Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fantasy Super Hero Campaign

I’ve talked about jumping genres all the time, but I haven’t given a good example yet, so here goes: Imagine that there are two brothers: an alchemist and an enchanter. Now they’re greedy SOBs, and they are always trying to find a better, cheaper way to make their stuff. They need adventurers to collect ingredients. So they send the party out to collect some alligator or crocodile stuff. They need it for some strength potions. So they pay the party and everyone is happy. Not only that, but the party has a means to buy magic. The gator hunting thing isn’t that extravagant. Not even memorable. Then after a while, people start getting killed. Huge bounty gets put on the killer, because he’s clearly using supernatural strength. You see, this guy was looking for an edge in some sport or competition, so he started buying up the cheap gator strength potions. Problem is that when you use them as often as this guy was, they have a tendency to turn you into - well, let’s call it a were-gator. As time goes on, the two brothers and their experiments start causing more troubles. They are enhancing other adventurers or gladiators. Some they use alchemy to help; others they use weird enchantments. Maybe they’re sealing demons into armor in order to grant the users magical abilities. Maybe they’re hiding the essence of eagles in flying potions. These seem like perfectly normal magic items, but the brothers are so greedy, that the items are unsafe and effectively creating monsters - monsters that the party then gets paid to put down. The brothers aren’t evil, just greedy. But the results are causing all sorts of problems. If you’re not coming up with tons of ideas, either you have never read a comic book, or you’re just not thinking about it right. Think of most of the comic villains you know. Now change their backgrounds into something more fantasy based. The psycho fell into a vat of alchemicals, not chemicals, and turned into a clown criminal. Criminal gets a new set of wings and instead of using them to fight monsters, he becomes a cat burglar, well, bird burglar. They built him a staff of lightning bolts, but it exploded when he used it and now he is the lightning bolt thrower. Maybe the magical item that the enchanter built for the party is now being used by a gang of bad guys. Maybe the local crime boss wants magic for his enforcers, and starts protecting the brothers. Now the stuff is really going to hit the fan, because he is evil, not just greedy. Well, he’s both. Come on- you can fill in the rest. Doesn’t sound too different, does it? Party of adventurers hunting monsters, though a lot of them happen to be in town. The monsters are a little different - not just orcs and goblins. Maybe the party will wind up accidently getting in on the mess too and find themselves with super powers or magical stuff that represents super powers. How does this help? Well, every comic book or comic book movie you ever saw is now the plot line to an adventure. Every comic book villain is a special monster, one that isn’t in the rule book, and therefore cannot be pre-known by the players. It’s all about having enough ideas - Ideas that are not in the rule book and cannot be easily figured out by our players adding to the mystery of the game.

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