OOC: Getting Started

A tabletop RPG campaign based on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic books and Fallout computer games, where the world ended in a nuclear holocaust in the Sixties, and now mankind must survive the radioactive wastelands after the bomb. Savage Worlds (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)

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nemarsde
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OOC: Getting Started

Post by nemarsde »

This is where the gaming group should confer with each other on character ideas and ask any questions for the GM.

As with any RPG campaign it's crucial each player character is distinguishable from the other. Even in an all-rogue D&D party, for example, each rogue will need a distinct personality and/or modus operandi. Of course, in LXG it's even more crucial because there's a chance you might be thinking about playing not just the same class as someone else but the very same character!

So talk away. Bear in mind that in the spirit of LXG the GM will also be populating the world with characters from fiction, so I may veto some ideas for specifically that reason. Don't worry, I've advised you narrow your search to between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s, but assuming there's a good explanation for a character to be active in the mid-1980s, then why not. For example, Orlando from LXG: The Black Dossier (a blend of the 13th Century legend and the titular character of Virginia Woolf's 1928 novel) is immortal, so he could be active in the '80s.

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Ross's Method

Post by rossi720 »

Neil suggested I might post regarding ideas for actually finding prospective characters I'd employed, given that I did an awful lot of scattershot searching before actually settling on something. Trouble is, I don't think I had a consistent method for doing so. Still, here follows some rambling on the subject in the hopes it'll jar memories or ideas.

Lessee, one might ponder fictional immortals, because they'd theoretically be around regardless of time period. Orlando, as noted above, Hob Gadling from the Sandman series, about six million different comics characters, since virtually everyone's an immortal supergenius apparently (word of warning, if you don't know what you're looking for, you probably won't find it in a Marvel publication, the signal to noise ratio is somewhat awful when it comes to useful character prospects), perhaps some sinister personage from the works of Lovecraft (Richard Pickman, a macabre Bostonian artist turned ghoul, was a consideration) or his ilk, there's plenty to look through on that front. I was quite looking forward to bashing through collections of short horror stories looking for ideas before I actually settled on somethin'.

Films and television of the era weren't really my strong suit, but your mileage may vary. Between my brother and I we considered The Tomorrow People, Quatermass, Sapphire & Steel, that sort o' thing, on the look out for creepy and awesome things/people to consider. After all, LXG's protagonists have rarely been your usual charming heroic fare.

Poetry and music may well hold some ideas, if you've got any favourites in mind or fancy poking through peculiar concept albums for the deranged imaginings of singers. Apparently Neil's already stolen Ziggy Stardust tho', and if you try to suggest playing the car/spaceship/robot transforming Michael Jackson character from Moonwalker, I will shoot you before Neil gets the chance to shake his head in disbelief.

Okay, this is proving fairly directionless, so I'll stop waffling. Just remember, wikipedia categories and related articles are your friend! Unless you actually value your spare time, in which case beware them, for they are dangerous.

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The Importance of Adaptation

Post by rossi720 »

Oh, it probably also bears restating that all the original character'll really need to serve as, in my opinion, is a basic class/archetype and skillset and a bit of history, because 20 years of apocalyptic wasteland life is going to have some pretty profound effects on a person, and it'll be up to you to tailor that scarred psyche to your tastes.

Heck, that's partly why Neil's description o' my character is somewhat lacking in fine detail. Nobody'd necessarily recognise the old man he is now, so we's cultivating an air o' mystery, so to speak.

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Inspirations for the Setting

Post by nemarsde »

Thanks, Ross.

When I was thinking about characters for this game I started in the '80s, where the genre started, I thought back to films like Road Warrior, Fist of the North Star, and Steel Dawn to help visualise the post-nuclear world and the archetypes that inhabit it. From there I spread out, thinking of other characters from other films of the time, then literature. Comic books were a rich vein and I started following various characters and archetypes back to their origins (often pre-war), and after a bout of Wiki-fever I'd collected a cornucopia of ideas.

Novels were really my last port of call, since the only literature suitable for adaptation to a post-apocalyptic setting was horror and that inevitably led to vampires. (Vampires saw a resurgence in popularity during the '80s.)

It's amazing where you can find character ideas though. Even in music, Ziggy Stardust struck me as a very apt character and also Eddie "The Head" Hunter (Iron Maiden's mascot). The characters are out there, no doubt about it.

I'd avoid searching forward beyond about 1990, it doesn't strike me as good hunting ground, but you never know what you might find and where.

Failing all that, I think you should read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics (again?). Even though these are set in the late-19th Century, reading them should put you in the right mindset.

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A Few Ideas

Post by caveboy »

I'll add a me too for having considered Ziggy Stardust -- a travelling troubadour with a screwed down hairdo.

Swamp Thing (Alan Moore's version) would fit well but may be too powerful and/or have motives wildly different to others in the group. If he fit's in, he's top of my list at the moment.

Tank Girl may be a bit too jokey, and the tank and heavy ordnance may be a little unbalancing. Not to mention the kangaroo boyfriend. The tank would probably run on bioethanol in a Twilight 2000 stylee.

Lassie as a 'One Man and His Dog'-style telepathic pooch.

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Re: A Few Ideas

Post by nemarsde »

Aye, Tank Girl's already post-apocalyptic. Nothing to adapt.

Swamp Thing could work, since we already have the alien plant-like organism that's been possessing people (by way of The Thing from Another World, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and The Quatarmass Experiment).

A straight adaptation of Swampy would be over-powered, but our reinterpretation would nip that in the bud (sic).

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Sample Leagues

Post by nemarsde »

OK, so here's some Leagues I'm putting together as examples.

This one has a "creatures of the night" theme.

Louis. Hypnotically beautiful young man from New Orleans, with mysterious powers. Can't go out in daylight. Based on Louis from Interview With A Vampire and Louis, aka The Monk.

Gizmo. Short, grizzled Mogwi with a really bad temper, mental scars, and expert survival skills. Can't go out in daylight. Based on Gizmo and Rambo, being a reference to Gremlins 2: The New Batch where Gizmo adopts the persona of Rambo.

Ed Hunter. Axe-wielding Frankenstein's monster of zombie and cyborg parts, scavenger and wanderer of the wastelands, skilled at repairing things, has his own school of surgery.

Scorpion. Demonic, fire-breathing ninja master, skilled with the harpoon, acts like a spirit of vengeance and rides a motorbike. Based on the Mortal Kombat character with a convenient touch of Ghost Rider.

Who else can fill of this League?

In researching a particular theme you can find a whole list of characters that could be reinterpreted for the post-nuclear world.

For example, Vietnam vets. Colonel Braddock. Rambo. Blain & Mac. Michael Knight. Stringfellow Hawke. The A-Team. The Punisher. Sergeant Barnes. Animal Mother.

That's a list off the top of my head. Within that list you have a lot of similar characters, some not-so similar, but you do have a list, something to work from. It's another way of finding the character you want.
Having compiled one of these lists it's also easy to see what you can't play.

I could play Louis or Eddie, I couldn't play Gizmo. I could play Braddock, the Punisher, Barnes, couldn't see myself playing any of the others. Even if they might work in an LXG story, actually playing a character is a different matter.

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I Get Started - Part 1

Post by nemarsde »

So I'm going to create a stand-alone LXG: Post-Nuclear character, where do I start?

Usually when I create a character I'll just research around the game setting/theme and accumulate clouds of ideas until it rains.

With LXG, the game encompasses all of fiction so researching around per se it would be biting off more than you can chew. You either cut off some bite-sized chunks to research around ('80s TV cartoons, Silver Age super heroes, war films, etc.), or you focus on character archetypes first.

I'll do the latter here. I find a list of character archetypes on Listology, have a skim. Wow, badly composed list, his OCD needs more O.

But hey, it's a post-nuclear world, a warrior makes sense. Sure, it's about as startlingly original as "wizard", but it's a start point. Actually, I see Amazon there, that's more interesting. An Amazon warrior.

OK, I can research around Amazon warrior types, but off the top of my head?

Immediately, comic books; the most famous Amazon warrior, Wonder Woman. She's DC, her direct Marvel counterpart is Thundra. Thundra reminds me of She-Hulk (they were in an all-girl supers team once). She-Hulk's got that gamma rad vibe, though the character's more of an Essex girl than an Amazon. Worth noting down anyway. Ah, another Marvel character. Psylocke. Powerful psychic with a KATANAAAAAA!! Um, nah. In some ways she was the Wonder Woman of the '90s, target of many an adolescent fantasy. I was always faithful to Namorita myself...

Hmm, Namorita -- she has definite Amazon warrior attributes. Her powers are too tied in to Marvel's subaquatic Atlantean race though. She'd look a right fool in the desert (be OK on the beach though). Older comic books? There are the jungle girls, notably Sheena but aren't they another archetype altogether? I like the idea of post-apocalypse jungle girl with mangy lion as sidekick though.

Well, what about films and TV? I'll have a think about it, I think I'd prefer a non-comic book character anyway. So far I haven't done any research and I'm already well under way.

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I Get Started - Part 2

Post by nemarsde »

TV then. Well duh, Xena's the epitome of an Amazon warrior, but I'm not going there. Xena puts me in mind of other warrior princesses (is that an archetype too now?), from cartoons you have She-Ra and Cheetara, neither of which interest me, are very "femazon", or are at all suitable for LXG: Post-Nuclear. Great. Most of TV's Amazons are fantasy genre, far removed from our world. While we're talking animation, how about anime? As before, most characters from Claymore are Amazon warrior in a mediaeval fantasy world. Oh! Deunan Knute! Now we're talking! Hmm. She's a post-apocalyptic character though. What's to adapt? It's funny; considering Major Kusanagi is such an iconic Amazon warrior, there aren't more characters in anime like her. Kusanagi does appeal actually. A cyborg Amazon warrior, although avoiding Fembot territory would be crucial.

Ah, Fembots, back to live action TV: the Bionic Woman could be adapted as an Amazon, after all she's unlikely to be so sweet after surviving the apocalypse. I'll think about it. Or onto films finally, there's Robotrix. The Amy Yip film. Yip being a busty Chinese actress who gets her kit off on camera. Yip's android enforcer bears some similarities to Kusanagi, though notably not in intelligence or soulful stakes.

Busty = Russ Meyer. Varla from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! springs to mind. Is she an Amazon or a femme fatale? Maybe both, maybe irrelevant. You put a femme fatale through a nuclear holocaust, you might come out with an Amazon warrior. ;) What can I remember of female action stars? Cynthia Rothrock. Her flagship work was China O'Brien. Hmm. O'Brien, sort of like Deunan Knute, but short and baby-faced. Baby-faced killers are always fun.

Would it be an Amazon though? Now I think about it, I don't want to end up playing a Michelle Rodriguez character. That's just a tomboy. An Amazon has to be physically powerful, right, the match for any man, and looking it is an integral part of that perhaps. Kusanagi ('cept in Stand Alone Complex where she's depicted as a waif) and Knute both look like they could tear your head off. Very athletic builds, muscular shoulders and thighs like Olympic sprinters. Muscles is one thing Thundra and She-Hulk have in spades. Having said that, you can add muscles to a character in the adaptation. Easily. So I guess next I have to distil some of these ideas and create a short list.

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I Get Started - Part 3

Post by nemarsde »

I've covered a lot of material already, just off the top of my head, but everything I've come up with has been pretty obvious. What I'm doing now is think of Amazon warrior "formats" that I find alluring.

1. I like the idea of a female Kenshiro. This enormous physical presence, mysterious and intimidating. But female. She-Hulk is an obvious choice here. Adapting her personality would be where the fun lies. I'd be seeking to merge the original She-Hulk with the revamped She-Hulk. So not the mindless bulldozer, nor the carefree party girl. She might be suffering the curse of immortality, she lives whilst everyone else around her dies. What would drive her?

Or 2., the wild woman, wanderer of the wasteland. Born survivor, represents nature's harsher side. Strong, savage, a fierce but primitive fighter, with an animal companion maybe. This is one for a jungle girl. It doesn't matter which really. Adapting her has some intriguing possibility. Frex, if jungle girl is depicted as "pristine nature", how would we alter her to depict nature ravaged by nuclear war? Rather than just a fur bikini, I see a scarier ensemble; hides, scalps, skulls, face paint, etc. Instead of a knife, a saw-toothed machete, that sort of thing.

It's at this point that one thing stands out though. Searching for Amazon warriors I have found Amazon warriors. Isn't that too simple? Isn't there a cleverer adaptation I can make?

Also, She-Hulk and jungle girl. They actually both have a neat thematic tie-in with the post-nuclear setting, but neither's really exciting me and they're more comic book characters. This is the problem with Marvel and DC. The LXG concept is to encompass the entirety of fiction within one setting. Same could be said of Marvel and DC's main continuities.

Anyway, She-Hulk and jungle girl would make decent enough NPCs. Maybe that's another problem. I'm not actually creating a player character, so I'm distancing myself. I'm going to stick with the Amazon warrior meme though, just to prove my point.

Being reminded of Russ Meyer I decided I should spend some time ogling actresses from his films. Varla's image is iconic, isn't it, if you were to see her in an LXG: Post-Nuclear graphic novel you'd know exactly who she was. That's good. Preconceptions can be toyed with.

She-Hulk is also iconic, true, but the character only became popular in the early-'90s when the book became a vehicle for more a post-modern, deconstructionist narrative (as was popular in all media at the time). I don't know, as much as I like She-Hulk -- she's perhaps Marvel's best imho -- she's too complex. To chop away all that complexity in the adaptation seems wasteful, there has to be a more eloquent way to achieve the same concept.

This thinking brought me back to Varla. In her black leathers, desert back drop and Porsche, it's easy to see her in a post-nuclear world. She's a character from a '65 exploitation film. Marvel created a super hero in the '70s that was based on an another exploitation genre, Luke Cage.

What if it was a Russ Meyer character not a blaxploitation character given those powers? Varla with steel-hard skin, enhanced muscles and healing factor. Give her studded black leather and an armoured Porsche and she's ready to go. Now just to work out the details!

Excellent. My LXG: Post-Nuclear character, Varla Cage. :D

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Vampires

Post by nemarsde »

Vampires are too easy, that's why I've steered you away from them. Although they have a major role in the setting as written, it wasn't my plan to make them a theme of the campaign per se. There may be a vampire encounter planned, but the campaign takes place far from the ruined cities of Europe. Even there, the hordes of ravenous undead will have been decimated by the emerging nuclear summer. Those that survive will mostly be the more sun-resistant dhampirs, shambling, and mad with hunger; more akin to mindless zombies now.

Remember, a dhampir is a half-vampire born of a pregnant woman turned into a vampire. This would have happened with surprising frequency after the fall of civilisation, amongst the chaos, bloodshed and rape. When a vampire (incl. some dhampir) is starved of blood, it loses much of its power and starts to physically age.

Degenerate dhampir, those offspring of dhampirs who were offspring of dhampirs, etc., and those turned by them? These barely demonstrate any vampire powers. They have none of the weaknesses, none of the strengths either, only an immortality fuelled by mortal blood (or raw flesh will do). When they starve, like humans they become delirious, crazed and physically deteriorate. Unlike humans, they don't die, they remain in a state of uncontrollable hunger. They are zombies. Even after feeding a zombie it does not have a vampire's powers of rejuvenation, it will not suddenly become youthful again. It will remain corpse-like, but at least it's decay will be halted.

What of a vampire's powers? Maybe there were vampire "bloodlines" once, but in the decades following the holocaust all bloodlines have mingled and been diluted. So vampires can exhibit wildly different powers (see all the vampires in the entirety of fiction ;)). Powers may be a vestige of some bloodline, the mortal may have had powers before turning, or both. In dhampirs, there's also the strength of the curse, which varies depending on far removed they are from a full-blooded vampire. Some dhampirs are burnt by sunlight, some become sick, on some it has no effect, for example.

The vast majority of vampires and dhampirs don't exhibit any powers beyond supernatural physical attributes, fast regeneration, immortality. Distinct weaknesses are fire and other massive damage, and sunlight. A master vampire may be physically even more potent, be impervious to nearly all harm, except sunlight. Many of these are vulnerable to attacks on the fourth chakra (i.e., stake through the heart).

Dracula had all kinds of other powers and weaknesses. These are mostly his private business so we won't pry, but suffice to say his magic powers were not derived from the vampiric curse. He studied at the Academy of Scholomance in Hermanstadt, and was a powerful magician before he was a vampire. In our game, any vampire with a name is also likely to have unique powers, even if not as impressive as the Count's.

One final word. There may indeed be shiny, devastatingly attractive, impeccably-styled teenage vampires in LXG: Post-Nuclear. And I have only this to add:

Image

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NEEX Player's Guide uploaded

Post by nemarsde »

It's now uploaded, but you'll have to check your email for a link and the password.

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League of Extraordinary Bears?

Post by nemarsde »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ghgg_fukbvU
Cloud the Asian Black Bear, aka "Kung Fu Bear"

Is it fake or is it genuine?

If it's fake then it's superb digital effects work.

If it's genuine then Hiroshima Zoo need to check the radiation levels... and whether Cloud is being visited by an old rat in red robes.

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