Monday, September 28, 2009

Gaming Fodder - 9/28/09 - The New Avengers

(Image borrowed from's Avengers page!)

I want to start a new column, and the great thing about having a blog, I will! In short, Gaming Fodder is going to be a periodical digging in the things I enjoy to find concepts that can be used for plots, scenarios, adventures, or even campaigns. On with the show!

This may actually be my first post about comic books, but comics are a big part of my life, or at least have been in the past. I hardly ever buy a single issue but have been collecting trade paperbacks, hardcovers, and other oddball digests for several years now and have a couple of favorites. My purchasing habits has lessened in the last year, but I'm looking to pick some more up soon. Anyway, today's inaugural edition of Gaming Fodder looks at the origin story of the New Avengers. I just recently restarted the series with the first trade paperback, Breakout and was struck with what a fantastic premise for an RPG campaign it would make.

Think of your favorite setting. Just because the New Avengers series is about a super heroic team set in modern-day America, doesn't mean you can't think outside the box! Think about a D&D setting, think of 1920's Call of Cthulhu, think of Star Wars, it doesn't matter. Now, think of whatever kind of criminals, monsters, or general bad guys occupy this setting that the player characters have to interact with and overcome. New Avengers begins with this concept of the supervillian, for example. Now, think of a place these baddies might all be locked up. Criminals in a jail, monsters in a gulag, The Great Old Ones trapped in their own eternal slumber, whatever bad things being held back by powerful forces. Now, evaporate the prison walls and let them all out, at once, all at the same time! Bad stuff would happen right? What if, out of the 90+ baddies half of them, or 45 to be exact were free? What if the player characters all met through the original prison break and attempted to, for the first time, work as a team to hunt down the remaining baddies that escaped their clutches?

New Avengers presents this scenario, and I forgot the enticing aspect that started the series to begin with: an unlikely team meets for the first time in a field of battle and unites to bring in the 42 lost criminals out in the world and tackle the big issues. It has it all really: no scene tavern scene neccesary to bring all the characters face-to-face, a single driving force and motivation for the group to stick together, and an epic quest rivaling that of the search for the Holy Grail. It also creates an opportunity for the GM to have some fun in thinking up different baddies for the good guys to fight.

You can do this with any setting - it's a very straight forward story trope. The Jedi have been keeping a gulag for Dark Side users and one day, no one's quite sure why, the gulag is broken into and now your party of Jedi PC's have to hunt down the sith, one red lightsaber-wielding baddie at a time.

Or what about a D&D game? The kingdom has, deep in the heart of its territories, a secret labyrinth where it keeps any monsters the army finds to breed against their enemies. One day, one of the enemy kingdoms subverts the security measures and the monsters break free, running all over the country side. There is no more nobler quest the king can ask of the heroes than to save their own realm!

If you're looking for a campaign idea, try this one out. Also, if you need further clarification, just watch Supernatural Season 3 where tons and tons of demons are released from Hell to the mortal realm and the demon hunting gets kicked up a notch. Oh, those Winchester boys... So Dreamy!

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