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Gryphon 1977In early 1977, two independent paranormal vigilantes operating in the St. Louis area approached the recently re-organized Government Headquarters for the Oversight of Super-normal Teams. (G.H.O.S.T.) The mandate of GHOST included the formation and management of groups of paranormals (volunteer and government-sponsored) to assist the authorities, if necessary, in dealing with paranormal threats to society. Due to the sudden increase in crimes committed by individual and organized groups of super-powered criminals in the St. Louis area, they were granted a limited charter and resources to form a team of like-minded individuals.
Contacting other civic-minded supers they had encountered in the area, they formed the core of the newly formed "Freedom League" and began making their presence known.
Game Master CommentsThis first incarnation of my super-hero campaign was, in fact, created as part of my job.
In 1977 I was working at a SF paperback / comic book / wargame store called Rivendell in Webster Groves, a township that's part of St. Louis, Missouri. This was just as role-playing games started to hit the market. Part of my job was to read each of the new games as they came in and run something on game-night every Wednesday for a few weeks. This allowed folks to find out what each new game was like, encouraged sales of new products, and meant someone was available to help folks that had already run that game (or any game) -- a rare commodity at that time. Most of the game-night games only ran for a couple of months before something new came out and folks wanted to see what was next.
When Villains and Vigilantes came out, it was the first super-hero RPG. Even though Superhero 2044 preceeded V&V, that game was more a "campaign system" like En Garde, with very few mechanics for face-to-face play or what I think of as Role-Playing systems. I let a couple of our regular game crew roll up a couple of characters and ran little bits while I was "between customers" as a system test.
These two wanted to start as a government sponsored team. The rules said a group of player-characters only had a "total levels divied by two" percent chance to acquire govenment sponsorship. For two first-level characters, this was a literal "one in a hundred" roll -- which they of course made -- and started as a government sponsored team. I figured, what the heck, it's just a short term, small group, game-night game.
Feel free to begin smirking, if you'd like.
Instead of ending when "the next big thing" came in, this game ran for many, months for several groups. Numerous players came and went from the main game-night group of PCs. In addition to the "Rivendell" campaign, I also ran for groups of friends set in this background. When I left Rivendell, I continued to use this as the baseline superhero background for games I ran in that genre, since so many people in the area were already familiar with the history.
Over the course of the last few decades I've had many subsequent groups play in this realm. In retrospect, this was one of my first "professional" campaigns, that is, a campaign I was paid to run.
Being a pack rat, I still have quite a lot of the old material from those games in various on-line and hard-copy formats. (Anybody remember the MM macro package for nroff?) As time passes, I will be adding it to this archive. All of the material will be things the players could ostensibly know or easily find out, either from other players or available from "in game" sources. Nominally, this game is still active and I'd rather not reveal anything that could affect other PCs.
Since my memory of events is almost certainly not perfect, I will be filling in gaps as necessary. Any of the old players that would like to contact me and complain that I got their characters wrong are certainly invited to do so. :-)
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Last modified: 2002-Jun-19 19:27:46
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