Saturday, June 1, 2013

Marvel Origins: A Campaign/Experiment Idea

Hey, readers!

It's no secret, if you've been following this blog, that I'm a superhero fan. In fact, the vast majority of the posts on here have been about superheroes in relations to RPGs, particularly Marvel Heroic. I suppose it's just the sort of season of mind that I'm in right now. I mean, I've played Sci-Fi and Fantasy roleplaying games for years, and now I'm getting to explore one of my favorite genres when before, the groups I was in wasn't really into the whole superhero-shtick.

Here's another confession.

While I love to play in them, superhero games are one of the hardest things for me to GM.

In fact, if you look at my track record, (Well, you can't really look at it since it isn't completely written out), you would see that most of the games that I've started and failed were superhero games. While my first group wasn't terribly fond of the genre, I did try a few campaigns using Mutants and Masterminds to limited success. I just had trouble wrapping my head around the reactionary story-telling without making it seem railroady.

The only superhero campaign that I've run well is my Teen Titans game that I've elaborated on quite a bit during the life of this blog (Which well hopefully be starting up again before the month is out). This was a combination between a system that worked for the genre (Marvel Heroic) and a new sort of ideology on running games which I've also explained.  I mentally had to break away from certain tropes of the genre in order to make that work while also zeroing in on the tropes that make the genre what it is.

I know, confusing.

What may be more confusing is what any of this has to do with the topic.

Back in "What I'm Running," I mentioned an idea I had about a campaign I'd like to start to sort of give back to the Marvel Heroic community that has been so kind to me and has allowed me to play more in the past year than I ever have in my entire gaming career. I mean, life is a give and take, right? It's only right that I can put my five-plus years of GM expertise to use by providing some gaming for others.

What I had in mind was a re-envisioning of the Marvel Universe, much like the Ultimate series did. However, this re-envisioning would be collaborative between myself as the 'Watcher' and the players. The campaign would be 80% game, 20% universe building. Through this process, our group will create a version of the Marvel Universe that is unique to us, a combination of all of our ideas, and can be used by ourselves in other games or others that are interested. One of the great things about this idea is that we will create our own continuity that, if it extends beyond our game, will be canon and effect other games that come out of this creation.

This is somewhat based off of a concept elaborated in the book "Play Dirty" by John Wick. This is a fantastic book, and if any of you GMs out there have not read it yet, please do so. I have gleaned so much of my personal GM philosophy from this man and his methods. Anyway, there is a chapter entitled "The Living City" where he describes how he and his players created a setting that felt real together for a Vampire game. He let them build parts of the world and even allowed them to play NPCs. It's a fantastic idea, but one I was always hesitant to implement, but I think now might be a good time.

I call this experiment/game Marvel Origin. What I would need are four or five willing players that have two important qualities that would work best for this idea and for my own personal GM style.

-A creative mind and desire to create a new spin on the Marvel Universe and get to be one of the first to play in it.

-A desire for a game that is story-focused where character interactions are an important part of the game.

When I've assembled some players, we would decide on a schedule for gaming and pick what corner of the Marvel Universe they'd want to tackle. If they are willing, we could design the entire universe, but for the sake of time, I think it would be interesting to pick one group and start branching things off from there. An example would be "Fantastic Four Origins" or "X-Men Origins" or "Avengers Origins".

This is all very 'in-my-head' right now, but I think this would be an interesting and fun gaming experiment that could produce a game and campaign world that we are attached to deeply, care about, and that we'll be proud to tell others of.

If you are interested in participating in this, drop me a line, comment, or Google+ message, and we'll see about getting this jumpstarted! Since my main reading base are those I've played with on Google+, I'm giving you guys first dibs, mostly as a thank-you for being so completely awesome.

I hope you enjoyed this post about my weird experiment idea! If you didn't, hear's a funny picture.


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