Full Circle

"Full Circle" is a Palladium Heroes Unlimited campaign run in 2002-2003 with the Houston-area RPG group.

The campaign followed a group of like-minded meta-humans living in the Houston area, who wished to use their abilities to add to society, targeting those who felt they were above the law. Some labeled them heroes, some labeled them vigilantes, but this nameless group worked to save lives and prevent disasters while using covert activities and anonymity as their shield. With each of them believing they are unique with their powers and passions; the campaign follows the lives of several characters as they learn about their newfound powers and that there are others like them living quiet (and not so quiet) lives in society. The campaign story concepts are plot-based, but character driven, allowing for the player characters to interact with their environment as much as they choose. Houston is a blooming metropolis of several million people, much like many others in modern America. Grandeur and degradation, prosperity and poverty, munificence and greediness, integrity and iniquity exist side-by-side while the inhabitants simply try to get by from day to day, overlooking the incongruities and perils of modern urban life. For the first three episodes, the campaign theme revolved around the idea of the player characters taking the law into their own hands and meeting out the justice that courts systems could not do. This formula changed as the players used more governmental resources, therefore binding their opportunities as a vigilante group. The first episode was played on July 27, 2002, continuing weekly until December 20, 2003, with the game sessions happening on with the game sessions happening on Saturday evenings, but taking time off for various interruptions.

Campaign Setting

The future really is not all that complicated as one might think. With the advent of novels by William Gibson and Phillip K. Dick, it is easy to look to the future as a bleak time-period on the chronological horizon.

Some scientists believe that superhuman beings have always walked among mankind. Cloaked in myth and legend, they were viewed as gods or titans. The first modern instance of meta-humans and beings of tremendous power occurred during the 1940s during the Earth’s second World War. As Hitler attempted to place his Master Race at the cutting edge of human genetics, super-soldier programs seemed the key to winning the war. Simultaneously, many humans with paranormal abilities stepped into the spotlight choosing to either to become champions of justice or entities who believed themselves above the law.

One of the more enigmatic figures of this time-period was Captain Ultra. A stalwart defender of the United States Captain Ultra burst upon the scene vowing to purge the any Nazi menace to threaten American shores. He was the one of the visionaries to establish the Crimebusters, recruiting other U.S. meta-humans to deal with national issues beyond the scope of one man. With the help of the Destroyer, Night Owl, Dr. Steel, and Yandroth, the Crimebusters proved to be one of America’s premier super teams, standing in the way of organized crime and Axis meta-humans. However, as the war ended, the team lost sight of its goals, and prematurely disbanded when members either retired or choose to pursue solo career. The only constant was Captain Ultra, who continued his cause alone. With the meta-human phenomenon seeming to dwindle in the mid-1950s, the timeless Captain Ultra remained vigilant against the rare paranormal occurrence up to the 1980s. In fact, most of the population did not give meta-humans a second thought, since incidents were not common and most episode occurred.

Player Characters

Character driven campaigns traditionally fair well with a diverse group of experienced players. Adam plays John Smith, owner of an enchanted ring granting Alter Physical Structure: Sand. Andrea plays invulnerable mutant Mary Jane Peterson. Brett plays Brian Gearman, an Electronics Genius with his own transformable battlesuit. James plays Chris Cage, an experiment with the power of Alter Physical Structure: Fire. Jason plays black-ops Super-Soldier Brock Samson. Jerry plays Wilbur Flannigan, Supernaturally strong but nerdy college student. Joe plays Cyric, a Nightbane who has found his way into a world without the Dark Day. Leigh originally played Sarah Marshall, a teleporting private investigator who accidentally died in Episode 6. Leigh now plays Zoe Cicone, a mutant with the power of Intangibility. Mark plays Magnetism-wielding Sebastian Cord. Shannon plays latent psionic Floyd Foster.

Important NPCs

As the campaign was self-contained within the area of the Free State of Quebec, the players had ample opportunity to meet and establish a variety of NPC contacts, allies, and enemies. Each NPC had a different significance to the campaign, as the players developed relationships that had a bearing on the overall campaign. Minor NPCs tended to add enrichment to the main plot points, while major NPCs offered a perspective which either complemented the players or added an adversarial aspect to the campaign. Due to the scope of the campaign, actions of the players sometimes dictated the importance of NPCs to their characters' lives. Some NPCs were not grounded in one place and would appear in totally unrelated locations, while others would always be in the same place for the players to find them.

Episode Guide

Each weekend the players have assembled to play has been designated as an episode. The player characters have come together to help deter those criminal elements who choose to act outside the scope of law enforcement. While they have allies, some have rebelled at the concept of organizing an actual group to associate with. The party has been involved in several combats, making both allies and enemies in the process. Both positive and negative conflicts involve known vigilantes, underworld crime bosses, and dimensional beings. The group's diversity in how they each view the law is the major sticking point to the campaign as each player has his or her own agenda. How to deal with their identities as meta-humans living a secret life among normal humans has been a reoccurring theme. Using their extraordinary abilities in front of the general public has been shied away from, and an underlying theme of avoiding exposure has continued since the first episode.

Places of Note

The focus of the campaign lies in the city of Houston. Except for those few who can fly, most of the player characters have driven from place to place. Several locations of note lie in the suburban areas of Houston, with the many of the altercation between PCs and NPCs happening closer to downtown. Specific places are used as hideouts, meeting spots, or workplaces where the PCs interact. Most of these places have not been fleshed out in detail, since most of the role-playing consists of the player characters sitting down to make plans or to gain information on possible leads. Most of the player characters live close to their places of work and are familiar with the surrounding businesses and locales. Campaign NPCs usually stay in the general areas of locations with which they are familiar with. However, certain NPCs have been notably seen at various sites important to the plot of the campaign.

Rules and Redundancy

The main goal of the campaign is to have fun. Unfortunately, there are times when rules can come into conflict when players are attempting to achieve their goals. House Rules allowed for situations like these to be mitigated when there was insufficient information to deal with specific encounters.

Weapons Locker

Core rule books contain a plethora of melee and ranged weapons for the players to choose from. However, there are times when the characters encounter weapons and items of power that go beyond the scope of what is readily available for purchase. Herein lies an inventory of non-standard items encountered throughout the campaign, from the mundane to the spectacular.

Full Circle by RPG Dynamite, Important NPCs by Martin Malchev, Places of Note by Carol M. Highsmith

Artwork for Martin Malchev on this page falls under Shutterstock Enhanced License.

All other artwork on this page falls under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.