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What adventuring is there for the Ravenswood students?


AlgaeNymph
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Perhaps my inquiry is based on faulty assumptions but read me out.  If Orchardsville is in any way based on real-world Orchard Lake (which is about the right direction and distance from Detroit) then, unless you count the chain stores along the main street, there’s bugger-all to do unless villains hide bases there rather than any other bedroom community.

 

“But the action’s in Millennium City” you say.  True, it’s a relatively short (~16 mi/~25.7 km, if the distances are about the same) drive, but can your turbo teen get to the scene of the crime fast enough?  And what’s the range of your teen teleporter?  To say nothing of weekdays and curfew.  Or is it assumed the happenings’ll be in the city where our hero(one)s’ll just happen to be?  Seems contrived even for comics.

 

Or, again, am I missing something?

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The closest comic-book parallel I can think of is the New Mutants, from Marvel. And no, their adventures did not involve responding to bank robberies or the like. A lot of times, the action came to them: Living in the X-Mansion, they were targets for all the X-Men's enemies.  (The Hellfire Club even had its own junior auxiliary, the Hellions, going to its own private school nearby.) Several characters had extensive baggage from their prior lives that came looking for them, or that they had to leave the school to deal with and the whole class came along.

 

Though it helped that this was late '80s/early '90s Marvel plotting, where no story could be completed in less than 4 issues, so in a year of comics there weren't actually that many stories. Especially given the teen angst for padding. Even still, you are quite right: Many of the situations were contrived, to put it mildly.

 

I presume a Ravenswood Academy campaign would operate similarly.

 

Dean Shomshak

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I've been running a Ravenswood game for several years now.  

 

The way I've been dealing with it is by:

- Getting the kids off campus (Dates, Movies, visiting parks, Music Shows)

- Having adventures come to them (hunteds who know where they live, ex-students with an axe to grind, shennanigans in the science labs & library)

- School Events (Rival Schools, Secret ID drama at the Spring Formal, Field Trips)

- Family (One PC's father is hunted by Viper, another is the son of a Supervillain, several NPCs are the children of Heros)

 

I've found that you have to get out of the "Mayor calls the PCs on the Red Batphone" type of adventures with teenagers.  I lean into the drama of highschool.  Not only do you want to get the right date for Prom, but she is being wooed by a "nontraditional" student from Von Drotte Academy (aka a mutant from Viper's school for budding supervillains).
We have a whole ongoing plot about the future version of one PC's first girlfriend who keeps attacking the PCs to prevent them from doing all the evil she says they do in the future.
 

Also: One PC paid points for a fake ID that lets them use Rideshare services to get around town.  It won't help them get to a superfight, but it lets them get to interesting locations.

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One of the better Ravenswood games I know about did the school within a school thing. 

 

Ravenswood is a elite Academy for Cities/Regions best, brightest and wealthiest students....... who know nothing about the supers among them.  

The super-powered also attend the academy and have "special" classes.

 

Yep teen aged heroes having to maintain secret identities while in training......

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Spence said:

Ravenswood is a elite Academy for Cities/Regions best, brightest and wealthiest students....... who know nothing about the supers among them.  

The super-powered also attend the academy and have "special" classes.

 

Yep teen aged heroes having to maintain secret identities while in training......

 

I'm pretty much running this exact thing in my game.  The PCs all got Secret ID for no points, it's a campaign limit and they are graded on how well they keep the secret.  (Headmistress Timmons has knowledge of the future and heads off serious infractions)

Their classmates are the children of the rich, famous, and powerful.. and the PCs have to keep their stuff on the DL.  It is a great source of adventures.  

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10 minutes ago, Jhamin said:

 

I'm pretty much running this exact thing in my game.  The PCs all got Secret ID for no points, it's a campaign limit and they are graded on how well they keep the secret.  (Headmistress Timmons has knowledge of the future and heads off serious infractions)

Their classmates are the children of the rich, famous, and powerful.. and the PCs have to keep their stuff on the DL.  It is a great source of adventures.  

 

Sounds cool.  I myself couldn't run it I think. 

I am a old cranky bachelor and lack the insight needed to create the right feel in that setting.  

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Incidentally: I never ran a Ravenswood campaign, but I sorta did Teen Supers with my "Scion High" campaign. White Wolf's Scion game uses the premise that gods of myth still have semi-mortal by-blows who are destined for lives of adventure. Influence of the "Percy Jackston" stories should be obvious. Though I hadn't read those stories at the time, I sort of went back to the source by having teenage children of the gods attending a modern American high school. They were asked to keep the Mythic World secret, as their divine parents preferred. Various troubles came looking for them. They had rivalries with the Titanspawn students at Crosstown High. Romantic troubles. Afterschool jobs. The challenge was to try interweaving the mortal and divine: the giant talking wolf crashes the Homecoming Dance to deliver its ultimatum, the plain girl who became a hottie over the summer doesn't know she was turned into a monster (but might be cured), etc. It was probably the hardest campaign I ever ran -- for the high school parts, not the mythic parts, or even for wrestling with the typically clunky WW game mechanics. But it turned out really well.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Aside from the usual school days and teenage angst stuff, there's always backgrounds from the students (complications, parents, hunted, etc) people trying to hunt their kind (Genocide), local crime involving favored hangouts or family, and then just read any of the 919210239 kabillion manga stories about high schools for ideas.

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6 hours ago, Mr. R said:

Another source of material is PS 238.  It also is a school for supers but at the grades 1 to 3.  So it might be a bit young, but you can still mine it for ideas.

 

 

Link

 

https://ps238.nodwick.com/

 

There is an actual Hero games for this

 

 

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23 hours ago, DShomshak said:

The closest comic-book parallel I can think of is the New Mutants, from Marvel. And no, their adventures did not involve responding to bank robberies or the like. A lot of times, the action came to them: Living in the X-Mansion, they were targets for all the X-Men's enemies.  (The Hellfire Club even had its own junior auxiliary, the Hellions, going to its own private school nearby.) Several characters had extensive baggage from their prior lives that came looking for them, or that they had to leave the school to deal with and the whole class came along.

 

Though it helped that this was late '80s/early '90s Marvel plotting, where no story could be completed in less than 4 issues, so in a year of comics there weren't actually that many stories. Especially given the teen angst for padding. Even still, you are quite right: Many of the situations were contrived, to put it mildly.

 

I presume a Ravenswood Academy campaign would operate similarly.

 

Dean Shomshak

About issue 4-5 (I think) they had a storyline where they went to the mall, met some normal kids and was then attacked by Sentinel's. Another was (16-17(?)) was them attending a Gala/Ball at the Hellfire Club and getting into it with their opposites (Emma Frost's The Hellions).

24 minutes ago, Spence said:

 

There is an actual Hero games for this

 

 

The stories it's based on is also FREE online @ https://ps238.nodwick.com/

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Oh, hey, there's even a DC-TVU series on this premise: Stargirl. Inheritors of the legacy of the Justice Society of America vs. its old enemies of the Injustice Society, who have settled down in Blue Valley, Nebraska. Thing is, the villains have kids too -- most of whom don't know about their legacy.

 

Dean Shomshak

6 hours ago, HeroGM said:

Another was (16-17(?)) was them attending a Gala/Ball at the Hellfire Club and getting into it with their opposites (Emma Frost's The Hellions).

 

I *think* that was an annual. But I wouldn't swear to it.

 

Dean Shomshak

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On 9/20/2021 at 5:42 PM, DShomshak said:

A lot of times, the action came to them: Living in the X-Mansion, they were targets for all the X-Men's enemies.

Visiting jerks might be a thing. Though since the super sub-school's secret they wouldn't have reason to visit unless they had beef with Rowan, or one of the staff, or one of the students, or just wanted to get at some rich jerk through a student, or actually had a personal issue with a non-trad classmate's secret ID.

 

But other than that no reason to visit the school at all.

 

On 9/20/2021 at 6:11 PM, Jhamin said:

Headmistress Timmons has knowledge of the future and heads off serious infractions.

Oo!  Someone remembers Ms. Crone!  🤩
 

Obviously one of my favorites; I like smart kids who have it all together.  🙃

 

13 hours ago, DShomshak said:

It was probably the hardest campaign I ever ran -- for the high school parts

How do you mean?

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9 hours ago, AlgaeNymph said:

How do you mean?

 

The high school parts were challenging in part because my own high school experience was trying to avoid any contact with my classmates, as this was rarely pleasant. Not a milieu for which I have a natural feel. I solved this in part by taking a cue from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer game and saying that the campaign was emulating a TV series, a la Buffy, Vampire Diaries, etc. So I only had to get in the head of TV versions of teens instead of actual teens.

 

It was still challenging to give each PC their own ongoing subplot, and to tie everything back to high school activities.Like, dating across rival cliques? Jaeda Magdalena, bad girl scion of the Aztec goddess Tlazolteotl, gets involved with Gary/Geirrod Vetterson, football hero and frost giant from Crosstown High. Fortunate;ly, I have good players who were willing to carry some of the load.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Our current teen hero game features a school within a school, with two rival schools, each with metahumans mixed into the student bodies, a team of trainee level villains sponsored by a master villain, multiple sets of Viper operatives, independant villain teams and personal rivals, hunteds and family business, so there's no shortage of angles to pursue. (granted, we're not using Ravenswood Academy) The setting is in New York City, so the population density of metahumans makes perfect sense. A setting out in the sticks, relatively speaking, puts some limitations on the GM, but limitations make for better art IMO.

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Personally, I'd just move the academy closer to the city. Or perhaps on the other side of a body of water.

 

The Great and Powerful Turtle would do his hero work primarily in NYC then head out over the water, usually at night, and people would lose sight of him. The public never figured out that he was based in Bayonne, NJ and neither did any of his fellow heroes until he chose to share the secret with someone after his first couple of decades adventuring.

 

Among other things, it saved him from the stigma of being from New Jersey.

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19 hours ago, AlgaeNymph said:

Oo!  Someone remembers Ms. Crone!  🤩
 

Obviously one of my favorites; I like smart kids who have it all together.  🙃

 

I figure if you are going to play Champions half the fun is setting it in the Champions Universe!

This is a sort of "Sequel" game to an old Champions Campaign that ran for over 25 years.  All my current players played in that game and actually interacted with the "by the book" version of Ravenswood so in this game I advanced the Timeline for the new characters to keep it contemporary. 


Ms. Crone's 5E writeup mentioned that she knew she would be Headmistress and I knew there was going to be a lot of time shennanigans in my PC's future so why not stick to the Canon & reap the rewards?   (everyone keeps going on about to teenagers about how they are choosing their future, so I'm having several different futures show up with opinions.  I like that Headmistress Timmons has insight into what will be but comes by it differently than "conventional" time travelers.  It makes her a great Mentor figure in that she can help but can't solve the problems directly.)


As the old PCs had met the students statted out in Teen Champions and they have now graduated I also had to repopulate the school with "nontraditional" students of my own making.  But that is half the fun!

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On 9/22/2021 at 1:52 AM, DShomshak said:

Oh, hey, there's even a DC-TVU series on this premise: Stargirl. Inheritors of the legacy of the Justice Society of America vs. its old enemies of the Injustice Society, who have settled down in Blue Valley, Nebraska. Thing is, the villains have kids too -- most of whom don't know about their legacy.

 

Dean Shomshak

I *think* that was an annual. But I wouldn't swear to it.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

Shiv first appeared in the Stars & STRIPES mini-series and it's been awhile since I've checked out JSA, they did a LOT with JSA next generation.  While more young adults than teens go look at Infinity Inc, pre-CoIE. Young Justice is also a nice book, or at least the first series with Peter David and Todd Nauck. Naucks artwork really fit the teen tone at the time.

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Quote

Thing is, the villains have kids too -- most of whom don't know about their legacy.

 

Bastard kid of a supervillain is a terrific origin for a teen school.  Daddy might come looking for their kid one day.  Plus, is mom telling stories about that one night that BludSlash picked her up in the bar?  Kids will tease you about that kind of thing.

 

Another thought: one of the good scenes from Spider-Man Homecoming was when Peter dated the daughter of the Vulture and that scene in the car where daddy warns him.  Great drama there, for kids: nobody wants to date Holly because her daddy is The Dean of Death and she's miserable.

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