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I'm not sureifmarvel still does it but they used to have a fixed point of "six years" since the fantastic four appeared. Its probably ten or twelve now.

 

Does anyone do that or do you keep it as "we appeared in 1990 and its gone from there"

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I use set in stone dates in my campaign, and have stuck with them since the start. It does cause the campaign to fall behind in comparison to the real world date, but if you and your players are okay with it, it should not be an issue. For example, I began my Champions campaign in 1993, but it was set in the game world as 1983 (ten years in the past). The campaign has continued non-stop now for almost 23 years, yet in the game world only seven and a half years have passed (we are now up to 1990).

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I also use set dates...well, as best as I can remember.  For the most part, I narrow things down to the year, and perhaps the season if it's relevant (Chill the demon blanketed Middleton, Texas in snow...in the middle of summer).  Fortunately, most people chose younger characters in previous campaigns (which all use the same game world), so I can still keep them active as NPCs 20+ years later.

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I like to work contemporary events into my campaign, so campaign time tracks real time. It's one reason why I dropped my old campaign setting: Too much baggage, and characters tied to events and social movements that just aren't meaningful anymore. In my new setting, supers appeared in 2000 and the world is still working out the consequences. Many things can still happen for the first time.

 

Dean Shomshak

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I tend to tie my campaign to real time, with some wiggle room for multi-session or time-intensive arcs.  I try to put out a news sheet (the Heronet Herald) each game session, which helps keep things on track.  The hard part is incorporating major real-world events, or when the game world sometimes has major events that are decidedly not real-world (such as an alien invasion).  None of my players is that hung up on the minutia of "why did X happen if supers can do Y" so I can hand-wave a lot of that stuff.

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In my Superhero campaign the real world date drives the campaign date.  I do this because it is easier on me because:

  • My superhero campaign is extremely episodic and it played to fill space when everyone in the group can't make it for a particular game session
  • I can use the weather (see today in MN -3 F) as part of the story
  • I can use actual news/events as session kickoff points.  We have had adventures that started out at the Governors fishing opener, St. Paul Winter Carnival ball, when the pirate exhibit came to town with a huge chest of real gold doubloons, etc.
  • Oh and did I mention it is easier for me....
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In my "Universe" Supers started wearing costumes around the time of WW 1, and full on code name, and flashy flag suits in WW 2. I've always used real dates, and events, just modified to fit a comic book universe.

 

So many of the old characters are now retired NPCs who somebody can look up because somsbody claims to be their old foe etc...

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I'm not sureifmarvel still does it but they used to have a fixed point of "six years" since the fantastic four appeared. Its probably ten or twelve now.

 

Does anyone do that or do you keep it as "we appeared in 1990 and its gone from there"

 

There's no need.  Even in the longest lasting superhero campaign no individual player lasts with the same character that long.  

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