[Happy Memorial Day from The Action Point. As a reminder of why this holiday exists, I am now updating you on the D&D game being held in the middle of a warzone in Bagram, Afghanistan. For frame of reference, a mortar landed on this base last week that wounded six people. Please keep all of our servicemembers past and present in your thoughts and prayers.]
I am a lucky, lucky GM. I have one of the best problems I think any GM–most especially one in freakin’ Afghanistan– could hope for: I have too many players.
The Bagram Gaming Community has grown steadily over the last couple months until this past Saturday when we had 7 players with one who had just left for his mid-tour R&R leave, for a total of 8. I put up posters all over the FOB advertising the game, and this has borne fruit in the form of THREE potential players, two of whom I am building characters with via email as we speak. That makes ELEVEN players if everybody were to show up at the same time. That’s WAY too many for one table. It’s a complication, and not one I expected to have so soon. But I am not looking gift horses in the mouth. Instead, I am instituting the X-Men Protocol.
The X-Men Protocol is named from the re-launch of the X-series of comics back in the early nineties (I think– anyone with more comic-fu than I is welcome to correct or specify in the comments!!). I imagine the conversation was interesting in the Marvel Bullpen when they made this decision, as the X-Roster looked something like this:
Beast, Colossus, Psylocke, Iceman, Rogue, Archangel, Gambit, Jean Grey (GET A CODENAME, GIRL!!!), Cyclops, Storm, Bishop, and bout a billion others as storyline demanded…
That’s a lotta freakin mutants. So when they re-launched the comic, Professor X designated two teams: Blue Team and Gold Team, each relatively balanced and fully functional on its own, and looked like this:
Gold Team: Colossus, Iceman, Archangel, Jean Grey, Storm, and Bishop
Blue Team: Beast, Psylocke, Rogue, Gambit, Cyclops and Wolverine
This solved the issue nicely, and cemented the group dynamic as well, allowing for developing storylines in separate directions without anyone really falling into the cracks and being forgotten.
I believe that I am in the same position now as Professor X was before the re-launch, and it’s time to make a split. I have the following party right now:
Human Swordmage (Defender)
Goliath Blackguard (Striker)
Human Executioner (Striker)
Elf Thief (Striker)
Primal Hunter (Controller)
Tiefling Binder (Controller)
Elf Sentinel (Leader)
Dwarf Warpriest (Leader)
…and three un-formed characters. I think I’ve got enough spread that we should be good to go with the rest of the characters. All the PCs have a common tie that each is a sworn liegeman to Lord Cedric Tremayne, who is himself a sworn liegeman of King Connor, whose colors are burgundy and gold. So I think my X-Men Protocol is going to split into a Red Team and a Gold Team, and we’ll see who ends up in each squad. Considering I’ve got all Soldiers for my players, I think the concept of splitting into self-sufficient squads will be totally understandable for them.
Another really neat anecdote is that I have run D&D every time I have been deployed– that’s three for those counting at home. I have had to institute the X-Men Protocol EVERY SINGLE TIME. This is a track record I am happy to keep running.