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wremus

Importing Buffy mechanic White Hat/Hero

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(Mostly posting this so I don't have to see the "Sharp Stake" post in the preview anymore. LOL)

 

In the Buffy game, they use this great mechanic. You can play as a "White Hat" or  "Hero." I will quote Wikipedia:

 

 

The most inherently low-powered Type is the White Hat, a supportive figure similar to Xander Harris or Willow Rosenberg at the beginning of the series. These characters must frequently focus on specific talents and skills, such as Willow's intelligence and interest in computers, in order to truly excel in any one area. They must also often exercise great care in combat. To make up for their relative weakness, White Hats receive additional Drama Points at the outset, and can use experience points to buy Drama Points at a 1:1 ratio, while Heroes and Experienced Heroes must spend two experience points for each Drama Point. Thus, a White Hat can afford to spend her Drama Points more freely, increasing her chances of survival. According to the rules, however, White Hats lose their 'discount' on Drama Points once they've gained a certain amount of power and expertise.

 

The Hero Character Type represents such figures as Buffy herself, Spike, or Riley Finn. These are characters with more existing talent (whether this came naturally or through years of training), more experience, and stronger supernatural abilities, if any. As such, they receive a larger number of points to spend on their Attributes, Skills and Qualities. However, their maximum number of Drama Points is only half the store available to a White Hat, and they must replenish Drama Points at a higher cost.

 

I've played this and it's quite fun. Would you, as GM and game organizer, try to incorporate this mechanic? If so, how?

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Hero already includes something like this with HAPs (Heroic Action Points) that allow you to modify rolls and affect the world in your character's favor. Lower-powered characters could thus have an increased amount of HAPs to help their survivability.

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It's funny. I have 6th but I didn't know about Heroic Action Points. I use the 6th books in a 5th-edition way, I guess. I build the characters and check the combat rules, but I guess I've missed out on some of the optional rules.

 

I think I'm not a fan of meta-gaming in Champions, but it felt right in the Buffy game.

 

But maybe. This must be what I was getting at. I guess as long as I made restrictions on how the Heroic Action Points were to be used. I like how it was put in the 6th rulebook:

 

Heroic Action Points are optional. The GM
must decide whether he wants to use Heroic
Action Points in his campaign, and if so, how they
work. The guidelines below offer some information
and advice to help him make this decision.

 

So....yeah! This works. Thanks, Steve!

 

Would you just build the White Hats on fewer points, or just restrict their points to certain kinds of things?

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It's probably fairer to have lower-pointed characters just get more HAPs to make up the difference. They can then be skill roll masters and get lucky breaks to help their ability to survive. The difference will show up more clearly when the HAPs run out, then the higher-point characters really stand out in ability.

 

You could limit combat abilities instead, I suppose. Maybe the combat types use the ranges for Powerful Heroes or Very Powerful Heroes for their fighting abilities. Characters built on the same points but built on the ranges allowed for Competent Normals could then get HAPs to make up the difference. Those non-combat characters may have expensive things like group Contacts that enhance their abilities away from danger.

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Or abilities meant to enhance survivability such as Combat Luck, Luck, Danger Sense, high DCV defined as luck, Damage Negation defined as "not worth the effort of hitting full force," etc.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary wears a white hat at one end

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For a while I was fooling around with some X-Men writeups, looking at alternate build concepts and weird point expenditures.  The idea is that a character has powers that you wouldn't normally associate with that character.  You don't normally think of Cyclops or Jubilee as bulletproof, but they never get killed.  So Jubilee gets 20/20 armor, only when Wolverine is around (or something like that).  It's "visible", not in the normal sense, but in the game mechanic sense, because villains just know not to bother shooting at her.  You leave Jubilee alone when the regenerating berserk serial killer with claws is attacking you.

 

I never watched Buffy, but I think I know who the characters are.  No one is going to bother hitting the dorky guy when Buffy is still around.  Abject cowardice and total unimportance: +6 DCV, only when dodging (combined with a regular dodge bonus of +3 for a total of +9).  The villain really just doesn't care about trying to kill that guy.  Invisibility, as long as he doesn't move or attack and as long as someone else is doing something -- he's so unimportant that the villain forgot he's there.  This way he can sit there and fiddle with the magical artifact, read the spellbook, or something like that, and he's got some amount of protection from the bad guy.

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Or abilities meant to enhance survivability such as Combat Luck, Luck, Danger Sense, high DCV defined as luck, Damage Negation defined as "not worth the effort of hitting full force," etc.

^That.

 

Where other games need to invent whole mechanics dedicated to keeping the mages in check or the normals up to par, Hero archieves it by simply giving everyone the same points. The special effects might be less flashy, but the effect is just as real.

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