. They trade blow after blow dealing little damage to each other with Narius, who had claimed to be a great shot, struggling to hit Bokken. His frustration mounting and Thrain joining the fight, Bokken eventually falls to the two on one attack and Thrain is left to face both Narius and Adris. But, with a bolt form his crossbow, Narius is able to drop Thrain, and the Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain await their fate as to whom will join their barracks. Tormin gives them Parrag, an elf whom they had actually not talked to before. Castillia, after the fight assumes that they had wanted her to join their barracks.
After that, the bell rings, and having missed breakfast, they need to go and start their first day of classes with courses on Court Etiquette, Second Story Work, Poisons and Antidotes, Demonology as their core courses, but then they could specialize in a few different areas. Bokken chose Assassination and Thievery, Thrain – Curses and Necromancy, and Barrai decided on Conjuring/Summoning and Curses. Bokken had a few other people going into what he was looking at with the likes of Dorin and Castillia and more. But Thrain was the only student to pick Curses for their main focus, and Barrai the only one to pick Conjuring/Summoning.
That’s where the session ended with them finding out that they have two tests in the Tower that will determine most of their grades for the school year, at which point, thematically, they’ll level up.
So behind the DM’s screen a little bit.
This was a fairly scripted session. I knew that most likely the players would quickly figure out that Dorin was the one who had gone through their stuff and probably rough him up or threaten him a little bit. I also had thought maybe it would come to light that they had accused him through Domon of being a spy, but that didn’t happen.
The fight that they were going to have, depending on which barracks they picked it was either going to be hard or deadly, they got hard, which was still deadly at such a low level for them, mainly because of the numbers game.
I gave Cordon her dragons breath feature to use. I probably could have just used a spell to simulate that for her, but thematically it worked and did slightly less damage than the spell.
The fight was fairly standard in that it had an end goal because they were facing off and try to knock down and out their opponents, but the story beat to it was that they were deciding who got to be in their group. And the decision that was it was Parrag was a die roll, there were 8 options so 8 sided die, and it landed on him.
Dorin slipping away while someone was just watching him, that was the one part I wasn’t sure what would happen, I knew that he’d try, though. So I gave him disadvantage on his roll for stealth and he rolled a 15 and a 20, plus two since he’s sneaky, and that was considerably better than Bokken’s 10.
What has been hitting your table? What story are you a part of?
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Two weeks ago, I ran my first session in the Tower of the God’s campaign. We got back to it again this past Thursday where our main character, Barrai, Thrain, and Bokken have completed the trial of the tower. For more information on that part …
I’m going to continue doing some articles hitting on lesser talked about things in Dungeons and Dragons. There’s a lot for building your character and campaign and I’ve talked a lot about them as well. There are less articles talking about things like death of a D&D character or, today, player versus player in Dungeons and Dragons.
Now, Player versus Player (PvP) is something that might never come up in your game of Dungeons and Dragons. There can be moments that make it worth it for the story to have some PvP, but that’s not that norm.
So, let’s start out with some reasons that you might have some PvP in your game?
A lot of the reasons that you might have PvP aren’t good reasons. The players out of game (or in game) might not like each other, so they might fight. This happens when you have an unbalanced party, when you have a chaotic evil wizard and a lawful good paladin, you might end up having PvP in the game. You can also run into it when you have a rogue or greedy character who is stealing from the players or is hording the good loot because, even though they can’t use it, they want to keep it because it’s pretty.
You might also get PvP, and this is a good reason, when there is a tournament. Maybe there is some sort of challenge that all the players enter into and in the end they have to face off against each other. This is something that works best when you have players who really want to show off their characters mechanical abilities for a session or two.
Finally, it might be a turn, to borrow a wrestling term. When someone turns, it means that they are going from being the good guy and helpful part of the party to possibly becoming the BBEG or some level of villain. This one is neither good or bad because it could be a really cool moment for the players if it’s done correctly and planned out. If it just comes out of nowhere and there’s no reason for it other than the player got bored, then that’s considerably less ideal.
How do you then deal with it these are some of the reasons.
If it is for a “bad” reason, I think you have to deal with it differently than you do with a “good” reason. With the some of the “bad” reasons, I’d start with an above table discussion. Take it out of the game and figure out how you can avoid conflict against two opposing characters for whatever reason that might. Odds are in those situations, one person is going to end up feeling like their character is being picked on in the game by the other character, and that can lead to issues outside of the game. But it is always possible that these players have been intentionally playing their characters in a way to build to that moment. If you don’t know as a DM, you should take that conversation out of the game for a moment before you sit back and watch them go at it.
If it is one of the “good” reasons, try and make it feel unique. If it’s a tournament, make it some reward that all the characters would want to win or need to win for their party so that they can continue going forward with their quest and the story. Or if it’s a turn, make that moment as rewarding as possible. Build to it slowly, pass a note to let the player know when it’s the right time, and then spring it on the other players. Hopefully it’ll be a shock and a good shock, and then let that combat happen. However, if you are doing this and you want that character to end up as the BBEG, give specific instructions when to run and get out of the combat, because up against a single character, the party is probably going to make quick work for them. Or give them something that will allow them to put up a better fight that the players don’t know about. I would also recommend, after that first encounter, you take over the BBEG, former player character, in any of the combats, and let the player roll up a new character.
For both of the good reasons for PvP, I would use them sparingly as if it draws out too much, you are likely going to lose the focus of some of your players at the table. When you are doing PvP with a group of people at the table larger than two, that means that you are going to have some players just sitting around and watching, and unless it’s compelling for the reason for it, or if it’s the whole party against the one character who has turned on them, So keep things moving, keep it interesting, and create some sort of countdown for the players so that it doesn’t end up being a long and drawn out slug fast, though, I doubt it will be. Also, try and avoid fatalities, unless it’s supposed to be a a situation where, going to the example of the character who turned, that they are not the BBEG, but have just been giving information to the BBEG. Then see how many of the party members they can take out before they are taken out.
Overall, I think that PvP in D&D is something that can work sparingly. And I think that’s something that needs to be done carefully. There are plenty of ways for it to go bad, particularly above table that you don’t want to create resentment at the table. You are going to have to get the buy-in from the players to make it really work. Like I’ve already said in the article, keep it moving as well, don’t let it drag out too long, because you might not have the whole party involved in it, and you don’t want them to be bored at the table.
Have you run into a situation where there was PvP at a table that you were a player at or that you were running the game? How did that work for you?
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