Dates for City of Heroes

I’ve been enjoying so far! I need to read Matt’s. I’ll give more substantive feedback when I do that/when I’m not sneaking this in at work. I’m thinking of contributing, too, but I have a quick question: what year does this happen? I’m sketchy on some of my later Proper dates.

It begins in 42 WR.

…I thought I had included that explicitly in the Pilot, but I guess I forgot.

For comparison, this puts City of Heroes about:
-15 years after the end of the Great War
-5-6 years after the end of the Leviathan War
-Just after the Defense of Egmont
-10 years BEFORE the planned start date of White Cell

Posting in Proper kinda peters out around 47 WR, but I didn’t post a whole lot in 46-47 WR.

The hope is that each “season” of City of Heroes will progress a year, as Fara goes through college.

Oh, and as an aside, Fara was born in 24 WR, which is in-story year I started writing in Kupopolis. So she’s the same age as the Grand Army.

Oooh, handy! 10 years before White Cell’s useful.

I thought of contributing if there’s room; maybe having them meet some of the characters I’ll introduce in White Cell or Hannibal, who’s hanging out in Albrook as a secret GA soldier. I’m not sure if you and Matt have a tight outline to stick to, though, so I don’t wanna throw anything off.

Well, when Matt and I were making our plans, we both said something along the lines of, “If someone is interested in joining in, there’s no way we don’t make it work!” – it is an INTERACTIVE story after all.

So here’s the deal:
-Our first 12 episodes (“Season 1”) are pretty well-planned out. We could add a “bonus episode, guest starring Hannibal!” Matt and I are taking a brief break after episode 6 to write the second half of the season, we could work this in then. This is probably a good idea if you want to do your post soon-ish (like, in the next two months or so), and I like that Our Heroes are randomly running into various famous Web figures.
-“Season 2” we have some ideas for, but we haven’t really outlined it yet. We had talked, though, about how we would be flexible enough to include other interested writers. If you wait for season 2, we could integrate Hannibal (and anyone else) more into the overall arc of the season. But, we’re not sure when season 2 will start exactly (we want to adapt to what’s going on with White Cell and IRL.)

Either works for me – you can e-mail Matt and I and sort it out.

(All of the above goes for any other writers interested in participating in our City of Heroes, too!)

Cool! I’ll toss y’all an email, and we’ll figure stuff out. I might wait til Season 2, though, since that feels a little cleaner. But maybe I can do a bonus episode around episode 6…

I feel like I wanna get in on this, somehow. Maybe for ‘Season 2.’

Not sure if I want one of my established’s in it or if I should come up with someone new to be a side character somewhere…

Hi there!

So, for those interested in joining the crazy, tightly-structured project that is City of Heroes… I should maybe share some of the design goals that Travis and I had going into it.

Travis and I really, really like superheroes.

Way back when I first introduced the Shield into Kupopolis (and, just to give you all some sense of time and how long some of us have been doing this, I did this before there was a TV show of the same name), it wasn’t out of some desire to suddenly turn Kupopolis into an outlet for my comic book fandom. Likewise, when Travis first introduced Fara the Mana Knight, it was a thinly-disguised homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it was also by no means part of a concerted effort to turn Kupopolis into a story about unlikely heroes doing amazing things while also trying to maintain a normal life.

When these two characters met for the first time during the Defense of Egmont, it was such a natural fit that they sort of became a singular story unit. Before when I thought about the Shield, he was sort of just his own entity. When I thought about Fara, I pictured Sarah Michelle Gellar (this was before I found out Fara’s a redhead). They existed on their own, separately, and they did different things. But after Defense of Egmont? I can’t think of either one without thinking of the other.

This problem of the Shield and Fara being inextricably linked got even worse after Travis and I started playing the MMO “City of Heroes” together (and yes, we named the series in homage of our beloved, long-lost MMO). Over a period of a couple years (gosh, how long did our time in CoH last, Travis?), Captain Guardia (the name “The Shield” was taken, apparently) and Fara Somers adventured alongside each other. Captain Guardia was a Tanker, with the Shield Defense and Super Strength powersets, while Fara was a Broadsword/Fiery Aura Scrapper. We levelled together, fought Nazis and zombies and streetgangs and jetpack-wearing mercenaries, unravelled Nemesis plots and spent more time than is healthy sliding up and down Frostfire’s ice ramp. (seriously, that ice ramp was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had in an online video game, I miss it so much) The lore of Fara and the Shield as the inevitable super hero team-up deepened; we even named the crossover series! (it’d be called “SWORD AND SHIELD,” and the cover art for issue #1 would be absolutely amazing!!)

Of course, this was around the time that activity in Kupopolis was sort of flagging. We wanted to see this happen, but how? Where? And who would even read it?

Around the time popped up, and we all started talking about writing again, Travis came up with the idea for “Kupopolis Gaiden.” Because obviously people still wanted to tell stories from back in the old days, we had several story years were basically nothing had happened. And there were some stories (like Fara going off to college) that some of us had long regretted never telling or posting to the boards.

Dividing City of Heroes up into “episodes” and “seasons” was my idea, and if I do say so myself it was kind of inspired. Interactions in the old days would sometimes peter out because it was so ad-hoc: I post this, then you have to post this. Then… I dunno, if I feel like it, I’ll respond with something from this story asset over here. It’s amazing that we ever got anything done in Kupopolis at all! (although, worth noting: none of us have the energy and wherewithal we used to…)

So Travis and I sat down one day, hopped into a Skype call, and mapped out what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go with our story. Dividing it up into seasons and episodes was sort of an extended homage to Buffy and similar series, as was the general arc of the first season (i.e. we’ll do a couple of episodes to just show you what the core premise is, then start stringing everything together into an overarching plotline). We set out a timetable for ourselves: once we got posting, we’d put up a post every week, and we’d decide ahead of time who would write what when. So those posts you see, they weren’t just decided on in the heat of the moment: they were PLANNED (I know, it’s hard to believe…).

When I sat down to write this, I didn’t really intend for it to turn into a quasi-notes post. (although we definitely should set up a place on the board for notes posts, because part of writing in Kupopolis is talking about what we’ve written in kupopolis after-the-fact) What I mean to say is that City of Heroes is something that’s been a long-time-coming, and it’s also pretty meticulously planned out once it starts. And, believe it or not, when I say that it’s meticulously planned, that’s not me saying people can’t get involved! In fact it’s an invitation for people who are interested to jump on this bandwagong and take a look at this new formula Travis and I have for doing this sort of story. So if you want to write something that extends City of Heroes during the “mid-season break” after Episode 6, what I’m thinking is that we should schedule a Skype powwow to talk about where new storylines fit into the existing plot arc. If you’re looking at jumping in for season 2, then you’re in on the ground floor! Because, as Travis alluded to, we haven’t sat down to map it out yet. While we have some ideas for things we’d like to happen after season 1 (spoiler alert: in season 2 the Shield has his powers back), we don’t have the episodes all planned like we do for season 1, so there is definitely a lot of writing to go around.

One last thing, hopefully an enticement for people to join in: one of the most satisfying parts of this thing is when I write something, and Travis says something that makes me feel like I really got one of his characters right. This actually happened just now, as Travis and I were on Skype right before I posted Episode 4; I have a scene with Eleod in it, and I was half expecting Travis to correct me or ask me to re-write part of it (he’d previously offered me some corrections in email over the bits with the valkyries), but he approved of the Eleod scene with no changes and I was just so jazzed, man. And then, on the other end, when I look at one of Travis’ posts, where he writes my characters, and I’m happy when he does something awesome with them that I really like. That’s one of the parts of writing in Kupopolis that, I’ve found, I’ve really really missed over the years. And we have it when we write City of Heroes, so you all should totally get on on this interactivity-fest up in here.

This is the TL;DR version of the preceeding post:

-Matt and Travis like Superheroes
-The Shield =/= Michael Chiklis
-Fara = Buffy (sort of)
-City of Heroes (the MMO) was amazing and we’re sad it’s gone
-Writing with other people is awesome
-We plan out the writing for City of Heroes on Skype and you should join us

Sweet. I’d be happy to talk with y’all on Skype and figure this out. I’ll need to set Skype up when I get home, but I’m down for that. My leaning is to maybe do a “side” episode like Trav mentioned, then get in on the ground floor in Season 2. I’m in a similar boat to Jay, but my leaning is to maybe have Hannibal and the Malakim work with them in Season 2 some. I’m picturing a little more like Giant Robo meets Full Metal Panic! on how I’d handle the mecha, where Hannibal’s less of a mecha pilot and more of a superhero whose power is he has a mecha sometimes.

Yeah, the only established’s of mine I can realistically see popping up in Albrook are:

  • Mister Bones. He would most likely be in town on a contract, which means either assassination or theft. (Mister Bones does now have the rep of being able to “steal the unstealable” after “stealing” Bekkler’s Mask.)
  • Sean Kellington, Mister Bones’ ‘nephew.’ Sean’s probably college-age himself at this point, and has some fighting skills taught to him by Mister Bones.
  • Marshal Fasthand. Not sure why, maybe he’s in Albrook on some kind of law enforcement business from the Republic of the West or something.
  • The Tag Team, Iggy & Morrie. They’d almost certainly be in town on Official Kuat Business.

Everyone else is pretty much confined to their respective locales. (Bomber Harris + everyone at Valleyville, Rabbey + Malismo on Malcovia, Seabairne etc. in Pell.)

I’ll have Skype set up again soon.

That makes sense, Jay. Sounds like probably someone new for season 2?

After some thought, I’m leaning to new people for the cast in season 2 myself.

Well, there are plenty of reasons for various characters to show up in Albrook – it’s the crossroads of the Web, in a way. I have worked on expanding and fleshing out some of the environs and will probably be posting an updated wiki entry soon. I’ve been trying to restrict my wiki’ing while I have actual posts to write, but but it’s important to me to try to give the cities of the Web some local flavor. I also had this notion that in later seasons Albrook kind of gets a reputation as a “city of heroes” and people start to come for that reason.

One of the inspirations Matt and I had was the Justice League Animated Series, which had the first two seasons tightly focused on a core cast but later expanded to “Justice League Unlimited.” We had always hoped to have a broad cross-section of writers and dimensions represented.

And I’m saving most of my notes for the end of season 1, but something worth thinking about for people thinking of participating: we’re (mostly) following ‘superheros don’t kill’ rules. This is a pretty big point in episode 3. Part of this is the superhero roots of the story, part of this is I had a hard time imagining my spunky young heroine maintain a sunny demeanor after straight-up murdering dozens of guards, and part of this is an explicit contrast to other Kupopolis stories where life is cheap and disposable. I’m not saying your characters can’t kill anyobdy if they show up, but it should be treated as an appropriately Big Deal.

Scheduling Skype meets are a little tricky because of time zones, but they are pretty fun. Actually, I remember after our initial CoH planning meeting Matt and I both commented that it was probably the most productive Kupopolis powwow ever.

… I mean, it’s true. We planned out 12 posts, and are now 4 posts into that cycle, with one post going up every week, and no signs that this trend will not continue.
It only took us 20 years to perfect what the hell a powwow was for.

That makes sense to me! I like the tone. It fits the story, and I like those reminders that Kupop can break the mold when it wants to.

And hey, first time for everything. We may wanna do a weekend for a powwow.

I need to get Skype working for me again (I have a love/hate relationship with most IM/messaging clients–they love to not work and I hate to deal with fixing it) or otherwise get an IM thing working so I can communicate.

Problem becomes the fact that when I’m at work, I have zero access to almost all of it except Facebook Messenger (which thus far has yet to disappoint me), and this includes all file-sharing services like Google Docs where I could collab with folks.

Annoying. Because I have Ideas. One idea for a possible Season 2 episode concept (though not plot as yet - that would need to get hashed out with Cel and Scen and whomever) that I think would make for good writing.

Though I’m still torn on what character I’d want to introduce if I’m getting in on the collaboration. Part of me wants to come up with someone new, but part of me still wants to bring in an established like Fasthand or Sean Kellington. And as I type this, I’m leaning toward Sean, since he’d be about college age by this point, he’s still a relative cipher as a character that I can flesh out some, and having him around always leaves the door open for possible Mister Bones guest appearances.

Yeah, we’ll probably be doing a Skype PowWow to plan Season 2 when Season 1 wraps…I have a big pile of notes for Season 2, but most of it is just “cool idea that I had, don’t forget this” rather than anything set in stone.

Of course, you could all get on board with the Asian Century and download WeChat.

I think Fasthand, Kellington, or a new character could work. I do think we need to have a Mister Bones episode at some point, though, maybe as a ‘special guest star’. (Perhaps during season 2 someone will comment on how strange it is that our heroes seem to keep meeting all this various famous Kupopolis personages.) I do like the idea of including characters from many different parts of the Web and aspects of the story.

[quote=“Celiose”]Yeah, we’ll probably be doing a Skype PowWow to plan Season 2 when Season 1 wraps…I have a big pile of notes for Season 2, but most of it is just “cool idea that I had, don’t forget this” rather than anything set in stone.

Of course, you could all get on board with the Asian Century and download WeChat.

I think Fasthand, Kellington, or a new character could work. I do think we need to have a Mister Bones episode at some point, though, maybe as a ‘special guest star’. (Perhaps during season 2 someone will comment on how strange it is that our heroes seem to keep meeting all this various famous Kupopolis personages.) I do like the idea of including characters from many different parts of the Web and aspects of the story.[/quote]

I’ll consider WeChat.

I’m leaning more toward Sean K. now as the one to include. That gives an “in” for Mister Bones showing up. Of course, Fasthand can easily show up for an episode or two as well. But yeah, I’ll keep percolating ideas around my head for now, and hope some of them gestate into a workable plotline or two.