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For heroes only, baby (new arc)

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Notes and such, for the curious (SPOILERS):


Inspiration: Since I'm noted for being all "noir-ish" and such, I got to thinking maybe I'd try something out of the well-established wheelhouse. So this one is meant to be cheesy, superheroic, high-adventure. Light in tone, and maybe an homage to the old Silver Age comics I grew up on (with a nod to Golden times).


Basic Stuff:

  • Wanted to do something as stereotypically heroic as I could. Nothing too fancy or detailed. In essence, I started with the arc title. After that, I asked the questions: Who or what is Squalls? What about the Comet. Needing an anchor of sorts, it just sort of hit me to tie this to:
  • Doc Savage. That's the crib, here. Did a brief bit of research on the Doc, including original and more recent incarnations. Made he and his team the primary inspirational focus (right down to selection of a nemesis). The characters aren't straight up clones, and there's one add to the group. Plus, some reimagining of back stories for a couple of the Fantastic 5.
  • Once I had the title and the homage in place, I had to figure out how to wedge the adventure to fit the title (I know...that really makes no sense, does it? My brain...). Thought about Squalls and the Comets, thereby naming the good guys, but I didn't like the way the plurals sounded. After delving into some of the published Savage stories about Doc Sunlight, I found reference to a murderous teleporter scheme Savage and his crew thwarted. This gave me a way to get Squalls to Paragon City. I figured he'd be chased by the good guys, but, still, didn't like Comets, so I decided the old press gave the leader of the Fantastic 5 all sorts of nicknames, including (ta dah!) The Comet. Title problem solved. Also allowed the title to have a double meaning (ref: Clark Dent, The Heroic Comet, and objects in space). 
  • Speaking of Dent: that's the last name of Lester Dent, Doc Savage's creator. Homage is the game, right?
  • This was one where I REALLY wanted to switch contacts mid-story, but, owing to the way AE runs, didn't want to push the player into a part 2. Plus, I wasn't sure I had 3 mishes for a second arc. I had the 5 Mishes for the basic story. And a self-contained approach seemed preferable. Didn't want to destroy any momentum. So, for this:
  • Dropped in Patricia Savage: Pat's an actual character from the series. Since she's a Longbow agent, though (and since I think a lot of that stuff is public domain anyway), I figured I was safe enough to use the name directly (though she's called "Pat" or "Savage" after the intro). This also allowed me to use the Doc's hero name somewhere in the story without it seeming silly (or sillier than it is?).
  • Story titles are either direct or slightly modified titles of original stories. I compiled about 15 of them to choose from, then dropped in the ones I liked. Only one I was set on from the beginning was The Dagger in the Sky. Because that's a cool title. Remember: great writers steal! (and so do writers like me).
  • Built the custom mobs before actually scripting. For a moment, couldn't figure out how I was gonna get the Satellites in there. That fell in to place when I found the big base map (which I was completely unaware of until today, to be frank). Gave me enough room to drop them into battles with the Scions of Sunlight and have Maul's crew as optional allies. Which was good, because I did a lot of work on their bios, and had to keep them hidden for the first 4 missions.
  • The data on the gold coins is mostly accurate. My rationale for the existence of so many (since they're supposed to be pretty much gone), was that Zol brought them with him when the "accident" happened. What we call an accident, of course, a mad villain calls an "exit strategy."
  • Having Zol have so much power mandated that, rather than come from the past, he had to also come from an alternate timeline. In this way, his "past self" would've accrued things that had been lost to time. I figure Zol thinks like his Paragon dopple, so he knew where to go to find this shit. That's the rationale anyway. I sorta stole from an earlier idea I used in the Mobius arc, wherein Dis, whose consciousness was a fusion that included Dr. Brainstorm, was able to access his memories, thereby knowing where all of Brainstorm's old villain stuff was located. Problem solved (well enough, anyway).
  • There is one reference to The Princess Bride in here. You'll spot it, likely. No reason for it. I just like the line. (and stealing, remember?).
  • Bit more on the customs: I wholeheartedly ported Zol's troops from stock enemies in the 41-50 range. Recolored everything, but did not notice the white backpacks in the editor. I just left them, since fascist bad guys are usually stylish, rather than sensible. I mean, c'mon - look at the unis from WW2. Those high boots the Nazis wore were just, well, stupid for combat. So, white backpack? Why not?
  • Finding minions for the "Meddlers" presented a challenge. I didn't want the Satellites to appear early, but, if I'm going to have boss fights with these guys, then who are the fodder? I figured the technie, Littlejohn, had enough prowess to reconfigure Clocks. But the clunky ones I wanted were all low level, and I wanted this to be at the higher end (a place I tend to avoid, like the plague). Thankfully, there's a clunky Clockwork group in that range. They're all psychic, but I thought it was an okay tradeoff. I cherrypicked from among them, leaving out the larger, buffer Dukes and such. 
  • In the end, there's a range of enemies here. Psychic clocks. Some Malta. Ninja-looking gorgons. Some Blades of Artemis (the Assassins). I'm not sure the ninja-themed characters fit, but I liked the idea of redclad martial artists. I think of Bond here, in You Only Live Twice. This ain't Bond, but I left them there to add a little diversity.


I realize no one really wants to see behind the curtain on all this, but part of the process for me is pondering the process. In the end, I learned some valuable shortcuts, and got out of my comfort zone. Since I was aiming for cheesy, I didn't have to worry too much about the whole "double-edged sword of victory" that a lot of my arcs nudge toward. Here, you whip the bastards. You're a big, damned hero. It's not a difficult arc, by any stretch of the imagination. I assume people will cruise through it, since you have all your incarnate widgets and such. But that's kind of the point. By 50, you're a world-saving badass. Something like this, where the bad guy so obviously telegraphs that he's bad, and you not only beat them up, but outsmart them, as well, is another day's work for the high end hero. If anything, I just hope it's a fun diversion, which is really the essence of AE. 


Other than that, I can only promise that (a) fun was my goal here, and (b) I think I got all the typos (though I likely have a few in this missive to make up for that).:-)


Happy Trails kemosabes,



Edited by cranebump
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Looking for SFMA content over multiple arcs? Search for the following under "cranebump.LONG FORM: Ordinary People [3 parts] Investigation of a series of thefts leads you deep into a vengeful plot that threatens all of Paragon City. Will you and Kings Row's "ordinary" heroes be able to stop it? Leviathan [5 parts] The  assassination of a local politician with national aspirations sets off a media frenzy among everyone's favorite reactionary network, NewsAnon. Among their targets? You. Mobius [5 Parts]:  Visions of past, present, and possibility collide, as you and the Autumn Wards unravel the mystery of the 7-year time gap. Fallout (3 Parts) When your initial investigation into a theft at a local S&L reveals a connection to its stolen tech, the drawn-down Autumn Wards bring you in to investigate. The Cage Series [3 parts]: The Iron Widow is back! Or...is she? Your vigilante philosophy is put to the test in this tale of shifting loyalties and outright deceit.  The Bleed [3 parts]: Your investigation of arcane fissures in IP leads you to uncover a 100-year old secret shrouded in magic, blood, and betrayal. Noble Mettle [2 parts]: A Sky Raider raid on the Paragon Commodities Commission turns from simple kidnapping to a complicated scheme involving mercenaries, "Communists," economics, and chemistry. One Shots:  Of Guns and Asa Ronan; The Tenuous State of Grace; Garden of the Will; Gravity; The Book of Bond's; The Lost Girls; Injustice Systems; Wednesday’s Wyverns; Of ‘Dine and Men; Dark Legacy; Shadow and Silver, The Re-education of Westin Phipps, Potter's Field; Magnjficence; Squalls and the Comet, Turf

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