Somewhat wiped from the LARP the night before I was in a fragile state on Sunday morning. I had some tiredness hangover, I had some emo and I had a desire to lie still on the floor and not move. I almost turned over and went back to sleep but one thing got me up: Dale’s Mutants and Masterminds game: Thursday Crisis. I’ve played Professor Eternity in all the previous installments and I was super excited for the new ‘episode’. I had also made sure to peer pressure Nick and Norm into reprising their roles so that we could have the dream team.
Dale was a little concerned when he came in to find me sacked out on the floor on the LARP cushions so he made us all jump up and down before we started gaming. I would soon realise that this was all so that I’d be in a better place for the wringer he was intending to put me through.
Thursday Crisis started with those of us in the League of Heroes appearing on a breakfast TV show. I gave Captain Hope strict instructions to not make it all about his movie, a somewhat fictionalised biopic called Hope. He clamped an arm around me before the cameras starting rolling and kept it there for the duration. The interview started badly with the host asking all sorts of difficult questions about the disappearing planes, who was playing who in the movie and what about those videos of Hope with a French supermodel? What were we doing about the 16th century windmill that showed up in the middle of London? There was a brief break in which Cpt Hope tore strips off the host and then our son Daniel and his girlfriend Layla joined us on the show. Difficult questions continued Cpt Hope was asked why he had stopped sponsoring the kids in the cancer ward, I stopped paying attention and started work on a hand held scanning device but the questions went too far and I finally I stormed off the stage saying “This interview is over.”
There was some fighting and some awkward introductions (it was the first time I’d met Layla and there was a rumour she was pregnant?) Then we all made for the Hope Jet. Layla and Daniel stopped to make out on the red carpet, which Hope didn’t feel comfortable with.
Cpt Hope: If you’re going to have sex in public….DON’T!
Daniel Hope: I don’t think it’s us getting caught with the pictures, Dad.
We went to find out the source of the most pressing concern of the moment: a time anomaly that was causing weird things to happen. I made a super GPS scanner, origin locator thingie and we headed to Paris.
Salvo to Daniel: Watch as your father inevitably strides into the dangerous thing.
Actually it was Daniel who went straight into the amorphous blob of time disruption, heading straight for the puma at the centre. The puma had a remote control type collar on which was causing the effect. Daniel tried to stun the puma but managed only to upset it so it went running, the blob of time going with it. In the course of neutralising the menace Ground Zero exploded, hurting lot lots of civilians, Salvo drove a motorbike through the city’s cafes, Daniel destroyed a rose window in the Notre Dame cathedral and Layla didn’t help very much with the first aid effort. A supermodel approached Prof Eternity as she was patching people up and asked about Capt Hope. Eternity told her that she would never see him again and intercepted a text between the two of them with her psychic mind-link. Then I checked out Hope’s phone to delete her number and I found a whole lot of dodgy texts (including naked pictures) between him and Layla. I kept it together until we got back on the plane.
Layla had got my suspicion by this point, she had pointed out a couple of times that I was better than Hope and why did I stay with him? She hadn’t been very good with the first aiding and I had seen her flirt with Hope. I went to Salvo and told him I was suspicious, I asked him to keep an eye on her. Salvo, who wasn’t used to me coming to him with any kind of problem was surprised, but took it seriously. Then I asked Hope to join me for a talk in the sound proofed interrogation room at the back of the jet. There we had a huge fight in which he said I wasn’t interesting/attractive enough and didn’t seem at all regretful for sleeping with all these other women. He wasn’t at all interested in keeping our family together and that really hurt. I ended up tasering him (okay, so he’s super strong and invulnerable, but Prof Eternity is a super inventor and his wife of many years. I knew the voltage I had to use to knock him out.)
I opened the door to find all the others watching, since there had been a gigantic blue flash and then I’d slammed the door open revealing a prostrate and twitching Hope. Salvo (I think) asked if everything was all right and I said that No, things weren’t all right and I was considering getting a divorce. I instantly regretted letting Daniel know in that way, it seemed a bit harsh, but as a player I was pretty close to actually crying so I thought I’d better pull it back. Salvo came over and gave me a hug and then Daniel did too. Ground Zero went in to watch over Hope and he stopped Daniel from punching his prone form. Daniel then took off, flying to our destination under his own steam rather than on the jet.
When we arrived at Thor Industries (origin of the remote controlling cat collar time device) I got the chance to explain things more thoroughly to Daniel.
Eternity: I love you. And I’m relatively sure that your father loves you too.
Ground Zero: has everyone else noticed that Captain Hope’s….more of a….
Salvo: Captain Hope is a dick.
It was around then that we generally worked out that it wasn’t Captain Hope at all, but his dark parallel universe twin Captain Despair. Layla revealed that she was a villain, using a paralyse power on Prof Eternity (after apologising slightly). Daniel leapt forward with a very heroic cry of “Leave my mother alone!” but it was too late, Layla teleported me into the top of the building. Salvo took the elevator, Daniel and Ground Zero flew up to the top of the building. There a somewhat weedy guy was gloating over the frozen Captain Hope, and trying to monologue to Prof Eternity. A battle ensued, Eternity used her mind data link to shut down the fridge keeping Hope frozen and the good guys won. Captain Hope, of course, was very concerned about all that had happened. Eternity was disconcerted that she hadn’t noticed that it hadn’t been her husband, clearly the lines were becoming blurred, and there was no happy reunion.
It was an epic game, and I’m really glad I played in it. Lots happened that I have forgotten, of course, but it was an awesome group and I really want to play in the next installment.
For Round 5 I pitched Best Friends in the Games on Demand room, as it’s good for taking many players without really suffering. I ended up with seven players, most of whom were quite quiet in the brainstorming session. I asked people what kind of thing they’d already had too much of at the con and there was a lot of comments like violence, darkness and emo problems. That gave us a direction: something bright and cheerful. Light hearted even. We went through such suggestions as a team of pokemon trainers, My Little Ponies or a roller derby team but the one thing everyone could agree on (if not ecstatically) was The Care Bears.
Little did the players realise my God-like knowledge of the Care Bears. I have seen the movies countless times and was an avid fan of the various TV shows that played in the 80s. I read everything I could get my hands on about the Care Bears as a kid and believe it or not, this has made me into a walking encyclopaedia of Caring. FEAR ME!
Ahem. Anyways, the players weren’t all sold so I knew I had to bring the epic, and even though my mood was down, my energy reserves were non-existant and all I wanted to do was sleep I made it the best damn Care Bears game of the whole convention. I didn’t have time to take many quotes, unfortunately, but the game centred around a group of bears and two cousins (Dog Heart Dog and Froot Moose) who were sent down to Earth for their first ever solo mission by Tenderheart Bear. Sunshine Pop (Andy M) was the smartest, so he was given the handheld caring meter that showed the way.
Down on Earth our heroes found a summer camp where three kids were being excluded! Oh no! There was a pudgy boy, a small boy and a girl with classes. The first thing that one bear did was use the Care Bear Stare, which had the unfortunate effect of terrifying the children. They scattered into the forest. Froot Moose (Ian B) caught up with Billy, the overweight kid and encouraged him to keep running because isn’t it so fun? He basically ended up whipping this kid with the broom he brought down and making him cry. Hugglepuff, who was the Carealot hug ambassador, and owner of a trophy for hugging, attached to the littlest kid and made friends by singing a song about how being the smallest doesn’t mean you can’t be the best. The girl with glasses was harder to track down and caused trouble when she upset a hive of bees (Froot Moose’s phobia).
Melody Bear (Donna) and Huggiekins (William) had stayed behind where the other kids at the camp were kayaking and playing running races. They tried to appeal to their better natures, but these were modern, excluding kids who weren’t easily swayed. Huggiekins was tackled by one kid and then a bunch of others jumped on top, trying to squash him. Melody tried to help but a one bear Care Bear stare wasn’t enough. They managed to stop the kids getting outright violent by giving them iceblocks (two stick pull apart ones for sharing). The others caught up thanks to Hugglepuff’s rainbow slide and through the combination of iceblocks, rainbow hydroslide and relentless hugging they got the kids into a good enough mood -for the moment-. The bears sensed that things were still volatile so they all combined to Care Bear Stare (or Care Cousin Call) to make the children more happy and inclusive. Because that’s what the Stare does, it’s alters people’s minds. Creepy enough for you?
Froot Moose rebelled, he participated in the Stare, but he used his belly art power to change the sugar ridden ice blocks into healthy bananas.
A group of adults turned up and started asking difficult questions about why the bears were there and what they’d done to the children. Sunshine Pop called an end to the mission and they all returned to Care-a-lot. Back in Care-a-lot tensions were running high. Huggiekins went to Tenderheart privately to express his concern about Froot Moose. Tenderheart had some tough questions for Sunshine Pop and expressed concern over Froot Moose’s actions with Billy, although he seemed to endorse the whole ice blocks into bananas thing. The other bears and cousins were consumed with preparations for the Care-a-lot talent competition. Dog Heart was driven to win this year, despite the fact that every year everybody wins.
Melody Bear and Dog Heart both separately bribed the judges. (Here we learned that Friend Bear is also Friends-with-benefits bear) There was signing, baking and a particularly racially charged ventriloquist act (racist against Care Cousins) but in the end everyone won! Hurrah! Hugglepuff spiked the punch with Hug Juice which made everyone really want to hug each other. Dog Heart had a three way hug with Friend Bear and Love-a-lot Bear, and he was licking them with his long tongue and they were hugging each other and it was a hug party. Hugglepuff mentioned that someone might die later on in a hug related accident and we were done.
I think we left it about there…my brain was pretty fried, so I’ve left a bunch of crazy out, but there you have it. Care Bears Best Friends was amazing.
Care Bears opening credits from the late eighties/early nineties. This was like the reboot where the Cousins were a bigger part of everything.
The Care Bear Stare and Cousin’s Call…
But here’s the best example of the creepy, mood altering, mind controlling powers of the Stare, where four bears use it against someone who doesn’t want it…(from the newest incarnation of the Care Bears.)
In sixth round I played Nick’s Katamari game, but I already covered that. The only notes I have are: ‘Too much crazy, not enough sleep.”