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Author Topic: serious supers for serious peopl  (Read 1687 times)
signoftheserpent
Member

Posts: 151


« on: July 16, 2006, 05:20:10 AM »

Yes, it's time for another superhero game. Even worse, a poe-faced aberrant ripoff that doesn't even have a name yet!

Seriously though, I am devising a game that's a serious exploration of what happens when ordinary people develop extraordinary powers. That's the starting point; it's about the people, people. So yes it has that stink of comicbook pretentiousness, but hey that's cool. There are no shared origins for these powers, no wierd aliens or magic spells - unless that's what the players want - it's just about what the people do and how they explain their torn trousers and constant absenteeism.

Anyway, my specific reason behind this post is to find some ideas for names. Names that is for the classifications of 'powers'  that can exist. Essentially players can create characters with all sorts of typical comicbook powers, flight, fireballs, giantism, etc, but the world at large has classified them into the following groups:

Vulcans can manipulate forces and energies.
Mercurians command powers of movement of displacement (flight, speed, teleportation, etc).
Geniuses have abilities focus on mental powers as well as enhanced intellectual/emotional faculties.
Colossuses likewise focus on physical power and strength with the ability to withstand great physical hardship.
Proteans can alter their physical structure and occasionally those of others.
Gaians can affect genetic structures and ‘life force’ (they can heal – even resurrect the dead).

the names are working monikers, what I need are better, equally pretentious, names. Part of the brief i have given myself is how would a superhero book with the vibe - sans supernaturals - of the WoD (or nWoD) work? Dark supers, though, again, wiuthout the actual supernatural elements that comprise the WoD we know and love. I might even use the WoD rules. So think of these as supers splats.

As an aside characters can 'crossover' their splats with resonances which are non-native powers (powers are grouped by splat, that's the function of the splat) they can use at a greater or smaller increase in effort.

The names above are at best OK, but I don't want stuff that sounds overly gothic or too silly. Thanks.
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matthijs
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Posts: 462


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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2006, 05:43:38 AM »

White Wolf tends to mix in names from every tradition & culture, so you should aim for that. I suggest you get several books on mythology and pick names that are a bit obscure (no Geniuses or Colossuses, they're too obvious).
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dindenver
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Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2006, 07:38:43 AM »

Hi!
  Where is the darkness coming from? Inside the characters? Is there some temptation to use their powers for evil? Is there a sinister force keeping the chars down?
Wergs can manipulate forces and energies.
Meue command powers of movement of displacement (flight, speed, teleportation, etc).
Bregens have abilities focus on mental powers as well as enhanced intellectual/emotional faculties.
Bhreu likewise focus on physical power and strength with the ability to withstand great physical hardship.
Cambire can alter their physical structure and occasionally those of others.
Kailo can affect genetic structures and ‘life force’ (they can heal – even resurrect the dead).
  Anyways could be interesting if you develop it well.
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
signoftheserpent
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2006, 10:02:01 AM »

Hi!
  Where is the darkness coming from? Inside the characters? Is there some temptation to use their powers for evil? Is there a sinister force keeping the chars down?
Wergs can manipulate forces and energies.
Meue command powers of movement of displacement (flight, speed, teleportation, etc).
Bregens have abilities focus on mental powers as well as enhanced intellectual/emotional faculties.
Bhreu likewise focus on physical power and strength with the ability to withstand great physical hardship.
Cambire can alter their physical structure and occasionally those of others.
Kailo can affect genetic structures and ‘life force’ (they can heal – even resurrect the dead).
  Anyways could be interesting if you develop it well.


There is no inherent darkness, there is no supernatural forces. It is just real people + superpowers (more or less) and how they deal with their powers. That's it. If they want to wear a cape and knickers or call themselves captain arachnid that's their business. If they want to rob banks to feed their kids, then so be it. So it's dark in the sense that they have to deal with the reality of their situation as opposed to too much (though inevitably some, which I have no problem with) comic book craziness.

I appreciate the suggestions, but i'd rather use real words, that way some meaning can be attached.
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Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2006, 10:09:04 AM »

So, are you actually trying to make some rules behind this, or just polling for kewl names?

Chris
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signoftheserpent
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2006, 10:33:26 AM »

So, are you actually trying to make some rules behind this, or just polling for kewl names?

Chris

both, though the priority is the latter right now.
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Certified
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Posts: 83


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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2006, 11:14:31 AM »

Here are a couple I found, I hope this helps.

Vulcan: Vajra: (from wikipedia) Vajra is a Sanskrit word meaning both thunderbolt and diamond and refers to a symbol important to both Hinduism and Buddhism.
The equivalent word in Tibetan is dorje (Wylie: rdo-rje; ZWPY: dojê), which is also a common male name in Tibet and Bhutan. Dorje can also refer to a small sceptre held in the right hand by Tibetan lamas during religious ceremonies.
The vajra (thunder bolt) or diamond that destroys all kinds of ignorance, and itself is indestructible.

Mercurians: Antilians (derived from Antilochus, from wikipedia) In Greek mythology, Antilochus (also transliterated as Antílokhos) was the son of Nestor, king of Pylos. One of the suitors of Helen, he accompanied his father to the Trojan War. He was distinguished for his beauty, swiftness of foot, and skill as a charioteer; though the youngest among the Greek princes, he commanded the Pylians in the war, and performed many deeds of valour.

Geniuses: Argosian (derived from Argus: Greek for All seeing)

Colossuses: Jar'Edo Wens (from wikipedia) In Australian aboriginal mythology, Jar'Edo Wens is a god of earthly knowledge and physical might, created by Altjira to ensure that people did not get too big-headed. He is associated with victory and intelligence.
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dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2006, 12:52:49 PM »

Hi!
  Those were real words. They are the Indo-European roots of the concepts outlined.
  But its cool if you wanna draw from mythology...
  Maybe you should come up with a mythology for how these people got there powers, how long people have been getting powers and how it has changed our world. Once this is dne, perhaps the names will form themselves?
  For instnce your names are fine if the powers are the result of secret projects (i.e., Monaco's Sercret Project Mercury reslted in a wave of energy transforming the very nature of certain people, etc.) or first discovered during the golden age of Greece and Rome. But maybe not so much for powers that haven't been actuallized until modern times...
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
Kirk Mitchell
Member

Posts: 268


« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2006, 02:55:33 PM »

Hey there,

First off, I just wanna say I love the concept. I would totally love to play a game like this, 'cause while I don't know about everybody else, I get sick of the whole "superhero" gets-super-powers-uses-for-good/evil blah blah blah. I love heroes, but for me, a lot of superheroes tend to loose their flaws and their essential humanity a bit. And then I get bored.

So what I'm more interested in is the actual game itself. Polling for names for types of powers, while entertaining, isn't as constructive as discussing the rules of the actual game. So maybe you could tell us a little more about that, and what sort of play you want to encourage. I think that would be far more useful in terms of taking advantage of the resources the Forge has to offer.

Also, do you have a real name we can call you by?

Again, I really have to say that I love the concept!

Cheers,
- Kirk
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Teddy Bears Are Cool: My art and design place on the internet tubes.

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Ken
Member

Posts: 196


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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2006, 03:22:12 PM »

I think that given the setting you are aiming for, whatever names you give your classifications should be slick and marketable. Something that newscasters will not stumble over and will look good on a billboard. Realistically, I don't think anyone would choose anything too obscure, and it would certainly have to be dynamic.

For the most part, I like mythology angle. I have a few suggestions:
a) Promethian instead of Vulcan.
b) Delphan instead of Geniuses.
c) Titan instead of Colossus.

Another angle could be to come up with names that are a cross between scientific and pro-wrestling: Forcer, Vectorist, Mindlocker, Brute, Protean (still sounds cool), and Vitalizer. Or something like that. I came up with these while typing, but you get the basic idea. Being absurd isn't necessarily a bad thing. Flashy can be good (and trademarkable...I'm thinking game corporations, not you/but for you too, I guess).

Anyway, I hope that helps. Your premise sounds cool; Aberant was cool and incredibly fun to play. With these character classes, I could see you going a bit more freeform or rules-lite to play up the psycho-socio aspects of your scenerio. Interested in hearing more. Maybe you can let us in on your system ideas.

Take care & good luck,

Ken

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Ken

10-Cent Heroes; check out my blog:
http://ten-centheroes.blogspot.com

Sync; my techno-horror 2-pager
http://members.cox.net/laberday/sync.pdf
signoftheserpent
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2006, 12:54:01 AM »

Hi!
  Those were real words. They are the Indo-European roots of the concepts outlined.
  But its cool if you wanna draw from mythology...
  Maybe you should come up with a mythology for how these people got there powers, how long people have been getting powers and how it has changed our world. Once this is dne, perhaps the names will form themselves?
  For instnce your names are fine if the powers are the result of secret projects (i.e., Monaco's Sercret Project Mercury reslted in a wave of energy transforming the very nature of certain people, etc.) or first discovered during the golden age of Greece and Rome. But maybe not so much for powers that haven't been actuallized until modern times...


Sorry, I looked them on wiki but found nothing. Thanks anyway. I think they don't really fit anyways. :)

Mythological references work simply becauss of the mythical angle. However finding the right words and the right sounds works. I am going to try and have everything end in 'an', using greek references. Delphan is a good suggestion as is Titan, which I also thought of. My first instinct was Promethean instead of Vulcan - partly because of the pop culture reference which, knowing players, is like trying to set a serious sfropg on Uranus; childish but unfortunately that's gamers! Unfortunately I shy away from Promethean, even though I like it, simply because of the new WoD game. It's viable nonetheless so I won't dismiss it completely just yet.
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signoftheserpent
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2006, 01:05:00 AM »

Hey there,

First off, I just wanna say I love the concept. I would totally love to play a game like this, 'cause while I don't know about everybody else, I get sick of the whole "superhero" gets-super-powers-uses-for-good/evil blah blah blah. I love heroes, but for me, a lot of superheroes tend to loose their flaws and their essential humanity a bit. And then I get bored.

So what I'm more interested in is the actual game itself. Polling for names for types of powers, while entertaining, isn't as constructive as discussing the rules of the actual game. So maybe you could tell us a little more about that, and what sort of play you want to encourage. I think that would be far more useful in terms of taking advantage of the resources the Forge has to offer.

Also, do you have a real name we can call you by?

Again, I really have to say that I love the concept!

Cheers,
- Kirk

Thanks, but bear in mind that the focus right now is on this issue. One step at a time. It might seem gimmicky but getting the right names is important since its intrinsic to the game and determines the feel of the piece. After all you aren't going to take it the same way if the archetypes, which is essentially what they are, are named in the popular rpg vernacular of 'brick' or 'speedster'. Bear in mind also that they are not orders or clans or traditions, they are classifications; a 'vulcan' is someone whose abilities revolve around the ability to manipulate energy. Johnny Storm is a Vulcan. He also has a Mercurian resonance since he can fly and flight is classified as a mercurian power. Really it's just a way of ordering any and every (although you can't have every power and no SHRPG does, I'll bet) superpwoer. Ideally players should be able to create any superhero type and give their character any power. Resonances are an 'out' to let players feel unrestricted when building characters, but really all superheroes (even superman I bet) are classifiable in similar ways. But bear in mind, this isn't exlicitly a superhero game; it's supers by any other name. That's why i joked about it being poe-faced and pretentious. You can't be TOO serious when dealing with anomalous and inexplicable powers, but you can aspire to a deeper experience in storytelling than POW, BIFF and BOOOM!

Or you can go with that...the game makes no judgements. It lays it at the players feet and says, you have these abilities now live your life.

And you can call me Martin, although that's not what the big S on my cape stands for.
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signoftheserpent
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2006, 01:07:34 AM »

I think that given the setting you are aiming for, whatever names you give your classifications should be slick and marketable. Something that newscasters will not stumble over and will look good on a billboard. Realistically, I don't think anyone would choose anything too obscure, and it would certainly have to be dynamic.

For the most part, I like mythology angle. I have a few suggestions:
a) Promethian instead of Vulcan.
b) Delphan instead of Geniuses.
c) Titan instead of Colossus.

Another angle could be to come up with names that are a cross between scientific and pro-wrestling: Forcer, Vectorist, Mindlocker, Brute, Protean (still sounds cool), and Vitalizer. Or something like that. I came up with these while typing, but you get the basic idea. Being absurd isn't necessarily a bad thing. Flashy can be good (and trademarkable...I'm thinking game corporations, not you/but for you too, I guess).



Anyway, I hope that helps. Your premise sounds cool; Aberant was cool and incredibly fun to play. With these character classes, I could see you going a bit more freeform or rules-lite to play up the psycho-socio aspects of your scenerio. Interested in hearing more. Maybe you can let us in on your system ideas.

Take care & good luck,

Ken



Thanks, the scientific angle is a valid one; it's advantages are that it doen't carry the 'white wolf style' baggage of pretentious old mythical names ;)

It's just finding the right names; some mix of the two would probably be ideal. Just scientific references don't carry the same weight; a bit like naming Flash 'fastman'; it just sounds a bit naff!
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Ken
Member

Posts: 196


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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2006, 03:04:42 AM »

Another way of going about your classifications maybe to use a totally abstract/scientific approach: Class 1 controls and projects energy, Class 2 manipulates mental force, Class 3 suggests heightened physical abilities, and so on. I think an important factor here is who is naming these classes (the news media, the government, a clandestine organization, or you: the game creator?); will these names ever be used in public? I'm guessing they are.

The cool thing about the mythology angle is that you are comparing the characters with dieties, and giving them a status as modern gods. That is neat and pretty classic comic book style (with a modern twist). Its obvious that you have classes you want the characters to fit into, and that you want them to have cool names.

Knowing that, you may just want to move on to other stuff and let your brain cool down on this topic for a while. Work on other game aspects; you can always change class names you don't like later. I've been working on Ten-Cent Heroes for about three years now, and have renamed tons of stuff in the rules as my research on other topics and uncovered cooler terms.

Good luck with that, and take care

Ken
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Ken

10-Cent Heroes; check out my blog:
http://ten-centheroes.blogspot.com

Sync; my techno-horror 2-pager
http://members.cox.net/laberday/sync.pdf
signoftheserpent
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2006, 03:37:05 AM »

Another way of going about your classifications maybe to use a totally abstract/scientific approach: Class 1 controls and projects energy, Class 2 manipulates mental force, Class 3 suggests heightened physical abilities, and so on. I think an important factor here is who is naming these classes (the news media, the government, a clandestine organization, or you: the game creator?); will these names ever be used in public? I'm guessing they are.

The cool thing about the mythology angle is that you are comparing the characters with dieties, and giving them a status as modern gods. That is neat and pretty classic comic book style (with a modern twist). Its obvious that you have classes you want the characters to fit into, and that you want them to have cool names.

Knowing that, you may just want to move on to other stuff and let your brain cool down on this topic for a while. Work on other game aspects; you can always change class names you don't like later. I've been working on Ten-Cent Heroes for about three years now, and have renamed tons of stuff in the rules as my research on other topics and uncovered cooler terms.

Good luck with that, and take care
Ken

Both is probably a good idea: "lookout it's a class 3 Titan!"
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