Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Things I Learned From Champions: Sometimes the JLA is busy

"Elminster? He's --
busy at the moment."
One of the most common issues I used to hear about the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, was about the preponderance of high-powered heroes. As in: Why worry about the Zhents, when Elmister will take care of them? Why worry about the Drow, when Drizzt will take care of them? And so on.

I never really had those same issues with the setting or those characters, though it's likely due to the fact that I came to Faerun only after I'd gone through Champions.

Let me explain.

Champions: not everyone can be Superman

It's rare for superheroic campaigns (especially the older point-based ones) to start at the Justice League level (and I'm talking Superman / Batman / Wonder Woman power levels). It's also rare for superheroic campaigns wherein the PCs are the only metahuman heroes in the world.

That means you tend to accept that there's at least one hero (or more) who are more powerful out there in the world (though you may out-shine them in your particular area of expertise).

Perhaps the things they're dealing with are far more earth-shattering than what you're working on. Or perhaps dealing with street thugs just isn't going to call the attention of Doctor Fate or Doctor Strange.

As for teams -- well, they can be in another country, on another planet, in another universe, or have been disbanded for one reason or another!

Champions: this is my city / turf

 In comics, it's also common for a kind of recognized turf for heroes. Batman's city is Gotham, Superman's city is Metropolis. While they do operate on a worldwide basis, there's a precedent for the city's hero (or hero team) as being the primary defenders.

At the same time, look at all the Marvel Super-Heroes based in New York (who only encounter one another in brief cross-overs or as part of team books). Somehow, there's an accepted rationale that allows them to do their own thing without rubbing elbows all the time.

So, while there may be other heroes -- big-time heroes even -- they're not top dog in your neck of the woods, and in your area -- you matter.


  1. Our PC heroes are always the most important team. There is no one to go running to if they fail. But I like super heroes to be few and far between. Back when Marvel had 12 super heroes and 11 were in NYC, I had no problem with it, but the overpopulation of super heroes in Marvel and DC just make them all seem unspectacular to me. Seems like half the folks have some kind of super ability.

  2. With the old number of mutants (and now Inhumans), yes it was ridiculous to have so many!

  3. Vis-a-vis The Forgotten Realm, I'm not too familiar with it but how hard would it be to strip out the Mary Sues of the designer/writer and just use the setting? Personally I never use the NPCs and stuff from modules/settings and always insert my own. Partly because it fits the campaign better, partly because the published stuff never seems to be to my taste anyway.

  4. Pretty easy, actually. But, again, I come from the super-heroes genre way of thinking (like most of my old gaming group) and we just assumed: that One Dude/Dudette? He/she ain't here right now.


That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.