Earlier I explained why the first DramaSystem game, Hillfolk, lacks super-powers, instead building its geek cred around iron age trappings.
For our second in-house DramaSystem series, I figured it was okay to bust out some more overtly fantastical elements. The group chose to play cast members in a traveling carnival during the Dustbowl era, and agreed that it would be okay to have supernatural powers of some sort.
Although they’re clearly happy to enjoy fantastical elements as a prospect, none of the players has seized on the narrative power the system grants them to give themselves the permissible super-abilities. Jo-Jo the Cat Faced boy has demonstrated himself to be an agile escape artist, but not this has not been described as in any way superhuman. If the carnival impresario, magician, aerialist or snake charmer have incredible powers up their sleeves, they have yet to reveal them.
As GM, I’ve introduced elements making it clear that they operate in a supernaturally heightened 1930s. They’ve learned that the carnival’s other aerialist can unfurl a prehensile tongue to drain young victims of blood. A young girl who can move objects with her mind just showed up seeking refuge. And manipulating events from a remove is a dapper man from the impresario’s past who might just be the devil.
Over the course of the series, we’ve discovered that he wants them to collect and protect others with extraordinary abilities, maneuvering Barboa the snake handler into a pact to this effect. The interest of the mysterious Mr. Ordogh may cement players’ reluctance to give their characters super-powers. But long before his scheme revealed itself, the dynamic was already manifest.
Given the chance to be super, the group decided they were just fine being people.