My sons have been watching The Incredibles a lot lately (my 4 year old does a great impression of Frozone, when he walked up to me and asked “Where is my super suit?” exactly like Sam Jackson it took me a while to stop laughing) so of course every game idea I’ve had this last week have been supers. So here is a plot and villains for your next Supers game. I’m making this system neutral so you can apply it to your favorite game that supports super humans.
You can go many different ways with this, and you should flavor it to fit your group’s style, but here are the points that are very important to the story.
- The world is protected by a team of supers (Think Justice League in terms of scope and power) call it whatever you think sounds cool, but for the rest of the article I’m going to refer to this team as JL
- There have been supers since the 1950s
- There use to be much more fighting and action seen across the world until the JL was established
- Since then the JL has kept world peace. Occasionally super villains still arise but the JL keeps them in check and in jail.
- Very few new heroes have shown up in the last 20 years. All the ones that have appeared have joined the JL.
- Supers in general are becoming less and less frequent. General consensus is that whatever phenomenon caused supers in the first place is wearing out and in a few years there may be no more new supers.
You can have this take place now or in the near future. Whatever you think will be more fun, but just remember that there shouldn’t be any tech that can mimic most super powers yet. Reasons below.
There is a reason that there has been less supers in the world in the past 20 some odd years. The JL has been killing them. The JL is actually controlling just about everything. Wars don’t happen without their say so, villains are on their pay roll, and you are not allowed to be a hero without being part of the JL. What usually happens is that the JL finds out about someone with new powers. If they are powerful they are given a real offer to join them, but they are only allowed as a full member if they pass a test, which usually involves doing something morally gray. If they are not that powerful (or fail to do as the JL asks) the JL will either kill them quietly or make them out to be super villains and then destroy them in a grand scheme. There are a few villains that actually work for the JL and do crimes at their bidding. Sometimes the JL stops them sometimes they don’t. It all depends on what works the best for the JL at the moment. If the JL wants to grab a few nukes from some upstart country then Baron Von Doom will show up and steal them while the JL was away doing something else. These villains are mostly prisoner/slaves of the JL and have all been embedded with a kill switch if they get out of line.
Remember that to the rest of the world the JL are the shining examples of justice, honor, and peace. They put on a great public face and are all about keeping the world safe through absolute control.
Let’s start out with the JL. All of these NPCs are twisted versions of an established comic counterpart.
Joshua Hale: Superman/Capt America – Josh was an army experiment gone horribly right. The army was able to put a few different powers in him and gave him the standard FISS (Flight, Invulnerability, Strength, Speed) power set. They were able to turn all of those powers to 11 and he was the United States top man for international problems, until he became the top problem for the United States. Getting tired of the government deciding what needs to be done Joshua quit. They tried to stop him but he met up with William Jackson and quit publicly. Now the whole world saw that and the PR nightmare of trying to get Josh under control again kept the army from retaliating. Josh is the leader of the group and it’s his vision that the JL follows. Josh got tired of imprisoning villains that kept escaping and hurting more people and soon just killing them became standard operating procedure. He’s become more and more absolute in his mission and with Jackson’s guidance the JL has been able to keep their absolute rule in the dark. Josh goes with the super handle Alpha Force.
William Jackson: Batman/Cyborg – Will was born to the Jackson Broadcasting Empire. His grandfather established it back in the days of radio, his father brought it into television, and now he himself have brought it to the digital age. Will is one of the smartest and shrewdest men on the planet. Using his vast wealth and media empire Will can bring a message to anyone and everyone in the world better than his top five competitors combined. He took a turn for the worse when a battle involving supers leveled the city of Detroit. His wife was there visiting family. No one survived. This brought about a new purpose for William. He would use his wealth and power to try to eliminate supers. He knew he couldn’t just throw money at the problem. He’d have to get the help of other supers. William was the founding member of the JL and once he convinced Josh to join, others fell into place. He doesn’t go out and fight with the rest, but his analytical mind and cybernetic implants that allow him to control his media empire via thought make him a powerful ally. He has at his disposal thousands of camera drones that allow him to scout out places safely. He can access any information on his database, which is just about everything since it’s his business to know things. Most of the planning and missions are of his design. If the JL wants something done, it’s because William wants it done. His relationship with the JL is well known and he is seen as one of the greatest philanthropists the world has ever seen.
Connie Gauge-: Xatanna/Black Widow – Connie was bullied a lot when she was younger. She had glasses, braces, and couldn’t afford the best clothes like her peers. One day she decided that she had had enough. She swallowed a bunch of pills from her mom’s medicine cabinet and washed them down with some of her dad’s liquor. As she laid in a stupor she was discovered by her brother. He called 911 and the ambulance picked her up. She survived, but just barely. When she eventually returned to school the bullying just got worse. The school did nothing. Eventually she hid in the library whenever she could. One day when she was in the library basement she came across a strange book. It spoke of bargains, magic, and power. Connie read some of it and knew that this book was special. She stole it and took it home. No one but Connie knows what happened that night, but the next day she came out of her room a different person. Within the week two of her bullies had horrible accidents. People stopped teasing her after that. She eventually mastered the book and once approached by William decided to join his JL in hopes of punishing those she deems guilty. Connie has a huge superiority complex and loves to punish anyone she can. Using her magic she can reshape reality to her whims, but there is always a price to pay. She goes by the super handle Fate Spinner.
By now you get the idea. Take iconic heroes and give them a reason to be willing to go to an extreme. The important thing is that these guys think that they are heroes and are making the world a better place. All good villains are heroes in their own mind. I could keep going with more NPCs but now you should be thinking of some for your game. Ask your players who their favorite hero is in this universe and make them a member of the JL. Speaking of which…
Now for your game. The PCs are up and coming supers. They should all have unique powers that are close to or on par to some of the members of the JL. They themselves are not members at this point. Start the game out by creating your characters and then ask the players what super is their character’s idol. This will give you some more bad guys for your JL. Once you have a sizable roster of supers start the game with a building on fire. It can be whatever building you want, but keep it appropriate to your PCs power level. If they are all god level DC like characters, make it a huge complex like a sky scraper. If they are more street-level Marvel-like characters, scale it down a bit so they can still be super without being overwhelmed at the sheer size of the problem. Have the PCs deal with the fire and saving people and once that’s done they should be approached by Josh/Alpha Force. He extends an invite to the JL and takes them to their base of operations (which should be someplace hard to get to like underground, space, bottom of ocean, etc). There the players meet up with the rest of the JL . The players are put through a trial to see if they are up to snuff to join the JL. They are asked to do a mission and based on how they perform they will either be accepted or denied membership. The mission is to stop a convoy transporting nukes to a hostile country. The PCs are dropped off (now in costume provided by the JL) nearby and can approach the convoy how they wish. The convoy and country in question are actually friendly to the USA, but since the PCs weren’t told where they really are it’s doubtful that they would know who these men are. When the PCs show themselves the soldier should be very nervous (since the PCs are dressed like supers) and start yelling in a language that they don’t understand (if you have a PC that can transcend language let them, just have Fate Spinner use her power to have a misfire and all the soldiers start shooting the PCs). Once a fight breaks out have some of the JL show up. They call the PCs villains and try to defeat them. At this point it’s up to you how you want to take it from here. Have William’s drones flying nearby showing the fight (without audio so the people at home don’t know what’s really going on). Make the PCs world famous villains. Then go from there. You could have them be captured and brought back for gloating and monologue, or they could escape and try to figure out what’s going on, or they may defeat one of the JL and now look like hero killers. The choice is yours.
Thanks for reading. Let me know if you get the chance to run this.