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Tabletop Game / Claim the Sky

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Claim the Sky is a supplement for the Cypher System published by Monte Cook Games. It provides rules for superpowered characters, along with a prebuilt mini-setting called "Boundless" that is modeled on popular comic-book settings.

The world of Boundless is a modern world that has had superpowered individuals since prehistory; Tutankhamun, for example, inherited his father's solar powers and used them to sustain his long, prosperous reign. Despite this long history of supers, the world as given is extremely similar to our own, with fairly minor changes.

Tropes found in Boundless include:

  • Alien Invasion: The Grin have attempted to invade Earth several times, unsuccessfully. BASTION keeps multiple monitoring stations in space to give warning of their next attempt.
  • Allohistorical Allusion:
    • Chinese superhero Daiyo found a cure for a coronavirus that arose in China in 2020; many believe that if she hadn't, it would have turned into a global pandemic.
    • Two villains are organizing an attack on the US Capitol Building by a mob of misinformed militia-supporting citizens.
  • Badass Family: Everyone in the Majestic Family is a superhero, and the world knows it.
  • Badass Normal: Downplayed. It's noted that there are some who go up against superpowered individuals with just extreme skills, but they're rare because it's a good way to get hurt or killed.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The Red Army's assault on the Führerbunker is instead credited to Strikeforce Victory, a unit consisting of all of the Western Allies' available superhuman soldiers.
  • Beneath the Earth: Inner Earth, a network of tunnels and caves that includes Azari ruins, a Lost World cavern with Living Dinosaurs, and Mole Men (called "undermen"). One of the caverns lies underneath the Sahara Desert, and multiple entrances are buried in the desert.
  • Born Lucky: Back when Tyler Demby was a kid and enjoyed more than his share of tabletop roleplaying games, his first roll of the night was usually a 20. His luck transcends mere games, translating into him finding stray cash just when he needed it, always getting to the bus stop just before the bus left, and, on a few occasions, avoiding an accident by standing in just the right place at the right time.
  • Cast of Expies: Averted, despite the setting being based on popular comic books. Some organizations seem to be expies (BASTION is a S.H.I.E.L.D. expy, for example), but relatively few individual characters are.
  • The Empire: The Grin are a warlike alien race. Commanding high technology and faster-than-light starcraft, they have cut a line of conquest through the galaxy. Hundreds of worlds lie beneath their boot, and many more are on the verge of succumbing.
  • Extranormal Prison: BASTION's Station Zero, an Underwater Base capable of holding about 100 superpowered prisoners. Its cells can be configured to become Tailor Made Prisons for particularly difficult prisoners.
  • The Fantastic Faux: The Majestic Family. They consist of Gravity Master Jack Majestic, Big Guy Natalie (Jack's wife), Science Hero Olive (Jack's sister), and Jack and Natalie's son Ace, a teenage boy with a Healing Factor and a guardian robot created by his Aunt Olive.
  • Fun with Acronyms: BASTION, a S.H.I.E.L.D expy, stands for "Bulwark Against Supernatural Threats of an Illicit or Ominous Nature".
  • Genius Loci: Numinous Island is an intelligent Island of Mystery in the Pacific Ocean. It was created by Azari technology by Pacific islanders in ages past.
  • Historical Domain Character: Historical personages known to have had superpowers or access to Azari technology include Tutankhamun, Chandragupta Maurya, Scipio Africanus, Edmund Ironside, and Ziyad ibn Abihi.
  • Human Aliens: Blackstar is from another world, but looks human and can pass as just another tourist.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite the presence of superpowers since ancient times, and people finding Azari ruins with ultra-technology in it, the world is basically the same.
  • Legion of Doom: Dread, an organization of seven supervillains, is the primary opponent of The Society of Seven.
  • Living Dinosaurs: One of the Inner Earth caverns is home to large numbers of otherwise-extinct animals including dinosaurs.
  • Lost in a Crowd: One of the adventure seeds involves trying to find a kidnap victim at Dragoncon.
    "...they have to find a young woman dressed as a colorful character amid a convention of 50,000 other costumed people, being held in a hotel room by villains, who are also in costume."
  • Mole Men: The Undermen, a species of rocky-looking humanoids who live in the Kingdom Cavern of Inner Earth.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: The Dagger is a secretive criminal organization that engages in all sorts of criminal activities and occasionally attempts to Take Over the World. It is the primary foe of BASTION.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Demonix are a species of fiendish, interdimensional humanoids that dwell in the Vermillion, a hellish universe far beyond our own, and have twice tried to invade and conquer the Earth.
  • Precursors: The Azari colonized Earth millennia ago, and left behind caches of ultra-high technology. In addition, their genetic experiments on humans are believed to be the cause of superpowers.
  • Propaganda Hero: Although Spike, the first superhuman employed for military purposes in the twentieth century, probably managed only minor accomplishments at best, she was a boon for the Entente in terms of morale. Reports of her activities were relayed throughout Europe and elsewhere, in events that were far more widespread than could possibly be factual.
  • Really 700 Years Old: No one knows how many centuries Baron Shadow has lived. Historians believe that he was originally ennobled by King Henry II, back when he went by the name Aubrey de Warenne. If so, he's well over 800 years old.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Played straight and averted.
    • Played straight: Valerie Lincoln and Olive Majestic both create fantastic technologies which they mostly keep private; Olive, in particular, is keeping most of them within the family and only releasing some of her tamer inventions to the public.
    • Averted: Silver Sentinel prevented the 9/11 hijackers from hitting the World Trade Center, and Daiyo quickly found a cure for COVID-19 that prevented it from becoming a pandemic.
  • The Scottish Trope: Most people prefer never to say Demdike's name aloud, lest the Pendle Witch appear and steal their soul. Whether or not she possesses such omniscient hearing is beside the point.
  • Sizeshifter: Highrise can shift from regular size to a 15 m tall giant.
  • Space Station: There are several, including the second International Space Station (the first having been destroyed), four BASTION Skywatch stations, the Raptor's Perch (run by Dagger), Freefire's abandoned base, and more.
  • Super Team: The Society of Seven is the primary one, corresponding to the Justice League or Avengers. Historically, there have been two versions of Freefire, one in the 1960s and 1970s and the other in the 1980s and 1990s. The Golden Shield is an officially-sanctioned team in the EU.
  • Title Drop: "Claim the Sky" is the name of an in-universe magazine about superheroes.
  • Was Once a Man: The Elemental was once a regular person. In the middle of the storm of the century, Martín Pérez hid within an ancient ruin in the jungles of Guatemala, where Mayans had buried an alien Azaki device. When he emerged, he was no longer human; he (or rather it) was the Elemental.
  • Wedding Smashers: The wedding of Whisper and Valor was attacked by Dagger in an attempt to take out a large number of heroes at once.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: Crimson Protector has refined his natural psychic luck into a super ability that is equal to most. When he attacks, an element of the environment usually intrudes in some fashion.