Monday, August 29, 2011

Campaign Concepts: The Crew

Game System: Initially, I had thought this would be a perfect fit for Steve Kenson's wonderful Icons, but the more I think about it... It can only be Mutants and Masterminds for this one.

Nutshell: A Power Level 8 or 9 Iron Age Style Superhero Campaign set in a 4-color world (Freedom City, DC, Marvel, heck even Superhuman's setting would be ideal). It is initially meant to be a street level campaign but grow from there.

Concept: The Crew revolves around the PC's, a group of super-criminals brought together by a mysterious benefactor. Each one has super powers, but not of the Superman/ Green Lantern level of power. But most importantly, each PC is a criminal. They don't have to be inherently evil, in fact the game works better if they are not. They are simply criminals, worried more about their next heist than killing or taking over the world. Also, since they are a team, the PC's powers should not overlap too much as each member would be something of a specialist in The Crew.

To avoid the whole "getting to know you" period, it is assumed that the initial starting adventure would not be The Crew's first heist together. It is also assumed that they have all done jobs for this "mysterious benefactor" before to keep questions to a minimum... at least initially.

The Introductory adventure sets the scene with a bank heist. Unlike most games of this genre, the PC's are the criminal's perpetuating the heist. They would be allowed to embellish and plot and plan and be as cruel or as mercenary as necessary. Of course, it wouldn't be long before the police are called in and a simple bank heist becomes a hostage situation. But that's when things change.

An hour or so into the first adventure, the cop cars will pull away from the bank, called to a larger menace. Anyone looking out the high windows of the bank would see why. Someting terrible has come. Depending on the world, it could be an invasion from Omega, Braniac, the Skrulls, the Monkey Menace, zombies, or some other alien race bent on the world's destruction; it could be a giant robot or creature; it could be a war of the gods. It doesn't matter, it's bad. In fact, it's so bad, every superhero the PC's have ever heard of are involved in the battle that erupts. And they're losing. For all that it begins to shake a bit at the seams and thnkgs like falling statues and stuff might happen, it should seem to the PC's that inside the bank is the only safe place.

So now what do they do? The PC's aren't terribly evil. So do they protect the people in the bank? Do they hunker down and wait for the danger to pass? Or do they help the heroes? If they don't, the heroes surely all die or are seriously injured in the battle. This potentially makes these criminals some of the Earth's only defenders. What then?

Those are the questions I like to ask and that's what I think would be fun to explore.


The Best Laid Plans...

Okay, so two of the regular articles I want to post here are ideas for games and campaigns (called General Gamery and Campaign Concepts respectively).

Campaign Concepts will house the nugget of an idea for a campaign or adventure for a given game system, potential house rules, and maybe even allude to the inspiration behind the campaign or adventure.

General Gamery on the other hand will allow me to lay down some ideas for games (be they RPG, board, or even card) and toss some rules, fluff, even just the germination of an idea out there just for fun.

Beyond that, I will of course review the best and baddest of the game/movie/book/comic world out there (and will probably start that with the DC reboot next week), but I haven't really decided on a format yet.


Much to decide.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Born on a Monday

Okay, so technically, this is a Friday but the Solomon Grundy quote was too good to pass up... so sue me.

So, I want to lay the groundwork for this blog. As opposed to my other blog, Dr. Mono's Game Design Blog, which concentrates on the development of my comic book miniatures game, Superhuman; Underwear on the Outside will run the gambit of my interests. I plan to review books, movies, games, and comics in this space as well as talk about the industries involved.

Of course, as a game designer, I will talk about my own exploits writing in the game industry and I will try to concentrate on running/playing games and the 4-color genre that I love so much.

Who am I? I'm a geek, not unlike you. I have a love of all forms of entertainment, but love games and comics above all else. Sure, I'm a musician, tech priest, psychologist, and overly-charismatic fat man. but I don't think of myself in those terms usually. I am a writer, a gamer, and a comic book aficionado.

As a gamer, I started like most Gen-Xers: D&D in my neighbor's basement when I was 8. This quickly progressed into TSR's brilliant Marvel RPG (Oh yeah FASERIP!) and Star Frontiers. But as time and years dragged on, my gaming needs included all manner of RPG's and miniature games and eventually made it to board games that I couldn't find in a Toys R Us.

By the time I was 12, I was writing my own games.. usually just to get rid of rules I didn't like as a gamemaster or to add rules for things that would come up in roleplaying sessions that were not covered by a given ruleset. My first RPG, however, was a ridiculously simple fantasy game called "The Sword and the Hand" which I only wrote to ease some of my friends into the more difficult 2nd Edition AD&D rules. That kind of thing continued long into my adult years with rules changed here and there and sometimes making up whole games with rulebooks as vague outlines in the dark, forgotten corner of the room.

Eventually, unsatisfied with random packaged games like Heroclix, I began writing the skirmish game, Superhuman. It was while working with my friends at Slugfest Games that I leaked an early treatment of some of the rules to Superhuman. It didn't get anyone to buy Superhuman, but that wasn't the point. It got me noticed. A year or so later, I was contacted by Cam Banks, the managing editor of Margaret Weis Productions. He had a simple offer: do what I'd already proven I could do... write for a superhero game. So I became part of the team that produced the Smallville Roleplaying Game. Not only did I get to work with people like Cam Banks and Josh Roby (Full Light, Full Steam), but I got to share writing credits with Bobbie Olsen (Fireborn), my beautiful wife Mary, and have an editor in Amanda Valentine (Dresden Files). This was a good team.. and Smallville not only ended up a phenomenal game, but it opened door after door for me as a freelance game designer.

So now I write, I play, and I read.

And I want to share it all with all of you.