Okay, I'm totally poking at the "Things GM's Do Wrong" meme by instead talking about things that many GM's do (including myself on occasion) that work well and make sense. Let's start with an easy one: newspapers.
Or television reports, or blog posts, or Newsnet feeds, or whatever your genre wants to call them. Having a media outlet in your game is a great way to accomplish several things at once.
It creates a fun "recap"of previous adventures. My experience is that players are often fuzzy on what happened even in their own campaign. An accounting of last session's activities helps get players, especially those who were absent last time, onto the same page without taking up game time.It provides an outsider's perspective. Since a newspaper isn't a strict campaign chronicle, the players get a glimpse of how their activities are viewed by the outside world. Villains & Vigilantes had a great mechanism for tracking a superhero PC…
I thought I'd explain some of my choices for my entries into my "Appendix N for Superhero RPG's," starting with one of my most obscure choices, the brief TV series Bionic Six.
In the near future (some unspecified decades after 1999), Professor Dr. Amadeus Sharp Ph.D., head of the Special Projects Labs (SPL), creates a new form of technology to augment humans through bionics. His first subject was Jack Bennett, a test pilot who secretly acted as Sharp's field agent, Bionic-1. On a family ski vacation in the Himalayas, an alien spacecraft triggers an avalanche that buries the entire family, exposing them to the unusual radiation of a mysterious buried object. Jack frees himself but discovers his family in a comatose state. Theorizing that Jack's bionics protected him from the radiation, Professor Sharp implants bionic technology in the others, awakening them. Afterward, the family operates incognito as a publicly lauded team of adventuring super…
Background: "Appendix N" is the list of recommended source material from 1st Edition AD&D. It contained a bunch of fantasy and sci-fi novels that influence the creators of the game and included people like Clark Ashton Smith and Jack Vance.
In BA's original post and follow-up challenge, the issue was how to inform potential players about your own style of GMing when it comes to superhero RPG's. Are they gritty or light-hearted? Realistic or fantastic?
You need five to ten comic books, and five to ten other sources (movies, TV, video games, etc.)
Now the real challenge is that BA is my RPG brother from another mother, so it would be easy to just copy his list whole, but what's the fun of that. I will say that there are a lot of crossovers.
Let me share with you a story from the annals of my roleplaying game experience. Back in 1991 or 1992, my gaming group in college purchased the first edition of a new RPG, Vampire: the Masquerade. This was a watershed moment in a lot of ways, both for the group and the RPG community in general. I was tasked with running the game and basically used the pre-generated community of Gary, Indiana as a core fro the campaign. Members of the gaming group dutifully built various low-level courtiers in the vampire court, pathos-laden tragedies, etc. Except for one player. He built a werewolf.
There's always that guy in a gaming group. The one who just wants to buck the system and play something so outside the concept that he'll always stand out, always have to have some plot line revolve around him. A werewolf PC was also completely free of the three strictures places upon the other PC's: a dependence on blood, a vulnerability to daylight, and the strict social castes of the…
I had the chance to read the most recent DC/Marvel crossover recently. By "recent" I mean "2003-4," since there have been other crossovers, such as the X-Men/Teen Titans crossover and the Amalgam Universe titles. If you haven't read this series, or the collected edition that I found in my public library, it's worth a look, especially if you're running a superhero game.
For one thing, it's Busiek and Perez, two top names in the industry. I loved the Busiek/Perez run on the Avengers at the time, and frankly feel like it was the last time the team really felt like the Avengers to me, although the "Heroic Age" came awfully close.
The plot is pretty straightforward. Krona, an exiled Oan, comes to the Marvel Universe looking for the truth of creation, in the process destroying several alternative universes, including the "Earth 2" of the Crime Syndicate of America. When he gets to the Marvel Universe, the Grandmaster challenges h…