[19:36] <+JasonTondro> I’m Jason Tondro. I blog and podcast as Doctor Comics. (And I really do have a PhD in comics and graphic novels, so that’s not just a clever name.) I am the author of a bunch of projects for Icons, Mutants & Masterminds, and other games, but today I am here for the SUPER VILLAIN HANDBOOK, which is a book for the Icons system, though I expect it to have >
[19:37] <+JasonTondro> > a lot of cross-over appeal. In the SVH, we are presenting 40 (forty) of the most common and used super villain archetypes. Each has analysis on that archetype’s common characteristics, powers and background, and most important — the kind of story that villain is used for. The Basic Edition will include stat blocks for every archetype and a lot of analysis
[19:38] <+JasonTondro> > for GMs, and will be around 80 pages. We are aiming for a Deluxe Edition however, which will add 40 fully developed villain NPCs for your super hero RPG, with full color art. All of which will be public domain, by the way. And that will make the book about 160 pages.
[19:39] <+JasonTondro> I think that’s enough to get started. Fainting Goat is my publisher, with Mike Lafferty (dapper as heck) in charge.
[19:39] <+JasonTondro> Done
[19:39] <~Dan> Thanks, Jason!
[19:39] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:39] <+JasonTondro> Thank you, sir.
[19:40] <~Dan> So these are archetypes, you said?
[19:40] <~Dan> Does that mean that you include ways to tweak them in various ways?
[19:40] <+JasonTondro> Yes. Examples: the Girlfriend Gone Bad, the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (who looks like a hero but is actually a villain), the Villain With All Your Powers.
[19:40] <@Silverlion> Cool.
[19:41] <~Dan> (Silverlion is one of your fellow game authors, including of a supers game. 🙂 )
[19:41] <+JasonTondro> It is important to note that my emphasis is NOT on villains defined by their powers. Rather, I am interested in the way the villain is used in a game.
[19:41] <+JasonTondro> So, for example, let’s take Magneto.
[19:42] <+JasonTondro> Magneto has been used in a huge variety of stories over the years. And some authors would make an archetype for him and call him the “Force of Nature” or something. And I do, in fact, have an archetype by that name. But I also will be describing the Ultimate Villain (who is the reason the hero team comes together) and the Supremacist (who believes his race >
[19:43] <+JasonTondro> > or species is superior to all others), and Magneto ALSO would be either of those. And, for a character like the Supremacist, his powers are actually kind of irrelevant.
[19:43] <+JasonTondro> Done
[19:43] <@Silverlion> Yeah, some characters are hard to pin down because of different writers…meandering about.
[19:44] <@Silverlion> Are there any rules/systems for handling power disparity or escape plans?
[19:44] <+JasonTondro> Hi Silverlion. Yes, and my goal is NOT to “pin them down.” Rather, I consider archetypes to be more like tags than boxes. A character can be all of these archetypes, depending on the writer and the story
[19:44] <+JasonTondro> That’s a good question. Yes, I have thought about that.
[19:44] <~Dan> So I take it that these aren’t fully statted archetypes so much as character concepts?
[19:44] <@Silverlion> Indeed. 😀
[19:45] <+JasonTondro> Silverlion first: on escape plans and power disparity. One common problem in games is that the master villain only gets to take one action and the hero team gets five. And no matter how tough your bad guy is, this is easy to manage in a fight, especially if you have a hero built to take it on the chin.
[19:46] <+JasonTondro> So I have taken a point from another Popular Fantasy Game and simply suggested that we give UItimate Villains and similar folks extra actions. Icons and M&M both have a way to compensate for this, in the form of Hero Points or Determination. Give those tokens out like candy, and let the villain get extra actions. It duplicates the comics …
[19:47] <+JasonTondro> … Magneto always seems to act each time any of the X-Men try to attack him … and is fun at the table because players have lots of points to burn through.
[19:47] <+JasonTondro> OK, moving on to Dan’s question.
[19:48] <+JasonTondro> Every archetype will get a fully statted out stat block, even in the basic edition. But in the basic edition, you won’t have any background or anything for that stat block. Just the mechanics. In the Deluxe Edition, we will add fully developed, statted, illustrated, public domain villain NPCs.
[19:48] <+JasonTondro> But you will have mechanical stat blocks even in the basic version.
[19:48] <+JasonTondro> So the GM can just add a costume and a clever name and go to town.
[19:48] <+JasonTondro> Done
[19:49] <~Dan> Ah… When you said that the villains wouldn’t be defined by their powers, I wondered whether they would have specific powers already applied.
[19:49] <+JasonTondro> Right.
[19:50] <+JasonTondro> Some archetypes are more power related than others. For example, the Villain With All Your Powers, or VWAYP. This is the Super Skrull, Super-Adaptoid, Amazo character type. Even someone like the Taskmaster qualifies, he’s just a lower power level version who uses skills instead of powers.
[19:50] <~Dan> So would your Force of Nature archetype already have specific elemental powers, for example?
[19:52] <+JasonTondro> The Force of Nature needs to have overwhelming elemental powers of some sort, yes, as she embodies the “Man Against Nature” story. And that is a good example of an archetype whose powers are more important to the archetype. But the point of the Force of Nature villain is that you can’t really defeat her, any more than you can defeat a hurricane or an earthqua
[19:52] <~Dan> (cut off at “an earthqua”)
[19:52] <+JasonTondro> … earthquake. The Force of Nature is really about stories where you have to solve the problems caused BY the villain: rescuing innocent people, and so on. Because the Force of Nature can’t really be stopped./
[19:52] <+JasonTondro> Does that help?
[19:53] <~Dan> I think so, yup.
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[19:53] <+JasonTondro> Done
[19:54] <~Dan> Do you consider Galactus to be a Force of Nature type?
[19:55] <+JasonTondro> In my book, I will file Galactus under the Cosmic Menace. He’s very science fiction oriented, and he has followers and intermediaries which interact with the heroes more than he himself does. Indeed, Galactus more or less defined the Cosmic Menace villain.
[19:55] <+JasonTondro> Keep in mind that because I am writing up 40 archetypes, I have room to split hairs a little. I can create a lot of different tags.
[19:56] <~Dan> One issue I have with Icons is the hard universal stat cap. How do you handle that for a Galactus type?
[19:56] <@Silverlion> …I know a few superhuman who can stop forces of nature
[19:58] <+JasonTondro> Dan: Most games, even superhero games, have some kind of numerical system for rating NPCs, and let’s face it, all of those systems break down with Cosmic Menaces. It’s not just Galactus. Take someone like Myxzptlk. The guy can do anything. Literally anything. He wishes it, and it comes true.
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[19:59] <@Silverlion> Class Beyond….:D
[19:59] <+JasonTondro> For characters like this, the proper and sensible thing to do is to throw the rules out the window. Unless you are playing that John Byrne story where Galactus is at the weakest he has ever been, and all the heroes in NY show up to fight him (except for Spidey and Daredevil who watch from the rooftops and eat popcorn), Galactus is never going to take damage.
[20:00] <+JasonTondro> Likewise, Myxzptlk does not need to roll to make a building suddenly get up and walk around. He just does it. Yes, Silverlion, like the old FASERIP system, this is just “off the charts.” If the GM wants, give out Determination when the hero’s rank 10 power bounces off Galactus’s ship. But that’s the way it goes. The story is not about fighting.
[20:00] <+JasonTondro> Some villains you can defeat by hitting them in the head with a shovel. But not all.
[20:00] <@Silverlion> Indeed…:D
[20:00] <+JasonTondro> Dan, does that help?
[20:00] <~Dan> It does, although I’m not sure that I agree.
[20:00] <~Dan> To explain:
[20:00] <+JasonTondro> Fair enough.
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[20:01] <~Dan> One of the big things that got me into gaming in the first place was the ability to “see behind the curtain” and know the hard facts about people, places, and things.
[20:02] <~Dan> So, as a practical matter, do I think that most characters should be able to beat up a Galactus type?
[20:02] <~Dan> Nope…
[20:02] <~Dan> …but I love knowing just how powerful Galactus really is, and what might happen were he to duke it out with Thanos or a Celestial or Eternity or something.
[20:03] <~Dan> Granted, this is a moot point for an Icons supplement.
[20:03] <+JasonTondro> *nods* I absolutely hear you. My answer to that is, “That is not the kind of game which Icons is designed to be.”
[20:03] <~Dan> See above. 🙂
[20:03] <+JasonTondro> Right, right. And as I say, I absolutely hear you. And I know a lot of GMs who feel like no villain should ever be able to do anything a hero can’t do.
[20:04] <+JasonTondro> If I were working in Hero System, Galactus would have stats.
[20:04] <+JasonTondro> But I am not!
[20:04] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:04] <~Dan> Totally fair. 🙂
[20:05] <+JasonTondro> And Steve Long and I are old friends who have written together back in the day, so I have great respect for the Hero System. I even wrote some stuff for it back before Steve bought it.
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[20:05] <~Dan> Really? Nice!
[20:06] <+JasonTondro> Yeah, before Steve took over, the guys at Hero wanted a fantasy hero setting. So I wrote that for them.
[20:06] <~Dan> I should know the name of that setting, but I’m having a brain freeze here…
[20:06] <+JasonTondro> I would be shocked as hell if you remembered that setting. It was called the Broken Kingdoms.
[20:07] <~Dan> Hmm… Doesn’t quite ring a bell, although I’ve only played Fantasy Hero once, and it was a homebrew setting.
[20:08] <+JasonTondro> It was in the very last gasps of Hero before they went bust. They could not even afford to print my book. We published it electronically. Which is perfectly normal now, but was unheard of at the time.
[20:08] <~Dan> So cosmic menaces aside, do you allow for the scaling of every archetype, or are they all at specific power levels?
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[20:08] <+JasonTondro> We actually sold that book on 3.5 floppy disks, if you can believe it.
[20:08] <~Dan> Huh. I’ll be darned….
[20:10] <+JasonTondro> Many archetypes have a specific power level. Usually they are very powerful (the Ultimate Villain) or they are typically more modest in power level, like the Assassin or the Crime Boss. But some float. Like, a Mastermind or a Twisted Genius could be anything from a Daredevil level villain to a Lex Luthor style guy who tries to take over the world.
[20:11] <+JasonTondro> And I talk about all these in the archetype entry, in “Powers and Abilities” and “Other Qualities” and “Stories” and so on. But of course, ultimately, for a stat block I have to assign a number. So I will. When it comes time to do the Deluxe Edition, I will take special care to try to spread the power level around, to be sure the book is useful to every game.
[20:11] <+JasonTondro> Done
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[20:12] <~Dan> Are all of the arcehtypes literal supervillains? Or do you include more monstrous and/or demonic types?
[20:13] <+JasonTondro> Oh, I am using super villain only in its broadest sense, as a synonym for “antagonist.” So, yes, absolutely, there are monsters. The Supernatural Horror is a good example. All those movie monsters turned super villain, like Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula comic, or the various werewolf villains, and so on. They are all Supernatural Horrors. Or the Monstrosity >
[20:14] <+JasonTondro> > archetype, which is something usually made by a Twisted Genius in a lab, like the Awesome Android or Dragon-Man or whatever. And there are Warlocks and Heirs to Lovecraft, who are basically evil wizards or cult leaders or whatever. But in comics, these people tend to get super villain trappings.
[20:15] <+JasonTondro> Does that help?
[20:15] <~Dan> Yup!
[20:15] <+JasonTondro> (Sorry, I am a teacher. So I am used to asking Does that help after every question.)
[20:15] <~Dan> Do you stick to sapient beings?
[20:15] <~Dan> (No problem at all, JasonTondro. It’s your show. Whatever makes you comfortable. 🙂 )
[20:16] <+JasonTondro> Well, not necessarily. I mean, you could have a robot which is programmed only to kill or something. That probably does not qualify as ‘sapient,’ but it would certainly qualify for this book.
[20:16] * ~Dan nods
[20:17] <~Dan> But I’m assuming you don’t include common superhero adversaries like, say, dinosaurs, that aren’t really singular adversaries?
[20:17] <~Dan> Or entire races, like mole-men?
[20:18] <+JasonTondro> Right, right. I mean, when Ka-zar fights a dinosaur in the Savage Land, this, too, has a story purpose. Maybe he’s fighting the Monstrosity that would be a peaceful vegie-saurus except that Sauron has tortured it into violence. Or maybe he
[20:19] <+JasonTondro> Maybe he is fighting the herd of brontosauri which cannot be stopped, can only be avoided, and that is a Force of Nature. You see? Even Dinosaurs can be different archetypes, depending on how they are used.
[20:19] <+JasonTondro> Mole Men would probably qualify as Faceless Minions, which will be in the book.
[20:19] <~Dan> Ah, I see what you mean.
[20:19] <+JasonTondro> Excellent.
[20:19] <~Dan> So, that helps. 😉
[20:20] <+JasonTondro> Yay!
[20:21] <~Dan> Were there any antagonists you wanted to create but found yourself stymied by the system?
[20:21] <+JasonTondro> Hm. Let me think.
[20:21] <+JasonTondro> Well, not stymied by the system, but I was stymied by a lack of setting for several of them. I will explain…
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[20:22] <+JasonTondro> There are a bunch of villain archetypes which refer to heroes. And the villain only makes sense if you know who the hero is. The classic here is the Evil Twin. But there is also the Dark Mirror. The Dark Mirror is a guy like Venom, who is like the hero, has the hero’s powers, but made different decisions and is now a villain.
[20:22] <+JasonTondro> The Evil Twin, in contrast, actually IS the hero, usually from another dimension or timeline.
[20:23] <~Dan> Right…
[20:23] <+JasonTondro> Now, I could put Evil Twins and Dark Mirrors in the book, but unless you know the hero the Evil Twin is a twin OF… it makes no sense.
[20:23] <+JasonTondro> So, as a result, I had to make some decisions about the setting in which these 40 villains live.
[20:24] <~Dan> Hmm. That does seem problematic.
[20:24] <+JasonTondro> And what I decided to do is use Public Domain heroes. These are guys like the Black Terror, and Amazing Man, and Airman, and the Green Lama and so on.
[20:24] <+JasonTondro> Characters you may have seen in other Public Domain settings like Project Superheroes or the Malibu comic the Protectors.
[20:24] * ~Dan nods
[20:24] <~Dan> I love the Black Terror. Just an aside. 🙂
[20:25] <+JasonTondro> So, when I do the Vigilante archetype, which is the villain version of the heroic Dark Avenger, that Vigilante will be the Black Terror. Or my version of him.
[20:25] <+JasonTondro> This book will please you.
[20:25] <+JasonTondro> And when I do a Dark Mirror, that Dark Mirror will be someone trained at the same monastery as Amazing Man, with his same green mist powers, and so on.
[20:26] <+JasonTondro> As an aside, because this universe is public domain, it also means I can use characters like Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, and even Romero’s Day of the Dead, all of which are public domain./
[20:26] <+JasonTondro> So it’s a lot of fun to write.
[20:26] <+JasonTondro> Done
[20:27] <~Dan> Hmm… So you’re essentially describing what a Dark Mirror is, then illustrating with one based upon a given heor?
[20:27] <~Dan> hero, even
[20:28] <+JasonTondro> Yes, exactly. Now, other GMs, they probably don’t have Amazing Man in their universe. But my only other option, I felt, was to make Dark Mirrors and Evil Twins which are based off generic “Superman” or “Batman” or whatever, and I find that so incredibly boring I cannot even tell you.
[20:28] <+JasonTondro> Fortunately, most of these public domain heroes, they are ALSO certain archetypes. It’s very easy to scratch off their serial numbers and replace them with whoever you want, in your own setting.
[20:28] <~Dan> Yes, I was wondering whether you avoided the trap of having Evil Batman, Evil Superman, etc.
[20:28] <+JasonTondro> I am doing everything in my power to avoid that, yes.
[20:29] <+JasonTondro> For one thing, DC has done the Evil Superman story so much lately, I really don’t think I need to add to that stack.
[20:29] <@Silverlion> Cool.
[20:30] <~Dan> Although… what do you do for the Hero With All Your Powers?
[20:30] <+JasonTondro> 🙂
[20:30] <@Silverlion> I’m glad your trying to avoid things like that
[20:30] <~Dan> Villain, rather
[20:31] <+JasonTondro> Dan: the Villain With All Your Powers has got to be one of the most unbelievable of all villains. I mean, seriously, imagine a VWAYP fighting the cinematic Avengers. He is wearing Iron Man’s armor, he is carrying Mjolnir, and he has the one-of-a-kind shield? I mean, how do you even EXPLAIN all that stuff? God knows.
[20:31] <+JasonTondro> In the silver age we could just say “It’s a robot!” and that was enough. 21st century readers don’t buy that, honestly.
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[20:31] <~Dan> (Howdy, AP_Jeff2!)
[20:32] <@Silverlion> Of course..the Android thing works better in Marvel, after all…:D
[20:32] <@Silverlion> SuperAdaptoid
[20:32] <+AP_Jeff2> hello
[20:32] <@Silverlion> To be fair he had a sliver of the cosmic cube…
[20:32] <+JasonTondro> So I am trying to come up with an interesting take on the VWAYP. I am not sure what the final villain will look like, but his STATS are easy. We will build a hero team of public domain heroes — I may even use the Malibu Protectors roster, because it is perfectly serviceable — and then give the VWAYP all those powers.
[20:33] <~Dan> Well, I was thinking in terms of the actual statted archetype. I’d think you’d have the same problem as the Evil Twin, and you are answering my question, so I will hush now. 😉
[20:33] <+JasonTondro> But I’ve not yet come up with a way to explain it yet. I will! But I don’t need to explain it for the Basic Edition, which is what I am writing now.
[20:34] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[20:34] <+JasonTondro> Silverlion: Yes, I frankly don’t think most GMs need me to provide them with stats for Evil Superman, Evil Batman, and so on. Or even stats for the usual super villains. I mean, Icons is a very easy system. There are few villains you cannot design in half an hour with that game. Anyone could take the wonderful DC RPG books GreenRonin has put out …
[20:35] <+JasonTondro> … throw those stat blocks through a basic Icons converter, and get Icons stats for the Cheetah and Sinestro and so on. Marvel would be only a little harder. Heck, if you don’t like conversion, it might even be easier.
[20:35] <+JasonTondro> So I am much more interested in creating something new and interesting. I’ll give you an idea of what I am talking about…
[20:35] <@Silverlion> Oh No. Of course not.
[20:36] <+JasonTondro> For this project, I am working with the artists to come up with the villains. Jacob Blackmun has done most of our work so far. And he will pick an archetype, and we will throw around ideas or whatever, and then he will go design someone and my job is to make a background to fit that awesome design,
[20:37] <+JasonTondro> I did this because, when I was writing the super hero version of this book for Vigilance, I realized that I am totally confident in my ability to make cool NPCs, but I am not totally confident in my ability to make them look cool. I tend to go back to the ‘intimidating guy in a trench coat’ or whatever. Artists are professional designers.
[20:38] <+JasonTondro> Anyway, when I talked to Jacob, I said, “You can make any idea you want. I will listen to anything. But my one rule is: don’t pitch a villain concept which you are taking from some other project. I want every idea to be made for this project. To be fresh and new to you, something you have never done before.’
[20:38] <@Silverlion> Heh. Good. I can draw, but not good enough to put it in a superhero game
[20:38] <+JasonTondro> I realize that there is nothing new under the sun. But I do believe that, as game masters and writers, we can fall into a rut. And I am trying very hard to avoid that.
[20:39] <+JasonTondro> I used to draw a lot, but it has been years and anything I had is long gone now. 🙂
[20:39] <+JasonTondro> I hope that helps a little. Done.
[20:39] <~Dan> I don’t envy you trying to come up with archetypes while trying to be original. That’s tricky.
[20:39] <+JasonTondro> It is!
[20:39] <+JasonTondro> But, you know, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
[20:39] <~Dan> True!
[20:40] <+JasonTondro> As I tell my students when we are working through Shakespeare or something: we don’t yell and scream out lungs out for athletes because they are doing stuff that is EASY. We do it because it is HARD.
[20:40] <+JasonTondro> So, you know: do what is hard.
[20:40] <~Dan> Do I recall correctly that you’re considering a version of the SVH for a different system?
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[20:40] <~Dan> (Howdy, Snoof!)
[20:41] <+JasonTondro> Yes. I believe we are already committed to a SUPERS version, Walt Robilliard’s fine game. And Walt has been super supportive of this whole project, a fact for which I am really grateful. So I am absolutely delighted to have his game on board.
[20:42] <+JasonTondro> We also have other games as possible systems. Mike Lafferty, my publisher, will decide what order they get put into the kickstarter. I, personally, would like to do a M&M one. And Brandon Blackmoor has expressed interest in a Bulletproof Blues version. I have written a book for that system, so I could do that.
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[20:43] <+JasonTondro> Fate or Savage Worlds, there are many other popular games out there.
[20:43] <~Dan> Oh? Can you say what book? I’m a fan of Brandon’s work.
[20:44] <+JasonTondro> I wrote the Ruins of Atlanta for BB 2nd edition. It was a kickstarter stretch goal which made. I was very happy to write that, because Brandon gave me my first RPG writing gig WAY back in the day.
[20:44] <@Silverlion> That’s awesome.
[20:44] <~Dan> That’s interesting. I didn’t realize that Brandon had been in the biz that long.
[20:45] <+JasonTondro> Yes, I had a lot of fun. And he let me put a Steve Ditko homage hero in there, so that was nice of him.
[20:45] <+JasonTondro> I believe Brandon’s first RPG was “Legacy: War of Ages,” which was a sort of Highlander/Cyberpunk mash-up. And I wrote the one and only supplement for that game
[20:46] <~Dan> I remember that game! I had no idea that was Brandon’s work.
[20:46] <~Dan> (I never played it, but I knew of it.)
[20:46] <+JasonTondro> Blackgate Productions, my man. Right there on the cover
[20:46] <+JasonTondro> I wrote “Blades: Immortal Steel” which was a bunch of antagonists, their magic swords, and their evil machinations.
[20:47] <~Dan> What else have you worked on?
[20:48] <+JasonTondro> Oh gosh. You are very kind to let me toot my horn. Let’s see.
[20:49] <+JasonTondro> Well, for Fainting Goat, I wrote The Great Game, which was their cosmic superhero book for Icons. And I wrote a big chunk of Stark City, their superhero setting; I wrote the downtown neighborhood, the Silver District, along with a big piece on introducing new characters to the city.
[20:49] <~Dan> Not at all. We love having game authors toot their own horns in here. 🙂
[20:50] <+JasonTondro> Before that I did a number of pieces for Vigialnce Press: including the Field Guide to Superheroes, which was four volumes, and basically the super hero version of the Super Villain Handbook. 40 hero NPCs, and all their archetypes, illustrated by Dan Houser, that was very fun.
[20:50] <+JasonTondro> Vigilance Press was also where I published “Arthur Lives!”, which was an urban fantasy game using the True20 system. I recently rewrote that for Fate, but I don’t think it will ever be published.
[20:51] <~Dan> What was that like?
[20:51] <+JasonTondro> Arthur Lives?
[20:51] * ~Dan nods
[20:51] <@Silverlion> That’s a shame.
[20:52] <+JasonTondro> “Arthur Lives!” was an urban fantasy game of occult conspiracy and cinematic action. The PCs are reincarnations of characters from Arthurian myth. But they don’t really remember much. So they spend a lot of time trying to figure out why they have all come back, and who everyone is. And while they have all their Arthurian drama — old romances, rivalries and >
[20:52] <+JasonTondro> > so on — they also have all the drama of their new lives, their living children and spouses and jobs and so on. And then there are Templars, Rosicrucians, and Nazis. So, you know, it’s all good.
[20:53] <+JasonTondro> Silverlion, it is a shame. I love the hell out of that game and Fate is a great system for it.
[20:53] <~Dan> Was it set during the 30s-40s?
[20:54] <~Dan> Or were the Nazis hold-outs?
[20:54] <@Silverlion> Yeah, that isa shame, that might be cool…
[20:54] <+JasonTondro> Oh no, it is a modern, 21st century game. But — spoilers for a game that came out ten years ago — Arthur’s rebirth had a lot to do with actual Nazi occultism involving the Spear of Destiny and Wewelsburg castle at the end of WWII/
[20:55] <+JasonTondro> So the Nazis who accidentally brought Arthur back are all dead. But the beautiful thing about Nazis is that they always come back.
[20:55] <~Dan> And you do Nazi them coming.
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[20:55] <+JasonTondro> *rimshot*
[20:56] <@Silverlion> Hehe. That’s terrible
[20:56] <~Dan> 😀
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[20:56] <+JasonTondro> Before Vigilance, I published some books through my own imprint. “Escape from Alcatraz” was an 80-page villain book and mega adventure for M&M 2nd edition. I did a d20 project, another villain book…
[20:57] <+JasonTondro> … And then back in the Ancient of Days, I did some writing for MERP and Hero, some articles in various magazines no longer printed like Shadis and Pyramid… stuff like that. Never made much money at it, but had a lot of fun. Gaming is my pleasure. Writing games is not work, even when it is hard.
[20:57] <@Silverlion> Hehe.
[20:58] <@Silverlion> I adore Shadis.
[20:58] <@Silverlion> and Valkyrie
[20:58] <+JasonTondro> It was a great magazine. I wrote them an article on using Tarot cards in RPGs.
[20:59] <~Dan> Now, you said that you’re a professor of comics?
[20:59] <+JasonTondro> …. I’m still recovering from the Nazi thing.
[20:59] <+JasonTondro> Yes sir!
[20:59] <~Dan> That is incredibly cool. I didn’t know such a person existed. 🙂
[21:00] <+JasonTondro> Neither did I. I was at an academic conference many years ago now, I believe it was 1999 or something, and I saw people presenting their work on all kinds of popular culture. Popular novels, and film, and so on.
[21:00] <~Dan> What is your class like?
[21:01] <+JasonTondro> And I realized that comics were part of that. And I said, “Wait. You mean, I could spend the rest of my life reading comics and teaching and writing about them … for a living?” And that’s how I knew what I would be doing for the rest of my life.
[21:02] <+JasonTondro> I teach a couple of different comics related courses at the College of Coastal Georgia, which is a public university on the beautiful ocean. One course is “International Comics and Graphic Novels.” In that course, we read 10 books, almost all of which have nothing to do with America.
[21:03] <+JasonTondro> We read Tintin in Tibet, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, a manga called Town of Evening Calm, we read Ballad of the Salt Sea, Aya (an Algerian comic), Siberia (the only Russian comic I could find translated into English) and V for Vendetta.
[21:03] <+JasonTondro> Oh, and Yukiko’s Spinach. Which is probably too sexy for rural Georgia, but hey. Welcome to the world.
[21:03] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:04] <~Dan> What sorts of students do you have? What sorts of majors do they have?
[21:04] <+JasonTondro> In other courses I use All-Star Superman, which is an incredibly teachable book.
[21:05] <+Snoof> I love that comic.
[21:05] <+JasonTondro> Coastal is a small school, with only about 3,000 students. Most of them have very job-oriented majors like Business, Biology, Nursing. But we have a new, small, American Studies program, and that is where my comics work most strongly falls. And those students are AMAZING. I took some of them to the University of Florida to present their work at the annual >
[21:06] <+JasonTondro> > conference on comics and graphic novels there, and they kicked ass. They were as good as anyone there, and they were the only undergraduates. Everyone else was grad students, professors.
[21:06] <+JasonTondro> (All-Star is wonderful. It may be my favorite comic. That’s a hard call.)
[21:07] <+JasonTondro> Now, all this being said, there are MANY places to study comics now.
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[21:07] <+JasonTondro> We comics scholars have spread like Skynet. We are everywhere.
[21:07] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:08] <+etaoinshrdlu> comics scholars ? collars ? 😛
[21:08] * +Serami_ lies down and shiver
[21:08] <+Serami_> ;;;
[21:08] <+JasonTondro> University of Florida has the only PhD program dedicated to comics that I know of. I took my PhD at the University of California Riverside, which is home to the Eaton Collection, about 70,000 comics strong. And I taught courses there on the Superhero Narrative and British Graphic Novels and so on.
[21:08] <+etaoinshrdlu> are you okay, Serami_ ?
[21:08] <+Serami_> Oh is there a Q&A happening?
[21:08] <~Dan> Yup!
[21:08] <+Serami_> !
[21:08] <+JasonTondro> You’re welcome anyway 🙂
[21:09] <+JasonTondro> Well, we have gone almost a couple of hours. I can yield the floor to the people who live here!
[21:10] <~Dan> Well, first, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:11] <+JasonTondro> You’ve been very kind to ask me so much. I will say that if anyone would like to help with the Super Villain Handbook — if you have archetypes you would like to talk about, or suggestions, or a favorite type you think should be included — I am totally crowd sourcing. As I draft, I post each archetype on our FB page, and I believe Mike has posted some of >
[21:11] <+JasonTondro> > them here as well. And as people provide feedback, I go back and work that into the draft. That has been very helpful so far. The book is far better for all the input.
[21:12] <~Dan> Oh, and do you have any links you’d like to share?
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[21:12] <+JasonTondro> I do!
[21:12] <+JasonTondro> (Link: https://www.facebook.com/supevillainhandbook)https://www.facebook.com/supevillainhandbook
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[21:13] <+JasonTondro> Anyone who wants to contact me or see more about me, or read my doubtless controversial opinions on stuff, my blog is doctorcomics.blogspot.com
[21:14] <+JasonTondro> I think that’s everything +)
[21:14] <~Dan> Speaking of staying in touch with you, let me say once again that you are always welcome here, whether to hang out with us or to promote your work. 🙂
[21:14] <+JasonTondro> 🙂
[21:14] <+JasonTondro> Thanks! I appreciate that. It is always nice to be welcome.
[21:14] <+etaoinshrdlu> Aye, we’re a friendly bunch ‘ere.
[21:15] <+etaoinshrdlu> Heck, even I’m tolerated here and I don’t even game. 😛
[21:15] <~Dan> And, that being the case, you needn’t run off just because we’re wrapping up the “official” Q&A. Totally up to you.
[21:15] <+JasonTondro> When I talked about this book, literally the very first thing Mike Lafferty said to me was, “We need to make sure to get RPG.net involved.”
[21:15] <~Dan> However! I will pause for a moment to go get the log posted so that I can give you the link.
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[21:16] <~Dan> So let me thank you very much for taking the time to visit with us this evening!
[21:16] <+JasonTondro> I am going to sneak out, as I am due for a Star Trek game via Google Hangout. I understand the No Win Scenario is in my future.
[21:16] <@Silverlion> Heh
[21:16] <@Silverlion> Have fun…:D
[21:16] <+JasonTondro> Thank you very much, Dan and Silverlion. It was a real pleasure.