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When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Discuss Freedom City, Paragons, Wild Cards, or your own campaign settings here.

When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Plantman » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:55 pm

So I have been roped into GMing a game and I have decided one of the major themes will be that super powers are new and that the players will be some of the first people to manifest them. I am trying to go for a somewhat realistic (but not too realistic) setting. Not gritty or dark but I think that super powers would have a large, worldwide effect. Now I have my own ideas on how this will work out.

However I thought it would be fun for us all to generate some cool ideas! I like seeing how other people handle the same problem and come up with totally awesome ideas I never thought of!

So how would you handle a world with its own emerging super powers?


Just a few of mine so far (that are not world specific):

Regardless of how the public feel about empowered people governments are going to try and snatch up as many people with pre- and post- cognition, mind reading, super intelligence, long range psychic communication, remote sensing, and healing abilities as possible. Additionally they are probably going to try and find as many people as possible who are also immune to these same powers.

The first thing the governments of the world are going to want from their scientists is a way to nullify powers. (which will be expensive and require lots of energy so they will be uncommon).

Once powers start turning up many people will emulate their heroes (for good or bad) from TV, comics, and other media. This will include goofy/terrible/funny outfits.

Unfortunately most people are not trained in actual crime fighting. They are amateurs wearing pajamas. This will result in many of them and the people they were trying to save getting killed.

Even more unfortunate is that while it’s difficult to be a hero its soo easy to be a villain.

Cue public out lash on vigilantes and the formation of governments (federal, state, and local) registration of super empowered beings. This of course brings up a lot of legal and rights issues. :twisted:

The “honey” for supers for registration is actual training for either combat or civilian use of powers. This will enable “super Heroes” to work for police departments, federal agencies, or even as soldiers and be able to make actual arrests. Most of these “Heroes” will be aimed at costumed villains so the police can actually do their real job and not deal with insane costumed thugs.
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Re: When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Kreuzritter » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:07 am

i happily reccomend you pick up the 2e book "Paragons"

that said, don't forget that religion is important to a lot of people, with rections ranging from "these are a gift from god" "you are marked by the Beast" to "dude, we ARE gods!"
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Re: When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Greyman » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:24 am

Plantman wrote:Once powers start turning up many people will emulate their heroes (for good or bad) from TV, comics, and other media. This will include goofy/terrible/funny outfits.

Unfortunately most people are not trained in actual crime fighting. They are amateurs wearing pajamas. This will result in many of them and the people they were trying to save getting killed.

Even more unfortunate is that while it’s difficult to be a hero its soo easy to be a villain.

Cue public out lash on vigilantes and the formation of governments (federal, state, and local) registration of super empowered beings. This of course brings up a lot of legal and rights issues. :twisted:

The “honey” for supers for registration is actual training for either combat or civilian use of powers. This will enable “super Heroes” to work for police departments, federal agencies, or even as soldiers and be able to make actual arrests. Most of these “Heroes” will be aimed at costumed villains so the police can actually do their real job and not deal with insane costumed thugs.
This is close to the premise of the webcomic, Magellan, which had a new generation of wannabe-heroes emulate the old, but with stronger powers and no experience, it didn't work out so well. So they founded a training academy.

Of course, the question is in your setting, who trains the first generation?
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Re: When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Plantman » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:02 pm

Kreuzritter wrote:i happily reccomend you pick up the 2e book "Paragons"


Thank you for recommending that book, it has been a huge help! It covered a lot of areas I hadn't thought about!

Greyman wrote:This is close to the premise of the webcomic, Magellan, which had a new generation of wannabe-heroes emulate the old, but with stronger powers and no experience, it didn't work out so well. So they founded a training academy.

Of course, the question is in your setting, who trains the first generation?


I actually read Magellan! Its a great webcomic!

Anyways I was thinking a lot the training would actually be good old fashion police training or boot camp. So that Heroes can make actual arrests and know how to function in the legal system. I have actually changed my mind though on heroes having to learn how to use their powers and instead of having to train to use powers people that have them instinctively know how they work at a basic level. However they can train to expand beyond that basic level and discover more applications or develop new powers through exploration.
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Re: When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Ash Williams » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:15 pm

Well, there is one thing that could help them gain experience with their powers: An '80s training montage (preferably set to an appropriate song).
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Re: When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Greyman » Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:13 am

Plantman wrote:Anyways I was thinking a lot the training would actually be good old fashion police training or boot camp. So that Heroes can make actual arrests and know how to function in the legal system. I have actually changed my mind though on heroes having to learn how to use their powers and instead of having to train to use powers people that have them instinctively know how they work at a basic level. However they can train to expand beyond that basic level and discover more applications or develop new powers through exploration.
Hmm. The scenario does have lots of potential, doesn't it?

It would be a two level learning process; with the capes learning their powers, and at the same time, the cops learning how to teach rookies with powers how to deal with criminals with powers. The recruits will not only have to learn something of police procedures, and SWAT tactics, but those procedures and tactics will have to be modified too.

Stakeouts with super-senses. Undercover work with morphing and concealment. Vehicle pursuit when the suspect vehicle might transform into a hover-tank; and half the pursuers can fly. Raids on lairs in kookie places filled with death traps. That kind of thing.

Also, the instructors may resent having to train heroes to do their job. Not only will the rookie heroes have strange powers, they're likely to have an attitude to match.

It could end up kind of like Police Academy meets Heroes; as serious or humorous as you wish.
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Re: When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Techno » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:26 pm

Sounds there's a few promising ideas I might want to knick for my own setting. Anyway, some thoughts of my own:

- If such people exist, how prominent are gadgeteers and super-genius inventors in your setting? How does society handle a sudden influx of people creating radical labor-saving devices, cures for various diseases and whatnot? Is there resistance from people with a vested interest in the old technologies? How strong and pervasive is it?

- Likewise, are there people trying to apply things like super-strength, pyrokinesis, and whatnot to industry? How are such people handled by employers? By unions? Are they welcomed, tolerated, or have to hide their powers unless they want to be forced into going into business for themselves? For those who go the small business route, how are they treated by rival companies? By banks?
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Re: When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Greyman » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:50 am

Techno wrote:- If such people exist, how prominent are gadgeteers and super-genius inventors in your setting? How does society handle a sudden influx of people creating radical labor-saving devices, cures for various diseases and whatnot? Is there resistance from people with a vested interest in the old technologies? How strong and pervasive is it?
There's also the question of reproduciblity and reliability of such gadgets. Can their creations be reverse engineered and economically factory built, or do they require an elusive 'spark' of super-powered genius to make?

That is, "is Reed Richards useless", or is the status quo going to change?
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Re: When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Techno » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:24 pm

Greyman wrote:There's also the question of reproduciblity and reliability of such gadgets. Can their creations be reverse engineered and economically factory built, or do they require an elusive 'spark' of super-powered genius to make?

That is, "is Reed Richards useless", or is the status quo going to change?


Hmmm, normally I prefer to operate on the more hard science side of things (science is repeatable and ergo gadgets based on science can be made by different people) but that is a good point.
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Re: When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Greyman » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:46 am

Techno wrote:Hmmm, normally I prefer to operate on the more hard science side of things (science is repeatable and ergo gadgets based on science can be made by different people) but that is a good point.
You can always have both. Gadgets are most likely reproducible equipment while the more outlandish Devices are often not--either based on a technology too advanced or unfamiliar to be readily copied, or their inventor somehow warps reality to make them work.

There's good science, there's bad science, and then there's mad science! Mwahahahhah!
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Re: When superpowers emerge all at once, game ideas.

Postby Horsenhero » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:05 pm

Greyman wrote:
Techno wrote:Hmmm, normally I prefer to operate on the more hard science side of things (science is repeatable and ergo gadgets based on science can be made by different people) but that is a good point.
You can always have both. Gadgets are most likely reproducible equipment while the more outlandish Devices are often not--either based on a technology too advanced or unfamiliar to be readily copied, or their inventor somehow warps reality to make them work.

There's good science, there's bad science, and then there's mad science! Mwahahahhah!


You can also go the "WildCards" route where the devices are heavily dependent on the character to work. Essentially, devices that defy the laws of physics are most often simply empowered to work due to the psionic power of the hero. In WC many heroes are dependent on "crutches" to make their powers function, despite the fact all powers come from infection by an alien virus. Thus, Detroit Steel's power armor only works for him, because under normal circumstances, the power source is badly insufficient to meet the armor's needs, but since he believes the power armor should work...it works. His psyche provides the necessary power.

Only rarely (as in the case of the Modular Man android) is a design complete enough to function on its own without the "inventor" being present.

This model allows for "super-science" without the world being thrown into disarray by the earth shattering impact of mega-genius inventions. Of course mundane issues like production costs, safety concerns, corporate greed, intellectual property lawsuits, national security issues, etc could dramatically slow the introduction of new technologies into the public arena.
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