So, the new game’s backdrop has been pitched and finalized. It may be a function of getting older, but I enjoy pre-play (as a social activity, not solo) much more these days, partly because it’s an opportunity to bounce off the creativity of sharp people. When I was younger it was all about showing off the shiny things I’d made through play, and since I made pretty good things, that worked out ok. But now? I don’t see as much satisfaction in that – I like the surprises that come out of brainstorming.
I started with a few seeds on the table: Feng Shui as Conspiracy, D&D without D&D, Some variant on Hunter or Mage and Amber, and we kicked them around for a while. The conspiratorial angle appealed, but the fear was Feng Shui was too much. More chewing ensued, and rehashing it all would probably not be terribly exciting, so I’ll skip to the end: We settled on Cold War (1980s) minimal supers.
Premise is this. There are some number of really powerful supers out there, and – in America at least – they are by and large kept in boxes, controlled n some fashion, and only released when absolutely necessary (yes, the nuclear weapon analogy is intentional) and one or more teams of “Handlers” are responsible for looking into situations and ultimately for making the call on the ground whether or not to hit the button. The handlers have (or may have) low grade super powers – not enough to put them in a box, but enough to make them useful for field work and possibly enough to make them useful for dealing with the folks in the boxes.
I expect more details will get fleshed out over chargen (yes, TWO sessions of preplay! Madness!) but a few points established so far:
- The handler team definitely works for the US. We discussed a Planetary/Global Frequency sort of vibe, but since we’d gravitated to the Cold War, we wanted to stick with that.
- Majority of the Handler team must agree to deploy “Mark”
- The people in boxes are designated “Mark I”, “Mark II” and so on, so the handler colloquially refer to them as “Mark”
- The handler team may have a designated Mark, or may be more general purpose. Undecided.
- The Marks are people and even if not known now, they _can_ be known.
- Other handler teams exist. Relationships TBD.
- How other powers handle their Marks is an open question.
- Origin of the Marks and powers intentionally hazy, possibly TBD in play. WWII seems an obvious culprit.
I have a few mindmaps running in my notebook of things that MIGHT be true, but nothing concrete yet – I want to leave things flexible until chargen finishes. In the meantime, I may be hitting Netflix for come good Cold War era Spy flicks. It’s all still early yet, but I like this phase of things. All potential.