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Doctor Zen

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About Doctor Zen

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  1. Book recommendation

    I found "Soon I Will Be Invincible" by Austin Grossman to be enjoyable. It is from the villain's point of view and you get to see the plotting of world conquest from the other side of the street. "The Avengers and the Thunderbolts" by Pierce Askegren. This was not an adaptation of published comics, but an actual story featuring both teams. I was a big fan of both groups and enjoyed this one. "X-Men and Avengers: Gamma Quest" by Greg Cox.was a decent story, but too me continues the unfortunate X-Men and Avengers fight each other and then the main foe and the Avengers decide that "Mutants are A-okay!" It happens a few times in the comics, which seemed to indicate that each time the two groups met, something erased the Avengers memories and they had to learn to accept the X-Men all over again each time. Strange for a group that had at least 3 mutants on its roster. Superman: Last Son of Krypton" by Elliot S! Maggin which came out about the time of the first Christopher Reeve movie. It was another origin story for Kal-El but had a interesting idea of the ship searching out the best person on Earth to raise young Kal and it could be a certain physicist teaching at Princeton in the 1940s and 50s.
  2. Book recommendation

    I liked the Wild Cards books #1-7, 10-12. But as time went on, it just became more and more depressing. There were no real "heroes" and it seemed to embody everything I did not enjoy about the Dark Age of comics.
  3. Looking for an Online Group

    The same reason people are criminals today who have skills that could get them money in corporate America. They are anti-social people who would rather obtain the "good life" the "easy" way than working their entire lives. Why should Electro be any different from the guys running the Mafia? Some of those guys could do well as CEOs, but they don't. Electro could work of the power company, but why? He could rob some banks and retire (or so he thinks) instead of being the freak who happens to be a living electricity generator. If there were super powered people in the world, some would wok for corporations for money, some would work for the government (either due to patriotism or being forced to do so), but hopefully most would want to stay independent and do the things that the others can't because the corporations and the government won't let them. As for masks. I did not say it was only for "genre convention", but it was part of it. Unless you want to be a public hero (Fantastic Four), then a mask helps keep your personal life personal. I would rather be part of an engaging story about my secret ID as defense lawyer John Jones who is defending Mr. Shadow being in jeopardy while I try to find the evidence that my client is really innocent, than a story about having to protect my identity from the police who want to arrest me because the League of Assassins which really runs the police wants me to destroy Mega City because they think it is too corrupt. I think that engaging stories can be told in the comics genre when you embrace the conventions (Astro City is the best example).
  4. Looking for an Online Group

    “For a story about an individual superhuman, in a setting where superhumans aren't common, a personal reason to wear a mask is good enough. But for a setting with many superhumans, it beggars belief that they will all independently have 'personal reasons' for wearing a mask.” It depends on how realistic you want the game world/comic world to be. Self-preservation from villains, media and the government seems to be enough of a personal reason to have a mask. Also, sometimes a hero just needs time to not be a hero and relax. How can you relax if every time you step out side of the house dozens of people are “There's Captain Justice walking his baby! Let's get his autograph!” “Unless the villains are generally so powerful (and vile) that any hero needs to fear for their family. Just like, say, Mexican anti-drug police tend to wear masks.” Half of Batman's Rogues Gallery would love to kill Bruce Wayne if they knew he was Batman. Flash's gallery mostly would not as they tended not be to killers. If you want realism in your game, then once a villain knew who Captain Justice is in real life, they would make his and his NPCs lives a living hell even without killing him or them. “But hey, that's a setting where the government doesn't have a monopoly of force, and the villains are so powerful and vile that you don't want to be identified while heroing. And the police themselves tend to be so corrupt that any person who would want to get some real heroing done wouldn't join up with them. So we see that the drug war in Mexico is actually a pretty good super-hero setting.” For a Dark Champions game, yes. For a Four Color game no. Drugs are a problem the heroics are not going to solve. “In addition, in a setting with many superhumans, it makes sense that a significant portion of them would be enticed to work for those who already have power and money, because who doesn't like power and money? So really, we'd expect most superhumans to work for the government, big corporations, or rich individuals.” For heroes who are not altruistic in why they are being a hero, that may be the case. But that is not a game world that I want to play in. All those groups have agendas that usually do not allow the people working for them to do what is right. It uses their resources to do what is right for them to continue in power or to make money. You may want to be Corporate Hero Guy, defender of name brands and protector of market share; or Government Guy, breaking up the protesters because they are from another party, or being sent into Kerplakistan to overthrow the freely elected leader because he's a socialist. But that is not part of the genre that Champions tries to represent. “So we see that modern day Mexico is actually a pretty good setting for superheroes. But nobody wants to play that game because, 'We'll skin your family alive if you don't work for us.' is not something people want in the game. So the nebulous conspiracy groups preform the same narrative function, they just aren't as vile about it.” I do not see how one or the other is any different. In the scenario you presented the nebulous background groups control everything and force people with powers to work for them. Just by the odds there would be some who would not do so unless you threatened them with death of their loved ones. Your narrative background would be good in other games, but for a Champions game it is not in the genre that is trying to be represented. Dark Champions, Pulp, Shadowrun, some Fantasy, Science Fiction all could use this background. In the end, I think we just have different ideas as to what kind of game we think superheroes should run around in. That is great, because it shows the flexibility of role-playing games in general and Hero in particular. You can play what you want with like-minded players. It just seems that you and I and not like-minded.
  5. Looking for an Online Group

    Now, if one of the corrupted versions of the AI is the thing behind the scenes that was responsible for the proposed release of all the villains on the moon, that would be have been interesting. I just kept wondering how would the majority of the villains get to Earth? Villains are usually not the most cooperative of people (how else would the forces of good triumph?) and those that could travel through space to terra firma would leave the rest behind.
  6. Looking for an Online Group

    Not really sure where this came from in reference to my statements. The original posting I was responding to stated: "So my setting proposal says that the government monopoly of force never really existed. There were always the Brotherhood of Assassins, the students of the Eight Immortals, the Makhzen, or whoever influencing how things went. So superhumans aren't police (or whatever) because the groups who mostly actually run things find it generally much more useful for their superhumans to be much more operationally flexible. And if some superhuman did try to join the police (or whatever) then they'd most likely find themselves recruited by an actual conspiracy or killed off as a threat." There is no mention of AI (unless Makhzen is one, never heard of it) but of ancient groups running things behind the scenes which is manipulating which supers are allowed to operate and which are not and handcuffing this law enforcement agencies in their ability to respond to threats to civilians. If this was a Pulp game, an X-Files/Kolchak type of game, this would be fine. Knid of like The Nine in the Wold-Newton universe. As for your escaped AI, sounds good as an idea, but it does not seem to be what Crusher Bob was referring to in his post.
  7. Looking for an Online Group

    I did not mention the "aliens" because I was asking if aliens were going to be a recognized entity in the world, or if there were no aliens and none were wanted in the game. If aliens are in the universe, have they openly visited Earth? Have there been any alien invasion attempts? Are they peaceful or warlike? Are we negotiating with them? I was trying to get an idea of the current situation. In the universe I am working on in my spare time, I have five different alien races, three of which are hostile, one is paternal and protective of lesser civilizations but aloof from them and one which is so far above lesser civilizations as we are to the slug. But I could see a universe where there are no aliens (maybe Galactus ate them all!) As for your Loss of the monopoly of force, you seem to be describing a situation where one of more "secret societies" actually rule everything and governments are merely scams that are used to keep the chattel slave citizens quiet. That is a cynical outlook beyond what I am looking for in my superhero gaming. I do not know much of the Champions Universe, never having played in it before. So, I do not know what the "current" state of masked men in society and their relations with law enforcement agencies. Why not work for the police/F.B.I./Homeland security/State-run Security groups? Because they have their own agendas and limitations that might not coincide with what is right. We do what we do because these agencies cannot or will not. Why wear a mask? Because it is a trope of the genre for the most part and one I enjoy. In the current real world a costumed adventurer would be tracked down quickly and exposed/arrested/"recruited" for government work. Where's the fun in that?
  8. Would Frankenstein's Monster be considered undead?

    There is also the case of two of DC's Robotman characters, Dr, Robert Crane (1940s) and Cliff Steele (1960s). Robotman had a trial to prove his "humanity" in Star Spangled Comics (v1) #15 and later expanded in All-Star Squadron (v1) #17. Did Cliff Steele of Doom Patrol fame ever have to prove his "humanity"?
  9. Looking for an Online Group

    I am not interested in playing a reformed or reforming villain, even though I enjoy those story lines in comics. I would not mind having to clean-up the breakout, but I do not wish to be part of the breakout. Ken
  10. Looking for an Online Group

    I am available Tuesday and Friday evenings (after 5 PM Eastern). For a character concept, I would need to know if there have been any recent alien visitations to Earth which led to a conflict that possibly injured or killed at least one of the aliens. If no aliens are known to exist, then I need permission to create an Evil Corporation that would be my hunted.
  11. Looking for an Online Group

    I would like to play, but it appears that the target day is shaping up to be Saturday, one of the days that II am usually not available. Hope you all enjoy yourselves!
  12. What is a "campaign"?

    Long story lines in comics, such as the first Dark Phoenix saga and the original Captain Marvel/Thanos story seem more like arcs in a campaign, but not a campaign itself. I guess what I am really looking for is if any GM has gathered his players together and said that the main story of the game would be the heroes need to take down the forces of DEMON (or some other organization) or, maybe, there is a mysterious figure behind several things that are happening in the world and you are gong to stop it. Not every story would need to be connected to that but there would be a definite stopping point and the game would end. In fantasy, the quest is an obvious campaign trope, find the ring/sword/human avatar that will stop the Dark Lord from ruling the fair lands of Smiling Face peoples. This query came up from something I saw in the Golden Age Champions thread when someone mentioned that there were no campaigns presented in the released product. It got me to wondering if anyone actually used a campaign theme or if they followed the usual comic book style of combating menaces no one else can defeat and then stopping the next menace when it rears its costumed head.
  13. What is a "campaign"?

    In most fantasy games in my experience a campaign usually for the characters last for several real years of playing time. In the few Champions games I have have the pleasure of playing in, there is always a "Campaign City" but no long plot thread to send the players on. Does the superhero genre not lend itself to this kind of playing style due to the source material, of have I just missed out? Has anyone ever put their players through a long, drawn-out story line that could encompass a hero going from just starting out to being one of the premiere heroes in the country? The only "campaigns" I can think of in comics were for solo characters. I do not count "Watchmen" as a campaign as it had a single story to tell. The examples I see are: Cerebus: 300 issues telling the life story of one obnoxious aardvark. (Fun at first, but eventually lost in the bitterness of the writer) Starman: James Robinson's examination of the life of Jack Knight. Miracleman: While the story lost me at some point when I could no longer identify with the character, I think that Moore had a beginning-middle-end idea for this character. Now, I am not including Japanese comics which probably have a large number of these types of books (Lone Wolf and Cub, for example) because I have not read a lot of those. And probably the British and European comics have examples, but I have been exposed to only a few of these books. Can teams of supers go through a campaign?
  14. Little known movies you recommend.

    The Dish is a fantastic movie. I watched it twice the first week I saw it. Made me wish I was an Aussie-American.
  15. Little known movies you recommend.

    I am a James Garner fan. Last year I found a real gem. It was a made-for-TV movie (probably for the Hallmark Channel). It is called "Decoration Day". He plays a recluse who is asked to look into why a WWII soldier does not want to receive the Medal of Honor. It reminded me of a series of Walter Matthau movies "The Incident", "Against Her Will: An Incident In Baltimore", and "An Incident in a Small Town". He plays a small town lawyer who confronts the changing society in post WWII America. Also starring the always wonderful Harry Morgan.
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