Friday, June 11, 2010

Super-hero Settings

In addition to creating random power tables and tweaking the hell out of Truth & Justice, I have also been busy at work on the setting for my super-hero games.  In good, old-school fashion,  I try to let a setting grow organically.  But creating a super-hero setting is a little bit different than a D&D-style sandbox.  The standard supers setting is a big city which really doesn't need mapping (although you can do so if you like).  Your super-heroes are not likely to wander around the city, trying to avoid getting lost and mapping what they find.  To me, the replacement for geography in a supers game are the heroes and villains who populate the place.  Super-beings are literally what shape the supers-world and set the tone.  Is there a glorious legacy of heroism from the late 30's, as in the real world?  Did the supers fall out of favour during the 50's?  Are there so many running around that you can't catalog them?  Are the villains global powers or street thugs?

I grew up a Marvelite in the 1970's.  And whatever else I might enjoy, that setting and style are what say "Super-Heroes" to me.  Social injustice, student protests, Satanism, the Energy Crisis, Women's Lib, lonely cosmic space Jesus spouting poetry in psychedelic space-scapes, classic monsters, disillusionment with the Government, Golden Age legacies, barbarians, Vietnam fallout, wacky cults, drug problems, Alien Astronauts, and the power of Kung-Fu. Like that.

Some of that has come up in the Villains & Vigilantes re-imaginings I posted a while back (don't worry, there are more coming!).  STRIKER gets at social justice issues, while Ms. Anthrope presents a cartoonish version of Women's Lib such as began appearing the books at that time (go reread the Valkyrie's dialog from the early defenders if you have forgotten).  Furor gets at the punk movement.

I've begun posting a sort of gazetteer of the setting over at wikidot.  Mostly just as an exercise to see if I liked that service more than googlesites (verdict: undetermined as of yet, but not super-impressed).  It's a player's view of the setting, so some things are not on there and there are no game mechanics.  Over here on the old blog, I'll continue posting full write-ups. 

I should also return to my comment at the beginning: I'm continuing to fool around with the rules of T&J and that will be reflected in the character write-ups.  Try and spot the changes--it's fun!

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