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Strike Force Designer Diary Three: Michael Surbrook and the Multiverse!


Jason S.Walters

In my previous Designer Diary I spoke about the sheer size of the files I had been tasked to sort and read through. Now I want to talk about the sheer size of Aaron’s universe—and it was a full universe.

 

Initially, when Aaron started running, there was just Earth. But that quickly changed, as Phosphene, Denis Loubet’s PC, was descended from travelers from another dimension. Aaron also had two PCs who were aliens, which meant he needed to start detailing what outer space was like. And as the campaign continued, the size and scope of the universe expanded. It soon came to resemble (in my opinion) the DC Comics universe, with multiple alternate Earths.

 

The major alternate Earth would be Earth-Kaiser, a place where World War II continued roughly 60 years after it had started. The members of Strike Force managed to put an end to the war, breaking Germany’s hold on Europe and ending the tyranny of the Japanese empire. They ended up visiting Earth-Kaiser multiple times, exchanging technology, knowledge, and even romantic interludes.

 

Another major world was Ean, home of the Blood, Phosphene’s people. Strike Force spent some time there and ended up helping break the hold Azor, the patriarch of the Blood, had on the world and its people.

 

There was also NiceWorld, ruled by a cabal of witches and Prey World, which had no superhumans at all.

 

Aside from the various parallel worlds, Aaron also created a fairly comprehensive map of outer space. Since he initially never intended to publish Strike Force, he populated with an an assortment of well-known alien races. There were numerous off-shoots of humanity: Deviants, Inhumans, Titans, the New Gods, the Kree, the Kryptonians (an off-shoot of the Kree), the people of Paradise Island, and the Tamaraneans (among others). There were also Cylons, Dire Wraiths, Shi’ar, the Brood, and so on.

 

As you may guess from the previous paragraph, Aaron liberally borrowed from published sources. He freely used ideas from DC and Marvel Comics, as well as other publications (I came across a reference to Doc Savage and Buckaroo Banzai, for example). In fact, his rationale for creation of the various off-shoots of humanity was to use the Celestials from the Marvel Universe. He also placed the Avengers and the Defenders in his campaign (along with a number of other well-known superhero teams), as well as Doctors Fate and Strange. In fact, Aaron’s version of the Avengers might be one of the most powerful super teams ever created, with a membership at one point that consisted of Captain America, Blue Beetle, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Starfire, the Thing, Tigra, the Wasp, Wonder Man, and Wonder Woman. Curiously, this team never really over-shadowed the members of Strike Force, and once Strike Force reached a certain size (and level of power), disbanded, letting the PCs become the premier super team of Aaron’s Earth.

 

-Michael Surbrook



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