Feeling a little overwhelmed by the existing history

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Feeling a little overwhelmed by the existing history

Hi everyone, I’m new here.  I’ve played Sentinels of the Multiverse for years and I have every expansion, though I do not have the detailed knowledge of the lore that I suspect many of you here do. I’m very excited about the Sentinels Comics RPG as I love superhero RPGs, I really enjoyed the one session of the Starter Kit that a friend ran for me and some other friends, and I love the characters of SotM.  I backed the RPG on Kickstarter and can’t wait to start playing and/or running the game in the near-ish future.

All that said, I have started listening to The Letters Page podcast (starting at episode 1 and going forward) to learn more about the characters and lore of the world and to get my fix until the RPG comes out.  But in listening to Christopher and Adam detail all the events that have already happened in the setting prior to the time of the RPG, I’m starting to have a couple of concerns and I’m hoping you guys here can tell me it’s going to be okay and why. :)

There’s such a rich history that they have come up with that I worry that so much has already been done that, were I to GM the game, I’m unsure what stories I could tell that haven’t already been told?  For example, Baron Blade has enacted numerous crazy plots already and been defeated by the Freedom Five multiple times.  Citizen Dawn seemed like she would be an amazing villain to pit against players, but she seems to already have been defeated and out of the picture (I’m only on the Expatriette episode of the podcast).  Heck, the big world destroying villain (OblivAeon) has already attacked in a massive crossover event and been defeated. 

So I guess my concerns are:

1) What plots and stories will be left to tell with these villains?

2) Has the world changed too much to allow me to tell some classic stories with these existing villains?

3) Will my players be disadvantaged in various ways if they don’t know all this backstory and these characters?  Their characters not knowing the history of this world is one concern.  Another is them not necessarily connecting emotionally or otherwise if and when existing characters show up.



Edited by: Ardrikk on Feb 25 2019 - 6:58pm
WalkingTarget's picture
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If you’re worried about knowing enough about a character’s history, I’d suggest just jumping to the relevant episode(s) for that character. You’re not likely to need to know everything about everyone right away, so just cram for the exam, as it were. An additional resource you can lean on is that some madman has posted summaries of most episodes to the official wiki.

Know up front that not all characters’ whereabouts in the RPG era are known; they have been very cagey when talking about what the Citizens of the Sun are up to, but they’re not in custody ir anything.

That being said, they have always said that the canon that matters for your game is whatever you decide it is for your game. If some detail is off from the “official” canon, that’s fine.

Baron Blade will always be coming up with ill-conceived doomsday plots. That’s his shtick. He might be slightly less self-destructively obsessed with Legacy at this point (that peaked in the ‘90s era Vengeance story), but he’s still Baron Blade. If you want to have him doing some “classic” style plot, do it. Even though the OblivAeon story has happened, we’re still looking at a comics setting. It’s been almost 4 decades since Crisis on Infinite Earths and they’re still telling Superman stories, after all.

Your players not knowing things is only a problem if you’re leaning on that knowledge. If they’re SotM players, the basics of the main characters should be known, at least generally. Their own characters’ stories should be more important than the vast history of the NPCs. Maybe at least listen to/read up on the OblivAeon event to give you a grounding on the immediate preceding event, but otherwise just run with it. So far, legacy characters in the adventures we’ve gotten have at least given a brief blurb about the character to aid in role playing.

Chaosmancer's picture
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Personally, I'm dropping 90% of the official lore, and likely never touching it again. And, when I do use characters, I plan on doing stuff with people like Revenant or High Brow. Masterminds who will be behind the scenes and haven't gotten a lot of spotlight so far.


Baron Blade is doing things, that is super scary but that is stuff for the Freedom Five to handle. My players are going to be far more concerned with Red or Power Suite.


Also, Citizen Dawn has likely taken over cities before, but has she dealt with the OG characters your players come up with? Likely not, and your players will inform much more of the story and how it goes. For examples of that, check out Season 2 of the Livestream. Honestly, watching Paul running for the Escalators has been making me feel so much better about the RPG. None of it seems to be canon and it doesn't matter, because it is still awesome.

Last seen: 4 months 4 weeks ago
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Chaosmancer wrote:

Personally, I'm dropping 90% of the official lore, and likely never touching it again.

Probably me as well,unless the core book has some nice condesnce history with great hooks in it.


Powerhound_2000's picture
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PlaytesterExceeded Expectations
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1) What plots and stories will be left to tell with these villains?

Whatever you want to go with.  Even if you repeat something they’ve done in the past you can do the same thing if you want.  Comics have repeated storylines before.  You can also go off in your own direction with them.   It’s your story to craft with your players.

2) Has the world changed too much to allow me to tell some classic stories with these existing villains?

No.  As I said you are free to reuse or not touch any story/plot you want. 

3) Will my players be disadvantaged in various ways if they don’t know all this backstory and these characters?  Their characters not knowing the history of this world is one concern.  Another is them not necessarily connecting emotionally or otherwise if and when existing characters show up.

No, there is enough in the character sheets to get an idea of what these characters play towards with their powers and principles.  Ultimately I would expect more people to start using their own characters so it will matter even less.   Using existing characters is your choice.   If you watch Christopher’s or Paul’s RPG sessions neither of them had much expectation of knowing the Sentinels lore.   Christopher’s had a nod towards the Citizens of the Sun but little else.  Paul’s didn’t even have a cameo.   If you want to use existing characters then use them only if it makes sense.   You never have to use at all if you don’t want.

Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

PlatinumWarlock's picture
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Think of it this way:  the Forgotten Realms has been around since the 80s, with setting book after setting book.  Shadowrun's Seattle almost as long.  The World of Darkness metaplot is labyrinthine, messy, and complicated.  The Marvel and DC universes have been around for even longer than any of these.

If we can game in any of those, why not Sentinel Comics?

The world is your oyster; shuck it!

Phantom5613's picture
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I'm quite certain I've forgotten more about the Sentinel Comics lore than my possible playgroup's current combined knowledge of it.

Other than the basic "A giant cosmic being invaded a couple of months ago, but was defeated" and "There's a massive tree in the middle of the city", I only plan on bringing up what could be relevant to their game. And that's only if we play in the actual Sentinels world and not our own.

Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
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Thank you for all the replies.  They have helped to make me feel better about things.  Platinum Warlock, especially, your comments make a good point about playing in well established universes.  And Walking Target, you make a good point about DC continuing to tell decades worth of stories after having many world/universe/multiverse shattering crises.

I am sad, though, that apparently Citizen Dawn won't be written up in the core book?  I read that on her wiki entry.

Rabit's picture
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I'm sure she'll show up at some point... :-) 

"See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Breaks the heart." - Mal

Until we have an H emoticon:

rickjonzz's picture
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Here are a few of the things I'd do if my players want to play in the Sentinel Comics Universe as some of the are big fans, some are casual fans, and that can cause issues if players feel left out if they don't get the joke.

1) Firstly, if there's ever a point where plot relies on some point of Sentinels Lore, then all the necessary information gets mentioned in character before it's needed. Like when I ran the starter kit, I would open with "here are some of the things that happened during Oblivaeon - Ra's dead, Captain Cosmic is missing, Baron Blade died a heroic death, there's a big tree in the middle of the city, something happened to Haka, etc." So everyone gets a refresher about some things that might be important to the plot amonst some things that aren't. (Because if I just said "Captain Cosmic is missing" then everyone will assume that the starter kit is about finding Captain Cosmic, but if that's just one of five things I mention, then it's not obvious what's important and what is setting the scene.) 

2) I'd start the group with the idea that "In every big crossover, there's always a couple of books that spun out of it" (the way Justice League International and Suicide Squad spun out of Legends or the way the Guardians of the Galaxy spun out of Annihilation). So we'd come up with something like "In Oblivaeon: Ultrasonics Special #1, a group of heroes did [a cool thing] and now in Ultrasomics #1, the team faces their first foe." Maybe we'd establish some backstory in the Metaverse, that there was once a team in the 90s called "The Ultrasonics" and this is Sentinel Comics keeping the trademark fresh or maybe this is a brand new team. (After all, part of the plan in the Metaverse was to set up some new heroes and villains.) 

3) I'd start the heroes off in a new city, "Storm Falls" comes to mind (because it's storming outside at the moment).  And if they want to make some connections to the larger Sentinel Comics World, then the players make it.

4) If the players want something in their world that contractics the "canon" then it'll be there. So one of my players wants the team to be the unrevealed son of La Commadora and use La Paradoga Magnifica as his signature vehicle (complete with the ability to time travel), then by golly that's what will happen. 

arenson9's picture
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Perhaps a useful step will to make sure everyone playing has the same idea in mind about how closely canon is being hewed to.

Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Yeah, I'm in the camp of "I'm making my own world".  

But another option is to remember that fourth word:  Multiverse.  There canonically are still different universes (Male Haka us stuck in one) so you can just chalk any differences up to being an alternate timeline/parallell universe.

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I've been playing in and running a bunch of Star Trek RPGs over the past two years, and in my mind that has a similar sort of range of canonicity options that SCRPG does - in some games, the players know Star Trek canon extremenly well, so we stick to it very closely. In others, we are more vague, or even make up our own!

“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” ~Obi-Wan Kenobi