So having mulled it over in my brain for a few days I’ve decided that of the two ideas that had equal votes from my players I’m going to go with the super powered resistance vs. alien invader campaign. Partially because I’ve been wondering how to do a Strikeforce Morituri game for the last little while and partially because it’s been a while since I dusted off my copy of Wild Talents.
So now it’s time to start laying down some groundwork for the actual campaign itself. The foundation on which the stories will hang and as I’ve learned from my Shadowrun game if I don’t put in the grunt work here the whole thing becomes a chore for me.
Axes of Design
Wild Talents has some great information on designing a world for your super powered folks to inhabit and one of the keys to this is by looking at the world through the lens of powered individuals in four key areas and in keeping with the super-hero theme these are named after the colours used in the old school four colour comics. They’re all rated from 1-5. So a world may be Red 3, Gold 2, Blue 5 and Black 4. There’s no mechanical effects to these in the RAW but help to shape the world.
Red measures the impact the characters have or will have on history. Can history shaped by the actions of one powerful individual or group change the course of world events? Looking at the examples they give they list The Authority, Watchmen and Squadron Supreme as example for Red 3 and those seem perfect. In this world, the powered people can affect change it’s going to take work and perseverance to overcome the world’s inertia. I imagine the world was previously Red 5, powers didn’t exist and had no impact on history but now things are changing.
Gold indicates Talent inertia, how little the people with powers change. As the book states “…the immunity of Talents to the effects of ordinarily life-shattering events, and those events’ common, even usual, reversibility, is part of what makes a world Gold in the first place” I want this to be fairly low because having the characters be able to change in response to events, both good and bad, is important. So I’m going to rate this a 2.
Blue represents the weird. Gods walking among the mortals, invisible aircraft, creatures made from plant material that think they used to be human, stuntmen trapped in their power suits by devils from hell. That sort of thing. Blue one means that the “talents” are generally the only weird thing in the world and usually have some sort of singular point source origin. Blue 3 is exactly what I need – there was a “blue” event and everything else springs from that. In this case since the event is an alien invasion that conquers the planet that’s a little much for the lower level of blue but it also means there’s no angels or parallel dimensions though there may be other alien species aside from the invaders.
Black represents moral clarity. At level 1 there are no moral absolutes and it’s fairly nihilistic at level 5 the distinction between “good” and “evil” is very well defined, the righteous cause is good and evil is destined to fail due to its shortsightedness and cruelty. I’m going to use a fairly low Black 2. While things are still hazy around morality there are still choices to be made. This is the general default for the Godlike setting, which I’m borrowing considerably from.
Final World Axes
The end result of my world through the four colour lens of Wild Talents is as follows.
Red (3) – Talents can change history for good or bad, they are capable of having a real impact on the world but need to seize the opportunity when presented with it rather than having the world change simply by their presence.
Gold (2) – Characters are not static and can change in response to events. Society can take longer to accept these changes but they will happen.
Blue (3) – A single weird event (Alien invasion) touched off the rest. Gods and myths are theories or stories, parallel dimensions don’t exist, time travel is impossible. It is basically our world and then the invasion happens and anything else – high tech gadgets, super-powers, scientific weirdness etc. stems from that event. If there’s Bigfoot in the forests then it’s because the same things that caused the human genes to change also affected a primate from the zoo that escaped. It’s not some long lost missing link.
Black (2) – Morality is murky but it does exist. There is no absolute good or evil but people generally view the invaders as the bad guy even if individual members work counter to that.