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Doesn't anyone like low-powered campaigns?


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I like the low-powered campaigns for campaigns that are going to last for a while. I ran a fantasy campaign that started at 25/25 points and lasted for 3 years. They were around 250 points at the end. It was fun to look back at when they were nothings and how they had survived to go after the big stuff. For short campaigns I tend to go for the high powered stuff. I am not sure why.

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I've designed everything from a 0+25 point retired Roman centurion to a 750+250 Cosmic Superhero, and it's all in the GM. I run a Harn Hero game that started at 50+50 and has now reached the 200-point region, and I'm participating in a Very Powerful Heroic cross-genre game that started at 150+100. And what makes or breaks a game is always the GM: he stacks the deck to make the challenges challenging, which a good GM can do at any power level.

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Originally posted by Badger

Ahh the game of cops&robbers

 

Kid 1: I shot you

Kid 2: No you didnt.

Kid 1: Yes I did you were just five feet away.

Kid 2: I dont care it missed me.

 

Ah yes...easy to laugh at now that we play more mature, sophisticated games...:)

 

GM: He hit you

Player: No he didnt. My levels were in DCV.

GM: You have hand to hand levels. They don't add to DCV against ranged attacks. Besides, you didn't say you were putting your levels in DCV.

Player: I dont care it missed me.

 

Uh oh! :eek:

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I like to start my fantasy games at 25+50 points. That maps pretty well to realistic levels where the average person is 25 pts. I like to see my games evolve to 200+ points, and I award "healthy" experience (2-3 per session, plus a 0-3 point "kicker" for adventure completion based on how well they did). This moves players allong pretty well and keeps everyone growing, while keeping things at a semirealistic levels.

 

I like my heroic characters to make sense in society. 150 pt starting characters are truely "Heroes", not fledglings. A 75 pt character is still challenged by 25pt thugs, which are of course easily justified. Once they get to 150 pts, the 25pt thugs still remain, but now have a different feel.

 

One idea I have yet to do, because my group generally isn't interested in supers, is a 150 pt supers game. Few restrictions on powers, but the sole idea is that full powered supers exists, just on a lower scale. There's no problem with that growing to higher point levels, but I would almost do it on a 3 real months = +25 point basis. No incremental improvements.

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To be honest, I like both.

 

Right Now I am playing in one high powered game, the Character is 650 points with 345 points of unspent experience. I am running/playing in another world that is 100/75 point scale. In a way though I think I prefer the lower power campaigns because the tendency of anything being at a cosmic scale is a lot lower if not almost impossible. Where as in our high power game, EVERYTHING is at the cosmic scale.

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Plastick Hero:

 

As you said, I think it’s a matter of taste. To me, point levels are like any campaign aspect such as genre, setting, etc. Like you, I prefer starting from the 100~300 range. But, like AlHazred said, I think the GM matters more.

 

Cheers

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Guest Kolava

I don't actually have a thing for "high power", it's just that most characters concepts I build end up costing a whole lot. The irony is, I usually feel guilty for having exploited loopholes to lower the cost afterwards, so there's no winning :mad:

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Re: Doesn't anyone like low-powered campaigns?

 

Originally posted by Jhereg

I can’t help but notice that most of the Hero Players I meet online prefer High-powered campaigns. All the Champions campaigns seem to be 325 pts or more. And even the Fantasy/Sci-fi campaigns are 250 with superheroic house rules.

 

I just want to know if there’s anybody else out there like me, who prefers low-powered, realistic campaigns. I run my fantasy and sci-fi campaigns on 50+50. At most, if I want an action movie feel, I’ll go 75+75. And my Champions campaigns start at 100+150, or sometimes 100+100.

 

And it’s not just coming from me. My players love being underpowered, especially in any “real world†campaing. To me, nothing gets the blood pumping better than knowing the possibility of my character’s death is very real. Maybe it’s just a matter of taste.

 

I agree totally. My fantasy hero campaign is 50+50, and characters are fairly powerful. I do allow Multipowers, Variable Power Pools, Elemental Controls and Spells outside any framework. I also created optional rules for skill usage, that magnify the applicability and usage of the limited amount of skills that players can purchase.

 

There's a few other posters on this board, who love low-powered games. If Steve sees enough demand, then maybe I'll submit my low-powered fantasy hero campaign for publication.

 

It seems there's a growing demand for low-powered games, I suppose this comes with the advent of fantasy realism and other genre realism literature.

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One of the earlier posters made an excellent point. A high point total does not necessarily mean a high-powered character. I ran a game with a 225 pt. character who blended in well with the local normals in medieval Cairo. Instead of spending all his points on increasing his combat effectiveness, he broadened his range of skills and language abilities and entered the game with a network of contacts. The combat abilities he did have were horizontally broad rather than high CV/damage. He had three different martial arts styles (unarmed, H2H weapon, ranged). He was a lot of fun to play and was able to handle himself well in a wide variety of situations. At the same time, he was not invincible and still had to be afraid of the local authorities and follow the law most of the time. I'm very big on broad competence over increasing CV/damage. Players can never win an arms race with the GM anyhow.

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Originally posted by cyst13

One of the earlier posters made an excellent point. A high point total does not necessarily mean a high-powered character. I ran a game with a 225 pt. character who blended in well with the local normals in medieval Cairo.

 

Sounds interesting.

 

Instead of spending all his points on increasing his combat effectiveness, he broadened his range of skills and language abilities and entered the game with a network of contacts. The combat abilities he did have were horizontally broad rather than high CV/damage. He had three different martial arts styles (unarmed, H2H weapon, ranged).

 

I would disagree, versatility is powerful. Being adaptable is a power in itself. Also, I believe, having many languages is powerful as well. Here's how:

 

The thick-furred bugbear charged the priest with a savage speed. The priest stepped back, holding the palm of his hand toward the bugbear, his hand open. Not moving an inch the cleric stared at the bugbear, with a steady, steely gaze.

 

The bugbear looked at the cleric, quizically, it's thick eyebrows raised, and stopped dead in it's tracks. "Arooo?" said the bugbear.

 

"Parley!" said the cleric firmly.

 

"Aroooo?" said the bugbear.

 

"Parley!" said the cleric, more forcefully.

 

"Arooo?" said the bugbear again.

 

"Parley!" said the cleric one more time.

 

The bugbear shrugged and swung his blood-crusted and spiked club at the cleric's head.

 

That's, how language can be very powerful.

 

He was a lot of fun to play and was able to handle himself well in a wide variety of situations. At the same time, he was not invincible and still had to be afraid of the local authorities and follow the law most of the time.

 

Sounds like an interesting game. I wonder where your GM got the resources to run the game. :)

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Originally posted by Kristopher

Given the rules and interpretations changes, I don't consider 350 point FRED to be any more "high-powered" than 250-point 4th Ed. 350 is even listed as "standard superheroic."

 

I hadn't considered that. As we always play heroic games, I haven't paid too much attention the "cost of living increase" of FRed.

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Reply to Galadorn

 

You're right. It was (and still is) an interesting campaign. I may have been rather sloppy in the wording of my post. I was (and still am) the GM of the Cairo campaign. I also built the character for my player because he's got a very busy schedule. As to where I found the resources for it; I went to the library. I've found it's nearly impossible to run a good historical realist campaign based simply upon gaming materials. Even excellent support books (like the GURPS worldbooks) leave out far more info than they put in. Which is unsurprising, seeing as that they are only 96 pages long. I always do at least a month's research prior to running an historical campaign. You have to know all the little details in order to get the flavor right and to answer all of the questions that the players inevitably have. "Daily Life" books are usually the best place to start.

 

As far as your disagreement about power levels, I don't think we are actually disagreeing at all. I wasn't saying that spending points on languages makes one weak. I just wanted to say that you could spend 200+ points on a wide variety of skills and powers which would lend your PC great versatility (which is fun to play) without making him so combat effective that he can kill anyone in his way with a sneeze and a cough.

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We're playing 150 base + any number of disadvantages, though we only count 1/5th (aka 20%) of any disadvantage point so no player is forced to take 75. (and it really matters if you have 150 or 125 points, thats nearly 20% difference). We are using Super rules and playing FH with it ;)

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I have a question for those of you running "low powered" FH. What sort of magic system are you using, and how competent are starting mages? Are they more along the lines of apprentice at the beginning (light spell, detect/read magic), 1-3 lvl D&D (some ranged damage, armor, and general utilities), or something else? Not having played, I don't really know what point levels map to what concepts.

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Originally posted by Grym

I have a question for those of you running "low powered" FH. What sort of magic system are you using, and how competent are starting mages? Are they more along the lines of apprentice at the beginning (light spell, detect/read magic), 1-3 lvl D&D (some ranged damage, armor, and general utilities), or something else? Not having played, I don't really know what point levels map to what concepts.

 

We use the spell colleges out of the old (2nd Ed. I think) FH Rule Book and Companions. Spells usually have at least -4 in limitations making most spells cost 3-7 points. So a starting 50+50 pt. mage can afford an attack, defense, and a few useful minor spells.

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We have a very open magic system since we're playing a game that spans multiple worlds (we sail off the edge of one world and onto the edge of another). Basically a player can create a magic system by defining it's special effects and any common limitations the three gamemasters all have to approve it and then any future spells are approved by the three GMs as well. Spells are constructed without any special cost break and nobody can use a power framework. Spell strength varies depending on the magic system. A player who wants to sling powerful energy blast can throw variable special effects on a few different attacks and he can simulate a large number of spells for very few points. Even with 50 pt characters a mage with summoning magic can summon a group of monsters that are just as powerful as the rest of the party and still have defensive magic in the form of teleportation and EDM.

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We run a tailored magic system ideal for low-powered campaigns. A 75 pt starting mage can have 10 spells or so, of moderate power. The mages are fairly balanced with non-mages, even at the 180 pt character level. We will be publishing it in our setting book (scheduled for GenCon release).

 

The 75pt mages have been a lot of fun to play. The system supports improvisation, as well as rotes, maximizing player choice while minimizing Hero rules overhead. The goal is a magic system that is rich yet easy to play.

 

I know that doesn't tell you a lot, but you are welcome to come to our site, register, and participate in playtesting once it starts.

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I read most of this...

 

For both my original HERO Traveller campaign AND my new TE campaign, I showed the players the stuff in FREd about power levels, focus on skills vs powers, campaign style etc.

 

For both campaigns I've chosen to go midway between the lowest and middle level of HEROIC campaign, 100 + 75.

 

So far everyone in both games are quite happy with the level I've started them at. They've been able to build great characters, not overdoing it with the primary/secondary stats etc.

 

All this talk about "low powered" and "high powered" reminds me of that munchkin game "Dungeons & Dragons 3e". From early on all I heard people talking about was their "half dragon-half lizardman" characters, and how "nothing under 15th level is worth the time to play".

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I also like low-level campaigns as much as high level. And, anyway, low-level turn into high-level, if played long enough. A while back I ran a higher-level fantasy game, with characters starting at 175 total. But my most recent one is a low-level, with characters starting at 75 total. It was hysterical to watch the Bugbear trip over a 3' wall. Twice! At lower levels I tend to play it a little more for comedy, but it is fun to be able to give the players a scare with just Goblins. The superhero game I am in started very low, like 200 points, but we are now around 450, mid to high range. There's actually very little difference in play. We still regularly get our butts handed to us, but now it is just by bigger bad guys. I definitely like them both.

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We are using a "everyone can take everything" magic system. This holds also true for non-magic powers, so we've got a demon with multiform, invisibility, wings and shapeshift, a caster with multipower and one with VPP (although we're not sure if it is broken yet). We're using quite a bunch of house rules because we discovered that HERO isn't really superior to GURPS or DSA if you're playing FH. We didin't even bother buying FH, because why would we need a book that just limits the character creation somehow? If there is interest, I can compile our rule changes to english and post them on the web.

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I think your characterization that FH limits characters is way off. There is a lot of very useful material in there for running Fantasy games, even if you are running a "no holds barred" character set.

 

We run 75 pts in a very serious game. What works is then normals are a realistic threat. A thug with a knife can't be ignored. When you are 150pts, 25 pt characters are mostly inconcequential, especially when you can't arm them with a blaster like a typical supers thug.

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We made our own world, so we absolutely do not need background information. What else except background information + limitations is in FH?

 

And yes, a minor thug with a knife will get massacred by our characters.

 

Thug: "Hey you, gimme your money or I'll kill you!!"

PC1: (Zombie): "I'm already dead, try me."

PC2: (Demon) *shapes into black demon with leather wings and 10" claws* "Any last words?"

 

Which implies that the "usual" NPC is of higher power level than random thugs.

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You are essentially running a fantasy supers game. Normals are inconsequential, and certainly not low-powered.

 

I'm not talking about random thugs necessarily, but now a dock worker, or conspiring merchant don't have to be 150 pts to be a challenge. If a merchant is 150 pts, are their other 150 pt merchants? Doesn't that break the mold of normality? Hero can handle it, and I think it makes for a very satisfying game to have normals (25-70 pts) as adversaries. Then when you introduce a villain or demon or monster of 200-300 pts, things get crazy fun.

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