So, I'm about to "Watchtower" ("Cerebro"...?) a Smallville game with the 80s-vintage New Mutants for some friends. I'm reviewing the book and while I feel the game rules will work nicely for authentic-feeling New Mutants stories (especially with JDCorley's mission bolt-on! Woo!), it strikes me that the thematic content implicit in the Values is geared to a slightly different trajectory than Xavier's School. So I want to see if I can tweak it ever so slightly in the direction I want.
So, Smallville's Values are:
Most of these I can see in the New Mutants just fine. I was uncertain about the TRUTH drive, until I realized that it doesn't have to be about honesty and deception; it can also be about insecurity, denial, delusion, belief and faith. Bam! The Truth value statements just flowed after that.
The sticky wicket, though, is JUSTICE. the thing is, while Justice might SEEM to be a solid Value for any superhero story or game...the New Mutants are, like, barely superheroes. Yeah, the're a team, and they have powers, and they go on missions, and sometimes even fight villains, but really they're just a collection of students with issues to work out. Most of the missions, they're not supposed to go on, because the Professor doesn't want to send them out like the X-Men to die; he wants them to stay home and be safe and train with their powers. And while they do fight a few plain ol' bad guys 9and gals), they mostly fight the hellions, who are another teen mutant team and basically just a rival school. Their teacher, Emma Frost, is eeeeviiiilll, but the students are mostly decent with a "we might have been friends" vibe going.
So, Justice seems an awkward fit. I mean, I can jam it in there, I suppose, but when I was trying to think of Justice statements I kept coming up with things that fit better under Power, or Duty, or, well, all of them, to a degree. And so I figured out that my challenge was to make a Value drive that wasn't redundant to the existing Values.
Mike Sugarbaker (who's playing in the game) suggested SECURITY, which seemed to make sense because teenagers, right? And the Prof wants to keep them safe and they want to take risks, and so on. But again, it seemed redundant. Most Security statements fit just fine under Love, or Power, or maybe Truth.
So. I want a new value. It can be anything that is non-redundant and relevant to 80s New Mutants, though I'd like to come up with something that's at least similar to Justice, esp. since it would help keep it mapped to the Lifepath choices without getting weird. For some reason I'm drawing a complete blank attempting to craft another value. Surely those six don't represent every ideal and yearning in the world?
It occurs to me that if I soften and personalize "Justice" into something like "Conscience" or "Ethics" or "Scruples" that could work. New Mutants has plenty of "lemme at 'em! they deserve no worse for what they did!" "No, we're better'n that!" type stuff going on. Sam's a straight shooter, bobby's pragmatic, Dani's devious, Rahne has tons of Protestant guilt, Illyana grew up in Hell and feeds opponents to demons. I still worry that it's got some redundancy: Most "Ethical" or "Scrupulous" stances would involve how ones wields Power, or their approach to Truth, or their personal definition of Love, and so on. So maybe I'm back to square one?
What do y;all think? Does Conscience/Ethics/Scruples look good and cogent and grabby? And which name do you like best? Any other alternate values you can think of? Has anyone experimented themselves with customizing the Values list? I'd love to hear your experience.