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DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?


Steve Long
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OK, folx, since I'm about to start working on the new Dark Champions genre book, it's time for yet another "what do you want to see?" threads.

 

Before I get started (see next thread), I'm going to make a couple of suggestions that I hope will keep the thread focused and make it as useful as possible to me.

 

First, please read the posted outline. If I've already mentioned something in the outline, you don't need to suggest that I include it in the book. ;)

 

Second, please remember that despite the title*, Dark Champions is not a supplement for Champions -- it's a genre book for modern-day action-adventure, ranging from costumed vigilante crimefighters (like Batman and the Punisher), to spies, to cops, to military action, to X-Files type stuff, and more. Except for the usual "mixing genres" section, it's not going to have any extensive discussion of low-powered superheroes or anything like that. (But of course, virtually everything in the book is very useful for any Champions game taking place in the modern day.) Keeping that in mind will help keep your comments focused on the proper subjects.

 

So, on to the outline! :hex:

 

 

*: We're keeping the title "Dark Champions" for a whole bunch of reasons, and I have no intention of changing it. I think we'd all appreciate it if no one wasted any time or bandwidth on the subject; that proverbial dead horse has already been proverbially well-beaten. ;)

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

OK, here's the rough outline for the book, to give you an idea of what I already plan to include -- no need to ask for it if it's already on the list. ;)

 

CHAPTER ONE -- THE GENRE: What fits within the DC genre; mixing DC and other genres (Champions, FH, SH, and so on); DC and metagenres (horror, comedy, etc.); genre "bits."

 

CHAPTER TWO -- CHARACTER CREATION: An enormous slew of Package Deals (law enforcement, military, espionage, and more); notes on various game elements (Skills, Powers, etc.); a big section of "Super-Skills" (aka "Skill tricks"; what the original DC calls "non-powered powers"); optional "Resource Points" rules for managing characters' equipment and other resources.

 

CHAPTER THREE -- FORENSICS: A basic primer on criminalistics and forensic pathology.

 

CHAPTER FOUR -- COMBAT AND ADVENTURING: Expanded and optional rules for modern-day combat.

 

CHAPTER FIVE -- WEAPONS: Firearms and ammunition (including extensive rules on how to modify guns to improve their performance); other types of weapons. In addition to "how to create your own" rules, this chapter will have extensive lists of statted-out weapons (please see the "We're Gonna Need Guns" thread for further discussion of this subject).

 

CHAPTER SIX -- EQUIPMENT: All non-weapon gear -- body armor, recon gear, commo gear, bugs and wiretaps, computers, you name it.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN -- THE ENEMY: Basic information on crime (organized and not), terrorism, enemy intel, and so on. This chapter is not going to be extensive or thorough, because I have so much information on this particular subject that I can write a whole book about it (The Underworld Sourcebook, slated for 2005) -- it's just going to provide an overview to get ya started.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT -- GMing: A chapter of advice, tips, suggestions, and resources for DC GMs.

 

CHAPTER NINE -- NPCs: Five sample PCs and five sample bad guys.

 

 

So, what do you wanna see in the book? :hex:

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I'd like the Resource Pool rules to be very optional indeed. I've always thought that felt kludgy. If the GM intends to mix equipment and superpowers, perhaps come up with a list of GM'ing advice on how handle it without resorting to point fiddling. After all, using equipment should be the norm in this type of campaign. Even Aunt May can pick up and use Ben's old service revolver. You shouldn't have to pay points for the ability to do it.

Maybe those who use equipment should get less XP?

 

Keith "Humble Suggester" Curtis

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I'd like to see some treatment on how Law Enforcement (the Super SWAT teams I mentioned in your "Guns" thread) evolves to deal with a Dark Champions universe. Things like how such a unit is organized, where they draw personnel from (for example, not only woud a Super SWAT have Police Recurits, but it would bring volunteers from Fire Departments, and Paramedics as well.)

 

Oh, and a teaser on Criminal Insanity. How a twisted mind gets twisted. Obsessions, manias, etc... along with treatments, causes, and evolutions. You could almost do an entire sourcebook on that one (you didn't really need those last three hours of each day for sleep anyway...)

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

It may be buried in there but make sure you cover Heroic versus Superheroic and I've even heard of various in-between states. You should focus on how to handle money in a DC campaign, since street level campaigns can have that as a serious issue.

 

Also you need to cover how to purchase equipment of varying legality and availability. Cover the 'black market' and other such things as well. There's a reason for having Perks such as Contacts (dealers of all sorts of stuff). You could practically devote a whole chapter to contacts in the DC campaign and how to use them as well.

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

In the description under the "future releases", you mention "technothrillers" and "special forces". Traditionally Dark Champions has focused on the law enforcement and vigilante side of things. While I'm totally copacetic with that, I wouldn't mind a tad more space given over to military and agency-style stuff. Everything from "Stargate"-style military to "Alias"-style agencies has such potential, but it rarely gets anything more than a brief nod. This would be a great book for something along those lines.

 

Oh, and I'm not sure what "technothrillers" entails, but I'm sure it'll be cool.

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

To begin with, take a look at Dark Champions, Eye for an Eye, Danger International and Here there be Tigers, then make none of the good stuff gets left out.

 

While vehicles are covered in TUV I would suggest a little time be spent on them anyway since they can be such a large part of genre. Handling special features (armor, oil slicks etc), car chases, legal issues, driving while under the influence of truth serum etc. Not so much how to make them but considerations of their use.

 

While lists of guns are always nice lets not forget the old standby melee weapons, stun guns, switch blades, brass knuckles, nail studded baseball bats etc. I'd like to see a nice selection of these included. Seems like an area that gets left out of many modern games.

 

I hope a little time will be given to gritty post apocalypse like Mad Max, Twilight 2000 or the comic Scout. Its a large genre and while Star HERO covered some already I think more can be said, leave the wild futuristic stuff (Gamma World, The Matrix) to StarHERO and the crumbling vestages of civilaization to DC.

 

I also hope that more time will be spent on the military angle, previous versions were definately focused on law enforcement and spy stuff, a chapter on running military campaigns would be great, in particular ranks and awards, types of units, types of missions and how to run them. Preferably this will get a subgenre book of its own but I'd like to see at least enough to get campaigns started until such a book exists.

 

I'm sure I will think of more but its a start. Can't wait to see it, I know it will be great, the originals were and so far all the new ones are better.

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Like Chris, I'll be very interested in seeing what you're doing with the forensics chapter. I still have most of the notes I've made on the topic, and I could also send you something I did in a recent Haymaker on a new "Interviewing" Skill (for getting information out of a willing subject -- even willing subjects don't have perfect memory).

 

I'm also looking forward very much to the "Super-Skills" section. I'd like to see it organized by base Skill rather than by Power, though; that would make it easier to build the "super-interrogator," "super-climber," "super-persuador," "super-lockpicker," or whatever.

 

On cross-genre stuff, I think you'd be right to limit the explicit text to Chapter One, but please keep the general concept in mind as you put together Chapters Two, Four, and Eight. While my campaign is set in the Terran Empire, for example, it's as much DC as SH.

 

I'll check out the other threads before going much into anything else. :)

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

A broader range of point totals and 'power levels' among characters built under Heroic parameters than that given in FRED. While some of this will be handled in The Ultimate Skill, many characters of the genre are nearly (if not fully) polymathic in depth and breadth of ability. (Independent of 'earned experience'; how many game campaigns contain as many stories/adventures as some of the serial novel characters have had? If you start 'small', you'll never get 'large' over the course of the average game campaign, and you won't accurately model the genre you're claiming to be emulating.)

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

The forensics chapter has peaked my interest. How will it be laid out - facts and "real world info" V's rules?

 

Mostly it's a mix of both. There's a real-world facts discussion of a particular topic (say, arson/explosion investigation, or lacerations, or determining time of death via forensic entomology), usually followed by (or intermingled with) relevant rules. For example, in the forensic entomology section, there might be a positive modifier for Forensic Medicine for doing something relatively simple (like collecting the bugs and analyzing their life stages), and a negative modifier for something complex (like determining from maggots whether the deceased was a cocaine user).

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I'd also like to see the big skills of the genre get more detail for use, stealth, streetwise, lockpicking, bribery etc.

 

I'd like to see parachutes get more detail, and an advanced parachuting TF for things such as HALO and HAHO jumps. (Here there be Tigers has a great section on this).

 

Also some more on the environment and its effects on skills, picking a lock in the dark, climbing a drain pipe during a down pour, trying to sneak through a bubble wrap factory etc.

 

I like what you are describing for the Forensics, I wasn't to hot on it at first since I already have several games with pretty detailed information on the subject but most are just factual blurbs with little how to use in game, it sounds like you are going to integrate facts with actually using it in game, CSI HERO anyone?

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I think the outine looks awesome Steve :) My only suggestions is some tips or sample gadgets typical of the spy genre ... poison cigs, chewing-gum plastique, etc. I would also like to see RL organizations detailed a bit ... maybe some overview on MI6/MI5, Interpol, FBI, CIA, etc. I think the cross-genre bits would also be a cool thing to see ... but they're typically in most genre books :) Maybe some information on Conspiricies and a sample Illuminati? That would be cool as well :)

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

In the GM's section, I'd like to read advice on how to integrate vigilantes (Batman, Punisher) plausibly into society. Do they need to cultivate contacts on the police force? If so, how should they go about this? (Batman Year One had a great example of the early relationship between Wayne and Gordon) What role does the media play in bringing attention to the vigilantes' exploits?

 

Also, and this is very IMPORTANT, how does a GM instill in players limits to their characters' behavior. Punisher runs around killing bad guys by the score, but he doesn't blow away just anybody who annoys him. Once the players realize they have the fire power to kill anyone they meet, what's to stop them from turning into full-on baddies and taking out the entire police-force Terminator-style? This was the same problem that bedeviled early D&D editions. Extreme violence mixed with a lack of social control leads to a party of sociopaths. You really should say something about how to keep players balanced between social acceptability and outright evil.

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

What I didn't see in the outline that I loved from the 4th ed DC was the section on the law & how it related to super-powered individuals and vigilantes.

 

Also, how about a quick run through on real world and champions universe military and paramilitary agencies (including espionage, until, et al)

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I haven't seen anyone mention time periods yet. It'd be nice to see the material put into a timeline perspective, especially advanced weapons and forensics. For instance, when did DNA evidence become legal in court? How long has C4 been around? When did kevlar vests first become available? Even just a date at the end of the description would be great, it would let people know what not to allow in their Untouchables campaign or which military grade hardware could be issued to their Desert Storm characters.

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

I haven't seen anyone mention time periods yet. It'd be nice to see the material put into a timeline perspective' date=' especially advanced weapons and forensics. For instance, when did DNA evidence become legal in court? How long has C4 been around? When did kevlar vests first become available? Even just a date at the end of the description would be great, it would let people know what not to allow in their Untouchables campaign or which military grade hardware could be issued to their Desert Storm characters.[/quote']

Actually of what's here so far, this is the one thing I've seen I'd really like that's not explicitly on the outline. I think this would be extremely helpful.

 

I'm not so interested in seeing time spent on any sort of gadgets or vehilces as we have those books, but I understand/respect that it's hard not to do some, makes sense for some inclusion but really should be minimal.

 

In general, lots of "spy stuff" would be good as I doubt that will get much attention elsewhere for a LONG time.

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Something else I ran across while raiding my bookshelf for ideas. Noise levels, it would be very handy to know how loud a silenced 9mm is and how likely it is for the guard at the end of the hall to hear it. Since this book will cover modern spy/espionage material, sneaking around is going to be very important. Some expanded material on how stealth is handled in game along side real world data would be great! Pretty much what you've already planned to do with forensics but will stealth.

 

BTW, I can hardly wait for this book. I've been excited about it since I first saw it on the release schedule.

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Talking about the difference between Supers/Normals is a must. For instance I have found it actualy helpful to run Fantasy as a Supers style game (Everyone buys equipment with xp, saves on arguments, and keeps everything fairly balanced). I think this might be a worthwhile sugestion.

 

A recent problem I have been having at the store, Make sure you distinguish that the product is in no way a stand alone product...the text on Fantasy Hero on the web site confused a couple of guys a couple of weeks ago...

 

If you include package deals of real world things (SWAT, etc...) I strongly advise you to make 2 sets of them one being "Real" the other being "Cinimatic", for that matter I would try to balance these two concepts through out the book, with notes how to run both types:

 

Example:

 

DNA Evidence is useful in identifing individuals, etc...

 

In a realistic Campeign it will take a Forensics expert with PS: Forensics Expert, Criminology, PS Medicine, etc... 12-20 hours to be able to match samples.

 

In a Cinimatic Campeign it will take one hour from a trained expert (Criminology 11-)

 

Super Natural: I would include extensive notes on running "Modern Fantasy" & Psi campeigns. Including maybe a modern spell book, how to run the fortune tellers, etc...

 

On the title: I KNOW THERE IS NO WAY TO CHANGE YOUR MIND: so instead of wasting my typing, I suggest a sub title to distinguish it from Champions (Maybe: Dark Champions: The Modern Adventuring Game or something)

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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

If you include package deals of real world things (SWAT, etc...) I strongly advise you to make 2 sets of them one being "Real" the other being "Cinimatic", for that matter I would try to balance these two concepts through out the book, with notes how to run both types:

 

Example:

 

DNA Evidence is useful in identifing individuals, etc...

 

In a realistic Campeign it will take a Forensics expert with PS: Forensics Expert, Criminology, PS Medicine, etc... 12-20 hours to be able to match samples.

 

In a Cinimatic Campeign it will take one hour from a trained expert (Criminology 11-)

 

And in CSI: Hero, it'll be ready the next time you're back in the lab...

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