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Killer Shrike

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Killer Shrike last won the day on February 17

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  1. Or even, the next character grew up on the back lots of Hollywood, was a fighter pilot in the war, now works as a stuntman, and does inside the film industry work for his private investigator buddy. He takes three package deals: "hollywood crew", "fighter pilot", "private investigator in training" and gets free points from three package "bonuses". On a heroic point budget, no less. Also, this is pre-6e, and his stuntman and pilot skills benefit from STR, CON, and DEX, so he gets to milk the free point recursions from figureds as well. Meanwhile the PI with his one package deal "bonus" and reliance on intellect and social skills that gain no benefit from figured recursions is feeling a little unloved.
  2. @Duke Bushido Frameworks other than Elemental Controls (which were removed in 6e) do not grant "free points". They are accounting schemes based upon the idea of setting aside a reserve of cp to allocate to a variable set of potential powers. The accounting scheme and finite / infiniteness of the available potential powers differ between MP and VPP, but the reserve of both is paid for outright, and a premium is paid on top of that for abilities that the reserve can be allocated to. You do make a valid point that the round-up model of the Hero System does result in a non-zero bias and it is indeed mathematically unstable in the technical sense. This is somewhat unfortunate; a more stable rounding scheme such as "banker's rounding" would be better mathematically. However, it is at least consistent systemically and thus is not biased at the individual character level in theory. Of course, some players exploit the rounding rules more egregiously than others to "milk" free points, and some GM's let it fly. Unfortunately this is baked into the fundamental foundation of the game system. To repair the rounding bias and its free point generation capability as far as it can be fixed would be as simple as replacing the "always round up" guidance in the RAW with some variation of the following: HD or similar character creation software could easily just switch its rounding style from "round to nearest, away from zero" to "round to nearest, ties to even"...in some runtimes that's actually the default rounding behavior. Unfortunately, real life people would struggle to be consistent about this and the long tradition of the Hero System "round up" would be difficult to untrain people from.
  3. "Package Deals" still exist...they are just called Templates. They are the same as Package Deals in previous versions, except there is no -1 to -5 point discount slapped on to undermine the entire idea of a character point based game. The organizational "tidiness" of Templates exceeds that of "Package Deals with arbitrary discounts" because they don't carry the added untidiness of math irregularities. As you claim to be math averse, and to hand wave numbers, then it seems like you would prefer having fewer line items and less mathematical complexity and thus would prefer the mathematically simpler Templates. 6ev1 p36 Character Creation Basics TEMPLATES A Template is a framework for building a character. It contains the set of Skills, Complications, restrictions, and bonuses a character would acquire from membership in an organization, profession, or race. Or it could represent the minimum requirements necessary to belong to one of those groups. Templates have advantages for both the player and the GM. For the player, they make it easier to build characters, since Templates provide guidelines for the abilities and Complications certain types of characters should have. The GM, in turn, gets a better idea of the character’s background and more information about where he comes from. He can also create Templates specifically for his campaign so that players design appropriate characters for the game. Creating Templates The GM should create (or carefully scrutinize) all Templates. Since Templates relate to important groups in the GM’s campaign, he controls them. When constructing Templates, you should first decide what benefits the Template provides. Do members of an organization all have a certain skill, or knowledge of a certain subject? If so, the Template should include the appropriate Skill(s). For example, all members of a Thieves’ Guild might know how to pick pockets, so the Guild Template would have the Sleight Of Hand Skill. Similarly, are any Complications associated with the job? Hunteds and Negative Reputations are common Template Complications, as are Distinctive Features (uniforms and the like). You shouldn’t include too many Skills and Perks in a Template, since this diminishes character individuality. Don’t include Powers and Talents in Templates except in special cases. Most Templates should cost the character between 3 and 10 points, with 15 being the usual maximum (though some highly-trained types of characters, such as elite soldiers, may have much more expensive Templates). Templates should just provide a basic framework for character development; they don’t need to encompass everything a member of that group can do. In addition, each Template should include Skills that round characters out but aren’t necessarily useful in combat, such as Background Skills. The GM should disallow Templates that include nothing but combat-related abilities a character would buy anyway. When you note a Template on your character sheet, put any points from Complications in the Complication section (they’re part of your character’s Matching Complication amount), and write down the Skills in the Skills section. You should also write down the name(s) of the Template(s) your character has.
  4. Templates still do this, functioning exactly the same way as a Package Deal except no points knocked off the cost. ...to model a concept. Unless the GM makes players take one or more Templates for their characters (which is a GM's decision, not the rules mandating it), then a player is free to not take Templates with abilities they don't want. If a GM is requiring one or more Templates to be taken (such as Race Templates in some heroic campaign settings), then the GM presumably deliberately chose to put the things in the Templates they are forcing players to take, and are mindfully controlling the prices of those Templates to tax or not tax characters with needless abilities as serves some larger purpose of the GM's. Yes. Free points are free points. Some GM's may be fine with handing out free points, and are still as free to do that in 6e as in earlier editions if they want to. If you as the GM want players to take sets of grouped abilities and offer them an incentive to do so, you can still do that. If you as the GM think that players should take certain abilities for background / concept reasons and also think those abilities are useless / not worth points, then you as the GM can make them useful, or make them "free", or just handwave them away as unnecessary and allow characters to do minor things that fit their backstory, or anything in between. If you want to get right down to brass tacks, as the GM you ultimately decide how many points characters have to make their characters with in the first place. The GM has complete control over cp allocation at character creation and xp issuance as the campaign progresses. Given that level of complete control, package deal discounts are an unnecessary tool for the GM. If you want each player to spend a certain # of points modeling their character's background, then you can stipulate that requirement on the base points you allow...you can set aside or grant some number of extra base points only for background relevant PS's, KS's, SS's, FAM's and/or perks, if you like. But from a systemic perspective assigning randomly valued discounts to various bundles, such that Package Deal A is -1 points, Package Deal B is -2 points, Package Deal C is -3 points, as so on is just mathematically perverse, difficult to balance, and makes the style of accelerated character creation via combining two or more templates awkward to math out systemically due to the arbitrariness of the "bonuses". Again, GM's are free to continue to allow such a free point discount in 6e, but removing it from the RAW is a cleaner, more consistent, and more mathematically defensible approach.
  5. "We must be near to ze end, non?", Alliage asked aloud, though she had been reminded more than once that she could simply think at Sybyl and the seeress would "hear" it. Nevertheless, Sybyl gave no indication that she had heard Alliage ask a question equivalent to the classic childrens' whine of "are we there yet?", long used to Alliage's habit of asking rhetorical questions. It was just one of her ways of dealing with stress. The superfast speedster Turbofist vibrated into existence through the tunnel wall of the abandoned, dried out sewer the hapless heroes had been tromping through for hours. "We're clear for a couple of miles in every direction, at least.", he said, slightly out of breath. Now in his late 40's, the once perky young Vietnamese-American heartthrob was no longer as spry as he used to be. Though still very capable and perhaps the fastest speedster left alive in these dark days in the shadow of Mechanon, he'd been pushing his powers hard for nearly seventeen hours, scouting and clearing a path for his slower companions. War-Man's metallic voice squawked forth from a few feet ahead of Alliage and Sybyl, casting a light upon the service platform the group was using to avoid the sewage of the main sewer tunnel. "Excellent. Walk with us for a while and save your energy." "Make's sense to me.", Turbofist replied as he dropped into place next to the MOD, bringing up the rear. The MOD's outfit, as usual, was shredded and bullet riddled in various places; the group's journey had not been conflict free and while the MOD was able to rapidly regenerate his clothes were not. When Turbofist joined the Millennial Men long ago he was notably younger and less mature than his teammates, but while he's progressed into late middle age, Alliage's personal alchemy and the MOD's mutant physiology both included delayed aging among their varied benefits, and War-Man was of course a techno-organic being. Alliage had not appeared to age a single day, though the stresses of the post-apocalyptic hell they'd all been living through in the aftermath of Mechanon's global nuclear assault had caused her to at least look less ingénue and more sophistiqué. The MOD still looked like a college-aged jock. And War-Man was...well...War-Man. Turbofist tried not to resent his friends for their freakish agelessness and on most days succeeded. "...here, take a swig of this and wet your whistle a bit...", the MOD said, handing the sweaty speedster a hip flask wrapped in a tactical aramid coating and bearing an embossed logo rendered indistinguishable by the poor lighting conditions... but Turbofist was familiar with the treasured object and knew it to be a PRIMUS unit emblem. "Thanks! What's in it?" "Just bug juice, I'm sad to say. Some powdered sports drink sloshed in water. I still got some packets from a stash I found in the ruins of Boise. But, its got electrolytes in it and what not; so it should hit the spot.", the MOD replied. "Electrolytes...it's what plants crave", Turbofist quipped. "Que dites-vous? What on earth are you speaking of? Plants do not crave ze 'electrolytes'! C'est ridicule!", Alliage protested, glancing over her metal-clad shoulder. Turbofist grinned ruefully; "Sorry...movie quote from way back in the day. Don't mind me; I'm mostly harmless." "Man, I sure do miss me some movies. But mostly I miss ESPN.", MOD chimed in. "Please remain focused on the task at hand, people.", War-Man metallically reminded them from the vanguard of their troupe without looking around. Turbofist handed back MOD's flask and pantomimed walking in a robotic way with a mock-serious look on his face. Alliage allowed a small smile to light up her face before facing forward again. Turbofist wasn't a fresh faced kid anymore, but he still found ways to lighten the mood. They continued forward for another few minutes in silence, until they were brought up short by Sybyl's telepathic voice. *Stop here. Turbofist, prepare to enter the speed zone....NOOO....* An unlikely silver-clad whack-job with a winged helmet materialized in the tunnel just ahead of War-Man and within one-billionth of a second was divested of his shiny costume and headgear as Turbofist blinked in and out of the "speed zone" just as Hype had taught him over thirty years ago. *....OOOW.* It was already over. Turbofist was next to War-Man, clutching a bundle of silver cloth and energized goggles. War-Man quickly processed the image of the very surprised Captain Chronos standing before them all, clad only in boxer briefs, and its right arm snapped up to pulse a stun-ray into the denuded time traveler's chest. CC crumpled bonelessly to the filthy pavement and flopped around spasmodically. The MOD moved forward and hogtied the poor temporal interloper with the zipperish zing of zip ties cinching tight. Alliage slid past War-Man to support the MOD just in case, her metallic orbs spinning more rapidly and erratically around her body. War-Man relieved Turbofist of his purloined burden and a series of articulated cables snaked out from the back of its head to burrow into the technological garment and exotic eyeware. "Integration is meeting expected levels of resistance. This technology is very advanced, but our countermeasures are working.", War-Man indicated after a few seconds of concentration. "Cool. How much time until your do-what to the do-hickey is done?", the MOD asked, kneeling next to Chronos's unconscious form. *It will take 7.38 minutes.* Sybyl's light telepathic pronouncement was accepted by the others, who had learned to trust her future sight. But War-Man wasn't convinced. "That is surprisingly specific, Sybyl. This process is NP but not P. Are you sure your prediction is accurate?", War-Man asked quizzically. *This is not my first rodeo, my friend. I am reasonably confident that is how long it will take.* "Very well. Turbofist, if you could do another perimeter check..." "...give me a minute please. You know doing the speed zone thing takes a lot out of me these days." "Acknowledged. MOD, Alliage, please take up positions front and back and stay sharp." As her allies sprang into action, Sybyl faced the other side of the tunnel and continued to surf the slippery stream of possibility, struggling to keep the dice falling in their favor. She had already navigated past hundreds of possible futures where a drone or patrol discovered them, or a fallen hero was coerced into giving up enough of the plan for Mechanon to mount resistance, or interference was experienced from one of several other time travelers and reality benders and dimensional travelers and clairsentients and other similar potential flies in the ointment. This, here, now, grim as it is, is the best possible future she's been able to shape so far to neutralize the mechanized menace of Mechanon. It had taken all of her considerable powers over many years to lay this trap, prevent Chronos from sensing the threat, and ensure the right heroes were in the right place at exactly the right time. Again. She had come so close the first time, launching multiple gambits in the 2020's to stymie and confound Mechanon's rise to power. But as 2032 rolled around events accelerated, possibilities blurred and flowed like quicksilver, and she lost her footing in her war for a Mechanon-free future. The sequence of events was different, different people lived and died, but the outcome was the same...Mechanon ascendant, organic life spiraling towards extinction. Fortune was with them. No minions of Mechanon or other interlopers manifested, and after precisely 7.38 minutes War-Man spoke again. "Temporal systems integrated and online. Ready to proceed to Phase 4." Sybyl turned to face War-Man and nodded. Unable to contain herself, Alliage slid back past the stirring Captain Chronos to War-Man and Sybyl, sweeping the robed seeress in an unreturned hug; "Bonne chance mon ami! All our hopes go with you!". *Quite. Thank you my friends for bringing this to pass. I am ready, War-Man. Please send me back to August 9, 2003, at precisely 2:07 AM Eastern Standard Time.* Sybyl stepped away from Alliage, directly in front of War-Man. "Acknowledged. Initiating temporal transference sequence now; please remain still.". The light emitted by the robot man's chest arc rapidly shifted color, and then a scintillating burst of light lanced forth to strike Sybyl. The enigmatic seeress simply disappeared. This time Sybyl had a new plan. Hopefully it would be enough.
  6. The minutes ticked by tensely. While Sybyl probability surfed and War-Man integrated Captain Chronos' temporal tech, Wrath and Rook stood their posts. Wrath had immediately moved just beyond the light of War-Man's chest arc and slouched into a sentry's pose, still, pistol drawn, ears perked. Rook merely hovered a few centimeters off the ground, as usual, eyes half lidded as he used his tactile telekinesis at maximum stretch to sense his surroundings by touch...one of his more uncanny abilities. Fortune was with them. No minions of Mechanon or other interlopers manifested, and after precisely 7.38 minutes War-Man spoke again. "Temporal systems integrated and online. Ready to proceed to Phase 4." Sybyl turned to face the dismembered robot and nodded. Rook glanced over his shoulder at Sybyl and muttered, "I shore hope youse knows what yer doin, lady.", Sybyl's "voice" insinuated itself into their minds. Wrath and Rook felt its presence like a friendly whisper heard through earphones, War-Man's hybrid techno-organic brain as misfiring circuitry. *Time will tell. I am ready, War-Man. Please send me back to February 23, 2019, at precisely 11:53 PM Eastern Standard Time. Thank you my friends.* War-Man wasted nary a moment; this was not the context for sentimental farewells. The light emitted by the robot man's chest arc rapidly shifted color. "Acknowledged. Initiating temporal transference sequence now; please remain still."; and then a scintillating burst of light lanced forth from War-Man's chest arc to strike Sybyl. The enigmatic seeress simply disappeared.
  7. You still make Packages aka Templates in 6e. There's just no price discount.
  8. They were just free points for having a concept, which is something every character should have anyway. Also, the discount varied; it wasn't even a consistent value. As the GM you can still allow characters to have a custom "Enhancer" similar to Scholar, arbitrarily defined, to reduce the cost of skills, which is pretty similar to a Package Deal. Of course, as the GM you can also still allow a Package Deal bonus in 6e if you like. In Hero Designer, just apply a custom Adder to a list and give it a negative value such as -3.
  9. "This is stoopid.", Rook said again for at least the tenth time. And that's only counting since they got into the sewers a few hours and many miles ago. Nevertheless, he uttered it with full commitment and deep disgust as if for the very first time, pronouncing every word separately to exaggerate his New Yorker accent, clearly communicating to anyone who cared to listen that he truly and sincerely believed that the current undertaking of himself, the seemingly ageless John Wrath (the self-styled "Solo Avenger"), the eerily silent Sybyl, and the head and de-limbed torso of War-Man held aloft in Rook's invisible telekinetic force limbs was perhaps the dumbest, most ill-advised, in a word stupidest gambit imaginable. Wrath kicked a rat off the service ledge skirting the mostly dried out sewer which the downtrodden quartet was currently advancing along, while grinding down hard on the remnants of his last stogie clutched between his teeth. The rat splatted against the far tunnel wall with an abbreviated squeak. "Kindly shut yer piehole Rook. I'm tired of your bellyachin'.", he growled, glancing at Rook sidelong with his one remaining eye. The burnt out remnants of his cybernetic eye had long since been covered over with a patch. He'd torn it out himself a few years ago, moments before a malevolent machine intelligence could hack it and thus discover the location of the hidden resistance base Wrath happened to be holed up in at the time. At this point in their existences Rook and Wrath have had an uneasy working relationship on and off for over 30 years, and have proven themselves willing to escalate even mild disagreements into shouting matches on more than one occasion, no matter how dire or life threatening their circumstances. Rook has mellowed a bit with age, looking every year of his five plus decades and then some. Wrath of course looks about the same age as he did when the two met, despite being over a hundred years old these days, and far from mellowing he has only gotten more irascible in layers, much the same way a tree develops age rings. Long familiar with its erstwhile teammates' penchant for getting under each other's skins, with the ease of long practice War-Man headed the crusty old men off before they could forget their mission...upon which literally and figuratively the fate of all organic life on Earth and perhaps eventually beyond rested...for one last epic row. "Gentlemen, this is not the time to falter in our resolve. Yes Rook, this is stupid. We all know this. Unfortunately, unless you have figured out a better plan since we began the op, it still seems like the best play we've got left." Rook shook his head slightly in the negative. "Doesn't mean I have to like it.", he mumbled; "I should be topside, kicking ass. People are dying up there." Sybyl, as usual, said nothing. Other than hitching up her robes to keep the hem clear of the ground, the hooded and masked seeress may as well have been strolling down the Promenade in Memorial Park on her way to a gala. Back before Mechanon assimilated Millenium City and obliterated all organic life that survived its merciless assault and was too foolish to flee (or in the case of plant life was immobile), of course. To this day, no one knows what Sybyl's voice sounds like. She only communicates telepathically, and infrequently at that. However despite her silence, she is somehow able to guide those around her towards the most optimal of many possible futures, manipulating probability. Once upon a time Sybyl was thought to be a villainess, associated with the super-villainous Violators and appearing to advise that group's leader...the gadgeteer known as Ing. But, it was later revealed that Sybyl was pursuing a deeper plan, a long work of future manipulation, attempting to head off no less than the complete destruction of life on Earth. The Violaters were a means to an end, set aside when they no longer served her ultimate purpose. Her pursuit of that purpose has been very long, and tortuous, and tragic. Many have died, and despite her secretive efforts as well as the heroics of others, now in this time humanity teeters on the brink of extinction at the metallic appendages of Mechanon. This is her endgame. Even now, rag tag remnants of humanity and allies are waging a hopeless final assault on Mechanon's Foundry, the massive fortress sprouting tumor-like across most of what used to be everything near Lake Eerie. They are desperately trying to prevent Mechanon's awesomely powerful machine intelligence from identifying Sybyl and her escort as the real threat. Getting here was an epic undertaking unto itself, not without casualties. Most of those above ground desperately trying to distract Mechanon will not survive the day in this timeline. But if Sybyl's plan works...it won't matter. She seeks to reset time, obviously. Sybyl suddenly gestured sharply to John Wrath, and without hesitation the grizzled super soldier whirled around in some kind of complex martial maneuver and ended up pressing the silver cladded wing-helmeted man who had suddenly materialized in the tunnel exactly where Sybyl had predicted he would hard against the tunnel wall. "GRK!", the strange individual known as Captain Chronos managed to choke out, feebly trying to squirm free or perhaps activate a device, but he had been rendered helpless by Wrath's Inestimable Wrath Fu. "I got 'im", Rook said calmly, latching on telekinetically with his powerful mind to the time traveler in the shimmery outfit, and Chronos found himself unable to move whatsoever as if held in a perfect vise; even his eyelids were forced closed. Next, Chronos was shucked like an ear of corn, his fancy chronosuit and goggles taken off of him by invisible force appendages in one quick moment. The flinty Rook, battle-hardened Wrath, robotic War-Man, and inscrutable Sybyl of this timeline were not the sort of people to heave a sigh of relief. Thus the moment went unremarked upon between them, with no indication given that if they had failed to separate Captain Chronos from his equipment everything they and others had sacrificed to get them to this time and place would have been for nothing. It had taken all of Sybyl's considerable powers over many years to lay this trap, prevent Chronos from sensing the threat, and ensure the right heroes were in the right place at exactly the right time. Inside her hood and behind her mask, some of the stress lines marking her hidden face relaxed as the strain of that particular working was released. "If you would be so kind, Rook...", War-Man intoned metallically, and Rook obliged by levitating War-Man and the limp chronosuit and goggles closer together. A series of articulated cables snaked out from the back of War-Man's head and burrowed into the technological garment and exotic eyeware. "Integration is meeting expected levels of resistance. This technology is very advanced, but our countermeasures are working.", War-Man indicated after a few seconds of concentration. "Cut the technobabble; how long?", Wrath grunted at the damaged robot man, long time leader of the Millennial Men and one of the most respected superheroes in the world and beyond, as if he were some hapless IT support lackey. Unperturbed, War-Man calmly said, "I estimate less than 10 minutes to complete integration with my systems." Looking at one another, Rook and Wrath communicated volumes with a grimace and a nod. Wrath moved down the tunnel a ways. Rook faced the other way, effortlessly continuing to secure the immobilized and nearly nude time traveler and holding War-Man and the stolen chrono-gear steady behind his back. Sybyl faced the other side of the tunnel and continued to surf the slippery stream of possibility, struggling to keep the dice falling in their favor. She had already navigated past hundreds of possible futures where a drone or patrol discovered them, or a fallen hero was coerced into giving up enough of the plan for Mechanon to mount resistance, or interference was experienced from one of several other time travelers and reality benders and dimensional travelers and clairsentients and other similar potential flies in the ointment. This, here, now, grim as it is, is the best possible future she's been able to shape so far to neutralize the mechanized menace of Mechanon. But would it be enough?
  10. I've run a lot of multidimensional campaign settings in the past. I've always liked the mish-mash of divergent ideas and the creative freedom to do literally whatever I want if the whim strikes me. Back in the day I was into RIFTS (horrible system, cool ideas), TORG, Tales from the Floating Vagabond, Spelljammer, Planescape, and things like that. Fictionally I enjoyed things from Zelazny (various, including Amber and Roadmarks), earlier Feist (riftwar, the hall of worlds), Spider Robinson (Crosstime Saloon), Norton (Crossroads of Time), Weis (Death Gate Cycle) and many other stories where one or more dimensions / alternate realities was at least factored into the premise if not a main precept. For my own part I've run a "anything you can imagine, anything that has ever existed in fiction, every alternate narrative of history, every butterfly effect permutation possible, literally anything at all...there's a dimension where it's true" on occasion over the years using the Hero System for one offs and short arcs. I also collaborated on several other extra-dimensional type campaign settings for various games. One was the Omninomicon, an attempt to define a system to describe dimensions, operating assumptions within dimensions (magic, tech, physical laws), finite vs infinite, etc. It didn't really take off but it was a fun exercise. Someone else completely unrelated hit on the same idea and used the name for something else so its burned now, but I really liked the name. I did a thing w/ people on these boards to define some generic settings for various genres; the Worlds of Generica. The settings were things like Barbarica, Gygaxia, Esoterica, Cthonica, and so on. Some of them, Barbarica and Esoterica most notably, got very detailed and Esoterica was a cross dimensional Spelljammer-like setting built around a concept called The 'Tween...the stuff between the planes of existence which was traversed by sailing the winds of magic and was inhabited in various clusters of civilization in the vastness; adventure in the infinite dimensions one could get to from the 'Tween as well as at various well known locations in the 'Tween such as the Tears of Vrylakos and the City Beyond The Edge, and of course naval-like encounters in the vast gulfs between gates and settlements. And so on. I've learned a few things in the process, which I'll share here. The first and maybe most important thing, is either do a very finite, well defined model with precisely defined particulars and a limited number of dimensions with well defined interactions and rules OR do a wide-open anything goes loosely defined model. Don't try to split the difference; this isn't a space that rewards a "Goldilocks" approach. If it's finite, keep it finite...keep the # of dimensions manageable and ideally built to a theme or strong central concept where each dimension has a reason to exist per the theme / concept. If it's infinite / wide open only get concrete when necessary, and stay abstract as much as possible. Which is to say, don't try to put limits on what's possible by concretely stating numbers (exactly X number of dimensions), or trying to impose consistency in the form of an underlying metasystem of "how things work" applicable to all dimensions, putting complex mechanics to it, or even trying to explain how it all works (many sentient beings will have their own cultural and personal theories of course, but none of them are forwarded by you the GM as "correct"). Keep it as loose as possible. Try to avoid immovable object unstoppable force conundrums in the form of incompatible invariants between clashing dimensions. Remain flexible. Each dimension will of course function according to its own particular reality, but that doesn't impose any restrictions upon any other dimension. And pragmatically speaking, be very careful around dimensions where magic or tech or any other kind of ability justification that affects the PCs "doesn't work at all", dimensions that can't be escaped, dimensions that are inimical to life or existence, and similar hard stop absolutes...have a clear plan in mind before introducing them. Logically if anything is possible such places must exist, so be prepared for players figuring that out and introducing such things onto the narrative. Decide up front how you want to handle paradoxes...either authoritatively (paradoxes can't happen and anything that would cause one doesn't happen) or permissively (paradoxes happen and life goes on...perhaps one or more new dimensions are formed to accommodate the paradox) or destructively (paradoxes cause damage to reality or even dimensions affected by a paradox cease to exist) or punitively (regardless of how a paradox is handled bad things happen to whatever caused the paradox); personally I prefer accepting paradoxes usually as creating new dimensions make more logical sense in an "infinite" model than getting rid of dimensions (what is inifinity minus 1?). Anyway, I could natter on, but hopefully there's something helpful hidden in that word dump.
  11. Yeah. I had most of the Planescape stuff back in the day and really loved it; a real high water mark in rpg aesthetics and production values.
  12. The D&D 3e version of Manual of the Planes actually had some good non-D&D centric coverage on dimensions in general, and a useful set of terminology for referring to the relationships / lack of relationships between various dimensions in the first couple of chapters, before it dives into D&D specific cosmologies. I recommend checking it out.
  13. RE: no PRIMUS, UNTIL, etc... UNTIL was not a major component for us; it was mentioned here and there and existed in-setting, but was off screen. PRIMUS on the other hand ended up playing a major part in my 5e era CU campaigns. Initially in the first group, one of the players wanted to play a Silver Avenger (which ended up being John Wrath), so right off the bat PRIMUS was prominent. Struggles around getting the PC's in that first group to register or not was a major facet of the first arc of the campaign. A later PC (Major Savage) later went on to work for PRIMUS, starting up a new direct action unit called ICARUS (Immediate Combat Action Response Units), airborne power suited super agents. Around that same time I introduced the HERONet Initiative, which was a PRIMUS outreach program that helped encourage supers who were hesitant about registering with PRIMUS to do so, and offering membership benefits, training, technology support, and so on. The HERONet Initiative is not a typical superteam, rather its primary purpose is to help coordinate operations between PRIMUS and independently operating superhumans, and provide material assistance to them. However sometimes there is a void that needs filling and some or all of the HERONet regulars will rise up to fill the void, working as a team. There have also been a few times when a major threat was looming that PRIMUS proper has tasked Showdown with assembling response teams from among superhumans participating in the program, effectively relying on it to be a talent pool for special needs as they arise. In yet another later campaigns, one of the PC's (Makeshift) backstory was that he began as a PRIMUS R&D engineer and had abused his access to recovered and salvaged supertech armor to make his own powered armor suit. Quit PRIMUS, moved to a city with minimal PRIMUS presence, and became a vigilante. So, PRIMUS, registration with PRIMUS, and individual characters and teams stance on both became a major throughline in several campaigns. The good thing about PRIMUS is that it can be both a helper and an obstacle to overcome, as best serves the storyline. And it can change based upon the players' actions as well as due to bureaucratic reasons internally. The challenge is finding the right competence level. If PRIMUS is incompetent, no one will take them seriously. If they are too competent then the PC's aren't needed. I kept them at a competence level where they were useful to take care of things the players didn't want to be bored with and competent enough to make the PC's think twice about crossing a line. As the PC's got more powerful, I augmented PRIMUS with the ICARUS and HERONet Initiative which allowed me to keep them in the "usefulness" band I wanted them at. My version of PRIMUS was made up by reverse engineering stuff mentioned officially in 5e, a little bit of Shelley Chrystal Mactyre's PRIMUS supplement from 4e, and the rest of it was swiped directly from SHIELD as depicted in the 80's and early 90's in Marvel Comics minus Hellicarriers (they had flying cars ala Bladerunner however). Even though PRIMUS was sometimes a thorn or registration was sometimes a bone of contention for the PC's, the players tended to like the organization and the dynamic it brought to the campaigns. EDIT: fixed spelling of Shelley Mactyre's name and included link to pdf
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