Jump to content

Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 98
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

Having set up a character recently who has neither Secret nor Public Identity as a Disadvantage' date=' can we talk about what, specifically, my advantages are over those people who did pick one or the other?[/quote']

 

The advantage over Secret Identity is obvious. No need to change into costume in a crisis, no getting bugged by your family or your girlfriend about your mysterious disappearances, and no villain discovering your secret identity which always leads to them taking advantage of your exposure to blow up your house.

 

The advantage over Public ID is less obvious. It basically boils down to not being constantly stalked by autograph hounds and paparazzi.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

On the down side, the GM is likely going to give you an effective 'secret' or 'public' ID in game play at some point anyway, and you won't get the points.

 

Since you don't have a secret ID, it can be assumed that you take no special precautions to separate your 'heroic' and 'normal' identites, meaning that it won't take the villians long to figure out who you (and your DNPC's) are. :help: Or a reporter might just do it instead, and announce your identity to the world. :rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

I would say that the state of having neither a Secret Identity nor a Public Identity is called "Unknown" -- nobody knows you, yet. This is the state of the vast majority of the "normal" populace.

 

As soon as you do something noteworthy, causing others to care who you are, you will have one or the other -- and you may not get to choose which.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

Another downside to Public ID is the vulnerability of family and Friends. Unless you're an alien, an orphan raised by wolves, or a robot, you probably have family somewhere and, close or not, villains like VIPER will harass them if you piss them off. Have a girlfriend? She's fair game too. Your DNPCs are that much more vulnerable. Also be prepared for the bi-weekly house/apartment bomb or vengeful villains showing up on your doorstep at 3 AM.

 

To have neither a public nor a secret ID is to be a person who either has no ID apart from his super ID (see examples above) or whose normal ID is so unimpressive that if his real name were to be revealed no one would care.

 

Dr. Destructo: "Ha-ha!! At last to reveal the identity of my arch nemesis, Punch-Man." "ummm....who the hell are you?"

 

Punch-Man: "Gary Garison, lawn-care consultant."

 

Dr. Destructo: " You gotta be $%-'n me."

 

A player of mine once tried to get points for public ID and then said he was an only child and his parents and grandparents were dead, he had no lasting friendships, lived in an trailer outside the city (illegally parked), and worked as a homeoffice internet salesman (obviously trying to completely invalidate the "public" downsides). While he was away on his first adventure, his mobile home was stolen by his hunted, filled with bombs and detonated on the steps of the City Building. The charred license plates led the police back to him.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

Dr. Destructo: "Ha-ha!! At last to reveal the identity of my arch nemesis, Punch-Man." "ummm....who the hell are you?"

 

Punch-Man: "Gary Garison, lawn-care consultant."

 

Dr. Destructo: " You gotta be $%-'n me."

 

There was an issue of Captain America once where Cap was defeated and rendered unconscious. The bad guys took off his mask.

 

Bad Guy: "Huh. He's just some guy. I thought he'd be somebody famous."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

There was an issue of Captain America once where Cap was defeated and rendered unconscious. The bad guys took off his mask.

 

Bad Guy: "Huh. He's just some guy. I thought he'd be somebody famous."

 

There was also an episode of JLU where Lex Luthor and the Flash switch bodies. Lex says "well at least I can find out whose behind this Mask". pulls it off. Short puase. "I have no idea who this is."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

On the down side, the GM is likely going to give you an effective 'secret' or 'public' ID in game play at some point anyway, and you won't get the points.

 

Since you don't have a secret ID, it can be assumed that you take no special precautions to separate your 'heroic' and 'normal' identites, meaning that it won't take the villians long to figure out who you (and your DNPC's) are. :help: Or a reporter might just do it instead, and announce your identity to the world. :rolleyes:

 

IMO, what you're describing here is EXACTLY the most common pitfall that GM's can fall into when faced with a character with no ID related Social Disadvantages.

 

The Character gets no Disad points for it. Therefore, it shouldn't disadvantage the Character, so it follows that hammering the No "*" ID character for not having a "*" ID isn't fair.

Gamemasters who can't control their compulsion to frack with characters because they don't maintain a Secret ID should require an ID related disad in their campaign ground rules.

 

But not taking the Disad should never be worse that taking the Disad

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

Public ID and Secret ID are Disadvantages.

To me that means that you are getting

additional character points

in exchange for

whatever problems that decision may cause your character.

 

If you do not choose either of those Disadvantages, then you should not be, to any great degree, caused to suffer because of your Identity.

 

I see it sort of like a power. If I buy an Energy Blast with the Limitation "Charges" then there should be a number of occasions during the campaign when I run out, or have to conserve them, or can't recharge them, etc.

I got extra points, dice of damage, whatever, in exchange for putting up with the problems.

A character that just has "Energy Blast" with no Limitations, should not run into those kind of problems on any sort of regular basis. And I would think a GM was being unfair if they imposed those sorts of Limitations.

 

By the same token, I don't think a character without Secret or Public ID should be given "Public ID" (and all the problems that go with it) by default, as soon as the campaign starts.

I think the character should be able to have a "secret ID" that they do not get any points for, and also is not the source of any real problems.

They should not have nosy reporters following them around all the time, or their significant other constantly asking inconvenient questions, or any of the other problems which are common for characters who got the extra points for taking the Secret ID Disadvantage.

 

I think this concept is reflected in the comics. Some characters have people who are constantly trying to find out who they really are, others do not. The only time the issue comes up is as part of some story arc like Identity Crisis where some Villain is specifically going after the loved ones of Superheroes.

It a case like that, I can see the character being part of that plot, but otherwise I do not think they should have to deal with those sorts of problems.

 

I realize that in-game actions can change things.

If a character goes to a Viper Nest, blows it up, hacks into the Serpentine Network, posts all their future plans to the Champions Team message board, and then proceeds to leave their Driver's License at the scene, they can expect a visit to their home in the near future.

 

But as long as a character is reasonably discreet, and takes neither Secret nor Public ID Disadvantages, I just see them as having a "secret ID" without most of the problems that other characters receive in exchange for the extra points.

 

KA.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

I would say that a non-Secret, non-Public identity would best suit a superhero who everyone assumes doesn't have a secret identity. Superman, for example. I wouldn't give him Disad points for his Clark Kent identity because everyone on Earth takes it for granted that Superman is aways Superman. If nobody is actively trying to figure out your secret, it's not really a disadvantage.

 

Having your friends/relatives in danger isn't a side effect of having a Secret/Public identity, it's a side effect of being a superhero.

 

~Gabriel

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

Having a Public ID means your hero is well-known. People know his favorite foods. What his favorite color is. They also have an idea what his weaknesses are. Who he dates. If he's married. Where he works. (If he has an actual job.)

 

Secret ID means your hero takes great pains to have people NOT find out all this great stuff. Which means when the sh*t hits the fan, he can't just tear his clothes off/transform/go leaping into the sky, without seriously risking being found out.

 

If your hero takes the middle road, it means that he is probably an up-and-comer, or someone who just does things in his own quiet way. He doesn't take any special measures to conceal what he does, but he doesn't flaunt it, either. However, if your hero plans on fighting crime, sooner or later he's going to start ticking people off. These people are going to want to know who this guy is. And they're going to start looking for him. Without taking any special precautions, sooner or later they're going to find him and express their displeasure.

 

So, you can either take the points right off the bat for either sort of ID, or you can let things evolve and end up having to decide how to deal with people knowing who your hero is, along with where he lives, works, plays and who is important in his life. Most gm's are willing to work with players to shift disad points around as the character becomes more defined. Maybe he had a phobia about snakes, but now realizes that there's no snake in existence who can pierce his armored hide. At the same time he realizes he needs to do something about those pesky ninja leaping out of the fridge when he's trying to sneak a little snack at 3 a.m. So the gm decides to allow the player to shift points around to get a nice Secret ID along with some way to assume a new identity. Or he ends up with a Public ID and STILL has to deal with the ninja infestation problem.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

A player of mine once tried to get points for public ID and then said he was an only child and his parents and grandparents were dead' date=' he had no lasting friendships, lived in an trailer outside the city (illegally parked), and worked as a homeoffice internet salesman (obviously trying to completely invalidate the "public" downsides). While he was away on his first adventure, his mobile home was stolen by his hunted, filled with bombs and detonated on the steps of the City Building. The charred license plates led the police back to him.[/quote']:rofl:

 

Repped.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

Lack of either identity-related Social Limitation usually means that you identity' date=' widely known or not, is a non-issue to most people.[/quote']

 

Yep.

 

Either no one knows who are you and almost nobody cares or everyone's seen your true ID...and almost no one cares.

 

In a narrative sense it can mean "This will never be a big deal either way except for possibly a one shot plot device at some point." If everyone knows who you are, you won't be regularly hassled by fans/haters, have your DNPCs (if any) easily tracked, hounded at your home, etc. Or you won't have issues juggling your real life and your costumed ID, have your identity threatened or used as blackmail against you, get framed with it or have other issues or at least things like will only happen very very rarely and probably once where as someone that received points they'll be fairly regular occurrence.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

IMO, what you're describing here is EXACTLY the most common pitfall that GM's can fall into when faced with a character with no ID related Social Disadvantages.

 

The Character gets no Disad points for it. Therefore, it shouldn't disadvantage the Character, so it follows that hammering the No "*" ID character for not having a "*" ID isn't fair.

 

This is true, but it is also true that people should only take No ID when in fact it is believable that the character will still have No ID once his career is up and running. Just as it is possible to blow a Secret ID and need to substitute the points, it's possible to blow a lack of ID and become so famous that the media is stalking you like Brangelina. It helps if you don't take credit for the amazing things you do. Alternately you can wear a flashy costume even though you have no secret ID, so that when out of costume almost nobody recognises you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

This is true' date=' but it is also true that people should only take No ID when in fact it is believable that the character will still have No ID once his career is up and running.[/quote']

Which is believable for the character in this case, because he's a mentalist. For many of his powers, the only person who knows he is doing something is the target. However, what No ID really means is that you won't be saddled with the traditional problems of a Secret or Public ID.

 

For example, whether you have a Secret or Public ID, the issue of how you make ends meet will come up frequently. For a Secret ID, most people have to go to a job, and the boss won't accept the excuse of "I was fighting crime". Even if you're a multimillionaire, you have to worry about people embezzling funds, members of your corporation running Black Ops off the books, etc. A large part of the time you spend away from the team will be at your job, so Secret ID is definitely worth the 15 points.

 

For a Public ID, it can be hard to maintain a normal job if you keep having reporters, crazed fans, and supervillains showing up where you work. It's even worse if your job is "celebrity" - which is why I treat that as a separate Social Limitation (partially balanced by the need to buy Well Off).

 

On a separate note...how many people give out the extra 5 points on Hunteds for "target has a Public ID"? Do you ever have a situation where the Hunted is rolled, but can't find the character so it doesn't come up?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

IMO, back in the day, Wolverine was a good example of someone without either Secret or Public I.D. Pretty much everyone Logan knew was aware that he was Wolverine so he never had to go out of his way keep his I.D. secret. On the other hand, most villains did not know where he lived and the people in his life could generally take care of themselves so he didn't have deal with the consequences of a Public I.D.

 

When I GM a superhero campaign, I usually require my player to take either Secret or Public I.D. or explain to me why their character don't have the problems associated with either of those disadvantages.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

Which is believable for the character in this case' date=' because he's a mentalist. For many of his powers, the only person who knows he is doing something is the target. However, what No ID [i']really[/i] means is that you won't be saddled with the traditional problems of a Secret or Public ID.

 

Step out of your character in the same game for a sec, Fed... how on god's green earth do I introduce myself to people? I'm still trying to figure how I'll play that one. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

Step out of your character in the same game for a sec' date=' Fed... how on god's green earth do I introduce myself to people? I'm still trying to figure how I'll play that one. :)[/quote']

 

"My name is Indigo Montoya, you killed my father. Now prepare to die."

 

It'll make for some interesting conversations later if nothing else.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

Step out of your character in the same game for a sec' date=' Fed... how on god's green earth do I introduce myself to people? I'm still trying to figure how I'll play that one. :)[/quote']

I think the previous post is a good guideline...

 

IMO' date=' back in the day, Wolverine was a good example of someone without either Secret or Public I.D. Pretty much everyone Logan knew was aware that he was Wolverine so he never had to go out of his way keep his I.D. secret. On the other hand, most villains did not know where he lived and the people in his life could generally take care of themselves so he didn't have deal with the consequences of a Public I.D.[/quote']

So, if you're wearing a costume, you're Engram. If you're not, even if you have to use your powers, you're Armando. Explain things to the cops...they'll have a file on you, but that can't be helped. Just don't stick around giving interviews to the media.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Not "Secret", not "Public", just "Identity"

 

As people have said the difference is that Secret ID comes with a set of problems (Villians trying to discover it, Having to 'slip off to put n your mask', sometimes being unable to stop the badguys because you can't get away to get into costume) and Public ID has others (Protesters outside your house, Villians knowing where you live, anything Celebs have to put up with plus Badguys really). If you don't have either and don't get points you should have very few of these problems.

 

Actually the only reason that I can think of in genre for why a character doesn't have either is that they don't go out of their way to hide it and so people don't really care much. The X-men are a little like this. Most of the time they didn't wear masks, but people who knew them usually knew they were mutants and to those who didn't they were 'just some guys'. I wouldn't have given them Secret ID or Public ID myself (Until the 'big outing', when they made themselves 'Public') (The Institute OTOH would have had Secret ID, there is a difference. The public might know who you are but have no idea where you live).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...