A peek under the hood of M&M

November 13, 2006

Paragons Design Journal: Believe... and You Will Fly

In the summer of 2007, Green Ronin Publishing will debut a new campaign setting for Mutants & Masterminds, the first new setting since the publication of the second edition of Freedom City.

Paragons presents a very different world from the four-color comic book setting of Freedom City. It is a world much like our own, where people have mysteriously developed amazing paranormal powers, a setting that allows you to experiment with the effects of people with super-powers: how will the world react to them, and how will they impact the world?

Paragons is also a different sort of setting in that you decide many of its key elements from the range of options provided in the book. For example, no one in the world of Paragons knows the true origin or source of paranormal powers (or, if they do, they�re keeping it to themselves). You can decide, based on the kind of series you want to run, where powers come from and why, or just leave it as another mystery to ponder. You can also decide which of the factions of the setting are the most prominent, active, and powerful, based on the type of series you want.

A Paragons Glossary
The following are some of the terms used in Paragons to provide a common vocabulary and framework for the setting, and to separate it somewhat from more four-color settings like Freedom City.

awakening: Becoming paranormal. Some liken this to �waking up� to the fact you have always been paranormal, others believe it involves imbuing some new quality in the individual.

ectoplasm: A strange �primal material� produced by some paranormals.

eidolon: Literally �shadow� or �image,� an eidolon is an archetype of �higher� being found in the Imageria. Eidolons may be actual gods (or godlike beings) or �merely� reflections of deep archetypes of the collective unconscious, given power by human belief.

Fortean: Named for Charles Fort and referring to strange or unexplained phenomena without any apparent paranormal agent involved, almost synonymous with �weird� in Paragons.

Imageria: The realm of potential, related to the collective unconscious, essentially the imagination made manifest. It�s accessible to some paragons and may be the source of their powers (or they might be the source of its existence, no one�s sure).

impossible: Something a paragon hasn�t done yet.

origin chaser: A person who tries to deliberately trigger an origin, hoping to become a paranormal. More than a few origin chasers end up dead or seriously injured, and the practice is commonly viewed as a creative means of committing suicide.

origin: A common term for the circumstances under which a paranormal first awakens or manifests powers.

paragon: Common term for a paranormal, often applied with a degree of irony.

paranormal: Scientific name for abilities beyond the understanding of science, and the people who possess them.

parascience: Most branches of science have elements studying the paranormal. Parapsychology studies the mind and �psionic� powers. Paraphysics is the study of paranormal powers acting upon the physical world. Parapsychiatry is the study of mental health among paranormals. Paratheology is the study of the effect of paranormals on religious and spiritual belief as well as the role of paranormals and their powers in faith and religious doctrine.

parasensory: Also extrasensory. Sensory information that comes by means other than the normal five senses possessed by most people.

power: A superhuman ability of a paranormal, also another slang term for paranormals (�powers�).

psionic: Paranormal powers of or affecting the mind. It�s possible all powers are psionic in nature; generally, the term refers specifically to powers like telepathy.

reality comics: Comic books and �graphic fiction� based on actual paranormals.

savant: A paranormal with super-human capabilities in a particular skill.

spark: To trigger a paranormal�s awakening is to �spark� or �jump-start� that paranormal.

walk-in: Also avatar. Where a different personality or �spirit� appears to possess a person: often associated with the manifestation of paranormal powers. Some walk-ins claim to be gods, spirits, or alien intelligences.