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My Worlds of Freedom 2.0

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  • My Worlds of Freedom 2.0

    Hello, and long time no see! After a couple years of burnout, the purchase of the new 3E Freedom City book has allowed my creative juices to start flowing again, and I've decided to return to worldbuilding. Rather than just post in my old - and in retrospect kind of "seat of my pants" style - thread, I've decided to start a new one. This will one will hopefully be more controlled and coherent than my previous one.

    My general themes tend to be two-fold. The first is I want to keep the concept leaning towards the "four-color" vision. There is room for shades of gray, but most of the time you'll know who the good guys and bad guys are. The second theme was inspired by the writings of Chris Sims, formerly of ComicsAlliance and now of Looper. Like him, I believe the superhero milieu is at its best when it acknowledges and embraces that it is weird. This is a world where an immortal Greek inventor, a guy who can shoot lightning out of his hands, and a Caribbean goddess can have pizza together - which can then be blogged about by a family of mutant super-scientists who were raised by a werewolf and a robot.

    You might have guessed this second one from the fact that I made a pope a former Master Mage.

    Once again, my primary sources for this world are the Freedom City, Atlas, and Emerald City books. As before, The Algernon Files, the Shards setting from Mecha and Manga, and Crooks! - and to some extent Hero Hooks - will be secondary sources, with the conceit still being that these were once separate worlds that merged in some cosmic Crisis event. When there is conflict between sources, Freedom City is assumed to take precedence, with the exception of the Sentinels name (here the Emerald City team is named the Emerald City Knights). Halt Evil Doer! is not included in this, continuing the idea that it is the Marvel Universe to Freedom's DC universe - although there are crossovers. And Paragons is utilized, but the characters and organizations are divorced from the Paragons concept, with Paragons of Freedom being an "ultimate" universe.

  • #2
    Re: My Worlds of Freedom 2.0

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
    Check out my new super hero/science fiction novel, [url=]Unbelievable: A Tale of the Exotica Chronicles[/url].


    • #3
      Re: My Worlds of Freedom 2.0

      I very much approve of this.


      • #4
        Re: My Worlds of Freedom 2.0

        The Art of Merging Three Universes
        So the big question is how to merge Earth-Prime with the universe described in the Algernon Files, as well as the META-4 universe. The first complication is history – Freedom City and its spin-offs postulate a world where real world events unfolded the same as our world, with a few exceptions (like post-Chavez Venezuela), while TAF and META-4 both go the more logical route that superhumans would change events. Reconciling META-4 with Earth-Prime is the easier path, granted, as the former setting was never described in significant detail outside of Crooks, and so any contradictions can be handwaved away in FC’s favor. TAF is a bit more complicated, as it has a much more detailed history – for example, in TAF, “Dracula” was a fictionalization by Bram Stoker, who used the name of a Wallachian voivode to replace the actual German vampire the characters fought, which is hard to reconcile when said Wallachian has a full write-up in Threat Report! That said, Aaron Sullivan has mentioned on this website that the third edition version of TAF would have a more compatible timeline so that individual characters could be dropped in to games without contradicting prior information – unfortunately, TAF 3.0 has not gotten the funding it needs, so we don’t know the full details of these changes.

        One thing that is clear from merging these three universes is the effect on the “Ages” of superherodom. In the default Freedom City setting, each Age has a clear beginning and end, with the exception of the Bronze Age (which has always been a nebulous Age) and the Modern Age (which hasn’t ended). In this merged universe, however, things become much vaguer and nebulous. Moore’s reign of tyranny and the fallout from EXCISE’s blunder in Bangkok are contrasted with the existence of the Pantheon, a superhero team easily filling the void left by the fall of the Freedom League and Statesmen.

        The Actual Merged Universe
        That brings us to what My Worlds of Freedom (MWOF, from now on) actually looks like. For the most part, it follows the world as depicted in the Atlas of Earth-Prime. Freedom City itself is in New Jersey, at the confluence of the Wading River and Mullica River (the “South River” to residents). It’s not an exact match of the region, but it works well enough. The Confederate sympathizers brought up are a comic book-style exaggeration of New Jersey being the last Northern state to actually abolish slavery. The people of Freedom City (“Freedomites”, rather than the more linguistically correct “Freedonians”) are considered a defiance of the Jersey stereotype, and look down upon neighboring Atlantic City. Unfortunately for Freedomites, they have to deal with other Americans (New Yorkers, mainly) using Moore and Grant as textbook examples of the corrupt New Jersey politician.

        Emerald City exists as a replacement for Astoria, Oregon, if Astoria was a Seattle-esque metropolis rather than a sleepy county seat. The state borders of Oregon and Washington are slightly different as a result, since unlike similar metro areas like Kansas City, Emerald City is a single incorporated city entirely within Oregon. In this world, the Stanley-Malory Expedition beat the Tonquin, and by extent Astor’s Pacific Fur Company, to the site by 4 years. They named the river the Albian, but it never supplanted Robert Gray’s Columbia outside of local parlance.

        To the south, in Northern California, is the City of Arcadia, the implied default setting of the average META-4 campaign. Arcadia gets its name from linguistic confusion – it is named not after the vast redwood forests, but from mishearing the Yurok word “O’rewk” (Mouth of the River). This is because Arcadia exists where in our world is the unicorporated town of Orick, whose name comes from the same word.


        • #5
          Re: My Worlds of Freedom 2.0

          Originally posted by jmberry View Post
          TAF is a bit more complicated, as it has a much more detailed history – for example, in TAF, “Dracula” was a fictionalization by Bram Stoker, who used the name of a Wallachian voivode to replace the actual German vampire the characters fought, which is hard to reconcile when said Wallachian has a full write-up in Threat Report!
          He's not a terribly innovative Dracula. I'm sure no one's going to mind if you ignore him.


          • #6
            Re: My Worlds of Freedom 2.0

            Relationships between the Super teams

            The relationships between groups like the Freedom League, the Sentinels, and the Emerald City Knights are complicated. But it wasn't always so. Go back to 2008 and you'd see alliances, friendships, rivalries, romances, and some combination of the previous between the members of what were then "The Big Two." Thanks to the machinations of various villains, the Freedom League and Sentinels have even traded blows on occasion. That time, however, has passed.

            With regards to the relationship between the Freedom League and Sentinels, the overhauling of the League has complicated matters significantly. To put things bluntly, the Sentinels just don't know how to react to the new guys. To add to this, the retirement of old stalwarts like Captain Thunder and Raven II has hammered home that the world is aging, and the Sentinels, for the most part, are not - and that makes one feel the weight of years far more than a few wrinkles or grey hairs could.

            As for the FL and the ECK, Johnny Rocket freely admits that their first meeting wasn't the League's finest hour, and it's been a bt of a sour spot between the two teams ever since. The Knights understand that circumstances beyond the League's control forced the fight, but this doesn't stop them from bringing it up from time to time to mess with the Leaguers (except Doctor Metropolis - the ECK are tactful enough not to bring it up around him). The relationship between them and the Sentinels is roughly neutral, but with the same amount of ribbing (Maximillian Mars makes no secret of the fact that he initially wanted to call the team the Sentinels - for no better reason than that this would have annoyed Doc Steel). For their part, the Sentinels don't quite know what to make of the "new guys."

            Significant Individual Relationships between Teams

            Regardless of what the Sentinels at large think about the Freedom League, Speed Demon has never stopped being friends with Johnny Rocket. True, his outing was a bit of a sore area - not so much from his sexuality as from the fact that he didn't trust her with that knowledge - but Rachel knew what it was like to be victimized by tabloids and the two quickly reconciled. She served as Johnny's best woman during his wedding, and is now Jonni's godmother.

            The Rook's opinions are pretty simple. The Raven was a skilled, competent fighter for justice. Bowman has a LOT to live up to as the new "sole normal" of the League. Jack and Fletcher's relationship is probably the frostiest when it comes to the two teams. Bowman showed his tendency to crack jokes and flirt all the way back during that initial fight after the Silver Storm, and that's colored their opinions of each other ever since. Bowman thinks the Rook takes things too seriously. The Rook thinks Bowman doesn't take things seriously enough. Still, the Rook will admit, it takes serious guts to charge Omega with a weapon invented in the Stone Age. And win.

            Ah, Rocky and Troll. A friendship that's at once both unusual and not that surprising. At a glance, one would think that of course the heavy muscle of two teams would get along. Someone more familiar with the two would come to the opposite conclusion - Rocky is expressly trying to avoid being a celebrity superhero, a concept Troll has embraced with full force. The fact that Troll is a huge fan of Freaking Out! would seem to add another complication to their interactions. And yet, Rocky can't help but like the mutated Russian. Something about Troll's zest for life is just infectious, and even though he feels clubbing is a waste of time, Rocky enjoys Troll's company enough to accept the invitations. That Arkady is one of the few people tough enough to handle Rocky's strength admittedly helps, but the main benefit of this is that Troll's good and fun-loving nature helps Rocky in coming to terms with his own life.


            • #7
              Re: My Worlds of Freedom 2.0

              Has the Rook met the new Raven yet?
              Check out my new super hero/science fiction novel, [url=]Unbelievable: A Tale of the Exotica Chronicles[/url].


              • #8
                Re: My Worlds of Freedom 2.0

                Originally posted by Davies View Post
                Has the Rook met the new Raven yet?
                For the time being, I'm assuming they're aware of each other, but haven't actually met, since neither tend to leave their respective home cities except in extraneous circumstances.

                As I continue writing and getting a better hold on these characters, that situation could change.


                • #9
                  Re: My Worlds of Freedom 2.0

                  Espionage in the MWOF

                  The organizations of AEGIS, UNISON, META-4, and FDSI all exist in the world.

                  I know what you're thinking. "Why would the United States create three different organizations to deal with this sort of stuff - organizations that have overlapping portfolios and fields but are prevented from collaborating by a combination of beauracracy and organizational chauvinism?"

                  Well, the US didn't. When the Defense Intelligence Agency was founded in 1961, the number of intelligence organizations was brought up to four.

                  So yeah, with the example of the US having to juggle the FBI, CIA, NSA, and DIA - and then wrote actual laws preventing the FBI and CIA from sharing information even if they wanted to (which is rare even in the best of times) - the idea that there would be not one but three intelligence agencies dealing with superhumans isn't so far fetched.

                  The breakdown is relatively simple, on the surface anyway.

                  The Federal Directorate for Security and Intelligence (FDSI): Law Enforcement. FDSI's role is deal with bringing superpowered criminals to justice, figures too powerful or otherwordly for the FBI or local law enforcement to handle. This, of course, continues the mission of their predecessor, the Strategic Intelligence Emergency Government Enforcement (SIEGE). It's not a well kept secret that FDSI tends to be disdainful of superheroes, and the feeling is usually mutual. Like most federal agencies, FDSI's director is a presidential appointment - currently some no name pencil pusher holds the position.

                  META-4: Intelligence and Research. And no, its name doesn't mean anything. META-4's job is to monitor and analyze superhuman threats, much like its predecessor, Scorpio-2. Unlike Scorpio-2, however, META-4 is tasked to discreetely deal with such threats if they pose a problem to its goals. With the "official" dissoloution of Majestic 20 META-4 also handles dealing with extraterrestrials. Technically under META-4's jurisdiction is the Applied Neural Technology Advancement Group (ANTAG), who are allowed to be much more unscrupolous in their research, especially in the field of psionics. Since the death of Gavin "Everyman II" Pierce in 2003, META-4 has been led by Control Talia Thorne. Thorne suspects (rightly) that ANTAG is infested with SHADOW operatives. Unfortunately, Thorne is able to do little about this between ANTAG's lack of accountability and Thorne herself being viewed more and more as a relic of the Bush administration.

                  American Elite Government Intervention Service (AEGIS): It's right there in their name - Elite Intervention. These are the guys and gals who get to use the big guns. The main difference between AEGIS and FDSI - other than firepower, popularity, superhuman relations, etc. - is that AEGIS is allowed to operate on foreign soil, and FDSI is not - usually in its role as an anti-terrorist force. AEGIS is unique among the organizations in its willingness to use superhuman agents in the field - META-4 has a few on the payroll but not many, while FDSI refuses to "compromise" itself in such a regard. Indeed, the Arsenal of Democracy was an AEGIS initiative, and its flawed execution and end provided far more capital for FDSI than Harry Powers would like to admit. Powers gets on considerably better with Thorne - they knew each other in their wetworks days and have a healthy respect for one another.

                  In contrast to all these American organizations tripping over each other, the United Nations International Superhuman Oversight Network (UNISON) runs almost like clockwork. Jennifer Ellis often rolls her eyes when news of what the American agencies are up to reaches her.

                  Other Intelligence Agencies

                  Group Zero: The grandaddy of all American Intelligence, Group Zero dates all the way back to 1939, and continues to operate by virtue of the fact that most people have forgotten it exists. Harry Powers finds this ... concerning.

                  The Ministry of Powers: Britain's counterpart to AEGIS, the Ministry keeps tabs on Britain's superhuman population, largely as a means of keeping Britain's superteam, the Bulldogs, staffed.

                  Section 9: Or, to be official, Military Intelligence, Section 9 (MI9 for short). While the Ministry of Powers deals with superhumans in general, Section 9 deals with superhuman terrorists and other such threats.

                  The Veil: A hyprsecret American agency dealing with the occult, founded by FDR after a failed assassination attempt on him. The Veil was the brainchild of a noted mystic who was one of Roosevelt's most trusted advisors.

                  Which is why, to this day, the Veil is officially part of the Department of Agriculture.

                  Thank you, Henry A. Wallace.
                  Last edited by jmberry; 12-01-2017, 04:10 PM.