Next door, I hear something shatter. Maybe a glass or a plate. It doesn’t matter, because I already know what’s coming next. The sound of a fist striking flesh, muffled sobbing. These things you never forget. I call the cops, again, but I already know what they’ll say. The dispatcher knows me; she sighs as I report, for the fifth time, that my neighbor is beating his wife. The dispatcher explains that there’s nothing that they can do if the wife won’t press charges, that they’ve given her the information for nearby battered women’s shelters - as if an overcrowded, underfunded shelter is somehow more appealing than a black eye - and that the police are busy with other cases right now, but they’ll investigate as soon as they have someone to spare. I hang up.
My apartment is briefly washed in red and blue light as two cop cars scream past. Not coming here, not investigating this crime. Maybe some rich kid lost his cat. It’s an uncharitable thought, but I have trouble looking on the bright side of things when I can hear a woman crying and no one will do anything.
There’s a wrecking bar on my kitchen table. I brought it home from the site; I wasn’t supposed to. I did anyway. The piece of curved metal seems to dwarf everything else in the room. When I go to lift it, I think it won’t budge, that my arm will tear off at the shoulder instead of lifting the bar. But it’s as light as a three foot piece of steel can be. I think it will pull me through the floor, but it doesn’t. I hang it on the back of my belt, and exit my apartment.
A woman answers the door a few moments after I knock. She’s looking down, head turned profile, hair covering the far side of her face. If you didn’t know to look for it, it’d be hard to see the fresh bruise, but the old ones are more apparent. There’s a slight flicker of surprise across her face; obviously she was expecting the cops. “Can I help you?”
My heart stops. My lungs seize. My mouth goes dry. Then she turns her head to look at me full on, and I see the patch of blood spread across the white of her left eye. My voice comes out steady, strong, and pitched at a whisper.
“Can I help you
The first world
is one much like our own, as seen through a dark mirror; it is a world that has all our problems, only more so. Corruption, crime, and poverty are already prolific, and are growing worse every day. Nearly everyone has lost someone they loved to violence, or knows someone who has. Stressed regions in our world are in open conflict in theirs; open conflict here has raged for decades there. If there was one world that needed heroes, this would be it. But there are no radioactive spiders, no eccentric billionaires, no x-gene. There are only criminals, victims, and the very lucky who avoid becoming one or both.
Even so, the human spirit endures, and people find a way to survive. This world has not yet abandoned all hope.
You are among those that endure. Maybe you were born into a fortunate family. Maybe sheer determination has brought you this far. Or, perhaps, luck alone has seen you through. Whatever the reason, not only have you survived where others have fallen, but you also have built a close network of family and friends. And it is with this group that you find yourself planning a little getaway, a vacation to blow off some steam, to get some distance from the day-to-day, and spend some quality time with those you love.
One of your friends has been bugging you to try a new roleplaying game they picked up. Something about Heroes...? Like in those movies, the ones with the rich guy with awesome armor or the blonde dude with a lightning hammer. Should be a good way to inject some levity in your lives!
The second world
is the Marvel Universe, and it is accessed from the first world in the same way it is accessed through ours; via comics, film, and all sorts of other media. Like roleplaying games.
What system are you using?
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.
What's MHRP like?
It's built off the Cortex Plus system, which gamers who have played other Margaret Weis Productions games will be familiar with. If you're unfamiliar with Cortex Plus, I think the system bears a striking resemblance to FATE games such as Dresden Files and Spirit of the Century.
How many players are you accepting?
How long will the game last?
I have one Event planned, and ideas for more. How much we play depends on how popular and sustainable this turns out to be.
What's with the two characters?
The first is the character you will be playing; the second is your character's character. We'll be switching between the two in a manner similar to how MHRP switches between Action and Transition Scenes. The Event’s Acts may focus more on one character or the other, depending on the actions of the players. In particular, the first Act will feature a customized version of the first part of the Breakout Mini-Event to serve as a tutorial both for myself and the players.
That's it? No more hints?
This is a cooperative storytelling game. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
Interested participants need to submit two characters.
character is a stepped-up Specialist (OM104). Potential players should choose Affiliation dice, a Distinction, and a Specialty or two (at appropriate levels). In addition, put together a sketch of the character's Personality. We'll be jointly writing Backgrounds for the characters, so keep an eye on the other submissions and think about how you'd create a strong emotional or family tie to one or more of them. These characters should be relatively "normal" (for their world) young adults. An aspiring psychologist, rookie police officer, or artist-slumming-as-barista are all good choices. We can work with younger characters, too (like late high school?), especially if everybody goes that route. A middle-aged businessman, retired physicist, or state senator probably won't work as well here.
Affiliation: Solo d4, Buddy d10, Team d6.
Distinction: Can't Put Down the Keyboard
Specialties: Tech Expert (d8), Vehicle Rookie (d6)
Personality: Loves to program and write stories, and tends to get so wrapped up in doing so that he forgets to tend to other parts of his life.
After the players are chosen, we will jointly create a Watcher character that will serve as the player's Watcher in the first
character is a randomly-generated Hero datafile (generator
) with player-supplied Background, Personality, and Resources & Assets. I'm not going to be strict with this; I'm looking for non-established heroes, I want to see how your creative thought process works, and I want to see where you end up with it. What can you make with an odd or weird situation? If you want, talk me through the process. Did an idea hit you halfway through, and you ran with it? At the end, did you go back and tweak a few things to better suit the character's Personality? That's all good! You don't need to go super in-depth here, either; just show the cool idea you got, how you got there, and flesh it out enough that the idea comes across.