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What's the second-best superhero RPG?

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That's a term with a lot of different interpretations. Too often, it becomes "I don't care how many points you invested in PRE, Striking Appearance, Interaction Skills, etc. - I resolve all social matters through role playing. What does your character say? Role play it!" Meanwhile, no one asks Tubby to role play that Kirk Shoulder Roll followed by a flying kick - he paid for those skills! RESULT: Only the player's attributes influence the ability to play a Face character.

 

I have to agree.  In fact, I benefit from this.  I am reasonably persuasive at the gaming table and my characters often do the interaction with NPCs as I often get what I want despite my characters having failed to invest in charisma or interaction skills...while the characters with that investment stand back and get involved in any combat that comes later (which my character excels in as that is where all my points have gone...)

 

Doc

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That's a term with a lot of different interpretations. Too often, it becomes "I don't care how many points you invested in PRE, Striking Appearance, Interaction Skills, etc. - I resolve all social matters through role playing. What does your character say? Role play it!" Meanwhile, no one asks Tubby to role play that Kirk Shoulder Roll followed by a flying kick - he paid for those skills! RESULT: Only the player's attributes influence the ability to play a Face character.

 

{...}

 

This, however, seems a much more "character abilities applied by tactics selected by the players" model which can easily form the framework for a robust non-combat conflict resolution system. It need not be "wins" - we could have analogies to damage rolls and defenses, using STUN and BOD amalgams (perhaps with "highest at the end wins" rather than "once the STUN/BOD runs out it's over"). Court Hero is a good one for a structured series of events. Motions to exclude evidence? Use of the media? Assertions of bias? Push a judge to recuse? Lots of different things that could happen. And we have not even gotten in to Courts of Appeal!

This sort of implicit shifting from "roleplaying" to "invest in skills, crunch numbers and roll dice" is a perennial problem in many, many games where the GM and one or more players are not on the same page about how the game will get run. The "Roleplay it!" approach actively punishes those players who invest in noncombat skills, and enables those players who build characters whose only investment in social interaction is in Intimidation and various forms of Homicide. Taken to its logical conclusion, this is what might be unkindly labeled "Munchkinz RULE!!" Probably a majority of my many tiresome diatribes about investments in information skills, Deduction, and Perception being worse than useless in almost all games comes from this kind of mismatch.

 

Your point about "structured series of events" is very well made. The lack of a clear structure, or any well-defined mechanic, for non-combat situations is to many people an implicit statement that those activities are of no importance. The up-front imposition of such structure would do much to dissolve such mismatch between GM and player expectations. I have to remember that. The downside is that the GM has to create or steal such structure, make that known to the players, and adhere to it. That's more GM overhead time, of course.

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That's a term with a lot of different interpretations. Too often, it becomes "I don't care how many points you invested in PRE, Striking Appearance, Interaction Skills, etc. - I resolve all social matters through role playing. What does your character say? Role play it!" Meanwhile, no one asks Tubby to role play that Kirk Shoulder Roll followed by a flying kick - he paid for those skills! RESULT: Only the player's attributes influence the ability to play a Face character.

 

 

I have to agree.  In fact, I benefit from this.  I am reasonably persuasive at the gaming table and my characters often do the interaction with NPCs as I often get what I want despite my characters having failed to invest in charisma or interaction skills...while the characters with that investment stand back and get involved in any combat that comes later (which my character excels in as that is where all my points have gone...)

 

This sort of implicit shifting from "roleplaying" to "invest in skills, crunch numbers and roll dice" is a perennial problem in many, many games where the GM and one or more players are not on the same page about how the game will get run. The "Roleplay it!" approach actively punishes those players who invest in noncombat skills, and enables those players who build characters whose only investment in social interaction is in Intimidation and various forms of Homicide. Taken to its logical conclusion, this is what might be unkindly labeled "Munchkinz RULE!!" Probably a majority of my many tiresome diatribes about investments in information skills, Deduction, and Perception being worse than useless in almost all games comes from this kind of mismatch.

 

Wow. Way to read way too deeply into a comment meant to incorporate the elements of a specific instance (in this case, a....well courtroom case) and break it down into the narrative elements that make up the story surrounding that specific instance. I think we might be operating on separate levels, where a simple suggestion to do what's on the tin (role play), carries such a weighted meaning. I take all of your points and agree with them.  I would no sooner have my players attempt to act out the forging of a sword either. But what I might do is go through a staged process by which the character designs the blade, hilt, pommel (shows me a picture that they drew or scrounged up on the internet), gather materials, forge the blade, and put on the finishing touches. Skills would be rolled. Off-table mockery at failed rolls would ensue and (hopefully), everybody has a good time during the telling of a story.

 

Sorry if my previous message implied that courtroom players must act out the courtroom demeanor of the characters they are playing, at the expense of mechanics that represent those skills. I don't see it, but I may be really out of touch!  :angst:

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I saw the potential in your first para, but it was clearly refuted in the second.  The Courtroom provides for a more defined structure than, say, a medical challenge, and lends itself to such a structure, but figuring out a mechanism, in stages, is key to a more detailed resolution system for any activity we want to make more granular..

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Well, I was in no way intending criticism! Rather, your comment about introducing structure got me thinking about that as a means to solve some things I've found unsatisfactory in games I've played in. Still lots more thinking to do, but it's an approach I'll consider.

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Sorry Nolgroth, it is a trigger thing for me - a hangover from Pendragon actually.

 

In Pendragon the passions tell the player what the character is feeling and how the character reacts in certain situations.  To me, that was amazing and a roleplay challenge as I had to play out the reactions of my character.  It also amazed me how many of my friends absolutely HATED the idea that the character itself might dictate what the character would do, that was their job, whether they did it true to the character or not...

 

That made me question whether we were actually roleplaying most of the time or simply fantasising.  Either can be good and entertaining - not trying to indicate BadWrongFun - but it is good to be honest about what we are doing.  As I said above, I am guilty of doing this when the system allows - build a combat monster and play him like a face character...

 

However, it has left me with an itchy trigger-finger about anything that relies on players roleplaying.  :-(

 

Doc

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I agree with Doc on that, and I don't think playing a 6 CHA d20 character, or an 8 PRE Hero character, with no social skills as a skilled orator, persuasive con man or suave charmer is "good role playing". It's the same as the criticisms we hear when the movies, or the current comics, portray a character in a manner we consider inconsistent with his established persona. A Superman, for example, who fries bank robbers with his Heat Vision, or a calm, cool and collected Hulk.

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Hey all. Sorry about the long time before responding. Work. And Skyrim. Lots of Skyrim. :D

 

I get the whole role-play versus method acting thing. I got pwned by a guy that could ham up the ability to sell things and, to my chagrin, the group consensus was that his skill as a player trumped my character's skill. So I totally understand the twitch response to that. I myself had one when I responded, so I am completely aware that it happens. Back to 2nd best Superhero game discussion and thank you for the understanding comments.

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What about Savage Worlds?

 

 

Well YMMV, but I've played a fair amount of SW's and I don't think it quit feels right for supers.  It does real well for settings it originally was designed for.  Deadlands and other pulpy feeling settings. 

 

But again, it really depends on what you like.

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Well YMMV, but I've played a fair amount of SW's and I don't think it quit feels right for supers. It does real well for settings it originally was designed for. Deadlands and other pulpy feeling settings.

 

But again, it really depends on what you like.

It looks fairly easy to run. Is it? I'm talking about 3rd shift brain.

 

And I saw they have a supplement, can it do stretching characters?

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It looks fairly easy to run. Is it? I'm talking about 3rd shift brain.

 

And I saw they have a supplement, can it do stretching characters?

 

I found it extremely easy to run, almost beer and pretzels, not to mention the huge number of Plot Points and similar setting/campaign books by numerous third party types.

 

SW is a universal system, especially since it went to the Deluxe Edition.  If you wish to do Supers I recommend the Super Power Companion.  Powers in the SW are far more broad than a game like Hero or M&M.  

 

Stretching is not a specific power but can be done by using other powers such as Altered Form. 

 

They have several Plot Points for supers though. Necessary Evil, while not my cup of tea, it is a great example.  It centers around Villains being left in the position of saving the world.  It has a well written section describing campaign specific rules, a great eleven episode mini-campaign, and follow-on information if the GM wishes to continue the campaign.  All in all a great primer for supers types in SW.  

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I feel that the Plot Point Campaign structure has been SW's most valuable contribution to RPGs and should be emulated by more companies.

 

You can say that again.  While they definitely don't call them Plot Points, the current D&D 5th Adventures are pretty much Plot Points. 

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Spence I picked up SW: Deluxe. For a rules light, it does cover the basics well. I did notice a few veiled references to Hero system though. I really think that this will cover Star Wars nicely.

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I feel that the Plot Point Campaign structure has been SW's most valuable contribution to RPGs and should be emulated by more companies.

Can you explain what is great/different about the Plot Point strucure?

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What I find compelling about the Plot Point structure is that it lays out a large, epic storyline with all the important story beats, and then provides lots of places along that storyline for GMs to insert their own adventures. So not only do you get a pre-published collection of epic adventures, you get a comprehensive tapestry upon which you can stitch your own pieces of story. Imagine all the books or movies that had vast, sweeping stories with various plot details left unaddressed (e.g., How did the rebels get those Deathstar plans in the first place?). Those "missing pieces" and bits of implied activity (what possible adventures did Boba Fett get into after taking custody of Han?) are where you get to flesh out the Plot Point structure with your own creativity. But you don't have to, and if you don't you still have the published adventures to play.

 

One thing that this does is it forces the creator of the Plot Point campaign to think in much broader terms and create a large tapestry for adventure, rather than just a single adventure or small collection of tightly connected adventures that follow a single storyline. A good Plot Point campaign will have multiple interconnected storylines allowing for a much more varied gaming experience and many, many opportunities to hang one's own adventures off of it. In fact, a sufficiently large and well-defined Plot Point campaign allows for other third parties to offer adventures "in between the gaps" of the main epic plot.

 

I just think that the Plot Point Campaign is a really good product concept that sits between "setting book(s)" and conventional "adventure modules". Quite often, it is a Plot Point campaign that introduces a setting and provides its first official adventure modules all in one product. But it's not just the all-in-one convenience that makes it special, it is the architecture of the material which makes explicit the places where customized content can be attached and encourages GMs to become co-creators of the campaign setting (for their group) without having to do all the heavy lifting of conceiving the overarching plotline.

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I just think that the Plot Point Campaign is a really good product concept that sits between "setting book(s)" and conventional "adventure modules". Quite often, it is a Plot Point campaign that introduces a setting and provides its first official adventure modules all in one product. But it's not just the all-in-one convenience that makes it special, it is the architecture of the material which makes explicit the places where customized content can be attached and encourages GMs to become co-creators of the campaign setting (for their group) without having to do all the heavy lifting of conceiving the overarching plotline.

 

 

I've been creating my campaigns the same way, long before I heard of Savage Worlds and Plot Points. To be honest, I sort of thought everybody did it that way.

 

Well the qualification of "I thought every experienced GM did it that way" might be a better phrasing.   I think Plot Points illustrate what is missing from Supers RPG's.  A Supers campaign is probably the most unique with the least examples of them all.  At least within the 90's on.   I teach system repairs to electronics technicians and have come to thoroughly understand the phrase "you don't know what you don't know".   Just because I understand something and can do it routinely, doesn't mean the younger/newer crowd is telepathic.   When I read the GM advice on world/campaign building in Champions, my understanding of it is supported by some 40+ years of gaming and actual participation in multiple Superhero campaigns.   I can remember my first attempts (also known as disasters) to build a supers campaign when all my experience was D&D delves with a couple mini-campaigns for Top Secret.   The Role-playing and story style was a complete departure from what I was used to.  But I had support from an actual Supers GM that had been doing it for a while. 

 

Taking a look at Hero's publications for 4th, 5th and 6th, there are dozens of campaign setting books.  There are dozens of campaign ingredients on the Hero shelf, but not a single actual campaign.  Not one iota of actionable, runnable campaign. 

Instead of ingredients, instructions on cooking and an example meal, we have Hero setting out a million ingredients, hinting vaguely about a royal reception banquet and then rocking back on their heals wondering why it was a disaster. 

 

Champions does not need 50 fully worked campaigns.  It needs one actual complete ready to play official campaign that can show neophytes how to build a Supers campaign, be used as a core frame to modify/build a personnel campaign or run directly "out of the box" for people that want to run a game but don't have the time.   And people shouldn't say "adventures don't sell" because we are not speaking about adventures.   That is a major and common misinformation tactic of the NIMBY's.  Adventures, Campaign Settings and Campaigns are similar and share some attributes, but they are not the same. 

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NIMBY'S ?

Not In My Back Yard

 

It is often used to describe those living in houses in beautiful places wanting to stop more houses being built, or for those who want to benefit from energy, water services, sewerage services and other services not wanting any of the necessary infrastructure to impinge on their lives.

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Not In My Back Yard

 

It is often used to describe those living in houses in beautiful places wanting to stop more houses being built, or for those who want to benefit from energy, water services, sewerage services and other services not wanting any of the necessary infrastructure to impinge on their lives.

Thanks, couldn't figure out the acronym myself! Failed my INT roll.

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