When you come right down to it, in these days of smartphones and flash mobs, most comic-book heroes don’t really need bases. The vast majority of them are pretty self-contained and their pre-planning mostly consists of “go to where something is happening as quickly as possible”. Sure, they may get shown training on occasion – but the results are generally far, FAR, less impressive than the results of getting hit with the plot-contrivance-of-the-week.
There are exceptions of course.
- Heroes with no abilities suitable for travel are, perforce, either local acts or they have a vehicle – which will usually need to be faster and more elaborate than a standard car, motorcycle, or what-have-you – and which they’ll need somewhere to keep. Preferably that will be a place that’s more secure than the average garage to avoid joyriding and accidental discovery.
- Heroes who rely on gadgetry, use laboratories, store bizarre and dangerous artifacts or mystic tomes, or some such, need a place to keep their stuff. Fortunately, this kind of hero almost always either has exceptional resources or being backed by someone with exceptional resources. Otherwise they’d never be able to get all that stuff in the first place.
- Heroes who are publicly known may want a place to live that has some special defenses and / or will keep attacks on them from involving the neighbors. Otherwise when a giant monster comes to attack them and steps on Larry the Insurance Salesman’s car they could easily be considered liable – or a nuisance at the very least.
Still, a barn on an old farm will allow for all of that.
Heroes (or, far, FAR, more often villains) running organizations will probably want something bigger than a home office – but not necessarily all that much bigger unless they need room for their arsenals or power-armor facilities or something, and that’s fairly rare. The vast majority of heroes and villains work in small groups at best.
Pretty much nobody at all actually needs an orbital headquarters, or an enormous complex buried beneath the great pyramid, or a private dimension, or a ship the size of a city, or even a towering magical castle hidden in Tibet.
Bases, however, establish their own narrative space; they provide a fantastic-yet-familiar place for heroes to interact, allow the writers to easily bypass all the complications that come with the characters having outside friends and family, make the team a substitute family group (providing extra angst when someone is in trouble), give their enemies a convenient place to attack, and provide a spot to store the various MacGuffins that villains want (somehow, even in settings and/or systems that make it easy, the notion of “get or make your own (whatever it is this week)” never seems to occur to anyone). They’re a place in which one or more heroes will almost always be in residence, thus providing a spot for desperate people to flee to to make frantic appeals to the heroes in person rather than calling 911 or the equivalent.
Bases also define a groups “personal space” – providing a handy place for weird stuff to happen. After all, when the base turns out to be haunted, or to be a target for space aliens, or to be built over a cavern full of mole-people, or to be a mystical nexus, or gets blown up, the characters in a comic (or a game) almost always deal with it – it’s their home! – rather than just shrugging their shoulders and moving to a less bothersome location. Secondarily, no one asks why the characters are always hanging around the base, rather than being out shopping, or scattered all over the map, or out on a date, or anything like that. When the characters live in a base that insulates them from the outside world – and usually has a staff to fix their vehicles, fetch their groceries, and handle the maintenance (if such things are ever mentioned at all) – it’s a lot easier to jump straight to the interesting stuff.
Base facilities – such as laboratories, mystical libraries and relics, sapient computers, and other conveniences – are nice to think about, but they’re only actually interesting in so far as they can cause weird stuff to happen. No one wants to wait through a long, complex, analysis, while the libraries and computers only contain the information that the writer (or game master) wants the characters to have – and which he or she would thus contrive to give them anyway.
In a lot of ways, heroes and villains have bases because that’s convenient for the writer / game master, not because they actually do them a lot of good.
I usually assume that any worthwhile long-term team that wants to have a base in our local Champions games gets 2-5 (depending on their background and how long they’ve been established) points per character of “free” base. It goes along with assuming that they – given their usual hyper-competentness – don’t need to put down some mundane skill with which to make a living, just like the default zero-point level of Wealth is “middle class” – able to afford a vehicle and the occasional major expense. Characters who actually DO put some points into a base get complete (well, within setting limits) control over that those points get used for and get some influence over what else goes in. Characters who just settle for their default contribution can put in requests, but get whatever the game master gives them.
The Vanguard has been Canada’s primary (and often only) hero team for nearly thirty years – and even without any major character-contributions they’ve built up a fairly formidable base. The facility itself is located in the suburbs of Toronto, and is owned and operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – which also provides the Vanguard with police powers The base itself is a modest residential/office/facility complex, with three above ground floors, two underground, and well-landscaped grounds – including a practice field (little used now that Dreamweaver can set up pocket worlds and scenarios in the realm of Dreams) and a sizeable heated swimming pool.
- DEF 10 (24P), BODY 7 (5P), Size 11, 1,024 hexes (44,073 sq ft), DCV -11 (22P)
Grounds 3,600 hexes (2P), Location (Suburb) (5P)
- Arboreal Library (40P)
- Biological Science Node (50P)
- Power Plant / END Reserve (60 END, 12 REC/turn) (18P)
- Surface-Effect Anti-Teleport Force Field (5 PD/5 ED); Hardened: ×2, ½; Invisible (To visual detection. Apparent to energy scans and mental awareness.): One Sense Group, +½; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Focus Type: Base, -1 (2 End, 9P). Since this is a base power it applies to all doors, walls, and windows, inside and out.
- Antispying Wards / Darkness vrs Clairsentience; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Focus Type: Base, -1; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1 (9P).
- Antispying Wards / Darkness vrs N-Ray Vision. Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Focus Type: Base, -1; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1 (9P).
- Surveillance Cameras / Normal Vision; IIF: -¼; Activation (Limited Coverage): 12-, -¾; Focus Type: Base, -1 (2P).
- Surveillance Cameras / Infrared Vision; IIF: -¼; Activation (Limited Coverage): 12-, -¾; Focus Type: Base, -1 (2P).
- Radar System (External) / Radar Sense; Activation (Limited Coverage): 14-, -½; Focus: Obvious Inaccessible, -½; Focus Type: Base, -1; Generic Limitation (External Only): -½ (4P).
- Long Range Radar / Telescopic Sense (Radio, +8 to PER); Activation (Limited Coverage): 14-, -½; Focus: Obvious Inaccessible, -½; Focus Type: Base, -1; Generic Limitation (External Only): -½ (3P).
- Internal Atmosphere / Need Not Breathe; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Focus Type: Base, -1 (4P).
- Temperature Control / Life Support: Intense Heat/Cold; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Focus Type: Base, -1 (1P).
- Shielded Walls / Life Support: High Radiation; Focus: Inobvious Inaccessible, -¼; Focus Type: Base, -1 (1P).
- Spatial Seal / Extra-Dimensional Movement to Pocket Realm; Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Carrying Mass: None; Generic Limitation (Must be actively maintained; the base drops back into normal reality if it is not. ): -½; Focus: Obvious Inaccessible, -½; Focus Type: Base, -1 (2 End, 7P). This moves the base just a bit “apart” from normal space. From the outside it looks like a big, nigh-impenetrable, shield. From the inside it looks like a big, nigh-impenetrable bubble. No amount of physical force will penetrate it; you need to use Extra-Dimensional Movement or Transdimensional.
- Base Staff (16, 50 pts, 25 Disad.); Number: 16, +20 (35P). These are mostly employed by the RCMP, and covers everyone from the cook and maintenance staff on up through the guards, research aides, and police liaisons.
Contact / Government Liaison; Usefulness: Normal, +0 8- (1P).
- Scientist (3P).
- Alchemy Lab 11- (1P).
- Chemistry Lab 11- (1P).
- Criminology Lab 11- (3P).
- Cybernetics Lab 11- (1P).
- Electronics Shop 11- (3P).
- Infirmary / Paramedic Facility 11- (3P).
- Mechanics Shop 11- (3P).
- Medical Lab 11- (1P).
- Metallurgy Lab 11- (1P).
- Surveillance Lab 11- (3P).
- Tactical (Briefing) Room 11- (3P).
- Weapons Shop 11- (3P).
Base Cost: 282 Points
- Dependent NPC: The Crazy Cat Lady Next Door (Normal, 11-) (15P).
- Dependent NPC: Random individual needing assistance (Normal, 11-) (15P).
- Hunted: Mystic Villians who want to capture or use the place. (8-) (15P).
- Watched: The Canadian Government and Press (8-) (10P).
- Watched: Various Supervillians (8-) (5P).
- Public Identity (10P).
- Reputation: Reliable Hero Team Headquarters (14-) (15P).
- 3d6 Unluck (15P).
Disadvantages Total: -100 Points.
Net Cost: 182/5 = 36 Points.