Sunday, August 24, 2008

Secret Heroes: Getting Set Up

Hokay. I've discussed the general idea of the campaign with my group. Today, we're going to actually make some characters. This is currently where our group stands: my players are:

Lute: my wife, who likes to play amazonian combat monsters and nymphomaniacs. She can't do as much of the latter in our public game without grossing out our teenage daughter and her friends. Lute's planning on sitting this campaign out. She has only so much tolerance for squealing adolescents. Pity.

Tim the Enchanter: Apart from Lute and myself, he's the oldest member of our group. He's the quiet type, who usually plays clerics in D&D campaigns, but he has a wickedly dry, deadpan sense of humor. For some reason, his characters always seem to be the first ones to take damage in our games. I don't know why. It just happens that way. He says that for this campaign he'd like to play a half-human/half vampire vampire hunter. Don't know exactly how this will fit into the campaign, but since he's the first one to come up with a coherent concept, I certainly want to encourage him.

Zany Michael: He's a college student and he enjoys playing the wacky, goofball characters. He really enjoyed the Saturday Morning Rock 'n' Roll Band campaign. He's bounced the idea off me of playing a time traveller from the future, but I don't think that will work with my campaign. Some ideas work better in the context of a story than in a game, and I think this is one.

Gamera Rose: Our oldest daughter. She'll be turning 15 next week. She likes to play smart but impulsive characters. She says she'd like her character to be able to fly. Apart from that, she doesn't have a lot of clear ideas, although she says she wants her character to have some good combat skills. She feels that a lot of her characters in previous campaigns have been useless in fights and she wants to be able to kick butt with the rest of us.

Toeboi: One of Gamera's best friends and frequent co-conspiritor in her fanfics. She likes to play disturbed and twitchy. She's leaning towards a psionic character, which would fit well in the campaign. Whether or not I can get her to fit well in the party is another question.

Kitty: Another of Gamera's friends. She's a newbie, and started playing with us with the Saturday Morning campaign. She's very enthusiastic, though, and enjoys gaming. She's expressed interest in a magic-using character, but I haven't had the chance to talk with her about it in several weeks. I'm not sure if I want magic to work in this campaign. On the other hand, I'm not sure I want to banish it either. I suppose I can always handwave it with a touch of Clarke's Law, but that's something I'll need to know when I build her character.

What I want each player to come up with in today's session is:

(1) What kind of powers they want to have.
(2) Who the character is
(3) How the character first learned he/she has super-powers
(4) Why the character is with the group

The Group is going to be the key to making this work, I think. Last year I ran a Victorian Era monster hunting campaing with my players and had a Charles Dickens of a time keeping them together. The characters weren't a team; they were simply a group of people who happened to know each other. Getting them to work together was like hearding cats.

For this campaign, I'm going to say that each character has been contacted by a Mysterious Personage who invites them to join this Group. The identity of this Personage and his or her Agenda will be a major sub-plot of the campaign, at least to start with. But from the beginning, the characters are going to need to come together and be willing to work together.

We'll see how things go.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A New Direction

It's been months since I've posted anything in this blog. My original intent was to stuff it full of autobiographical notes and comments about the creative process and how I do things. And maybe I will still do that if the spirit moves me.

But I think I'll try something else. I'd like to try writing a gaming blog, documenting an RPG that I'm planning to run. This is something I've tried before, a diary of a campaign; but this time instead of just writing up a synopsis of what happened, I want to write down my plans; what I intend to do with the game; what long-range plots I want to construct. And what the players do to my finely-considered plans.

I'm currently running two campaigns: a solo game in a heroic fantasy setting with my wife, Lute; and a public game loosely inspired by Josie and the Pussicats and other Saturday morning cartoons, that I run with our usual Sunday group. The Sunday game has been running out of steam and I was thinking of running a Supers campaign to replace it.

I gave the group a prospectus listing a half dozen different types of Supers settings and asked them to vote on which ones they would like to play, ranging from traditional Four Color Comic Book Heroes to Angstful Mutants to Dark-n-Gritty. The option that has the most support is one I called "Secret Heroes". In this setting, the existence of super-powers isn't generally known to the public. No code-names, no costumes, no capes; at least not to start with. The characters have recently discovered that they have Powers and Abilities above those of Mortal Men and that there are others like themselves. Now they must decide how they intend to use those powers.

I intend the campaign to be dark with lots of conspiracies and ulterior motives and things. Whether or not I can keep the tone serious is up for grabs. I have an unfortunate tendency towards farce in the best of situations, and this group skews Chaotic Silly in alignment.

We'll see how it goes...