The Bullpen (OOC)   Posted by The Watcher.Group: 0
dlantoub
 player, 3 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 07:59
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Actually they wanted him to be 14. "Or you can stop at 13, and have all the bag luck you  like."
von_das
 player, 1 post
Tue 4 May 2021
at 10:32
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Free, free at last! Thank you for letting me in. I'm very happy to be here.

I suspect I might just be suggesting what the Watcher was going to do anyway, but I think it could be nice to have some pre-play interactions before assigning Influence and Relationships. Having seen that done in one Masks game online, I think that game was definitely better for that. It established some initial character dynamics rather than people just guessing.

For the record, I'm completely fine with the boarding school angle, and I don't think adult supervision would be necessarily a bad thing. It could be a fun element to deal with, especially if (when) we go against their wishes.

Nintaku, those are all great in my opinion. :) Are you sure that Indigo is not an Innocent? That said, out of all of them, I think I like Octopus most. Probably because I have a soft spot for heroic versions of villains in particular.

Speaking of which, I have a few ideas as to characters right now. Currently, one sticks out for me in particular, but we end up going the multiple characters route, I suspect I won't resist that temptation for long. Still, I'd rather pitch what I've thought about the most for now.

---

What I have so far is (as far as I know...) an original character with a loose connection to the universe who doubles up on the Brain playbook. I'll take your word for all of that being okay, though I'd still really appreciate any feedback you (the Watcher and any other players) might have at this stage.

Basically... The kid prodigy daughter of a disgraced Russian scientist with a loose familial connection to many Soviet super-scientists of yore colouring her worldview. Her father had some revolutionary ideas about harnessing bio-energy, but wasn't quite brilliant enough to pull them off. The kid was. Her "improvements" to his devices got him hired by a Western corporation's local branch, and her brought along as an "assistant". She sought to use their resources to develop tech for harnessing various exotic energies swirling around in this universe. There were all sorts of benign uses in her mind, but also she thought that it could make superheroes obsolete. As far as she could see, they harmed a lot of people over the years, including her relatives. Besides, their superpowered drama had repeatedly endangered the entire the world. Wouldn't it be better if there was some way to check and to replace them?

Unbeknownst to her, the company actually agreed with that much - because it was actually a front for A.I.M.! When she created an experimental device that could harness, drain, and manipulate various energies in the field for law enforcement needs, they saw fit to use it in an attack on the Avengers. Long story short, they managed to capture some of them for use in human experimentation, the Brain found out, helped them get free, got captured herself, and was rescued. In the aftermath, the Avengers extended an invitation to this school (or the recruiting event or what have you). She wasn't sure whether to accept it at first, but the tech she developed was still out there, being used by A.I.M. and whoever they sold it to in the worst ways possible. According to how her grandmother had taught her, that was her responsibility. So she tuned up her miniature personal energy manipulator/force field generator and set off for America, hoping to find resources, training, and everything else she'd need to make this right.

I'll write everything down in my character thread once it's a bit more settled in my head, I think. Also, I guess that was two paragraphs, but I figure it's better to give you more info to work with at the start. What do you think?

My idea was to have someone who is mostly an outsider to the broader setting (since that would be sort of immersive for my level of knowledge) and with some negative preconceptions going in that were only somewhat challenged by her first run-in with actual superheroes. Her technology obviously has world-changing potential for good or ill, as I think a Brain's invention should. It could also have fun interactions with many other characters' powers, potentially. Of course, just how strong both her current device and the stolen tech are is something that can be adjusted. I have some tentative notions on that count, but I said too much already for the first pitch. :)

EDIT: I will add this, it doesn't have to be A.I.M. and Avengers. My research suggests that 1) A.I.M. are fond of all kinds of technology and are also capable of spreading something that could be wielded as a weapon against many types of supers far and wide and 2) Avengers have (historically had) some energy-based members and are high-profile and independent enough to fill this role. Also, there are many layers of irony in having, say, Iron Man be the one to make the offer to her. But if there are other suggestions, I would welcome them!

This message was last edited by the player at 11:10, Tue 04 May.

dlantoub
 player, 5 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 12:11
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
@von_das
Now this is interesting. Assuming my character keeps going on the same mould (not changing playbook), maybe my characters parents contributed to some of your research and vice versa. Although maybe from opposite ends :)
von_das
 player, 4 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 12:28
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
I'm not sure how connected her family is to the wider super science community... but then again, some of her distant relatives are a different story. Genetic science isn't exactly her or her father's speciality, but of course plenty of genetic variants seem to feature abnormal energy generation (see: lots of mutants, but I'm sure there are other examples too), so I wouldn't count it out entirely...

Incidentally, I've provisionally settled on a name: Svetlana Kragova. Going by Counterforce as a hero name.
dlantoub
 player, 6 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 13:26
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
True, but bio-energy is your sphere, and at some point that will link back to genetics, either natural or synthetic. What pool of genes directly creates the most bio-energy?

So.. if you hear about an actual experiment to create a sentient biological weapon, you might be offering information on how much bio-energy might be needed to create x-effect; and of course be interested in how much energy is generated by their test subject.

After all the most obvious example in nature of bio energy is.. the electric eel, and some sharks may have something similar.
von_das
 player, 6 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 13:33
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Good points all. :) I think that's definitely a plausible connection, though I'll need to think some more about the backstory before I decide how to fit it in exactly.
Meta
 GM, 38 posts
 "We look...at the things
 which are not seen..."
Tue 4 May 2021
at 20:14
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
I have updated character names received thus far.  :)
Prince of Boredom
 player, 15 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 20:17
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Hey, can you add Max to mine? Thanks!
Meta
 GM, 39 posts
 "We look...at the things
 which are not seen..."
Tue 4 May 2021
at 20:25
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Is Max your "normal" name or "super" name?
Prince of Boredom
 player, 16 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 20:31
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Meta:
Is Max your "normal" name or "super" name?


Yes :)
Counterforce
 player, 7 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 20:34
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Hmm... By the way, are there any preferences about portrait style? i.e. real life vs. cartoon?
Meta
 GM, 40 posts
 "We look...at the things
 which are not seen..."
Tue 4 May 2021
at 20:35
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Prince of Boredom:
Meta:
Is Max your "normal" name or "super" name?


Yes :)

Done!  :)
Meta
 GM, 41 posts
 "We look...at the things
 which are not seen..."
Tue 4 May 2021
at 20:38
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Counterforce:
Hmm... By the way, are there any preferences about portrait style? i.e. real life vs. cartoon?

Unknown.  I'll wait for The Big W to weigh in on that one.  :)
The Watcher
 GM, 47 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Wed 5 May 2021
at 07:52
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Argh!  I'm unexpectedly busy these next few nights but I will write what I can.  I should be free (well, more free) Thursda night.  Believe it or not, I still think we will posting IC by Monday at the latest.

Quick answer to one question:  Use whatever portraits make you happy. :-)

I am still trying to catch up your individual posts and messages.  Thanks still for your patience.  The following paragraphs should clarify things.

First, most GMs would call thirteen players too many for a game.  For myself, I don't yet know.  Y'all are going to tell me.

Second, I don't have participation requirements for a game.  You are in the game until you quit it.  Should you not post as timely or often as the group as a whole, the worst that should happen is that your character is simply written 'off-panel' indefinitely.  This is not punitive, it is simply practicality.  And your character is written back 'in-panel' just as simply as they were written off when you are back to posting speed.

Third, sad to say, most of you will likely leave the game.  You may not quit per se, just sort of fade away.  It is no one's fault.  It is just the nature of the beast.  Sometimes the chemistry just isn't strong enough to sustain your interest.  I do understand! :-)

And some of you will leave because there are just too darned many players in the game.  As players leave, the remaining players will find themselves more comfortable with the remaining amount.  As the active players dwindle, you will find me getting effectively more repsonsive per person.

So the game will find its own correct number and mix of players, whatever it might be.  This is why I didn't set an arbitrary limit on the number of players.  This was something the game has to figure out.

Also, you have probably put heart and soul into a character idea for other games only to have it not make the cut.  I know I have and I hate that.  I also hated rejecting player applications as I did in my earlier games.  Knowing their character will be accepted also makes a prospective player bring their A-game.

And for what it is worth, I can never tell what players will last for the long haul.  That bright potential at the beginning might just fade away.  And the unassuming dark horse might really come into their own as time goes by.

In short, the game will, on its own and over time, find the right mix and number of players.  And it will just take a little patience.   In the end, the game will be for those who want it the most.  So, take heart, you are in this game and long as you want to be.

All that said, we may still end up with a lot of players.  So we may divide the characters into teams.  Research (which I will link to when I have time) shows that the ideal number of people in a group (in general) should be an odd number (to break ties) of maybe five or seven (so Captain America was perhaps right when he limited the Avengers to seven members).

Should we do different groups, the characters will likely be divided by player preference (some like the standard bearers, some like the rebels) and posting frequency.

So I will soon ask, what is the likely posting frequency you can maintain?  I mean, we would all like to respond daily but that isn't always an option.  So let me know and I will add it to your forms (it was my mistake to have left it out the first time).

So we could have team for the faster-posting players and one for the slower-posting players.  And both would be happier for it.

Posting styles might be a factor.  Some players want to post lengthy posts about what their characters think.  And others shorter posts about what their characters do. Both approaches are valid but each should belong to different groups.  Speaking of which, comics themselves have changed somewhat.  They used to have thought balloons where characters would think to themselves.  In some cases, they would narrate out loud even when sneaking.  More modern comics simply show the action, revealing the character through their actions (like a movie).  This is, IMO, more rewarding but harder to write. I will speak more on this later but I wanted to make a quick mention now.

To sum up: the number of players is likely to reduce to the true believers, and of those, they can be split into different teams to help handle large amounts of players later.  And remember this if nothing else, I don't reject players (unless they are actually being deliberately disruptive).  So you are in this game for as long as you WANT to be.  :-)

Stopping for tonight.  Brief notice tomorrow. Lots more Thursday, I hope.  Still think IC launches by Monday. :-)
Counterforce
 player, 8 posts
Wed 5 May 2021
at 18:26
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
That makes sense to me, and strikes me as a good approach. Player attrition is a fact of life, it's good to plan around it.

When it comes to posting frequency, I find that depends on what I'm posting. Big, detailed opening or introspective posts require more concentration and I probably won't be able to do those every day (definitely once a week at least though), while smaller actions and responses during scenes are something I could often manage to do daily... but not always. I'll err on the side of caution and say I can post every other day on average.

Also, I missed the question about other PbtA games before. I was actually introduced to the system through a Monsterhearts variant adapted for Evangelion (of all things? but then again it made a lot of sense). Monsterhearts is not for everyone, and sometimes it's not for me, but I definitely get the appeal of it. I also played in a Legacy: Rhapsody of Blood game (think generational Darkest Dungeon), which was also fun while it lasted. Another game I never actually played, would dearly like to try some day is the splendidly named The Sword, The Crown, and The Unspeakable Power, which is like the original Apocalypse World adapted for dark fantasy intrigue.
jamat
 player, 12 posts
Wed 5 May 2021
at 18:33
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
thanks to a great suggestion from Nintaku I have tightened up my concept a bit though any other suggestions are still welcome please have a look at my character thread and post any ideas you think I can add to my basic concept :o)
The Watcher
 GM, 49 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Thu 6 May 2021
at 00:01
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Quick notes while I have some time today:

My thanks to Meta for making all of the character creation threads.  I was about to ask for help on that.  But our Tech Support Guy has Spider-Sense as well and got there already.

The only last 'technical' hurdle I might ask for is for all players to be also in a private group.  There are rules, maps, and other things that can be forgiven for being posted in a private section of the game rather than a public one.  With that, all actual server demands on the game should be met.

I have posted 'The Marvel Method', the IC thread that gets the game started.  We are almost ready to start... :-)

More tonight if I can get to it...
Nintaku
 player, 9 posts
Thu 6 May 2021
at 00:12
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
In reply to The Watcher (msg # 107):

For the private group, you'd just create threads in Group 1 instead of Group 0 (or edit them to move them into Group 1) and assign everyone to be able to see Group 1 threads. Meta would probably be able to knock that out in under a minute. We're super on track, boss!
Meta
 GM, 43 posts
 "We look...at the things
 which are not seen..."
Thu 6 May 2021
at 00:15
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Already done.  :)
TDM7
 player, 1 post
Thu 6 May 2021
at 03:44
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Hey gang!  I'm late to the party but I wanted to toss out a few character ideas before I did any detailed character creation to avoid stepping on somebody else's concept or maybe finding something that might align well with another character.

Here are the quick elevator pitches ....

Heartbreaker (Protégé or maybe the Beacon playbooks)
  A prophecy put this young girl in jeopardy from a supernatural cult that was willing to do anything to capture her and see that it was fulfilled.  She was rescued by an established hero who reluctantly allowing her to assist him with his vigilante activities while he kept watch and protecting her.  Her skills grew with experience and eventually enough time had passed that the prophecy failed to come true.  It should have been the start of an exciting new chapter but her story took an unexpected turn when that hero decided to step away from fighting crime to focus more time on his personal life and get married.  She was losing her mentor, her partner in justice, a father figure, and romantic crush.  Those who may have knew her as this innocent sidekick would probably see that she is being a little bit immature by changing her heroic identity, costume, and acting out to get attention that she had lost.
  Looking towards martial arts and equipment or some minor telekinesis if it's not the Beacon playbook.

Itsy-Bitsy  (I was thinking the Delinquent playbook, but he's more class clown than vandal.  Maybe another playbook would work better)
  An unwise decision to explore a hidden location that turned out to be an abandoned lair of a supervillain caused this young man to be exposed to the materials left behind for schemes that had yet to be unleashed when the room collapsed around him out of disrepair or from tripping some hidden trap.  When he crawled out from the wreckage, he was only a fraction of his former size.  His personality allowed him to see the humor in the situation and possibilities to use this power for his own amusement.... and maybe to help others.

I like size-changing characters so I could also maybe play a young Marvel character with a similar power like Cassie Lang / Stature.  That would probably be the Legacy playbook I think.

My favorite Marvel character is the She-Hulk.  It might be fun to play a young version of her (not de-aged, but one who was teenaged when she got her powers).  For our Mean Green Teen, I'm thinking Nova playbook for the Savage She-Hulk at Sixteen.

Opinions are welcomed.  What will work best with your characters?
Nintaku
 player, 12 posts
Thu 6 May 2021
at 06:09
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Hi! I'm really interested in Heartbreaker, particularly in diving deeper into what that prophecy was (could still be?) and who the mentor was (is? Protege still has one, after all), and if those elements can connect with others. There's a whole lot of cool potential there!
TDM7
 player, 2 posts
Fri 7 May 2021
at 02:31
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Thanks, Nintaku!

I didn't really have anything specific in mind for the prophecy in the backstory for Heartbreaker.  It was a convenient way to explain why the mentor would have had to protect her over a long time rather than defeating the villain of a one-shot story.

Now that you bring it up, I think that it would be awesome if that could connect with someone who is playing the Doomed playbook with a supernatural aspect who may have been made to take her place in the prophecy --
"It should have been you, Heartbreaker!  I could have had a normal life if it wasn't for you!"

As for the identity of the mentor, I don't know if there is currently an established Marvel hero that fits the profile or could be adapted to that role or if that character would need to be made up as well.
Ricochet
 player, 15 posts
Fri 7 May 2021
at 03:29
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
You wouldn't really need an excuse for a mentor to take her in and take long-term care of her. Just "I found this child and now she is my child" is generally more than enough reason in worlds like this. But once you bring up a prophecy, you gotta expect people are gonna dig way deep into that one. :3 Heartbreaker could well be the Doomed! Can't have a prophecy in a Marvel universe without it coming to pass and ruining everything, after all.

As for the mentor's identity, what are the requirements? If no one in universe fits, we can just invent someone who fits into Marvel themselves. Or, maybe if you don't want to go Protege, you don't even need a mentor. Could have been taken in by the Team itself, and thus tie yourself to our group that way.
Jubilee
 player, 7 posts
Fri 7 May 2021
at 03:42
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
If we're going all future prophecy, maybe Bishop? (before they trashed his character with that whole Mutant Messiah arc.)
The Watcher
 GM, 50 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Fri 7 May 2021
at 04:18
Re: Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
OK, folks, we are doing fantastic! :-)

Again, my apologies for the delay!  It has been a busy week in real-life.   And this game has thirteen players without being advertised (which is why I didn't advertise it)!  Most games would kill for half that much interest after advertising.  I would love to take personal credit for all of this interest but I'm new to most of you.

It just seems that Masks scratches some itch that other games don't.  I've always thought that superheroes were a metaphor (amongst many other metaphors) for adolescence.

It is bittersweet to see just how well you are getting along without me. ;-)

So tonight I am going to finish up IC Thread #0 if I am lucky.  And then I will open up IC Thread #1 if I am really lucky.  Once that is done, you are posting In-Character and the game will actually have begun.  Otherwise, the odds are that the real IC thread will be opened up Saturday nights.

I realize how frustrating it must be to have questions about the game and your characters that I haven't yet responded to.  I do want to and, once y'all are posting among yourselves IC, then I can start catching up.

There is a quote I love by Churchill (although these days, Churchill's legacy is a little tarnished).

quote:
"You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true, and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her. She was made to be wooed and won by youth."


The thing is, you are probably used to more OSR (Old-School Roleplaying) games where knowing your stats, map position, rules and tactics was vital to your survival.  In those games, it made sense to be absolutely sure of what your character can-and-cannot do.

But in Masks, we are writers, not chess players.  You are very talented, self-selected and pre-selected players with excellent taste (I mean, you chose this game :-D ).  And I am God Almighty in this game with Marvel's soft-focus view on science so I can fix anything.

So, try your first blush at a character when we start playing in this freeform beginning.  Lean on what you are sure of and gradually hint and what could work for your character.  If that doesn't work, try another character and another until you find one that does.  Characters in Masks take a paragraph of description if you don't know how to play and five minutes of work if you do.

You are already ready already and I should get to your questions in a couple of days. :-)

My thanks, as always, with your patience.