Thursday, July 2, 2015

FASERIP of Future Past

I’ve been spending my free time for the last couple weeks learning to run Marvel Super Heroes RPG/FASERIP, and getting ready to run a Days of Future Past style campaign for some friends. As anyone reading this is surely aware, the story depicts a possible future in which the Sentinels have taken over, killing pretty much every hero of our time and setting up an anti-mutant police state.

There’s a couple reasons I chose that setting instead of Marvel's contemporary stuff:
it facilitates sandbox play by forcing players to take the initiative in order to survive (making my job easier), and it means there aren’t a whole lot of contemporary characters running around, giving me more room to improvise.

Also it helps that there’s a series of four very easy to find modules written specifically to emulate the story. MX1-4, starting with a setting book called Nightmares of Future Past. I’m not sure how closely I’ll be sticking to the series; MX1 is basically a sandbox and MX2 just introduces a major complication to shake things up and lets the PCs do whatever they want with that, but the last two get pretty railroady. Even those two have some pretty good ideas, so I’m not ruling out using or cannibalizing those adventures. It just depends on what the players get up to on their own.

A few other settings that would make for a good superhero sandbox:

Sakaar a.k.a. Planet Hulk is fucking made for it. It’s essentially a world built around the idea of the Hulk being Conan in it. The TPB even has an appendix with a sort of gazetteer for the whole region, with special focus on the capital city. There’s plenty of oppression for Good Guys to take on, and the order is fragile enough that villainous types can probably figure out a way to make a power grab. 

Evan at In Places Deep went into some detail about a city completely controlled by crime lords, where street-level masked crimefighters are relatively free to do their thing.

At the opposite end of the power scale, cosmic-level heroes could be a lot of fun in a Stars Without Number style sci-fi sandbox. Either Galactus appears to be dead and the PCs are his ex-heralds or the PCs are the last surviving members of the Green Lantern Corps. Or you could do basically the same thing with Dr. Strange in a multiverse setting.

Post-nuclear wasteland. Maybe super-powered mutants first appear as a natural result of the irradiated hellscape, maybe they were always there and the final battle in Kingdom Come went really really badly. Either way, humanity has become an endangered species and splintered into tribes like the ones in Fury Road but each with their own super-powered champions/god-kings.

You could go back to WW2 and do an Inglorious Bastards starring Captain America type thing, where the PCs are dropped somewhere in France and ordered to just give the Axis a headache however they see fit. Throw in some super-scientists and occultists and you’ve got yourself a party. If the morality there isn't dubious enough for you, try doing the exact same thing with Vietnam.

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