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GM Joe

HERO Member
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About GM Joe

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Chicagoland
  • Interests
    I enjoy collecting and playing classic videogames and computer games (from the late 70s/early 80s). I'm also a theme park maven.
  • Biography
    I grew up in the SF Bay Area, graduated from CSU Hayward (now CSUEB) in 1992, and have since lived in Northeast Illinois. I'm married to a wonderful woman who shares my hobbies and passions. Back in the 90s, I did freelance work for Imperium Games as a member of the Core Group.
  • Occupation
    Corporate IT

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  1. Lots of weasel words in that one: "in early development", "will likely include shows centered on", etc. Still, leveraging some of their most popular properties is an obvious move for them. We'll see how it pans out.
  2. At first blush, I'd say that's about right. A generic system needs optional mechanics in order to best suit it to a given campaign purpose. If it just has a set of mechanics that is used for everything, then, mechanically-speaking, it'll always feel the same regardless of the campaign.
  3. Using metacurrency to reward genre-appropriate in-game behavior is pretty common these days, particularly in the more narrative-focused games. It's a reasonable way to encourage players to work with the genre rather than against it. That horror game sounds like a great example.
  4. Generic systems, to the extent they try to lend a particular feel to a given genre through mechanics, tend to rely on being toolkits. Being able to grab optional mechanics and bring them into a campaign is enormously helpful. For example, when it comes to horror roleplaying, GURPS has the Fright Check and BRP has the Sanity system. In fact, BRP has many, many optional rules (known as Spot Rules) that can be invoked to give a particular campaign its own feel. GURPS takes a different tact. In that system, just about everything other than the basic character stats and 3d6 roll-under is optional. It's a true toolkit. And beyond that, GURPS authors have done quite a lot of work over the years to explain how the system can be used to evoke the feel of a given genre (or sub-genre). HERO, of course, has some optional rules, some Toolkitting notes on how the system could be used in different ways, and the APGs as primary sources for how to use the system to achieve different ends. There are also some relevant bits in the genre books, but that varies a lot by edition. In 4e, for example, the Hipshot maneuver was in Western HERO and in Dark Champions, not in the main rulesbook like it was in later editions. 5e leaned more heavily on the Ultimate books (including Ultimate Skill) to show how to use the system in different ways. Discussions about Savage Worlds, Fate, and the other modern systems see similar questions regularly popping up about how to achieve a particular effect with the system. How successful any of these efforts are is often in the eye of the beholder, of course. And the feeling seems nearly universal that any given game still feels fundamentally the same no matter how many optional rules or rules shadings are put into use. And it's true, because if the fundamental rules change, then you're not playing the same game any more. You've gone so far down the Genric Universal Toolkit path that you've wrapped back around to every game having its own learning curve. The simpler game systems, such as TinyD6 (which is a house system used, so far, for fantasy (Tiny Dungeons), space (Tiny Frontiers), post-apoc (Tiny Wastelands), and supers (Tiny Supers)), have a lot less room to vary by genre. About all they can do, mechanically, is add some relevant archetypes and support them with the appropriate traits. The customer base doesn't want any more new rules than absolutely necessary. (I'm curious to see how TinyD6 will handle supers; I backed the Kickstarter but the book is in the pipeline). I have more than 100 game systems on my shelves (physical and virtual), and where I run across a nice mechanic I keep it in mind for the times when a system I'm using needs a mechanic to support a particular feel. It's often tricky to do this, but every once in a while it'll work great. That's where I intended to go with my posts upthread: figure out the effect you want to achieve, look at how it's been done before, and see if any of that is adaptable to the system in question. If not, use what you've learned to come up with a new way to do it, if possible. But if the system just doesn't bend that way, then perhaps a different system is best for the campaign in question.
  5. How would you describe the feel you want to replicate from science fiction?
  6. Mechanics can capture the feeling of a genre in widely varying ways. Take the Jenga mechanic in Dread. That works very well to evoke a feeling of dread in the players. The James Bond 007 RPG provides a classic example with its chase mechanic that's based on bidding and risk/reward. That alone goes a long way to evoking the feel of the movies. Savage Worlds' Dramatic Task mechanic is also great at evoking that feeling you get when your favorite fictional character is trying to defuse a time bomb, or take on a similar time-limited, high-stakes task. Or, take Lasers & Feelings' approach to Star Trek style sci-fi vs. FASA Star Trek's take (including the role-playing space combat system) vs. Far Trek's Talents. They all work well, depending on what it is you're looking to emphasize most about the source material, yet each takes a very different approach. In other words, the ways in which mechanics can be used to evoke the feel of a given body of source material seem to be nearly limitless.
  7. Colon Blow or nothin', says I. 😉
  8. Could be retitled, "11 ways to eat dessert for breakfast." 🤢
  9. GM Joe

    Most playable archetype

    Bricks and tanks do pretty well in most systems where combat is a major focus of play. They tend to be uncomplicated mechanically, but are rewarding to play because they are good at both dealing damage and staying in the field of play.
  10. GM Joe

    Easiest system game

    In terms of modern, easy-to-run games that are fun and well-supported, I recommend going with one of the D00Lite games (BareBones Fantasy, Covert Ops, FrontierSpace) or one of the TinyD6 games (Tiny Dungeon, Tiny Wasteland, Tiny Supers). As far as the classics go, the TSR boxed games are mostly pretty good for this purpose, as are many of the D6 System games (Ghostbusters, WEG Star Wars, Mini Six, etc.). Toon is also excellent for beginners, but it helps to be familiar with classic cartoons.
  11. Don't be so hasty to judge; it may have been intentional. The GM may have been running a campaign set in Lake Wobegon.
  12. Good idea! I went all-PDF on my 6e stuff a year or two ago, getting rid of all the physical 6e books I had. I've had no regrets. It's all there in PDF for reference, and that's all I need from 6e. (I did keep CC and FC. No sense selling them for the pittance I'd get.)
  13. Yeah, nothing huge. The HA cost is another minor bit that's mentioned as being "obviously broken" in 4e. There are probably others. Personally, I haven't really needed to do much with 4e to make it work for my groups over the years. I've done rule comparisons, and objectively I can see that a later rule for this or that is an improvement, and I can see that it's nice to have the additional combat maneuvers in the core book, and so on, but in practice I can't recall anything being a big deal aside from the STUN lottery, which I house-ruled early on. Even so, it's nice to have the 5e+ tried-and-true rule changes to draw from if something ever did become an issue in one of my campaigns.
  14. I was referring to Megascale and Change Environment, as mentioned upthread by LouisGoncey.
  15. Errata is essential (especially rravenwood's excellent compilation), but it would be even nicer to have a 4e rulebook that was properly copyedited, had a comprehensive index, had internal page number references instead of "See {topic}," and included the two or three rule changes from 5e that seem to have near-universal appeal to 4e gamers.
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