The Gap, in Real Life, is a way to explain the gaming hiatus taken by our long-time group for a myriad of reasons. This Universe was born way back in 1982. Players were added as the group changed and grew in the late 1980s and then again in the ’90s. Then…things happened. Then other things happened. After almost ten years, three of us long-timers added two new players (to the group as well as to the HERO System) and this crazy universe was resurrected.
So how to explain why some key characters in the universe aren’t around any longer? We considered just a straight-up reboot, but we didn’t want to throw away all that history. The solution was to fudge and to steal, as any good Game Master knows.
There was a massive Event, akin to Marvel’s Secret Wars. Every paranormal on the planet, hero and villain and civilian, was taken somewhere. Champions Mansion, Guardians Headquarters, even Stronghold, all stood empty. There was a struggle against a crazy-powerful bad guy, and several heroes sacrificed themselves to save Reality. Those were the characters of former players. The remaining characters were placed back on Earth, but ten years later.
The world had gone on for ten years. Normals remembered that supers had existed, but didn’t really notice that they were gone.
Then, just as suddenly, they were back. Everyone seemed to appear at his or her home (even the villains: Stronghold remained empty).
The catch is, nobody remembers any of this. The heroes believe that they came back only a few days later, at most. Normals believe the same thing. If any doubt comes up, if any questions are asked, “something” prevents them from following it through. The thoughts just drift away and are forgotten.
Everyone remembers the years prior to The Gap, but no one remembers the now-inactive heroes. To Normals and Paranormals alike, It’s as if they never existed.
Only Phoenix, a member of the Champions who hails from an alternate universe, knows for certain that there is time unaccounted for, and has spotty memories of heroes who never came back.
So, some powerful and capricious intelligence did something, accepted (or was beaten by) the grand sacrifice of many heroes, and then wiped those heroes from existence.