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Author Topic: The Schiemer Cluster  (Read 467 times)

Bradford C. Walker

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The Schiemer Cluster
« on: January 03, 2009, 05:33:58 PM »
(Yeah, I did this at The Big Purple also.)

Many of the users here grew up during the 1970s and 1980s.  Inevitably, we've seen cartoons produced by a now-defunct company named Filmation.  This is the company that produced the 1979-80 version of Flash Gordon, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra, Princess of Power, Blackstar and Bravestarr (amongst others).  Of the aforementioned series, all of them shared an Executive Producer in Lou Schiemer.  Over the New Year, I went on a binge of TV Tropes and YouTube vidoes (fueled by some top-shelf root beer and Rice Crispy bars), and got the idea of throwing all of this into a blender and making a setting out of it, one I called "The Schiemer Cluster".

The idea is that the Cluster--Mongo, New Kansas, Eternia, Etheria and Sagar--is a backwater region of the universe, where what interstellar powers exist either don't know or don't care about what's going on here.  The extant heroes of each component are dead or missing, allowing the villains to get on with their schemes, and they are working as a group.  Mangling the sources material to avoid Canon Traps and Canon Nazis is encouraged.

So far, I figure that Ming is the mastermind atop the hierarchy of evil in the cluster.  I figure this because Mongo, unlike the other worlds, is mobile as well as Ming being far more competent at being evil (and playing the primary game of rulership for evil rulers--Divide and Conquer) than the others.  He's just plain a better all-around villain; he'll make the others his henchmen, and in turn create an extension of the relationship that Ming has with his vassals on Mongo.  This, I think, is something that can be used by the PCs to their advantage.  (I figure Ming as creating a Persian-style arrangement; Skeletor, Overlord, Stampede and Hordak rules their planets without interference so long as what Ming wants is what he gets.)

So, I'm looking for brainstorming help.  I will pick a game later, once I figure out what the hell I'm working with.

Bradford C. Walker

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The Schiemer Cluster
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2009, 01:47:05 AM »
Okay, how about this:

Ming needs something that each of the other worlds has. He's using the other villains to clear away the native opposition, but he operates in the same Divide-and-Conquer manner that he uses to rule Mongo, which means that not only is he playing the villains off each other, he's also playing the native oppositions off the villains as well as the native vassals against the villains. (Why? Ming's an arrogant, but magnificent, bastard; he does this because, most of the time, it works.) He initially brought them under his control by saving them from defeat at the hands of the local heroes, but he did so in a way that ensured the continued conflict; this he used to make them dependent upon his aid to maintain their position- and they resent him for it (because they aren't stupid either).

The villains fear the return of their enemies, the loss of their power and the removal of what autonomy they still possess. The remaining heroes fear that the villains will finally finish the job, as they are slowly--but surely--losing ground all over the Cluster, and are increasingly desperate. The villains believe that Ming fears something happening, which involves what they use to pay tribute to him, but they don't know what that is yet and they haven't gotten any dissidents on Mongo to cooperate with them. The Mongo vassals fear that the offworld villains mean to exploit them for their own ends (True!), making them no better than Ming.

Lots of dread, fear and loathing to go around here.

Okay, time to go beyond the Filmation canon and steal from another source. What if Ming got his hands on a source of power that either derived its power from fear, or served those that were excellent in creating and spreading fear? (e.g. the yellow power rings of DC's Sinestro Corps) What if, in so doing, he became aware of that source's enemies and turned the whole of his power structure towards preparation for the inevitable confrontation? (e.g. getting ready to fight a Green Lantern)

I'm looking for outs here, something that players could reasonably find out through play and exploit to their advantage.

Tahmoh

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The Schiemer Cluster
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2009, 06:37:53 AM »
not a bad concept, i think the only thing i'd add to it is the fact that hordak and skeletor are working together (albeit in a similar way to megatron and starscream in transformers) since they have a history of doing so in the shows timeline.

did this guy also produce the galaxy rangers show?

Bradford C. Walker

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The Schiemer Cluster
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 02:44:55 PM »
Thought about this overnight.

Questions:
  • What happened to Flash and his allies?
  • What happened to the heroes of the other worlds?
  • What unforeseen event occurred that changed these worlds away from what should've been five different historical narratives of tyrants being overthrown and replaced with better leadership?

Some answers:
  • Flash won.  He, together with his allies, successfully overthrew Ming's regime and killed Ming.  Refusing the throne, he instead married Dale and together they supported the marriage of Aura and Barrin; Aura had the legitimate claim to the throne, easing the transition of power.  The rest of their lives consisted of the reformation of Ming's empire into a world-wide system of sovereign kingdoms that--over the next two generations--became (largely due to the leadership that Flash continued to provide throughout his life) very American in its optimism and outlook.


Ming's death, however, didn't result in his obliteration.  He endured, through one of his failsafe contingencies, and kept his ego in check once he realized that he'd have an easier time of returning to power if he just outlived his enemies than if he attempted to mount a counter-revolution.  It helped to realize that his defeat was so total that he no power on Mongo to rebuild from; he needed the time to rebuild from scratch.  So Flash, Dale and the gang all died of old age.

  • Adam, Elora and Blackstar all have some significance of a mystical sort due to their connections to their worlds by way of the swords that they wield.  Ming has no idea what it is, and he doesn't trust (respectively) Skeletor, Hordak or Overlord to tell him what it is; Ming subdued them, one by one, and holds them prisoner on Mongo in a place known only to him and those immediately guarding them.  Some of the other heroes either died in combat or by assassination; a handful are left, and not as they were during the events depicted on their shows.  As for Bravestarr and his crew, they are worse than dead; their souls are imprisoned by Stampede and exploited for his benefit (and amusement).
  • Ming took advantage of his anonymous status to travel incognito, deliberately keeping a low profile.  He did find a new source of power--of a source mentioned in my previous post--and once he familiarized himself with it he went to each of the other four worlds, which came into reach of Mongo by this time, and aided them under a pseudonym against their enemies.  They, in turn, became obligated to him and they aided him in his return to power on Mongo, but not in the manner that they thought; he used them in a False Flag scheme to manipulate his way to the throne, and once on it swiftly restored the substance of his empire while he kept the trappings of his enemies' reforms (as an insult to them).  This angered the villains, but he cowed them into obeisance and thus began the expansion of Ming's imperial ambitions beyond Mongo.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 02:49:02 PM by Bradford C. Walker »