John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey
the_gneech

Champions, Assemble!

I was waxing nostalgic about CHAMPIONS the other day, and today I find I still kinda am. CHAMPIONS, for those what don't know, was the king of superhero RPGs in the '80s and '90s, as well as the flagship for the HERO System. It's still out there and still exists, but these days the books look more like phone books than games and it just doesn't have the same fire it once did. These days Mutants and Masterminds occupies the space CHAMPIONS once did, but the irony of that is that M&M is basically "CHAMPIONS d20".

Despite many attempts, I never really did have a CHAMPIONS campaign that entirely worked the way I would have liked. I did co-GM a Dark CHAMPIONS-type game that certainly had its moments (including The Joker as a recurring villain, which I always enjoyed), but I did always regret not having a big, bold, four-color campaign played straight.

What's got me thinking about it is that lately I've been reading the new Captain Marvel series and enjoying it immensely, as well as recently starting to pick up The Avenging Spider-Man, which can basically be summed up as: "Every two or three issues, Spider-Man teams up with whatever character Marvel wants to highlight at any given moment in a self-contained story." There's no continuity to speak of, it's just fun superhero action kept light. I would have never looked at it, in fact, except a recent trade collection highlighted Cap. Marvel...


Avenging Spider-Man #9 Cover Colors WIP by *TerryDodson on deviantART

So today I've been sorta fantasizing about what a cool CHAMPIONS campaign would look like, and how it could be made to work. Attempts to run in the past have run up against the fact that it takes a particular mindset to want to play a superhero-type character and be willing to go with the genre conventions, and finding enough players who share said mindset is a challenge.

Many of the would-be heroes brought to the table have been such things as "completely ordinary person who can lift cars man," "zany spoof man," "doesn't actually have any super powers man," or "cat from space with random powers man," etc. This is not to bag on the other players-- I've done all these myself. Coming up with a good superhero character is tough, and particularly coming up with one that hasn't been done a billion times before. And the superhero genre is so damn ridiculous at its heart, that it's really, really tempting to want to just poke all the air out of the balloon.

But as I pondered the various ideas I had, a background and several characters just sorta popped unbidden into my head. Not a story of course-- I never get stories, dammit, just details-- and I wish now I had the free time to do something with them. I'm not sure what I would do exactly, either do a comic or try to run a CHAMPIONS campaign, I suppose. Either way, I'm going to write it all down in case I decide to do something with it later. It's nothing new under the sun really, and not exactly something the world has been clamoring for, but I kinda like it.

-The Gneech
Tags: comics and art, geekery, roleplaying games, rpgs
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