Behind The Scenes

Welcome to my world...

Legacy2020 is a journal dedicated to a Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures campaign set in an alternate DC Universe.

In this particular parallel earth, superheroes emerged in the early 20th Century, then aged in real time, interacting with each other and the world around them, having children and grandchildren and passing on their legacies.

The idea owes something to John Byrne's Generations, of course -- but at least as much to the personal campaigns described by Champions creator Steve Perrin and his cohort Aaron Allston. Originally, I'd planned to incorporate large swaths of Byrne's timeline into my own, but as things progressed, I eventually wound up rejecting most of the details. Such similarities that remain come from our use of common source material.

I also made a point of trying to incorporate as many events from the mainstream comics into the Legacy timeline as I could muster -- at first, just the big Crisis Crossovers, but, as time progressed, more obscure and bizarre examples.

To my surprise, most of current DC continuity makes more sense when viewed through the Legacy "lens"—at least to me. That's the seduction of fan-fiction, isn't it?

The first campaign in this setting focused on Gotham City in the year 2020. It was a solo game, whose only PC was gatewalker's version of a future Robin in a world without a Batman. It's currently on hiatus, but may be revisited eventually. Posts specific to this campaign will be tagged "Gotham 2020".

The current campaign is set in the present day (2011, as of this edit). It's centered around Gateway City, a Fictionopolized" version of San Francisco, and the surrounding communities of the Gateway Bay Area, including Terminal City, Silicon Valley, and Coppertown. Other West Coast locations important to the campaign will include the Coast City Crater and the desolate, half-abandoned regions surrounding it.

This entry is post-dated to keep it at the top of the journal. If this is your first visit, then you should start at the beginning

There are going to be some filtered Spoiler posts that I want to keep from my (one) player, so I friended a few people who know fanfic, comics, or both, in hopes that my first tentative forays into fanfic might prove amusing. If you want to see the Sooper Seekrit Spoiler Stuff, add a comment to this post!

Different kinds of posts will be distinguished by different icons:
Setting the Stage: background information, timelines, and so forth.
Behind the Scenes: How I put the background together, the decisions I made, the shout-outs and homages to canon continuity.
The Adventures of Robin: 2020! Summaries of actual game sessions.
You know, I need to change this.
Spoiler Warning!! Posts that reveal details of the setting and Big Story Arc. Filtered to keep the players from inadvertantly stumbling across them; LJ-Cut for those In The Know who'd still rather not know until the Big Reveal.
Player Characters and Supporting Cast: Who they are, and how they came to be.
Game Mechanics: Nitty-gritty wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey gamey-geeky stuff. Character sheets for villains and allies, mostly. LJ-Cut out of consideration for those who have no interest in M&M unless it has a hard candy shell.

Welcome aboard, and I hope you have as much fun as I've been having!

Legacy2020 is a Mutants & Masterminds campaign set in an alternate DC Universe. This non-commercial transformative work is in no way is intended to violate the intellectual property rights of the creators and copyright holders.
Parallel Worlds

Beware My Power

Well, the Legacy game is up and running again, or at least in the process of booting up. This time, there's more than one player—and it's taking place in the present day of 2011, rather than the (increasingly-less-futuristic) near-future of 2020.

I'm not going to change the username, though.

I'm going to be posting some general background for my players soon, to share with All and Sundry. This Legacy timeline isn't quite the same as the 2020 of Vanessa "Robin" Crowning, nor are the campaign themes precisely the same.

Before we dive into the details ,though, let's take a look at the Big Picture: namely, the Whole Damned Milky Way Galaxy.

I should state right off the bat that I love Geoff Johns' conceit that the Great Battery on Oa powers all those rings by tapping into the Collective Will of the Entire Universe*. I think the "Emotional Spectrum" is an inspired idea, and that Mr. Johns is wringing the concept for all it's worth.

* Yeah, tell me again how the rings are "entirely technological" and "not at all magical".

All it's worth. I have neither the need nor the inclination to tell stories of the Rainbow Lantern Corps: Mr. Johns is telling those tales, and telling them well.

Ultimately, though, the Green Lantern Corps is science fiction&mdashand my tastes in science fiction run slightly harder than Mr. Johns'.

So what is the power source behind the The Most Powerful Weapon Tool In the Universe when Your Obedient Serpent has the reins?

Well, let's set down some axioms:

  1. Space is big. Insert obligatory Douglas Adams quote here.
    • Unlike too many GL writers, including the vaunted Mr. Johns, I know the difference between "universe" and "galaxy", and the sphere of Oan influence is most definitely the latter.
    • In his novel, Superman: Last Son of Krypton, Eliot S! Maggin explicitly defines the jurisdiction of the Guardians as "the Areas of Dominant Gravitation of all stars and black holes in the Milky Way Galaxy."
    • Oa, obviously, isn't at "the center of the Universe". That's a gibberish phrase; if there's a "center" to the universe, its geometry isn't such that a planet could reside there. Azathoth, yes; Oa, no.
    • Less obviously, it can't be a planet at the center of the galaxy, either. There's a supermassive black hole there, and, from all indications, at the center of every other galaxy, as well.

  2. Time is deep.
    • The Guardians are old. We're talking Lovecraftian old. The Guardians watch stars form and die.
    • The region around the black hole at the galaxy's core is full of both old main sequence stars, and massive, young stars that apparently formed in a single event a few million years ago. From what I've been reading, this may be an event that occurs periodically.
      • The Guardians are older than that. They were active as the Guardians before that.

    • Once again, Mr. Maggin provides useful dates: I'm going to say that the Guardians took on the mantle about eight billion years ago, inspired by the teachings of Sonnabend the Prophet.

  3. The Cosmos is dynamic.
    • Most GL writers don't get that. Stars orbit the galactic center. They're born and die, and both ends of their life-span are massively energetic events. "Stellar nursery" sounds so placid, doesn't it? Think "stellar crucible", instead, and you're closer to the mark.
      • Some stars are stable and long-lived. Others have much, much shorter spans, massive blue stars that burn out in a few million years rather than billions.

    • The Guardians are old enough to be a Kardashev Class III civilization, controlling the energy output of a significant fraction of the Milky Way Galaxy.

  4. Hal Jordan isn't that bright, even by the standards of a planet whose combined population is a whopping Sixth Level Intelligence. Much of our vocabulary for dealing with the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians was filtered through Hal's perceptions1, and, frankly, Hal wasn't quite prepared for the staggering magnitude of the cosmic revelations to which he was exposed.
    • "Oa" does not, properly, refer to the planet upon which the Guardians currently reside. That is better translated as "Oa Control".
      • "Oa Control" has moved several times over the aeons since the Guardians migrated from Malthus.2 Stars die, after all, and--do I really need to say it again? The Guardians are older than that.
      • Their proper title isn't "The Guardians of the Universe". It's "The Guardians of Oa".
      • Oa, in fact, refers to the astronomical power-reactor of the galaxy's core, of which Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole, is only a single component.
      • The Guardians are responsible for the stellar creation event of a few million years ago. It was a key part in re-engineering the entire Galactic center to suit their purposes.
      • Those purposes, of course, include the creation of the Green Lantern Corps.
        • Mr. Maggin, again, says that the Guardians had been "experimenting" with the GLC "[f]or a bit more than a million years."

      • Those individual Power Batteries, and the Rings they charge, are the terminal points of Einstein-Rosen Bridges which can channel a significant fraction of the entire power of a black hole as massive as four million Suns.
      • Damn, I just gave myself chills.

So, yeah. The Guardians should come off as a Type III Post-Human Civilization with slightly Lovecraftian overtones, who move planets and forge stars to serve their purposes. The little blue Jewish guys? They're just sleeves to interact with the troops.

A couple of other notes:
  • Yes, the GLC got decimated repeatedly during the 25-year Crisis. It's getting put back together. A 25-year gap in a million-year-old organization? This has probably happened before. This is not without precedent.
  • For that matter, this kind of spacetime crisis is probably not without precedent ... whoa.

1 That first appearance in Showcase went something like this:
Abin Sur: "This is my Power Battery."
Hal: "It looks like a green lantern!"
Abin Sur: "Sure, let's go with that."

2 I will probably have to declare the story in which Mr. O'Neil declared that the Guardians migrated from Malthus, and Malthus is still around and (overly) full of ordinary humanoids, as apocryphal. Ah well.
* What are you looking down here for? That asterisk isn't a footnote; that's part of the black hole's name.

Parallel Worlds

This is a story of Gotham.

Gotham, alas, has seen better days.
Gotham Skyline
The turn of the Millennium hit the city like Biblical prophecy. The plague of '96, the earthquake of '98, and the gang war of 2004 nearly broke the city. Its economic recovery, such as it is, has hinged largely upon legalized gambling, leaving the casinos as the city's major economic power. While the riverfront and harbor casinos are huge, luxurious resorts, the casino district quickly gives way to great stretches of urban decay and canyons of neon-lit concrete. The advent of flying cars and hovertrucks have left the surface streets neglected, but the bulk of transportation still travels in ground vehicles, along elevated high-speed expressways that criss-cross the city itself and the Greater Gotham Area.

In the Crisis of 2006, the Batman sacrificed himself to save, so the other heroes claim, "everything". After protecting Gotham for more than six decades, his identity has never been revealed to the public at large.

Wild conspiracy theories claim that there was more than one Batman, that a succession of different individuals passed on the mantle of Gotham's protector. Most reasonable people, however, believe that there was just one man, blessed or cursed with preternatural longevity and resilience, who applied his decades or centuries of experience and the latest technology available in his crusade against crime.
Parallel Worlds

Welcome to 2020.

There have always been heroes. Gilgamesh. Herakles. Arthur and his knights, silent and shining and valiant. In every culture, in every era, there have been those with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.

It is the year 2020. More than eight decades have passed since the Man of Steel first appeared and brought a new Heroic Age to full bloom. Over the years, those heroes have prospered. Many have fallen in battle, more have grown old, but their legacies have passed on to others, and their successors have made names of their own.

The legacy of Ted Knight, the first Starman, rests not only in the heroes who have taken his name, but in the technology he created: efficient anti-gravity, protective force-fields, and, most importantly, clean, safe energy. Carrying on his mantle, Starwoman leads the Justice League from their orbital Watchtower as they stand sentinel over the world.

This, however, is not a tale of the Justice League.

This is a story of Gotham.