As of this writing, the FPL IS BACK. Everything here is still true, but there's an oppurtunity for a new generation of creators to storm the gates of Khazan and make the world ring with their glory. Do you dare answer the call?
When a website dies, and it is not mourned, has it really died at all? If it still exists, unupdated, unmaintained, is that death of stasis? Can I still mourn it, eulogize it, Speak for the Dead? Something called the Fantasy Powers League still remains at www.electricferret.com/fpl, but it does not grow. It sits, silent, a memorial to those characters that based through its hall and those writers who poured soulstuff into their glittering golems. It stands, too, for Tony and Chris, who died in the traditional way, their minds mourned by their fellow Creators. It is dead, but I am alive. And so I shall tell you a tale of a city named Khazan and the deeds of those who fought there...
They say it started with Chad Landon Smith and Serge Walters wanting to open the great Khazan Arena to all denizens of the Nexus, not just those documented by popular writers. They say Serge spent 4 years coding the PERL, and that Landon's cats provided the static charge to open the gateway. They say that this was meant to happen, and no violation was intended.
The brave beings killed by the likes of Crazy Sugar Junkie Hulk, Big Guy With Guns, and Wingnut (the Flying Peanut) would not have agreed, but they could not take out their anger. This was before the Migration, the endless Self Inserts, with Landon as the Iron Chef, Red continually eaten by fishes and forever regenerating, Serge in his zoot suit riot.
Strictly speaking the Fantasy Powers League consisted of a Fight Page, a Hall of Fame, and a Character Generator. Using the character generator, players bought powers for characters from a pool of 250 points. Most powers came in 4 strengths, and ranged from Flight to Tunneling to (in an early version of the game), the dreaded Can of Whoop Ass. Descriptions were entered along with the powers. In the early days, these simply described what the powers did and how they were gained. (Flight: BGWG can fly because he has a rocket pack on his back). Later, these descriptions could be anything from Beat poetry written by a Khazan journalist to bits of dialog to technical schematics.
Characters would face each other in Undercards. At first anybody could vote; then voting was restricted to those who had active characters. Three losses or a loss by a significant margin (3 to 1 ratio) meant a character died. If he fought more then 8 matches, he'd end up in the Gallery. If he won more then 10, he'd be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. In Khazan, that meant freedom to live their lives, or perhaps be born again. Reincarnation was common there, with characters coming back better or worse, with new powers or a new edge. Ramon the Unsmeggable was born 13 times and died each one; Christopher Marlowe rode a wave of profanity and literary references to the finals but was killed by his creator and never brought back.
I would have liked to cross the barrier into Khazan; to see this cacophony of life and hope, surging from the underground lair of the Lord of Nothings (a man, animated by the spirit of Nikola Tesla, ensuring that all who needed feeding and hope would be fed and all the Nothings who needed avenging would be avenged) to the skyscrapers of Marc Dollar, CEO of the utterly evil Dollarcorp (no superhuman he, his Damage Shield was simply an orbital laser, pointed at those who harmed him). In the Arena careers were made, stunning upsets, ignominious defeats. In the time before the last Crash a former henchman named Dodge Murphy beat assassins and gods to gain the title. He was challenged by the Lord of Nothings, who wished simply to aid him... but Dodge refused his loyalty and won, a free man until the end.
The end came slowly. Outages. Delays. They say it will be fixed, but Landon is a teacher now. Nobody knows what Serge is doing, and the rest of us are busy with our own lives. Perhaps with the portal down our creations will live their loves, love and kill. Perhaps one of them reached out and stopped the tyranny of the Arena, the weekly spectacle of blood and sawdust. Perhaps two suicides is two too many for any community. I do not know. I know that the man who hired me took gave his name to his favorite creation and put much of himself into Khazan. I know he has notebooks filled with power calculations, computer files noted and annotated. There are horrors he has not loosed: Dante Alighieri riding Geryon in a quest to remove the taint of banality from his dead and dying Italy; a man's ghost animated by the dreams of his child. I know that the FPL kept him sane and creative during hours of too much homework, and that it did the same for many others scattered across the world. I wonder if it was unique, a grand experiment doomed to fail from the very start.
A beep sounds from the Speaker's belt. He looks up at me, slowly, and grins. 'Where are you going?' I ask, knowing the answer. 'Khazan. Tommy Lost the Battle finally lost the battle, and the Lord of Nothings hired me speak for him. Figured somebody ought to give him a decent burial. He said to tell you thanks for setting things in motion again.'
(Written for the benefit of Mr. Kite, Fan, Landon, Poe and all the gang at #fpl. Dedicated to Tony and Nathan, wherever they might be... thanks for spurring my creativity for two years. If you ever drop by here, you'll be more then welcome)
And yes, that is Exploitation Now Poe. Ralph and Bimbo were in the FPL, as were some original Poe creations.
(Everything the FPL is public domain, which limits the monetary use I can make out of my characters but may ensure their survival as memes... thought i'm not sure how binding the disclaimer on the site was)