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April 24, 2009 / jadettman

Brave New World: a brief history

Brave New World is a Mutants & Masterminds game that I am currently running for my roleplaying group. What follows is a brief history of the setting.

(If you are one of my players and don’t think that you can handle knowing some of the big secrets of the game, I suggest you don’t read the rest of this post.)

A few year back I came up with several different ideas for some superhero RPG settings. I was in full brainstorm mode about what kinds of products I could produce for the Mutants & Masterminds Superlink Program through Cracked Mirror Publishing (which, if you weren’t aware, is my PDF publishing company). Eventually, they all melded together into the setting that I’m using in Brave New World. It doesn’t have a name quite yet, and Brave New World is kinda taken, so . . .

– – – – –

Idea #1 [The Primordial War]: Two ancient alien cultures have been at war for as long as anyone can remember. Their war is one of ideology.

The Paragons are a culture of perfection, both physical and intellectual. They strive to be the pinnacle of achievement in all things. Their evolution has followed the same course. They are a race of super-beings whose power comes from their perfectly evolved and honed minds and bodies.

The Mutandis are a culture of change and adaptation. Collectively, they strive for personal power and advancement. As a culture, they are definitely in the survival-of-the-fittest philosophical camp. They are a race of super-beings whose power comes from their adaptability and variety.

For those of you paying attention to my influences (Babylon 5, Invincible, X-men, and  probably every comic book I’ve ever read), this is essentially a war involving pseudo-Kryptonians versus a culture of super-mutants.

Idea #2 [Star Seeds]: An alien culture seeded the galaxy/universe with the seeds of life. Embedded in those seeds were genetic imperatives. Secret imperatives.

This idea fed back into the Primordial War. After countless years of war, the Primordials released star-seeds into the universe to create allies for themselves.

Where there was no life and the star-seeds fell, they created life. Where there was life and the star-seeds fell, they changed life.

On Earth, the star-seeds from both Primordial factions fell. Life already existed here, though it was the primitive proto-life that existed long before the dinosaurs. Where normally one, more compatible star-seed would merge with the indigenous life and the other would be rejected, on Earth both star-seeds were incorporated into the local biome.

It may be interesting to note, Dr. Omnius, the smartest man on Earth, has catalogued three different Terran meta-gene combinations . . .

Idea #3 [Acheron City]: In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve (year unspecified) a major villain named Occult held a major American city hostage. If the U.S. government didn’t deposit 250-billion dollars into his specified account, Occult would destroy the city and all of its inhabitants.

Of course, the U.S. goverment couldn’t give into the demands of a terrorist. Evacuation plans were made and the Earth’s mightiest super-heroes gathered themselves to save the world once more.

On New Year’s Eve, the fight for the city began. The world’s most powerful heroes engaged Occult while those with lesser talents did all that they could to move the city’s population to a safe distance. In the end, it became clear that Occult had never intended to spare the city. At midnight, with the evacuation of the city still in progress, the Earth’s mightiest heroes failed.

A luminous sphere of mystical energy engulfed the city, expanding farther than anyone had guessed was within Occult’s powers. In the blink of an eye, the city was gone. In it’s place was a bizarre new landscape: strange crystalline buildings in shapes and configurations repellant to both thought and vision, shrouded in a perpetual swirling cloud-cover, impenetrable by the light of the sun.

In addition to this new urban horror, large numbers of the city’s population and the world’s most powerful heroes were lost in the Incident.

– – – – –

The three ideas above formed the main mass of the setting I’m using in the Brave New World campaign. There were several smaller ideas that I dumped into the mix as well, many of which were turned into alternate universes to provide possible exploration opportunities should the players be so inclined.

So, to boil things down, here is what I’m aiming for with this setting:

  1. The players are the heroes. They may live in the shadow of some powerful hero of the past but that hero is gone.
  2. A rich and varied tapestry with lots of different possibilities for superheroic adventuring of any level.

Now that I’ve had the chance to run a game in this setting, I’ve seen some of the work that remains to be done. I still want to publish it, though I don’t know when I’ll get around to it.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Shawn / Apr 24 2009 1:21 pm

    Are you taking thoughts on the world?

    I am a cowboy in need of creative release…just asking.

  2. J.A. Dettman / Apr 24 2009 1:33 pm

    I’m always willing to accept new thoughts, Shawn. I may not use them but I’m willing to listen.

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