The Icons of New Arkham
The Icons series will examine the need for Superhuman protectors in a world that does not know they exist. Having been repressed since the 50’s these Superhumans, whether Metahuman or Alien or Mystical in orgin, have been hunted down and their actions covered up by secretive forces.
What impact would real heroes have
on this world and what form will they chose: costumed vigilante Or public celebrity? Maybe both.
What would you chose?
New Arkham is a city plagued by crime, ruthless corporations and catastrophe. It is located on the east coast in an area that is known as the Delmarva Peninsula in our world. But in the world of Icons, it became the state of New England. The City of New Arkham was first a port city and fledgling competitor to New York and Boston. Before its downfall, it was a thriving metropolis, boasting the world’s most advanced underground, electric rail line.
The old city port was founded in 1805 as part of a vast port expansion. A new route from England was desired and a powerful shipping magnate wanted to control their own port. The Black Water Shipping Company had come too late to the powerful wharf development in New York. By 1815 the dry dock in New York had begun construction and the Black Water Shipping Company invested heavily in the wharfs of Port City to prepare for a dry dock of their own. The ensuing race made headlines all the way to England, where Black Water was recruiting shipping contracts. The Port City dry dock was finished in 1822, two years earlier then New York. This made Port Gotham a destination for ship building and repair, and many large magnates brought their money to the city instead of New York. The Port exploded overnight.
By 1850, it was one of the fastest growing cities on the east coast, and the biggest city in New England state. Nearby a college town of Arkham was built and a major bridge was built to connect the residents to the nearby port town. With major shipping, academic heritage and culture Port Gotham became a major alternative to New York and Boston. With money, fame and recognition coming in yearly, crime followed.
The coves and rivers near the city allowed for pirates and smugglers to base their operations close enough to make the Port City a major crime capital. The Mafia moved in to control the docks and seaside of the City, but the smugglers formed a strong defense and used the terrain to avoid direct conflict with the families. The Irish mob began to make their presence known by the turn of the century and a three-way battle for city began. By the 1950’s the city’s decadence was only overshadowed by its dangerous underbelly. With the failure of the FBI to incarcerate Al Capone the mafia’s dominance continued to grow, as did crime.
It became a destination for the unscrupulous and the desperate. Ruthless businessman would move to there when the heat got too hot on Chicago, Boston and New York. The defeated and the desperate joined together while the crime cartels fought it out over the shipping. This continued until the 1970’s when the city began recruiting the best lawmen from around the country to come wipe out the crime families. A massive war escalated until in 1983 after the RICO act had gathered power in other cities, the law indicted many luminaries of the city.
All was better for several years. But the police force was corrupt and the citizens cried out for justice. The street crime changed, with no crime families to control the gangs, all hell broke loose. The police still recovering from the RICO act battles, lost control of the city in 1986. The National Guard was brought in and the city went under State control.
In 1989 the subway was completely overhauled with extensive investment from the Arklight Corporation, based in the nearby Arkham District of Lewes. Arklight is a research & development corporation, specializing in civil engineering, weapons and law enforcement technology. The city seemed to be finally moving away from its dark history. The streets were being cleaned up by a combined Police/Vigilante task force, lead by the Police Commissioner and a figured called the Cowl.
Disaster struck in the Fall of 1991. An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the richter scale brought the city to its knees. The entire peninsula and the state of New England was declared anathema to the United States and major highways and rivers were cut off from the country. The US Coast guard took the waterways and the National Guard of New England secured the north end of the peninsula. A lawless reign gripped those who did not get out. Refugee camps sprang up on the US side of the border, while internment camps were built on the peninsula. A major prison was built on the border with access to both sides. The worst criminals on the East Coast were sent there. Some of them escaped into the New England peninsula.
The smugglers and crime lords flocked to the area and began an extensive campaign to use the land as a holdout outside of US jurisdiction. An international criminal organization known as the Syndicate won control of docks and other keys areas of the city. Arkham was turning into the crime capital of North America and the US military began a costly campaign to protect its borders.
In 1995, the Arklight Corporation, a mega-corporation, was now based in Washington DC. They presented a proposal to rebuild the New England area, including turning the Arkham and Port Gotham area into a new megacity. This new city was declared New Arkham, Arklight was given assistance from national and local military and police forces to “tame” the area. The ensuing three year long campaign was highly publicized. This became the first major act of privatization of law enforcement. It ended in a negotiation that returned the New England state into a temporary tributary of the US and gave Arklight control of law enforcement and policy in New Arkham for the next 20 years.
In 2001, the first election was held in New Arkham. The mayoral seat went to Lincoln West, who’s family had helped settle Gotham and had held seven mayoral appointments in the city’s history. He was reelected two more times and is currently the mayor of New Arkham. The Arklight Police force has had varying levels of success with the level of crime in the city, but backs the mayor publicly and financially. All policy and city council appointments are made after Arklight Administrations review.
Recent reports have confirmed the presence of a masked force of crime fighters combating the Syndicate and other menaces using the old city’s underground network. Above ground, the streets are a mix of lawless refugees in the unrecovered areas and white collar executives in the Arkham district, where the old Arkham town was located. The New England Correctional Facility (NECF) is a major repository of criminals for the Federal Law Enforcement agencies.
The game will consist of a series of interconnected stories. Each run separately and possibly involving different characters. Many villains will show themselves in arcs connected to the Syndicate, street crime and the Arklight Corporation.
The tone will be dark, vigilante style justice. Death will be possible, but must be deliberate, no accidental death. Think Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, V for Vendetta, etc..
The power level will be PL 10 (Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition), with an expected growth of 10 power points per installment.