Monday, June 20, 2022

The F.R.E.E. Lancers Cinematic Universe

"The idea was to bring together a group of of remarkable people to see if they could become something more. To see if they could work together when we needed them to, to fight the battles that we never could."

- Nick Fury, The Avengers

I figure at least some of you remember F.R.E.E. Lancers, the Top Secret/S.I. setting supplement from 1988. The game takes place in a fractured America of 1998 with where low-powered supers exist powered by cybertech, biotech, and psychic powers. It's the sort of idea that was kind of in the Zeitgeist of the era, with Marvel's New Universe, Misfits of Science, and some direct market comics offering up low-powered supers, realistic supers, or the like.

It's not an approach much in vogue today, but it isn't a bad one.

An interesting thing I noticed about F.R.E.E. Lancers the other day, the breakdown of the U.S. Federal government began when a politician tried to build a wall along the border with Mexico. In this case, it was a fictional governor of Texas and the year was 1994, but it got me thinking: one way to update F.R.E.E. Lancers would be to make it an alternate present. 

Of course, it would need an update in some ways. Computer tech, the internet, smartphones. Technological advances since that time would have made some of the "superhuman" characters seem all the more plausible:

Other things like psi powers would still remain in a more fantastical realm. I think it would be an interesting mix.

Of course uniforms/costumes would be updated to the current "realistic" style of superheroic movies and tv shows.


JB said...

Sounds a lot like 1st edition Heroes Unlimited.
; )

Jeffrywith1e said...

I remember this RPG and the setting quite fondly. Off to go find the two novels I have based in it.

Trey said...

@JB - FREELancers, you mean? In the sense that it was trying to be lower powered heroes, I guess. Heroes Unlimited is a more trad approach to supers for all that (at least in it's art, there isn't much setting there as I recall), whereas FREELancers is much more a near future world plus super-powers. There aren't a lot of costumed heroes, for instance.

JB said...

I haven't actually seen/read FREELancers, so I was going off your description of the setting/premise and comparing it to the setting/premise of HU. That's really all I meant.

HU was written/designed by a comic book aficionado who wrote/drew for comic books and had comic book friends, so it's not surprising that his game has a traditional costumed hero look to it. But the SENSIBILITIES it brings to its game...low-powered, granular, lacking magic/supernatural, skill based, etc....would seem to fit quite well with what you're describing (at least if one looks at the HU game's original iteration).