The Bullpen (OOC)   Posted by The Watcher.Group: 0
Counterforce
 player, 70 posts
 Svetlana Kragova, 15
 The Brain
Sun 23 May 2021
at 07:19
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
I have seen GMPCs in Masks games. It can work, but it is indeed not what the system is set up for, and I don't see the need for it when there are already so many PCs about. If it's about making the teams even in size, I'm not sure if it's a strict necessity, but also, I'm sure some of us are up to the task of filling them in further. :) Perhaps when there is a clearer idea of what our teams look like to start with.

I would like to know more about the teleportation system. At the same time, I think that the boarding school aspect is a key part of the idea. I could be wrong, but I suspect most of us want to play it out, neat as the ability to visit home without too much effort would be.
The Watcher
 GM, 130 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Sun 23 May 2021
at 07:57
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
OK, I think I can get the IC post up tomorrow night.

Hm.  Tell you what.  How about this regarding GM characters.  I will start the game without them and go from there.  With several teams, there might later be a 'with GM characters' and 'without GM characters' option, just like plain and peanut M&M's. :-)

But I would like to have some other super peers at school.  So I might make a team of GM NPCs only.  This team might be made of younger heroes (tweens, not teens) even more unsure and awkward than your PCs.  This would put your heroes in the uncomfortable positions of being the only adults in the room (or the next best thing).

And, yes, I would love to have other GMs and to play in a game.  I'm sorry it took so long to reply to that offer.  My thanks for it being offered.  My character creation thread will be up soon. :-)

Some more world building:

The Illuminati did want to train young supers but as students, not child soldiers (although that might be avoidable, at least the illusion could be maintained).  This would mean multiple campuses across the globe so that students could stay close to home with friends and family as much as possible.

Most populous nations could field a super-school of their own young citizens.  Less populous countries could pool their resources for a multinational school.  To avoid problems, every nation that hosted as school was allowed a representative on campus.  The actual identity of the students was still kept from the government liaison but almost every other secret was shared.

There are several new nations in the Marvel Universe, the mutant nation of Krakoa, the Vampire Nation of Dracula are just a few examples of them.  I have read an article (but, regrettably, forget to save and link to it) that Marvel would like to move from standard comic tropes to actual science-fiction speculation.  That is, how the world would change if there were actually superhumans.  Their conclusion (and I feel that they are right) is that most subcultures would form their own sovereign nations.  There are likely super-schools in this new nations as much as more conventional real-world ones.

The school offers a separate citizenship in the Avengers Nation and limited diplomatic immunity for students acting 'on school business'.  The Avengers Nation (looking for a better name) accepts multiple citizenships even if some nations (like the US) doesn't.  In the Marvel Universe, laws against vigilantism are very limited or the threshold of forgiveness is very low.  Also, legal emancipation in a limited capacity at least is legal precedent on Earth-682.  It probably HAS to be given all of the super teens fighting crime.  The new Marvel event/series Outlawed actually deals with the moral and legal aspects of letting teens be superheroes.

That all said, the super-school has the advantage of having campuses linked by fixed gateways to the Infinite Avengers Mansion.  When working, it is but a brief walk between linked destinations, no matter how otherwise far they are apart on the globe.  At its best, the Infinite Avengers Mansion can move heroes quickly across the world faster than almost any other method.  This tech has not been easy to replicate due to unique advantages of the super-school  This puts the Avengers and SHIELD in the terrible position of allowing teenagers to be the FIRST to respond to any threat.

Stopping here for world-building tonight, copying relevant sections to Polls and Debates.  Let me know what you would like changed.  Let me know soon.


This message was last edited by the GM at 07:58, Sun 23 May.

The Watcher
 GM, 132 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Sun 23 May 2021
at 08:13
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
More quick world-building:

The super-school uses a House system.  Every team is part of a House in their mundane identity.  Every student, whether they board or not, is part of a House.  And the House has provisions for them to live at the school in case of emergencies.  The Houses of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series is probably the best and well-known example of School Houses.  Houses in the super-school will be likely less formal.

Every super team will be able to name themselves (like the X-Men Training Squads).  But for internal office use, the teams are simply numbered.  That is, Team 1, Team 2, Team 3, etc.  The numbers are simply descriptive, no team is superior to any other, numerically or otherwise.

Would anyone like a different sequencing of team names?
Team Letters; Team A, Team B, Team C, etc.
Military Alphabet; Team Alpha, Team Bravo, Team Charlie, etc.
Girl's Names, like the OSS/SOE Jedburgh teams of WWII; Team Amy, Team Becky, Team Christine, etc.
Team Zodiac (or Birthstones): Team Scorpio, Team Sagittarius, Team Capricorn, etc.

Not all slots available to a team have to be filled.  Team Alpha doesn't necessitate a Team Zulu, for example.


This message was last edited by the GM at 08:15, Sun 23 May.

The Watcher
 GM, 144 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Sun 23 May 2021
at 08:35
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Argh!  I have GOT to stop here tonight.  If I didn't get to reply to you, I will do my darnedest to do so tomorrow. :-)
Counterforce
 player, 71 posts
 Svetlana Kragova, 15
 The Brain
Sun 23 May 2021
at 17:07
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Maybe alphanumeric teams? :P 1A, 1B, 1C for the first years, 2A, 2B, 2C for second years, etc. Just a silly idea - not sure if school classes in English-speaking countries have alphanumeric designations like they do here anyway.

I like the junior team idea. Incidentally, though, it occurs to me that our classes probably aren't age-based. Most of us seem to be around 16, but some are a good deal younger (Gateway, for one...). The first class would presumably consist of everyone who joins around the time of the starting event. The second class may be people who joined up more recently. It's possible that the school will switch to age-based classes later anyway, but I am not sure if that would work well if it is meant to train superhumans - people of different ages discover superpowers all the time, after all, and it would probably make more sense to put those novices in beginner classes than with more experienced pupils of the same age.

All that is to say that the junior team may, of course, be made up of tweens, or it may be second year students of different ages, with the unifying factor being that they lack the experience we gained in our first year. Then again, if you already have younger characters in mind, they could be both - a flurry of parents deciding this school isn't too dangerous after all and enlisting their superpowered kids as early as the school would take them.

I also like the first responder twist. It makes one wonder what they were thinking. Any organisation can commit strange oversights (though it can be harder to get away with that in fiction than in reality). Then again, someone may have decided to let it go ahead like that on purpose. It may be a baptism by fire sort of arrangement. ("If this classified report is even half-right, we will need those youngsters to either shape up or drop out fast. Let's take the risk with them now, rather than risk everything later. As for us looking bad, that's honestly pretty low on my list of concerns.")

Whether my conspiracy theory is true or not, it may also mean that the kids get to respond first, see if they can deal with the situation, and if not, call in the adults. Because obviously we're all going to be super responsible and careful like that. :)
The Watcher
 GM, 145 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Mon 24 May 2021
at 05:30
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Unexpectedly busy tonight, posts tomorrow night instead. :-)
Midnight
 player, 27 posts
Mon 24 May 2021
at 06:41
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Initial team identifiers don't matter to me in the slightest.  We will eventually come up with our own team names whether you like it or not :)

I think it would be a disservice to lump kids together based solely on age.  That gets you the Kitty Pryde Cover "Professor X is a Jerk!")  Similarly, Academic standing shouldn't trump the "what do they bring to the table".  I expect it to be like college sports... students must maintain a certain grade-point average to be eligible for field-work.   But their grade-point doesn't assign them to any specific group.

This rules-system appears to depend on a certain amount of calcification of the team roster... Or, are we prepared to assume incoming and outgoing influences on-the-fly for new roster changes?
Ghost-Spider
 player, 30 posts
 Gwen Stacy
Mon 24 May 2021
at 16:11
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
The IC thread has had one GM update since it started, and that was a week ago.  Are we just not ready for an IC thread because there's other stuff to sort out?
Counterforce
 player, 72 posts
 Svetlana Kragova, 15
 The Brain
Mon 24 May 2021
at 23:16
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
I think we've put it to good use for PC interactions so far? Though I admit that interactions with NPCs being partly under our control is a bit confusing to me.

Max, I'll try and reply later, but we should probably move on to talking to Roxxon soon?
Max
 player, 61 posts
 Age: 16
 The Delinquent
Mon 24 May 2021
at 23:18
Roles
Yeah, I just don't know enough about them to RP the NPCs, which is why I was sort of putting it off :)
Ghost-Spider
 player, 31 posts
 Gwen Stacy
Tue 25 May 2021
at 00:29
Roles
I think that was for if the characters parents came?  Going up to the booth and asking an NPC questiobs then answering them myself doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Ricochet
 player, 88 posts
 Sasha Struck, age 16
 The Bull
Tue 25 May 2021
at 04:11
Roles
We did get explicit permission to run Marvel staples like Captain America and such. I'm just not super comfortable with that because I'm still a little shaky on what's what. For instance, we're before Civil War but Bucky is already Captain America. I'm concerned about touching stuff and breaking it, y'know? Comes part and parcel of being the Bull. :P
The Watcher
 GM, 146 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Tue 25 May 2021
at 07:51
Roles
You've all done great!  And I will get you detailed feedback on that soon. I'm still catching up to y'all.  But we will soon be at a 'plateau' where I can stop defining the universe and start running it.

Time is against me tonight.  I will have to get out the IC reply tomorrow.

Tonight I will try and finish catching up on overdue replies.

But here is some good news.  There is one bit of world-building left for now.  After that, we actually get to completing formal character creation, team assignments and posting using the rules system with your characters in the Game Present (no more freeform flashbacks).

The network of Doors that lead to the Infinite Avengers Mansion are many but the PC heroes know of these.

Pandemonium Door:  The door that leads to the Isle of Demons, the sovereign land owned by the Avengers.  The school presence there is limited to an office and emergency shelter.
Excelsior Door:  This door leads to the Excelsior Campus, the only public campus known to the public.  The Excelsior Campus is in NYC (or at least a suburb) and students attend in their superheroic IDs.   There is not much to this campus, it is more of an interface between the young heroes and the ever-fickle public.

Stanley Door:  The Stanley School for Special Students is a small, private school in the fictional town of Everton, on the coast of Long Island.  This is the primary location for the game so far. The name is meant to evoke the similarly-named Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.  And most campuses in Marvel are named after their founder;  Stanley is the fictional stand-in for Stan Lee. :-)

The 'Hellbent' Gate:  The Hellbent gate is now locked.  It originally linked to the Massachusetts Academy, now revealed as an arm of the Hellfire Club over the past year.  The Hellfire Club's existence and betrayal occurs between the current freeform flashback and the true game start using the Masks rules.  The Hellfire Club and their young students, the Hellions, are now one of the main rivals, if not actual nemesi, of the PC heroes.

The Angels Gate:  This is the gate for the 'West Coast' students, based in Los Angeles.  This is the second largest school in the US, after the Stanley School.  The Stanley and LA students have a healthy rivalry but also have each other's back when the chips are down.

I will get to the other US schools (if any) and the international campuses in a bit.   But we have enough to get on with for now.

Now I will catch up with replies and then get to that IC reply tonight or tomorrow.
The Watcher
 GM, 155 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Tue 25 May 2021
at 08:21
Roles
My complements to Midnight for the following.  I've been having unexpected problems responding the message thread this pretty grid has been in so I will just post it.

Midnight:
I put this together oto help me keep track of things here...  Not sure if this would help you or not...

EDIT@Meta: This is worthy of a separate thread, and putting it there decreases the need for horizontal scrolling in this main thread... :)

link to a message in this game

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:26, Thu 27 May.

The Watcher
 GM, 156 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Tue 25 May 2021
at 08:25
Roles
OK, I think I have barely caught up on the thread and message replies.  I know there is more to say and I will try and get to it.

I've been moving so fast that I realize I may have been quite gauche in doing so.  I have replied to private messages that didn't specifically address me.

This board is very different from my usual haunt (where you don't see messages unless you are explicitly invited into them).  And I responded out of reflex and didn't realize until just now.  My apologies if I overstepped and I will try to be more careful from now on.

Long-overdue IC reply tomorrow and then, although you can't see it like I can, I can be more in the present with y'all and not so much reacting and catching up. :-)
The In-Betweener
 GM, 1 post
Tue 25 May 2021
at 21:22
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Hey all, this is Max's alter ego :)

The Watcher made me a GM to help him work on our school, so that is primarily when you'll be seeing me post with this account.

I've sent some questions to The Watcher regarding the school, and once he responds, I'll set up a separate thread where we can start fleshing out the school.
The Watcher
 GM, 157 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Wed 26 May 2021
at 07:44
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Welcome to our new GM!  Folks, once again I am busy.  I will try and get out the IC post and other stuff tomorrow night.  I apologize again for the delay and thank you again for your patience. :-)
The Watcher
 GM, 158 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Thu 27 May 2021
at 05:59
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
There will be one more freeform flashback IC post from me after this and then (I hope) we will be starting the game with completed Masks characters using Masks rules at the current game continuity.

The reason for all of these chronologic twists is that Masks actually starts the game 'mid-campaign' compared to most games.  It is already assumed that your characters have been together for some time and have had adventures already (as decided backstory rather than actual ran adventures).  In this case, your characters will begin the game proper as returning 'sophomores' around September after summer vacation as is the usual custom in the United States.  In the case, sophomores refers to your second year at Stanley School, rather than referring to your second year of high school as it is usually referred to in the US.

I had hoped to offer more international options and choices but this game is so big and so fast that I need to stick to one option for now.  We can offer more global and cosmopolitan choices soon enough (again, I hope).
The Watcher
 GM, 161 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Thu 27 May 2021
at 07:46
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
IC reply is up!  Sorry it has taken so long.
The Watcher
 GM, 162 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Thu 27 May 2021
at 07:48
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
I believe at this point everyone has a firm enough idea as to what your character's playbook will be.  If you haven't made up your mind about the playbook or want to change a playbook you had at least mentioned before, let me know.

Otherwise, one determinant of team breakdowns will be the maximum number of duplicated playbooks.  Which, if memory serves, is currently three instances of the Brain playbook.  As playbooks shouldn't be duplicated within a team, this means three teams of roughly (again, IIRC) five team members each.  And that is probably the best team size anyway.

So here is the method I suggest:

One Brain for each team.
For doubled playbooks, a Double in each team until the 'supply' runs out.
Should there be more than one kind of Double, the second kind of Double will skip the second team and be assigned to the third team (allowing the unique combos of First & Second kind of Double in one team, First Double alone in the second  and Second Double alone in the third team)
After that, the singled playbooks will fill the teams, in alphabetical order of username, until the first team is filled up.  Then the second team, then the third and last team.  I will try to divide the teams as evenly as possible but the third team will likely be the 'runt' of the litter, last but in no OTHER way least.

If the above seems confusing, don't worry about it.  It is my math problem and is probably easier shown than explained.  Also, once the teams are set by me, players can swap teams if they can find another player to swap with them.  Again, duplicated playbooks can't be on the same team but we should be able to work it.

In our game world, the team division works like this.

Each team has a dual identity, their 'secret ID' is one of the houses of the Stanley school, their super ID is their super team (which they can name as they wish).  Every team member is assigned to a house, even if they don't actually live on campus.  The houses are actually named after various real-world luminaries of Marvel Comics History, although they have some game backstory as (like most universities) dull bureaucrats who ran the school in some way.

Provisional Houses:
Goodman House (Team 1):  This house is named after Martin Goodman, the original publisher of Timely Comics, the precursor to Marvel Comics.
Kirby House (Team 2):  This house is named after Jack Kirby, the main artist that helped shaped Marvel in the early years.  The team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were unbeatable until their later feud.
Ditko House (Team 3):  This house is named after Steve Ditko, that other artist who helped make early Marvel, very wonderfully trippy.  He set the mood for Doctor Strange.
Thomas House (Team 4):  This house is named after Roy Thomas, one of Marvel's early editors.  This house is possibly for the NPC 'Tween' team.

There may be other houses, on the Stanley campus or others.

Let me know what you think...
The Watcher
 GM, 164 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Thu 27 May 2021
at 07:52
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
quote:
Maybe alphanumeric teams? :P 1A, 1B, 1C for the first years, 2A, 2B, 2C for second years, etc. Just a silly idea - not sure if school classes in English-speaking countries have alphanumeric designations like they do here anyway.


I like it, Counterforce. :-)
The Watcher
 GM, 165 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Thu 27 May 2021
at 07:52
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Ignore this post.

This message was last edited by the GM at 07:35, Fri 28 May.

The Watcher
 GM, 166 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Thu 27 May 2021
at 07:54
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
I will try to catch up on messages and threads tomorrow.  And then we move on to formal character creation and team assignments... :-)
Counterforce
 player, 74 posts
 Svetlana Kragova, 15
 The Brain
Thu 27 May 2021
at 08:18
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Citizen V's backstory assumes that Steve Rogers is not Captain America anymore, to her surprise (which she already expressed in the thread). Should probably sort that out quickly, considering his prominence.

Also, Steel Ninja may be a Soldier rather than a Brain... Still think three teams iteh way to go, though.

Max, Roxxon are basically just your standard sleazy, grasping megacorp with interest in all things superhuman and good PR, as far as I could tell. If that helps.
The Watcher
 GM, 167 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Thu 27 May 2021
at 15:16
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Argh!  I completely missed the Citizen V/Captain America angle.  My apologies.  I will correct that tonight.  I am not usually so inattentive.  Thank you for letting me know, Counterforce. :-)