Saturday, February 18, 2012

Introduction - by Stanley Schwartz

April 1st, 1938 saw the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics No. 1, an act that would revolutionize the industry of storytelling through comic books forever. Most of its appeal came through the main character itself. Superman was a hero unlike any other: he was strong enough to bend a steel girder, could fly faster than the speed of sound, and no weapon on this Earth could hope to penetrate his chest. As the archetypical superhero, Superman quickly inspired countless other companies with his success, leading them to create their own heroes with incredible powers, hoping to cash in on the success of the grandfather of modern superheroes. Despite a number of setbacks throughout the history of the genre, superheroes are still around today, and are still the predominantly successful of American comic books.

This is my way of paying homage to them.

As an avid role-player and creator of stories, I quickly latched onto the superhero genre through role-playing games as my preferred way of telling the stories that I wanted to tell. And to also allow other individuals to share the experience and feel of the setting I've created. Role-playing is an interactive world, after all. Anybody can use their own ideas and concepts however they see fit.

Up, Up, and Away!, is a superhero setting that is inspired by my experiences with both superheroes and role-playing and tries to combine them in a way that makes a maximum of sense. The world of Iconic Earth is a setting with incredible heroes and powerful villains who have been part of the world's existence for many years now, allowing the populace a certain level of acceptance regarding the supernatural. The sight of a costumed hero flying through the sky is hardly anything upsetting to the common man.

While the setting is intended for heroic adventures on a superhuman level, more 'realistic' campaigns of a lower level can also be played using the setting. Iconic Earth is not intended as a Grim and Gritty pulp noir- style setting, but it doesn't have to be a completely four-color, over-the-top style world either. GMs can choose whatever style they want for their campaign and be able to do with a minimum of difficulty.

Up, Up, and Away! is an expanding universe that I hope to add a maximum of material to. The vast range of genres and styles that such a setting can encompass are simply mind-boggling, but I believe that its a doable task. You'll probably recognize a lot of the characters in the setting from other mediums, sometimes obviously, sometimes in a hidden manner. This is simply a means of telling stories with my favorite characters without having the legal system come down on me like a ton of bricks.

Special Thanks

I would first like to thank role-playing designer S. John Ross with the rules-light, absolutely free gaming system Risus, that I have chosen as the ruleset for the setting. Secondly I would like to thank creators Charles Phipps, Michael Suttkus, and Mike Lafferty for having created the setting that inspired this work of mine. Last but not least, I would like to thank Lewis Lovhaug AKA Linkara of Atop the Fourth Wall for showing me the do's and don'ts of the comic book medium, as well as making me laugh from his jokes regarding superheroes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Prologue

Hello everyone.

My name is Stanley Schwartz, I'm a young and aspiring storyteller from the Land of Opportunity, and all-around geek. I have decided to use this blog as a means to introduce and share my stories with the world.

Simply put, I'm a role-player. I sat down with a friend one day to play a one-on-one game of Dungeons and Dragons as a Half-Elf Ranger in the Temple of Elemental Evil. I had known very little about role-playing games until that point, being mostly focused on video gaming, and my desire to become a programmer. But after I triumphantly looted the Temple, and gathered a modest amount of experience points, I knew that role-playing was the choice for me.

Contrary to public opinion, role-playing is hardly about Satanism, or witchcraft, or any of the other things that D&D was associated with during its early days. Role-playing is, in essence, a story game, or even simpler, a game of make-believe. The virtual freedom these games presented made me instantly attracted to them for all the right reasons.

I played a few more games after that, usually as my ever-favorite Half-Elf Ranger, Leafwood. But I eventually found that Sword-and-Sorcery Hack n Slash just wasn't doing it for me anymore. I needed something deeper.

During my time as an amateur role-player, I was also becoming immersed in the wonderful world of American Comic Books. The classic Superman movie and first two Spider-Man movie were also big favorites. But I had never made the connection that superheroes and RPGs could ever work together.

I did eventually learn that RPGs and superheroes had been going at it for quite some time, with massively popular Champions and Villains and Vigilantes sourcebooks being the pioneers, with Mutants and Masterminds being the main inspiration for my generation. Out of a desire to tell a story with the heroes I had read about since childhood, I decided to create my own superhero setting. The very title of this blog: Up, Up, and Away!

I freely admit it: this blog is pure publicity. I've created this blog to create interest in the privately owned setting that I hopefully plan to publish one day. As such, the blog will be organized into 'chapters' that will reflect the structure of the intended book. After the 'main' portion of the book is finished, the posts will go in no particular order, expanding upon the setting as I see fit, detailing the various characters, locales, and overall 'feel' of the world. There are also a set of basic 'rules' for the setting that I'll try to adhere to as much as possible.

And with that, enjoy the blog.

Some Guidelines for the World of Iconic Earth:

-the majority of the characters in the setting will be based on Marvel and DC superheroes, with a few others from Image and miscellaneous companies. Video game, literature, and other role-playing game-based characters can also exist.

-no fictional countries/cities/major figures, etc. This means no Gotham, Metropolis or Latveria. REAL WORLD locations and people, on the other hand, can easily fill any of these roles.

-mythological and/or public domain characters and concepts will be a pivotal part of the setting's world.

-the world of Iconic Earth is essentially our world (no fictional countries, no made-up politicians), except with all the conventions of four-color comic books (superpowers, magic, aliens, super-science, etc), and a certain dash of realism.

I may add more later.