Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Playing City of Heroes again reminded me of the Midnighters / Midnight Club / Midnight Squad. It's the BPRD, but as an NGO.

 

This passage in the lore caught my eye:

 

Unlike many of the other hero organizations that have blossomed and then faded in Paragon City's past, the Midnight Squad has endured in one form or another since the 1920's. This amazing record of success stems entirely from the fact that the Squad has never been a formal team of heroes like the Freedom Phalanx or Dawn Patrol. Instead it is more like a very exclusive private club, the only requirement for which is that you know a great deal about magic and the occult. Members come and go, but the club remains.

 

I think there's something to that. In this PBP format, at least, attempts to organize Justice League or Avengers style "teams" have met with limited success at best. But an affiliation organized more along the lines of a traditional gentlemens club, working mens club, or similar fraternal organization, might work better.

 

The idea I'm brainstorming is a private club for Bedlam City vigilantes, probably with an emphasis on the supernatural ones (whom I believe make up the majority, as befitting a town that's basically on top of a Buffy-style Hellmouth), but not exclusive to them, based out of a central location which can act as a meeting place, temporary safehouse (for the heroes or their guests), and/or permanent residence for one or more of the heroes. The building could also act as a centralized, collaborative library, workshop, and storage space. The club members would have a vague obligation to provide aid and hospitality to other members in need, which would provide a ready-made excuse for any members to thread with each other.

 

Maybe the club would actually exist on paper as a 501c7 tax-exempt member-funded social club, or maybe not. I could see reasons for both approaches.

 

Mechanically, I assume the building would be a Headquarters which I'd pay for; other PCs could contribute Equipment ranks if they wanted to, but I don't think it would be necessary.

Maybe members could spend 1PP on a Feature representing access to the club. The descriptor could just be their name on the rolls, or a physical object, or even an invisible magic tattoo which only appears when they want to enter the club or otherwise identify themselves as members.

Maybe the building could have the Sealed feature, and thanks to protective wards, it would only be physically accessible to Feature-having members and their explicit guests. Maybe the HQ could also have features like Personnel, Self-Repairing, and Defense Systems, represented by ghosts and/or revenants (serving voluntarily, of course - maybe damned souls who signed up to work off karmic debts and escape Hell?). Being a literal haunted house would be very on-brand.

 

Strix is doing the Spawn thing right now, penniless and squatting in an abandoned house, so I'd have to come up with some reason for him to come into money, and possibly get himself a consensual Renfield. I'm open to suggestions on that front.

 

Has the name "Midnighters" or some variant been used on this board before? I've seen it pop up in enough places that I don't remember.

 

Share this post


Link to post

"Has the name "Midnighters" or some variant been used on this board before? I've seen it pop up in enough places that I don't remember." -there was a short-lived superteam of monsters, but in-universe the existence of the Midnight legacy would make it sound a little odd. 

Share this post


Link to post

I'm definitely interested in getting the Tattered Man in on this. Just need a name. 

Share this post


Link to post

There was a Midnighters group in FC before, I believe Deadhead was a member so maybe the ideas traveled west with him? And with portals and magical dimensions it could be shared between all the cities if you want to.

 

But I'm totes down with the idea.

Share this post


Link to post

Feel free to add to the brainstorming with fluff ideas if you want.

 

More brainstorming from me:

 

Strix has one mortal ally at the moment, the semi-retired priest whose life he saved. Maybe he has a niece or nephew who's an accountant or a lawyer, maybe married to someone who's the other one, and their uncle gets them to help craft a new Alternate Identity feat for Strix to use for club ownership. (Where he gets the money is another issue.)

 

The building could already have been haunted. Mystics like Doctor Thorne and necromancers like Dead-Head (if @Dr Archeville is interested) could have exorcised or recruited the existing spirits, and maybe new ones.

Maybe, because the building is haunted and it messes with people's perception and memories (see below), it's slipped through the cracks of the mortal bureaucracy, so the club members can assume "ownership" of it without having to involve tax collectors or utility companies.

 

I'm thinking that, in addition to the actual ghosts and zombies staffing the place, the atmosphere should be the full classic haunted house package: Owls, bats, and ravens hanging around, random disembodied laughter and screams, bleeding walls, creepy paintings whose eyes seem to follow you wherever you go, cold spots, candles and fireplaces lighting themselves or snuffing themselves out, shadows which aren't attached to anything (and/or things not having shadows when they should), doors and windows opening and closing on their own, etc.

 

Doctor Thorne could provide at least some of the materials represented by the Library and Workshop (Magic) features.

 

For the building itself:

 

Strix has 1PP of my veteran reward already, and I have another 6PP unused, for a total of 7PP to work with.

 

This design currently uses 4PP of the 7PP available, so I can easily cover the cost of the HQ myself.

 

The Club [20EP = 4PP]
Power Level: 13
Size: Large (500ft, Mansion) [2EP]
Toughness: 5 [0EP]
Features: [18EP]
Concealed (Magical Perception Filter)
Defense System 2 (Ghosts, Zombies)

Feature: Secret Sewer Entrance

Fire Prevention System
Garage
Gym
Library
Living Space
Personnel (Ghosts and Zombies)
Pool
Powers 3 (70/78PP)

 

  Emotion Control 10 (Extras: Area, Mental, Selective, Flaws: Limited [Fear], Limited [Shaken]) [20PP] (Haunted House)

  

  Transform 10 (Memory Alteration, Extras: Alternate Save [Will], Area, Duration [Continuous, Lasting], Mental, Range [Perception], Selective, Flaws: Limited [Distort or erase memories of the house, its contents, and its location]) [50PP]

 

Power System (Back-up Generator)
Security System (Magical Wards)
Self-Repairing (Ghosts and Zombies)
Workshop (Magic)

 

I was thinking the Concealed feature and the Mental Transform power could represent a supernatural aura around the building, probably fear-based, which prevents most people from consciously noticing it and nudges them away from interacting with it, like the perception filter effects in Doctor Who, or the enchantments I believe Doctor Strange has around his Sanctum Sanctorum. You could also build that with a Concealment power, but I think in general it's best to use existing HQ Features if they're available (the Communications feature is better and cheaper than any Communication power effect we could build "manually").

 

I was thinking the Fear power would represent the effect the literally haunted house has on the people inside. Selective would prevent the members and their guests from having to roll saving throws against their own club (unless a GM wanted them to for some reason), but uninvited guests who made it past the security measures would find the spooky building unsettling.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

More brainstorming:

 

The clubhouse was already very, very haunted before the heroes took possession of it. It is a Bad Place where Bad Things happened. The heroes have made it less of a Bad Place, where sometimes, Good Things happen.

 

Most people who walk by the clubhouse don't see it, or remember it. They don't want to. They start to look at it, and then their subconscious mind forces them to look away before their conscious mind notices it.

 

The clubhouse is "on the grid." It has electricity and running water. There is documentation on file with multiple governmental and corporate entities. But no one working for any of those places ever seems to remember it exists. It's never visited by tax or bill collectors. The entire mortal world does its best to unconsciously ignore it.

 

The whole structure is plagued by random electromagnetic interference. Phone and TV reception and cellular signals are unreliable. Static and video tearing are common.

 

Even if you're a club member, the clubhouse doesn't entirely stop messing with you. The clubhouse hates people who don't belong there, but it also seems to mildly resent the people who do belong there, in a passive-aggressive sort of way. It acts sadistically toward intruders, but mischievously toward members. Some of the souls haunting the clubhouse are just confused or scared, often moreso than the mortal occupants. Others aren't there because they want to be, but because it's a way out of a Hell, a Hell they wouldn't have needed a way out of in the first place if they'd been good people while they were alive.

 

The more overt signs of the supernatural are the ghosts and zombies who work at the clubhouse. Because of them, the place is clean, there's a fully staffed kitchen, bar, and dining room, open 24/7, and there's always someone available to answer the door, take your coat, and bounce out troublemakers. But the ghosts aren't always visible, and when they are, you might wish they weren't, because they tend to look like they came directly from the set of Beetlejuice, with either distorted bodily proportions, or obvious mortal wounds. The zombies include the full spectrum of preservation, from skeletons, to dried out or bloated corpses missing half their flesh, to revenants who almost appear to be alive...almost.

 

The clubhouse has so much ectoplasm soaked into it from the ghosts haunting it, so much psychic resonance embedded into it from all the Bad Things that happened there over the years, that its physical structure is strengthened, but also malleable by the spirits in residence, and the changes aren't always intentional or voluntary on their part. The interior geography of the clubhouse never quite remains constant. Hallways and staircases vary in length every time you walk through them (or at least they appear to), from "too small" to "endless" and everything in between. Doors, hallways, and staircases don't always lead to the same rooms as they did before. Sometimes they lead to dead ends. Sometimes walking up the stairs leads to a floor below the one you started from, and vice versa. Sometimes a room is just laid out differently than it was the last time you entered it, as though the furniture had all been moved around, or the window or fireplace was on a different wall.

 

Most plants refuse to grow anywhere near the clubhouse, and die if brought inside. But the food and spices in the kitchen never seem to spoil, no matter how long they're stored. There are "perishable" items in there older than you are.

 

Most animals, even vermin, refuse to come anywhere near the clubhouse. But owls, ravens, and bats all seem to love it there. They roost all over the place.

 

There are dozens of paintings hanging on the walls. The scenes they depict seem to change while you're not looking. An object held in one hand will switch to the other. A dress will change color. A face which was looking off to the side and smiling when you first saw it will be looking directly at you and scowling when you turn back to it. Every time you turn away, maybe every time you blink, the face gets a little larger in the frame, as if the person was moving toward you, getting closer.

 

The bedrooms and bathrooms have mirrors, which appear normal at first. But sometimes, your reflection is distorted, like in a fun-house mirror. Or your reflection has wrong-colored eyes (black, red, yellow, etc.), or bleeding eyes. Maybe it's bleeding from other wounds you don't have on your body. Or it moves slightly out of sync with you. Or you see someone else standing behind you (maybe one person, maybe a whole room full of people). When you blink or look away, your reflection is normal again. Or it's not. Maybe the other people are gone. Maybe they're still there.

 

Doors and windows will randomly open or close by themselves. They'll be stuck and immovable the first three times you try to open them, then when you stop trying, they'll open on their own. Objects will get knocked off of surfaces by some invisible force, or you'll put one down next to you, and then when you reach for it you'll see it sitting across the room. Or it will still be sitting next to you, but when you reach for it, it will slide a few inches away, just out of reach.

 

Gusts of wind will rush by, nowhere near an open window.

 

Cold spots appear and shift randomly.

 

Candles and fireplaces will light themselves, or snuff themselves out.

 

Sometimes there are shadows, but they're not attached to anything. Sometimes, things and people which should have shadows, don't.

 

Disembodied whispers, laughter, screams, or howls will randomly echo down the halls, or seem to come from far away, maybe even outside the clubhouse.

 

Sometimes the walls bleed. Sometimes you look away and when you look back, the blood is gone. Sometimes it's still there. Eventually, a zombie will shamble up with a mop.

 

The Clubhouse (Version 2) [25EP = 5PP]
Power Level: 13
Size: Large (500ft, Mansion) [2EP]
Toughness: 10 [1EP]
Features: [22EP]
Concealed (Magical Perception Filter)
Defense System 2 (Corporeal Undead, Incorporeal Undead)

Feature: On The Grid But Off The Grid

Feature: Kitchen Eternally Preserves Perishables

Feature: Secret Sewer Entrance

Fire Prevention System
Garage
Gym
Library
Living Space 2 (Masterwork)
Personnel (Undead Servants)
Pool
Powers 4 (103/104PP)

Emotion Control 10 (Extras: Area, Mental, Selective, Flaws: Limited [Fear], Uncontrolled) [20PP]

Obscure 6 (Sense Types: All, Area: 250ft radius, Flaws: Limited [Machines], Partial Concealment, Range [Touch], Uncontrolled) [3PP]

Teleport 10 (Extras: Area, Attack, Range 2 [Perception], Selective, Flaws: Limited [Short Range Jumps], Uncontrolled) [40PP]

Transform 10 (Memory Alteration, Extras: Alternate Save [Will], Area, Duration [Continuous, Lasting], Mental, Range [Perception], Selective, Flaws: Limited [Distort or erase memories of the house, its contents, and its location], Uncontrolled) [40PP]

Power System (Hellfire Furnace)
Security System (Magical Wards)
Self-Repairing (Undead Servants)
Workshop (Magical crafts)

 

The HQ powers all have the Uncontrolled flaw, so they only happen when the GM wants them to.

Edited by Grumblefloof

Share this post


Link to post

Couldn't hurt to have the heroes originally find and tame the house, solve the mystery etc, etc.

Share this post


Link to post

John's powers are explicitly connected to ghosts, and his ability to sense the psychic resonance of a given area could come in handy with any shenanigans. 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

Hells yes, I am all for this.

 

Yes, there was a group called the Midnighters, Dead Head was a member, along with Arcturus, Atlas, Avenger, Changeling, Nick Cimitiere, Crow, Equinox, Ghost Girl, Hellion, Kid Cthulhu, Phantom, Rene de Saens, maybe one or two others.  IIRC, we never got much chance to do a lot together, and then we just sorta fizzled out.

 

Also, they had a shared haunted HQ, Parkhurst Hotel.  Which we got from ghost-busting.

 

Dead Head could be the one to float the idea to Strix, once he gets to Bedlam, or at least help Strix solidify the idea that's already starting to form in his mind.  He could certainly help with wrangling undead (love the "working off some karmic debt" angle), and convincing the genius loci of the building to let them stay.

Edited by Dr Archeville

Share this post


Link to post

I'm leaning toward this having actually been a real traditional gentlemens club, which was eventually abandoned and forgotten after too many waves of Bad Things piled up and it was thoroughly haunted.

It works with the Bedlam timeline. The failed Country Club which the Scarlett Hill neighborhood was colloquially renamed after was a recent development, within the last 10-15 years of whenever the timeline in the book begins. So there easily could have been one or more Rich A$$hole Clubs in the city before that.

 

I really liked the name "The Midnight Club", but Midnight is a legacy of existing Freedomverse heroes of international prominence with active players, so I'd like to avoid any confusion.

So far, the best alternate suggestion I've heard for a name is "Twilight". We could call it "The Twilight Club", but I think I like "The Twilight Lodge" better.

 

As far as I see it, the best candidates for a physical location for the clubhouse are the following:

 

1) The Country Club. (The neighborhood that used to be called Scarlett Hill, but has now been colloquially renamed after the failed golf club.) The rich people who now live in Stone Ridge (the hastily-erected gated community at the far corner of town) had to flee the Country Club in a hurry, somewhere between the "15 Years Ago" and "10 Years Ago" points on the timeline. Maybe they didn't build the new club very far from the old one. Maybe the old one, like the new one, was right in their backyard. Half their houses are just sitting abandoned, and the others have been subdivided within an inch of their lives and rented out to the poorest and most desperate Bedlamites. Downside, or upside, depending on how you look at it, is that all the same things that make the Country Club a crap place to live would apply for anyone spending any significant length of time at the clubhouse. It's choked with clouds of reeking diesel exhaust from the ships, whose horns echo day and night across the bay.

 

2) Greely Point. Most of it is Gorganzua territory (the lesser of the 2 Mafia families, the one that's up and coming because their port is doing better because they weren't large or organized enough to squeeze as much protection money out of it), basically a smaller, older version of Stark Hill - working class Italian. But a small part of it is the oldest rich neighborhood in Bedlam. So maybe the eventual decline and abandonment of the club was part of why most of the rich assholes moved across the river to Scarlett Hill in the first place, mirroring the way they moved to Stone Ridge more recently.

 

3) Downtown. Main concern there is that Downtown is already crowded with messed-up buildings with hinted or explicit supernatural issues.

 

4) Hardwick Park. Most of the stuff on Hardwick Park paints it as working class to poor. It was basically Stark Hill's twin, until it got a lot of Latin immigrants and all the white people (Italians, Irish, Polish, and other Eastern European) crowded together in Stark Hill. But Lucius Hardwick's mansion is there, so maybe other rich people used to live there, too. The book mentions that most of the current residents rent properties owned by rich white assholes who live in Stone Ridge, so maybe more rich white assholes used to live there.

 

Geographically, Greely Point is closest to the asylum and the airport, but it's relatively remote aside from that, across the river from just about everything else. The Country Club is close to two of the working-class neighborhoods, but a bit removed from everything else. Hardwick Park would have the benefit of being right in the middle of everything. It's right next to Downtown and the other two working-class neighborhoods. And, of course, Downtown isn't far from anything.

 

Anyone have thoughts on either the name or the physical location?

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think the Midnighters were actually that well-known (I'm not sure Strix would've ever heard of them), and wasn't together for that long (or, rather, we didn't do that much together as a group), so I don't think there'd be a problem using the name.  It may even be appropriate, seeing as how a former member (Dead Head) may be there at the start of this venture.  But I do also like the name "Twilight Lodge."  (If not for SHADOW, I'd say we could go with "The Penumbral Lodge," penumbra = the partially shaded outer region of a shadow, reflecting how the people in the club are in/of the dark dark but not completely lost to their darkness.  Lounge Lasombra?)

 

I'm think Greely would make the most sense.  Strix can fly, Strix & Tattered man are super fast, and Dead Head can teleport, so I don't think distance is too big a factor.

Share this post


Link to post

Geographical proximity isn't really a big deal, no. Bedlam just isn't that big of a city.

 

Quote

I vote for Twilight Club and Hardwick Park - but I'm a bit biased!

 

How so?

Share this post


Link to post

Another Feature to consider for the place: Dual Size.  For the "has more rooms than the outside dimensions indicate" thing, and "this hallway should not be this long" bit.  "The basement is /how/ big?!"

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...