Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Superhero Bar Stories: A Trainee Hero's Guide To Drinking

Hey, kid. No, it's fine, pull up a chair. Think of it as part of your training. How you handle yourself off-duty can be just as important as what you do when you're in costume. You drink?

You sure? It's Glendronach. Scotch. Not to everyone's taste. Okay, if you're feeling brave - Dana, another one for me, and one just like it for the kid, here. Yeah, I'll stand for him.

So - you're new. How long you had your trial license? Oh. Brand new, huh? No, don't worry about it. I'm not one of the regular trainers, but I don't mind pitching in. Who'd they pair you with?

Good for you, kid. 'Tania's good - sharp, careful. You follow her lead, and-

You what? And they paired you with Titania? ...No wonder she sent you over here. Yeah, I'll help out. Energy beams, huh? Man. Either they've been really busy, or one of their case workers really screwed the pooch on this one.

But, all right. Tell you what - look me up tomorrow, we'll head down to the range, and I'll run you through some of the exercises that helped me. No, no trouble - I could use a day of practice myself. For tonight...

Okay, first piece of advice: sip, don't gulp. You okay there, kid? Keep breathing.

Yeah, well... it's an acquired taste. Anyway, that's my first bit of advice: watch your drinking. You ever read about Madman? Normal guy, except he had an alternate form. A big, strong alternate form. Well, he was out on a business trip when his wife called to tell him she was leaving him. No, I don't know the story there. But Madman, he went down to the hotel bar, and he had a few drinks, and then a few more drinks. And then he got into an argument with somebody, and pulled the entire hotel down on their heads. It killed him - not the impact; he suffocated under the rubble. Nobody knows whether it was deliberate or not. We only know what happened because the investigation recovered some security video.

What? No, I'm not saying you shouldn't drink. What, I'm going to sit here in a bar with a scotch on the rocks in my hand, and tell you you shouldn't drink? Look, this is a rough job, and sometimes you need to blow off steam. I'm just saying, be careful how you do it.

Okay, let's take Madman as an example. As upset as he was, he shouldn't have been drinking in the first place. If he was going to drink anyway, he should have worn an inhibitor. You know what those are? They suppress your powers. And the office has some that you can set with a timer - it won't open until the countdown finishes. You put on one of those, you're no more dangerous than a normal. You can still get in trouble, but you're a lot less likely to risk your license, you know?

Then Madman got into an argument and used his powers. That's grounds for a suspension right there, but... look, we're going to make mistakes. I have, and you will too. The bad guy is going to move at just the wrong moment, and you're going to hit the hostage or clip some innocent bystander by accident. If something like that happens - if anything like that happens - I want you to own it. You can't blow it off, and you can't pretend it didn't happen. Do what you can to make it right, and notify the office immediately. Or in your case, tell Titania. Whatever you do, don't try to hide anything.

Got it? Good. Finish your scotch. It's time to head home.


  1. Okay, so how well developed is this setting, and have you gamed in it? I'm assuming it's a homebrew, and I think it would be fun to play in it. If you do game in this setting, what rules are you using. I've played DC and find it annoying, but GURPS has some well known problems with scaling at the high end. I suppose there's HERO (Champions) or Marvel as options.

  2. It's as well developed as... well, as what I've written so far; that's it. I wasn't even really planning to make it recurring.

    The "Hazardous Waist" story leapt into my brain more or less full-blown. I was reading something on proper disposal of hazardous waste, and my brain immediately started making puns - as it does - and then it started filling in story details. Somewhere in that process, my narrator started to take shape; and I found that I rather liked him, this guy who was technically a superhero but whose power mostly made him the ultimate fly-on-the-wall.

    Then I had a rather enjoyable dream, which became The Unluckiest Criminal (in the dream, I was the shapeshifting brother).

    And after that, I was sort of hooked. I like these little vignettes of life as a superhero. But I don't have a pre-developed setting for them; every time I write a new one, I fill in a little more of the setting. If I were trying to game in it - or run a game in it - I'd probably end up using a heavily-modified version of the Amber diceless system; I'm passingly familiar with the older version of GURPS, but none of the other systems you named.


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