Tapping movies and books for adventure ideas is a time-tested method for game masters running low on ideas of their own. With Captain America: Civil War waging a war of northern aggression on the box office, we delve into the comic movie reality with the help of the movie trailer and the Marvel Superheroes RPG system.
Steve: I thought you said you were going to see this movie next week.
Zack: That’s right.
Steve: So how are you going to run it as an adventure for me?
Zack: I saw the trailer. I think I can figure out everything that happens in the movie based on that trailer.
Steve: This is going to be one of those articles that gets comic book fans mad at us, isn’t it?
Zack: That’s up to you. Have you decided what Marvel character you are going to play?
Steve: Yes, I am going to play forgotten 1990 Marvel character The Nth Man. Not the Nth Man who tries to destroy the earth, I’m talking John Doe.
Zack: Oh, of course, everyone’s favorite comic character John Doe.
Steve: John Doe is the ultimate ninja, a remorseless CIA assassin who carries around a katana and can dodge bullets. He doesn’t have a healing power but he’s basically unkillable because he can slow down and even reverse time. Sort of like Deadpool crossed with Remo Williams. Only he looks exactly like the Witcher.
Steve: He participated in World War III between the Soviet Union and the United States after Alfie O’Meagan used his godlike powers to disarm all nukes. Then the comic skipped ahead a year after a bioweapon turned the world into a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of cannibal mutants.
Zack: Where does he fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Steve: That’s up to you, dude. He was in his own series and all the Marvel characters were fictional in that series. At one point Alfie O’Meagan even turned himself into Galactus.
Zack: Oh, that’s easy then. It’s a reverse Take On Me scenario. He pops out of the comics into reality.
Steve: I hope he’s not being chased by race car drivers with wrenches.
Zack: You’re in the midst of some sort of Cold War bullshit and Alfie O’Meagan waves you off to be in a comic book movie. You wake up and suddenly you’re standing on that helicopter aircraft carrier from the Avengers.
Steve: The Helicarrier. John is all serious, squinty ninja frowns as he walks through the Helicarrier.
Zack: Four SHIELD troopers pull their guns out and aim them at you. “Identify yourself! Hands up! Right now!”
Steve: Put my hands up, but I’m not surrendering.
Zack: “Get down on your knees or we will use the stunner!”
Zack: You see one of them has some sort of weapon that looks like some sort of high tech bazooka.
Steve: “You don’t want to do that.” If they try anything, I am dodging their attacks and using my katana to disarm them. I don’t intend to kill them, but they might get hurt.
Zack: They shoot some sort of projectile out of the bazooka. It’s a lot slower than a bullet, so you easily dodge it and slice the bazook in half. One of them tries to shoot you and you dodge and chop up his gun as well.
Steve: I am going to use my ultimate ninja abilities to like disappear down a hallway or a duct or something.
Zack: There’s a two-story side hallway. You do some flips and wall-climb your way up to the second level and run right into some sort of command room. Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, the Vision, Scarlett Witch, War Machine, and Black Panther are all hanging out in the room. They seem to be suiting up to come deal with you.
Steve: “I know you, you’re comic book characters.”
Zack: “Says the shirtless white guy holding a samurai sword,” says Iron Man. “Who are you? What are you doing on the Helicarrier?”
Steve: Lowering my sword. “Alfie O’Meagan sent me here for some reason. The name is John Doe. I work for the CIA sometimes.”
Zack: “He works for the CIA sometimes. Well, that’s good enough for me,” says Iron Man, obviously being super sarcastic.
Zack: Then Nick Fury walks out and he says, “SHIELD is not part of the CIA what the motherfucking hell are you doing on my motherfucking flying aircraft carrier?”
Steve: “I don’t know about that bad language Nick, but I’m here to do a job. And that job is to get back to my reality and save the United States of America from a sexy Russian babe and a crazy godlike dude.”
Zack: “Sounds likely,” says Nick Fury, not joking. “But for now it’s going ot have to wait. I have an announcement to make.”
Zack: Now keep in mind I am basing this story only on watching the trailer once, so please forgive any inaccuracies in the plot.
Zack: Nick Fury stands up on the Avengers coffee table and he says, “Alright, listen up people. A new law just got signed by the president and it says all super heroes have to register and sign a super hero contract.”
Zack: Iron man immediately says, “That’s a good idea. It’s about time for these contracts.”
Zack: Captain America snaps his fingers and says, “Rats. I don’t want to sign a dang contract. I don’t trust the government.”
Zack: Everyone starts arguing furiously.
Steve: “Even though I work for the CIA it’s only because they rescued me from an oprhanage and trained me to be a ninja assassin. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t sign that contract.”
Zack: Nick Fury gets pissed again and says, “Excuse me? Do I come into where you work and slap the throwing star out of your hand?”
Steve: “My vote is for not signing the contract. Wait. Hold on. Which side is Black Widow on?”
Zack: “I am inexplicably for the contract because the teams need to be even,” says Black Widow. “Someone give me a pen. I’ll sign it right now.”
Steve: “Alright, reverse everything I said, I’m for the contracts.”
Zack: Nick Fury doesn’t really care about you. He’s more upset about Captain America refusing to sign the contract. “What are you talking about, Cap? You love the government they turned you into a hero.”
Steve: “Like they turned me into a ninja assassin?”
Zack: “No, he volunteered and everything.”
Steve: “You should probably just sign up, bro.” I’m saying to Captain as I put my arm around Black Widow. “Get with the good guys.”
Zack: No way is she letting you put your arm around her. She’ll twist your arm behind your back.
Steve: Slowing down time to get out of it and I’ll like spin around and have her hand and unfreeze time and kiss it and go “enchanté.”
Zack: She immediately uses an antibacterial wipe on her hand. Meanwhile, Cap and Iron Man are about to go at it.
Steve: Like do it right there in front of everybody?
Zack: No, they’re about to fight.
Zack: “Alright, boys, girls and super android,” says Nick Fury. “You don’t have to sign the contract right now, but you’re going to have to do it in the next 24 hours or your super powers are revoked.”
Steve: What about Hawkeye? He doesn’t really have super powers to revoke.
Zack: “Neither do I,” Black Widow points out. “It’s more about your intention to be super heroic.”
Steve: “Oh, I don’t intend to do that at all. I am well into anti-hero territory.”
Zack: Nick Fury reluctantly gives you the forms to fill out. Meanwhile, Captain America and his crew go storming off to leave the helicarrier. Nick Fury grumbles, “This is going to mean trouble.” Black Widow is all, “He’ll see reason.”
Steve: This really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. I mean, Watchmen did it. The X-men did pretty much the same thing with mutants.
Zack: “Careful. We’re not allowed to use the m-word,” says War Machine.
Steve: Oh, sorry, dude. Hey I forget you’re here. Aren’t you worried something bad is going to happen to you now that they have another black guy on the team?
Zack: I’m sure Tony wouldn’t do that to me. I show up whenever he needs help.
Steve: Yeah, right, I’m sure you’ll be fine, dude. Nothing bad is going to happen to you.
Zack: He seems to get really nervous. He starts muttering, “They’ve had Falcon for a while. I’m still here.”
Steve: “Yeah, but Falcon is even lamer than your knockoff Iron Man suit. Look at Black Panther. He’s so rad. He’s getting his own movie.”
Zack: He wanders off muttering. Loud sounds make him jump and look around the room. Vision comes floating up to you.
Steve: Alright, what are you? Some sort of robot?
Zack: “Mr. Stark has asked me to watch over you since you are unknown to us. What are your capabilities?”
Steve: Ninja stuff, time manipulation, etcetera. The usual sort of stuff. Hey, where is Winter Soldier? I didn’t see him around.
Zack: Vision says, “This is one of the reasons for the disagreement, I fear. The one called Bucky has been up to no good and the government wants him dead. Captain America does not believe he should be killed.”
Steve: I get it, he’s brainwashed into doing all the bad stuff by Hydra, but, I mean it gets to a certain point and you just have to shoot to kill.
Zack: “My point exactly,” says Iron Man. “We’ve given him more than enough chances. We have to take him out.”
Steve: “Alright, sure, I’m a ninja assassin. I can do it. Where is he?”
Zack: Some SHIELD lady who was probably on the TV show walks in for a two second cameo. “Commander Fury, the Winter Soldier has been detected entering a base where the government is doing something really shady. Probably like developing a satellite that will shoot a laser at superheroes anywhere in the world.”
Steve: “Drop me off there. I’ll take him out.”
Zack: “Vision and War Machine will go with you as backup,” says Iron Man. War Machine says, “What? Me? Send Black Panther.”
Steve: I usually work alone, but War Machine is right. If you’re making me bring along these dudes, I’d rather have the robot that can float through walls and the spooky panther guy than some obsolete version of Iron Man.
Zack: “Thanks for that,” says War Machine.
Steve: Do we get like our own jet thing to take on this mission?
Zack: Yes, you are given a Quinjet and a pilot to take you to this location.
Steve: So, what’s up Black Panther?
Zack: He sits there and stares at you with his mask on as the jet flies to the secret SHIELD base.
Steve: Did you get to meet Ant Man?
Steve: What about Spider Man? Has he appeared yet?
Zack: No response.
Steve: What about you, Vision? That Scarlet Witch is pretty hot, huh? Do you think she would marry you?
Zack: I am not sure what you mean, I am an android that can phase through walls why would I get married?
Steve: Good point, no reason to narrow the field when babes have to be lining up to get with an Avenger, my man. You’ve got that whole look going with the, you know, the gem in your face. Kind of mysterious. If this were the 1980s you could just pop through the walls into dressing rooms at lingerie stores, but this is 2016 and the PC police said it’s uncool for sexy capers and shenanigans.
Zack: You mean like Revenge of the Nerds which includes multiple instances of sex crimes?
Steve: I mean, I get it, hiding cameras in the girls shower or whatever is not cool. But that moon walk sex with the masks is all on the babe. She totally went for it.
Zack: No, Steve, no. Don’t start this debate. That was bad. Vision popping into changing rooms is bad. All of it is bad.
Steve: I guess you’re right. Vision, home boy, you need to snap up that Scarlet Witch babe while she is hot and have some kids with her. It seems like it wouldn’t work, but somehow it does work in the comics. Don’t wait until you’re on some Dr. Manhattan mind trip. Put a ring on her before Thanos comes after that Infinity Stone in your forehead.
Zack: Thanos? Who is this?
Steve: He’s this guy who looks like a purple version of the hulk with that Robert Z’dar disease and he just sort of sits on a chair in space and makes people do stuff for him. He’s looking for the Infinity Stones. It’s like this whole background story that is never going to pay off because he’s a ridiculous looking dude.
Zack: Many of the best villains were confined to chairs.
Steve: Yeah, Dr. Claw, FDR, etc.
Zack: The pilot of the quinjet informs you that you are approaching your destination. The door opens and Black Panther jumps out fearlessly from like a mile up. Vision flies out the door.
Steve: I mean, I can stop time, but I still need a parachute. I’ll parachute out the door.
Zack: You land in the middle of a field that seems empty. The only building is a barn.
Steve: Head to the barn.
Zack: Black Panther and Vision have the same idea. As the three of you are approaching the barn, there is a great rumbling under your feet and suddenly the barn explodes in a shower of dirt and smoke.
Steve: I’ll draw my sword and deflect any debris that comes my way.
Zack: A huge spider robot emerges from under the earth. It’s about half the size of the Helicarrier and it has gun turrets and glowing red eyes.
Steve: Looks like a boss fight. Is there any sort of red gem for us to shoot?
Zack: No obvious weak point, although you do see a human-sized figure underneath it who seems to be trying to place an explosive charge under it.
Steve: Winter Soldier! That Nazi/Commie piece of garbage. Let’s get him, boys.
Zack: You’re going to attack him instead of the spider?
Steve: Well, yeah, for all we know this is a perfectly benevolent giant death-dealing mecha spider that SHIELD is building under ground for some reason.
Zack: As you start to run towards the giant spider robot, you see another quinjet swooping down through the clouds. Out of the open hatch comes Captain America, Falcon, Hawkeye, and Sharon Carter.
Zack: Captain America’s girlfriend.
Steve: Oh, man, that’s worse than a girlfriend at a gaming session. Captain America is so lame.
Zack: Captain America and Falcon will reach Bucky about the same time as you, Black Panther, and Vision. Hawkeye and Sharon Carter had to parachute, so they’re going to take a little longer.
Steve: Here’s the plan: Vision and Black Panther hold off Captain America and Falcon while I go cut off Winter Soldier’s head.
Zack: What about the giant spider.
Steve: I’m not going to worry too much about it. I’ll stop time and go in for the kill.
Zack: Oh, right, you can stop time.
Steve: Yeah. I can even reverse time.
Zack: Okay, well, there’s not much a supersoldier and a guy with wings or even a giant robot spider can do to interfere. All hell breaks loose as Cap and Falcon start battling Black Panther and Vision. Bucky sees you and tosses his bomb and starts to run.
Steve: Timestop. Going after that metal-armed, roadie looking sadsack.
Zack: You run past laser beams and bullets frozen in the air. Falcon is in the middle of getting his ass kicked by Black Panther. Captain America is blocking some sort of beam from Vision with his shield.
Steve: Ignoring all that and running after Bucky.
Zack: He can’t go anywhere. You catch up to him and he is still looking back over his shoulder at where you were.
Steve: Katana decapitation.
Zack: You’re decapitating a helpless person?
Steve: The plan was to kill him all along. This is humane. He won’t feel it.
Zack: Okay, hero, you decapitate him. Since time is frozen because of your godlike powers it’s sort of like cutting into a well done steak or something. There is no blood spurting out.
Steve: I’ll take his head and put it in Captain America’s hands instead of his shield.
Zack: What? Why?
Steve: So then he’s blocking Vision’s energy blast with Bucky’s severed head. So he feels responsible for killing him too.
Zack: Okay, you swap out Cap’s shield for Winter Soldier’s severed head.
Steve: Facing Cap.
Zack: Severed head facing Captain America.
Steve: Nice. Alright, step back and let the magic happen.
Steve: Unstop time.
Zack: A lot happens in an instant. Bucky’s body actually runs a few steps before collapsing and spraying blood out of its stump. Cap was moving his shield into place as you froze time, so the momentum resumes and he ends up flinging Bucky’s head into the air. Vision’s blast hits Cap straight in the chest, knocking him over.
Steve: Shouting, “Winter Soldier is dead! Captain America tore off his head!”
Zack: Captain America freaks out pretty bad as he realizes Bucky’s head is bouncing around the field. He runs and picks it up and screams, “Noooo! Bucky!”
Steve: No time to celebrate now, Cap. We have to take down the spider robot.
Zack: Captain America is inconsolable. The spider starts blasting energy cannons at you guys, but it only gets a couple shots off before Bucky’s bomb explodes, damaging the spider’s legs. It’s still active, but no longer mobile.
Steve: Fiiiiine. I’ll handle this too.
Steve: Timestop and then methodically destroy the spider. I mean, I guess the easiest way would be to just go inside it and destroy its power core or central computers or whatever.
Zack: The power core is atomic so if you destroy that it’s going to create a nuclear explosion. That’s how nuclear reactors work in comic books and comic book movies.
Steve: Eh, it would be a lot of work to move all of these people out of range of a nuclear explosion before I unstop time. I guess I’ll just go to the control room and hack the computer. With my sword.
Zack: You find the computer and shred it. You can’t really tell what’s going to happen until you unstop time.
Steve: I’ll unstop it in slow motion so I can be sure it’s not going to enter like super death mode or something.
Zack: It doesn’t. It flails around a little bit and then collapses.
Steve: Head back out and unstop time.
Zack: Captain America is cradling Bucky’s severed head and crying. “You monsters!” he shouts. “He was just a confused baby boy. He didn’t mean anybody any harm.”
Steve: “He was a killer for Hydra.”
Zack: “I don’t even know who you are!” sobs Cap.
Zack: Hawkeye and Agent Carter get the head from him and put it in a parachute. They start walking towards their quinjet.
Steve: Hmmmmm… well, problem solved. I think I closed up the loose ends nicely there.
Zack: “I think there might be repercussions from this incident,” observes Vision in his monotone.
Steve: Like a medal? A parade for being a hero?
Zack: Captain America stares murderously at you as his quinjet lifts into the sky.
Steve: So are there going to be repercussions?
Zack: NEXXXXT TIME!
Steve: Ahhh dang it I wanted to kill Captain America.
Zack: *A Real Hero starts playing*