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Opal

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  1. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Christopher R Taylor in Champions Icons   
    Yeah, the more we talk about it, the less I like it.
     
    People are products of their time.  Moving them around in time either changes who they are, or what they represent in the new context.   1963 Tony Stark was white by default, and 'millionaire industrialist,' defense contractor, playboy, and genius inventor all carried different, mostly more positive connotations (OTOH, alcoholic, which came a bit later, is not so negative today as it was then).   IMHO, the Marvel Movies didn't go far enough in rehabilitating him, and thus made the character less heroic and positive than he originally was.
     
    I suppose it's not nearly as pernicious as the expostmodern tendency we see today of leaving the characters in their proper time, but projecting wild anachronism unto them and/or the period.   
     
    The former does a disservice to the character, the latter to history, and we know what happens when we don't learn from history.  
  2. Like
    Opal reacted to tkdguy in Urban Hero   
    I used to run a campaign that combined Highlander with a few elements inspired by the World of Darkness. I didn't have the rulebooks at the time, so I based the vampires on Forever Knight and werewolves on the Jack Nicholson movie Wolf. Then I added a dash of other elements such as the X-Files.
  3. Like
    Opal got a reaction from AlgaeNymph in What's fairy tale-style magic?   
    One thing that's struck me over the years is that the way magic is used, described and related to in very old sources - like Greek mythology, for instance - is very different from traditional fairy tales, which are very different from modern fantasy, is even different from post-modern fantasy.  And, yes, it makes sense the presentation of magic changes with the times, with how it contrasts to the mundane, with prevailing beliefs, and with the role it plays in the story.
     
    In traditional fairy tales, even as they were written down after in the 18th or 19th centuries, there's an impression that they're making sense of a mysterious universe, much like religion and other folk tales.  They were for children, they taught moral and even practical lessons, and they presented a consistency that children need, the same story ends the same way each time, good is rewarded, evil punished, etc, as contrasted with reality which was poorly-understood, arbitrary, tragic and cruel.  
     
    In modern fantasy, OTOH, while the universe still seemed more uncaring than ever, it was better understood, faith in science was on the rise, which made even everyday miracles seem mundane. So the emphasis on magic in fantasy shifted from providing justice in familiar, consistent stories, to providing a sense of wonder when science had made the world seem less wonderous.  The fantasy of Dunsany, Lewis, and Tolkien (and in a darker sense that of Poe and Lovecraft) takes wonder associated with magic, and uses it to create a less knowable world, rather than a more just and consistent one.
     
    Post-modern fantasy, the fantasy of D&D, video games, movies and TV, and literature on the order of Harry Potter, takes it further, in that it's trying to provide a sense of wonder to audiences jaded by the wonders of technology, so magic is wildly powerful, cleverly and practically employed, so that it can outshine modern marvels.  The stories, told, OTOH, are post-modern stories, full of human failings and innately evil  (for evil's sake) systems in dire need of revolutionary change driven by the young and/or outcast.  I guess it'd be a bit cynical to say that's why classes are so imbalanced in D&D and Hero GMs are reputedly more suspicious of magic VPPs than gadget pools, because magic has to be straight-up OP to seem like it's really magic.
     
     
  4. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Jhamin in Superheroes: the Tacit Warrior Elite   
    Humble, too.  😜 though, really, that's a very human tendency, creating connections, 'magical thinking,' confirmation bias, whatever you want to call it.  Like our ability to see faces in tree bark, clouds, toast, and photos of the surface of Mars.
     
    The Green Goblin certainly throws bombs, and is crazy.  Anarchists stereotypically throw bombs, and may be crazed, but they're not craz-y if I may draw the distinction between extreme action spurred by desperate faith in a belief system and actual mental illness.  So GG isn't an anarchist, he actually /is/ crazy, and doesn't have much of a belief system driving his actions that I've noticed.  In his secret ID he's another evil rich white man, anyway, isn't he?  Y'know, like Lex Luthor, Bruce Wayne, Wilson Fisk, Tony Stark, etc...
     
     
  5. Like
    Opal reacted to steriaca in Create a Villain Theme Team!   
    The Unmovable Kid
     
    Brandon Backton developed the ability to anchor himself in space, allowing him to stop movement for himself. He floats in the air after a jump and can not be moved if he doesn't want to be moved. Generally Brandon uses his powers to become either a platform or a blockade.
     
    Eventually he developed the ability to bounce attacks back at his opponent (both ranged and hand-to-hand damage). He discarded his original villain name in favor of Bounceback.
     
    Note: this is not true flight. So that is still available.
  6. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Lord Liaden in What's fairy tale-style magic?   
    One thing that's struck me over the years is that the way magic is used, described and related to in very old sources - like Greek mythology, for instance - is very different from traditional fairy tales, which are very different from modern fantasy, is even different from post-modern fantasy.  And, yes, it makes sense the presentation of magic changes with the times, with how it contrasts to the mundane, with prevailing beliefs, and with the role it plays in the story.
     
    In traditional fairy tales, even as they were written down after in the 18th or 19th centuries, there's an impression that they're making sense of a mysterious universe, much like religion and other folk tales.  They were for children, they taught moral and even practical lessons, and they presented a consistency that children need, the same story ends the same way each time, good is rewarded, evil punished, etc, as contrasted with reality which was poorly-understood, arbitrary, tragic and cruel.  
     
    In modern fantasy, OTOH, while the universe still seemed more uncaring than ever, it was better understood, faith in science was on the rise, which made even everyday miracles seem mundane. So the emphasis on magic in fantasy shifted from providing justice in familiar, consistent stories, to providing a sense of wonder when science had made the world seem less wonderous.  The fantasy of Dunsany, Lewis, and Tolkien (and in a darker sense that of Poe and Lovecraft) takes wonder associated with magic, and uses it to create a less knowable world, rather than a more just and consistent one.
     
    Post-modern fantasy, the fantasy of D&D, video games, movies and TV, and literature on the order of Harry Potter, takes it further, in that it's trying to provide a sense of wonder to audiences jaded by the wonders of technology, so magic is wildly powerful, cleverly and practically employed, so that it can outshine modern marvels.  The stories, told, OTOH, are post-modern stories, full of human failings and innately evil  (for evil's sake) systems in dire need of revolutionary change driven by the young and/or outcast.  I guess it'd be a bit cynical to say that's why classes are so imbalanced in D&D and Hero GMs are reputedly more suspicious of magic VPPs than gadget pools, because magic has to be straight-up OP to seem like it's really magic.
     
     
  7. Haha
    Opal reacted to assault in What's fairy tale-style magic?   
    I'm considering using Brangomar in an adventure set in New Zealand.
     
    Because of the LOTR movies, of course.
  8. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Lord Liaden in What's fairy tale-style magic?   
    IDK who that is.
     
    But, considering my audience, I'd say that "Fairy Tale" magic functions to teach a moral/in-group/role-affirming/conformity lesson.  Don't stay on the path?  Bad things happen.  Do follow the elders' instructions even though they sound batshit crazy?  You prevail.  Unfailingly polite to even weird creatures?  You make your way past them unmolested.  Violate cultural norms? (unless, it's a batshit crazy thing an elder told you to do) Get transformed into something icky.
     
     
     
     
  9. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Chris Goodwin in What's fairy tale-style magic?   
    IDK who that is.
     
    But, considering my audience, I'd say that "Fairy Tale" magic functions to teach a moral/in-group/role-affirming/conformity lesson.  Don't stay on the path?  Bad things happen.  Do follow the elders' instructions even though they sound batshit crazy?  You prevail.  Unfailingly polite to even weird creatures?  You make your way past them unmolested.  Violate cultural norms? (unless, it's a batshit crazy thing an elder told you to do) Get transformed into something icky.
     
     
     
     
  10. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Grailknight in What's fairy tale-style magic?   
    IDK who that is.
     
    But, considering my audience, I'd say that "Fairy Tale" magic functions to teach a moral/in-group/role-affirming/conformity lesson.  Don't stay on the path?  Bad things happen.  Do follow the elders' instructions even though they sound batshit crazy?  You prevail.  Unfailingly polite to even weird creatures?  You make your way past them unmolested.  Violate cultural norms? (unless, it's a batshit crazy thing an elder told you to do) Get transformed into something icky.
     
     
     
     
  11. Thanks
    Opal reacted to Lord Liaden in What's fairy tale-style magic?   
    Brangomar, aka the Shadow Queen, most recently written up Champions Villains Volume One: Master Villains, is essentially Disney's Maleficent (the classic animated version from Sleeping Beauty, not live action); except that instead of being a dark faerie queen who can transform into a dragon, Brangomar is a dragon using magic to appear as a human-like woman. Her personality and style are very much like Maleficent, and like the evil Queen in Disney's Snow White. Brangomar rules a land called the Shadow Realm in the dimension of Faerie, that being the sum of all the lands, races, creatures, and gods from human myth and legend. The Shadow Queen is also a powerful sorceress in the aforementioned "fairy-tale" magic style.
  12. Like
    Opal reacted to death tribble in Create a Hero Theme Team!   
    Assuming Opal's last one counts this will be number 7 but I'll give Lorehunter the right to call it.
     
    Remidi8
     
    This member of the Samaritans is a Buddhist and uses the 8 pillars of Buddhism to conduct himself. He is a vegetarian. His goal is the end of suffering and he follows the four noble truths of Buddhism, the truth of suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of suffering and the path that leads to the end of suffering. He will look at the big picture and look to resolve a big issue to end suffering but he can focus on an individual to end their suffering. He works primarily with Saving Grace as she travels to where there is suffering and that is his calling. His martials arts skill is to disarm and disable and take down opponents. He has code against killing. The other benefit of his skill is to let projectiles pass him by.
    The one concession to modern life is the codename he uses.
  13. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Duke Bushido in Character concepts class systems can't cover   
    But they don't make nearly as much noise as internal combustion engines, which are more than loud enough to scare horses, which is why they should never have been allowed to have been operated in public, in the first place.
  14. Haha
    Opal reacted to IndianaJoe3 in Genre-crossover nightmares   
    Robin Hood: Prince of Thebes
  15. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Christopher R Taylor in Character concepts class systems can't cover   
    But they don't make nearly as much noise as internal combustion engines, which are more than loud enough to scare horses, which is why they should never have been allowed to have been operated in public, in the first place.
  16. Like
    Opal got a reaction from BoloOfEarth in Create a Hero Theme Team!   
    Levi
     
    Levi March was named after the progenitor of the Levite tribe, to placate his father's family, who had already lost their surname to Ellis Island generations before, and it did slightly soothe the relations between his grandparents and his non-practicing father and gentile Armenian Christian mother.  As far as he was concerned, it just meant he got teased about 'Levi's jeans' - and he often just went by Lee.  Levi's life was good, his family was well-off, he was blessed with extraordinary good looks, perfect health, and athletic talent from an early age.  But two events, each involving a girl, changed his life forever.
    The first was when he was an insecure adolescent in junior high, he fell into the habit of bullying the less popular kids, in particular the schools stringent uniform dress code did little to accommodate any student who wasn't both slender and able, and some girls in particular were horribly teased for how they ended up looking, Levi was particularly cruel to one, Leah, who after months of in-person and social-media bullying, committed suicide.  Levi was wracked with guilt and spent the rest of his youth in therapy, volunteering, trying to do something to atone, in college he took every course he could find about gender, social issues, he slowly came to realize that it just wasn't about him, not Leah's suicide, not his desire to make it right,  not what he could do, but it was about what others needed.  He learned the very hard, obscure, lesson of selflessness.
    The second was when he was modeling, he'd dropped out of college after failing to excel in sports (he had the physical ability and the talent, but coaches always said he lacked the 'will' or 'killer instinct') and put his looks to good use.  The shoot was brutal, they'd been prepping since 3am so the photographer could have his precious perfect early-dawn light, and one of the girls, Jessie, was just an insufferable diva, making everyone that much more miserable as they waited, half-naked in the bitter cold.  There was a flash of flame and sulphurous smoke as a 7' red winged humanoid appeared in front of Jessie.  "You have had your 15 years of youth and fame, now I take what is due me!"  Everyone watched the apparition, aghast, as Jessies face aged 30 years in a moment and the devil or whatever it was reached for her.  Everyone but Levi, who stepped up grabbed the monster by the wrist and wrestled it away from her.  "Very well, mortal, a contest of strength for her soul, and when you lose, yours will be forfeit, as well!"  Levi called upon a strength he realized he'd always had but never dared use, but it wasn't enough, the devil bent him backwards, as he was about to fall he did something he hadn't done in many years, he prayed.  Levi rallied, pushed the devil back, and down to its knees, it yielded . "Her soul is her own, I swear I will not tempt her again nor seek retribution against her."  "Neither will you tempt nor seek retribution against her family and friends - nor mine, as well."  "Done!"  And the monster was gone.  
    Levi was always a mutant with superhuman strength, durability and athleticism, but, whether for psychological or supernatural reasons, he can only exert that strength when barefoot and stripped to the waist, otherwise he's limited to casual strength.  Thus his hero costume is just a pair of 501 jeans (it's how he was almost-dressed when wrestling the devil, also the restriction is on how he dresses voluntarily, villains have tried wrapping him in a coat or blanket to no avail).  As a mutant, Levi has the strength of 40 men (around 35 thanks to Hero doubling?).  Now, when struggling in a just and pious cause he gains divine strength, multiplying his mutant strength a further 40 times, (that should be right around 60, I think), and becomes nigh-invulnerable and resistant to mental influence & magic, as well.
    Levi is a preternaturally beautiful man, he's tall and dark, his hair is dark, thick, and wavy, his eyes so dark they're almost black smolder with intensity, his body is utterly perfect, like an obsessive body builder, but defined and lithe rather than bulky, his features are just slightly softer than the stereotypical 'chiseled' would imply, seeming manly or boyish depending on his mood & expression.  He's clean-shaven, and either manscapes or is blessed with neat, short, tightly-curled body hair that sticks to a generous diamond on his chest, leaving his 'pecs and abs smooth, and a 'happy trail' leading downward from his navel to .. (well, this description's getting too big).  He radiates sex appeal like a furnace - and he's chaste, since his encounter with the devil, he's waiting for marriage.  
    Since he can't wear a mask while super-heroing, and his gorgeous face is all over the internet, he has a public ID.  He prefers to help people without hurting anyone, so he works with the Good Samaritans where his extreme strength is very useful in construction, disaster cleanup and rescue operations, but in dire enough need or against supernaturally evil foes he will aid other teams in battle.
    And, he's hunted by a Devil.  Because the way he phrased his acceptance of the devil's surrender technically failed to exempt himself from retribution or temptation. (If he'd had another moment to think, he might have demanded Leah's resurrection, instead, and that would not have gone well, at all.)
     
     
  17. Haha
    Opal got a reaction from BoloOfEarth in Create a Hero Theme Team!   
    And, in a bizarre crossover between the Good Samaritans and Champions Antarctica...
     
  18. Haha
    Opal reacted to Old Man in Character concepts class systems can't cover   
    I'm in a 5e campaign now.  Got my paladin up to 6th level before I picked up a PHB (Amazon had a 50% off sale).  I then realized I have no flippin' idea how to play D&D. 
     
    But yeah, not only is it class based, the classes are wack.  Although bards and monks are still OP so that's the same.
  19. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Lorehunter in Create a Villain Theme Team!   
    Admirers of that certain group of idiots would like to deny the particular antics indirectly referenced by the pun, so that's a tad ironic.
     
    And the oblique reference to Poison Ivy was lost, too.   You could have hit that one harder and just swapped it around to Caustic Holly, and give her an acerbic wit, as well as acid powers.   Or, just too on the nose, Toxic Holly.
     
    (the more I think about it, the more I like the concept)
  20. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Ninja-Bear in Genre-crossover nightmares   
    Why stop at two?
     
    The Last Lion King Kong of Scottland & I Know What You Did Last Summer of Eat Pray Love in the Time Machine of Cholera ....
     
     
    OK, yeah, stop at two.
  21. Thanks
    Opal reacted to death tribble in Create a Villain Theme Team!   
    Ultra Violet
     
    Sarah Page was Ultra Violet. Her power was to make people become violent towards each other and not her. She wore a bullet proof outfit that stops her from being hurt and taken out by a stray bullet or targeted gunfire. Unusually she is not the leader or the most egotistical as she is careful with her mental powers. Overconfident men are often the victims of her power. She prefers not to kill but to leave her victims with guilt over what they have done or not done. There is no record of her post the millennium
  22. Like
    Opal got a reaction from tkdguy in Genre-crossover nightmares   
    Why stop at two?
     
    The Last Lion King Kong of Scottland & I Know What You Did Last Summer of Eat Pray Love in the Time Machine of Cholera ....
     
     
    OK, yeah, stop at two.
  23. Haha
    Opal reacted to Cancer in Do you have silly adventures occasionally?   
    As a player, I have a powerful psychlim that requires my characters to be silly somehow, though that often is limited to the origin story or perhaps the character psychlims or other details.  Too many GMs disapprove of satirical content that they didn't create.
     
    As an example, I blundered across the below as an eight-year-old piece of character origin story for a superheroic power level brick who was an orangutan brought to human intelligence and super-powers magically.
    ========================
    In 1967, a mad Borneo witch doctor, incensed at the deforestation and damage to the deep jungles of the island, made a great spell dedicated to Pukpuk, Mighty Forest Spirit, calling on him to send a great warrior to defeat the hated invaders who were cutting down the forests.  A bewildered young orangutan found himself suddenly bigger, stronger, smarter than ever before, and possessed of a terrible rage against humans and their tree-cutting.  He ignored the crazy, smelly old coot who capered around him, and vanished into the forest.  Possessed of superhuman strength, human-level intelligence coupled with the wild ape's senses, and a supernatural ability to hit targets with thrown objects (and sometimes very large thrown objects), he was steered by the forest spirit's anger to attack by night those places where engines growled by day.
     
    (Explanation: In the character build was campaign-limit STR, and campaign-limit CSLs for thrown improvised weapons, in direct imitation of Mr. Incredible's abilities in the first Incredibles movie.)
     
    For two years he busted up logging operations and mining camps on Borneo, killing a few loggers, more through collateral damage than intent.  (The sound of a chainsaw sends him into a berserk rage.)  He destroyed all the equipment: trucks, loaders, bulldozers, generators, compressors, and especially chainsaws and sawmills.  He had no name and never surfaced into human society, unknowingly leaving a variety of political and ecoterrorist groups to claim credit for his activities.  One of these called itself Orah, after a striking lumber worker killed by a company goon squad.  Ultimately, that name stuck for the responsible party for all the unexplained destruction in the northern and northeastern parts of Borneo, even after the original Orah group was infiltrated and arrested en bloc by the police.  Though brutal and random, his activities did make a dozen timber companies go under and forced five mining operations to shut down entirely, and Orah was hunted desperately by both governmental and international authorities.  Of course, they were hunting for a human operation, and never looked for a super-orangutan.
     
    One day the orang encountered a young white man in the jungle, as the latter relaxed ape-style on a leaf-bed in the crotch of a large tree.  The human had no power tools, and the orang followed him stealthily for a day or two as the man took pictures, wrote notes, and (but for clothes and large amounts of mosquito repellent) lived unobtrusively in the forest.
     
    On the third day the human saw him and stared, then turned away and started eating: correct orang etiquette for an encounter with a stranger.  The orang joined him, and both were astonished when the ape understood the human's speech.  Young Jim Dirtbag (the human) had been on the Malaysian side of the border as something of a Maoist sympathizer when violent riots and government reaction made everyone leave town or go underground.  The orangutan described what he'd been doing, destroying exploitation activities in the jungle.
     
    "You're Orah!" exclaimed the human.  "For that you get a beer."
     
    "What?" replied the orang, utterly without comprehension.
     
    Dirtbag explained that "Orah" was getting all the credit (or blame) for the destruction in the jungle, and the orang accepted the label with indifference.  In long talks, the young, foolish, and rather left-leaning young American told him that to really make progress against the damage to the forest he had to hit the rich men in the cities, the capitalists, for whose profit all the destruction was done.  Now, in Borneo he could destroy the local bosses in the city, but to really halt it all, he'd have to come to America and destroy the fat cats of Wall Street.
     
    The organtuan also learned that he really liked this liquid stuff the human called "beer".
     
    A few weeks later, the orangutan went into the city of Samarinda in early evening, and demolished a corporate office building, killing a dozen office workers, including the company president and several other officers.  It was spectacular, as Orah got away, leaving the authorities to puzzle over a cement-and-brick building knocked down without the use of explosives or power equipment, other than the sixteen-ton bulldozer that had been launched from the street so that it crashed through the second-story wall, tumbled through the room where the company officers' meeting was taking place, through the floor, and collapsed the structure around it as it came to rest on its side at ground level.  That the perpetrator also broke into a store and made off with two full beer kegs was a minor tweak on the mystery.
     
    Jim Dirtbag's money ran out and he departed for the States, never spilling the beans on Orah the Orangutan.  Finishing a degree with a double major in wildlife management and agriculture at WSU, he got a job as a game warden in southeastern Washington, supplementing the low warden's pay by growing pot outside a shanty he had in the Blue Mountains and selling it to college students in Pullman.  He found himself living a low but satisfactory lifestyle, writing up poachers and illegal loggers, accepting bribes from people he caught with a couple too many trout in their cooler, and writing incoherent leftist tracts while stoned that he subsequently used to light his fireplace in the winter.
     
    Orah never forgot the strange man and his words about coming to America, and in late 1971 he stole aboard a tramp steamer, ate coconuts out of a container for ten days, and jumped ship at the mouth of the Columbia River.  Swimming ashore he headed into the Cascades in southern Washington, where he came upon a recently dead human hanging from some shredded cloth in a tree, a single big bag under the swinging corpse.
     
    (Explanatory comment: The corpse is D. B. Cooper, and the bag of money is the ransom he collected during his skyjacking.  This was inserted into the character background so Orah the Orangutan had upwards of $100,000 in cash at the time the campaign started.)
     
    The bag had money (that much he recognized, Jim Dirtbag having showed him some and expounded on its evils), and he pulled down the body and carried it and the money for three days as he continued moving eastward through the mountains.  Where the trees started running out -- never in his worst nightmares had he imagined a landscape that went for miles of apparently treeless hills -- he buried the corpse under several tons of loose rock at the base of a cliff, and set off over the grassy, arid, cold landscape.
     
    He found he had to break into buildings for food, since he recognized nothing edible standing out in December in Washington east of the Cascades, and left a trail of petty burglaries behind as he made his way across the Yakama Reservation, crossed the Columbia north of the Wallula Gap, passed north of Walla Walla, and ascended into the snowy forest of the Blue Mountains southeast of Dayton, Washington.  Bitterly cold, miserably wondering why he had come to this unimaginable snowy desolation, he broke into a dilapidated cabin above the Tucannon River on Christmas Eve, 1971, where he and Jim Dirtbag were utterly astonished to renew their acquaintance.
     
  24. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Lorehunter in Create a Villain Theme Team!   
    I was telling someone about the thread, and finally said the name out loud.  lol  
  25. Haha
    Opal reacted to DShomshak in Character concepts class systems can't cover   
    I can't comment on the "Kane" series because I've never read it, but Opal reminds me of a discussion a friend of mine read on RPGNet: on the inverse relationship between literary merit and gameability. Like, Anna Karenina: the RPG? No. It would never work. But Knight Rider: the RPG? The game practically writes itself. The PCs all work for the mysterious Foundation, which equips them with an artificially-intelligent super-car. They fight crime!
     
    Dean Shomshak
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