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Killer Shrike

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Everything posted by Killer Shrike

  1. Killer Shrike

    Goodbye Balabanto

    RIP, good sir.
  2. Killer Shrike

    Building a Light spell is harder than I thought

    I'm still attached to the Earth, via the bonds of gravity as well as a certain sentimental fondness for the planet where I still keep all my stuff. I just moved away from the Hero System after the last Here There Be Monsters campaign I ran (which is all 6th edition), and roleplaying in general. This is due mostly to changing life circumstances (kids, job, other hobbies, a sort of pervasive lack of available free time), as well as a shift in appreciation towards more narrative games. I also drifted away from posting on these forums as I was doing increasingly less Hero System related gaming but also because many of the people I enjoyed collaborating or trading posts with also drifted away, though some remain. Also these forums have themselves experienced some vicissitudes over the years and there were times when I would have posted but the site was experiencing difficulties or I could no longer find some old post I wanted to reference and had no desire to rehash old ideas all over again without aid of just referring back to a thread that already covered the same ground. And of course, after the couple hundreth thread on how to model a vancian magic system or quibbling over how to do magic missile or light or whatever, my attention wanders. There is some kind of existential limit on how many times a person can cover the same intellectual ground and remain interested in it; some ideas in this domain have been so often re-tread over the years that I just no longer am inspired to spend energy or time on treading that same ground once more. Jadedness, ennui, operational fatigue, "been there, done that, figured it out, moved beyond it"; call it what you will...I just don't have anything new to say on the subject and don't care to keep repeating myself. I still love the Hero System in general, and I spent more years playing it than any other game system if measured pound for pound, ounce per ounce of games run and time spent...over two decades of time of actively using the rules for a wide variety of genres and campaigns and occasional one offs. As far as 6e vs 5e, the differences in the editions is not very large for the most part. In the large majority of cases taking a 5e effect and simply re-expressing it in 6e terms is simple, and in many cases results in a more or less identical write up. Occasionally there is a more effective 6e way to approach a problem, but the 5e way is still a viable one; after all the Hero System is the way of many ways to model the same idea. The situations where a 5e approach is no longer viable at all and an entirely new 6e way of approaching the problem is required are pretty seldom, but generally easy to navigate when encountered. Pretending that 5e material is irrelevant to the current mores of the system or of no value when looking for ideas that are re-usable or mine-able for a 6e game isn't really warranted, in my opinion. As to the content contributed by others, I don't generally editorialize that material unless invited to. The material presented is intended to be used or not as people see fit; though no one has ever accused me of having insufficient ego, I don't take the position that my material or opinions on how things might be done is more important than that of other Hero System aficionados. Rather I post people's material when asked to as a service to the community. I wouldn't post contributions that I were offended by, or were disinterested in, or that were of low overall quality, or if it would just take me too much time to get it into a format friendly to the site (such as content in the form of word docs). Otherwise if someone has a body of work they want to share and they want to use my site as the platform from which to do it, and it doesn't take more time than I have to give to it, I post it for them. If you or others disagree with a given contributor's material, you are welcome to take it up with them; if they take your feedback to heart and submitted altered versions of their material I would do my best to get their contributions updated and pushed out to the site in a timely fashion. As to eepjr24 specifically, he did a lot of work for the betterment of the site by going through the thousands of hero game effects that were corrupted when my site got hacked by a malicious injection attack some years ago that forced me to purge all of the effect names and notes. This took weeks of labor on his part, and was an amazingly generous thing for him to spend his time on. I did mildly edit some of his material such as his Soldier package to provide an example of a different way to lay out abilities and to offer more configurable options to allow broader re-use, and the magic system write up of his Warlock system (embedded in the package) to tune it up a bit, but by and large I posted it exactly as he submitted it without editorial interference. In all our dealings, eepjr24 struck me as a very reasonable and well-meaning person eager to use the Hero System and still in the honeymoon phase of his enjoyment with the game. Perhaps if you sought him out with constructive criticism, a useful collaboration or positive feedback loop could be established between you, and it is not inconceivable that he might submit updates or new content more to your liking. You are also welcome to provide me with your own versions of things that you feel are more correct or relevant and if we come to an accord I will add your stuff to the site as time allows.
  3. Killer Shrike

    FATE: What can you tell me about it?

    Glad to be of service.
  4. Killer Shrike

    FATE: What can you tell me about it?

    Well, ok then. I suppose you could do this, and if it is an option for each player there is no intrinsic imbalance. I personally don't care for the idea, but if it works for you and your table I don't see any overt harm. I think the better approach would instead be to lean on the Aspect system and the ability to Create Advantage, which in addition to leveraging one of the best parts of the game and having a positive narrative impact (as situational Aspects greatly enhance a scene), also offer +2 bonuses to relevant rolls when invoked. I allow that sort of thing in Pathfinder Fate Accelerated via Stunts. For instance, Kiroee has that exact ability: http://www.killershrike.com/Fate/Fae/Pathfinder/Characters/Iconics/Kiroee/Kiroee.aspx Attack Attack ATTACK!!!!: Because I am driven to extreme aggression, when I am Forcefully Combative and attack I may add from one to four additional Fate dice to my 4dF attack roll and choose the four best dice as my result. However, until my next exchange whenever I defend I add the same number of Fate dice to my defend rolls and choose the four worst dice as my result. Otaro has a similar ability, though less extreme: http://www.killershrike.com/Fate/Fae/Pathfinder/Characters/Iconics/Otaro/Otaro.aspx Shocking Blade: Because I am able to generate a magical paralyzing shock around my weapon, when I would roll 4dF to attack with my weapon I may instead roll 6dF and choose the four (4) best dice for my result. This is an electric attack and I cannot use this Stunt against opponents who are immune to electricity. There's other Stunts like that here and there in the content, which manipulate dice odds. Here are a couple of more: Better Lucky Than Good: Because I am unusually lucky, whenever I make a 4dF resolution roll and the result is 0 0 0 0 (all blanks) I treat the outcome as if I had rolled + + + + (all pluses). Charmed Existence: Because I lead a charmed existence, whenever I roll - - - - (all minuses) on 4dF I treat it as if I rolled 0 0 0 0 (all blanks).
  5. Killer Shrike

    FATE: What can you tell me about it?

    I don't have the book in front of me, but if Anna the NPC did not concede prior to Landon rolling to attack, and Landon did enough stress to take her out with his attack, Landon's player decides the outcome of the attack. If the GM had Anna concede prior to being taken out, the GM would have had a say in the outcome, and presumably would not agree to "death" for the character. There should be a section in the rule book about conceding / concession that details that concept. EDIT: I remembered the online Fate SRD. This page has the conflict rules, including getting taken out and concessions: https://fate-srd.com/fate-core/conflicts The FAE rules have much less to say on the matter but for completeness sake: https://fate-srd.com/fate-accelerated/ouch-damage-stress-and-consequences
  6. Killer Shrike

    FATE: What can you tell me about it?

    On a side note, I had forgotten about it but looking up stuff in the Toolkit just now reminded me. The Deck of Fate ( https://www.amazon.com/The-Deck-of-Fate-Cards/dp/1613170904 ) is also available as an alternative to 4dF. I own a copy, and it is very cool. I don't personally use it in my games because I unashamedly have a dice fetish; I own a LOT of 4dF and I love the sound of dice hitting a table. However, the DoF has a lot of useful secondary benefits as the cards also have a couple of phrases that can serve as suggestions for situational Aspects or Boosts which is a fun and helpful addition. The deck also includes some nicely illustrated "arcana" cards with other uses. All in all a very neat supplement.
  7. Killer Shrike

    FATE: What can you tell me about it?

    Page 66 of the Toolkit describes the following alternatives to 4dF: d6-d6, "connect the dots" (which involves using a sharpie to draw on normal d6's), 3d6 Table (morphs the 3d6 bell to approximate the 4dF bell), and 4d6 grouped (maps 1-6 to -,blank,+ as follows: {1-2: -, 3-4: blank, 5-6: +}; this has the same probability curve as a 4dF) Of those options, the d6-d6 changes the probabilities the most. You mean, each player in the same game chooses their preferred method? That would be intrinsically unbalancing as the probability curves would differ for each player using a different mechanism. The "connect the dots" and 4d6 grouped alternatives have the same probability curve as 4dF, leaving 1d6-1d6, 3d6 Table, and 4dF or equivalent as the modes. Of course if you want to introduce variance or don't care about each character having the same baseline expectations of probability as a frame of reference and underlying parity, then go wild I guess. I don't understand what you mean by this. Are you suggesting that, for instance, Forceful might be 1d6-1d6 while Sneaky might be 3d6 Table, etc? That seems like it would be pretty wonky, to me, if that is what you mean. Since what I value about FAE is its simplicity and the low signal to noise ratio of rules to narrative, I personally wouldn't add more complexity unless it paid for itself in some meaningful way; I speak about this a little bit in the Design Notes ( http://www.killershrike.com/Fate/Fae/Pathfinder/Meta/DesignNotes.aspx ) I wrote up for Pathfinder FAE. But I suppose something like this (again, if that's what you meant) might be interesting at the expense of added mechanical complexity for a group that did not mind the fiddliness of it.
  8. Killer Shrike

    FATE: What can you tell me about it?

    Tried to resist...but failed my will save. The difference is not "nothing"; whether you care about it or not or perceive the difference is another matter. It also doesn't make much sense to do because if you were somehow so ill-prepared you forgot your 4dF when going to play a Fate game (which, honestly, how do you manage to do that?), but have standard d6's you can just roll 4d6 and treat 1-2's as -1, 3-4's as 0 and 5-6's as +1 and not muck with the probability curve. There, cow had, moving on.
  9. Killer Shrike

    FATE: What can you tell me about it?

    Something you may want to check out is Cortex Plus Heroic which splits the difference between narrative focus but with handfuls of dice (polyhedral d4 thru d12). And in that same vein the newish Demon Hunters: A Comedy Of Terrors RPG is a two column Fate hack pretty much exactly like what I did with Pathfinder FAE, but it uses polyhedrals and some Cortex Plus Heroic ideas (unsurprising as the game designers Cam Banks and Rob Donoghue are involved to greater and lesser degrees with two and three of Cortex Plus Heroic, FAE, and Demon Hunters respectively).
  10. Killer Shrike

    FATE: What can you tell me about it?

    Sorry to hear this. Picking out one part of that to comment on specifically, I've experienced odd resistance to 4dF / Fate dice as well. Now, I am "impaired" by a slightly greater than average mathematical understanding, and thus have been unable to make sense of this particular and to me rather peculiar objection. When talking to people with a gaming background that does not include normal distribution / bell curve models, such as d20 variants or dice pool or target number systems then fine...such an objection is often just a lack of familiarity with normalized distribution models and why they are beneficial. But players coming from a HERO System background...mathematically speaking it just doesn't make sense to object to 4dF vs 3d6 as the differences between the two models are pretty mild. They are both just simple ways of generating numbers with a normalized distribution. The main advantage of 4dF over 3d6 is that the range of possible values is smaller and thus is less swingy; the main advantage of 3d6 over 4dF is that d6's are far more commonly available and there are more possible values allowing more differentiation if that is desireable. I also happen to like that 4dF has a baseline of 0 rather than 10.5, and I find that "adding" a 4dF roll is usually faster than "adding" a 3d6 roll as the blanks are ignored and +'s and -'s cancel leaving the delta as the outcome. Personally I think it just comes down to "different is bad" in most cases, without recourse to logic, but personal preferences are what they are I suppose.
  11. Killer Shrike

    FATE: What can you tell me about it?

    Fate CORE and Fate Accelerated (FAE) are great. Of the two, I like FAE better. They are very powerful and expressive games. Fate has the same universal toolkit capabilities as the HERO System, and honestly after some early angst at the lack of nitty grittiness in the rules I found it seamless to transition my character creation skills from the HERO System to Fate. One of the things that struck me is, the "chrome" part of making a character in the HERO System...the ability label names and whatnot that we just kind of decorate our HERO System characters with...is pretty much the entirety of a Fate character. At their most essential Fate characters are just all chrome that you invoke for a mechanical bonus when it makes sense to do so narratively. Stunts and Extras and hack specific variations can blur this purity of expression, but it's still there. One of the things I like best when playing Fate games is that the names of aspects and stunts really help to inform the narrative, and vice versa the narrative will often provide the names of situational aspects as events unfold. It's very nice and fluid. However, as the GM be prepared for handwavium and making snap decisions. Ironically, given that the narrative and "old school" communities often seem at odds, to me running Fate feels very much akin to GMing games back in the day when systems left a lot to the GM's discretion / arbitrary on the spot rulings; with the small caveat that the players also enjoy some measure of executive discretion via creating advantages or spending Fate points to assert facts onto the narrative which I personally prefer. From a game design / mechanic point of view, Fate is a fractal system. You can apply the same basic concepts at higher and lower detail. The four basic actions of Attack, Defend, Create Advantage, and Overcome overlayed over the differentiation between Conflict, Challenge, or Contest as the basis of resolutions is a very powerful and elegant resolution system based on a bell curve, like the HERO System, but the 4dF curve averages to 0, with a range of -4 to +4. What this means is that odds are flat and over time competence and narrative engagement (as expressed by bonuses) will tend to win out over luck. The resolution system is also quite fluid and simple; there's not a lot of fiddling or math involved and level of effect (or 'damage' if relevant) is bundled into the check which cuts down on dice rolling quite a bit. Combine these main facets (narrative hooks that give flat mechanical bonuses when made relevant to the story, four actions, three ways to resolve things depending on intended outcome) and you have everything you really need to know about Fate in broad terms. The rest is just scaffolding and detail or fiddly bits, casting those main ideas into variant formulations depending on flavor or hack. Personally I really enjoy modern Fate, though I found earlier iterations of the system to be much less polished and largely preferred other Fudge hacks. It is one of my top three favorite RPG systems, chosen from a very large list of rpgs I've played, run, or read over the last 32 years. It is a joy to run as a GM and fun to play. Unfortunately there does seem to be a kind of impedance for some players, who seemingly cannot bring themselves to grok or get onto the same wavelength as Fate or else just don't want to. Like the HERO System, Fate is not for everyone, and if you have a core person in your gaming group fall into that crevice then Fate might not flourish at your gaming table. In more practical matters, at the table Fate benefits from a collaborative, non-adversarial group dynamic. Fate does not really provide for arbitrary my-character-can-do-this-because-mechanically-the-rules-say-I-can resolutions. Instead it asks the players and the GM to constantly consider the emerging narrative of their game and collectively decide the specifics of "what makes sense" when deciding what actions are or are not justified. For instance, in the HERO System if you paid points to be able to do something then your character can do it, and everyone else at the table can just suck it if they don't like it. On the other hand aside from some standard maneuvers and everyman skills, if you didn't pay for a specific particular ability then you can't suddenly decide it makes sense for your character to be able to do that. Its more gamist / simulationist in that way. But in Fate this is basically reversed. You describe in broad, even abstract terms the sort of things your character is supposed to be good at categorically and if it becomes relevant to the story such that it makes sense that you ought to be able to do a particular thing you can go ahead and attempt to do it; there may be a 4dF die roll involved if failure is possible (or as I prefer to do it, if a potential failure might be interesting). If there is a roll you can also push the odds in your favor by spending a Fate point for a bonus, but just having some narrative justification for your action is sufficient. However if what you are trying to accomplish makes no sense narratively, then you either have no justification to attempt it, or possibly might "succeed at a cost" or "fail forward into the next scene" depending on the scenario. The main thing, the driving imperative, is to keep the emerging story making sense and moving forward towards the next scene. That's sort of vague, but for instance a mutant eyebeam projector character in the HERO System would likely have one or more Powers and possibly other abilities that are in various ways intended to model the character's mutant eyebeam-iness. In Fate that same character might just have one Aspect (or High Concept) that in some way evokes their mutant eyebeam projector nature. It might be worded baldly ("Eyebeam Projecting Mutant") or somewhat poetically or cleverly or as part boon part bane (aspect: "Ruby Red Laservision"; trouble: "Persecuted Militant Mutant"). They might also have a Stunt or two, or possibly a Skill or other form of labeled bonus that sometimes applies. But fundamentally, the important bit is that this guy is a mutant with eyebeam powers and thus it generally makes sense for the character to affect the emerging story in various ways by using eyebeams to do various things, and this can be as nuanced and detailed as desired. But sometimes per the narrative it may not make sense; perhaps the character has been temporarily blinded or chained forehead to forehead with their love interest, or "whatever". The basic idea of the character is sufficient, no need to stat out elaborate mechanical models, or worry about the details of every situation the character might find themselves in ahead of time. The players and the GM just agree up front about the big ideas and then make spot decisions on a case by case basis as it seems necessary. A little handwavium goes a long way here. Having said all of that, you can ignore the group consensus narrative orientation of Fate and just use the game engine in a more traditional GM-fiat rpg fashion, but fundamentally the game as written expects players to have a modicum of narrative control by way of Fate points and the ability to create situational Aspects, and thus the somewhat freewheeling nature of the rules don't really jive with an authoritarian or adversarial GM style, IMO. For a slug-a-thon game of wall to wall combat resolution, Fate is not a great choice. For a inter-party conflict game with a lot of pc vs pc strife, Fate probably is not a great choice unless the players are unusually fair and objective. For a adversarial GM game, Fate is not a great choice. For an absurd setting where normal causal logic is suspended, something like the settings of Toon or even Paranoia for instance, Fate may be a poor choice unless the group has some alternative means to determine what "makes sense" narratively in such a setting (such as a shared strong understanding of genre specific tropes); if "anything goes" a lot of the intuitive underpinnings of the game crumble away leaving just a 4dF roll off engine with a mechanical bonus slash plot resource ration. But for a heavy-RP narratively focused game that still wants some crunch to fall back on when actions get resolved, Fate is a great choice. Sorry for the long run on post, but there you have my views on the subject.
  12. Hey Rose, I'm still alive and kicking. eepjr has inspired me lately to revisit the HERO material by persistently grinding through Fantasy HERO material, and I've been making some mechanical improvements to the site here and there, so I still have a hand in the HERO jar but I'm no where as active as I once was. Long story short, my wife and I had another baby a couple of years ago, and that, plus work, other kid, etc, I just don't have the free time I used to have. I started using Fate and Fate Accelerated for my (seldom) game sessions mostly due to the greatly lessened time it takes to work up material. I still love the HERO System and it is still my favorite game system of all time. Just, y'know, life happens. How did you come up with your 'handle' (forum name)?Long story short, it was my handle for Mechwarrior a very long time ago, that I then used to replace a different handle I had used for years that I discovered was very similar to one used by a hacker with a bad reputation. It just sort of became my net persona, unintentionally. What was the first tabletop RPG you played?Actual table top was D&D Red Box; I was 10. But my real intro to the hobby was Joe Dever's Lone Wolf; if that hadn't of hooked me I would not have been interested when the opportunity to play D&D was offered. What was the first tabletop RPG you GMed?Also D&D Red Box. What are you currently playing/GMing?My Pathfinder Fate Accelerated hack, though on an extremely spread out schedule. We play every now and then when the stars align, usually in bursts of a few sessions. Over the last year I've also played in some one offs of Edge of Empire, Pathfinder, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, and we play a lot of board and card games. Netrunner, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Warhammer Quest, Descent, Sentinels of the Multiverse, and Smashup most recently. I'm currently looking forward to the new Netrunner Mainframe board game, and the Sentinels of the Multiverse Oblivaeon kickstarter.
  13. Killer Shrike

    The cranky thread

    Yes! My SEO scheme is working. Soon, VERY soon, I WILL rule the interweb!
  14. Killer Shrike

    Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product

    Re: Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product For GM's: *Full Creative Control: you can shape the mechanics to fit your imagination / creative vision. *Scalability Across Power Levels: toggling on or off a few basic settings and adjusting the point level allows for robust gaming from high power to low and everything in between. *One System To Rule Them All: if you run games in multiple genres, it's handy to not have to master multiple game systems to do it. For players: *Classless Characters: unless the GM chooses to impose some restrictions, you don't have to attempt to fit your concept to predefined narrow concepts. *No Levels, No Grind: you don't have to go to the next kingdom or dungeon over to remain challenged when you "level up". Gradual vs. stair-stepped progression. *All Resolutions Use 3d6 Roll Under, Outcomes Use xd6 Roll High: What do I roll for that again? 3d6, same as everything else. How much damage / effect do I do? Roll xd6. No weird dice sub-systems to remember*. YAHTZEE! *Glossing over counting Body, of course
  15. Killer Shrike

    Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product

    Re: Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product My experience has been that the most likely path for new players to start playing the HERO System is that they are coaxed into trying it by experienced HERO System gamers, and they find that they like it. So, something like: Obviously: 1) keep existing players playing 2) produce game product Competing concerns: *) offer new content to keep existing players engaged *) keep essential rules products in print in some usable form *) offer some kind of low-cost-to-entry path for new players Personally, the most successful product from my perspective as a gamer and as someone who has introduced many other gamers to the HERO System was #500 HERO System Complete from 4e. I also had success with Sidekick in 5e; I gave away around 10 copies of it. The products that I found most useful to buy for myself were rules extensions such as Ultimate Martial Artist and Ultimate Skill; the second most interesting were the character write-up books just because they were fun to read...plus they had pictures!
  16. Killer Shrike

    Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product

    Re: Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product Seems to me that instead of the "anything Fantasy-ish you can think of" approach of the "Fantasy HERO Phonebook" circa 5e / 6e, it might be time to re-focus on a "core" experience with some narrowing of options, one or two general purpose / compact magic systems that are shall we say "familiar" from other more mainstream game systems with some staple spells, some common "class" and "race" oriented packages, gear list, a compact vs full write-ups bestiary, and some sample characters. If it's a successful product, future small supplements could extend the core with more unusual / less commonly seen variations on fantasy. If Savage Worlds can do it (i.e. tiny little 150 page Fantasy Companion), the HERO System ought to be able to do it better.
  17. Re: Thor and Falcon on the same team: Balancing power levels without all being the sa Blast from the past...in the interim of the original post, I put out a variety of ways to deal with / allow disproportionate power levels. Here perhaps is the most relevant: Costumed Crimefighters Collective
  18. Killer Shrike

    City of Heroes - Online Hero Game

    Re: City of Heroes - Online Hero Game I still play pretty regularly, mostly on Champion server. I've got some pretty tricked out 50's and a metric ton of "alts" at various levels. My son plays too, so it's become a father son thing for us. The last month or so I've been exclusively playing on the Beta server though, playing w/ the new content and testing. I'm still mildly amazed that I still find the game fun after, what, almost 8 years? Paragon Studios has been doing a great job of injecting new life into the platform, in my opinion. @killershrike
  19. Killer Shrike

    Changing the Hero system

    Re: Changing the Hero system Lots of stuff...but here's a few digestible articles: Resources
  20. Killer Shrike

    I amay have asked, but... Atlatls???

    Re: I amay have asked, but... Atlatls??? I did something along the same lines with this cavalry write up: Landrothi Light Cavalry On a side note, in the world of San'Dora Landrothi are from the Aranashi race, and are diminutive; about 4.5 feet tall or so on average, so an atlatl like device helps them out a bit. Race Comparison
  21. Killer Shrike

    An Urban Fantasy Game Worth Looking At

    Re: An Urban Fantasy Game Worth Looking At Could you tell your friend Phil for me that Mage 2e was one of the all time great games and he did a fantastic job on it? Mad respect, as the kids are saying these days.
  22. Re: What Are You Listening To Right Now? Black Gives Way To Blue - Alice In Chains Consolers of the Lonely - The Raconteurs
  23. Killer Shrike

    Character Backgrounds (free for all)

    Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) http://www.killershrike.info/GeneralCharacterSketchAlahandra.ashx
  24. Killer Shrike

    Character Backgrounds (free for all)

    Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) http://www.killershrike.info/GeneralCharacterSketchSly.ashx
  25. Killer Shrike

    Character Backgrounds (free for all)

    Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) http://www.killershrike.info/GeneralCharacterSketchTalon.ashx