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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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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Update 42

by David Meadows 26. January 2018 23:12

Something unusual this week. The Strikeforce chapter (Chapter 20: Panther Trap) is a "solo" adventure of Nightflyer, and it's by a guest writer, Stuart Forster. 

I never planned (or expected) to use guest writers, but Stuart is the the original creator of Nightflyer, so this chapter is as authentic as anything else in the Strikeforce story. After all, Stuart knows how Nightflyer really thinks and feels; I only pretend I know.

And just so it looks like I've done at least a bit of work this week, I've written a who's who entry for the first Greywolf. The useful thing about writing about characters who have died in the story is that I don;t have to worry about ever updating them as new information is revealed.

Talking about updating, I've made a slight amendment to the Strikeforce encyclopaedia entry to add Astra as an associate member. Will she ever be promoted to a "full" member? You'll have to keep reading...

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Update ... 40, I think

by David Meadows 12. January 2018 22:00

Months overdue. No excuses. I'll aim to get back to a weekly schedule, but it might be a bit light until I build up a decent reserve of content. Next week should go ahead as I already have Heroes #20 ready, but I'm not sure after that...

So, this week we've got a new Strikeforce chapter, chapter 19, "Major Changes", called that because ... well, you'll see.

The other content is a bit light. I want to flesh out the Defense League of America (seen in Strikeforce chapter 7 and scheduled to recur several times) so I've started with the Green Knight. And I want to build up more of the immediate pre-Strikeforce history, so there's a timeline of important events in 1986. I've been thinking of a complete revamp of the history section because the format doesn't quite work, so this might be the last timeline update for a while while I work on a new look and architecture for it.

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Update (week 36)

by David Meadows 5. May 2017 21:17

This week, the conclusion to the "Avatar" two-part tale: Strikeforce chapter 18: Karoona.

Avatar has been dragged to Hell, but I'm sure he'll be ok. I mean, he's a demon anyway, right?


     His arms and legs were bound to it by iron chains. On Earth, Avatar’s strength would have shattered the manacles without an effort. But here, the manacles were as strong as Karoona willed them to be. After a token effort, he hadn’t even tried to break free. 

     Karoona reached down and with one clawed hand he grasped the amulet Avatar always wore around his neck. It was a five-pointed star set in a circle, suspended from a silver chain. It was also the object that a Human wizard had used to bind Karouvicine to the Earthly plane. As long as he wore it, Avatar would retain his free will on Earth.

     Karoona tore the chain from Avatar’s neck. 



If the trauma of reading that doesn't finish you off, you might want to look at the new biographies of a couple of Strikeforce supporting characters: the DICE agent Huey and the villainous Dragon.


Next update next week. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

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Missing players

by David Meadows 2. May 2017 22:31

Sometimes when you're playing a game, you have a player who can't be there for some reason. There are a number of ways to deal with it. If you're in the middle of an adventure, you do your best to continue it while you (as GM) play the missing player's character as fairly as you can. If you're about to start a new adventure, you simply assume the player's character is somewhere else that day, and go on without him.

Or, if you have enough advance notice, you prepare a game that can only take place when the player is absent. For example, when Avatar's player was away for one session, I had Avatar kidnapped by a demon. I couldn't do that if the player was present. Well, I could, but it wouldn't be fair on him to make him just watch, completely uninvolved, while the other players tried to rescue him.

So, Strikeforce chapters 17 and 18: it's all Avatar's player's fault.

It's also the pivotal story of the entire 30-year Game, as I may have mentioned.

Chapter 18 coming this Friday...

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Update (week 34)

by David Meadows 21. April 2017 21:57

In this week's Strikeforce chapter, Avatar gets himself in a spot of bother:


‘If Karoona wants Avatar, then we must foil him. We must retrieve him,’ said the Sorcerer at last.

‘That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you,’ said Nightflyer. ‘So how?’

‘Someone must journey to the Nether Regions and retrieve him.’

‘Why do I get the feeling that’s going to be us and not you?’ asked Scorpio.

‘Oh, I cannot go. Far too dangerous for me to place myself in Karoona’s grasp so openly.’

‘Well, there’s a surprise,’ said Electron.


The most important storyline in Strikeforce's history (and that's not even hyperbole) kicks off in Chapter 17: Haven

Supplementing this, I have two book reviews: Demon City: The Haunting of Vancouver, and It Happens in Underground Car Parks. And yes, both are connected to the story! And just to tidy up a loose end, I've added a really trivial article on Wallis and Wallis.

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Update (week 32)

by David Meadows 24. March 2017 20:46
This week I proudly present chapter 16 of Strikeforce: The Hill, Part II.
Last time, we saw Strikeforce finally discover the hidden Anarchist base. And now...
     ‘The important thing is, we know where it is and we can storm it,’ said Nightflyer. ‘Let’s go now while it’s dark.’
     ‘Hold on,’ cautioned Electron. ‘I’m as keen as anyone, but as we’re pretty sure they have hostages in there ...’
     ‘He’s right,’ said Eastwood. ‘They’ve been there a long time, they’re not going anywhere now. So nobody goes blundering in until we have a plan. That’s an order. Understood?’ He glared around at Strikeforce, daring them to object.
     ‘I’m all about the plans,’ said Nightflyer cheerfully. Electron snorted and Nightflyer gave him an innocent look.
What could possibly go wrong?
On top of that I've done some work on the history pages, added short entries for 1829 and 1849 and tidied up some other bits of the timeline. And I'm afraid that's your lot for this update.

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Week 30

by David Meadows 10. March 2017 22:26

Yes, the hiatus is unforgivable, and I can only apologize and blame various real life stuff.

But finally, here's a new update!

The main story this week is chapter 15 of Strikeforce: The Hill. And Avatar's got a plan for locating the hidden Anarchist base:

‘Don’t you think DICE have tried something as simple as following them before?’ said Electron.

‘But DICE don’t have an insubstantial, invisible, super-fast demon,’ said Nightflyer.

‘That’s me,’ said Avatar, smugly. ‘In astral form.’

‘Eastwood will never go for it,’ said Scorpio.

‘We won’t know until we ask him,’ Nightflyer pointed out.

‘Very well, let’s ask him,’ said Scorpio, standing and putting on his helmet.

‘Now? It’s after midnight.’

‘He’s the head of an international spy organisation. You think he sleeps?’ 


In the Who's Who, we tidy up a loose end by writing up Gemma Webster. And in the Gazetteer, there's an entry for Yucca Mountain.

Yucca Mountain is completely irrelevant to the on-going story, as it's an orphaned plot thread that we never followed up. I was seeding a lot of potential plots around the United States, to give the players some choices about where they wanted to go. They never got to Yucca Mountain, but as is usual for the way I plot, I worked out how the situation played out without them. So it's part of the story, even if it was never part of the Game.

I actually think I did do some indirect follow up years later, but I'm a bit hazy on how it connected without reviewing my notes, so that will have to wait until the Heroes story reaches that point.


There should be another update next week. I'm fairly confident of that.

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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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