DC RPG: The Hero Points Podcast, Episode 7: Don’t Ask!

Siskoid and Shagg finally live their dream and discuss the Ambush Bug adventure module for Mayfair Games’ DC Heroes role-playing game, Don’t Ask! by Scott Jenkins. You will believe a man can run a humorous superhero game! And if you don’t, we’ll go over to your house and break all your furniture! (Please send airplane tickets to make this happen.)

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34 responses to “DC RPG: The Hero Points Podcast, Episode 7: Don’t Ask!

  1. Listen to my shows at 2x speed, 1.5x speed, 10x speed, I don’t care: bless you for listening at all, Shag! 😉

    And yeah, I listened to this one, too.

      1. I have never tried listening to podcasts at increased speed….I can’t imagine being able to tolerate the chipmunk voices for that long…

          1. Cool. I’ll have to try that. I tend to listen to the F&W stuff on the website, but maybe I’ll try that on the Podcast app.

          2. Good point. Catching up this week after listening to no podcasts while I was on vacation has been a bit daunting. :)

        1. I do listen to my podcasts at increased speed, but not very increased: 1.2x is a reasonable compromise for me between normal voices and interminable pauses and slightly higher voices with terminable pauses. (It helps that Overcast also removes lengths of silence…and I’m not going to use it to listen to 4’33 anyway.)

          But that compromise is necessary because some podcasts do no editing (actual play podcasts are notorious for this). The increased speed makes it possible for me to enjoy them without being so frustrated that I give them up.

          1. And I’m grateful. But other people do not, so 1.2X is my default speed.

            I do wish the module was available in PDF form, but I found a hard copy and ordered it from someone through Paizo.

            John

          2. Shag had been talking about speed-listening to podcasts for years, but it was a point of pride and personal integrity that I listened to people’s shows at their intended speed. However, a year or so ago the sheer number and length of shows I was able to afford giving attention to became too much, and I now routinely listen to all shows at 1.5x to 2x and would probably try for 2.5x+ if the app I use made that an option. The only shows I don’t speed up are my own (so I can “proof” them in a car stereo setting) and on some interview segments (like if The Projection Booth gets an especially desirable guest.) In fact, between fatigue and my awareness of this option, I’m getting more lax in my editing, especially on shows we produce that I don’t deem “special” enough for the effort it takes to remove 27,000 umms/y’knows/likes/etc.

  2. That comic shop does sound like heaven.

    The guest bits were fun. This sounds just like an Ambush Bug comic, so kudos to the Mayfair folks for capturing that flavor. And you guys are right, Deadpool owes a lot to Ambush Bug.

    Oh, and I have never listened to a podcast at any increased speed on purpose. I accidentally started listening to our Infinity War show at 2x speed, and it just about drove me nuts. I can’t do it.

    Chris

  3. Another great episode.
    I have gamed with basically the same guys and same DM for a long time. Our DM knows when we have hit a wall and starts providing subtle clues to help us get there.

    In this module, I can hear him in my mind saying ‘it seems like that android is anticipating your moves in particular, while the other one seems to be fighting a very different style’ as a way to clue us into switching combatants. I also can hear him saying something like ‘makes you want to quit the game, doesn’t it’ to trigger one of us to say we would quit.

    That said, I also have seen him throw down hints that we can’t solve and we burn through several hours of ‘wasted’ game play trying to solve some riddle or puzzle. So I can also picture my party going nowhere fast here.

    Still, it sounds like a hoot!

  4. Yay! Hero Points!

    Casting Ambush Bug? I was thinking a cross between Micheal Cera and a teenage Gilbert Gottfried (though Peacock did a fine job!) It was a fun read, but too bizarre to actually run in a game. And yeah, it was very railroady, but that was the case of a lot of the modules. This caused me to quit buying them and run my own stuff.

    This was a fair critique that applied to a lot of the modules. More flexibility was needed. Eventually the modules became overpriced supplemental source materials.

    Is there a way to listen at a higher speed when listening on a pc?

    What would I like to hear? Two things. First – A comparison to the HERO system. Second – coverage of the Legion sourcebooks. I’m sure you know some bloggers who could help you with that one.

    please don’t make us wait a year for the next one. :)

  5. I had no idea Ambush Bug ever made onto anything outside the comics (besides BBATB). I can’t imagine this sold well, but it’s cool they did it.

    Did I eve mention I bought the Mayfair DC Heroes game set, because I was so lured in by the Perez artwork in the ads? Unlike Shag, I had no friends that were into comics, so I had no one to play the game with. [cue Charlie Brown music] So all I could do is look at the material and enjoy it as best I could.

    See you all in 2020!

  6. OK, this episode has finally explained that I haven’t been mishearing Shag, but that he’s been pronouncing something wrong. (Shocking, I know.)

    F-A-S-E-R-I-P is not pronounced Face-Rip, it’s pronounced Phase (as in Kitty Pryde’s power) Rip. PH and F make the same sound, after all.

    As to the topic at hand, while this module sounds fun to read, it also sounds completely unplayable, for the reasons you guys said. Any GM knows that the planning never survives contact with players. The amount of times that players are required to know EXACTLY what to do in this module, with little or no way to figure it out, means that everyone involved would get frustrated about halfway through and decide to quit for the night.

    1. I maintain it is entirely playable. It’s not true that “there’s only one way out of this”. There’s a suggested way out, but a good GM knows how to adapt modules both ahead of time and on the fly, keeping the prepared elements somehow still woven into the narrative, but remaining open to any possibility. The early days of role-playing built modules like this, and as a teenager, I did on occasion do the thing where you’re just reading room descriptions, setting the stage, then letting players do their thing, rince-repeat, but as you mature, you get away from the “Choose your adventure” mode and into more adaptive play.

      I still like to use adventure modules because they are a shortcut for busy GMs who don’t have as much planning time as they used to. Sometimes they will be heavily adapted to fit my group. Sometimes I won’t care where it goes after the basic set-up. Sometimes players are content to follow the encounters along through their natural (as written) course. A lot more survives contact with the players than you’d think.

      So in the case of Ambush Bug, once the players are encouraged to think metatextually, those encounters will be resolved in entertaining fashion, whether or not a suggested avenue is taken. But you can’t, as GM, think so rigidly as to accept only the module’s suggested solution.

      1. That’s a fair point, but it’s also probably why I have never actually run modules. I would grab ideas from them and just riff. I’ve found that too much preparation has a negative effect on my GM-ing, so I get the broad strokes and fill in the rest on the fly, mainly reacting to what the players do.

        So let’s just say that this is unplayable if I’m the GM. :)

        1. I bring a different style depending on the game. I’ve done completely free form, no notes, no idea what will happen next. And I’ve done strict scenario-building/using. And something between the two. I lean towards that middle ground.

  7. The villain motivations section in this module were, jokes aside, a big improvement over the main game’s take. Semi-nihilist is a hugely useful, and the binary division based on saying ‘bah’ is excellent shorthand.

  8. I could never find a copy of this one… that didn’t have another module that I wanted more. It was weird, either the game store had nothing, or a whole bunch of DC Heroes sourcebooks or adventures!

    Seems like i missed out on a great one.

    I’m all for hearing you guys play various RPGs under various systems. I played mostly Champions, then DC Heroes, then FASERIP In terms of frequency, but I had all the rule books…

    I am also curious about the West End Games version of DC rules. Missed that entirely, and I loved their d6 system!

    Back to DC Heroes and MEGS: do period sourcebooks! Worlds at War ( WWII), and the Justice League one (modern era) and then LSH (30th Centuty) !

    1. Our World at War is definitely in our plans, check out an earlier episode for the Justice League sourcebook, and while we’d love to do the Legion books, we’re sort of putting some distance between that coverage and the Who’s Who in the Legion shows.

      1. I ran a WWII campaign once in Champions with all the heroes and villains I could cram from the DC and Marvel Universes… All Star Squadron, Liberty Legion and Invaders, and even G.I. Robot…

        … good times!

  9. I enjoyed this a great deal—so much so that I found a copy and ordered it.

    I believe I heard this week that Green Ronin’s DC license has expired for the four books, so you’ll have to get them elsewhere.

    I think there should be an alternate podcast for superhero RPG actual plays. I see a certain amount of Masks, V&V, and Champions, but not DC Heroes, DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds, Supers!, or ICONS. (Plug: I’m recording a brief actual play for the BAMF podcast—if you’re into superhero RPGs, BAMF is an excellent podcast, though not so many actual plays.) I’d certainly be up for playing one.

    An episode I’d be interested in (for ten years from now, for your 23rd episode) would be stuff that works in comics but not at the gaming table and vice versa.

    Like the podcast; now I have to listen to the other six…

    John McMullen

    1. Great to have you aboard, John! There’s some fine content waiting for you, including an interview with Paul Kupperberg, and a DCH / FASERIP debate!

  10. This module sounds amazing. I wish the Mayfair DC was available in PDF form so I could grab a copy. I had the 1st and 2nd Edition DC rules, but we played more Marvel FASERIP and Villains & Vigilantes than DC back in the day, so we never tried any of the actual DC mods.

  11. I love Ambush Bug and remember the house ads for this module, but don’t think I bought it. And yet, many elements of the adventure sounded familiar. Did I read someone else’s copy? I just don’t know. Senility! Bah!

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