Game Concept.   Posted by Master of Games.Group: public
Master of Games
 GM, 5 posts
Sun 18 Jul 2021
at 22:21
Game Concept
This game is intended as a “standard” Masks campaign in a custom setting. Unless we decide otherwise, the usual Masks assumptions apply. You are members of a recently formed group of young superheroes who have yet to become truly loved or hated by the city and who operate legally as volunteers helping to keep the peace. Any further details can be decided as we go along. I am big on “writing who you have” as a game master, so while the setting is meant to suggest certain hooks and themes, the actual storylines we will encounter will depend heavily on player input. If you want to fight a corrupt conspiracy or get revenge on a specific supervillain, simply mention them in your answers, and I will see what I can do about that. Likewise, if you want to be brought together by a mentor, to work more closely with the authorities, or to clash with them instead, that is surely something that can be arranged.

Although having a pre-made setting may seem to go against the collaborative spirit of Masks, I have left most of the details deliberately vague. You can add freely to the world and the city, so long as you do not contradict that which has already been established as canon. If I do decide that some ideas wouldn’t fit the setting, I will let you know, but my preference will always be to work it in somehow. Always feel free to make suggestions or ask questions – world building is one of the parts of roleplaying that appeals the most to me, but it is best to do so around player interests. If your character’s backstory is connected any of the established setting elements, great, that gives me a chance to flesh it out further. If your character has no such connection and simply lives in this world, also great – that means we can add and explore other angles.

This universe can accommodate pretty much any superhero setting concept, even if some would fit in better than the others. It does have some baked-in assumptions of its own, though. Civilian technology is somewhat more advanced than in our 2001 or for that matter 2021, and there are more extreme advances available to better-equipped superhero teams, government groups and organisations such as ATLAS. New Atlantis is meant to be a hopeful and futuristic kind of place, though certainly short of a utopia in practice. Much of the rest of the world is rather more dystopian – the West is paranoid, the East is totalitarian, and much of the South is still a wartorn mess – though one can find brighter spots in all of them as well. The older generations of New Atlanteans are somewhat more shell-shocked by superpowers than the residents of Halcyon City. As a result, the reactions to superheroes might be more extreme by comparison. On the one hand, there is plenty of outright hero worship in a fortunate city founded by them. On the other hand, plenty of people also remember the horrors of superpowered warfare. There is bitterness and fear alongside gratitude and awe.

Tonally, I intend to try and maintain a healthy balance. There should be more lighthearted or hopeful moments, as well as darker and grimmer ones. That said, I hope to avoid going too far into the latter extreme. I think that the core book is right to emphasize people’s lives not being cheap. Terrible things may happen – that is a necessary part of the genre and the War has shown everyone just how bad it can get in the setting – but they should never be gratuitous. That said, the Mature rating is mostly just there to cover all the bases. If you ever have any problems with the game, tonal or otherwise, please let me know in the OOC thread or by PM, and we will work it out.

As for the characters, again, all concepts are potentially valid, and even if there are apparent setting conflicts, I will try to make them work. The default age of 16-20 seems right to me, though minor deviations are permitted. All official Playbooks (core book, Halcyon City Herald Collection, Secrets of A.E.G.I.S., Unbound) are permitted, though some adjustments to fit the setting may be needed (so the Soldier would probably be a member of ATLAS and the Innocent couldn’t have lived in New Atlantis in the past because it wasn’t there). Abilities do not have to come from the default lists, so long as they still follow the Playbook’s theme (a Beacon would be powerless or low-powered, while a Nova would have overwhelming power that they struggle to control – but the exact flavours of those powers and abilities are up to you).

Due to this Earth’s recent history, alien characters may be regarded with some added ambivalence, but there is at least one benign alien in the canon and plenty of room for more. Much the same goes for cyborgs. Psychics and magic-users have been on the receiving end of WUC witch-hunts and propaganda during the War, though such fearmongering has found little purchase with most of the current population of New Atlantis. Those themes do not have to be especially important for characters meeting those descriptions, but they may come up – consider this a fair warning (or an enticement if you wish to play with such themes).

The game will have a minimum post rate of once per week. When possible without leaving any players behind, I hope to go faster (a post every two days, several posts per day?). That would be especially welcome during combat or big conversations, but it is not mandatory. If you cannot post at any point during a week, then that is perfectly fine, but please give me some forward warning so I would know what’s going on and would be able to figure out how to handle it. If you are silent for over two weeks, I reserve the right to temporarily NPC and/or write out your character, though if I go with the latter I will try and leave some way for that character to return.

My default assumption is that the players will handle their PCs and I will control all the NPCs and environments. That said, it is fine if you want to control some NPCs who are connected to your character (such as family members, split personalities, etc.). Simply specify that in advance. You may also take some liberties with the environment and crowds, so long as it does not contradict common sense and established canon. If you go too far with that, I will rein you in, but otherwise, be creative!

This message was last updated by the GM at 22:49, Sun 18 July.

Master of Games
 GM, 80 posts
Fri 30 Jul 2021
at 10:58
Sheet Template
Hero Name:
Real Name:

Look:

Abilities:


Moment of Truth:


Team Moves:


Potential:
[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Advances used:


Labels:
Danger +/-X
Freak +/-X
Savior +/-X
Superior +/-X
Mundane +/-X

Conditions:
Afraid [ ], Angry [ ], Guilty [ ], Hopeless [ ], Insecure [ ]

Backstory:

Question 1

Answer

Question 2

Answer

Question 3

Answer

Question 4

Answer

Question 5

Answer

Relationships:

Influence:


Have Influence Over:
Under Influence From:

Moves:


[Playbook Extras (such as the Beacon’s Drives) go here, if any]

---

I couldn't find a text sheet template on short notice, so I just ported over a slightly tweaked skeleton I used for my own Masks sheets in other games. You can use/adapt this if you want or make a different one, so long as the crucial information (especially moves, labels, conditions, potential and advances taken) is still there. Once we have a team, I suggest putting your sheet into your character description. Masks benefits from players being able to see each others' sheets, I find.
Master of Games
 GM, 83 posts
Fri 30 Jul 2021
at 23:59
Sheet Template
With gratitude to McS, here is another option with neater formatting. :)



  BASIC INFORMATION 

 Character Name  :
 Superhero Name  :
 Playbook        :
 Powers          :
 Look            :



  LABELS 

 DANGER       : -2  -1  0  +1  +2  +3
 FREAK        : -2  -1  0  +1  +2  +3
 SAVIOR       : -2  -1  0  +1  +2  +3
 SUPERIOR     : -2  -1  0  +1  +2  +3
 MUNDANE      : -2  -1  0  +1  +2  +3

  MOMENT OF TRUTH [LOCKED]


  TEAM MOVES


  PLAYBOOK MOVES


  CONDITIONS 


[ ] Afraid    (-2 to directly engage a threat)
[ ] Angry     (-2 to comfort or support or pierce the mask)
[ ] Guilty    (-2 to provoke someone or assess the situation)
[ ] Hopeless  (-2 to unleash your powers)
[ ] Insecure  (-2 to defend someone or reject others' influence)


  POTENTIAL 

 [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Every time you roll a miss on a move, mark potential.

  ADVANCEMENT 

When you fill your potential track, you advance. Choose from the list below.






When you've taken five advances from the top list, you can take advances from the list below.


  FREE SPACE 


  RELATIONSHIPS 



  INFLUENCE 

Is influenced by:


Has influence over: