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The first superheroes of La Plata

In our fiction, that is. 
 
(Traducción apurada al castellano más abajo, después de la próxima foto.)
 
Ale, Edson and I met at home, and later we caught up with Ceci and her two dogs. So we created the characters in my kitchen, the streets, and the beautiful forests of La Plata, in a lovely spring Saturday afternoon. Ale and Edson prepared them beforehand, and separately. Ceci did it on the spot.
 
I had given them the two sentences:
  • Up until now, there have been only villains,
  • Teen soap opera among high school political activists in La Plata.
 
This is what they came up with.
 
Edson: Vera Lux. Real name Maxine Gómez. Cultural notes: her superhero name is in English, so I'm translating it to (dubious?) Latin because I feel in English it creates similar effects for the reader. The name Maxine Gómez sounds, to our ears, as a really weird juxtaposition. Age: 17. Year: the last one in high school. Person, problems and powers: Her grandfather was part of Project Manhattan, and after the bombing felt used and disgusted. When the USSR fell, he emigrated to Russia. He and his Russian wife had a daughter and moved to Chile. There, the daughter met the Chilean Señor Gómez, and had Maxine in late 2000. All of these characters, except for the grandfather, died from different forms of cancer. That's how he realized Maxine gave off radiation, resulting from a weird mutation on one of his own genes - he himself is immune. Relocated to Argentina, he made contact with an underground network of expatriate scientists, working against USA and USSR war criminals, and together they trained her and helped her develop her powers. She has been a superpowered urban legend since age 14. She focuses on killing arms dealers; she and her grandfather have no patience for arms making. Her power is a death aura; while active her body slowly becomes energy; most of the time she looks like a half skeleton; she needs a day or so to recover afterwards, so she usually works on weekends. She had been home schooled her whole life, but she entered high school in the third to last year. 
 
Ale: Don Round-A-Don. (Don Redondón.) Real name yet undecided, or I've forgotten it. Age: 17. Year: the last one in high school. Person, powers and problems: He participates in a conservative students group, tied to Argentina's current main conservative party (currently in office). His parents make him do so. They're both secretly super villains, and have been for a long time. They don't know he's developed powers, but he knows about them. For the past year and a half, he's been routinely fighting them, thwarting their schemes, without them knowing it's their own son. Their powers are that the mother can turn things into gunpowder, and the father can ignite things. Appropriately, the son can create cyan-colored force field bubbles. He maintains one around his head as a sort of helmet, hiding his identity. That gives him his name. The city and the press regard him as the first superhero; he's more talked about in conservative circles, which commend his efforts against crime but consider him a wuss for never killing anybody. He often does the thing of stopping criminals and leaving them to be arrested by the Police.
 
Ceci: Feminancy. Cultural notes: her name is a play on “feminazi”. Real name: Nancy, last name undecided. Age: 16. Year: the second to last one in high school. Person, powers and problems: Her mother is a devout Catholic. She became pregnant in her teen years. The father was a high school activist who soon took himself out of the picture. Unbeknownst to her, he had persuasion powers. Today, Nancy carries out her activism out of sight from her mother. She and her best friend introduced feminist activism to their school. She's a rather shy girl, and was introduced to feminism via public events, parties and activities between the past and the current school years. Her political awakening coincided with the development of her inherited powers: voice amplification, sonic attacks, and persuasion powers. As Ceci beautifully put it, she found her voice in Feminism. Feminancy is a public figure, participating in rallies, and is regarded by the public as a deranged extremist. She hasn't had a superpowered battle yet. The only one who knows her true identity is her best friend. She's realized her powers must come from his father, but doesn't know who he is and wants to find out. He's actually had a very successful political career and is the current Mayor of La Plata. He might have actually left a suggestion inside the mother's mind that blocks her from knowing about him and fully remember him. 
 
How they become a team: I told them Vera Lux’s grandfather put them together, motivated by his needs to advance in the superhero project and his worry about his granddaughter’s lack of friends. He wants to establish them as the first superpowered people with good PR. A recent development has made him fast track his plans: the appearance of the first nominal public superhero, a Catholic villain based in the giant Cathedral at the center of our city, backed by the local government. Itself a response to the current political movement trying to legalize abortion in Argentina. He usually helps the Police contain and disperse marches, protests and rallies.
 
I also went through the Disadvantages list with them, writing down the ones they wanted, shooting for 100 points each. In a few weeks we'll meet again and crunch the numbers; I'll develop what I can on my own in the meantime.


 

Lxs primerxs superhéroxs de La Plata
 
En nuestra ficción, claro. 
 
Ale, Edson y yo nos encontramos en casa, y más tarde nos reunimos con Ceci que paseaba a sus perritas. Así que creamos personajes estando en mi cocina, en la calle, y en los hermosos bosques de La Plata, en una tarde de domingo primaveral. Ale y Edson los prepararon de antemano y por separado. Ceci lo hizo en el momento.
 
Les había dado estas dos premisas:
  • Hasta ahora, lxs úniques con superpoderes han sido supervillanxs.
  • Telenovela adolescente acerca de militantes en colegios secundarios de La Plata.
Esto es lo que inventaron.
 
Edson: True Light. Nombre real: Maxine Gómez. Edad: 17 años. Curso: 6°, el último de la secundaria. Persona, problemas y poderes: Su abuelo fue parte del Manhattan Project, y después de las bombas atómicas en Hiroshima y Nagasaki se sintió usado. Con desagrado, emigró a Rusia cuando cayó la Unión Soviética. Él y su esposa rusa tuvieron una hija y se mudaron a Chile. Allí, la hija conoció al chileno Gómez, y tuvieron a Maxine a fines del 2000. Todos estos personajes, a excepción del abuelo, murieron por diferentes formas de cáncer. Así es como el abuelo se dio cuenta de que Maxine irradia radiación; es resultado de unos genes mutados que heredó del abuelo, que a la vez es el único inmune. Reubicado en Argentina, hizo contacto con una red secreta de científicos emigrados, que trabajan contra criminales de guerra estadounidenses y rusos, y juntes la entrenaron y la ayudaron a desarrollar sus poderes. Ella es una leyenda urbana platense desde los catorce años. Se especializa en asesinar traficantes de armas; ella y su abuelo no tienen paciencia para la gente que hace armas. Su poder es un aura mortal; cuando lo usa, su cuerpo se va transformando en energía de afuera hacia adentro; en general queda mitad persona y mitad esqueleto, y necesita un día o dos para recuperarse después. Por eso, en general actúa durante los fines de semana. Si bien toda su vida le enseñaron en la casa, entró al colegio secundario en 3°, o sea el antepenúltimo año.
 
Ale: Don Redondón. Nombre verdadero sin definir todavía (o yo me lo olvidé). Edad: 17. Curso: 6°, el último. Persona, poderes y problemas: Milita en el equivalente secundario de Franja Morada, que en su colegio se llama Lista Cyan. Sus xadres así lo quieren. Ambxs son secretamente supervillanes, y lo han sido por un tiempo. No saben que él tiene poderes. Él sí sabe acerca de ellxs. Durante el último año y medio, él ha estado peleando con ellxs periódicamente, frustrando sus maquinaciones, sin que ellos se den cuenta de que Don Redondón es su propio hijo. El poder de la madre es transformar los objetos en pólvora, y el del padre prender fuego a las cosas. Complementariamente, el poder de Don Redondón es crear burbujas de campos de fuerza, de un tinte cian. Mantiene siempre una alrededor de su cabeza, dándole su nombre, y ocultando su identidad. (Él sí puede ver a través de ella.) La ciudad y la prensa lo consideran el primer superhéroe; en general habla más de él la gente de derecha, que lamenta que sea tan blando y no recurra a matar directamente a lxs criminales. Es habitual que él haga la típica de dejar a lxs criminales maniatadxs para que se lxs lleve la policía.
 
Ceci: Feminancy. Nombre real: Nancy. Edad: 16 años. Persona, poderes y problemas: Su madre es una católica devota. Quedó embarazada cuando era adolescente. El padre era un militante de secundaria que rápidamente se esfumó. Ella no lo sabía, pero él tenía poderes de persuasión. Hoy en día, Nancy lleva adelante su militancia feminista sin que la madre lo sepa. Ella y su mejor amiga introdujeron el feminismo a su escuela. Es una chica más bien tímida, que conoció el feminismo el verano pasado, entre un año escolar y el otro. (Nota para españolxs y otrxs: en Argentina el verano es entre diciembre y marzo, y el año escolar entre marzo y diciembre.) Lo conoció mediante fiestas, eventos, etc. Su despertar político coincidió con la manifestación de sus poderes: ataques sónicos mediante gritos, amplificación de la voz, y los poderes de persuasión que heredó de su padre. Como le salió decir a Ceci de manera tan elocuente, en el feminismo descubrió su voz. Feminancy es una figura pública, que participa en marchas, y es vista por mucha gente como una extremista peligrosa (al igual que muchas feministas sin poderes). Todavía no ha estado en una pelea con alguien con poderes. La única que conoce su verdadera identidad es su mejor amiga. Ella ya se dio cuenta de que los poderes le deben venir del padre, pero ella no sabe quién es y lo quiere averiguar. En realidad, él ha tenido una exitosa carrera política y es el actual intendente de La Plata. Puede ser que incluso le haya dejado implantada a la madre una sugestión para que no lo pueda recordar bien.
 
Cómo se vuelven un equipo: Les dije que el abuelo de True Light lxs reunió, motivado por su necesidad de pasar al siguiente nivel en el proyecto de superhéroe de su nieta, más su preocupación por que ella no tiene amigues. Quiere establecer a lxs tres como el primer grupo de personas con poderes que tiene buena imagen. Una noticia apuró sus planes: la aparición del primer superhéroe nominal, un villano católico con base en la Catedral y respaldado por el Estado. Habitualmente ayuda a la Policía a dispersar manifestaciones.
 
También les leí la lista de Complicaciones una por una, anotando las que les interesaran, apuntando a sumar cien puntos en cada caso. En unas semanas nos juntamos de vuelta y les metemos los números; mientras tanto voy a avanzar en lo que pueda por mi lado.
 
Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Ron Edwards's picture

But I'll post something playtest-ish and helpful as soon as I can.

Ron Edwards's picture

First, I am not sure this is a good match. You're dealing with a very loose and uneven playtest document, not a real rules draft. It still presupposes familiarity with the original rules, and I can't  describe how (or even whether) someone besides myself can integrate the two.

But ... well, here goes. This is GM talk.

Never mind the heroes' motivations and the logistics of how they got together. Those are the first two considerations of "the writer's craft," at least as far as modern fiction is concerned, subordinated as it is to TV/film scripting. But they are outside of your zone as a Champions GM, none of your business in the slightest. You have other authors at the table to concern themselves in that zone.

Your current job is populating the play-environment with characters you're looking forward to introduce. The first place to look are the heroes' Disadvantages: DNPCs, Hunteds. The second, or maybe this would be better first, are the heroes' general identities and lifestyles - people they are certain to know and interact with frequently. That ought to keep you busy for a while.

Keep in mind the emergent content you've observed in the games I've presented already, like the energy tech in the Legacy game, and look for anything that jumps out here. If it's nothing that obvious, it certainly might reside in the shared location and real-world history, insofar as you're passionate about it. I don't think you'll have much trouble with that if you're willing to confront reality; hell, I've never been to Argentina but I'm passionate enough to want to play a game set there (hint: Forced marriage between Argentina and the IMF turns into a fiasco)

Maybe you want to make your own supervillains too, meaning, that aren't Hunteds. That's fine. Make them powerful and full of opinions.

... good luck?

Santiago Verón's picture

This sucks. I'm really pumped to play more Champions, and I'm REALLY eager to play this game with these people. Superheroes in Argentina? Teen political activism? Ceci, Ale and Edson? It sounds so freakin' awesome! But I don't want to drive headfirst into a wall, either. You know, I do have the 3rd Ed rules, being a Kickstarter backer... I dunno. I'll think about it and see whether we go on, or shelve it and wait at least until the finished Champions Now comes out. After all, I did got into a pretty rocky start with RPGs, considering: my previous history, then starting with Entropy, followed by the Murderous Ghosts session, and the Defiants game. Perhaps the sensible thing would be not make it harder on myself, and start with a smaller, finished game. Trollbabe is something I'd also really like to try out.

Assuming we do go on, I gotta say I totally misread the Beta document. I got it in my head it was me, the GM, who without much thought just had to "pick one" from the list of "You got together as a part of an institution", "You have a common enemy", etcetera. So that's out, I guess. I did have a villain! A villain concept, thought in advance, which I've been developing. I haven't ran the numbers on the other NPCs, because I've been doing so on the PCs themselves. Seeing how to build their powers with the points from the Disadvantages the players chose. But let me tell you it does sound like a lot of fun, populating the world and letting them see how they get together or not. I'm often asking myself things like: should I put them all together on the same school, or not?

But for the next ten days, my schedule is all end of semester exams. After that, we have sort-of scheduled to get together and play, so I have about two weeks to decide whether to go on or try something different. Maybe I'll ask them what they think as well.

Santiago Verón's picture

(I mentioned having a villain beforehand like it was new information, and forgot I actually mentioned him at the end of the text. It's the Catholic guy.)

(In my head, he's recently gotten giant, golden, feathered wings which he uses to grab, hit and stomp on people. So awesome...)

Ron Edwards's picture

There may be too much emotion and miscommunication going on.

I am not there and my opinion doesn't get a vote. I can't tell you what to do.

My concern about playing Champions isn't about how skilled or experienced a role-player you are, but whether you have a working text (you don't), and whether you have committed players or people who are just humoring you (that is not possible for me to say).

We've talked before about how teaching people to play ("trying out role-playing"), actually playing with them, and convincing them that this particular thing works or is good at all, cannot be done at the same time. This is pushed straight into the Truly Impossible zone if the text you're using isn't a text yet.

You read the Beta correctly. The GM says "how the group is a group" if necessary, preferably before play begins. Looking at my comment, I can see how you might have felt corrected about that, but that part of my comment was not referring to that exact process. Trying to redial it to clarify what I meant isn't going to serve any purpose, so better simply to ignore that part.

 

Santiago Verón's picture

Whew, now this sucks a lot LESS. I'm so glad it was so simpler than I thought. I'll wait until we're all out of the exams phase and see what happens!

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