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UNTIL Superpowers Database -- What Do *You* Want To See?


Steve Long
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Steve, how big a part is the UNTIL DATABASE conceit going to play in the book?

 

Generally not a real huge part -- I don't want to inhibit the usefulness of the book, or bulk up its size, by adding a lot of "flavor text" that's of marginal usefulness to many readers.

 

However, we do want to give the book some "color," so here's what we're doing. First, the illustrations will have a dandy little stylized border by Keith Curtis that resembles an UNTIL computer frame, or something like that. Second, where possible, I'm going to include sidebars that accompany each illo. Some will be "excerpts" from the Database itself, but others will be agents' field notes, scientist's notes, and so on.

 

Should be a lot of fun, and it will include some form of "power ranking" system. It won't be the same as the Alpha-Beta-Delta-Omega system in CKC, though -- that's a Department of Defense method for ranking the overall threat posed by a villain, whereas this is an UNTIL ranking for specific powers.

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If any of these suggestions are repeats, do forgive me. I skimmed over the prior posts as best as I could.

 

Anyway, I want to see solid pre-defined example of...

 

- The Vulcan Neck Pinch

- Aura Perception (seeing the feelings of the target)

- Mental Invisibility (i.e., the "Somebody-Elses-Problem" field effect)

- "Cursing" a target with negative skill levels

- Missile Reflection vs hand-to-hand attacks (i.e., if the target you punch makes a missile deflection role, you feel the brunt of your own attack)

 

I'll post more as i think of them.

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Originally posted by Steve Long

Should be a lot of fun, and it will include some form of "power ranking" system. It won't be the same as the Alpha-Beta-Delta-Omega system in CKC, though -- that's a Department of Defense method for ranking the overall threat posed by a villain, whereas this is an UNTIL ranking for specific powers.

 

Perfect, that was just what I was looking for. Looking foward to the book.

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Rogue's power--"I steal your powers AND knock you out instantly"--done in some halfway balanced fashion

 

While I'm at it, I'll spin straw into gold, too. :)

 

Seriously, some powers simply aren't balanced for game purposes, and really can't be made balanced without ruining them. What works in a comic book, where the writer controls what the main characters do, doesn't always work in a game (where the "head writer," the GM, has virtually no control over what the main characters, the PCs, do). I definitely expect the book will have a "Rogue Touch" sort of power, at least insofar as stealing powers, but the aim is going to be to simulate a particular ability properly, not to "balance" it at the expense of creating what I want to present.

 

In my experience, the best way to "balance" that sort of power is to only allow a player mature enough to use it properly to build a character with it. I've gamed with people who I wouldn't hesitate to let have this power, because they'd only use it once every few games (at most) and only when it was truly "in character" to do so. I've gamed with other people who I wouldn't let have this power if they paid me, because they'd use it every chance they got in complete defiance of common sense or genre conventions.

 

OK, minor digression over. Back to work on Force Powers. Please keep the suggestions and ideas coming! :)

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Originally posted by Steve Long

While I'm at it, I'll spin straw into gold, too. :)

 

Seriously, some powers simply aren't balanced for game purposes, and really can't be made balanced without ruining them. What works in a comic book, where the writer controls what the main characters do, doesn't always work in a game (where the "head writer," the GM, has virtually no control over what the main characters, the PCs, do). I definitely expect the book will have a "Rogue Touch" sort of power, at least insofar as stealing powers, but the aim is going to be to simulate a particular ability properly, not to "balance" it at the expense of creating what I want to present.

 

In my experience, the best way to "balance" that sort of power is to only allow a player mature enough to use it properly to build a character with it. I've gamed with people who I wouldn't hesitate to let have this power, because they'd only use it once every few games (at most) and only when it was truly "in character" to do so. I've gamed with other people who I wouldn't let have this power if they paid me, because they'd use it every chance they got in complete defiance of common sense or genre conventions.

 

OK, minor digression over. Back to work on Force Powers. Please keep the suggestions and ideas coming! :)

 

Seriously, Steve... this kind of commentary... and it doesn't even have to be any more fleshed out than a couple paragraphs like this... is perfect for the Powers sourcebook, as well. A little "Author's Note" and not a whole essay, that your goal is to "reflect a power accurately" but not necessarily "balanced" for game play.

 

I like that, and would encourage such commentary in the book itself.

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I notice "Time powers" (Freezing folks in time, etc) come up a lot.

 

The "Jericho effect" where one physically enters another body to borrow it.

 

YES!

 

I most emphatically second this motion! Please include many, many variations on time freezing/general time control and "body-stealing" Powers of all kinds. These give so many people (especially newbies) fits.

 

Some good examples of the Power Skill and Power Tricks.

 

I second this, as well.

 

- Attacks that don't miss

 

Definitely. It bugs me to no end that HERO can't do something as basic as the old D&D Magic Missile spell.

 

shape shifting to ANY animal

 

This is another good one. Took me quite a while to figure out the way to model "universal Multiforms". The best solution is a sizable cosmic VPP only for appropriate Multiforms, but don't expect that to be too obvious to a newbie. :)

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Hi Steve!

 

Here are some of the more entertaining powers I remember from Scott Heine, Steve Holmes etc's Protector's and Protector's Cadets games.

 

Missile Deflection / Teleport Gimic...

 

I remember one character, a teleporter, that could throw up a field of energy in front of himself that acted like a portal to another dimension. Bullets and attacks launched against the character would simply pass through the portal into the character's pocket dimension. I seem to recall the character used missile deflection defined as absorbing the bullets through his teleport shield into the pocket dimension. A pretty simple power but one that I thought "Looked Nifty" on the battlefield.

 

Ring Master

 

One of the most hideous villains the Protectors ever encountered was a fellow by the name of Ring Master. Yes, he was a criminal master mind that operated out of an evil carnival / circus. What made him truely nasty was that he had a very high Mind Sense ability and a very powerful Mind Control that I believe was always on with invisible power effects that could only target mutants. I believe Scott limited the number of mutants he could control at any given time to a half dozen or so. The character had not other powers really to mention but even so he was incredibly dangerous. Mind Control vs. Mutants...an excellent power for villain master minds.

 

The Ragman

 

The Ragman came out of the twisted mind of Al Wenzel who used to play Mandroid in our games long long long ago. Ragman, as far as I could tell, was a scarecrow that had become sentient, animated and incredibly evil when it was exposed to some wierd magical eminations during one of our team battles. Later this fellow appeared on the scene as a major villain threat. He would sew up other full size ragmen and stuff them with some of the straw from inside his own body. ( he always seemed to have plenty of extra to stuff into other ragmen...probably part of the magic that animated him ) Anyway. The Ragman was fun to fight. He was always dressing his ragman thugs up based on the theme of that particular crime. I remember a scenario where his eight ragmen were dressed as mailmen, another where they were all decked out as santa claus..and on and on. The Ragman would manipulate his life size puppets from a distance and then attempt to flee the area if things began to go against him. His attacks were always incredibly brutal and caculated to produce the highest possible damage to normals.

 

The Long Ranger

 

Hardly anyone does nifty stretching powers any more. I recall someone writing up a hero dressed in cowboy threads that had stretching powers called the Long Ranger. Sometimes the right power and name match are a good combination just for hours of sheer laughs.

 

Scarecrow

 

Scott used to play this awesome vigilante character named Scarecrow...Scarecrow used to wear some sort of fire resistant pumpkin that he'd actually light on fire for a temporary add to his presence. Then he'd unleash a loud maniacal cackle that used to scare the bejesus out of me when I'd try and gm for him. I know your not doing gadgets int his book..but powers that make a character more impressive, temporary boosts to presence are fun.

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A Newbie responds

 

Before I wasn't that exited about this book. But after reading this thread that has reversed. I AM exited by this book, it looks like that Steve will be looking after us newbies with this book.

 

I also echo the plug and play aspect to the book. As not knowing how to reverse engineer the creation of the super powers this aspect will make it easier. The tennis example is great, maybe reprinting it in the book would be helpful to the kind of turbopower the HERO system provides.

 

I have browsed the Palladium RIFTs books and their "classes" for certain power groups eg ICE powers. I'm guessing that these sort of superpowers would fit into Multipowers, Power Framworks or Variable Power Pools. A brief not explaining how the powers fit into these constructs (this echoing others posts) would make life easier to get into HERO.

 

I also like the post Steve did earlier about presenting a 'template' power and a brief way to customise it. RPGs are about imagination, encouraging that will go a long way. just presenting 'templates' without the extra info doesn't.

 

If I think of anything else I'll post. Thanks again for listening.

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If I may make a small sugestion: Make at least a few powers in a "modular" fashion.

 

For example, make a power total exactly 60 active points for 12 dice of effect. Need less? Then it is easy to adjust.

 

45 points is 9 dice.

75 points is 15 dice.

90 points is 18 dice.

etc.

 

For example, 12d6 EB, AP, HA. Costs 9 end.

 

Call it a vibro-staff. Change special effects, rename it.

 

Does this make any sense? :)

 

 

Also, many years ago, there was a random chacter generator in some supplement. It was a series of lists where each list pointed you to roll for a power or ability, all based on 3 or 4 sets of basic stats. It was VERY nice....

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Between the Hero books and the other players (such as those on this board) plus my own ingenuity, there aren't many effects left that I couldn't simulate. Having said that, here are the ones I tend to think people might like to see:

 

  • Making a character "Evil" - One of those great conventions of comics is turning a hero against his friends through use of powers. Mind control is generally intended for creating specific commands. Perhaps there's a good "transformation" type effect for this?
  • I think the book could benefit from a list of "side effects" (As in the Limitation). It seems to be one of the more under-used limitations, and a quick list of things (Power also catches attacker on fire, Power causes dizziness, etc.) and their worth might be useful to someone slapping together a new power.
  • I know we all love math (Yes, that's sarcasm). I think 1st or 2nd edition hero had a chart for calculating costs without a calculator? You know: You cross-index the active cost with the total limitation and it gives you a real cost. In this world of calculators it may be obsolete now, but I just know I hate carrying around a calculator.
  • How about a good, solid, comprehensive list of special effects. I know it's impossible to get them all (which is why its so fun to make powers) but wouldn't it be nice to have your player who is trying to come up with a concept turn to page 84 and look through a list (Ice, Fire, Electrical, etc.) to get ideas?

I hope something in there is useful to you. And I am looking forward to seeing this book more so than any other book you've put out (w/ the exception of 5e).

Thanks for listening to your customers.

Blue

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Things I'd like to see in the USPD:

 

1. For the focus to be on sfx, as mentioned by many. E.g., if I want to play a Sonics Powers guy, list what should/could he have - obviously he could have a defense/mvmt EC and offense MP, but list what neat things could be in either. For instance, the offense MP could have a Sonic Disintegrator Ray vs. Unliving Objects (i.e., RKA, Penetrating, Lim - not vs. living), in addition to typical attacks (EB, Flash vs. Hearing, etc.) Make these neat powers for each sfx out there, and not just for energy protector types, i.e., include classic brick tricks, ways to handle paralysis and sleeping attacks, etc.

2. As already noted, set up the powers at varying power levels so they can be dropped into MPs or ECs readily, i.e., set at least at 45/60/75pts, and perhaps 50 & 55 pts as well - this at least partly solves avoiding Power Frameworks in the USPD.

3. However, some use of MPs and ECs seems necessary, e.g., the movie-spiderman's webshooters - these probably should be an MP with slots for swinging, entangle, stretching, etc. - not building this power construct in a Power Framework would be inconceivable, and certain things like this should be in the USPD, even if Power Frameworks are going to be avoided in general.

4. Discuss the use of the Power Skill more.

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I'm not sure if I missed this or not but here's my thought:

 

I'd like to see some non-stereotypical powers. I don't mean 5d6 Ego Attack, 1/2 End and I don't mean

8d6 AP EB at 1/2 End.

 

I do mean something like: 6d6 Penetrating EB, linked to 6d6 AP EB or 5d6 Ego Attack, Does BODY, does Double Knockback. Yes, there are infinite variations that could be presented but several of these could help those who've never played a superhero game or want a mystical character but aren't sure what kind of powers to create.

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Originally posted by mauk2

If I may make a small sugestion: Make at least a few powers in a "modular" fashion.

 

For example, make a power total exactly 60 active points for 12 dice of effect. Need less? Then it is easy to adjust.

 

45 points is 9 dice.

75 points is 15 dice.

90 points is 18 dice.

etc.

 

For example, 12d6 EB, AP, HA. Costs 9 end.

 

Call it a vibro-staff. Change special effects, rename it.

 

Does this make any sense? :)

 

 

Also, many years ago, there was a random chacter generator in some supplement. It was a series of lists where each list pointed you to roll for a power or ability, all based on 3 or 4 sets of basic stats. It was VERY nice....

 

I found a Random Character generator at:

http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Cavern/1905/haym03.html

written by Dave Mattingly.

Works great, and makes quick, beleivable characters in a pinch.

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Newbie Thoughts.

 

Hey Steve, total newbie here, I just bought my copy of 5E 3 days ago, and just got through reading the whole thing today. Its Great! First off, I'd like to say its incredibly cool that there is this much interaction and input with the game designer. Anyway, on to the things i'd like to see in the UNTIL powers DB.

 

1. At least a little bit of stuff on the power frameworks and gadgets. These are the thing that confuses new people the most, and tons of characters use them. To leave them totally out of this book would be a travesty. Obviously, you are going to save a lot of the stuff for the gadgets book, but some mention, even only a few pages, would help new people immensly. I would love to see a lot of stuff on power frameworks, because I know that was the section of FREd I had to re-read the most to understand.

 

2. Examples of powers which aren't obviously recreatable with the rules. Stuff like time travel, body stealing etc... I know you said to check out digital hero, but it would be nice to have this stuff in a book, and what better place for it than in a powers database. Also, in response to your idea that these powers might unbalance the game, I don't care if the writeup is a 1200 active point power no GM with any sense would ever allow, I just want to know how you could do it so I can keep telling myself you can do anything with this system. :D Also, aside from the really difficult stuff, any really weird stuff would also be cool.

 

3. Please please please make this book something gear towards newbies: plug and play powers are good. Even if you don't discuss frameworks and gadgets at length, using them as examples would be much appreciated. That way, a new person could say "I want to play an iron man type" and you could drop out this gadget multipower for the armor, add a couple other things, and have him a quick character to play while he learns the system.

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Thanx for the suggestions, Geryon! Glad you're enjoying 5E.

 

plug and play powers are good

 

That's pretty much exactly what the book is -- a gigantic list of plug-and-play powers, with options, ranging from the easily-conceived-of-but-helpful to the so-that's-how-you-do-that (or, more accurately, that's the one way I chose to do that for this book:)).

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re: UNTIL Superpowers Database

 

Powers that I would like to see that have not yet been mentioned these come from Steve Kenson's Ultimate Powers Guide for the Marvel Superhero Adventure Game

 

Animal Duplication: You can duplicate the abilities of any animal. Examples of characters with this power are Animal Man and Vixen

 

Dimension Control: You can change the number of physical dimensions you occupy. The number of dimensions you occupy at a given moment grants you specific powers.

 

Dream Control: You can manipulate dreams.

 

Evolution: Summoning neanderthal and protoplasmic evolutionary forms.

 

Magic Control: The character cannot cast spells but rather alter the flow and behavior of magic. The character can Deflect/reflect (Magic only), change the nature of a spell, Aid (magic spells), Absorption (magic), Dispel (magic), Drain (magic), suppress (magic)

 

Parasitic Implantation: Putting a parasite into another being which then serves as a host.

 

Resistance to Entangle

 

Resistance to Displacement : Using Power Defense to simulate the character that is resistant to Teleportation or Extra Dimensional Movement with the Useable Against Others advantage

 

Serial Immortality: If the character dies they spirit inhabits a new body that is either recently deceased or was prepared for such an occurance

 

Spirit Control: The character can control ghosts and spirits.

Mind Control (Spirits), Animate Spirits, Astral Projection, Detect (Spirits), Negate (Mind Control), Drain (Strength, Dex, Con), Summon Spirits, Entangle spirit, Communicate with past lives, Force a spirit into another body

 

Space Control: You can stretch and twist space to create various effects.

Running, Speed Drain (to slow opponents) (?), Teleportation Gateways, Missle Deflection, Energy Blast (area effect), RKA or Transform ("Disintegration"), Negate (teleportation and extra dimensonal movement)

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This is mostly a "me too" post.

 

I think the Plug and Play approach is the way to go.

 

Design the powers for the newbie players based on special effects and I think you will have a winner.

 

I would also like to see some generic art work that could be customized by PS to make pictures of thier hero and villians, kinda like the old Character sheets.

 

Thanks for the chance of input Steve

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One more thing I'd like to see

 

I'd like to see a little bit on the things characters can do when Grown or Shrunk.

 

I'd also like to see a Shriking -- Usable Against Others power. You're fighting a supervillain and suddenly he makes the entire team six inches tall. Worse, their strength and capabilities are reduced proportionally! (Perhaps it's linked to a very large Supress.)

 

How do the PC's avoid being squashed and get back to their proper sizes? Hoes does the team shrinker react? What about the team grower?

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I didn't read the entire board and if this was already mentioned then forgive the repetition, but I think it would be cool if there were some hex grids in the back that are very similar to the other ones in the bestiary book and resource kit for cone, area effects, range modifiers and similar things that can be used with powers. I hope that makes sense.

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Originally posted by ShadowRaptor

I was wondering this myself...can ya tell us, we need cool pics also??? Both of us Shadow types need cool, mysterious looking pics... :)

 

Log in if you're not already. Click 'Profile' (at the top of the screen). Cleck 'Edit Options'. Scroll down to the last entry, Avatar. Click 'More Info' to read about it. Click 'Change Avatar' to set an avatar (that's what these little images are called.) You have to provide the image, of course.

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