While some of us haven’t been able to see Black Panther yet, all of Magpie has been looking forward to it! There also aren’t a lot of traditional romantics on staff (just Brendan), but put love with superheroes and something’s bound to happen.
During the month of February we’ll be releasing pre-filled Masks playbooks for playing Black Panther in your own home game! That means all the characters are aged down to Masks-appropriate ages, and slotted into Masks playbooks. Many of them are not quite in the same place they are supposed to be for the movie, to reflect their younger ages, lack of self-assuredness, and growing personalities. We’ve also fudged some of the details of the setting a little, and would love to see what it would look like if T’Challa and his friends visited Halcyon City.
Some tips for using these characters in a Wakandan setting:
- Wakanda has a very strong cultural emphasis on tradition and its power—use that constantly to judge these PCs and wield Influence to shift their Labels.
- Wakanda is the most technologically advanced nation on the planet. That means crazy technology can exist there…and it means countless enemies would love to take its technology (and of course vibranium). So go nuts!
- Wakanda is fiercely independent while deeply united—that dichotomy drives a lot of its internal conflicts. Any given Wakandan hero will feel a strong urge to solve problems themselves…any given Wakandan hero will answer any other hero’s call when aid is asked for.
Our First Playbook is….the Black Panther himself!
Prince T’Challa, son of King T’Chaka and Queen Ramonda. T’Challa is only 17 years old, and he’s still accomplished so much, from proving his academic prowess with endless accolades, to triumphing athletically in competition after competition, to helping people the world over as he traveled for education. But none of that matters to him compared to his most important achievement—becoming the Black Panther.
To become the Black Panther, one must struggle and strive and fight. They must battle six of Wakanda’s greatest warriors, and then they must face off against the current Black Panther—in T’Challa’s case, his own father, T’Chaka. All of it to earn the right to carry back the Heart-Shaped Herb and be anointed with it, enhancing his senses and his body to nigh-supernatural levels. After that, the Black Panther would be the hero of Wakanda, answerable only to the king, protecting the people of Wakanda without reservation, hesitation, or aid.
To the people of Wakanda, that’s exactly what happened for T’Challa. He is their proud, royal prince, and a true hero of Wakanda.
But he is the only one who knows the truth—when he confronted his father in the sealed chamber of Bast, he did not win. His father defeated him.
But T’Chaka, in his wisdom, chose a different way forward. One that he thought would better serve Wakanda, and his son. T’Chaka proclaimed that T’Challa had defeated him and would assume the mantle of Black Panther, protector of Wakanda…but privately, T’Chaka planned to help T’Challa, overseeing his progress, training him constantly. T’Chaka would not let his son be changed by the endless struggle for dominance that had warped others trying to claim the mantle of Black Panther…nor would he throw his son into the deep end of the Black Panther’s struggles without guidance or aid, as he himself had been thrown. T’Chaka would help his son, and in so doing, he would help his son realize his potential as perhaps the greatest Black Panther that Wakanda had ever seen—and when the day came, the greatest King that Wakanda had ever seen.
T’Challa holds this secret deep in his heart. He feels shame for not having won truly, for breaking with tradition…but he feels honored that his father thinks so much of him and his potential. He feels anger at being coddled, and he feels grateful for his father’s help. His confusion about where he actually falls into his family’s legacy is perhaps his greatest internal struggle.
And stay tuned for our next entry, with a new Black Panther-themed playbook to download! Let us know if, and how, you use these playbooks, or if you come up with any other write-ups for your own favorite Black Panther characters!