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    385 KB Cloaks and Daggers Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:08 No.8692229  
    Hey /tg/.

    This is an idea I had last night for a game mechanic surrounding superhuman powers that I thought might be worth expanding into something more substantial. Commentary is welcome.

    The premise is this: superheroes exist, with a wide array of powers that all stem from the same source. Empowered by the very forces of good and justice themselves, heroes can use these powers to accomplish great deeds and save many lives.

    But there is a catch. Their power source is not limitless; rather than a boundless ocean of power, they draw upon a reservoir. In order to complete their great deeds, heroes must literally burn goodness and love. These levels will return in time, but it does not change the fact that by saving the world, they make it just a little darker.

    tl;dr WoD does Heroes
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:10 No.8692261
    So, basically how America thinks of itself?
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:11 No.8692277
    Would they be able to partially regenerate the reservoir by making people happy? Could I balance out a Lightning blast by handing out balloons to children on the weekend?
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:12 No.8692311
    You know I always wondered how Spiderman is able to swing around the city and happily run into a bunch of murderous thugs every time he needs to be reassured that what he does is Right and Necessary.

    It would be sort of satisfying on some level if the answer was that he is making it happen.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:13 No.8692315
    Well, it's a reservoir of goodness and love, and we all know rape is love.
    So if you used your powers to rape someone, it would even out.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:14 No.8692341
    So Heroes actually project an aura of Evil by using their powers? People within the aura become more likely to do something evil, so normal laborers get the urge to mug people when Spider-man is swinging around.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:16 No.8692376
    It is kind of a goofy idea, but I'd play it more like the magic systems of Dark Suns, wherein there are two kinds of powers: If you want to be a big, flashy, show-offy do-gooder who flies around and throws nuke-power-punches are giant robots, you burn up "goodness" incredibly fast. On the other hand, if you use a subtle hand, you burn it up much more slowly, and have the possibility for a net gain.

    A possible plot point would be a new hero who doesn't understand things so readily, using his powers in unsubtle ways. Even tho he is a goodie, the pcs have to go take him down.
    >> Cloaks and Daggers Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:16 No.8692381
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    This force is known generally as Valor. All heroes naturally can draw on Valor, but they generally require an 'Origin' to access them for the first time. An Origin might be a traumatic event such as witnessing your loved ones gunned down in front of you, or having someone dear to you placed in danger. In these moments of extreme emotional duress, something opens within the latent hero that opens them to Valor and they become more than human.

    Valor provides the energy for a wide spectrum of powers. It might allow one Cloak to run faster than a freight train, while another might be able to see through walls. The exact factor that differentiates one power from another is unknown, but some theories speculate that the determining factor involves the fine details of your Origin. Someone whose Origin required them to risk being shot might find their Valor powers make them resilient to physical harm, for instance.

    Drawing on Valor is the only way to access Powers. In doing so you tap into ambient Valor, drawing it into yourself to utilise it. The process is usually impercetible unless you already know to look for it, but large scale Valor drains can cause witnesses to see the color draining from the world.
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:19 No.8692445
    Perhaps. I don't imagine it as a directly noticable effect, though, more a background detail. A lone Hero might not even know about the process and do nothing to correct it.

    Not quite projecting an aura of evil - they are drawing good into themselves. It would be like drawing all the oxgyen out of the air; you don't 'project' nitrogen, you leave it behind.

    I don't know Dark Suns, but I'll take a look.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:25 No.8692494
    Where do super-villains get their powers? Does Doctor Destruction diminish the world's net capacity for hatred and misery every time his omni-blast levels an orphanage?
    >> Cloaks and Daggers OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:26 No.8692501
    Those who draw upon Valor are generally referred to as 'Cloaks'; most might prefer to be called heroes, but since everyone has a different definition of what a hero is and does, they prefer to call other people something else. A Cloak who uses his powers to brutally kill street thugs might consider himself a hero, but the Cloak who is dedicated to preserving life would disagree.

    'Cloaks' is largely a reference to superhero costumery, also refers to the necessity of secrecy in a Valor-users life. Their tendency to vigilantism makes them and their loved ones targets to reprecussions without some form of identity protection. Exactly what form this protection is varies from person to person - one Cloak might only cover his face with a bandana when he goes on patrol, while another might have a full costume with mask.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:26 No.8692504
    Heroes would be heavily armed then, to avoid their powers as much as possible. Do regular people know about how this works? There's definitely a Watchmen style plot somewhere if they find out.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:26 No.8692507


    it's a DnD setting. What I am talking about specifically:

    "Arcane spellcasters draw their power from life itself. Most wizards draw their power from plants. There are two basic types of wizard:
    Defilers, who draw their power quickly, killing plant life around them, and significantly sterilizing the soil those plants were in, rendering it impossible to grow new plants there for centuries. This defiling of the land is why the once healthy planet is mostly a desert. Very powerful Defilers are able to draw power from creatures as well. Powerful Defilers (such as Dragons) can kill people in this manner.
    Preservers, who draw their power more carefully, enabling them to cast their spells without destroying plant life, but sacrificing spellcasting power. Very powerful Preservers are able to draw power from creatures as well. Powerful Preservers (such as Avangions) have this ability, but they will not seek to kill with it."
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:27 No.8692533
    I kind of like the idea but it almost sounds too bleak and depressing to play.

    I don't really want to feel guilty for using my awesome powers in a superhero RPG.
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:29 No.8692568
    I'm getting to that in a bit. 'Cloaks' are Heroes and 'Daggers' are Villains.

    It's not a widely-known phenomenon. Only an elite few actually know about it. Some are Cloaks who keep the secret because they know if it got out then Cloaks would stop saving lives. Some actively target other Cloaks in a Highlander style deal - if they can reduce the number of Cloaks out there, they can save lives.
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:31 No.8692603

    I admit I wanted to create a conflict with this idea. Is a long term dimming of the light worth the short term glory of saving the day? It also forces the players to think creatively to look for non-power based solutions to problems, but a lot of the time that wont be possible.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:31 No.8692608
    That dynamic just makes it seem like the only way to win the game is to not play.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:32 No.8692626
    Welcome to WoD
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:37 No.8692714
    my response to that is this
    If your group wants to play that go ahead but seriously, that just seems like the games going to end on a sour note as everyone, will either have to be a normal person or will selfishly burn up the good in the world for their own benefit or glory.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:40 No.8692768
    OP, what happens when you fight someone of equal power, with no chance of either besting the other, just an infinite duel?

    The "bad guy" wins because "good" runs out.
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:40 No.8692770
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    The dark side of Valor is Taint. If Valor is good, Taint is evil. If Valor is justice, then Taint is cruelty. If Valor is honesty, Taint is deceptiveness. And there are Cloaks who draw upon Taint instead of Valor. These are called Daggers. A Cloak is a hero, but a Dagger is a villain.

    Daggers are generally self serving where Cloaks are self-sacrificing, and use their powers to further their own agenda. This might not necessarily be taking over the world, but more than a few Daggers seem that way inclined. Daggers tend to be prone to violent and criminal behaviour; they might choose to become a crook rather than get an honest job, or they might use their powers to rise up the corporate ladder on a pile of corpses. But in the same way as Valor is finite, so is Taint.

    A Dagger does not necessarily have to be evil in the same way that a Cloak does not necessarily have to be good. Anti-heroes are more likely to be Daggers than Cloaks, for example, and it might remain unclear as to which one a particularly brutal defender of justice is.

    The only surefire wire to tell a Cloak from a Dagger is their Corona. This is the 'tell' that shows up when they are drawing upon large amounts Valor or Taint to power their abilities. A strongman lifting a person over his head might not present with a Corona, but he would when holding up a falling building.

    A Valor Corona might be a burning white aura, a heavenly choir singing just on the edge of hearing or an irresistible impulse to swoon at the Cloaks presence. The Corona is heroic, obvious and clearly positive.
    A Daggers Corona might present as looming shadows, an ominous aura or an oppressive taste in the air. It is unsettling, grim and negative.
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:43 No.8692806
    It's not that different from a Mage having to be careful in how they use their magic in case they accrue Paradox. Power coming at a price is not a new concept, but it is central to this premise.

    'Evil' is a finite resource in the same way Valor is. And remember that not only Power is going to be at play; think about how Batman gets by without any power whatsoever.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:47 No.8692858
    >think about how Batman gets by without any power whatsoever.

    Yeah but that never made any sense whatsoever and if you're taking your world relatively seriously, as you appear to be doing, you shouldn't have any Batmans.

    So anyway. It seems like the people that matter would want to do everything they can to discourage Cloaks from using their powers when Daggers exist and can fulfill the same function. Or does drawing on Taint require that you are somehow "tainted" in character?
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:48 No.8692885
    Think about calling your dark side power something other than Taint btw, it's very clich├ęd.

    Valour is a cool term though.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:49 No.8692914
    Perhaps the reason for using the power decides whether it draws from taint or valour.

    So, if you cast a spell of ultimate death to save a fluffy kitty, it would draw from valour

    If you cast a spell of nobody dies ever and there's a happy ending to kill an orphan, it draws from taint.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:50 No.8692930
    Well I'd assume "drawing evil into yourself" would provide some sort of corresponding change in your emotional state.
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:50 No.8692937
    The effects of the use of Valor is a controversial issue amongst those priveledged Cloaks who know about it. By drawing upon enough Valor to manifest their Corona, a Cloak is effectively tipping the scales, working contradictory to their own purposes in the long term. Small uses of power have no noticable effects (ie, telekinetically knocking a man down) but large scale uses (ie telekinetically lifting an 18-wheeler truck) will have ramifications. Just not immediate ones.

    Drawing on large quantities of Valor creates an imbalance between Valor and Taint in the area. The more a hero taps into it, the greater this imbalance and the reprecussions thereof. These will not be immediate (for instance, a Cloak wont use power to save someone only for someone else to die right after) and might not come about for some time.

    Possible effects include:
    -A temporary spike in crime rates in the area
    -A non-fatal car accident happens nearby
    -An unpleasant atmosphere drives away visitors
    -Lowered church attendance rates as locals question their faith
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:52 No.8692967
    what are the effects if you save the entire world from a meteorite, a zombie plague and the sun going supernova all at once?
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:53 No.8692999

    I implied that in mentioning that Daggers tend toward antisocial behaviour, but like I mentioned they aren't necessarily going to be 'villains'. If I was dividing canon comic characters up, for instance, I'd make the Punisher a Dagger rather than a Cloak.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:55 No.8693020
    So what's to stop someone from drawing all the taint they can, and using it to blow something up in the outer atmosphere, thereby improving the world immensly?
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:56 No.8693029

    Probably why I thought of it - it's been about. I'd considered something like "villainy" but that was too on the nose. Suggestions?

    That depends on how you saved the world; I'm assuming you mean by a large-scale use of power, based on your statement though.

    Perhaps a politician is assassinated, or a major corporation flounders.
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:57 No.8693039

    Two things. First, most people don't know about this mechanic, including the majority of Cloaks and Daggers. Second, people who draw on Taint tend to be bastards and hence are out for personal gain rather than altruism.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:57 No.8693044
    The Punisher is a villain though.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:57 No.8693050
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:58 No.8693064
    Has anyone approached the phenomenon in a scientific manner, or is it too new/too secret?
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)22:58 No.8693072

    Let's not get into that.

    Eh, doesn't appeal. What about Malice?
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)22:59 No.8693090
    Malice sounds ok to me
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:00 No.8693100
    I think your system is a bit of a paradox OP.

    You see, by using their powers, they would sap some of the good out of the world, making it a bit darker.

    But they're using their powers for good: Stopping crime, saving lives, generally making the world a better place.

    So while they draw from good, they replenish it at the same time? How to balance this?
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:00 No.8693103
    Does Valour regenerate itself? Basically is there a safe or sustainable level of Valour use that will let you be modestly superhuman?

    Also, are Valour and Taint levels in any way related, or does consumption of both just leave the world a dull and lifeless place?
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)23:00 No.8693105

    It's restricted knowledge, something really only known to an Illuminati-esque few. Cloaks who work regular street-cleaning patrols tend not to be aware of it. Similarly, it tends to be something you become more aware of the more powerful you get. Spiderman wouldn't know it, but Doctor Strange might, for instance.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:00 No.8693106
    Wow, so... stopping a meteorite, a zombie plague and the sun from exploding all at once using powers would... kill some evil?

    Yes, politicians and companies are evil, no matter how you try to dress them up.

    Not saying that we could do without them at the moment though.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:00 No.8693112
    I consider him to be an anti-hero that comes awfully close to being a villain.
    I mean he has never killed anyone that would be considered a good person by society at large.
    Hell if you read the punisher max series he puts himself at risk to not kill cops/military that are trying to kill him.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:01 No.8693124
    Call it Vice, because all the cool kids alliterate.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:03 No.8693154
    this, alliteration in a superhero setting is massively mandatory
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)23:05 No.8693178

    They use their powers for good, yes. Not for 'producing' good.


    Yes, both Valor and Taint regenerate over time, like a resevoir refills.


    Anarchism being retarded aside, the fallout from a companies failure or a politicians assassinate is NOT a good thing. Hundreds of people out of jobs? Maybe an outbreak of war?
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:05 No.8693187
    It kind of depends on who's writing him at the time - he's been alternately portrayed as truly out for justice, obsessed with vengeance, and a serial-killer who justifies himself by only going after "evil" targets.
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)23:06 No.8693197

    If I was going to call it Vice, I'd feel compelled to rename Valor as Virtue, which strikes me as the opposite of Vice.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:06 No.8693202
    >tl;dr WoD does Heroes
    I thought that was called Aberrant.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:07 No.8693214
    You can not guarantee that all of the people who lose their jobs or die in a war are "good".
    Infact, I'd go so far as to say that the majority of them would be evil.
    Innocence does not connotate "good" just like experience doesn't connotate "evil"
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:09 No.8693253
    You have a terribly misanthropic worldview. I attribute it to superhero activity.
    >> Cloaks and Daggers OP 03/20/10(Sat)23:17 No.8693361
    The names 'Cloaks' and 'Daggers' has another meaning. It refers to the shadow war that is going on between a number of factions across the globe, into which most get indoctrinated at some point or another. Some fight to keep the existence of Cloaks a secret, although it's not a tightly-kept secret as it stands.

    The Burning Underground, for instance, is a hedonistic faction predominately composed of Daggers but that claims a fair few Cloaks as members too. The Underground are a loose gaggle of anarchistic libertarians, believing that they have the freedom to do as they wish, which includes using their power as they see fit. They fight for freedom and fight against oppressors. They also fight each other, regularly gathering in fight clubs to beat seven shades of hell out of each other in all-out brawls.

    The Lionhearts, on the other hand, are a human faction, the only human faction actively involved in the shadow war. The Lionhearts are a secret organisation within a multinational private military corporation. They are aware of the effects of Valor and Vice and use their advanced military training and equipment to target Cloaks and Daggers in order to preserve the balance.
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:20 No.8693402
    Wouldn't the lionhearts just buttrape the daggers, so that good would triumph?
    Or is there another motive than "GOOD FOR THE GOOD GOD!"?
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:21 No.8693424
    If there were a dagger, that despite being antisocial was fairly nice. Lets also say he had the power to shoot laser beams. If this dagger spent all day hurling laser bolts into the sky over a crime ridden city, would the city slowly get nicer? With all the evil channeled into the sky via the lasers?
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:29 No.8693559
    The Heroes are using up Good as well, so they are too dangerous to be left alone
    >> Anonymous 03/20/10(Sat)23:30 No.8693571
    Why would they need to when the only bad guys left can;t use superpowers?
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)23:30 No.8693572

    Dynamic Solutions Inc. is a company owned and operated by Daniel Paladin, a Cloak who can control machines. Dynamic Solutions provides a variety of services, from bodyguards to private detection, all using Cloak customers. Paladin founding Dynamic as a way to allow Cloaks to use their powers to do good while keeping their abilities secret and safe.

    The Red Right Hand are a domestic terrorist group that have recently begun operating in the mainland United States. Composed of Daggers and humans, the Red Right Hand are members of a fringe religious sect who believe that they are the servants of God and that it is their duty to bring about the end of the World. The human members are the footsoldiers of the Hand, while the Daggers tend to be cell leaders and demagogues.

    ghostbreakers.com is an online magazine devoted to covering and debunking supernatural phenomena, from UFO sightings to Bigfoot. The website is run almost exclusively by Cloaks, who use it as a smokescreen to keep their activities secret.

    Captain Silver is the most public Cloak figure in the world at the moment. He has a popular children's television show and a line of decent quality toys and video games bearing his likeness. He is open about his powers and abilities, but he's never actually done any public heroics that weren't obviously PR stunts. He is never met with claims of being a fraud but instead damned with praise about being either being a really clever peice of marketting or a postmodern performance artist. Either way, no-one actually believes he is a superhero. (Whether or not he actually is might be left deliberately up in the air)
    >> OP 03/20/10(Sat)23:32 No.8693588
    Well, that's me done for tonight, /tg/. It's late and I'm going to bed. Keep posting if you like, run with any ideas you find interesting. I'll check back in the morning.
    >> No Man 03/21/10(Sun)00:47 No.8694790

    A gaggle of supervillains means the world is better, but not in their immediate vicinity. The reverse is true for superheroes.

    Actually, this works well to preserve the comic-book feel. The bad guys leave the tap running all the time to improve their lot, improving the world as a whole (in the peaceful burg of _____...), but make their local place a shithole that is equal in 'bad' to the amount of 'good' elsewhere.

    Picture it like a scale. A very large, but light weight perfectly balances a small, but very heavy weight.

    In the case of a great hero, the world is a terrible place, and only the hero's eternal vigil keeps his city safe from the hell that consumes the rest of the world. Coincidentally, he's also causing the rest of the world to be a hell.

    Conversely, Doctor Baron Von Evilsatan's place of residence is a suburb of Apokalipse (or how ever darksied's crib is spelled) where human rights are not so much trampled as atom-smashed. If only he would allow the army of humanitarian agencies in to lessen his captive citizens' suffering...
    You can guess the rest.
    >> Anonymous 03/21/10(Sun)00:49 No.8694834
    Look at it this way. If an area has a lot of villains and only one local hero then overall there is more evil being removed than good. If the Cloak stops evil schemes with a small use of power while the Daggers use a lot but are unsuccessful then the local area stays the same but the world overall improves.

    Ideally the world is populated by a lot of villains which are being perpetually defeated, but not killed or imprisoned permanently, and one hero who uses his powers only to defeat the villains.
    >> No Man 03/21/10(Sun)00:52 No.8694884

    Yes, which, like I said, creates a self-reinforcing comic-book universe.

    Also, this would make DC an objectively better place to be than Marvel.
    >> Anonymous 03/21/10(Sun)00:53 No.8694904
    If people found out about these Cloaks and Daggers, wouldn't the proper solution be to kill them both?

    Or would interaction lead the person to tap into Valor and Taint?

    Are superpowers an infection?
    >> No Man 03/21/10(Sun)00:57 No.8694974

    1. Secret identities now have ANOTHER reason to exist.

    2. It's suicide in the case of a dagger, and ineffectual in the case of a cloak. The latter will just kill the fuck out of you, the other will be invulnerable at/dodge your attack and won't retaliate, in which case you will be mobbed by bystanders for trying to kill the guy who saved a busfull of preschoolers.
    >> No Man 03/21/10(Sun)00:58 No.8694986
    P.S. The more I hear of this, the more I want to write it up and pitch it to White Wolf.
    >> No Man 03/21/10(Sun)00:59 No.8695001

    Scratch that, secret identities have one new reason that doesn't overlap with 'protect family from supervillains.'

    Conserving Valor in the area.
    >> Anonymous 03/21/10(Sun)01:01 No.8695017
    So what would the White Wolf name be?
    >> No Man 03/21/10(Sun)01:09 No.8695154

    That's the question isn't it? I mean, only White Wolf would take the game, as they have a hardon for NO WHITE OR BLACK GREY ONLY FINAL DESTINATION setups.

    Cloak & Dagger: The Long War
    Cape: The Crusade
    Cape: The Work
    Cape: The Calling

    Others are welcome.
    >> Anonymous 03/21/10(Sun)03:37 No.8697345
    What would someone be who wants to serve his own political agenda/shape the world around it?

    From a green liberal to a ultraconservative?
    >> Anonymous 03/21/10(Sun)03:54 No.8697550
    The name was Aberrant and it was the forerunner of Trinity.

    And yes, your heroes were fucked from the get go by having any power at all.
    >> Anonymous 03/21/10(Sun)04:05 No.8697686
    And that brings into question the nature of "good", which is something that should be addressed.
    >> OP 03/21/10(Sun)07:14 No.8699585
    That was the concept, after all; WoD doing Heroes.
    Cloak: The Duty
    Cloak: The Power
    Cloak: The Responsibilty
    >> Anonymous 03/21/10(Sun)07:44 No.8699971
    Okay, so a Cloaks career might be structured like this:
    -Has their Origin, gain their powers
    -Begin to use their powers to do good, forced to adopt a secret identity to protect themselves.
    -Do street level crime fighting, taking on drug dealers and crime rings etc.
    -Might at some point be recruited into a faction.
    -While they might take down gangs, there always seem to be more ne'er do wells out there for them to have to go after. The work is never done.
    -As they become more powerful and enlightened, they gain insight into the nature of their powers. This forces them to become more introspective and take a long-term view to their powers, causing them to only intervene when they are sure the consequences will be worth it.
    >> Anonymous 03/21/10(Sun)12:13 No.8702921

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