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Steve

Second Chances: A Supervillain Halfway House

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This is a campaign idea I've been thinking about recently to use with my current gaming group someday.

 

Second Chances is a boarding house set up to assist supervillains in their efforts at reintegrating back into society after they've served out their sentences in Stronghold, maybe for those who've gotten released early for good behavior or after serving on the Champions Universe's version of the Suicide Squad. It's a government-sponsored halfway house dealing in supervillains. It might even make for a decent convention game background.

 

My thought was to use it as the basis for a PC team, putting together former supervillains into a ragtag group of anti-heroes that actually can do some good together. Think Guardians of the Galaxy, only made up of parolees. It could also work for a Dark Champions: The Animated Series sort of setting.

 

One of the things that the government would do is provide new secret IDs for each parolee in their efforts at rehabilitation, so they would all have the Social Complications: Criminal Record and Secret ID, maybe at a reduced level for the Secret ID, since it is one known to the government. Watched by PRIMUS (or another group that deal with supercriminals) would also seem to make sense.

 

What sort of supervillains might work from the current CU as parolees? Shrinker and Foxbat might make for a couple of interesting fellow parolees, but who else?

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Herculan has already made an effort to turn his life around -- he might make a good mentor/supervisor for others in the halfway house. Firedrake (Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth) never wanted to be a villain, and turned himself in to authorities as soon as he could get away from King Cobra's influence. Any villain whose description indicates he/she is basically a decent person, and could be reformed under the right influence, would work here, including Alchemica, Exo, Grotesk, Riptide, and Vixen.

 

I'm not sure I'd agree with Amorkca's suggestion of Lady Blue, though. She already thinks she's doing good for society in her own way, and hasn't felt any inclination to stop. IMHO she probably works better in a campaign in that grey area that challenges PCs' ethics.

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LL mentioned a lot of names I thought of, but realistically....any villain can be redeemable in your campaign with enough work. You just have to make the change of heart organic and believable. This is of course a bit more difficult with psychotic and/or murderous villains.

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, I can't help you with characters or story for the 6e universe, or even the majority of the 5e universe (after deciding the rules set was a bit more oppressive than I cared for- but was easily backwards-adaptable, I focused on genre books and a couple of settings (I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Tuala Morn, considering it was Fantasy, but I liked it a lot). 

 

I just wanted to encourage you, because this can be a lot of fun.  Back in the Era of the BBB, I was inspired by the Murder in Stronghold adventure in Champions Presents #2.   Not for the adventure, but for the backstory of the character Salamander: the super-criminal who, though never caught, had a very short career before deciding to fight the good fight.  Moreover, I liked his tendency to let the criminals go if they surrendered their ill-gotten gains and promised to become better people. 

 

Sure, it rarely worked, but I got to thinking about those times that it _might_ have worked.  What would those people do with their lives. 

 

So I played with it. I didn't think of the "let's start a new campaign where the Pcs are all reformed villains.". I wish I had, because I can see lots of potential there, too. 

 

Judge Leroy Colton was voted into office shortly after moving to Campaign City.  Historically, before coming to Campaign, he had been one of those" go to jail or enlist in the service" judges when dealing with first-time offenders (or at least first time _caught_ offenders). 

 

Then one day he was presiding over a trial that involved super villains and noticed that one particular lower-powered individual had, in all the scenarios for which the group was being tried, had seemed to go out of his way to not injure non-combatants.  In fact, he really hadn't even done much property damage, compared to his associates.  He smashed a few things, fought some superheroes, but only enough to ensure his getaway.  Mostly he just menaced the crowd with displays of power and threatening speeches. 

 

So Colton, when passing sentence, gave this one individual a choice: spend the next sixteen years in Lockdown (we already had a prison for supers before Stronghold was published, I'm afraid.  It was actually the very first thing we needed outside the core book:  we fight supers, we catch supers...  Where do we _put_ supers?) or serve as a special officer for SWAT. 

 

Eventually, two other villains were given a similar choice. 

 

Public outrage--particularly from law enforcement--made this a high-profile fiasco, and three years later the program was disbanded, with the three former villains looking at serving the rest of their time in Lockdown.  

 

Blockbuster, the first villain given this opportunity, had come to find that he _liked_ what he was doing, and after a drawn-out and impassioned session with the state senate, was given the OK to create a charitable organization for the purpose of reforming super-villains. 

 

I'll spare you the rest of the history specific to our world, but suffice it to say that there were successes and failures, and the focus of this plot device in our world was the constant suspicion of the Pcs, and the often-questionable moments when the paths of the  Pcs and the Redeemed (guess who?) would cross.  Of course, every success story was questioned, and every failure--particularly recidivism--called the entire team and the program itself into question.  The best story arc we had was when a mentalist who had been with the team six months had slowly begun to mind-control the rest of the Redeemed, and lead them on covert criminal missions... 

 

That one nearly lead to the destruction of the entire program and cemented, in the minds of many other characters, including two PCs, that reformation was impossible for villains with powers: the temptation to use them for personal gain is simply too strong for weak individuals, etc, etc. 

 

 

Short version:  the Redeemed still pop up from time to time (and updating the team is as easy as thumbing through your file of mid-to-low level villains you haven't seen in a while) and not only did we have _lots_ of fun in the early years of this new plot device, it's still fun to break out every once in a while... 

 

I hope you have as much fun with it as we do. :D

 

 

Duke

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Thunder and lightning have GOT to be part of this somehow. Either the first ones to go through it, the same judge involved, serving as the team's mentors for a month before their time runs out, arch-foes, or have their kid being the team liason who talks about how their parents got a second chance and squandered it, so now it's their turn to try and help out.

But it calls out for 'em.

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Sounds great.  I had a super powered thug that the party kept totally trashing and humiliating every time he showed up eventually just knock on the door of the base and ask if he could join or help out somehow.  Being a criminal just wasn't working out for him.  And there weren't any jails that could hold him (plus the city was so corrupt he could just bribe his way out).  I love stories like that, where the good guys don't just beat the bad guys, but turn them from their evil ways.

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You could have Flashover and Superstar volunteer as inspirational role-models for the reform-minded criminals. Both were conflicted and confused young people who started out as supervillains, but each in their own way was given an opportunity to turn their lives around. Today both are respected members of the Justice Squadron, one of the most renowned superhero teams in the world (fully written up in Champions Universe: News Of The World).

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