HeroHouse.com was established in late 2014, as a website and community to gather and catalogue news related to Metahuman Activity all across the globe. It hit a major market niche, as nobody had really tried a website like it before. Originally just a forum run by a single person, the site quickly expanded and introduced, amongst other things, a dedicated blog software, and a news section.
Nowadays, HeroHouse is arguably the biggest and most popular community for Capes and their fans. Adding onto its origins as an internet forum, nowadays it is often used for Heroes and their blogs, as it adds a variety of benefits, both for free and paid. Among those benefits are the ability to set up your own website, hosted by the HeroHouse Servers but otherwise independent. Other features are mostly related to fandoms, ranging from fan-sites to merchandise. The site is made primarily for people following the heroes, who are the site’s main audience.
The website made the news in fall of 2015, after it suddenly went offline. Various media outlets, internet blogs, and other websites, received mysterious and anonymous messages containing information on dozens of heroes, ranging from their browsing histories (possibly bad) to the secret identities, workplaces and addresses of some (life-shattering). While an official link was never made, both events happening during the same week were enough of a coincidence for most people to draw the conclusion they were connected. As of November 2016, HeroHouse is possibly facing multiple lawsuits.
After a downtime of about a month, the entire website was relaunched, with a new UI, and a variety of new measures regarding security. While the average user was hardly affected, the changes to the website’s code caused both praise and concern. A few underground communities have in the meantime tried to recreate the events of 2015, only to find the website’s security upgraded to what they described as “Super-human tech levels”.
It has also advanced to a news-website of some importance, relying on volunteers and freelance writers. The company’s employees spend most of their time checking, organizing and approving this information. Other duties include moderating the forums, which, due to the political nature, can get rather nasty at times. The forums moderation staff also includes a wide variety of volunteers, who handle sub forums or other organizational responsibilities.
Various information reaches the HeroHouse headquarters, a small studio based in Hanover, where 7 employees run the site’s day-to-day business. The Team is led by Owner, Founder and CEO of HeroHouse, Jake “BrainBar” Svensson, who also acts as the Forums Main Administrator and does most of the website’s tech work.
Before his website turned enough profit to support a full wage, Svensson worked at a medium-size company specialized around IT Security. While he doesn’t use most of the knowledge acquired there anymore, it means that HeroHouse is one of the more secure sites out there. Also, if called upon, BrainBar will gladly assist Heroes with their IT related troubles, or, if he trusts them enough, even hack into a system for them. (Not that he’d ever publically admit that, of course!)
Use in Play:
I’ll be honest, at first I designed HeroHouse primarily for my own use. I like the idea of making a setting feel more alive with things like social media, and as one of my characters is a blogger, I decided to create something he could use for his blog. HeroHouse is a lot of things, probably the biggest name dedicated to Supers on the Internet. PCs and GMs could use it for a variety of things.
Maybe the PCs interact with their fans on the blogs and forums, maybe they were invited to do an AMA. Maybe somebody claims a hero is actually not who they pretend to be on the forums! Maybe somebody finds something that reveals a hero’s secrets and posts this on the forums. Perhaps somebody sends a message to a hero informing them of an upcoming crime, but how did they know?
As for the website’s staff, while they are active, they will generally let most things happen. Unless there’s personal insults thrown around, the mod team is rather reluctant to intervene, and even then it will more often than not simply lead to a slap on the wrist unless it is a repeat. This means that threads like “[HERO]’s secret identity unveiled!!” or “[HERO] actually in cahoots with [BAD GUY] ?!?” will not only stay up, but are less rare than one would imagine.
Capeslist is a site almost exclusively for the heroic community. While part of it is public, most of the action happens behind a registration-based wall. The public part features some smaller adverts, or maybe somebody asking for mundane help, whereas the site’s core is a place for the community to organize things, or simply talk. The entire website functions on anonymous users, names are not saved by the software.
Capeslist does not have a true core function, beyond being a social hub for heroes. There will always be looking people for help, usually looking for somebody with a specific skillset. At the same time, there are a lot of people that want to simply hang out and relax, exchange stories, or maybe go on dates. The site has no proper staff or moderation, which causes occasional problems. These are usually resolved by lots of typing and arguing online, the anonymity both making it easier and more difficult.
With most of the website locked behind registration come a variety of benefits. Registration itself is a strange and long process. It requires a variety of strange processes, and a proof of heroic identity. Generally, all heroes active enough will receive a special invitation sooner or later, allowing them to skip most of the sign-up process. How exactly these invitations reach their intended recipient differs greatly, some are sent by e-mail, other by carrier Pidgeon.
The biggest mystery surrounding Capeslist is the identity of its owner(s). Tracking down domain information only leads to a chain of letterbox companies. The names associated with these companies to offer no further information, and usually are complete dead ends. While a few speculate, nobody can claim any real evidence for their theories. Actually gaining illicit access to the website’s structure itself is even more difficult, as there seems to be more than just mundane technology protecting it.
Use in Play:
This one is probably more a GM tool than anything. It originates from a thread where a group of people with the skillset for a heist was needed and then put together. Generally, I see this one as a good way to set up plots, or give various PCs reasons to be involved. Maybe a Hero (N)PC is looking for a team to do something they themselves can’t do. Maybe a strange post shows up on the website, talking about some information, and a few heroes set out to investigate? Maybe somebody simply posts an invitation to a game of super-powered ping-pong.
While it takes its name and original concept from Craigslist, I’m not sure how much of that I kept, as I don’t really know it too well. This one’s a community website shrouded in mystery, with strange application processes, invitations that make little sense, and no known owner.
There’s a lot of mystery surrounding this website at the moment, and it is all, to quote “Deliberately left open”. Maybe give the guide-team a short notice before trying to unravel the mysteries of Capeslist, so we have some idea what’s going on, but feel free to use it however you want otherwise!
TroubAlert is a website recently established by Freedom City based internet provider USNet. As a way to increase market share, the local office created the tool, where heroes can stay in touch with the public and receive crowd-sourced information. Membership and the associated benefits, like a webpage, are free for Heroes that can prove that they’re USNet customers, while non-customers pay a small fee per month. The website is still in it’s infancy, so far most users are small-scale heroes, but USNet is investing a lot of money into marketing, and has managed to secure a few deals with more well-known metahumans.
USNet works on crowdsourced information, where anybody can post articles on the site’s main page. From there on, other users have the possibility to add in more things, comment on what has already been gathered, or report something as “Not True”. If this happens a set amount of times, the article will then be flagged and enter a process of moderation. If the person writing the article is found to be lying or making things up, they are from thereon flagged as well, making their post be less visible. Registered Heroes can post too, their posts are always shown with increased priority, and they also possess the ability to request specific information.
After an agreement (and a new, better connection for the entire department), FCPD has recently started to use TroubAlert. A part of the site is accessible only to registered heroes and the Police Department, where occasionally requests by either party are posted. This has been the cause of some debate, in media, politics, but also, most fiercely, on the HeroHouse forums, the closest thing TroubAlert has to a rival.
HeroHouse’s community claims that, thanks to the corporate sponsorship, TroubAlert has access to privileges denied to HeroHouse. The Security of the deal has also been questioned, with screenshots of the private section of the website already having surfaced. This argument generally this a few sore spots, as HeroHouse itself has had trouble with Security in the past, which is often brought up by the website’s opponents.
Use in Play:
In play, TroubAlert works similar to its competitor and rival HeroHouse. Both are a way to set up plots, or simply add some flavour. TroubAlert is more focused on reporting clues/crimes/information than HeroHouse, with the site’s community being almost inactive on off-topic issues. At the same time, it is more serious, and most likely, a more reputable source, as questionably valid information is checked by a professional team. Also, the police posts on TroubAlert. Maybe there’s a crime going on right now, and they need some super-dispatch. Maybe there’s an investigation. You decide!