Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hold The Presses!

I've always wanted to shout that at the top of my lungs.

I just did... in an empty house... highly overrated... moving on.

"Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear."

That quote from Empire Records has always been one of my favorites as it is pretty much spot on for how my creativity works on a fairly regular basis.

Well inspiration has struck once again and I now know what my new superhero campaign will be!

The problem is that I have done every kinda of campaign you can imagine, from Golden Age to actually playing in the late Silver/early Bronze Ages.

I have done Marvel campaigns, DC campaigns and fusion Marvel/DC/Whatever campaigns.

But none of it... not one moment of it has ever compared to the original Guardians campaign from back in 89 - 91. That campaign was magical and so fresh. It started with V&V and ended with MSH. It was the original line up to!

Doc - The mad scientist with the cybernetic arm, that he himself chopped off his perfectly good arm to add. What a dude! He had force fields, which would eventually be the end of him. He was a strange character played by a guy who wasn't into supers, but made the most of it.

Galvanos - The walking-talking Japanese Robo-Samurai. He was originally in the model of Goldorak but once the player saw the Ingram from Patlabor his look changed and never went back. For my money I prefer the original, though the player still doesn't.

The Osprey - The first character that this player ever played with me and frankly one of his best. A strange birdpowered man who was the comic relief of the team, in the vien of the Blue Beetle/Booster Gold hillarity of the JLI.

Cyberknight - A techno swordsman who was played by a friend who soon went off to the armed forces, but he played long enough to cut the power cables on Frostbite's icepack and set off one of the most oft repeated moments in any campagin thereafter.

Then there were two NPCs, Gyro and Cascade.

Gyro was my character in my buddy's V&V campaign in High School and I brought him into this game, warts and all. In modern vernacular he would be called a GMPC, but let me tell you when I killed him in the 3rd session, everyplayer confessed that's when they knew it was for real.

Cascade was from some GURPS Supers supplement, Super Scum I think, and was essentially an aquatic heroine. Truely the only thing that made her stand out as a character was her gentle nature and Australian accent.

That campaign world, Earth Alpha (which grew out of the aformentioned friend's V&V campaign which I inherited) would go on for 3 years and have some truely memorable moments. Characters would die, new ones take their place, other reborn... it was heady stuff for us in our late teens/early twenties.

And I have spent every campaign since then trying to recapture it.

Trying and failing of course. The only campaign that ever came even close was the PONY (Protectors of New York) campaign that last an unfortunate 4 or 5 sessions before I paniced and tanked it. Long story.

So if I look at the original Guardians campaign, what made it work? Well for sure part of it was the age and the times. The late 80's were an interesting time to be alive. For sure. But I suspect it was more than that.

Certainly the random character creation of V&V made a big difference as it forced the players to have to be creative when they made their characters. There were no "concepts" to be worked on, instead they took what was given, and formed a ccharacter out of that and then asked to reroll or change what they needed to as their character idea formed. That was an important part of old school campaigns and something that has been lost for the most part in modern rpging.

The other thing that contributed to it being an amazing game was that it was the first. The first long term campagin I ran. The first time I was the GM. The first time I was in control and not sharing a universe with another GM or just being a player.

So where does that bring me to today?

I can never, ever have that back. Those days are gone and I accept that. It is a hard pill to swallow but I will nonetheless.

But that doesn't mean I can't try something that is a little bit old, a little bit new and a little bit crazy.

The first rule will of course be the need for random characters. No matter what. That spark of creativity is what really pushed the original campaign and allowed for the players to help create the feeling of the team as a group and not in individual vaccums, with little or no contact with each other.

Second, it isn't the Silver/Bronze Age anymore. Hell it isn't even the Iron Age anymore. We have moved beyond once again where the Modern Age is falling in onitself and the next age is looming, but no one knows what that will be.

I think Marvel came damn close though.

The Ultimate Universe was a breath of fresh air, it had the costumes and the wow factor of the Modern Age but the grittiness of the Bronze/Iron Ages and right up to the end of the Ultimates series 2 it was perfect.

So there it is.

The Ultimate Guardians.

What does that mean? It means my old universe through the Ultimate lens.

The Golden Age came and went, there was no Silver Age.

This leads me to believe that BASH does not do what I need it to do.

I need that randomness and that anything-can-happen factor.

As it stands right now, Villains & Vigilantes does address that. I may just have to reconsider.

Arrrggghhhh! Damn my creative brain!

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