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A superhero setting from Scratch

A random Superhero Setting by Committee (Votes)  

29 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. When did the first known superheroes/supervillains appear in Modern History

    • In the last days of the Great war aka World War One
      9
    • Around 1955, coincidentally (?) at the beginning of the "Space Race" between the USSR and the USA
      7
    • The 80s
      4
    • At the turn of the Millennium
      5
    • The 2017 Great Eclipse
      4
  2. 2. What is the main source of origins? (Assuming many origins are still possible)

    • Alien interference from outer space, intentional or not
      1
    • Chemicals and or radiation introduced in the eco system got into humanity's genetic structure making mutants and mutates possible
      10
    • The Gods of Old are either dying and passing on their powers, or returning and picking/empowering champions
      3
    • High Tech, Bionic Implants and Powered Armor is released on the world
      1
    • A dimensional intrusion with the remnants of a world that was already super causing random and sometimes blatant reality shifts akin to a comic book
      14
  3. 3. WHY are most super heroes wearing costumes anyway?

    • Legal reasons, be they absolutes or merely advantages (Frex: Penalties are lighter for supers that give 'fair warning' and costumes count)
      10
    • There is something influencing/instinctive about it
      4
    • It's to honor and follow the lead of some of the first/greatest superheroes
      2
    • Not only is keeping secret identities possible in this world, the costumes each come with some ability to foil facial recognition tech and the like. If you don't want to get outed you need one of these costumes
      11
    • Corporations started the trend as a merch gimmick and it stuck
      2


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5 hours ago, death tribble said:

Vote Snake Men.

 

Vote Snake Men.

 

Vote Snake Men

 

You'll be happy to know, CURRENTLY Snake Men are in the lead for the Hollow Earth question

 

(But who knows how many more may vote with a pro or anti snake agenda?)

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One question: Chicago is home to skycrappers. What is a skycrapper? They sound... unpleasant.

 

I'd just like to point out that a hollow earth that is really a giant computer, with the occasional, hidden alien hitchhiker linving among humankind is a great tradition that should be memorialized and is  a much better option than snakemen.

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Aliens are a known factor but only to the super community and some country's governments

 

I like this option because it gives the GM the most flexibility. He can introduce aliens or invasions at his own pace. For the writer, he doesn't have to come up with the fictional alien races who've invaded or have to explain why the invasion didn't change the world even more.

 

 

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It's the home of giant monsters that could supply a Japanese film industry for over a century, there are primitive human tribes that worship those monsters as unto gods! Good thing there's no way to the surface that's wide enough for one of the monsters to get out... or IS there?

 

I went with this one because having to deal with giant monsters is a common trope that readers and players are going to want at some point. Might as well introduce the idea and set up the idea of Hollow Earth as a sequel book in this setting. I don't think steampunk, barbarians, giant computer, or defenseless aliens create as many story opportunities for supers or capture the imagination of readers as well as enormous kaiju would.

 

I don't personally see why the primitive tribes which worship the monsters would have to be humans rather than snake men. ;)

 

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New York City...because tradition?

 

I went with New York because it's the most populous and the richest. It'd make sense for it to have the most supers in sheer numbers.

 

I'd have San Francisco be the west coast center for supers for the same historical reason it attracted a large gay population: millions of men from all across the country were funneled through San Francisco during WWII and many of the fledgling supers met their first other super while there. That influx of supers resulted into the need for bars and clubs which catered to supers, the government identifying some of the supers and forming them into units, and some of the first ever spontaneous teamups of supers responding to crimes. After the war, many supers returned to the familiar surroundings of San Francisco and the company of like-minded supers (whether heroes or villains) rather than returning home.

 

Hollywood is a distant third. Many supers have worked there but as the film industry has diversified away from Hollywood, most of the current permanent super residents are legacy heroes and former stars and stuntmen rather than current active heroes.

 

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I picked 1955 and the space race in the last question, so I chose Hollywood for this one.  Not because of Hollywood, but more generally the southwest.  A lot of Air Force bases in California, Nevada, Arizona.  I figure you'd get an increase in supers as various military experiments went wrong (or went right).

 

Imagine the movie The Right Stuff, where some of the experimental airplanes crashed, and then the pilots walked out of the wreckage with powers.  Weird metals, strange radiations, secret experiments to communicate with beings in space.  Los Angeles is the nearest major city to a lot of these places, so the people with powers migrate there.

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4 hours ago, drunkonduty said:

One question: Chicago is home to skycrappers. What is a skycrapper? They sound... unpleasant.

 

I'd just like to point out that a hollow earth that is really a giant computer, with the occasional, hidden alien hitchhiker linving among humankind is a great tradition that should be memorialized and is  a much better option than snakemen.

 

   One of the great things about the Hollow Earth genre is that you can have both of these at the same time or even more.  The GM just has to set it up that  Different Lands have completely different things going on in them. This way a campaign can start in the land of the Snake-Men with a Conan/D&Dish feel and when the players start to get either bored or too cocky the team “accidentally” crosses over into a new realm with no way to get back.  Maybe a high-tech repressive (is: the Planet Mongo) society desperately in need of a revolution.

   This in effect becomes an independent campaign of it’s own inside your new universe.  Make the PC’s a mixed group of new paranormals and experienced agents (power & point levels to be decided) on their way to a secret training facility when they’re caught in a dimensional vortex. 

   This formula has worked in a hundred places from Gene Roddenberry’s three tries at a pilot movie I think they were collectively referred to as Genesis II.  (The first starred Alex Cord and the second two John Saxon.) to the RPG Rifts, to the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon and DC comics the Warlord written & Drawn by Mike Grell.

 

    Damn, now I want to play this or run it.

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   Holy crap!!!    I almost forgot to credit Michael Surbrook’s  Hidden World campaign.  He does a wonderful job chronicling it in his website  Surbrook’s Stuff.

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Ok. At 29 votes...

We have our winners

 

When did the first known superheroes/supervillains appear in Modern History?

In the last days of the Great war aka World War One ! (of course)

Be it some guy in Fedora and mask taking independent action back in the Western Hemisphere, or someone with the mysterious power of independent flight or invisibility on the battlezones themselves,  that's when the first recorded superhero or supervillain is known to appear in this world.

 

And yet..

It's worth noting in our vote that no option got less than 4 votes. 1955 was a strong runner up at 7. So I imagine that each of these points inspired someone... so for this setting, The Great War sets things in motion, here is where History shifts at first... but there are further bumps or key 'supermoments' at those as well.

 

Of course, one thing might affect the other... something happened at the Great War, does that affect or even erase the space race? At least 7 folks might be sad if it removed it entirely.

 

Mmmm something to think about as I suss this out.

 

What is the main source of origins? (Assuming many origins are still possible)

Clearly the question is set with some provisos intact. There will be other sources of power in this world...at least to a degree. But the one that was voted top dog really does allow a lot. And to me, it's the most intriguing.

 

A dimensional intrusion with the remnants of a world that was already super causing random and sometimes blatant reality shifts akin to a comic book

 

When another universe (Or chunks of it's corpse?) come into your own and your very reality can shift...well, that means almost anything could go...and possibly did.

The very nature of the World is changed. It gets a Hollow Earth . It has space aliens. The lay out of the cities that will be the most famous in 'current time' are changed. Perhaps it released new chemicals and radiation in this setting's eco system? (Which was our number 2 most popular choice). I'm going to have fun with the 'blatant' thing more than once, and again, the fact the first question was more even distributed means that reality shifts might have been bigger then.

 

 

 

WHY are most super heroes wearing costumes anyway?

 

This one was almost a tie. The winner, by a nose, is " Not only is keeping secret identities possible in this world, the costumes each come with some ability to foil facial recognition tech and the like. If you don't want to get outed you need one of these costumes " In the past, Christopher Reeve level body language and a shiny icon could do the trick. As  camera tech advanced, and lead to eventual facial recognition... then more people got outed. BUT ...keeping pace with that, is the develoopment or discovery of some material or wearable tech that really messes with that. It must be in high demand by villains and heroes alike. But is it open source or do certain forces have a near monopoly on it? mmm

 

REALLY close at second place....

Legal reasons, be they absolutes or merely advantages (Frex: Penalties are lighter for supers that give 'fair warning' and costumes count)

 

I've used this one before in some of my games. Some judge shows less sympathy for an idiot crook who tried to run full tilt into a man with a cape and then seems surprised he got hurt trying it. Like the rattlesnake kind enough to let you hear it as a warning, you can argue that costumes are a major 'DON'T' sign. By wearing them, heroes give fair warning and are judged as having done so. The same might be encouraged of villains, oddly. Sure, a villain might be more effective if he shows up in plains clothes, gets right next to the bank vault and THEN assaults the guards.. but if there is some sort of ' give warning' or 'self identification law' he might, weirdly, find his sentence extended than if he came with skull designs on his shoulder pads.

 

We'll use both for this setting I think.

 

We'll see how the other one winds up.

Now that reality shifts are official... I may throw some random stuff out there in a third and last poll.

But there WILL be Amazons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30 votes? Wow. Maybe I should close the poll now instead of tonight?

 

Okay. I think at this stage at least the obvious winner to the third question is  the 'evenly split between all of the above and more'

 

Which gives us...

New York City (Because Every Comic book universe has to tip the hat to that)

Atom City (In our World Oak Ridge) with a VERY different history built into it

Hollywoodland! (Also with a different history, or at least a sign standing up)

And Chicago, which has a built in Mafia presence even in modern times.

 

Could be fun!

 

Meanwhile, the snake men currently have a very narrow lead over their rivals

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No Snake Men, but I do have psionic Pterosaur-like beings, an animal handler in control of two 40 ft. bi-pedal creatures, an intellegent ape-like being, and to top it all off, a group of upper crust British teenagers who manage to receive parahuman abilities the moment they crash into this underground world. All under the command of a man thought to be a fictional character in an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.

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Okay, with thirty members, and a Death Tribble making big goo goo eyes to keep his snake men, I'm going to close this poll early.

 

So this setting's Hollow Earth ?

A sword and sorcery throw back with mystics, barbarians, and Snake men.. .SOOOO many snake men

 

BUT it's a big hollow world so... we got room...

 

our runner up is certainly also there, though it hardly controls all of Hollow Earth so...

It's the home of a ruthless and cruel Steampunk Empire with pale but attractive humans, a few of which fight against the Emperor as rebels. The Empire does not know of the outer world but would love a chance to expand.

 

And yes, somewhere there are giant monsters and even a fancy computer that could be the size of at least a city!

 

What's the situation with Aliens from outer space and this setting currently?

 

"Aliens exist. Folks know about this. They've either invaded or aided certain countries in the past but are not currently on Earth in large numbers. "

 

So Aliens appeared in a big enough number that at least one incident couldn't be hidden. We'll have to figure out when , where, and under what conditions.

 

 

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1 hour ago, L. Marcus said:

The Eatees were obviously observing the InterDimensional Accident. Obviously.

 

   Or the Accident blew out their stealth systems resulting in a crash in a highly populated area.  The resultant Govt. appopriated and bystander looted tech caused the technological leap that caused many hero and villain origins.

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It was meant to be a world very much like the one we know and live in. Just another very closely aligned paralel universe with minor differences at best from what anyone else would call 'the real world'. It had its Roman Empire, it's Rise of Christianity, it's battle of Hastings, Europe discovers the Americas, the Napoleonic era, the whole smear.
Then Chunks of another reality broadsided it hard utterly transforming it in parts, and having ripple effects elsewhere. You could call it a quantum entanglement, or a fragmened dimensional intrusion, or whatever will help you make sense of it and make you sleep better at night. One reality poured into another, and there were consequences that stuck.
Whatever that old world was like, it was fully of superheroes, supervillains, and strangeness it was all to happy to bequeth on its unsuspecting heirs.
The biggest change occured during the Great War.  It seems funny, with so much focus on the United States of America as the home of all things super, that one of the biggest initial incursions was in Anatolia aka Asia Minor.  That was the end of the Ottomon Empire. That was the end of what we now call the Armenian Genocide. It was the birth (or Rebirth if you believe old Greek Myths) of the Amazon nation.
Depending on how you define Hero, the first hero was a heroine. We know her better now as Mother Justice. She was the first and greatest of the Amazons, and she had enough.
The world's eyes were on Europe. Perhaps that was a mistake.
But then, supers would make their mark known there too.

The Great War was ending, the War between and Superheroes and Supervillains? That would prove to be eternal

 

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

So Aliens are known publicly... how about that...

 

.........

And just for fun, we have the curse of Atlantis hit a modern city/area

 

 

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I gave Atlantic City "The Curse of Atlantis" because I didn't know what would happen to the Keys if Miami sunk.

 

I decided to make the Amazon nation Xena-like, because it's a cool concept.  Perhaps it's closer to a constitutional monarchy instead of an absolute monarchy and an ally of the United States.  It may even by in or near the West Indies.

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1 minute ago, Mark Rand said:

I gave Atlantic City "The Curse of Atlantis" because I didn't know what would happen to the Keys if Miami sunk.

 

I decided to make the Amazon nation Xena-like, because it's a cool concept.  Perhaps it's closer to a constitutional monarchy instead of an absolute monarchy and an ally of the United States.  It may even by in or near the West Indies.

 

To be clear, the Amazon nation is in what is now in the REAL world... Northern Turkey. Where the ancient greeks believed the Amazons dwelled.

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