Monday, November 30, 2020

Musical Monday: Superman's Best Songs (Part I) Light City musings

There are a lot of Superman songs out there.  Here's one I like.

Some background:  I was probably in high school when I first saw the title of the Spin Doctors' debut album Pocket Full of Kryptonite.  Young and nerdy me thought it was a pretty cool reference for a popular band.  When I eventually realized that they actually had a song--on the radio, no less--about Superman...well, that's one of those little moments of vindication for the geek knowledge I had acquired.

Of course, Supes is such a cultural icon that it doesn't take much geek knowledge to sing about him.  (I guess that's why a "Superman's Best Songs" series can happen on this blog.)  But still...the angle of Jimmy Olsen pining for Lois Lane is a fun twist.

On the Spin Doctors:  Their sharp and catchy rock was exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for at that point in my life.  They're all probably pretty underrated as musicians.  And...singer Chris Barron gave hope to skinny guys like me that girls could pay attention to me (a prospect that wasn't helped by all of those Charles Atlas ads I had encountered in reading comics).  I just had to figure out how to become a rock star.

Oh yeah, and the band's still got it!  Earlier this month, they released this version of "Jimmy Olsen's Blues" from whatever variant of quarantine they currently find themselves in...

And speaking of Superman...covering his superheroic archetype is one of the critical steps I need to take in getting a more or less "complete" version of Light City into the wild.  The LC Multiverse's Supes analogue is Wonder Man, who has come up previously on here as a founding member of The Association.  I figure the most straightforward way to handle heroes like this is to treat them as Bricks-PLUS...meaning, the archetypal Brick with a suite of abilities added on.  Three levels of The Brick were presented in The Assembly (to cover the Hulk), and the class was extended to seven levels in the French translation/expansion L'Assemblee.  And in fact, The Brick was one of the classes I had in the unofficial queue for individual publication before I fell off the Light City wagon.  I even worked on a cover for it...

...which now looks...uh, pretty bad after converting from the PowerPoint I had access to at the time to the LibreOffice I'm using now.  Looks like I'm having a little font issue. :)  (And yes, I often fulfill my meager layout needs using PowerPoint and its ilk...maybe one day I'll take the time to learn some proper publishing software...)

So, on The Brick...I'm looking to incorporate those add-ons that turn a Brick into a Brick-PLUS as options for levels 4-7.  That is officially in the unofficial queue...


  1. The "extended" Brick in L'Assemblée was a lazy job, I've juste extended HD's, BAB and Save, up to level 7.

    Given the slower progression of the Brick's BAB compared to the Super-Soldier's and Marksman's, the class certainly deserves some special abilities...

    I'm curious about that future revised Brick, I'll certainly translate it into French and incorporate it into a second edition of L'Assemblée!

    1. Awesome...I hope to have some time to brainstorm out loud about it in the coming week(s) on here. Any recommendations as someone who has surveyed the system as a whole?

    2. I have no advice about the Brick ;)
      Maybe add one "exaltation" at levels 4 and 6, to chose among a list of powers : flight, AC bonus, save bonus, damage bonus, bad-ass signature weapon, etc.

      Things I've added in "L'Assemblée" :
      - generalize the Feat system : d6 under Attribute modifier + bonus (+0 if legendary, +1 if hard, +2 if challenging)
      - translate the close/medium/long ranges into 20/40/60 feet (I had to chose between the two systems)
      - rename "Fighter" and "Thief" : "Soldier" and "Spy"

      As a rule, when there's a difference between S&W Light & Continual Light, I've chosen the SWCL rules (weapon ranges, Thief skills, monsters' attributes...).

      I've simplified the movement rules. Move = metres per combat round (a metric translation of the real rule : Move x 10 / 3) Otherwise, I round down ranges (1 feet = 0.3m). So, our metric super-heroes run really faster (+10%) but strike slightly shorter (-2%).

      Rules I'm adding in La Congrégation (the magical supplement) :
      - advice about balancing Magical / Technological Items : except for "mundane" character (Soldier / Supersoldier / Spy), characters suffer some experience penalty (+1 adventure required to earn one level) if they keep using major items for several adventures.
      - Alignment : all characters are neutral, except when they deliberately serve Law of Chaos. Some characters have a mandatory alignment (Cleric, Cursed, Angel, Amazons).

      I've added advice to create new character classes (just ideas, not playtested). For example, a Speedster is like an Elemental, except you replace Flight+Strike with multiple actions (+1 attack or move per round per level, attack damage 1d3) ; Tinkerers/Alchemists are just like Magic-Users except they prepare gizmoes/potions instead of spells ; Psionicists are just like magic-users except instead of vancian magic they use powers (1/level, +1 available power per level, level 2/3/4 powers become available at character levels 3/5/7) ; Druids are neutral Clerics, they're unable to turn the undead, can't use metallic tools/armor, but are able to use both clerical and magical spells.

    3. That all sounds awesome; sounds like you've put a lot of thought into the consistency and balance of the system. Please stick around so I can hit you up to proof the stuff I come up with from here on...!

      I'm also pretty stoked to see La Congregation. That name alone makes me so happy.