Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DC Comics

Damn it, DC - I was all excited for the announced 'Earth 2' titles, but now it looks like they're going to be doing some kind of Grimdark version of Earth 2. It's like they're actively trying to get me to quit the hobby.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Comics Day - 2/22/2012

Decent haul this week!

  • Knights of the Dinner Table #183
  • Danger Girl : Revolver #2
  • Atomic Robo : The Ghost of Station X #5
  • Fantastic Four #603
  • Teen Titans #6
  • I, Vampire #6
  • Voodoo #6
  • Justice League Dark #6
  • The Flash #6
  • Green Lantern : New Guardians #6
  • Superman #6
  • Aquaman #6

And Voodoo joins Teen Titans and I, Vampire on the bubble of dropping, and Justice League Dark better warm up soon, too.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Campaign Ideas : Legion 41

As campaign ideas go, this one couldn't be more simple to explain - a successor version of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 41st Century. I love super-heroes, and I love science fiction, and they're two great tastes that taste great together. This is another idea that's been kicking around in my head for a while, and the fires were stoked further by the release of the new DC Adventures licensed role-playing game.*

* Of course, the wait for the second book dampened the flames down again. And now we're waiting on the third (of four).. Sigh.

Of course, that thousand-year gap isn't just there to clean the stage so that the newbie player heroes aren't overshadowed by 'real' Legionnaires. I've got some history and backstory to fill in that gap. Specifically - in the 38th century, Earth geneticists created a supreme metahuman being that, true to form, ran amok*. This nearly omnipotent being was finally brought down, but not before it destroyed Sorcerer's World utterly - unleashing a flood of magic back into the cosmos.

* And why is it they never walk amok? Always in such a hurry.

The incident caused the United Planets to outlaw metagene research (with the exception of certain already-proven lines) and to form a task force to deal with the chaos caused by the return of magic. Metahumans and aliens with meta-abilities are somewhat distrusted as a result, except the U.P.'s genetically enhanced soldiers that protect everyone. Of course, after I came up with this, I got into Warhammer 40K a bit, and realized that except for dropping an order of magnitude on the year, this all sounds pretty similar.*

* Seriously, some of the backstory that I can't put on here, in case I use this idea? The parallels are even more obvious, though unintentional.

So in this grim, dark, grimdark future where There Is Only War, a new version of the Legion is founded, providing positive examples of metahumans and a dash of optimism. The NPC pulling it together at first would be a princess of the newly-returned city of Atlantis, a descendant of Arthur Curry, AKA Aquaman, thus giving her a tie to that first age of heroes. 'Hydro Lass'* would bring together a new group of heroes to fight the enemies of the United Planets, protect its citizens, and deal with the occasional magical problem, or forbidden research.

* Hero name is a work in progress. May vary in actual gameplay.

Unlike some of my campaign ideas, I've even got a few of the adventure notions down for this one. Such as :

  • What is the source of the metahuman DNA used to build the United Planets' superhuman soldiers?
  • A mysterious temporal disturbance is detected in Colorado - forbidden temporal research, or the arrival of a time traveler?
  • An immortal human warlord has emerged with the return of magic, called 'Ghul'. He's conquered a dozen planets already, can he be stopped?
It'd be a fun way to play in the DC Universe without getting bogged down with too many continuity issues. And it'd be a perfect fit with the DC Adventures / Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition game.

Just as soon as they finish the damn thing.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Comics Day - 2/15/2012

I guess I'll just have to get used to a smaller pile of comics each week.

  • Warlord of Mars : Dejah Thoris #10
  • Fables #114
  • Green Lantern Corps #6
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #6
  • Wonder Woman #6
  • Batman #6
  • Star Trek / Legion of Super-Heroes #5

The Trek/Legion crossover is awesome. And there's a splash page of time machines belonging to other time travelers who've tried to stop the main bad guy. And whatever fictional time machine you just thought of, it's in there. I love it!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Comics Day - 2/8/2012

Belatedly posted. Fairly light week - I guess that's the new normal with the DC relaunch.

  • Warlord of Mars #15
  • War Goddess #5
  • Mega Man #10
  • Dungeons and Dragons #15
  • Legion Lost #6
  • Resurrection Man #6
  • Green Lantern #6
  • Demon Knights #6
  • Batwoman #6

That's all..

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Comics Day - 2/1/2012

This week's batch, including one that undershipped to my local store last month.

  • Warlord of Mars Annual #1
  • Irredeemable #34
  • Invincible #88
  • Red Lanterns #6 - I may regret promoting this to pull-list status already.
  • I, Vampire #5
  • Stormwatch #6
  • Justice League International #6
  • Action Comics #6

That's it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Campaign Ideas : Agents of the Weird

Part one (sort of) of a series. I am often blessed - or cursed - with a preponderance of campaign ideas. And there's never enough time to run them all, so some of them inevitably get shoved to the side. The thought occurred to me, a while back, that it might be useful to document these ideas somewhere. I may get to run them somewhere down the road, and having them all listed on my blog (linked by a convenient 'campaign ideas' tag) could be useful.

This is one that's been circling my brain in various forms for a while now, and it was brought back to the forefront by Warehouse 13, on the Syfy Channel. In fact, my ideas for the campaign date back to my first encounter with the GURPS supplement Warehouse 23, which in turn was inspired by the same source material that Warehouse 13 is mining - namely, the big government warehouse featured at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the beginning of that.. other Indiana Jones movie*.

* You know. The one with the monkeys.

The core concept of the campaign is that the players would create characters from various government backgrounds, recruited into a secret organization to protect America and the world from things the public does not need to know about. It's a very broad concept, and it has been mined by several games, shows, or movies* in the past, varying only in the type of secrets they keep.

* Men in Black, GURPS Conspiracy / Warehouse 23, Bureau 13, Warehouse 13, et cetera. Heck, Call of Cthulhu fits.

The campaign, as I envisioned it, would take the kitchen-sink approach to the weird : it's all true. Aliens. Time travel. Psychic phenomena*. Cults and conspiracies. Vampires and werewolves, sorcery and the supernatural. Some of the adventures would fit the Warehouse 13 mold - recovering a dangerous artifact, or dealing with one that was already thought to be safely contained. Others would be more violently oriented - wiping out an alien advance force before they can call in an invasion, or hunting down a vampire preying on the locals in a small town. And of course, it wouldn't always be obvious what the problem was - investigation would be a must.

* Doo doo, da doo doo.

I'd probably run it in Mutants and Masterminds, because although there are dozens of 'action agent' RPGs out there, I'd need something universal and big to handle all the 'weird' things they'd be dealing with. Savage Worlds, HERO, or GURPS would also work, but Savage Worlds doesn't give me the detail I crave, and HERO and GURPS are too much work. M&M is usually pretty non-lethal, but with a couple of optional rules thrown in, I could have the players actually worried about their survival, I think.

The first adventure or two could be the gathering of the team, introducing their setting, sewing some seeds of mistrust and ambiguity about the agency they work for*, that sort of thing. I even have a couple of adventure hooks that I've written up - and generating quick sessions would be a snap under this premise.

* I mean, you basically have to.

If I were to have the necessary free time open up right now, I might be reluctant to run it, because it intrudes on the design-space of my friend Eric's game - which is basically a Hellboy / Planetary-inspired 1970's Investigation game. Covering aliens, time travel, psychic phenomena*, sorcery and the supernatural, et cetera. I think I could distinguish them with the tone and lower power level of the PCs, but I'd prefer to leave it with room to breathe.

* Doo doo da doo.

Still, this idea resurfaces any time I think about starting a new game, mainly because of my love of the 'Warehouse 23 Basement' feature on the website for Steve Jackson Games. It has apparently been discontinued due to overwhelming web traffic, but it was basically a list of thousands of 'weird' items that users had submitted, that you could view randomly, one at a time. Fortunately, even though the feature was shut down, I still have about 4500 of its entries saved in a spreadsheet on my home PC. Almost any one of those is an adventure hook.

In fact, one of the items might have been a literal 'adventure hook'. There was some weird stuff on there.