Ronin Round Table: 10 Years of Freedom (City)

By Steve Kenson

In the midst of marking the 10th anniversary of Mutants & Masterminds with a new Deluxe Hero’s Handbook (along with the exclusive limited Anniversary Edition), you might think we’ve forgotten the passage of the 10th anniversary of M&M‘s signature setting: Freedom City. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about that city.

I always knew my first visit to Freedom City was going to be a temporary one. Still, I got to stay a good deal longer than I had planned, several years, in fact, almost enough time to put down roots. But then it was time to move on: to places both new and familiar, from Thedas and Westeros to Metropolis and Gotham, with short side-visits to Golarion, post-Awakening Seattle, and Stark City, to name a few, before a long assignment on Earth-Prime’s West Coast, an up-and-coming town called Emerald City, and everything that followed the Silver Storm.

But Freedom City has always been there during my travels, a place of old friends and fond remembrances and, this coming year, it will be time for a return visit. I’m sure some things have changed in my absence. In fact, if what I’ve heard so far is any indication, I know that Freedom City will be a different place than the one I remember.

The Freedom League has moved on, I’ve heard. Operating from their orbital headquarters, the days when they called Freedom City "home" are largely behind them. The old Freedom Hall is now just a local branch for a hero team gone global—maybe some new local heroes will take up residence there as part of the League’s franchise? I hope so.

The Atom Family is still around, of course. The Goodman Building isn’t just their headquarters, after all. It’s their home. Chase Atom is in his 20s now, and his elder brother Max is starting a whole new generation of Atoms. Speaking of generations, word is that Michael O’Connor has gone from several successive terms as mayor to serving Freedom City in Washington. The mayor’s office has seen better days but, if the rumors about Callie Summers running for office are true, things might be about to change.

I’m looking forward to some old familiar haunts. Pyramid Plaza and the Sentry Statue still dominate the city skyline, and Liberty Park is a lovely place to spend a day, even if Heroes’ Knoll has a new statue or two. It would be nice sit out at a Starbase Coffee near the FCU campus and try to spot any figures flying overhead. I’m thinking of staying in a place further east, however. Maybe Riverside, close to the park and the ferry to Bayview. Claremont Academy is going to be a must-see, even if most of the kids I knew have moved on. In fact, I hear Whoop-Ant is celebrating his 21st birthday soon. (Heaven help us all…) Some property vacancies have opened up in Riverside, like that old brownstone that seemed to appear out of nowhere.

Freedom City still sees more than its share of the fantastic. The interstellar refugees crowding Star Island may have largely moved on to Starhaven on Jupiter’s moon, Europa, thanks to Daedalus, but some of their influence remains behind (along with a few “illegal aliens,” if you believe the rumors). Indeed, with all the upheaval in the galaxy, it’s no wonder Star Knight has left Earth largely behind to focus on events in space.

Although I’ve been away from the familiar sights, sounds, and streets of Freedom for a while, I’m looking forward to them again. It’ll make a great home base for the travel I’ll be doing for the rest of the year, exploring some exotic locales with some friends and sending notes home about what we find there. Whether you’re a former resident of Freedom City, like me, a newcomer, tourist, or someone who has been there all along, I hope that I’ll be seeing you in the City of Heroes sometime next year!

Steve Kenson

Steve Kenson

Steve Kenson has been an RPG author and designer since 1995 and has worked on numerous book and games, including Mutants & Masterminds, Freedom City, and Blue Rose for Green Ronin Publishing. He has written nine RPG tie-in novels and also runs his own imprint, Ad Infinitum Adventures, which publishes material for Icons Superpowered Roleplaying. Steve maintains a website and blog at www.stevekenson.com.
Steve Kenson