Roleplay: Freedom City Play By Post
"Like a Saturday Morning Cartoon
that airs on HBO
Currently in its seventh year of operation (est. October 2007), Freedom City Play-By-Post
is the largest and most active Mutants & Masterminds
play-by-post setting on the Internet. Taking place in M&M
's default Freedom City
setting in the present day, the game
has become a massive shared universe, involving dozens of active players and over a hundred Player Characters
. Most of the staff are fans of both superhero comics and TV Tropes
, which means they expect characters to draw from the common tropes and themes of comic books
That said, the staff has little patience for Trolls
or Mary Sues
, and they prefer to avoid certain problematic tropes
. Please do not submit bloodthirsty Iron Age
vigilantes, or female characters wearing Stripperific
costumes with Rape as Backstory
. Player Characters should falls somewhere between Silver Age
, Bronze Age
, and Modern Age
in feel, basically the Good Guys
, and their concepts should pass tests like "Would people buy a comic book about this character?" and "Why would anyone talk to this character?" If your character would fit as a recurring character in a DCAU
series, then they'll probably fit in here.
Many of the tropes in the game can be found on the pages for the Mutants & Masterminds
game, or the Freedom City
setting for that game. This page is intended for tropes unique to FCPBP
and its active characters
.TROPES AND ENTRIES FOR INACTIVE CHARACTERS ARE SUBJECT TO DELETION WITHOUT NOTICE.
- Action Girl: The superhero genre is brimming with this trope, and FCPBP is no exception.
- All There in the Manual: Green Ronin has published over a dozen supplements with information about the Freedom City setting, and most of the active players have read ALL OF THEM.
- Alternate Company Equivalent / Captain Ersatz / Expy: Most PCs, intentionally or not. See the individual listings in the Characters section for details.
- Ancient Egypt: Several PCs have origin stories which begin here.
- Animal Superheroes: Ani-Earth's Infurceptors visited Earth-Prime in pursuit of the Factor Fur. They included Avengemouse, Calico Angel, Feline, Foalcrum, Jackalope of All Blades, Jestnut and Lambkos.
- Anthology Comic: What the site would be, if it were an actual comic imprint. The Moderators encourage players to run their characters as if they were the protagonists of a monthly superhero comic book. One of the first questions in the auditing process for a new PC is "Why would someone buy a comic about them?"
- The Assimilator: The Collective, a player-created Expy of Ultimate Galactus. The Collective is a Hive Mind which uses mass Mind Rape and Unwilling Roboticization to transform entire planets into Applied Phlebotinum.
- Ax-Crazy: Generally averted. PC Villains were banned in part because the Moderators grew weary of explaining to some players the difference between a Super Villain and the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto.
- Badass Normal: FCPBP has surprisingly few of these active at any one time. Arrowhawk has been the most enduring so far.
- Bat-Family Crossover: The most common type of crossover story arc at FCPBP, given the sheer size of the site, and how difficult it is to run a major story arc with dozens and dozens of players contributing.
- Beware the Superman: Averted. Except for the Iron Age in the '80s and early '90s, Freedom City has always loved its superheroes.
- The "Terminus Babies" (see Mutants, below) are about as close as the setting comes to this trope, and they're not even official Freedom City canon.
- Black-&-White Morality: Often subverted, much to the annoyance of older heroes with stricter moral codes. FCPBP stories aren't explicit, but they are, at times, "for mature readers."
- The Boxing Episode / Let's You and Him Fight: "Fisticuffs," and the sequel, "Fisticuffs 2: This Time, It's Not Fisticuffs 1."
- The Bronze Age of Comic Books Bronze Age]] / Modern Age: The general tone FCPBP strives for.
- Canon Immigrant: Several characters played at FCPBP were created for and/or played in other games over the years, especially the site administrator's signature character, Doktor Archeville.
- The Cape: The local Expy of Superman, The Centurion, has been dead since the 1993 Terminus Invasion. He hasn't gotten better, and Word of God says he never will.
- Catch Phrase: The players who often meet in the chatroom and/or in-character make up a lot of these, including "Stab-Punch" and "KISS HIM/HER, YOU FOOL!"
- Cardboard Prison: PC Villains were banned in part due to the desire of the Moderators to avert this trope.
- Cast Full of Writers
- Catholic School Girls Rule: Averted. Several blocked attempts have been made to play hyper-sexualized adolescent female characters. The Moderators have been neither amused nor impressed. Nothing brings out the banhammer faster or harder than trying to submit a PC whose primary purpose is the player's sexual titillation.
- Comic Book Fantasy Casting: FCPBP players periodically discuss which real-life actors they would cast as their character, and some even use their headshot for their "out-of-costume" character pictures.
- Comic Book Limbo: The Archives sub-forum.
- Comic-Book Time: Played straight for the individual stories as a matter of necessity, given the play-by-post format, but averted for the overall Shared Universe timeline, which moves forward in real time.
- Comic Book Tropes: In a game inspired by comic books, these are not only common, but encouraged.
- Crapsack World: Averted on Earth-Prime. The main universe of the Freedom City setting is an optimistic place, where most people are basically good, and most people love their superheroes. Other dimensions, like Erde and the Terminus, on the other hand...
- Crisis Crossover: The demonic invasion, when Hellion's father came with a demonic host to bring him home. It wasn't technically a Red Skies Crossover, but the skies above Freedom City were red...
- The third Grue Invasion, when they finally activated their experimental bio-weapon, Atlas. (Oh, Crap.)
- The "Halloween Special," where the fight between Hades and Baron Samedi spilled over into massive waves of undead and cultists flocking to Freedom City.
- "ArchEvil" had Doctor Archeville's Super-Powered Evil Side finally take over and unleash a number of magical and scientific monstrosities in the name of "reshaping" the world.
- Then there was the time the Gorgon showed up in orbit, threatening to encase the Earth in gray goo due to the taint of the Terminus.
- The "Hot Zone," where the city came under quarantine after a villain released an airborne mutagen that resulted in most of the city developing superpowers... control not guaranteed.
- The Day of Wrath, where Curator (the setting's Brainiac Expy) androids turned out to have replaced several heroes and caused brief chaos throughout the city with the help of the Foundry's robots, followed by the rescue of those replaced.
- Deconstruction: AvengerAssembled ran a story called "House of L", a Fifth Week Event wherein his luck controller Mark Lucas (A.K.A. "Edge") was killed, and his father Rick Lucas snapped, manifesting the same reality-bending powers as his son. He used them to transform the World of Freedom into an idealized version of the Silver Age, a world where technology marched on, but culture never advanced past The Fifties. What could have been a simple lighthearted romp through an old man's nostalgia turned out to be terrifying as AA began to shine spotlights onto the hypocritical nature of such an idea, and the horrible things which Rick had to keep doing to maintain the illusion that it was a better world. The whole story turned out to be a particularly well-executed Take That against the likes of Geoff Johns, Dan DiDio, Joe Quesada, and all the other contemporary creators who seem hell-bent on purging from the Canon any characters or stories which didn't exist back when they were kids (no matter how many people have to be Stuffed into the Fridge to make it happen).
- Demoted to Extra: This is bound to happen to most characters. Players come and go. Interest fades and revives. Real Life gets in the way sometimes.
- Dysfunction Junction: FCPBP has no shortage of emotional problems among the cast. (Or the players, for that matter.)
- Egomaniac Hunter: Orion, the premiere NPC example of the setting, came closer to killing Jack of All Blades than any villain Jack had faced before (even villains several Power Levels higher). However, the fight did not end well for Orion (see the Crowning Moment of Awesome tab).
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Players who stick with a character over the long haul gain not only in-game bonuses, like power-ups or extra character slots, but also nifty titles like "Gold Status."
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Superheroes work hard, play hard, live fast, and die young. But the staff requires that it be kept off-screen and PG-13.
- Evil Counterpart: The world of Anti-Earth, where everyone who is good on Earth-Prime is evil. It includes the Young Imperials, who are are the Evil Counterparts to Young Freedom.
- Fiction 500: Several PCs rank among their number.
- Fictional Country: Players have created a few.
- Fifth Week Event: Several times a year, the Moderators announce "Vignettes" - short stories about a certain topic or in a certain style. Players can write the Vignettes about their characters for extra power points.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Many PCs bond this way, in times of danger and havoc, leading to deep appreciations of each other.
- Five-Man Band: Most teams have this in some way or another.
- Gender Bender: Doc Otaku tested a Gender Reversal Ray on Avenger, Dark Star, Doktor Archeville, Geckoman, and Wesley Knight. Hilarity Ensued.
- GMPC: Technically, Any PC has the potential to become this for any given story thread. Players are allowed to GM their own threads, so the lines between "Player" and "GM" blur at FCPBP. The overall atmosphere of the game is less "competitive" and more "cooperative." However, the Moderators have the final authority over any use of, or change to, any characters or locations from the canon setting.
- House Rules: FCPBP has them. They are constantly evolving. The Moderators are generally reasonable people, receptive to player input and willing to change.
- Hurricane of Puns: The chatroom degenerates into this with embarrassing regularity.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Bee-Keeper II, before he Took a Level in Badass.
- Kid Hero: The students of the Claremont Academy, especially the members of Next-Gen & Young Freedom. And the Irregulars.
- Legacy Character: FCPBP has a lot of them.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There are usually several dozen active PCs at any given point in time.
- Long Runners: FCPBP has been online since October of 2007.
- Mister Fanservice: At one point, the majority of the male Claremont Academy students had world-class Charisma scores. That crew ran the gamut, from Tall, Dark and Handsome, to chivalrous and chaste, to free-spirited and artistic, to endlessly cheerful.
- Most Common Superpower: Surprisingly rare. It's usually the men who are pretty boys, especially at the Claremont Academy.
- Musical Episode: FCPBP had one!
- Mutants: The "Terminus Babies" concept created by Kit on the Atomic Think Tank has been adopted into FCPBP canon. It's left it's mark on the site's canon.
- Mythology (Celtic, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Nordic, Voodoo, etc.): Many PCs are inspired by these myths, and some come directly from them.
- Not Wearing Tights: The Moderators specifically want to avoid this trope. This is a game about superheroes, not people-with-powers. If you don't want to play a superhero, then don't try to join this game.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: It has also been stated by the Moderators many times that this is the sort of character they don't want to see. This is a game about superheroes, not "people-with-powers." Think Justice League Unlimited, not Series/Heroes.
- Play Every Day: This certainly isn't required, but it does help. Hitting 100 IC posts, which will gain a character the maximum power points for the month, and get the player into the 100 Club, would require an average of 3-4 posts per day. Such a posting rate would also allow the player to start earning Veteran Rewards in 6 months. But, again, players are by no means required to keep up such an insane posting rate to play at FCPBP, and most of them don't.
- Random Number God: FCPBP uses Invisible Castle to resolve and keep track of die rolls.
- Retcon: Usually averted. Once a character is submitted and approved, they are a part of the FCPBP canon from that day forward.
- There has been one situation where a very active and well-liked player wanted to play a Legacy Character whose Super Hero Origin story would have been incompatible with a previous player of said legacy. Since that previous player wasn't active anymore, and had hardly played the character at all, the Moderators decided to Retcon the previous character out of existence.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Several of the players at FCPBP are real-life parents who gladly share pictures of their adorable offspring.
- Rule of Cool: FCPBP lives by this rule...
- Shared Universe: The premise of the entire game. All story threads take place within the same 'Verse, unless otherwise indicated.
- Shout-Out: Chris Kenzie (Geckoman) and Liz Lawlett (Spellbound) are deliberate references to another character whose mythos loves Alliterative Names. (Pay attention to the initials...) His origin story also involves a rocket crashing into a field, and he wears a large yellow letter on his costume.
- Show Within a Show: Husband-wife duo Fast-Forward and Hologram host Supercrime!, an Expy of MythBusters that airs on the Discovery Channel. In one episode, the duo (and some accompanying heroes) went on a trip to 65 Million BCE to explore superhero dinosaur-related stories.
- Superhero Gods: There are several among the PCs.
- Superheroes Wear Capes: Depends very much on the character concept. Some fit, some don't.
- Superhero School: Freedom City has two:
- Superpowerful Genetics: Several PCs inherited their powers.
- Super Team: The setting has several already, and the players have formed more.
- The Freedom League (Justice League, Avengers): A primarily NPC team, although a few PCs are members.
- The Interceptors (New Warriors, Outsiders): This team has suffered several complete overhauls of its roster, with Jack of All Blades being the only constant member and the only remaining founder.
- The Knights of Freedom (Outsiders): In-character, The Knights were intended to be this sort of group - a "grey ops" team, less concerned with public relations than the Freedom League, and dealing with cases beneath their notice. Out-of-character, they were an excuse for a group of players who liked each other in Real Life to play together. Unfortunately, while the team was a very effective investigative and fighting force, it was also a volatile mix of Capes and Cowls that eventually collapsed under the weight of their own differences. However, the former members still come to each other's aid without hesitation.
- The Liberty League (Justice Society, The Invaders)): A mix of the heirs to Golden Age legacies and characters who were actually there for the Golden Age. The team itself is an heir to the legacy of the original Liberty League, a canonical NPC team active during World War 2.
- The Midnighters (Nightstalkers, Midnight Sons): A loose confederation of mystic characters.
- Young Freedom (Titans, X-Men): A team of Claremont Academy students (see Superhero School, above). Most of the teenage superheroes belong to this team, or have at some point. As old students graduate and new ones enroll, the roster changes regularly. It is a counterpoint to the NPC Kid Hero teams, The Next-Gen and The Alterniteens.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Especially in a play-by-post game. There are no other players sitting around the table to interrupt each other, so everyone gets a chance to ham it up. However, since power points are awarded based on number of in-character posts, not the length of individual posts, most players avoid full-blown walls of text.
- Team Mom: Electra is a Real Life example.
- There Are No Girls on the Internet: Subverted whenever possible, though hampered by the typical gender ratios of gamers and superhero comicbook fans.
- Cross Player: Despite the large gender gap among players, the gender ratio among characters is more or less even.
- G.I.R.L.: This being The Internet, there have been a few players who were (and possibly a few that still are) doing this.
- This Is Your Brain on Evil: Jack of All Blades died. He got better! Lately, though, he's Not Himself... Oh no! He Came Back Wrong! Corrupted by Hellfire! He got better from that too, though.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: See What Measure Is a Non-Human?, below.
- True Companions: Most of the Super Teams formed by the players.
- TV Tropes as a Gateway Drug: At this point, half the player base and at least one of the Moderators have found the site through TV Tropes.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Robots, undead, demons, cosmic horrors, and the like are explicit exceptions to the game's policy against killing.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The Moderators would prefer that any player think twice before writing their character as taking an action which would invoke this trope. Please do not list specific examples here.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Subverted. The location of Freedom City is officially left open in the books, but Word of God in this game, and from developer Steve Kenson, is that Freedom City is somewhere near Atlantic City, New Jersey.
- Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Despite superlative roleplaying by the players of characters like Malice and Belphegor, FCPBP ended the days of PC Villains after one too many threads descended into an orgy of weeks-long PvP and weapon measuring contests, and character creation and advancement as a whole turned into a metagaming arms race.
- Wide Open Sandbox: Freedom is a big city, and an even bigger multiverse.