Thursday, April 3, 2014

Campaigns A-To-Z: Blast City Blues

B is for Blast City Blues

Title: Blast City Blues

System: Teenagers From Outer Space (Modified)

Circa: 1987-1988 (Follow up campaign in 1989).

Player Base: Three players at the start, male, ages 17-18. Eventually added three or four more, same age range. A follow up campaign in the same setting occurred a year or two later and included one additional male and two female players.

Characters: PCs were Human and extraterrestrial high school students attending Blast City High, hoping to graduate and get the chance to attend Blast City University. Each of the PCs had a superhuman power or skill, including super speed, super strength, energy blasts, super intelligence, supersonic screams (like Marvel's Banshee or DC's Black Canary) and many others.

I expanded the rules for powers so that each PC started with 10 Power Levels. You could have Super Speed at Power Level 10 and be as fast as the Flash, or, as was the case with the character 'Mech' Herrera, a teenage cyborg, you could break those Power Levels up into different abilities. Using Mech as an example, he had Super Speed 2, Super Strength 2, Invulnerability 3 and Micro Missiles 3.

Magical characters could change up what their PL 10 abilities were, but had to pay a price (Needed to rhyme to cast spells, spells that hurt opponents bestowed bad luck on your allies for an hour, etc.).

Synopsis: 25 years ago, an alien spacecraft of considerable size landed just off the tip of Long Island Sound in New York. A plethora of extraterrestrials emerged from the vessel, proclaiming themselves to be the surviving members of the United Galaxy Alliance. The Alliance was invaded, and every last one of it's worlds conquered, and stripped of their resources by the terrible Dreggetti. Like space locusts, they swarm across planet after planet, consuming all in their path. Now, they are heading for Earth!

Luckily, thanks to their superior Star Drives, the refugees of the United Galaxy Alliance have arrived in our solar system at least 1 year ahead of the Dreggetti fleet. They've come to Humanity with a secret weapon that might just have a chance at defeating the evil aliens.

The greatest minds of the UGA have developed Polytransmorphic Metamutagen Alpha! This chemical, well, it's a compound actually, can...I suppose gaseous gelatin would be more accurate. Where was I? Oh yes, so there's this process involved and, you see it's all very complicated. The end result is that PM Alpha can give Humans superpowers. Sadly, it doesn't seem to work on any of the UGA member species since many of them have superpowers of a sort built into their genetics. Since Humans don't, the potential of the PM Alpha on them is unknown and potentially limitless.

After meeting with the world's political powers, the Earth unifies under the banner of the United Earth System Alliance and begins developing superpowered soldiers and learning all about the incredibly advanced technology, and scientific knowledge of the UGA aliens. At the end of one year, they ready themselves for what is destined to be the war to end all wars, deciding the fate of the Human race and perhaps the entire Galaxy, once and for all.

Only...the Dreggetti never arrive. Time passes. The aliens settle down on Earth, the Moon, a terraformed Mars and a few other spots in the solar system. Still no Dreggetti. The UGA starship is converted into a city, dubbed Blast City, which contains additional housing, training facilities, as well as business and government offices for many of the aliens and the superpowered population. More time passes. The Dreggetti are still a no show.

Fast forward to the present, and the sons, daughters, and unisex, undulating, spore blobs of the superpowered Humans and alien refugees are going to school, printing spread sheets, watching Zero-G Boogie Ball (a sport I created), and just trying to live with each other and not destroy any private property in the process. Some superpowered individuals are part of the United Earth System Alliance Defense Force, while others have more 'normal' jobs.

Adventures ranged from wacky 70's sitcom fare mixed with sci-fi or comic book elements, to fairly serious disasters and villains that forced the PCs, none of them old enough to graduate high school, to really work together and be courageous in the face of certain destruction!

Appendix N: Galaxy High animated cartoon series, Legion of Superheroes comic books from DC Comics, Sidekicks comic book from Oni Press*, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (In the USA, Part 1 of the R-word ** series: The Macross Saga) Japanese anime series, Teen Titans comic books by DC Comics, Urusei Yatsura (Those Obnoxious Aliens - Lum) Japanese manga and anime series.

Bonus Features: A short comic book featuring the setting, and characters was created by our high school RPG club and sold at the school's annual art faire.

One of the coolest things we ever did for a game was create both an opening, and closing theme song for our Blast City Blues series. The song was written by me, and performed and recorded on a cassette tape (long since lost) by a garage band my friends, and I had put together.

Another friend of mine (one of the players incidentally) translated the entire opening into Japanese, complete with minor changes to make it sound, and read, more sensibly in the Japanese language.

The opening song's overall styling matched the Japanese pop-music of the era, while the closing had a more blues-rock n' roll sound. I don't recall much of the closing theme (I Love Blast City) but the English opening goes like this:

Well hello!
Hello, how are you?
I'm doing fine.
I'd really love to talk, but I don't have time.
What do you mean?
I'm off to school and I can't be late!
I want to learn the golden rule, and take a chance on fate.

Ohhh, School House Rock!
Ohhh, School House Rock!
Ohhh, Oh School House Rock!
Nothing to dread, when you use your head.

Tell me more!
Well, my school, it's a little strange.
Why don't you come and see it, 'cause you'll be amazed.
There's a boy who can fly,
A girl shoots rays from her eyes,
And the teachers walk through walks to no ones surprise.

Ohhh, School House Rock!
Ohhh, School House Rock!
Ohhh, Oh School House Rock!
For Heaven and Earth to be seen, you must stand in between.

Oh no, the bell!
That's the bell, and I have to run,
But it was great talking to you. It was lots of fun.
Think about checking out the school.
The light in your eyes tells me you're no fool.

Ohhh, School House Rock!
Ohhh, School House Rock!
Ohhh, Oh School House Rock!
Nothing to dread, when you use your head.

Barking Alien

* Sidekicks was not yet created when I ran my Teenagers from Outer Space/Blast City Blues campaigns but it has some remarkable similarities and is one of my all time favorite comic books. Highly recommended.

** Adam does not say the R-word.


  1. It will always be Robotech to me...used to watch it after school in the mid-'80s...never seen the source material.

    Still the only Japanese cartoon I have seen and liked.

    1. 0_0

      You are disqualified from Barking Alien fandom. Please turn in your badge and secret decoder ring. Good day to you sir. I said Good Day!


      Kidding! I am, or rather was, a huge Anime/Manga fan. I am a fan of it but I am less up on it nowadays then I used to be. Still, a season or so ago they had at least three or four awesome shows on, which is pretty amazing. For the last few years I've been lucky to find one series each season that I've really enjoyed.

      As this A-To-Z Challenge continues, don't be surprised to see a number of other campaigns that were heavily Anime inspired.