Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Aquaman Effect

If you make your character Aquaman, it is a pain in the ass for the GM to put a puddle of water in every situation just to give you something to do. He can't set an adventure in the desert. Superman in the desert is still Superman. Batman in the desert is still Batman. Aquaman in the desert is a useless chump.

If the GM is setting his campaign underwater or on the coast, you can (and maybe should) make Aquaman.

If the GM is setting his campaign in the middle of the desert or in outer space, you should consider making something else.

On the flip side: GMs, it is your responsibility to tell the players that your campaign is going to feature little to no aquatic action (or aquatic action all the damn time) well in advance.

Just sayin'.


  1. Well put, sir! I've blogged about this phenomenon in the past, but "The Aquaman Effect" sums it up nicely.

  2. Yeah, I understand the generalizable point you're making and it's very well put.

    ...but you know who else sucks in a desert? Spidey. And probably Batman, who really works best where there's plenty of visual cover.



  4. I dig it. Works well and communicates the essential problem of making a character that just doesn't fit.

  5. @richard
    I'll concede that Spider Man would probably not have the mobility he has in a major urban center with a lot of tall buildings, but he still has the strength to crush semi trucks, his uncanny spider sense, and sand + webbing could give him some interesting options if he's clever. Which he is.

    Batman in the desert? Well, anyplace where night falls Batman can do his thing, plus the last time he was in the desert he hooked up with Talia Al Ghul, so I think he'd do just fine.

    As for Aquaman, yeah, he's pretty much boned, even in his crazy crowbar mustache/harpoon hand incarnation. He'd have to stick to the oasis' to get anything done.

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  6. ...and having run an aquatic/piratical campaign, with lots of shipwrecks and islands and stuff like that, the players turn up their noses at the character options suited to the campaign, like sailors and amphibians, to take traditional dungeon-crawlers who want to build flying machines...

    Sometimes you just can't win