Saturday, December 13, 2014

Icons Game Reports - the American Ninja Cowboys Campaign

I took some time off blogging (and RPG gaming), but the gang is coming over this weekend to pick up again.  Our current \ active campaign is 'American Ninja Cowboys', a post-apocalyptic anime-inspired game set in a fantastic, future America, featuring lumbering spirit beasts, magic, and ninja cowboys.  The characters are super-powered members of the Pine City Rangers, a fighting team protecting Wood Nation and Pine City from the other nations and various super-powered criminals.  Pine City is in the Pacific Northwest, built over the thousand year old ruins of Portland.

I've really enjoyed Icons.  The system plays fast and loose, and allows (er, requires) a lot of player improvisation at the table.  It supports random character generation!  I can definitely see using it for more types of super hero games.

The official designation of the player's ranger team is "Orca Team 6", but they call themselves the Otters.  At the beginning of the campaign, the Otters had just finished a long patrol south of Origami City, the city at the southern end of Wood Nation.  They were on their way back to Pine City in time for the upcoming "Pine City Games", a super-powered competition in Trailblazer Arena.  They stopped in Origami City to visit their retired coach and mentor, Old Man Skinner.

Skinner and the Otters were ambushed by some criminals and thugs, directed by one of Skinner's old enemies, the synthetic android Replicant Dioxide.  Replicant was thousands of years old, a relic of the Ancients, made to lead robot armies in the time before the Fall.  He looks like a large metal skeleton, wielding ridiculously oversized anime-style weapons.  Now he operates as a bounty hunter and salvage specialist for various criminal entities like the secretive 'Sixth Nation'.  A fight against a bunch of sword-wielding thugs and a lone copy of Replicant Dioxide (he can multiply himself) was a good introduction to the Icons combat system.  Inazuma, their lightning fast electric swordsman, figured out that the replicant's metal form was vulnerable to lightning, and defeated the copy.

The second game session had the players trying to figure out Replicant's target.  He came from the Scarred Lands east of the Mississippi, and normally operated in Earth Nation, east of the Rockies.  Someone must have hired him to come to Origami City!  Through skill checks and roleplaying, the players identified a series of likely targets - the hidden shrine at Bullfrog Lake, or the mystic monastery.  The players guessed he was after the Crack'd Bell, a symbol of liberty kept in the highest spire of the monastery, whose ringing could drive away gigantic lumbering Kaiju from the spirit world.

A gang of Dioxide's replicants were attacking the monastery, apparently going after the Crack'd Bell.  Kid Galactus flew Tex towards the top of the monastery, while everyone else went towards the main gate as quickly as possible.  Tex made himself super-dense and was dropped on a replicant from high altitude, while Kid G started battling the replicant climbing the tower walls.  At the gates, Haruki, set up her unassailable Tower of Iron Wind defense to defend the gates, and Black Russian summoned inky tentacles from the Dark to wrap and restrain another replicant.  Unfortunately, the attack on the monastery was a diversion, and the ringleader (General Dioxide) was nowhere to be seen.  Then came a report that the Hidden Shrine was under attack!

Origami City is on the river and a center of the lumber industry for Wood Nation; the monks of the Mystic Monastery make boats.  Everyone jumped in a half-finished hull in the monastery courtyard, and Kid G picked it up and flew everyone out towards the distant Hidden Shrine at super speed.  The shrine was a smoking ruin, with dead monks scattering the grounds, and General Dioxide waited for the players in the clearing.  He had retrieved a giant clay jar from the depths of the shrine, carefully sealed and scribed with mystic sigils.  Kid Galactus dumped the players into the clearing and went straight for the General.  Meanwhile, a fresh set of replicant clones stepped out of the woods, ready to fight.

The great thing about kids with super powers is they love to blow things up!  General Dioxide taunted Kid Galactus, who blasted an energy bolt at him with everyone thing he had.   It was all a ploy to get Kid G to destroy the clay jar, which exploded into a million pieces, releasing a shrieking spirit beast into the air.  Genoskwa was free!  Genoskwa (at least in the game world) is a kind of Pacific Northwest Sasquatch demon, the herald of the Apocalypse Beasts.

Game session 3 ended with General Dioxide thanking the players for the assistance, since he couldn't break the mystic seals of Genoskwa's prison himself.  Now he's off to collect his commission from his patron!  When we resume tonight, I'm sure the players are going to try beating the tar out General Dioxide and his replicants to get some answers.

Cast of Characters:
Tex
Inazuma
Haruki
Trapper Keeper
Kid Galactus
Black Russian