Government sponsored teams

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Postby zornwil » Tue Jun 10, 2003 10:27 pm

CPXB wrote:
This is part of the limitation of the four-color genre. It's pretty hard to do investigation when you almost always wear superhero garb -- and few superhero teams are designed with investigation in mind.

In my opinion, four-color superhero stories almost inevitably collapse when you start adding too much more than emergency reaction and personal melodrama to the mix. Once you have characters doing stuff like serious investigation, undercover work and related activities, the conventions that define four-color superhero comics disintergrate.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing, by the way. I'm just opinioning that once characters start doing "serious" and "realistic" investigations, four-color conventions take a beating.


I've found about half the players like "realistic" investigations (in that comic book/less realistic pulp way of the eventual break with a witness, the threads that conveniently fit, lots of illegal surveillance and breaking and entering, etc., not months and months of hard work). The other half range from being along for the ride and giving color commentary to sitting in sullen silence waiting for the brainiacs to get out of the way and quit hogging the limelight.

This requires balancing things. Sometimes I throw in a semi-related combat that isn't heavy or too plot-distracting but gives a nice change of pace. Other times I just switch over to the non-investigating plyers' subplot(s). And also giving the investigators enough challenge that they need special abilities to get their foot in the door helps because then they start enlisting everyone's help.

Just my 2 cents (again, as my last submit got an error - hope this doesn't double-post, but I don't see another post now so I think it's okay).
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Postby Dominique » Sun Jun 15, 2003 5:52 pm

Just out of curiousity, how does the government handle people with powers in your campaigns? Are they distrusted? Are they required to register with the government? Are they neutral?
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Postby palehorse » Sun Jun 15, 2003 5:56 pm

In my game, they're just people... They employ the ones they can use, arrest the ones who break laws, and leave the rest alone.
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Postby companyman » Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:10 pm

I’ll throw my two cents in and this is based on a real world perspective not a four-color one.

IMO the gov’t would see meta-humans as a threat that would need to be monitored closely (ie the national reaction to terrorism). The common citizen would support the gov’t in this effort because if meta-humans really existed the general public would be interested in them but also afraid. Uncontrolled “weapons” that could be used to threaten innocent people or the American way of life would be watched, controlled, or neutralized. Neutralized does not necessarily mean killed. The gov’t would publicly portray uncontrollable metas as a threat to society that needed to be incarcerated. Gov’t super teams would spend most of their time getting other metas under control.

The government would try to “recruit” as many meta-humans as possible. Those recruits would be studied and exploited to support the greater good. How the meta-humans would be used would depend on their abilities. Metas with the ability to read minds, control minds, remotely view a location, or support other covert collection techniques would be more valuable than combatants. The most valuable assets would be metas that could detect other metas or the use of super abilities. This would primarily be used to locate metas and prevent the above mentioned collection techniques being used against the US.

In the real world, the gov’t only needs a few real Special Operators or combatant because most situations can be handle without their use. The FBI is a perfect example - they very rarely use their SWAT teams and HRT is almost never used. The DOD or DHS would likely control the majority of US metas and all under one command each. Big government would not allow in-fighting between teams in any real sense. Think of it in the same way the gov’t now controls nukes (the Navy has them and so does the Air Force but they're controlled by the National Command Authority). Congress would very closely monitor the use of metas with more oversight then you could imagine, every incident would be a debate.

Super-villains would be located, monitored, and “handled” long before they would ever get the chance to build a “doomsday” weapon, form an army, or fly their death ship within range. In the event a problem developed too quickly to be handle any other way, a massive response would be applied to end the incident extremely fast, as quietly as possible, and to deter future threats.

How to apply this to a four-color setting or a campaign: The gov’t sponsored team would have be extremely disciplined, professional, and completely loyal. Rogue agents would be off the team and likely incarcerated like a villain (can’t have those “weapons” just running around). The team would be large, well trained, and carry the authority of Federal Agents or the US militray. If the players were combatants or a “response team” then the “missions” would be short, violent, and likely covert. If the players were “collectors” the missions would be longer, focused, and definitely covert.
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Postby Dominique » Sat Aug 02, 2003 4:20 pm

Well I actually spenta little bit of time working on my US government team. I'll post a quick background history if you guys are interested in looking at it.
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Postby Chrono » Sat Aug 02, 2003 6:59 pm

In the game I'm currently involved in, the PC's were recruited, to inherit the resources (headquarters, expense acct. etc.) from a beloved WWII hero, the Patriot. In the two games I've played in so far we've been given the leniancy to generally do what we want, but are given a heads up by the STF (Super Human Task Force), when our help is needed in a situation. Our GM leaves the fact finding and investigation up to us, although we do have access to some resources from the STF as well as the Patriot's estate. So far I've enjoyed the game a lot, and like the idea, but that's just me :wink:

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Postby Dr. Spectrum » Sat Aug 02, 2003 7:02 pm

Let's just hope your goverment sponsered team campain turns out better than the crappy relaunch that Marvel did for Alpha Flight. Lex Luthor's working for the Canadian goverment and the team is full of cliches! Aaaah! Run away, run away!
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Postby Chrono » Sat Aug 02, 2003 8:12 pm

So far our team has faired relatively well, although we were not exactly "successful" in our first encounter with what I'm sure will be a recurring villain :lol:

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Postby Dominique » Sun Aug 03, 2003 1:03 pm

As promissed ,here's the back story I've worked out so far. Let me know what you think of it.


Joint Meta-Human Security Task Force
(JMHSTF)

The Joint Meta-Human Security Task Force (JMHSTF) was formed in the wake of the disastrous attempt to rescue the US hostages from Iran (Operation Eagle Claw), in 1980. As part of the planning process for a possible second rescue attempt, the National Command Authority (NCA) directed that a team of specially selected and trained meta-humans be formed.

Designated the Joint Meta-Human Security Task Force , the team, operating under the codename “Alfa Blue” , would draw it’s initial cadre from the military, law enforcement, and various government security agencies. Of the twenty meta-humans initially selected, only nine completed the rigorous selection process.

With the release of the hostages from Iran, the second mission was cancelled, but many within the government felt that the team was to valuable an asset to disband. After being heavily lobbied by members of Congress, a Presidential Directive was issued formalizing the team’s status, as of 1 October, 1981.

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia the team operates under the direct control of Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), or when directed by the President, under the supervision of the US Attorney General. Instances where this would occur would include large scale attacks by meta-humans, terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), during the apprehension of tier one meta-human fugitives, etc.

The Government was forced to admit the existence of the team when one of its members was killed during the 1983 invasion of Grenada. Stryker, the team’s first commander, was leading a group of USAF special operations aircraft though a rainstorm, toward one of the islands airports, when he was repeatedly hit by anti-aircraft. After action reports of the incident state that even though he was severely wounded, he managed to destroy several enemy positions, allowing the transports to safely deliver their loads of Army Rangers on the airfield. Unfortunately, Stryker refused medical attention, and flew off to attempt to assist a group of Navy SEALs that were pinned down at the home of the island’s governor. He flew out to sea and headed in their direction, and was not heard from again. A team of Navy divers managed to recover his body several days later.
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Postby Dominique » Mon Aug 04, 2003 6:31 pm

OK people, some type of feed back would be nice. Do you like it, does it suck?
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Postby TheDayKnight » Tue Aug 05, 2003 7:51 am

The name, while sounding very realistic and red-tapish, doesn't roll off the tongue very well...
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PHOENIX and SUPER PATRIOTS

Postby Captain Claymore » Tue Aug 05, 2003 9:06 am

My players tend to be very "sneaky". Consisting of a lot of powers that lend themselves well to covert missions. One character, Shadowstrike, got some bad publicity after killing several corporate security guards while attempting to apprehend a metavillian linked with a worldwide criminal organization. A UN linked organization called Phoenix was also after the same villain. When the villain was captured by the players, Phoenix offered to clear Shadowstrike's name and offer the players a job as covert meta-agents. Sort of a behind the scenes Superteam who get no credit for their heroics but work to stop both mundane and meta terrorist plots around the world.

Phoenix is a truly good organization sponsored by wealthy, philanthropic members of the world community. The organization is well connected throughout most of the world and has regional headquarters all over the globe. Their newest headquarters is based in Infinity City, Oregon (the campaign city). This is all a new development so I don't have a lot of details about the organization. I'm sort of developing as I go.

There is one US team called the Super Patriots that are considered a special branch of the military. Again I haven't fleshed out the group but I imagine they have a very public face and special sanction when it comes to meta-threats. Since their so public I imagine their just as worried about giving the government good press as protecting the people.

It seems inconceivable to me that the US government wouldn't possess several black op type meta units for the real dirty work of running a world power government. I don't have any specifics on such groups in my campaign but you can bet they're out there.
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ditto in my world

Postby Giddoen » Wed Aug 06, 2003 9:48 am

palehorse wrote:In my game, they're just people... They employ the ones they can use, arrest the ones who break laws, and leave the rest alone.


My players work for U.S.E.R. and are watched by a seasoned vetran of the agency and they are funded by the govnt. but I have plans for them....<insert evil laugh here>!
I could be nice...but wheres the fun in that!
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Postby Gamer X » Thu Aug 07, 2003 1:34 pm

Dominique wrote:OK people, some type of feed back would be nice. Do you like it, does it suck?


I like the backstory, but how does it relate to the current game? What does this Stryker fella have to do with current things, 20 years later (that is, if your game is set in current times)? Is this group (the JMHSTF) the backers for the PCs or NPCs? I guess I'm not sure of the relevance of JMHSTF to your present game situation. (But then, it's the end of the workday and I'm pretty frazzled.)

Speaking of NPCs, I REALLY liked the team you posted earlier (Proctor, Impact, et. al.). Very good concept and individual members. Thanks for sharing!

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Postby Dominique » Sat Aug 09, 2003 2:45 pm

One thing I forgot to add was the team's codename, Alpha Blue. :oops:

As to how the team relates to the current game, they are the primary NPC group players will come into contact with. I’ll continue to flesh out the back-story, and contact it all together.

I’ll also add additional info on the team’s current roster and their stats.
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