Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Eclipses and Heroes

First off, yesterday (4/8) I was lucky enough to be able to take the day off work and drive the older kiddo up to Vergennes, VT to be in the path of totality. Lovely little farm town, old school Main Street, pleasant people, amazing astronomical event. as XKCD put it, a partial solar eclipse is cool; inside totality it feels like someone broke the sky. 

Camera Phone, but still not bad
The whole event got me thinking about the Heroes TV show, which was a big hit in its first season, got crippled by both the writers strike and the creators attempt to broaden out to tell new characters stories that the audience rebelled against for the truncated season 2, and then limped along for a bit after that. 

Obviously (and of course I would say this), V&V 2.1 is the perfect game system for this sort of thing because a) you can base it on players easily if you want that real everyperson gets powers sense, b) you it scales really well for the 'normal to athletic person with 1 super power' setting (which is why I use it for Legion of Super-Heroes), and c) the random power generation works well for the sense that the powers aren't matched to the personality. 

The show worked in the first season due to the puzzle tension of the overlapping precognitions - the time/space manipulator both seeing the immediate nuclear explosion in the future and traveling back to warn against the events after that, and the canvases of the precognitive painter giving a different lens on those events and other smaller ones - providing a way for the audience to anticipate scenes, and the parallel conspiracy adding yet more puzzle pieces for the audience.

Several aspects of the longer plot were clearly adjusted on the fly - Mrs. Patrelli going from a grieving embarrassment shoplifting to feel alive to a key part of the conspiracy makes no sense when you binge watch it but you kind of forget when it was on weekly. 

Note that I keep saying "audience" because the nature of following a dozen or so characters who only all get in the same place at the same time in the last episode means the audience always knows more about what's happening than the players do. That, combined with the precognitive flashes and larger conspiracy, make the also want to run this in some form of Gumshoe. Mutant City Blues wouldn't quite work because so much of the power rules are making the powers things that can be forensically analyzed - critical for a police procedural, not so much for this - but the basic Gumshoe mechanic would be very helpful. 

Of course, this is a springboard for trying to merge some of the helpful bits of Gumshoe into V&V for New Salem, since unravelling a conspiracy and investigating the opposition is a core part of the New Salem design. Anyway, the first season of Heroes is pretty solid. watch it if you have some time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment