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Galactic Champions-eque material?

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OK, I'll bite. (I've derailed enough threads in my day...) :)

On 2/13/2018 at 11:01 AM, RDU Neil said:

With your explanation, that Superboy and Monel are still godlike, even vs. magically advanced technology of the future... well then I really want to know why a) anything at all is a challenge for them? Why do they need a Legion when they are so unstoppable?

Powerful isn't the same as unstoppable, let alone godlike. In most "Earth-bound" superhero settings, conventional military forces aren't normally a big challenge to powerful superheroes. But in large numbers, they can still wear the heroes down until they run out of END. And there are always specialty units with advanced/heavy weapons that are powerful enough to at least get a few good licks in. (Sure Superman could take out a tank battalion with ease, but he also knows if he does it's just a matter of time until someone breaks out the kryptonite.) Even if none of that exists and military forces are no threat at all to the supers, well there are still super Bad Guys, or else what's the point? A galactic game has even more possibilities because of different tech levels; the PCs may be able to punch through a Xenovore ship with ease, but try that against a Malvan ship and they're going to get spanked.


On 2/13/2018 at 11:01 AM, RDU Neil said:

b ) why haven't those powerful characters become galactic rulers, since nothing can stop them... benevolent gods?

Again, powerful isn't unstoppable. But that aside, maybe because they're wise enough to realize that might doesn't make right, that power corrupts, and that benevolent dictatorships rarely stay that way for long. To use the classic example, Superman doesn't take over the world because he recognizes that just because he has the power to force others to do his bidding, doesn't mean he has the moral right to do so. He believes that democracy, while far from perfect, has proven a far better method of improving the human condition than any autocracy ever tried. And more practically, he knows that if he tried, every other super in the world would join forces to stop him, and even he's not THAT powerful.


There's already a genre term for beings who think their powers give them a right to dictate how everyone else should live - they're called supervillains.


On 2/13/2018 at 11:01 AM, RDU Neil said:

c) why isn't society not vastly more weird and warped if such powerful beings existed...as people worship them, institutions and societies grow up around them... or d) how is the Legion allowed to exist I the first place, what keeps them in check, and if they have the power to keep them in check, why do you need a Legion?

Those are fair questions, but they're not exactly new: they've been explored in numerous comic titles, mostly awful Iron Age drek and Zach Snyder movies. If that's what you want to play, fine, but I find them extremely tedious myself.


On 2/13/2018 at 11:01 AM, RDU Neil said:

It all spirals into "This just doesn't make sense."


Social order would collapse and change into something unrecognizable in very short order if metahumans were real, especially if Superman or that level of power in a single individual actually existed.

[shrug] I could poke the same holes in just about any fictional world, including yours. It's all just a matter of what assumptions you make, and what things you're willing to handwave in order to play the kind of game you want.


On 2/14/2018 at 6:31 AM, RDU Neil said:

So many genre conventions are immediately called into question by the mechanics of Hero... the rest start to fall, if you think even remotely critically about them.

I've found exactly the opposite: quantifying things like that put limits on things. "Am I strong enough to rip open a tank?" [checks the numbers] "Nope, I guess not." "But the Hulk can do it!" "Well, I guess you're not the Hulk..."


On 2/14/2018 at 6:49 AM, RDU Neil said:

I get this argument, but to me that is a really limited view of what "hero" means.  Is a hero only the one who supports the status-quo of a mid-20th Century America? What about the hero who fights for the disadvantaged members of society who are being abused by a corrupt law enforcement system? Take that to the level of a god-like character of Superman or whoever... why isn't he a hero for overthrowing 40,000 years of human "civilization" that only exists by having an expendable workforce to exploit, and instead ushers in a era of peace and prosperity for all under a benevolent dictatorship? Seems pretty heroic to me.

Again, the whole point of Superman is that he has faith in humanity to find their own path, and he's read enough history to know that by becoming an autocrat he would inevitably become autocratic and tyrannical. He sees his primary job as preventing other supers from trying exactly that trick.


Honestly, RDU Neil, I get your points, and if that's the game you and your players wanted to play, fine. But as far as I'm concerned, your "hero" became a straight-up villain by the 3rd paragraph when he decided that he had the moral right to force his beliefs on other people.


Huh, actually defeating and overthrowing your "hero" sounds like a solid concept for a GC campaign... :eg:


On 2/14/2018 at 6:49 AM, RDU Neil said:

And yes, when it comes to the science, there isn't a need to have it all detailed out like true physics, but being extremely consistent (like Star Wars is not... I rather groan at all the absurd inconsistencies in Star Wars 'science' all the time)... where as B-5 (great show... terrible acting... but great show) really worked hard to be internally consistent with its demonstrations of science and super-science. It doesn't have to be perfect, but the effort needs to be there.

In the Star Wars game I just finished, the GM actually had a lot of fun simulating SW "physics." Space has a down, you see, which is why most planets only seem to be habitable in a very small zone, because if you move too far from the poles, you'll fall off. :rofl:


Again, it all depends on whether you want to play science fiction vs. space fantasy (Star Wars) vs. superheroes in space (GC). I'm not one of one of those gamers who thinks realism is a 4-letter word, or needs to be put in scare quotes. I've played plenty of "real world plus ____" games that were a ton of fun. But generally realism (or the lack thereof) should drive the needs of the story, not the other way around. especially in any kind of SF setting, where much of the world works however you want it to work. If you want to tell a story about superheroes who are powerful, but not godlike, who are strong enough to treat most conventional militaries as a mook fight, but there are still plenty of beings/things that can challenge them...then you just set your campaign guidelines accordingly. There's nothing wrong with the take you chose to pursue, but it's by no means the only valid take.

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Meanwhile, back on topic...

On 2/12/2018 at 12:07 PM, Cassandra said:

Quark the TV Series comes to mind.

Really? I have vaguely-fond memories of that show, but I don't recall it being particularly high-powered? What about it says GalChamps to you?


On 2/12/2018 at 1:48 PM, Steve said:

What kind of point level are you thinking of for the PCs?


If they have a patron, like being members of an organization like the Green Lantern Corp, that gives a slightly different feel than something more free-wheeling like Guardians of the Galaxy.

Both good questions; both TBD.


I kindof see two different ways we could go: either the PCs are established space heroes, possibly part of an existing organization; or they're Earth heroes who've been zapped into outer space and are trying to figure things out. Either could be fun, but two very different games. That's actually the first conversation I intend to have with my players.


On 2/12/2018 at 2:21 PM, RDU Neil said:

When I have played around with "Galactic" type games, I tend to see them come out in two different modes...

1) sci-fi super heroes, or...

2) new gods

A good distinction. Personally most of the new gods stuff never really appealed to me except as interesting one-offs, so I'm leaning towards the former. I've done high-level games before, so I'm not worried about keeping it balanced - you just have to make sure the advanced alien tech is 1) more powerful than Earth tech, but 2) not powerful enough to overshadow the PCs.


On 2/12/2018 at 4:11 PM, DShomshak said:

If you want "tongue in cheek," then use Harry Harrison's Bill, the Galactic Hero as a model for the space marines. (There will of course be space marines.)

Heh, there's one I haven't read in awhile - good suggestion!


On 2/12/2018 at 5:58 PM, dsatow said:

Currently printing, the Royals from Marvel is at the cosmic level.  Several of the last Justice League events and the Universe smashing event in Marvel are Cosmic level.  Though to be honest, I am kind of tiring of reading cosmic level crisis-es in comics.  They tend to constantly seem to tumble the power orders of each respective universe and add something to top it just for sake of topping it.

Yeah, particularly in mainstream comics, the constant cosmos-shattering events get tedious after awhile.


On 2/12/2018 at 6:54 PM, Steve said:

A lot of mileage could be had with a team composed of CU Empyreans from Earth wandering the galaxy looking for trouble. Maybe some of the other races in the galaxy have their own versions of Empyreans.

Nice idea. I'm probably not going to use the CU straight up, but I'll definitely be pulling bits from it!


On 2/12/2018 at 7:22 PM, Lord Liaden said:

BDH, do "relevant Hero books" include the Star Hero line? Scourges Of The Galaxy includes details and NPCs from the Church of the Infinite Dark, and a time-traveling future version of Tateklys, who would make fine foils for GC PCs.


From other games, I would suggest Rifts Conversion Book Two: Pantheons of the Megaverse from Palladium Games. Mythic gods from multiple pantheons wielding sci-fi ultratech, interacting with superhumans and aliens. Aliens and cosmic entities masquerading as gods. Ignoring the system, the book is a goldmine of innovative and bizarre ideas. Some of them are horrific, others quite comical. (Personal fave touch is the god Hermes' man-portable rail gun, which he calls "the Herminator.")

Yeah, I have all the SH books. Good suggestions!


On 2/13/2018 at 10:15 AM, massey said:

One thing I'd suggest to keep superheroes "super" is to steal something from the old Mayfair DC Heroes game....

I like that way of looking at it!  I plan to have a fair amount of variation in tech levels, so spaceships from Race X might be mook eggshells; ships from Race Y might be roughly as powerful as the PCs; whereas ships from Race Z can smack them around like chumps. I figure that will allow me to mix up the types of stories we tell.


On 2/13/2018 at 2:35 PM, DShomshak said:

At risk of immodesty, I'll suggest my Spells of the Devachan mini-supplement (available through the HERO store!)

I don't think I have that one...yet!


On 2/13/2018 at 2:47 PM, steriaca said:

Othoe it has more of a fantasy feal than anything else, have you thought about Masters of the Universe ?

I hadn't, but yeah there could be some good material there.


Thanks again, all. Keep it coming if you have more ideas.

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To paraphrase from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court: Heaven must be the perfect place to be, because it has the perfect absolute dictator running it. But a mortal tyrant, however wise, however moral, will eventually die. The likelihood of someone of equal character succeeding him/her is vanishingly small. Simply taking over because you have the power to, is setting up a system ripe for corruption and exploitation by whoever succeeds you. Superheroes recognize that to have a system that's inherently just and fair, that will endure beyond the life of any one person, a people have to build it themselves, in their own image, not have it imposed from above.


That doesn't preclude superheroes fighting against an unjust, oppressive system. The Golden Age of comic books essentially depicted that. Lots of comics since then have shown superheroes combating government corruption, social inequality, and the like. But they defend the classic ideals of America -- individual liberty, the rule of law, equality for all, government by and for the people, strength used to protect the weak -- because they believe that at their core, those ideals are worth fighting for. It's the system that can be twisted, and sometimes needs to be corrected, not the ideals.

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