Sunday, July 6, 2014

Superize Your Fantasy


“Men and women who had worn suits for decades traded punches powerful enough to crush elephant skulls, dodged and deflected attacks too fast for the eye to follow, and died suddenly, often before the crowd registered the killing blow.
Victors and dead men were separated by a blink of the eye.” 
- No Return: A Novel of Jeroun, Zachary Jernigan

Zero-level funnels and slow grinds to hero-hood are all well and good, but there ought to place for adventurers born to perform great deeds with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Something like Masters of the Universe or the non-science fantasy equivalent of Dreadstar or Guardians of the Galaxy.

This isn't necessarily a new idea. Mythology is full of characters with superhuman abilities. Anime does this too--as does that rpg bastard child of mythology and anime, Exalted. But Super Saiyan martial arts is not the only way to go with this. Check out these guys:


This is the League of Ancients (an Atlantis-era superhero team from JLA). You can read about them on the image there, but just as a highlight, the armored guy above is Tezumak, who gets scientific and technology mastery from his smith god. He powers his armor with blood sacrifice.

In summary: Think about ideas that show up in traditional fantasy and crank up the power level. Make sure that characters are distinctive in there powers. Have them do big things.

8 comments:

Tim Knight said...

Thank you so much for this. It's something I've been thinking about recently with my "discovery" of Kirby's New Gods.

Trey said...

@Tim - That's another great inspriation I unaccountably forgot when righting this post.

Herb Nowell said...

I've grown interested in Exalted again so this is timely. As I do each time I get interested in Exalted I'm disappointed by the heavy anime and East Asian flavor. The later could probably be easily reskinned to Byzantine/Persian/Indian Subcontinent but I'm not sure how to get the anime out.

Trey said...

It's in there deep, but if you ignore the art it might be able to be done.

Tom Ryan said...

I just dug up an old copy of John M Slater's Mystery Men (beta) and it handles OSR / Supers pretty well. throw on a mythic /fantasy campaign world and you are good to go.

Tom Ryan said...

Minos...the greatest port city in the known worlds, it's cliffs dark and slick with sea water...the city itself...built into the obsidian, a winding maze of towering buildings. It's protector: a man-beast that keeps the criminals looking over their shoulder in fear...

Logan said...

Like Exalted very much and I'm thinking about to make a setting like "Avengers" (modern Earth with living gods, half-gods and mighty heroes from other dimensions and worlds) as RPG setting. I love this hi-level stuff and crossovers. So, thank you very much for this post!

Trey said...

@Tom - That's the stuff, right there!

@Logan - You're welcome. That sounds like a cool idea.