Thursday, May 26, 2011

The New Champions - This Infinite Earth

So following my last post on the subject of my new Champions campaign, I thought I'd point out a few key points of interest that make the setting stand out.

Mutants, Gods and Aliens

Mutants are no so much hunted and feared as they are in Marvel. Honestly, the whole Anti-Mutant prejudice never made much sense to me. You're telling me you're afraid of some kid from middle America who woke up one day able make things freeze but not the scientist wealthy and intelligent enough to get himself and four friends into space on a homemade rocket and than transformed into superpowered freaks? The kid was an accident of birth. The mad scientist could do it again!

In the real world, if being a Mutant was considered such a terrible afflication, there'd be telethons, government research grants and religious organizations seeking to help though poor, unfortunate superhumans. So that's what we have.

The Scaramangler Foundation, developed by Jonathan Scaramangler and later taken over by his son Christian, helps those flying, shapeshifting, superstrong misfits who can't help themselves.

I mean, look at your average tech hero; Iron Man, Batman, Green Arrow are all rich. How about your government operatives and super-soldiers? Captain Atom, Captain America? Nice to have Uncle Sam and the American tax payer paying the bills on for your activities isn't it? But Mutants?

Sorry jack but if you're a lower income teen in Kentucky and you just sprouted antenna and crab like armored skin...well, sucks to be you! Not so on Champions Earth Alpha Delta-1. The Scaramangler Foundation has your back. College Scholarships, powers training, therapy to cope with living in a world you never made? They got it all.

Unless you're an alien. Disgusting extraterrestrial scum...

Yeah, it's the alien that has the most difficulty fitting in with society and it is they that would generate the most fear and distrust. It didn't help their cause that it was
aliens who killed the senior Scaramangler.

Other than Omni, one of the world's most beloved heroes in spite of his own extrasolar origins, and my character StarGuard, there really weren't any other regular/reoccurring alien characters around (possibly as a result of the anti-alien stigma).

An interesting aside in this section is that Atlantis, normally connected to a mystical background, is part mystical and part science fiction/alien in origin. One of the nations within a nation, Lemuria I believe, is originally descended from a colony ship of aquatic aliens. Another city (Mu? need to look it up) is more in line with traditional views of Atlantis and it's people. The two city-states are often at war.

As for Gods...there really weren't too many of those either with the exception of the occasional visit from one such as Anubis (a villain in this version), a few minor Greek gods who run an international, organized crime family (cool right?) and cosmic entities of the New Gods/Thanos variety. This actually served to make Deities and Kirby characters more ominous and epic when they did show up.

Magic Vs. Science - Science Wins! (Sorta)

There were very few directly magical characters, events or effects in the original campaign and I'd always wondered why. When a magic character did show up, they'd proceed to beat the living crap out of us because, as I just noted, we had no major magic guy.

While never addressed directly in the game (I don't think), Will filled me in on his concept for the lack of magic over lunch once. According to him, everything is magic, magic is everything. The ability to comprehend and utilize Magic is rare but it didn't used to be. We used to have guys walking on water and parting seas. At one time there were wizards and dragons and faeries were up and around well into the Victorian era.

Now though, science and technology have increasingly taken over the role of fantasy and the magic is getting out of our reach. It's still there and ghosts, fae, demons and the like are just around the bend but they're wary to come out and have to deal with the particle beam rifles and giant robots. These things don't feel right to them the same way they no longer feel right to us.

The Earth's Mightest Heroes Are...British

One interesting side note that I loved was that some of the most powerful and important superheroes in the world weren't from the USA. Some were (certainly Omni, Scaramangler and Tachyon come to mind) but England seemed to be, in this reality, the home to Captain America and Superman.

The Crusader was a British Captain America type character who was actually much more a cross between Cap, Hawkeye and the DC Hero Shining Knight. Superman was a British bloke as well. The world's most powerful and most recognized hero drank his tea with milk and his beer room temperature when not stopping supervillains or diverting meteors as The UltraMarine.

Canada had this super cool retired hero called the White Wolf. When a parallel Earth version of Wolverine called Arctic Fox became stuck on our world he travelled to Canada and met the guy and his daughter. Artic Fox and the daughter developed a relationship and Fox changed his name and costume to become the second White Wolf.

Japan is obviously the go to source for Giant Monsters, as well as Giant Robots, including these cool, man-piloted mecha that were basically a cross between Gundam Mobile Suits and the Sentinels from X-Men comics.

Next Up...Who's Who in The New Champions!

Barking Alien


  1. Your Greek gods remind me of both the comic Greek Street, and the way Grant Morrison had Darkseid and his minions incarnate as inner city criminals in seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle. Good stuff!

  2. It was inspired by the old Champions RPG sourcebook 'The Circle and M.E.T.E.', though in truth it has nothing to do with either of the organizations detailed in that book. lol

  3. Nice basic structure. My supers world (Earth-H) is similar is general conception.

    Additionally, I highly approve of non-American supers. Comics, being published primarily for the US audience, have always had a American-centric but game worlds do not have to be that way.

  4. Agreed. It was also fun to travel abroad and find out, wow, we're not nearly as bad ass as we think we are.

    At the same time, our story was bad ass and there were more supers in the USA than anywhere else.

    In my own V&V/M&M Universe this is not true however. China, because of it's massively large population, has more superhumans than any other country.

  5. Small spelling nitpick: Arctic. It has 2 C's. I used to work for a place called Arctic Circle, so it stuck on me.

  6. Wait... Omni isn't from the US. You just said a couple of paragraphs up that he's an alien!

  7. @Doug - Didn't notice that on my first run through. Thx. Corrected.

    @C'Nor - Omni is considered by many to be an American Superhero the way Superman (usually) and Martian Manhunter are in DC Comics. He lives there and works with other US heroes. Originally, he's from space.