Heroes come in many varieties, and games that explore their adventures have done the same for quite a few years now. Comic book themed MU*s have long been a staple of the genre, and these games have tended to fall into very specific camps: canon continuity, year one, and "portal" games where characters from all sorts of continuities can be dropped whole cloth into the game's setting. Games are often themed around DC, Marvel, both, or else open to nearly anything and everything.
The main setting of the game is New York City, New York. The city is broken up into a number of boroughs, including Metropolis (comprised of Manhattan Island), Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. As one of the world's most prominent cities, it may come as little surprise that the Big Apple has risen to the forefront of superhuman activity. Gotham City lies just across the Hudson River on the New Jersey side of the border, while Westchester stretches away to the north.
World Affairs Edit
World affairs are often abuzz with the workings of various metahuman and extranormal doings. Here, terrorists tend to resemble AIM or HYDRA--we prefer to keep from foregrounding real life sociopolitical situations in favor of bringing out whatever dramatized situation we can conjure up. There's room for all sorts of storytelling and all manner of global events.
So, if you want to do a plot that alludes to themes similar to real life, that's just fine--but please understand that the world is a wide, wild place with many other threats and themes out there. Aliens could invade, robots could rise from the bottom of the sea, or zombies could wander out of the depths of the Canadian wilderness. It's a mad, mad world with plenty of room for the realistic, the outlandish, and the madcap alike.
This is a world where comic books can seem plausible. Therefore, supercomputers, spandex-like utility suits, shrink rays, energy weapons, advanced cloning, hypersonic jets, flying cars--and many other "science fiction" bits of technology--exist. The question to ask about technology is, really, "Will it unbalance the game's world?" Tech does not have to be strictly plausible, though technological contrivances should generally strive for logical function and making sense where possible. For the truly outlandish, there's always magic, after all.
Extraterrestrial Affairs Edit
Aliens are a known reality here in the world of Hero MUX. They have been visiting the Earth for many years, and the heroes of the world have encountered these "strange visitors" time and time again. In fact, some of Earth's greatest heroes have turned out to be extraterrestrials, themselves.
Known Alien Races Edit
Villain/Terrorist Groups Edit
Hero/Humanitarian Groups Edit
Superhuman Politics Edit
What Is A Superhuman? "Superhuman"is an umbrella term for any sentient being (such beings are often called simply "supers") that can trace its genetic roots back to homo sapiens--extraterrestrials and supernatural creatures generally are not technically "supermetahumans," but they are often referred to as such regardless.
Registration Acts: The concept of a Mutant Registration Act was first brought to public awareness during the McCarthy Era. At the time, with few publicly known mutants and those few being generally seen as heroic figures, and with the spectre of fascism still looming, the movement fizzled. The concept arises from time to time but has never made it past being a fringe movement. Registration acts are in place in other countries. The consequence of those acts, especially with regard to human rights, has had a chilling effect on the American desire to pursue a similar course of action in that country. Currently, as per recent amendments to the US Constitution, any enforcement of such an act would be considered illegal.
See Also: Guidelines for Superheroic Activity
The public has been aware of "superhuman" beings since the appearances of the Invaders and Justice Society of America in the latter days of World War II. Prior to those days, legends and myths were often spoken, but they had no broad exposure before the world at large. Heroes became widely known during the 1950s, ranging from super soldiers, mutants, extraterrestrials, mystics, and other extranormal beings--and their villainous counterparts gained infamy at the same time. This "golden age" of heroes lasted up until about the late 1960s.
By the 1970s, these now well-known "heroes" had become deeply integrated into society. Some were coopted into military programs. Others became public figures of great repute. Many heroes and, to a certain degree, villains had achieved celebrity status by the 1980s. Some became brand identified, even taking on identities as corporate mascots, while others lent time or images to various charitable causes. There were some who lamented the more innocent time of the previous generation, but this "silver age" too had its day in the sun.
The 1990s began what some might call a "bronze age" in the era of superheroes. A new crop arose in those days, and they had an edge to them that previous decades had lacked. Many felt alienated from the work they had grown up believing in, seeing only a mire of shades of gray behind the colorful veneer of upstanding moralistic heroes. Yet, others discovered their own meaning, building themselves up from nothing, much as the heroes of the World War II era had decades before. The rise of the Internet catapulted the cult of heroic celebrity to new heights. All in all, the 90s were a good time for the hero business, if perhaps a neurotic one.
The heroes seemed destined for a new age of glory--some called it the coming "diamond age" of heroism--with the new millennium. Yet, between persistent minor villains who increasingly refused to play by the rules of some of their predecessors, ongoing issues with major terrorist cells, and a major global recession following the bursting of the "dot com" bubble, this new age never came. Instead, heroes found themselves viewed with a skepticism they had not known in years. Suddenly, even the most entrenched of the heroic celebrities had to work to keep up an image, and all but the most opulently wealthy were forced to tighten their utility belts to weather the tough times of the first decade of the new millennium.
A rise in mutant terrorism mingled with a government paranoia that supernormal humans were getting plentiful enough to potentially make a bid for power. The advent of improved genetic testing at first sparked a debate about what came to be called "the mutant question." At first, a kind of panic seized the world when everyone realized that their neighbor--or their sister, or their son--could easily be a "secret mutant." The social consciousness became dominated by the need to identify and potentially "control" the spread of mutants. Some were afraid of "normal" humans becoming a genetic minority or dying out. Many more were just afraid in general. Serious talks of forced "mutant registration" began to dominate political debates.
It was during this time, in 2001, that the Xavier School first came to be known, in certain very small circles, as a haven for wayward superhumans--especially the much-maligned "mutants" of public infamy--and a place to learn to control their abilities. The mutant terrorist, Magneto, soon after began to make a name for himself, even as Prof. Charles Xavier advocated for peace and understanding between genetically "normal" and "superhuman" populations. It began to seem that a conflict between the factions of mutant nationalism, human-mutant coexistence, and mutant intolerance would be inevitable. "A war is coming," people whispered.
Then everything changed, and the debate became academic. Nations, such as Qurac and Biyalia, with more militant government regimes began their own "mutant registration" programs, and--perhaps due to mishandling, perhaps by accident, or perhaps for darker reasons--the world was flooded with stories of brutalized metahumans of all sorts. It all came to a head when a group of mutant refugees founded an island separatist nation, calling it Genosha, and someone called in an air strike. Stealth technology, probably provided by powerful techno-terrorists, allowed the attack to stand anonymously, so the guilty parties were never definitively identified. However, despite this lack of justice, another decision was made in the court of the world stage.
"Never again," the statement echoed across the world. Presidents, prime ministers, and monarchs around the world pledged it. "Never again," rang the cry in the State of the Union address, rippling through the US congress and judiciary. With such international pressure in effect, it was no surprise when the tide turned in favor of the metahumans, mutants included. The United Kingdom was first to pass legislation, but one of the clearest decisions came from the United States: when the 2012 amendments to the US Constitution were done, the total number of constitutional amendments reached 30.
With these amendments, full civil rights had been explicitly guaranteed to metahumans and legal alien residents, including mutants and other "genetically divergent" beings. The Bureau of Superhuman Affairs was formally established, offering voluntary registration of heroic identities in exchange for legal deputization, protection against litigation, and access to various law-enforcement resources, such as police databases, crime labs, etc. Private identities were not required, and heroes could choose to operate unregistered as long as they followed the Guidelines for Superheroic Activity.
There are still those clandestine operators, of course, long entrenched in the shadows of other government agencies--The Cadmus Project, the Checkmate directive, and so forth--and the long-standing public defenders of the good, such as SHIELD, were present as a visible reminder of government dedication to public safety; the "government superhuman operative" had always been a secret career path, and not all of the past secrets have come to light.
And so has dawned a new day for the heroes of Earth--newly validated, though with a past to reflect upon, they move past the baby steps of the turn of the millennium and begin to take their first real strides into the twenty-first century.
The game history continues with the IC Timeline of in-game events.
Role-play on the game can be categorized via several different "tones," each with different purposes. Each major public scene should declare an intended tone at the beginning so players know what they may expect.
- Classic: Classic RP harkens back to more innocent times, embodying a tone that resonates with Silver Age or "four color" comics. Angst and dark events do not belong here, the good guys usually win in the end, and nothing terrible happens that lasts very long.
- Heroic: Heroic RP seeks to emulate a more modern, post-Bronze-Age tone. The lines may be blurred at times, but you still know who the heroes and villains are. The bad guys may gain the upper hand, and sacrifices may be made, but good tends to triumph eventually.
- Gritty: Gritty RP seeks to take a much more realistic tone. Some heroes and villains may be black and white, but there are many shades of gray, and the real test of the hero is not whether she wins but whether she keeps fighting, even if hated or driven by revenge.
- Angsty: Angsty RP explores the darker side of emotional RP and strikes a dark tone, often grappling with heavy, negative feelings, and it may heavily focus on the characters' need to deal with emotional pain and suffering. Its primary purpose is character development.
- Dark: Ranging from horror-themed supernatural scenes to mundane but otherwise disturbing fare, Dark RP focuses on the more potentially unsettling aspects of play. More than realistic or emotional, such scenes tend to emphasize horrific, adult-oriented elements.
- Romantic: Romantic RP focuses on the feelings of characters without going quite so dark as Angsty RP. Emotions are treated as having more meaning, and the story is strongly impacted by them. This does not necessarily mean "love" or "relationship" role-play.
- Comedic: Sometimes, fun is all you need! Comedic RP sets a tone that is designed to be light and enjoyable, probably even funny, and it is probably just as light as Classic RP but it takes itself far less seriously. It may bend the "fourth wall" for the lulz.
- Social: Social scenes are those that are generally just character-driven and may have less to do with the business of saving the world or beating the mean streets, but they don't necessarily have to be angsty or romantic, either. Sometimes, a chat is just a chat.
- Weird: Whether dealing with strange occult phenomena, super science run amuck, or bizarre alien monsters, "weird" Scenes are all about experiencing the kind of oddities once made popular in titles such as "Weird Tales." This is for those who walk on the WTF side.
It is notable that some things (see: Conduct) are not generally appropriate for public scenes on the game; no matter what the tone of a scene might be, it should fit within those rules.
Any planned event can have a particular threat level associated with it. Note that this does not mean that anyone is necessarily excluded from an event that is "too dangerous," but it does mean that characters who enter a very dangerous scene and try to leap into the epicenter of the action might reasonably need to role-play walking away with injuries, potentially even being hospitalized. Such characters might still join in the scene, but they might be wiser to choose other roles besides directly confronting the central threat.
If a scene is well below your character's power level, then it might be best not to join it as that alt to avoid overshadowing others -- but, when in doubt, you can always contact the emitter and work something out.
Event danger levels:
- Minimal: Everyone should walk away from this fine. Even without major combat skills or weapons, any character could take center stage without any great risk to his or her person.
- Low: To face the central treat in this type of scene, characters should have strong combat skills or at least minor powers or weaponry. Expect some minor injuries if your character does not have such abilities.
- Medium: To face the central threat in this type of scene, characters should have some notable powers or weaponry at their disposal. Expect serious injuries if your character does not have such abilities.
- High: To face the central threat in this type of scene, characters should have fairly high-level powers or weaponry at their disposal. Expect critical injuries if your character does not have such abilities.
- Epic: To face the central threat in this type of scene, characters should have top-tier powers or weaponry at their disposal. Even those with the greatest powers will probably not walk away unscathed.
The issue of retconning is a difficult one because there are two equally compelling but opposite viewpoints. Players often want to retcon (or wipe out) old actions of their characters made by previous players to give themselves a clean slate. On the opposite end you have all those people that previous players RPed with who don't want all those hours of character development to have gone by the wayside. People care about the movement of their characters and put a lot of work into them.
Our continuity policy is designed to strike a balance between giving players the most control possible over their own characters while also respecting key connections built in past role-play with others. To this end, we have two primary devices to allow players to both adjust and to maintain the histories of their characters. "Game canon" is covered in the next section of this file, and our Hypertime policy allows players to reimagine characters when they pick them up (See NEWS HYPERTIME).
Overt retcons may also be possible under certain circumstances. For example, if all parties involved in a scene agree that it should be retconned and a log has not yet been posted, then the retcon may be done automatically. Else, an appeal to staff may always be made. If there are particularly pressing circumstances, we will consider making special arrangements. Please note, though, that we prefer not to do this often.
Game Canon Edit
Over the course of role-play, some very important connections may be made that should not be wiped away when a character changes players. For example, if a Robin player enters the game and is trained by Batman, if the Batman player drops, a new Batman should not be able to erase having trained Robin, as that would completely change the history of a character already in play. To avoid pulling the rug out from other characters like this, the policy of Game Canon exists to set down official connections between characters.
To create an in-game canonical link between two characters, a player must write up a proposed connection and then submit it to staff for approval. Staff may require the consent of any other player(s) involved, or they may ask for evidence of the connection, such as logs verifying the entry. Once a connection is approved, it becomes canon for that character until A) the connection is removed or B) the player who established the connection drops the character. If for some reason a player feels a canonical connection to their character was made unfairly, staff can always be petitioned by use of the +request command to consider altering or removing a connection, but bear in mind that staff reserves the right to stand by game continuity.
So, for example, if Robin had added Batman to his Game Canon, then even if Batman dropped and was re-apped, Batman's link to Robin would be kept, but if they both dropped, then the connection would be removed unless the new players decided to re-establish it. (See +help +canon in game.).
Apart from game continuity, such as is established by game +canon, most character history and interpretations can be adjusted via Hypertime.
Game Canon Guidelines Edit
The following guidelines exist for game +canon entries:
- Connections should be minimalist, only including what is strictly necessary. They should also ONLY establish connections between the player who apps the +canon and each specific other player(s) involved, but it cannot establish any connections between the other players involved. In other words, player A, can have a +canon that defines his/her links to players B and C, but s/he cannot use +canon to define that B is linked to C.
- +Canon tags should not establish immutable qualities about character, but rather connections between characters. Examples: Tim Drake can establish that Batman trained him and they were partners, but he cannot use his +canon to establish that he is Robin in an ongoing sense, as that can change with role-play and character updates. Similarly, Superman might establish that he has worked with the JSA long enough to have a close relationship, but he could not establish having been born in the 1920s--that would be a detail that his character background would have to establish.
- Barring truly extraordinary circumstances--such as Batman trying to refuse having trained Robin, which is necessary for Robin's character concept to even exist--if any character involved in a new +canon tag is played, that character's player must consent to establishing that +canon connection. If a character is unplayed, whether the tie may be approved is left to staff discretion, but staff must err on the side of not burdening future players with unduly problematic or burdensome continuity.
- Generally, the events(s) being +canonized should have taken place IC, and it is asked that evidence be provided to support the connection if staff needs to see it. (Uploaded logs are helpful, though not strictly required; other players may also vouch for the connections, or similar.) Further, event(s) established by +canon cannot be trivial. They must impact the character(s) involved in a specific way that can be explained simply and specifically.
- For reasons of player comfort zone, specific interpersonal relationships--particularly romances, but also including friendships or similar, as well--cannot be established by +canon tags. If Superman and Lois had been married IC, then they could choose to use +canon to establish having worked closely together as partners, which impacted them in X, Y, or Z way, but they cannot forcibly burden future players with a specific emotional relationship. Note that this does not apply to non-marital legal relationships, such as adoptions, or to relationships that might include a close emotional element but do not necessarily have to, such as mentors or sidekicks.
Hypertime is a word to describe the infinite possibilities of infinite universes that might possibly exist parallel to our own. Various "alternate realities" are accessible via Hypertime travel. On the game, Hypertime allows players to occasionally "reboot" characters, allowing them to shake off the continuity of past players and get a fresh start. It is not necessary to do a full reboot of a character each time one is picked up (and, in fact, we encourage players to consider keeping character histories intact), but this allows a way for players who would prefer to make a fresh start with their characters to do so.
- Note that Hypertime cannot undo approved Game Canon.
- There are limits, of course, to what we will allow. Hypertime has, at least in theory, universes where all Humans are anthro animals, insects, or everyone's gender is swapped. We're not likely to allow anything quite so exotic (though the gender-reversal option might work in some cases). Every FC needs to resemble their comic self and origins, even if key details are changed. Now, if they have multiple origins or variant incarnations and you'd like to switch between them, that's always possible. Even some things not done in canon may be acceptable, but the character should be essentially intact. Changes might be fairly major (like a total reboot of the character), or they might just be minor: Clark Kent never told Lois Lane that he's Superman. This method explains tweaks to ways of thinking or behavior, adjustments to the way powers work, etc. -- much like when a new writer takes over.
- This could obviously lead to some confusion between characters who have known each other when one is replaced, but there are a few ways to handle that. The bottom line is, things just get fudged the amount that's needed so that they work. All matters directly pertaining to the rebooted character are realigned, as far as they and the grid at large are concerned, to that which is in the new character's application. Suppose that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson get married, but then MJ drops and, when a new player picks her up, she does not want to have even dated before. So, as far as the game, the law, and "reality" are concerned, MJ and Peter were never involved. Now, it's possible that Peter may remember being married to her--perhaps in a hazy, dreamlike way--but overdoing that kind of "remembering reality before it shifted" approach can get tedious if done too often. More likely, both MJ and Peter may have odd, dreamlike memories of being involved together, but they will remember them like a vivid dream they had.
- Of course, it's also possible to just go along with the shift if both players decide that they don't want to remember their history. Considering our example again, let's say that MJ apps without the connection to Peter but still wants to know that Spider-Man is his secret identity. Since the past continuity has been erased, she may no longer claim to know this without Peter's consent. In the end, there is no absolutely "clean and perfect" method to handle these shifts, so players will have to be mature and work cooperatively to make them work. In the case of any such difficulties, staff mediate whatever disputes that may arise. Above all, understand that ALL romantic entanglements can be completely retconned by either party when a character changes hands.