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Champions Begins, The writening


Christopher R Taylor
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OK as I get a first draft down to sections of this I'm going to post them as pdfs here for people to look over and comment on.

 

My goals are these:

  • To create a package that has a book for GMs and a book for Players
  • For each book to be fun, easy to read, and teach the system
  • The scenario is in tutorial format (familiar to gamers) introducing concepts one bloc at a time, until they know enough to play the game without the tutorial
  • I'm using the old Viper's Nest/Microfilm Madness scenario updated for modern times (so, no microfilm)
  • Each chapter has an intro to the rules used in this section, then the episode of the scenario
  • Players will have pre-made PCs to choose from in very familiar and well-loved archetypes with fun and colorful names and costumes
  • Each entire book should be slender and filled with images for all ages
  • The end result is intended as a free product for players to download and use
  • Ideally, eventually, I'd love to see this packaged as a box set with dice, a map, a GM screen, that kind of thing.

 

Please be constructive and positive, any nit picking or troublemaking comments will be cheerfully ignored.

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In terms of what is needed for artwork: definitely anything viper-related, and we need some good solid modern, cool designs for superheros.  With those two elements and just regular people we've got the basics covered for fight scenes.  Everyone here should know the scenario really well, there won't be a ton of changes.  And while most of the same villains in the original publication will be used, I might swap out a few for others that help show how and give experience in different sections of the rules (mental powers, for example)

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OK here's the intro to the GM book, I have some placeholder art I did of Viper agents a while back I'll stick into these, but they are dated (VIPER doesn't look like that any more).  This gives a sense of the basic layout and look I have in mind, and how I tried to bring GMs into the ideas of the game and playing RPGs at all.  The player book I intend to be simpler, less wordy, and more image-y

 

Champions Begins Intro.pdf

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Have we thought about what Dragon Branch members are going to be in this adventure?

 

I definitely can see Brick here. Either Occolne (eye laser guy) or Halfjack, but not both. Maybe someone with no stats like Adder, Copperhead, and/or Hiss.

 

Definitely not: Ripper, Vipera, Critical(? Invisible brick)

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The original adventure had Armadillo, Bluejay, Brick, Cheshire Cat, Dragonfly, Green Dragon, Howler, Icicle, and Pulsar.  Rather than be too specifically out of the VIPER books I want villains who are super simple and easy to understand, with really stripped down powers not requiring knowledge of the game to understand (so no multipowers, etc).  This is meant to be a super beginners basic book so we don't want anything that is too complicated.

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OK Here are some proposed PCs for the players to pick from when they play the game.

  • Blurred Lion: cat girl/boy with super speed
  • Dr Nope: Spider-man clone with poison attack instead of webbing
  • Honey Badger: Wolverine/X-23 ripoff
  • Patriot: Captain America ripoff
  • Princess: strong little girl who looks like an anime character
  • Spellbinder: mentalist disguised as a Dr Strange type
  • Street Knight: Batman ripoff
  • Supernova: energy projector
  • Tank: big, strong, and tough; has a big blast that is inaccurate and can only be used once per turn
  • Trooper: Iron Man ripoff
  • Vulcan: Thor variant (with a hammer, but it fixes or makes things, like Fix-it Felix from the Wreck-it Ralph movie)

All but Princess are designed to be either male or female, and we'll have to have images for either variant.  I want enough to cover the bases but not so many its ridiculous.  We need to cover all the "I wanna play Superman!" possibilities, plus highlight some cool things Hero can do.  I have ideas for some others but I don't want to get carried away (a shrinker, a shapeshifter, etc).

 

The idea I have in mind is for there to be multiple versions of each character, starting at lower and super simple power (you can punch and run around first chapter, next chapter you get skills, next one you get another power, etc).  Each chapter, more powers and abilities are introduced in roughly equivalent point values, although all the costs etc are behind the scenes. The final epic confrontation is with all powers and abilities, and all the rules in place.

 

What I need from you is input on the names and concepts, suggestions on whether or not a character should be included, things I missed, and input on making the characters feel new, fresh, and engaging to younger players. For example, is Blurred Lines too old a reference?  Do kids know about the Honey Badger now?

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On 1/27/2021 at 1:56 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

OK Here are some proposed PCs for the players to pick from when they play the game.

  • Blurred Lion: cat girl/boy with super speed
  • Dr Nope: Spider-man clone with poison attack instead of webbing
  • Honey Badger: Wolverine/X-23 ripoff
  • Patriot: Captain America ripoff
  • Princess: strong little girl who looks like an anime character
  • Spellbinder: mentalist disguised as a Dr Strange type
  • Street Knight: Batman ripoff
  • Supernova: energy projector
  • Tank: big, strong, and tough; has a big blast that is inaccurate and can only be used once per turn
  • Trooper: Iron Man ripoff
  • Vulcan: Thor variant (with a hammer, but it fixes or makes things, like Fix-it Felix from the Wreck-it Ralph movie)

All but Princess are designed to be either male or female, and we'll have to have images for either variant.  I want enough to cover the bases but not so many its ridiculous.  We need to cover all the "I wanna play Superman!" possibilities, plus highlight some cool things Hero can do.  I have ideas for some others but I don't want to get carried away (a shrinker, a shapeshifter, etc).

 

The idea I have in mind is for there to be multiple versions of each character, starting at lower and super simple power (you can punch and run around first chapter, next chapter you get skills, next one you get another power, etc).  Each chapter, more powers and abilities are introduced in roughly equivalent point values, although all the costs etc are behind the scenes. The final epic confrontation is with all powers and abilities, and all the rules in place.

 

What I need from you is input on the names and concepts, suggestions on whether or not a character should be included, things I missed, and input on making the characters feel new, fresh, and engaging to younger players. For example, is Blurred Lines too old a reference?  Do kids know about the Honey Badger now?

 

Honey Badger is a published Marvel Comics character who is a rip-off of Wolverine. (She's either a clone variant of Wolverine or daughter of a Wolverine clone, I forget which.)

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Well shoot, too bad because that's a sweet name but Marvel is notoriously litigious even if they don't have a legal leg to stand on.  Hero has already been sued by them in the past, I don't want to hand them any more troubles.  Kind of pathetic for them to make a clone of X-23 to begin with, let alone use that name, but that's modern Marvel Comics for you.

 

How about... Red Raptor?  A savate/kick boxer with a foot claw instead.  Marvel has made just about every lame variant of hand claws there is now.

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A honey badger (the animal) is also known as a Ratel. You might be able to use that name.

 

Also, they (Marvel) can't copyright or trademark the name "Honey Badger". The term existed long before they came up with the character and is therefore "prior art". They can copyright/trademark the character concept (their particular depiction of the character). If your "Honey Badger" is too close to the same character concept as theirs (and it sounds like it is), they you're right to stay away from it. Instead, if you were creating a cute, furry children's character that looks like a badger or weasel and loves honey and in no way resembles their character, you should be okay.

 

Now, having said that, if Marvel wanted to be chippy about it, they could sue anyway (over the cute one) knowing the only similarity is the name and they'd lose at trial, banking (pun intended) that you wouldn't be willing to spend the money to fight them.

 

IANAL, but I did extensive research in this area years ago and this is what I remember about it. Things may have changed, so YMMV.

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On 1/26/2021 at 11:57 AM, Christopher R Taylor said:

The original adventure had Armadillo, Bluejay, Brick, Cheshire Cat, Dragonfly, Green Dragon, Howler, Icicle, and Pulsar.  Rather than be too specifically out of the VIPER books I want villains who are super simple and easy to understand, with really stripped down powers not requiring knowledge of the game to understand (so no multipowers, etc).  This is meant to be a super beginners basic book so we don't want anything that is too complicated.

I would change the names of certain villains. Cheshire Cat is too caught up with GRAB. 

 

Ok...he is probably the only one I would change for another telwporting martial artist. Simply give him a new name and background without the changes in his powers and presto.

 

Oh, and I believe Dragonfly is now called Hornet or something like that.

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3 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Well shoot, too bad because that's a sweet name but Marvel is notoriously litigious even if they don't have a legal leg to stand on.  Hero has already been sued by them in the past, I don't want to hand them any more troubles.  Kind of pathetic for them to make a clone of X-23 to begin with, let alone use that name, but that's modern Marvel Comics for you.

 

How about... Red Raptor?  A savate/kick boxer with a foot claw instead.  Marvel has made just about every lame variant of hand claws there is now.


   Again, Marvel got there first. It’s like the South Park episode where Butters evil persona is trying to come up with an evil plan, but everything he thinks of was already done on The Simpsons. 
  Marvel has/had a villain I think, named Gamecock, or something. A semi-Voodoo guy dressed as a black fighting rooster. 🐔  Large claws on his feet were a prime attack.

          P.S. I just checked the Marvel’s website on Fandom.com.  I was right, he was a Captain America villain. Kind of a South American version of Batroc the Leaper.

   As I said in another thread, if I can be any help in writing or coming up with backstories or any writing duties, please let me know.

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Not nitpicking, just throwing out a thought. Perhaps Dr. Nope should have a power affinity with an array of Entangles (or even Drains), instead of poison. The name suggests a denying of something, whereas I'm not feeling the name associated with poison. An entangle denies the bad guy from attacking/retreating/etc. Your thought?

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7 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Well shoot, too bad because that's a sweet name but Marvel is notoriously litigious even if they don't have a legal leg to stand on.  Hero has already been sued by them in the past, I don't want to hand them any more troubles.  Kind of pathetic for them to make a clone of X-23 to begin with, let alone use that name, but that's modern Marvel Comics for you.

 

How about... Red Raptor?  A savate/kick boxer with a foot claw instead.  Marvel has made just about every lame variant of hand claws there is now.

 

https://animals.mom.com/eight-types-badgers-4685.html

 

"The eight species of badgers are; the Eurasian badger (Meles meles), American badger (Taxidea taxus), the honey badger (Mellivora capensis; also called sand badger or ratel), the hog badger (Arctonyx collaris), three species of ferret badger (Melogale), the Indonesian stink badger/Teledu (Mydaus javanensis) and the Palawan or Calamian stink badger (Suillotaxus marchei)."

 

I don't think the name Stink Badger has been taken.

 

You're welcome.

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OK I've been struggling with something here, and its character builds.  I have no problem building Champions characters, having made hundreds, maybe thousands over the years.  No, the problem is that the standard Superhero per Champions 6th edition is 400 points (and 75 complications).  This is... its a lot of points.  So many points that it is challenging to create a character that isn't excessively complicated, overly powerful, or lengthy for this project.

 

Anything over 300 points its hard to build without stacking in very powerful abilities (over 60 active points) or just lots of them.  I get it, the idea is there are lots of options and particularly skills and such for Champions these days.  But, for this project, we don't want heaps o' skills and abilities.  There are three reasons for this

 

1) The simpler the character, the easier to learn

2) I have to do a writeup of everything each character has, and the more stuff on character sheets, the longer these details get and it turns into a tome

3) The idea here is a showcase of how to play Champions, to pull in players, not show off diversity and rich, fully fleshed out characters.

 

At most I want each PC to have maybe 4-5 skills, including combat skill levels.  With a lot of overlap, since there will be more than 10 options and most groups aren't bigger than 6 players. So I want at least one character to likely have persuasion, one to likely have conversation etc, that kind of thing for example.

 

400 points gives too much variety and power for this project.  So do I go with lower point values (my very strong preference), make the characters extra point value powerful in their final form, or what?

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I would say try 300 point characters as 250 main points and 50 complication points, and then put in a note for players and game masters that the point level is not the normal one, but used to create simple characters for teaching use. The normal is 475 points (400 from main points and 75 from complications).

 

If this is even too much, do 200 main points and 50 in Complication points.

 

Don't forget to build the villains the same way.

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2 hours ago, steriaca said:

I would say try 300 point characters as 250 main points and 50 complication points, and then put in a note for players and game masters that the point level is not the normal one, but used to create simple characters for teaching use. The normal is 475 points (400 from main points and 75 from complications).

 

If this is even too much, do 200 main points and 50 in Complication points.

 

Don't forget to build the villains the same way.

Agree with starting at 300pt making clear that this is a low-powered superheroic level. 

 

But in 6th of you you don't add complication points to the main points, if you have 400pt with 75pt of complications, you still have a 400pt character

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8 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

OK I've been struggling with something here, and its character builds.  I have no problem building Champions characters, having made hundreds, maybe thousands over the years.  No, the problem is that the standard Superhero per Champions 6th edition is 400 points (and 75 complications).  This is... its a lot of points.  So many points that it is challenging to create a character that isn't excessively complicated, overly powerful, or lengthy for this project.

 

I agree. 300 points seems to lend itself to more straightforward builds, without a lot of fluff.

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