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Everything posted by sinanju

  1. Here's an idea: instead of a single, unified game world, maybe provide options? Characters, organizations, artifacts, adventure ideas--they all could be tagged to indicate what sort of background assumptions work for them. [Character A] exists in a world where superpowers only came into existence a few years ago. [Character B] exists in a world where Pulp Heroes first appeared in the early 20th century, but now costumed supers are common. [Character C] has lived for millennia, revered as a god in the ancient past, and now is part of a team of modern-day superheroes. [Organization X] was formed as a supernatural adjunct to the Third Reich and is still around today. [Organization Y] was formed in the 1990s in response to the sudden appearance of superhumans. GMs looking at the wiki could see which characters/organizations/etc would fit the background they want for THEIR campaign. And they'd be able to see quickly which ones would need some work to fit.
  2. My late father once told me about a sheriff of his acquaintance when he was young who was notoriously corrupt. Said sheriff routinely included "graft" as a category of income on his taxes precisely so that the IRS could not go after him for failing to report income (and because his tax returns could not be used as evidence against him in criminal trials). Absent any other evidence of his corrupt behavior, he got off scot free. My dad also told me about a general store that was burgled once when he was a kid. The general store included a post office. The burglars drew a chalk line around the post office section with a note that "We didn't cross this line." They weren't concerned about the local cops, but they didn't want the Postal Inspectors on their asses.
  3. Self-employed writer selling books on Amazon, Kobo, Apple, etc. You can make your own hours, and if you're at all prolific, you can make a decent living (or even get rich) in relatively few hours per week, allowing you to spend more time crime-fighting. Also, even if your face is known to the public, if you keep your nom de plume secret, nobody will know that it's Iron Maiden writing all those pulp-style thrillers. (I have a PC, Iron Maiden, who is in fact doing just this.)
  4. Speed Freak (he took uppers to speed, downers to throttle down to normal human speeds). Mach the Knife (a speedster with a knive and bloodlust).
  5. Really? I've been reading about outrageous abuses of "no knock" warrants (and the deaths of innocents as a result) for a very long time. Ditto the "asset forfeiture" scam that permits the authorities at the local, state, and federal levels to commit blatant robbery, which has also been going on for decades. Just goes to show: you learn something new every day. You--that "no knock" warrants even exist. Me--that despite how well known they seem to me, plenty of people still haven't heard of them.
  6. Or steal the idea from the short-lived Morituri Project comic from Marvel (I think): the drug gives you superpowers--but it WILL kill you within a year. Who would take such a drug? In the comic, people willing to accept an inevitably short but glorious career fighting an alien invasion. In a more conventional superhero world? People with terminal diseases who figure, "Why not?" People willing to trade their own lives in return for the chance to get revenge on an individual/group/nation/the world. People willing to trade a short, glorious career as a superhero (or supervillain) for a long life of poverty/misery/etc. And, of course, people who don't know (or don't believe--it's propaganda, guys!) the drug will kill them.
  7. The first thirteen years of my role-playing experience took place primarily in one gaming group, under--with rare, short-lived exceptions--one GM. Said GM was a huge fun of pulp fiction (SF, fantasy, all of it). Every player had several characters to choose from, and we mixed and matched them from one adventure to the next. As such, getting captured and escaping were staple plot elements. As were recurring villains. And most of the time we went along with it. But not always. Occasionally, one or more of the players would decide, "not this time." Death before capture. And we would follow through, doing our damnedest to win, or die in the attempt. We didn't always succeed--we weren't playing Hero System, it was homebrew system, but being rendered unconscious and not killed was always possible. So sometimes we all got beaten down and woke up in a dungeon. But usually the GM would see the rebellion brewing and back off on the taking captives things for a bit. Ditto for recurring villains. I've always disliked this more than being captured in a pulp-style game. On one notable occasion, a recurring villain came to the PCs to ask for aid in a bigger fight against a much worse villain. Thing is, I didn't believe it. My character didn't believe it. And I refused to go along, to the extent that the other PCs concocted an excuse to get my PC out of the room while they negotiated with the villain. In response, I blew a hole in the wall with a grenade and went in to do my best to murder the NPC villain, and nearly killed another PC in the process. I failed. I also made the player of the nearly-murdered PC (the GM's then-girlfriend and late wife) very angry (she was very attached to said PC), and the GM had to talk her down out-of-game from hiring an NPC assassin to kill my character. (Those two PCs never adventured together again after that.) On another occasion, my character was killed and resurrected as a zombie by the Big Bad of a particular adventure. (To be fair, the GM knew--and I knew--that my character would eventually recover from this due to magical preparations I'd made against dying earlier in the campaign.) Eventually my PC realized he was dead, and a zombie, which broke the spell. He fell over dead, and was magically resurrected by the spell I'd prepared earlier. We fought the bad guy and stopped his evil plan, but he escaped. End of session. On the drive over to the GM's house for our next session, another player and I discussed this state of affairs and found it Completely Unsatisfactory. We arrived at the game and announced that, no, we were not embarking on whatever adventure the GM had planned for us that night. Our characters were setting sail in pursuit of the bad guy (who'd sailed away last session), to capture and execute him. No quarter asked or given. We would chase him "through Perdition's flame" if necessary to get our revenge. The other players happily joined us in our stated mission. To his credit, the GM rolled with this change of plans and we did, in fact, chase down the bad guy and defeated him in pitched battle with him and his men, before putting him to the sword. And he never returned to trouble us again. My point? I think player dislike of being captured, or of recurring villains, and the rest has more to do with how heavy-handed the GM is about using those tropes than the tropes themselves. As I say, our GM loved him some pulp adventure tropes, and mostly we rolled with it. But occasionally we got tired of endlessly getting captured and escaping, or of fighting the same villains over and over again and never getting a real win. And we rebelled. And our GM generally saw the writing on the wall and eased up on such things for a while.
  8. Wait. What? That's the first I've heard that they'd put him into a patrol car--and then took him OUT again to kneel on his neck? I've been saying that if he were resisting even while handcuffed, put him the back of a patrol car where he a) can sit up and breathe, and b) won't be a threat to anyone. But he was IN a patrol car and THEN they killed him? [bad words here]
  9. Traditionally, wizards/mages/whatever have always been rare. If just anybody can learn magic and use it easily, that's certainly a viable campaign environment, but it doesn't fit historical model (where mages, real or imagined, were rare) or mythology or fiction. If that kind of Xanthian "Everybody has magic!" campaign is what you're after, go for it. But most campaigns are going to have relatively few mages. And as Chris said, if you're gating off magic to that extent, giving mages access to Multipowers isn't unreasonable.
  10. For the Germans...Storm Trooper. He can summon winds, rain, lightning, etc.
  11. It occurs to me that one way to deal with the issues raised is to decree as GM, "No combat spells allowed." Mages learn magic to do OTHER THINGS. A "wizard" is a wise man (or woman). He KNOWS things that most people don't. That means lots of interesting knowledge skills, and spells that let him learn things (Detects, Mindscan, etc). It doesn't necessarily mean he flings bolts of arcane energy to smite his opponents. If a mage wants to learn, say, staff skill in order to be able fight with the staff he probably carries anyhow, then great. Ditto with a bow, or even a sword. (Gandalf used a sword, as I recall). Or whatever. But his spells simply don't apply themselves to combat situations. Why? You're the GM. You tell me. Maybe magic requires time and concentration that is unavailable in a combat situation. Maybe a lot of things. But a mage who can start a fire with magic in the middle of a blizzard or a rainstorm doesn't necessarily have the ability to generate a fireball that would have an effect in combat. A wizard who can probe the deepest thoughts and most sacred memories of a willing subject, or a captured opponent, doesn't necessarily have the ability to give him a good mental whack in the middle of melee. And so forth. That doesn't mean a wizard can't be useful to an adventuring party, or even help them with combat. Maybe he casts buff spells on his teammates every morning. Or heals them after the battle is over. Or uses his uncanny knowledge in numerous ways to help them achieve their goals. But when orcs (or whatever) come leaping out of the bush wielding weapons, he won't be throwing fireballs and lightning bolts or clubbing them into unconscious with his mind. With his staff? Maybe. But not his mind.
  12. Well, yes, they're unpleasant--but, in my experience, not nearly as unpleasant as I was led to believe before my first one. Like many things, the unpleasantness grows with each retelling. I'm not looking forward to my next one, mind you, but it's just...unpleasant.
  13. My campaign (currently on hiatus while I run a Traveller game online) is one in which superpowers are new. It's been just over a year since the Wild Card virus imbued 7,000 residents of Hudson City, NJ with superpowers. It's been a chaotic year, to nobody's surprise. The current approach is placing captured superpowered bad guys into a single federal prison where the warden is a Wild Card. Her power is the ability to a) boost the stats of normal people to haman maximum for a period of several weeks, and b) to neutralize the powers of wild cards for an equal length of time. So she empowers the guards to Captain America-like levels (as well as a select number of federal agents) regularly, and keeps the prisoners' powers suppressed. This is, obviously, a stopgap solution as it depends entirely on her willingness and ability to continue in this position indefinitely. But it has given the authorities *some* option for holding otherwise unstoppable bad guys safely, reducing the likelihood that defeated bad guys will be summarily executed. This was not planned, by the way. I introduced the warden as a lieutenant of the first campaign season's Big Bad. Her power is invisible, so the first time the PCs tried to fight after running into her, they got a nasty surprise when they were reduced to their normal pre-Wild Card stats (and no powers). The Big Bad had "the gift of gab" and had persuaded her to work with him. Once she was freed of his influence, she turned state's evidence against him in return for immunity for her own behavior--and it occurred to the authorities (i.e., me the GM) that she could be very useful to them. So now she works for them.
  14. Also--do the AUTHORITIES know the supervillains' secret identities? If so, that makes things considerably harder for the former victims now supervillains. If not, as long they abandon the supervillain identities, they should find it considerably easier to build new lives for themselves.
  15. I hung in until the big crossover event (which was, frankly, pretty underwhelming in my opinion, sadly), but since then I've stopped watching Supergirl or Flash or Legends. I just can't bring myself to care. I *wanted* to like them, and I did for a long while despite the often juvenile character relationships and the mind-bogglingly stupid plot contrivances. But it all just finally came to a head and I deleted the OnePasses from my Tivo. (And the Myxy episode just confirmed a long-held suspicion of mine--the timeline we're watching is always, ALWAYS the best of all possible worlds. Even if a given alternate timeline is better in some way for our protagonist, that improvement in his life will always be paid for by horrific changes for everyone else.)
  16. That was almost exactly my experience as well. I loved the early seasons, but eventually lost interest.
  17. Stargate would get my vote as a great tv show. I liked its premise--contemporary Americans exploring the universe with contemporary weapons, equipment and tactics. The only maguffin they had at the beginning was the stargate itself. I also liked that, as time went by, they accumulated some sci-fi gadgets (zat guns, in particular). I liked that they were pretty good about consistency--facts established early on were kept in mind in later episodes. (For instance, that wormholes could only remain open for 38 minutes--usually--and that the dialing computer was slower than a DHD were plot points in a number of episodes.) What I think made the show as inventive as it was, was the premise. They had no spaceships, so the writers couldn't fall back on fifty years Trek-based tropes. They had to write stories around the premise. This was, alas, also where they fell down in later seasons. In the first season, it took the Goa'uld almost a year to reach earth by ship, just in time for the first season cliffhanger. By the end of the series, Earth had several warships traveling between the Milky Way and Atlantis in weeks or months. And once they had ships on the show, they fell victim to every single Trek-based cliche imaginable. Shields failing, structural integrity being whittled away, beaming up, beaming down, space battles at knife-fighting range, all of it. We saw less and less of the gate, too. Which took away everything that made Stargate unique and interesting. But those early seasons (and some episodes of later seasons) were wonderful.
  18. Yeah, if it's not my favorite, it's in the top three.
  19. Oh come on! It's not like it wasn't COMPLETELY OBVIOUS that he'd come back as a zombie after he got swarmed by them on that away mission. They never found his body, so you KNEW he wasn't really most sincerely dead.
  20. Oh, yeah. They have that at my local store as well. Red squares with footprints for people to stand proper distance from one another while waiting in line.
  21. My local Albertsons has a clear plexiglass shield between the checker and the customer. They will bag your groceries if you accept paper bags from them; if you bring your own reusable bags, you have to bag them yourself.
  22. But only if they can blame Republicans and/or Trump. I haven't watched television news or read a newspaper in decades (9/11 aside), and I'm happier for it. I can get any news I really need on the radio or the internet. I've been out of my house twice this week. Once to the grocery store for needed foodstuffs, and today to buy lunch from the Popeye's drive-thru before doing my laundry in an empty laundromat. Otherwise, I work from home M-F during the day and spend my evenings reading or watching tv or working on games. My girlfriend continues to work with COVID patients, so even when she's not working she can't visit. That sucks. Otherwise, I don't mind being alone most of the time.
  23. As they should. Whether she has the virus or not, she's forcing the market to take precautionary action (tossing a lot of otherwise perfectly good food) that costs them money.
  24. We could have, but we voted against her.
  25. I threw out my idea (for dealing with multiple fantasy races) on another thread. They're all the creation of some ancient civilization (elder gods, traditional gods, ultra-tech/magical mortal civilization, whatever), and effectively different breeds of humanoid. Humans are what you get when any of the other races don't carefully police their bloodlines, i.e., mutts. The elves (and dwarves and goblins and et cetera) have specific appearances (as opposed to humans, who can vary widely) because that appearance is *the definition* of an "elf" or "dwarf" or whatever (again, like breeds of dog). Vary from it by too much, and you're considered a "half-elf" (etc). Vary even farther, and you're just another mutt (i.e., human). Some cultures practice infanticide on those who don't meet the criteria, others will simply banish you, or just view you as definitely a second-class citizen or worse, and would never let you marry their daughters. In this world, humans are more numerous than the other races (they can breed like rabbits and nobody cares--other races have to police such things, so tend to be fewer in number), but also the least respected--albeit, to quote the News Monster from Futurama, "numerous and belligerant." This is *why* elves are graceful and beautiful (they were playthings). Dwarves were bred to labor in mines and other enclosed places. Halflings were intended as quiet, unobtrusive servants). Giants, goblins, hobgoblins, orcs, and the like were bred as cannon fodder. More exotic forms ( minotaurs, for instance) were bred to be hunted for sport. This rationale satisfies my desire to explain how and why so many different intelligent races co-exist.
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