Spectaculars: A Call for Heroes!

The world is beset by flying criminals, super-strong hoodlums, and unknowable threats. Who can protect the every-day citizens of Spectacular City? Who can keep us safe in the face of such terrible challenges?

The world needs heroes. The world needs YOU!

It’s happening folks. I’m actually going to run an online game. And it will be the fabulous, new SPECTACULARS!

Where & When

Roll20, one Wednesday per month, 9pm to 11pm (UK time)
Hangouts for video/chat
(not streaming, the world isn’t ready for my level of talent… )

Players: 3-6 per session (although episodic nature of the game means there is scope for players to drop in and out). No experience necessary, but this is a light-ish system with strong emphasis on narrative.

Style: Spectaculars is a comic book superhero game, and the default tone is fairly traditional four-colour supers. However, there is scope to make it slightly grittier, so that’s a discussion I’ll be having as part of Session 0.

Session 0: Wednesday 19th February, 9pm-11pm

The first session will be a chance for us to come together and discuss what we want the game to look like. In particular, it will cover the following ground:

1. Choose the Issue.

I’m offering a choice of two of the four Issues provided in the Spectaculars box.

Streetlight Knights

Explorers of the Unknown

Streetlight Knights is a spectaculars series themed around street-level heroes, organized crime, gang wars, and intrigue. This series hearkens back to comic book stories of defenders of Bad Neighborhoods, shadowy vigilantes, sinister crime lords, assassins, secret societies, and the struggle between the lawless and the heroes who would stand in their way.

Explorers of the unknown is a spectaculars series themed around super science, exploration, and incredible threats of inhuman proportions. This series hearkens back to silver age stories of astronaut families, inventors, mad scientists, alien invasions, and artifacts of
unknowable science and incredible power.

Think… Batman, Daredevil, Dark Champions

Think… Fantastic Four, JLA

2. The Setting

Next, we’ll complete the first two pages of the Settings book. This asks us to collaboratively agree a number of background details, covering:

  • In what City is the Issue set (real or fictional)
  • Why is this City special?
  • Name some of the details of the City – the bad neighbourhood, the quiet suburb, the iconic skyline feature
  • How do super powers heroes fit into the setting – how common are heroes and villains? How do the public, media and authorities feel about powered heroes?
  • What’s the tone? How often do superheroes die? (and yes, this last one has a game mechanical impact)

3. What kind of Team are you?

Each Issue gives two different options for the type of Super-team:

Streetlight Knights

Explorers of the Unknown

Mentors & Wards

This team is composed of heroes whose crime-fighting identities are linked to a single mentor. Examples include Batman and his family of related heroes and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The mentor hero can be a Narrator character or it can be one of the heroes on this team’s roster.

Family

Your team of heroes is a family, whether tied by blood or simply by tight bonds of fellowship and love. Examples from popular comics include the Fantastic Four, the Titans, the First Family (Astro City), and the Incredibles.

Neighbourhood Watch

This team is made up of heroes who band together to protect a particular neighbourhood or district within a city. Examples from popular comics include the Defenders, the Birds of Prey and the Outsiders.

Prodigies

Your team is full of the brightest and boldest minds, heroes who showed great promise in making their mark on the world even before they gained their powers. Examples include the Avengers, the JLA and the Authority.

4. What kind of Hero are you?

Each player will pick one of the starting Archetypes (there should be enough for one for everyone). If we’re struggling to choose, I’ll just deal them out at random!

Streetlight Knights

Explorers of the Unknown

Vigilante

As a crime-fighting hero, you patrol the streets to dispense your own brand of justice. You use stealth and combat prowess and wear a costume designed to stoke an emotional response in villains.

Construct

You are an artificial being, a life form that was made, not born. Though independent and sentient, some still question if you are truly alive.

Street Sentinel

You have declared yourself the guardian of your neighbourhood, a protector of the people who will do what it takes to keep the streets clean. You stand up for your neighbours, friends, and co-workers when the authorities can’t or won’t.

Energy Battery

Your body stores a particular energy, using it to fuel your powers. This energy suffuses your every cell, and you become more than just container for that energy; you become that energy.

Soldier of Fortune

You are a soldier who answers to no one. You have all the training and trappings of a member of the armed forces, but ply your trade keeping criminals off the streets.

Monster

You are a hero, but others see you as a monster. You have been changed by your superpowers, and not entirely for the better.

Warrior

You are a trained fighter, usually specializing in an esoteric fighting style or archaic weapons. You live according to your own warrior’s code and hone your skills to prepare for the fight against evil.

Super Soldier

You are a warrior whose physical strength, stature, and physical capability well exceed the normal human maximums. You were trained for combat and are a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

Teenage Hero

You may be young, but you’re not too young to be a hero. Experience is the best teacher, so you don a costume and hit the streets, fighting crime while most of your peers are doing homework.

Power Armour Pilot

You wear a suit of powered armour that turns you into a walking tank. Your superpowers are the result of the suit’s
technology.

Speedster

You are a fast-moving hero, racing around the battlefield, running circles around your enemies. While you might have super-powered speed, you may also simply use your powers to stay in perpetual motion, bouncing around so that your enemies have a hard time tracking you.

Inventor

You are a creator, someone who looks at the technology of the world and uses it for the forces of good. Your superpowers are your inventions, and you are constantly tweaking them, upgrading them, and redesigning them.

5. Complete Character Generation

I plan to use a character sheet I’ve designed to capture all the key information for the heroes. Spectaculars comes packaged with lots of lovely bits, including character tracking pads, but these aren’t actually great for online play for two reasons:

  • They’re double-sided
  • You actually need two sheets: the Archetype sheet and a Hero tracking sheet

So I’ve come up with a single-sided sheet that combines both the Archetype and Hero tracker into one (and is sized so I can drop the image files of the Power, Identity and Team Role cards right onto the sheet). Think I need to make the Hero Name a bit more prominent though…

Spectaculars Charsheet

The steps in character generation are:

  1. Read through the character questions and special ability on your archetype sheet. Keep them in the back of your mind for now.
  2. Draw 5 power cards. Choose 1 to 3 powers from these five and/or the basic powers: Energy Blast, Flight. Signature Weapon, Strength, Toughness
  3. Note down your “Hero Points per Conflict”, the minimum number of Hero Points you have at the start of any conflict scene. This is 5, minus 2 for each Power you keep after the first.
  4. Draw 3 identity cards. Choose one to be your non-superhero ID
  5. Choose a team role
Artillery
You do your best work when attacking from afar, lobbing ranged attacks down on your foes.
Booster
You bring out the best in your fellow heroes by watching their backs and pointing out opportunities for success when they arise.
Controller
You manage the battlefield, using your powers to slow and stall your enemies to lessen the pressure on your allies.
Leader
You combine tactical advice with confident reinforcement to keep your teammates fighting long after they would otherwise have fallen.
Striker
You like to get up close and personal, making sure your enemies know who is dealing out the pain.
Support
You work well alongside your fellow heroes, coordinating with them to keep the momentum on your allies’ side.
Tactician
You coordinate your allies and look for openings in your enemies’ defenses, giving your team a tactical edge.
Tank
You get in the faces of your enemies and remind them that to ignore you is to invite punishment.
  1. Go back to the Archetype sheet and answer the questions there.
  2. Give yourself a name

And that’s it. There’s more stuff around your Aspiration, Turmoil and Origin, but those are left until after the first session, giving you a chance to play with your Hero a bit before nailing down those important decisions as to who exactly they are.

Session 1

The final step will be to agree a regular date for the ongoing monthly sessions (e.g. 3rd Wednesday of every month). And then… Up, up and away!

Interested? Send a Twitter DM to @thedicemechanic and I’ll organise an invite to Session 0 on Roll20, Wednesday 19th February.

It’s Clobberin’ Time!

Credit: Vigilante image by David Lojaya, Inventor image by Des Taylor, from the Spectaculars Digital Creators Art pack

Because that character sheet includes pictures from the game itself, figure I should just clarify the following:

Spectaculars Created and Owned By: Rodney Thompson
Original Graphic Design: Brigette Indelicato
Original Icon Design: Daniel Gelon and Brigette Indelicato

Spectaculars, its characters and distinctive likenesses are the property of Scratchpad Publishing, LLC. This material is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or unauthorized use of the material or artwork contained herein is prohibited without the express written permission of Scratchpad Publishing. Spectaculars ©2019, 2020, Scratchpad Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Visit http://scratchpadpublishing.com for more information.

Graphic Design, Icons, Art, and Product Identity usage Licensed with permission under the terms of the SPECTACULARS CREATIVE USE LICENSE.

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