The Bullpen (OOC)   Posted by The Watcher.Group: 0
The Watcher
 GM, 44 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Tue 4 May 2021
at 02:46
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Now catching up on the Bullpen thread...

As has already been mentioned, you can freely choose your powerset and the power levels for the most part.  You aren't godlike necessarily but you can be among the most powerful of Marvel's teen heroes (Young Jean Grey as the Phoenix as just one example).

But Masks is about emotional stakes rather than physical ones.  The masked hero coming out to their family can reap as much emotional reward and progress onto the character arc as Phoenix saving or trying to destroy (depending on the latest storyline) the world.

Most superteams have a wide range of power, from the deluded kid in a silly outfit to the mutant with barely controlled power over time and space.  They also have a different set of emotional stakes.  In the New Mutants, Cannoball wonders whether he can overcome his awkwardness and (to him) social inferiority.  While Magik, his teammate, worries about losing her soul to eternal darkness and taking the world with her (whiny teenagers, what are you going to do?).

And both had their history paper due on Monday or Professor X. would fail them.

In short, write down who you WANT to play and some how, we will get it to work or very, very close.

Prince, I completely forgot about the Phoenix Academy and I have had the Unbound sourcebook since it first came out.  Yes, I will be using the Phoenix Academy as an inspiration.  Thank you for reminding me! :-)

It is worth restating that your initial conceptions are all good so far.  That, and my lack of time, is why I haven't necessarily addressed any conception in detail.  Y'all are very imaginative.  The game will come together as the players do.   Again, the character creation process is collaborative.  Every player shapes every other character and not all players are in the game yet (working on it...).

I would like but (sigh) will not insist that you have a Marvel element in your backstory and origin.  But, to my mind, playing in a Marvel game without a 'Marvelous' character is like having a free trip to Italy but not sampling the food, visiting the sites or meeting the people.

Oak, the Meta playbook is copyrighted so I will message the link to you so as not to violate the rules of the forum.  Speaking in general, there will be a lot of copyrighted material for this game.  So I will eventually get all players into a private group so we can share stuff without accidentally distributing it.  A private group is like a virtual 'gaming table' between friends and you should be able to share info like old-fashioned photocopies.

Nintaku, yes, multiple groups will be an option, especially given the number of players we do have.  This also lets the players divide themselves into the Straight-Arrow Stooges and the Reckless Rebels (as they might see each other).  And, as I mentioned somewhere else, great ideas.  You are darned near a super team all by yourself.

Kylie, I love PbtA games myself but am still learning how to GM them (hear that, folks, you are my lab rats :-) ).  But I do consider them the next wave in gaming.  People who otherwise don't seem to 'get' RPGs almost make Masks or its sexy and brooding (or do I repeat myself) older sibling Monsterhearts like a duck to water.

So I ask the group in general?  What PbtA games do you like, if you do?
FPSMC
 player, 1 post
Tue 4 May 2021
at 02:52
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Hello, all!

I can't claim to be particularly creative, so I'm probably just going binge-read a bunch of 90s comics and try to play Jubilee, my favorite Marvel heroine.
The Watcher
 GM, 45 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Tue 4 May 2021
at 02:56
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Thank you, Meta!  In my life, 'Tech Support' has sometimes been the angel that saved my job so I would consider the title an honor.  And, I am for beating up some computer systems with a bat on principal (loved the Goodfella riff to the poor printer 'PC Load Letter' in Office Space).

Thank your for updating the player summaries in the recap thread.  That is quite a help to me this storm dodging day.

OK, all players are added.  Now the game can really begin!
FPSMC
 player, 2 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 03:12
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Oh!

Gender/Pronoun: Female (She/Her)
Nationality/Location: West Coast United States
Online Time: Pacific standard times, various, usually not early in the morning
OS/Browser: Windows 10, Edge.
Text Background: Actually, I had no idea you could change that until just now.
Meta
 GM, 23 posts
 "We look...at the things
 which are not seen..."
Tue 4 May 2021
at 03:20
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
In reply to FPSMC (msg # 83):

Recap Page entry for FPSMC updated.  :)
dlantoub
 player, 1 post
Tue 4 May 2021
at 06:17
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Hello everyone! Glad to be here.

Nickname: dlantoub, or character name.
Gender/Pronoun: Male
Nationality/Location: Dublin, recently moved from the UK.
Online Time: Varies currently any best, but likely to move to evenings only
OS/Browser: Android iPhone/PC
Text Background: default. The only time I hate default is April fools.

Anything Else: A long tradition of female characters. I just feel more at ease with it. I think it comes from hating male designs in video games.

I have a fairly fixed idea on what I would like to play, but if it's going to clash, not going to work, or not be "marvellous" enough. I crave your patience while I revise the concept, or have to develop an entirely new one.
KraznyOctobr
 player, 10 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 06:43
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Going off the Character creation thread I'd say dlan going for Outsider or Transformed depending on how you want the changes to be at this point. Outsider could be interesting if you are playing up the idea that she considers herself part of these people more than her own ancestry.
Nintaku
 player, 3 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 06:54
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Happy to have you, dlantoub!

Looks like we have 13 players. If everyone plays just one character, that still gives us three or four whole teams. Probably a better idea than one huge team, to be honest. Assuming we don't want to have a massive team, what do we think about multiple teams? Same world so they can interact? Different dimension, or location, or time? We've got all the options in the worlds.

Also, does anyone but me want to make multiple characters?
OakMaster
 player, 3 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 07:00
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
A link is worth a thousand words: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_1602 :)
The Watcher
 GM, 46 posts
 Knows All, Sees All
Tue 4 May 2021
at 07:05
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Nintaku, you and the team deserve a better answer than I have time to give you tonight.  But, yes, I have thought about the seemingly high number of players in the game and what to do about that.  Quick notes:

First, no one is getting kicked out.  You are all welcome, unlucky number that you are (ya little coven). :-)

Second, multiple teams and characters are one of the answers.

The rest I will say tomorrow night.  And I will try to catch up on the messages.  Sorry for the long delay and, as always, I appreciate y'all's patience.

After that, then this game really gets into gear.  We might be posting In-Character by the weekend.  How can we do that without fully-realized characters?  Answers tomorrow. ;-)
Nintaku
 player, 4 posts
Tue 4 May 2021
at 07:14
Welcome to our new Co-GM, OakMaster! :-)
Hey now, the dwarves wanted to add Bilbo to be their lucky number 13. :P

And yeah, I asked about different time periods because I saw you and the Watcher getting all excited about 1602, OakMaster. n.n Definitely didn't want to discount that option.
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. :-)