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Champions Begins, The writening

Christopher R Taylor

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OK here is the character sheet I'm using for the simplest level of sample PCs.  There's no image on it, because the images will be on separate handouts, offering a male and female version of each character with the background and basic info about the PC.  This is for "Apex" the Superman homage.


As you can see, its really simple and colorful, because each color indicates a different info box I'll be telling about in the player book.  Apex doesn't have much right now because he's just the 200 point starting version with only the most basic abilities.  You'll notice in the green box that there aren't very many stats, that's because in the first scenario these are the only ones that are used.  Later scenarios add recovery, CON, etc.  Apex never gets many abilities, he's a super simple strong tough guy that flies.  But almost none of the characters has any abilities yet because they're so basic at this point.


Combat maneuvers, things like Flash, etc are added in later chapters.

Apex Sheet.png

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OK here is a zip file containing the present Player Character choices, at their max power level for chapter 5 (the final adventure).

Before you freak out and say some of these are too complicated; they are.  But the PCs never see these sheets unless the GM wants to show them off.  These are the builds behind the scenes, the character sheets the players get to look at are much simplified.  So where it says "Hero form only" or something like that... there's no need for that in this adventure because they are always in hero form, and its ignored.  All the multipowers are straight locked "ultra" slots, so instead of being a math problem to allocate points, its all just "you can only use one at a time", and so on.


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All right, next part up.  This is the rough draft of the Player book.  This includes each chapter's version of the character sheets, two per page.  They might be better off in a separate booklet, but I don't want the PCs to have multiple copies of their character until its time for the next chapter.  No looking ahead, as it were.


Each character sheet has a front and back.  Here's Dr Nope from the 4th chapter, showing their abilities and the back with explanations of their skills and each has a little bit of info on how to play this character with the new stuff introduced this chapter.


Please let me know what you think.  Please look over what I have for any errors or missing things.  Also any artists please look at the pages and think of what could go in there.  I have LOTS of gaps in there where art is meant to go with hopefully funny and informative bits to help illustrate what is being talked about.  I envision this as finishing up somewhat like a Cracked article with some text, a goofy pic that keeps interest, a caption that makes you chuckle, and then on to the other text.


This makes the book a bit longer but hopefully readable, particularly to people who are so used to text and tweet that long form writing makes their eyes cross.




Champions Begins - Player.pdf

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Currently working on character art, and still hoping for some feedback on the two files I uploaded here for the GM and Player book.


UPDATE: here's the first pass inks on the character roster.  There is a female and male version of each, so I chose the one that is the best clear representation of their costume, rather than a badass action pose.


If you (please?) are going to work on art for the adventure, here's what the characters are basically going to look like.  Starblaze will have a starry universe areas that are presently blank on the costume, for instance, but this is basically how I have designed them.

If anyone wants to do a cooler or better design, please fire me your other ideas.


I'm not locked into color schemes for half of these.  Apex will be red, white, and gold, Avenger is gray and blue because she's the female version of Crusader -- now renamed, Momentum is Shelby Cobra blue and white, Starblaze is gold and starfield, and Trooper is black and silver, but I haven't decided on the others.  My only criteria is that they don't seem evil, they stand out from each other at a glance, and they are bright and simple to color.




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By the way, if you have a group to run this or any friends who might want to give it a try as a playtest, please when this is roughed out and presentable, contact them and give it a whirl.  Non-Hero GMs preferred, to see how well it does in teaching the game and how easy it is to follow and use.

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Fixed the stuff on the Dr Nope sheet, I hope people have noticed that a couple of these posts have an actual file attached that is not just the image and has lots in it to look over.


I'm literally posting the actual document for the GM and Player here, attached to the posts.  So that people can see them and give some feedback and editing.  You don't have to be a pro, just look at it and say "hey, dummy you misspelled' computer' on page 8!"  Well, hopefully nicer than that.


This is how I intend to present characters to the players to choose from.  Instead of a character sheet, they get these, with a male/female image of the character and a writeup of their background and abilities.  Once they choose something they like, then they get the Chapter One character sheet and we're off to the races.  In this case I have a Patrick Zircher image colored by me (for Crusader, with the name changed, since he kind of disappeared from Champions), and my female version of the costume, uncolored for now.


I am trying to get a playtest version of this done first, so people can take it and run it, then I'll worry about coloring and internal illustrations, updated maps, the cover, etc.


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Sorry I'm last to the editing party. I'll throw some stuff out there, keep what you want.



PDF page 4 says there's 4 primary characteristics but mentions only three (STR, DEX, and CON).


Later is says "the next six determine how you attack or otherwise act" but lists only five.


Under powers and abilities, the last sentence says "that's covered in other areas" you might consider adding the phrase "of the tutorial".


"Moving on Up" would be less confusing if it were just entitled "Movement" since "moving up" is slang for "leveling up".


Page 6 "keener your bean": bean is very old fashioned slang and slightly British. Kids might pick it up in context but I'd use "mind".


Page 7 "attacking someone ends your phase" omit the word "someone" in order to avoid confusion. You don't want players blasting the scenery repeatedly while thinking his phase hasn't ended because he hasn't attacked someone. 


"Putting two and two together I work out here that you can half move, and attack": awkward phrasing, omit "I work out here that".


"So if your character can move as much as 20m total, then they can choose instead to move 10m and then attack."


"There are other bits bout phases and actions": Meaning "about"?



You're inconsistent with the stylized italicized headings with some having a space between it and the following paragraph and some other headings not having the space.


"not a bloody minded action character." : "bloody-minded"


"Since this is a comic book setting, these cops" : "these particular cops"


Page 9 The cowl section refers to Avenger as "him" while the Glide section refers to Avenger as "them". Pick one or the other rather than both.


Page 10 Dr. Nope : his toxic punch says 4d6 PD melee damage but the attack really ignores PD. Is there a better way to list that attack on the character sheet?



Got to take a break, finished looking through page 13.



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Thanks for the input, this is the kind of stuff I need.  


I'm building a separate "Character book" file so the character sheets aren't in the Player Book any more, which slims it down considerably.


Unfortunately since the choice of gender for a character is up to the player, I've had to be a bit awkward in some places describing things, but a few "he's" and "her's" might have slipped in by force of habit with standard English.

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4 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Thanks for the input, this is the kind of stuff I need.  



I enjoy doing this kind of work. But unfortunately I can no longer do it for long periods of time and can't do it just anytime I please. Now it's more like "I need a good night's sleep first, nothing stressfully happening otherwise, and the stars have to align properly."


On the other hand, finally got my RV sold and gone this morning after messing with trying to sell it for 1.5 years.

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Great news on the RV, those can be hard to move.


We need playtesters.  I want to put together a quick and dirty black and white version without any cover and few interior illustrations, old maps etc for playtesting.  I have one GM buddy who has played little Hero who wants to give it a shot, and could use more.  The character art is nearly done in B/W, once that and the basic interior build is done with some more editing, I will fire off a copy to him.


Could anyone else here try it?  Or give it to someone else to try?  Doesn't matter who, this is intended to be a free product for all players.

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1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Great news on the RV, those can be hard to move.



We lost something like $27,000 on the sale. But at least it's not draining our wallets every month. It's cost us close to $4000 just to own it, without operating it, since last May. My wife loved it and had dreamed of owning one her entire life. I hated it but tolerated it for her sake. Really hurt financially because we're clawing to hold on to lower middle class status.


On the PDF, for the characters with Flight you aren't being consistent with you wording.

Fly: Spellbinder can fly up to 24m per phase.

Flight: Starblaze can fly in addition to run and jump, at 25m per phase (also needs period at end of sentence)

Flight: Trooper’s Boot jets allow them to fly in addition to run and jump, at 18m per phase (also needs period at end of sentence)


I like using the word "Flight" instead of "Fly".


I prefer the wording "can fly up to fill-in-the-blank-m per phase, instead of run or jump." That wording makes it clear that:


1) The maximum move is optional.

2) The meters in Flying doesn't also apply equally to the character's Running and Jumping speeds.

3) You can't use Flight in addition to run and in addition to jump in the same phase. (And man, did it take several tries to come up with wording which avoided misinterpreting the intended meaning of that sentence.)


I haven't given up on work on this. I've just been battling one of my (non-productive) migraines and lack of sleep so haven't spent any time looking at it.

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The Villains.  First, the Crusher Gang.  Left to right: Male Gaze, Script Kitty, Crusher, Shriekback, Trigger Warning, and The Shrew




Several are existing characters or character adaptations, such as Armstrong, Shadowfist, obviously Brick, Shift, and Crusher.

And the VIPER team Theta for the final chapter


Left to right: Armstrong, Shift, Sidewinder, Gravity, Brick, Shadowfist, Psyche, and Chilblain932257840_VIPERTeamThetaSmall.jpg.0ccf56bf45f8e25ec8ee55ae031939f2.jpg

I'll upload the Hero Designer files for all the villains later, there are a couple more.



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Page 9 Avenger

Shield Bash: Using a shield, Avenger can bash much harder, dealing 8d6 hand to hand damage Shield Block: Any attack Avenger is aware of, they can try to block with the shield for +3 DCV (9 total)

(needs period at end of each sentence)


Page 15 Street Knight

Visor: Lenses built into Street Knight’s visor grant clear vision in all but total darkness (needs period at end)


STREET KNIGHT is skilled in melee combat, but has no real ranged fighting ability. With the Grapnel Gun, Street Knight can swing rapidly from place to place, given any high point to hook on to (such as a steeple or a the top of a tall pole. (Close the parenthesis)


Page 17

Helmet: Trooper’s armored helmet grants Infrared Vision. (add explanation of Infrared vision)

Flight: Trooper’s Boot jets allow them to fly in addition to run and jump, at 18m per phase (needs period at end)


Hammer Repair: Using their hammer, Vulcan can repair anything smaller than a minivan, with a few blows. (On a personal note, I want to see Vulcan repair my cell phone by hitting it repeatedly with a hammer.)


completed through page 18



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I think we got a left/right mix-up on one of those, because it sure seems like they're both left-to-right, but going by the familiar Crusher and Brick, I think I got it.


"Trigger Warning" is a gun-bunny.  I'm embarrassed how long it took me to get that one.  :D


What's "Script Kitty" a reference to?  She's the cyborg, right?


The character image of this set that I liked best is apparently named "Male Gaze," that's ironic.

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Script Kitty is what hackers call someone who uses pre-built programs to do the job instead of on the fly or their custom stuff.  She's a thief who uses stolen stuff made by other people.  The ears aren't real on Trigger Warning, its a headband but I don't know how obvious the art will make that even when colored.  Like Male Gaze is supposed to have one of those really douchey Chad haircuts but my art skills are limited.  He's got one of the most old-school costumes, just a recycled character from my Champions campaign as a rip off Cyclops.

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This is almost ready for playtest, I have placeholder images for the player book and maps, the b&w art roughed out, and the basic layouts done.  Just need to go through editing one more pass to make sure there's no really ugly formatting problems like a missing page or art covering some text and finish organizing.


Its in the form of 4 books, possibly going to merge two:

  • The Player Book, for the players to see what is new and how it works in basic (15 pages)
  • The GM Book with the rules in more detail and adventure in it (45 pages)
  • The Character Book with the PC cards and character sheets for each chapter (61 pages)
  • The Villain Book with the character sheets for all the bad guys. (12 pages)

Those last two maybe I will merge.  If I had my dream for this project, it would be bundled with like 6 hero dice, Champions Complete, a GM screen, a USB Key drive with Hero Designer and Hero Combat Manager on it, and a modern updated version of the Rose's map.  Put that in a box for like 50 bucks and sell it as a starter kit for Champions.


If you or anyone you know can and will playtest this to knock out any kinks and report how well it does teaching, please let me know.  Cons, Friendly Neighborhood Gaming Shop, family, whatever.

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OK another question for the folks here.  The Player's Book is riddled with images and captions, trying to break up the text into smaller bits and make it hold attention better.  I have two different options for formatting, as shown below.


Now, the first option saves space and packs in more into fewer pages, but has longer sections of text (eek!  its longer than a Text Message!).  The second option makes the text look less intimidating and long, but takes up a lot more space.  Any thoughts on which would be better and come across best for new players (particularly younger ones)?



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