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PamelaIsley

A Modified Champions Universe

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Based on the helpful comments from others, this is the outline I've come up with:

 

The Bluebird Champions Universe (BCU)

A Modified Champions Universe Setting

 

Main Differences from 6E Champions Universe

 

1. Magic is not the source of all superpowers.  Superpowers come from a variety of means, and supermagic is just one possible origin for superhumans.

2. Ignore all published dates in the 5E and 6E Champions Universe.  Unless a specific date is given in the BCU, all events simply occur in the past.

3. There have been no extradimensional or alien invasions of the Earth.  Very few people on Earth believe in the existence of extraterrestrials.  Superheroes and villains with alien origins exist, but the public either does not believe their origin stories or is unaware of them.

4. Other dimensions exist, but there are no known interdimensional empires or states.  Dimensions exist primarily as the domain of entities such as demons, Lovecraftian monsters, or unknown forms of energy.  There is very little extradimensional travel, even by these other entities, without elaborate summoning rituals.

5. UNTIL, PRIMUS, and similar organizations do not exist.  Governments monitor superhuman activity, but regular defense and law enforcement agencies are responsible for dealing with any threats.

6. Superheroes and supervillains cancel each other out in a geopolitical sense.  Governments and militaries are far more powerful than even the combined might of all superhumans, so superhumans are not a factor in global political maneuverings.  No government maintains a large superhero team to supplement its military forces.

7. Supertechnology has not really spread enough to have any effect on the world’s technological level.  Virtually all villainous henchmen use real world guns, not blasters.

8. Superhumans were largely inactive during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.  The modern era of superhumans began with the appearance of Vanguard about 12 years before the Battle of Detroit.  This coincided with the rise of Dr. Destroyer and Takofanes.

9. The Battle of Detroit happened eight years ago.  The battle seriously weakened the superhero community, causing most teams to slowly disband and many solo heroes to retire (if they weren’t killed in the fighting).  For unexplained reasons, many of the villains active during this time also faded away.

10. The new era of superheroes began with the founding of the Champions a “year or so” before the present year. Almost all villain origins should be considered to start within a few years of this event, unless there is a strong thematic reason to have them active in the earlier modern era.  (The purpose of this is to keep villain ages somewhat realistic.)

11. Although in decline, the Sentinels and Justice Squadron (called Justice in the BCU) are still active, although they are rapidly being eclipsed in prominence by the Champions.

12. The following master villains from 6E Volume 1 do not exist in the BCU: Istvatha V’han, Shadow Destroyer, Shadow Queen, Skarn, Tezcatlipoca, Tyrannon, and Doctor Yin Wu.

13. The following master villains were “finally” defeated around the time of the Battle of Detroit, and are not active: Dr. Destroyer and Takofanes.

14. The following villain teams from 6E Volume 2 do not exist in the BCU: Red Guard and Tiger Squad.

 

Typical Hero Rules

 

1. Typical "new" heroes are created either as low powered (300 point / 60 matching complications) or standard (400 point / 75 matching complications) characters.

2. No character may have more than one characteristic above 20 without a strong thematic reason (no randomly high dexterities or constitutions, as is common in published material).  If someone has a Dexterity above 20 or an intelligence above 20 for example, there needs to be a reason they are one of the world’s greatest athletes or one of the most brilliant humans to ever live.

3. In general, active points are capped at either 60 points (low-powered heroes) or 75 points (standard), with possible exceptions for an individual power.  DCs should be capped around 12. Villains and NPC heroes will be adjusted to compensate for this, as needed.

4. Non-speedsters should not have a SPD above 6.

5. Extradimensional origins should be avoided.

 

---Original Post Below --

I love the Champions Universe.  I came to it after starting Champions Online and found that it was a superior version of Freedom City (from M&M) with more compelling characters and a lot more thought given to how superheroes and villains would interact with the real world (although, as I discuss below, that thought isn't always in the direction that I agree with).  Traditionally, the DC Universe has been my go-to for superhero adventuring, but I've become a bit detached from it over the last five to ten years. 

 

I'm probably not going to do much PnP gaming in the near future, but as a thought exercise I wanted to continue a project I started when I first bought all my Hero/Champions products in 2009-2010.  I'd like to modify the Champions Universe.  Specifically, I'd like to de-Silver Age it and simplify it so that it resembles the real world a little bit more.  I wanted to get people's thoughts on what aspects would need to be excised or cleaned up to make it more "realistic" (obviously a relative term in the superhero world).

 

There are actual rule mechanic issues that would need to be addressed to make the campaign less Silver Age (most obviously the imposition of some kind of logical characteristic maxima rules on the published characters; the number of random 20+ characteristics on characters that don't have any backstory to justify it is just staggering), but I'm not really interested in that so much as adjusting the history and flavor text of the world.

 

So what Silver Age flavor elements jump out from the setting?

 

The first problematical element is the prevalence of vast, intergalatic empires that make regular contact with Earth, but which, for some reason, haven't really changed how humans interact with themselves or other nations.  This has always bugged me.  So, using the 6E Champions Universe books as a guide, I would probably remove them all.  I would essentially eliminate everything in the "Beyond Earth" section starting on page 104.  This doesn't mean there can't be some aliens in the universe, but they aren't going to be obvious and their existence would be more in line with X-Files than with Star Trek (no alien ambassadors, no massive invasions, and disbelief at any superheroes that claim an extraterrestrial origin). 

 

I would probably remove all references to extradimensional conquerors.  Similarly to alien empires, regular contact with beings like this would probably fundamentally alter society in ways that would make the world unrecognizable.  So I would cut basically everything from Realms Beyond (p. 107).  This would include dimensional supervillains like Skarn and Isvatha V'han (both of which never sat right with me anyway).  Again, this doesn't mean there aren't demons or other sinister threats lurking in other dimensions (like the Kings of Edom).  It just means that there isn't any regular, widely-known contact with them.  Dimensional portals aren't opening up every few years for vast armies to flow through to conquer the Earth.  That's just a bit too "out there" for me.

 

Those are significant changes, but probably not the most critical. A big Silver Age element of the Champions Universe is the long-time existence of superheroes and their almost commonplace existence in the world.  I wonder if that should be scaled back.  For example, I had considered reworking the universe's timeline to shorten the period that superheroes have been active.  Maybe there were a few costumed avengers or even low-powered heroes during World War II, but they faded from existence after that.  There were very few to none in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s (this spares us the Watchmen issue of why didn't superheroes win the Vietnam War or dramatically alter the Cold War).  Superhumans became more common in the 1980s, when Dr. Destroyer also appeared.  This period of superhuman activity culminated in the Battle of Detroit, where many were killed, leading to another lull.  This opened up the opportunity for teams like the Champions to spring up, and suddenly became some of the most prominent heroes in the world.

 

The reason I would do something like this is that it helps with the idea that many supervillains and some heroes in the Champions Universe are unrealistically old if they were operating continuously throughout the  period that the Champions Universe has existed.  Comics sometimes face this problem (like if Batman has been operating in Gotham for 20 years, then he, the Joker, Catwoman, etc. are really getting up there in years).  Dr. Destroyer is admitted to be 93 years old in 6E Villains book one.  At some point, you have to wonder how villains created during this period of Champions growth are still alive (just from old age concerns, much less constant combat with heroes and governments).  If you take the period of 1950-1980 basically out of the universe, you almost allow a reset on many of the character ages, allowing them to still be in operation in 2000, 2010, or 2020 (or whatever year you want to use as a baseline).  At some point, even 2000 or 2010 become long enough ago that you might need to take the 1980s or even 90s out, and set the Battle of Detroit in 2002 or something similar so you could use Destroyer, the Champions, etc. realistically.

 

This section became a little bit of a rant, but this is a thorny issue that's always bothered me.

 

Other Silver Age elements that might be scaled back could be the existence of things like Atlantis, Lemuria, and the Empyreans.

 

I would probably also eliminate UNTIL because the UN simply hasn't developed in this direction in the real world.  I might get rid of superhero-specific departments in the United States as well, given how hard it was post-2001 for the government to reshape its national security agencies (although, arguably, that proved it was at least possible). 

 

I would move VIPER's debut date to be more recent and maybe change it to be less HYDRA and more COBRA, particularly in terms of its supertechnology.  (On supertechnology in general, I would dramatically scale back the existence and use of sci-fi type weaponry that is a Champions staple.  There's no real point to having everyone use Star Wars-type blasters and it can affect many players and GMs' level of immersion.)

 

This is way more than I intended to write to start.  What other things do people think could be safely trimmed or changed to take some of the Silver Age elements out of the universe? 

 

I also want to make it clear that I'm proposing changes that suit my preferences and opinions and am not trying to tell anyone that this would be a "better" version of the CU  (I think it would be but not everyone is going to agree).  I am very well aware that some people really love the Silver Age and like those elements to be preserved in even modern era settings.

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I think a lot of this, may be because the CU kind of "acreted" due to differences between creators that preferred Marvel, or DC. In the obituaries of Stan Lee, they often mentioned that the differences between marvel and Dc was that DC tended to invent fictional cities at the drop of a hat, whereas Marvel was based on "The world outside your door", which is why with Spiderman, New York, is also a character in his stories stories. Even the Kree- Skrull war was something below the surface, and Earth was a backwater to them, usually. Even in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they tried to make the Alien Invasion led by Loki  something Remeniscent of 9-11, with echoes of it "realistically" reverberating through the Marvel Netflix (RIP) shows, and Agents of Shield on regular Television. You tend not to see that sort of effect in the DC shows, and they feel "Elsewhere" rather than grounded on Earth. How many times has Earth been invaded by hostile aliens in the DC universe? (Including the  opening episodes of the Animated version of The Justice League ?  I think what you are seeing is that conflict between Marvel fans and DC fans played out  by creators working in The Champions Universe.

 

It's also playing out generationally.  The original HERO Games  members were in college in the late 1970's and early 1980's.  The next wave of creators were in college in the late 80's and early 1990's, and the tastes in comics have been a reflection of those. Myself, I had friends who had father that served in WW2. Mine was too young, but  did serve in the cold war, and was a comics fan during the golden age. (Sadly my Grandma tossed out the superman comics, but kept the Donald Duck Comics and Stories, which we found as children and considered them an entertaining read when we were young). I had a brief time working in comics, concurrent with my work in Table Top Game art, before I moved on (following a few of the original "Heroes") into video games, but I  still pick up the occasional comic book.  I would expect the current Hero Creators have read comics, but according to another thread, most have not read anything recently, and got out of the habit in the late 90's, early 2000's when things became either too self referential, or too grimdark for them, so even the recent creators seem to have a fairly silver age mentality.  (And Marvel since 2014, has been mostly unreadably bad.)

 

So I think  there are a lot of factors leading to a lot of the cruft and baggage  that you find in the Champions Universe, but I think that because they are "game rules" it's all optional as to what you want to use. I think what you have is a fairly good start to keep to Stan Lee's vision of "the world outside your door", then, there is also a lot of history there, the one should be careful about pruning, or one might lose the flavor.

 

 

 

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As to your initial question.

 

I think either removing or scaling UNTIL back would work.  Having a UN organization operating within the United States, with the capability of capturing and detaining supers, would have folks in the Militia movement in a tizzy, and  passing around files on how to build anti-tank weapons from common hardware store items.  I have always had a problem with VIPER, as to what their actual focus and goals were.   Even Daesh (ISIS) has a clear goal of restoring the Caliphate, and smiting the unbelievers.  The organization is a useful  piece for GMs, though.

 

As to tech, with all of the mad tech around How come the US Army hasn't gone with Micro-nuclear technology to  arm tanks with?  Why hasn't the Navy converted over to rail guns completely now? what about the Air Force putting beam weapons on  fighters? Either Aliens  or  the Gadgeteer down the street would bump up the tech levels. Look at what Elon Musk is doing. he's single handedly lifting parts of large, heavy technologies, previously ignored for the introspective pursuit of small Microprocessor based technologies. Not a fan of electric cars, myself, but even i can see that once they get the utility equal to gasoline engines (450 mile range per charge with a 5-10 minute recharge time), their use will be inevitable. 

 

I think that the CU would have a certain ubiquity of supers, and as such, like pop bands, their rise and  subsequent invisibility as their popularity fades, would be the reason that the Heroes from the 50's and 60's would fade from memory, except for a few standouts, and unlike Music acts, their fame would generally be local only.  Make sense?

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VIPER's goals are simple. Get extremely rich for the Supreme Serpent and Council of Thirty, semi-extremely rich on the Nest Leader level, and maybe control the world to there benefit. The armed agent arm are merely soldiers who believe that VIPER is the best choice for them.

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Well, Pamela, I can't say any of your points are unreasonable, and if I was a player in your game I wouldn't protest if those were your ground rules. However, I do feel that the way the CU is presented now is largely a logical outgrowth of its given history..

 

In the official Hero Universe timeline, in future centuries there will indeed be vast interstellar empires in the Milky Way galaxy, but in the current era the galaxy is much more heavily balkanized. The largest polities cover at most a few dozen star systems and a handful of sapient species. Only a few extraterrestrial species have made deliberate contact with Earth to date, and most of those are fairly minor on the galactic scale: Gadroon, Hzeel, Qularr,  Sirians, Vayathurans.  Of the more powerful and advanced civilizations and groups, the Mandaarians are resolutely non-interventionist, the Star*Guard is actively benign, and the Malvans are only interested in the entertainment potential of our superhumans. The others are farther away and not even aware of us.

 

However, repeated contact with extra-terrestrials and -dimensionals, along with many decades of the presence of superhumans, is IMHO a big reason why Champions Earth today rolls along pretty much like real Earth. People tend to adapt to whatever conditions they view as "normal," and superhumans, aliens , and related phenomena, have been normal there for generations.

 

OTOH I believe the development of UNTIL, and by extension the United Nations as a whole, as effective international institutions, is reasonable given that same history of repeated invasions from beyond Earth, as well as global threats from home-grown supervillains. That would surely have impressed most of the world's governments with the need for greater cooperation, just for mutual survival.

 

If you look at the timeline in Champions Universe, you'll note that heroes and villains did age normally and retire over the decades since WWII, and were replaced with new generations of supers. The only supers still active from the earliest eras are those for whom curtailed aging is part of their extraordinariness. Several years after Hero Games launched its current version of the CU, they published Champions Universe: News Of The World, intended to update and expand the setting with developments over the intervening period. It was meant as the first of an ongoing series, but the company's downsizing dried up further publications. I'm sure if they'd continued they would have accounted for some characters growing older.

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1 hour ago, Scott Ruggels said:

I think either removing or scaling UNTIL back would work.  Having a UN organization operating within the United States, with the capability of capturing and detaining supers, would have folks in the Militia movement in a tizzy, and  passing around files on how to build anti-tank weapons from common hardware store items.  I have always had a problem with VIPER, as to what their actual focus and goals were.   Even Daesh (ISIS) has a clear goal of restoring the Caliphate, and smiting the unbelievers.  The organization is a useful  piece for GMs, though.

 

As to tech, with all of the mad tech around How come the US Army hasn't gone with Micro-nuclear technology to  arm tanks with?  Why hasn't the Navy converted over to rail guns completely now? what about the Air Force putting beam weapons on  fighters? Either Aliens  or  the Gadgeteer down the street would bump up the tech levels. Look at what Elon Musk is doing. he's single handedly lifting parts of large, heavy technologies, previously ignored for the introspective pursuit of small Microprocessor based technologies. Not a fan of electric cars, myself, but even i can see that once they get the utility equal to gasoline engines (450 mile range per charge with a 5-10 minute recharge time), their use will be inevitable.

 

American response to an armed United Nations on US soil is a valid concern; but again, CU history has a response to that -- the Battle of Detroit. Before 1992 the US had not ratified the Tribunal Treaty over security concerns about foreign nationals in its territory. Then Dr. Destroyer leveled much of Detroit and killed 60,000 people. When the American public learned UNTIL had mobilized to help fight Destroyer, but were stopped at the border by bureaucratic red tape, their outrage forced the government to sign on.

 

As to super-technology, Champions Universe goes into some detail to show that it has indeed affected the world. Advances in medicine and genetics have eliminated, or diminished the impact of, many diseases. Scientists have adapted cybernetic technology first developed for powered armor and similar super-technology to devices that allow people with spinal injuries to walk again, and people with neurological disorders to function without significant impairment.

Communications has advanced significantly. Throughout the United States, Europe, and many other developed or wealthy countries, virtually everyone has access to computers, smartphones, and similar devices that are easily carried, lightweight, fast, high-memory, extremely user friendly, and have extraordinarily long battery lives. Even in Third World countries, ownership of cellular phones and computers may exceed 50% of the population, thanks to advanced manufacturing processes and materials. Holography has improved to the point where Millennium City features animated three-dimensional advertising billboards.

High-tech fibers and materials discovered by superhumans, and scientists working with their data, beginning in the Sixties have led to stronger and more comfortable bulletproof vests, lightweight armored panels for military vehicles, more crash-proof civilian cars, and many similar advances.

Internal combustion vehicles and manufacturing are much cleaner and more environmentally friendly than the machines of old, and major strides have been made in the field of alternative energy. Significant efforts have been made to clean up and repair damage to the environment, and to prevent further damage going forward.

Travel, whether by air, water, or land, is quicker and safer than ever before. Flights from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast can be comfortably completed in just two hours in some cases. The "Smart Roadway" system in Millennium City interacts with Vehicle Control Chips in all cars within city limits, allowing traffic authorities to automatically track them, and if necessary shut a car down remotely. When driving on the Millennium City Highway surrounding the city, the VCC lets a central computer take direct control of the cars, practically eliminating accidents.

While humanity is not yet colonizing other worlds in the solar system, near-space exploration is advancing rapidly. Since 1996 UNTIL has had a fully-functioning space station, GATEWAY, orbiting Earth, with up to 200 inhabitants. The United States launched its own orbital facility, the United States Space Station, in 2006. UNTIL also has the distinction of being the first entity to establish a permanently-manned base on the Moon, Moonbase Serenity, in 2000. It now has over 40 personnel. In late 2004 the United States completed work on the Venus Scientific Outpost, an orbital station designed to study the hothouse planet in detail. It has a crew of eight, six unmanned sensor drones, and three one-man vehicles capable of descending to the middle ranges of the atmosphere. The United States established Ares I, also known simply as the Mars Research Base (or “Marsbase”) in 2008. Marsbase currently houses a dozen scientists, though plans call for expanding it to almost four times that size over the next twenty years.

 

Although most militaries still use standard-tech weapons (explosive-propellant-based bullets and rifles, tanks and howitzers firing explosive shells, manned fighter jets, and so on), the larger and more advanced armies and navies have incorporated some super-technology-derived weapons and systems into their arsenals.

Some Champions Universe governments have fielded units of soldiers equipped with low-strength powered armor (or at least high-tech defensive gear), made use of advanced spacecraft, and equipped special military and paramilitary forces with blasters and similar super weapons. But even then, they often prefer to keep their super-technology to themselves as much as possible, due to the strategic and tactical advantages it provides. For example, the United States has small squads of light powered armor-wearing soldiers, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with smart targeting capability able to fly at Mach 10, and many other such weapons. None of them provide the US with an overwhelming advantage in combat, but taken together they definitely extend and expand America’s already potent military capabilities.

In some cases, super-technology developments even trickle down to smaller militaries. The US Department of Defense has expressed concern about countries like North Korea or Awad building and using relatively cheap magnetic “railgun” weapons to shoot down American satellites and planes. Sometimes it seems that for every advance one nation makes, another finds a way to counter it using different super-technology... though the sources from which some lesser nations obtain their super-technology remain a subject of speculation.

Even mercenaries and mercenary companies get into the act sometimes. A few, seeking competitive advantage both on the battlefield and in the marketplace, have invested in (or otherwise obtained) powered armor suits, energy rifles, advanced robotic vehicles, and other super-tech weapons. Supervillains like Lazer, Mechassassin, and the Steel Commando all got their start as mercenaries (at least in part), and still participate in that part of the global underworld if the money’s right.
 

Various groups, notably the United States government, have salvaged and studied examples of alien technology from the several invasions and known spaceship crashes, with mixed results. They've had the most success understanding and adapting the tech from the Sirians, i.e. the "War of the Worlds" aliens. The highly biological nature of Qularr technology, including the tendency of the bio-components to decay or become dormant over time, has made it difficult to analyze and mostly incompatible with human tech. Gadroon gravity-manipulating devices appear to utilize principles that humans, even super-scientists, have never imagined, so have eluded deciphering. While trying to comprehend the nonfunctional wreckage of the Malvan ships that Ironclad and Herculan arrived in, has been likened to Neanderthals trying to reverse-engineer a supercollider.

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It is true that some generations of superheroes did age and retire, but the "current" generation of heroes and villains, most of whom don't have anti-aging powers, don't really match up with their ages by the time of 6E.  Gravitar, for example, is said to be a "young" French woman in her 6E writeup, but she's been active since the 1990s.  Dr. Destroyer is 93, and has no means to slow his aging (according to 6E).  The universe sort of works if you keep everything frozen in 2000 or 2005, but a lot of the 6E descriptions no longer match up given that they didn't do very much updating from News of the World, despite the passage of more time.  Also, each passing year makes the vast majority of setting information even less usable, unless you refresh the timeline in some way (or start your campaign in 2000, which becomes harder and harder to do).  I just feel the whole universe needs a timeline reboot, much like DC and Marvel do.  (As an aside, I'm a huge opponent of living gaming settings.  I don't like the setting to evolve or change -- I hated the ideas in M&M 3E's version of Freedom City for example.  The setting should evolve as the players play in it, not on its own.)

 

Alien empires interacting with Earth in any significant way just feels very Star Trek to me.  It doesn't match a "realistic" setting.  Others can differ, of course, but Champions Universe has a LOT of aliens trying to take over Earth.  It just stretches my ability to suspend disbelief to think that the world, geopolitically, would basically be unchanged if we're threatened with alien empires invading us every few years (either from outer space or other dimensions).  I would keep those type of entities in a Star Hero campaign and let the Terran Empire deal with them.  But that's just me.

 

Edit: LL posted a lot more and I have to step away. I'm not meaning to ignore his other responses in this post.

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Keep in mind that the CU tries to include every well-known comics trope and element, even if they fall apart the moment you apply any critical intelligence to them. Like, alien invasions are a thing in comics, so the CU has alien invasions. And as you say, these would be a Big Deal that changed how people viewed the world -- except it hasn't, because comic books do try to keep the wider world looking familiar to the readers of their time.

 

But it's all there ready to use, whether your thing is alien invasions, persecuted mutants, super-powered hidden races, or what-have-you.

 

Beyond that... You accept the tropes, or you don't. I'm more okay with them than I used to be, because I no longer regard the real world as 'realistic.'

 

I still have problems with one trope, though: Supers having existed since World War Two. In the comics, it's because they've been published so long and have tried to backfill and tie in everything the company ever published. But the longer you have supers exist, the harder I find it to sustain the acceptance that the wider world still looks just like ours. It's why in my own setting supers first appeared in public in 2000. The consequences are still working themselves out.

 

(Just as importantly, PCs can be the first to do things, like be the first to fight an alien invasion. In the Marvel or DC Universes -- or the CU -- you're the 5th, or 50th, to fight an alien invasion. Whoop-de-do.)

 

As one of the CU creators (I designed a bunch of the mystical stuff), I say: It's all done as a resource for you. Pick what you want, ignore the rest, rework it to suit your tastes, we're fine with it!

 

Dean Shomshak

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I agree with Dean; even Steve Long has written repeatedly that you should change the official setting in any way that better suits the game you want to play. You bought it, it's your world now. ;)

 

I'll just add that most of the 6E Champions characters saw print between eight and ten years ago, with no opportunity to update them since.

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2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

American response to an armed United Nations on US soil is a valid concern; but again, CU history has a response to that -- the Battle of Detroit. Before 1992 the US had not ratified the Tribunal Treaty over security concerns about foreign nationals in its territory. Then Dr. Destroyer leveled much of Detroit and killed 60,000 people. When the American public learned UNTIL had mobilized to help fight Destroyer, but were stopped at the border by bureaucratic red tape, their outrage forced the government to sign on.

 

I am feeling like I walked out of the Amazon after 20 years. Well I think I played Champions last in 1989, and switched to Fantasy Hero full time, until all table top ceased for me in 1996-7. And 9-11 still feels like it happened 5-6years ago, rather than the nearly 20 it has been. I have “heard” about Millennium City but this is the first time I knew why it existed . (Sixty thousand Democrat voters. No wonder that treaty was ratified so quickly.😳😁). 

 

2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

As to super-technology, Champions Universe goes into some detail to show that it has indeed affected the world. Advances in medicine and genetics have eliminated, or diminished the impact of, many diseases. Scientists have adapted cybernetic technology first developed for powered armor and similar super-technology to devices that allow people with spinal injuries to walk again, and people with neurological disorders to function without significant impairment.

Communications has advanced significantly. Throughout the United States, Europe, and many other developed or wealthy countries, virtually everyone has access to computers, smartphones, and similar devices that are easily carried, lightweight, fast, high-memory, extremely user friendly, and have extraordinarily long battery lives. Even in Third World countries, ownership of cellular phones and computers may exceed 50% of the population, thanks to advanced manufacturing processes and materials. Holography has improved to the point where Millennium City features animated three-dimensional advertising billboards.

 

[This post edited heavily, because my super advanced iPhone 8 made hash of the formatting, sorry]

 

2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:



High-tech fibers and materials discovered by superhumans, and scientists working with their data, beginning in the Sixties have led to stronger and more comfortable bulletproof vests, lightweight armored panels for military vehicles, more crash-proof civilian cars, and many similar advances.

Internal combustion vehicles and manufacturing are much cleaner and more environmentally friendly than the machines of old, and major strides have been made in the field of alternative energy. Significant efforts have been made to clean up and repair damage to the environment, and to prevent further damage going forward.

Travel, whether by air, water, or land, is quicker and safer than ever before. Flights from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast can be comfortably completed in just two hours in some cases. The "Smart Roadway" system in Millennium City interacts with Vehicle Control Chips in all cars within city limits, allowing traffic authorities to automatically track them, and if necessary shut a car down remotely. When driving on the Millennium City Highway surrounding the city, the VCC lets a central computer take direct control of the cars, practically eliminating accidents.

While humanity is not yet colonizing other worlds in the solar system, near-space exploration is advancing rapidly. Since 1996 UNTIL has had a fully-functioning space station, GATEWAY, orbiting Earth, with up to 200 inhabitants. The United States launched its own orbital facility, the United States Space Station, in 2006. UNTIL also has the distinction of being the first entity to establish a permanently-manned base on the Moon, Moonbase Serenity, in 2000. It now has over 40 personnel. In late 2004 the United States completed work on the Venus Scientific Outpost, an orbital station designed to study the hothouse planet in detail. It has a crew of eight, six unmanned sensor drones, and three one-man vehicles capable of descending to the middle ranges of the atmosphere. The United States established Ares I, also known simply as the Mars Research Base (or “Marsbase”) in 2008. Marsbase currently houses a dozen scientists, though plans call for expanding it to almost four times that size over the next twenty years.

 

On the the subject of tech, it looks as if the influence is 10-15 years ahead of current year on the whole. Elon gets his Mars colony a few years early, and the supersonic airliner has returned.   

 

 

2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Although most militaries still use standard-tech weapons (explosive-propellant-based bullets and rifles, tanks and howitzers firing explosive shells, manned fighter jets, and so on), the larger and more advanced armies and navies have incorporated some super-technology-derived weapons and systems into their arsenals.

Some Champions Universe governments have fielded units of soldiers equipped with low-strength powered armor (or at least high-tech defensive gear), made use of advanced spacecraft, and equipped special military and paramilitary forces with blasters and similar super weapons. But even then, they often prefer to keep their super-technology to themselves as much as possible, due to the strategic and tactical advantages it provides. For example, the United States has small squads of light powered armor-wearing soldiers, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with smart targeting capability able to fly at Mach 10, and many other such weapons. None of them provide the US with an overwhelming advantage in combat, but taken together they definitely extend and expand America’s already potent military capabilities.

 

My second ever Champions character was a semi-prototype Military Powered Armor Suit, back in 1982.  What would 30 years of progress on that look like? 😁

 

2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 


In some cases, super-technology developments even trickle down to smaller militaries. The US Department of Defense has expressed concern about countries like North Korea or Awad building and using relatively cheap magnetic “railgun” weapons to shoot down American satellites and planes. Sometimes it seems that for every advance one nation makes, another finds a way to counter it using different super-technology... though the sources from which some lesser nations obtain their super-technology remain a subject of speculation.

 

probably VIPER. <__<.

2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:


Even mercenaries and mercenary companies get into the act sometimes. A few, seeking competitive advantage both on the battlefield and in the marketplace, have invested in (or otherwise obtained) powered armor suits, energy rifles, advanced robotic vehicles, and other super-tech weapons. Supervillains like Lazer, Mechassassin, and the Steel Commando all got their start as mercenaries (at least in part), and still participate in that part of the global underworld if the money’s right.
 

 

 

All in all, a good response, but I still feel like I stumbled out of the Amazon.

 

Edited by Scott Ruggels
EDIT, iPhone ate the formatting.

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1 hour ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

"Realistic" in a supers world is a moving goalpost. ;)

 

I conceded that at the beginning.

 

But I also think there's a line between a sci-fi campaign and a superheroes campaign.  Aliens invading every few years, or a divided Earth that geopolitically hasn't changed much from our world, dealing constantly with alien empires as though they are just other nation states doesn't feel like the "real world" to me.  Everyone has different tolerances, of course.  I can tolerate superheroes and supervillains, costumes, little masks, constant break-outs, even anti-killing codes.  But massive, regular invasions of Earth by extraterrestrial entities is too much for me to believe that the world would really look like anything like ours + flying people in costumes.

 

That's the other reason I don't really like every enemy army having blaster rifles.  I know why they are there (the Silver Age concept that people can be shot, but not be killed).  But it's a step too far down the supertechnology route for me to keep it in a non-sci fi setting.

 

CU does go out of its way to have every trope.  I'm trying to figure out which ones can be easily excised, leave the setting intact, and satisfy my desire to have as little Silver Age influence as possible.

 

I do like the idea of the world being closer to emerging superheroes than in its seventh decade of having them run around all the time.  I just am not willing to construct a universe where the PCs (or whoever) would be the first.  I don't want to throw out all the continuity in CU (I like the setting), just enough of it to keep the world "believably" like our own, with the addition of superhumans who commit crimes, fight crime, and fight each other.

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1 hour ago, PamelaIsley said:

 

I conceded that at the beginning.

 

But I also think there's a line between a sci-fi campaign and a superheroes campaign.  Aliens invading every few years, or a divided Earth that geopolitically hasn't changed much from our world, dealing constantly with alien empires as though they are just other nation states doesn't feel like the "real world" to me.  Everyone has different tolerances, of course.  I can tolerate superheroes and supervillains, costumes, little masks, constant break-outs, even anti-killing codes.  But massive, regular invasions of Earth by extraterrestrial entities is too much for me to believe that the world would really look like anything like ours + flying people in costumes.

 

That's the other reason I don't really like every enemy army having blaster rifles.  I know why they are there (the Silver Age concept that people can be shot, but not be killed).  But it's a step too far down the supertechnology route for me to keep it in a non-sci fi setting.

 

CU does go out of its way to have every trope.  I'm trying to figure out which ones can be easily excised, leave the setting intact, and satisfy my desire to have as little Silver Age influence as possible.

 

I do like the idea of the world being closer to emerging superheroes than in its seventh decade of having them run around all the time.  I just am not willing to construct a universe where the PCs (or whoever) would be the first.  I don't want to throw out all the continuity in CU (I like the setting), just enough of it to keep the world "believably" like our own, with the addition of superhumans who commit crimes, fight crime, and fight each other.

For ONce I'd have to agree with you  on some points. I've been setting up a Teen Champions Campaign on Discord and Facebook plus I've set up a club here @ HERO Games. Check it out why don't you?

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11 minutes ago, PhantomGM2602 said:

For ONce I'd have to agree with you  on some points. I've been setting up a Teen Champions Campaign on Discord and Facebook plus I've set up a club here @ HERO Games. Check it out why don't you?

 

For once? :)

 

I didn't know we were in frequent disagreement.  

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15 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

While the CU does try to include "all the tropes," I think the examples cited here demonstrate that Steve, Darren and Co. made a sincere effort to give them internal logic and consistency.

 

I think they definitely made an effort to try to include everything.

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It sounds like you need to seriously consider either strongly limiting or maybe even eliminating entirely some of the origins/power sources that are used by comic books. If aliens and extra-dimensional beings are rare to nonexistent, then those are origins/power sources that should probably be edited out of your campaign. Inborn powers like mutant abilities or characters wielding supertech might then make up a larger portion of the superhuman population. This can have social ramifications within the superhuman community. If eight out of ten superhumans are either born with their abilities or invented them like Tony Stark, then the smaller groupings of power sources stand out more.

 

The Gestalt setting showed that a pretty cool campaign world can be built with a single power source for superhuman abilities. 

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4 hours ago, PhantomGM2602 said:

For ONce I'd have to agree with you  on some points. I've been setting up a Teen Champions Campaign on Discord and Facebook plus I've set up a club here @ HERO Games. Check it out why don't you?

Phantom's problem is not that he can't find a setting he likes (He has and does. Teen Champions with a little bit of Anime-ish Magical Girls.), it is just thathe keeps on moving his platform, never satisfied with whatever play by post method he started out on. But this is neither here or there.

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1 hour ago, bubba smith said:

most alien races are used to replace foriegn goverments in the storylines

 

I thought fake countries like Awad and Luganga (or Latveria in a different universe) were used to replace foreign governments.

 

I think aliens are present so people can play out an "alien invasion" scenario.  I just think the widely known existence of interstellar imperial entities (or extradimensional empires that do the same thing) that are extremely hostile to Earth and continually invade would radically change society, politics, and human behavior in a way that people flying around in capes wouldn't (but, again, everyone has a different level of suspension of disbelief).  So that's one change I would absolutely make to the setting.  There could be aliens, but their existence would be the subject of conspiracy theories and dismissed rumors.  Same with other dimensions.  Demons, evil entities, etc. might be lurking beyond the bounds of reality, but there are no massive empires constantly invading Earth.

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OTOH one or two such empires, like the Kree, Skrulls, or Dominators, can make very good "big bads" in a campaign. Particularly if their primary focus is on each other rather than Earth, and their initial presence on Earth is covert..

 

Prior to Cryptic buying the Champions IP, the Gadroon and Qularr were little more than footnotes in CU history, not a current threat. Steve Long was building to an initially-hidden invasion event featuring the Hzeel, actually only a chapter in their war with the Perseids (Ironclad's people). But Cryptic devs apparently wanted different aliens as ongoing antagonists.

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31 minutes ago, bubba smith said:

i'd have the CU at golden age levels myself just starting out

 

I've never really liked the Golden Age.  It's not as bad as the Silver Age, but it's just not my thing.  I think I'm a "modern age" person, which probably means Iron Age without the grim vigilantism in my case.

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4 minutes ago, PamelaIsley said:

I think I'm a "modern age" person, which probably means Iron Age without the grim vigilantism in my case.

 Awwwww, but the "grim Vigilantism is the best part! XD.  ... and the guns! Woooo!😁

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