So in the interest of collaborative storytelling transparency …
[Which I still find a challenge, because my writerly instinct is to keep this kind of stuff hidden until an appropriate reveal, but this isn’t that sort of game or campaign.]
… here’s who I’ve come up with for my Respect people. I am required to take at least 2, up to 6. I have 3, and each presents, I think, their own challenge, level of access, and potential for storytelling.
This is all still subject to approval from the GM, but I wanted to share while I had a few minutes, and see if anyone had some additional ideas or reactions.
1. Agent Parker
This one is mostly obvious and was discussed here and elsewhere. But I have an additional spin on it, which sort of hit me like a hammer about the head this morning.
- Parker has had a distinct interest in Alycia, to the point of being willing to host her at her duplex.
- Parker has (it has been hinted in cutscenes) a child about which there’s a certain degree of unhappy emotion (“Don’t call me ‘mother,’ please,” she says to Alycia, among other things).
- One of the Respect categories is “Your parent’s greatest victim”
Agent Elizabeth Parker of CRISP (Crown Resource for Investigating Superpowered Persons, a division of MI.5) resented and disapproved of the irresponsibility of her daughter, Jenna, in taking a wanderjahr before going up to university. In fact, they had quite the row over it. That resentment curdled into something quite different when Jenna was killed as collateral damage in a Halcyon City security incident involving Dr. Achilles Chin. Parker applied for and received a liaison transfer to the CRISP’s American counterpart agency, AEGIS, which was taking the (unsuccessful) global forefront in tracking down Dr. Chin.
When Alycia Chin came in from the cold, Parker pulled all the strings necessary to be assigned as her interrogator and, then, handler. Only Director Costigan, who approved the assignment after some very long conversations, knows of her past connection to these matters. She has thus far performed with the utmost degree of professionalism.
Alycia wants her Respect as a calm, efficient, unflappable security professional, who has actually seemingly shown an interest in Alycia as a person, not (just) as a weapon or tool. She has no inkling of anything else (so far).
[I mentioned all this to Doyce this morning by email, very excited. He was, “Yeah, I had thought about something like that but hadn’t mentioned it yet.” So this one has his approval, though the particulars are being set down here for the first time.]
When Alycia decided that she was going to be a hero (for her complex array of reasons), and be in Halcyon City (likewise), she started researching the resident supers there that fit her ideals.
Lakota Sioux psychic - transmutes psychometric energy into psychokinetic energy, allowing themselves to grow stronger around places and objects of great historical significance. Dresses in traditionalist garb, but this is (a) because this is literally their power source and (b) doing so promotes cultural & political goals. The adult Legacy.
Neither likes nor is liked by the U.S. government. Very outspoken (peaceful) activist on many topics.
Likes to repost the Morpheus “What if I told you… you could care about more than one thing?” meme.
Writing an indie comic book.
(Harry) Never around the base, 33% at meetings, but 100% reliable when called on for ‘the work.’ A10’s uncle.
This guy punches all her political “what does a good hero look like?” buttons. He’s authentic. He’s from an oppressed people who’s doing something useful for the broader population. He doesn’t truckle to the power structure, and in turn is not liked by them (but they are forced to accept his contributions). He’s an activist and outspoken about it. He works within the system (the HHL), but doesn’t let it control him. And he’s kept at it even after the HHL has fallen apart.
If she could be more like him, earn his Respect, then she’d feel like maybe she’s a heroic figure, too.
She hasn’t had a chance to approach him yet, but that will likely happen when an opportunity presents.
(The fact he’s A10’s uncle allows for some additional entertainment, I should think.)
3. Eloise Newhart, Mayor of Halcyon City
[I don’t believe we’ve talked much if anything about the city government, so I’m asserting this as something new. Feel free to kick at it.]
Newhart is a long-time Halcyon politico, but was just elected Halcyon mayor in the aftermath of recent debacles …
… invasions by Vyortovians and supernatural creatures
… the scandal about the HHL and their inability to step up after it
… youth heroes roaming the streets, doing property damage
… the Rookbot fiasco
Newhart, a centrist Democrat, ran on a strong law & order platform, promising to take back control of the streets for the citizenry of the city, but less in terms of dealing with criminals and more in terms of reforming the city’s dependence on uncontrolled superhero teams…
This is not the reactionary anti-super “outlaw powers” rhetoric of the type one once saw in the 60s and 70s. More the idea that (a) the super-vigilante population needs to be leashed in a bit, to be more responsible, and (b) the HCPD and civil agencies need to step up their game (a lot) to protect the citizenry, not simply depend on freelancers and unaccountable groups.
To that end, she’s announced the SAPHe Initiative (a Secure and Powerful Halcyon, pronounced “safe”), following the example of some other cities in the US (Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston) and creating an official city superhero team (name to be determined by popular vote), working within the police department structure (and training) (sort of a SWAT force, only with more extraordinary weapons and tactics). She’s drawing on business group support in the city to help with funding and PR and recruiting. Particularly after the Rook event, there’s plenty of public and business support for this sort of thing.
(Nobody is being outlawed, and the HHL are not formally on the outs with City Hall, but they simply won’t have most-favored status with the city’s government, and will be subject to the same scrutiny and oversight as any other registered hero or team there.)
Newhart is strong, no-nonsense, has a good political sense for the city’s people and what worries them, and, while apparently as honest as any politician, is willing to do what it takes to advance her agenda and career. She’s already shown up in a list of “Twenty Top Upcoming Leaders” in TIME, and there’s talk about gubernatorial runs in the next several years, and quite likely something higher after that.
From Alycia’s perspective, she’s a politician, thus a tool of the oligarchy, and probably has enough skeletons in her closet to make a Ray Harryhausen movie. But it’s clear that she will need Newhart’s Respect (win some degree of influence over her) in order to succeed in Halcyon, at least as long as she’s in power. This is a pragmatic choice, not one from the heart.
[This one has the most potential impact on the game/team, so if people want it reined it in I’ll be happy to. My intent here is not to go down the trope of Registration Acts and Outlawing Vigilantes and Civil Wars and Keene Acts and the like, but add in a bit of political friction and challenge with the powers that be. The Menagerie still gets to operate, but there might be some discussion of consequences the next time the front of Metro General Hospital gets all its glass shattered.]
[Also, this is a place where things could go south should Alycia’s identity become known.]
Anyway, that’s what I got. Thoughts welcome.
author: *** Dave H.