Brainstorm for a Metahuman universe - Meta-Republic

Cheap genomes​


Marine scientists collect genetic material in the Salish Sea to study whales​


Quirks and Quarks has long been my inspiration for all things science.

edit: ooh just found this.

so much data, so little time.
 

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Dannyalcatraz

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Pretty much any gene-splicing super shenanigans has obvious consequences. Edit in some DNA to create chromatophores, and your human subject can camouflage themselves like an octopus or chameleon. Or give them nematocysts for a stinging touch. Toxic secretions or venomous bites could be created by using arthropod, amphibian or reptilian DNA.

But you might also want to include the possibility of unintentional consequences. A small percentage chance of getting unexpected results…good or bad. Think…like the AD&D psionics or potion mixing rules, or the wild magic rules in later editions.
 

agreed.

I'm a sucker for a bit of randomness in superpowers, but it has to be balanced so you don't roll up a character that is unplayable.

I'm thinking archetypes (ex. Brick, Blaster, Mentalist) with a random mutation table for flavor?
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
The last supers game I played in we came up with the theory that Supers had a genetic factor that triggered a Bio-Adaptive Defence in response to physical or mental trauma. Somehow when those with BAD genes undergo trauma, their bodies would absorb the tauma source and then adapt at the genetic level eg someone caught in a fiery explosion would absorb the flame into themselves and adapt - perhaps by gaining a fireform, someone crushed by a collapsed roof would absorb the bludgeon damage then adapt by gaining super-durability and strength or they might adapt by teleporting to escape - that was the random bit, but always tied to the initial trauma source …
 
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aco175

Legend
I'm still confused on 2005 being the first babies born with superpowers and 2015 being the campaign start, and how there are all these teams of supers and laws about them and 50 state groups, and super vet groups- all for 10 year-olds.

I might group the 50 state initiative into smaller numbers and have chapters in states where it makes sense. A science chapter might exist in several states and have a command chapter in just one place.

After reading the opening speech from the President I know that I would likely side with Captain America (the old one) or Magneto. You should probably not use real names for Presidents and such since they bring in the politics associated with them, or maybe even infringement stuff. I would also play more in a game of rogue/independent supers going against the government tracking and oversight rather than a game where you work for the government tracking rogue supers. There should be some way to get that in the game.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
I'm still confused on 2005 being the first babies born with superpowers and 2015 being the campaign start, and how there are all these teams of supers and laws about them and 50 state groups, and super vet groups- all for 10 year-olds.
My mind rationalized that as there being supers who acquired their powers in various ways prior to 2005, and 2005 marks the first time anyone manifested powers from birth or childhood.
 
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I'm still confused on 2005 being the first babies born with superpowers and 2015 being the campaign start, and how there are all these teams of supers and laws about them and 50 state groups, and super vet groups- all for 10 year-olds.

I might group the 50 state initiative into smaller numbers and have chapters in states where it makes sense. A science chapter might exist in several states and have a command chapter in just one place.

After reading the opening speech from the President I know that I would likely side with Captain America (the old one) or Magneto. You should probably not use real names for Presidents and such since they bring in the politics associated with them, or maybe even infringement stuff. I would also play more in a game of rogue/independent supers going against the government tracking and oversight rather than a game where you work for the government tracking rogue supers. There should be some way to get that in the game.
let me tweak that.

my original goal for this universe was that most superpowers are genetic are in nature and have happened throughout history, but the gene mapping project allowed it to be done consistently, with the first of this in 2005 essentially creating a meta "baby boom."

My headcannon is that a lot of internet reviewers from 2008-2011 ended up as the first round of mass produced metahumans. :D

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One of my original goals for this project is to make the local gamable, hence the 50 states each having their own metahuman team, giving it a sports team feel in action and rivalries which will cause it's own issues.

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Part of the fun of the framework is seeing how many people have a visceral response to such of a system. You can play the plucky heroes that are raging against the machine, but without the machine you're a rebel without a cause.

It's certainly possible that there are organizations like Knight Industries, the Phoenix Foundation or a rich bald dude somewhere in New York that support metahumans, but honestly, these feel like a bigger unicorn then governmental structures not abusing their powers in such a world.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
I'm thinking archetypes (ex. Brick, Blaster, Mentalist) with a random mutation table for flavor?
Well, DC didn’t really do flawed heroes in its early decades. But a substantial portion of the early Marvel Comics heroes DID have flaws, and that helped with distinguishing them, making them iconic.

For instance, several of Marvel’s Bricks- heroic and villainous- were deformed or monstrous from the human POV. The Hulk, The Thing, The Abomination, Juggernaut and others were all so clearly other that the writers could draw on Frankenstein and other horror classics to crib notes from. And they were all different enough from each other that each was distinctive.

Marvel’s Blasters sometimes had issues with self control. Mentalists with drawbacks were often idiosyncratic in their flaws.

In HERO, every PC over a certain campaign limit will have disadvantages, and almost all will have hard-coded limitations to their abilities. In other systems, it’s not always as cut & dried.

So for something like this, I’d recommend a cooperative approach to PC creation.

When I ran a HERO supers campaign based largely on the Space:1889 setting, I took a lot of effort clarifying what would or wouldn’t work. A decade later, I tried dusting off that setting for a different group using the M&M rules, and took a more hands-off approach. Unfortunately, that created issues that were detrimental to the campaign’s viability.
 
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Well, DC didn’t really do flawed heroes in its early decades.
The various Doctors Mid-Nite have all been blind or nearly blind in normal lighting. Admittedly a minor flaw for them thanks to tech and operating in the dark, but even Daredevil's blindness is only a hindrance when the writer feels like it. The Doom Patrol was explicitly written as a group of flawed characters that society wouldn't ever fully accept or trust. How well DC accomplished that is debatable (Rita in particular has powers that aren't really a flaw), but the intent certainly lead to inevitable comparisons with the X-Men who came out just slightly before DP. Metamorpho constantly bemoaned his appearance and wanted to be rid of his powers, to the point where Ben Grimm would have told him to take it down a notch. The Metal Men had the same kind of trust issues the Doom Patrol and X-Men did on top of constantly having their personhood called into question. Swamp Thing is...well, Swamp Thing, and definitely a more tragic figure before he was retconned into never having been an actual human being trapped in a monstrous body. Man-Bat flirted with hero status on occasion and is pretty horrifying when using his powers. I'm probably forgetting other examples.

So there were some heroes with drawbacks in the earlier days (pre-80s, anyway), but they're rarer and lower-profile than Marvel's were for sure.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
So there were some heroes with drawbacks in the earlier days (pre-80s, anyway), but they're rarer and lower-profile than Marvel's were for sure.
That was what I intended to assert, but did so poorly. Thanks for doing a better job of that!👍🏽

I will note, though, that Doom Patrol didn’t appear until the 1960s- DC had been publishing superhero comics for decades before they popped up.
 

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