Update 46

by David Meadows 9. March 2018 23:32

Strikeforce have gone ... Back to the Future! Yes, that's what I used as the title of chapter 22. So sue me.

In other news, I've been playing with various ways of making the day-by-day history pages look cleaner, and I think I've found a layout that I like. I've started somewhere out-of-the-way -- the beginning of the 23rd century -- so if I decide I hate it I won't have too much stuff to undo. You can take a look at the timelines for 2301, 2302, 2320, and 2322 and see what you think.

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Research

by David Meadows 7. March 2018 23:49

When I started this 30 years ago, I'm pretty sure I never expected to one day be researching how Charles de Gaulle escaped to England in World War 2.

 

"At around 09:00 on the morning of 17 June he flew to London on a British aircraft with Edward Spears. The escape was hair-raising, with Spears' aide having to run to the hangar at the last minute to fetch a rope to tie on the luggage. Spears claimed that de Gaulle had been reluctant to come, and that he had pulled him into the aircraft at the last minute."

 

If that's not a scenario waiting to happen, I don't know what is.

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Historical woes

by David Meadows 4. March 2018 00:34

Quite a productive day's writing, but I've uncovered some serious problems in my historical timeline:

  • I've completely miscalculated the date the Warscout appeared on Earth. It doesn't affect his story, but it does affect some historical incidents I wanted him to be responsible for.
  • The history of the Anarchists is a bit murky, and I'll need to do some serious work to get it properly documented.
  • The age of Edward Mallard is all wrong. I think this is unfixable.
  • Don't even start me on the Atlantean world wars. I think I may have to say that some Atlantean events occurred in an alternate universe.

Really I'm the only person that's ever going to be bothered by any of this stuff, nobody else will notice even if they're regular readers (and/or players). But I've noticed, and it's all really annoying.

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I don't know what this means!

by David Meadows 3. March 2018 15:36

Portia fimbriata.

I have a long list of pages to write for the site, character names and other things I want to document. Working down the list this morning, I stopped, momentarily baffled, at "Portia fimbriata".

I soon realised it's a reference from this news story, which to all intents and purposes seems irrelevant to anything else that's going on. It actually is relevant, but it's not a plot thread I'm going to be following in the near future.

But Portia fimbriata is just a genus of spider, a real-world thing, and I'm not documenting real world things. So I'm crossing it off the list.

Yay, only 453 things left to write about!

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Snow Warning

by David Meadows 2. March 2018 22:28

There will be no update this week due to inclement weather.

(Where's Fury when she's needed?)

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Update 45

by David Meadows 23. February 2018 23:53

It's a Heroes chapter, but with a difference. Relaxing briefly at Huey's house, our heroes hear the story of one of Don's early adventures: Once Upon a Time in Los Angeles.

Readers who have also been following the Strikeforce story might be a little confused, so I'll explain that this takes place a couple of years after the events I'm currently telling in Strikeforce. But don't worry, the villains in this story will turn up soon. In fact, one of them might already be a bit familiar...

Rounding out this week's offering are a couple of biographies: Fury and Tracker, who both featured in very recent Strikeforce chapters. Gosh, it's almost as if I had a plan.

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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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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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