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Lord Liaden

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Everything posted by Lord Liaden

  1. Hernan Cortez grew up believing he was destined to rule the world. This interest drew him to the colony of expatriat Nazis in Buenos Aires, where he met Dr. Albert Zerstoiten who was just becoming known as "Dr. Destroyer." Hernan came to idolize Zerstoiten, to the point where he set his face on fire to match the injuries the Doctor had received at the end of WW II. Destroyer made Hernan his protege and instructed him in the sciences, but Hernan's own ambitions clashed with his mentor's and he eventually struck out on his own. Creating a suit of powered armor like Destroyer's, Hernan styled himself "Professor Muerte." Deciding that the most effective way to rule was through fear, he created a group of mercenary agents and villains which he called Terror Incorporated, with the intention of causing enough random destruction and slaughter of innocents that the world would have to surrender to him. Terror Inc. would also sometimes hire themselves out to other criminal or terrorist groups as enforcers or assassins. Professor Muerte had an on/off partnership with Dr. Destroyer: they might join forces for some scheme, but eventually clash and part company again. Terror Inc. maintained a secret island base off the coast of Brazil. Scorpia was the trainer and commander of Muerte's agents, and his sometime-lover. She had joined with the intention of taking control of Terror Inc. from the Professor, but apparently grew tired of waiting and persuaded Feurmacher to help her murder him and join her in Eurostar.
  2. The 4E writeup would be in the villain compendium, Classic Enemies, often available on eBay and used game dealers who carry Hero stuff. Many of the villains in Conquerors, Killers and Crooks can be found there, but often with differences from the new versions. There are quite a few villains in CE that didn't make it into the new Champions Universe, as well as a detailed writeup of the Stronghold superprison. IMO it's well worth picking up used at a reduced price. Klytus, I certainly agree with you that the Dreadnought was nowhere near as powerful as Juggernaut, but stylistically it's very similar, and the description of the armor suggests using it for similar encounters. It could function as an "unstoppable" foe as-is depending on the power level of the PCs, of course, and the design is simple enough that Dreadnought would be very easy to beef up as tough as you would want it.
  3. I have to agree with winterhawk and Hermit that the Dreadnought more or less filled the role of Juggernaut in the 4E Champions Universe. That's fairly clear from the description and illustration of the suit, the type of powers it grants (great strength and invulnerability, not to mention Tunnelling through DEF 36!), the identifying quote ("You can't stop a dreadnought!"), and the fact that when the armor first appeared in Champions III it was called - wait for it - "Juggernaut". Hermit, Shirak reminds me more of Marvel's Ultimo - you know, giant irresistable construct existing only to destroy. The characterization is quite different from that of Juggernaut, even if the results they leave behind are similar. I used the Dreadnought several times, mostly as out of Classic Enemies, although with some background changes. Biggest writeup change I made was to add the Armor Piercing Advantage to his 70 STR.
  4. I'm one of those people who is quite happy with the cost of Strength as is for Superheroic campaigns, where it keeps STR competitive with other attack Powers in Damage Class and END use; but long ago decided to increase it to 2 pts. per point of STR in heroic campaigns, where small changes can make a significant difference, especially for sword-swinging fantasy characters. The suggested rule for END usage for STR in heroic games (1 END per 5 pts. of STR, rather than the usual 10) seemed like sufficient precedent. It's always worked pretty well for me, and I don't anticipate changing it.
  5. I certainly agree that this would be very helpful, especially for new HERO players. If you're new you don't necessarily know what everything is called, and if you don't remember its name the index, thorough as it is, may not help you find it. Even I, who's been picking up Hero Games products since 1983, have been thrown a couple of times trying to find something the name of which has been changed in 5E. For those who are unaware of it, there's a PDF file available on the "Free Stuff" page with all the Power Modifiers from FREd and several other books listed in alphabetical order, with page numbers to the appropriate books. If the pertinent part of that listing could be included in a few extra pages of a revised version of FREd, I think it would make the rulebook more accessible to newbies.
  6. Champions Universe mentions the "almost-indefeatable" Viperia among VIPER's supervillain cadre, on p. 112. Given the generally increased power level among 5E villains, I'm not sure I want to see the definition of "almost indefeatable".
  7. Quite right, but who's to say that either of those can't be the trigger to awaken human potential in all areas? Why can't an energy field alter physical laws within it? Why can't mutations allow people to channel ambient magical energy? Depending on how broad the parameters are that you're comfortable with, almost any kind of trigger will do.
  8. This is why I make a distinction between the "x-effect" that is the source of superpowers, and the "x-effect" that reduces the restraints on "a- through z-effects" that are the source of superpowers. Look at it this way: Archimedes, Da Vinci, Newton, Hawking possessed something (call it "genius" for want of a better term) which set them apart from most men, enabling them to see farther into the nature of the universe than the vast majority of their peers. There have been such men throughout history, but they're rare. No-one can explain what leads to one person having such insight. Perhaps the x-factor is something that opens their minds to their potential, or perhaps it modifies the laws of physics enough so that "comic-book" physics is possible; in that environment, people who think via a logic or creative intuition not shared by the rest of us may suit this altered physics, and so be able to create extraordinary breakthroughs - perhaps impossible to understand for people who don't think the same way. The same factor may work for people with the talent and insight to work magic: the increase in the x-factor broadens their understanding of the dynamics of magic, or gives them more magic to work with, or both. It's not magic or technology that's behind the change, it's an increase in potential. This works for me, but of course may not work for everyone; we may just think differently.
  9. Both the official Champions Universe and the world of San Angelo use "triggering events": occurrences which bring about the rise of superhumans just before WW II, or about the start of the Golden Age of comics in the real world. In the CU it's an attempt to cast a massive magic spell which goes awry and floods the world with magic energy, while in SA an early nuclear research experiment unleashes a probability-altering phenomenon called the Flux which has long-term influence on the Earth. The thing is, the superhumans resulting from these events do not derive their powers solely from magic or quantum manipulation. Those events merely increase the probability of extraordinary events: accidents that imbue people with powers, humans born with radical mutations, discoveries of breakthrough technology, people with peak human-level physical or mental abilities, efficacy of magic spells, etc. All these things can happen in greater numbers and to a greater degree than they would have before the triggering event, but the SFX of their powers and abilities are as diverse as in the comics, because the event merely allows that to take place. And, of course, once all this stuff starts happening on Earth, aliens and extradimensional entities are bound to take an increased interest in our little mudball. Maybe that spaceship crash at Roswell NM was someone coming to see what all the fuss was about. Both of these events also allow for eras in the past when these phenomena occurred as well: when mythic gods walked the Earth, lost civilizations developed incredible technology, or sorcerors cast world-shaking spells. In CU it's tied to periodic waxing and waning of the amount of ambient magic energy, while in SA the freedom of quantum phenomena to exert influence throughout time and space could allow the Flux to have manifest at a period in history before it was even generated. IMO this approach really does give you the best of both worlds.
  10. Almost everyone who posts here disagrees with the costing of the current Damage Shield, even if they agree with the conceptual model in principle (I include myself in that group), but I've rarely seen two of the critics agree about how to correct it. In the case of most other rules changes - Multiple Power attacks, cost of Aid, damage from Haymakers, whatever - I've seen just as many people claim they love them as hate them. That's why most of these proposed "fixes" will remain within the realm of houserules; concensus is practically impossible. It's also why we need one informed person to make decisions about the "official" rules. For the most part, I think that Steve Long has made very good decisions. I disagree with some of them, but I don't expect Steve to change his rulings based on my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I think a forum like this thread is a great place to raise issues and exchange ideas. Something one of us suggests might be just what another reader may be looking for to adjust his own game more to his liking. And who knows, whoever ends up writing 6th Edition might pick up some of the ideas expressed this way and make them official. But for now, house rules are the only practical alternative for someone who doesn't like the official way of doing something.
  11. Not make joking suggestions for nicknames for his books? C'mon, JmOz, you don't really expect a lawyer to answer a question that controversial in print, do you?
  12. Splitting Tunneling Concidentally, I posted a question about why you can't do this very thing to Steve today on the "Rules Questions" forum. Here's his reply: The main reason would be that the rules make no provision for that sort of thing; they're pretty explicit about tying the velocity and "strength" of Tunneling together. However, the GM could certainly allow it if he wanted to. That might be particularly appropriate in, for example, an FH campaign that takes place entirely in an underground realm.
  13. I'm glad you said that, SkyKnight. There can't be a more fine-tuned and fine-combed game engine out there than 5E HERO. Granted, just about everyone has ideas about how to make something work "better"; tinkering is in the nature of HERO gamers. And of course, FREd encourages us to change whatever we don't like for our personal games. But as the comments on this thread illustrate, no proposed changes have close to universal approval (with the probable exception of Damage Shield, and even then, the proposed fixes are as numerous as the people suggesting them). A change that one person hates may be loved by someone else. For my part, I've seen almost nothing in the new ruleset that's out-and-out broken - open to abuse if not closely monitored, but not broken. And I still don't grokk the new rules well enough to make definitive decisions about what I think should be changed. I want more playing time under my belt first. I do have faith that Steve Long didn't unleash any utterly ruinous rules on us.
  14. This subject was actually discussed quite a bit on the "pre-Denial of Service Attack" boards. To some extent the issue is addressed in the HERO System Resource Kit by the Character Creation Booklet and the tables on the GM's Screen (which also appear on the players' side of the screen so they can refer to them). However, a lot of people expressed an interest in creating a "lite" version of the rules to help newbies break into the system, less intimidating than FREd. Apparently Steve Long initially had no interest in doing such a project, but by the end of the discussion was convinced of the desire for it and promised to get to it as soon as he had the time. (There's responsiveness to customers for ya!) IIRC, Steve's plan was for a stripped-down version of the rules: the main Powers and Modifiers without a lot of the descriptions and options; basic Combat Maneuvers without all the optional ones; and so forth. He suggested needing something in the 48-64 page range to do justice to the material, but was adamant about wanting it to be a free download from the website. Oh, and Steve himself suggested a name for it that the fans seemed to take to: since it's going to be a smaller, less-powerful version of the HERO System, he proposed calling it the HERO System Sidekick. Now all we need is for Steve to find the time to write it; to quote Hamlet, "Aye, there's the rub."
  15. Gadgets book Then you are in luck, friend Weevil! The HERO publication schedule includes the Gadgets and Gear supplement, tentatively scheduled for early 2004. The description reads like the original Gadgets (which was one of the most useful of the old Champs supplements to me), raised to a higher power. Definitely on my "buy" list.
  16. I've gotten a lot of mileage over the years out of the old Gadgets supplement for 3rd Edition Champions, which included a fair-sized selection of non-lethal weaponry. My favorite is the "Hyper-Velocity Pellet Gun", which fires an .11 caliber "soft" pellet which flattens on impact, for high stopping power with low lethality. It was written up as a 1D6 RKA with +6 STUN Multiplier. (The point totals for that came out higher than they would under current 5E rules.) That was the basic pistol version; the assault rifle version added Autofire. Another cool one is the "Flash/Smoke Dual Action Pump Shotgun", which fired rounds of Flash and Darkness to Sight ammo. The shotgun is double-barreled, with each barrel feeding off a separate clip. It was written up as a Multipower with Charges in clips for each slot.
  17. Mental Powers would be appropriate for Wildside: as others have said, Mind Control to get you to conform when she's in civilian ID (which suits the rumors about Martha Stewart and her staff), and lose your inhibitions when she's Wildside. Or maybe Mental Illusions; there's a reason why everything she does always looks so perfect. Along the lines of that second theme, you could go with manipulation of inanimate matter through Telekinesis and/or Transform. For a fifth member, how about Striker, once in charge of R and D for the U.S. military. Frustrated by the government's refusal to deploy his most lethal weapon designs on the grounds that they're too vicious for "civilized" warfare, he's decided to show them their mistake by publicly "field testing" the weapons himself. Striker can also fill the team gadgeteer niche.
  18. Toonol, you are right that sometimes a stacking of Advantages onto a Power can get ridiculous, so your approach could be considered valid in such a case. OTOH, there are cases when the cost of subsequent Advantages is factored into the size of an Advantage. Let's take Armor Piercing for example. A 15 Damage Class attack is the same Active Points as a 10 DC attack with Armor Piercing. AP can be neutralized by Hardening the appropriate Defense, which would probably cost less to the defender than buying enough Defense to blunt the base 15 DC attack. But any subsequent Advantages added to the AP attack will be less expensive than if they were added to the higher Base Point Power, which balances out their utility. Changing the way Advantages are calculated would be most appropriate on a case-by-case basis, which would probably be more work than it's worth for most people. It's more efficient in the long run to keep one standardized method and allow the GM to rule on what is or isn't abusive as it comes up. FWIW, what you're describing was the way in which Reduced END Cost was calculated before the 4th Edition of the HERO System: you added up the cost of all the other Advantages, then applied the RE Cost modifier to that total. Obviously, that approach didn't last.
  19. Al, one of the pages of the FAQ here on the website, "Working with the HERO System", answers quite a few basic questions about how to create certain types of characters with particular abilities, or create various common powers or artifacts you find in books and comics. It uses the "reasoning from effects" approach to designing these things that's basic to HERO: think of what you want the result to do and how you want it to look, then choose the Skills, Powers, Modifiers etc. that best fits what you want. The examples may or may not be obvious to you, but they would probably be useful to any new players you plan to "break in" to the system. Here's the link to the page: http://www.herogames.com/SupportFAQs/workingherosystem.htm
  20. Welcome back, comrade! Regarding your concerns, my understanding is that the HERO System Resource Kit (you can read more about that via the "Our Products" link to the left of this page) contains a 48-page booklet with a summary of the Character Creation rules. I haven't picked up that product, so perhaps someone who has could speak to how useful it is as a guideline to character creation? You might also get some use out of the "HERO System Genre by Genre" PDF which you can download; it contains guidelines for playing most of the major genres, including game conventions and the type of characters that are appropriate, plus two sample characters for each genre. You can reach that by clicking on the "Free Stuff" link up at the top, then going to "HERO System Documents". Hope that helps.
  21. The plots that cropped up in my own campaigns included: political kdnappings and assassinations; sabotage and larger scale terrorist acts; forcible takeovers of the assets and operations of other organized criminals; organizing and financing revolutionary groups; also more subtle coercion of influential people through threats or blackmail. Sometimes the involvement of VOICE was overt and obvious, intended to cause widespread fear and uncertainty. At other times VOICE would commit an act and leave clues implicating another individual or group, especially one which opposed or threatened them. Remember that VOICE seeks to foment world instability, so would target anyone or anything that acts as a stabilizing influence, either through the power it exerts or its symbolic value. (Including well-respected superheroes!)
  22. Yes, VOICE will not be in the new CU, but that doesn't mean we who enjoyed them can't exchange ideas on how to use them in our own campaigns. Your take on VOICE is certainly interesting, making it function more like PSI; I could see the villain group travelling around the world, committing acts to destabilize particular regions. My own concept played up both the "voice" motif and the Oriental criminal style: VOICE had four divisions: the Tongue (combat/assassins), the Lips (spies and informants), the Throat (scientists and suppliers), and the Jaws (supervillains). The agents were broken up into eight member cells called choirs (for the eight notes in a musical scale), led by a choregus. (Supervillains are all at least equal to a choregus in rank.) The choirs controlled associates who were not members of VOICE, as do the Chinese Triads. All choirs in a region are coordinated by a virtuoso, while each division is headed by a maestro. There are also special units in certain divisions: a squad of elite assassins in the Tongue, called the Silencers (equivalent to low-level supers), and Whisper, psionically-gifted spies who are a part of the Lips. Members are inducted in an elaborate ritual, including branding a skull mark at the base of the neck. Most members don't know that the branding implants a microchip in the recipient, which allows the choregus to establish a mind link with all the "chorists" in his cell (a "silent voice"). This is generally believed to be a mystical effect, rather than technology. The communication skulls given to each choir also allow a choregus to communcate mentally with his higher ups, and to track down members who try to leave or defect (Mind Scan). There's more, but I don't want to hijack the thread completely. I also don't want to spoil VOICE of Doom for people who might want to run it.
  23. Re: About VOICE.... On that point I would have to respectfully differ with you. The feel of the two organizations is very different IMO. VIPER is very much the high-tech, world conquering terrorist group a la HYDRA, essentially a private army. VOICE is more like an Oriental criminal secret society, a Triad with better R & D. They're more lethal in their M.O. than most comic-book groups, and their motivation is unique: not to conquer the world, but to keep it destabilized so that VOICE's corner of it remains secure. Although, come to think of it, wouldn't Lung Hung make a helluva Supreme Serpent? "Welcome to the lair of the dragon, from which there is no returning."
  24. Given the redefined origin and background to VIPER mentioned in the new Champions Universe (which I probably shouldn't give away here), I would frankly be surprised if some incarnation of King Cobra was not a prominent part of the organization, if not chosen to be the current Supreme Serpent. I do agree that two snake-motif organizations are a bit redundant, but IMO the new universe paves the way for a merger of the two concepts, should Steve and Scott choose to go that way. And I miss VOICE, too. They've been fixtures in my campaigns for many years, and I'm in the process of updating them to FREd-ness.
  25. It's just something to make the point totals for the Characteristics and Powers/Skills of the animal balance with the Disadvantages side of the character sheet, since the animals often have more abilities than their listed Disadvantages could account for. Makes it consistent with how characters are written up. You can ignore it without detriment to using the animals in your game, although it is possible to have animals gain experience if used as sidekicks and the like.
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