These characters were designed in 1990 by Walter Milliken, good friend and co-author of GURPS IOU. I wish to thank Walter for permission to translate them from GURPS to Fudge and to use them in my games.
The premise behind these low-level characters:what if, in the virus or radiation or whatever it was that awakened superpowers in a small percentage of earth's population, there were some people whose powers were not good enough to fight crime (or to use for criminal activities), or that even made them a bit of a freak? What would they do with them?One possible answer is that they might use their powers as entertainment, to make a living. So here is a group of strange folk whose powers seemed destined to be a joke on them, who are making the best of a bad situation: they formed a circus.
I've run this game a few times, and it's usually gone well - always gone well, over all, that is, but I admit there have been a couple of disappointed players scattered throughout the games. It takes players with a sense of humor to enjoy this game. The villain who has tried to destroy the circus in these games is Mr. Munchkin, who unfortunately occasionally resembles a convention player looking for a more powerful character to play than I provided . . . sorry, folks.
As for the rules - how did I handle the superpowers? I fudged them, of course. I knew roughly what I wanted a character to be capable of, and when the player tried to go beyond those bounds, I let them try, but warned them their character has never been able to do so much in the past. Most players have taken it well, but one player spent much of the game with his character in the hospital, alas. He didn't learn, either: no sooner out than he managed to get himself back in. The fact that the other players in the game thanked me for that doesn't soften my guilt feelings - everyone is entitled to a fun game at a convention.
The circus comes in three large trucks and two pickup trucks pulling trailers. Equipment isn't listed, but figure they have access to anything necessary to running a small, poor, run-down circus. They have two tents: a Big Top and a Sideshow, and manage a Midway between them. Big Top performers double as food vendors when the Sideshow is open, and Sideshow performers double as food vendors when the Big Top is open. There aren't any roustabouts - Man-Mountain Jim Clarke does all the heavy work himself. It's a poor circus, monetarily, though mostly pretty good, talent-wise. It's just a tough way to make a living in an age of electronic entertainment.
There are two other people working for the circus, but they rarely appear with these folk. One is the "advance" - the person one town ahead of the circus, arranging a venue, selling tickets, putting up posters, etc. The other is the "cleanup", who usually arrives in town the day the circus folds and cleans up the grounds as the circus drives on to the next gig, then does post-show PR contacts, trying to arrange a booking for next year, etc. I only mention them in case you want to use them in a plot. They can be supers or mundanes, as you see fit, and assign whatever personalities and names you want to them.