Which superhero will die? The answer is……
I’m planning a scenario for M&M3e/DC Adventures where the heroes are sent by Batman to investigate the death of a superhero. A few days ago I asked the question Which superhero must die, and I’ve been mulling over the answers you gave.
I’m grateful to everyone who contributed, and the suggestions certainly helped to solidify in my mind what I wanted.A fair chunk of the replies thought outside the criteria of what I was looking for, and the more I thought about those, the more I realized that my criteria had to stand. I want the PCs to investigate the death of a fellow super-powered hero and thanks to the suggestions and direction, I found just the one.
But first, I’ll go through each suggestion from the comments and explain why they’re not the corpse of the day. Not this time around, anyhow. Hey, there’s always tomorrow.
Batman faking his own death
Oh so tempting, but also oh-so-done to death already. It’s become a but too much of a cliche and I fear that would lead to an uninspiring climax at the end of the session. Also, he’s a member of the JLA, and has no super-powers. So, he’s out.
This suggestion put me on the right track. Unfortunately she’s an on-again off-again member of the JLA, and they would investigate the death of one of her own. She’s out.
Killer Croc, or equivalent
I did consider changing the scenario outline so that it was a villain who died rather than a hero, but that would shift the tone of the scenario too much. Investigating the death of one of your own (a fellow hero) is a different thing to investigating the death of a villain who should probably have been killed off by now anyhow. Tempting as it is to have the heroes prove Batman’s innocence while he’s incarcerated for the crime, I’ll steal the idea and save that particular plotline for another day :)
Members of the Legion of Superheroes dropped from the future
Tempting again, but too convoluted. Time travel in superhero games always makes my head hurt so I’ll put this on the back burner as well, and make a mental note to blog about the pitfalls of time travel in superhero rpgs some time.
No superpowers, plus Batman would investigate that death personally. He’s out.
The players are likely to say “Who’s he?” – they’re not all comic book geeks – and thus lessen the impact of the death. I want someone a bit more high-profile, so he’s out.
Lol! If I was drunk at the time, and was running ICONS instead of M&M3e, heck yes! But for this….. he’s out (tempting though it is).
A member of the JLA. He’s out.
Elongated Man or Enchantress
Again, two more heroes who fall into the “Who are they?” category. Also, isn’t Elongated Man already (still) dead? I thought long and hard about this; I want the players to go “oh f*ck” when they see the corpse, not have to ask if anyone recognizes the costume. For that reason, and that reason alone, they’re out.
As a member of the Outsiders, he’s a prime candidate. That would explain Batman’s involvement, and also why he isn’t personally involved – getting the Irregulars to investigate the death of an Outsider would be a very Batman thing to do.
While Prince Markov’s death would be a more politically-charged option than I really wanted, it did send me down the direction of considering other members of the Outsiders. Metamorpho was my first choice for a while as a result of this suggestion (thanks, callin!). The problem is that I like Metamorpho as a character a bit too much to kill him off. In my game, death means death and I think the DC Universe would be a poorer place without Rex Mason in it.
Can Swampy even be killed? As he’s only recently returned/reformed after events of Blackest Night I would like to keep him around just a bit longer. Swamp Thing makes for a wonderful opponent/plot device in the DC Universe and I don’t really want to see him die. At least, not yet. Great suggestion though!
Another one that’s oh-so-tempting, especially as it means I’ll never have to say rhyming couplets while playing him as an NPC. Is that enough reason to kill him though? Hmmmm……
Nah. Etrigan can live on for a while longer. He’s another DC character who (like Swamp Thing) makes for a good walking plot device. Whenever Etrigan/Jason Blood turn up, fun things happen. He can stay alive.
Not a member of core DC continuity, not super-powered and also already dead at the hands (or merest flick of the eyebrow) or Dr Manhattan. He’s out.
Another one that’s very tempting – especially if it’s Billy Batson who died at the hands of a child killer. I went quite a way down that particular plotline, and I like where it took me, a lot..
The ramifications of Captain Marvel’s death (what happens to the Marvel Family? What about Black Adam? Are the Seven Deadly Sins unleashed?! Oh noes!!) mean that this is a scenario that just has to happen. But not this time. Another one to save for another day. Oh yes.
Too obscure, but I do love me some Dial H for HERO. I would love to create a superhero that brings the premise into the modern age. How about a secret number that anyone can Text H for HERO to and it transforms then into a superhero for a while. I so gotta stat that puppy.
I had considered this scenario being The Death of Booster Gold before throwing it open on my blog, and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one with this idea. The problem (again) is that Booster is another Walking Plot Device, and my inner GM balks at throwing all of that scenario potential away. Also, as a close friend of Batman I can’t see him passing the investigation to anyone. Booster’s death would be investigated by Batman, and Batman alone.
And there you have it. So many great ideas, and I thank you all. Some of them will definitely be stored up and used in the future, and they have all helped push me toward the solution.
Folks, the superhero who will die is……………..
I’ll tell you why, and what happens, next time.