Created by an order from Nick Fury himself, STRIKE is a classified team of highly trained agents and superhumans designed specifically to take on missions that the Avengers can't or won't. A covert force that could go anywhere and do what needed to be done, without question...
Hello and welcome to the Actual Play thread for Agents of S.T.R.I.K.E.! This is something I've wanted to share with folks for a long while, as it's one of my favorite RPGs I've ever played in, and now the time is finally right; by which I mean, I was motivated to start digging into the hundreds of pages of material we've accumulated so far.
Agents of S.T.R.I.K.E. is a superpowered action and espionage RPG set in a version of the Marvel Universe and using a homebrewed system designed by the GM. We've been playing for about a year and a half now, with occasional breaks, and are currently in the middle of our game's third "season."
It's the brainchild of my friend Matt, and kind of the culmination of a bunch of stuff he's been experimenting with for years. The players are me and our friends Choco, Cass, Dave, and Jake (yes, there are two Jakes). We play over Discord, with actual game stuff typed out in the text channel and our out-of-game talking conducted over the voice channel. It's a nice setup that I highly recommend for any game that doesn't need maps or minis.
What's an Actual Play?
Actual Plays are the RPG version of Let's Plays, basically. Every roleplayer has had great moments and experiences that we've wished we could share with our friends but couldn't: we didn't remember exactly what happened, or we'd have to explain too much backstory or game rules for the tale to make sense, or whatever. APs are a way to save campaigns by writing them down as a narrative and organizing them so we can relive those moments, talk about them, and learn from them. I've typed up a few of mine on RPG.net, as you can see in my sig.
APs are usually typed up by the GM, who offers some behind-the-scenes insights and commentary on why they did certain things, or whatever. This one's a little different; I'm just a player, but I've really wanted to share this game.
As I mentioned, STRIKE uses a homebrewed system, influenced by the Powered by the Apocalypse superhero game Worlds in Peril. The system's primary goal is to be simple and fast, but it has some crunch to it, too, and I personally find it less...frustratingly ethereal or loosey-goosey than some narrative games. The core mechanic is simple: roll a couple of dice and add a modifier based on your character's stats. The result is either a simple success, exceptional success, straightforward failure (which gives an XP), or a mixed result where the player is given a choice (typically to succeed at the thing they were attempting, but at some kind of cost).
The system is a work in progress and also since it's homebrew explaining specific powers or stats or whatever would be meaningless, so I'm not going to talk much about it, but you'll probably be able to spot the times in game where a character didn't quite nail a roll and had to make a hard choice. Those are some of the most memorable moments in the game.
STRIKE is set in a version of the Marvel Universe created specifically for the game. Earth-1491 is a blend of elements from the MCU, the Ultimate universe, and the classic 616 universe. Almost all the characters and situations will be immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with any iteration of Marvel's properties; there's no big gimmick like "it's Marvel but with STEAMPUNK CTHULHU" or that sort of bullshit.
Tonally, it sits somewhere between the MCU and 616. The look and feel of things is semi-grounded like the films - for instance, as in the MCU, superheroes here are a relatively new thing, and the ones that were active in the past were mostly secret and covert, so we don't have to handwave away all the ways that superpowers would have changed the world - but we do reserve room for some of the zaniness of the comics.
The most immediately visible setting choice, and one taken directly from the MCU, is the lack of mutants. Matt feels (and I agree) that the X-Men work pretty well as their own self-contained superhero thing and having them mashed in with the rest of the Marvel characters makes things a bit crowded and redundant. On the other hand, unlike the MCU, the Fantastic Four are
present, because fuck Fox.
Also, obviously, because it's a SHIELD game, SHIELD plays a more central role in the major events of the Marvel Universe than it does in other media. This is also because Matt is an espionage buff. Those of you who know your history and your spy lore will recognize a lot of real-world elements mixed in with the capes, hovercars, and death rays.
The game began with a playtest session set 30 years ago, with pregen characters, so we could get a sense of the system and an idea of what we’d want to do with it. That session is canonical (and what happens in it is a super big deal) so I’ll kick off the AP with it.
I’ll detail the regular characters in the main game in a post after that one.
Matt has written extensive in-universe briefing documents for us players to read to help inform our characters’ decisions in the game. I’ll reproduce them here where appropriate.
Part of the fun of writing an AP is giving people a peek behind the curtain. I can’t do that as much since it’s not my game, but when I have something to add, I’ll set it off from the rest of the text like this:
Guess what? Chicken butt.
So. Let's get this show on the road!
001 - Wormwood (prologue)
101 - Come Together
102 - Security Breach
103 - Valkyrie
104 - Mountainbound
105 - Strangers in a Strange Land
106 - Tales of Suspense
107 - Storm Chasers
108 - The Raid
109 - Marvel Team-Up
110 - All In
111 - Aftermath
112 - New Universes
113 - Convergence
114 - Chrysalis (season finale)
201 - Back in Black Ops
202 - Inhuman
203 - Strange Tales
204 - There But For the Grace Of...
205 - Mindbender
206 - Secret Wars
207 - Endgames
208 - Tales of Interest
209 - Operation Scalpel
210 - Supernova
211 - The Wedding Crasher
212 - The Atlantis Conference
213 - National Emergency (season finale)
301 - Journey Into Mystery
302 - Going Knowhere
303 - Curiosities
304 - Behave Yourselves
305 - Trust, But Verify
306 - Things Fall Apart
307 - Divide By Zero
308 - Ragnarok
309 - Before the Storm
310 - A House Divided
311 - Threshold
312 - Arrival (season finale)