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I should be running a Champions game (IRL) in the near future, and I've been asked to build all the characters for it. Which simplifies some things, but leaves me getting overly worried about properly balancing the team. (I know that I overthink and overly worry about things, but stopping myself is easier said than done. Oh well.) Also, there will be 7 or 8 players, which is pushing me towards lowering the team power level a bit so that I can keep combats from getting overly bloated. Anyway, the core of the team: After some discussion, the 6th-8th players will be crew members for the band, to be hashed out at a future date. Such concepts as 'a hypercompetent roadie', 'the sound and lights guy', 'a duplicating back-up dancer', and Max Lord'the manager with psychic powers' have been floated. And while not necessarily connected, the band is relatively new, so the characters will still be rookie heroes. So, I'm trying to work out a good power level for the team. In particular, I'd like to be able to run classic Ultimates, with Plasmoid and Charger updated 6th, against the PCs as a fair fight without too much buffing or fudging. Not sure if that is a reasonable goal, though. My thoughts so far are: Aquanet: 10 DC, 5 SPD, 7/7 CV, +1-2 HtH Bondage: VPP – 50 or 60 control cost, 4 SPD, 6/6 CV, +2 Overall Chronic: 8-10 DC, 6 SPD, 7/9 CV Delicious Rick: 12+ DC, 4 SPD, 5/5 CV, +3 Powers, +2 v Range Spandex: 9-10 DC, 5 SPD, 7/7 CV What advice can you veteran GMs and players give this worry-wort?
Like the major comic-book publishers, the current official Champions Universe has mostly followed the history of real Earth, aside from the impact of the presence of superhumans. That includes real-world political and social trends, and often analogues to actual public figures, although there are differences. At present the real United States of America is undergoing political and social turmoil, catalyzed around the sitting President, Donald Trump. He's become a major polarizing figure, with supporters applauding policies they believe are necessary and overdue, while his detractors accuse him of attacking American values and even laying the ground work for fascism. Questions of President Trump's moral qualities and even mental stability have also been raised. I have no desire to get into a debate about that here (and we already have a thread for same on the NGD forum). However, that kind of upheaval sounds like a ripe field for story lines and role playing as part of a Champions campaign, in a supers world going through analogous events. Yet the very divisiveness surrounding this President, and the lack of clarity regarding the true motives of himself and those around him, and where all this will ultimately lead, could make many GMs wary of using an "alternate" Trump in their games. Then it occurred to me that our Champions source books provide an appropriate alternative figure actualizing all the worst suspicions and fears about this administration, with no question as to his private motivations, morality, or competence: Representative David Sutherland, formerly the "superhero" Invictus (Champions Villains Vol. 1: Master Villains). Long before the most recent presidential election, Sutherland had been subtly and shrewdly working to forward his political ambitions. His superheroic career accomplished much good and built a strong positive reputation, but it was all a show to accumulate support for an ultimate Presidential campaign. Since being elected to Congress he's been the most prominent superhero-turned-politician in America. For years he's maneuvered to place people sympathetic to his goals in positions of influence. Considering how tumultuous the last election was, it's not hard to imagine someone so famous, charismatic, and capable winning through to the Oval Office. Sutherland's true goal is to turn America into a modern Roman Empire, incontestably dominant around the globe, with himself as de facto Emperor. Once in office he's likely to very deliberately and calculatedly do things that detractors of the real President accuse him of attempting: install people personally loyal to him in important government roles; discredit and suppress media that criticize him, while promoting outlets that support him and attack his enemies; challenge the validity of laws and constitutional authority that restrict his ability to do what he wants; foster radicalized divisions within American society to mobilize more militant support behind him; disrupt international stability with confrontational policies asserting American dominance over global affairs, while cultivating foreign allies he can bribe or coerce. As for his morality, he's unquestionably corrupt, hedonistic, and ruthless, to a degree more epic than the relative banality of what Donald Trump has been accused of. For Champions gamers who would like to work some of the implications of the climate in America today into their games, but are wary of using an alternate of Donald Trump, David Sutherland is an unambiguous "villain" to oppose for heroes who know the truth about him; but with all the complications and challenges of opposing such a villain who's also the lawful, popular, and very capable occupant of the most powerful political office in the world.
82 downloadsThe Fifth Edition version of Champions Universe first mentioned an intriguing-sounding location on CU Earth, called the Valley of Night. (The reference has since been reprinted in the 6E update to that book.) Few details about it were ever published, and there are no plans on the part of Hero Games to expand on them. However, I was inspired by that reference, and other elements from the official setting, to develop the Valley of Night for my own Champions campaign. Thinking that other gamers might find a use for them, I posted my (rather extensive) notes to the Hero Games discussion forums -- after first asking permission from Hero Games management -- where they seemed to be generally well received. The relevant discussion thread has long since passed into the obscurity of the forum archive; but this seemed to be an appropriate place to offer this material again for interested parties. This download is a ZIP containing two files. The first is a PDF, a sort of "sourcebooklet," of most of the material I created for the Valley of Night. The second is a RTF document with additional info, mostly inspired by feedback from my fellow forumites. They describe the Valley's history, geography, unique environment and ecology, and society; more than a dozen NPCs and creatures; and numerous plots and plot seeds for using the Valley. Although inspired by official CU elements this material isn't closely tied to that setting; I designed it to be easily inserted into most superhero game campaigns. Although written with a supers game in mind, I also include notes on adapting the Valley to fantasy, pulp, modern adventure, or future sci-fi settings. The material is somewhat bare-bones in format. It lacks character sheets for any of its original characters; instead I suggest modifications to the sheets of similar characters from Hero Games's Champions publications. The modifications are to the Fifth Edition write-ups for those characters, but should pose no significant problems to people using the 6E books they appear in. There are also no maps included -- map creation being a weakness of mine -- although all locations are described in substantial detail. I hope you enjoy your exploration of the Valley of Night. Assuming you survive.
464 downloadsThis is a rebuild of the old Campaign Rules sheet that was offered in 4th Edition Champions. It gives the GM a single sheet to fill out with all the things players may need, including power level ranges, point bases, optional rules, house rules, everyman skills, and so on.