Desaad had encountered no few heroes of Earth in his time as Darkseid’s chief assistant and master torturer, but none were as strange as the mechanized creature before him.

 

In an explosion of dirt and concrete, the custom armored suit of Hyper Hamster infiltrated Anthony “Tony” Runco’s base of operations, startling the goons under Runco’s employ. It was hard to take Star City’s newest superhero seriously when it looked like nothing more than a metallic anthropomorphic hamster. Even the color of the suit called to mind a giant version of the pet rodent. The gang quickly got over their shock and amusement, however, as the suit fired laser weapons at them.

 

Tony barked orders to open fire on Hyper Hamster, and the hidden headquarters for their operation was suddenly filled with laser blasts as the criminals relished the opportunity to put their new weapons to the test. DesaadThe high-powered alien weaponry tore into the suit with each shot, but the armored hamster was relentless in his attack. At this rate, it wouldn’t take long until the thugs were thwarted, and then the ridiculous hero would turn his sights on him.

 

Desaad decided that perhaps it was best to remove himself from this world before that happened.

 

In the chaos of the fight, it was easy enough for him to slip away without being seen. After all, when it came to avoiding direct conflict, Desaad was an expert, his skills at remaining useful but unobtrusive honed through his service to Darkseid. He slipped down a hallway and into the storage room where the bulk of the weaponry resided, crates upon crates of Apokolips technology filling the room, marking his contribution to destabilizing Earth on behalf of his new master.

 

The criminals in the room, still learning how to operate the technology that would put them at the top of the criminal underworld in Star City, were staring at Desaad in surprise, the sounds of combat filtering through the building and getting closer.

 

Boom tube“It seems, gentlemen, that you are about to have the perfect opportunity to test the full capability of the armaments I’ve gifted you and your illustrious leader. I suggest you make the most of it.” Desaad activated a boom tube and added, “I, on the other hand, will take my leave so that I might return upon your victory with greater rewards. Until then, gentlemen…”

 

The door to the room exploded open, and Desaad retreated quickly through the portal open before him. He would return to Earth, of that he was certain, but probably not to this organization. He deemed them a lost cause, very likely to be subdued by Earth’s heroes and handed over to the authorities. Maybe now would be a good time to focus his energy on Gotham City…

Part three of the massive Star City gang war mission!

This one’s a pretty long adventure, isn’t it? Well, it plays out that way on Game Night sometimes, too. It’s one thing to read a book from DC Comics or watch Justice League Unlimited and see the heroes acting without hesitation to thwart the villain this week, it’s quite another when you’re thrown into a situation where you have to come up with your own plan of attack. There are plenty of factors to take into account before you go charging into someone’s headquarters. What kind of building is it, a secluded hideout or a public structure? Is it chock full of bad guys, or will there be innocents caught in the crossfire? How many bad guys are we talking about, anyway? And where’s the primary target hiding inside the structure?

Justice LeagueIt only gets more complicated when you’re part of a group. A single hero has only himself to account for in a plan, maybe a sidekick. In a team, you have at least three people who want in on the action, sometimes more. Each of them have different strengths and weaknesses to take into account, different power sets and abilities, and possibly even a different moral compass. Would you send Superman up against a sorcerous villain, or Martian Manhunter into a burning building? These things take time to plan out, and in a gaming group where players sometimes have wildly different problem-solving approaches, this can take a while.

Sometimes the debate itself is entertaining and I’ll let it play out. Sometimes, however, a game session can get massively derailed if the majority of it is spent debating the best course of action OOC. Reward players for keeping the planning stage in-character, and remind them that time is of the essence. Just because the heroes are standing around talking, doesn’t mean the villains are waiting for them to make a move!

Next week, the conclusion of the gang war! Will our heroes survive against Apokolips weaponry? Find out in seven days! In the meantime, you can ask me anything about DC Adventures and the Justice League Alternates campaign in the Comic Booked Forum. I’m at WonderCon this weekend, but I’ll answer them as soon as I get back home!