Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The New Champions - Issue #0

I successfully ran a second session of Champions 4th Edition with the same Player Characters so I can officially declare my new campaign is a go! In addition, the second session saw a third player enter the fray and a fourth looks to be joining us next time.

I can't tell you how excited I am. Well, I guess I can actually...I'm really freakin' excited. The second session built on the first as the personalities and view points of the characters were explored, superpowered combat and mayhem ensued and loose ends unravelled and got even looser.

I'm going to be doing session recaps soon but first I wanted to give a little background information on the setting so that some of the events make sense based on the context.

A Return to 'The Age of Champions'

As I've mentioned before, my new Champions campaign is set in roughly the same campaign universe as that developed by my friend Will for his long running (1981-1992) Champions campaign entitled 'The Age of Champions'. I say roughly because I am taking some liberties with the setting. First and foremost, my campaign begins about 6 months after the last time I played in Will's game but I am saying those events are in line with the present not my last chronological game session (which would be 1989 I think).

I was only a part of his campaign from 1985 to 1989 and as such, a lot happened after I left (I didn't actually leave. I went to college here in New York but Will and several of the other players all ended up going to different universities and having different work schedules). I feel that the time frame I've chosen is perfect because I remember it well and it was a very dramatic turning point in the campaign. More on that in a moment.

'The Age of Champions' is a catch-all title covering Will's entire campaign, which at various points focused on different eras of social, political and economic history that were reflected in the comic books of the time. So within the universe, characters (PC and NPC alike) will actually say the words 'Golden Age' and 'Silver Age' when referring to particular periods.

The first games he ran were set in a sort of late Silver Age. The Golden Age was referrenced often and seen/played out in flashbacks from what I understand. The Silver Age ends on a very sour note, ushering in the Iron Age, also called 'The Age of Chaos'. This latter era is the timeframe in which I participated.

I haven't decided what to call the new age we are gaming in other than the Modern Age right now but I'm considering New Golden Age or New Heroic Age (a referrence to post-Civil War/Secret Invasion Marvel Comics).

The Setting

Our story is set on Champions Earth Alpha Delta-1. For those unfamiliar with Champions 'canon', alternate Earths in Champions are often referred to by the preeminent super team of the world. Will further defined their designations with the classic numbers familiar to DC Comics (and now Marvel) readers and Greek or other letters for noting the GM's initials or other little codes. For example, Marvel's Earth-616 (the primary setting of most Marvel Comics titles) would be 'Avengers Earth-1'. If I ran a campaign set on that Earth, my campaign would be Avengers Earth Alpha Delta (Adam Dickstein - AD) -1. Will's version of his campaign universe is Champions Earth Wilco Charlie 1.

The Story

Following the heroes' triumph in thwarting an alien invasion, my alien hero StarGuard, having defended the Earth and the lost prince of my people's stellar rival (the hero called Omni), returned to his planet to rejoin his extraterrestrial teammates and oversee the peace talks between Omni's species and his own.
Many heroes (and villains who had lent a hand) were injured, some were killed and some simply retired, having had enough of the superhero lifestyle after losing loved ones in the battle for Terra.

This is essentially how our new campaign begins. Unlike Marvel and DC, the world of Champions Earth Alpha Delta-1 is a bit light on superpeople. There are approximately 150 active Superheroes in the United States as of the beginning of the game and about three times as many villains. The entire world probably has only 500-550 supers...maybe.

The PCs are new heroes who've popped up in the aftermath of the failed invasion. Many have sketchy origins, either unknown to them, being kept secret by them or related to one or more government super-soldier production projects (to swell the ranks of the just who desperately need it). This last bit creates an interesting background of distrust with the government and lends a conspiracy theory feel to things.

The Tone

The tone of the campaign would seem to be a mix of modernized Silver Age ideas and Marvel's Ultimates line or DC's Wildstorm. Villains aren't playing around. They're not (at least not all of them) stupid. Combat is brutal. The generally 4 Color comic atmosphere of most of my Superhero campaigns has gone and found itself one of those new 96 colors crayon boxes. Between the white hats and black hats are a million shades of grey.

I could say more but I'll leave it there for now. Next up I'll tell you about the characters and the sessions themselves. Any questions or comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated.

Barking Alien


  1. I have to say I like your system of universal nomenclature. That's handy.

    The campaign sounds pretty good. Does it follow any of the official Champions (or M&M or Marvel or DC for that matter)history or use any of these known heroes or villains in major roles?

    I'm looking forward to the writeups.

  2. While some of the names may be familiar to those who know Champions' canon, the characters, events and related elements as they appear in this campaign are heavily retconned.

    More on that in upcoming posts.