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  • Doing my first DC game...

    So, I'm doing my first full blown DC game with 3rd edition.

    One idea I had, since my players aren't familiar with DC, is to make massive write-ups for the known heroes and famous characters.

    Basically I am writing full blown write-ups so the PCs can know what their characters know. Basically I'm taking some of the DC write-ups from the DC Adventures book and editing them to give the PC's only the information that they had. I hope that it makes some surprises if I introduce some of the characters that they may not know in their secret identities and throw the players with them.

    Has anyone tried something like this before?

  • #2
    Re: Doing my first DC game...

    Originally posted by hypervirtue View Post
    So, I'm doing my first full blown DC game with 3rd edition.

    One idea I had, since my players aren't familiar with DC, is to make massive write-ups for the known heroes and famous characters.

    Basically I am writing full blown write-ups so the PCs can know what their characters know. Basically I'm taking some of the DC write-ups from the DC Adventures book and editing them to give the PC's only the information that they had. I hope that it makes some surprises if I introduce some of the characters that they may not know in their secret identities and throw the players with them.

    Has anyone tried something like this before?
    I've never done that with DC before, but I have used online wikis to present the Word: the things that the characters know. I generally take some obvious thing and change it (such as making it clear that the Flash, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern all function out of the same city) so that they don't know what I've changed...even if I change nothing else.

    I used to make big writeups, but as we get older and busier, my players don't have time or patience to read through that sort of stuff. We often use loglines to pitch campaigns ("It's x but y").

    In practice, what happens (usually) is I distill Things The Players Know down to a page, no more. Stuff that I know will be relevant goes into the page. If some player has other questions ("Hey, do I know a blogger named Clark Kent?" then I handle that in email outside of the session. If they have some outside knowledge thing they want to bring in, they ask me quickly during the session. "Who knows that Red Tornado is actually an android?" "Not you guys, not the general public.")

    In practice, it curbs my tendency to present huge amounts of world-building at once, and limits the players to things they care about....which is not a bad writing principle, anyway.

    "You're all in Gotham City. Batman is missing, presumed dead. Nightwing is active in another city; people think he's abandoned Gotham. We're between Batgirls. Black Lightning is retired. Ragman is a myth. You don't know any other heroes, though you might know their secret IDs without knowing that they are heroes. You all met through postings on a webforum for people with powers. For now, you're going to refer to each other by screen names, which will probably become your superhero names. Go."

    Like that.

    John
    Some M&M stuff at my blog, [URL="http://jhmcmullen.blogspot.ca"][i]Iconic Energy[/i][/URL], but mostly [i]ICONS[/i]

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    • #3
      Re: Doing my first DC game...

      Well, here is an example of what I am doing:

      This is the write up of Green Lantern:

      The first Green Lantern appeared during World War II. He served with the Justice Society of America. The first Green Lantern retired from the life of super-heroics following the McCarthy administration's insistence on costumed heroes revealing their secret identities.

      The second Green Lantern is a brown haired male with white sideburns, he is a member of Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic peace keeping force. Green Lantern was one of the founding members of the Justice League of America and there has almost always been a Green Lantern among their ranks. Green Lantern has been a longtime ally, and friend to, Green Arrow and the Flash. While on Earth, Green Lantern tends to patrol around Coast City.

      It is interesting to note that the first Green Lantern is not (officially) a member of the Green Lantern Corps as the second Green Lantern is known to be. Although both wear power rings that can project energy and create constructs it has been made very clear that they are not a part of the same peace keeping force.

      There are three other Green Lanterns on Earth aside from the original and the second one. All three are also members of the Green Lantern Corps. The first has gone public with his secret identity, naming himself Guy Gardener, the second and third have not. The second is an African-American. The third is a young dark haired Caucasian male.

      -----

      Basically I didn't include that their names are John Stewart and Kyle "Don't look in the Fridge" Rayner.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Doing my first DC game...

        That's pretty cool, though without knowing how broad your campaign is (citywide, countrywide, global, interstellar), it's hard to know whether that's an appropriate amount of info for an all out info dump. What is left for characters that have the "Well-Informed" advantage? Does the fact that earth has 5 Green Lanterns even matter to your campaign?

        My first instinct is to agree with Kipling and suggest you keep player character information focused on what's important to the campaign. If (for the sake of argument) they're street level heroes operating in St. Roch, then the fact that Superman is rumored to have a secret fortress somewhere in the arctic is meaningless...except in trivia games. Whereas having knowledge that the 8th Street Fangs and the Whispers street gangs are controlled by Lionmane and the Gentleman Ghost respectively, is important.

        For your own benefit, as well as your players, try to keep your efforts focused where it will do the most good in the game.

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        • #5
          Re: Doing my first DC game...

          You are a better judge of what your players need than I am, but that example looks like the results of, oh, an Expertise: Popular Culture roll, with various bits of information at DC 10, 15, and 20.

          I can tell you the name of one hero from WWII, but not two. It might be different if I were related or if the hero were (as Alan Scott seems to be) incredibly long-lived.

          I think having the information available if players ask the questions is good, or if they need the information ("Here, I'll call it up on Superpedia") but gosh, if you do it for all of the DC Universe, I think the amount of information is more daunting than useful, and a lot of work for you.

          Now, I run into trouble in not telling them about attitudes--I do generally have to say stuff like, "Few people believe in magic, even if they see it happening" and "The tabloid audience is always up in arms about aliens, which is why J'onn J'onzz spends so much time shapeshifted" (if they're in a position to know who J'onn is, and that he's a shapeshifter), or "Everybody hates and fears mutants though mutants have saved the world like twenty-eight times," but that can be sketched out in broad terms.

          Your players might want all of that information, but I repeatedly run into where I think they need whatever information I have, and they don't, or if they do, they'll ask for it. As I say, though, you know your players, and I don't. All but one of my players would ignore that pile of information.
          Some M&M stuff at my blog, [URL="http://jhmcmullen.blogspot.ca"][i]Iconic Energy[/i][/URL], but mostly [i]ICONS[/i]

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Doing my first DC game...

            Originally posted by hypervirtue View Post
            my players aren't familiar with DC
            *Spits out my mouthful of tea*

            How! How are they not familiar with DC? Have they been living under a rock or something?

            Nope, a spit take is not going to be sufficient to demonstrate my shock

            *head explodes*
            “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

            -Doctor Who

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            • #7
              Re: Doing my first DC game...

              Originally posted by saint_matthew View Post
              *Spits out my mouthful of tea*

              How! How are they not familiar with DC? Have they been living under a rock or something?

              Nope, a spit take is not going to be sufficient to demonstrate my shock

              *head explodes*
              Well, I mean, it's pretty easy to not know crap about DC comics. They could easily have just seen the various Superman and Batman movies and have no idea about any of the rest of it.

              If you don't read comics or watch cartoons, you probably won't go after 'em.

              Hell, friends of mine who don't read comics always get companies mixed up. They can't remember if it's Marvel or DC who does Iron Man, or Batman, or whoever. God help them if I mention characters that aren't in the public eye. They always have to say "is that Marvel or DC?"

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Doing my first DC game...

                And that is an even better reason to keep the information feeds tightly focused on what is either necessary for the game or requested by the players.

                My feeling isn't that players need to be introduced to the entirety of the DCU at once, especially if they're unfamiliar with much of the source material. Introduce information as it becomes important. If they're playing the "Teen Titans- Little Rock", have them meet up with the canon Titans that help them get set up and give them a small, but well-defined supporting cast...

                ...then bring in the villains for the opening gambit. Once they feel comfortable with this, expand their knowledge and connections in ways that are meaningful. If they meet a GL, have that GL become an occasional source of information or help. Knowing their are 5 GL's is unimportant if they don't interact with the GL's.

                All I was trying to say earlier is, don't fill the world with unimportant static. Your players will thank you.

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                • #9
                  Re: Doing my first DC game...

                  Originally posted by saint_matthew View Post
                  *Spits out my mouthful of tea*

                  How! How are they not familiar with DC? Have they been living under a rock or something?

                  Nope, a spit take is not going to be sufficient to demonstrate my shock

                  *head explodes*
                  Walks in, sees the remains of Saint Matthew cerebral thingy on the floor..

                  Me: Good God, man! Whatever on earth caused this to happen?!?!

                  OP: UHm.. I said there were people who weren't familiar DC Comics.. I'm.. I'm sorry..

                  Me: Don't be.. this is great news.. FINALLY.. something that makes him be quiet!

                  yukyukyuk.. just kidding..
                  "Oh poop!" (inexact translation) Author Unknown, Pompeii circa 79 A.D.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Doing my first DC game...

                    The other option is reboot the universe. Have your players pick who they want to play, give them a five line origin story recap, and throw them into the deep end. Build the world with them, they'll be far more engaged if they meet some baddie they've played against rather than someone they've just read a summary about.
                    Yes, superheroes should be played like paladins in capes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Doing my first DC game...

                      Originally posted by Der Schatten View Post
                      The other option is reboot the universe. Have your players pick who they want to play, give them a five line origin story recap, and throw them into the deep end. Build the world with them, they'll be far more engaged if they meet some baddie they've played against rather than someone they've just read a summary about.
                      Actually, this works very well even if you're going to use the big guns of the DC Universe. Say, "Okay, Metropolis has Superman, Gotham has Batman, that's a given. If you've seen it in a DC movie, it might be true or you can declare it true (or false). Let's talk about the area where you are."

                      Just an idea.
                      Some M&M stuff at my blog, [URL="http://jhmcmullen.blogspot.ca"][i]Iconic Energy[/i][/URL], but mostly [i]ICONS[/i]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Doing my first DC game...

                        Originally posted by savijmuhdrox View Post
                        Walks in, sees the remains of Saint Matthew cerebral thingy on the floor..

                        Me: Good God, man! Whatever on earth caused this to happen?!?!

                        OP: UHm.. I said there were people who weren't familiar DC Comics.. I'm.. I'm sorry..

                        Me: Don't be.. this is great news.. FINALLY.. something that makes him be quiet!

                        yukyukyuk.. just kidding..
                        *Real Matthew walks in*

                        Oh for goodness sake, who's been playing with the clones again?
                        “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

                        -Doctor Who

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Doing my first DC game...

                          (JetstreamGW)
                          "Well, I mean, it's pretty easy to not know crap about DC comics. They could easily have just seen the various Superman and Batman movies and have no idea about any of the rest of it.

                          If you don't read comics or watch cartoons, you probably won't go after 'em.

                          Hell, friends of mine who don't read comics always get companies mixed up. They can't remember if it's Marvel or DC who does Iron Man, or Batman, or whoever. God help them if I mention characters that aren't in the public eye. They always have to say "is that Marvel or DC?"

                          I often run into this problem with my wife. While, to her credit, she only mixes-up DC & Marvel to pick at me, she does get confused with the array of cannons in these publications' arsenals. For instance, the difference between sequence of events in DCAU (cartoons), DCAU (animated features), that actual comicbooks, TV serise, and the live-action movies. Even to initiated followers of the different mediums, you should be careful to inform your players whether you are paying at least lip-service to one of these in your game (before the PC's start screwing things up) or if they are set in, say, Earth 53 1/2.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Doing my first DC game...

                            One could also use the origin story for the DC MMO. Lex Luthor has come back from a future where he defeats the heroes but Braniac then takes over the world and enslaves humanity. Luthor steals the "meta-gene" and releases it across the past Earth to create random heroes/villains (the PCs). This has several advantages for your situation. Since teh players are not that familiar with the DCU (apparently), it fits perfectly with character knowledge. Second, the players have the freedom to create their own original characters in said univers. Just a thought anyway.

                            For reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7Nf-m6WGl4
                            Founder, Paragon Mutant Society

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                            • #15
                              Re: Doing my first DC game...

                              Our current campaign uses a GM modified DCAU as reference for world building. The game is set five years after the last JLU episode so everyone has a common reference point. I think the superhero lore newbies have it better as the old schoolers such as myself keep having to un-remember the decades of comics.

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