For Your Own Good

Old Aug 10 '12, 11:46pm
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AscendedMaster AscendedMaster is offline
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For Your Own Good

For Your Own Good - Forum
Mutants and Masterminds
Ad Closes: Aug 25 '12
Estimated Members Requested: 8

Posting Expectation: 1 post / 2 days at a minimum, please. I have no desire to NPC your characters and will not do so unless I have no other reasonable choice. Let me know as far ahead of time as possible if you won't be able to make this. Thank you. I will do my utmost to abide by these rules myself extend the same courtesy of notification of absence to everyone involved. On that note, I'm almost certainly going to start and play in various other games, because I personally like novelty and changes of metaphorical scenery. Therefore, I might update more often than 1 / 2 days, but that's the rate you can count on unless I let you know otherwise.

In 2025, the United States finally collapsed under the weight of its own unpayable debts. The rest of the world was dragged down with it, in a morass of swirling chaos and apocalyptic war. Competition over resources escalated into nuclear, biological, and chemical exchange. Half of the world died in three years. From the darkness emerged the Terran Union, a highly centralized government built on the ashes of the United Nations and European Union. Order and peace were restored, whether from weariness or at gunpoint. National borders were replaced with provinces, and the World Senate is the new, great governing body. Somehow, somewhere, just after the war, the first Alter emerged. Something allowed, or perhaps triggered, superhuman abilities.

The year is 2040. When a new Alter emerges, the Union's soldiers find them and tell them the State of Things. Their abilities, no matter how small or how great, are gifts. It is their duty to learn to use their abilities for the good of humanity. It is their duty to Serve. Many Alters, who almost invariably emerge somewhere between the ages of 8 and 17, are eager to go along; after all, they will be educated, fed, housed, clothed, paid, and so many other wonderful things. In today's burnt-out shell of a world, just getting enough to eat is a challenge for most people. Those who resist are kidnapped. There is no escape from this first fate, for the Union registers and tracks everyone from the moment they are born, and no new Alter, no matter how potent their powers, has the experience and strength of self to effectively resist capture.

You are one of these people, an Alter, captured before your 16th birthday. You have been brought, like all the Alters, to the Academy for the Gifted, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a beautiful, idyllic place, an archipelago of plenty, where you are among your own age group and other Alters, where life is easy and survival is no longer a concern. You have your own room, all the food you can eat, nice clothes, entertainment, and all you have to do is go to school and not cause trouble.

Your memories are a blur, your past obscured by some arcane science. Your parents' faces, their voices, your families' too, are gone from your mind. You remember your name, you remember that you had a past, that you have powers and language and skills. Does the outside world remember you, or have they forgotten too?

OOC and Meta Stuff, Clarifications, Etc.

Setting Information and That Jazz
I'm going to try to get the most important stuff filled out as soon as I can, but I'm posting this recruitment bit to get the ball rolling and to get everyone who's interested collected in one place.

What I'm Thinking Here
A combination of campy and deadly serious, essentially juxtaposing the absurd with the frighteningly realistic. The PCs are students in The Atlantic Academy for the Gifted, a sort of superhero high school. There are younger Alters, but the vast majority emerge around their 15th and 16th birthdays, so the younger kids are educated and have living arrangements on a more individual basis.

The Point
Resisting and escaping. Freedom and self-determination. Your characters need to work together and be proactive in order to save themselves from Service.

General Environment
The teachers are basically wardens, equipped either with superpowers of their own (many are enslaved former students) or with sufficient technology to protect them from potential attack by the students. The Student Council and other student organizations, official and otherwise, generally exist to make the students' lives easier. Many students secretly work against The System and try to engineer escapes, and only a tiny handful have so far succeeded; students who simply try to fly out are shot down, teleporting away results in being shunted back to the Academy with horrible injuries, etc. A small majority of the students are completely taken in by the daily brainwashing. Who has which loyalties, for NPCs at least, is always in question.

Indoctrination Is Subtle
The brainwashing isn't Daily Hate on Emmanuel Goldstein. There is no Ministry of Love or Ministry of Truth. It's much more insidious and effective than that. The brainwashing, the indoctrination, is everywhere. It pervades every aspect of life and subtly guides students towards thought patterns encouraged by the Union. The most important part is that keeping your nose clean, doing what you're told, getting good grades, going to class on time and every day, getting a job, and other such "in-line" behavior is rewarded with money to buy luxuries. Every student gets basic food, shelter, and clothing (uniforms, though they're not required attire), but they have to pay for everything else, including things like Internet access, electronic gadgets, movie tickets, and so forth.

Being an Alter (Making A Character and Stuff I Want From You)
Mutants and Masterminds, 3e. The "base" PL for PCs is 8. Most of the students hover around PL 7, with the high end around PL 12 and the low at PL 5. There are much more on the low end than the high end. At the basic PL 8 (or less, if you feel like going that way), I want at least one plot hook, one personal motivation to resist Service, one personal motivation to give in, and a basic desire for freedom. "Lone Wolf" types are completely, totally unacceptable. Just don't. It is, however, acceptable to be a social outcast, nerd, or someone who doesn't like other people much. Avoiding working together entirely or for flimsy reasons is what's a no-no here.

Your character must have some kind of superpower. Their power does not have to be ostentatious, however, and can be very minor if you like, instead taking lots of skills or what have you. There is, of course, disparity in power levels and between students, and it is a source of significant social grouping, elitism, angst, and all that other good stuff.

You can make a character all the way up to PL 12 if you like. The higher PL you want, the more involved I expect you to be with the game and the more I want out of you as a player, to help me along. Suggest and even write and stat up NPCs with reasons and motivations of their own, for example. Extra plot hooks, connections with other students, making up the business your character works for in the Academy Mall or Industrial District, and so forth are all good too.

If you want to use anything mechanical whatsoever that is not in the core rulebook for Mutants and Masterminds, 3e, you need to tell me what it is, where it is, and what it does, in detail. Leave nothing out. I might still reject it, but probably not.

Supergadgetry and magic are out of the question, though some students are freakishly intelligent, and a few also have a mystic bent. Superscience in the comic book sense is not allowed, in the sense of one person in his basement develops an armor suit with plasma cannons, rocket boots, and impenetrable armor, but there is definitely technology far beyond what we've been led to believe exists in the modern world. Those with a mystic bent might genuinely believe that their powers are magical, but that view has no mainstream support.

To be clear, your character should have a regular person name, though thematic names are fine if they make sense. Despite the rulebook, you're not playing costumed superheroes. Well, you might, but that would be an unusual trait specific to your character.

Finally, your character's powers do not need to have a theme or central premise. While this might make it easier to generate a character, it is by no means necessary.

The Enemy
They come in essentially two varieties: individual antagonists and faceless Big Brother. While typical high school snobbery will play some part, it is both muted in some ways and exaggerated in others by the presence of superhuman abilities.

Super Class
There are no overall classes for various superpowers, even the more common kind. Teachers with those powers instruct students in the proper use of their abilities after school proper, which goes from 10 am to 3 pm Monday through Thursday. Power training is from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm on the same days.

Game Description:

You have a gift. You can be a hero. You also know the Truth. To work with and submit to the Union is a Faustian bargain. It is to be enslaved and kept as an attack dog. Can you escape the Academy, or will you, too, die trying or lose your free will to Service?

You will go to class. You will grow up. You will be experimented on. And you will Serve. But only if you can't escape before the clock ticks down to your doom. Only by banding together with your fellow students can you resist the indoctrination, and only with their help can you escape. There has to be a way.

Quiquid latine dictum sit altum viditur.

Last edited by AscendedMaster; Aug 11 '12 at 5:12am.. Reason: Clarification.
It really wouldn't surprise me if the school had multiple teams - kinda like how little children who go to play sports split up in teams even though they're all having fun together. Though the idea of island teams makes quite a bit of sense too.

It seems to be a really big school, so it does seem feasible for there to be enough students for multiple teams for a sport to be feasible.

Originally Posted by bloodrever View Post
What kind of punishments do you get for doing bad things? I was going to have my character use his powers to peek on the women of the school. I figure that he got caught a couple times before he learned how to properly use his power. He will have a bad reputation because of that.
Other than being socially ostracized (bad reputation), there is no particular penalty for peeking in the girls' locker rooms. And some of them might smack you. Or shoot you with lasers. Or something like that. Formally, though, it's not against the rules. I think knowing which locker rooms he peeked at (age group and sport particularly) would inform us a little on his fundamental character.

Originally Posted by bloodrever View Post
Will the school have various clubs and teams like a baseball team or a Astrology club? If so who would the teams play against?

Are there martial art classes for students to take?
Yes, to the first and last question. As to the second, the students are free to form their own teams as they desire. The school has no official sports teams. Depending on the sport (accessibility and popularity), there might be anywhere from two to ten different teams. For the martial arts classes, sort of. There aren't any martial arts classes, but some teachers do instruct in combat skills after hours, and students often teach each other for various forms of compensation.

Originally Posted by Azerian Kelimon View Post
It really wouldn't surprise me if the school had multiple teams - kinda like how little children who go to play sports split up in teams even though they're all having fun together. Though the idea of island teams makes quite a bit of sense too.
Teams are often based on residence by island, yes, though there are other means of organizations.

Originally Posted by Little_Rudo View Post
It seems to be a really big school, so it does seem feasible for there to be enough students for multiple teams for a sport to be feasible.
It's not particularly large in number of students, though in absolute space occupied, it is very big.

Hm. Quick question, since I don't see an OOC thread in the game; you say, "The pool of highly desirable females is extremely small in comparison to the pool of eligible males, about 1:20. As a result, boys compete with each other constantly for the attention of the choicest girls," but I thought there were many more girls than boys in the school. Why isn't it the reverse? Why aren't the girls competing for the much less plentiful boys?

Probably because of this bit.

The pool of highly desirable females is extremely small in comparison to the pool of eligible males, about 1:20.
In other words, there's more girls than boys, but the girls the boys want are far outnumbered by their suitors. There might be a mistake in there though, wouldn't surprise me since it does seem a bit contradictory at first glance.

Originally Posted by Azerian Kelimon View Post
In other words, there's more girls than boys, but the girls the boys want are far outnumbered by their suitors.
This is exactly correct. Both genders are naturally driven to seek the highest-status mates possible. However, in general, humans males do the competing, while human females do the selecting. Alter powers massively skew the normal distribution of desirability for both genders, but the effect is more pronounced with girls, because human males desire mates on the basis of physical (sexual capital) and mental qualities, while human females desire mates on the basis of social (economic capital) and mental qualities.

As a result, the pool of highly desirable females is smaller in comparison to the total than in normal populations, and so competition for mates, which men do anyway, is more pronounced and vicious.

Is it possible to get some details on the process of how an Alter is found and taken?

I'm prepping to write the background, and I'm considering the possibility that the move to abduct Shanti was somehow botched, leading her powers to trigger and potential mass damage/some casualties. But it would help a lot to know how the process generally goes.

Ah. See, I figured that since social status was dependent on powers, and that the higher-power males are the ones that tend to get killed more often by trying to escape, not only would there be less males, but that as they aged it would be the lower-status males that tended to survive. Thus, making high-status males the most in-demand group, each outnumbered by the high-status females.

I tend to see my character as being more interested in being friends than dating, or attaining status, though. Of course, with the characters being in their teens, who knows.

Instinctive desire for reproductive mates is one thing. Social interest in sexual partners would be another. Deconstructing the premise somewhat: more powerful individuals of either gender (and for that matter, sex) would be liable to exert considerable pressure on the weaker ones. Sure, it may look better to go around with some of the star athletes on your arm, but as anyone who's been to college knows, there's a lot to be said in some circles for bragging rights regarding the sheer number of people you've slept with. As this is a 'closed circle' environment, with death being the usual result of attempting to leave it prematurely, you can expect a great deal of sexual abuse, whether harassment or outright rape.

BUT, reconstructing the premise - even among the strongest of the selfish there are ample grounds for them to place weaker people under their protection. "Mess with her and I will make you pay, hard and fast"; "This guy runs with my group, pendejo. You get what I'm saying?" You would end up with all the usual cliques further segregating themselves based on the effective power and influence of their leaders, especially as relates to other groups. The effect would be highly feudal: small groups of wildly differing individuals having their interests looked out for by a social elite who don't really want to risk everything by going to full war with their rivals, in exchange for loyalty and favours.

Or maybe I'm applying my political psychology courses a little too heavily in this regard. Either way, we need to keep in mind that teenagers can be volatile enough in Real Life. Stick a bunch of them together in an area they are told is death to try and leave, then throw in a mixture of superpowers to solidify power/influence discrepancies and you've got yourself a hormonal time-bomb. Venting emotions and urges would probably be encouraged by the Union staff to prevent it from going off.


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