Saturday, July 12, 2014

This Idea I Had

This thing came to mind the other day.  Even though I'm not looking to run a superhero game, and even though my ideal group of players is kind of scattered over the continent and time zones, so even a Skype/Hangout game would be a logistical nightmare, once I started thinking about it, I really couldn't stop.  So, I'm putting it here.  If nothing else, it's a reminder that I still have good ideas once in a while.


Rooftop Justice is a campaign setting for DC Adventures.  It is intentionally less inspired by the mainstream comics, instead taking a page from "Arrow," a dash or two of the "Smallville Season 11" digital comics, lots of inspiration from "Project Rooftop" (, and the explosion of superhero cosplay.  Like the TV shows, the comics continuity is malleable, with in-jokes and “Easter Eggs” for those in the know, and the overall power level reflects the budgetary realities of network TV.  So, if you think of it as a new show from “The DCW,” you’ll be on the right track.
Our setting is Opal, a thriving city on the mid-Atlantic seaboard.  Not as booming as Metropolis or corrupt as Gotham, Opal is best known for its stunning Art Deco architecture and its notable lack of suburbs.  Opal’s greatest hero of note was Starman, who protected the city throughout the 1940s and 50s.  Since then?  Well, a lot of that will be up to you.

Thanks to a combination of laziness and faith in my players, I expect a goodly amount of our backstory will be generated collaboratively.  Your first step is coming up with a character.  Good news!  The DC Universe is full of them, and you’re expected to use a version of an existing character, so go nuts with the following caveats:

1.  The Trinity are off-limits.  I have ideas for them.  If you don’t know who the Trinity are, you might want to re-think your involvement in this game.  Their sidekicks, however, are fair game, just as long as you take number 5 below into account.

2.  You must create a new backstory.  It doesn't have to be made from whole cloth, but it needs to fold, spindle, or mutilate the DCU in some interesting way.  Change up race, gender, sexuality, hair color, hell, create a character with the same name, but a whole new origin.  Go nuts.   You have my blessings.

3. Your backstory also needs to incorporate a villain.  The villain can be associated with the mainstream version of your character or someone out of the blue, as long as it’s interesting. The cumulative effort of these backstories will inform, if not outright create the campaign background.  Legacy heroes are OK, but keep in mind that your PC is part of the first generation of supers to operate overtly. 

4.  Want to make a heroic version of an existing villain?  That might work, but you’re going to have to run it past me, and I expect to be wowed.

5.  Figure out a reason your character is in Opal.  Do they know any of the other PCs?  Do they have a connection?  Remember, in a TV show, EVERYONE is connected, so play with that.

6.  Figure out who plays your character on the small screen.  Put a little thought into how the characters visuals work in the context of live-action TV.  NOTE: It doesn’t have to be a known actor, but I want a visual we can use for the character.

7.  The game starts at PL10, so if you’re grabbing a character out of the Heroes & Villain books (an entirely acceptable tactic), you may need to adjust things up or down a bit to fit in.

8.  New costumes and looks are highly encouraged.  Project Rooftop is awesome.  You ought to check it out if you haven’t.  I love superhero redesigns.  I am the GM: you want me to be happy, yes?  Can’t draw?  No problem.  I’ve got resources you can use, and the internet has even more.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


So, there was some new major game release this week.  A fair number of folks have got their noses out of joint about things involving it.  Me?  I try to err on the side of low blood pressure when I can.

Anyway, at the store today, I picked up this:

(This woman is Chaotic Neutral made manifest)

I'll be damned if it's not the best D&D movie I've ever seen.  Sure, they don't CALL it that, but it totally is.  Seriously, if you dug "Krull" and "Hawk the Slayer" and all those other less-than-stellar fantasy flicks, you owe it to yourself to watch this one.  I dig it.

Apparently, it's on Netflix, so put aside your Edition Wars and your indignation (no matter how righteous) and bask in the glory that is "Curse of the Dragon Slayer."  You can thank me later.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

When I Procrastinate...

I make playlists.  They give me the illusion of accomplishing something when I really haven't.

In this case, I've got the this project stuck in the back of my head.  A game I'd love to run, but I fear it wouldn't survive contact with the players.  A Forgotten Realms game, using the Gray Box as primary canon, with other early sourcebooks as I see fit, with rules that would be my own hodgepodge of 2e, retroclones, and other stuff that struck me as a good notion.

But I don't know if it would work, even if I got my preparation down.  Because it needs to feel "right," and that's the hard part.  Because I know what that means for me, but I'm not sure anyone else would.  And at some point, with any game creation, you've got to let go and let the players wreck it.

Anyway, here's a little over ninety minutes of music.  I call it "Dungeons and/or Dragons."  I kind of like it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

And So It Came To Pass...

In the city of Meridian, did six young heroes come together in a crisis, and took matters into their own hands for the cause of justice.  It was on this day the [NAME TO BE CHOSEN AT A LATER DATE] were formed!

So, yeah. I ran ICONS today.  First time I've done so since Owlcon in 2013, so it's been a while.  Since this is meant to be an ongoing game, I started things off properly, with random chargen at the table. 

I have six players.  Two have played ICONS before, two others have played a lot of Champions (if you saw my previous post, these are the guys who were in the Strike Force campaign).

One player had already done one as a means of learning the game (note to Steve Kenson, this game is responsible for a couple of online sales of the pay-what-you-want first ed. PDF), and I approved it, partly to speed things up a little (one less PC to create) and partly because it was an ICONS version of The Mighty Pinchus, his old Champions character from back in the Dawn Time.  Imagine a four foot tall version of Kirby's original-look Thing, but bright pink and lost on Earth.  With earth control powers and a lot of strength.

The other PCs were as follows:

Typhon (played by my son): A Greek god? A Titan?  Whatever he is, he wears Greek robes, has long flowing hair, and is insanely powerful.  Seriously.  The boy rolled Unearthly for his origin, then Birthright both times.  He's only got 1 Determination, but he's got 5's in every stat, Weather Control, High-level Illusions, and Telekinesis.  Also, he's an arrogant jerk.

The Detective.  May get another name later, but right now it will suffice.  Has Blinding and Mental Shield gadgets, an incredible intellect, and the aspect "World's Greatest Detective."  We're playing him like Amadeus Cho crossed with Sherlock Holmes.  Also, he's associated with a mysterious organization called D.I.O.G.E.N.E.S.

Lineman:  A blue collar hero with electrical and light powers.  A county lineman who got his powers, the traditional way: by accident.  Catchphrase: "This is no time to take a vacation."

Eugenia Marsh, Agent of AEGIS:  Descendent of the Innsmouth Marches, Eugenia server multiple tours with US Army Special Forces, before getting attached to AEGIS in Meridian.  She possesses LOTS of skills, above-average physical stats, and a mastery of assymetrical warfare that lends itself well to superpowered combat.  Oh, and she also possesses a family heirloom that allows her to copy a power from anyone she touches.  So, there's that too.

Myrmidon:  A flying slab of beef who loves to fight.  Fortunately, he's strong enough to lift a skyscraper, so he's pretty good at it.  Wears gladiator armor, flies, and is the only person who can communicate with Pinkie (via Telepathy).

Character creation took about two hours, which isn't bad.  I decided to run with the adventure out of the back of the core book.  One thing that I loved was the way the heroes put rescuing people ahead of stopping Troll and Recluse.  To me, that's just aces.

Of course, they DID manage to stop Troll and Recluse.  The latter was fairly easy, as Lineman stunted to turn his personal force field into a restraining cage.  Troll was a tougher prospect.  Myrmidon and Pinkie both put him in partial wrestling holds, while Typhon flooded his consciousness with illusions of being surrounded by dozens of Recluse.  Finally, Eugenia (who'd copied Typhon's Weather Control) picked up a chunk of subway rail (she's STR 6), and then (with my coaching) Stunted, charging the rail with a lightning bolt and she whacked the prone Troll upside the head.  I let her combine the kinetic and electrical damage into one, and she rolled a +4 before adding everything else.  Troll failed the Stun check and was O. U. T.

In the aftermath, they learned of Sin's attack on the museum.  Typhon picked up a phone, and, without dialing, connected to Iris, the Celestial Operator.  She connected him to Monkey, who helped identify the stolen tablet as being important to Chinese alchemy.  The Detective checked with DIOGENES about Sin, while Eugenia did the same via AEGIS.  The White Specter Peony powder pointed them to Little China, so they went to investigate further.

After The Detective was rebuffed at the third shop, we get a final panel: Typhon is sitting in a cloud shaped to look like an easy chair, looking down at the van where most of his new-found colleagues are waiting.  He can't help but notice a large number of dark clad figures approaching.  Carrying swords.

To be continued!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Game on the Horizon

Looks like we're playing ICONS on Saturday.  I've got six players lined up (counting my son) and only two have played ICONS before (counting my son).  In fact, I've only actually gamed with him and two other player in this group before, though I've known most of them for many years.

Interesting factoid: two of the guys were players in Aaron Allston's original Strike Force campaign.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


The ICONS game has been delayed until my players' schedules line up, but I'm not letting that slow me down.  Tomorrow, I'll be running a playtest session of Feng Shui 2, the new version of one of my favorite games.  I can't say things about it, really, other than I'm really enthused about what I'm seeing and I can't wait to try it out.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Unsolicited Endorsement

Those who've read this blog know that when it comes to superhero stuff, I'm a pretty four-color guy.  But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy an occasional bit of darkness, if it's done right.  Aberrant, for instance, was a dark setting I loved.  Scott Bennie's Gestalt Earth has possibly the darkest, scariest villain I've ever seen in a superhero game.  So, yeah, if you do it right, I'm there for you.

By everything I've seen, Extreme Earth does it right.  Not only that, but it does it for EIGHT DIFFERENT SYSTEMS.  Seriously, if this Kickstarter funds, they're producing conversions for all of the following games:

  • BASH!
  • Bulletproof Blues
  • Champions
  • FATE Accelerated Edition
  • Mutants & Masterminds
  • Savage Worlds
  • Supers!

Not only that, but the setting looks hella compelling and the art is absolutely gorgeous.  As I write this, they're $141 from reaching their goal, with five days to go.  Help put them over the top!