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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 64 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: The Code  (Read 6594 times)
Jared A. Sorensen
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« on: July 27, 2001, 11:01:00 AM »

"The Code" is the name of a project I may be starting.  Nothing fancy, and it'll be free (because it's way un-commerical).

The gist of the game is that you are a superhero, but one without superpowers.  It's the normal, real world and real life...you've just decided to do something about the bad parts.  So, be it a vigilante, an activist or just a weirdo in a cape who helps people out, you're out there.
 
("The Code," btw, is the set of rules and personal ethics we live by)

Inspirado comes from Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask, Unbreakable, The Caveman's Valentine and the Burke novels by Andrew Vachss.
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Damocles
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2001, 02:36:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-07-27 15:01, Jared A. Sorensen wrote:
The gist of the game is that you are a superhero, but one parts.  So, be it a vigilante, an activist or just a weirdo in a cape who helps people out, you're out there.


Take a look at this page:

http://europe.cnn.com/WORLD/9707/19/mexico.superhero/

Got it from a very quick websearch so you might be able to find some newer info.

D.
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sdemory
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2001, 07:54:00 AM »

This concept begs a number of questions- not "What are you thinking, Sorenson?" questions, but pre-campaign preparation questions. First one is this:
    Do you see people taking up the mantle of the supervillain as well as that of the superhero? Not players, necessarily, but NPC supercriminals. I've always thought Warren Ellis did a great service to understanding comic book motivations when he quit calling them "supervillains" in Stormwatch and started calling them terrorists. That's within the realm of day-to-day understanding, and it makes them sinister rather than melodramatic. Blah blah blah.
    Anyway, villains- yes or no?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2001, 08:11:00 AM »

My (unsolicited) call is that villains are crucial in superhero material. They cannot be stupid or pathetic in a way that outstrips their danger - pathos, yes; pathetic, no.

To illustrate - I like The Watchmen and suffered the agonies of the damned in the mid-late 80s as it trickled in issue by issue. But! A great deal of its thesis relies on arbitrarily removing the importance and role of the villains. And when they're gone, the heroes become simps, freaks, and bullies.

I have no horrible objection to the idea, and it served Moore's story purpose - but I also suggest that Moore did not successfully deconstruct "the superhero" with that story. He invalidated it by removing the meaningful villain as a fact of life. (Imagine The Watchmen if Ozymandias' intelligent and effective villainy were the norm, for instance.)

So Jared, I suggest that you pay some strict attention to this issue and really decide what makes a villain.

In my old Champions game, I stated outright that there were no more than maybe two or three dozen superheroes world-wide, and several hundred EFFECTIVE villains - meaning they were successfully carrying out their plans and activities, and getting away with it. I was aiming at the mid-60s Marvel model, at least in terms of this special issue, and I liked the result immensely.

Best,
Ron
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2001, 09:36:00 AM »

There aren't going to be supervillains, aside from (potentially) other superheroes who are at odds with the PCs (ie: gun-toting fanatics, etc.).  Superheroes in this game don't necessarily "fight crime" -- they just try and deal with the world and make it better.  If that means busting perps, then that's how they choose to handle it.

Of course, someone could adopt the role of the supervillain and hold up banks while wearing a cape, gloves and boots...but their decision to do so is also a choice.  This is not a "you're a superhero with powers, what do you do with them" idea (ala Spiderman or Unbreakable), it's "you've decided to adopt the myth of the superhero in order to do whatever it is you feel you have to do.

Does that make sense?

- J
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2001, 09:53:00 AM »

In terms of the PCs, you're making great sense, but I believe the villain issue applies more to NPCs.

Basically: are there people who are using their abilities to manipulate, defraud, beat up, or otherwise injure other people? To the extent of violating the social contract in ways which very few of us would sympathize with. If so, are these people generally acknowledged and recognized as such by the general public?

I really don't care whether they wear costumes or not. I'm curious whether, if I'm to play a PC in this game, society at large knows about a bunch of people who DO have funky abilities and DO commit such acts.

Say such villains exist and society knows it. From there, we have to consider a 60s Fantastic Four situation, in which most people are pretty happy that the heroes are around because the Mole Man might dig up Manhattan again; or by contrast an 80s X-Men situation, in which most people identify any super-powered person with the sociopaths. Either one STARTS with the villains, as a social and obvious phenomenon.

If they don't exist, then we move into a sphere of superhero comics that don't interest me very much. Which is no big deal in terms of you wanting to do the game, but it does count as the kind of response/reaction you asked for in your initial post.

Best,
Ron
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2001, 10:20:00 AM »

Ron--

I think - and correct me if I'm wrong here, Jared - that The Code will have no funky powers of any sort. No superheroes, no supervillains - only PC's that have decided to live by the code of the myth of the superhero, and fight crime/hunger/the evil of the world with that code.

That said, "supervillains" as such could exist - just because the Unabomber didn't have powers didn't mean he wasn't a modern supervillain: a nearly uncatchable, untraceable man with a seemingly mad agenda who delivered bombs. That's your supervillain for The Code, at least as I understand it.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2001, 10:34:00 AM »

I see - but it doesn't alter my point. If these villains are invalidated in any way, or if the hero's role is mainly to interfere in whatever law-enforcement is going on, then their heroism is likewise invalidated.

Yes, Batman doesn't have super-powers, nor does the Joker - but the latter is out there, and the world knows it.

Without Batman's acceptance by the law-enforcement powers (Jim Gordon), and without the presence of the Joker et al. out there, then Batman is a friggin' loon and no hero at all.

Best,
Ron
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sdemory
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2001, 10:44:00 AM »

    Speaking for Mr. Sorenson (as, of course, I have every right to), I don't know that he's looking to redefine or deconstruct the superheroic genre as much as he's trying to examine the superheroic myth's impact on society. I could be speaking entirely out my ass on that, but I hope that's what his intent is.
    (Now switching from my role as Jared's unchosen Paul of Tarsus or something)
    However, I think a prime part of that examination has to acknowledge the fact that, every now and then, someone will want to be the Big Bad. The few gaming and comic cons I've been to have always had more people dressing up as the bad guys than as the good guys, and the vibe seems depressingly common among gamers that bad's somehow cool, impressive or otherwise significant due to the power of transgression.
    One of the most touching moments in a movie of late (at least in my eyes) was the Elijah/David standoff in "Unbreakable." The fulfillment we could hear in Elijah's voice as his world finally began making sense was just gut-wrenching. I could see the same reasoning pop up in some "supervillains" in THE CODE, in reverse... hearing about "superheroes" inspires one to seek heights of "villainy" in order to be part of something bigger than one's self. Exploring that aspect of things is equally interesting to me, and it's something I expect I'll throw in, even if it isn't CODE canon.
    Funny thing is, I don't see players necessarily facing off against the Big Bad all that often. In comics, the superheroes go against the supervillains because no one else can or will. In the really real world, we've got a number of law enforcement officials who won't be concerned because the perp they're going after is wearing a leotard. Dr. Destruction will get a bullet in the head if he's holding a group of school children hostage where an HRT sniper can get a good shot, and all the posturing in the world won't change that.
    Raising good questions and thinking points, Mr. Sorenson. I could definitely use that game now.
     
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2001, 10:55:00 AM »

Without Batman's acceptance by the law-enforcement powers (Jim Gordon), and without the presence of the Joker et al. out there, then Batman is a friggin' loon and no hero at all.

I think that's what I'm trying to get across.  To kind of rip on superhero RPGs (which are for the most part, about superpowers and an ineffable sense of right and wrong) rather than the comics themselves (ala Brat Pack, Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns).

The nature of a Hero or a Villain depends on what they choose to do.  Not their abilities, not their motivations, not their status in life.

In Unbreakable, I think David and Elijah have the same motivation: find their place.  But both have very different methods, and these methods define their roles.

Well, I'm unemployed right now so let's see what I can come up with in this next six-eight hours, eh?

Speaking for Mr. Sorenson...I don't know that he's looking to redefine or deconstruct the superheroic genre as much as he's trying to examine the superheroic myth's impact on society.

This is more or less correct, with the added twist of a knife beneath the ribs of superhero RPGs.  If you haven't done so already, check out Clinton's wonderful beginnings to his PANELS game (in the Forge user-submitted library).  It's brilliant...paging Mr. Busiek...hello?  Licensing? :smile:

- J
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2001, 04:33:00 AM »

It's done!  Check out http://www.memento-mori.com/main/code.html for details...

- Jared, who dreamt the system.  Seriously.

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indie game design from beyond the grave

[ This Message was edited by: Jared A. Sorensen on 2001-07-31 08:35 ]
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Dav
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2001, 05:54:00 AM »

Any man that quotes Front Line is a hero to me!

Dav
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sdemory
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2001, 10:27:00 AM »

Two questions, stemming from vast lack of sleep:
1) Any possibility of background/example stuff popping up soon? The background story is, often, my favorite part of any game. Wasn't sure if an overarching logic was present as to why people were superheroing.
2) How does one get those initial points? I think I missed something in the character creation process.

At first blush, I dig it... don't know whether I'll use aspects of it in a powered game or I'll do it on its own, but it's got some oomph.
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Uncle Dark
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2001, 12:46:00 PM »

Jared,

It seems like there's a chunk missing from Code.  Nowhere does it explain where the character gets the dice s/he bids, or how any of this is related to Motivation, or what that strange little advantage chart is for.

Otherwise, it's great.  I already have a character concept...

Lon
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Uncle Dark
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2001, 12:46:00 PM »

Jared,

It seems like there's a chunk missing from Code.  Nowhere does it explain where the character gets the dice s/he bids, or how any of this is related to Motivation, or what that strange little advantage chart is for.

Otherwise, it's great.  I already have a character concept...

Lon
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