Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Premise Beach: Metropolis/Gotham

In my continuing "what do I want to run now that I've been asked again" series (better known as "Premise Beach" from the old Kids in the Hall skit), I present another premise.

To understand it, first I want to talk about one of the bigger differences between DC and Marvel Comics.  While Marvel is set in the "real world," with most of the superheroes living in and around New York City, DC has always relied on ersatz versions of American cities, the two best known examples being Metropolis and Gotham City. There's others: Keystone City, Central City, etc. all featuring pretty generic names and looking just as generic.  But Metropolis was always Superman's city, while Gotham was the Batman's home.

Both cities have a different feel, more than just "New York by Day" and "New York at Night."  Metropolis was always modern, bright, and fairly prosperous, fitting for the Man of Tomorrow.  Gotham was always decayed, dark, and poor, just the haunt for a man living constantly in the trauma of the past.  In both comic book mythologies, the city itself possesses the qualities of a character unto themselves, much like how in FATE a location has Aspects like a PC.

So here's my idea.  I have two groups: a novice group of mostly pre-teens, and a veteran group of adults.  I run two supers groups in the same city, but the novice group is the flashy, four-color group.  The veteran group is the gritty group.  It's not dissimilar from what happened in Aaron Allston's Strike Force campaign (which used Champions II at the time).  The initial group had a real mix of PC supers types in terms of style and theme, and eventually several of the PC's split off to form a separate group, Shadow Force.

So again, like the sci-fi concept before, I can re-use locations, NPC's and even tie together plots, while keeping their general "style" distinct.  Maybe the Shiny Hero Team foils a bank robbery while the Shadowy Hero Team discovers that they wanted the money to fund a takeover of the city's major crime family.  This also allows for the occasional cross-over, like when Wonder Woman patrolled Gotham in the Batman's absence.

In theory the new Valiant Universe RPG is due out tomorrow, and I've got it pre-ordered on Amazon (my FLGS wasn't planning on stocking it).  But since Amazon is still telling me they really don't know when they will get it, I'm not holding my breath.  But there are loads of other supers RPG's out there.  My group ran Marvel Heroic for almost a year and liked the system a lot.  Mutants & Masterminds is a crunchier option, or I could take ICONS for a spin.  I'm half tempted to unearth Champions, which is near and dear to my heart, if only out of sentimentality (Fourth edition, none of that later stuff).

Again, thoughts? Man it sure is quiet around here these days aside from my friend Buffra (for whom I would build her dimension hopping barbarian queen for this or any of the campaigns)...


  1. I don't have any thoughts other than, it sounds fun. And, I am happy to see Wonder Woman in red boots (as she should be).

    Guess I had two thoughts.

    Cheers and Happy Halloween

  2. Might I recommend 'Double Cross', a Japanese import RPG that has been translated into English, currently available on Amazon and DriveThruRPG. It has a D10 based system with some real cool mechanics and a premise akin to HEROES, crossed with Aberrant.

    If you are familiar with Anime and/or Manga, it is most closely related to the current series Tokyo ESP. It also has elements (and supplements do to come out) of sCRYed, and Tiger and Bunny.

    I hope I don't sound as if I'm talking gibberish, lol.

    If you need some links or more info on it let me know.

  3. I think running simultaneous groups with different styles sounds awesome. I had hopes for that here with the grown-ups running in Freedom City while the kids were running in Emerald City. It's less of a theme difference and more of a simple environmental difference, but it allowed for some crossover potential like what you're describing too. It hasn't really worked out but I continue to have hope for the future : )

  4. Also, system-wise I'm not sure Icons is the best fit. I like Icons a lot, but I've never really gotten a "gritty" vibe from it. I'm sure with the right attitude you could make it work well enough but I think it might be easier with one of the other systems.