WotW: Earth – Air Superiority

“They’ve gone away across London,” he said. “I guess they’ve got a bigger camp there. Of a night, all over there, Hampstead way, the sky is alive with their lights. It’s like a great city, and in the glare you can just see them moving. By daylight you can’t. But nearer–I haven’t seen them–” (he counted on his fingers) “five days. Then I saw a couple across Hammersmith way carrying something big. And the night before last”–he stopped and spoke impressively–“it was just a matter of lights, but it was something up in the air. I believe they’ve built a flying-machine, and are learning to fly.”
I stopped, on hands and knees, for we had come to the bushes.
“Fly!”
“Yes,” he said, “fly.”
I went on into a little bower, and sat down.
“It is all over with humanity,” I said. “If they can do that they will simply go round the world.”

As if their Heat Ray and Fighting machines were not enough, the Martians have a deep understanding of science and in the weeks post-invasion were able to analyse our environment and create flying machines. Our most seasoned scouts were able to describe this process as they experimented with their machines, sometimes resulting in disaster for the Martian who sat in the hood but with every setback, the hammering within the pit would resume and soon enough a new machine would be created. The Flying Machine crumples easily, possibly due to the lightness of it’s manufacture and most resembles a “flying wing” style craft.

“Across the pit on its farther lip, flat and vast and strange, lay the great flying-machine with which they had been experimenting upon our denser atmosphere when decay and death arrested them.”

The Martian Flying Machine uses compressed air to launch itself into the air with a loud popping sound and further air jets and aerodynamic surfaces to provide forward motion and lift. They cannot hover effectively and are currently limited to strafing runs for deploying Black Smoke and attacking with the Heat Ray, a tactic which has proved thus far to be utterly devastating.

Forward observers have noted the craft are simply too swift to be targetted by normal artillery and even our best riflemen have expressed doubt at whether they could provide an effective hit. Scouts describe the screaming roar of the engines to be as terrifying as the howls of the machines themselves.

Thankfully the range of these terrible air-borne scourges seems to be approximately 50 miles. It would not have delayed their eventual defeat even by a day but should their range have been much greater, we can only imagine the destruction they would have wrought upon us.

WotW: Earth – London

“And as I looked at this wide expanse of houses and factories and churches, silent and abandoned; as I thought of the multitudinous hopes and efforts, the innumerable hosts of lives that had gone to build this human reef, and of the swift and ruthless destruction that had hung over it all; when I realised that the shadow had been rolled back, and that men might still live in the streets, and this dear vast dead city of mine be once more alive and powerful, I felt a wave of emotion that was near akin to tears.”

As an aside, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds will be playing in the Odyssey in December. Am I going. Oh yes, I am.

Episode One – 24th October 2000

Tonight….

We introduced two of the characters to each other.

Father Julian Devon, a priest with a secret, is taking his orphans to Liberty Island. Meanwhile, a young scientist is trying out his new Stealthsuit, a suit of armour which also gives him the ability to turn almost invisible and, wait for it, teleport 25 000 000 miles in a second…

Father Julian notices a dark cloud heading in to shore and racing up the Hudson. Under it, floats a lone figure in black. Emergency responses alert the WatchTower which then alerts it’s first recruit, the scientist operating under the code name INDIGO. He teleports to the top of the World Trade Center and from there, to the observation deck of the Statue of Liberty. As he arrives, the cloud has reached the foot of the statue and the person it carries has touched down.

As the storm clouds swarm, everyone crowds inside the statue building, all save one: Father Julian. He confronts the dark figure and words are exchanged. The dark figure raises his hand and a brilliant bolt of lightning arcs down from the skies. There is a huge burst of light and when our eyes clear from the flash, only the priest is standing. His antagonist lies smoking and burned upon the grass. Father Julian touches him and utters a short prayer, as stunned as anyone at what has happened.

The emergency services response arrives and everyone is required to give statements. The burned man is taken in an ambulance to hospital and later dies from his injuries. INDIGO decides to investigate this priest further but before he can take action, Father Julian, urged by a young nun at the orphanage, arrives at the WatchTower to confess his actions. He reveals his powers to INDIGO and Jack White, the inscrutable, marble-skinned CEO of WatchTower New York. Jack agrees to speak to Father Julians Bishop and see if they can resolve his feelings of remorse at the accident earlier that day.

Next Week….some of the other heroes who will inhabit WatchTower New York, will arrive.

Conventions for the remainder of 2007

I missed Warpcon in Cork which annoyed me and I just realised that this weekend is Leprecon in Dublin. Would I go all the way to Killarney? That’s a long way. As is Galway. I’m not really into going across the water to England or Scotland at this point unless I can get a small group to go. As a result, realistically the next con I can go to is Q-CON in Belfast, a con I helped start 14 years ago. That’s kinda scary.

Dragonmeet would be nice….

  • K2 2007. Killarney Country Club, Killarney.
    Friday 2nd – Monday 5th March 2007.
    lir@lspace.org
  • Itzacon III. NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland.
    Friday 9th – Sunday 11th March 2007? Dates TBC.
    http://www.itzaconeire.com
  • Conpulsion 2006.Teviot Student Union, Edinburgh University, Scotland.
    Saturday 25th – Sunday 26th March 2007.
    www.conpulsion.org
  • Student Nationals RPG Championships. Teviot Student Union, Edinburgh University, Scotland.
    Friday 30th March – Sunday 1st April 2007.
    http://www.studentnationals.org.uk/index.php
  • Sillicon 9. The HUB, Dublin City University, Ireland.
    Friday 30th March – Sunday 1st April 2007.
    http://sillicon.redbrick.dcu.ie
  • Battlemasters 2007. Digby Hall, Leicester University, UK.
    Friday 13th – Sunday 15th April 2007.
    http://www.eurolog.org.uk/
  • Salute Zero Six. ExCel, London, UK.
    Saturday 21st April 2007.
    http://www.salute.co.uk/
  • Beer & Pretzels XVIII. Town Hall, Burton-upon-Trent, UK.
    Saturday 12th – Sunday 13th May 2007? Dates TBC
    http://www.spiritgames.com/bnpdetails.php
  • Tentacles. Castle Stahleck, Bacharach, Germany.
    Friday 25th – Monday 28th May 2007.
    http://www.tentacles-convention.de/
  • UK GAME EXPO 2007. The Clarendon Suites, Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK.
    Saturday 3rd – Sunday 4th June 2007.
    http://www.ukgamesexpo.com/
  • Vaticon 2007. Student Centre, UCD Belfield, Dublin 4. Ireland.
    Saturday 9th – Sunday 10th June 2007.
    http://www.ucd.ie/gamesoc/vaticon/
  • Q-CON XIV, Queen’s University, Belfast
    Friday 22nd – 24th June 2007
    http://www.q-con.org.uk/

  • Recombination, New Hall, Cambridge, UK
    Friday 10th – Sunday 12th August 2007.
    http://www.recombination.org.uk/
  • Gen Con UK 2007. University of Reading, Berkshire. UK.
    Thursday 30th August – Sunday 2nd September 2007.
    http://www.horsemenevents.com/
  • Furnace 2007. The Garrison Hotel, Sheffield. UK
    Saturday 20th – Sunday 21st October 2007.
    http://www.rpgfurnace.com/
  • Consequences 2007. Naish Holiday Village, Highcliffe, Christchurch, Dorset, UK.
    Friday 16th – Sunday 18th November 2007.
    http://www.ishtari.co.uk/consequences/index.php
  • Dragonmeet 2007. Kensington Town Hall, London, UK.
    Saturday 1st December 2007.
    http://www.dragonmeet.com/

  • Continuum 2008. Beaumont Hall, Leicester University. UK.
    Friday 1st – Monday 4th August 2008.
    http://www.continuum.uk.net.

Would I GM for money?

There’s a bloke on StoryGames who’s advertising his new business: Will GM for money.

The price is $50.00 per month of weekly play, as of the 23rd of Febuary, the price is $10.00 per week payable in advance, which including includes snacks and drinks: a five session pass comes with a spiffy membership card with your characters mug on it in full color. We meet weekly on Friday, 4:00 to 6:00, at at Eudemonia on 2154 University (and Shattuck) in Berkeley, California

Are good GMs really that rare?

I’d not pay a red cent for this kind of crap. I don’t know about you but I expect a basic level of language for a GM and frankly, a GM who’s an egotistical prick is a major turn-off (And yes, I mean other people who are egotistical pricks. I’m fabulous!) This bloke…well…his command of his first language is not where it needs to be for a PAY-FOR game.

The odd thing is that during character generation on Monday night we had a brief discussion of exactly this subject. We did moot the idea that my players could bribe me. A quid ($2) for a random re-roll and two ($4) for a favourable result. And two again to cock up someone else’s roll. And there would be a bidding system that would go up in increments.

That beats the shit out of card based and stone/paper/scissors rubbish we’ve all been inventing over the last few years.

My Superhero Game.

I’m not happy with the current crop of superhero games.

My favourite is Advanced Marvel Superheroes from TSR which is nearly 20 years old. It’s certainly the most flexible and from the most basic amounts of text, oyu can extrapolate so much.

I’ve tried most of the games out there and I’m really not happy with them.

There are a few things I want to get across in the game I want to write:

  • A character sheet it takes a minute to write.
  • A simple mechanic for fatigue or energy loss.
  • The ability to look at two characters and know how tough they are.
  • Some sort of way of scaling the numbers so they’re less meaningless.
  • It has to have the flexibility of Marvel for sure.

I’ll add more thoughts as I think of them. Hmmmm. Chewy….

[Edit: Aidan adds more thoughts]

  • It has to allow super-heroism without losing touch with reality.
  • Making Magneto should be as straightforward as making Cyclops.
  • Combat should kill the stupid or unwary, or at least put The Fear into them.
  • Any one action should only require one dice roll.

Tonight at TTN

Tonight at TTN we made characters for my upcoming WatchTower superhero game. True to form we generated them using the random generation rules for the Marvel FASERIP system and we’ll probably convert them to something else later.

Paul ended up with a Priest who has the uncanny ability to transmute compound materials into other substances, shape solids at will, ionise the air and also disrupt the physical structure of objects. He theorises that he could probably part the red sea, change water into wine, walk through walls and still be able to shake a stick (ie, fight).

Rob started out with some stinky powers (Communicate with Animals) but by the end had managed to get a character who could fly at over 200 mph, was extremely resilient, lift ten tons with his hands, levitate 75 tons with his mind and fire heat and force bolts. The similarity to the Superbloke was not lost.

Aidan also started out with some stinky powers and a result so crap that he started again. Second time round he still had a technology-based hero which gives some serious disadvantages but by the end could, through the use of a battlesuit, go toe to toe with the others as well as be generally resistant to harm, become almost imperceptible through stealth and ….wait for it….. teleport 25 million miles…

Some of these characters are VERY powerful and, to be honest I’m not overly worried about that. It’s okay if the players are A-listers but I will insist on a bit of troupe play so that we can get some B-list and even civilian characters involved. I want to use this game to test my Relationship Tree idea for trouple play. Let’s see how that works out. I’ll detail it in the next couple of posts.

I’ll get the player concepts written up this week and given to the players and we should be able to start next Monday. I’ve still got to get the first Newspaper written and already my week is filled up. Crumbs!

Weekly Gaming

The game at TTN was delayed again essentially because in the middle of the afternoon my car died. I did eventually get a courtesy car but the day was so cocked up anyway, I just cancelled.

Today I’m reading the Gear Krieg RPG. It’s really really nice.

Tomorrow night, KinnyGraham will help us resume our madness in his popular Delta Green game and we’re also discussing a future Gaslight game under Michael’s guidance. I’ll be posting details of my character as I make him up!

Next week, we’re skipping TTN again due to family stuff.

Life is never simple.

Episode Zero: The Premise

Premise:

Game start is June 2000.

There are superheroes. There is no known definitive reason for their being, but they’ve been among us for decades. During the war years, the Allies and Axis powers deployed their own superbeings in the armed struggle and the US continued to use superbeings in all of their conflicts for the next 50 years. There are some of these teams and individuals still active. The most famous in the US was “The American Dream” – a team of patriotic superbeings who contributed widely to the Allied cause, as well as being the main strike force in Vietnam.

The US (where our game is set) is divided on the issue of superbeings. Many feel there has to be some sort of licensing of superbeings as there are some who can literally flatten cities with their powers and it is perhaps only luck which has prevented this thus far.

The Watch Tower:
The US Government has taken the initiative of starting a federated system for superbeing protection of cities and states: The Watch Tower. Each state has a minimum of 1 Watchtower installation with at least one superbeing stationed there. Some locations are luckier than others and the resources available to the WatchTower in San Francisco would be very different to the resources provided to a WatchTower in Idaho or Montana. Upkeep of the WatchTower is an accounting nightmare due to the necessity to ensure that the WatchTower makes money through licensing of trademarks, images, intellectual property and technology. The WatchTowers may also “sell” additional protections beyond the necessary to cities, regions, corporations and private individuals.

FORTRESS:
The realisation that state prisons and penitentiaries are utterly insufficient for the incarceration of superbeings came early but it wasn’t until the mid-80s that anyone could do anything about it. Technology could, in some cases, suppress the abilities of superbeings but in the mid-90s, a task force focussed on solving this problem came up with Fortress. Some of their restraints have been described as inhumane, but we are reminded that humane solutions are for human beings. FORTRESS is incorporated as a public-held company under the watchful reign of the CEO, President and major shareholder, Jorden Grainger.

Personalities:

BloodRage – multiple serial killer and US-based terrorist. After a series of very public displays including the 1998 bombing of the Orange County Womens Correctional Facility in which 120 people died and an unknown number of superhuman felons escaped, BloodRage disappeared and has not been seen in public since.

Atomic I: One of the heroes of the Vietnam-era American Dream, badly injured by BloodRage, but returned to active duty as an independent in 1999. His power, manipulation of nuclear radiation, has resulted in his being contracted over the years out to other nations in order to clear up nuclear spills in Chernobyl, Hamm-Uentrop, Hessen, Tomsk and Tokai-mura. He is a senior member of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Atomic III: Though born unpowered, the son of Atomic I developed advanced technology which permitted him to manipulate intense magnetic fields. This technology was subsequently licensed to nations and corporations in order to better control their nuclear reactors and high-energy colliders. In early 1999, Atomic III was missing, presumed dead and his magnetic-impluse gauntlets were used in a crime wave which resulted in the death of the superbeing Lifeline.

Lifeline: Born with the ability to heal others of almost any injury or affliction, Lifeline craved a peaceful life. His powers, though potent, worked best on superbeings and he felt real guilt that they were not more effective on normal humans. in many cases, his healing abilities were only temporary when applied to normal humans. Lifeline was assassinated by persons unknown in 1999. it is known that superbeings from around the globe, heroic and criminal, attended his funeral.

Vitesse: the national hero of France, known for his television and movie appearances, excessive use of stimulants and liberal attitudes to clothing, porn and sex in the media.

Prodigy: major shareholder of the UK-based Prodigy Corporation, Prodigy is now in his mid-20s and still the major supplier of advanced technology to the highest bidder. Prodigy has collaborated with others to build some of the advanced technology we see in use and his company provides the IP protection and licensing for all parties.

The Protectors: based on the west coast of the USA, the Protectors provide a non-governmental alternative to the WatchTower. Their roster: Inferno, Sparkle, Warhead

Moon Boy: the only active member of the original WWII-era American Dream. The scope of his abilities are unknown.

Malice: one of the known escapees of the Orange county Penitentiary bombing in 1998. Malice was captured in late 1999 and placed within Fortress.

The Zombie Squad: mostly inactive “team” of superbeings based in Miami who were partially active during the early 90s. Some of their number still respond but most have simply disappeared.

Hemlock: international assassin.

WatchTower New York: possibly the best funded WatchTower in the country. Roster: The Enigma, White Lightning, Minddancer, Shatter, Scorch, Sentinel, Metalon, SkyWarrior, Dominic Drake. The current team has just lost the extremely lucrative franchise to the WatchTower in New York after a series of costly mishaps and poor public opinion.