Friday, May 10, 2013

The Atomic City Campaign: 2013 Update

Background and Approach
I started writing up Atomic City in late 2010 as a new setting for my supers games. It's come in bursts of creativity followed by gaps of several months but I have a fairly good writeup of the city, an overview map, some neighborhoods, organizations, and a few heroes and villains associated with it.

I don't like to spend a lot of time writing up massive bunches of words that will never be used so I tend to write up a general outline, then fill in more background/history/names as our games move into areas where I need to work out a little history or figure out which gang lives in a certain area or come up with the name of an oil company. Then I write that up and it becomes a part of the lore. This minimizes the potential for wasted effort, keeps it tied to the actual game, and avoids the situation where I'm trying to force in some bit of lore that I fell in love with that is completely wrong for the current game. Inspiration from real game sessions tends to fit better than random musings do.

I've kept the legacy heroes to a minimum as I really only have two:

  • The Cat-Man, a Batman homage with all of the bat-stuff replaced by cat-stuff. He appears in the 60's when it's all new and cool, gets a little grim in the 70's, then has a final confrontation and disappears/retires in the 80's. In the current day he would be mainly a mentor figure or a source of information on some older villains and some secret stuff about the city and its past. He was a very public figure and is still remembered well by those who were around back then.
  • The Guardian,  a mystic/psionic hero who came to the city in the 50's after the war and stands watch over it to the current day. He is very much a Kenobi-figure, young and adventurous then, in semi-retirement now but still aware of almost everything. He waged a secret war for the most part and is largely unknown to the public and is known but not familiar even to the "magic underground" community. I came up with an adventure idea that would introduce him, some history, the mystical parts of Atomic City, and then involve him getting killed - all very much Star Wars Kenobi, yes - and then have him possibly hanging around as a force ghost type spiritual advisor for the future.

I limited the number of "name" heroes from the city's past to give the players plenty of room to make their own mark on things. They aren't the first heroes here, but they are the first in a long time to be be this active and involved. These guys are painted in pretty broad strokes right now but if they actually start showing up then the game sessions will bring them into focus. In my head right now the Cat might be played by Clint Eastwood and The Guardian would be played by (of course) Alec Guinness.

Yep, they fought one.
Actual Play
Now the "main" time spent in AC has been with Mutants and Masterminds. We've had several sessions over the last few years but struggled to get real momentum but it has picked up this year. The Apprentices have taken up the roles of several new heroes in town. Their main thread is that they keep encountering robots - man sized, huge-sized, and all built with old 50s-60's technology. Clearly something is going on but they are not sure what or why just yet.

Also, in the past week Baron Zero has finally been released from his icy prison! He was released by criminals from the Sorvino crime family - to their doom - but was then subdued by Jaden Marek, Star-Ranger (basically powers of a Jedi Knight with a background more like the Green Lantern Corps) and Gadget Boy, young genius inventor. The basement of the Atomic City Museum of History is a little worse off  and the Sorvinos lost about a dozen men but the greater threat was stopped.

The other main game for AC has been ICONS. We've played all or parts of Skeletron Key, Aquazombies (the Guardian actually made an appearance here), Museum Mayhem, and Gangbusters, plus some homebrew stuff with several different sets of characters over the past year plus. I set all of them in the City to allow for easy character drop-ins and outs but I feel like I should keep the ICONS and the M&M games separate, making the M&M game a little more serious and the ICONS game more cartoony.

It is somewhat tempting though to roll them all into one "continuity" and just seeing where it goes. It's not like comics were all that consistent anyway, from events to characters relative power level, so why sweat it in a comic-style RPG setting? The games thus far haven't created any conflicts yet so I can still retcon it either way. For now there is "Stories" and "The Animated Series" and for now they are separate. I suspect this may become our game when Red and Who are available so hopefully we will have some new adventures with it soon.

No comments: