Sunday, August 03, 2008

Setting info

I really am looking to brainstorm this out a bit (I have some criteria, but other than that, its all flexible). Here is where I am starting from:
You play a character that wants to make a difference. For whatever reason, your character has super-human powers (Probably has to do with cosmic rays). And they have decided to step up and make a difference.
There have always been heroes like you (Hercules was real; for instance). People know about it and accept it as true.

This is a alternate earth, much like our own. But some people have super powers. Most people still live their lives the way they do today. Even though someone might swoop in to save them, people still look both ways before crossing the street. Because, your chance of being personally rescued by a super-powered human is the same as the chance you would have a conversation with an American Idol Contestant.

But for every shining star, there is a shadow cast that cannot be denied. Super Villains keep the world in balance and all of them pursue their own twisted agenda. Generally, its the Super Villains that dress up in Capes, have sinister nicknames and create secret societies. Still, some characters will use more theatrical names. Maintaining a secret ID is done today, in the real world. in modern times. So, I am not trying to make it impossible or say it can't be done at all. BUT, if you save the world and show your face to thousands, if not millions of people watching the news, then someone is going to step up and say, I dated him in high school or that guy lives on my block. And then the cat is out of the bag, right?

There are secret societies and maybe even some influential public groups and super groups. But none of them are pulling the strings behind a conspiracy to rule the world.

So, your character battles evil to save the world, marshaling their powers and allies to overcome the efforts of super-powered villains.

I guess that is what this game is about, characters that want to make a difference. I will admit that in this setting there will be the all of the following:
Super heroes
Good Samaritans
Ineffective people
Apathetic people
Cynical/Depressed people
Bad guys
Super villains

All of them with AND without powers.

Where are all these powers coming from?
Cosmic rays. Cosmic rays form the normal background radiation that exists everywhere on earth. A huge volume cones from the sun. However, 99 % of the high-energy particles come from the galactic core. No one knows where that other 1 % comes from. But, it is theorized that they are the source of super powers. These exotic high-energy particles could alter the DNA of whoever they strike. It is known that this phenomenon only affects young children (usually less than 3 years old) and that no one has ever been affected in the womb. In very rare cases older children manifest powers, but the oldest recorded age of someone just attaining their powers for the first time is 12.

Basically the idea is that the placenta protects a fetus from the exotic heavy particles of some cosmic rays. And when we are little, our bodies are changing all the time, to account for growth, etc. So during that time we are vulnerable to these exotic particles. As we get older, our body stabilizes and one DNA molecule getting knocked out of whack no longer has the potential to re-write our entire body's other DNA molecules.

This is a piece I am still working on, trying to set the tone/expectations:
Imagine, you are a normal person, living your life, just trying to fit in. But, you can't, you really are different...

You have super powers. You've known it for your whole life, its nothing new. But you just didn't want to stick out in a crowd, until that day when Inferno threatened to melt the city with his heat ray. You knew that your Ice powers would make a difference...

And that was the day that Steve Forester became a hero.

Steve Forester
Ice powers (Super, Power, Physical)
Total recall (Power, Mental)
Charming (Ability)
Quick (Ability)
Thorough (Ability)
Likes people
Doesn't like attention
Mark of the Soft touch (Mark)
Can never trust again (Weakness, Social)

Heat ray (Super,Power, Physical)
Hot body (Power, Social)
Instinct (Ability)
Daring (Ability)
Methodical (Ability)
Mark of Greed (Mark)
Super predictable (Weakness, Mental)

How do they get their money?
I like the idea of a paypal link or something. Its modern, and doesn't have any irony/stigma attached to it like nascar-like corporate sponsorship does.

The other idea I had was local sponsorship. Like his Realtor covers his mortgage, as long as they can say Steve Forester is a proud sponsor, etc. It works, but it has the danger of ballooning into full-blown corporate sponsorship or just being silly.

Merchandise could be cool though. Maybe some supers sell hats and t-shirts through their websites?

How is being a Hero like being a rock star?
In this setting, there are a lot of similarities:
1) They are lots of them, but you will probably never meet one in person
2) They both want to be known for their talents
3) They both believe in something
4) The public doesn't know how they make their money
5) Everyone thinks they know you from your press
6) Everyone expects you to do things that they themselves would never do
7) Everyone expects you to do the things you did before
8) Everyone expects you to try new things and keep it original
9) You only make the news when you do something huge or something bad

Design goals:
- Encourages Stepping up to make a difference
- Encourages public persona (no alter-egos)
- Encourages public knowledge of super-powered humans
- Encourage life as usual in a modern earth-like world
- No conspiracy of shadows
- No government super soldier programs
- No aliens
- No hereditary powers
- No underwear on the outside of your clothes/capes

So, what do you think? What is covered that doesn't make sense to you? What is not covered but should be for this Genre/Setting?
Dave M