An Imperfect World

Imperfect Design 19
Twilight of the Gods

I have made some crucial distinctions in the nature of superhuman powers during and after the war. The powers do not stem from a biological source. Despite what the Nazi scientists think, they are not advancing science. Their beliefs on eugenics, and the Aryan ideal are shaping the nature of magic.

now what is the nature of magic? That is the question, really. this is all met-knowledge, no one in the world really knows that all super powers(save for gadgets) stem from forces beyond(and outside) science. Magic is change, and so it cannot be trusted. Magic is power, so it can be harnessed. Magic is willful, it seeks to master. So, with that in mind I decided that once magic is a formless supernatural energy source that pools in some places, crystallizes in others, and can be shaped and trapped within forms. Once it has a location it obeys a set of laws(similar to, but often counter to, the laws of nature) that can be observed, and repeated(most of the time).

The Nazis gathered together many items from such places, and many items of magic as well. all gathered together the magic interacted with their beliefs in science and the mastery of the German peoples. this allowed for the creation of the Ubermensch.

the reason I decided on this route, is twofold. the first reason being, the only way one can have a world where people can defy the laws of physics is if they are accessing power outside of the physical world that can somehow effect the physical world. magic suited my purpose here very well. the second reason I chose this rout…it’s more fun this way. in a world where physics apply, almost, all of the time one can never really be sure of what you are walking into. Also, I have never liked magic that works the same way every time; this allows for GMs to play with things, keep the players guessing. like I said far more fun.

Imperfect Design 18
It's the Chicago way

So perhaps Eliot Ness lead the first (semi)legitimate masked vigilante team. they truly were the untouchables. They wore masks to hide who it was stopping Capone’s operation. now to come up with cool gimmicks for “The Untouchables”. Maybe this was even the beginning of the teaming up trend.

also I think I have the Char gen rules worked out, I will post them in the 1930’s section as soon as I am done with this bit. not that I will be running this anytime soon, being between groups and all…

Imperfect Design 17
Comics in the new timeline

I had this weird thought(going back through The Watchmen), superhero comics would never really have developed in this version of history. I mean, the newspapers are full of costumed villains and heroes duking it out over the city. why would one wish to read of fictional supermen?

now would the medium have evolved into anything other than the funnies. I think I will lean the way of The Watchmen, there are horror and western comics, but no super heroes. yep…that’s it for now. now I need to work on some period fiction pieces or some such…

Imperfect design 16
Year One

OK then, I think I need to stop speculating and move onto designing something playable. the starting year is 1934, one year after John Dillinger started robbing banks for serious.(not like all those other times, they were just for fun)

the base setting piece will be Chicago. the reason I am leaning toward Chicago is it’s ties to organized crime. in this version of events they have been hiring men from The Academy, a secret school for training criminals. it is run by the mysterious Ghost, a man rarely seen, but much feared. the Criminals have the run of the city, there is effectively no law there(picture Gotham just prior to the Batman’s arrival and you have a fair idea of how things are going in Chicago at this time).

no the players will be either Super Normals or Anachronists(i.e. Gageteers). the first step in character creation will be deciding why you decided to wear a mask. I am thinking of making this crucial mechanically(along the lines of conviction, loyalty, or what have you) you will gain will power when you are realizing your motive(need to work on this more). the next step will be asking the question why did you team up to fight crime(role playing is a team sport you know). then you move onto character creation, I am leaning toward the standard being 150 points, but that is not set in stone by any means.

then I would like the group to come up with the types of crime they seek to eliminate. this is due to my liking for a framework for gaming. I am of the belief that limitations inspire creativity. I need to work this step out more though.

that is all for now, I will write more later. I need to work out rules for cities(leaning toward adding aspects a la Fate, but we’ll see if I stick to that). also need actual mechanics and world reasons for there to groups of masked avengers. well toodles for now!

Imperfect design 15
B O O M ! !

Then it hit me, why should the soldier who first experienced the “Uber-Effect” be the ones who gain powers? All those soldiers were infected when Berlin was bombed, but no one noticed, as there was no major external event. However, the second thing those soldier did when they got back to the states was take off their shoes. If you know what I mean(nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more).

it was the baby boomers who gained stable superhuman abilities! more on this later, just had to get it down now while the thought was still in my head.

Imperfect Design 14
The madness of power

I was thinking on the post war powers(and a bit on the wartime supers). I would like the post war supers to be bordering on insane/alien, this stems from my initial inspiration, The Watchmen. I like how crazy Ozymandias and Dr. Manhattan are. they are both alien in many ways, Manhattan more than Ozy, but both are still beyond the pale, as it were.

I need a mechanic to help with this. perhaps some kind of obsession or rule that will encourage the playing of alienness…need to think on this.

Imperfect Design 13
Gave birth to nations...

So I was reading through…something, I forget what exactly, but it mentioned something of interest to me. It laid out that most criminal organizations don’t really have the logistics, or inclination, to train specialists in violence. Most hit men are, while not poorly trained, not the peak of the killing profession. The best freelance and criminal assassins were trained by the military, or some group along those lines.

That got me thinking of my second favorite comic book villain of all time, the Taskmaster. so I decided to combine these two concepts with an idea that was already germinating withing this mind of mine. George Anderson was going to be my first Costumed Villain, but he was going to disappear after his initial big score. I was thinking on what he would do with his money, then it hit me. After I picked my self up and dusted my self off, I started putting the thought together. Mr. Anderson became a trainer of “henchmen,” superior training for the criminal enterprise. as the years go on and he gets more business maybe he expands out into an underground university for the training of science prodigies that the crime bosses think would be useful.

I think this would be a very useful aspect of the setting, need to think on this more. Is there a law against training people in the commission of crimes? if not, would there be one soon after the discovery of the institute? hm…

Imperfect Design 12
Masks, a retrospective.

So I am back from my long hiatus. I was involved in many things not related to role playing so I won’t bore you with details. suffice it to say, I am back in the swing of gaming again(yay me!) and will be attempting to work on this old design journal some more. well off to the meat of the topic.

I got to thinking, one of the main aspects of the super hero genre is the secret identity. I decided I needed a reason for the supers to wear masks, aside from ,”protect my family,” as I think that is an incomplete reason. so I went with two routes. during the prewar years heros had to wear masks because the criminals really did have the cops on the run(in my world). criminals were organized and smart, they had the highest technology and the will to use it. if a particular cop got in their way they would get a member of his family and make sure the cop knew why. this lead to the birth of the masked crime fighter. this went on for years, until the war.

during the war, the Nazis didn’t want anyone to know that their so called master race as deformed, so it was mandatory that the supers wear masks. also due to the menace of these Ubermensch, the American government(again in my version) allowed amnesty to the science villains and masked vigilantes if they fought the Nazis. needless to say those same people were nothing if not the suspicious types, so they kept their masks on during the war. this lead to the public seeing these super beings fighting in masks for twenty years straight. thus the tradition of the mask. just a thought in passing really, need to work on it some more.

Imperfect design 11
random thoughts occur...

so I was driving home, and this idea hit me. what if the effects of the Berlin blast(or whatever I end up calling it) don’t manifest in the people who are immediately effected. what if it is their children who gain the power(and only a small percentage of those).

also I think that a radial pattern of spread would make an interesting effect. most of Europe, parts of Russia, and all the American troops would be effected. leaving the super powers with a great deal of power in the coming years. Vietnam will definitely happen, though I think Korea will not. as America just got done with a war like a couple of years prior, rather than almost a decade.

as the Nazis were experimenting on the Jews(I assume they would) this would give the new nation of Israel a serious tactical edge in the post war world.

though this would leave Japan and china deficit in the super human department. maybe they seek out super humans and entice them to “breed” with native people to add the genes to the pool.

project ODESSA…with Nazi scientists the only ones who really know what is going on with superhumans, this leads to interesting complications in south America…think on this.

Imperfect Design 10
Science!!! ...OH YEAH!!!

So I was thinking of things that the Mystery men, and Science Villains could use. seeing as this is set in the thirties, that does limit my choices somewhat…provided I do not stoop to using some sort of “Unobtanium” or something. Energy sources and communication gear are where I am starting out, as they will have a great impact on a great many things in the years to come. as I said before, initially the Gageteers will tend to jealously guard there secret devices(need to come up with a reason for that eventually, maybe in a future design log). Thus for the first few decades the tech level of your average street person’s life will not be altered all that much.

I will start with Germany, as they have the largest impact on life around the world. They will focus on Genetics and Mechanics. they want the Ubermensch, and they want the best vehicles and infra structure available.

Japan is a different story, as I have stated before, they realized(in my version of things) early on that their dependence on oil was going to be a major hindrance, so they have focused all of their scientific talent on discovering alternate fuel sources, and alternate energy sources as well.

In the U.S.A the Mob, oddly enough, controls a majority of the scientists. the remaining either work for big corporations, or go into the Independent Villain/hero business(if not both secret identity, hard working scientist by day, masked vigilante by night…oh yeah).

so maybe Japans excursions into alternate fuel lead them toward solar, geothermal, or Biofuels. can you power a carrier on methane or whatever? if not can you power a household? maybe they save all the Oil for their military and use alternate sources for the civilian world? maybe its a mix of both.

no I just have to come up with a few actual technologies for this to be useful…I’ll have to think on this. maybe this is the wrong way to go about doing this…


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