Game Day: Infinity Storm Retrospective

Infinity Storm, my Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Edition campaign, ran from mid-2007 through early 2008. Featuring eight issues (aka episodes), it’s notable for being the first superheroes game I ever ran and featuring the first in-character blog I ever wrote.

A dozen years later, the campaign still stays with me, despite its relatively short run. Two things stand out:

  • the incredible crunchy rules
  • the opportunity to introduce, play with, and riff on superhero tropes.

As I recall, the crunchiness of the rules was one of the major reasons (if not the reason) we ended the campaign. We did a series of playtest sessions leading up to it, but while we got familiar with the rules, I don’t know that we were ever truly comfortable with them (despite what I optimistically wrote at the time).

The role-playing though, well, that was where the magic happened. Saving a crashing plane. Rescuing people from buildings. Fighting off a supers-hunting task force. These were the adventures that stuck with me, and fueled my nostalgia as I finally took the old campaign notebook down off my gaming shelf and recycled it.

We’ve periodically talked about returning to a super campaign, though this time around starting at a lower (and hopefully less complex) power level. Infinity Storm started at Level 10, which was right in the middle of the Mutants & Masterminds power curve. Our goal was to be able to do truly superheroic things with our characters, but with great power came great complexity, and that slowed things down. Our sense at the time is that a lower-level campaign, maybe starting between level 3 and 5 would have been better. We were thinking something more like a “welcome to the X-men, hope you don’t die”-style newbie adventures than your standard X-Men A or B team against established – and dangerous – villains.

These days, when I think about returning to a supers campaign, I think about powering it with Savage Worlds but using Green Ronin’s excellent Freedom City campaign setting. They did a great job of world-building, even if the rules were every bit as crunch as one would expect from a D&D 3rd Edition era game. The fast and fun Savage Worlds rules would allow for those heroic moments, and its Superhero Companion would give us lots of powers to play with. Plus, I’ve got a ton of other Savage Worlds books (including the supervillain-themed Necessary Evil), so I’d have no shortage of sources to pull from.

I think our impulse to start out low-powered and go from there is still a good one; that gives you one or two powers to play with, time to play with the rules, and room to grow your character with the story. Marvel’s New Mutants is one of my favorite books because it does exactly this, eventually introducing Cable and evolving into the first (and in my opinion, best) iteration of X-Force.

Will it happen? I don’t know. We haven’t talked superheroes in years, and our current focus is on science fiction. I could see running this as a one-shot – or series of one-shots – at our homegrown Nuke(m) Con convention or as an offering at MEPACon, our area game convention.

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Header art from the original version of the Infinity Storm blog, with artwork from Green Ronin’s Mutants & Masterminds 2nd edition game.

 

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