Population: One: Monday Mashup #5: Fantastic Four
I don’t believe I’ve ever read any Fantastic Four of any kind, so I’ll have to go with my general impressions.
I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do much with this that wouldn’t end up cheesy, simply because that’s perception of FF in general and ‘obvious’ element-based teams specifically; maybe if I was running something for a group of my kid’s friends or something, but not for a group of adult gamers who have both been there and done that… to death.
So, ignoring the element-based stuff and focusing on the big picture we see a generally-unrelated group of people living in a citadel far above the mortals they protect, dealing with extra-galactic threats most normal folks won’t even perceive until it’s too late to scream for help.
Character1: an aloof, emotionally-unavailable man with a great mind and no social skills to speak of.
Character2: the woman who (inexplicably) loves him, she is the often-unseen member of the team, often maligned for being the weakest of them all.
Character3: a simple man dropped into a world far beyond his upbringing, forced to apply his simple set of morals to situations Man Was Not Meant to Know
Character4: trouble-making playboy whose antics got him involved in something he never wanted.
Let mash this group into the world of Unbidden, where the ‘heroes’ are people who have fallen through the cracks of the “real world”, living a half-life between Normal and Outcast, fighting against the Darkness that originally engineered Reality as a hunting ground. It’s Unknown Armies meets the wonderful Midnight Nation, with a cast loosely based on the FF.
With that in mind, lets look back at the characters:
Character1: Fell through the cracks in reality because no one remembered him, no one cared, and he didn’t even notice because he was too wrapped up in his own little projects to realize it until it was too late. Seeing ‘reality’ from this side has crystallized a hidden belief that he knows what’s best for ‘normal’ people, and he uses his own intellect and Unbidden powers thwart the Darkness and protect humanity from itself — he generally thinks of ‘normal’ people as ignorant children.
Character2: Obviously a child of abuse who seeks out destructive relationships, C2 was the last person in the real world who actually gave a damn about C1 (she brought over his weekly grocery store deliveries. It was his descent out of reality that pulled her in and if she had any sense she’d realize that — in a strange, unfamiliar world, she has retreated into a heavily introverted mind set, allowing others to direct her actions as though she is simply a tool to be used in ‘the fight’. For good or bad, she is defined by her relationships to others. It is possible, given the setting that C2 may in fact be an actual ghost rather than a living person — hard to say.
Character3: A truck driver who, Midnight Nation-style, was pulled away from reality by helping out someone and being ‘infected’ by a creature from the other side. He has a wife in the real world… maybe even a family, but he is long-estranged and they were official seperated. He might want to get back, but mostly just to take care of unfinished business — there really isn’t any love there. In fact, he cares deeply for C2, doesn’t know how to say anything about it and won’t anyway because he figures she’s into ‘bright guys’, and she doesn’t notice because she’s predisposed to men who don’t really care that much about her.
Character4: Personally, I’d have this guy end up on the wrong side of reality due to something like a gypsy curse for being a self-centered rat bastard. His only goal is to ‘get back home’ and he’s aligned himself with the rest of the group as the best means of achieving that end — he’d turn on them in a heartbeat if it meant he’d get back to his normal life. (Which, ironically, is an empty and meaningless existence, albeit one that affords him lots of money.)
Not exactly a healthy and mentally-balanced group, and probably one I wouldn’t want to GM beyond a one-shot at a con, but it does strike me as something interesting to write about at some point.