We are closing up on the end of this series about world building for supers. This installment is about how well the outside universe knows about your world. I left this one for this close to the end for a few reasons. Things like the origin of power and your timeline may have already introduced aliens, magical entities or spirits. And if they have not then you will still want to know, at least in a rough outline, what is out there so you can play with it later if you want to go that way.
If you take a look at the two biggest publishers for comics right now, in their universes the Earth is sort of central to everything. It was designed that way on purpose. That way every angel, demon, and alien powerhouse in the universe has a reason to visit. They all know the planet is there and many of them want to conquer it, and a few want to protect it. Or in one case over in Marvel the alien race see Earth as an asylum world filled with dangerous mad men/women who have too much power and should be quarantined.
On another side of the coin you can see in the Image series Invincible that while there were a couple of alien races that knew of the Earth, most the ones that knew of the planet didn’t care at all. Until the main characters got involved. The series tends to avoid magic and the supernatural so you cant really say whats going on on that side of the spectrum, but given the nature of the author, I figure he had a plan for it all just in case he decided to experiment with it in the story.
In another title from Image, Spawn, you see the supernatural not only fully aware of the world but it wants control. I did not follow Spawn for long but I do not recall aliens other than an occasional guest character.
So I think that you can see, depending on who knows about your world, and how popular it is for engagement, you can have a whole lot of influences sitting around waiting, or actively participating in the fate and the actions of the world you have built. As I mentioned earlier, from your work on your origin of powers and your timeline you should have an idea already if any race or group outside of the Earth knows about the planet at all. This step allows you to flesh that out in as much detail as you would like ahead of setting your game in motion.
In my own campaigns I like to mix it up a bit. Sometimes everyone knows about Earth. Sometimes it is a very small group of outsiders but none of them are directly interacting with the Earth. And of course everything in-between. The easiest for me is to start with limited interaction off world if any. And build into it. It allows me to expand the universe and the story for the game at the same time. As an example, I ran a game for a few sessions based very loosely on the Psi World RPG from FGU. The idea was that a small percentage of humans had developed psi powers and the world was reacting. Well the source of the powers turned out to be alien interaction (I can hear my wife crying out ‘I told you it was the Aaaaaaaaaaaaliens!!!’) and one of their ships had been left behind. About half of the players were human investigators with nothing really special other than high skill levels to their name. By the third session those players were feeling really under-powered. And so the group discovered the original alien research vessel that had crashed to Earth and caused the Psi outburst in the first place. Now the whole group had access to alien technology but it was the investigators with their high skills who could really take advantage of it. This introduced for the players that there was more to the game universe than they thought. The thing is in my back story the aliens (It was Aaaaaaaaaaaaaliens!!!’ sorry just cant get that our of my head now) picked Earth because as far as they were concerned Earth had a barely intelligent and just kinda sentient lead species and the planet itself was far enough from the galactic core to be a middle of no where place that no one civilized would care about at all. And by galactic standards in this setting, they were right. So while there were aliens out there, none of them gave a rats patootie about Earth one way or the other.
So take a look around at your idea so far for your game world. How much do you want to have going on in regards to outside influence? Or even simple acknowledgement of existence? And as always, remember that writing out what you want does not mean you have to do a 120929803790 page dissertation, you can have something as simple as – Aliens and demons know about Earth. Demons like our bars and hang out alot. – in your world notes and that can be used to take you places later. Thats right… just breathe… you do not have to populate the universe and multiple adjacent dimensions before you get going… you can build it as you go, but knowing the starting point ahead of time can make the interaction with players so much easier.
To go back to the world I am building lets see it by the sessions…
- 301 – Origin of Power – A cosmic/celestial event causes mutations. Also technology.
- 302 – Which Earth – Our earth
- 303 – Timeline – Slightly in the future. So that things like cybernetics and power armor could be possible.
- 304 – Percent of power – 1 / 25000 have mutation. Specific tech that could be called super powers is more common.
- 305 – Perception of power – Mutants are the new target of fear and racism, Tech characters are seen as heroes.
- 306 – Power level – World – Mutants vary but low power is more common, and that does mean power, all mutants have something extra. Tech is fairly standard and can make one man equal to about a Main Battle Tank. Game – Mutants will be on the higher end but not the top. Tech characters will have unique toys that go well past the current standards.
- 307 – Known Earth – There is going to be an alien research vessel that knows about Earth. They noted the unusual solar flare activity and they have been monitoring the effect on humans since. Both physically and sociologically. They trade out teams on a regular basis and have rules about interacting with humans. I have no intention of introducing the aliens any time soon. I think if the players get creative they might be able to find them and go chat. But unless the game needs a kick in the butt, I have no intention of dropping this in the players path.
Ok so the next step is putting it all together and setting your setting in motion.
Play hard and play often folks.
Now gimme the dice, I need to see how many pages I can roll for on a 1d everything roll.