DC Adventures: Time Masters Campaign

One campaign ends (so long and thanks for all the fish, Savage Worlds) and another begins. That shiny new DC Adventures core book beckons. Now, I've done a lot of superhero gaming, and specifically in the DC Universe too. So how do I make this round of games interesting and different?

Introducing the Time Masters Campaign!Our heroes basically take the place of Booster Gold in DC Comics' standard continuity. Rip Hunter will act as the guy who gives them their missions, which usually have something to do with protecting the timeline from ne'er-do-wells from across DC's multiverse. Is Per Degaton once again trying to help the Nazis win World War II? When Batman vanishes from history thanks to the Waynes' survival, can our heroes set wrong what once went right? And which version of the Legion will they meet THIS week? The whole of the DCU becomes my canvas as I take my cue from the Booster Gold series' mix of Quantum Leap and a tour of the DCU's most remembered moments. My players have been crafting heroes from across time, not just the Modern Era, who will weave in and out of Rip's HQ as their schedules allow.

So now I'm thinking... How do I accomplish this? Here's stuff I'd like to do with it:

I want to revamp Rip Hunter's HQ to better fit the multi-temporal nature of my team, so I'm looking to the already lamented Mighty Avengers series and Hank Pym's infinite mansion. Many doors across space, time and dimension lead to Rip's HQ, though they're keyed to the Time Masters' DNA/energy signature. Characters step in from the home time, then out to the mission and back.

Roll Call
The University year is about to make things more difficult for getting a regular group together, so this is specifically designed so that many players can participate, just not all the time. Rip will have many agents, but not use them all for every mission. He's recruited a number of strong, yet sufficiently marginal, heroes. In the real world, it'll more or less be first come first serve, rarely if ever topping 5 "seats" per session. Most characters look to be player-created, but some are interested in attempting Elseworlded versions of known characters. I definitely plan to slide known DC stars into the proceedings via guest stars (i.e. old players coming from out of town for just one session).

So where/when to?
That would be telling, wouldn't it? Without spoiling anything for my players, I do plan to create a couple of "hot spots" we can return to a couple times, creating somewhat of an "arc" despite the one-off games the format promises. World War II is always rife with possibilities, it'll come up. I'd also like to adapt some of the DC Heroes adventure modules I could never fit into our games because they took place in a strange time or tone. I think my players would appreciate visiting the Watchmen's Earth, for example. My biggest challenge will actually be the time travel element and the variety of stories that can be told with it. I don't want it to be a weekly Quantum Leap. It has to do more. Quests across time. Villains trying to interfere with events or who just shouldn't win according to Rip's "future" history. Waking up in alternate world dystopias and having to backtrack changes to the source. It could be lots of fun.

But each hero should have a home
My usual program of subplots will still go on, with characters facing problems in their home times. I like to play these just before sessions with players who came in early, or via email or MSN in between sessions, or at the coffee shop. This gives the players a chance to make their characters richer, but also score Hero Points in readiness for their next game. I've got Complication ideas for each of them, so it should be fun AND could generate actual group stories down the line.

Rip's blackboard
I've got to get myself a blackboard, whiteboard or other wide writing surface to put up behind me while I GM. On this board, all sorts of hints of both coming events in the DCU and in the game itself, all cryptic, Rip-style. Every week, some disappear, others appear, and I keep the players guessing. This is such a fun element of the Booster Gold series, I gotta have it.

Educating players
I may also have to lend comics, or keep them close to the table, as "research" for my players. "We're going way back to the events of Invasion!" "But half of us weren't even born then!" Hey, they can act as flashbacks, Rip's info-dumps or computer research.

So am I ready to punch through the time barrier? You bet I am! I just need to get my brain around this crazy thing the kids call d20...


Tim Knight said...

When you do get your blackboard/wipe board you're gonna have to take (and post) pictures of it all filled out... so we can 'play along' at home ;)

Siskoid said...

Good idea!

Lazarus Lupin said...

Hey I may have mentioned this, but since you have a fondness for role playing and time travel, have you heard of continuum? It's a fairly well thought out bit of weirdness of a time travelling society. The basics are

1) the grey aliens are actually our descendants and they have "roped off" this area of time and space as a sort of "nature perserve"

2) time travellers within this space are strongly urged to be ethical and thoughtful. The reward is you get a time machine in your head. You can just port through space and time in your head.

3) there are "bad guy" time travellers. Its basically a philosophical difference. the "Good" time travellers believe in perserving the continuum. "Bad" ones think they have the trick to avoid paradox damage, usually by giving it to others.

Lazarus Lupin
art and review

Siskoid said...

I've heard good things about it before, but never seen it.

In this case, it's not so much about time travel as it is using the whole of the DCU as a canvas, but same difference, really.

I do have a thing for time travel don't I? Well, it's always a challenge, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

So, you going to let the viewers meet the cast?

I mean, a whole multiverse means blind guessing won't let those at home know the score.

Siskoid said...

I'm keeping the population abreast of events in each This Week in Geek (late Sunday nights), including character generation and eventually, the stories themselves.


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