[Setting] Marvel By Night (616's Occult Underbelly)

Discuss Freedom City, Paragons, Wild Cards, or your own campaign settings here.
Locked
Charles Phipps
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7867
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:09 pm
Location: Ashland, Ky
Contact:

[Setting] Marvel By Night (616's Occult Underbelly)

Post by Charles Phipps » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:36 am

Last edited by Charles Phipps on Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:14 pm, edited 20 times in total.

User avatar
Aerlwyn
Paragon
Paragon
Posts: 3412
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:16 am

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Aerlwyn » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:19 am

Sounds really interesting, looking forward to reading more about it. Not sure how one would convert marvel style of magic into M&M style as they have 3 area of magic personal, universal and dimension.

EnigmaticOne
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 8135
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 2:50 pm

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by EnigmaticOne » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:28 am

Aerlwyn: That's more for fluff & complications in M&M terms... The mechanics wouldn't change really...

Charles: Looking forward to this... you going to run this on the forum? I'd be up for that.
Impeach the peach!

Image

Charles Phipps
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7867
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:09 pm
Location: Ashland, Ky
Contact:

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Charles Phipps » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:30 am

Nope

Sorry, home game with PEOPLE!

Just trying to get all of it sorted out background wise since my players can get really deep.

Charles Phipps
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7867
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:09 pm
Location: Ashland, Ky
Contact:

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Charles Phipps » Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:31 pm

Why I want to do Marvel Occult

Before I get started, I thought I would bring up why I want to do Marvel occult. I'm a child of the Iron Age and my first real comic books were a mixture of Spiderman right before Clone Saga ruined everything and Midnight Sons. The Midnight Sons were a attempt by Marvel to revive its flailing occult line and...it was good.

There was Morbius the Living Vampire, The Darkholders, The Nightstalkers, Ghost Rider (of course), and other fun characters. It lasted for a short while before Marvel seemingly decided to torch the entire line by killing the Darkholders, killing two out of the three Nightstalkers, producing some truly awful storylines, and burying the thing under a pile of rubble.

Despite this, it was just an example of Marvel comics having something it seems almost ashamed of--one of the best occult storylines in the business. Long before there was a word for it, Marvel did great urban fantasy. Tomb of Dracula, The Defenders, Son of Satan (imagine DC trying to do that title), and Man-Thing also known as "Swamp Thing before there was Swamp Thing."

I haven't even brought up Doctor Strange.

What's cool is that the cosmology behind all of this nuttiness holds up pretty well. Atum, The Council of Sky-Fathers, Dread Dormammu, and so on. So, the option of me doing a campaign set in the Marvel occult world is something I'm having no small amount of fun with. This is a thread where I will share my notes and ideas. It's mostly going to only include backstory as well as the occasional note of what's happening but I hope it can be a resource for other people to run their own Marvel occult games.

Ciao.
Last edited by Charles Phipps on Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Crinos
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 26078
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 7:53 pm
Contact:

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Crinos » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:46 pm

Okay, first off, is this going to take place in the 616 universe, or in an alternate Marvel verse. If so, how much has it changed from the original?

In either case, when it comes to getting plot ideas, I always recommend going to the source: Go check out some actual marvel comics for plots. Even check the non mystical titles (One FF story I came across once upon a time which I liked featured Reed and Sue moving to a small town to try and have secret identities, and one of their neighbors sees them using their powers, mistakes them for witches, and calls in a Witch Hunter to kill them who ends up accidentally summoning Mephisto to Earth.)

Also do not forget that magic isn't just a human thing in Marvel, Marvel has a tradition is mixing their magic stuff with their cosmic stuff, with a lot of cosmic entities doubling as cosmic ones.

Charles Phipps
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7867
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:09 pm
Location: Ashland, Ky
Contact:

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Charles Phipps » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:54 pm

This is meant to be a resource for Occult Marvel games.

So everything I post will be for the 616 game world.

Likewise, everyone else is willing to post entries as wlel as they wish.

It'll be sort of like the other setting threats only with pre-existing material.

As for my own game, it's identical to 616 except for the fact that it's diverging with Strange retiring the cape.

Voltron64
Luminary
Luminary
Posts: 2668
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:12 pm
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Voltron64 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:02 pm

May I reccomend that these articles be used as inspiration and considered canon?

http://mightygodking.com/category/comic ... r-strange/
Power doesn't corrupt. Power appeals to the corrupt. - Charles Phipps

Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

Charles Phipps
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7867
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:09 pm
Location: Ashland, Ky
Contact:

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Charles Phipps » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:54 am

Awesome opening bit!

I'll be doing articles on various Marvel PCs, magick, and so on in the coming future.

I may have to use that too.

Charles Phipps
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7867
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:09 pm
Location: Ashland, Ky
Contact:

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Charles Phipps » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:20 am

The Role of the Sorcerer Supreme

The title of Earth's Sorcerer Supreme is something every supernatural character in the Marvel Universe should be aware of. The title is both true and misleading as it usually belongs to the most powerful mage on a dimensional sphere. However, the title doesn't convey any particular authority to go along with it and it's perks are somewhat limited1.

No, instead, being Earth's Sorcerer Supreme is to be bestowed with the heavy responsibility of being guardian of Earth Dimension-616 from all manner of ghouls, ghosts, and dimensional overlords out to conquer reality.

This can pose something of a conundrum for Gamemasters who want to run an occult campaign in the Marvel Universe. If Doctor Strange is there to save creation from all the various beasties, what do the PCs do? For years, it was a running joke that whenever something occult happened in his life, Peter Parker went to Doctor Strange. Indeed, it's still done with other characters.

The easiest answer is the Sorcerer Supreme is the same one I use for the Avengers, "Doctor Strange is off in another dimension right now. Please call back later." i.e. "The Doctor is out." Marvel comics is a world where there's 1001+ dooms going on for 101 heroes to deal with. Simply ruling Doctor Strange can't deal with everything is as good as any solution.

Likewise, there's nothing which says your PCs can't be Chosen Ones in a different way. For all the loftiness of Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, nothing says your PC can't be one (or more) of the following: The Gatekeeper, the Archwizard, the Scion, the Magister, the Magius Magnificent, the Exalted, the Speaker of the Divine, or any number of equally lofty titles.

Indeed, if you want to be fun you could rule Doctor Strange is Earth's Sorcerer Supreme and one of the PCs is actually the galaxy or universe's.

Still, one of the things every Gamemaster who works in Marvel or DC's universes is that there's the time when you have to make a choice whether or not to branch off into your own variant of the setting. In which case; Doctor Strange may die, retire, or be cast from his position. This is less unlikely than it sounds given Doctor Strange has actually got several in-canon flaws which the granters of the SS title have noted.

On several occasions; Doctor Strange has used black magic in lieu of white magic for problem solving. Not just
"Harry Dresden cursing his foster father" either but "I summon a dimension-devouring demon to deal with Worldbreaker Hulk despite its threat to all life in the cosmos. Oh and this is the second time I've done this."

Doctor Strange also skipped out on paying his celestial bills to his divine patrons by casting the "Emancipation Incantation" (seriously) even though they just wanted his help in fighting evil monsters on another plane. He even attempted to steal a valuable tome from the Kale family, not telling Jennifer she was murdering her (possessed) brother to harness its power.

In short, Stephen is a flawed hero and his bosses may finally trade up. Stephen may decide "the hell with it" himself and head to the Dark Dimension to be with his lady love.

Should the Gamemaster decree one of the PCs (or more--nothing says the Gamemaster can't rule the position is shared) is SS, they receive the following benefits:

* The Cloak of Levitation: A rather self-explanatory title. The Cloak of Levitation provides PCs with speeds necessary to get where they need to go. Depending on a GM's favoritism, it may also shield them from the mind-bending physics of other dimensions.

* The Eye of Agamatto: The iconic amulet of Doctor Strange, it releases a burst of pure golden energy which is harmful to creatures of darkness. For game balance issues, it requires a Power Point to use and probably can only be used once a story. Also, it's fairly famous in-story so nothing prevents Dracula from having a spell to prevent himself from being one-shotted.

* The Orb of Agamotto: More or less a device which functions like a crystal ball. It should be useful in getting PCs to the next plot hook, communicating with divine beings, and so on. It shouldn't, however, solve any mysteries for them. In the case of a problem needing legwork say, "The Orb is cloudy."

* Patronage of the Vishanti: The Vishanti are the three benevolent dingy-doos who choose who the Sorcerer Supreme is chosen by. Indeed, being the "Chosen of the Vishanti" is a more accurate description of who/what the Sorcerer Supreme is/does. Agamotto, Oshtur, and Hoggoth are all decent beings but Earth-616 is a small part of their domain. PCs should be wary of assuming they're going to be overly concerned if it gets eaten versus, say, Dimension-17821.

In general, the Patronage merely lends the occasional enigmatic clue and theoretically fueling their spells like a D&D cleric.

---
1. A fact lost on runner-up, Victor Von Doom.

Charles Phipps
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7867
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:09 pm
Location: Ashland, Ky
Contact:

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Charles Phipps » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:42 am

How to run Marvel's Cosmic Beasties

A lot of the things that Marvel occult characters will encounter are well above the things you might encounter in an otherwise typical superhero story. No one expects you to punch out Shuma-Gorath outside of Marvel vs. Capcom. Yet, if you can't fight something like him, how is he used? You don't want to sideline your major characters but making Doctor Strange PL 33 doesn't seem right either.

In game terms, a lot of Marvel occult baddies are PL X. They're beings which possess the powers to crush galaxies and warp reality at will. Despite this, the difference between Marvel occult and a cosmic horror story is that superheroes should be able to defeat the impossible.

In most games, this will amount to finding the Maguffin or Ritual capable of defeating the monster in question. If Chthon is coming to Earth, you just need to find his High Priest reciting the ritual and punch HIM in the face. Many times, this fellow will be a powerful wizard with a host of demons at his beck and call.

Another solution is that many encounters with cosmic entities are going to be more personal than physical. When Mephisto arrives, the players are more likely going to be confronted with a wager or an offer than a fight. Nightmare is one of my favorite foes because he's omnipotent in the PCs dreams but vulnerable the moment they start overcoming their various neuroses.

Likewise, unlike Cthulhu, every cosmic beastie should be vulnerable to Rituals or Inventions by PCs. These feats are great opportunities for PCs to ad-lib things for the Gamemaster to incorporate in their games. "We need to gather energy from all the people watching us on television and harness it with a ROCK OFF to send Dormammu back to the Dark Dimension" is a line from my PCs' home game.

Marvel comics is absolutely littered with cosmic weapons, devices, and artifacts capable of tearing a hole in otherwise godlike beings. The Sword of Creation, the Ultimate Nullifer, the Darkhold, and so on shouldn't be things PCs would have to have "epic quests" to retrieve. Nevertheless, the dangers and price of harnessing the One Ring of Sauron to defeat an even greater evil is the kind of thing Marvel occult stories are made of.

I also suggest, if you do want to have a slug-out, that there's nothing preventing the various PL X monsters from having avatars or possessed minions who are effectively them but defeatable. Even these entities should be PL 15-16 and a force capable of overwhelming the whole world if left unchecked.

Charles Phipps
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7867
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:09 pm
Location: Ashland, Ky
Contact:

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Charles Phipps » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:13 am

Doctor Doom

The son of a Romani witch and a healer, Victor Von Doom was orphaned at an early age when his mother was taken by Mephisto after a faulty ritual and his father killed by a Latverian baron for failing to save the nobleman's wife. Following that, he proceeded to self-educate himself in science and became a conman. Victor made a fortune for himself duping the local aristocracy out of their wealth in exchange for useless trinkets.
One can hardly blame Victor in this respect.
Victor discovered his mother's books early on and attempted to self-educate himself in sorcery. Unfortunately, Victor Von Doom was double-damned from the beginning. His mother's own pursuits of sorcery were tainted with black magic while his own heart was filled with loathing for the world. With no teacher to guide him away from the path of vengeance, Victor Von Doom became a highly unstable sorcerer idiot-savant.
For which Doom will kill me for mentioning.
Everyone knows the next part of the story. Victor Von Doom was offered a Western education by recruiters and blew himself up in a laboratory accident. From there, he journeyed to Tibet where he became the leader of a group of black-magic practicing monks. Though the facial damage was minor, Victor considered himself hopelessly deformed and cared nothing when a pair of monks stuck a hot metal plate on his face.

The thing, despite his almost-unparalleled scientific acumen and coming in second for Sorcerer Supreme, Victor Von Doom is a ticking time-bomb when it comes to magic. Hubris is, quite literally, the worst thing a magician can have and Victor possesses it in spades. He is a genius when it comes to the practical side of magic such a alchemy, geomancy, star alignments, and similar non-denominational forms of sorcery.

He is less so when it involves anything requiring humility or partnership with spirits. In mystical terms, Doctor Doom is the blackest sort of magician who draws the majority of his powers from infernal pacts or energy he's stolen. Doom knows the danger of trafficking with demons but assumes he's too intelligent to be fooled. Ironically, he's missed the most easiest solution to why he has such luck with dark powers. Most demons consider the things Victor Von Doom does to be so evil they don't need to trick him.
Doom has had formal magical training since childhood and is no longer a completely self-taught magician. Unfortunately, Morgana Le Fey is every bit the black sort of magician he is. Also, she was only able to teach Doom due to his being her lover and they still betrayed one another.
Doctor Doom can usually be encountered by occult PCs looking for a "quick and easy" source of power. If there's a goddess, mystical artifact, or spell tome worth having; Victor Von Doom will try and steal it for himself. Unlike in science, Victor usually ends up harnessing only a small fraction of the benefits to himself since one can only steal so much in magic. One has to earn ones' position.
Doom would never believe this. As far as he's concerned, conquest IS earning.
Contrary to what one might think, Doctor Doom's doombots CAN use sorcery. Victor has created batteries which allow them to work spells and sorcery for a limited time. These beings are, however, inherently inferior to the real thing. They are also easily detected by magicians who look for a soul. Doom, as might be expected, cares nothing for fair play and will gladly use his suit's mechanical enhancements in any contests of wizardry.

Roleplaying Hints: One of the most famous NPCs in the world, Victor Von Doom lives large and speaks in caps. The similarities to Darth Vader become even more pronounced when dealing with supernatural matters, however, as he is always on the "quick and easy path." Victor routinely makes mistakes in this respect since he can't intelligence his way past most mystical obstacles the way he can in science. Despite this, he's stolen and plundered his way to an immense amount of mystical mojo. Enough that even gods have learned to fear Victor Von Doom's name.

Magic Style: Victor treats sorcery as a science and combines them liberally. If he stuck with alchemy, natural studies, and mathmatics-based sorcery he'd be fine. Victor refuses to limit himself, however, and often attempts to steal the power of more powerful beings. This may include ripping the knowledge from their brains or draining the life-force from their bodies. He's murdered hundreds of supernatural beings in his quest for omnipotence.

Voltron64
Luminary
Luminary
Posts: 2668
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:12 pm
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Voltron64 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:32 am

I'd personally go with this for Dr. Doom, Charles.

http://mightygodking.com/2009/04/25/you ... oming-too/
Power doesn't corrupt. Power appeals to the corrupt. - Charles Phipps

Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

Charles Phipps
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 7867
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:09 pm
Location: Ashland, Ky
Contact:

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Charles Phipps » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:52 am

Nice job there.

I like it!

I may have to show my co-GM that.

However, I admit a certain fondness for "Pirate Captain Doctor Doom, The Magic Plunderer."

Libra
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 19834
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:46 pm
Location: The Green and Pleasent Isle

Re: [Marvel] Running a Marvel occult game

Post by Libra » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:59 am

This sounds like a potentially intriguing topic Charles, if only because it raises the question of whether or not you intend to use groups defunct in canon, like the Nightstalkers or even Doctor Druid's old Shock Troop (yes, Dr Druid actually DID something in the course of his life besides become a recurring punchline post-mortem. There might actually be some potential for the character in a 'Mystic Marvel' game by dint of the fact that he was actually The Ancient One's pupil before Steven Strange left the scientific path - also because the fact that he's a psychologist turned mystic makes me imagine him as Frasier Crane with Magic Powers!).

So in short - at what point in the canon history of Earth-616 do you intend to set this game?
Founder of H.E.R.O.I.C, Complimenter-in-Chief, Co-Arch Henchman to the Grin, Servant of the Hoff!

Rule Brittania! Praise the Hoff and the Grin!

Warning!: May cause Thread Drift.

Locked