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Killer Shrike

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About Killer Shrike

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    HEROphile at large
  • Birthday 10/02/1974

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    Contact me at KillerShrike@killershrike.com
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    Software Developer

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  1. Killer Shrike

    Alternative "Tech Level" system

    Are you aware that the 6e "Skills" book has a section on "Technological Skill Modifiers", which includes Advanced, Obsolete, and Alien Tech Modifiers? There's a chart and a full page and a half of expository text on the subject. Page 39-40.
  2. Killer Shrike

    Making an Area Holy

    Change Environment is the established mechanical way to do it, with precedent in Fantasy HERO or one of the supplements. Having said that, it's basically handwavium. Holy / Unholy is SFX in the same way Magnetism is SFX. For instance, some characters such as robots occasionally take complications or limitations regarding "extreme magnetic fields", which are triggered in the presence of abilities with a Magnetic SFX. Similarly, sometimes an ice or cold based character will have a "not in extreme heat" or "not in extremely dry areas" which might be triggered by heat / fire SFX. Etc. SFX related matters are mostly a matter of rulings vs a matter of rules, with a few exceptions. So any ability defined as having a "Holy" or "Angelic" or "Hallowed" or "Sacred" or "Sanctified" or "some other synonym or adjacent concept" SFX, regardless of the base power, might qualify to trigger a "holy ground" or similar complication or disadvantage. Going a step further, if things affected positively or negatively by holy / unholy areas are going to be a thing in your campaign, you can easily elevate it to a first order concept with a custom power. D&D had a similar effect as a mid level spell called Hallow; the term could work here as well. You could build a power construct (probably using Change Environment as the jumping off point), dialed in as you like it, and then invert the effect to define that formulation as a Custom Power called "Hallow", in a very similar way as the "Slipperiness" Power described under "Creating Custom Powers" is created. Using this sort of approach, you can follow the broad strokes of Change Environment, but dial in any secondary knock-on effects you might want, including specific language about how it might interact with "holy ground" complications, and so forth. It also tends to result in much more compact power construct write ups.
  3. Killer Shrike

    HERO master

    Ya, I've run and played in many a campaign just like that, and that was my dominant play style for many years. I could get into a game like that still as a player, if it presented itself. But I no longer find it fun to GM games like that; at some point I hit saturation and started to want something different and more story focused. I got to where I was far more interested in the broad strokes of campaigns and less interested in microresultions of individual encounters. I don't conflate newcomer with undesirable; quite the opposite. It used to be a thing for me to grow the hobby, and the Hero System in particular. There's a difference between "inexperienced" and "it's just not going to work out". I give people a fair shake, but sometimes it just isn't a good fit. Just recently, for instance, a married couple came to play at our face to face game to join up. Another player in the group plays with them in a different group and recommended them. I set up individual preludes for each of them, which I find to be a useful tool both to give players a taste and allow me to feel them out before I introduce their PC's to the other PC's and potentially muck up the continuity if it doesn't work out. I set up the main thrusts of their individualized preludes, which were bespoke to their characters and designed to allow each one a chance to shine at what they are good at and also get into character and start deciding how they want to present the PC's personality and shtick...makes it less awkward when the eventual meet cute with the rest of the PC's happens...the new characters feel more lived in. The other players help with NPC's, and it's a good intro all around with lowered stakes. I picked up the habit of doing preludes running White Wolf back in the day, and it's one of the more useful tools in my GM toolbox. One of the new players was solid and would have worked out, but the other was extremely scattered and seemed ADHD. Extremely disruptive, interrupting play constantly with all sorts of nonsense. It was very annoying and irritated myself and the other players at the table who were not their spouse. There was no way that was going to work out. So, a non-starter. Not at all. No disturbance in the force. Quite the opposite, finding ways to meet in the middle fosters the collegial harmony of reasonable disagreement.
  4. Killer Shrike

    Question on pathfinder

    Yeah, my wife, son, myself, and a friend (WilyQuixote) played thru PACG Rise of the Runelords and bought all the character packs. We also made some custom characters that we enjoyed playing (http://www.killershrike.com/CardGames/PACG/Default.aspx). It was good fun and we definitely got hours of enjoyment out of it, but it could get a little tedious by the time we got towards the end. The game mostly challenges by presenting a number, with bigger numbers as you go on. Eventually you're just piling on bonuses to get a bigger number to beat the bad guy's bigger number. Which, I guess, is a sort of metacommentary on the Pathfinder rpg itself, but I'll just move along. We're currently into FFG's Arkham Horror: The Card Game (https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/arkham-horror-the-card-game/) which in my opinion is a much better designed system for collaborative play of this sort. Similar to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game each character has a deck of cards which will change as your character progresses, and it is collaborative, but the flow of the storylines is very smooth and, to date, never tedious (for us). We've played through the core set, several standalones, and the Dunwich Legacy and still run into new twists and unexpected outcomes. You should check it out...
  5. Killer Shrike

    HERO master

    I'm not trying to pick a fight here, quite the opposite...I'd prefer to calm the waters as I think that if all of the people involved in this discussion were to meet in person and sit down to play some hero we'd have a great time doing it and realize we agree far more than we disagree. However...I find it difficult to reconcile when someone refers to a preference for a different style of play as "snobbery" moments after saying they "despise" a style of game that favors that style of play, which semantically suggests those games are despicable (deserving of hatred and contempt). Surely, any position that elevates one position or preference and denigrates another is a form of elitism or "snobbery"? You prefer one style of game, other people prefer a different style of game. Surely that doesn't mean either group is right or wrong, better or worse than the other? Perhaps they just like different things? I'm not a theater major. I've never gamed with a theater major (as far as I know). I don't know what relevance someones college major (assuming they had one) has to gaming with them. What I infer is you mean "theater major" as a euphemism for "people who like roleplaying in character". When you refer to "high crunch systems" "curbing excesses", I draw the conclusion that you think that people who like to roleplay in character are in some way excessive and need to be reigned in. I suppose you find it annoying or unwanted past a certain point. If so, that is your prerogative, but surely your personal bias is at play here; a different sort of player may find that "high crunch systems" intrude on the play experience or interfere with the flow of a narrative. Is either sort of player right or wrong in an objective sense? Or are these just different preferences, neither more universally correct than the other? You forward the position that being presented with tactical problems that require tactical solutions are preferable to situations that lend themselves to a cinematic solution. And it's certainly your prerogative to prefer one style over the other, but does it mean that those who favor the other style...or even (gasp!) a mix of both and perhaps even other styles of resolution...are wrong to like what they like? Deconstructing this...you don't have to play with anyone you don't want to. It's an elective activity. That being said, if you choose to play with a given group, then yes you are agreeing to at least tolerate differences in skill and perspective within that group of people (to a certain point at any rate). That's a personal choice. Players who prefer to play with a higher caliber of other players are neither more right or more wrong than players who are more tolerant of a wider range of player capability. Engagement is indeed important; unengaged players may as well not be there as they are not having fun and their lack of engagement will tend to detract on the experience for everyone else. However, no one style of gaming can claim to be objectively more engaging than any other. Players will self-select for what they find engaging; for some it might be murder hobo kill things and take their stuff, for others it might be high drama, others it might be something else entirely or some admixture of various elements that resists easy categorization. You can of course formulate what you yourself find engaging and try to find or run a game that optimizes for your enjoyment, you can of course say that you find certain styles of play to be uninteresting or sub-optimal for your preferences, but it's not possible for a person to objectively forward their personal preferences as a universal truth...asserting that all things they like are goodright and all things they dislike are badwrong. I personally have played many types of games, I'm a big tent sort of person. I'm a roleplayer, wargamer, computer gamer, console gamer, classical strategy gamer, gamer gamer. If it's a game, I'm at least slightly interested in it. I'm not fond of dressing up and play acting, so I've never been interested in LARP or SCA and similar things, but if it is played at a table or on a computer I'm game to try your game or at least give it a fair shake. I like lots of styles of play. I don't think any of them (including styles I don't like) are intrinsically wrong; if the players are having fun then they are satisfying the purpose of a game which is to have fun. I personally have more fun playing in a certain way. I'm usually the GM, in roleplaying games, and I have more fun running the game in a certain way, and my players typically have fun and I try to find ways to facilitate that within the boundaries of that which will not cause unfun for other players. I'm a centrist; I think that it is worthwhile to reduce hyperbole or lionizing particular styles of play and more important to find common ground. We have a dwindling hobby; sectarianism and balkanization can't be the answer to how to keep it from dying out or becoming irrelevant...that always ends poorly.
  6. Killer Shrike

    Differences in ambient mana

    Anyway, old business out of the way, lets apply some current thought to it. Don't judge me, I have insomnia. So, when we talk about "ambient" magic, its typically referring to some kind of external resource that can be harvested for power. If the resource is not universally available, or the resource is not infinite, then the resource is a commodity. If the demand for the commodity exceeds it's supply, there will be significant implications to the nature of the setting. So, when we talk about "ambient" magic, I assume we're talking about a finite resource that is of variable plenitude. ____ Next we have to decide what the "ambient" resource represents. Is it some kind of natural or elemental or life energy? Is it some kind of magical mcguffin or "mana"? Is it deific or malefic, benign or malign, axiomatic or entropic, or otherwise "biased" in some moral, ethical, ideological, or mythological way? Or is it more like a mineral, like a magical rock or material that is harvested / mined / farmed / milked? Basically, what is this stuff and where did it come from? What is it's purpose, it's raison d'être? ____ Next we have to decide what you can do with the resource, and if using the resource is binary in nature (you either have it and can thus do stuff that requires it or you don't and thus can't), or is it more of a boost like magical nitro? Is it variable? If some is good is a lot better? Is there such a thing as using too much or too little? Is it addictive? What are people generally willing to do to get it? What are people generally willing to do to stop someone else from getting it? ____ Are there subdivision within the resource? Red, black, blue, green, white resource? Good / Evil resource? White or Black magic via resource? And so on. Is it just the one kind of resource, or are there different varieties and if so what differentiates them. ____ And so on. This is the main reason I personally don't like ambient magic system in generic settings. It raises a lot questions about the nature of the setting itself. It puts a lot of demands on the setting, and on the GM, to keep track of the ambient levels of the world as the adventurers bumble from scene to scene. I think that this sort of system should be reserved for specific settings, and should be very tightly intertwined with the definition of the setting wherein the ambient magic system is used. Generally, you may be better off first coming up with a cool idea for the resource(s) used by such a magic system, and then build the setting around that idea. ____ Are we on target, do we want to keep going? Are are we missing the mark?
  7. Killer Shrike

    Differences in ambient mana

    A poster from these boards asked me a similar question via email back in the day. Here was my response. Some of it was culled from posts 14 or so years ago from these boards responding to some other poster. Hey. So, ambient magic. I actually did write up an ambient magic system for someone on the HERO Forums many years ago, but I never included it on my site, mostly because I personally don't like ambient magic systems very much. It's a personal preference thing, mostly, as I feel that ambient magic systems tend to put a lot of extra baggage on setting design and crowd out other magic systems for the same setting. I briefly allude to that sort of thing under the header "Baggage Can Trump Self Contained" on the Magic Design Balance page. The short form of which is given as "A Magic System that has some effect on the environment, has random effects, or requires interaction with some other entity will have more impact on a campaign setting than a system which does not...Similarly a Magic System that requires some unusual component(s) or energy source(s) to work impose on the GM a need to populate the setting with such components or energy sources, and to deal with any logical "ripple" or fallout effects of such proliferation. For instance a Magic System that relies on ambient energies requires the GM to define one or more types of ambient energies, determine how much a given area has at any particular moment, how quickly it recovers, and so forth. Logic ripples from there might include "camping" on spots with high ambient area, meta / tactical ideas like depleting an area's ambient energy to inconvenience opponents, and other related ideas..." http://www.killershrike.com/fantasyhero/HighFantasyHero/shrikeMagicDesign_Balance.aspx That aside, your design notes mildly remind me of the magic system conversion I did for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e years ago*; the eight winds of magic bearing a strong similarity to the seven 'elements' you note, and the "winds of magic" being a sort of ambient power source. It being Warhammer, the ambient resource is represented as basically random (or..CHAOTIC...one might say), thus avoiding almost all of the typical ambient magic logical traps and adding a fine risk vs reward balancing act to the mix.It also had a way to disincentivize but not entirely forbid the wearing of armor by casters. And so on. It might be worth your time to check it out. http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/ConversionWH2e/conversionWH2eMagic.aspx?a=1 *That original WHFRPG2e conversion was later adapted for another non-Warhammer project I collaborated with others on, which we did via a wiki I used to have up called www.killershrike.info ; I took that site down a few years ago as the various contributors had drifted away over the years but it was a fun and prolific thing while it lasted. I have a backup of it laying around and could revisit it if it were useful. I also adapted the variant from the wiki project for the Spellbinder magic system of Here There Be Monsters. http://www.killershrike.com/HereThereBeMonsters/Mystic_Spellbinders.aspx Here are the notes I have from the ambient magic I wrote up for someone on the hero forums a very log time ago. This would have been 5e era...perhaps pre-5er. There was more to it, but this is all that survived in my archives. ---------------------------- Nature Magic: uses an ambient Magic System tied into the Natural Forces of the world. The stronger the natural forces of an area, the faster a user of Nature Magic can absorb energies with which to work magic. The greater the concentration of nature in an area the higher the REC rating associated with it.(for these purposes consider a roughly 30” radius on average as a good-sized “area”). The Nature Magic REC associated with any given area is determined by the GM, but a guideline follows. In woodlands and other verdant natural areas with abundant life the Natural Forces will have around a 25 REC or higher, while places with a true dearth of nature such as a bustling urbanized city, deep underground, or a barren desert have 1 REC or less. Most places are in between these extremes. A few places on the planet such as unnatural wastelands created by twisted magic may lack any Natural Forces outright and thus have 0 REC, but these areas are very rare. A user of Nature Magic can store natural energies within themselves but can only recover these energies at a rate no greater than the ambient Natural Forces REC of the area they are currently in. This is defined as shown in the following Example: Nature Magic END Reserve: 50, 10 REC. REC Limited by Nature Magic Ambiance. In this example a the user of Natural Magic could recover 10 points of END to their END Reserve in any area with REC 10 or higher, but could only recover 5 points in an area with REC 5. Simple Spells castable by a single User of Nature Magic (called “Compacts”) are bought as part of an Elemental Control. All Spells must cost END, and all END must come from the Nature Magic END Reserve. All Spells must require KS: Nature Lore Skill Roll. This style of magic also favors complex multi-caster Spells (called “Rites”) requiring many User of Nature Magic; these spells are also bought as part of the Elemental Control but must have the Ritual Limitation applied to them. Typically (but not always) such Spells also have Extra Time and even Window of Opportunity (1 season). Further, complex Spells often require an OIF; Immobile Focus defined as a Stone Circle or Standing Stone. Standing Stones can be created via a special Rite that basically transforms a carved obelisk of stone into a consecrated Standing Stone; as a side benefit, Standing Stones always boost the Natural Magic recovery of an area by +10 per Standing Stone.. User of Nature Magic Package Deal: 3 KS: Nature Lore (INT) 8 +4 to KS: Nature Lore 15 Natural Magic END Reserve. 50 END, 10 REC; Limited by Natural Magic Ambiance (-0) 35 Nature Magic EC (70 point powers) 9 1) Healing Womb of Hands: Healing 6 1/2d6 (max. Healed Points: 39) (Can Heal Limbs) (70 Active Points); Extra Time 1 Turn (Post-Segment 12) (-1 1/4), Character May Take No Other Actions (-1/4), Concentration 0 DCV (-1/2), Others Only (-1/2), Requires A Skill Roll (Active Point penalty to Skill Roll is -1 per 20 Active Points -1/4) [7 END] 18 2) Bramble and Vine: Change Environment 16" radius, -2 Climbing, -2 DEX, -2" Leaping, -4 PER Roll: Sight Group, -6" Running, -6" Swinging, Long-Lasting: 1 Hour (100 Active Points); Only in a Forest, Woodland, Jungle, etc (-1 1/2), Extra Time Extra Phase, Only to Activate Constant or Persistent Power (-1/2), Concentration 1/2 DCV (-1/4), Requires A Skill Roll (Active Point penalty to Skill Roll is -1 per 20 Active Points -1/4) [10 END] 12 3) Strength of Oak: (Total: 71 Active Cost, 22 Real Cost) <i>Strong as Oak:</i> +15 STR, Reduced Endurance 0 END (+1/2) (22 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-1/2), Extra Time Full Phase, Only to Activate Constant or Persistent Power (-1/4), Delayed Phase (-1/4), Concentration 1/2 DCV (-1/4), Requires A Skill Roll (Active Point penalty to Skill Roll is -1 per 20 Active Points -1/4), Linked to Tough as Oak (-1/2), Greater Power is Constant or in use most or all of the time (+1/4) (Real Cost: 😎 plus <i>Tough as Oak:</i> Armor (10 PD/10 ED), Hardened (+1/4) (37 Active Points); Ablative BODY or STUN (-1), Increased Endurance Cost 4x END (-1 1/2), Only In Certain Circumstances: Uncommon (+1), Extra Time Full Phase, Only to Activate Constant or Persistent Power (-1/4), Delayed Phase (-1/4), Visible (-1/4), Concentration 1/2 DCV (-1/4), Costs Endurance Only Costs END to Activate (-1/4), Requires A Skill Roll (Active Point penalty to Skill Roll is -1 per 20 Active Points -1/4) (Real Cost: 9) plus <i>Dense as Oak:</i> Density Increase (400 kg mass, +10 STR, +2 PD/ED, -2" KB), Costs END Only To Activate (+1/4) (12 Active Points); Extra Time Full Phase, Only to Activate Constant or Persistent Power (-1/4), Delayed Phase (-1/4), Requires A Skill Roll (Active Point penalty to Skill Roll is -1 per 20 Active Points -1/4), Concentration 1/2 DCV (-1/4), Linked to Tough as Oak (-1/2), Greater Power is Constant or in use most or all of the time (+1/4) (Real Cost: 5) [5 END] Total Cost: 65 Sample Rote Spell for 35 point Nature Magic EC: 39 4) Ban of all Paths : Change Environment 1" radius, -10 Running, -4" Leaping, -6" Swinging, Long-Lasting: 1 Month, Personal Immunity (+1/4), Selective Target (+1/2), Conforming (+1/2), Megascale (1" = 100 km; +3/4), Can Be Scaled Down: 1" = 1km (+1/4) (299 Active Points); Extra Time 20 Minutes, Only to Activate Constant or Persistent Power (-1 1/4), Character May Take No Other Actions (-1/4), OIF Immobile Durable (Focus (Standing Stone); -1 1/2), Gradual Effect 20 Minutes (-1), Ritual (5-8) (-3/4), No Range (-1/2), Concentration 1/2 DCV (-1/4), Requires A Skill Roll And A Skill Roll (No Active Point penalty to Skill Roll -1/4) [30 END] --------------------- Some vestige of the underlying idea was adapted into the Derwydda variant of Spellweaving, but I dropped the ambient facet of it due to my personal preferences. http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/MagicSystems/spellweavingDerwydda.aspx
  8. Killer Shrike

    DearMr. Greenwade:

    Yeah, an earlier version of what became killershrike.com was on the hero webring Circle of Heroes. Now that's a blast from the past....
  9. Killer Shrike

    What about a speed of 12?

    I allowed a SPD 12 character in a supers game, a teleporting spatial awareness martial artist called Fade, waaaaaay back in 4e days. It worked fine, but the insight I garnered was that it's overkill. Often there just wasn't enough useful stuff for the character to do to fill 12 segments consistently. And of course END can be an issue unless you pay for reduced END or a reserve. Really, speedsters are often better off at between 7-9 SPD and use the points on something else. Once the novelty of 12 SPD runs out, the return on investment isn't strong.
  10. Killer Shrike

    DearMr. Greenwade:

    There was. Most of the best bits were extracted into EZHero and later Digital Hero. But there was a time when Hero was basically dead and Haymaker plus a few other fan based things were what kept it alive.
  11. Yes, definitely. A system with such a high barrier to entry is daunting to many. If I had a nickel for every person who said something along the lines of "I heard that it was cool, but the rulebook is so thick!"...well...I'd have a lot of nickels.
  12. Killer Shrike

    DearMr. Greenwade:

    It was the original version of what turned into this: http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/ConversionWH/conversionWH.aspx Warhammer FRPG 1e to HS 4e. It was one of my Haymaker submissions, back in the day.
  13. Killer Shrike

    Crushing Entangle

    Another option is to summon an immobile construct with OCV levels for Grab and high strength, and / or martial maneuvers and as many martial arts damage classes as you like; I included a couple of custom maneuvers below which might be suitable. How many points you want to spend and how tough you want the construct to be determines the rest. The appropriate automaton powers would be suitable as well. The summoned construct acts on its own speed and dex. It can have whatever other abilities you think would be interesting, or none, as you think best. Sacrifice Grab: 1/2 Phase, +2 OCV, -2 DCV, Grab 5 Limbs, Lasting Restriction (5 points) Big Crush: 1/2 Phase, +1 OCV, +0 DCV, +4d6 Crush, Must Follow Grab (5 points)
  14. The Basic Rulebook \ Sidekick were not a different game; they were just slimmed down. The existing supplements from their respective editions were and are usable with them. As to posters (at the time) anti- comment, I don't recall it that way but perhaps. Experienced players are often dismissive of gateway / entry products; all that eliteness they've amassed I suppose. That doesn't change the fact that getting new blood is essential to growing and maintaining a consumer base.
  15. Killer Shrike

    For the eclectic collector - Champions: The New Millennium

    I liked a lot of what Fuzion was trying to do...I just didn't like the Interlok system itself, and unsurprisingly I didn't like that side of the attempted hybrid. The initial Champions version was basically unplayable IMO. Supposedly, later versions of Fuzion were fixed, but for whatever reason it tends to get used a lot for anime based games which I have negative interest in, so I've not verified that personally. Unfortunately, Fuzion had enough stigma stuck to it in the Champions community that people tend to have a kneejerk reaction to anything suggestive of it making its way back in to the Hero System proper.