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Genre Conventions & Values


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Lately I've been thinking a lot about the value assumptions I'm picking up on about Dark Champions... and I'm rejecting them.

 

OK, I'm curious, and instead of thread jacking the Mottos thread Manic Typist posted this in, I'm starting a new thread.

 

Which value assumptions are you referring to, and which value assumptions would you rather play with?

 

As a more open question, for the Dark Champions genre as a whole (from Animated Series to Bloodthirty Mercenaries) what Genre Values and Assumptions appeal to you all out there?

 

I'd like to leave Cyberpunk and Near-Future styles out, as they belong as much in Star Hero as Dark Champions, and focus more on the modern and "street" level campaigns.

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Re: Genre Conventions & Values

 

OK, I'm curious, and instead of thread jacking the Mottos thread Manic Typist posted this in, I'm starting a new thread.

 

Which value assumptions are you referring to, and which value assumptions would you rather play with?

 

As a more open question, for the Dark Champions genre as a whole (from Animated Series to Bloodthirty Mercenaries) what Genre Values and Assumptions appeal to you all out there?

 

I'd like to leave Cyberpunk and Near-Future styles out, as they belong as much in Star Hero as Dark Champions, and focus more on the modern and "street" level campaigns.

 

I'll gladly reply! It's part of the larger process of me analyzing the real world and how we respond to vigilantism, terrorism, free speech, how we treat others, and whether or not we really believe what we say we believe.

 

In short, why do we speak of "murderous vigilantes" when talking about Dark Champions, and "intrepid adventurers" when talking about Fantasy? Often the actions are nearly the same. Both employ violence in more or less equal measure. Often the Fantasy groups are more mercenary than your "typical" Dark Champions groups, so...

 

Is it just the presence of a centralized authority, of a codified system of crime and punishment? This seems insufficient to me.

 

Skipping a whole lot of prose, I think that because of the trappings of Dark Champions (more or less modern setting, a world that is nearly identical to our own) that people tend to operate in a different moral "mode" than they do when considering more "distant" or "theoretical" settings. This suggests that "their" morality is based upon circumstances rather than absolute values (which I understand, even if I find it problematic), and that only really is an issue when "they" then try to say that that's NOT what they believe...

 

What I've been thinking though is that I'm not so sure if the circumstances between the two settings are that different, in terms of people choosing to realize what they believe is right, regardless of what "the world" thinks.

 

In short short, I reject the implicit assumption that vigilantism is an inherently bad thing. The Dark Champions book is written with the assumption in mind (although I want to be VERY clear that it doesn't necessarily share that assumption. Just that it talks about the subject with this in mind, which makes sense).

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You know what annoys me?

 

Players who import a Dark Champions/Cyberpunk mentality into every game that they play.

 

I argue that the overall name of Dark Champions should simply change to "Action HERO" because it would carry somewhat different (and more accurate) implications.

 

After all, costumed vigilantes most certainly do not represent the majority of the genre.

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Fantasy: most of the violence occurs outside the bounds of civilization: dungeons, wilderness, other 'evil' nations. The leaders of 'your' nation approve of your actions.

 

Dark Champions: Occurs in the boundries of your nation: city streets. The nation's leaders don't approve.

 

(Of course, this is refering to a low power vigilante Champions campaign. Dark Champions can be used to simulate secret agents, where it comes closer to the first definition.)

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My takes on this thread.

 

Champions would be the four color adventures of superheroes. Could be big company or independent company feel (Marvel/DC where mostly everybody lives and if they die there is a chance to bring them back, Image/Top Cow Etc. where bad things could happen to a hero or his NPCs and it will affect them long after the incident)

 

Dark Champions should be just what it sounds like, Heroes (vigilantes) who try to stop crime in a realistic way (Punisher, Batman, Daredevil, Moon Knight). I would include Gritty Realistic and Animated Series in this header.

 

The above mentioned Action Hero would be normal VS. normal IE cops, mercenaries, military, spies, martial arts. Everything third edition Danger International had.

 

Urban Fantasy would be Fantasy Now. Could be a mix of magic, creatures and psionics along with modern weapons and vehicles.

 

Fantasy - anything without technology but not just magic. Could be a knights VS. knights, Egyption pharaohs or monks solving crimes.

 

Near Future would be Cyberhero. Could be combined with Urban Fantasy.

 

Future Space would be Star Hero.

 

And no matter the name, what ever works for you and your group is the best label.:D

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My takes on this thread.

 

 

Near Future would be Cyberhero.

 

 

I'd have to disagree. "Cyber" is only one possibility for near future adventure gaming, and the "cyber" genre has fallen out of popularity compared to a decade ago. It still has it's fans, yes, but I wonder if there are enough to support a Cyber Hero supplement. Given that Cyber Hero hasn't appeared on any product schedules since DOJ took over Hero, I kind of doubt it.

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I'm still a fan of the whole cyber thing. I still love my Cyberpunk 2020 and even Shadowrun games. Just my thing...

 

As far as genre conventions go, I pretty much consider Dark Champions as another reference book amongst many for the variety of types of games I like to run and play in. I use it because it has a lot of references to heroes more based on skills and equipment than powers or magic. In essence, I use it for games where the characters are more mundane.

 

Like all things Hero, its about making what you want and being given the tools. I don't really worry about genre conventions and all of that. I play what I want to play, that's what Hero is for. Book names and genres and all that can hang. I mix amongst the various books so much, it doesn't even matter.

 

We've used the Dark Champions book to play games involving minor powers and monsters, gun-kata/Gun-Fu action drama, street level superpowered heroes, cyberpunk style games, and many others. I don't really subscribe to any one theory or style, I steal from them all, shamelessly, and just try to have a little fun along the way. i guess I can't really contribute too well to this discussion. Sorry to ramble on.

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We've used the Dark Champions book to play games involving minor powers and monsters, gun-kata/Gun-Fu action drama, street level superpowered heroes, cyberpunk style games, and many others. I don't really subscribe to any one theory or style, I steal from them all, shamelessly, and just try to have a little fun along the way. i guess I can't really contribute too well to this discussion. Sorry to ramble on.

 

No, this is perfectly legitimate, and what I favor myself. I still must confess that when I first hear "Dark Champions" I think of what is more or less captured on the cover of the book. Not because it's there, but because that's what I'm interested in. I largely ignore the cover of the Fantasy Hero book...

 

 

I'm using Dark Champions to run a paranormal game this fall, and looking forward to it!

 

 

Aside: I'm dying to play some Cyberhero, specifically Shrike's MetaCyber.

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I'm not really concerned with what the book profers forth. Because it's just a tool.

 

RE: Champions - covers way the heck more than "4-Color" which is probably my least favorite flavor of my least favorite genre. And, off topic.

 

Dark Champions, from whatever is was, to whatever it is, for the general purposes here is some form of Modern Non-Superhero Genre. The only exception is the inclusion of low-level Animated Series (and even then, I'm not convinced that isn't just better off left as a sub-genre of Champions anyways, Street Champions, and should have nothing to do with this genre). In fact, "Champions" as a book title is merely a holdover from over a decade ago - ignore it.

 

Modern Genre Gaming from spies, to street vigilantes, mercenaries, paranormal games (either in X-Files vein or something more overt), military ops, and horror

 

When you tell your players (or are told by your GM) you're going to play a Modern Genre style, what assumptions are brought to the table?

Are Heroic Ideals recognized?

How are actions treated ("real" or legal grey areas glossed over)?

 

One of the biggest differences between Fantasy Assumptions and Modern Assumptions is that in a Fantasy World duels to the death aren't uncommon, local laws aren't quite the same (Samurai, pop-culture aside, did not treat peasants as people for example), slavery isn't uncommon (even expected) in Fantasy, but considered abhorrant in Modern.

 

It's not that morality is painted differently, but the cultures they are filtered through are definitely different. When Barbarian Raiders (Orc or Otherwise) are a common practice the concept of immenant death are everyday - and retaliation is usually just as swift to violence. That idea isn't present in modern gaming so the threats are different, often less clear.

 

Here's an specific example:

I'm setting up a game. I'm in the early stages and looking for some Player Feedback (i.e. - you my fellow posters). The game is set in New York City, Today. The world and world history is currently unchanged (but that is subject to change based on feedback). It will be a modern genre, and I may be throwing in some odd X-Files style elements (some weird stuff, but it's pretty much explainable and/or unprovable as 'paranormal'). You do not have to play any form of government employee, in fact "government" involvement depends more on where we lean. Many adventures will involve some mystery and stopping 'bad guys' of various nature (from scam artists to drug dealers to terrorists, to Other)

 

What kind of character would immediately jump to mind as appropriate? (cop, normal joe caught over his head, gov't lacky type, vigilante, etc)

What level of morality are you expecting? (black/white, grey, hard choices, etc)

What level of Realism would you think appropriate? (true grit, miami vice style, over the top action-fu, mixes of)

[EDIT]What level of lethality are you expecting (killing is expected, killing is acceptable, no killing - turn 'em over for the System, other you can think of)

 

After we talk this one over I'll propose a different style of Modern Game and we'll see what changes.

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1. What kind of character springs to mind? A highly observant, weirdness magnet, private detective.

 

2. Morality? grey, anything involving terrorists ultimate leads to hard choices.

 

3. Realism? I would expect a realistic style, "people with guns kill people"

 

4. Lethality? Death is a real and present risk to player characters, similarly killing can and likely will happen, but is not condoned.

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What kind of character would immediately jump to mind as appropriate? (cop, normal joe caught over his head, gov't lacky type, vigilante, etc)

What level of morality are you expecting? (black/white, grey, hard choices, etc)

What level of Realism would you think appropriate? (true grit, miami vice style, over the top action-fu, mixes of)

[EDIT]What level of lethality are you expecting (killing is expected, killing is acceptable, no killing - turn 'em over for the System, other you can think of)

 

After we talk this one over I'll propose a different style of Modern Game and we'll see what changes.

 

1) Veteran, slightly "do it the right way, not the book way" cop.

2) Black and white with a heavy dosing of grey.

3) I've never seen Miami Vice... but I'm guessing that with a little bit of the action-fu.

4) Killing of player characters is acceptable, and likely if caution is not used by the players.

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Well, to put in my two cents on the initial topic of the thread, I suspect that the "flavor" of Dark Champions games varies as much as the groups of people who play them. I have only played one "true" Dark Champions game, and that was our Special Forces campaign. The morality regarding killing was fairly clear: kill the enemy before they kill you, or even better, avoid them altogether as much as possible. The welfare of the team and the success of the mission were the two highest moral priorities. All else was secondary.

 

We crossed into moral gray areas quite a bit, although truly heinous acts like killing innocent children were avoided. There was nothing even close to four-color heroism in how we played our characters. That being said, when the chips were down, those guys were definitely people you wanted on your side.

 

But...that is only one example. I suspect that there are countless variations of games under the aegis of Dark Champions. As with all Hero System material, Dark Champions is not a game; it gives you the tools to build a game. Take what you like, leave what you don't like.

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You know what annoys me?

 

Players who import a Dark Champions/Cyberpunk mentality into every game that they play.

 

I argue that the overall name of Dark Champions should simply change to "Action HERO" because it would carry somewhat different (and more accurate) implications.

 

After all, costumed vigilantes most certainly do not represent the majority of the genre.

my understanding is that the phrase" action hero"is in public domain and can't be copyrighted my advise would be to reactivate the danger international title

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What kind of character would immediately jump to mind as appropriate? (cop, normal joe caught over his head, gov't lacky type, vigilante, etc)

What level of morality are you expecting? (black/white, grey, hard choices, etc)

What level of Realism would you think appropriate? (true grit, miami vice style, over the top action-fu, mixes of)

[EDIT]What level of lethality are you expecting (killing is expected, killing is acceptable, no killing - turn 'em over for the System, other you can think of)

 

1) Vigilante in the mode of Daredevil, Batman, Power Man (in his HfH days)

2) Hard choices

3) Mixes

4) Killing occurs but is rare and has repercussions

 

VtR

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I'll gladly reply! It's part of the larger process of me analyzing the real world and how we respond to vigilantism, terrorism, free speech, how we treat others, and whether or not we really believe what we say we believe.

 

In short, why do we speak of "murderous vigilantes" when talking about Dark Champions, and "intrepid adventurers" when talking about Fantasy? Often the actions are nearly the same. Both employ violence in more or less equal measure. Often the Fantasy groups are more mercenary than your "typical" Dark Champions groups, so...

 

Is it just the presence of a centralized authority, of a codified system of crime and punishment? This seems insufficient to me.

 

Skipping a whole lot of prose, I think that because of the trappings of Dark Champions (more or less modern setting, a world that is nearly identical to our own) that people tend to operate in a different moral "mode" than they do when considering more "distant" or "theoretical" settings. This suggests that "their" morality is based upon circumstances rather than absolute values (which I understand, even if I find it problematic), and that only really is an issue when "they" then try to say that that's NOT what they believe...

 

What I've been thinking though is that I'm not so sure if the circumstances between the two settings are that different, in terms of people choosing to realize what they believe is right, regardless of what "the world" thinks.

 

In short short, I reject the implicit assumption that vigilantism is an inherently bad thing. The Dark Champions book is written with the assumption in mind (although I want to be VERY clear that it doesn't necessarily share that assumption. Just that it talks about the subject with this in mind, which makes sense).

 

I think people put too much focus on Hudson City and the Harbinger. Not every Dark Champions game is about the Punisher or morons with bad hair who like to get stabby. Its true that Steve likes that sort of game, and that he wrote Hudson City to those specs, but the genre allows for more than one style of play.

 

Batman, The Birds of Prey, Black Panther, Black Widow, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Moon Knight, and Nightwing are all Dark Campions characters. And most of them have had cameos from people like Spider Man, Captain America, and even Big Blue without getting into more than a light banter about methods. None of them begin to scratch Harbinger's level of moral apathy.

 

Indeed, Vibora Bay is probably the "not roach and bullet ridden" street level town. But that's just superheroes. Dark Champions isn't even about costumed crime-fighters anymore. Its really just "Hero Modern." You can run espionage games, special operations games, hard boiled detective, and law enforcement games under the mantle "dark champions."

 

No one complains about the morality when Bond blows away a bad guy, let alone a street cop or a commando team. Or Mike Hammer for that matter. The entire verve of Mike Hammer was that he was a hard-nosed vigilante masquerading as a private eye. How many crime bosses and commies did he gun down "because the cops couldn't touch them"? But he didn't wear a mask so we don't get pissy about it.

 

We just get upset when its a guy in a mask because we start slapping notions of what we want a superhero to be onto him without considering whether or not he's that kind of hero, or operating in that kind of comic. There's more than one superheroic sub-genre, let alone Dark Champions sub-genre. Not every comic is Big Blue, or the Bat, or Spidey for that matter. Some comics run more like an old hard-boiled pulp.

 

And that's okay. You don't have to play a game simulating a genre you don't like. But its important to remember that's not the only genre Dark Champions simulates. Its just the one Steve put front and center. Personally, my street-level crime-fighter games run more like Gotham (or Vibora Bay) than Hudson City. But my Freedom Patrol game (regular power levels) runs more like an episode of "The Unit" with powers.

 

Is the morality suddenly wrong because they have costumes and code names? I don't think so. Because the presence of capes, codenames, and powers doesn't automatically make it a four color comic. Someone who makes that assumption is making a mistake. I'm actually not very comfortable with some of the ethical positions four-color and silver age comics assume, but hey, that's just me.

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The game is set in New York City, Today. The world and world history is currently unchanged (but that is subject to change based on feedback). It will be a modern genre, and I may be throwing in some odd X-Files style elements (some weird stuff, but it's pretty much explainable and/or unprovable as 'paranormal'). You do not have to play any form of government employee, in fact "government" involvement depends more on where we lean. Many adventures will involve some mystery and stopping 'bad guys' of various nature (from scam artists to drug dealers to terrorists, to Other)

 

What kind of character would immediately jump to mind as appropriate? (cop, normal joe caught over his head, gov't lacky type, vigilante, etc)

What level of morality are you expecting? (black/white, grey, hard choices, etc)

What level of Realism would you think appropriate? (true grit, miami vice style, over the top action-fu, mixes of)

[EDIT]What level of lethality are you expecting (killing is expected, killing is acceptable, no killing - turn 'em over for the System, other you can think of)

 

A broadly read, hard-nosed private investigator. He might be a utility hitter: bounty hunter, private investigator, body guard. I'd give him some sort of vague occult connection the game-master could use to tie him into oddball plots.

 

In terms of morality: Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe, Travis McGee. They can seem a bit dubious, but they really have a knight in shining armor, cowboy riding in to clean up the town mentality. Their world has grays, and they make hard choices, but overall, the right direction is fairly apparent.

 

In terms of realism I'd be thinking x-files/alias/fall guy/mike hammer - the TV version rather than the books.

 

Killing: there should be some justification. It may happen, but it should be necessary when it happens. Insofar as the basic nod to necessity and justification is made there shouldn't be too much blowback

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I'm actually not very comfortable with some of the ethical positions four-color and silver age comics assume' date=' but hey, that's just me.[/quote']

 

 

No, it's not just you. I've often found various classical characters, Superman included (heck, Superman especially) to make VERY disturbing decisions, especially regarding the potential (or even "realistically" likely consequences). But, since it's a comic, it all works out.... not my cup of tea though.

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I don't have any particular problem with a particular work presenting alternative morality as long as it makes sense in context and has substance.

 

My real problem is with players who don't have a heroic bone in their body when roleplaying anything and yet have no problem playing a sociopath and don't see anything wrong with that from a gameplaying standpoint.

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I don't have any particular problem with a particular work presenting alternative morality as long as it makes sense in context and has substance.

 

My real problem is with players who don't have a heroic bone in their body when roleplaying anything and yet have no problem playing a sociopath and don't see anything wrong with that from a gameplaying standpoint.

 

As I think about it, I have played one truly sociopathic character, in many ways a very literal evil person. I'm sure in some game out there they would make an excellent arch-villain. However they were heroic, almost despite themselves sometimes, and ultimately fought for the survival of everyone instead of their plan A (destroy the dimension - which they were capable of).

 

Anyways... onto my question. I got four responses, so I'm going to label them Player 1-4 and let's see what we have:

 

Parameters:

The game is set in New York City, Today. The world and world history is currently unchanged (but that is subject to change based on feedback). It will be a modern genre, and I may be throwing in some odd X-Files style elements (some weird stuff, but it's pretty much explainable and/or unprovable as 'paranormal'). You do not have to play any form of government employee, in fact "government" involvement depends more on where we lean. Many adventures will involve some mystery and stopping 'bad guys' of various nature (from scam artists to drug dealers to terrorists, to Other)

 

Player 1:

A private eye, who gets into weird stuff despite themselves.

The player is OK with hard choices, people get killed, but there isn't a body-count meter in the corner of the screen, the world is a bit fuzzy about good/bad.

 

Player 2:

A cop, bit renegade as the book is mostly guidelines - quite possibly a "justice not law" type. Or they're just looking out for the little guy. Morality is mostly clear, but sometimes things aren't readily apparent. Death happens, but there's a skewing towards factio-action over real-grit.

 

Player 3:

A masked vigilante type, in fact the comics were directly inspiring this character. Though choices are hard, things aren't all that easy to figure the good/bad so we're inching into the iron age (again, without the body count meter in the corner of the screen), but death isn't just a blood splatter - it should mean something.

 

Player 4:

Another Private investigator, but he has other related jobs in his past, giving him connections. Some of them wierd. He's definitely a hero, but things don't look so black and white, but still the good guys are mostly good and the bad mostly bad (some good guys slip, some bad guys are sympathetic). Realism is skewed more for action/fun than gritty. Death happens, but like Player 3 it should mean something.

 

Given all that, the masked-type seems a little out of place, but replace the mask references with a fedora and appropriately placed shadows and you have a couple PIs, a Cop and a Vigilante. There's enough street-cred in this group that the game could easily and comfortably take place in the underbelly of the city, at the end of each scenario you could have a body count, but it won't be gratuitous. Sometimes the bad guys aren't going to appear bad, and sometimes the right choice may not be the easy choice, or even appear right at all until looking back.

 

Alright... not bad. Let's try version 2.

 

No set location, but mostly traveling around the US, you've just been recruited into Division 7, and are tasked with investigating Paranormal Activity, with intent to prove or disprove. Threats should be disposed of - we do not have an Area 51 Jail. At the moment, there are no limitations on What you are, but you need to blend into the Human population without problem.

 

Is the paranormal new to you? Where'd you come from that D-7 recruited you if so?

If you're old hat, how/why?

Again - morality? Do you want "threats" to be clear, or do you want heavy grey where you're not sure you made the right decision?

Body Count - this time, there will be one, but how heavy?

Are you a good guy trying to save the world, or are you here because they have some Really Cool Toys, maybe it's the Dental?

 

(I'd class this as an Urban Fantasy Monster Hunter Campaign style, leaning away from the Fantasy and more towards Modern).

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Alright... not bad. Let's try version 2.

 

No set location, but mostly traveling around the US, you've just been recruited into Division 7, and are tasked with investigating Paranormal Activity, with intent to prove or disprove. Threats should be disposed of - we do not have an Area 51 Jail. At the moment, there are no limitations on What you are, but you need to blend into the Human population without problem.

 

Is the paranormal new to you? Where'd you come from that D-7 recruited you if so?

If you're old hat, how/why?

Again - morality? Do you want "threats" to be clear, or do you want heavy grey where you're not sure you made the right decision?

Body Count - this time, there will be one, but how heavy?

Are you a good guy trying to save the world, or are you here because they have some Really Cool Toys, maybe it's the Dental?

 

(I'd class this as an Urban Fantasy Monster Hunter Campaign style, leaning away from the Fantasy and more towards Modern).

 

Okay, for this one I'm thinking my character was recruited from the Central Intelligence Agency's SOG. This makes him a former special forces operator whose been through clandestine service training with some serious covert ops experience. I might build a plainclothes punisher and file the serial numbers and casual killer attitude off.

 

I don't expect black and white morality, but I would expect it to be fairly clear. Also, I wouldn't be overly thrilled with "humanize the monster to make a moral point about humans" style story. Rothgar from Beowulf and Grendl comes to mind: "Its an expletive troll, explitive!"

 

In terms of body count... oh yeah. But the character would probably parse threats differently. Human antagonists would face a military/swat styple ethic. Immediate threats removed quick and clean, but not gunning people down right or left, and making sure to watch the background (no collateral kills!). For paranormal, especially monster, antagonists.... heavy splatter. Bring it baby! Ratatatatatata-BOOOOOOOOM!!!!

 

I'm in it because I've been there and done that on a level most people haven't been. I want a challenge. I'm testing myself. I want the toys. And I want the chance to gleefully use them. I also like being in on the secret. And darnit, when all is said and done, I took an oath to defend America, its constitution, and citizens from all threats foreign, domestic, and just plain bizarre.

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Is the paranormal new to you? Where'd you come from that D-7 recruited you if so?

If you're old hat, how/why?

 

No, my character would be a mysterious mage who started out as a normal guy, got sucked into mystic/paranormal events, and played a crucial role in defeating the paranormal creature that was trying to invade, however part of his humanity was destroyed during this and was replaced with parts of knowledge and power from the paranormal creature

----------------------------------------------------

Again - morality? Do you want "threats" to be clear, or do you want heavy grey where you're not sure you made the right decision? Threats are clear, and when the division 7 wants to kill paranormals who aren't trying to actively do evil (Or at least seem tamable) He will covertly get them out of the crossfire

----------------------------------------------------

Body Count - this time, there will be one, but how heavy? Lowish, for the Heroes/good Paranormals but with surprises along the way to remind the players that they do not live in a pretty world

----------------------------------------------------

Are you a good guy trying to save the world, or are you here because they have some Really Cool Toys, maybe it's the Dental? Good Guy saving the world, even if it is against the D-7 guys, for they are merely a means to a greater end.

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Is the paranormal new to you? Where'd you come from that D-7 recruited you if so?

If you're old hat, how/why?

Again - morality? Do you want "threats" to be clear, or do you want heavy grey where you're not sure you made the right decision?

Body Count - this time, there will be one, but how heavy?

Are you a good guy trying to save the world, or are you here because they have some Really Cool Toys, maybe it's the Dental?

 

(I'd class this as an Urban Fantasy Monster Hunter Campaign style, leaning away from the Fantasy and more towards Modern).

 

1) Still fairly new. Former special forces (SEAL, Delta team, something like that) type who's entire team ended up on the wrong end of something supernatural. Sole survior, Division 7 saw an opportunity to add a lethal ace operative to its deck of agents, and recruited him. He accepts that the supernatural exists, but is still learning to getting used to all the weird stuff can happen.

 

2) Largely I want threats to be clear, and gray areas to be reserved for forces that aren't the direct opponent. To use Konan's excellent example- this character would be VERY disturbed by orders to eliminate people or groups just because they existed, and in fact posed no threat. He was not trained to be a deathsquad, wiping out villages of innocents, and that's not what the U.S. represents. If push came to shove, he'd shove and go rogue first since obviously the mission of the Division had gone off the moral tracks.

 

3)Body count- high. Here's the breakdown:

-Innocent bystanders: as minimal contact or awareness as possible. High priority for evacuation before, during, and after the fighting. It would take a clear and present danger (i.e. something worse will happen sooner) to make him not focus on getting these people out of the line of fire. This extends to innocent paranorms, though slightly less for them since he isn't quite sure who he can trust in that community...

 

- Unknowing dupes. Security guards, police officers, functionaries, and anyone who might stand in the way but genuinely does not know who they are REALLY working for, and are in general just honest people who are doing their jobs/what they believe is right. Less lethal force only unless they reveal that they in fact are collaborators (see next category).

 

- Human collaborators. Anyone who knows about what they're really working for, or at least that they work for really bad people (and are not obviously under extreme levels of duress, i.e. their entire family being held hostage). Some may justify it, some may be scum or criminals who are in it for money and kicks. Doesn't matter. They are the enemies foot soldiers, and for them it's "weapons free." Ideally, at the end of the mission every one of them is dead or captured. He wouldn't endanger the mission going after them, but would take every other opportunity to eliminate them.

 

- The Enemy. Kill them, kill them again, burn the rooms and salt the earth. If you show him Evil, he'll show you Death.

 

4) Good guy trying to save the world who believes that while you may use fire to fight fire, some means can't be justified by any ends (i.e. he understands the necessity of having special forces to do messy jobs against bad people, but not deathsquads terrorizing the populace or eliminating inconvenient people). He loves his country and generally thinks people need to be protected from those who would harm or oppress them, and thus had dedicated himself to being the best defender of the people that he could be. Initially that led him to special forces (the best training, the best equipment, the most difficult and essential missions), but now that he's been introduced to the supernatural world he realizes that there are even BIGGER threats out there that almost no one is ready to face, and thus this is where he NEEDS to be.

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Re: Genre Conventions & Values

 

Alright... not bad. Let's try version 2.

 

No set location, but mostly traveling around the US, you've just been recruited into Division 7, and are tasked with investigating Paranormal Activity, with intent to prove or disprove. Threats should be disposed of - we do not have an Area 51 Jail. At the moment, there are no limitations on What you are, but you need to blend into the Human population without problem.

 

Is the paranormal new to you? Where'd you come from that D-7 recruited you if so?

If you're old hat, how/why?

Again - morality? Do you want "threats" to be clear, or do you want heavy grey where you're not sure you made the right decision?

Body Count - this time, there will be one, but how heavy?

Are you a good guy trying to save the world, or are you here because they have some Really Cool Toys, maybe it's the Dental?

 

(I'd class this as an Urban Fantasy Monster Hunter Campaign style, leaning away from the Fantasy and more towards Modern).

I have two concepts that immediately spring to mind. The first and strongest one is a former military Sergeant Major. Visually, I am thinking the general from The Rock. New to paranormal in the sense that maybe he's seen something in the past (good potential GM fodder) but always rationalized it. Grey morality and hard choices. Body count? At times heavy. Otherwise a fair mix of investigation vs. combat. Definitely a save the world and the U-S-of-A type.

 

The other character is a Harry Dresden type character. His presence would depend greatly on whether magic was accessible to the player characters. In this case, instead of being a Wizard for Hire, he would be an Occult Investigator. Old hat to the paranormal. Less grey morality. Surprisingly harsh in terms of body count. "These are demons and monsters, I know what damage they can wreak." Again, save the world type.

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