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  • The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs



    A bold new thread for a bold new message board. ^_^

    The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Things is essentially what happens when I listen to, watch or read a lot of different versions of my favorite media back to back. I'll listen to Dresden Files audio books on long drives, have Gargoyles, the 2003 TMNT or Spectacular Spider-Man playing while I type up stuff, re-read the Dresden Files novels and RPG, and anyone whose read any of my posts knows what a Captain Marvel fanboy I am. And when that happens, the Crossover Lover section of my brain kicks into high gear, noticing similarities, possible connections, and begins to wonder . . . what if . . . ?

    The setting of Mean Streets then is a combination of the Dresden Files, Gargoyles, Spectacular Spider-Man, the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Shazam/Marvel Family Mythos, all taking place in the same universe that also includes several other 'smaller' settings of a similar flavor, like Castlevania and Splatterhouse. The goal is to create a cohesive universe that feels faithful to the source materials while making allowances for the shared nature of the setting, such as the Turtles and Gargoyles being willing to use lethal force if they have to. Neither group enjoys doing so most of the time, but they are warriors with either bladed weapons or supernatural strength, and they're prepared to use them to whatever extent is needed to defeat their opponents. But hopefully this winds up making a place that 'feels right' and would be a fun place to run a game.

    Still waiting to see what's up with post editing/post linking features of the new site, but until that's ironed out, I will at the very least be posting up updated versions of my original thread. Everything important from the old thread will be included here, with updates due to ideas and considerations made since the thread started. So with all that said, lets get things started.

    The World
    The Basics
    Magic
    Martial Arts
    Science and Technology
    Superpowers


    Events
    The Sword and the King

    Last edited by Ares; 07-08-2014, 03:39 PM.
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  • #2
    Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs

    The Basics

    The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Things is a setting that combines urban fantasy and superheroics elements taken from its component settings. This is a world much like our own, but one where various mystical, mythical and mysterious elements exist in what is collectively called The Supernatural World, a collection of beings and forces that exists just below the surface of or within the shadows of the human or Mortal World. Most mortals are ignorant of the supernatural forces of the world, and all the happier for it.

    Another key difference between the Mean Streets setting and our own world is the aforementioned superheroics. Superheroes exist in this setting, flying, swinging, leaping or otherwise traveling around in brightly colored costumes fighting against the forces of evil. For the most part, superhumans tend to be on the power level of the characters of Spectacular Spider-Man or the Incredibles, but the top 10% of the superhuman population have truly immense power, such as the Silver Sentry and Captain Marvel.

    In addition to superheroes, technology is also a bit more advanced in the Mean Streets setting, at least for certain people. The average citizen only has access to the same tech their real world counterparts might have, but those with the right combination of wealth and brilliance, say extremely wealthy private corporations like Xanatos Enterprises or the Cyberbiotics Corporation, have substantially greater options. Power armor, particle beam weapons, nanotechnology, vehicles with VTOL and submersible capabilities, genetic manipulation, cybernetics, robotics, all are available for the right people. This more advanced technology is a result of the alien Utrom's attempts to escape Earth, though whether this technological influence was by accident or design, no one can say. The end result is the same either way, that a small group of people on the planet have access to incredibly advanced technology.

    Ironically, the presence of both superhumans and rare advanced technology only reinforces vanilla mortal's disbelief in the supernatural. After all, if they see something scary in the shadows doing inhuman things like climbing up the side of a building or ripping through walls, then it was probably some superhuman they haven't heard of doing something for reasons only they understood. Take the Triceraton Invasion for example, where the world was invaded by a hostile group of aliens that attacked multiple cities across the globe. Most people don't think that the Triceratons were aliens, and figure they were either robots or some weird bio-engineered life forms created by some supervillain. After all, humanoid Triceratops? Clearly it was just some bad guy screwing with the world again. It didn't help that half a dozen villains would later claim credit for the invasion. And that's for something that doesn't have anything to do with the supernatural world. Much like the Dresden-verse, they are all too happy to classify things as odd but explainable, and with superhumans and robots being a well known factor in the world, they have more things they can explain away the oddities as.

    Regarding the supernatural world, the Dresden Files serves as the primary blueprints for the layout of the Mean Streets setting, but there are some changes as well.

    For instance, Oberon is a part of the Faerie Courts, but he is much like the Sun and the Moon, he exists at all times of the year, and as such is equally involved in both Courts, and married to both Queens. Power wise, he's on the same level as the Mothers, meaning only particularly powerful gods, demon lords, Old Ones, the Fallen and Archangels are a match for him. He is not one to be trifled with.

    Similarly, the Black Court are a little different, being based off of the Castlevania vampires, with Dracula being the actual 'Drakul' as well as the Dracula of the Stoker book. In this case, all of the Vampire Courts can trace their lineage back to Dracula, with each of the Courts having a different responsibility to him. The Black Court are his elite, and are the closest to him in form and power. The Red Court are the warriors, the blood drinkers, the front line fighters of Dracula's forces. The White Court are the infiltrators, seducers, sowing discord and confusion amongst Dracula's enemies, and occasionally serving as diplomats when the Dark Lord needed them. The Jade Court are his mystics, his lore keepers, his esoteric masters of dark forces.

    Likewise, while the events of Stoker's book did occur, the White Council had him edit it to give mortal men the courage to face Black Court Vampires, most of whom were about as powerful as the Dracula chronicled in the book. Stoker had to leave out how much more powerful Dracula is than the average Black Court Vampire, or the fact that it took a coalition of vampire slayers, including a Belmont and several Wardens, to put Dracula down.

    The inclusion of characters like the Castlevania Dracula and Belmonts should showcase how, while the TMNT, Spectacular Spider-Man, Dresden Files and Gargoyles settings will be the primary building blocks of the setting, there will be a couple of smaller setting inclusions as well, if I think they compliment the world as a whole. Likewise, The Superhuman World is based heavily on the heroes and villains seen in the Spectacular Spider-Man and 2003 TMNT settings, but will be expanded upon with the inclusion of guys like Captain Marvel and other settings from comics and video games.

    So while things will be very familiar, expect more than a few surprises along the way.

    But on the whole, it's a world of high flying heroes, advanced technology, secret supernatural forces and a growing darkness that people are only now starting to see. It is a world that, more than ever, needs heroes.
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    • #3
      Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs

      Magic

      Magic in the Mean Streets-verse is a primal, powerful and very real thing. The Wizards of the White Council have different theories regarding the exact nature of magic, since the more they learn about it, the more they discover they still have to learn. However, while numerous theories exist about the existence and function of magic, most practicing spellcasters agree on several basic points.

      First, magic is everywhere. It's akin to a type of universal background radiation created by living things, especially the emotions and the will of sentient creatures, and it is effectively infinite in scope. Anytime a practitioner uses magic for some type of effect, the magic that was used to create that effect simply returns back to the ether once the effect has passed. Magic is never truly 'used up' in most cases, unless that magic is bound up into a more permanent enchantment, though even in this case, more magic is created to replace what has been used as more people think and feel and love and act. Furthermore, natural phenomena such as stars and planets create magic as well, and can be a source of great power if you know how to tap into them. Lines of power where magic is strongest run across everything that creates magic, from people (in which the lines are called chakras) to planets (which are called ley lines) and, some theorize, even across the universe itself (galactic ley lines?). The only way one could permanently rid the universe of magic would be to destroy all life in existence, everything that might create life, and then bind up whatever magic was left over.

      Second, the magical process requires three basic steps. The first is to draw the power the practitioner will need into themselves from the magical field around them. The second is to form in their mind what they want to happen, aka the spell. The third is to release that power and, if they formed the spell properly and nothing interferes with the casting, the effect will go off as planned. However, it costs willpower and effort to draw magic in, focus it and then release it precisely, and as such it requires great power and skill to use on the fly magic quickly and reliably. Releasing a spell that isn't properly formed can be very nasty for the practitioner. However, by taking their time, using mystical foci, rituals and other means, a practitioner can compensate for the power and skill factor to a larger degree. Some rituals are so potent and complex that someone without any innate mystical talent can use magic simply by satisfying all of the criteria for the ritual. Certain items of power like the Grimorum Arcanorum grant individuals the ability and power to focus magic, so that all the reader must do is visualize the effect in their mind, which is caused by reading the spell, for the effect to take place.

      Third, magic's innate nature is not permanent. The side effects of a cast spell might remain, but a spell cast by a wizard will last only so long as he concentrates on the effect and feeds power to it. So if a Wizard called forth a ball of fire into being, that ball of fire would continue to exist only so long as he concentrated on maintaining said fireball and fed more effort and power into it. At the same time, if he struck something with said fireball, the damage it inflicts would be permanent. There are only a few ways to make a spell effect permanent. The first is to invest time, effort and material components into binding a mystical effect into a material object, such as creating a Wizard's staff or a potion. The more permanent an item is supposed to be, the more time and effort it requires. Single use items like potions can be done in a few hours, while a Wizard's staff might take weeks or months to properly enchant. However, that time and effort results in an object that is fairly permanent as far as things go. The other method is to leave an 'out' for the spell. For example, when the Magus cursed the gargoyles who would eventually become the Manhattan Clan with a permanent stone sleep, the spell contained a 'flaw' that would free the Clan if the castle the gargoyles protected ever rose above the clouds. When David Xanatos, being the practical guy that he is, learned about this, he simply took the castle apart brick by brick and rebuilt it exactly on the roof of his personal skyscraper, which was above the cloud line, breaking the spell. Conversely, another wizard might have simply drawn clouds down from the sky until the castle was above them, and then used some Earth magic to raise the castle just enough to qualify as the castle rising above the clouds. These spell flaws must always be at least technically possible, if improbable, or the spell gains no benefit from it.

      Fourth, powerful magical practitioners and technology do not get along very well. When a mortal being learns how to channel magic innately, they are in effect strengthening their own mystical aura like it was muscle, allowing them to draw in and manipulate more and more magic. The stronger the aura, the more magic they have flowing around and within them at all times. This aura of power plays havoc with electronics, interrupting the flow power and sometimes damaging the delicate circuits needed to make such devices work. This creates an effect known as 'hexing', which causes any sufficiently advanced technology to fail in a Wizard's presence. Purely mechanical devices that rely on gears, springs and the like are mostly unaffected (which is why the growing field of techno-magic resembles steampunk technology), but anything more complicated than that will eventually break down in a wizard's presence. Minor practitioners, those without the ability to become full blown Wizards of the White Council, have an overall less powerful aura, and as such don't normally cause as much of a problem for electronics, and some don't cause any disruptions at all. This doesn't mean that magic and science are opposed to one another; it's just that the current level of technology and current understanding of magic are insufficient to work alongside each other safely at the moment. And furthermore, many Wizards are good at intentionally hexing technology, which is often very handy given the prevalence of electronics and how useful being able to disable such devices can be. At the same time, it means that most Wizards can't use the internet, so many would consider being able to alter the laws of nature a fair trade.

      Fifth, most magic is neither good nor bad, it just is, and the will of the person using the magic determines what the effect of the magic is. However, no one can use magic for anything they don't believe in, and using magic to do something only makes it easier to use magic to perform that action in the future. As such, Black Magic, magic used to perform acts the White Council has deemed evil and immoral, can only be done by people who believe in those evil acts, and makes them that much more likely to perform those acts in the future. This often leads to the spellcaster becoming corrupted as their magical use only reinforces their own worst natures. As such, the White Council has taken it upon itself to prevent Warlocks, those practitioners who engage in Black Magic, from harming others, often at the edge of a sword.

      Sixth, everyone can use magic. Magic is like any other science, but it requires years of study to understand how it works, made shorter by however much innate talent a practitioner might have. Everyone has at least some minute capability to use magic, but only those with an innate talent for it are detectable by other practitioners, and only those with the right combination of talent, control and training ever attain the mastery needed to become Wizard grade spellcasters. Others develop minor talents, or become Sorcerers who have a great deal of ability in a single specialized field, such as contacting spirits or summoning up creatures to do their bidding. And even then, pretty much anyone could become as skilled and powerful a practitioner as Harry Dresden, much the same way almost anyone could become an expert in a field of science or an athlete if they put in the hours and time training. However, the time and focus and dedication it would take to accomplish that would mean that someone could do little else but focus on building up their inner power and connection to the magic around them, and it might take them several decades to gain the equivalent power and knowledge someone with a lot of innate talent might gain in a few years. Most people simply have too much going on in their lives to dedicate that kind of time to magic, and even Wizards are always pursuing their own goals, rather than dedicating themselves just to gaining more power. Furthermore, many Wizards like to discourage others from this notion, having a belief that everyone is born with the amount of power they can handle, and less powerful practitioners should be satisfied with whatever meager abilities they have, and leave the real magic to the professionals. This somewhat condescending attitude does not endear the Wizards to most folks.

      Beyond those points, there is debate as to what the true nature of what magic is, where it comes from, what it can and can't be used for, as is to be expected from people regarding such a powerful, prevalent and versatile source of power and learning.

      So what can magic do? Pretty much anything given the right amount of time, preparation and power, but most importantly the knowledge of how it can be done in a mystical sense. Magic isn't a cure all, it's simply a tool with its own rules, albeit a very versatile tool that can accomplish a lot if you know what you're doing. However, you still need to know how to solve the problem with magic before you cast a spell, as it won't solve the problem for you. For instance, Harry Dresden tried to cure someone the Red Court had infected with vampirism, making her an effective half-vampire for the time being. Harry knew what he wanted to do, and he almost certainly had the power and resources to pull it off, but there was no known way to use magic to cure vampirism, and all of his efforts to develop a cure himself failed. He just couldn't figure out how to properly get what he wanted to happen to happen.

      It is worth noting that people with true 'psychic powers' have innate magical talents in the areas most people consider traditionally 'psychic', such as being able to see supernatural phenomena, telekinesis, telepathy, and so forth.

      It's also worth noting that non-mortal practitioners, such as faeries and demons, don't cause innate hex effects, since they don't have the same type of aura mortal practitioners do. Their beings are naturally in tune with magic around them, and can draw it in and control it without creating the same kind of metaphysical disturbance most mortal spellcasters cause when they draw on power. At the same time, a supernatural being's nature generally limits the type of power they can use, often making them less versatile than a Wizard unless said supernatural being puts time and effort into expanding their abilities.

      So that's magic in a nut shell. Available to all, used by only a few, but incredibly powerful and potent all the same.
      Last edited by Ares; 05-13-2014, 09:57 PM.
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      • #4
        Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs

        Science and Technology

        Magic isn’t the only potent force in the Mean Streets setting. Science and technology are both more advanced than in our own world, to varying degrees. The source behind this advancement seems to be a combination of unique individuals and several alien influences.

        In roughly 1000 AD, an alien spacecraft piloted by a race of beings known as the Utroms crash landed on Earth, thanks to the machinations of Ch'rell, an Utrom criminal the ship was transporting. The diminutive but intelligent and extremely long-lived aliens hid themselves from society, using mechanical suits to pass as humans while they attempted to create some means of leaving Earth. Ch’rell meanwhile used similar technology to found the Foot Ninja Clan, and used it to influence the world in his own schemes to gain power, which included bringing the Tokugawa Shogunate to power in 1603 AD. By this point, Ch’rell had adopted the public human identity of Oroku Saki, as well as the secret identity of The Shredder, through which he lead the Foot Clan, both identities based on an old Japanese legend. The Utroms and Saki both kept their eyes on the developing humanity and continued to influence it subtly, such as by giving resources to various human geniuses to let them fully explore their fields of study more thoroughly, allowing for bigger and quicker breakthroughs than what was seen in our world. Likewise, sometimes a human would get their hands on a bit of Utrom technology, and gain some insight via reverse-engineering it.

        A different alien race would also influence Earth history. In 1815, during the Battle of New Orleans, the Mi-go abducted the soldier John Bishop from the battlefield, and performed numerous experiments on him to see the potential of the human genome. What they found actually terrified them to the point that they promptly returned Bishop to Earth, leaving him with a body that had both enhanced physical capabilities and a greatly enhanced lifespan. However, the immense pain and torturous nature of those experiments gave Bishop a seething hatred for aliens and beings that would prey on humanity. As such, Bishop would go on to form the Earth Protection Force with President Ulysses S. Grant, and begin to develop technology to fight hostile alien invaders.

        All of this resulted in a more fertile field of theories and such for truly great minds of the 20th and 21st century to expand upon. Men like Halcyon Renard, David Xanatos, Antoine Sevarius and many more were able to create technology decades ahead of the rest of the world. These included advanced robotics, unique multi-environment vehicles, personal power armor, cybernetics and genetic manipulation. These advances and advances like them also sparked the dawn of the Superhero Age, as various experiments and unique technology lead to the birth of many heroes and villains as well. Spider-Man and virtually his entire rogue’s gallery are all the result of scientific experimentation or unique technological devices, proving how potent modern technology is.

        However, this more advanced level of technology is also relatively rare. While the Utrom and Saki encouraged human growth to a point, they kept all the best technology for themselves, hoping merely to get mankind far enough along where they could use human technology to escape Earth. Likewise, the really impressive stuff like robots, power armor and flying skyships are incredibly expensive, out of reach of all but extremely wealthy individuals, and the more powerful nations of the world. Furthermore, some of the really cutting edge sciences are unreliable. The process that created individuals like the Sandman and Electro have yet to be successfully repeated, as genetic mutation is by its very nature hard to predict. For every Spider-Man super science creates, it also gives rise to a Lizard or a Thailog.

        Despite those risks, science and technology remain a powerful force in the Mean Streets setting, one as potent as magic itself. Humanity’s potential to create its own champions and its own means of defense against alien and supernatural threats has made plenty of individuals, both extra-terrestrial and mystical, nervous to one degree. Who knows what humanity will come up with next?
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        • #5
          Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs

          Martial Arts

          While magic and science are the two most prominent sources of power within the Mean Streets setting, the power that lies within the human body should not be ignored. With the right training and discipline, a normal human can turn themselves into something that even a powerful wizard or someone armed with the most advanced weaponry should fear.

          The most potent example of this presently is the Ninja Tribunal, a group of martial artists from 300 AD who fought and overcame the Demon Shredder, both in his original Oni form and later when one of the Tribunals own members, the original Oroku Saki (whose name and legacy Ch’rell took for himself), took the demons power for himself, becoming the new Demon Shredder. To defeat the human/demon hybrid Shredder, the Tribunal traveled across the world, learning from various masters of the martial arts and developing their own fighting styles, until they had become something more than human but less than gods. Together, the four Tribunal members were able to defeat and imprison the Demon Shredder, and they retired to their own mountain retreat to further their training, preparing for the day the Demon Shredder might return.

          Now, ‘martial artist’ is no more an all inclusive term than ‘magical practioner’ is. As with magic users, there are levels and tiers of ability, some more useful than others.

          Firstly, there are Mundane Martial Artists, the kind of folks whose martial arts skill is derived purely from exercise, form and their knowledge of human anatomy. These are essentially the magical equivalent of the Minor Talents, those individuals with minor mystical abilities that make up the Para-Net. While the martial arts skills of these individuals can often be impressive, they are unlikely to ever win a fight against a supernatural opponent relying solely on those skills, and must often augment them with technology or weaponry of some kind. It can make them a terror against other mundane opponents tho, and can be something to tip the odds in their favor when facing non-human adversaries. Examples of Mundane Martial Artists include Sgt. Karen Murphy, David Xanatos, Casey Jones and most of the Pack pre-Upgrades.

          On the next tier are the Cinematic Martial Artists, whose mastery of the martial arts extends beyond the purely physical. These are individuals who have learned a level of self control and focus to use their minds to influence their bodies and their combat capabilities, allowing for much more impressive feats. Individuals on this level would be the mystical equivalent of a potent Sorcerer or a non-combat focused Wizard. Individuals on this level are capable of holding their own against vastly more powerful opponents using pure skill, and can perform incredible feats of acrobatics, deliver explosively powerful attacks, and otherwise do things that would be considered impossible for a normal human. Examples of Cinematic Martial Artists included the Ninja Turtles before their Tribunal Training, King Arthur, MacBeth, Karai and Fancy Dan.

          One tier higher still resides the Chi-Channeling Martial Artists, who have learned to tap into the sum total of a human being’s various energies, specifically the energies of the Mind, Body and Spirit. When these energies are in harmony, they create an energy known as chi, which can be used to augment many aspects of the individual and power various techniques. A fully trained, high end Chi-Channeling Martial Artist can be as dangerous as a well trained Warden of the White Council, and is a match for most supernatural opposition. Examples of Chi-Channeling Martial Artists include the Ninja Turtles post-Ninja Tribunal Training, Master Splinter, and Miyamoto Usagi.

          The final tier of martial arts is the Epic Martial Artist, the beings who have reached a level of power that effectively transcends the physical. Beings of this power are effectively the equivalent of the Merlin of the White Council of Wizards. Thus far, the only know individuals to reach this tier of power are the Ninja Tribunal, who collectively are capable of stalemating an individual on par with Oberon.

          It should be noted that, while there is a visible difference in purely martial skill between Mundane and Cinematic Martial Artists, the same doesn’t hold true for Cinematic and Chi-Channeling Martial Artists. It is possible for an individual to possess a wide variety of chi-based martial arts skills, but in doing so they have neglected their training in the pure martial arts, and thus would be less competent in hand-to-hand combat than a Cinematic Martial Artist who has been training diligently. Chi-based abilities can give an individual many more options in a fight, but they do not guarantee victory.

          For instance, King Arthur would be considered a Cinematic Martial Artist due to his immense skill level, but he lacks any chi-based abilities. Leonardo, following his training by the Ninja Tribunal, is a Chi-Channeling Martial Artist of considerable ability. However, when Leonardo and Arthur spar in their weekly sessions, Leonardo loses just as often as he wins, and most fights end in a draw. While Leonardo’s chi-skills give him some extra options, in terms of pure swordsmanship they are about equal, and Arthur has learned how to counter Leo’s chi techniques through tactics and skills of his own, preventing Leo from relying too heavily on them.

          So where does this leave a martial artist in the Mean Streets of Magic? Basically as far as they’re willing to push themselves. With the right training and dedication, they can become an immensely potent force for good or evil, as the Ninja Turtles and the Shredder have both demonstrated. It all boils down to the person wielding those skills.
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          • #6
            Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs

            So any more sources of superpowers in the works are we gonna get an article about how the above three all intersect?
            Last edited by Voltron64; 05-14-2014, 02:21 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs

              Originally posted by Voltron64 View Post
              So any more sources of superpowers in the works are we gonna get an article about how the above three all intersect.
              I've got a general 'superpowers' post lined up, which should be the last of the major power sources aside from individual artifacts of power. As for intersecting, the above three actually tend to intersect very little. The most they tend to intersect is when a Mundane or Cinematic Martial Artist has some Technology or Magical Gear to even the odds a bit against their opponents. Examples would included King Arthur and Amoracchius/Excalibur, David Xanatos and his Power Armor, Nobody and his various Batman-style gadgets, MacBeth and HIS various Batman-style gadgets, etc.

              Beyond that, it essentially takes too much time and focus to really become a master magician, martial artist or techie to focus on more than one area of expertise. Magic and mortal technology don't mix well as of yet, beyond a type of steampunk/crystal-tech some societies have created. Likewise, magic and high end martial arts are essentially going in two different directions, with Wizards learning how to harness external power through knowledge of complicated mental formulae, while Cinematic and Chi-Channeling Martial Artists are about harnessing inner power through self examination and discipline. Most beings that can master these skills only have the time and focus for one, and even immortal beings that technically have the time to master them all almost never do so, preferring to stick with what's within their comfort zone.
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              [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1801-Ares-Builds-The-Marvel-Family-and-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series"]Ares' Builds - [/URL][URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1801-Ares-Builds-The-Marvel-Family-and-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series"]The Marvel Family and Megaverse: The Animated Series[/URL]

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              • #8
                Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs

                Superpowers

                Mankind has always had the potential for greatness locked inside of it. All it ever needs to be unleashed is the right combination of motivation and circumstances. Wizards and martial artists had been tapping into great power within themselves for thousands of years, but this method required years of dedication and practice. However, sometimes that potential would get released all at once, triggered by some fantastical even, be due to a unique heritage, or a warrior gaining a magical artifact or ally to give them an advantage of one kind or another.

                When Camelot fell, heroes with obvious supernatural abilities became less and less public. It was almost if the fall of that brotherhood, broken by betrayal, had resulted in some sort of shift against obvious heroism. Another theory is that it was around this time supernatural creatures began to lurk more heavily in the shadows, drawing those heroes that did exist into that shadow war as well, turning monsters into myth and legendary figures into simple legends. However, the world still needed heroes, and many of them would continue to fight wrongs, sometimes while wearing masks. This persisted from the days or Robin Hood all the way to the Pulp Era of Masked Mystery Men. It was only with the emergence of World War II that beings with true superhuman abilities began to show themselves publicly again, and the number of superpowered individuals, hero and villain alike, have only thrived and grown since then.

                So what qualifies as a super power in the Mean Streets setting? After all, a Wizard’s ability to use magic or a Martial Artists ability to use chi can often replicate superhuman abilities. Likewise, technology allows a normal individual access to great weapons, including cybernetics and power armor, which can also make a normal person super powerful. And indeed, many superheroes exist who wield these forces to one degree or another.

                Generally speaking, a super power is an innate ability that differentiates the individual from other humans, something that has caused a once normal human to suddenly gain or be born with greater than human capabilities. In ancient times the source of superhuman powers was usually mystical in nature, owing to the prevalence of magic and divine beings of the time. Many superhuman abilities were caused by gods, fae, monsters and other entities mingling with humans, creating Scions that often had unique abilities due to their mixed heritage. The most famous example was the demi-god Hercules, whose divine parentage gave him unrivaled physical strength, great enough for the Wizard Shazam to use that strength as a template for his latest champion. It was also possible for a normal mortal to be given great power through unique means. The hero Sigurd gained near total invulnerability, the ability to communicate with birds and gift of wisdom/prophecy by bathing in the blood of a dragon and eating its heart.

                In the more modern times, science has proven more than capable of granting individual superpowers. In fact, the constantly expanding knowledge of science and various experiments have lead to an upsurge in the superhuman population. Scientific based abilities also meant that such heroes no longer had to stick to the shadows due to their connection to the supernatural world. Indeed, the presence of superheroes actually reinforces the notion that there is no supernatural world amongst normal mortals. Given the wide range of abilities these beings can have, clearly the tales of gods, demons and such were just early superhumans whose abilities were blown out of proportion over time. Likewise, if they see a vampire crawling up a wall or a wizard cast a fire spell, to many of them it’s simply a new superhuman that the media hasn’t discovered yet.

                So just how powerful are super powers in the Mean Streets setting? Most superhumans tend to be roughly on the level of what you’d see in Spectacular Spider-Man. You can have individuals with truly great focus in one area (the Rhino’s strength, Electro’s electrical powers), or you can have more ‘balanced’ individuals who have multiple abilities that are a bit more middle of the road, though they may still have an outstanding trait or two (Spider-Man, with his speed/agility being exceptional even by superhuman standards). These are the ‘average’ superhumans however, and the top tier of the group hold some real power. Captain Marvel, the Silver Sentry, the Green Mantle, the Comet, all of these individuals have truly immense power that makes them a cut above their fellow heroes. They tend to be exceptionally rare, however, compared to the larger superhuman populace.

                One advantage most superpowers have over magic and martial arts is that their innate nature tends to put less stress on the body, allowing for more regular usage and less exhaustion. Likewise, their innate nature means less upkeep than technological sources require. They also tend to be very well defined and limited in scope, however, thus potentially allowing the other three power sources a degree of versatility over them. More creative individuals can get a lot out of a single superpower, as Captain Marvel has found tons of unique applications for his super strength. Like any other ability, while there are limits on the power itself, it is how the individual that possesses it uses it that determines how great it becomes, and whether it becomes a force for good or ill.
                [U][B]Custom Settings[/B][/U]__________________________________
                [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/236-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series?p=4519#post4519"]Megaverse: The Animated Series[/URL]
                [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/139-The-Mean-Streets-of-Magic-and-Other-Extraordinary-Thinggs"]The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Things[/URL]
                [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1801-Ares-Builds-The-Marvel-Family-and-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series"]Ares' Builds - [/URL][URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1801-Ares-Builds-The-Marvel-Family-and-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series"]The Marvel Family and Megaverse: The Animated Series[/URL]

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                • #9
                  Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs

                  Minor update, but I re-figured out how to get those ugly white outlines off of the images when I make group shots like this. It helps make the image look a bit cleaner. Of course this means I need to do this to each individual character in my Megaverse thread . . . . -_-
                  [U][B]Custom Settings[/B][/U]__________________________________
                  [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/236-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series?p=4519#post4519"]Megaverse: The Animated Series[/URL]
                  [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/139-The-Mean-Streets-of-Magic-and-Other-Extraordinary-Thinggs"]The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Things[/URL]
                  [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1801-Ares-Builds-The-Marvel-Family-and-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series"]Ares' Builds - [/URL][URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1801-Ares-Builds-The-Marvel-Family-and-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series"]The Marvel Family and Megaverse: The Animated Series[/URL]

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs



                    The Sword and the King

                    In London, England, a revived King Arthur made his way into Westminster Abbey, hoping to find the Stone of Destiny, and with it, Excalibur. While he found the Stone, he also encountered the gargoyle Griff, who while initially skeptical of Arthur’s identity, was forced to accept it when the Stone spoke and addressed Arthur by name. The Stone informed Arthur that it could send Arthur to the sword, if he could tell it where he needed to go. Arthur commented how he ‘hated riddles’, which prompted Griff to comment about a riddle (more of a nursery rhyme actually) he’d heard about Excalibur as a hatchling.

                    Isle of towers, glass and stone
                    'The wizard waits for him alone
                    'Ebon glass in emerald frame
                    'Pure white lilies speak her name
                    'When sword’s virtue at last is shown
                    'Excalibur waits for him alone


                    As soon Griff had finished, the Stone began to glow, complimenting them on having completed the first test, but warning them that there would be others. In a blinding flash of light and a swirl of color, king and gargoyle were gone.
                    · · ·
                    Michael Carpenter is, simply put, one of the most noble, kind and honorable men to walk the Earth in his lifetime. Perhaps in any lifetime. As a Knight of the Cross, it was his duty to wield Amoracchius, one of three holy swords with a nail from the Crucifixion worked into the blade, making it an unparalleled weapon of justice, wielded by a man whose faith was legendary. For nearly two decades, Michael acted as the Fist of God, smiting evil, rescuing the innocent, defending those who could not defend themselves from forces so evil that the mere mention of their name makes them stronger by the fear it causes. And he did it all without hesitation or reservation, without complaint or regret, because it was what his God asked of him, and because it was the right thing to do.

                    Then came the battle of the island several years ago, and the injuries he suffered in the line of duty. Though he survived, Michael could no longer effectively act as a Knight of the Cross due to the wounds he had taken, and this was seen by practically everyone as a tremendous loss to the forces of good. His sword was entrusted to his good friend Harry Dresden, and for about eight months, Harry was the guardian of not one, but two Holy Swords.

                    Then there was the latest New York case.

                    Harry Dresden, as a Warden of the White Council, was in charge of responding to supernatural activity in certain areas of North America, including New York City. He'd been to Manhattan several times in the last year, having investigated reports of some strange faerie activity, which turned out to be two groups of non-humans running around fighting crime; a group of mutant turtle ninjas and a group of gargoyles that had been awakened from nearly 1000 years of stone sleep. Which isn't as strange as it sounds and, actually, Harry got along with them pretty well.

                    It was the gargoyles that caused Harry’s latest trip to New York. Goliath, leader of the clan, their human friend Elisa and their gargoyle beast Bronx had all vanished mysteriously one night. After exhausting every other means of locating them, the gargoyles had asked Harry to come visit and see if he could help them somehow. It had taken over a week to free up his time for the visit, during which the Manhattan Clan learned from Elisa’s Mother and Halcyon Renard that the missing trio were on some kind of world tour brought on by the isle of Avalon. Though relieved to find their friends were alive, the remaining Manhattan Clan still wanted Harry’s take on the situation.

                    When Harry arrived in New York and checked into his hotel room, he found that, rather than his sword cane, he had somehow accidentally brought Amoracchius instead. Harry, naturally, grumbled uncharitable about God and Uriel messing with him, but then realized he had somehow known to bring the sword himself.

                    Harry met with the Manhattan Clan later that night, speaking with their current leader Brooklyn at length. The two actually bonded over their recent responsibilities and the fact that their love lives were virtually non-existent. After using the mystical resources available to him, however, Harry had to let the gargoyles know that he had no way of tracking Goliath, Elisa and Bronx down. Even if they weren’t almost constantly surrounded by water (which made tracking spells difficult) from what he knew of Avalon it was actually important for the missing heroes to remain on their quest.

                    Before the discussion could go much further tho, Harry detected an upsurge of magical energies, and had the gargoyles fly him to the epicenter, only to find the nearly immortal warrior MacBeth there, along with his two soldiers. Harry quickly determined that MacBeth was not the cause, but merely was aware of the event, and was apparently waiting for something. When the vortex of magic reached its high point, it spat out Arthur and Griff, which instigated a fight between the three groups. MacBeth fled, but used mysticism to scry on the party from afar.

                    Introductions were made, during which Arthur made his search for Excalibur known. Harry swallowed at this, as the sword Amoracchius, which was currently stashed in gym bag slung over one of his shoulders, was the same sword that had once been called Excalibur. Harry wondered if perhaps this was why he’d brought it, to return it to its most famous owner. Still, he was not about to hand the sword off to anyone, especially someone claiming to be a thousand year old king. Following the clues of Griff’s rhyme, the heroes made their way to lake in Central park (which at night had a dark, glassy appearance and was framed by green trees), spotting the pure white lilies that prompted Arthur to call forth the Lady of the Lake. The Lady appeared and revealed to everyone that Harry had the sword, but that the sword was no longer Arthur’s by right. MacBeth revealed himself at this point and the Lady commented that both of these ageless kings had the qualities of a true and noble leader dedicated to fighting evil. It would be up to Harry to decide which was truly worthy to wield the sword in this modern age. As part of a test, both men and their allies would seek to get to the center of a nearby hedge maze, with the actions of both determining to whom Amoracchius would go.

                    The trial began, and at first, it seemed like MacBeth might be the better choice. In terms of skill, in courage, in dedication and even nobility, MacBeth and Arthur seemed evenly matched, but MacBeth also displayed a more level head, a less rash attitude, and outmaneuvered Arthur several times. Harry realized this, and worse, so did Arthur. The King of Camelot realized that he had arrogantly assumed that Amoracchius was his by right, that it simply belonged to him, when above all others, it belonged to God. It belonged to the innocent people God wanted the sword to protect from evil. It belonged to everyone. This humbling realization almost had Arthur ready to admit his fault and surrender his claim to the sword to MacBeth.

                    Then the Denarians attacked.

                    The Nickleheads had divined that Harry Dresden would be here without his usual allies, relatively alone and with one of the swords out in the open. What's more, they could eliminate the Manhattan Clan, another powerful force for good as well. They hadn't counted on MacBeth and Arthur being there, but they decided to exploit this opportunity as well. During the course of the battle, Nicodemus offered MacBeth one of the coins, showing him that he could use the coin to kill Demona without dying himself, that he could finally have vengeance upon his eternal foe, yet live his life, maintaining his wealth, his power, possibly finding love and a family again. And with all of that possibility MacBeth nearly accepted.

                    Arthur saw this happening, and he knew that if MacBeth took up the coin, that Amoracchius would be his by default. All he need do was let MacBeth fall and he would have the sword again.

                    Instead, he placed himself firmly between MacBeth and Nicodemus, denying the Denarian his prey. MacBeth's soul was tarnished though centuries of pain and suffering, but Arthur knew that MacBeth was a decent man, and could be a truly good man once again. And he could not allow any man to suffer what MacBeth would suffer if he could do something about it. And so Arthur Pendragon stepped between the Denarians and MacBeth not to save his life, but to save his soul. And in that instant, Arthur regained his true calling, his physical and spiritual wounds completely healed, and he thrummed with the power of Faith like only one person Harry had ever seen. MacBeth realized what Arthur had done for him, and a mix of shame and admiration brought him to his feet, and together they helped Harry and the Gargoyles defeat the Denarians, driving them back.

                    MacBeth renounced his claim to the sword, and Harry agreed, returning the sword to its most famous wielder. Arthur, freshly humbled by the day’s events, dedicated himself to being worthy of the sword and the love and faith it symbolized.

                    Harry then made his report before the Senior Council. They were initially suspicious of Harry's claim, until Harry brought Arthur and the Gargoyles to confirm his story. The Merlin, of course, was shocked and honored, and asked for a formal alliance between Arthur and the Council. Arthur told them that he would be their ally against evil, but that he must walk his own path. He did say, however, that he would have Harry Dresden be his official liaison to the Council. This pissed the Merlin off to no end, but he could hardly refuse such an offer.

                    After the meeting, Arthur spoke to Harry in private, commenting on how different this Merlin was from his old mentor. "He is . . . . . what is the term Griff used? Ah yes. An asshole."

                    And so it was that Arthur and Amoracchius were reunited. And the dark forces that plagued the world trembled, for someone with the True Faith of Michael, strength to match Sanya and swordsmanship that equaled Shiro had returned, ready to resume the smiting of evil.
                    [U][B]Custom Settings[/B][/U]__________________________________
                    [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/236-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series?p=4519#post4519"]Megaverse: The Animated Series[/URL]
                    [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/139-The-Mean-Streets-of-Magic-and-Other-Extraordinary-Thinggs"]The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Things[/URL]
                    [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1801-Ares-Builds-The-Marvel-Family-and-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series"]Ares' Builds - [/URL][URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1801-Ares-Builds-The-Marvel-Family-and-Megaverse-The-Animated-Series"]The Marvel Family and Megaverse: The Animated Series[/URL]

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                    • #11
                      Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs

                      Best of luck with the newest incarnation of this thread Ares!

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                      • #12
                        Re: The Mean Streets of Magic and Other Extraordinary Thinggs

                        I just went through this thread plus the one from the old forum and thought the setting was fantastic. Decided I should bump it to bring a bit more attention to a pretty cool crossover.

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