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The Idea Pile

Started by Derek Devlin, January 05, 2003, 02:02:31 PM

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Eddy Fate

Quote from: Cynthia Celeste MillerI've noticed the recent lack of activity here as well.  Perhaps everyone is just waiting for the hardcopy (due out toward the end of March) to get a fresh batch of discussions going.

I know I am.  :-)
Eddy Webb
Vice-President, Spectrum Game Studios
Co-Line Developer for">Cartoon Action Hour">Order CAH online!

Michael Hopcroft

Well, maybe now that people are going to start picking it up activity will pick up again. I know I always love to see new posts to this topic, and I would certainly love to see a more diverse group (as is likely to be attracted by a print release) posting here with their series ideas.
Michael Hopcroft Press: Where you go when you want something unique!


Hello Michael.

I see it much the same way. It won't be long before I, too, will get my first real copy of the CAH book (and I live in Germany).
It will probably be a few weeks still before new people, really new people who did not know about the .PDF version or anything else before, are
going to start stopping by this website and forum, and feel confident and compelled enough to post their own ideas for discussion. This could still
be about half a year away, though.
Which kind of new crowd the game is about to attract and bring into the online discussion community that we're building I dare not say, yet.
I am as curious as anyone here right know.

I'm planning to post some of my earlier ideas all over again, as well as
ask my poll questions from the Spectrum Game Studios mailing-list again,
once the game has been out for a bit, and membership on the mailing list and this forum has increased a little. Not any sooner or later.



The more I look at it seems that CAH would be perfect for my kooky supers game I have been wanting to run. I was planning to cobble together some Fudge and Marvel Super Heroes but I am thinking CAH is a good fit as is. I am having a hard enough time writing the world and background characters anyway. I really like the Super hero idea in the book!
P.S. Cartoon Action Theater RAWKS!...


Quote from: Cynthia Celeste MillerThe evildoers quickly adapted to their new setting by locating a large amount of mean-spirited dinosaurs and injecting them with a serum that enabled them to evolve in a matter of seconds.  These reptillian beasts gained human-level intelligence and were turned into humanoids.

There are even Miniatures you can use for this one!  Check out  Look at the Outkast.  Humanoid dinos.  They also have the Simians for Planet of the Apes type games!
"Dice, grant us your friendship; have pity on us.  Do not bewitch us with the force of your terrible sorcery.  Lay to rest your anger, your hatred.  Let someone else fall into the trap of the dice."  -- Gamer's Lament

Derek Devlin

It's me again. I'm working on a ready-to-run series idea for ATM, but I don't have my book yet. In fact, I'll have to wait at least another three weeks before it gets here. So while the basic idea is pretty much done, I have no clue how to set up the PC guidelines in terms of CP amounts, vehicle costs, and stuff like that.

Since some of you nice folks out there have the book, please give this concept a read-over and tell me if you think the PC guidelines need tweaking. Thank you.

Derek Devlin

Title: The Great Airship Race

Tagline: "High-flying adventure in the wondrous Age of Steam!"

Premise: In the year 1895, eccentric millionaire Willard Midas made a statement at a party that airships were the next logical step in transportation, the vanguard of a glorious future. To prove it, he contacted Count Freidrich von Zeppelin and offered to bankroll his design for an airship that had been rejected by the German government. Within two years, the first airship was built, but critics said it was at best a toy. Midas spoke out against his critics, saying that he would award half a million pounds to the first airship to travel around the world just like Phileas Fogg did in "Around the World in 80 Days". News of this challenge soon swept the nations, and within a year five teams had answered the call. In the spring of 1898, these intrepid adventurers set out from London to circle the globe. So begins a tale of action, intrigue, and wonder set in the incredible Age of Steam!


Each team has a particular Strength, and should receive beneficial modifiers when performing actions that require that Strength. While it is assumed most players will want to be part of Team Steele, some possible player roles are listed for all of the teams(though all the players should be on the same one). Players can also take on the roles of team leaders, with the exception of Team Visionary. Each team has an Agenda that they will pursue during the race. All of the teams want to win the race, so that goal is not listed to avoid repeating the obvious.

Team Steele
Nathan Steele is an American adventurer who made his fortune after discovering a diamond mine in South Africa. He and his British wife Annabelle gathered their team from friends and colleagues they had already shared adventures with, and see the race as their last great adventure before settling down to raise a family. Their ship is the Steele Star, a red, white, and blue airship with a large silver sheriff's star painted on each side of the bow(Nathan's father was a lawman in the American West).
Strength: Courage
Possible Player Roles: Absent-minded Professor, Yankee Engineer, Great White Hunter
Agenda: Seek out adventures, help those in need

Team Moriarty
Professor Moriarty met his death in the Reichenbach Falls while fighting the famous detective Sherlock Holmes several years previously, but the beautiful Widow Moriarty has suddenly made her presence known. Her team is composed of members of her late husband's old organization, and she is never without her hulking manservant Damascus. She has entered the race because by doing so, she knows Sherlock Holmes will use his mastery of disguises to join the race and investigate. Once she finds him, she will finally have her revenge. Her ship is the Black Widow, a sombrely coloured ship bearing the insignia of a black spider.
Strength: Cunning
Possible Player Roles: Con Artist, Second-storey Man, Roughneck
Agenda: Unmask Sherlock Holmes and avenge Professor Moriarty, commit baffling crimes and elude the law

Team Rajipal
Prince Rajipal of India was educated in Britain and became fascinated with technology. He has gathered a team of native experts from several colonies and built a fabulous ship to house his team and entourage. His intention is to win the race and best the British at their own game. He is an honourable foe, however, and intends to win fairly or not at all. His ship is the Palace of the Air, a huge ship that truly resembles an opulent Indian palace.
Strength: Wealth
Possible Player Roles: Indian Mystic, Zulu Warrior, Native Canadian Tracker
Agenda: Display abilities superior to any white man, maintain personal honour

Team Manchu
The world at large knows Dr. Mencius Manchu as a reclusive scientist and antiquarian. Few know that he is the head of a tong whose influence extends throughout the world. Manchu, his daughter, and his most trusted subordinates have entered the race because it provides a great cover for smuggling things from country to country. Manchu has reason to believe that someone has infiltrated his smuggling network and been stealing from him. He intends to closely examine his worldwide smuggling network en route and determine if this is true. His ship is the Mandate of Heaven, an exotic vessel coloured jade and gold incorporating images of dragons, tigers, and other magnificent creatures into its structure.
Strength: Knowledge
Possible Player Roles: Tong Martial Artist, Tomb Raider, Loyal Spy
Agenda: Acquire artefacts and smuggle them out of their countries, discover who is stealing from the Manchu Tong

Team Visionary
Professor Visionary is an esteemed academic in the field of physics and astronomy. He and his crew are engaging in the race for scientific reasons. Or so they claim. Visionary and his crew are actually Martians, using the race as a cover to scout the Earth as preparation for an invasion. It is they who are stealing from the Manchu Tong, and they who killed Professor Moriarty(they were trying to kill both him and Holmes, but missed the detective). Their ship is the All-Seeing Eye, a metallic vehicle that resembles a flying submarine bristling with mechanisms that could be weapons, scanners, or both.
Strength: Science
Possible Player Roles: Lab Assistant, Gunsmith, Well-Educated Manservant
Agenda: Gather intelligence for the upcoming invasion, keep the team's plans and identity secret
Note: Player characters should NOT be privy to the true identities or agenda of Team Visionary, at least not at first. Once they do discover it, Team Visionary's attempts to silence them should send the players screaming to the other teams, setting up the final story arc.

Player Characters:

Character Points: PCs receive 80 CPs with which to create their characters.
Guidelines: The PCs are normal people and thus don't have innate SAs. The exceptions to this rule are Teams Rajipal and Manchu who have mystics amongst the crew, but even these are rare. PCs may have SAs that represent weapons, gear, armor, gadgets, or other equipment.
Traits: The maximum rating is 4 for PCs.
Required Traits: Every PC should have a "field of expertise" with at least a 3 in it.
Disallowed Traits: Computers(the Martians might have them, but the PCs certainly don't)
New Traits: None
Maximum CPs for SAs: 30
Types of SAs Allowed: gadgets, vehicles, weapons, animal companions, magic
Other Guidelines: 5 CPs must go towards the team's airship. NPC patrons and crew will cover the rest of the vehicle's cost.

Miscellaneous Notes:
Each episode will revolve around either getting ahead in the race(taking a dangerous shortcut, souping up the ship, slowing down the other teams, etc.) or pursuing the team's Agenda. Fulfilling the Agenda's goals will usually involve stopping at some exotic port of call and adventuring on the ground. Player's shouldn't worry about these stops; all of the teams will be making them.
The teams will occasionally make alliances of convenience with one another, but these alliances will rarely last longer than a single episode, since only one team can win the race.
Where's Sherlock? It's up to the GM to determine which team he is on and who he is posing as.
The final story arc will reveal Team Visionary for what they are and cause the other four teams to join forces to thwart the Martian invasion.

Eddy Fate

Quote from: Derek DevlinPlayer Characters:

Character Points: PCs receive 80 CPs with which to create their characters.
Guidelines: The PCs are normal people and thus don’t have innate SAs. The exceptions to this rule are Teams Rajipal and Manchu who have mystics amongst the crew, but even these are rare. PCs may have SAs that represent weapons, gear, armor, gadgets, or other equipment.
Traits: The maximum rating is 4 for PCs.
Required Traits: Every PC should have a “field of expertise” with at least a 3 in it.
Disallowed Traits: Computers (the Martians might have them, but the PCs certainly don’t)
New Traits: None
Maximum CPs for SAs: 30
Types of SAs Allowed: gadgets, vehicles, weapons, animal companions, magic
Other Guidelines: 5 CPs must go towards the team’s airship. NPC patrons and crew will cover the rest of the vehicle’s cost.

Nice.  Basically, you're looking at 75 CP characters, but by giving them 80 and making them cough up 5 for the airship, you demonstrate that they have a say in the airship design.  Bravo.

Assuming 4 PCs, that's 20 CP for a vehicle, which is 100 SCP.  You can make a nice vehicle on 100 SCP, so you really shouldn't need too many more points than that, so I would restrict NPC "kickbacks" to just story points, less than 4 PCs, or just stuff that the GM wants to tack on for fun.  :-)
Eddy Webb
Vice-President, Spectrum Game Studios
Co-Line Developer for">Cartoon Action Hour">Order CAH online!


On a first perusal, I also have to tell you that I am all for this series.
Your idea, in short, *ROCKS!*
Very, very thorough concept, also. Thank you very much for sharing it with all of us here.

It immediately reminded me of the 1990-era animé, "Nadia of the Mysterious Seas" also known as "Blue Water", but possibly _better_ if it were produced, and more game-able.  ;-)
Out of intuition, I'd say lessen the number of references to actual literary characters like Holmes and Jules Vernes' characters, etc., and you'll be more independent.

The character stats look perfect to me, as well.
And your ideas for getting all the PCs together on a team are even better than mine.


I really liked the Iconia world in the book and  I wanted to have a Earth based supers game so I  ripped off a Twilight Zone. On earth there lives a kid who religiously watches the Warriors of the Cosmos cartoon. His family life is not very pleasant and he has trouble relating to other kids  so he sits in his room and fantasizes about a way to bring the warriors of Iconia to Earth to help him deal with the obstacles of his daily life. The PCs are surprised to be suddenly transported to this young man`s bedroom and Earth is a very alien world to them. Soon they discover that another young man has been making similar plans but Nekrottus sensed his anger and sadness and used that to bring him over to the side of evil. While on Earth the heroes will be fighting battles with Nekrottus as well as a host of Earth villains. The PCs will come to be known as superheroes on Earth and gain popularity with the citizens when they defeat evil.


Very, very good, indeed, Dave!

I have faint memories from around 1992 when, back in our old RPG group at the time, the GM brought all of our Middle-Earth Rolemaster characters to present-day Earth, where they befriended a teenage schoolgirl, caused the usual bedlam for a while, and fought some neo-nazi youths.

I think your idea about good and evil characters familiarizing themselves with Earth, and continuing in their usual roles (the heroes will be reasonably heroic, while the villains will still seek to dominate things and exploit, destroy, cheat people, in short: be villainous!) is one that could turn out to be great fun, given the right GM, and players who share your vision. I'd love to be part of your game, as a matter of fact.
I'd assume that all PCs are from the roster of Warriors of the Cosmos heroes, and the Earth humans, including the kids who helped bring the characters into their world, will be played by the GM. I know I would handle it that way because, it would mean a special commitment from one of the players to portray a 10-year-old kid from Earth alongside 100-point Warriors with Special Abilities.


I am thinking that I may allow Earthmen super heroes for PCs also but I am not sure. I do want to have a few other NPC superheroes and villains in the world who are from Earth.


Additional superheroes from Earth, you say?
Hm, not bad. But in the long run, I think this could turn your game into a version of Justice League of America/X-Men/Avengers...
Not that this is not also very enjoyable with the right sort of players, but I tried it years ago, and in general, my lesson was that off-world superheroes and indigenous superheroes don't mix that well. Players like to stick to one, or the other.

It would be a great premise for a series if you had all the heroes come from Iconia, unfamiliar with Earth customs, vehicles, politics, and so on. It gives the heroes a sense of identity, and a double purpose: Not only do they have to fight the servants of Nekrottus, but also the difficulties of living a normal life on Earth (with cars, airplanes, taxes, schools, and nosy reporters!).
Whatever works best for your group, you know.  ;-)

Derek Devlin

When my CAH book arrived, the Deadlands books I ordered arrived with it. After all that reading, I came up with this NPC for "Outlaws of Skull Gulch".

Name: Nancy Longshadow
Tagline: "Massive and mysterious bounty hunter"
Series: Outlaws of Skull Gulch


Nancy Longshadow hasn't been bounty hunting for long on New Texas, but already the mention of her name makes most outlaws look nervously over their shoulders. Rumor has it that Nancy's a full-blooded Kiowa Indian, the sole survivor of a village wiped out by disease. The white doctor who found her took her back to the Eastern Quadrant with him and raised her as his own. Nobody knows why Nancy left the Eastern Quadrant to become a bounty hunter on the frontier, but most would agree she's become quite good at it.

There are lots of things about Nancy folks don't quite understand. No one's ever seen her carry a gun, an energy knife, or even a cyber-lariat, yet she seems to have no trouble bringing in heavily armed bounties or overcoming superior odds. No one's ever seen her on a cyber-horse(most suspect the cyber-horse hasn't been built that can carry her), yet she travels very quickly for someone who walks everywhere. More than one bounty thought he had plenty of time to split town before she showed up, only to end up nursing a bruised jaw in a jail cell.

The one thing everybody can agree on is that she's as strong as a bear and twice as mean. They still remember the time in Dust City when a cyborg gunslinger named Ring-0 drew down on her in a saloon. Before his cybernetic arm had pulled his gun from his holster, Nancy grabbed it by the wrist, ripped it clean off his shoulder, and cold-cocked him with it. Other stories claim she's pinched shotgun barrels closed, punched out an enraged bull, and toppled a water tower onto an outlaw gang shooting up a town with an electro-gatling.

When this bounty hunter's long shadow falls across a town's streets, folks know someone's going to jail real soon, whether they like it or not.


The only thing Nancy seems to care about is money. Outlaws pleading with her not to be turned over to Plaxx's goons will find their words falling on deaf ears. Of course, once she has her money, the outlaw is the law's problem. If his buddies bust him out of jail, all the better for Nancy, who can get a bigger bounty for catching him again.

While she is an imposing figure, Nancy never hurts anyone who doesn't deserve it and always brings her bounties in alive. If an innocent person is hurt during a bounty's capture, Nancy will patch him up as best she can before riding off to get paid.

Despite her stone-face and seemingly selfish outlook, Nancy does have feelings. She's simply put them aside while fulfilling her mission(see GM Notes).


Nancy is six foot six of solid muscle in a long black duster. She wears brown pants, dark brown boots, a white shirt, and red bandanna under that duster. She wears her long black hair in a ponytail decorated with an eagle feather. Her black wide-brimmed hat often hides the top half of her face in shadow, her two dark eyes staring out of the darkness. Nancy rarely displays any emotion on her face except for the occasional snarl when she's really laying into someone, scowl when something(or someone) is bothering her, or small smile when she's counting up her latest collection of mega-pesos.

GM Notes:

When she was sixteen, Nancy Harrison was visited by a Bear Spirit in a dream. "Our land is in pain and cries out to be healed," the Spirit said. "You must heal it, Long Shadow." Nancy left home not long after, leaving a brief note for her adoptive father, "Thank you for all you have done for me. I hope someday to be a healer like you."

Nancy took on the name the Spirit called her by and drifted for several years, working odd jobs and sometimes as a bouncer or bank guard. She eventually learned that the Kiowa territory had been annexed by the Galactic Government and was now under the "protection" of Governor Plaxx. Plaxx was a black-hearted parasite, but black-hearted parasites could be bought. Nancy knew that if enough money was waved under his nose, Plaxx would hand over the rights to her ancestral land. The question was, how to get enough money?

The answer, of course, was bounty hunting. Nancy found that the secret to bounty hunting was to study your prey and find his weaknesses. Maybe he likes to drink, or has a gal he's sweet on. Maybe he thinks he's too fast, tough, or smart to ever get caught. And even the most cautious cowpoke has to take off his 360-degree vision goggles and sleep sometime. When his guard is down, bushwack him and take him in. Nancy's tactics have allowed her to bring in bounties often without a single shot being fired.

Nancy does have a gun, though. It's a collapsible silenced carbine that she keeps in a secret pocket in her duster. She's used it mainly to catch her dinner and snipe guards so she can get close to her targets more easily.

Nancy has a horse too, a custom-made cyber-stallion named Shade. Shade is strong enough to carry his mistress, and also has a cloaking device installed that allows him, his rider, and any passengers to travel invisibly. Nobody knows about Shade because Nancy never brings him into town and any passengers besides Nancy usually aren't conscious for the ride.

The stories of Nancy's strength are not exaggerations. She is extremely strong, but also can call on her Guardian Spirit to boost her strength to superhuman levels temporarily. However, Spirits are fickle things, and do not always grant their favor. To honor the Bear Spirit, Nancy brings in all of her bounties alive(though usually a little bruised) and heals any innocents harmed during the capture. This works out very well for Nancy, since live bounties are always worth more than dead ones.

Once she's bought back the land, Nancy intends to retire from bounty hunting and become a shaman, communing with the spirits of her ancestral home. She has a hideout in Kiowa territory, a secluded cave near a spring where she stores all her loot.

Story Hooks:
Always brings bounties in alive – Moderate
Vows to reclaim the Kiowa territory – Major
Has a hideout in Kiowa territory - Minor

Oomph: 3
Stunt Points: 2
Hurt Points: 43
Size: Medium

Traits: Armed Combat 1, Athletics 1, Body 4, Ranged Combat 0/4(Rifles), Stealth 2, Unarmed Combat 3, Disguise –1, Knowledge (Bounty Hunting) 3, Medical 2, Perception 3, Survival 2, Willpower 2, Persuasion 1/3 (Intimidation)

SA - Collapsible Silenced Carbine (OSA, Power Level: Medium)
DR: 7+2
Range: Long
Bonus: Minor Advantage(Silencer), Collapsible
Restriction: Moderate Charges, Item
Cost: 17 CPs

SA - Shade the Cyber-Stallion (Animal Companion, Power Level: Medium)
Traits: Athletics 3, Appearance 2, Body 4, Stealth 2, Perception 2
Oomph: 2
Stunt Points: 1
Hurt Points: 42
Primary Movement: Land
Size: Large
SA: Cyber Armor(Power Level: Low, Protection 4, Hardness 4)
SA: Cloaking Device(Power Level: High, Major Advantage-Invisibility, Usable on Self and Others)
Cost: 16 CP(60 SCP)

SA – Bear Spirit's Favor (Power Level: Medium)
Trait Modification A: +2 Body
Duration: 1d12 minutes
Restriction: Fickle
Cost: 6 CP

Character Cost: 100 CP

Eddy Fate

Very cool!  I really like the Outlaws of Skull Gulch series...
Eddy Webb
Vice-President, Spectrum Game Studios
Co-Line Developer for">Cartoon Action Hour">Order CAH online!

Derek Devlin

A Transbots idea I dreamed up while on vacation.

The Siege Masters

Archaeologists excavating a ruined keep in Wales discover something incredible. They find paintings on the walls of two iron giants clashing amidst huge armies, and beneath the keep are two robots buried beneath the rubble, robots which according to their calculations are several centuries old! How can this be?

Several years in the future, Maximillian Mercy will finally unlock the secret of time travel. He will create a portal to the past, intending to travel back in time with Vandal and conquer the world when there are no Transbots to stop him! Trevor Hasting and the Transbots will uncover the scheme and a huge battle will take place between the Transbots and Warbots. Mercy and Vandal will escape through the time portal, with Hasting and Lightblade in hot pursuit. The portal, unable to cope with the unexpected doubling of the time-travelling matter, will disrupt and dump Hasting and Mercy in separate sections of medieval England. Lightblade and Vandal will be almost completely destroyed by their transit through time.

Using salvaged parts and what little technology was available, Hasting and Mercy rebuilt their robots. Hasting built Valor, a trebuchet that transformed into a robot armed with a morning star and shield. Mercy built Blackguard, a battering ram that transformed into a robot wielding a two-handed warhammer. Both men and their robots were inevitably drawn towards one another, their exploits drawing armies to their sides.

The final battle took place in the shadow of a castle keep in Wales. As the two armies clashed on the field, the robots and their builders carried their fight to the catacombs beneath the keep. The battle raged fiercely until an errant strike collapsed the catacombs down upon the combatants. Unable to free themselves from the tons of rubble, the robots shut themselves down to await rescue by their masters. They didn't know that Hasting and Mercy both perished in the cave-in.

Once news of the robots reaches the Transbots and Warbots, they converge on Wales and arrive just in time for Valor and Blackguard to reawaken and continue their fight. Everyone joins in and the ancient robots join up with their respective sides and vow to continue their fight. Thus do the newest soldiers in the war make their appearance---the Siege Masters!

Valor and Blackguard both resemble medieval knights in armor in their robot forms. Valor is silver with some white and Blackguard is black with some royal purple. They have the Transbot or Warbot symbol integrated into the coats of arms on their respective chests.

Valor is a cagey old warrior who often serves as an advisor to Lightblade in terms of tactics and understanding humans. Since Valor is an older and wiser version of Lightblade, he has more experience in such matters. Valor possesses great courage and honor, but his first concern is protecting others, not his own honor.

Blackguard is a brash and arrogant fighter who considers himself to be Vandal's "heir apparent" and future leader of the Warbots. He schemes constantly to maintain his "number two" position and will use any tactic, no matter how cruel or underhanded, to emerge victorious over his enemies. The only thing that prevents him from attempting a coup is that it would probably be necessary to destroy Vandal in order to take his place, an action that would put Blackguard's own existence in jeopardy.

While several centuries old, the Siege Masters can function just as well as any of their robot brethren. They lost most of their memories of future events when they were rebuilt, but may get occasional flashes of déjà vu in order to help the PCs(in the case of Valor) or hinder them(in the case of Blackguard).