After much discussion, a half-dozen character building and playtest sessions, four source books and two blogs, my first-ever superhero campaign is launching tonight. Titled Infinity Storm, the campaign uses Green Ronin’s Mutants & Masterminds d20 superhero system as well as the companies Freedom City campaign setting. It will be run Dark City-style, with action quickly moving from character to character as they explore Freedom City and come into contact with its heroes, villains and citizens. There will be team storylines as well, but to start, it will be about the individuals.
“Why yes, I am an evil mastermind”
It seems there are no simple superhero systems; powers beget complexity, and Mutants & Masterminds is no exception. It offers point buy system that allows all of the standard d20 elements — feats, skills, abilities, powers, equipment — to be purchased a la carte. This gives that game a tremendous, almost paralyzing amount of choices that can play havoc with your brain if you delve too deeply into arrays and the logic of power costs. Combined with rules that occasionally contradict themselves, well, you can see why it’s taken us several months to get past the playtest stage and into the actual campaign.
I’m using the following books to run the game:
- Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Edition: The core rule book, and the only one the players need.
- Freedom City 2nd Edition: The campaign setting book detailing the city, its heroes, and its villains.
- Lockdown: A campaign source book detailing a super-villain prison. Very detailed, with plenty of new villains and backstory. I’m not using the book immediately, but aspects of it will be worked into the first two campaign arcs.
- Mastermind’s Manual: A source book that’s part GM-guide, part-optional rules. It’s not an essential sourcebook, and I was initially disappointed by its scatter shot approach, but I found it very useful last night when putting together my “Issue #0” notes for the campaign launch.
I’ve launched two new blogs to support the game: Infinity Storm, a traditional campaign blog with adventure write-ups, play-by-post and game resources, and The Constant Sentinel, an in-character blog recounting the events of the campaign from the street-level view of a rabid fanboy.
The Constant Sentinel is proving to be a blast to write — its editor, “Infinity Lord” is a disillusioned geek who used to worship the Freedom League (think Avengers or Justice League) but was outraged when they moved their headquarters from Freedom City to their orbiting Lighthouse space station. In-game, the blog has been around for 10 years or so, but I blame the handful of posts there now on a hacker that sacked the original Sentinel and forced Infinity Lord to relocate to Blogger.
Even better, one of my players — Evil Genius from Nuketown, he of “Bob is the Real Enemy” fame — has started posting as a l33t-speaking troll named JUSTICESPOON who’s hellbent on yanking Infinity Lord’s chain. Hell, this part’s even more fun than doing the actual campaign prep!
I plan on having Infinity Lord blog the public events from the campaign, which should provide a far more entertaining take on adventures than our traditional campaign write-ups. I’m not sure how effective it is in giving players background information on the setting (I’ll know more after today’s game) but for now I’m having fun unleashing my inner cynical fanboy on Green Ronin’s universe.