I've been thinking about superheroes and superhero roleplaying game campaigns, and I had this thought: how many metahumans are there in your campaign world?
A few years ago after the House of M storyline in Marvel Comics, the editorial staff decided to wipe out the powers of most of the mutants in the Marvel Universe, making them one of the rarest commodities on the planet. For quite some time the fact that mutants went from "millions" to "hundreds" was a big plot point with lots of "we are an endangered species" comments floating about.
"Millions" of mutants? So you're talking about something approaching 1% of the population of humanity. That would mean thousands of mutants in the united states alone. See, I get how big the Marvel Universe is and how many characters they have developed over the decades of its publishing existence, but I think that metahumans should be a lot more rare than what they suggest.
What if metahumans of any kind, mutant or otherwise, were just one in a million? That would mean that there would be only 314 metahumans in the United States. There would be roughly 6,000 in the world, which still seems like a lot.
|I wanted a good picture of a bunch of metahumans and the Earth.|
And from a gaming perspective, that seems a lot more interesting to me to think that the PC's are four or five or six of the roughly three hundred metahumans in the US. Now, when they get together, it's a serious alliance. People will take notice. And what's more, you're not really doing anything really different in your game, since most campaigns don't feature more than a dozen or so NPC villains. But now they are special. In my head I'm imagining some mastermind cataloging all the metahumans and watching them on the news thinking, "Hmmm...number 132 fought 84 in downtown Central City this afternoon. Interesting..."
Side note: by this math, China would have 1,351 metahumans, which would be kind of a major plot point too.
Now, when you go down a level, I do have to wonder about what you do with all the Batman villains. By that I mean all the people who don't really have powers but are just kind of whackadoodle and commit (or fight) crimes wearing a mask. You might have to drawn a line between "metahumans" and "superheroes or villains" but who knows? I can not for the life of me figure out what makes the Penguin such a big deal anyways.
The other, downright irrational thing I've thought about along these lines is trying to stat out a huge chunk of NPC's for a supers game so I'd know who 1-100 of the US metahuman population might be. That would also probably keep me in NPC's for the rest of my natural life.
So again, superhero RPG GM's, what do you think?