Man and Ubermensch (Hackbird) (previously: It Came From the Wide Blue Yonder!)

edited January 2011 in Story Games
Hi folks,

I posted another Hackbird here called It Came From the Wide Blue Yonder (you can still download it here).

The feedback I got -- and you can read it below -- suggested it needed a strong starting situation and interlinked characters to really shine. I wondered if it really did, or if people just wanted these things because they're done so well in the original Lady Blackbird.

But I couldn't convince myself. I started again -- and this time I made strongly interlinked characters with explicit situation. I think it's a lot stronger. I'd like to know if you think so too:

Download it (direct link to PDF)


  • edited January 2011
    I like the color! Where's the situation? The characters don't seem connected at all - what am I missing?
  • Just downloaded, but I'll have to give it a gander later (as I am at work and seriously in breach of protocol for doing non-work stuff...but my boss is too distracted with his Facebook, so...)

    Hackbird seems like a good system for doing supers, too.
  • This looks like a very,very,very good beginning. I would like to see something more, though: what connects the characters, and why? some sort of starting situation, à la Lady Blackbird, might really get it good and going.
  • Hi folks,

    Thanks for your feedback. What I'm hearing is a lot of calls for inter-linked characters and a strong starting situation.

    These are things other Hackbirds (and the original) did really well, of course. Are you asking for these in my game because it's been done well in other Hackbirds or because you think they're necessary for any game with pre-generated characters?

    I can see it being either of those scenarios, I'm just curious as to which it is.

    The blurbs on the front cover were intended to replace the starting situation - letting the GM choose which suits them. Do they not work in that regard?

    Thanks for your help so far!
  • edited January 2011
    My impulse has been to follow John's lead in the original Lady Blackbird, because it works so very well. If you are using the same bones to build something more freewheeling or sandbox-y, I'd suggest calling that out so people (like me) don't get confused. Since I really enjoy the strongly positioned characters and situation-in-crisis, I'd love to see that built into your wonderful personalities and setting.

    Example - when I read that the one guy was in love with Beatrice, I fully expected her to be a playable character in her own right. Missed opportunity, by my play preferences.
  • Gave this a read-through last night (in between sketches), and I don't really mind the lack of starting situation or group connectivity.
    I think what it needs are more samples and examples. Superheroes in medieval fantasy works well in my opinion, but with characters from such diverse and varied backgrounds, it may be good to have some suggested starting scenarios which bring them together, or something in their individual stories that draw them to on of the other characters.
    And I actually really like the front blurbs, as well as the descriptions of the lands. It gives some seeds to plant in a GM's imagination, allowing him to create his own, individual world.
    I am all for games where you don't particularly have a starting situation, so that it leaves more possibilities open to the characters. Instead, providing potential starting points may be better. The original Lady Blackbird could just have easily been about a group of Imperial bounty hunters who are seeking a runaway princess while unwittingly uncovering a plot to overthrow the government, or a band of outlaws who must escape their hideout when a mysterious caster with telepathic control over skysquids takes over.
    When I get around to doing a beta of my Castle Blackbird, I'm intending on going this route, where the rules are simply a canvas with rough sketches, for the GM and players to paint their own ideas upon, and with a variety of starting scenarios to use as potential (but not required) starting points.
  • ...and, by the way, I am instantly drawn to the Ink Demon.

    Makes me want to do a hack mixing Call of Cthulhu with the anime series Read Or Die.
  • Hi folks,

    I took your comments into consideration, and I decided I couldn't justify leaving situation and interlinked characters out of a Hackbird. So I started again, and this time started with situation and interlinked characters.

    I think it's a lot stronger. It's called Man and Ubermensch, and it's about the superheroes who unite to take down a fascist superhero who replaced the President during World War II.

    Download it (direct link to PDF)

    I'd love to know what you think.
  • Posted By: SanglorianIt's called Man and Ubermensch
    Gave this one a read immediately. It's pretty cool, too. Even without a history or gazetteer, I can get the feel of the setting pretty easily from the initial blurb. Still maybe a little nebulous to really be defined as a starting scenario, but again, I don't mind that.
    I like how varied and definitely "WWII Pulp" the characters feel. I particularly like how most all have Keys called "America," but the definition of the key is different for each. And I am entertained by the sample villains. It makes the Communist revolutionary in me want to rise up and defeat the corrupt Capitalist dogs! (...which, as WWII Pulp settings go, may be a bit odd...)

    I think, though, that you should still try and flesh out the Wide Blue Yonder game as well. Given some character connections and example obstacles, it would work well. And I am keen on the idea of medieval superheroes.
  • I agree with Michael - this new one looks rad, AND I was really intrigued by where you were going with the medieval folklore-heavy design before.

    How many games mention Prester John, anyway? :)
  • Ok, it looked just like a good game (a very good one,maybe). But then:

    Gossip, Fashion, Celebrities, Boys, Girls, [Education].

    Those brackets around education just propelled it in the "unforgettables" category, for me. Kudos.

    (I wouldn't let down the Wild Blue Yonder, though: it's just too cool :) )
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