View Full Version : Please help! Plot needed!

Scarey Nerd
2010-06-18, 12:14 PM
OK guys, thinking caps/hats/bizzare miscellaneous headgear on.

In the next 3 weeks or so, I am going to be GMing a Phoenix game. For those of you who don't know, Phoenix is a game where the PCs are superheroes in the modern day. However, I am very, very stuck for a way to introduce the party/team, and also not that confident for an overall idea for the plot in general. The team consists of (Spoilered):

A male adolescent "rebel", with the power to create fire at will. Discovered his powers when smoking marijuana and thinking he was imagining his powers, then realised he could still do it when he was lucid again.

A psionic woman, with powers of telepathy, telekinesis and various psi-powers. Unsure how she first manifested her powers as of yet.

A male speedster, who can run faster than a sports car and can run on water. Was subjected to experiments by the CIA when he submitted to military experiments, but escaped when he realised they were going to disect his changing body.

An alien with some resemblance to the Silurians from Doctor Who, who has assumed a human disguise and is investigating Earth. He can transform into various animals, as long as he has seen them.

A male with the Mutant gene (Though it is far less common in my game). He can secrete an adhesive fluid at will, and can use his rapid healing to grow tendons from his palms to create "webbing".

A male with the same sort of theme as Gambit, but rather than using a playing card motif uses various works of Origami, and is named the same. Rather than simply kinetic energy, however, it is a form of stored concussion waves.

Any ideas you have will be much appreciated.

2010-06-18, 12:24 PM
Make the players have a connection built in in their backstory, it makes life easier. As for a general plot, make a villain or 3, give them a plan, give them an organization, and wing it from there.

Scarey Nerd
2010-06-18, 12:26 PM
Make the players have a connection built in in their backstory, it makes life easier. As for a general plot, make a villain or 3, give them a plan, give them an organization, and wing it from there.

I would make them have a connection, but very helpfully they all made as radically different characters as they could manage...

2010-06-18, 12:42 PM
As other people have said, use connections. Then start off with a series of coincidences that forces the PCs to work together where connections won't fill it all in. For example, PC friend group 1 is hanging out somewhere, they are in danger from enemies designed to beat them up badly, PC friend group swoops into help. Perhaps you could start with a CIA team hunting the speedster for a general cliche.

EDIT: Connections don't necessarily have to be between characters, there's the whole the enemy of my enemy is my friend adage (e.g. CIA could be out alien-hunting too maybe for another cliche)

2010-06-18, 12:47 PM
Have them all be brought aware of a crime at the same time, with no prior knowledge of each other. Perhaps a hostage situation, have them run into each other and realize the job is too big for one person, hopefully they save everyone and they realize they can benefit of of each other. Or fail and be declared public enemies, and must team up to regain good public opinion.

2010-06-18, 12:51 PM
Ugh! That's one of the trouble of superhero games - the eclectic mix.

Tell the players that their characters need to have a connection with at least two other PCs. Unfortunately, their powers don't lend a lot to that.

Let's see...
Fire-starter "rebel", smokes majijuana
Psionic woman
Speedster (male), via CIA experiments
Alien in human disguise
Male mutant
Male Gambit-like

So... 3 power origins (CIA experiments, alien, mutant), 1 questionable (psionic - it just developed?), and 2 unknown (fire-starter, gambit-like). Well, the CIA angle might work - an alien that can change into animals could make a good spy and/or assassin - maybe the CIA knows about his race. Maybe they know about mutants and spontaneous psionic manifestations.

I would get the unknowns to either define where they got their powers or be willing to take whatever you give them.

But, yeah... government agency going bad might be an angle to start with... give the heroes a "we-are-the-good-guys-but-we-hide-from-the-government" approach.

2010-06-18, 01:06 PM
If you can make the fugitives stumble on the other ones, and that pressing said other ones into showing their powers to the captors..well that's already a way to throw them in the bunch.

But these characters are lacking something much more important than what they are: What they want. Without clearly defined goals, it's hard to write a consistent story to keep them together.

2010-06-18, 01:17 PM
Easy Peezy. You get to make the world in which they are playing. You can have all meta humans be registered via the government and either have them called up for a service or be one of few survivors of some sort of genocide against mutants. Create some organization such as SHIELD in the Marvel universe with some leader with infinite connections AKA Nick Fury. Something of that sort. Of course if they are willing to make compatible backstories then that works just as well. But if not put them where you want them via the world in which they will be playing.

2010-06-18, 01:21 PM
And the even bigger issue of who they are. Sure, we know powers, nothing on personality.

The New Bruceski
2010-06-18, 01:32 PM

A stoner teen discovers he can shoot fire? The first thing he's gonna do is put it up on Youtube. That would get the attention of the speedster (who would likely want to warn him away from being overt due to his past) and the alien (depending on how common powers are in the world, but for game's sake we can say it got his attention.) Once the three of them meet up they decide to work together for some goal (striking back at the Feds, They Fight Crime, or whichever direction you're taking it) and make use of the anonymity of the Internet to find more people willing to cooperate (the rest of the players).

2010-06-18, 01:59 PM
They are brought together by whomever is hunting them down, based on accidental displays of their powers. Some pothead looking to see if the first dude had some weed he could bum off of him, and saw fire weaving around his room like flying snakes, and, naturally, told someone else. Eventually it made it to someone who posts about Fortean events on their blog, unaware that the ebil conspiracy is tracking his blog (and others) for signs of *real* weird stuff.

Even if the players says that their character was insanely careful about not getting seen using their powers, they might have been caught on aerial photography or seen by some freak testing out his new night vision uber-scope for spying on his sexy neighbor or caught because of a blood donation months ago that raised a red flag on some government database...

There could even be multiple groups of these people, having a sort of shadow war / competition for whose 'side' can recruit these special people. If a PC gets snagged in their introductory ambush, they happened to be caught by the good guys (or the least worst guys, anyway), and if a PC escapes, they might have been targetted by the bad(der) guys, with the 'good guys' (and their new recruits, which they *never* would have used in the field, if it wasn't a total emergency!) now having to help the other PCs escape from the hunter squads from 'the other side,' who have decided that, if they can't have the supers, they need to kill them fast, before they get snatched up and start working for their rivals!

Obviously, the 'good guys' might have been inclined to do something the same, so it's not so much 'good guys' and 'bad guys' as, 'the ones who got us' versus 'the ones who want to kill us.'

Later, they can get away from their keepers, blowing up the base behind them, and, since the whole op is mega-uber-ultra-black-secret, it's not like the secret conspiracy can just report them to the cops or anything...

2010-06-18, 02:12 PM
Hey guys, the speedster here, i know i technically shouldnt be readin this buuuuut i was intrigued, what can i say :P, plus my GM doesnt necessarily have to use what u suggest and it wont be word for word whats on here so i think i can safely read a bit of this thread :P

anyways u asked about personality, i shall put my speedster, here on referred to as 'Velocity', into perspective.
spoiler, bit o writin comin up

basically his life was in the dumps when he was a normal human, he lived in the slums, he had no money and struggled to buy food, no job and was depressed and had given up. eventually he caught wind of the tests and applied, they paid him, and whats more he got fitter, and training in firearms and combat and the such, better reactions and the such at first. then the transistion to speedster started, very painful process, and then the escape n the such.

after he escaped with his new physique he managed to find a job in construction and stayed low as he could, after a while he decided to fight crime, he's extremely cynical and wants to clean up the streets best he can under his disguise of Velocity. he sorta has a rorschach attitude if anything, not a sadist but he'll do what it takes. he often finds himself interrogating criminals and intimidating them to tell him info

one of his main qualities however is his contrast in thought process to normal speedsters, he knows if he rushes things through he can end up getting himself killed due to his own speed, he only uses his powers when he needs to, to the point that he wont use his powers to run out of the way of a large falling object, even if thats the only way to that he can avoid serious injury (this is only when not disguised obviously) but if his life is in danger he will use his powers. he's a methodical thinker and makes a point to not get ahead of himself or get hot headed, however he is somewhat less thoughtful of this in dire situations (friends in danger and the such)

so yeah there ya go :)

Lord Vampyre
2010-06-18, 02:22 PM
Your best bet is to use the CIA angle like Umael mentioned. Then create an underground group that specializes in sheltering those individuals gifted with super powers from the government agency. This gives you the means to bring them into the group in different ways. If you want, you just make this part of their background. Saves a lot of hassle when getting the game started.

This also gives the players a connection that can give them assignments and/or information as to whats going on. The underground group could be another government agency that works in opposition of the CIA.

It also gives the players a common threat at the beginning of the game, which justifies why they are working together.

2010-06-18, 02:44 PM
Hey guys, the speedster here, i know i technically shouldnt be readin this buuuuut i was intrigued,


You should be glad you're not in a game I'm running. This maneuver would crank the pain-o-meter up by two, at least.

...hey Graek!

PM me if you want to come up with a few things nasty to happen to Flail_master's character! I've got a million!

Morph Bark
2010-06-18, 02:55 PM
The alien could have been in touch with the CIA as well and thus know the speedster from a prior meeting, being both escapees. Their powers are most fit for escaping too, I would say.

The others could perhaps have a small link between them... like the psionic woman and the rebel went to the same school or he dropped by a place she worked at often. The Gambit-like guy would likely have to handle his powers with care, most likely he wouldn't be very out in the open, so the rest could meet him somewhere "underground". The guy with the webbing... depends on his age. If he is 16-23, I'd totally call him Spidey at least once.

Make every character (save one perhaps) know at least one other character from the beginning. It makes things much easier and provides an RP reason for why they would stick with one another anyway.

2010-06-18, 04:45 PM
Our GM uses one of two systems for this sort of campaign.

The Agency
An easy way to guide the plot without making it seem forced. The party works for an organization, who gives them assignments. The party is your assigned team.
This is another popular one. Random Circumstance. For our M&M Campaign, the party was on patrol when a giant spider attacked a building, and was forced to team up to defeat it. It didn't end well, but they defeated it!
Eventually, they were forced to work together because:

They were the only people investigating this mystery.
The gang responsible was taking out hits on all of them, and they were sticking together to survive.

Scarey Nerd
2010-06-19, 06:12 AM
These are all really great, guys, I'm starting to get a good idea of the opening few panels (I refer to everything in this game as being from a comic). Keep 'em coming! :smallbiggrin:

2010-06-19, 07:53 AM
Its likely your players wont all want to be related or know one another, superheroes at first in general are loners. Their powers have seperated them from everyone else all their lives, why would they instantly take to a group of others? They wouldnt. Have them all write up their full backgrounds and see if theres any tying factors, such as 2 people from the same city. Whats the likelihood that you're going to know everyone in the same city, none. Whats the chances that it might come up in a conversation and add an unspoken bond between the two, rather decent. Let them form their own backgrounds. If the players want to be with one another, they'll call/email eachother and discuss what to do. Otherwise let them be their version of Logan, Bruce, Mal, or Spock.
As for setting, the worlds a big place, but when your type (supers) represents... what.. 0.5% of the planet? you'd tend to run into one another eventually. Especially if they're heroes on the move. Imagine you're a superhero and you enter metropolis, unknowing the world as it is, and you do your thing (save someone or something), how long do you think it would take Superman to come say hello? or Bats with Gotham? You're effectively stealing their spotlight, they'd take notice almost instantly. To determine the likely place, let them fill out their background and then indicate where they currently are or doing. Also, you should also use media to your advantage, news crews reporting about the various capes across the planet would be high. People would fear them, and thus demand info on them, the media, as its paid by ratings, would be happy to comply. Perhaps something about a players background makes them curious about another persons powers.

Ofcourse, if you still need an idea, you can always do a capes version of street fighter/tekken, have some form of world tourney for the best individual and team heroes on the planet, with an awesome prize for the winner. Should the players win as a team, have them find out that it was military or main villain organized and they're sentenced to death. They then will escape together, forging an even stronger bond with one another... because nothing says friendship like surviving a hit squad together. :)

Scarey Nerd
2010-06-21, 10:24 AM
Hmm, I'm liking these suggestions guys, thank you all very much! :smallbiggrin:

To whomever sees this: Post ideas if you got 'em, any and all can be incorporated! :smallsmile:

big teej
2010-06-21, 10:43 AM
it being before breakfast, I have nothing to contribute just yet, however, i do have several questions

I'm sure my group would be very interested in running a pheonix game at some point. does the system work well? (works at all levels etc) who publishes it? and should i get my hopes up that the local comic shop will carry it?

Scarey Nerd
2010-06-22, 10:29 AM
it being before breakfast, I have nothing to contribute just yet, however, i do have several questions

I'm sure my group would be very interested in running a pheonix game at some point. does the system work well? (works at all levels etc) who publishes it? and should i get my hopes up that the local comic shop will carry it?

PMed :smallsmile: