Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Campaign Framework: Community Service

SYSTEM: ANY

Spinning off from some thoughts yesterday, a kind of sponsored hero team....

It started when organized crime in Orchard Valley brought in a supervillain. (Less hired, and more finally succumbed to the insistence of one of its higher-placed members, who said they should get with the times.) Their first action, a protection racket, worked quite well until it expanded to the small business neighborhood of Cherrystone, where the owner of the Bran New! bakery refused to pay them. (Cherrystone's motto is Cherrystone—It's not the pits!)

They came around that night to burn down the place and show everyone. They didn’t realize that the pastry chefs are often working late at night to make pastries for the next day. They also didn’t realize that the pastry chef—Gloria Desroches—was a pyrokinetic, so arson was just the wrong approach.

She stopped them. There was collateral damage, because she had never done this hero thing before (she uses her powers to brown crusts and sometimes to caramelize the top of a creme brulee).

They came back with a car to run in the side of the building, but she extinguished the explosions running the engine, and it sputtered to a stop twenty paces from the building. (They did throw rocks and manage to break the window.)

By then, the local chamber of commerce had come to Gloria and asked her to be on call for the neighborhood. She agreed.

The city already had a “superhero”—the city a suit of powered armor seized in a drug raid, and they had been using it sans weapons for community service. The city had a kill switch for it, so there was little risk of an offender going berserk. The powered armor was strong and bulletproof, so it was useful for disaster relief, search and rescue, getting cats out of trees, and so on. Orchard Valley added Cherrystone to its regular route.

The organized crime group added a second supervillain, and Gloria had to work with the suit of powered armor. It still wasn’t a full-time gig: she was a pastry chef and Andrew was a stockbroker working off his DUI. Then organized crime added two supervillains, and Andrew and Gloria were outclassed.

So the chamber of commerce temporarily hired two more heroes. These two were actual heroes: they had powers and chosen to put themselves in harm’s way. They actually made it a team: the Social Protection Agency, or SPA. They put into place protocols and schedules and training regimes.

The players are members of this team. Gloria has since retired (it was interfering with her cooking, and she wanted to set up her own shop), and Andrew’s sentence ended. The power armor suit sits unused, because the user has to fit it: it is a Procrustean deal for all that it can change size slightly.

The team is not a full-time job—there just isn’t enough crime in Cherrystone or even in all of Orchard Valley. But the work of the criminal organization means that there is some crime and the team is necessary.

Ongoing characters would include various business owners (Gloria Desroches might still be around), the organized crime group and their rivals, the team's manager, local civil rights groups and lawyers, and whatever dependents your PCs bring in. Golden Acres