At this year’s Student Wargaming and Roleplaying Nationals, I ran two games of Is It a Plane!? One of the players loved the game so much, he asked for the Google Doc, and ran a playtest game entirely independent of me at a charity gameathon.
Following are the photographs of every Visual Phase of the game, with an explanation of each to explain what happened.
This should give you an idea of what the Editor’s role is like in interpreting Panels. It also showcases the actions of six different players. It is my hope that photos like these will discourage the worries people have about not being able to draw to play this game, as a range of capabilities are showcased here.
Gust! Half man, half windstorm! With all the powers of the air!
Frogwizard! A magical mishap turned a wizard’s apprentice into a humanoid mass of frogs! With Frog Magic! (Yes, he’s a thousand frogs in a trenchcoat.)
Gorilla Greystoke! Adoptive heir of nobility, he’s the quintessential English aristocrat. And a gorilla.
Mercy Kill! Ninja assassin-for-hire, now trying to turn over a new leaf, her professional expertise and underworld connections are a valuable asset to the team!
Six Gun! From humble beginnings in India, she learned mystical cowboy powers in a hidden monastery ranch in Texas! (Also starring her trusty horse, Silver!)
TechKnight! With the power to absorb technology to create power armour!
The supervillains Lightning Rod and Thunder Ella are on the loose, and have staged a prison breakout to unleash a crime wave on the city!
Frogwizard dissolves into frogs to sweep the sewers. Mercy Kill bribes a contact for the word on the street. Six Gun starts to round up the criminals. Gorilla Greystoke holds a press conference to help calm the frightened citizens. TechKnight hacks the internet to try to find the villains using surveillance cameras. Gust takes to the air to search for them! Six Gun interrogates the criminals she captures!
TechKnight summons their tech armour, then leaps into the fray! Greystoke takes a limo from his press conference to start cracking some heads – posing for the news cameras as he does so! Gust rescues a civilian hostage from a gun-wielding criminal! Frogwizard erupts from the sewers to catch a criminal gang by surprise! Mercy Kill keeps a close eye on the news to hunt down Lightning Rod and Thunder Ella. Six Gun spots some varmints trying to rob a bank, and moves to head them off at the pass!
Six Gun shoots the guns right out of the bank robbers’ hands! Mercy Kill interrogates a couple of black-hatted criminals to find what the supervillains are planning. Gust checks out the power plant – a known haunt of Lightning Rod! Frogwizard coalesces back into humanoid form. TechKnight helps clean up after the bank robbery by moving loot bags back into the security vans. Finally, Greystoke works the team’s public image by giving a lollipop to an adorable cute child – a heartwarming clip for the media!
The team have tracked the villainous Lightning Rod and Thunder Ella to the Museum! Greystoke climbs up to spy on them through a skylight. Mercy Kill grapples up to sneak in through a vent. Six Gun leaps from building to building on her horse, Silver, then slides down into the museum from her lasso. Gust starts to open windows to give his air-powers free reign inside!
TechKnight creates some spy drones from their armour and sends them out to survey the scene!
Gust sneaks in to the museum and starts to float the most fragile artifacts out of harm’s way! Frogwizard dissolves into a swarm of frogs to squeeze through the gaps in the front door. Gust overhears Lightning Rod, who has captured the museum curator and is forcing him to help look for a specific artifact – whatever could it be? Then, suddenly… TechKnight makes their drones set off the sprinklers! That’ll help stop Lightning Rod using his electric powers with precision… but might lead to more collateral damage! Then Six Gun strikes! She snatches Thunder Ella’s umbrella to deprive her of most of her storm powers! TechKnight, that rule-breaking rebel, enters the museum through a door clearly marked EXIT. Greystoke crashes down through the skylight to take the villains by surprise! Mercy Kill sneaks out of her air vent to rescue the curator while the villains are distracted! Frogwizard re-forms himself on the inside of the museum and casts Ray Of Frogs at the villains, narrowly missing Lightning Rod!
Gorilla rage! Greystoke strikes both villains and tries to break Lightning Rod’s rod! But Thunder Ella has summoned wind to try to pull back her umbrella from Six Gun – Six Gun uses her lasso to anchor herself to a display, then snaps Thunder Ella’s umbrella in two! Heedless of his own safety, Gust throws himself at Thunder Ella! Frogwizard has his mass of frogs swarm Lightning Rod, as Gorilla Greystoke grabs the villain by the head! TechKnight hoists up an unused display cabinet and hurls it at Thunder Ella in a knockout blow! (Lightning Rod responds with a flurry of lighning bolts at the team!) Meanwhile, Mercy Kill uses a ninja smoke bomb to cover her getting the curator out of the museum to safety, then flings a shuriken at Lightning Rod! Six Gun grabs a first aid kit to quickly patch herself up. Greystoke snatches Lightning Rod’s rod form his hand and hold it out of the villain’s reach! Gust grabs the disarmed villain with a wind blast, flinging him into the air!
Six Gun gives herself some much-needed first aid, while Frogwizard and TechKnight regenerate their strength by absorbing frogs and technology respectively. But then! Hoisted aloft by Gust’s wind blast, Lightning Rod is flung down into an ancient Egyptian sundial, smashing it to pieces! The villains are defeated, but at what cost?
The denouement! Gorilla Greystoke has restrained Lightning Rod and Thunder Ella by bending a metal bar around them. Mercy Kill, hearing the sirens of the police, decides to make a sneaky exit back out through the air vents before they arrive. The media are not impressed with the destruction of the priceless ancient artifacts – and number one on their hit list is Frogwizard! Greystoke helps smooth things over with a large donation to the museum directors, then relaxes with a well-earned pot of tea. Six Gun swings herself back up onto the roof of the museum where she’d parked her horse, and rides off into the sunset. TechKnight goes on eBay – wait, is that a priceless artifact they’re selling? I guess they’ve got to pay the bills somehow! Finally, some time later, Thunder Ella is paroled – and she seems to be spending a lot of time with Gust! How sweet! What a heartwarming end to the issue… OR IS IT? THE STINGER: A shadowy figure looks on at the carnage, and says “By the Death of Yesterday…” DUN DUN DUN!