Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Just a night out in Meridian
This is a first, quick post about Meridian, the city I plan to use for the theoretical Champions game.  Like most of my gaming ideas these days, I'm recycling something from my past.  Back in 1995, I'd been in Houston for about a year and a half when I got laid off from the job that brought me here.  While I was out of work (six months), I decided to start on a new and different superhero setting.  I wanted to do something inspired by "Batman: the Animated Series" and the Fleischer Brothers' Superman short films, something more iconic than your typical bloated 90s supers.

(It's worth remembering that the state of comics c. 1995 was pretty appalling.  Lots of shoulder-pads, pouches, thighs bigger around than your head, and lots of explosions and killing.  Pretty much everything I hated about the genre, really, so it's no surprise I wanted to do something different.)

What came from that initial desire was "Meridian by Moonlight," which remains the largest single campaign guide I've ever written.  Meridian, a fictional Great Lakes city was heavily inspired by the animated Gotham, with a cast of supervillains wholly of my own concoction.  It was an epic, sweeping...

Moderate success.

The problem was, I spent so much time preparing for it and writing in background details that it was too personal, too perfectly suited to my tastes and therefore, not really that great a place to run a sustained campaign.  Yes, I learned the hard way that if the PCs are messing up your setting, you probably shouldn't be using it for a game.

Ultimately, I think the game really died because I'd spent lots of time imagining the cool stuff and not enough time doing things like developing my villains beyond a name and brief description.  Pro-Tip:  Champions works better when your villains have actual character sheets.

Anyway, there was a lot of cool stuff in Meridian, stuff that's too cool to leave fallow.  When I was writing "Sins of the Past" for ICONS, I envisioned the story as taking place in Meridian.  There's nothing specific that puts it there, but it helped keep me focused on the feel I wanted for the adventure.  So, for the upcoming game, I'm going to haul the old girl out, keep the Art Deco facade, but play mix and match with the innards to turn it into a better, more useable campaign setting.

Next Time: What that actually entails.

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