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Hereditary Heroes


JmOz
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So, been working on my second Hall of Champions project.  I made a style decision which has called in question an issue I have kind of been ignoring on my Centurion Earth.  

 

What I plan on doing involves a line of heroes dating back to the last days of the 18th century or the first days of the 19th century (approximately the year 1800).  So anyways, I want to create a time line, but I am not sure how long is genre realistic to have each one "serve".  Some will die, in service others will retire.  

 

So thoughts: what is a reasonable expectation for the career of each?  If curious the character's name is Fox

 

The hero in question is primarily a skilled normal, however they do magically inherent a bit of the skill of each of their predecessors (think combat luck and CSL's)

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    I can offer you two inspirations to choose from. 
   First would be the Slayer line from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Even though the tag line is “In each generation a Slayer is born.” The way it worked it the series was that most Slayers from Pre-Babylon to now only lived two to three years before being killed and the power moving into the next girl. Some only lasted a few months or even days. These girls have no connection to either their predecessors or followers.

  The second is the Wold-Newton family tree. Writer Phillip Jose Farmer took the real world event of a meteor landing in Wold-Newton England in the 17somethings and supposed it landed near the road being traveled by three coaches full of nobles and their servants.  The radiation subtly altered the genes of all to improve the health and intelligence of their descendants. He then created a family tree reaching from then until the 1940’s that included the Scarlett Pimpernel, Tarzan, Doc Savage, both Sherlock Holmes and Prof. Moriarity, Fu Manchu, Sam Spade and many others. 
  Either option magical or genetic gives reason for generational lines of both heroes and villains.

      Good luck on your creations.

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4 minutes ago, Tjack said:

    I can offer you two inspirations to choose from. 
   First would be the Slayer line from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Even though the tag line is “In each generation a Slayer is born.” The way it worked it the series was that most Slayers from Pre-Babylon to now only lived two to three years before being killed and the power moving into the next girl. Some only lasted a few months or even days. These girls have no connection to either their predecessors or followers.

  The second is the Wold-Newton family tree. Writer Phillip Jose Farmer took the real world event of a meteor landing in Wold-Newton England in the 17somethings and supposed it landed near the road being traveled by three coaches full of nobles and their servants.  The radiation subtly altered the genes of all to improve the health and intelligence of their descendants. He then created a family tree reaching from then until the 1940’s that included the Scarlett Pimpernel, Tarzan, Doc Savage, both Sherlock Holmes and Prof. Moriarity, Fu Manchu, Sam Spade and many others. 
  Either option magical or genetic gives reason for generational lines of both heroes and villains.

      Good luck on your creations.

 

The how it is transferred is already known.  I'm looking more at a "How long" each would serve issue.    

10 minutes ago, HeroGM said:

Honestly I'd go with pro athletes and even the military to a degree. 15-20 years fully "active" the body will wear out fast pushing it to the point some if them might.

So working on a spreadsheet... Right now most are just numbers with a few decided by important years of inspiration, tonal shifts, etc... but durations seem to be between 3-17 years with a lot around the 15 year mark...

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7 minutes ago, JmOz said:

 

The how it is transferred is already known.  I'm looking more at a "How long" each would serve issue.    

So working on a spreadsheet... Right now most are just numbers with a few decided by important years of inspiration, tonal shifts, etc... but durations seem to be between 3-17 years with a lot around the 15 year mark...


 

 I’d meant that Slayers last only short periods while the WN family have careers that sometimes last decades or more.

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I think the above covers it pretty well. Do remember that some people even in brutally hard games like hockey (Mark Messier, etc.) play for more than 20 years and you are going to have some heroes who are more detective types or long distance combatants or support who could have careers in the 40-50 year range. On the flip side, there are tragic accidents that take down people in their early years or even the first foray. The line will likely have a few people who sat out the hero game altogether for a variety of reasons. And you might even get a generation or two that the genes skip altogether. Maybe they still went into the family trade, maybe not. 

 

- E

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The choice will have a lot to do with how storied each individual member of the legacy needs to be.

 

The Buffy Slayers only last 2-3 years and go back eons, but very few of them are known to anyone outside a few academics.  Its more of a character template than a legacy as the individual slayers rarely have any interactions with the lives that come before them or even know the name of the person that will succeed them.

The Black Masks from the Champions universe seem to last 20+ years each.  They each seem to have a pretty distinctive style and each one gets a separate writeup when they appear in a book.  (Never just "take the one from book x but ad horsemanship 15-)  At least one was a member of a superteam whose members likely noticed that a Black Mask who was suddenly younger started showing up when their buddy retired.  The legends of the Wild West Black Mask are likely pretty different from the one that is protecting Vibora Bay in the modern era.
 

The Phantom had 21 people wear the mask over 400+ years, so ~10 years each.  They pretended they were all the same guy and minimized any external differences to keep the mythos going.  Individual Phantoms and their accomplishments were only known to their immediate family.

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Perhaps the history of the Black Mask, from the Champions Universe, would be a helpful example. This is a multi-generational line of highly-trained but otherwise normal human heroes stretching back to the American Revolution. I'll attach their roster from Champions Universe p. 178 below. It includes the dates all of them were active. Note that since the publication of CU Black Mask X has probably retired to raise and train her young son, and likely would have been replaced as Black Mask XI by her sidekick Nocturne.

 

Black Masks timeline.jpg

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19 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Note that since the publication of CU Black Mask X has probably retired to raise and train her young son, and likely would have been replaced as Black Mask XI by her sidekick Nocturne.


At this point it would make sense that Black Mask XI (formerly Nocturne) has probably been on the job for 10-15 years and Jennifer Ward's Son is likely well into his training to be Black Mask XII.  He may even be a sidekick to Black Mask XI already.  I've been having a lot of fun with this in my Teen Champions game.

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If someone takes over the mask at age 15, he could in theory adventure for 40 years without pushing into old age.

 

If he wanted to ride it out as far as humanly possible, he could perhaps have a 50 year long career. Allan Quatermain's career in the books lasted from age 18 to 68.

 

It really depends on a lot of factors as others have pointed out.

 

If he's having one or two adventures a year, that's a much different pace than 2 adventures a month.

 

Are the adventures horrific things which would give him PTSD (Call of Cthulhu or war)? Or are they light-hearted romps like Brendan Frasier's Mummy movies? 

 

If he's a martial artist or a boxer, his body is going to take more punishment than a cat burglar would.

 

Does he have powers or his friends have powers which keep him young or which heal him after adventures? 

 

How bloody is the game world? If the players are adventuring in a world where death is easy and staying alive is hard, it makes sense for the heroes of the past to have had short bloody careers rather than living to ripe old ages.

 

 

If I were the one setting up such a character without knowing any more details than those we've been given, I'd shoot for a 30 year career on average for those whose career haven't been cut short. In many ways, retirement is a modern concept and the vast majority of people in the past expected to keep working until physically unable to continue (and "physically unable to continue" used to mean something more debilitating than it does today).

 

I'd also tend toward longer life spans after the US Civil War era since that seems to be when Ignaz Semmelweis promoting surgeons cleaning their hands and instruments and the germ theory of disease in general started to widely catch on as something doctors should do something about rather than just being a curiosity. 

 

I'd also expect if the Fox was an educated man at all that he would keep a journal or diary. And that if he was a hero that he would try to prepare things to make the careers of his successors easier (whether wealth, bases, friends lists, enemies lists, or advice). I wouldn't be shocked if the Fox's son or daughter (at least a couple of times throughout history) sought out and/or became romantically involved with the next Fox. 

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A factor in some if the people brought up is down time between. When I posted mine I was talking STRAIGHT action. Look at the Phantom - Maybe at times they were trained but no reason (or little) for them to be called. A Black Mask could have a five year "run" and do what needs done. After 3 years another crisis calls him out if his/her retirement. 

 

Red Hood, the hero of the north is shot down, it takes his son 10 years to find out dad WAS red Hood and another year or two to train to a level he feels comfortable 

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JmOz, I don't know what you have in mind for how the skills magically transfer from one Fox to the next, but have you considered having it be a fixed amount of time?  Say 15 years, 10 weeks, 6 days, or 5555 days total.  (Or you can use whatever number has some significance to you - I just picked that out of thin air.)  At that point, the skills automatically transfer to the next qualified recipient whether or not the current Fox wants them to go.  He can keep adventuring if he wants, but it's without that magical boost. 

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In Drew Hayes' Super Powereds, the main characters are in a college-level, intense, competitive qualification program to be licensed to use their powers in combat situations.  One of the scenes discusses a hero's career expectancy.  I thought his breakdown was quite good.  As best I can recall:

 

--supers without exceptional regenerative/longevity abilities, but who use their bodies intensely...speedsters, martial artists, supers with touch-delivered powers.  Their bodies suffer the wear and tear and once they start slowing down, they'd better get out of the game before they're taken out.  You'd be looking at maybe 35-40, typically.

 

--as above, but whose powers permit them to generally stay out of the fray...most blasters, mentalists, that sort of thing.  The limiting factors are avoiding being taken out (mentalists rarely have great defenses), or the accumulated stress.  Lasting into their 50s or even 60s is plausible;  in many cases the limiter might be mental acuity.

 

--power sets that include decent self-healing...healers is an obvious example;  Wolverine...that sort.  I've long felt that adequate regen...1 BODY per hour would clearly be enough...plus LS immune to diseases and poisons, is enough to justify Longevity 200 years for free.  And that was his argument...such characters can go until they burn out.  Age is just a number.

 

In the scenario you're outlining, sounds like everyone will be in the first group, but some who are more detective-oriented might fit into the second.

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2 hours ago, BoloOfEarth said:

JmOz, I don't know what you have in mind for how the skills magically transfer from one Fox to the next, but have you considered having it be a fixed amount of time?  Say 15 years, 10 weeks, 6 days, or 5555 days total.  (Or you can use whatever number has some significance to you - I just picked that out of thin air.)  At that point, the skills automatically transfer to the next qualified recipient whether or not the current Fox wants them to go.  He can keep adventuring if he wants, but it's without that magical boost. 

The skills transfer via a IAF or OAF  have not decided the build yet.  The skill bonus is not obvious, but the fact that you want to take the swor din his hand away from him is...

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5 hours ago, archer said:

If someone takes over the mask at age 15, he could in theory adventure for 40 years without pushing into old age.

 

If he wanted to ride it out as far as humanly possible, he could perhaps have a 50 year long career. Allan Quatermain's career in the books lasted from age 18 to 68.

 

It really depends on a lot of factors as others have pointed out.

 

If he's having one or two adventures a year, that's a much different pace than 2 adventures a month.

 

Are the adventures horrific things which would give him PTSD (Call of Cthulhu or war)? Or are they light-hearted romps like Brendan Frasier's Mummy movies? 

 

If he's a martial artist or a boxer, his body is going to take more punishment than a cat burglar would.

 

Does he have powers or his friends have powers which keep him young or which heal him after adventures? 

 

How bloody is the game world? If the players are adventuring in a world where death is easy and staying alive is hard, it makes sense for the heroes of the past to have had short bloody careers rather than living to ripe old ages.

 

 

If I were the one setting up such a character without knowing any more details than those we've been given, I'd shoot for a 30 year career on average for those whose career haven't been cut short. In many ways, retirement is a modern concept and the vast majority of people in the past expected to keep working until physically unable to continue (and "physically unable to continue" used to mean something more debilitating than it does today).

 

I'd also tend toward longer life spans after the US Civil War era since that seems to be when Ignaz Semmelweis promoting surgeons cleaning their hands and instruments and the germ theory of disease in general started to widely catch on as something doctors should do something about rather than just being a curiosity. 

 

I'd also expect if the Fox was an educated man at all that he would keep a journal or diary. And that if he was a hero that he would try to prepare things to make the careers of his successors easier (whether wealth, bases, friends lists, enemies lists, or advice). I wouldn't be shocked if the Fox's son or daughter (at least a couple of times throughout history) sought out and/or became romantically involved with the next Fox. 

 

So many great things to unpack here...

 

First the character is a combination of Zorro, Batman, The Phantom, and Katana.  Primarily a fencer but the more recent one use "Combat Discs" as well

 

However, it is the last paragraph that made me chuckle.  See, in the original post I mentioned that I had made a "style" decision.  It was to change the prose of what I was working on to be notes kept by the Fox.  The project is actually about my universes space cops called the Star Knights.  It will be being written by the current Fox...

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There are two thoughts on Heritage Heroes.

 

1) Characters who share the same heroic identity. They need not be blood related, othoe they could be. Our own Black Mask, the Phantom, and even Batman comes to mind (more like Batman having a 'family' of assistants which would eventually take over his mantle for him, like Terry Mcginnis).

 

2) Characters who are in the same family and have superpowers. Like The Blood, the Silvestan Clan, some other mystical family. 

 

There is room in the Champions Universe for both.

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There was a story in Batman that covered this. It is included in the Batman Treasury a large purple covered collection of many Batman stories from the beginning to the 70s. It had Batman retiring and Robin taking his place with If I Recall Correctly another Batman waiting to come in afterwards. So Batman is known as Batman II etc

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8 minutes ago, death tribble said:

There was a story in Batman that covered this. It is included in the Batman Treasury a large purple covered collection of many Batman stories from the beginning to the 70s. It had Batman retiring and Robin taking his place with If I Recall Correctly another Batman waiting to come in afterwards. So Batman is known as Batman II etc

Was also the basic point of Superman and Batman Generations

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46 minutes ago, steriaca said:

There are two thoughts on Heritage Heroes.

 

1) Characters who share the same heroic identity. They need not be blood related, othoe they could be. Our own Black Mask, the Phantom, and even Batman comes to mind (more like Batman having a 'family' of assistants which would eventually take over his mantle for him, like Terry Mcginnis).

 

2) Characters who are in the same family and have superpowers. Like The Blood, the Silvestan Clan, some other mystical family. 

 

There is room in the Champions Universe for both.

This is closer to the first, with a lot of adoption involved...

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Is it desirable to give a timeline specifying everyone who took the role of the Fox? Make it easy for GMs to interpolate their own in case, I don't know, an adventure they have in mind requires that a Fox have died while investigating the terrifying secret events behind the Boer War or the first public showing of Thomas Edison's kinetoscope -- a menace that now menaces the world once more!

 

It's tricky. You want to give GMs enough detail they can use as-is, without blocking them from making more of their own.

 

Dean Shomshak

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38 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

Is it desirable to give a timeline specifying everyone who took the role of the Fox? Make it easy for GMs to interpolate their own in case, I don't know, an adventure they have in mind requires that a Fox have died while investigating the terrifying secret events behind the Boer War or the first public showing of Thomas Edison's kinetoscope -- a menace that now menaces the world once more!

 

It's tricky. You want to give GMs enough detail they can use as-is, without blocking them from making more of their own.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

The timeline is really being used only to give references to which Fox is talking in the notes left behind...

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