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Lord Liaden

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Everything posted by Lord Liaden

  1. American response to an armed United Nations on US soil is a valid concern; but again, CU history has a response to that -- the Battle of Detroit. Before 1992 the US had not ratified the Tribunal Treaty over security concerns about foreign nationals in its territory. Then Dr. Destroyer leveled much of Detroit and killed 60,000 people. When the American public learned UNTIL had mobilized to help fight Destroyer, but were stopped at the border by bureaucratic red tape, their outrage forced the government to sign on. As to super-technology, Champions Universe goes into some detail to show that it has indeed affected the world. Advances in medicine and genetics have eliminated, or diminished the impact of, many diseases. Scientists have adapted cybernetic technology first developed for powered armor and similar super-technology to devices that allow people with spinal injuries to walk again, and people with neurological disorders to function without significant impairment. Communications has advanced significantly. Throughout the United States, Europe, and many other developed or wealthy countries, virtually everyone has access to computers, smartphones, and similar devices that are easily carried, lightweight, fast, high-memory, extremely user friendly, and have extraordinarily long battery lives. Even in Third World countries, ownership of cellular phones and computers may exceed 50% of the population, thanks to advanced manufacturing processes and materials. Holography has improved to the point where Millennium City features animated three-dimensional advertising billboards. High-tech fibers and materials discovered by superhumans, and scientists working with their data, beginning in the Sixties have led to stronger and more comfortable bulletproof vests, lightweight armored panels for military vehicles, more crash-proof civilian cars, and many similar advances. Internal combustion vehicles and manufacturing are much cleaner and more environmentally friendly than the machines of old, and major strides have been made in the field of alternative energy. Significant efforts have been made to clean up and repair damage to the environment, and to prevent further damage going forward. Travel, whether by air, water, or land, is quicker and safer than ever before. Flights from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast can be comfortably completed in just two hours in some cases. The "Smart Roadway" system in Millennium City interacts with Vehicle Control Chips in all cars within city limits, allowing traffic authorities to automatically track them, and if necessary shut a car down remotely. When driving on the Millennium City Highway surrounding the city, the VCC lets a central computer take direct control of the cars, practically eliminating accidents. While humanity is not yet colonizing other worlds in the solar system, near-space exploration is advancing rapidly. Since 1996 UNTIL has had a fully-functioning space station, GATEWAY, orbiting Earth, with up to 200 inhabitants. The United States launched its own orbital facility, the United States Space Station, in 2006. UNTIL also has the distinction of being the first entity to establish a permanently-manned base on the Moon, Moonbase Serenity, in 2000. It now has over 40 personnel. In late 2004 the United States completed work on the Venus Scientific Outpost, an orbital station designed to study the hothouse planet in detail. It has a crew of eight, six unmanned sensor drones, and three one-man vehicles capable of descending to the middle ranges of the atmosphere. The United States established Ares I, also known simply as the Mars Research Base (or “Marsbase”) in 2008. Marsbase currently houses a dozen scientists, though plans call for expanding it to almost four times that size over the next twenty years. Although most militaries still use standard-tech weapons (explosive-propellant-based bullets and rifles, tanks and howitzers firing explosive shells, manned fighter jets, and so on), the larger and more advanced armies and navies have incorporated some super-technology-derived weapons and systems into their arsenals. Some Champions Universe governments have fielded units of soldiers equipped with low-strength powered armor (or at least high-tech defensive gear), made use of advanced spacecraft, and equipped special military and paramilitary forces with blasters and similar super weapons. But even then, they often prefer to keep their super-technology to themselves as much as possible, due to the strategic and tactical advantages it provides. For example, the United States has small squads of light powered armor-wearing soldiers, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with smart targeting capability able to fly at Mach 10, and many other such weapons. None of them provide the US with an overwhelming advantage in combat, but taken together they definitely extend and expand America’s already potent military capabilities. In some cases, super-technology developments even trickle down to smaller militaries. The US Department of Defense has expressed concern about countries like North Korea or Awad building and using relatively cheap magnetic “railgun” weapons to shoot down American satellites and planes. Sometimes it seems that for every advance one nation makes, another finds a way to counter it using different super-technology... though the sources from which some lesser nations obtain their super-technology remain a subject of speculation. Even mercenaries and mercenary companies get into the act sometimes. A few, seeking competitive advantage both on the battlefield and in the marketplace, have invested in (or otherwise obtained) powered armor suits, energy rifles, advanced robotic vehicles, and other super-tech weapons. Supervillains like Lazer, Mechassassin, and the Steel Commando all got their start as mercenaries (at least in part), and still participate in that part of the global underworld if the money’s right. Various groups, notably the United States government, have salvaged and studied examples of alien technology from the several invasions and known spaceship crashes, with mixed results. They've had the most success understanding and adapting the tech from the Sirians, i.e. the "War of the Worlds" aliens. The highly biological nature of Qularr technology, including the tendency of the bio-components to decay or become dormant over time, has made it difficult to analyze and mostly incompatible with human tech. Gadroon gravity-manipulating devices appear to utilize principles that humans, even super-scientists, have never imagined, so have eluded deciphering. While trying to comprehend the nonfunctional wreckage of the Malvan ships that Ironclad and Herculan arrived in, has been likened to Neanderthals trying to reverse-engineer a supercollider.
  2. Well, Pamela, I can't say any of your points are unreasonable, and if I was a player in your game I wouldn't protest if those were your ground rules. However, I do feel that the way the CU is presented now is largely a logical outgrowth of its given history.. In the official Hero Universe timeline, in future centuries there will indeed be vast interstellar empires in the Milky Way galaxy, but in the current era the galaxy is much more heavily balkanized. The largest polities cover at most a few dozen star systems and a handful of sapient species. Only a few extraterrestrial species have made deliberate contact with Earth to date, and most of those are fairly minor on the galactic scale: Gadroon, Hzeel, Qularr, Sirians, Vayathurans. Of the more powerful and advanced civilizations and groups, the Mandaarians are resolutely non-interventionist, the Star*Guard is actively benign, and the Malvans are only interested in the entertainment potential of our superhumans. The others are farther away and not even aware of us. However, repeated contact with extra-terrestrials and -dimensionals, along with many decades of the presence of superhumans, is IMHO a big reason why Champions Earth today rolls along pretty much like real Earth. People tend to adapt to whatever conditions they view as "normal," and superhumans, aliens , and related phenomena, have been normal there for generations. OTOH I believe the development of UNTIL, and by extension the United Nations as a whole, as effective international institutions, is reasonable given that same history of repeated invasions from beyond Earth, as well as global threats from home-grown supervillains. That would surely have impressed most of the world's governments with the need for greater cooperation, just for mutual survival. If you look at the timeline in Champions Universe, you'll note that heroes and villains did age normally and retire over the decades since WWII, and were replaced with new generations of supers. The only supers still active from the earliest eras are those for whom curtailed aging is part of their extraordinariness. Several years after Hero Games launched its current version of the CU, they published Champions Universe: News Of The World, intended to update and expand the setting with developments over the intervening period. It was meant as the first of an ongoing series, but the company's downsizing dried up further publications. I'm sure if they'd continued they would have accounted for some characters growing older.
  3. Our long-absent forum colleague and Hero Games author, Bob Greenwade, once posted a thread requesting plot ideas for a story line he was considering set in Ambrethel, involving assembling a mighty magic weapon against Kal-Turak. I only remember it because I ended up blathering out a bunch of suggestions. Those were based on details found in TA, and most could also form the basis of scenarios apart from an overall quest. I think they'd be relevant to this topic.
  4. Sorry, I meant "right" as in "justification in principle and precedent," rather than legal or intellectual right. I probably should have chosen a more precise word. Given Steve's great familiarity with the subject, I'm sure the name choice was deliberate and calculated. One can disagree with the calculation, of course. (i reacted to it similarly to you, to be honest.)
  5. [Deadpool]"Hey, that's why I wear the red suit. Also in case Vanessa is on her period."[/Deadpool]
  6. "Blood" was also a very popular prefix in comic names in the Nineties.
  7. Nothing about Hi Pan in the books, though. He's a Cryptic creation whom Steve Long wasn't fond of -- too obvious a pun on Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China. But if you read the Red Banner PDF which Greywind pointed you to, you should see where he would probably fit within the Cult's hierarchy.
  8. Or maybe, "the Day After Tomorrow?" 😛
  9. Self-Inflicted Damage: This is a rule I adapted from the original (pre-4th Ed.) HERO sourcebook, The Golden Age of Champions. As it stands now the HERO rules make no provision for someone striking a hard, unyielding object with a part of their bodies and injuring themselves, like punching a stone wall, which would often occur in real life. Strictly by the rules as currently written, a human being could eventually beat a car into scrap with his bare hand. This rule is intended to create a more realistic situation for people who prefer that in their games. Whenever a character strikes a "soft" target without Resistant Defense, like normal human flesh, he never takes damage from the attack himself. When a character strikes an object with Resistant Defense (which most inanimate objects have, and even some characters such as those wearing armor), he may suffer STUN and BODY damage up to the maximum rolled for the attack. The character's own applicable Defenses would reduce this damage. If using the optional Hit Location rules, the damage can be modified by the multipliers for the Hit Location of the body part you used to strike with. If the Body damage the character rolls is higher than the Resistant Defense of the object, and enough to destroy all of its remaining BODY after subtracting its DEF, or do Knockdown or Knockback to the target, the character suffers no damage from the attack himself. If the character rolls more BODY Damage than the Resistant DEF of the target, but not enough to destroy all its remaining BODY, and does no Knockdown or Knockback, he takes half the damage from the attack, reduced by his total applicable DEF. If the character doesn't roll more BODY Damage than the Resistant Defense, and does no Knockdown or Knockback, he suffers the full damage himself, minus his total applicable Defense. This is a useful rule to explain how trained martial artists can break boards, concrete blocks etc. without breaking their hands, feet etc. It can also work as a weapon-breaker, with the damage being inflicted to the weapon a character strikes with, or a weapon used to block an incoming blow, instead of his own body. It works for any object with Resistant Defenses, without the need to stat out a Damage Shield for every wall. It could also apply to that classic scenario of a normal person striking a superhuman with "skin of steel" and injuring his hand. As an optional rule for "normals" as opposed to supers, it helps distinguish the two in a superheroic campaign.
  10. He still wears the scarf with panache.
  11. Well, if anyone had the right to, it's Steve Long. He wrote extensively for Decipher's LOTR game line, including their core book.
  12. All drawn from what's in the book, yes. With Lucius's distinctive style added, of course.
  13. And it's in pdf form in the Hero Games online store: https://www.herogames.com/forums/store/product/672-watchers-of-the-dragon-pdf-4th-edition/ . The Tournament is thoroughly described. Admittedly that's for an earlier incarnation of the Champions Universe, but the Tournament, and Dr. Yin Wu (senior Watcher of the Dragon ), have both been carried over into the current setting, so the info should still generally apply. WotD also describes and game-stats the Death Dragon; but that monster is only one aspect of THE Dragon, primordial source of the most evil impulses in the human psyche. You can find the Dragon extensively written up in The Mystic World, source book for the "magic" side of the CU: https://www.herogames.com/forums/store/product/304-the-mystic-world-pdf/
  14. Sure. All of the NPCs in Nobles Knights And Necromancers are explicitly drawn from the races, cultures, and locations of Ambrethel. Many of them are elaborations on specific people mentioned in Turakian Age. The adventures in Fantasy Hero Battlegrounds are all set in identified locales within Ambrethel. The creatures in Monsters Minions and Marauders and Book Of Dragons often include background for representative individuals of their kind, linked to a particular location and/or group within the Turakian setting. The two Fantasy Hero Grimoire(s) detail the spells that make up the "arcana" of classes of magic identified in TA. All of these things are "generic" in that they'd easily fit into almost any "D&D-esque" fantasy game setting; but they all refer to the Turakian Age world as their default.
  15. Cool. Should you ever decide to do so, feel free to hit me up for more observations and suggestions about it.
  16. Thanks for that, Duke. It made my day. I always hope the stuff I put up around here will be interesting to someone, and maybe even useful. Please pass along my thanks to your player, as well.
  17. I don't disagree with you, in terms of building up locations in the world. But DoJ did make an effort to support TA, with supplementary books tying directly into that setting, such as Monsters Minions And Marauders (bestiary), Fantasy Hero Grimoire I & II (spells), Nobles Knights And Necromancers (NPCs), Fantasy Hero Battlegrounds (adventures), Book Of Dragons (dragons and other really big monsters), and Enchanted Items (um, that). Ultimately it was sales that determined the fate of the Turakian Age. Generally speaking, Hero fantasy material just didn't sell as well as Champions. At one point Steve actually put Aarn, City Of Adventure on the publication schedule, and expressed eagerness to write it; but it ended up being pulled due to the performance of the whole line.
  18. TA is my go-to fantasy game setting: Recognizably "generic" yet with a number of distinctive elements; broad and detailed but with plenty of room to elaborate; almost every location having plot seeds ripe for development. Admittedly, I've made a large number of modifications to the history and geopolitics of Ambrethel to suit my own priorities and preferences, but I couldn't and wouldn't have done so without having been given such a solid frame to hang them on. Previously I posted to the forums what I would suggest if I were a GM (or writer) looking to further develop a place in the Turakian Age world as home base for my campaigns. I would look for a spot with plenty of story hooks built in, but also lots of unspecified room to expand upon. I'd want the home base to be large enough to be interesting, but small enough to be manageable. I would prefer it to be able to support a variety of adventure styles without going very far afield: wilderness exploration, city skulking, dungeon crawling, monster fights, political intrigue, military conflicts, etc. But I'd also like there to be ready potential for PCs to travel to other interesting places, as their abilities and ambitions grow. On the largest continent of Arduna there are two enormous bodies of water which are the centers of vast geographic regions, with multiple kingdoms on their shores engaging in trade and political interactions: the inland Sea of Mhorec, and Lake Beralka. These two bodies are linked by the long Shaanda River, navigable along its entire length, making it one of the most heavily trafficked trade routes in the world, potentially bringing people from almost anywhere. There is no single state dominating the Shaanda; pairs of rival kingdoms are at each end, but the central stretch contains several independent small cities and large towns. The largest of these cities, Ishthac, is smack-dab at the middle of the river (according to the included map). One would expect the larger kingdoms at the ends of the Shaanda to vie for control over the strategic central river. One of those kingdoms, Valicia, is ruled by a powerful wizard with ambitions of conquering the whole region (and who makes for a fine "big bad" for a campaign). But the cities of the Shaanda are described as too independent and clever to be ruled. To me this implies that they probably cooperate to defend themselves and play the kingdoms against each other; but that doesn't preclude rivalry among the cities themselves. Otherwise the Shaanda cities are given little further definition -- nothing about city layout, population, society, government, or the like. Ishthac lies at the south-western edge of the huge, rugged Valician Hills region, said to be populated by "monsters" which sometimes raid the river settlements; as well as independent-minded "hill folk" with only a few other clues as to their nature. The Valician Hills also rest above one of the largest regions of the "Sunless Realms" (TA's analogue to D&D's Underdark). Somewhere within the hills is a hidden coven of powerful witches whose agenda is unknown. Chonath, a large ancient ruined city once the home of mighty magicians, and now monster-infested, is perhaps a hundred and fifty miles west of Ishthac. Traveling a couple hundred miles along the Shaanda River in either direction from Ishthac will take you into the territory of the larger kingdoms, and the dangers and intrigues they feature. From there it's a relatively short trip to the Sea of Mhorec or Lake Beralka, and ready transport to half the continent. I also previously posted a set of plot seeds set in one area of Ambrethel which IMO is particularly well suited to a campaign inspired by A Song of Fire and Ice/ Game of Thrones, emphasizing politics and diplomacy more than fighting and looting: Besruhan Intrigues.
  19. I don't know whether this poll is already past due... but I avoided voting because Canada is apparently a point of contention here (which doesn't get said that often). I finally had to put in a vote for the city where my late mother was born and grew up -- Lima, Peru. So of course, the young heroes Lima's team would end up inspiring would be in neighboring Argentina. (BTW if you read my Valley of Night sourcebooklet, you'll have seen that I have an original Peru-based NPC hero ready to join up.)
  20. IMHO the CO developers were more interested in telling the original stories they wanted to do, than in following precedents set up in the PnP books. So they changed characters and plots to suit their purposes. As you say, in the book VS is a fairly small fish, while Caliburn is crucial to Therakiel's plan. CO almost reversed that. Valerian may have become more interesting, but Caliburn became less so. Why? Because that's the story the devs preferred to tell. They wanted a different scenario for Luther Black's apotheosis scheme, so they upended everything carefully laid out in DEMON: Servants Of Darkness. They wanted a Lemurian civil war with a sympathetic side, so they added more nobility to the human-looking Lemurians, while making Arvad, who spent eons plumbing the depths of evil, develop a conscience. All that said, the priorities of scenario presentation for PnP and MMO gaming are different. In the former case the onus is on providing elements that a Game Master can modify however they want for their own game group, so the writers try not to tie them too tightly to a particular plot. Champions Online had already done that modification, and presented the story they expect players to run through, leaving little room for plot improvisation.
  21. Hey, disagreement keeps life interesting. I disagree with a number of choices in the official CU publications. VS's role in CO Vibora Bay is motivated by the specific plot of the VB Apocalypse. In that it's consistent with her book portrayal as a scheming opportunist, who saw an opportunity and exploited it.
  22. He really needs to learn to stay out of the Rogaine.
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