Author Topic: The Heroes of New Arcadia - RPPR Superheroes campaign - Wild Talents  (Read 127676 times)

clockworkjoe

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Dark Sun is fun but we want to do a huge ass campaign in another genre. So we're talking about doing a sci-fi or superhero game as the next 'big' RPPR campaign.

I have an idea for a street level Wild Talents game - the unintended consequence of decades of superhumans battling each other around the world has resulted in mass proliferation of superhuman enhancement methods reaching the public.  Anyone with a little money and a few connections can get diluted supersolider drugs, reverse-engineered alien cybernetics or a 7th generation photocopy of a black magic grimmoire.

Superhumans used to be few and far between due to the Kronos Syndrome. The most powerful superhumans killed or otherwise neutralized any rivals that appeared before they could become rival threats. Legal protection was granted to these modern demigods as governments sought to keep them placated. A detente was reached between the sides. Skirmishes and battles happened. But the peace was kept. Life went on as it should. Even the most powerful superhumans wanted civilization to continue as it was. The heroes that could have brought utopia were killed or believed that man's free will was most important. The villains that could have conquered the world were imprisoned or realized that any serious attempt to take over would only result in total destruction of all human life. So despite the colorful heroes and rogues that made the evening news, life went on as life does.

A few years ago, an extinction level threat wiped the majority of superhumans around the world. Both hero and villain gave their life to protect an alien menace that threatened the world. Of course the details of the event are classified. The world only saw a massive structure large enough to be visible in the night sky. One night - bright flashes and the structure was gone.

With the experienced heroes and villains gone, their secret labs, fortresses and small countries were discovered, raided and invaded. Looters and scavengers plundered them and sold what they found to the highest bidder. Henchmen and sidekicks revealed secrets for profit and fame. Governments ramped up superhuman experimentations in order to field the first new generation super soldiers.

No one intended for what would happen. But the first superhumans to reappear were not government, corporate or criminally backed soldiers. They were civilians, amateurs in the purest sense of the word. They had no fear of experimenting with the new discoveries, had no hesitation with altering themselves and had no shame in proving that they had learned how to become more than human. Most of all no one thought these amateurs would share what they had learned to any that asked them. They put their knowledge on the Internet.

Naxalite rebels in India burned down government tanks with their minds thanks to a designer drug cocktail formulated by a Japanese otaku obsessed with a dead German pyrokinetic supervillain. The drug is based on cryptic notes found in the villain's apartment and posted on the Internet by paparazzi. Only the Otaku knew enough about the villain's life to decipher them and figure out the formula. Only the otaku isn't a chemist so the formula isn't perfect and the new drug cocktail has several...flaws.

Day traders and other finance workers start talking about "seeing alphaville" on insider message boards and email lists. This actually refers to a reverse-engineered precognitive alien tech. The alien was from Alpha Centauri and it had the ability to see the future by employing certain exotic radiations. Once a few engineers and unemployed physicists learned how to get about 20% of its full power with current technology, they started selling their services. Of course, eventually others learned how to do it and now anyone with a few pieces of lab equipment and a few rare minerals can see glimpses into the future. Traders use it to predict stock prices as the effect is too limited to see more than a few seconds into the near future and a single vision takes an hour of exposure.

A US infantry soldier stationed in Afghanistan recited a summoning ritual and successfully bound a demon lord to his own soul using an incantation that was emailed to him by a new age girl he had met at a party before he was deployed. The demon lord stays under control as long as the soldier kills, which is easy to do in Afghanistan. But now, the soldier is about to go home. He doesn't want it to bring the demon home, as he only wants to kill legitimate enemies of the country. So he's going to transfer the demon to a new soldier at the outpost. There's a lot of competition for it. All the other soldiers there know about the demon and conspire it to keep it in Afghanistan as a secret weapon against the Taliban. The officers know nothing.

A new MMO is released on the Internet. The players control robots on a weird alien world. There is no combat, only exploration and limited scientific experimentation. Despite this lack of action, it is strangely compelling. The graphics are incredible and the gameplay is incredibly immersive. That's because it's real. A sidekick of a dead super-scientist is crowdsourcing the exploration of the cosmos through a video game.

A new martial art is sweeping the country. It is easy to learn but provides incredible fighting expertise, relative to the time the student puts into the discipline. It's actually the supreme martial art, thousands of years old and the reason it's so easy to learn is due to its utter perfection. It was after all, created by a god. It was kept secret because its masters feared what its destructive powers would do to humanity if unleashed on the unwashed masses. It seems the masses use it for MMA and backyard wrestling. Well, at least those that only master the basics. A few have learned that superhuman abilities are possible if a student puts in years of work and dedication into it.

This is the new world. A world with a global economy, unfettered Internet and superhuman powers available to almost anyone that is willing to pay the price for them. A world where the institutions that enforced the status quo no longer have a complete monopoly on force. A world without a Superman to save it from the near existential threat.

This is your world. What do you do?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 02:59:33 AM by clockworkjoe »

clockworkjoe

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2010, 12:26:57 AM »
this is my initial idea/hook for it not a final THIS IS WRITTEN IN STONE kinda thing

Salkovich

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2010, 12:41:15 AM »




YES


TIME TO FIND NEW PANTS
"It's heresy. Burn the heretics." - Ross Payton NEVAR FORGET
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Mckma

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2010, 01:32:36 AM »
That sounds amazing.  I would love to see what RPPRers come up with...

Ryo

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2010, 08:43:19 AM »
I love WT so sounds good to me. :)

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2010, 09:33:59 AM »
Hell, when you explain it like that, of course we all want to play!
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Z

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2010, 12:02:58 PM »
I'm not very good at dungeon mastering or whatever but that campaign sounds like it would be a motherfucker to adjudicate.

Robot Master

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2010, 12:45:47 PM »
Damn that's a really well thought out premise. I like how you've gone way, way further than simply running a superhero game and created a lot of hot-button social issues and topics that have changed the way that Earth works as a whole. I think it SEEMS like a lot to handle, but if you really want to run a game in a world that's clearly different from Earth you've got to be this detailed.

I like it a lot, really. Damn you Ross. If only you had a twin or clone that ran games in my part of the world.
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Mckma

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2010, 01:07:03 PM »
I'm not very good at dungeon mastering or whatever but that campaign sounds like it would be a motherfucker to adjudicate.

Yeah, but it's Ross.  And he has Cody to keep track of all the tiny details and ensure he remembers them, even the unimportant ones...

Salkovich

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2010, 02:28:58 PM »
I'm not very good at dungeon mastering or whatever but that campaign sounds like it would be a motherfucker to adjudicate.

Yeah, but it's Ross.  And he has Cody to keep track of all the tiny details and ensure he remembers them, even the unimportant ones...

Together they are truly an unstoppable duo.
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clockworkjoe

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2010, 03:13:50 PM »
I'm not very good at dungeon mastering or whatever but that campaign sounds like it would be a motherfucker to adjudicate.

well those are just things happening in the world so it's not like I have to keep track of all of those events. The campaign will be a sandbox and largely based on what PCs are rolled up. I'll start in an American city, throw out 6 or so potential plot hooks and then see where things go.  If the players are content to fight crime and bust heads, then I can do that. If they want to become political activists that undermine corrupt politicians and giant corporations then I can do that too. If they want to conquer the world, I can let them try.

The way powers will work thematically will be like this. Pick two of the three traits for whatever gives you power:

High end power
Cheap
Lack of extremely negative side effects

High end powers are cinematic 4 color type powers like most of the X-men heavy hitters (Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, etc) Cosmic/Superman level powers are not available for players.  Standard powers are more like Daredevil or the New Mutants or Secret Warriors for the most part.

If a power source isn't cheap, then it will cost millions of dollars and even then will have additional negatives. For example, the mafia took your 5 million bucks for the super soldier formula and let you have it but if they need a hitter to break some legs, then they might visit you. After all, that formula is illegal and you don't want the cops to know about it right?

Extremely negative side effects are very very bad. It isn't just that you could look like a monster, you also have an aggressive cancer that can only be held at bay with certain medications. If you miss a monthly treatment, you die. Or your cybernetic limbs needs more power than can be provided by a wall socket. You either have to siphon off juice from the grid at power substations on a regular basis or get an alien fusion reactor plus the tech is still glitchy -it wasn't mean for humans. Or the mystic power you got the notice of a vampire clan that wants you dead for reasons you don't fully understand oh and you see dead people...from alternate realities.



Ryo

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2010, 05:07:42 PM »
I think that's the right way to go about it. With WT you can have very large power differences even on the same point spend, so I think its important to have the GM either create the powers based on player imput or go through the sheets and "normalize" everyone. Even then its a good idea to do as you mentioned and have a tight structure.

Also you might want to talk with Neil and the GM running the WT forum game over on Nerdbound. It could help to smooth over some of the rough spots that are bound to come up in a WT game.

clockworkjoe

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2010, 06:07:13 PM »
Just talked to Caleb about it. He had a great tagline for it "DIY Transhumanism". Also, I want to emphasize two themes that I will hammer in the game

1. The price of power - superhuman power has an incredible cost - how far will you go? What will you do with this power that justifies the cost?

2. The consequences of action - all player actions will have consequences - execute a murderous criminal that happens to be the son of a senator and find yourself hounded to the ends of the earth by bounty hunters and federal agents. Try to improve the lives of the poor and realize you have to make a deal with the scum of the Earth or take over and make morally bankrupt decisions yourself. 

3. The system - is it worth saving? Can the institutions that enforce the status quo be reformed to be fair and just or do you revolt? Do you even care? Murder a thousand drug dealers and more will take their places - is it better to try to end the war on drugs even if it means taking on a system that will persecute and destroy you if it can?

Ryo

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2010, 08:32:50 PM »
Have you looked at the other WT theme books? I haven't looked at them much (and not in a while), but what you describe does spark a bit of a memory.

clockworkjoe

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Re: The next big RPPR campaign - what will it be?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2010, 09:25:28 PM »
Have you looked at the other WT theme books? I haven't looked at them much (and not in a while), but what you describe does spark a bit of a memory.

Yeah I have them all. There are thematic similarities and I will certainly pull elements from it but my players don't want a historical game (no Favored Land or Kereboros Club), Grim War is too magic oriented for some players and Progenitor has a single power source for all superhumans which goes against the DIY Transhumanism element I want. Also, I hate that in Progenitors there can only be a set number of superhumans total. Each new generation of superhumans can only ignite a certain number of new superhumans and each new generation is weaker than the last.