Fury

by David Meadows 18. February 2018 22:19

Don't read this until you read chapter 21 of Strikeforce!

Read it? Ok, carry on.

Sometimes in a game, something that you didn't think was a big deal turns into something (excuse the pun) major. (You'll get the pun as you continue reading.)

Fury was a prime example. I had a plot that called for Skyrider to defect from the Anarchists and join DICE. To make this into an interesting game scenario, I needed some villains to chase him so Strikeforce could fight them off. I quickly came up with three new villains, and put in some minimal work to give them backgrounds and personality. Fury was one of them. Somebody born with weather-control powers. Why was she an Anarchist? Er, she had a wild childhood, was serving a jail sentence, and was recruited in that way. There, that's more than enough background for a minor villain I'll probably only use once.

From that humble start, Fury became one of the pivotal characters in the entire game. Not from what she did in the scenario she appeared in, but from what Major Democracy did next.

The player who created "Scorpio" was never entirely happy with the character, and put considerable effort into transforming him into something new: "Major Democracy". Gone was the super-spy with some random powers and a lethal weapon, to be replaced by a living symbol of justice and freedom, carrying a symbolic (and practical) shield and making inspirational (or bombastic, depending on your point of view) speeches at every opportunity. It's a change that, to honest, made little sense within the game's narrative (though I've tried to retroactively rationalise it in the story). It was done just because the player was bored and wanted to play something different.

And then, completely out of the blue, the player said, "I want to visit those villains we just captured."

Uh... why?

"Because I think I should try to make them go straight."

And for me, personally, I think that was the point where the way I viewed the game changed. Major Democracy wasn't just a bored player messing around, it was a player with a fixed idea of what he wanted to do within my universe. This was actually important to him. It was as if he really cared about this world I'd created, and wanted to make a difference in it.

This put a responsibility on me: Major Democracy had to succeed. First, because the player deserved it, but secondly because I needed Major Democracy in my game. Again, I can't explain it, but I just felt something about this character was important. (A feeling that was born out in unexpected ways over the years.)

So, quick thinking-on-my-feet time: at least one Anarchist had to "go straight" in response to the Major's plea. I had to think through the likely reactions of three characters with minimal personalities, and find one that could realistically be swayed. From what I had already decided, obviously Greywolf wouldn't listen. Tracker could, but it felt wrong to me. But Fury...

Fury had to became a hero. Because of Major Democracy. So she did. 

She appeared on very few subsequent occasions--maybe half a dozen. But I made sure she did appear, and was obviously and clearly a hero. The player knew he had succeeded. No, more importantly than that, Major Democracy knew he had succeeded, and so Major Democracy carried on as one of the moral cores of the team.

So, for surprising (I'm sure any of my players reading this are surprised) and improbable reasons, I've always counted the obscure, barely-featured Fury as one of the key foundations of the game. 

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Update 44

by David Meadows 17. February 2018 00:23

This week's Strikeforce update is chapter 21, "Breakthrough", and it has probably the most shocking ending of any chapter so far. Trust me, you won't believe the state our heroes are in by the end of it!

Two background "who's who" files this week: Jerome, to complement last week's revelations about his past, and to go with that we have a bio of Powl the Samurai who also featured in last week's story.

That's your lot this week, but I think the Strikeforce cliffhanger is more than enough to occupy you until the next update...

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Romance (II)

by David Meadows 14. February 2018 23:34

Ok, I was wrong. I just found some kissy stuff in issue 53 of Heroes.

Ewww, kissy stuff!!!

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Romance

by David Meadows 14. February 2018 19:39

Huh. Lovey dovey stuff. I don't really do it. I've tried it, and it's hard to write well. It's fairly easy to plot--basically all Romance novels have a very simplistic formula--but hard to write in convincing prose.

Then consider that the stories of Strikeforce and Heroes grew out of games, and were improvised by a group of men sitting around a table and making up the story as we went along. Romance didn't feature greatly in our ideas. Any that did arise were background things, usually plotted by me to flesh out some characters' personalities.

So basically, don't expect to find any big romantic plots unfolding in these pages. They will be there -- and sometimes will be essential to character or plot progression -- but I'm going to avoid writing about them as much as possible. It's all going to be implied, or understated, or confined to sub-text.

Because writing a convincing romance is hard, much harder than unfolding a mystery plot or pacing a fight scene. Remember that next time you scoff at Romance novels, and don't knock it until you've tried it.

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Skip Week

by David Meadows 6. February 2018 00:27

This is a "planned" skip week, so don't look for an update on Friday.

The reason I'm posting this is so you'll know it's part of a plan and doesn't mean I'm failing to stick to my schedule Wink

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Update 43

by David Meadows 3. February 2018 00:39

This week's story is issue 21 of Heroes: SAMURAI. Last issue we glimpsed the Chicago mob boss POWL THE SAMURAI, but this isn't his story -- it's Jerome's, and we finally learn a bit more about the man who claims to be from the 17th-century (but may be just a figment of Paul's imagination... you decide!)

The bio pages are a bit uninspiring this week. I've got a lot of characters (112 at last count) who have only appeared or been names once in the story, and they're hanging around on my character list like loose ends. So I'm going to try to get some of them written up and on the site. I've started with three who I'm reasonably confident will never be seen again (one is dead in the current Heroes story), and you'll find them under RECENTLY ADDED in the sidebar of the Who's Who index page. There isn't a lot of detail on any of them, simply because they were never designed to be detailed characters, they were throwaway names or faces needed for the plot. But I hate loose ends, so they have to get pages.

Hmm, at three a week it's going to take a long time to get through 112 characters. I might have to re-think this...

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About this blog

The Heroes Universe is an ongoing work of fiction, conceived and chiefly plotted by David Meadows, with help from a group of friends, over a 30-year period.

I am slowly documenting the Universe on this web site.

This blog is a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of that history.

If you're new here, the series of posts listed below will explain what it's all about. I hope...

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