I probably won't ever get to use this, but I want to know what you guys think of this idea for a campaign. It is set in the Grimnoir Chronicles
series of books, where thousands of people in the world develop a magical ability. The books are set in the 1930s, however I would set the game earlier-the First World War.
The players are all soldiers in the First Volunteer Brigade, and they will be involved in the greatest showing of Actives [term for superhumans] ability-but the players won't make it out alive. The tale is told through their own journal entries, which are collected by the NPC Narrator who acts as the mouth piece, telling the story of what they did during the war.
The point I find most interesting in the books is that there are terms, usually slang, for the different powers. Gravity manipulators are called Heavys, Telekinetics are called Movers etc. It's a different feel than most super games, where each power is treated as unique-this is a world where people can have the same powers without feeling like rip offs of each others. The powers are less important than the people themselves.
I would of course let people create new powers that weren't in the book, such as Plant Whisperer or Earth Controller. However I would also ask them to create a culture around the power, if it's not in the books.
Here is the template I would use:
Most frequently used Term:
Alternate Terms: Whether it's Japense, derogatory, or even a word the culture made for themselves, such as Einsteins, put it here.
Passives: Passives are not in control of their powers. They are either always on, or turn on at the worst times. It may be that a Passive is so common, that people are unaware this isn't all they can do [people are surprised at what an Active Heavy can do for example]. Alternately, Passives may actually be uncommon, due to dangerous powers or simple chance, such as the Pale Horse or Travellers [if you can't control your travel powers, your not likely to survive].
Physical Identification: A few Active groups have physical identifications that come with their powers, such as the Traveller's grey eyes. If there is a physical trait that is associated with your power, please list it-even if your PC doesn't have it.
Public Perception: What do most people think of your Active group? Do they love you, like they do Healers, since you can do no wrong? Do you have unjustified reputations as Thieves, cutthroats and peeping toms like Fades? Are you seen as just a bit slow, due to your power? How well known if your Active type? Are most unaware your type exists
Frequency: How common is your power? Is your group considered a Myth, like Justices? Or are you like the Torch, as common as white bread?
For example, using a name that was never elaborated in the books I'm creating a power:
Alternate name: Pipes
Passive: The ability to hear farther than most, and also detect frequencies humans cannot normally detect, such as radio frequencies.
Actives: The ability is extended to be able to actually manipulate sound waves, making them louder, or making everything around you silent. The most powerful can actually create a frequency which can do things such as destroy glass, to push away opponents.
Physical identification: They actually have elongated leathery ears, in the style of bats. This makes less sense when you realize their powers are mental, rather than physical.
Public Perception: During the war, they actually are integral to the war effort, since they can detect and decode the wireless signals the Germans were using, when they could no longer tap wires. Most aren't actually seen at home, since they are so useful, they are enlisted almost regardless of health status. The Ears can make many see them as monsters. At best they are amusing, but have harmless tricks.
Frequency: Passives are so well known, many believe they are Actives. The very few Actives who can use their powers, usually hide this ability, so they don't seem dangerous and aren't forced into combat.
One problem that bothers me, is thinking of adventures for this game [it would be short game, with a planned ending, rather than open ended]. What kind of adventures could you do in World War One, when American did not even enter the war until 1917?
What do you think, do you think a short term war game such as this is feasible? Or even fun? Would you like to see more write ups of Actives? If you do, I could do it in the settings thread, link here.