MythComic Setting for M&M3e. Contribute to Thunderless/MythComicSetting development by creating an account on GitHub. Mutants & Masterminds Gamemaster's Guide Author: Steve Kenson Cover Artist: Udon featuring Chris Stevens Format: page, full-color PDF While Mutants. Mutants & Masterminds Gamemaster's Guide Author: Steve Kenson Cover Artist: Udon featuring Chris Stevens Format: pages, full color, softback ISBN
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Mutants & Masterminds Gamemaster's Guide · Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition · Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Rules. Nickname. PDF Version. Mutants Masterminds - Third Edition - GM Kit - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File Gamemasters Kit is the perfect complement to the Heros Handbook. Mutants & Masterminds GM Guide - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. Game Masters Guide to the 3rd Edition.
Either way. Following the declaration of war. The usual assumption is Allied and Axis super-soldiers counter each other.
The presence of super-powered champions on both the Axis and Allied sides of the war usually accounts for the fact that the war follows much the same course as in our world. Creating characters for a postmodern Golden Age style series is a matter of selecting classic costumed-character archetypes and putting dark spins on them. When costumed superheroes reappeared at the dawn of the Silver Age. Other types of costumed characters cease to fight lawlessness and tyranny out of a sense of justice or higher obliga- Chapter 1: This trend has produced many fine.
Perhaps an invasion of shape-shifting aliens leads to mistrust of superheroes. This leads many of them to retire or go into hiding. The costumed protagonists are prone to obsessive-compulsive manias. These efforts have yielded some of the very best stories and titles of the Modern Age. In this fashion. In many ways. Just as characters introduced in the s reappeared as typical smiling.
By some degree of contrast. Just as unavoidably. Gamemaster are free to choose whatever elements are going to create the most fun in their series.
Golden Age heroes may choose to retire and fade into obscurity over time. The eclectic approach can encompass the tighter continuity and greater emphasis on superpowered feats found in modern comics.
Stories can be lighthearted without the lowbrow comedy of the Golden Age. Yet even as it came to a close. In fact. The cosmic tides allowing super-powers to exist may wax and wane in a twenty-year cycle. Simply read over the tropes of each approach. To be sure. Military-grade weapons are. Never forget the point of a roleplaying game is to have fun.
Marine Corps. Service rifles were the standard-issue weapons for infantrymen of all nations. Light machine guns are issued singly or in pairs to squads of infantrymen to give them some muchneeded extra firepower on the battlefield.
Carbines were intended to replace pistols in the American military. Jews are a source of social ills.
The heroes themselves are usually above such things. In a roleplaying game. Forget bank robbers and juvenile delinquents in this style of series. Submachine guns are issued to commando units. Reminding players just how far cultural attitudes have progressed in the intervening decades is a good and healthy thing.
Shotguns can fire shot. When the era itself disappoints in any of these criteria. Wartime rationing may affect the availability of some items. It can also load solid slugs. More commonly. During the s.
With heroes like that.
These weapons were also popular in Soviet service. It takes serial murderers. By the same token. For obvious reasons just glance at their game statistics. Penetrating 7 Ranged Damage 8. Penetrating 8 Ranged Damage 9. As an option. This is for reasons of game balance. Heavy machine guns were sometimes deployed in multi-weapon mountings for use against enemy aircraft.
Whatever the cause. In a series centered around the crew of a tank haunted by the ghost of a Confederate general. As it happens. Antitank guns need a crew of three to five to operate normally. Medium mortars were also mounted on halftracks to provide mobile fire support.
Even when they are. Light models are fairly portable. This is because artillery is foremost used for indirect fire. Antitank guns are direct-fire artillery weapons designed to take out armored vehicles. Mortars need a crew of two or three men to operate normally.
Whatever the type. Antitank rounds have the Penetrating extra on their damage. Antitank rockets have the Penetrating extra. Antitank guns were also mounted on lightly armored chasses and put into a dedicated armor-killing role as tank destroyers. Explosion extra. Artillery pieces also have the Improved Range extra. Most mortar rounds are high explosive. Most artillery rounds are high explosive. They are relatively easy to transport.
Any attack made with a hand grenade. On the oceans. An example is the German Panther or Tiger tank. A heavy tank mounts a medium machine gun and a heavy antitank gun. Heavy tanks were relatively scarce on the battlefield. Military vehicles are even more no-frills. Examples include the American M3. In addition to the facilities needed to provide these services.
Passenger train service began to lose ground to the airlines. They had to function as self-sufficient floating cities during these times.
A light tank mounts a medium machine gun and a light antitank gun. Halftracks were essentially armored trucks with the rear wheels replaced by tank tracks. Light tanks were used primarily for reconnaissance and scouting missions. They were about as basic a design as could be imagined. Cruisers are intermediate-size warships used to screen smaller vessels away from the larger capital ships. They were designed for moving troops in close proximity to the battlefield.
Penetrating 8. Automobiles did have heaters. As often as not. They are equipped with medium naval guns equivalent to heavy field artillery. Each gun requires a crew of 5 to 10 men to operate normally. A medium tank mounts a medium machine gun and a medium antitank gun.
Examples include the American M4 Sherman. These ships performed their antisubmarine role magnificently. A halftrack mounts a light machine gun. Some jeeps had a medium machine gun on a pedestal mount in the back. They were armed with heavy machine guns and torpedoes Ranged Damage 8. British Bedford BT. Golden aGe vehiCles Transportation in the s both civilian and military was in a time of transition. Radios AM. People are still gawking at those weird new flying contraptions.
In this era. They were the forerunner of the helicopter. Even radar was scarce. Examples like the Pitcairn models have been around since the s. Carrier air power was also used against land targets. They did require a lot less runway than other fixed-wing aircraft. The war in the Pacific quickly became a battle of carriers. Escort carriers were armed with medium field artillery. Later models. Flying boats were also armed with heavy machine guns. In general. Swimming 7 as an Alternate Effect.
Collateral damage is mysteriously cleaned up in between issues or panels. Among other things. Communist emblems like the red star or the Chinese yellow stars on a red field and the Russian hammer and sickle were all but required for the costumes of Red villains. Silver Age comics tended to feature more powerful heroes than their Golden Age predecessors with the exception of a few godlike Golden Age characters. Jet fighters came equipped with heavy machine guns and often carried a light bomb or rocket load Ranged Burst Area Damage 8 for ground-attack missions.
Many classic comic book characters first appeared in the Silver Age. Many publishers went out of business and entire genres of comics. Nobody Chapter 1: Some characters chose to defect to the West. Communist villains communists were never heroes were just as much caricatures as the fascists of the s.
Prop fighters came equipped with heavy machine guns and often carried a light bomb or rocket load Ranged Burst Area Damage 8 for ground-attack missions. As the war progressed. Silver Age comics also had a decidedly science fiction bent to them. As the Silver Age progressed. The same is true for any of a number of other elements. In the air. They were either mindlessly loyal to the State.
In part this is due to the Comics Code see the Comics Code sidebar. Hearings in the U. In the Silver Age. Taking preemptive action. The Silver Age sees the development of things like heroic codes against killing and support for the law. These guidelines were the source of much of the innocence and lightheartedness of the Silver Age.
It generally sanitized the contents of comic books. The heroes are not the grim and angry avengers of the early and war-era Golden Age. Captured villains go to jail. Frederic Wertham published his book Seduction of the Innocent. The explosion in comic publishing in the s certainly meant there were more of them than the handful of surviving heroes from the Golden Age. This analogy appealed to many comic readers often alienated teenagers themselves.
People hated and feared them for being who and what they were. The Mutation origin see page 27 has more information on incorporating this theme into your series. Silver Age heroes often held different attitudes from the previous generation.
Uncontrolled exposure to radiation—whether cosmic rays. In the era when humanity first went into space and reached for the Moon. Yet some mutants took the high road. You can incorporate these elements into your series in two ways. Like the postwar generation of the time. Comics also speculated that rising levels of background radiation due to atomic tests and such were causing widespread genetic mutations.
Some comic publishers created updated versions of their Golden Age characters for an allnew comic book audience. Golden Age predecessors. Their Golden Age mentors. Alien Worlds are numerous and diverse in most comic book universes. Most Silver Age ape characters retain their simian physical traits. Heroes can use the Dimension Travel effect to reach these dimensions. The popularity of primates led to a number of Silver Age simian characters.
They include heroes and villains. Alien races can be peaceful and uninterested in a cosmic backwater like our planet. These exotic places often hold danger. GoinG ape! Julius Schwartz. Living examples of dead civilizations like ancient Greeks. The Alien origin see page 23 has some additional ideas on using aliens in your series. El Dorado. Each round. Sunken cities like Atlantis and Lemuria are common in the comics.
This works like the Fascinate advantage. Hidden Civilizations are sources of heroes and villains. Players can and often should spend hero points on the interaction check to encourage villains to gloat.
Many Silver Age heroes are explorers by nature. You can decide just how well hidden these civilizations are. So much better.
Perhaps legendary cities like Shangri-La. Military-grade weapons are of course normally found in the hands of soldiers. Cities hidden in isolated places like the Himalayas. So characters based on things like disco. Following the trends of minorityrights. While many Silver Age heroes were given foibles.
Youth empowerment: Female villains often had enough of male-domination and were prepared to serve it up in spades. Gamemasters looking to capture the feel of the Bronze Age should consider some of the fads and fashions of the time and base some nonplayer characters on them.
Heroes can have marital and relationship problems. Rather than just heroes who bicker amongst themselves. Often they were simply guest-stars. This creates plenty of opportunities for complications in Bronze Age style games. Among the most popular were: Feminist heroines and empowered women became more common in the Bronze Age.
Recoilless rifles need a crew of three to five to operate normally. Heavier and less mobile models were better able to defeat newer. Heroes are portrayed as people. Substance Abuse: Drug and alcohol abuse. The light 57mm. Minority heroes—notably black heroes—become more common in the Bronze Age. Heavier models were also mounted on jeeps. Comics also took place outside of North American cities and went to other places on Earth. A particular issue for patriotic heroes in the Bronze Age is increasing cynicism toward patriotism and national loyalty in general.
Light models are fairly portable and can be fired from the shoulder like a bazooka. In later years. Such heroes were often angry crusaders for equal rights as well as justice for all.
Bronze Age comics also feature particular fads and social trends of the time. Some heroes even gained their powers from accidents involving designer drugs. In the Iron Age. It touches upon other issues like drug use. Others are ruthless businesspeople. Various sorts of body armor showed up to protect against all those guns and costumes had a paramilitary style to them: Code-names were used as much for secrecy and covert operations as for splashing across the headlines.
Characters often adopted military attitudes. Writers sought to power-down many characters and offer at least somewhat reasonable explanations for the fantastic powers of others. Elements of the espionage and actionadventure genres seeped into the comics.
Rivalries between student and teacher or former fellow students provided conflict for heroes and villains. Some Iron Age heroes are mercenaries. A common archetype was the westerner trained in the secret ninja arts who then almost always turns against ninja tradition to become a hero. The moral ambiguity of the Iron Age extends beyond just violence.
Terrorists of various stripes became common. Iron Age heroes like guns. The Iron Age of comics saw a fascination with martial arts. More importantly. Instead of superheroes. For ninja minions see the ninja archetype page Costumes tended to be less flashy. In particular. Tight-fitting leather. Iron Age villains also took on a more practical and political tone. Villains were more likely to be found in boardrooms than secret volcano lairs.
Rogue ninjas became vigilante heroes while villains often sent ninja minions or lieutenants against the heroes. Some characters have high-tech or magical versions of these weapons. These were real guns. Solo Iron Age villains were often psychotic serial killers and similar monsters.
It finds echoes in Hollywood action-adventure films featuring exaggerated gunplay. He does what the law cannot. Iron Age heroes did occasionally band together into teams. In addition to guns. An Iron Age setting should reflect these more complex and adult issues.
What did it really mean to be a god among mortals. Any Iron Age team worth its salt had at least one ninja-like member if not several. BlaCk ops Many Iron Age characters and stories adopted a paramilitary style. Models modified for use by soldiers or the police. Gamemasters looking to capture an Iron Age feel should ratchet up the realism and lethality of the series in general. This section provides detail on the expansive real-world armory used in the Iron Age.
Laser beams able to melt steel inflict horrible burns. One very effective means of setting an Iron Age genre world apart from the rest is to simply start things off that way from the very first appearance of super-powers in the world. After all. This section looks at some of the common equipment for an Iron Age game. There was no back-story. That meant their new heroes were the first of their kind in their respective worlds. By the Iron Age, AP mines are much more sophisticated.
They include stake mines mounted above ground, bounding mines with lifting charges that raise the explosive above the ground before detonation, and directional mines that shape their explosive power into a particular arc.
Anti-tank land mines come in two varieties: Both kinds of AT mine use pressure triggers requiring a heavier weight to detonate, in order to prevent them from being set off by passing infantry. In the meantime, the ionized upper atmosphere disrupts wireless communication among any devices that survived the electromagnetic pulse.
It gets drawn into the stratosphere by air currents and rains down for months or even years—not only on the site of the explosion, but worldwide, as the fallout is carried by the winds of the upper atmosphere. It harkens back to the Gold and Silver Ages of comics, but tempered with modern sensibilities and a measure of wonder and nostalgia regarding previous ages. In many respects, the Modern Age seeks to recapture the experiences of comic creators raised on Silver Age comics, and runs counter to the cynicism of the Iron Age which sought to break established molds and take comics in different directions.
Much of the advice in the Silver Age section applies to the Modern Age as well, with a few notable differences. In some games a nuclear explosion might mean the end of the game, in others it might not be a huge challenge for the heroes.
The aftermath of a nuclear detonation includes the following: These are usually minor, but could be augmented intentionally as a secondary effect of the detonation. The rich background and history of the setting is a source of inspiration for stories about the present.
Is it realistic that a man no matter how strong can pick up a building without it collapsing under its own weight? The same is true of many other super-powers that violate physical laws as we know them. You also may reduce extra effort, saying that it only adds one or two ranks to a power, and so forth.
You can award fewer hero points or limit players to only having so many at once. You also can change the things hero points can do. Eliminating the ability to overcome fatigue makes extra effort that much more costly.
Eliminating the ability to recover makes combat faster and tougher while eliminating the ability to avoid death makes it more likely for characters to die during the game.
Eliminating hero points altogether gives the game a more realistic and less comic book feel. Modify poWers You can require that certain abilities, like a high Strength rank, work more realistically than they do in the current rules.
For example, you may say that Strength over rank 6 always does lethal damage when used in combat, and that characters must have a certain amount of leverage to use their strength.
Other powers and abilities can be modified in a similar way. In a more realistic game, characters may recover slower. This means damage conditions put characters out of action for longer and players will likely go to greater lengths to avoid them.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to achieve the same sense of history in your own series. The first is to give the series a rich and detailed history. The more context you provide, the more alive the setting becomes.
Be careful not to overwhelm the players with too much information right off, but create the history and use it as a source of ideas for adventures in the present day.
For example, a modern-day hero might be the second or third in a line of heroes with the same name and perhaps similar powers and costumes. Heroic and villainous identities are passed on across generations, creating characters with built-in histories, enemies, and story hooks. You can also create a sense of familiarity in your series by playing off many of the standard comic book archetypes.
Perhaps a well-known hero is a strange visitor from another world, or there is a dark avenger active in the Golden or Silver Age perhaps with a modern heir. Set most of these characters in the past, and you give the setting context while allowing the players to take things in new directions in the present.
You can even take the Golden and Silver Ages of published comics and use them as the history and backdrop of your series, creating a totally new and different Modern Age based on them. Essentially, you can take the elements of the Silver Age and include them in your Modern Age series.
Just emphasize some of the fantastic elements. Whereas a lost city or a planet-sized spaceship was nothing unusual in the Silver Age, stress how amazing it is to characters in the Modern Age. Modern Age stories deal with social issues, politics, terrorism, poverty, and the like alongside alien invasions, world-conquering supervillains, and magical menaces from beyond.
In some ways, this can make Modern Age characters even more heroic or villainous than their Silver Age counterparts. Watch out for moral discussions and debates starting to dominate your game. Aliens may not be carbon-based or even organic life: Most comic book universes have numerous alien races, often with very advanced technology and civilizations.
Aliens in the comics often have super-powers, but not the same variety of powers found among Earth superhumans. Instead, aliens tend to have racial abilities, making them superhuman compared to Earthlings, but not unusual for members of their race. For example, aliens from a heavygravity world might have superhuman strength while a race from a planet with unusually strong magnetic fields might have magnetic control powers.
Sometimes an alien mutation shows up, with powers outside the racial norm, but they appear less frequently among aliens than among humans see Mutation, page Is the character the last survivor of a dead race, an exile from home, or simply an explorer or visitor from another world?
Typical comic book alien technology includes things like fasterthan-light travel, beam or blaster weapons, force fields, robots, and possibly things like matter transporters, teleportation, and anti-gravity. Pretty much any super-science technology can show up in the hands or claws, or pseudopods of aliens. Of course, aliens are not limited solely to technology.
Alien magicians may be sinister or benign, and magic in alien societies may be secretive as it usually is on Earth or more overt. In the comics, cosmic power ranges in versatility from a form of energy control to a force limited solely by the imagination of its wielder.
This was particularly common during the Communist scares of the Cold War era. Such foes stir up fear and mistrust by imitating or coopting authority figures or other heroes.
They may also set off a wave of xenophobia among humans, perhaps in addition to or substituting for a fear of mutants and mutation see Mutation, later in this chapter. After apprehending his quarry, the officer might be assigned to safeguard Earth fulltime. Alternately, the officer might be killed, passing on his uniform and weapons and perhaps even powers to a worthy human. Aliens abduct an otherwise ordinary human and use advanced technology to give their subject superpowers.
An alien energy being merges with a human host to experience corporeal life, granting its host various powers while in turn learning about human compassion and goodness. They influence human evolution and development in different ways, providing technology, performing genetic modifications, even interbreeding with Earth creatures. Alien intervention is one means of explaining the development of superhumans on Earth. It may also explain various mythological or historical oddities.
Visiting the home dimensions of the gods requires the Dimension Travel effect. Gods in the comic books—at least those who become superheroes—tend to be as powerful as other superheroes. Gods also grant mortals super-powers.
The dimensions or planes inhabited by the gods and other mystical or divine beings may relate to each other in a particular way. In other cases. They may be truly unkillable or merely long-lived. Such beings can exist even in settings with real gods. A guardian angel volunteers to accept mortality and life on Earth in order to actively defend humanity from the forces of evil.
Such pantheons rarely have much to do with human worship any longer. Godly villains or elder gods less involved in human affairs may be more powerful. Even in a world with caped people who fly and bend steel in their bare hands. A particular arrangement of divine planes may result in more or less access to Earth for certain divine powers.
Gods Superheroes are like modern gods or mythic heroes in many ways. The real gods may not look kindly on these divine imposters. In some settings aliens or other types of superhumans are mistaken for gods and may actually be the sources of historical myths about the gods. Gods typically have super-human abilities. The occasional godly hero or villain is the exception to the rule of divine non-interference. Gods may visit Earth in physical form. These and many other celestial Chapter 1: The comics tend to be deliberately vague about the theological implications of mythological gods co-existing.
One or more gods invest a mortal with portions of their power to create a superhuman champion. The same is true for gods intending to visit Earth and return home.
The average god is more physically capable than a human. In most settings. A god may take a mortal host. The creator God associated with the Judeo-Christian Jehovah is a distant.
The divine spirit or essence of a god possesses a mortal host. A mythological god mates with a mortal with their half-divine offspring as a new hero. The hero has only a portion of godly power. A deity is one example see Gods.
Magical empowerment may be intended as a curse rather than a gift. They may think it was radiation or toxic waste. Others include ancient wizards. Heroes 26 Chapter 1: Players should feel free to come up with suitably atmospheric spells and incantations for their characters. The primary differences for magically empowered characters are their style and power descriptors. MaGiCians Magicians—also known as sorcerers. Magicians are a secretive lot.
Note many magicians are deprived of their powers if they cannot speak or gesture to cast their spells. His mother dipped him in the waters of the underworld to make him invulnerable. A classical example is the ancient Greek hero Achilles. Examples include the curse of lycanthropy turning someone into a werewolf or similar creature or transforming someone into an undead creature.
The control and discipline magical training requires may make them seem distant. This approach has the advantage of being unified and simple. Comic book magicians may cast spells by invoking names and entities of power often alliterative ones.
Any or all of these can become heroes. Characters empowered by magic have traits and powers much like any other. It also explains away all the improbabilities by chalking them up to magical forces.
Creatures of MaGiC All the various creatures of myth and legend show up in the comics in various forms. They deal with forces and beings few others understand. A golem created as a protector for a repressed people. Accidental mutations are nearly always impossible or at least extremely dangerous to duplicate.
They often happen in batches. Perhaps a villain has a matching device. A former criminal bonded with a demonic spirit. An archeologist who discovered an ancient magical talisman. The homes of the various gods and divine powers are one example see Gods. So these powers are effectively still magic. Of course.
They also result from uncontrolled exposure to magic. You can even create a team of heroes or villains where each member has a magical device from a combined set.
In more recent years technology like genetic engineering. A common origin in the comics is for an ordinary person to merge with a magical creature in some way. Having outlived its creator. Some may be deluded while others are charlatans.
The rulers of mystic dimensions nearly always their most powerful magicians may have designs on Earth. Chapter 1: MystiC diMensions The existence of magic implies other dimensions beyond Earth. Magicians often have one or two magical devices at their disposal. Magical devices make useful story hooks. If the catalyst affects a large enough group. Some settings differentiate between mutants. The catalyst can be almost anything. The only difference is the real power source and therefore descriptor is psionic.
In others. An extended family of mutants. Some settings may feature restrictive laws about violating the privacy of others and reading thoughts without consent. Mutant hysteria More than any other origin. The GM may also want to address the legality of information obtained through mind reading.
The possibility of anyone being a latent mutant. Some settings feature low-level psionic powers. In a more four-color series. Characters may believe their powers are actually magic or reliant on super-science gadgets. If technology for defeating Mind Reading and Remote Sensing exists.
They might just as easily exist through magic. The potential for psi-powers may be latent in all humanity. An otherwise ordinary person is exposed to a mutagen and gains superhuman powers. In some settings. Sometimes it may be genetic mutation see Mutation.
Stories tend to stress the uncontrolled nature of newly activated mutant powers. In the comics. A rare few mutants are born with obvious physical mutations. Perhaps the entire crew is exposed. Psionics can be a somewhat vague category. While psionic powers are all mental in nature.
The exact origin of psionic powers is often unclear. They may also see some prejudice toward mind-readers and clairvoyants. Such mutations are usually attributed to things like rising background radiation. Was it an accident or a staged experiment? Can the mutagen give similar powers to others? An astronaut is bombarded by strange radiation.
They tend to be subtle and not entirely reliable. Other settings may treat mutants as no different than any other superhuman origin. Comic book superheroes have psionic powers with much wider scope and greater power level.
Most often the changes brought on by puberty do this. The representative of a hidden society of enlightened humans with psionic powers. The same is true of computer manufacturers and cutting edge new chips. The most common explanations include the following: Extremely wealthy governments. In the first case. Many early science fiction writers also wrote comic books. A powerful psionic mind trapped in a crippled or otherwise weakened body. You can do the same in your own setting.
It may also require rare components or processes. But why does the scientific community reject the fruits of super-science? The reason in the comic books is simple: Oil companies. It takes years to figure out how to replicate it. If the inventions of super-scientists were commonly available. So writers either come up with reasons why such Chapter 1: A teenager whose newly awakened psionic powers usually physical powers like telekinesis or pyrokinesis sometimes get out of control.
Governments and corporations deliberately suppress some technology. Many comic book heroes and especially villains feature science and technology far beyond the understanding of ordinary people.
A psionic with mental powers disguised as physical abilities: An injured soldier receives bionic implants and replacement organs. The prime difference is characters can be separated from their gadgets. Some outside force is retarding technological progress.
Man and MaChine Technology may actually be integrated or implanted into living creatures. A young genius has a talent for building useful gadgets out of any collection of spare parts. A mecha functioning as smoothly as a giant-sized character should be acquired as a set of Removable powers when the hero is denied access to the mecha. A variation on the battlesuit is the mecha. It may be a one-time success. Other intentional mutations are experimental subjects.
Many intentional mutations are inventors who used themselves as experimental subjects. The wearer of a battlesuit may be its inventor or simply chosen to pilot it particularly if the suit originates with the military. Some battlesuit wearers have teams of supporting NPCs providing assistance via remote communication. The process may be dangerous. A battlesuit might even have multiple wearers.
Cyborg powers are like those of any other character. If the suit is sufficiently bulky and concealing. A cyborg may have complications based on the need for regular maintenance or even the Removable modifier. It might be extremely expensive. This is particularly common for villains. A character with a ray gun. The less powerful the outcome of the process.
There may be side effects. When the military attempts to turn it into a weapon. Such characters are often bitter and vengeful toward the people responsible for their mutation. The scientific community truly is blind to the genius of its most exceptional members.
It might be the work of aliens. Some may be volunteers. Mecha have abilities similar to battlesuits. Multiple oriGins You may allow more than one origin in the series.
You may want to do this on a character-by-character basis or just establish guidelines for the entire series. It may create a certain sameness among the superhuman characters in the series. Multiple origins allow for some variety in the series. Is there a single source of super-powers or many?
For example all superhumans might be genetic mutants. When criminals kill its creator. Coming from a long line of police officers. A secret government agency trains superheroes and equips them each with devices giving them superhuman powers. In four-color comics. Characters may also supplement physical and mental training with various technological devices see Super-Science. You might also limit superscience powers. Rigorous training and unshakable dedication can go a long way in the comic books.
A unified origin provides a degree of predictability to the setting. Trained in the secret arts of invisibility. It is also more plausible. On the other hand. The child of a Westerner and one of the last scions of a fabled Japanese ninja clan.
Sometimes training awakens other latent powers. As always. A single origin also limits the descriptors applied to super-powers.
One of the first things to consider about superhuman origins is which one s to have in your series. Usually any effect suitable as an advantage even an advantage with multiple levels is suitable as a training effect.
A former Olympic athlete who lost friends and family to terrorism and undertook a rigorous program of training to fight such criminals and become an international agent of peace. Keep in mind this may affect how some descriptor-based effects work. Other effects are left to GM interpretation. Nearly anything is possible in a world where aliens. This is the case with most comic book superhero settings: This may mean everyone gained their powers in the same way.
The heroes may come from diverse backgrounds with virtually any origin or power. In some. A world could have common superhuman physical powers but rare mental powers. This approach gives the players the widest range of options.
The usual assumption is Allied and Axis super-soldiers counter each other, so the war follows pretty close to the same course. You can always change this assumption in your own world, creating an alternate history see page 39 or coming up with some other reason why superheroes dont change the course of the war. Chapter 1: settinGs GaMe Masters Guide the Best of tWo Worlds If the players are neither sticklers for authentic Golden Age comic-book details nor diehard fans of grim-and-gritty stories, Gamemaster are free to choose whatever elements are going to create the most fun in their series.
In many ways, this is the best approach, because it satisfies the players likely affinity for modern storytelling conventions while leaving the Gamemaster free to create the widest possible range of stories. The eclectic approach can encompass the tighter continuity and greater emphasis on superpowered feats found in modern comics, while at the same time avoiding the oft-preachy moralizing common to both the Golden Age and postmodern eras.
Stories can be lighthearted without the lowbrow comedy of the Golden Age, or they can be serious without the nastiness of the postmodern era. Ultimately, the specifics must be left to each individual Gamemaster. Thankfully, doing so is a natural process. Simply read over the tropes of each approach, and go with whatever elements are going to be the most fun for all.
Many comic book universes choose to explain the general lack of superhero adventures in the s as a reaction to the Red Scare. For example, superheroes and masked vigilantes are often persecuted during the s, accused of being communist sympathizers. This leads many of them to retire or go into hiding, or to go outside the law altogether.
You can come up with your own explanations for a gap in superhuman activity during this time. Perhaps an invasion of shape-shifting aliens leads to mistrust of superheroes, or even results in the deaths of many heroes and villains before the aliens are themselves defeated.
Golden Age heroes may choose to retire and fade into obscurity over time. The cosmic tides allowing super-powers to exist may wax and wane in a twenty-year cycle, peaking in , dropping off by , only to peak again in , and so forth. Generally, the mid- to lates are regarded as the end of the Golden Age and the start of something new.
This trend has produced many fine, popular stories over the years, and their success led to the inevitable envelope-pushing, which reached its zenith in the mid-to-late s. Just as unavoidably, the boundary-stretching continued well past this point, until costumed heroes werent all that heroic anymore.
Just as characters introduced in the s reappeared as typical smiling, happy Silver Age characters during the s, in the s they became dour, humorless vigilantes like seemingly everyone else in comics of that time.
Yet even as it came to a close, time drew both readers and creators ever nearer to its eventual rediscovery. When costumed superheroes reappeared at the dawn of the Silver Age, so did most Golden Age storytelling conventions, with many of the eras most popular characters following suit, albeit often as shiny new Silver Age revamps. Science fiction was all the rage in comic books second great era, and the Golden Age greats re-emerged covered in sci-fi trappings: aliens, weird science, mutants, and just generally more space-y all around.
The process of revisiting and revising comic books first great era repeated itself throughout the ages that followed, as creators viewed the primal majesty and magnitudes-greater sales of the Golden Age with envious eyes.
Todays comic books are no exception, as Modern Age writers and artists interpret the kid-centered comic books of the 40s for the adult audience of the 21st century. These efforts have yielded some of the very best stories and titles of the Modern Age, and have shaped our con- anti-heroes The 90s aesthetic dictated that anyone who puts on a costume to fight other people wearing costumes whether ostensibly a hero or a professed villain is to some degree insane.
In fact, the degree and intensity of their craziness is often the only way to tell the putative good guys from the bad guys. The costumed protagonists are prone to obsessive-compulsive manias, and putting on a mask and a cape are just a manifestation of their particular type of craziness.
By some degree of contrast, the antagonists are brutal killers, rapists, pederasts, or a combination thereof. Creating characters for a postmodern Golden Age style series is a matter of selecting classic costumed-character archetypes and putting dark spins on them. In this fashion, flag-costumed characters become ultra-nationalist zealots, blind to the flaws of their home country as well as the virtues of any other nation.
Similarly, masked avengers become bloodthirsty vigilantes, executing scores of criminals as part of a bloody war on crime in which no target is off limits for either side. With heroes like that, the villains have to be real pieces of work. Forget bank robbers and juvenile delinquents in this style of series. It takes serial murderers, mutilators, genocidal racists, and the sleaziest sexual deviants to make the protagonists seem like heroes.
Sure, there are fewer tattooed heroes in sunglasses, but there are just as many heroes blazing away with guns, a greater emphasis on realistic superpowers, and more than a few ninjas or ninjalike characters running around. In the name of realism always a tricky term to use in regards to superhero comic books , stories inevitably focus on the most sensationalistic, violent, and lurid aspects of life in the s.
When the era itself disappoints in any of these criteria, exaggeration and outright fabrication step up to close any perceived gaps. To be sure, the world depicted in Golden Age comic books wasnt realistic, but then again it was never intended to be. Indeed, the very notion of realism in stories about flying men of steel from alien planets was considered utterly laughable at the time.
By the same token, playing up any sort of alleged realism is every bit as ridiculous at face value, but not without its appeal to many comics fans and gaming groups. Its simply worth noting for accuracys sake that putting a serial-killer supervillain into a story set in the s is by no measure more realistic than any actually published during that time period.
Wartime rationing may affect the availability of some items, but assuming it can be had and it exists in this era , all the normal rules are in play.
Military-grade weapons are, of course, normally found in the hands of soldiers, but they can also turn up in civilian use, such as with ex-GIs who kept a few souvenirs from their days in uniform or gangsters who found them after they fell off the back of an Army truck. The heroes themselves are usually above such things, but almost everyone else they encounter is not nearly as enlightened.
During the s, large numbers of people casually believe a dames proper place is serving her man, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics are naturally inferior to whites, Jews are a source of social ills, and homosexuals are perverts akin to rapists and pedophiles. Consequently, minority characters subjected to the depredations of segregation, harassment, racial or ethnic slurs, and hate crimes are regular plot points.
These elements are usually included in comic-book stories to highlight the eras perceived hypocrisy and reassure the reader how much more enlightened the writer is , and to show how much more realistic again, a slippery term his storytelling is. More commonly, the bigotry is there simply to shock the supposedly jaded readers. In a roleplaying game, prejudiced characters can serve more constructive dramatic purposes.
Reminding players just how far cultural attitudes have progressed in the intervening decades is a good and healthy thing, and it can be fun for them to confront and triumph over racism, sexism, and homophobia. Carbines were intended to replace pistols in the American military, but only really found favor in the hands of the U. Marine Corps, who preferred their more compact size for jungle fighting in the Pacific Theater.
Service rifles were the standard-issue weapons for infantrymen of all nations.