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PamelaIsley

A Modified Champions Universe

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43 minutes ago, PamelaIsley said:

2. Superhumans can't testify in court under their costumed identity.  I wonder if a lawyer could go through this and explain how this might be allowed but I simply can't accept it as plausible. 

 

Steve Long, who of course is a lawyer, does discuss that issue in the Stronghold source book.

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11 hours ago, PamelaIsley said:

I've been working a little more on this.*snip*

 

VIPER is a big subject.  I mentioned earlier that I'd like it to look a little more like COBRA than HYDRA.  What I meant by that was to tone down its supertechnology (and I do realize that the cartoon COBRA had things like weather dominators and MASS devices).  Their weapons and equipment resemble real world guns and vehicles (much like COBRA's planes, tanks, and guns are mostly just repainted or slightly retooled real world versions).  As for what VIPER does, how it manages to build bases everywhere, and whether it has the manpower of a first world military, those are questions I haven't really grappled with. 

 

 

VIPER has always been an weird and interesting case of a super organization that goes from being the comic relief to 'Why haven't they taken over the world'.  I'm also going from the 5E version of things here, but as far as I can tell it hasn't changed that much.

 

VIPER exists in it's Entirety to make sure that the beings who Started VIPER survive the coming apocalypse.  Whether that's cause DEMON causes almost all magic to shift out of the CU, or An alien invasion or extra dimensional invasion or what have you, VIPER is there to make sure that Nama (ancient serpent/ god/ being) survives.  The origins of the Council are caught up in years/ decades/ centuries of Nama et al encouraging certain families and peoples and bloodlines to  seek them out, accumulating in the search for the Serpents Lantern, which they eventually found. The Original Council of Thirty touched the Serpent Lantern, got a nifty tattoo and a vision of the future from Nama.   Nama, and VIPER in general, must survive and Nama doesn't care how they do it.  

 

People being people, of course, this means that there is a conspiracy of idiots and geniuses trying to gain as much of everything as they can, and taking over the world so that they can ensure the survival of the Council and Nama,  is just one of the things they keep trying.   Who knows, maybe at the heart of it all Nama has set this all up so that when the worst happens VIPER and everyone that opposes them will be the best and strongest there is, thus ensuring the survival of the Earth/ Human (Or Whatever) Race/ Nama and others like him. 

 

They seem to be able to do this because theirs is a global conspiracy that has existed, in it's more organized state,  since the early 1950s, the Council touches many things in the world and who is to say how much of any government/ economy/ etc is directly or indirectly influenced by VIPER and the Council and they have the ultimate backing of at least 1 very old supra normal being who doesn't care how ridiculous or dangerous or successful they actually are, as long as they can prevent the coming apocalypse.

 

I like VIPER as it is, because it can go from goofy to deadly serious in about a half second, depending on the needs and tone of the campaign and the interaction of the PCs with the group.

YMMV of course and your version of the CU sounds interesting in general.  Love to play in it to be honest.

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13 hours ago, Roth said:

 

 

YMMV of course and your version of the CU sounds interesting in general.  Love to play in it to be honest.

 

Thanks!

 

I wonder if play by forum is a possibility.  The problem is that like most Gms, I think I'd rather play in my universe than run it. :)

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2 hours ago, PamelaIsley said:

 

Thanks!

 

I wonder if play by forum is a possibility.  The problem is that like most Gms, I think I'd rather play in my universe than run it. :)

There is always play on Discord, or Roll20 (and others like it) or Skype.

 

As for playing in  your own Universe, you just have to have other players that can GM.  Did that with a friend of mine.  We played in 2 different cities, I would GM one city and he would GM the other.

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Many of the Superhero teams that were detailed in News of the World would need scaled back to fit into the power scale for the world I'm imagining (this goes for villains as well, of course, but it's less of an issue since most villains are intended to fight an entire team).  There are a lot of huge DC heroes in the Sentinels and Justice Squadron that are too powerful to fit in a less Silver Age setting.  The biggest offenders might be the strength-based heroes, like Diamond (who can get 17d6 in some combat maneuvers) and Brawler (80 STR! and 16d6).  In general, I'd want most heroes to fall in the 6E 300 point range (60-75 active point limit maybe), with the Champions being their Champions 6E versions at 400 points (and a few scattered heroes being more powerful).  This would fit with the idea that a huge portion of the world's experienced superheroes (like Vanguard) were wiped out in the Battle of Detroit.

 

The makeup of the teams would probably need a little work too, even if just on the edges.  The Sentinels have two extra-dimensional members and one member who is a Fantastic Four knock-off.  I'd probably at least change their backgrounds.

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On ‎2‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 9:30 AM, PamelaIsley said:

 

Thanks!

 

I wonder if play by forum is a possibility.  The problem is that like most Gms, I think I'd rather play in my universe than run it. :)

'play by forum what is that ?

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On 2/9/2019 at 7:17 AM, bubba smith said:

'play by forum what is that ?

 

Play by Forum is generally where you use individual posts to roleplay action.  It works better for rp'ing that doesn't require dice or involve combat.

 

But it's like:

 

GM Posts:  It's a dark and stormy night as you approach the old, run down mansion.

 

Player 1 Posts: Darkwing Duck moves up to ring the doorbell to see if anyone is at home.

 

Player 2 Posts: Gosalyn rolls her eyes.

 

And so on.  

 

It's cumbersome compared to live options, but it helps when people live in different time zones or can't all be online at the same time.

 

I have not done it for anything like DnD, M&M, or Hero.

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I created an NPC hero with a backstory involving Teleios and that lead me to re-read his 6E entry.

 

His characteristics are unbelievable, especially considering how the text goes out its way to say that he disdains the idea of being superhuman in any way. I can't imagine a scenario where Teleios's stat block would be needed (he works better as a plot device than as an actual villain), but it would have to be heavily changed.  I would also probably take away his power to create superhumans on demand (and with the precise powers that he wishes) and make it more he has the capability to sometimes create superhumans successfully, but the results can be somewhat unpredictable.  It just makes sense and keeps some balance.  Again, I see no reason this power requires being statted out anyway.

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On 2/4/2019 at 10:22 AM, PamelaIsley said:

I've been working a little more on this. *snip*

 

VIPER is a big subject.  I mentioned earlier that I'd like it to look a little more like COBRA than HYDRA.  What I meant by that was to tone down its supertechnology (and I do realize that the cartoon COBRA had things like weather dominators and MASS devices).  Their weapons and equipment resemble real world guns and vehicles (much like COBRA's planes, tanks, and guns are mostly just repainted or slightly retooled real world versions).  As for what VIPER does, how it manages to build bases everywhere, and whether it has the manpower of a first world military, those are questions I haven't really grappled with.

Quote

 

 

Teleios to me has always been the villain that was truly peak human without being actually superhuman, so his stats should reflect the peak human condition in the campaign.    If I was to use Teleios and felt the need to stat him out his physical stats would be at 25, his mental stats at 25-30, his CVs at 8 or less and his Body, Stun and End at 25, 50 and 50.  These are the peak human stats for my campaigns.  

 

Otherwise I think you are right that he is pretty much a McGuffin as far as a campaign/ adventure goes.  Teleios has done something, created some kind of monster, out of control superhuman etc and the heroes have to stop it with brute force, or figure out the weakness or introduce Chemical X into their system.  All the while Teleios (or a clone) is watching to see what happens and how the heroes deal with it, so he can better understand superhumans, what they can do and how to stop them or make them better (if he feels like it).

 

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Back in the day when I played 4th and 5th ed, I just house ruled all published character's Dex down by 6 along with the drop in CV.  It was a very small amount of mental arithmetic to make the adjustment when I used them and I felt a lot better about where everyone's stats were.  The conversion to 6th Edition will follow the same rules where needed.

Setting wise, I kept UNTIL out of the US, Russia, China, and a few rogue states.  They protected most everyone else.  In my games the USA used PRIMUS rather than having armed UN forces operating inside their borders.  I could never imagine the US allowing armed troops not under their control to fight in major US cities.  I also kinda liked the Silver Avengers and the Iron Guard too much to shut them out anyway.  SAT just didn't exist.
China and Russia had similar organizations but in never came up much.  My PCs international adventures usually took them to central America and the South Pacific.

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It seems to me a good source of material for you would be Mr. Bennie's Gestalt Universe.  It seems to have many of the ideas that you want.  I would recommend a look!

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4 hours ago, Mr. R said:

It seems to me a good source of material for you would be Mr. Bennie's Gestalt Universe.  It seems to have many of the ideas that you want.  I would recommend a look!

 

I've heard of this before and looked into it.  It's a little too different from the CU for me.  I like the Champions Universe, I just think it needs pruned significantly and has too much Silver Age creep in it.

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13 hours ago, PamelaIsley said:

 

I've heard of this before and looked into it.  It's a little too different from the CU for me.  I like the Champions Universe, I just think it needs pruned significantly and has too much Silver Age creep in it.

the CU or gestalt ?

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Disclaimer: I read the 1st page and a bit of the 2nd but have not yet slogged thru the rest.

 

@PamelaIsley, what you are attempting to do here makes sense to me, and is well within the expectation of adapting the printed material to suit your preferences. Most GM's do something of the sort, as I'm sure you know; often in an organic way without deliberation, sometimes formally and deliberately, but the end result is a variant setting that better suits the preferences of the GM / player group.

 

For me, when using the Champions Universe I can bite off on the cosmic and extra-dimensional aspects and the magical variants of both to some degree, as well as the unlikely longevity of main characters, as I recognize the tropes the setting is imitating are obviously true to the main examples of the medium (the Marvel and DC settings). 

 

The two things that most irritated me with the CU which I felt were not introduced to further the analogue to Marvel and DC were A) magic is the ultimate source of all superpowers, and B ) the timelines of the published Hero System settings across genres are shared (ie the Turakian and Valdorian Ages and the Star Hero settings (and so on) are in the same timeline as the CU, officially).

 

The magic is the root of all bit doesn't make sense to me, and is not accurate to the medium, and is entirely unnecessary as a justification. 

 

The shared timeline bit was done for marketing or internal reasons, and is unnecessarily restrictive and contorted, and serves little useful purpose to me. 

 

A third issue that isn't really a problem for me per se but did present some awkwardness from time to time when incorporating players who had played earlier editions of Champions, is shifts in tone, power levels, and details between versions of the CU from different real world eras and game editions.

 

To simplify things a bit and give my players and potential players a heads up as to how I ran my CU campaigns, I used the following guidelines and close variations for several 5e era Champions campaigns; it might be useful to you or not, but here it is nonetheless

 

Character Design

Characters are built on 250 Base Points with up to 125 Disadvantage Points. The Campaign has been in progress for some time, so new characters may start with 75 additional Experience Points to catch them up.

 

Any Origin is nominally allowed, but try to avoid Alien and "Cosmic Entity" type Origins.

 

No Active Point Caps are in effect, but certain Power constructs deemed to be abusive will be denied out of hand. Try to avoid plot-destroying powers like full Precognition, EDM, and similar effects.

 

Tight concept/SFX driven character construction required. No grab-bag Frameworks, please.

 

It would be best if your character is either PRIMUS Sanctioned, or keeps a few points back to become PRIMUS Sanctioned soon after entering play. The SANCTION PACKAGE DEAL is on page 43 of the Champions Universe supplement. The Contacts are not necessary if you don't want to be able to call on them at will.

 

I run a lower SPD campaign. As a general rule of thumb, I prefer physically normal folks to remain between 3 and 4 SPD, trained fighters, super agents, and "normal" MA's to remain between 4 and 5, genetically engineered, chi enabled, mutant reflex scrappy types, Speedster-Bricks, etc to be between 5 and 7, and SPD 8 and above reserved for dedicated Speedsters or other characters with a strong justification for excessively high SPD.
Setting is a separate Dimension
For reference purposes, the Champions Universe setting as described in the 5th edition era as used by me can be referred to as CU5-KS1 and by the book Champions Universe can be referred to as CU5. The official Champions Universes of today (5th edition) and yesteryear (1st thru 4th edition) can be thought of as alternate dimensions in classic Comic Book style.
A few key deviations between CU5 and the CU5-KS1 dimension:
  1. Magic is not the seed of all superpowers.
  2. The Champions went missing a year ago. No one seems to know where they went. This isn't necessarily a campaign plot point, I just wanted them out of the way so that the PC's can have the stage. Their base and other accoutrements are in the care of Dr. Silverback in the meantime.
  3. The smart chips used in MC are not generally known about by anyone, even most cops.
  4. Turakian Age, Valdorian Age, Terran Empire, Galactic Champions, and other published settings are not in the same timeline as CU5-KS1.
  5. Campaign morality is a little darker than CU proper. Not Iron Age dark, but a little grittier. People do get killed, and Killing attacks are used from time to time. Killing people as a hero will result in legal action and/or issues with other non-lethal heroes.

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11 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

The two things that most irritated me with the CU which I felt were not introduced to further the analogue to Marvel and DC were A) magic is the ultimate source of all superpowers, and B ) the timelines of the published Hero System settings across genres are shared (ie the Turakian and Valdorian Ages and the Star Hero settings (and so on) are in the same timeline as the CU, officially).

 

The magic is the root of all bit doesn't make sense to me, and is not accurate to the medium, and is entirely unnecessary as a justification.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

I so totally ignore the magic is the root of everything angle that I didn't even think to mention it. 

 

I own the Terran Empire sourcebook (and haven't ever read it; I bought the Traveller stuff around the same time and just used the Third Imperium), but I ignore pretty much all the timeline stuff that isn't "modern age" CU. 

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@Killer Shrike

 

I love these setting parameters:

 

1. Magic is not the seed of all superpowers.

2. The Champions went missing a year ago. No one seems to know where they went. This isn't necessarily a campaign plot point, I just wanted them out of the way so that the PC's can have the stage. Their base and other accoutrements are in the care of Dr. Silverback in the meantime.

3. The smart chips used in MC are not generally known about by anyone, even most cops.

4. Turakian Age, Valdorian Age, Terran Empire, Galactic Champions, and other published settings are not in the same timeline as CU5-KS1.

5. Campaign morality is a little darker than CU proper. Not Iron Age dark, but a little grittier. People do get killed, and Killing attacks are used from time to time. Killing people as a hero will result in legal action and/or issues with other non-lethal heroes.

 

I am going to try to do something similar for my proposed setting, keeping things as simple as I can.

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So stealing from Killer Shrike, here are my proposed setting parameters.  I tried to keep it simple (I originally went through all the active members of Sentinel, Capital Patrol, and Justice Squadron, but how often will that actually come up?), but it's still longer than Killer Shrike's.  I couldn't decide on whether the campaign would be centered on 300 point or 400 point 6E heroes, so I just wrote it up as though either could be used.  This is very much a draft.

 

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.

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Since this thread is about PamelaIsley's preferred modified Champions Universe, there's no gainsaying the choices. What she likes is what she likes.

 

That said, we're here to have a conversation, and that means controversy! (Takofanes could totally beat Doctor Destroyer.) There are some aspects of Steven Long's CU that take some swallowing. Others are perfectly cromulent, and I'll speak up for them.

 

First, lost civilisations are absolutely a comic book trope. They even exist in real life! How many superheroic archaeologists are there? How many revived supervillains? How many lost ruins? This stuff is gold!

 

Given that, how unreasonable is it to flesh them out? Marvel has, or had, the rights to Conan for the longest time, and Conan is by design a prehistoric hero of a lost civilisation. Who doesn't want to see Conan fight Captain America? Anyone?

 

Well, the Valdorean Age is the CU's version of the Hyperborean setting. In the same way, the Atlantean Age is the CU version of Arion of Atlantis. Again, gold, except when you're tempted to muck up Power Girl's origins. The Turakian Age is a bit more of a lift, but I can't count the number of fantasy characters ported over to a Champions campaign with a bit of a face lift. I mean, where do you think that paladin came from? You can put him in "real history," to be sure, but even the CU punts that by making the Black Paladin a character out of Arthurian legend. [Historian puts on tweed jacket, sucks pipe, adjusts bifocals: "King Arthur isn't actually real."]  

Conan vs Captain America.jpg

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I love discussions and I started the thread so people could speak up for things that I might not like, but might be perfectly reasonable.  Sometimes I'm biased against something that might make more sense than I realize (or be more necessary to other threads in a comic universe).  I might not be convinced, of course.

 

Past ages don't interest me much (or at all), and active Lemurian and Atlantian civilizations just seem an excuse for water-based heroes (and how often do you really need those), but I certainly admit that they are a part of DC and Marvel (and other) comic universe.  CU likes to have all the tropes, so there they are.

 

The only thing I'm absolutely dead-set against including (for sure) are alien and extradimensional invasions and polities. 

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2 hours ago, PamelaIsley said:

So stealing from Killer Shrike, here are my proposed setting parameters.  I tried to keep it simple (I originally went through all the active members of Sentinel, Capital Patrol, and Justice Squadron, but how often will that actually come up?), but it's still longer than Killer Shrike's.  I couldn't decide on whether the campaign would be centered on 300 point or 400 point 6E heroes, so I just wrote it up as though either could be used.  This is very much a draft.

 

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 about 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.

 

Seems very playable. 

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RE: no PRIMUS, UNTIL, etc...

 

UNTIL was not a major component for us; it was mentioned here and there and existed in-setting, but was off screen.

 

PRIMUS on the other hand ended up playing a major part in my 5e era CU campaigns.

 

Initially in the first group, one of the players wanted to play a Silver Avenger (which ended up being John Wrath), so right off the bat PRIMUS was prominent. Struggles around getting the PC's in that first group to register or not was a major facet of the first arc of the campaign.

 

A later PC (Major Savage) later went on to work for PRIMUS, starting up a new direct action unit called ICARUS (Immediate Combat Action Response Units), airborne power suited super agents.

 

Around that same time I introduced the HERONet Initiative, which was a PRIMUS outreach program that helped encourage supers who were hesitant about registering with PRIMUS to do so, and offering membership benefits, training, technology support, and so on.

 

The HERONet Initiative is not a typical superteam, rather its primary purpose is to help coordinate operations between PRIMUS and independently operating superhumans, and provide material assistance to them. However sometimes there is a void that needs filling and some or all of the HERONet regulars will rise up to fill the void, working as a team. There have also been a few times when a major threat was looming that PRIMUS proper has tasked Showdown with assembling response teams from among superhumans participating in the program, effectively relying on it to be a talent pool for special needs as they arise.

 

In yet another later campaigns, one of the PC's (Makeshift) backstory was that he began as a PRIMUS R&D engineer and had abused his access to recovered and salvaged supertech armor to make his own powered armor suit. Quit PRIMUS, moved to a city with minimal PRIMUS presence, and became a vigilante.

 

So, PRIMUS, registration with PRIMUS, and individual characters and teams stance on both became a major throughline in several campaigns. 

 

The good thing about PRIMUS is that it can be both a helper and an obstacle to overcome, as best serves the storyline. And it can change based upon the players' actions as well as due to bureaucratic reasons internally.

 

The challenge is finding the right competence level. If PRIMUS is incompetent, no one will take them seriously. If they are too competent then the PC's aren't needed. I kept them at a competence level where they were useful to take care of things the players didn't want to be bored with and competent enough to make the PC's think twice about crossing a line. As the PC's got more powerful, I augmented PRIMUS with the ICARUS and HERONet Initiative which allowed me to keep them in the "usefulness" band I wanted them at.

 

My version of PRIMUS was made up by reverse engineering stuff mentioned officially in 5e, a little bit of Shelley Chrystal Mactyre's PRIMUS supplement from 4e, and the rest of it was swiped directly from SHIELD as depicted in the 80's and early 90's in Marvel Comics minus Hellicarriers (they had flying cars ala Bladerunner however). Even though PRIMUS was sometimes a thorn or registration was sometimes a bone of contention for the PC's, the players tended to like the organization and the dynamic it brought to the campaigns.

 

EDIT: fixed spelling of Shelley Mactyre's name and included link to pdf

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 I would like to advocate for heroes being more "active" between the late 1930's and the present.

 

 1.)  many of the "Action Hero" stars of the 1960's and early 70's were WW2 vets, people like Telly Savalas, Lee Marvin,  Charles Durning, Kirk Douglas, and Paul Newman.  This means that someone "activated' in the WW2 Time frame as a 20 year old would be in their  40's through the 1960's. Assuming a 30 year productive  phase of their lives, this would mean they would be active through the mid 1970's, and retirement age would fall in the early 80's. (Like Commercial Airline Pilots trained as Bomber pilots in WW2, all retiring in the early 80's) Now, the Supers from back then seemed  "slower", and in most cases less powerful than later generations, but many might have been around long enough to be inspirations or mentors to the next or following generation, even if their rep only extended to within their own family, or small town. They would be probably 200 pts at best back then, though most were competent normals with one or two "powers". I think after WW2, most of the Nazi Smashers would  change careers, maybe raise families, But many of the civic minded would continue their public service as crime fighters, or government agents.

2.)  Speaking of Government Agents, Through the fifties and early 60's were the Cold War, and the rise of organized Crime. Perhaps what was seen as a diminishment of "super activity" was instead a shift into more investigative, and covert action. so while there was the usual "Rescuing Kitty from a tree" type news stories and some supers assisting during times of natural or man made disaster, most of the work was in collaboration with state, and federal agencies to thwart the communist or  Mafia threat. There may have actually been more activity than during The War, but a lot of it, was by people with Secret ID's working behind the scenes, and so the public didn't see a lot of it, other than perhaps a few splashy headlines and news reports about "Such and Such Crime Family"< being captured or involved in a battle at their compound with  a Masked Hero. Otherwise, the 50's into the mid 60's would have been a comfortable time, and the Space Race making things more optimistic, as public attention turned to space. This is the time where you see the last of the huge construction efforts were made, such as mega bases and underground installations, as in following decades, environmental impact studies and regulations would put a throttle on size, as well as resource costs.

3.) I would consider the Vietnam Protest years to cause a break in the spirit of Civic service, coupled with the Malaise era pessimism and perhaps a sharp rise in liability, and other such legal challenges would make superheroes a bit more scarce. Court efforts, I could see as forcibly retiring many of the Old guard, leaving a bit of a vacuum. The counter Culture's effect, with the rise of the anti-hero in entertainment, and that 70's "Soft on Crime" sentencing, might give a rise in super villains, as well or at least the "mentors" of the current crop. Point totals may rise a little into the 225 range, but there were probably not that many active participants then.

 

4.) The Reagan years. (My high school and college years) with the rise  of national Optimism, and the eventual demise of the Soviet Union, I would see would spark  a rise in Superheroes.  This also means that anyone that graduated high school, the same year I did, is  11 years away from social security, but their  30 year military retirement in 2012.  I would say here is where we see a lot of the classic Champions Heroes and Villains start. People that started at this time, if still active are the senior members, and/or leaders of organizations and teams. Power levels probably would have jumped, one from the optimism of the time, and two the rapid advance in technology then.

 

5.) The Nineties is probably where most of the current crop of top tier villains got their start.

 

6.) Post 9-11,  that was 18 years ago as of this writing, so  heroes in their 20's and 30's got their start, influenced by then, or developed superpowers in the Military, during the budgetary flush years.  One might start to see a few large megaprojects start after that (but contrast with how long it took to build the 9-11 memorial and the Freedom Tower, though, or even worse the two recent sky scrapers in San Francisco, on competently built, the other leaning precariously, giving an indication that building competence is not as common as it used to be.) So there will be bases build, but probably structures not too much bigger than a Fire Department Engine House. Power level might creep past 275pts, and up.

 

7.) Post Detroit Disaster  Lots of heroes fell. Lots of Villains were "put down" by the few survivors, and some Retirees. The Detroit Disaster, coming only 10 years after 9-11, I would see as sharpening the attitudes of the Post 9-11 attitudes, though I can also see that it being an impetus to withdraw US troops from some overseas areas, to station them as a "ready reserve" in case something else big like that happens. This would be where new heroes, some mentored by retirees, start to assume the mantle of Defenders of Truth Justice and The American Way. 

 

I feel that the past is important. This is where you get a father's or grandfathers special Ring, or  a trunk with an old costume and weapons. This is also where attitudes, of the NPCs and the public in general would be  formed. Because of the constant presence of Superheroes, the Public will be accustomed, if not comfortable with them in their daily life, but even at their height, a random member of the public would encounter a Superhero about as often as they would a member of the county sheriff, or state police., maybe less.  but because ot the media attention, stories within the family, or just a bit of reading, that not only is the public accustomed to the presence of supers, that those that have been given powers, have a set of cultural tropes, and steps to take,  to step into the boots of their predecessors. But like mid range pop stars from decades past, their exploits fade into the background, the place where only the truly legendary still have cultural currency. From the 60's Everyone remembers the Beatles, but who remembers Tommy Roe?  This also presents a source for some deep explorations and mysteries. I would say that looking back it would be periods of "Can do optimism", that spawned a resurgence of Heroes , and in the ebb tides, you might find more villains than normal, but on the whole, people only remember those that were either legendary, or had a direct impact on their lives.

 

Thoughts?

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That's a great writeup.  You make a good case and you have some well-thought out examples for each decade.

 

I have a few issues with it.  I'll nitpick first and then give a broader impression.

 

4. The 1980s is what I originally envisioned as the beginning of the "Modern Era" for the BCU, but then I realized that 1980 was a very long time ago at this point.  I always have in my head that things are taking place around the year 2000 or 2010, but that just dates me in terms of when I was most active with these games.  I am now very fond of non-specific dates.  So I came up with Vanguard appearing 12 years before the Battle of Detroit and the Battle of Detroit taking place eight years before "today."  This actually makes the modern era in my setting over 20 years old.  Which nowadays seems like forever.

 

5. The villains are too old if you do this.  If Gravitar starts being active in 1990 at about age 22, then she would be 50 "today."  That's just one example.  Without tying myself down, I like the idea of just saying "basically" all villains in the published works started about the time of the Champions (or maybe a few years before).  Pretty much all the villains that were active before the Battle of Detroit are gone.  That can be a setting mystery (although I like your explanation too).  This lets me use whatever setting villains I want, without worrying about them being unrealistically old.

 

7. This is exactly what I had in mind.

 

I don't want superheroes to be quite as much of a part of the popular culture and everyday life in the BCU as in the main CU.  Some things in the CU are just a little too much for me (I've mentioned most all of them one point, but I don't like superheroes being cops in capes or testifying in court or being parts of paramilitary groups, etc.).  If Superheroes have been super active for 90 years then they seem too commonplace.  I like my "most everything super happened in the last 20 years" approach.

 

That doesn't meant that there weren't costumed avengers and such in WWII or a few superhumans or super technology users in the intervening decades (maybe a Fantastic Four-like group or the agents you describe).  It just means they aren't really part of the popular culture yet.

 

Most of my changes are designed to de-age many of the published setting heroes and villains to make them usable in a campaign that starts "today."

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I ave to say, i Looooove conversations like this. Thank you.

 

Okay, backing up a little bit, the "ubiquuity" of supers before the "20 year mark" is easily explained. 

 

A.) They didn't seem ubiquitous because, prior to 1988=87, cable was a rarity, so the majority of Television were Three Networks, who's news broadcasts were national and international news. Supers would be, for the most part "Local News"< and even then, with the "If it bleeds it leads" ethos of journalism, Supers with a code against killing would not generate much "news".  Also Newspapers would be generating mostly text, as photos before the mid 80's were small, and black and white. I remember what a shock it was seeing the Palo Alto Times, with a color photo on the Front page. Because of the old , pre-digital technology. Photos of supers would be quite rare, other than publicity shots, or photos of the destruction left in the wake of a super battle. This would be the same for Local TV News, which would arrive after the fact, again interviewing bystanders, and showing scenes of damage a little vaguely from beyond the police tape, in glorious VHS Standard Def.  Hell, there may have been a regulation left over from the 50's "Agents" days that certain subjects were prohibited to be broadcast in detail, masking off any images of supers? With the rise of Cable, it wasn't long before the original CNN came about, and their big debut was the Tienanmen Square massacre, followed by the First Gulf War in 1991. The internet was still DARPANET in  those days, and would not become the World Wide Web until around 1995. The Past is a different country.

 

B.) the "Explosion" 20 years ago, is easily explained by the explosion of cameras on cel phones, and the creation and rise of social media. I would say that the more public face of Supers would have been in the wake of 9-11. As younger friends enlisted in the Marines after 9-11, I could see people with powers "stepping up". 

 

(but then to me, 9-11 still feels only 10 years ago to me.)

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