So watching “The Knights of Tomorrow” episode of Batman: The Brave & the Bold, and re-reading Aaron Allston’s classic Champions article from Space Gamer #48, got me considering “legacy” style settings for superhero gaming. I’ve played around with elements of that concept in settings like Freedom City, where several generations of Bowmen have fought crime in the city, for example.
Which got me thinking—dangerous thing, that—I’ve been running various superhero RPGs since middle school, well over (gulp) twenty years ago. In essence, I have run enough superhero games to have my own “legacy” series of setting elements! What if I were to mash-up all of those various settings, Crisis on Infinite Earths-style, to create a single massive meta-setting? Let’s find out, shall we?
The Ground Rules
I’m going with elements from superhero RPGs I have run, rather than ones I’ve written. Certainly, a fair amount of stuff inspired by my various home games has found its way into my writing, but I’m steering clear of published setting material like Freedom City, which I designed from the ground up before I ever ran a game set there.
I’m also going with superhero settings that can be combined. While my Aberrant “Gods & Monsters” game was a lot of fun and generated some interesting characters and stories, it wasn’t “comic book” enough for the purposes of this exercise.
Lastly, I’m generally not counting superhero campaigns I’ve played in but had no part in running, with one exception, connected to a campaign I started.
That leaves the following superhero campaigns:
- Paragons: My oldest, and longest-running superhero game. The Paragons campaign started under Marvel Super Heroes (the Advanced Set) but we also used Champions (third and fourth editions) and even DC Heroes for it.
- Project Youngblood: A spin-off of the Paragons campaign, featuring young protégés of some of the original PCs and new characters. Run by various GMs before it eventually folded.
- The Sentinels: A short-lived game using a homebrew set of rules based off of the Torg RPG.
- The New Paragons: A “ten years later” game set in the Paragons campaign world, using the Fuzion rules from Champions: The New Millennium and some of the same “new generation of heroes” ethos.
- The Guardians: A Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game series, featuring a new team of heroes in New Hampshire and Massachusetts (the original name being “Granite State Guardians”).
- Thrilling Tales of the Midnight Society: This is kind of a borderline, since it is technically a pulp-era (rather than superhero) game using Spirit of the Century, and set in 1930s Freedom City, but featuring original elements.
- Icons: My occasional ICONS playtest game, with characters like Volcano and Grey.
I expect to start revisiting the idea of mixing-and-match these different campaigns in future blog entries, and we’ll see what comes of it together. Until then…