Update 72

by David Meadows 12. April 2020 19:35

Chapter 30 of Strikeforce introduces an important character to the universe (he's only ever going to appear twice more, but he's vital to the mythology, trust me). Plus: pirates! You really have to read By Hook or By Crook. Go on, it's quite short.

There's also a biography of Aberdeen Angus (bonus points if you can remember his appearance in the Heroes story) and a really short write-up of the 24th century police headquarters. Finally, part of the slowly progressing reorganisation of the history pages bring an overview of the important events of pre-history.


Update 71

by David Meadows 5. April 2020 15:20

This week's new story is issue #30 of Heroes: Dr Smithsteen's Casebook. It's a bit of a mix, because it finishes off one story (and you probably ought to re-read the first part in #29 because it's months since I published it) and then sets up another big storyline, and in between catches up on a long-running background plot (and if anybody knows why Suzi G's story is important you're doing better than me). But really it's not about the plot, it's a character study, and hopefully interesting from that point of view.

But that new storyline though... if you're not surprised and excited by all the hints given in the last three pages, why are you even reading this series?

As usual, a couple of new background pages. I'm sure you're all dying to read about the Californian Land Slip and the Alars.

Finally, I've added a bit of extra stuff to the History index page.

And that's about it. Next updated planned for a week today, and I've already mostly finished the Strikeforce chapter for it so we're looking good here...


Update 70

by David Meadows 29. March 2020 19:54

There is no Game running at the moment (if you're reading this currently, you'll know why; if you're reading it in the future and don't know why, where have you been?

So freed of the need to prepare new material every week, I am devoting the time to documenting the old material. Which means I might have half a chance of keeping weekly web site update. I make no promises...

 This week's update sees a new Strikeforce chapter, New Beginning.

This marked some significant shifts in how I ran the Game, which I'll cover in detail in another post. But for now, I will just let the story speak for itself, as this chapter has Strikeforce trying to figure out their new status quo. Plus an epilogue you WILL NOT WANT TO MISS (trying to generate some hype there).

If you haven't been reading the story before, this might be a good starting point as there's a lot of recapping what's already happened.

There are the usual new encyclopaedia and history pages, but none of them are really significant, they are just there for completeness really. They are listed in the update box on the home page of the site.

I'll aim at next Sunday for the next update. I'm pretty sure I should be able to manage it.


Writing is hard

by David Meadows 15. March 2020 01:42

Today's game was emotionally hard for me to run. When I plotted the current storyline some months ago, I knew I had to play out one scene that, well, every time I rehearsed the dialogue to myself I just broke down.

I'm not sure if people who don't play RPGs realise how attached you can get to a character.

One of the very first characters I created for the original Strikeforce game was Astra. Originally a villain, then as I developed her background I realised she worked better as a hero, and eventually she joined Strikeforce and grew into a better person than I ever could have planned for. Grew from a timid and unsure teenage girl coerced into crime, into a strong, confident, and capable woman.

Maybe it sounds stupid to talk like this about a fictional character--particularly one that I had created myself--but I was so proud of her. And I guess I loved her, as much as you can love a fictional character.

The current phase of the game is set in 1975, it's a prequel story set 12 years before the original Strikeforce story. 

So the current crop of player-run heroes are gathered at Wang's shop in San Francisco's Chinatown, in 1975, to discuss their plan to take down the local crime boss (which is the main plot of the current game). The characters don't know Wang, even though the players do. Wang is a minor character in the Strikeforce story, and I hope the players think that I've introduced the younger version of him here to tell his background story as an "easter egg" for the players, irrelevant to the actual plot. But I'm not telling Wang's story. I'm telling Astra's.

Wang sells cheap souvenirs to American tourists. There are three of them in the shop right now, a young couple and their four-year-old daughter. While the player-characters watch (but don't intervene, because it's nothing to do with their plot, it's just a side scene I'm playing out for the players' benefit), the girl asks her father to buy her a colourful paper lantern for $5. Her father tells her it's over-priced rubbish and refuses. The girl is upset.

And then Wang, who I've spent the last couple of weeks establishing as a short-tempered, self-absorbed, money-grabbing con-man, inexplicably kneels down and hands the girl a lantern. And says--

--and this is the dialogue that kills me, and you won't understand it unless you know the history of Strikeforce, and Wang, and especially Astra, and I think I hold it together so my friends don't notice, I *think* I say it without my voice cracking--

"For you, little girl, it will never cost five dollars."

And Astra leaves the shop with her parents, and minutes later there's huge smashing noise outside, and the heroes rush out to find both parents dead in a car crash.

I've just orphaned my favourite character.

Because that's already part of her history, it was established when I first introduced her all those years ago. But knowing it has happened is different to describing it happening.

It's so different.

It's so hard.

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Update 69

by David Meadows 1. December 2019 23:10

This week we are back with the Heroes story as we reach Issue 29: Maelstrom! James vs. a giant laser cannon. Who is your money on?

Supplementary pages this week include a biography of Special Agent Tom Smith , who you've almost certainly forgotten but that doesn't matter because he's deceased anyway; a gazetteer entry for Harrison County, which is entirely pointless; and an encyclopaedia entry on the DICE plasma weapons , which may or may not be interesting to read but was fun to write. Sometimes I wonder if my quest to document everything is really sensible.

There will be two skip weeks coming up, but I'll aim to do one more update before the end of the year, on 22 December.

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by David Meadows 24. November 2019 22:42

I forgot to say - the site has just passed 300 pages.


Current stats:

302 pages

321,592 words

720 pages in my "to do" list Surprised


These stats refer to fiction pages, not blog entries.


Update 68

by David Meadows 24. November 2019 21:52

This week we go back to the Altantis "prequel" story. In Chapter Three: The City our intrepid refugees finally reach the city of Kingsmount and ... well, you'll have to read it. Not much happens to be honest, they're just walking around and talking to people.

For those who wonder how this whole story is connected to Strikeforce, I can say that in this chapter you learn of one hugely significant link. I think I've made it obvious, but if not ... well, it doesn't matter, you still don't need to read the prequel to understand Strikeforce, and you don't need to know the link to understand Atlantis, they can be read completely independently.

The city of Kingsmount gets an entry (and a map!) in the gazetteer, and there's an encyclopaedia entry on Atlantean alchemy (which isn't terribly important, to be honest, but I felt like writing it).

That's all for this week. Hey, maps take a long time to draw you know!


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Update 67

by David Meadows 10. November 2019 20:19

The hotly anticipated new Strikeforce chapter is here ... and it doesn't feature any members of Strikeforce! What madness is this, you ask? Read Strikeforce chapter 28: Time Again for the answers. (Disclaimer: answers not guaranteed.)

And a short selection of background articles this week includes Fallen Star from the alternate future timeline, New Pittsburgh from the alternate future timeline, and the Star Guard (from the regular timeline).

Next week is a designated skip week, next update will be in two weeks and may or may not be another chapter of the Atlantis saga.

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Update 66

by David Meadows 3. November 2019 19:45

After a long delay, issue #28 of Heroes is ready: Down by the Sea.

It's part two of a two-part story, and if you can't remember part one is issue #27 (I wouldn't blame you, it's been nearly a year), you should read that first: Under the Boardwalk. (See what I did with those titles? Oh, never mind then).

This is one of my favourite issues, because it's a Chi-Yun story (though all the other characters get good bits) and I love writing for Chi-Yun.

The usual set of background articles this week include pieces on Sergeant George Deiten, Franklin Marks's House, the events of 4 September 1962, and the Brighter Media Group. As usual, these all have some relevance to the overall story (though not this actual issue), but if anyone can remember when and how they were introduced in the story, I'll be astonished.

Next update should be November 10th, and I'm fairly sure I'll hit the deadline.

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Update 65

by David Meadows 27. October 2019 21:54

After a long delay, I have added the first chapter of the Egyptian story. Supporting it, I have the set of articles covering important people, places, dates, and things featured in the story. The links are all in the sidebar on the Egyptian index page.


I know it's not at all obvious why a modern-day super-hero saga has a chapter set in ancient Egypt.

It started when I went back to the lost civilization of Atlantis, to tell a story that gave the origins of several things that played a big part in the Strikeforce story. A prequel, if you like.

Once I had done that, I realised I could trace these elements through the next 12,000 years of history, and interweave other elements that didn't stretch back as far Atlantis but still had origins in different historical eras.

The first of these new eras was ancient Egypt. I'm not going to list all the elements that link this era to Atlantis and/or modern times, that would be spoilers. It should become clearer in subsequent chapters and/or background articles.

This first chapter is a short introduction to the setting and the characters who will be your guides as these elements reveal themselves. And if I've written it well enough, I hope the story will be interesting in its own right even if you don't see the big picture. And if you're not interested in ancient Egypt, you can skip this entire section without affecting your understanding of the main Strikeforce story in any way.


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About this blog

The Heroes Universe is an ongoing work of fiction, conceived and chiefly plotted by David Meadows, with help from a group of friends, over a 30-year period.

I am slowly documenting the Universe on this web site.

This blog is a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of that history.

If you're new here, the series of posts listed below will explain what it's all about. I hope...

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