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Author Topic: [CURRENTLY FULL] Return Of The Old Guard (Superheroes, Mutants&Masterminds 3E)  (Read 1325 times)

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Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

"When everyone is super...no one will be." - Syndrome, The Incredibles


This is a game idea I've had bouncing around for a while in my head, and I need a new project, so I might as well give it a shot. This is a game set in a world with superheroes, and supervillains, and all the typical stuff you would expect to see in a comic book universe - but with one big twist; Super-Geniuses Are Not Useless (beware, TVTropes Link), and as a result, the world has moved on and rendered its superhumans redundant. Anti-gravity belts let anyone fly, medical nanobots can repair and regenerate the most terrible wounds or illnesses, mass-produced power armor gives amazing strength and toughness, and all sorts of other technological wonders. Superheroes have been put out of a job by regular law enforcement, while supervillains have been reduced to the level of petty crooks with super-sized egos. It's been forty years since the last great hero retired, and twenty since the last confirmed 'natural' meta-human was born.

And then the invasion comes. Hostile aliens from another dimension, wielding strange weapons of their own and capable of one terrible and devastating ability - the power to project a sort of inhibitor field that disables complex technology. Reduced to the level of the Dark Ages, humanity's ability to fend off the invasion is crippled and the aliens establish control over large swathes of the world including all of the major population centers. There is only one hope left for Earth and the human race - the handful of aging, but still powerful superhumans whose gifts come from their genes, not their machinery. They might have been heroes, or villains, but now they have one overwhelming goal in common - fighting back against the alien menace and eventually driving them away from Earth forever.



That's the story pitch. It's obviously an original setting, so while your character could be inspired by a canon comic character, they still have to be an original creation. The local plot will be heavily player-driven; the ultimate goal is to free Earth from its alien dominion, but how that goes about happening will be very much up to the players - at best, I'll present a set of potential 'hooks' or targets and let the characters choose. All the characters will be middle-aged or outright elderly retired superhumans, though it'll be entirely optional as to how much their age has impaired any abilities they might have.

Now, the crunchy bits and possible bone of contention. I want this to be a system game (I've run one freeform superheroes game already), but I've got two options to pick from.

Option 1 is FATE. http://fate-srd.com/
This is my preferred option for a few reasons:
-It is very rules-lite as far as systems go. This makes it more attractive to people who might otherwise prefer total freeform, and makes it easy to learn for people who've never used the system before.
-It is extremely roleplay-friendly; Aspects integrate character personality and background directly into the mechanics, and Invoking/Compelling them gives players (and the GM) a lot of narrative control over what happens.
-It's free, with the SRD linked above.
-Downside is primarily the need to monkey-wrench Elliquiy's Dicebot to replicate rolling FATE dice, which will be a bit unintuitive at first.


Option 2 is Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition. http://www.d20herosrd.com/
This is my second-favorite option, but I'll list the perks anyways:
-It is d20-based. This is a plus for E's built-in dice roller, and will have familiar trappings for people comfortable with the D20 game engine.
-It is purpose-built to play superhero games, with a fairly flexible system to help people express the mechanics they want properly.
-It's also free, with the SRD linked above.
-Downside is that it's not particularly rules-lite, and will require more GM oversight to guide system novices and prevent overpowered ability combos.

In either case, I'm looking for 4-5 players who can commit to seeing the game through as long as possible - I've got more free time than I know what to do with, so I won't be going anywhere. I'd like to see posting frequency of at least once every 3 days or so, with allowance for special circumstances - beyond a week, and I'll be checking up on you; beyond two, and I'll be checking the reserve list.

Sexual content will be at the preference of the players, but unless anyone has a very strong aversion to it, I plan on putting the game into Extreme to allow for some body-horror on the part of the aliens.

If you're interested, post with an idea of the sort of character you'd like to play, and if you have a strong preference, which ruleset you'd like to use. Once I have a set group of players and a set system, we'll proceed to character creation.


UPDATE: The game will definitely be run with Mutants and Masterminds 3E. Crunchy bits will be PL10 base, with a small bonus given to older characters (60+). Currently in the concept-pitch and early discussion phase, which will end on Monday the 16th.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 10:55:30 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Angiejuusan

Hmmm, would it be possible to play one of those last 'natural' meta-humans, and play a younger character who's never really used his/her powers? If not I'm still interested, but I'd kinda like to be the 'new guy' to the 'old guard'.

Offline Batman4560

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Expressing interest with a Speedster type of character. Or assassin type.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Hmmm, would it be possible to play one of those last 'natural' meta-humans, and play a younger character who's never really used his/her powers? If not I'm still interested, but I'd kinda like to be the 'new guy' to the 'old guard'.

Yup, I totally set that for a possible origin story/background. I'll only allow one 'young' character in the group, to provide that sort of contrast, but it is an option.

Expressing interest with a Speedster type of character. Or assassin type.

Sounds good, speedster is always a solid classic archetype.

Offline Angiejuusan

I will have to read up on Fate, and I would like to claim that one 'young'un' slot if no one minds?

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Go ahead and pre-read, but I don't expect anyone to go into this knowing the system - the links are there purely as a reference for the curious. Once we get down to the gritty bits, I will explain what people need to know step-by-step (particularly for FATE, since character creation there has a semi-cooperative aspect).

Offline Kolbrandr

I'd advocate a bit for M&M 3e, if only because the other advantage of M&M is even if you go light on the use of system post char creation, you still with it more than anything else have a strongly fleshed out sense of just what your character is capable of and isn't, especially as compared to FATE, while still having things like stunts and the like to let you blow past it when drama demands. FATE can run into a bit of "well I named this capability X, and it's not doing what I thought it could". M&M is a lot more coherent out of the gate with "X does this". Paradoxically that way, while FATE is a lighter system, I've found it harder for people not primarily familiar with systems to get behind a clear use of (which is just my personal anecdotal experience)

With that said, how powerful do you picture the characters being? That's really what would more clinch a system. And also impact any pitch of my own.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

I'm picturing something around middling power level, like early X-men comics. Stronger than the street-tier characters of Watchmen, but nothing approaching the interplanetary/galactic/cosmic power level of the top-tier heroes.

 The default PL8 if we end up going for M&M3 after all; if we go with FATE, I'll work out the specific mechanics for that.

Offline Kolbrandr

Ah alright, not quite my bag then, I'd have preferred to clock in at east at the pl 10 baseline of capacity.

I will just in a general advice sort of spirit note that is the other thing of FATE, the working out guidelines. It's both less work, yet more work, as you have to sort out what the benchmarks are and what stuff means, especially for supers which is all about the hell your powers can do in a lot of cases and such as they can't and their scope relative to others.

This probably sounds like I'm ragging on FATE generally, I'm really not. Works really great for Dresden for instance, I'm just aware of its shortcomings in particular situations in the face of a tendency for people to advocate FATE as a sort of one stop shop for any possible kind of rp.


Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Is PL10 the 'average' level M*M expects? That was off the cuff while I finished watching Captain America.

EDIT: Okay, PL10 is what I meant. PL8 would be the Watchmen-level power, and I do want to exceed that.

Offline Kolbrandr

10 is default start, yeah. 10 is.. mm.. to go all nerd ramblor, your Teen Titans, your New Warriors, the Outsiders, the Defenders lineups when Strange, Namor and the Silver Surfer are out of town, X-force, X-factor, certain early 90s X-men lineups sans specific people, that sort of scale of things. Various members of those teams would be pl 10, but built on more than 150 points for diversity of what they're capable of (in some cases well more than 150), but 10 otherwise clocks them in for scale of effectiveness.

To briefly go against myself, the main thing against M&M 3e is because of the changes to both skill points being more expensive, and impervious toughness kinda crapping out, some concepts are harder than others to do. Becoming bulletproof is a lot harder than you might think it would be, for instance, and being a skill monkey is painful.

edit: which is to say, you need to bling out your toughness save to 10 and then get impervious 10 to be able to make bullets go sproing off your eyeball without having to roll.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 02:34:22 AM by Kolbrandr »

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Indeed. Plus, and one of the reasons why I'm still somewhat preferential to FATE despite it being a more generic system, is the math involved. PL limits, spending build points, balancing Toughness vs. Defense...it's a lot of number crunching, and certain things (like being bulletproof) are points-intensive and unintuitive. The biggest way to scare off habitual free-formers is the need to crunch numbers.

Using the Toolkit Mod for Superhero FATE, I'd probably just render Bulletproof Skin as a Fate point-powered Super Stunt. It's got its own quirks (your skin is bulletproof sometimes but not always?), but that does help encourage a player with Bulletproof Skin to accept more Compels, or even self-Compel their own aspects to keep their supply of points up.
http://fate-srd.com/fate-system-toolkit/supers

TBH, a big part of this is that I've never really seen FATE in play, and want to give it a solid shot.



EDIT:
Okay, so far we have:
Angie looking at a youthful super of indeterminate powerset (no system preference)
Batman4560 looking to play a speedster (no system preference)
Kolbrandr....interested? still not interested? (M&M preference)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 03:03:05 AM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Kolbrandr

Heh, that's actually why I'm not a huge fan of FATE for supers, though I grant what you're otherwise saying. I mean, it takes more wrangling to get there, but once you're bulletproof in M&M 3e, you're bulletproof. And that's more like the comics, where generally speaking, if you're bulletproof, you just are, and it's a basic thing. Bulletproof but sometimes not, needing the compels and quirks and temp points, it's.. well.. anti thematic. The Thing is never not the Thing, for instance, unless, you know, some kind of depowering ray is involved or what all ever, but that's an edge case at best. Colossus is just a dude in human form certainly, but as Colossus? He's never not Colossus. He's when metal'd all up a reliably eff off strong, eff off durable guy. His crap just works without fault. Bullets should be the least of a supertough brick type dude's concerns. Or someone in decent power armor, so forth. Any number of people's powers are just.. there.

With that said, don't mind me, if your heart is set on giving the FATE system a test drive, you should go for it.

Oh, I'd be interested if M&M pl 10 and the point total was a bit variable, I suppose to say.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 03:13:01 AM by Kolbrandr »

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Yeah, it's hardly flawless. I suppose it could also be reflected as just a really high Physique value - I'll definitely be starting the Skill Pyramid at +5, and possibly giving out a free Stress box in each category to reflect above-human resilience by default. And there's always 'bulletproof' being relative, since players will be up against aliens with alien technology and weaponry.

But you're only interested if we use M&M, then? If a whole lot of people chime in with a preference for M&M, I'll use it instead, but I think I can make FATE work for this.

Offline Kolbrandr

Basically, yeah. Don't take that as a reason to use M&M, no, it doesn't seem like anyone else has a strong preference in that direction.

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I have an idea for a 40 year old mutant gadgeteer.   That for the past 16 years or so been playing the soccer mom.

Madame Crafter

Her mutant abilities is she is literally a living rechargeable battery.  However,  unlike other heroes  she does not exhibit this power with enhanced physical characteristics or energy bolts.    Her other mutant ability is a neurotic  genius level inventor.   Where she makes special gadgets that are powered by herself.    To add flavor, the character dress and gadgets are in the style of steampunk.   

The concept of rechargeable battery is not infinite.   As noted rechargeable,  so pondering idea of either a solar recharging or just plain stick her finger in a socket.     

I know and have MM3, never done FATE.    I will go with what the group wants as my preference.   

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

That's 2 for M&M, 1 ambivalent, and 2 unknowns then.

I have an idea for a 40 year old mutant gadgeteer.   That for the past 16 years or so been playing the soccer mom.

Her mutant abilities is she is literally a living rechargeable battery.  However,  unlike other heroes  she does not exhibit this power with enhanced physical characteristics or energy bolts.    Her other mutant ability is a neurotic  genius level inventor.   Where she makes special gadgets that are powered by herself.    To add flavor, the character dress and gadgets are in the style of steampunk.   

The concept of rechargeable battery is not infinite.   As noted rechargeable,  so pondering idea of either a solar recharging or just plain stick her finger in a socket.     

I know and have MM3, never done FATE.    I will go with what the group wants as my preference.   

So she'd have been born right around the end of the capes era (40 years ago)?

The original idea was for primarily much older characters - 60's and upward, though longevity drugs would keep them physically much younger. My draft concept was 'put down the canes and pick up the capes', but that was also inclusive of a more humor-oriented angle that might not fit here. If people prefer to play characters in their 40's-50's as the upper limit, I can compress the historical timeline somewhat.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 12:03:16 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Elven Sex Goddess

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Yes,  right around that time.    She grew up with stories of the cape crusader days.   When she was a young girl she imagines herself as Madame Crafter.   Alas it never comes to fruition.   The genius level gal goes to college,  meets boy,   falls in love has two kids.    Ten years down the road,  no longer in love.   Divorce,  single mom,  despite abilities stressed out like any single mom would be.   Especially its been like 6 -7 years raising her children who are now teens.    When the event of the aliens happen.   An then a light bulb goes off in her head.   This is her chance to become the heroine Madame Crafter she always visioned in her head.    The world needs its heroes again.    So technically she is a newbie super.    However, she is not the brash young adult.   She a 40 year old woman who has two teenagers.  That put more gray hairs on her.  But thank god for Clairol hair color.   

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

That works, though as mentioned, if the preferential trend is to have everyone naturally in their 40's-50's or so (I'll consider anything less than 40 to be a 'young' character for these purposes), then I'll just compress the time scale - 30 years since the end of the Capes era, and 15 since the last confirmed superhuman birth. Hopefully someone makes an actual retired superhuman, though the concept is flexible enough to work around a lack of actual 'old guard' PCs.

Offline Angiejuusan

That works, though as mentioned, if the preferential trend is to have everyone naturally in their 40's-50's or so (I'll consider anything less than 40 to be a 'young' character for these purposes), then I'll just compress the time scale - 30 years since the end of the Capes era, and 15 since the last confirmed superhuman birth. Hopefully someone makes an actual retired superhuman, though the concept is flexible enough to work around a lack of actual 'old guard' PCs.

Heh, all this talk of old guards reminds me of X-COM, with the motto of the Genetics Division being "Mutare Ad Custodium" (Change to Guard). Either that or "Vigilo Confido" (Watch, I am confident) could work as actual mottos for our group too...

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Were you particularly preferential towards either FATE or the growing trend of M&M?

Offline Angiejuusan

I'll go with whatever the group wants, though I will admit, I have been kinda wanting to play M&M for a while now.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

That's 3 in favor then, 1 ambivalent,and 1 undecided, so I guess M&M is in!  Help is available at need for creation.

PL10, and the standardized 150 build points for initial creation - if your character is over 60 years old and takes a bonus Complication related to your age in some way, you can start with a flat additional 10 build points (total of 160); I think that sounds like a fair boost in exchange for playing to the intended theme of the game. But before anyone starts crunching, I do want to discuss character concepts so that everyone doesn't end up playing the same thing.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 02:24:49 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Angiejuusan

I don't think I've ever done a supers game before, so I don't really know what I should do.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Maybe take a look through the list of Archetypes (pre-generated generic characters), and see if any of them hook your muse?
http://www.d20herosrd.com/character-creation/archetypes