Sunday, 12 January 2014

Supermen, an adventure idea

I had an idea for an adventure but I don't think I'll get around to running it any time soon so I'm putting it out there for you to use instead. Use whichever system you like but for the sake of this discussion I'm going to use FU.

Create Characters
These have to be ordinary people with no powers and no special occupations. No special forces or police, no security guards. Accountants, plumbers, shop assistants, and the like are all good candidates. The one thing that each of them must answer is their opinion of Superman. Is he a hero? An alien who can't be trusted? A god? A freak that should be registered? Any opinion is good, and it's even better if your group has a diversity of opinions about it.

For the FU version of this, create characters as normal but only allocate one Gear slot for something from that character's mundane life.

Share Powers
Something happened to Superman. Our player characters don't know what it was, let alone who did it. Maybe it was Brainiac, or maybe Lex Luthor. Whatever it was, Superman has lost his powers and can't be found. His powers aren't gone, though. They've just found new homes in the bodies of our player characters. Assign the powers randomly to the player characters but each character gets only one of them. I like to think of Superman as having the following.

  • Super strength
  • Super speed
  • X-ray vision
  • Heat vision
  • Flight (also super speed)
  • Invulnerability
You might end up with unallocated powers. Create NPCs for those.

The characters have a psychic link with Superman. From time to time they get flashes of what he's experiencing. This should be enough to give them clues as to his whereabouts.

For FU, each of the powers counts as two Gear slots.

Make the characters aware of time
Without Superman around, the super-villains are starting to rise up. They're more bold. The rest of the JLA is good, but Superman has always been the heavy hitter. GM, get the villains to start affecting the lives of the individual characters in some indirect way. That is, the villain won't come after the character, but their employer might have a factory which now has to be retooled to make war robots, or the villain declares an independent nation and this affects civil liberties, or a host of other things.

Secondly, give the players the feeling that the power transfer might be permanent if not negated soon. You decide what "soon" means. A day, a week, a month. Tailor it to the speed of play. The point is to help drive the characters to action.

What's this game about?
It's about a couple of things. The characters will have to figure out if they even want to help Superman, or if they would rather have one of his powers for themselves. If they want to help, they'll need to go find Superman and then figure out how to give him his powers back. If they don't want to help, they'll either keep their powers quiet (and boring) or they'll attract attention from somewhere. Will it be from the police, from criminals, from super-villains, or from the JLA who want Superman back?

Ultimately this story is an opportunity to explore what the ordinary person would do with just a glimmer of sudden power. The story ends when you want it to, but probably if Superman actually gets his powers back and (like most super heroic comic stories) everything is restored to the way it was.

If you play Supermen, leave a comment here and let me know how it went.


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