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It Started in 1985

I always wanted to be a superhero.

“The pleasure of reading a story and wondering what will come next for the hero is a pleasure that has lasted for centuries and, I think, will always be with us.” 

— Stan Lee

Back in 1985, when I was 13, my brother and some of his friends started playing a table top role-playing game called Villains & Vigilantes. It was D&D’s heyday and if your game’s title didn’t have an ampersand and alliteration, were you even trying to make an RPG? I usually wasn’t allowed to play with his RPG groups, but I always got to flip through his rulebooks and supplements. When I cracked open the V&V rulebook, I had no idea that I would still be playing this game 34 years later. I couldn’t even imagine graduating high school–at that point it seemed too far away. Minutes seemed hours and years seemed infinite when I was a kid. Inside the book I discovered that you could play as yourself. Instead of creating a secret identity for your character, you were your secret identity! I was immediately hooked and begged my brother to let me make up a character. I remember being nervous about rolling up my Powers at random, hoping they would be really cool or at least similar to those of my favorite heroes: Daredevil and Spider-Man. I ended up with a strange mix of powers that didn’t go together at all. The rules suggested that you find a theme within your Powers and get rid of the rest, but I refused. I don’t remember why. Maybe it was the beginnings of my tendency to “Power Game” or maybe I was afraid of not having the right ability for every situation. My brother was frustrated but allowed Mega Man (even to this day the name embarrasses me) to exist. The flame powers of the Human Torch, the agility of Spider-Man, the telepathy of Professor X, the phasing of Kitty Pride, the intelligence of Reed Richards, and the growth of Giant Man. After some more begging, I got to play in the adventure ‘Crisis at Crusader Citadel’ alongside some of my brother’s friends. It’s a simple two act module meant to introduce the players the the V&V Universe through a group of A-List vigilantes–the Crusaders, and their villainous opponents–the Crushers. It was surprisingly fun and original. Mega Man got to strut his goofy stuff, firing flame blasts, phasing through walls and floors, and acting as a telepathic switchboard for the entire team. All of the villains and heroes we fought against or beside are just as indelible in my memory as my favorite Marvel and DC characters, and it’s still the first adventure my new players go through when I start a campaign. It will always be one of my fondest memories of playing a TTRPG. I played V&V for the next three years straight introducing my small circle of friends to it, and running my own games. Mega Man was on the bench and would always be now that I was the GM. Sadly I would step away from the game for decades. Then something happened in 2015.


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