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Help me create a Champions campaign using only material from supers games.


dean day
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Hi guys,

I have been running and playing in rpgs a long time, since i was eleven! I am in my early fifties now and champions was one of my first games I played long term through my school years along with Runequest and D&D.

I look back to that childhood campaign with much affection, such early scenarios as Viper's Nest remain very much in my consciousness. I played all the way through 4th edition and then came back to the game during 5th edition for a while.

 

My current group however (of about 10 years now) where always much more into fantasy and science fiction games than supers, as none of them were comic readers. However over the last ten years this has slowly changed as the Marvel cinematic universe and to a lesser extent the DC tv series have slowly got them interested in a campaign. We a couple of years ago played Sentinel comics for a bit but that stumbled long term due to not really having a robust experience system (my group loves experience systems if its a long term campaign).

 

We are currently playing Warhammer fantasy 4th edition and will probably play that for another year, but I would really love to finally play a long term supers campaign using the hero system so I can finally make use of all the supers rpg material I own. 

I have a lot....

Champions material from 2nd to 4th edition

Nearly the whole run of 5th edition

Nearly everything mutants and masterminds has published

a smattering of villains & vigilantes

Lots of Icons material

silver age sentinels

sentinels comics rpg

and other bits and pieces from other games like heroes unlimited.

 

What I want to do is make the most of this material i have in my home and finally make use of it! I would like your help in making all this material into one overall kick arse supers setting for my players to play in long term.

I also have many other games of different genres that I would like to add bits from, games that comes to mind is Conspiracy X and Call of Cthulhu. what I would  like to do with this thread is work out  a way how to incorporate elements from all this material and jettison what does not work.

 

Here are my aims with this campaign and this thread. 

 

1. Set up a campaign for long term supers play, with enough depth and breath to keep my players entertained and wanting more.

2. Relearn the game. I am choosing 5th edition revised as that was my most recent version and one I am at least semi comfortable with. I dont want to learn 6th, I have it but I am firmly in the camp of figured characteristics basing of primary ones, maybe its because I played 2nd edition onwards but It was always a part of the game i loved. I know the arguments about going to 6t, but its not going to happen so no point trying to persuade me on this thread. I dont want it descending into edition wars, though I would love advice on builds as i relearn 5th.

3. I want to keep builds pretty lean and simple much more 3rd and 4th edition style builds rather than 5th and 6th builds. Partly for me as relearn the game but mainly for my players who have never played hero and I dont want to scare off straight away with huge complicated sheets, they are all system mastery guys, so I will let them redesign as they go as they learn.

4. Use all the bloody material I have. This is maybe the most important point for this thread where I need help. I DO want to use most of the material but i obviously realize that much of it will be not needed and redundant and choices will be have to be made. I am looking for your long experience about good and bad setting elements in champions history and how to incorporate other settings into the material.

5. My players are most comfortable or rather have most knowledge in the mainstream DC/Marvel universes, so i want my setting to hit all those beats first up, but I also want to make it a bit darker with elements of horror, conspiracy, science fiction and even fantasy gaming material into the mix, but at it core I want them to feel they understand the setting and its meta rules of superheroes.

6. Help me with hero designer,  i have bought it but mot used it yet. I also have Realm Works but not sure how useful that will be for a supers campaign,  so am looking for help and advice on how to record and keep straight all the info and characters, places organisations I will be using to make sure the campaign is as easy to run long term as possible. How do I use hero designer to do this? are there other sites or programs out there that would be super useful.

7. Time travel being a strong aspect of the campaign. As I am going to use all this great setting material I want the players to come across it, I have a feeling that time travel should incorporate into the campaign somehow so not all these supers I am putting into the campaign are active now maybe a more even spread of characters over the last 60 years and a big WW2 campaign bolt on and Victorian bolt on so I can use all that great era material and then give me a chance to build up some great heroic legacies into the present day.

 

Sorry for the long start to the thread, but  I have a year or so to prepare and I want to make it the best campaign I have ever run and if i get it right the last one as well. I humbly request everyone to give me as much help and advice as possible in a detailed way on setting elements, groups, places, individuals, things, builds to make it hit all those goals I am after.

 

Dean

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Superhero Population and Demographics Decisions

I suppose my first decision is basically how many supers there are and where they are? and a sub decision of what qualifies as a super in the first place. well lets define that first.

 

What counts as being a "Super"

I dont want to define it to narrowly, but in my own terms from a GM, i want to include everyone counting as a super that is capable and likely to be potentially included in combat. So I would still include in MY superhero population anyone that is competing on training alone or equipment or gadgets or a combination of. At this point I am not worried about where their "powers" or combat capability came from, but more the fact I can use them as friends or foes of my players characters. I do want to define where certain power and character types come from I think that is very important for flavor but not yet.

 

Where are they?

Although growing up on the whole USA is where 90% of supers come from or live is fine, I do want to shift that a bit, where most small or medium countries most probably have a a few supers each. I dont only want one in Poland, one in new Zealand etc. I do like the idea that some countries have more than normal though outside of pure population models, like United Kingdom, Egypt, Japan etc, all for valid reasons and that would be reflected in the type of super that country generates, so using those examples again UK and Egypt would have a much larger number of mystical or magical supers, and Japan a lot more tech or mutation origin supers. Are there any good discussions in books that you know of about distribution or maybe threads here?

 

How many?

I want a large campaign as I want to use most of the material I have got and also its just more fun. What would be a good population percentage on average? I want to give the impression to the players that in the present day their are lots of supers running around, with a definite slant towards evil rather than good, and that has built up steadily over time, but there be concrete reasons as to why this has happened, i.e. every super type or power has a finite number of reasons as to where these supers have come from. I wonder how many characters I actually have in published material for champions M&M and other games?

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Unfortunately it's best to build your world out from your player characters, which you don't have yet.

Their Hunteds, DNPCs and so on are the next most important characters. The Hunteds, in particular, should drive a lot of the action - they're not just wandering monsters, or people who just show up in a situation that's really about someone else.

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:hail:

 

Dean Day, you're a man(?) after my own heart. I love rich diverse world settings with lots of history, many interesting places to go and people to see. I probably don't need to mention this, but just in case: Your players likely won't need or want so much detail right away, so don't feel like you need to nail everything down at the start. As your players earn more Experience and their characters grow more powerful and prominent, they'll start to expand their adventuring horizons and interact more with the super scene in the wider world, so you can introduce elements that are appropriate in a piecemeal fashion. One great advantage in patterning your campaign after Marvel and DC comics is that the setting is the modern world, just with supers and a few other tweaks. So you don't need to explain how most things work to your players.

 

My recommendation is to use the 5E Champions Universe as the foundation for your campaign, and not just because I'm a fan of the setting (similarly to you, I own almost everything ever published for Champions). This is a world which already has much of what you ask for: long rich history with a detailed timeline, not only extending backward millions of years in prehistory, but if desired, a thousand years into the future; large diverse supers population spread over the whole world; a universe and Multiverse that's well defined and documented, to travel out to or bring elements in from. It's also broad and flexible enough to slot in elements from other game worlds, so you can incorporate materials from the other games you own without much difficulty. The book entitled, appropriately enough, Champions Universe, gives you the broadest overview and foundation for nearly all those elements.

 

If you own the Champions genre book, that addresses many of the concerns you raise about supers demographics and distribution, campaign style and tone, power levels, and advice and guidelines for just about every issue related to running a supers campaign. I would strongly recommend looking over that, then coming back to these forums for more advice if you still have questions.

 

I know you aren't interested in Sixth Edition for play purposes, but certain books in that line are concentrated sources of setting "lore," which you can use when you want to broaden your game's horizon, e.g. Champions Beyond for the space/cosmic side of the CU, and Book Of The Empress for a deep dive into the Champs Multiverse. If you did want to use any characters in those books, conversion to 5E isn't hard, and there are guidelines available to facilitate the process.

 

Finally, I'd like to refer you to a couple of documents addressing specific priorities you mentioned. First is a free file downloadable from this website, Hero in 2 Pages. Created by Bill Keyes, Narf T. Mouse, and Steven S. Long, this PDF summarizes all the rule mechanics players need to run their characters in a game, on only two pages. It makes an excellent handout to newcomers to Hero System. You can build their initial characters for them at the start of play until they get used to the system, then let them explore chargen possibilities for themselves. This version of the document is written with Sixth Edition in mind, but the basic mechanics haven't changed between editions, so it will still work fine.

 

Since you also mention an interest in time-travel adventures, here is where you can download a file created by Steve Long in the early days of 5E Hero Sysem, The Hero Universe. You may not be aware of it, but all the different world settings published for 5E by Hero Games authors -- fantasy, pulp, modern day, sci-fi future -- are all part of a single universe and timeline. This document lays out the broad parameters of that timeline, as well as the universal constants and variables that the universe operates under. A few given details changed as the concept of the setting evolved over time, but it will still give you a good sense of what this universe is about and what you might want to modify.

 

I hope that was helpful, but you're welcome to ask for more. I know you'll get more good advice from other posters to this thread. :)

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Kudos on wanting to spread supers around the world. Even if you choose one city as the "home turf" for the PCs ane set a lot of the action there, people move around the world a lot nowadays. This would seem especially reasonable for supervillains, who might want to stay a step ahead of the law or who seek richer spoils than are available in just one city or country.

 

Beyond that, the most important "super demographics" question is how "open" you want the campaign to be. Like, do you want intense, ongoing conflicts between a limited number of characters and factions? Or do you want the freedom to bring in new characters without worrying how they fit into some larger scheme?

 

If you want a wide-open setting with an indefinite number of supers running around, your campaign prep should focus on the major characters and factions. For instance, is there an international law enforcement force analogous to the CU's UNTIL or Marvel's SHIELD? (I make no judgment either way.)

 

Conversely, is there a world-spanning criminal group comparable to VIPER?

 

Who are the Master Villains at the apex of power? This is a particularly good place to show that supers aren't all Americans. (Like, in my own campaign Professor Proton comes from India, the chaos-goddess Tiamat comes from the Middle East, the ecoterrorist Baron Frost is European, the robotic Monad appeared first in China, the Warlock comes from South America, and so on.)

 

Are there any factions that cut through the supers community, such as Marvel mutant supremacists vs. mutant haters, with advocates of coexistince in between? Or for something not quite so done to death, the mystical villains in the CU who seek a Dark Renaissance of magic?

 

That's enough to start.

 

Dean Shomshak

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12 hours ago, assault said:

Unfortunately it's best to build your world out from your player characters, which you don't have yet.

Their Hunteds, DNPCs and so on are the next most important characters. The Hunteds, in particular, should drive a lot of the action - they're not just wandering monsters, or people who just show up in a situation that's really about someone else.

Yes, I agree totally, one thing in my favor though regarding hunteds is that my players will give me queue's about what kind of things they want in their background, but slowly, they are not the type of players to immediately write up a background story, instead this will be fleshed out with time so Hunted's will be kept open and fill out with play so I have options there. 

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11 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

:hail:

 

Dean Day, you're a man(?) after my own heart. I love rich diverse world settings with lots of history, many interesting places to go and people to see. I probably don't need to mention this, but just in case: Your players likely won't need or want so much detail right away, so don't feel like you need to nail everything down at the start. As your players earn more Experience and their characters grow more powerful and prominent, they'll start to expand their adventuring horizons and interact more with the super scene in the wider world, so you can introduce elements that are appropriate in a piecemeal fashion. One great advantage in patterning your campaign after Marvel and DC comics is that the setting is the modern world, just with supers and a few other tweaks. So you don't need to explain how most things work to your players.

 

My recommendation is to use the 5E Champions Universe as the foundation for your campaign, and not just because I'm a fan of the setting (similarly to you, I own almost everything ever published for Champions). This is a world which already has much of what you ask for: long rich history with a detailed timeline, not only extending backward millions of years in prehistory, but if desired, a thousand years into the future; large diverse supers population spread over the whole world; a universe and Multiverse that's well defined and documented, to travel out to or bring elements in from. It's also broad and flexible enough to slot in elements from other game worlds, so you can incorporate materials from the other games you own without much difficulty. The book entitled, appropriately enough, Champions Universe, gives you the broadest overview and foundation for nearly all those elements.

 

If you own the Champions genre book, that addresses many of the concerns you raise about supers demographics and distribution, campaign style and tone, power levels, and advice and guidelines for just about every issue related to running a supers campaign. I would strongly recommend looking over that, then coming back to these forums for more advice if you still have questions.

 

I know you aren't interested in Sixth Edition for play purposes, but certain books in that line are concentrated sources of setting "lore," which you can use when you want to broaden your game's horizon, e.g. Champions Beyond for the space/cosmic side of the CU, and Book Of The Empress for a deep dive into the Champs Multiverse. If you did want to use any characters in those books, conversion to 5E isn't hard, and there are guidelines available to facilitate the process.

 

Finally, I'd like to refer you to a couple of documents addressing specific priorities you mentioned. First is a free file downloadable from this website, Hero in 2 Pages. Created by Bill Keyes, Narf T. Mouse, and Steven S. Long, this PDF summarizes all the rule mechanics players need to run their characters in a game, on only two pages. It makes an excellent handout to newcomers to Hero System. You can build their initial characters for them at the start of play until they get used to the system, then let them explore chargen possibilities for themselves. This version of the document is written with Sixth Edition in mind, but the basic mechanics haven't changed between editions, so it will still work fine.

 

Since you also mention an interest in time-travel adventures, here is where you can download a file created by Steve Long in the early days of 5E Hero Sysem, The Hero Universe. You may not be aware of it, but all the different world settings published for 5E by Hero Games authors -- fantasy, pulp, modern day, sci-fi future -- are all part of a single universe and timeline. This document lays out the broad parameters of that timeline, as well as the universal constants and variables that the universe operates under. A few given details changed as the concept of the setting evolved over time, but it will still give you a good sense of what this universe is about and what you might want to modify.

 

I hope that was helpful, but you're welcome to ask for more. I know you'll get more good advice from other posters to this thread. :)

Lord Liaden, thank you so much for taking the time to right such a detailed reply! really appreciated. Fleshing things out as much as I can is probably as much for my own benefit as well as for them, but i am super aware that some players in my group will be throwing all sorts of questions at me about background and setting when we start so I have learned to be prepared. Especially as i have fought over the years to get a supers campaign to the table, I want to make sure they are impressed and find the setting I create both fun and detailed and make sense logically.

 

Regarding the 5th edition champions setting as the basis for the campaign as a whole, yes I agree whole heartedly  but there are many pieces from pre 5th edition i love that were not carried over for some reason to 5th (Zodiac, VOICE, The Protectors, The Blood, The Circle, Nearly all of Strike Force come instantly to mind.) I have never been enamored of the 5th edition heroes much, especially the hero teams, Yes I know my players are the main heroes yadah, yadah, but I will need strong hero npcs to reflect to them the kind of supers world they are used to watching (DC/Marvel) I have always felt the champions universe was always so much stronger in the villains department than the hero side, so I will need to do a lot of work there, luckily however M&M is strong here as was Silver Age Sentinels and Sentinels Comics so I have options, especially if I use a lot of the Strike Force material as well.

 

I do own most of the 6th edition supers line I think including the three villain books and the Champions genre book (which I think is an outstanding product) so will have a read of that regarding populations and demographics and make some decisions and post, thank you  for the advice.

 

The hero in two pages sounds like an excellent idea, I have a player who is very hit and miss with systems, if he gets into it quickly he is a champion of that system and gets system mastery, but if he does not get into it quickly he glazes over and shrugs and its very hard to get him interested after, what makes this worse if its a negative reaction is that he is a leader within the group so the others often follow his opinions, so i have to lay the ground work carefully with him for the hero system.

Thanks once again for your interest and time, i hope you can keep giving me advice!

 

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8 hours ago, DShomshak said:

Kudos on wanting to spread supers around the world. Even if you choose one city as the "home turf" for the PCs ane set a lot of the action there, people move around the world a lot nowadays. This would seem especially reasonable for supervillains, who might want to stay a step ahead of the law or who seek richer spoils than are available in just one city or country.

 

Beyond that, the most important "super demographics" question is how "open" you want the campaign to be. Like, do you want intense, ongoing conflicts between a limited number of characters and factions? Or do you want the freedom to bring in new characters without worrying how they fit into some larger scheme?

 

If you want a wide-open setting with an indefinite number of supers running around, your campaign prep should focus on the major characters and factions. For instance, is there an international law enforcement force analogous to the CU's UNTIL or Marvel's SHIELD? (I make no judgment either way.)

 

Conversely, is there a world-spanning criminal group comparable to VIPER?

 

Who are the Master Villains at the apex of power? This is a particularly good place to show that supers aren't all Americans. (Like, in my own campaign Professor Proton comes from India, the chaos-goddess Tiamat comes from the Middle East, the ecoterrorist Baron Frost is European, the robotic Monad appeared first in China, the Warlock comes from South America, and so on.)

 

Are there any factions that cut through the supers community, such as Marvel mutant supremacists vs. mutant haters, with advocates of coexistince in between? Or for something not quite so done to death, the mystical villains in the CU who seek a Dark Renaissance of magic?

 

That's enough to start.

 

Dean Shomshak

Thank you for replying sir, Yes, i dont want to overdo the population shift but make it feel like their is a dynamic world of supers outside the US at least. You are right it would make sense for a lot of mid tier and low tier villains at least to stay OUT of the USA and its much higher concentration of super heroes and teams to foil them.

 

I definitely want a global force of some kind and also the major nations having their own governmental groups dealing with supers. I have not decided from my material yet which groups (UNTIL/PRIMUS/AEGIS)

and I also have a lot of con X material I love which has secret government groups such as the Black Book vs Aegis (that name again!) but yes I do want a Nick fury like organisation or three running round but probably make most of them work in their own national interests so I can often have them work in direct opposition to the pc's rather than always act as straight allies (I was always very fond of the Henry Peter Gyrich character in marvel and how he made the Avengers lives a misery). 

 

I will absolutely be using VIPER as it is one of my favorite parts of the Champions setting and almost is so important to not use it would be a crime and although I have not read them for many a year I own both the 4th and 5th edition VIPER source books so will be looking at those closely as to what bits I want. I want a few villainous organisations and another I will be using for sure is ARGENT always liked them.

 

Regarding master villains, I think this is where Champions shines and I will be using both Doctor Destroyer and Mechanon for sure but will be dialing back on their personal power levels hugely as in my opinion post 4th edition they almost became so powerful as to be unusable for most campaigns , especially starting ones. They can still have all their resources at their disposal, i just want my pc's to have at least a chance against them in a end of adventure fight! M&M also has some great master villains I will probably port over as well. 

 

I do want some marvel style mutant worries but dial it way back so it does not dominate the campaign landscape. More in the style of 1980's X-Men comics rather than how it exploded in the last thirty years.

I am quite interested in getting the new Institute for Human Advancement source book (i was never impressed with the old supplement on mutants the mutant file, but maybe I should reread it I am sure it has some gems) 

But I suppose how much the Mutant question will impact my campaign depends if any of my players pick mutant as an origin?

 

As regards mystical/magical villains I was always very partial to Dark Seraph and the crowns of Krim. I own a lot of your work on the mystical side of the setting but never given it a deep read, are there any mystical threats you particularly recommend? not sure about DEMON I think i would prefer to use more Cthulhu like cults, but not sure yet. I do for sure want the Circle from 3rd edition to be a part of the setting and be the premier hero group for mystical shenanigans, always loved those guys and they had a clear purpose within the setting which was great for a hero group.  

22 minutes ago, death tribble said:

Look at how Aaron Allston Strike Force campaign started. The heroes got involved when one of the big bads was trading with a criminal organisation. They disrupted this earning the attention of the villains and gave them their first mystery to solve. 

Yep i love me some Strike Force. I am no way at the stage yet for individual starting adventures, I suppose I will decide on those once they have characters in place. What I want to do is build a setting using the majority of my super rpg material which is a huge amount lol. 

 

Do you use parts of the champions universe? and if so which bits and why?

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Fictional US Cities or Real US Cities

One of my first decisions will be if I use my fictional city us source books or not? I have a lot of these, Millennium city, Hudson City, Vibora Bay, San Angelo, Freedom City, Emerald City, I may have more but these come to mind. I want to use them as this goes along with the main tenant of using as much of my material as possible, also I always liked the DC idea of fictional cities.

 

I want the PC group to have adventures worldwide or at least at a national level so they would see some use. the real decision point is to have the fictional cities to exist AS WELL As the real cities or to effectively replace a city on a case by case basis. I think I will go with replacing cities so not to spike the US population and also it makes the campaign world more unique and says this is a different reality.

 

My question to you guys then is what cities should they each replace? I am a bit fuzzy on the details without a reread but I think of the top of my head the following possibilities.

 

Millennium City i know is a pretty much direct rebuild of Detroit so that ones a given.

Hudson City - is this a Chicago analogue? is that reasonable?

Vibora Bay - I know is a southern city is New Orleans a good choice for replacement?

San Angelo - I know is southern California is it big enough to replace LA or a smaller city instead?

Freedom City - I know is the east coast maybe Boston?

Emerald City - West Coast again, more north I think, San Francisco?

 

I know there is also Empire City for silver age sentinels which I think is a more of less direct analogue of New York but not sure how much material there is for it, but I find that quite cool.

 

Are there any more supers cities that have been done that I dont own? I have heard of one called Bedlam City I think and I think there were one or two for Heroes Unlimited. Any others?

what are your thoughts about which cities should replace what?

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Fictional cities and non-fictional cities have their own merits. You know, or can easily find out, things about a real city and if it is your home town you don't have to explain much things (like for example if you and your players are from Milwaukee Wisconsin you don't have to explain Summerfest). Using fictional cities allows you to change things which are much harder to do with a real city.

 

Champions have Millennium City (Detroit, but changed enough to actually be a whole new city) and Vibora Bay, while Dark Champions has Hudson Bay (which also exists in the Champions Universe).

 

There are also various third party fictional cities (San Angelo comes to mind easily, we a long time ago did a whole city based on rock and roll music with the doomed superhero Radiostar [who of course was killed by the Video Villain]).

 

The ultimate choice is up to you. We can't make the choice for you.

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28 minutes ago, steriaca said:

Fictional cities and non-fictional cities have their own merits. You know, or can easily find out, things about a real city and if it is your home town you don't have to explain much things (like for example if you and your players are from Milwaukee Wisconsin you don't have to explain Summerfest). Using fictional cities allows you to change things which are much harder to do with a real city.

 

Champions have Millennium City (Detroit, but changed enough to actually be a whole new city) and Vibora Bay, while Dark Champions has Hudson Bay (which also exists in the Champions Universe).

 

There are also various third party fictional cities (San Angelo comes to mind easily, we a long time ago did a whole city based on rock and roll music with the doomed superhero Radiostar [who of course was killed by the Video Villain]).

 

The ultimate choice is up to you. We can't make the choice for you.

I had chosen to use them, I was asking more for advice about which cities they should each replace.

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I'm kinda proud of my work here, othoe they are merely ideas and not solid. 

17 minutes ago, dean day said:

I had chosen to use them, I was asking more for advice about which cities they should each replace.

It doesn't actually matter what city they replace. Your overthinking it. The new city doesn't actually have to replace an already existing city. For example, Gotham City exists alongside New York City. Metropolis exists alongside Chicago. And nobody cares where Coast City or Star City is located (except that Coast City needs to in fact be near a coast).

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1 hour ago, steriaca said:

I'm kinda proud of my work here, othoe they are merely ideas and not solid. 

It doesn't actually matter what city they replace. Your overthinking it. The new city doesn't actually have to replace an already existing city. For example, Gotham City exists alongside New York City. Metropolis exists alongside Chicago. And nobody cares where Coast City or Star City is located (except that Coast City needs to in fact be near a coast).

Just my personal preference to replace them, It tells my players they are not in Kansas anymore lol. I will look at Paradise City thank you. 

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Superhero Groups

Have never been impressed with many of the 5th/6th edition superhero groups in the champions setting, I much preferred the older ones in previous editions. and again I understand my players characters are the most important and will use them sparingly as allies/rivals but as I said previously I want to build a dynamic, big, robust supers setting so I need quite a few groups spread around the world filling different niches and roles.

 

Ones I will be definitely using are the following

 

The Guardians 

Always liked the cryptic references to these guys in previous old editions. I  know their were some threads building them in 5th/6th edition.

 

Strike Force & Shadow Warriors

My favorite rpg hero team of all time bar none. Will be using both groups for sure.

 

The Protectors

my 2nd favorite of all time from the adventure "To Serve and Protect". Very well thought out supers team with each character being unique.

 

The Atom Family

Love this homage to the Fantastic Four will be using them and converting them over.

 

The Next-Gen

Another great group from M&M kind of a mash up of Titans/X-Men, I love the Claremont academy that goes along side it.

 

The Freedom League

Freedom Cities fun JLA homage has a cool set of powerful characters and history, tick, used.

 

The Tiger Squad

I do like the concept of this 5th edition team and I know a few characters have been stated for 5th/6th. Being the official Chinese team they would get a lot of use as potential antagonists and well as allies.

I like the concept of most bigger nations having their own government team.

 

What heroic teams do you like from rpg fiction? what NPC teams do you use in your campaign and why? teams of your own creation or are you using teams from setting material?  

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Some long term GM advice. 
 

Sit down with each player, one on one, and discuss the character, and what they want. Brainstorm the character, with notes, getting attributes and flaws ranked by importance at the end. This will allow you to cull edgy loner types, and disruptive chaotics from the team. At this point take the notes and build their character for them.  Once they have a few months of play, and know how everything works and have some EXP to spend, allow them to open up the hood and tinker.  Or build new heroes.  It’s the play that ropes them in.  
 

GM concerns 

 

Fictitious versus real city. My preference is for real cities to start with, as it is a common referential base line between the GM and players, plus the maps can be so much better.  Less time can be spent with clarifications and overcoming assumption clash, and more for roleplay.  If you do use a fictional city, pick one with good maps. Times and scale are important, and figuring out how long or short a Superhero response time can be is important to villain’s plans. Hudson City has the Best maps.  San Angelo has decent ones. But in kk cases your city will have its demographics, it’s good preferences, and it’s slang. Borrow from reality when you can but try and make the blend seamless.  

Start local before going global in detail s.  Sure, there are events of global importance, and villains whose movements and achievements are notable, but the player to NPC relationships that happen locally will set the tone of the campaign going forth. How the team deals with local law enforcement, and how the city’s District Attorney feels about superpowered citizens will color interactions up the food chain. Do citizens cheer or flee when a figure drops from the sky into a superhero landing?  First impressions are important. Think about those NPCs and how they would react, before worrying about how Dr. Destroyer might invade Washington DC with automatons. Thst comes later.  

 

Its too late for some tropes

 

I am not going to touch on any social issues, other than acknowledge they are present, but stuff we loved in 80s X-Men or Teen Titans may not work in current year. ( This is why I am comfortable in Fantasy and Traveller these days). But it also works for technology. Most people, other than the very old or very destitute, carry a fairly capable computer in their pocket, that they are capable of using for communication, research, and photography (in 4K).  Even tropes from the last decade, in the coming year will be obsolete when Phones can access Starlink anywhere. No more dropped service.  This also means anything the Heroes do in public will become part of the public record instantly, spread by social media( in 4 k). Look at the coverage f the Dallas Air Show accident as an example. If your campaign has the Champions Universe, 10 years plus in technology advancement, things are going to be cheaper, safer, and more reliable to a point, but the cutting edge will breed new tropes. Think those out.  How much industry is in orbit? Has Elon got a colony on Mars already? Is someone going to hijack a power broadcasting satellite and retune it into an orbital death ray ( with invisible power effects because you can’t see microwaves). Also keep in mind your player’s tastes. Romance? Yes or no? How hard are you going to enforce or insist on The Hero Code? How many alien invasions have there been, if any?  Marvel had few, DC had a lot. But remember to mind the tropes to keep things enticing, rather than hokey or campy, as that breaks immersion. Tone is going to be very important.  

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One thing about replacing an existing major city with a fictional one, is that you lose everything that's iconic about that city, all the familiar cultural references. No New York means no Statue of Liberty or Manhattan Island. Replacing Los Angeles torpedoes Hollywood. New Orleans is legendary for its culture. While the fictional cities you're looking at were mostly created to be their own thing, and not map onto any existing city locations. There are exceptions, like Millennium City, obviously. It kept much of the best about old Detroit, but there was an in-universe reason why it became what it is. Another example is Bay City, for the Champions: New Millennium game line (available from the Hero website store). It's another existing urban area decimated by a crisis and then rebuilt, in this case the cities around San Francisco Bay, which were reconstituted as a single megalopolis. The New Millennium source books were written for the short-lived Fuzion game system rather than Hero, but Hero Games did provide free 4E character sheets for all the characters from those books, which you can download from here.

 

Freedom City can be considered another exception, in that it was clearly written to be a stand-in for NYC, and could be fitted in that city's spot on the map without too much trouble. You might not know that Steve Kenson originally wrote the supers from Freedom City for 4E Champions, and translated them for M&M when he developed that game. Years ago Steve kindly posted his 4E stats for quite a few of those characters to this website. In case that would be helpful to you I'll attach them below.

 

BTW various parties have posted 4E/5E/6E updates to a number of characters from 3E and earlier Champions to these forums and elsewhere, sometimes done by their original authors. I've tended to save those postings. They include characters from the Circle, VOICE, the Protectors, the Blood, Enemies III, Enemies: The International File, and Villainy Unbound. I'd be happy to share any of these with you if you'd like.

Freedom City.rtf

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32 minutes ago, dean day said:

Superhero Groups

Have never been impressed with many of the 5th/6th edition superhero groups in the champions setting, I much preferred the older ones in previous editions. and again I understand my players characters are the most important and will use them sparingly as allies/rivals but as I said previously I want to build a dynamic, big, robust supers setting so I need quite a few groups spread around the world filling different niches and roles.

 

Ones I will be definitely using are the following

 

The Guardians 

Always liked the cryptic references to these guys in previous old editions. I  know their were some threads building them in 5th/6th edition.

 

Strike Force & Shadow Warriors

My favorite rpg hero team of all time bar none. Will be using both groups for sure.

 

The Protectors

my 2nd favorite of all time from the adventure "To Serve and Protect". Very well thought out supers team with each character being unique.

 

The Atom Family

Love this homage to the Fantastic Four will be using them and converting them over.

 

The Next-Gen

Another great group from M&M kind of a mash up of Titans/X-Men, I love the Claremont academy that goes along side it.

 

The Freedom League

Freedom Cities fun JLA homage has a cool set of powerful characters and history, tick, used.

 

The Tiger Squad

I do like the concept of this 5th edition team and I know a few characters have been stated for 5th/6th. Being the official Chinese team they would get a lot of use as potential antagonists and well as allies.

I like the concept of most bigger nations having their own government team.

 

What heroic teams do you like from rpg fiction? what NPC teams do you use in your campaign and why? teams of your own creation or are you using teams from setting material?  

 

You'll find the Freedom League and Atom Family in the file I attached to my previous post.  There are also four more members of the Tiger Squad written up in Watchers of the Dragon for 4E, which I highly recommend if you have a special interest in martial-arts supers.

 

The Protectors are my all-time favorite NPC super-team. But next to them I rank the Millennium City Eight (MC8) who are written up in Digital Hero #13. They were the result of a contest held for Champions fans, to create backgrounds and stats for the unnamed heroes on the cover of the 5E Champions Universe book. The competition was fairly stiff, and the winners are a diverse group of innovative concepts with very well-developed backgrounds and personalities, written with the current CU in mind.

 

For other NPC hero teams, I would suggest looking at Allies for 4E. It's just what the name implies, good-guy teams and solos for your PCs to interact with. I'm particularly fond of the Cyberknights (great example of a themed hero team, in this case high-tech) and the Zen Team (Japan-based homage to tokusatsu heroes).

 

Besides Champions of the North (both editions) and Kingdom of Champions for heroes from Canada and the UK, Champions Worldwide not only stats heroes and villains from around the globe, but mentions and briefly describes other heroes and whole hero teams for all the continents.

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Oh, and in case you haven't seen it, the adventure, Reality Storm: When Worlds Collide is a Hero 5E crossover with Silver Age Sentinels, providing Hero stats for several major  SAS  heroes and villains, plus a conversion matrix between the two games. The result of using the matrix is rather rough, but helps a lot in bringing characters from one game into the other.

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5 hours ago, dean day said:

I want a few villainous organisations and another I will be using for sure is ARGENT always liked them.

 

 

Not to toot my own horn, but if you haven't you can follow the link in my signature. :whistle: I also put all my own research into the published info about ARGENT into the free file downloads part of the website, but the forum thread includes input by other interested parties.

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Fun idea, @dean day! I've played around a few times with making a campaign using other game books in the past. Back in the '90s, I had a few V&V villains show up in a Champions game, and have had both V&V and Champions characters show up in an M&M campaign. The big problem I had was conversion. In the end, I found that converting by concept over some magical mathematic formula works best. Mind you, it also helps that Freedom City's creator, Steve Kenson, had dropped some conversion on the boards almost a decade ago (see attached). 

 

IMHO, it might be best to start small. Take a single city, populate it with NPCs, villains, any heroes that you want players to interact with and prep for running. Say you decide to use Freedom City (using the attached file). Just mix in what you'd like and then start working on your first game. When you have some time, start on the next city that your player heroes may interact with. Rinse, repeat...

 

26 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

I don't know what superhero game supplement might have mentioned "Emerald City," but it's Seattle's self-chosen pseudonym.

 

That would be one of the cities in Mutants & Masterminds, Dean. They had a 3rd edition sourcebook that came out with info on it. It's basically a stand in for Seattle. Fun book.

 

 

fchero-_1_.txt

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14 hours ago, dean day said:

Fictional US Cities or Real US Cities

One of my first decisions will be if I use my fictional city us source books or not?

 

 

Your call, of course, but no too long ago, I did am informal pill in the subject, and the comments were quite enlightening.  It may help you decide what is right for you.  I had intended to link it, but using the search function on this phone is beyond infuriating.  If I remember correctly, it was titled "it's all about location."  (Weirdly, it popped right up a week or so ago while I was searching for something completely unrelated.)  

 

 

 

14 hours ago, dean day said:

, also I always liked the DC idea of fictional cities.

 

That is my preference as well, but we explained our personal thoughts in the above-mentioned thread.

 

 

 

14 hours ago, dean day said:

I know there is also Empire City for silver age sentinels which I think is a more of less direct analogue of New York but not sure how much material there is for it, but I find that quite cool.

 

Gonna level with you: even though (and I really can't say that there is no chance that it might be because of) the Silver Age Sentinels setting / universe is far less developed than the Champions universe, there is no part of it that  I don't like far more  than any of the published Champions settings from any edition.  I tend to fell the same,way about the "title characters" of SAS and Champions as well.  Now that is not to say that I _dislike_ the published Champions stuff (except the 4e "title character" Champions roster).

 

That is what had me a little stoked about your "use everyrhing from everywhere" setting idea:  sweet!  Dump Destroyer; replace with Kruzriter (yeah; I know that is spelled wrong.  After a full minute, it is what autocorrect and I came to agree on), and other such swaps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 hours ago, dean day said:

 

what are your thoughts about which cities should replace what?

 

That's really up to you, but ultimately: why?  Why does a city have to be replaced?  You can have New York and Hudson City.

 

I wont get too deep into all that, because there is no right or wrong there; you are building a world, and the only way it will be right is if it is built the way you want it.  Let Vibora Bay replace New Dehli if you want.

 

Just as an example:

 

My supers setting is Campaign City.  We have been gaming in Campaign City since the first edition.  It is located on the shores of Lake Campaign (you have to understand it was named after a long-running joke), one of the Great Lakes.

 

So let's do some simple math:  2022 minus 1980 is forty-two years of never once having been asked by any player which Great Lake was replaced, or if this is a new one, of it CC was replacing Chicago-  I havent ever even,been asked if we were Americans or Canadians.

 

Not one time.

 

I know a lot of people just arent happy withiut a fully-mapped city.  I have never been asked to map out more rhan a small neighborhood, ever.  With the advent of getting online in the 90s, I have image grabbed sections of more cities than I have ever been asked to use.  No one has ever cared that most of the larger maps (that is, the higher ariel views that were packed with roads) couldnt possibly fit together into a cohesive city.

 

Why?  I have never had a group care to know more than what was around them at the moment, and where they were in relation to regular landmarks (you are about a dozen blocks from the college, and four miles South of the museum.  A couple of blocks the financial district over here (makes vague circle,on battle map) and you'll be in the high-rent part of the waterfront).

 

All they ever really want to know is how much are to canvass, how fast they can fly, how much running room they have, and how far can they spread a battle.  So long as I can provide them these details on command, they have never once wanted or even shown interest in a road map of Campaign County or even just the city or even a single district within it.)

 

The only recurring "road map" anyone has ever insisted on was Daedelus Park, to include _some,of the roads around it and that part of the financial district into which Tree grows.

 

 

Now, all that being said, let me also say this:

 

You are getring some solid world building advice above.  Everyone is making great points, especially if you are putting together something for publication.  It is rock solid advice.

 

I have never, in any game or genre, done any of it.  Sure, early on, I though I _had- to so all this work: vreating Gods and religions and economies and the patterns of global trade and multi-layered political maneuvering-

 

And it disnt take very long to figure out that the players  straight up _do not care_.  They want to know about the look and feel of the world, the tone of the campaign, there particular power level, and hoe it compares to Joe Onthestreet and how it compares to the most powerful person in your campaign world.  Seriously: they dont care how many NPC supers arw out there beyond "they are pretty rare" or "it's not uncommon: it seems,every big city has four or five heroes and a couple dozen villains", and a way to subjectively determine their current power level.

 

Campaign City grew initially from "you guys are in a big city- like a major metropolis, giant buildings New York style.  There are dive costumed,figures flying at you."

 

Seriously.  That is how it started.  We read the rules, we wanted to play _right now_ and the GM had _nothing_.  We had all,just met over the previous two or three weeks  as he was trying to recruit a group.

 

"Okay; do we know them?"

 

Yes; they are famous supervillains.

 

What do they want?

 

From the eye lasers and fire blasts, I think they want to attack you!

 

Okay.  We need to get a plan!  Find cover!  Where are we?  In a building?

 

You're in a graveyard.

 

 

It, uh, got a lot worse from there.  But even after that, when the GM showed up with his notes...

 

We wanyed to pick up from where we left off.

 

That is also why Daedalus Park has a graveyard in it to this day.  Our hunteds and huntings and rivalries and origin stories provided the earliest population.  Businesses and organizations and foundations appeared as we needed them-  well, as we needed something _like_ them:

 

Okay, the crimemobile is orerrt busted up.  Is there like some place we can ger ir fixed up quick and quiet?

 

Well, there's Bender's Fender.  Quickest turn around anywhere in town, accorsinf to the radio.

 

Great!  Can he fix an experimental alcohol jet propulsion engine?

 

Well, mostly he does body work, but he might know a guy....

 

That kind of thing.  If you let them, your players will build a wonderful playground for you: one that focuses on the needs, interests, and desires of the setting in which they want to play.

 

Look at the source material:  every single super hero has fifty or more supervillains.  If there are forty superheroes all acting out of New York, an9 each of them has fifty or sixty unique supervillains, and then there are world-class or galaxy class superheroes _from_ New York, but nit necesarily operating there, and each of them has fifty unique villains.....

 

That is a buttload of super people floating around New York City.  I dint mean in terms of population perxentage (which I have also never been asked about with any more interest than "are powers common or not?"-- which was answered with "powers arent common, but they arent particulalry unusual, either.  _useful_ powers are quite in common, and really powerful levels are very unusual.  Finsinf a combination of strong, useful powers and courage to use them in bokd and public ways makes super heroes and costumed villains rather rare, though."

 

I was never asked for more specifics that that, and every so often, players encounter a background NPC with some minor ability: a bartender that can grab your mug and re-chill your drink;  an ironworker who welds using his own natural ability to create a reliable electric arc; a waitress whose clairsentience lets her check on her customers while seating a new table,  a cleaning service stagged entirely by low-level speedsters, and everyone's favorite: a stuntman whose only power is the ability to survive a fall from any height.  (He has gone over Niagara falls nine times so far-- without a barrel).

 

It isnt something I ever thiught about when our first GM left and I took over- the minor powers- and I never would have no matter how long a document I might have prepared, but once I was asked about  powers, it seemd so obvious...

 

Honestly, I dont think the density or xommonality of xostumed adventurers ever really mattered: Marvel's New York City should house a few thousand super-powered individuals, but somehow, it never seems to matter.  Iron Man never swings through and repulsive blasts the guy Daredevil is trying to beat with a stick and offers a quick "yeah, you're welcome, DD!" and then flies off on his way to an alien invasion threat.  Doctor Strange never squares up with the Kingpin.  The only time all these thiusands of supers matter _at all_ to each other when it is scripted that they shoukd work together, then never see each other ever again, unless Marvel revives Two-in-One, in which case the Thing is going to have his danve card filled.  Why?  Bevause the while point of Two-in-One was teaming up other supers with the Thing, period.

 

By the source material, there are always more heroes or villains than will ever make sense, and they will never show up unless they are absolutely supposed to.

 

So what difference is their density in ther world, the vast majority of which your players and their characters will never trod? 

 

Now I make no secret of the fact that I dont sweat nearly the detaila that most people do when "world building."  Mostly because not only do I remember the experience of Lars, but the one winter I forgot it and in my hubris crafted a fantasy campaign that my players demanded, begged for- something new and different and unkike anything that we have aeen before--!

 

And I soent a winter crafting such a world, and such a campaign, and a number of smaller enctiunters to impress the flavilor of rhis world-

 

And they _hated_ it.  What they claimed to want and what they actually wanted were two different things.  They claimed they wanted something new and truly exotic  when all they really wanted was YATRO except all weapons were akin to the Stands from JoJo' Bizarre Adventure (an arcade fighter that was pretty hot at that moment).

 

So there you have it: the two sides od the coin: absolute excellent World-building advice that I will,never tell you is anything but good advice, and how it blew completely,up,in thw GM' face on both of the only two occasions I have ever seen it fully implemented.

 

For my money, I rhink Chris Goodwin hits an absolute sweet spot that any GM shoukd strive for:

 

I have never read any of his campaign idea documents that went more,than ten pages, and several that dont go to ten.  He sketches vaguely the feel of the world, polotivs and religion as,any character in the world would be passignly familiar, bouse rules as appropriate, character guidelines, and a few,things that make,rhis world unique.

 

All of it is done with broad strokes, making tweaking on the fly and adjusting for slowly-realized player desires almost effortless, and certainly inobvious to the players even as it happens.  As a campaign platform document, I think it is absolutely brilliant,  and I live reading them!

 

Now I quoted Scott specificaly because, other than the need dor a well-mapped city, our ideas on Campaign building overlap more than they don't.  Notice rhwt the bulk of his advice can be boiled down to "don't pin down every detail right away; your focus shohld be finding out what the players are interested in, and making sure you are amenable.

 

10 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

 

Sit down with each player, one on one, and discuss the character, and what they want. Brainstorm the character, with notes, getting attributes and flaws ranked by importance at the end. This will allow you to cull edgy loner types, and disruptive chaotics from the team.

 

Notice That even before you have built a world, he stresses making sure that you have players who are like-minded in working together to share a good time.  Scott recommends literally interviewing potential players not just to see what they want, but with an eye toward what they offer the game, and the likelihood of trouble they may cause the game.

 

More than what percentage of the Estonian people have super powers, this has importance.  It dowsnt matyer what the average Damage Class of a main is if you have one player who must be begged to use it and another who wont stop using,it on his teammates.

 

 

 

10 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

At this point take the notes and build their character for them.

 

I also agree with this.  If you have new-to-the-system players, I stress it.  It is what I had to docdoecmy current youth group.  Obviously, this allows the players to experience the game immediately and not have to stumble through character creation until  they actually understand what these terms and ideas mean in game terms, but there is another benefit:  you can build characters that compliment each others and that work well together.  Ultimately, their first experiences with the games focus in teamwork and getting along.  It ingrains the idea that this is a natural and essential part of the experience, and going forward, will likely continue to build future characters with an eye toward complementing the rest of the party.

 

 

10 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Once they have a few months of play, and know how everything works and have some EXP to spend, allow them to open up the hood and tinker.  Or build new heroes.  It’s the play that ropes them in.  
 

 

Agreed.  I go a bit further and rwxommend that they have fifteen or even twenry points to spend.  Why?  Because by that time, they are really getting in the groove of the mechanics and their various interactions, and will likely know exactly what changes they want to make to the character, or what sort of a character they would prefer to have.

 

At That time, work with them one-on-one, and answer every singke quesrion they have, no matter hiw tedious, and dont let them think that this is just as exciting for you as It is for them- any less may discourage questions go which they _need_ answers to ensure that they are getting the best gaming experience that they can.

 

 

 

I could go on and,on, but I am pretty sure I have.

 

 

:lol:

 

 

 

 

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