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I've found over time that the player that rolls in with a new PC that they have pre-written a detailed and indepth background to be firmly what I call the self centered munchkin realm.

 

Instead of showing up prepared to blend in with the other players and the GMs, they have already decided that the game is all about them, the other players are supporting cast and the GM is only there to facilitate their personal vision and entertainment.

I agree in principle that players need to be flexible to make sure their Perfect Character fits in with the campaign & the party. But in my experience, the two bits I bolded aren't mutually exclusive. I have a couple players who (once I've approved the basic character concept) will write multiple pages of backstory fleshing out the character's life story, personality, Complications, etc; then bring it all to the Session Zero, see what everyone else is thinking of, and then revise/modify/junk as necessary to make it fit better with the rest of the group and any feedback from the GM. Then go home and write several more pages of backstory tying it all together and leaving plenty of hooks for the GM and the other players to roleplay off of.

 

Conversely, I have a couple players who will show up at Session Zero with a blank page, look around, say something like "Hmm, we're a little heavy on front-line fighters, maybe I should play a thief?" and make everything up from there. With equally excellent results. So whatever works for you.

 

 

Of course then there was That One Guy when I was starting up a new Champions campaign. I only put out a few guidelines:

  • All PCs will start out as normals, and the group will have a radiation accident early on. (So I had the players build both Powered and Normal versions of their characters.)
  • There are no mutants per se: all supers get their powers from some type of radiation accident, and part of the campaign was figuring out the how/why.
  • Because there are no mutants, there is no anti-mutant hysteria.
  • No mentalists please. (My previous campaign had been four mentalist PCs and I was burned out on them)
  • No teleportation. (I had a couple plot-points planned that revolved around the PCs trying to get access to teleportation tech)
  • All PCs must spend a minimum of 10 points on Background Skills, just to help flesh things out)

The first character he gave me was for a mutant mentalist with exactly one 2-pt KS, whose backstory revolved around him being on the run from Genocide.

 

The second character was for a mutant teleporting martial-artist who had maybe 4 points in Background skills, with the exact same backstory.

 

After I vetoed the second idea he went off about how I was squashing his creativity. I should've seen the handwriting on the wall and walked away then, but instead I spent over an hour on the phone trying to talk him down from his tree. We finally agreed on a character & background that we could both agree on. He showed up to one game, more-or-less sulked through the "normals" portion of the adventure, only perking up once his powers kicked in. After that I got a nice email from him saying the game just wasn't his thing after all. Yeah. Buh-bye.

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Yeah Spence I mean a new character. Say you hand me a pre-gen. I rather play a character x but sheet says y. I think most GMs would say ok. If I came into the middle of the game and you guys loan me a known NPC and has played certain traits then as a player i should respect the complications in play. Now if I’m playing a character long time and then I would like to play a character a different way then maybe work with GM to do it in game.

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Yeah Spence I mean a new character. Say you hand me a pre-gen. I rather play a character x but sheet says y. I think most GMs would say ok. If I came into the middle of the game and you guys loan me a known NPC and has played certain traits then as a player i should respect the complications in play. Now if I’m playing a character long time and then I would like to play a character a different way then maybe work with GM to do it in game.

OK, I get you.

 

For a pre-gen, sure. After all, unless the pre-gen complications are intrigal to the plot they were built for, a pre-gen is a throw away.

 

I generally build pre-gens very shallow and vaguely defined personality wise. Just enough to support the PCs function in the scenario.

 

Most of the games I currently run are one shots with pre-gens, snd those have been mostly CoC, ToC or a variation of CoC or Gumshoe. The only ongoing game I am running now is 2D20 Conan.

 

But in Hero, or other games using Complication type mechanics, for a regular game with player generated PCs, I need a really good reason for changes.

 

Yes things can be changed, but not because they are complicating the PCs life

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  1. But in Hero, or other games using Complication type mechanics, for a regular game with player generated PCs, I need a really good reason for changes.
  2. Yes things can be changed, but not because they are complicating the PCs life

 

Numbered by me for convenience of response. Snipped the rest because I by-and-large agree with it.

 

1. For me, and this is my personal taste, the Hero method of Complications (shared by many other games) is broken. The fact that Character Points are, in and of themselves, an integral part of the game balance economy. Therefore, there is a motivation on the GM's part to get what's paid for by the points from the Complication. The thing is, in my campaigns, things like Complications and Perks come and go depending on the course of the game. To shoehorn in a replacement Complication for points balance reasons feels forced to me. I never liked doing it. I've mentioned before, in other threads, my "Gold standard" for that philosophy. Basically a player wanted a certain Complication that I greenlit. During the campaign, it never came up and nobody even noticed its absence. There were plenty of other Complications that came and went during that time so there was an organic narrative that fit better. Since then, I've adapted a 0 point Complication/Perk system for my personal games. Unless I am running a downright gritty, hyper-realistic campaign, even most Physical Complications can be changed, given the proper circumstances. So 0 Point.

 

2. Even given the ebb and flow of a campaign and 0 Point Complications/Perks, you are 100% correct. Complications complicate. That's what they do. If they did not, they wouldn't be called Complications. Same thing with Perks. There has to be a reason to change them that makes sense within the course of the ongoing campaign narrative. 

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Complications with high point values primarily fit the superhero genre where they correspond to a heavily used trope, where they don't typically just come and go with the (narrative) wind, and where characters are built on high numbers of points to begin with, making the Complications proportionally less impactful (per Complication) on the "game balance economy" than in heroic level games. I think it is abundantly clear, and has been since 4th edition, that these things need to be used only as appropriate for any given genre/campaign, and not thoughtlessly thrown on character sheets just to give players more points to spend.

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From a storytelling point of view, you want those complications in place. If one gets "solved" it makes narrative sense for something else to crop up.

 

Think of it as a narrative rather than a power economy and it makes a lot more sense. Sneakily, it's a win-win situation; with great power comes great storytelling opportunity PLUS great responsibility also leads to further plot hooks.

 

BUT... you're not going to be able to sell that to many players, so the smoke and mirrors of "these problems give you more of those shiny, shiny points to use" is employed.

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I look at the points paid for complications as variable complication pool. Over the course of a protagonist's career those may change change, but protagonist's always have problems. In most cases that should be the result of events in narrative and character growth, but it could also be the result of necessary meta-reasons. The complication may be getting in the way of the bigger story, or it may have grown stale, or it may have proven less fun than expected, or the player and GM may have understood it in very different terms, or the other players may hate it, or.... Things happen. The key is that whatever is on the sheet should make sense, enhance fun, and help the story along.  As a result, I've always treated complications as being fairly fluid. Key defining elements of a character should remain fairly static, but other things can - and probably should - change after character creation.

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The points are mainly there to enforce some sort of fairness between PCs and to give the GM one way to control PC power levels. There's almost no point to them otherwise.

 

A friend of mine always tries to pooh-pooh point totals, claiming he doesn't want to get in the way of the player's vision for the PC.  Invariably he ends up being surprised at PCs who are too powerful for the campaign, and he has to get with the player and back them down.  I can't get it through to him that points are there for a reason.  Not only that but I think creativity is enhanced by boundaries:  when you have obstacles to work around, like fitting under point limits, neat things can happen with a build.

 

I have no problem viewing campaign limits as guidelines and not written in stone; everything depends on context and the GM's determination of balance.  In fact, every one of my players has a PC that has one Power that does exceed my campaign guidelines, a kind of signature move.  But points should at least be guidelines and not just ignored.  IMO of course.

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Built in limited usage can help moderate a high power signature attack. They almost never fire the Wave Motion Gun more than once per episode on Space Cruiser Yamato/Starblazers. Johnny Storm is only able to use his Nova flame for very short bursts before having to go off and have a good lie down.

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I’ve been building characters lately and what has been helping me is using anything prebuilt as a basis of the character then I adjust from there. For Super heroes, I’ve been using Champions 5th quick roll generator for ideas. The conversion to 6th isn’t bad and I’ve been loving the no figureds! FWIW, the characters are 300 CP.

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For my heroic game, I been using just notable, skilled and competent as guidelines. This I was inspired by an old martial arts hero website back in the day. Been finding that I really like CV decoupled from DEX. I can have higher DEX and not worry about CSL inflation

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Note for Heroic game I took the competent build then made a basic martial artist template and that is what I’ve been building my characters. The characters are based on minis I have.

 

These characters are built at 175 CP

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