Tuesday, April 22, 2014

NO:LA Nightwatch: A Supers Campaign Seed (Part Five)

More pre-campaign bits and pieces I distributed to the players. I released a new "sheet" every couple of days leading up to the campaign. I wanted to give the players something they could quickly and easily read. More importantly I hoped these entries would give them names and ideas they could play off of. They would know if they wanted to find out X thing, they could talk to Y person. That didn't work quite as well as I'd hoped. Part of the problem was that the information remained isolated from them. I think if I were to do it over, I'd write up the NPC lists, but then make the PCs do some relationship mapping. They could pick and choose some characters to have a connection to. 

Note: some of these elements/characters are reworkings from other sources. You can find the first post and more explanation here. The history of the Second Sunder War is here.

Even before the events of Sunder's War, New Orleans was not rife with superheroes. Other, more notable cities like New York, Chicago and Opal City drew greater numbers of protectors. Many of those who survived the war want nothing to do with New Orleans-- mostly from a combination of bad memories and superstition. Today, despite the greater need for guardians, only four heroes (or vigilantes as the case may be) operate in the city.

Champion: It is unclear whether the original Champion died or simply retired from crime fighting. Certainly he has not been seen since Sunder's assault on Boston. A few months after the war, a woman wearing a set of armor nearly identical to Champion's appeared in New Orleans to help with rescue work during a series of fires in now derelict warehouses. Her armor appears to be a variation on Champion's, but possesses most of the same powers-- protection, increased speed and the ability to produce energy blasts. She travels on a modified hovercycle, but also appears to be able to use her armor for extraordinary leaps. Where the original Champion was legendary for an unpleasant sense of humor, this version is notable only for an extraordinary silence. She has only spoken though an artificial voice device-- an even then infrequently.

Stinger: Gifted with the apparently natural ability to fly and project bolts of neural energy, this hero has been notable for working primarily in the suburbs and outer districts of New Orleans. He's worked to keep crime from spreading into the more stable and wealthier areas of the city. While his results are unquestionable, he has generated controversy among certain communities. In a city with already tense race relations, even an apparently apolitical activity like superheroing can lead to questions. Thus far, Stinger has given no interviews to the press, but is said to have worked with a number of sheriff's departments in the outer boroughs.

The Bellman: With an uncertain appearance and even more uncertain powers, the Bellman is more a figure of legend than a confirmed superhero. There was a vigilante known as the Bellman who operated in New Orleans in the 1970's, but he was killed while stopping home a invasion. Recently rumors have begun to surface among the criminal underworld about a vigilante who particularly targets the most brutal criminals. As to whether this is simply an urban legend or an actual person remains unclear. One fact has pointed towards the Bellman's existence. The DHS: NO quietly issued a directive to its operatives some months ago that any stories regarding the Bellman should be reported and that he should be considered a hostile and potentially terrorist figure.

Hunter Wrath: Less a superhero than a notable public paranormal, Hunter Wrath came to New Orleans alongside a group of fellow exiles from Empyre to aid in the battle against Sunder. Most of Hunter's fellows died, and the few who survived left the city for other parts of the globe soon after. Hunter remained and has interfered with the activities of super-criminals on a couple of occasions (but has also notably ignored others). Hunter appears to be of Sidhe blood-- at least to those who claim to have an understanding of Empyre-- and has features that, to say the least, make it unclear if Hunter is male or female. Wrath has offered consultation to local officials on matters magical, but a general nervousness about the supernatural has meant they have not taken up that offer (at least publicly).

Nancy Belden: Most notable of the current district attorneys in New Orleans. She’s been involved closely in most recent high profile criminal prosecutions. She’s notable for not taking lead chair, but instead helping to oversee and coordinate efforts between the various cases currently going. In this she’s managed to connect the dots between a number of cases and add conspiracy and criminal network charges to them. She’s notable in that after her family moved here as a teenager she made something of a reputation for herself as a “teen girl sleuth.” While she might have pursued a career in law enforcement, she ultimately decided to go into law directly. She graduated from Loyola University’s Law School in New Orleans and made her way quickly into the prosecutor’s office.

Thomas G. Bradley, New Orleans Superintendent of Police: Bradley served for many years as a Deputy Chief having come up the ranks slowly and carefully. During the Katrina crisis and Sunder’s Assault on the city the following year, Bradley’s office became notable for stability and management—but at the same time keeping their work quietly handled. When Superintendent Mitchell retired after the Sunder crisis many expected one of the flashier Deputy Chiefs to move up into the role. However a series of reports in the Time-Picayune concerning Bradley’s work drew widespread public attention, resulting in his promotion. Bradley began with a neutral stance on the issue of vigilantes and paranormals in the city, but pressure from many quarters have meant that he’s now taken a harder line. Officers are generally encouraged not to work with superheroes, though there is no official policy in place. Within New Orleans there are those who blame heroes for what happened to the city (despite other who point out what Katrina would have done had they not been there).

Malcolm Rolff, Chief Enforcement Administrator the Department of Homeland Security: New Orleans: Despite the unwieldy acronym DHS: NOLA, this group has significant influence in some quarters—particularly among certain wealthier segments of the population. There have been accusations that the DHS has generally acted to support and back up efforts at gentrification and the elimination of certain “less desirable” neighborhoods within the city. Rolff’s work deals with law enforcement, criminal investigation, and tracking terrorism. He has used all the new authority given him to step on the toes of locals, seize cases for his department’s ends, and generally carve for himself a potent power base. Formerly of the now defunct MASS division of the FBI, dedicated to finding a solution to the super villain problem, he has a certain chip on his shoulder regarding paranormals. At the same time Rolff has been effective in exposing the rising tide of organized crime entering the city—the so-called Hurricane Mafia, Brick 14, the Green Star Triad Axis—but less successful at generating cases against them.

León De la Sombra: One of the few “supers” employed by the city (though the exact nature of his powers remain unclear). La Sombra came to the US along with several relatives after a crisis among the Super Luchadore’s of Mexico resulted in a splintering of the league and several notable para-celebrities going rogue. Through family connections he managed to obtain legal immigrant status and eventually graduated with a degree in Criminology and several related concentrations in the sciences. Heavily recruited by the FBI, he instead decided to join the New Orleans Science Investigations Division (SID). Despite some basis against him, his demonstrated competency and people skills won him many supporters and he has become a fixture among the Latino community in the city. Currently he is the supervisory field agent for the night shift in the division, meaning that he’s often seen at major crime scenes managing the work.

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