Steve got a reaction from ScottishFox in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead
If you’re talking about the “McConnell Rule” or the “”Biden Rule” before it, they only apply when the Senate and Presidency are controlled by different parties. That doesn’t apply here.
Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and John Paul Stevens were each confirmed in less than forty days, so there’s also precedent for quick confirmations.
Steve reacted to Drhoz in Quote of the Week from my gaming group...
Champions - Return to Edge City : Geomancy 101
I realise it's been quite a while since the last Edge City post, but between COVID-19, lightning strikes, Weldun somehow nearly getting his ears blown six feet into his skull by an audio glitch, and more, we haven't actually got many hours in. The same has applied to the Pathfinder game, to a slightly lesser degree.
Cleaning up after Humanity First tried to prepare deadly chemical weapons to use against the Moreau population.
After Scooter nearly murdered one of the racist mooks at the chemical plant, he’s going to have to face the music from the Moreau leadership, as well as from his teammates - turning an ordinary human into a pretzel is bad optics. The reactions from the various community leaders are going to be mixed - the otter brothel-owner will at least understand where he was coming from.
Madam Lil: Don’t get caught doing it, or if you do get caught at least make it look like an accident.
She has a point. Attempting to put somebody’s head up their own ass is hard to pass off as an accident, even if they’re Reed Richards.
Scooter makes his way to the Collar Club to drink heavily, which is probably a waste of time since his Constitution is superhumanly high. At least the word of what Scooter did isn’t out in the rumour mill, since he didn’t actually kill anybody (magical healing is a useful thing) and nobody is inclined to bother the guy who used to be the club bouncer, when he has never been seen to drink heavily before. Fireflash would probably be off drinking somewhere too, if that wouldn’t be a different problem.
Hardlight: Surely she’s old enough now?
GM: Nope. Old enough to die for her country, not old enough to drink.
UNTIL is going to have to be called in to deal with a terrorist weapon like this - and to Gareth’s dismay, they recruit his rival Centurion into the effort. His powersuit has full environment capabilities, for two people, and a water cannon.
Eventually Scooter rings Fireflash and mutters what is probably the best apology she’s going to get. Hopefully that means we can have actual team meetings again, such as one about the pair of former sunbeds that got dropped off to Bat-Moreau and former team member Allana/Nocturne, with the note "one for you and one for your friends associates". Apparently they’ve been altered to read and display auras, for medical purposes.
Nocturne: Now we just have to figure out how they work.
Flux: Well, plug it in over there and we’ll screw around.
Hero Shrew: ‘F*** around and find out.’
Flux: All we need is a test subject… hmm. Hey, Hardlight, we have a new sunbed for you.
Nocturne: ‘Most of it is cool blue and then there’s a vortex of doom in your neck.’
Hardlight: Well, I know about THAT.
Hero Shrew: Well, I’m game *climbs in, then grabs Flux’s wrist* We ARE sure this wasn’t sent by a supervillain, right?
Flux: Could you grab Allana’s wrist instead? If you have an involuntary muscle spasm her hand won’t go bye-bye.
GM: That would give Nocturne a chance to try out her flesh regenerator.
Nocturne: It doesn’t work on bones.
It’s likely the devices were made by Guilt-rider/Dr Soma, although Nocturne has never told us that they’re the same person.
GM: Although it doesn’t have the hallmarks of Guilt-rider’s stuff - no chrome skulls.
Hero Shrew: So it’s not some kind of magitech cloning device sent by a supervillain.
Nocturne: I’m 30% sure it’s fine.
The Magus, now that he’s confident he’s not going to die of Martian Anthrax, can get on with his investigation of exactly what kind of mystic bulls*** is going on in Edge City. He has been learning all kinds of interesting things about Edge City, at least as far as what kinds of occult groups are operating where. He’d probably be fascinated to learn about that dimensional gate in the bay, but it’s not like any of us are likely to tell him about it. It’s unlikely Scooter even remembers it. We probably never would have discovered half the stuff the Magus has, either.
GM: Because the party’s magical expert really isn’t that much of an expert on magic.
Although there does seem to be at least one other technomancer, or group of technomancers, operating in Edge City. But then technomancers are the kind of people that wave rubber chickens at malfunctioning servers and then be surprised when it works.
But even without the kind of future problems that could be avoided with a five minute conversation, he soon discerns that there’s a surprisingly large number of relatively minor cults at work - even more than there are in San Francisco, and Vibora Bay - and there’s a surprisingly large amount of co-operation between them. They seem to have divided the town into nine sections. And a lot of them refer to the East. Certainly sounds like it’s connected to the whole Feng Shui deal that the superteam has been uncovering over the last year.
Hero Shrew: You know, I have to wonder if we’d be a more successful superteam if the Feng-Shui of our secret base was better.
But the Magus has a few problems too - he completely missed the fact that the entire city is Aspected, and the two biggest targets of his attention are things he really doesn’t want to interact with.
Hero Shrew OoC: Just as well he knows an entire team of useful idiots.
So eventually he tracks Flux down, while the team is on patrol. Flux and Fireflash ask him if he knows about how somebody was trying to alter the Feng-Shui of the entire city. To the point of hiring supervillains to help.
Magus: … that is a f***load of geomancy.
GM: I did some research into large scale geomancy, and the biggest one I could find was the Forbidden City.
Fireflash: Which would fit into one section of Edge City with plenty of room to spare.
Magus: Well that’s mildly terrifying.
Flux could probably offer more insight, but then he’s never got on well with the more traditional magic-workers in the region.
Flux: I ask questions about conductors and resistors and they look at me funny.
But comparing notes does reveal something a little alarming about the geomancy of Edge City. As well as all the Feng-Shui slapped over the town, there’s a major leyline running right across the centre of town - one that now runs exactly along the bridge across the bay, under Corporate Circle, and ending in Lake Effinger. Where something magical and Atlantean and some fire-underwater has been humming away for an unknown length of time. Possibly predating the day that experimental fusion reactor nearly wiped California and adjacent regions off the map.
GM: Portland would have been a seaside town.
Magus: So you’re telling me it was all planned by Lex Luthor.
So despite all the headaches it’s been giving us, the current situation is still preferable to the alternative. Although the fact that at least two other leylines cross the Corporate Circle, intersecting at a pleasant little park with large rocks artfully placed around, is now highly suspicious.
Flux: Crap. I’m going to have to consult a druid. Or a geomancer. Or possibly both.
And another leyline ends at the highway cloverleaf nicknamed the Infinity Interchange.
GM: So despite Edge City being built on biotech as its primary industry, somebody has been deliberately designing the place as an innately magical city. Or at least two somebodies.
Magus: They’ve been trying to use Western Geomancy AND Eastern Geomancy. No wonder it’s such a mess.
Hardlight: I guess we’re taking the Quadraphibious Qruiser to the bottom of Lake Effinger then?
Magus: My theory is that the CEO of LowellTech is behind the Western Geomancy half of it - I know he has a bunch of druids working under him.
Flux: … no, no, we checked him. He’s harmless. Good-natured, but a bit of an idiot.
Magus: Being an idiot doesn’t preclude him being responsible.
Flux: … give me a minute, I need to make a phone call. Hey, Hardlight, you didn’t sign off on any city restructuring a few years back, did you?
Flux: I need to check exactly when that park got laid out. If the Low-Carb Druids have f***ed things up again they are going to be in so much trouble. The thing with the hobos was bad enough.
Magus: … what?
But it does appear the purpose of the park at the ley nexus in Corporate Circle is to stop the geomantic power flowing into the area from building up catastrophically.
Flux: Well at least they’re good at what they do. They didn’t ASK, or tell anybody what they were doing, but it was good work at least.
At least the local gang situation has been quiet, while everybody waits to see how the federal case against Humanity First shakes out. Taking over much of a city’s street-level supercrime is one thing, but attracting a full federal response is something else entirely.
Steve reacted to Eodin in Widening Gyre
I've started running a "Victoriana" campaign, and Widening Gyre is of of my minor sources. It's a good book.
I'd love to see a Victorian Hero or Steampunk Hero the size of Pulp Hero, but that won't happen. In my campaign I'm combining pieces from Cowboy Hero, Horror Hero, Widening Gyre, GURPS Steampunk, Victoriana, Castle Falkenstein, and several others just to get the pieces of all the things happening in a magictech world of 1866. Lots of stuff! And since mine is based in the San Francisco, not London, there are different assumptions about the goings on.
But I digress. Bill Keyes did a great job with his Widening Gyre.
Steve reacted to BoloOfEarth in Best jobs for Secret IDs?
In my games, I roll beforehand for all Complications (including Secret ID / Public ID), and try to work any successful rolls into the night's adventure. I've been doing that for years. And in my experience, even the players who don't have either one as a Complication, still want to have personal-life stuff happen to their characters. I dunno, maybe they're just jealous of others being in the spotlight. So in the end, I try to touch on something in each hero's life, and just make it bigger / more directly involved for those whose secret / public ID rolled successfully.
Steve reacted to Anaximander in Teen Champions Supervillains
I don't know if this has been mentioned, but villains based on hip culture seems to be popular in teen based hero groups. I'm not too up on modern teen hip culture, but how about Social Medium, a magic using villain who uses social media platforms to control the minds of victims.
Steve reacted to Lord Liaden in Teen Champions Supervillains
A VIPER project to raise and train a new generation of supers to be loyal to and serve it. A kind of distorted reflection of Ravenswood Academy, the Champions Universe's school for young supers. Both of those are detailed in the Teen Champions source book.
Steve reacted to PsiJudge McCabe in Best jobs for Secret IDs?
I don't think Secret ID and Public ID are complications. I think that they are things that *can* be complications. If I'm playing a hero with a secret ID and I don't take any social complications or anything to make my secret ID into a complication, then my identity stays absolutely secure. Even if I go about joking around as "Joey", claiming to be the famous, well-known superhero "Captain Power", even if neither of those wears glasses, or a mask, or has any kind of disguise, my friends and coworkers all just kind of laugh it off and lightly mock me for pretending to be a superhero. Villains just assume that I'm a full-time superhero and never try to uncover my secret, even if I let slip that I actually have a day job at a specific local business. It just all happens to work out. Or, if I have a public ID but not as a complication, the same thing happens but everyone already knows that Captain Power is Joey from downtown.
In which case, I would probably still go with a job as a freelancer, preferably one that has some way of utilising your powers or skills as a super-hero on your day-job.
Having said that, obviously a secret ID or a Public ID, or even some halfway point between the two, could be a good and interesting complication. Lots of reasons for those to come up, with villain looking into your personal life or tracking you, and plenty of role-playing opportunities.
In which case, maybe take a job that does make your personal life harder or more tied to the super-hero persona, like a position with the Justice League's museum, so you have to let people see you stood right next to photographs of your super-hero ID a lot.
Steve reacted to unclevlad in Best jobs for Secret IDs?
Being Superman's "real ID" would be an invitation to get killed, should a real enemy of his target you. (Altho they might not fall for the deception.)
In Drew Hayes' Super Powereds books, a cornerstone point is that Heroes are licensed by the government; such a license is extremely hard to get. But Heroes are the cornerstone of the culture; you've got action hero, sci fi, and high adventure all rolled together. Support services have grown enormously. One of them was, building a cover job, which might well indicate being on the payroll of the (very extensive) firm that actually built these covers, among many other things. Through a shell, of course. One of the more common themes in the current supers novels I've read, is the serious use of shell companies or other forms of corporate masking to hide ownerships of a LOT of companies, property, etc. There was also legal support; the laws recognized the extreme risk exposing the civilian ID represented, and accomodated that in ways that probably would draw serious criticism from both sides of the ideological spectrum. So, TV coverage wouldn't be live-live; at least, it'd be delayed long enough so unlikely events that might compromise the civilian ID would be censored.
BUT...if you got outed, you were outed.
Steve reacted to unclevlad in Best jobs for Secret IDs?
Hayes also does a good job of recognizing the real issue: if your ID is public, then
--obviously your friends and family become targets
--less obviously, you lose the ability to act outside your hero persona. ANYONE seen to be associated with you, becomes a potential target, or becomes a clear target for those trying to expose other Heroes. The reason doesn't have to be malicious per se; just figure how many gossip sites there would be.
So, in general...I'd argue Secret ID is the default, and is worth NO points, for the supers genre. Public ID would be the problem, as it also creates a Social Complication in terms of dealing with other heroes. Building the cover story becomes a useful part of the hero background.
Steve reacted to Hugh Neilson in Best jobs for Secret IDs?
I'd also note that Secret ID is a complication. If you are designing your Secret ID to avoid any complications, something is wrong. Tony Stark often faced "do what is good for you and your company, or save the world from the Threat of the Month" challenges.
That needs to be mixed with the appropriate level of suspension of disbelief that people seldom notice Clark Kent is never around when Superman shows up, and that a pair of glasses so readily disguises him, but if there are no complications, there is no Complication.
Steve reacted to massey in Best jobs for Secret IDs?
In my own head-canon, superheroes have several layers of protection for their secret IDs.
At the top level, you've got other superheroes. They can fill in for each other, or use their resources to provide somebody assistance in setting up and maintaining their ID. Remember that time when Batman saved Bruce Wayne on national television? Or when Clark Kent interviewed Superman live on TV? It's really handy to be friends with the Martian Manhunter. And Bruce has really good accountants and tax lawyers on his staff who will help you legitimize some of that extra income you make on the side.
At the next level, you've got close friends who know you're a superhero. They cover for you when you need to leave work suddenly, or they will say "oh yeah Bill was over at my house last night". They go out of their way to prevent people from wondering why you disappear all the time (as opposed to people investigating who Amazing Man really is). This is your Alfred.
Then you've got friends and acquaintances who may suspect, but don't care. They could very easily put two and two together, yet they never do. This is your Jimmy Olsen/Perry White/Commissioner Gordon type. They are actively not curious about the hero's identity, sometimes even ignoring obvious clues. They know Amazing Man, they like Amazing Man, and if Steve Stephenson just happens to run to the bathroom right before Amazing Man appears (every single time), well a man's bathroom business is his own. Some of these people may be local authorities who would be the ones most likely to interact with the hero on a day to day basis.
I also think the best source of protection for superhero secret identities are the supervillains themselves. Why would the government be so fired up about uncovering Superman's secret identity, shouldn't they be worried about stopping Brainiac? Or where will Metallo strike next? No, let's devote all our time and resources to digging up dirt on the guy who saved that busload of kids and then fought off an alien invasion. Riiiiight. The problem I always had with this "government vs the superheroes" thing (including superhuman registration) is that supervillains don't become less active when you do that.
Steve reacted to unclevlad in Best jobs for Secret IDs?
Anything you can do at home...and a job that suggests odd hours helps. Obviously, powers and skills come into play, but note that they may well be real income sources.
--freelance software designer
--artist, sculptor, potter
--writer, nowadays, when you don't need a publisher, agent, etc.
There are a few that might link to power sets:
--metal manipulator: there are several options. High-end knives. There's a market for serious swords; the best fetch several thousand a pop. Watches...beautifully hand-finished steel pieces can easily get into 5 digit range. There's a specialized skill here worth mentioning. Railroad-grade pocket watches frequently had fired enamel dials; they're formed by melting glass or ceramic powders in a kiln. Extremely delicate, tricky, high loss rates. The skill never died...but it's been undergoing a renaissance. Enamel dial makers are specialized artisans. Even a simple enamel dial can take a $1000 watch up to...call it $1300-1500.
--stone manipulator: gem cutting and polishing. The trick here is establishing the connections to get the supply in the first place, as this is a small world, and you're talking about extremely valuable materials so trust is essential. But if your powers let you split, cut, facet, and finish with extremely high quality results and yields, this can work.
--my favorite: carbon manipulator. Covers diamond cutter, since diamonds are pure carbon. But almost all fibers are carbon-based; cotton is 90% cellulose, which is C6 H10 O5. Wool is similar; it also contains fatty acids...with are carbon-based. Kevlar includes some nitrogen...but that's it. So...on the side, as a cover? High-end clothing. By appointment only. For your team, if the GM allows? Armor maker.
--the main character in Drew Hayes' Corpies is a freelance restaurant/bar consultant. This suggests things like food critic.
--security consultant/analyst. Here, I'd want a power set that doesn't suggest I can exploit the systems I help with. But, this is a nice complement to hero work.
--CAD/CAM programmer and related. Architect had crossed my mind, but there are serious issues there; an architect has to spend significant time with customers and general contractors. BUT, the plans are now built on a computer...so your cover's the guy who does that part, in the back. Extends to all kinds of CAD/CAM and 3D printing applications.
Steve reacted to Killer Shrike in I miss this campaign
I miss it as well; we had just gotten to the climax of Act 2, poised for the home stretch. And then...quarantine! I still suspect it is all merely a stratagem of Mr. Timothy Ledoux; the difference between fiction and reality are as naught to one such as he; the 4th wall is the least thing he has shattered in a long existence occupied by the ceaseless pursuit of unwholesome power.
I have kept my hand in with Here There Be Monsters a bit in the interim however, slowly but surely chipping away at porting content. I finished porting the Zombie Apocalypse Vignette this weekend and am pretty happy with the results...