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The Venture Institute
Gamemaster: Scott Jamison
The Global Guardians PBEM Universe
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Campaign Description: The Venture Institute is an experimental school for teenage metahumans. While the students are not yet particularly powerful or respected, they may someday become humanity's best hope for survival. In the meantime, they'll be happy to pass their classes and maybe make some friends. Fighting crime is just a bonus.

Importance of the Player Characters: Locally Important. The player characters are low-powered, even compared to other local heroes. However, their success or failure will determine whether the Institute remains open, so their actions have some impact. There will occasionally be crossovers with NPC heroes, as well as characters from other campaigns.

World Description: The Global Guardians Universe is a four-color comic book world full of larger than life characters.  Technology is more advanced that the real world, and magic is real.  Aliens and creatures of legend roam the earth.

The Story So Far: Minnesota is referred to, by many metahumans, as "flyover country." While the Mayo Clinic made many of the early advances in metahuman medicine (and continues to do good work in the field) and not a few heroes and villains came from the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes originally, almost every successful or powerful metahuman moved to more "exciting" areas as soon as they could. Two super-hero groups have called Minnesota home; the Jesus Freaks are usually on the road, and the ill-starred New Legends... let's just say that most Minnesotans under the age of twenty don't know they ever existed.

Then came Senator Adolphus D. Venture (D-Minn), both a proud son of his state, and a bit of an idealist. As a junior member of the Metahuman Affairs committee in the United States Senate, Senator Venture had occasion to hear testimony from heroes, villains and interested parties. He noticed that increasingly, more metahumans came into their powers before they finished puberty, and many of them did not have the support they needed to use those powers wisely; others were even rejected by their families because of their powers. The senator decided that what was needed was a school to serve teenaged metahumans who could not for whatever reason be educated in standard high schools.

To no one's surprise, Senator Venture lobbied to have this facility built in his home state. The Juvenile Metahuman Educational Institute (as it was then called) passed through the approval process, though barely, and funds were allocated. During the building process, Senator Venture was killed in a house fire, and it was quickly decided to rename the school after him. A staff, including several experienced metahumans, was surprisingly easily assembled. It opened in fall 2003 with its first seven students, codenamed Alphabeta, Mighty Girl, Rock Bottom, Snooze Button, Temptress and Whiz Kid. Temptress was expelled for violation of school rules (bank robbery, to be precise), but Rock Bottom successfully completed his last year of high school despite his unusual appearance, and has become a full-fledged superhero with the Baltimore New Guard, so the program is considered a partial success, and the five remaining students will be joined by seven new ones for the fall of 2004.

Local Relations: For the most part, the residents of the northern Minneapolis suburb the Venture Institute is located in are pleased to have it there. It's prestigious, provides some jobs, and the students have been relatively well-behaved. A scattering of locals have prejudices against metahumans, but those that are bigoted against people for racial, ethnic or religious reasons have been more of a problem. The police department is officially grateful for any assistance the Institute can provide, but in practice many officers will choose not to involve students except in extremis. The press has been largely favorable, but has no compunctions about reporting negative events.

Morality: The Venture Institute is a four-color campaign, and for the most part the morality of the campaign will be four-color as well. There may be times when students must decide between following school rules and doing what they believe is right, as well as conflict between different students' beliefs.

Realism: Rather on the romantic side. The staff of the Institute will do their best to shield their students from lethal situations, but actions *will* have consequences, and foolish actions will usually have bad consequences.

Outlook: Positive. The students may suffer setbacks in their lives or schoolwork, but there will always be the hope of a better day ahead.

Seriousness: Light-hearted. Lives will seldom truly be in danger, and problems might seem trivial to the adult world. But being teenagers, the students will generally take themselves and their difficulties very seriously.

Continuity: The game will be entirely serial. Player character actions in one scenario will have effects on later scenarios, and continuity will be enforced. Adventures will move linearly through time, bad guys will remember who you are and what you did to them, and your mistakes will go on your permanent record.

Building a Character for the Venture Institute

The intent of the campaign is to replicate the light adventure and teen soap opera of such Silver Age comic books as the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Teen Titans and the X-Men, with a bit of anime spice. Interesting or even odd powers are more important than balanced constructions. Traditional high school cliches (jock, nerd, Young Republicans) are appropriate, as are deliberate twists to those cliches (goth chick with sunshine powers!) Students should also have some reason why they cannot continue their education in a mainstream high school.

Because of the nature of the school, there are certain restrictions on what sort of student is invited:

  • The Venture Institute is primarily for teenaged metahumans whose powers came to them involuntarily, rather than through physical or mystical training (there are dojos and schools of magic for those folks.)
  • At this time, aliens, intelligent apes and artificial beings are not being admitted, due to their specialized needs.
  • The Institute is not a reform school; while it may take an "at-risk" student, convicted felons are right out.
  • American citizens will be given priority for available slots.

Character backgrounds should be submitted initially. Based on those, I will select a team lineup and will ask for character sheets. However, given the very restrictive guidelines, prospective players should probably do the math to see if their concept can be done on the available points.

All Venture Institute students should follow these guidelines:

Starting Points: 50
Maximum Disadvantages: 50, plus the Campaign-Mandatory Disadvantages (see below), for a total of 70 points of disadvantages.
Maximum Points From One Category of Disadvantage: 30
Maximum Active Points for Any One Power: 40
Special Restrictions:

  • All students must take the following disadvantages.  These are in addition to the 50 points of voluntary disadvantages:
    • "Social Limitation: Minor" for 10 points
    • "Social Limitation: Subject to Venture Institute Rules" for 10 points
  • No Power Frameworks are allowed.
  • Because the students are inexperienced teenagers who have yet to reach their full growth, there are a few changes to the usual restrictions.
    • The required minimum of points spent on "background" skills is lowered to ten points from the usual 25.
    • Up to four Characteristics (including figured Characteristics) may be lowered below their starting level. Only one Characteristic may be lowered below half its starting level. This is a change from the standard rule that only two Characteristics may be lowered.
The Global Guardians PBEM Universe is copyrighted to Jack and Rebecca Butler, and is their solely owned property.  The Global Guardians PBEM Universe, and all of the campaigns therein, are works of collaborative fiction.  All the characters and events portrayed here are either products of the authors' imagination or are used fictitiously.  Except where otherwise specifically noted, the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, all Global Guardians characters, and all stories included therein are Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 by Jack and Rebecca Butler with all rights reserved under International Copyright Convention.  Submitting material (such as but not limited to character submissions, background information, and artwork) for inclusion in the Global Guardians grants Jack and Rebecca Butler the right to use that material as they wish, in perpetuity, within the confines of the Global Guardians Universe. The submitter does not give up the right to use the material in ways unconnected to the Global Guardians Universe.  This website was designed by Jack Butler, and is maintained by Jack Butler. Unless otherwise and specifically noted and with the exception of player characters which are the creations of their respective players, all material on this site is the creation of Jack and Rebecca Butler.  No material on this site may be posted or published elsewhere without the express written permission of Jack and Rebecca Butler.  Champions and the Hero System are registered trademarks of and are copyrighted by Hero Games, Inc.  No challenge to any trademark or copyright is made or implied by this site.
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