In the age of tophats and petticoates, we asked, “What’s in a name?”
Soon… once the secret is out… the world will ask, “What’s in a mask?” … as perhaps you have done already.
Perhaps it came in dreams. Maybe you thought madness had taken you as you started to see things in the broad light of day. Maybe it appeared in your art. Perhaps it was a bright thread in the ravings of a grandmother lost to dementia that no one else noticed.
Something came. Something that was not you, but felt like you. It instructued you. It made sense, or it didn’t, but you followed, you improvised, you used your skills to gather seemingly mundane items, and combined them with your art or technical skill.
You made it: the mask.
Maybe there were chickens and dancing by the fire and the mask is made of small bones and is the outline of someone else’s face. Maybe there were incredibly advanced cybernetics and the mask is a computational superconductor containing an AI. Maybe there was alien technology, and the mask is a full body silver suit of unknown material. Maybe a biological shunt in a set of googles allowed you to see in hypercolor like a mantis shrimp. Maybe a thousand thousand other impossible possibilities.
However it happened, it was evident that somehow, your whole life was a setup for this experience. Your hopes, your career, your wantings, your talents – secret and sublime, your dreams led you to be able to make the mask.
Once that happened, there was nothing that could have stopped you from putting on that mask. There was an ecstasy and a strange agony in it as it settled onto you, as it came over you; as you became what it now seemed you would always become.
When you don the mask, you become more than yourself, but you are still there. In the shadows there is someone else, but back in the dark, waiting. You have their form, their… powers, their extraordinary potential. They are waiting: to see what what you will make of them… to see what you will make of the Mask: to see what you will make of the world. They have an agenda; they have goals, but have not yet shared that with you.
If you lose the mask, you lose your chance. If the mask becomes more than you are, you lose yourself, and who knows what happens then….
YOU are extraordinary, and that must be why the Mask chose you, instructed you, built itself via you.
- Talent: What talent or skill defines you? What are you excellent at? It might have nothing (seemingly) to do with being a super hero. It might be peaceful: calligraphy, bonsai, numerology. It is what led you to build the mask, what enabled the building of the mask, even if that isn’t really possible.
- What You Want: What is the thing you have been striving for? What have you turned your creativity, your resourcefulness toward achieving?
- What You Fear: What is the challenge in your life, that led you to and kept you away from your Talent?
- What you hope to set right: what is the wrong that has touched your life, affected you, afflicted you, done you wrong?
- Who are the 3 people most important to your character?
- Who are the 2 people most troubling to your character?
- Concept: What is it that organizes, animates the mask? Is it Fire? Hope? Night? Strength? Fame? Power?
- Powers: What 2 abilities spawn from that Concept? What aspects of the Mask have you unlocked so far? These powers should be early, simple, like: reading people’s emotions, or having wooden skin that is difficult to cut.
- Effect: How does the Concept affect you? Is it exciting, like an amplification of who you already are? Is it a terrifying dark mirror of your life? Is it alien? Comforting? Intriguing?
- Materials: What did you make the mask from? How did you do it? What was it like, that strange excitement you could never repeat – that unrepeatable first time of creating a You that is not You?
The Story So Far
You have made your mask. You have found the form you adopt when you don your mask. You have begun to feel the powers the form of the mask conveys you.
You have felt your own drive enhanced, or the drive of the mask, or the two combined to remedy some tragedy in your life, in the world – to set wrong things right.
You have gone out in your mask form. You saw some little thing wrong in the world and used the mask to try and right it. Did you succeed? Did you fail? Was it mixed?
You have also met some kind of unexpected resistance. Maybe you met another mask-wearer, and somehow recognized them for what they are even before they turned their power against you. Maybe there was a gunman in gray urban camo in a high window. Maybe there was a woman with knives in your apartment when you got home. Whatever it was, not long after you tried your mask on – not long after you flexed your powers, someone, something, tried to scare you. Or end you. And you survived. And you found out one interesting thing.
… how is your story beginning?