Friday, July 27, 2018

They Came Out of Nowhere

Lately my mind is all over the place creatively.

I want to talk some more about gaming The Incredibles, discuss my current campaigns, chat about news and trailers from San Diego Comic Con, and let you know I am really in the mood to do something Science Fiction/Space Adventure oriented again, but...argh. I'm conflicted as to which should take precedence and I'm freakin' exhausted from walking around all week in heat, high humidity, and rain. 

Then there this...

I was looking at the character creation system of the old SPI Science Fiction RPG Universe when I noticed something I found very interesting. A big part of generating a character is determining the planet they come from. Another key factor is what skills they have based on their Field of Study and Profession, but more specifically, how long they've been in that profession.

Wait...Traveller does the same thing. In Traveller, you figure out your homeworld, then roll to see how many Tours your characters has gone through before they became an adventurer. 

The various Star Trek games do this as well. Players determine what their PCs learned before going to Starfleet Academy, what they major in at the Academy, and then what they did after depending on what their assignments were and how many they had. This ages the character as it does in Traveller but also, like in Traveller, it means you can start the game as a more experienced person with interesting events in your background. 

Looking back on my earliest years of gaming and all the Science Fiction gaming I did, I realize that I had a number of characters who had 'lived' even before I started using them in a campaign. Traveller, Universe, Space Opera, FASA Star Trek, and others were the precursors to what we would later refer to as Life Paths. 

Now in Fantasy games...there's none of this.

At least in the Golden Age of Role Playing Games, you rarely saw the characters' past matter in relation to their creation. It was as if they popped into existence the moment you finished rolling them up - no history, no memory, no nothing.

PCs in Dungeons & Dragons, The Fantasy Trip, Tunnels and Trolls, and Rolemaster didn't really deal with the Life Path concept. To some extent the idea can be seen in Runequest and Middle Earth Role Playing, but never to the same level as it is in Science Fiction RPG.

It is this dynamic that likely contributed even more to my preference for Science Fiction games over Fantasy ones. 

Thinking back, as a kid getting into the hobby in 1977 and really building my love for it in the early 80s, Space Adventure RPGs had more of what I was looking for right from the get go. Games in the SF genre promoted the concepts of a creating a living, breathing setting and telling a story more strongly than those of the Fantasy genre did.

Fantasy, it seemed to me, was more concerned with being a game. Who the characters were and where they were from didn't really matter. The point of the whole thing was to generate a persona for the player to use to kill monsters, gain loot, and hope to have it not die.

I shouldn't have to say this but clearly not every Fantasy game of the old days ignored a character's potential history. Likewise, not every Science Fiction game had you develop your past to explore the future. 

This is merely an exercise in curious observation. It is something I noticed to be a trend in one gaming genre and not another. It lends itself, if correct, toward explaining to me the origins of my own attitudes. I was never here for the 'points', though I like them. I wasn't here to see my character become more powerful or richer, though certainly that's a welcome benefit if it should occur. No, I was always here in this hobby for the same reason I am here now, to tell stories, to listen to stories, and to use stories to generate memories of joy and wonder. Strong characters enable such stories to be created and I believe a Life Path type approach lends itself to creating strong characters. 

To the audience I pose the questions:

Did you ever notice the differences in Fantasy and Sci-Fi character creation I mention here?

Am I onto something or way off base?

Do you like the Life Path approach? If so why and if not, why not?

Let me know. I'm curious to see your opinion. 

Barking Alien

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Tao of Other People's Stuff

This past Tuesday, Alexis Smolensk of the blog 'The Tao of D&D' wrote a post in which he laments the fact that many bloggers write about other people's stuff instead of their own creations. Check it out.

It's a valid observation and one that has had me thinking quite a bit. For that I thank the author, regardless of the fact that many other assumptions in the post are, hmmm, questionable at best. 

I am indeed guilty of playing with other people's toys. Perhaps more so than most other RPG bloggers. I talk about Star Trek, Star Wars, Smurfs, Muppets, DC comics, Marvel comics, and my most recent obsession, The Incredibles. 

Taoalexis seems to view this as lazy to some extent. He asserts that reviews of other people's material, discussions of other people's work, and the like can come across as 'phoning it in'. Taking the easy route as it were. 

Is he wrong? I can't say from the point of view of all bloggers. Some may do reviews because they feel it helpful to their readership. Some may do it, as Alexis implies, to create filler content when they don't have anything else to say. 

I can't speak for the masses. I certainly can't speak for the elite. I don't view myself as either of those things. All I can do is tell you why I do it.

I have on many, many occasions, created my own game systems, settings, and related original material. I have discussed genres on this blog for which there really aren't any published games covering them. You don't have to take my word for it. Check out my tags, read a few. 

At the same time, you will note that there are, as of this post, 118 entries tagged 'Muppets', 147 marked 'Star Trek', and heck, 16 tagged for 'Ghostbusters'. Wait...Star Wars was only tagged 69 times?! Damn. I need to get on that.

The thing of the things I've learned about myself over the years in that I don't self-motivate very well. It is very difficult and rare for me to just suddenly want to do something to the point where I put my all into it. Some may get the experience of walking to the corner store and randomly being hit by a desire to run a Medieval Fantasy Political Thriller but that's not how it works for me. 

The way I get inspired is to see something - a movie, a tv show, an artbook, a comic book - and then a bolt of lightning hits and I am flooded with ideas for a game. I do indeed become obsessed, needing to know more than I know, more than others know, about the subject in question so that I may effectively make it come to life as an RPG.

In fact, one bit that had me chuckling in this regard was this line from Alexis, "Journalism is research.  It is explaining something to an audience who does not recognize the name or the product being dropped, who deserve to be informed."

Does this imply I didn't or won't do research before posting my ideas for a Superhero campaign based on the Incredibles? Let me ask you - did you know there was another Person of Color superhero in the Incredibles world other than Frozone who was killed by the Omnidroid? Do you know when Frozone first manifested his powers? I do. How? Research. 

I am not informing you about the existence of the product. You all know there is an Incredibles movie and that it has a sequel. My posts are not written with the goal of letting you know this product is out there. I have no specific interest in revealing to you that these two movies were made, though if you didn't know I would be overjoyed if my posts happened to make you curious about them. (Psst. Go see them. They're Awesome!). 

My goal, my sole purpose in making posts about gaming in the established universe of popular franchises such as Star Wars, Marvel Comics, or The Incredibles (Egad! Those are ALL Disney!) is to share my love of gaming and those IPs with others who also love them. If you read my blog and like those IPs, you might be inspired the way I was. Then there is one more person adding energy to the idea. If you like it and run it and four pals join in your game and like it too, that's five people as excited about a thing then there was before. That's amazing! That's why I do this.

If no one sees it or people see it and no one likes it...oh well. I got it off my chest and out of my head. I still like it. I still think its a neat idea. 

Maybe someone will like my next post better.

Alexis further comments:

"The reader is a very bored entity, wandering the internet like a prospector, looking for something that will glint among the rocks.  And while wandering, the prospector will turn over a lot of rocks just to view what's there.  Most "views" are nothing more.  Just a bored reader turning over your rock, only to drop it and move onto the next rock.  To the reader, it's a disappointment.  Is that really the journalism you want to provide?  A means to disappointment?"

To all those who aren't so into my Incredibles posts, I hope that you'll find other things on my blog to enjoy, either in past posts or future ones. 

To those who do like the idea of an Incredibles RPG, I'm really happy to provide even a mote of inspiration and enjoyment.

To Alexis, thanks for making me think about this. That said...I am not a journalist. I never saw myself as one or claimed to be one. I am not making any money on any of this. This is a labor of love and something I do for my own sanity. I've met some great people, had some great conversations, and I am going to keep doing just this, just this way, until such time as I no longer enjoy it. 

Later days,

Barking Alien

Friday, July 13, 2018

A First Step Into A Larger World

I apologize for the lack of posts this Summer. My business has really picked up and it's done so in the awful heat and humidity of a New York heat wave. I am a Winter Child, born during a February snow storm. This heat takes a lot out of me. Even if I wasn't so busy, the temperature would still leave me pretty exhausted. 

I am taking a short break from discussing Pixar Superheroes to address something else rather, well, incredible (Heh. See what I did there?).

Fantasy Flight Games has recently released the Star Wars: The Role Playing Game - 30th Anniversary Edition, reprinting the original Core Rulebook and Sourcebook of the 1987, West End Games RPG that changed the course of Star Wars canon forever.

Enough has been said about the impact of the original game on the Expanded Universe and even the movies, and animated series that I needn't reiterate all that here. I mean I could, I'd enjoy it, but that's not what I want to do with this post. Instead, I'd like to tell you about my first encounter with the Star Wars D6 RPG way back in 1987. 

My apologies if I've told this story on the blog already. I honestly thought I had, but couldn't find it in a cursory look through past posts. It is a tale I've told to friends and fellow gamers over the years and it may be those recollections I am remembering. 

Here we go...

Sometime between December of 1987 and February of 1988, I was asked to GM at an RPGA Event in New York City. The event was called Crusader Con or Crusade Con, I forget exactly. There were more than two dozen Gamemasters, and over a hundred and fifty attendees were expected. 

That weekend, NY was hit by the mother of all snowstorms. We're talking full on blizzard. 

If memory serves, all of the staff and GMs were able to attend but only about half the attendees showed up. The end result was that each referee ran one session and then had nothing to do for hours on end. They couldn't just leave, as part of the event was an award ceremony at the end wherein the best players (voted on by their GM and fellow players) and the best GMs (voted upon by their players) would receive a gift certificate for the Compleat Strategist (NYC's friendly local game store par excellence!).

At some point I decided to leave the hotel where the event was being held to grab some lunch. I went with some fellow GMs I had become acquainted with and passed a room with three other Gamemasters playing a game. I had spoken to one of the three at length earlier in the day and asked if he needed me to pick anything up for him. He was gracious but told me he'd already gone out to lunch and just got back.

It was then that I noticed the book in front of him had images from...Star Wars. A huge Star Wars fan, I was surprised that I didn't recognize the book. Wait...there were dice on the table. The three guys were clearly gaming but...

"What Star Wars book is that?", I asked.

"It's the Star Wars Role Playing Game. It just came out. I picked it up at the Strat (common nickname for The Compleat Strategist in NYC). We're going to try to create characters and see how it goes. I'll tell you about it when you get back."

My new found friends and I spent our lunch break discussing the Con, the styles and techniques of the various GMs we'd met, and other 'shop talk' you'd expect referees at a game convention to discuss. At the same time, I couldn't stop thinking about the new Star Wars game book. I was eager to learn more, see more, and to get it myself. 

After about 45 minutes or so, we headed back to the convention. 

When we got back upstairs I walked to the doorway of the room where I had left the three fellows and the game that had me practically vibrating with anticipation. 

As I approached I could hear them speaking excitedly and the sound of dice clattering. I didn't want to interrupt but I had to know how character creation was going. Also, why did it sound like the most action-packed character generation session I'd ever heard?

After observing from the doorway for a few moments, unable to quite make out what was going on, I cleared my throat and said a friendly, "Hey guys...". I was quickly and politely as possible waved off. 

"Can't talk right now. In the middle of a big battle!", my acquaintance exclaimed.

"Wait...", I started, "You already made two characters and got into an adventure? In 45 minutes?"

"Yeah", he said.

One of the others added, "This game is awesome!"

There is more to this tale, but I think I've reached the part that illustrates a point I want to make. Yes, there was a point to all this you salty little Porg bottoms. 

Up until the Star Wars D6 game, it seemed serious RPGs were often quite complicated and crunchy. Comedic games - Ghostbusters, Paranoia, Toon - were simpler and usually more rules light. A serious Action/Adventure game, especially one involving Space Travel and Ray Guns, that was also quick and easy play was quite revolutionary at the time. 

When I got the game myself and read it over (and over and over), I couldn't believe how well it managed to hit the mark between detail and ease. It was both lightly textured and amazingly fast. To this day, even with the added material and mechanics of of its Second Edition, Star Wars D6 remains, IMHO, the best system for the kind of stories I want to tell in that universe. 

West End Games' Star Wars: The Role Playing Game is a treasure, a brilliant masterpiece of simple gaming ingenuity. I love it, and I am overjoyed to have this 30th Anniversary Edition in my collection. 

May The Force Be With You!

See you soon,

Barking Alien

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Wannabe Supers

As with all my campaigns, an early, primary concern for me as Gamemaster is to determine who the PCs will be and what their role will be in the campaign. 

I asked myself, "What will players and their characters do in an Incredibles campaign?"

Well...they'll be Supers.  

Concepts to consider when developing the player characters would be:

"You've got Powers! Yeah, baby!"
Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible, Incredibles 2

When did your Super develop their powers? 

Perhaps it was very recently. Maybe you were secretly doing 'Hero Work' for the past month, a few months, or maybe a year or so.

What if they developed a long while ago. Were you one of the Supers from back in the good ol' days, forced into retirement when Superheroes were banned? Are you just now making a comeback?

What about playing a child of one of the previous Supers like Dash, Violet, and Jack-Jack?

One of the Supers that intrigued me and got me thinking about character variety in Incredibles 2 was Reflux, a senior citizen with the power to breathe (or more accurately vomit) lava.

As Reflux doesn't appear in flashbacks, nor in the National Supers Agency Files from the DVD/Bluray added features, it is unlikely he was a major hero of the old days. He is clearly an older gentlemen, which could mean he did have a low profile career as a Super in the past but it seems just as likely he simply gained his powers later in life.

He has a go-to line to put people at ease when he goes to help them. This implies he's been actively doing hero work, but was that in the past or recently in violation of the anti-Supers legislation.

I absolutely love the idea of a retired person gaining superpowers in their old age and wanting to go out and save the day. Unfortunately, they are hindered by laws preventing them from doing just that. With nothing to lose and no regrets, kindly, old Mr. Burns from down the street periodically fights crime and rescues people because dog-gone-it, it's the right thing to do. It's time to show the world that the elderly still have a lot to contribute to society!

"One of us is going to have to get a job."
Helen Parr/Elastigirl, Incredibles 2

What is your Super's secret identity?

Really think about this character's life before being a Super and after having become one. 

Do they have a family, kids, and a mortgage? A Mom-and-Pop business? Are they desk jockies in the soul crushing, living hell slog that is the 9-to-5 corporate world? Maybe they're a college student with tons of debt going for an highly useful fine arts degree?

Professional Supers of the kind implied in the first film's past are not yet a thing. 

Secret identities in this game will be part of the plot in a way that rarely shows up in other Supers RPGs these days. While I have no intention of playing out board meetings or PTA bake sales, they are definitely factors they will complicate the PCs lives as Superheroes. 

OK, maybe a PTA bake sale. Complicated by villain activity. Yeah, that's very Incredibles.

"I was approached by this tycoon. He wan't to talk...about hero stuff"
Lucius Best/Frozone, Incredibles 2

One concept that struck me as especially interesting [but which must be handled carefully] is the idea that in light of legalized Superhero activity, former Supers (and perhaps even new ones) periodically take secret work from wealthy entrepreneurs.

After Supers are legalized again, one would assume the US government would re-activate the National Supers Agency. At the same time, before the renewed NSA gets its act together, it's possible that rich individuals or companies might sponsor new Super teams. 

Would the Super PCs be OK with this? Would they wait for the NSA, a group they can trust, or would they accept an offer from a Winston Deavor type fellow?

"Combustion imminent? What does that mean?"
Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible, Incredibles 2

"It means fire Robert."
Edna Mode, Incredibles 2

I may go into this in more depth in a later post, but the last point I want to make about character design is giving thought to what powers your character has.

It seems fairly clear from the first film, and would logically carry into the second, that most Supers have only a handful of superpowers. Dash has Super Speed, Elasticgirl Stretching, and Frozone Cold/Ice Generation. Mr. Incredible has Super Strength and Toughness, and Violet has both Force Fields and Invisibility. 

These powers also seem to be extensions of their personalities. 

Dash is a bit hyper and impatient, Elastigirl flexible, Mr. Incredible direct and straightforward, while Violet is private and insecure (though her personality changes and develops along with her story arc, leading (if you notice) to less invisibility and more force field use. 

Figure out who your character is first and what they are going to be like as people before choosing your power. If possible, have the PCs personality and powers reflect each other. Stick to no more than two or three powers, unless the character has a number of minor, lesser powers such as the ill-fated Stratogale, who could fly at sub-sonic speed, possessed superhuman strength, and the ability to communicate with birds. Still and all, that's only really three. 

I am considering a system by which players would either roll 1D6 to determine how many powers their Super had, or starting them with 10 'levels' of power which can be broken up into different abilities. 

For example:

Mr. Incredible has Super Strength 8 and Invulnerability 2.
Dash has Super Speed 10.
Elastigirl has Stretching 10.
Violet has Force Field 7, Invisibility 3.

...or something along those lines. It remains a work in progress. 

OK, that's all for now. More to come! 

"Come back darling. I enjoy our little chats."

Barking Alien

In Super Sad News...

Stephen 'Steve' J. Ditko, American comic book artist and co-creator of Spiderman, Dr. Strange, The Question, and the Creeper among other characters, passed away on June 29, 2018 at the age of 90. 

Ditko's unique artistic style and boundless creativity earned him numerous awards and honors over the years.

Departed yet immortal through his various creations, Steve Ditko will missed.

Rest in peace.

Monday, July 2, 2018


My current ideas for an Incredibles RPG campaign largely revolve around events post-Incredibles 2.

From this point forward I will be referencing elements from both The Incredibles and Incredibles 2 so if you have not yet seen the sequel [or the original for that matter], first and foremost, what the heck is wrong with you? Second, please go do so before reading the rest of the posts this month as there will indeed be SPOILERS. 

"And call me when you get back, darling. I enjoy our visits."
Edna Mode, The Incredibles.

Oh you're back!

The basic premise of my campaign is that since Superheroes are now legal once more (SPOILER!), the PCs would be a new group of Supers protecting another fictional city nearby to the locations we see in the films [such as New Urbem, Municiberg, Metroville, etc.].

I will go more in depth on the subject of the Player Characters in an upcoming post. Here and now I want to talk about the world/universe of The Incredibles and the ideas and implications the films have inspired in me.

I feel like this will be a good opportunity to not only explain my concepts for running an Incredibles campaign but also a look into how I deal with Intellectual Property based games in general (which is something I do fairly often).

Note that while there have been video games, comics, and other 'expanded universe' merchandise for the IP, the only elements I consider canon are the films themselves and the added features on the DVD/Bluray. That doesn't mean I might not borrow ideas from these other sources. Simply put, the information they provide is to be considered apocryphal for the purposes of generating my campaign.

Finally, this is a work of fan fun and love.This is not an official product and does not claim to be affiliated with any official license. This project in no way seeks to profit or otherwise benefit from Disney, Pixar, Brad Bird or any related entity. This is the personal project of a fan of the Incredibles movies having fun making up ideas for a game so he and other fans can enjoy themselves. 

Please don't hurt me Mr. Mouse.

What makes the setting of The Incredibles unique and/or special?

Atmosphere, Theme, and Tone

I find the Incredibles particularly interesting as a Superhero Comic Book fan as it embraces many of the classic tropes while turning a few of them on their ears.

The problems with capes, being sued for damages caused by crime-fighting, and the like are post-modern deconstructions of the traditional Superhero genre. In most instances I dislike that immensely but here it works.

Why? Because the final message isn't 'Superheroes are Childish and Bad and you are dumb for liking them'. That's what the 90s wanted you to believe and between you and me the 90s can go *ahem* itself. The problem is so many people believed that sad, sorry message that they're still producing Superhero stories with that idea in mind (I'm looking at you DC Cinematic Universe. I am not however looking at your movies any longer). 

No, the final message of the Incredibles is that being a hero is a great thing to be, it's awesome to fight against evil, and teaming up with family and friends to vanquish wrong doing makes it even better!

For the most part, the heroes appear very Silver Age but on closer inspection I would say they are actually Golden Age. This is apparent in their simplified costume designs and names that don't always line up perfectly with their powers and appearances.

They remind me less of the Golden Age heroes of Timely/Marvel Comics and National/DC, who went on to get revamped in the sixties and become more popular than ever, and more like the plethora of heroes created by third party companies. Some of these characters were popular for a time but many were flash-in-the-pan heroes that saw only a few appearances before...hmmm...before disappearing. 

The Parrs are the exception, reappearing after a long hiatus and getting new, more 'modern' costumes and becoming Silver Age in the process (as Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, along with their kids, form a team akin to the 1960s Fantastic Four).*

There are a great deal of James Bond and Cold War era Super Spy elements in the series in addition to the overall Superhero motif. Most villains have gadgets and technology as opposed to superpowers. Syndrome has a secret, volcano base and gun toting minions in high-tech flying vehicles. Mr. Incredibles Incredimobile resembles one of Q's cars for James Bond more than it does the Batmobile. 

What does this mean for the tone and atmosphere of the setting? Well, it would seem that our heroes are one part Costumed Crusader and one part Secret Agent, investigating the nefarious plans of eco-terrorists and world conquerors as often as bank robbers and monsters from the deep. Personally I love the idea, as some of my favorite old comics combine the two genres of Supers and Spys such as Wally Wood's T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.

I definitely hope to instill a bit of that cold war espionage feel to the adventures I run for an Incredibles game.

Now, I'll finish with theme. 

The themes I'm hoping to infuse into a campaign of the Incredibles certainly run parallel to those established in the films; family, compassion, being true to one's self, and refusing to give up in the face of adversity. 

I'd like to additionally explore some of the ideas touched upon by the second film; should we uphold the law if the law is unjust? Are we [becoming] slaves to technology? If Superheroes exist, will we just assume they'll save us and not try to save ourselves?

Honestly, that last one doesn't make a lot of sense to me. People in dire situations will always try to survive them as best they can. They have to hope, to believe, that they will find a way out of their predicament. The idea that a police officer, fire fighter, or Superhero will show up isn't something the endangered person automatically assumes. It is something they hope happens. It is something they will try to make happen by contacting the proper authorities. It would be great if help arrived, but you can't bank on it.  

From the Superhero's perspective, they don't want that person to have to go it alone, to face odds too heavily against them. If you have the power to help people, to provide hope and possibly remove someone from danger, you will do everything you can to make that happen. To me, that's what being a Superhero really means.

Look and Feel

The Incredibles is clearly set on an alternate Earth in which the early 1960s not only has Superheroes but also a very distinctive appearance reminiscent of the modernism/futurism of the period between the late 1950s and early-to-mid 1970s.

The architecture and graphic design throughout both films is a perfect example of a 1960s that didn't quite exist in the real world. As noted above, the look of the world matches the super spy vibe underlining much of the action.

In fact, I feel like the world of The Incredibles has stylistic anachronisms that remind me of Batman: The Animated Series. Whereas Paul Dini and Bruce Timm's Gotham is both art deco and modern - a 20th Century with a more 1930s aesthetic - Brad Bird's Metroville and Municiberg are akin to a 50s and 60s that had access to 21st Century engineering techniques and materials.**

It doesn't end with the look of things. You'll notice that the technology and lifestyle of the 50s and 60s is likewise a big part of the setting. You see older style coffee shops, diners and luncheonettes with stools and counters. There have to be malt shops, theaters only showing only one movie at a times (dig those matinee prices!), and the multi-floor department store is all the rage in the big cities!

Television is in it's heyday, as seen in Incredibles 2. The Screenslaver warns that we've become addicted to screens but you'll notice 'he' never mentions computers or cell phones. Games shows are mentioned but not video games. Cordless phones are seen but only in the homes and offices of the very wealthy. 

Running the Incredibles setting is like running a period piece; Superheroes on the set of Mad Men. 


While I would personally want to avoid siting specific dates, I would recommend keeping track of campaign events and history, as a timeline for Superhero activity is a key point in the Incredibles world. A major plot element is that prior to the two films, Supers have been outlawed for the past 15 years.*

This is also important to tract who is alive and who is dead. Several heroes were killed by costume related mishaps (NO CAPES!) prior to Superhero activity being outlawed. Many more were killed by Buddy Pine, aka Syndrome, and his mechanical menace the Omnidroid.

If one is very observant, you will see that not all the Supers of the glory days are dead. Oh, no. It's quite clear that the Parr Family aren't the only survivors of that bygone era. Additionally, it's unclear what became of the villains of the era, as we know even less about the bad guys than we do about the good guys. 

I will go into a bit more detail about the status of various characters in a later post. 

Whoa. That's a lot off the top of my head. I apologize if this reads a bit like a stream of consciousness but frankly, it sort of is. I will be back soon with my thoughts on the Supers themselves and their role as Player Characters in what I hope is a more organized fashion.

Until then...NO CAPES!

Come back soon darling. I enjoy our little chats.

Barking Alien

*Although I would personally not want to set exact dates to things, my theory on the Golden Age nature of the original heroes is largely based on a year noted on the front page of a newspaper in the first Incredibles film.

Bob Parr reads that Simon J. Paladino, aka Gazerbeam, has gone missing in a newspaper article dated 1962. If one subtracts 15 years from that date you'd get 1947, the later part of the Golden Age of Comics (which ended around 1950). 

**My thoughts regarding the visual appearance of the Incredibles world are from observations as well as insight from The Art of The Incredibles and The Art of Incredibles 2 by Chronicle Books. I highly recommend them, especially the second one, as it gives a good deal of information on the thoughts that went into making the much anticipated sequel. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018


"I love Superheroes! The powers, the costumes, the mythic struggles..."
-Winston Deavor, Incredibles 2

I feel you brother.

You want to know how I like them best? Well, I like them best as they appear in...

In recent years I feel like the number of games I've run in the Superhero genre has finally exceeded my running of Science Fiction, my #1 favorite genre to GM. 

While I have had a blast creating and refereeing Superhero campaigns across a fairly wide range of settings, styles, and tones, I feel as if I have yet to run that perfect 'retro-modern Silver Age' game that I really want to run deep down in my deep down parts.

One of the reasons I haven't is that it is difficult for me to explain exactly the setting and atmosphere I want to get across. It's hard to put into words. However...The Incredibles is it!

I loved the first Incredibles movie so much! As with many things I enjoy to this degree I obsessed over minor details, background characters, concept art, alternate/deleted scenes, and all the lore I could find both in and out of the movie's universe. 

I knew that at some point I would have to run an Incredibles game. 

Within days of seeing the original film I started to develop ideas for an Incredibles RPG campaign. My main issue was system, as is often the case, as I didn't want to go as crunch heavy as Champions or as light as Teenagers from Outer Space (though I did consider it). 

Sadly, I could find neither the right balance nor the group or the time to get my ideas to the table.

Even though the first movie came out in 2004, I wouldn't get the chance to run an Incredibles game until 2013. I ran a really fun 4 hour session at the now sadly defunct RECESS Game Day Event (orchestrated by NerdNYC).

Why did it take so long to create an Incredibles based RPG adventure? Why did it take so long to make a second film? Huh? Answer me that! Sorry. I was a little bitter for fourteen years. 

The reason it took so long for me to run an Incredibles game is that I didn't feel that I had the right mix of elements necessary to insure a truly epic game worthy of the IP and my love of it. I needed the right time, place, people, and concept. Huh. Same as Brad Bird. Whoah. Great minds I guess. I take back any and all bitterness.

Now, with a fantastic sequel in theaters even as we speak, my obsession with this universe is completely re-ignited and even enhanced! I have researched everything from maps of the fictional cities, to the possible origins of Supers, to many other aspect which would give me ample fuel needed to rocket a group of willing players into the amazing world of The Incredibles!

This month, in addition to other posts on a variety of gaming subjects, I am going to detail my thoughts on The Incredibles universe and running a Superhero RPG campaign there.

Please join me as we fight crime, save the city - no, the world!, and get back in time to help Dash finish his homework, see how Violet's date with Tony went, and get Jack-Jack to bed at a reasonable hour!

Expect The Incredible!

Barking Alien